Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

Does consciousness survive death?

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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#181  Postby orpheus » Nov 17, 2010 11:35 pm

Lion IRC wrote:I was captivated by an interview I saw last night with Mr Hitchens where he speculated momentarily about the afterlife and the soul.

That great singularity called death. Our own personal big bang.

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/ ... 069457.htm

I always found it bizarre that so few prominent atheists are able to enunciate what an atheist utopia would look like. So much effort arguing against a world WITH religion and so little detail about how 6 billion atheists would live happily ever after.


Maybe they don't think utopias can exist. I, for one, don't.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#182  Postby orpheus » Nov 17, 2010 11:40 pm

tytalus wrote:. It impresses me just how much believers dwell on the logically possible, while struggling to provide the barest shred of credible evidence to back up their fervent hopes and dreams.


Yes. And then when one brings up other claims - logically equally possible (e.g. the FSM) - they say those are ridiculous comparisons. (The only real differences being emotional attachment, tradition, and societal approval.)

Someone else here said it, and it strikes me how true it is: this is apologetics in a nutshell.
Last edited by orpheus on Nov 18, 2010 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#183  Postby CookieJon » Nov 17, 2010 11:48 pm

Lion IRC wrote:If any non-theist who thinks the afterlife is bunk writes a 500 word response to Lion's "thin air" they are doing the equivalent of kicking an own goal.

Sometimes Calilasseia doth protest too much.

Very telling!


IOW...

If you disagree with me it proves I'm right.

If you agree with me it proves I'm right.

If you say nothing it proves I'm right.

EDIT: Mind you, perhaps that was a bit hasty... I mean, if an atheist's 500-word response to religious mumbo-jumbo is an "own goal", then surely 1000 posts by a Christian on a skeptic's forum is game, set and match.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#184  Postby Lion IRC » Nov 17, 2010 11:58 pm

You left one out CookieJon.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#185  Postby CookieJon » Nov 18, 2010 12:04 am

Lion IRC wrote:You left one out CookieJon.


Sorry... 1,001 posts.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#186  Postby byofrcs » Nov 18, 2010 2:19 am

Lion IRC wrote:I was captivated by an interview I saw last night with Mr Hitchens where he speculated momentarily about the afterlife and the soul.

That great singularity called death. Our own personal big bang.

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/ ... 069457.htm

I always found it bizarre that so few prominent atheists are able to enunciate what an atheist utopia would look like. So much effort arguing against a world WITH religion and so little detail about how 6 billion atheists would live happily ever after.


The argument against religion isn't the religion per se but how it is imposed on people. It would be rather silly to then impose atheism now wouldn't it ?

As for examples of utopias, Iain M. Banks is a good start. If you examine that then there is no compulsion. Unlike religion which does impose the faith on the people, no-belief cannot be imposed.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#187  Postby Weaver » Nov 18, 2010 2:39 am

OK, darwin2, I've got something else for you to consider - and this time I'm not hitting you with absurdities.

You assert that it is possible for consciousness to survive death, and therefore we should be prepared to use the Scientific Method to explore the afterlife.

I contend the Scientific Method may well be useless. The laws of physics, and the other constants of the Universe, may be so different as to make exploration by the Scientific Method impossible. Given that there is no known way for consciousness to exist independent of a living brain, this is entirely possible.

Ah, but you claim, as you did previously, the Scientific Method should still hold true, even for differing laws of physics - it would enable us to explore what those laws really are.

I'm not so sure about that. Any postulated existence whereby one individual's wishes can become reality - as you stated in your OP may be possible - may indeed have "laws" so flexible as to be indeterminate. They may shift from one extreme to another, or to any point in between, on a random or seemingly random basis. The mere act of choosing to look at something may change it so much that rational exploration via the Scientific Method is completely impossible - you may obtain different answers every time you work an equation, with no meta-equation to predict how the changes will occur.

