May 27 2014

The Brain Is Not a Receiver

Whenever the discussion of a dualist vs materialist model of the mind comes up, one common point made to support the dualist position (that the mind is something other than or more than just the functioning of the brain) is that the brain may not be the origin of the mind, but rather is just the receiver. Often an explicit comparison is made to radios or televisions.

The brain as receiver hypothesis, however, is wholly inadequate to explain the relationship between the brain and the mind, as I will explain below.

As an example of the brain-receiver argument, David Eagleman writes in his book Incognito:

As an example, I’ll mention what I’ll call the “radio theory” of brains. Imagine that you are a Kalahari Bushman and that you stumble upon a transistor radio in the sand. You might pick it up, twiddle the knobs, and suddenly, to your surprise, hear voices streaming out of this strange little box. If you’re curious and scientifically minded, you might try to understand what is going on. You might pry off the back cover to discover a little nest of wires. Now let’s say you begin a careful, scientific study of what causes the voices. You notice that each time you pull out the green wire, the voices stop. When you put the wire back on its contact, the voices begin again. The same goes for the red wire. Yanking out the black wire causes the voices to get garbled, and removing the yellow wire reduces the volume to a whisper. You step carefully through all the combinations, and you come to a clear conclusion: the voices depend entirely on the integrity of the circuitry. Change the circuitry and you damage the voices.

He argues that the Bushman might falsely conclude that the wires in the radio produce the voices by some unknown mechanism, because he has no knowledge of electromagnetic radiation and radio technology.

This point also came up several times in the 600+ comments following my post on the Afterlife Debate. Commenter Luoge, for example, wrote:

“But the brain-as-mediator model has bot yet been ruled out. We can tamper with a TV set and modify its behaviour just as a neurosurgeon can do with a brain. We can shut down some, or all, of its functioning, and we can stimulate to show specific responses. And yet no neurologist is known to have thought that the TV studio was inside the TV set.”

There are two reasons to reject the brain-as-mediator model – it does not explain the intimate relationship between brain and mind, and (even if it could) it is entirely unnecessary.

To deal with the latter point first, I have used the example of the light-fairy. When I flip the light switch on my wall, the materialist model holds that I am closing a circuit, allowing electricity to flow through the wires in my wall to a specific appliance (such as a light fixture). That light fixture contains a light bulb which adds resistance to the circuit and uses the electrical energy to heat an element in order to produce light and heat.

One might hypothesize, however, that an invisible light fairy lives in my wall. When I flip the switch the fairy flies to the fixture where it draws energy from the electrical wires, and then creates light and heat that it causes to radiate from the bulb. The light bulb is not producing the light and heat, it is just a conduit for the light fairy’s light and heat.

There is no way you can prove that my light fairy does not exist. It is simply entirely unnecessary, and adds nothing to our understanding of reality. The physics of electrical circuits do a fine job of accounting for the behavior of the light switch and the light. There is no need to invoke light bulb dualism.

The same is true of the brain and the mind, the only difference being that both are a lot more complex.

More importantly, however, we have enough information to rule out the brain-as-receiver model unequivocally.

The examples often given of the radio or TV analogy are very telling. They refer to altering the quality of the reception, the volume, even changing the channel. But those are only the crudest analogies to the relationship between brain and mind.

A more accurate analogy would be this – can you alter the wiring of a TV in order to change the plot of a TV program? Can you change a sitcom into a drama? Can you change the dialogue of the characters? Can you stimulate one of the wires in the TV in order to make one of the on-screen characters twitch?

Well, that is what would be necessary in order for the analogy to hold.

As we have learned more and more about brain function, we have identified many modules and circuits in the brain that participate in specific functions. During the Afterlife debate I gave a few of my favorite examples.

Disruption of one circuit, for example, can make someone feel as if their loved-ones are imposters, because they do not evoke the usual emotions they should feel.

Disruption of another circuit can make a person feel as if they are not in control of a part of their body – so-called alien hand syndrome.

A stroke that leaves the ownership module intact but unconnected to the paralyzed limb can rarely result in a supernumerary phantom limb – the subjective experience of having an extra limb that you can feel and controlled (but that does not exist).

Seizures are also a profound area of evidence for the mind as brain theory. Synchronous electrical activity in particular parts of the brain can make people twitch and convulse, but also experience smells, sounds, images, feelings, a sense of unreality, a sense of being connected to the universe, an inability to speak, the experience of a particular piece of music, a sense of deja vu, or pretty much anything you can imagine. The subjective experience depends on the part of the brain where the seizure occurs.

