• AmadeusD
    2k
    Or is it inferred from recognizing or interpreting the experience as a typical near death experience because one has seen alleged near death experiences depicted or described?jkop

    Generally, there must be an 'actual' near death-ness to the experience. However, there isn't a 'typical' experience so it seems pretty shoddy to even posit this as a way to explicate some kind of after-death consciousness. Seems, prima facie, not relevant.

    If there were some kind of proto-typical experience (where you could calibrate for cultural baggage and get roughly the same form as with some psychedelics) then we'd get somehwere. As it is, they are closer to drug-type experiences than much else - with even less homogenaiety!
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    I was a little surprised to find you had not addressed my response to you. I linked you a nice article and addressed your points. To ignore someone who does this and repeat what you spoke about earlier is avoidance, and an indicator that you don't have the answers to the previous points.

    But if you'll sum up your points, I'll sum up why they don't work again.

    My view of epistemology is that there are several ways of acquiring knowledge that aren’t dependent on a scientific approach (experimentation, data collection, and peer-reviewed papers).Sam26

    True. This is induction. And there are ways to evaluate whether some inductions are more cogent than other inductions.

    he three epistemological elements of my argument include logic, sensory experience, and testimonial evidence. These three ways of acquiring knowledge are sufficient in themselves to make a reasonable conclusion that consciousness survives death.Sam26

    No, they are not.

    1. Logic indicates you are making an induction, not a reasonable conclusion. Logic also indicates per the article that I linked, that the existence of NDE's does not mean that there was evidence of actual death at the time the person had the vision/dream.

    2. Sensory experience has been disproven by the fact people can sink in and out of consciousness in anesthesia, and it has not been conclusively pin pointed when exactly a person had a NDE. It is not that NDE's do not happen, its that there's no indicator they are actual experiences after brain death. To conclude there is consciousness after death, one must have an example of consciousness after actual death and a return to life.

    3. You only conclude a bias of testimonial evidence. You do not include the majority of cases in which people do not have NDE's when in similar near death experiences. You do not include the nightmares, or the visions of things that do not exist. You cherry pick nice and positive experiences then say, "They're all like that." They are all not. When taken as a whole, NDE's are very much like dreams and minimal conscious processing.

    I’m not claiming that our knowledge in this case is known with absolute certainty, just as most of our knowledge isn’t known with absolute certainty. I’m claiming that the evidence is known with a high degree of certainty.Sam26

    Incorrect. The problem is your ignore all the counter inductions that have higher cogency. How do you explain that the majority do not have NDEs? How do you explain the NDEs that don't fit in with family and friends? Or the massive evidence that the brain is your mind, and that without the brain, there is no mind? You take a one sided biased approach and cut out any competing material, and of course it seems reasonable. That's not rational or a strong inductive argument. That's a desire you're trying to rationalize.

    This objective component also dispels the notion that the experience is a hallucination, delusion, dream, lack of oxygen, etc.Sam26

    Not in the least. You have had opinions, but this is flat out wrong. In no way have these been ruled out and are strong competing inductions.

    And to think that someone can point to some brain activity to show that it’s the brain that creates consciousness is similar to pointing to a component in a radio to show that what you’re listening to is confined to the radio. It doesn't follow.Sam26

    Then how do we artificially put people in comas? Or use anesthesia? Or demonstrate how alcohol poisoning can cause a person to black out? Or the fact that we have never seen consciousness in any form other than a brain?

    Another important point is that many of the people who have NDEs report that their experience is not diminished, which is what you might expect with a brain that isn’t getting enough oxygen or blood, in fact, it is heightened. By heightened I mean their sensory experiences are much sharper, they see colors that they haven’t seen before, and their vision is reported to be expanded (360-degree vision) in many cases.Sam26

    You don't have senses when you are unconscious. Your brain takes sensory data and interprets it. Seeing colors you haven't experienced before is not unexpected when your brain is going into survival mode and trying to interpret what is happening. You can't see in 360 degrees, but your brain can envision it.

    In short, you have an inductive argument, but it has serious flaws. It also does no better than competing inductive arguments which to my mind, have far less flaws. You have a self-confidence in your argument, but self-confidence and a feeling that it is right, does not make it right. You need to look at the counters and find some answers to those. Otherwise, you're just peddling a fantasy, and no one wants to be that person.
  • ENOAH
    731
    it is impossible for life to continue after death?Philosophim

    By definition. Death is the end of living. There should be no debate.

    Those who cling to the possibility, aren't thinking about life. Whether consciously or not, they are thinking that "consciousness" might continue. And not some idea of consciousness which we might share with the rest of the planet,* but the Subjective mind, and really just the Subject that Mind intermittently constructs and projects.

    But not only is that impossible because that process doesn't work without the fleshy infrastructure. But that process is empty of what they think it holds while it's functioning: feelings. The body supplies that. So if words survive after the death of the individual without need of the body, then Ok. That's what we generally call history. You die and we still talk about you. But without the body's feelings, you won't "enjoy" the survival. So "you" will quickly drop away, having no reference to reality, and all that is left is history.