Once you delve into the realm of the "possible", without any hypothesized mechanism of action, nothing is impossible, and exploration is pointless.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#188  Postby Rubicon » Nov 18, 2010 7:40 am

Weaver, it's obvious from this whole discussion that darwin2 won't address this kind of issue. I've been waiting for ten pages for him to explain what method I should use to determine the degree of absurdness of a claim one has made. The only answer you'll get is: "Ah, but sir Weaver, that doesn't exclude the possibility that it could still work. If there is consciousness after death, we just might be able to use the scientific method after all. If not, we'll just have to find another way to deal with the situation."

We haven't gotten any further than that since the OP. As far as I'm concerned, this doesn't even belong in pseudoscience, since there isn't even a hint of a testable claim here.

Maybe I'm just expecting too much of darwin2.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#189  Postby cursuswalker » Nov 18, 2010 9:30 am

I think that as it is possible there is an invisible intangible silent pink unicorn in my living room that I should be prepared to investigate.

How should I go about this?
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#190  Postby CookieJon » Nov 18, 2010 9:33 am

Can you use the scientific method in a dream - even a lucid one?
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#191  Postby cursuswalker » Nov 18, 2010 9:42 am

CookieJon wrote:Can you use the scientific method in a dream - even a lucid one?


Yes. You could try killing yourself in the dream in order to test the hypothesis that this can kill you in reality/

Or a better alternative would be to have sex in the dream and check on results on waking up. Probably a better one for the chaps :)
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#192  Postby my_wan » Nov 18, 2010 12:16 pm

cursuswalker wrote:
CookieJon wrote:Can you use the scientific method in a dream - even a lucid one?


Yes. You could try killing yourself in the dream in order to test the hypothesis that this can kill you in reality/

Or a better alternative would be to have sex in the dream and check on results on waking up. Probably a better one for the chaps :)

The second one has done been tested, by a female volunteer in the study I read, and it in fact really works.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#193  Postby darwin2 » Nov 18, 2010 2:59 pm

Rubicon wrote:
darwin2 wrote:
Rubicon wrote:Are you deliberately being obtuse here? This doesn't answer my question at all. I asked why you think your proposed claim about consciousness persisting after death is less absurd than the ones about invisible blue baboons on Saturn and purple fig leaves the size of Wales? What objective criteria do you use to determine that your claim is less absurd, and should therefore be considered more worthy as an area of scientific investigation? What do you have to offer, other than your opinion and your emotional attachment to your idea?

I suggest you read my reply to SafeAs Milk on page 8 of this thread made at 8:27am.

I did. This is what you said:
I doubt if anyone on this thread cares about the existence or non-existence of an invisible pink unicorn. But death is real and it should be a concern of everyone. Consciousness may end at death or it may continue after death of the physical body. I think it is wise to have a plan for the contingency that consciousness may continue after death.

Personal opinion. Check.
Emotional attachment. Check.
Wishful thinking. Check.

Who cares what your opinion on what you think should be a concern to everyone is? Statements about invisible pink unicorns are not less absurd than yours just because you say so. If you repeat this nonsense one more time I will report you for preaching.

Now please be so kind as to answer this simplest of questions:

Statement [1]: Consciousness may persist after death.
Statement [2]: Invisible pink unicorns may exist.

Question: What objective criteria do you use to determine that statement [1] is less absurd than statement [2]?


Sir, preaching is when one attempts to shove one's beliefs down the throats of others. Give me one example of preaching that I have made. Yes I have made suggestions and expressed some opinions but never preached. You on the other hand have preached especially in the above quote. You want to deny me the right to give an opinion or make a suggestion. Yet you attempt to preach to me that my contention that it is possible for consciousness to continue after death is incorrect because I have no evidence at this moment in time. It appears you want the privilege to express an opinion exclusively for yourself. When you accuse someone of preaching and you want to report that person for preaching, I suggest you take a look in the mirror and you will probably find the perpetrator.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#194  Postby Rubicon » Nov 18, 2010 3:16 pm

Darwin2,

Rubicon wrote:Now please be so kind as to answer this simplest of questions:

Statement [1]: Consciousness may persist after death.
Statement [2]: Invisible pink unicorns may exist.