There is also copious evidence from strokes and other forms of brain damage. As a practicing neurologist I can examine a patient with a stroke and with a high degree of accuracy predict exactly where the lesion will be in the brain on subsequent imaging. Everything you think, do, and feel has a neuroanatomical correlate in the brain, and if that function is altered or not working, that will predict where the lesion can be found.

The only limitation is the current resolution of our neuroanatomical and circuitry map of the brain. No one denies that the brain is fantastically complex, and that our current models are a long way from capturing this complexity down to its finest level of detail.

I think, however, that non-neuroscientists grossly underestimate the degree to which we have mapped the circuits in the brain. Also, as our technology improves (with the addition of fMRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation, for example) the materialist model of the brain is becoming more successful. If this model were ultimately wrong, then the materialist approach would be running into serious problems. It isn’t. It is a remarkably successful research paradigm.

A dedicated dualist might still argue that each specific mental function requires its own specific receiver. Brain circuits are receiving specific signals. If you stimulate the circuit it acts as if it is receiving the signal. Eventually, this argument leads to a brain that has all the circuitry necessary to produce everything we can observe about mental function – it leads to the light fairy argument, where the light fairy is simply not necessary.

If, on the other hand, the receiver model were correct then it would be reasonable to predict that as we investigate the relationship between brain function and mental function in greater and greater detail, the physical model would break down. We would run into anomalies we could not explain, and it would seem as if the brain does not have the physical complexity to account for the observed mental complexity. None of this is what we find, however.

Conclusion

The brain-as-receiver hypothesis is nothing more than a convenient way for dualists to dismiss evidence for the correlation between brain function and mental function. The hypothesis, however, is dependent upon a gross misunderstanding of the state of our knowledge about brain function, and the intimate connection that has been documented in countless ways between brain function and mental function.

The simplest explanation for the tight correlation between brain and mental function is that the mind is what the brain does. There is no more reason to hypothesize a mind separate from brain than there is to hypothesize that there is a computer fairy that performs all the necessary calculations and then feeds the results to specific circuits in your computer.

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1,708 responses so far

1,708 Responses to “The Brain Is Not a Receiver”

  1. The Other John Mcon 27 May 2014 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for posting Dr. N. Someone in the AfterLife thread wisely pointed out:

    If the brain is a receiver, what is it receiving? Why can’t we detect the consciousness waves? We can and do detect radio waves, all forms of electromagnetic energy, etc.

    Dualists: if you say the brain is a receiver, show us what it is receiving, then we can have a discussion.

  2. The Other John Mcon 27 May 2014 at 9:02 am

    Another good point in regards to the radio analogy: if you tweak any of the wires in the radio circuit, the whole thing fails. But if you tweak a brain circuit, there is not catastrophic failure but subtle and “graceful degradation” (this is a key technical feature of neural networks). This is more evidence that the radio analogy is not a good one.

  3. pdeboeron 27 May 2014 at 9:56 am

    Is the fact that transcranial magnetic stimulation is a sort of transmitter receiver as described by dualism proof that there is no transmitter? If there is a transmitter and we can at very least override the signal, then it should be the same type of signal.

    But I don’t think there is any evidence of electromagnetic signals going to the brain.

  4. Ori Vandewalleon 27 May 2014 at 10:00 am

    There’s another way in which the brain could be a receiver. It’s possible that the data being transmitted to the brain is simply very noisy, such that tweaking various components of the brain can produce a very wide variety of behaviors and thoughts.

    The problem you run into here is why a “soul” would be a “noisy” thing. This is a question you can’t answer, though, because it’s attempting to interrogate the supernatural. It’s certainly possible that souls are noisy, but we have no reason to think so a priori. The simplest explanation, of course, is that there is no soul transmitting data to the brain.

  5. tmac57on 27 May 2014 at 10:55 am

    At it’s core the hypothesis would seem to be unfalsifiable. You could discover some ‘consciousness waves’,I suppose,and eventually prove the hypothesis,but if no proof ever emerges,then proponents will always be able to continue to move the goalposts in response to new discoveries that support the materialist model. In other words,as long as people want to believe this idea,the idea will never die,despite evidence to the contrary.

  6. Insomniacon 27 May 2014 at 11:08 am

    I noticed that nearly every person I engaged in a conversation about mind and brain is somewhat either ignorant, disagreeing or uncomfortable with the idea that the brain creates the mind. This is why to me the gap between what neuroscience says and what the general public believes is one of the biggest among all scientific subjects that really matter and affect people. Obviously particle physics and the kind – which are not known at all by the general public – do not enter in this category.