    *e.g., an aware-ing of living and its sensations (including sense of inner images), drives (including for us bondings), movements and feelings. Maybe one could argue this organic consciousness pervades nature, is nature, and thus, yah, in that sense there is life Neverending, just moving. But that's not what they want. Is it?
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    By definition. Death is the end of living. There should be no debate.ENOAH

    Yes. I understand the sentiment to want there to be life after death. But that sentiment can be dangerous to those who spend their life looking for its truth. Even if there is some afterlife, which is by all rational evaluation impossible, it is best to live this life as if there is no continuation after. You only get one shot at this life with who you are. Don't waste it on fantasies.
  • TiredThinker
    825


    Sounds like you describe a more Buddhists afterlife. No memories or feelings. Just karma essentially.
  • ENOAH
    731
    No doubt Buddhism is in it somewhere in some degree. But I don't look at it as Buddhist, but as obvious. I'm not often that confident. But this puzzles me.

    Unless we are speaking of a mythological idea of dualism, like a soul, I can't see any basis in an afterlife.

    As I said, life ends, so it's not life in this afterlife. If there's any evidence or even decent hypotheses about there being a non-material "aspect" of our natural being, then that evidence or hypothesis would also have to prove/reason that this non-material aspect produces and experiences our Narratives. But we are justifiably certain that the feelings, sensations, drives and movements, are organic. So the Narratives, on our non material natures, would be empty and serve no function; like a good novel when it's closed and sitting on the shelf.

    Moreover, Ockhams razor. Why an immaterial soul constructing and projecting the Narrative? Because body feels a certain way when the Subject is projected, and we end up wanting to cling to this image. So philosophers, poets, mystics and theologians have gone to pains projecting hypotheses that keep the Subject separate from what becomes reduced to a lump of flesh, leading to this idea of the possibility of its perpetuity after the flesh dies.

    But it's way more simple to say body--particularly and only the human body--has developed this unique, autonomous system of images in its brain, which have the effect of displacing the organic aware-ing of sensations, feelings, drives, and movements, with stories, perceptions, emotions, love and power, and the idea of free wilful movements. When the body ends, so do these images.

    Where Buddhism likely sees in this admittedly reconstructed view of afterlife, is it agrees that this Subject we cling to is just a projection, never was real to begin with, let alone the idea of its survival. And, therefore it also agrees that if we really must entertain any discussion of an afterlife, it's not going to be what the Subject causes the body to (by having specific feelings triggered) "desire", i.e., the Subject itself. If there is an afterlife it has to be the same as the before life, some pervasive aware-ing in?of? nature without the cloak of human signifiers. "Buddha Nature," too deserves the same treatment if it is real and all pervading, it has to be an aware-ing in/of nature, not some mystical, mythical, or even metaphysical entity which we can only construct out of our images.
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    I was a little surprised to find you had not addressed my response to you. I linked you a nice article and addressed your points. To ignore someone who does this and repeat what you spoke about earlier is avoidance, and an indicator that you don't have the answers to the previous points.Philosophim

    First of all, my health and age have affected my responses. So, your conclusion that I'm avoiding you and don't have answers to your posts is incorrect. There's nothing that you've posted that's difficult to answer, and much of what you've posted shows a lack of understanding of the subject of NDEs, even the paper you posted can be addressed, although it would take more time.

    he three epistemological elements of my argument include logic, sensory experience, and testimonial evidence. These three ways of acquiring knowledge are sufficient in themselves to make a reasonable conclusion that consciousness survives death.
    — Sam26

    No, they are not.

    1. Logic indicates you are making an induction, not a reasonable conclusion. Logic also indicates per the article that I linked, that the existence of NDE's does not mean that there was evidence of actual death at the time the person had the vision/dream.
    Philosophim

    First, I've given the criteria of a good inductive argument, and based on those criteria the inductive conclusion is overwhelmingly reasonable. (https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/912262)

    There is a reason why these experiences are called Near-Death and not death unless we're talking about clinical death, which is an accepted term (clinical death) in the medical community. People can continue to say that it's not death, and that's fine, but the experiences they're having coupled with the corroboration give power to their experiences. Not all NDEs happen when people are near death, some have happened quite spontaneously.

    2. Sensory experience has been disproven by the fact people can sink in and out of consciousness in anesthesia, and it has not been conclusively pin pointed when exactly a person had a NDE. It is not that NDE's do not happen, its that there's no indicator they are actual experiences after brain death. To conclude there is consciousness after death, one must have an example of consciousness after actual death and a return to life.Philosophim

    Just because people can sink in and out of consciousness when anesthetized doesn't invalidate the experience. There have been plenty of NDEs that have happened when there is no measurable brain activity (Pam's e.g. is one). There have also been experiences where people have described what they are seeing on various machines (e.g. in an operating room) at particular times during their experience, so it's fairly easy to know based on what they're seeing that it happened at T1 or T2.