Question: What objective criteria do you use to determine that statement [1] is less absurd than statement [2]?
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#195  Postby darwin2 » Nov 18, 2010 3:19 pm

Rubicon wrote:
darwin2 wrote:
Rubicon wrote:Are you deliberately being obtuse here? This doesn't answer my question at all. I asked why you think your proposed claim about consciousness persisting after death is less absurd than the ones about invisible blue baboons on Saturn and purple fig leaves the size of Wales? What objective criteria do you use to determine that your claim is less absurd, and should therefore be considered more worthy as an area of scientific investigation? What do you have to offer, other than your opinion and your emotional attachment to your idea?

I suggest you read my reply to SafeAs Milk on page 8 of this thread made at 8:27am.

I did. This is what you said:
I doubt if anyone on this thread cares about the existence or non-existence of an invisible pink unicorn. But death is real and it should be a concern of everyone. Consciousness may end at death or it may continue after death of the physical body. I think it is wise to have a plan for the contingency that consciousness may continue after death.

Personal opinion. Check.
Emotional attachment. Check.
Wishful thinking. Check.
Answer to question. Negative. Again.

Who cares what your opinion on what you think should be a concern to everyone is? Statements about invisible pink unicorns are not less absurd than yours just because you say so. If you repeat this nonsense one more time I will report you for preaching.

Now please be so kind as to answer this simplest of questions:

Statement [1]: Consciousness may persist after death.
Statement [2]: Invisible pink unicorns may exist.

Question: What objective criteria do you use to determine that statement [1] is less absurd than statement [2]?


Sir, preaching is when one attempts to shove one's beliefs down the throats of others. Give me one example of preaching that I have made. Yes I have made suggestions and expressed some opinions but never preached. You on the other hand have preached especially in the above quote. You want to deny me the right to give an opinion or make a suggestion. Yet you attempt to preach to me that my contention that it is possible for consciousness to continue after death is incorrect because I have no evidence at this moment in time. It appears you want the privilege of expressing an opinion reserved exclusively for you. When you accuse someone of preaching and you want to report that person for preaching, I suggest you take a look in the mirror and you will probably find the perpetrator.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#196  Postby Weaver » Nov 18, 2010 3:28 pm

Man, what is up with you posting the exact same post twice, separated by significant chunks of time? That's twice now in only 10 pages.

Are you on the slowest connection in the known world or something?
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#197  Postby rJD » Nov 18, 2010 4:00 pm

darwin2 wrote:You want to deny me the right to give an opinion or make a suggestion.

No, we are challenging you to demonstrate that your opinions and suggestions have even the most tenuous connection with reality. Where is the objective evidence that consciousness exists after death, and what is your proposed scientific methodology for testing this?
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#198  Postby darwin2 » Nov 18, 2010 7:39 pm

Ingenuity Gap wrote:
darwin2 wrote:
Weaver wrote:So what? Richard Dawkins isn't some sort of idol for us - we don't kowtow to his opinion.

Besides, his opinion doesn't support yours - your contention that the odds are 50:50, for example.



I am going to make a confession here. I ask all of you who have been offended by this action to have mercy on me as I beg your forgiveness for this almost unforgiveable action. I have made an egregious error in stating my subjective opinion that the odds are 50:50. I am not a mathematician and I apologize for my mathematic deficiencies.

If you have no idea about statistics, then stop using statistics to prove your case. If you want to be objective, that is.

darwin2 wrote:However I stand by my contention that it is possible for consciousness to survive death.

And I stand by my assertion that it's not possible. Now what? We can exchange assertions 'till kingdom come, but do you have any evidence that is possible for consciousness to survive death? Do you have a mechanism for that? You must, or you woudn't be so adamant on it. Why don't you share that evidence with us?


If one hears BS over and over one may become brainwashed into believing it is true. Frequently on this thread, several posters have stated that my 50:50 estimate is BS. This was repeated so often that I was starting to believe it. Now after careful re-consideration, I realize my eatimate was not unreasonable or wrong. The amusing thing here is that not one who claimed my 50:50 estimate was BS ever gave an estimate to counter mine.