    I don't know about you, but if someone tells me that they see X during their experience and it's corroborated by doctors, nurses, staff, and family members, then that's a veridical experience. You can keep denying what millions of people are saying because you're entrenched in a materialistic worldview, but it won't change the facts. Most people generally know the difference between a real (veridical) experience and one that is not. If this wasn't so we couldn't generally rely on our sensory experiences.

    Your responses demonstrate that you haven't studied these experiences, and your responses clearly show that. I've been researching this subject for about 17 years and have heard most of the counterarguments and they are some of the weakest counterarguments I've ever heard.

    3. You only conclude a bias of testimonial evidence. You do not include the majority of cases in which people do not have NDE's when in similar near death experiences. You do not include the nightmares, or the visions of things that do not exist. You cherry pick nice and positive experiences then say, "They're all like that." They are all not. When taken as a whole, NDE's are very much like dreams and minimal conscious processing.Philosophim

    I don't know of any other testimonial evidence that would counter NDEs. Many people who are in a similar condition don't have an NDE but that hardly invalidates all the millions of people who have had the experience. That's just the nature of our experiences, some people who have similar experiences give different reports but that doesn't invalidate all other reports.

    I don't cherry-pick anything, I've examined many thousands of reports that have been given from around the world and have concluded that consciousness survives death. Again, I'm not aware of NDEs that don't generally confirm an OBE, so I don't know what you're referring to.

    Many NDEs haven't been studied so I pick the ones that have been studied, but that's not cherry-picking, and here's the rub, the ones that have been studied confirm what others have been saying about their experience. Any examination of testimonial evidence would do the same. So, your cherry-picking allegation is weak, to say the least.

    This is all I'm going to respond to because I've addressed most of the other points you've made in other parts of the thread. What seems strange to me is that you seem to ignore so many other studies and peer-reviewed material, which at least acknowledges that many of these questions are open to many scientists (open for them, not for me). You seem to think it's an open-and-shut case. Nonsense.

    I stand by my conclusion that consciousness survives death. I'll go so far as to say that consciousness is the basis for all reality and that what we are here (being human) is not our essential nature. I'll add a further point, i.e., we are here having a human experience, but it's temporary.

    Sorry I can't respond to everything or everybody, I just don't have the energy nor the inclination. I'll respond and post from time to time but that's about it. Sometimes I get spurts of energy and will respond more often but that doesn't happen much.

    Thanks for the effort @Philosophim
  • Relativist
    2.3k
    First, I've given the criteria of a good inductive argument, and based on those criteria the inductive conclusion is overwhelmingly reasonable. (https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/912262)Sam26
    I read your argument, but it does not support your conclusion that consciousness survives death. You call your argument "inductive"; I think it would be better labeled "abductive" - because you are proposing a explanatory hypothesis that fits the facts associated with NDEs. Analyzed this way, we could consider whether or not your hypothesis is the best explanation for the available facts. You sidestep this, by simply claiming your conclusion is a reasonable inductive inference. I don't think it is reasonable, but this is shown most easily by comparing it to alternative hypotheses that better explain the available facts.

    For example, most other NDEs are explainable as a form of dreaming. Relatively few out of body experiences lack reasonable natural explanations, but even if they are veridical - they are explainable as telepathy or clairvoyance


    You don't consider the abundant evidence that mental activity depends on brain activity; NDEs do not demonstrate a counterexample. I previously pointed out that "no measureable brain activity" does not mean NO brain activity. So your explanatory hypothesis depends on the ad hoc assumption that mental activity can occur without brain activity.

    Finally, I can't help but think you may be influenced by a desire to live on, beyond death. This may be influencing your choice of explanatory hypothesis, and the subset of evidence you choose to consider.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    So, your conclusion that I'm avoiding you and don't have answers to your posts is incorrect. There's nothing that you've posted that's difficult to answer, and much of what you've posted shows a lack of understanding of the subject of NDEs, even the paper you posted can be addressed, although it would take more time.Sam26

    If they are not difficult to answer, simply answer them.

    First, I've given the criteria of a good inductive argument, and based on those criteria the inductive conclusion is overwhelmingly reasonable.Sam26

    And about my notes that you have several other competing inductive arguments out there that contradict and invalidate yours? I never said you didn't make an inductive argument. I demonstrated it doesn't rise above other more reasonable inductive arguments.

    I don't know about you, but if someone tells me that they see X during their experience and it's corroborated by doctors, nurses, staff, and family members, then that's a veridical experience. You can keep denying what millions of people are saying because you're entrenched in a materialistic worldview, but it won't change the facts.Sam26

    Are you understanding my points? I never denied people don't have these experiences. I denied that they logically lead to a conclusion that there was life after death, both rationally, and do not hold inductively when compared to other stronger inductive arguments that show our consciousness does not live on after death.

    Your responses demonstrate that you haven't studied these experiences, and your responses clearly show that.Sam26

    I have, and your conclusions about them do not hold water. They are fun, but do not lead to the conclusion that there is life after death when competing with other inductive arguments that demonstrate we do not. You are only looking at one side, and have not given me evidence of any other.

    Again, I'm not aware of NDEs that don't generally confirm an OBE, so I don't know what you're referring to.Sam26

    I noted my Aunt had a near death experience during surgery. She felt like she was being tortured by demons. We didn't call up the NDE people to report it. She died a few weeks later btw. She's gone forever.

    Here's an article on NDEs that aren't so nice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6173534/
    But I haven't heard you mention anything like these. Either you've cherry picked, haven't looked hard enough.

    How about the studies in which they tested people's experiences by causing them to enter into unconsciousness and similar situations?

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-near-death-experiences-reveal-about-the-brain/

    "Scientists have videotaped, analyzed and dissected the loss and subsequent recovery of consciousness in highly trained individuals—U.S. test pilots and NASA astronauts in centrifuges during the cold war (recall the scene in the 2018 movie First Man of a stoic Neil Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, being spun in a multiaxis trainer until he passes out). At around five times the force of gravity, the cardiovascular system stops delivering blood to the brain, and the pilot faints. About 10 to 20 seconds after these large g-forces cease, consciousness returns, accompanied by a comparable interval of confusion and disorientation (subjects in these tests are obviously very fit and pride themselves on their self-control).

    The range of phenomena these men recount may amount to “NDE lite”—tunnel vision and bright lights; a feeling of awakening from sleep, including partial or complete paralysis; a sense of peaceful floating; out-of-body experiences; sensations of pleasure and even euphoria; and short but intense dreams, often involving conversations with family members, that remain vivid to them many years afterward. These intensely felt experiences, triggered by a specific physical insult, typically do not have any religious character (perhaps because participants knew ahead of time that they would be stressed until they fainted)."

    Or

    "Many neurologists have noted similarities between NDEs and the effects of a class of epileptic events known as complex partial seizures. "

    "More than 150 years later neurosurgeons are able to induce such ecstatic feelings by electrically stimulating part of the cortex called the insula in epileptic patients who have electrodes implanted in their brain. This procedure can help locate the origin of the seizures for possible surgical removal. Patients report bliss, enhanced well-being, and heightened self-awareness or perception of the external world. Exciting the gray matter elsewhere can trigger out-of-body experiences or visual hallucinations. This brute link between abnormal activity patterns—whether induced by the spontaneous disease process or controlled by a surgeon’s electrode—and subjective experience provides support for a biological, not spiritual, origin. The same is likely to be true for NDEs."

    What seems strange to me is that you seem to ignore so many other studies and peer-reviewed material, which at least acknowledges that many of these questions are open to many scientists (open for them, not for me).Sam26

    Who?

    Sorry I can't respond to everything or everybody, I just don't have the energy nor the inclinationSam26

    It sounds like you don't have a lot of time left. I've been harsh on the subject material, but not on you.
    You may not see it as a gift, but really, it is. You will die. I will die. And that will be it. So don't waste your time. Fill it with family, friends, loved ones. Explore, fulfill your last curiosities, and do the things you've always wanted to do. Because after its over, its done. That's why we come here. To really think about things and sift the lies, illusions, and artificial hopes from reality. A life lived real is a really lived life. Good luck and enjoy your time.
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    First, just a word about the concept of death, this concept is used in a variety of contexts and it’s not important to my argument because NDEs can and have happened when people are not experiencing a life-threatening situation. However, most do happen in life-threatening situations. That said, most of the time when I refer to death I’m referring to clinical death, viz, when a doctor would pronounce someone dead.

    It’s the experience itself, the claim that people have had an OBE, and their experiences while having an OBE, which is the central point of my argument. It’s what people see during their NDE that supports their belief that they had an OBE. What constitutes an NDE are certain common characteristics laid out in the Greyson scale in the following link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271857657_The_Near-Death_Experience_Scale (Citation: Greyson, B. (2007). The near-death experience as a focus of clinical attention. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 195(10), 883-890.)

    There have also been comparative studies done by Dr. Parnia (professor of Medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center). This study (“Aware—AWAreness during Resuscitation—A Prospective study” published in Resuscitation.) used the Greyson scale as a guide to compare the experiences of cardiac arrest survivors and whether they were genuine NDEs as opposed to hallucinations or dream-like experiences.

    Other studies, viz., by Thonnard et al. (2013) source “Characteristics of NDE memories as compared to real or imagined NDEs” published in PLoS ONE explored the neurological basis of NDEs and also used the Greyson scale to determine if the memories were more consistent with real memories or with the memories of imagined events.

    So, the Greyson scale has been used as a reliable source for many studies to determine between genuine NDEs and other phenomena.