Now let me enlighten you on why I feel my 50:50 estimate is reasonable and correct. Does consciousness continue after death or does it cease at death? There is absolutely no evidence that would meet acceptable scientific standards to support either possibility. Both possible answers are reasonable and there is an equal chance one may be correct and the other wrong. Thus it is reasonable and correct to state there is a 50:50 chance of one being correct and the other being wrong. You can turn mathematics into a fantasy game if you wish and come up with fantasy estimates derived from fantasy and self-deceiving formulas but the bottom line is that there is still a 50% chance that one or the other is correct.

Regarding the possibility of consciousness surviving death you state” I stand by my assertion that it's not possible.” That is an unscientific and false. You are stating an opinion and not a fact. Facts require evidence and you have no evidence to support your assertion that it is not possible for consciousness to continue after death. What you should have said is “I believe consciousness does not continue after death, but I have no evidence that meets acceptable scientific standards to prove my belief.”

I have made it very clear throughout this thread that I have no evidence to support my contention that consciousness can survive death. I never stated it does because I have no evidence that would meet acceptable scientific standards. I have stated an opinion only. I have also stated that it is possible for consciousness to cease at death. I have been very honest in expressing both possibilities.

In closing I have a question for you. DO YOU BELIEVE IT IS POSSIBLE FOR CONSCIOUSNESS TO CONTINUE AFTER DEATH? If you answer “NO” please supply the evidence that will meet acceptable scientific standards.
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Re: Death - a correct scientific approach for surviving it

#199  Postby darwin2 » Nov 18, 2010 7:48 pm

tytalus wrote:
darwin2 wrote:
byofrcs wrote:
Reference please.

Don't be silly. He has been on numerous TV talk shows where this question has been asked of him and his answer was exactly as I described in that post. You can email him if you wish and ask him if what I said is true.

Yes, let's not be silly...let's actually cite an example. Given your belated retraction of bogus statistics back from whence they came (ex recto), can you imagine some reason why skeptics would be...well...skeptical of your unsourced claims, darwin2? So here is a snippet from an hour-long interview with Dawkins, some points written down by a listener.

Dawkins can’t say categorically that there is no life after death, but it’s implausible. “Everything we know about how minds work shows that they are bound up with brains, and brains don’t survive death.” Human consciousness evolved by degrees over millions of years. The claim that conscious survives the death of the body “does not ring plausible.”

So, well done citing an authority that does not even agree with you, just for allowing the foot of possibility in the door. It impresses me just how much believers dwell on the logically possible, while struggling to provide the barest shred of credible evidence to back up their fervent hopes and dreams.

But since you're hooked on Dawkins as potential authoritative backup, why don't you respond to his reasonable skepticism about consciousness surviving death, since brains don't. If all it takes is a simple argument by authority, then you're done, shot down by your own source.


Sir, it is clear that Dawkins agrees that it is possible for consciousness to continue after death even though he qualifies such a possibility as minimal. I admire the work science has done in deciphering the workings of the brain. But no brain scientist has proved with evidence that meets acceptable scientific standards that consciousness does not continue after death.
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Re: DEATH-A CORRECT SCIENTIFIC APPROACH FOR SURVIVING IT

#200  Postby darwin2 » Nov 18, 2010 7:59 pm

kamel wrote:
darwin2 wrote:
trubble76 wrote:

No more silly and immature than the assertions of theists about the afterlife. Unscientific it may be, perhaps at this stage it's worth noting that I am not a scientist. This is not a scientific website, it is a rational scepticism site.
You seem to think atheist = scientist, while this is true in many cases, it is certainly not generally true.


Believing in an after-life is only silly and immature if there is no afterlife. Believing there is no afterlife is only silly and immature if there is an aftrerlife.

I would be disinclined to describe your posts any thing rather than nonsense.life after death is a stupid religious idea.


Dogma is the product of organized religion with the great majority of it being garbage. I only express an opinion Sir and my opinion is not dogma. Death is not nonsense. The possibility that consciousness may survive death is not nonsense. It is a realistic possibility that it may indeed survive death. I only offer my opinion and suggestion that if consciousness does indeed survive death, the use of the Scientific Method may be a good tool to use if such an afterlife exists.
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