    Along with the Greyson scale, there have been a variety of other studies that show the common characteristics of NDEs. These studies include, but are not limited to the following:

    1) Noyes and Slymen’s Near-Death Experience Scale (Russell Noyes and Donald Slymen)
    2) Ring’s Weighted Core Experience Index (Kenneth Ring)
    3) Zaleski’s Narrative Analysis (Carol Zasleski)
    4) Moody’s Common Elements of NDEs (Raymond Moody)
    5) Kellehear’s Cross-Cultural Studies (Allan Kellehear)


    Besides the common characteristic studies that have been done from a variety of sources, other studies confirm the objective nature of NDEs and hence the veridical nature of these experiences. Many of these individuals were in a state where normal perceptions should have been impossible or very difficult to explain.

    Are you understanding my points? I never denied people don't have these experiences. I denied that they logically lead to a conclusion that there was life after death, both rationally, and do not hold inductively when compared to other stronger inductive arguments that show our consciousness does not live on after death.Philosophim

    The question is, “Do you understand my points?” If people are having these experiences, i.e., they are veridical, then my conclusion follows based on the numbers, variety, and truth of testimonials (corroborative evidence and consistency of reports). I used the word veridical for a reason, because if you’re acknowledging that the experiences are real (veridical), then how can you deny the reports? Unless you’re simply saying that the experiences are real but not veridical. If you’re saying that they are veridical but that they can be explained in another way, then you haven’t given good reasons to suppose that’s the case. The paper you cited doesn’t take into account much of the research that has been done and oversimplifies the NDE research. As I said, I’ve been studying these accounts for many years and have read many of the counterarguments, most try to explain the memory reports in very dubious ways, which I and many others have found wanting. Many of the memory counterarguments are only speculating about how these memories might have occurred.

    To argue that my argument doesn’t “…logically lead to [my] conclusion…” you have to demonstrate that the premises aren’t true, and you’ve failed miserably at that. At best your inductive arguments are weak, even the paper you cited is weak. Moreover, you seem to ignore the many studies that have been done to support the truth of my premises. We can go back and forth about the research, but I don’t think it will solve whose research is better, which is why I go back to the testimonial reports. For most people, after listening to many reports, and I have read and listened to more than 5000 reports, they speak for themselves. Any normal person after hearing corroborative and consistent testimonial evidence is going to concede to the veridical nature of the reports which leads to the conclusion (whether you do or not, it doesn’t matter) that consciousness is not confined to the brain, and the contention that consciousness is not limited to the body.

    Another important point is the nature of consciousness itself, i.e., can consciousness be explained by simply appealing to brain functions? The answer for me at least, and for many other scientists and philosophers, is no. I like many of the points David Chalmers raises in his article The Puzzle of Consciousness in which he distinguishes between understanding many of the cognitive functions, such as perception, memory, and learning (the easy problem of consciousness), which much can be explained through science; and the problem of trying to address our subjective experiences (the hard problem of consciousness), viz., what it’s like to be conscious. It’s not just awareness but that we are aware of being aware (my point).

    In Nagel’s 1974 paper, What Is It Like to Be a Bat Nagel also explores subjective experiences and the nature of consciousness. He concludes that consciousness has an irreducible aspect, and I agree based on my studies which go beyond what I’ve given in this thread. He further concludes that the physicalist approach to consciousness is not sufficient to address our subjective experiences and that we need a fundamentally new approach to concepts and methods. This paper agrees with many of Chalmers' points.

    Chalmers goes on to explain that there is a gap between what we can understand and explain via physical science and trying to explain our subjective experiences. This is why some argue that our subjective experiences are an illusion (my point not Chalmers), because of the difficulty in explaining subjective experience. Chalmers concludes that although we have made significant progress in our understanding of the easy problem of consciousness, the hard problem remains. It’s a profound mystery. I agree and would point out that although I believe it can be logically demonstrated that consciousness is not a brain function, we are still at a loss to explain the nature of consciousness. I speculate that consciousness is the creative force behind the universe and that consciousness resides in a place where the laws of consciousness and creation are much different from the laws of this universe.

    Chalmers proposes that there are three possible ways to solve the hard problem of consciousness. First is the idea that even if we don’t have all the answers presently, sometime in the future science will be able to explain consciousness. This is the optimistic view of reductionism, given enough time the problem will be solved. Chalmers also points out a second way which he refers to as mysterianism, which is a form of materialism or physicalism. This is the idea that consciousness is a physical process, but we will never understand it. It’s a mystery. And third is dualism, which just distinguishes, basically, between the mental and the physical, and the mental encompasses consciousness. Chalmers also makes the point that all of the work in neuroscience only addresses the easy problem of consciousness. The hard problem of consciousness is barely addressed, if at all. Most research doesn’t even come close to addressing the hard problem, and this should at least give you pause about what can be said about the point of origin of consciousness. To claim that we know how consciousness arises is simply false, we’re not even close to answering this question.

    I believe that NDEs do show that consciousness is not confined to the brain, but this doesn’t address the problem of what is consciousness. Although I believe consciousness is the source of this reality (our observable universe), I don’t believe we have a clue about the nature of consciousness or its source, if there is a source.

    Although this post doesn’t address every question or challenge it gives more information to support my conclusions and raises other considerations.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    However, most do happen in life-threatening situations. That said, most of the time when I refer to death I’m referring to clinical death, viz, when a doctor would pronounce someone dead.Sam26

    This is very important. Actual recorded death is not near death. Near death experiences cannot be used as an example for consciousness existing outside of the brain, as the brain would still be alive.

    It’s the experience itself, the claim that people have had an OBE, and their experiences while having an OBE. This is the central point of my argument. It’s what people see during their NDE that supports their belief that they had an OBESam26

    I am not questioning that people have an out of body experience. The question is whether this out of body experience can be pinpointed at happening at the exact time of brain death, and that it is not merely a vivid dream of consciousness. Not near death, but during brain death. As I've noted, there have been no cases of brain death and NDE time.

    What constitutes an NDE are certain common characteristics laid out in the Greyson scale in the following link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271857657_The_Near-Death_Experience_Scale (Citation: Greyson, B. (2007). The near-death experience as a focus of clinical attention. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 195(10), 883-890.)Sam26

    I genuinely appreciate the literature. But I don't think you're understanding what I'm stating again. I'm not denying NDE's happen. No one with even a little bit of medical understanding does. What I'm denying is that they are any proof of consciousness actually leaving the body. As I noted with my last two links, NDE's can be replicated medically by brain stimulation and temporary oxygen deprivation. In no case has there been a confirmation of someone actually seeing their body. A very easy test is once the patient is unconscious, a person places some object or writing behind them where their eyes cannot see. If the person is actually having a real out of body experience, they'll see it. No out of body experience has ever been able to accurately report this.

    The question is, “Do you understand my points?” If people are having these experiences, i.e., they are veridical, then my conclusion follows based on the numbers, variety, and truth of testimonials (corroborative evidence and consistency of reports).Sam26

    You can just use the word 'true' instead of veridical, that's fine. No, your conclusion does not follow from NDE's being real. You have to demonstrate the NDE's happen on brain death, that out of body experiences are able to accurately report the way the room was at brain death, and that NDE's cannot be replicated by temporary oxygen deprivation that has little risk of death, or can't be duplicated by stimulating the brain. All of these demonstrate that this is a brain function, not consciousness leaving the brain and coming back in.

    Have you ever had a vivid dream before? I ask, because some people don't. A vivid dream can feel incredibly real. I have sometimes come out of dreams thinking that I was in another world. Of course, I wasn't. You have to understand that your brain simulates everything. The light entering your eyes is not vision. The brains interpretation of it and construction is. I can envision things when I shut my eyes and have vivid daydreams. My consciousness is not leaving my brain, its just an aspect of the brain.

    Unless you’re simply saying that the experiences are real but not veridical.Sam26

    No, the subjective experience is real. There is no objective demonstration that a person has actually left their body and seen the room as it is changed away from their bodies eyes. There is no objective confirmation that someone's OBE happened during brain death. Just like when I had a vivid dream of fighting a gorilla and woke up, my consciousness did not travel to another dimension where I fought an actual gorilla.

    The paper you cited doesn’t take into account much of the research that has been done and oversimplifies the NDE research. As I said, I’ve been studying these accounts for many years and have read many of the counterarguments, most try to explain the memory reports in very dubious ways, which I and many others have found wanting.Sam26

    Feel free to cite some counters then. This is too generic for me and I'll need more details please. Your experience and whether things are wanting are irrelevant, just like my opinions on the matter are irrelevant. Cite facts and studies that demonstrate why or why not NDEs are valid/invalid.

    To argue that my argument doesn’t “…logically lead to [my] conclusion…” you have to demonstrate that the premises aren’t true, and you’ve failed miserably at that.Sam26

    No, I don't. You've already done that for me. You're already stated you're using an inductive argument, which by definition, is not true. Its a prediction, or supposition. To have a viable inductive argument, you need to demonstrate why it overrides facts that counter your induction, or demonstrate why its more rational than other competing inductive arguments that have competing or contrasting conclusions with yours.

    I have not denied NDE's exist. I've demonstrated that they are not evidence of consciousness surviving the body due to the fact that no OBE's can be objectively confirmed with tests, and we can simulate NDE's at lower levels of trauma with neurology and oxygen deprivation. Not to mention the mounds of medical research that demonstrate you are your brain. Neuroscience, psychadelics, psychiatrics, and even numerous cases of brain trauma have all demonstrated this.

    Another important point is the nature of consciousness itself, i.e., can consciousness be explained by simply appealing to brain functions? The answer for me at least, and for many other scientists and philosophers, is noSam26

    For scientists, this is incorrect. "You are your brain," is the only reasonable scientific conclusion with what we know. People test and hypothesize that there is more, but none of these have borne fruit. A hypothesis is not a scientific conclusion. As for philosophers, yes. You can find a philosopher that will believe almost anything. The question is whether they can give a reasonable argument for their beliefs.

    Lets address Chalmers. Yes, I'm very familiar with him.
    In Nagel’s 1974 paper, What Is It Like to Be a Bat Nagel also explores subjective experiences and the nature of consciousness. He concludes that consciousness has an irreducible aspect, and I agree based on my studies which go beyond what I’ve given in this thread. He further concludes that the physicalist approach to consciousness is not sufficient to address our subjective experiences and that we need a fundamentally new approach to concepts and methods.Sam26

    Two points:

    1. There has been nearly a lifetime of brain research since he published his 1974 paper. We barely had basic computers back then. We have made immense strides. Research neuroscience, not philosophy.

    2. You misinterpret what he means by "the physicalist approach to consciousness is not sufficient". Chalmers to this date does not deny that the brain is where consciousness comes from. What he's noting is that our study of the brain in particular to date, cannot be used as a model to explain the subjective experience. Let me explain further.

    How you subjectively experience the world, and how a bat subjectively experiences the world are obviously different. Lets say that we further science to the point where we are able to perfectly replicate a bat's brain, and your brain. Can we still be the bat? No. Can we still be you? No. We would ask your brain, "How are you feeling?" and simulated neurons 44-100 would light up. Does that tell us what its like to be the experience itself of neurons 44-100 lighting up? No.

    Lets say we objectively knock out the consciousness of your simulated brain by stimulating neurons 1-10. And we can do it every time. Objectively, you're unconscious. But what does it feel like subjectively? We'll never know. Its impossible to be the thing we're studying. That's what Chalmer's nailed. He did not deny in any way that consciousness is not generated from your brain.

    The fact we can never objectively know what its like to be a subjective conscious is the hard problem. The idea that consciousness comes from your brain is the easy problem. People confuse this all the time and think that there some rational notion that we are not our brains. It has been confirmed that we are our brains for some time now, and if an inductive argument is going to challenge that, it has a lot more that it needs to tackle then what you've provide.

    Although this post doesn’t address every question or challenge it gives more information to support my conclusions and raises other considerations.Sam26

    I may disagree with you, but I appreciate the write up and the citations.
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    It sounds like you don't have a lot of time left. I've been harsh on the subject material, but not on you.
    You may not see it as a gift, but really, it is. You will die. I will die. And that will be it. So don't waste your time. Fill it with family, friends, loved ones. Explore, fulfill your last curiosities, and do the things you've always wanted to do. Because after its over, its done. That's why we come here. To really think about things and sift the lies, illusions, and artificial hopes from reality. A life lived real is a really lived life. Good luck and enjoy your time.
    Philosophim

    This is a bit funny and a bit condescending, but I got a laugh out of it so that’s good. The illness I alluded to is something I’ve had all my life, but it’s not like I’m on my deathbed. Of course, turning 74 in September does mean my life is getting shorter and shorter. I’m not afraid of death, and to give me advice on living and dying is quite condescending as if I don’t understand what’s important. I guess I need advice since I don’t think about such things (ha-ha). You probably mean well, so I don’t take offense.

    I find it curious that some people think that people who believe there is an afterlife are somehow afraid that their existence is coming to an end, so we grasp at straws (beliefs) to comfort ourselves. We can always go back and forth on the psychological factors contributing to our beliefs, but none of us escape this problem. The psychological reasons/causes for what we all believe are very strong, often overriding what’s logical. I considered myself a Christian for many years and what can be a more powerful belief than thinking you’re a child of God going to heaven and escaping hell? I rejected the belief (not all the beliefs, but the resurrection, that Christ was God, hell, demons, etc.) after reconsidering the evidence. That means that many of the people in my family, friends, and others would look at me in quite a different way. I’ve never been afraid to go against the grain, and such is the case with my beliefs in the afterlife. I would say that I don’t care what others think, but that’s not quite true, I do care what some people think, but the point is that it’s difficult to buck any system of beliefs that have dominated one’s life for years. The point of saying this is that my life belies the idea that I would hold to such beliefs for what you seem to suggest.

    The only thing that matters to me is the evidence or good reasons that support my argument, not some fear of ceasing to exist, fear of hell, or some other fear. That said, I’m not superhuman, of course I have certain fears. For example, I don’t want to die in agony or some such thing, but I think the actual point of death (that moment) is more peaceful than most people think. And if we cease to exist after the death of the body, so be it, it won’t matter, will it? Of course, I don’t believe that to be the case, in fact, I know it’s not the case.

    Finally, your epistemology relies too heavily on the power of science to explain, as if epistemological considerations of science are paramount to knowing something is the case. However, much of what we know is through everyday testimonial evidence, which is why I think this argument is so powerful. We can go back and forth, no it’s not, yes it is, but I think my argument continues to stand as strong evidence for an afterlife.

    That said, I appreciate the responses.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    I've always wondered why folks who are convinced there is "life after death" do not kill themselves especially when they are healthy and happy. No doubt it's for the same reason fortune-tellers do not win lotteries everyday or put casinos and insurance companies out of business.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    I’m not afraid of death, and to give me advice on living and dying is quite condescending as if I don’t understand what’s important. I guess I need advice since I don’t think about such things (ha-ha). You probably mean well, so I don’t take offense.Sam26

    I did not mean it to be condescending. I am a person who has learned over time that you can never assume anything about other people. So I talk to them as if they don't know things, not as a means to insult, but to provide opportunity in case they don't. I am glad you understand how valuable life is. :)

    I find it curious that some people think that people who believe there is an afterlife are somehow afraid that their existence is coming to an end, so we grasp at straws (beliefs) to comfort ourselves.Sam26

    Some people think this. Not all. When having a conversation with a stranger, to me its about trying to find the most value out of a conversation. If I know you know the value of life, then I will never mention it again. But if you don't and its not addressed? What good is it to inform a person that there is no afterlife if they don't value the life they live today?

    We do not have tone or body language while communicating. All we have is text, and of course our interpretation of that other person's intentions. I have tried to be clear that while I do not believe the argument for consciousness existing post death has any credence, I do not have any issue with YOU.
    You've taken the time to present an argument fairly, you've been polite for a conversation that conflicts with our world view, and you've replied to many of my points. These forums should never be an insult or ego fest, but a place where we can talk seriously and truthfully with one another.

    The psychological reasons/causes for what we all believe are very strong, often overriding what’s logical.Sam26

    Correct. And I am not an exception to this rule. I too was raised Christian, but through questioning and having honest conversations with many other people, I found that it wasn't viable.

    The only thing that matters to me is the evidence or good reasons that support my argument, not some fear of ceasing to exist, fear of hell, or some other fear.Sam26
    Finally, your epistemology relies too heavily on the power of science to explain, as if epistemological considerations of science are paramount to knowing something is the case. However, much of what we know is through everyday testimonial evidence, which is why I think this argument is so powerful.Sam26

    I have formal training in philosophy, I have written many of my own approaches to philosophical problems, and have continued to dabble as a hobby all my life. I was both a math teacher, and now program for a living. My point is that I have a long period of training in life in logical thinking.

    Now, I also am aware that it doesn't mean a thing. Its the arguments that stand. You strike me as a thinker in earlier stages of development. This is not an insult to your intelligence. Good thinking for most people takes training. It takes years of work. You can never be satisfied, and I seek to improve in little ways every day.

    One problem I see is that you are still stuck on how to correctly use inductive thinking. If you re-read, that's really my focus. Inductive thinking is by definition, not necessarily true. So even the best of inductive arguments is not considered a sound argument, but a supposition, or conjecture at best.
    Considering there are several competing conjectures that your inductive argument must address and overcome, its not in a good position.

    Second, you're assuming the argument that I'm trying to make instead of really understanding it. I want to re-emphasize again, that I am not questioning whether people experience NDE's or OBEs. If you re-read, you seem to want to re-argue their realness when I've already long accepted that they're real. My point is that a personal experience does not mean strong or conclusive evidence about objective reality.

    That's pretty obvious if you take any other scenario besides NDEs. I've dreamt that I've flown before, and its been found in at least one study that 1/3rd of recipients have dreamed of flying. https://slate.com/human-interest/2016/11/dream-flying-says-something-about-how-you-think.html

    Now, does that mean that when we dream our consciousness actually travels to another realm where we can fly? No. Its just a common brain activity while we sleep. Personal experience is not evidence of objective reality. Personal experience is out interpretation of objective reality. And just because we interpret reality a certain way, it does not mean it is a certain way. Ever seen an optical illusion? That's our interpretation ability going overdrive, the illusion is not actually happening in reality apart from ourselves.

    My emphasis is not on 'science', but deduction and objective testing. Science is a good go to, because articles are peer reviewed. Meaning they must hold to high standards from the rest of the community, and are always open to having their research examined and questioned. We want to believe in the power of induction and personal experience, and while it can be useful in many instances, it also has many known flaws.

    So your argument has several problems it needs to solve. How do you reconcile the fact that we can duplicate NDEs in neurology and oxygen deprivation scenarios? How do you reconcile the fact that no OBE has ever been shown to see something that was placed outside of their bodies field of view during the time in which the NDE should be occurring? There are real problems that if not solved, cut the inductive argument that consciousness survives our death into pieces.

    So, feel free to try to answer those. If you can, awesome. But not answering those and insisting your inductive argument trumps all others logically isn't true. The current and most logical conclusion we can make with the information we know of today is that consciousness is a function of the brain, and when the brain dies, your consciousness dies as well. Feel free to keep trying to prove it wrong, but you have a lot of work to still do.
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