    People are not aware of all those neuroanatomical correlates, and the extent to which behavior and subjective experience can be impaired/modified through brain damage, drugs etc. Therefore they are shocked once told that their brain is merely a machine. They are OK with the idea that other animal’s brains may be machines, but not theirs.

  7. Bronze Dogon 27 May 2014 at 11:30 am

    I posited server and client as a more appropriate metaphor for dualists to consider, since that is a two-way relationship, while radio and TV are passive receivers. At least in the server/client model, you can alter the server/soul’s processes by altering the client/brain’s processes. But, as you’re saying in the post, neuroscience is leaving less and less for the soul to allegedly do. The client’s so thick, one wonders why it bothers to connect to a server.

    I brought up the idea of a spiritual Faraday cage a couple times. If there’s a signal going back and forth between the brain and soul, presumably that signal can be blocked to demonstrate a loss of function. If we discovered dualism is true that way, where do we go from there? How do we examine the inner workings of souls? How do souls explain consciousness, inner subjective experience, qualia, or whatever?

  8. tmac57on 27 May 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Bronze Dog-

    If there’s a signal going back and forth between the brain and soul, presumably that signal can be blocked to demonstrate a loss of function.

    Deprive the brain of oxygen. That should do the trick.

  9. steve12on 27 May 2014 at 12:49 pm

    That all sounds good, but I have 4 important counter-arguments:

    1. quantum mechanics
    2. consciousness
    3. parallel universes
    4. science doesn’t know everything.

    check and mate….

  10. Ekkoon 27 May 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I think the dualist position is essentially “a gross misunderstanding of the state of our knowledge about brain function, and the intimate connection that has been documented in countless ways between brain function and mental function” meeting the inertia of belief/motivated reasoning.

    @steve12 – you forgot ghosts and automatic writing.

  11. steve12on 27 May 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Ekko – I think I missed the automatic writing, and I’m afraid of what I might find.

  12. Attilaon 27 May 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Sean Carroll touched on how much we know about reality in the afterlife debate. It is better explained at his Skepticon speech here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrs-Azp0i3k , at about 37 minutes.

    His contention is for most physics that happen at our scale we have figured it out. So for a dualist using the receiver hypothesis you need someway that the soul is interacting with the body via the brain. I am also using soul interchangeably with mind. You can then go two ways:

    1. There is an energy or some type of field that is communicating the souls intentions to the brain, and it is some type of energy we have not discovered. This is pretty much in the not bloody likely category.

    2. The interactions follow our current understanding of physics, but we have not understood what is happening.

    So we have 4 forces to reach for I would think we are hard pressed to figure how the soul is communicating via a nuclear force, weak force, and gravity. And an interaction with these forces seems unlikely at best. So we are left with electromagnetism this would be possible. Electrochemical processes happen in the brain, and electromagnetic fields can effect the brain. I think someone mentioned trans-cranial stimulation.

    So now we have to posit an electromagnet force effecting the brain that we have not detected before. This is where the dualists are in trouble. If the force has the possibility to interact with the brain why have we not detected something. While we might not understand the interaction it seems it should at least be detectable.

    So unless someone is detecting a signal it seems at this point there is nothing there.

    However being a layman am I missing anything. Is it fair to say if that if there was a mind/brain dualism we would have detected by now?

    Attila

  13. the devils gummy bearon 27 May 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Our brains are RC receivers for ghosts; We are remote controlled by ghosts. Otherwise we’d be zombies. C’mon guys, this is like day-one dualist stuff. Duh.

  14. Bronze Dogon 27 May 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Deprive the brain of oxygen. That should do the trick.

    While that would be a very effective way to stop signs of consciousness, it wouldn’t enlighten us as to whether it’s because the brain died or because the soul got cut off.

  15. worlebirdon 27 May 2014 at 2:08 pm

    “Deprive the brain of oxygen. That should do the trick.”

    That would presume that oxygen is somehow carrying the signal to the brain. This is unlikely. This would rather be like unplugging the radio, as opposed to blocking the signal.
    Not very useful in telling us whether the radio is receiving a signal or generating those sounds on its own.

  16. The Other John Mcon 27 May 2014 at 2:30 pm

    So how would an alien show that a radio was receiving an external signal as opposed to the radio generating sounds on its own?

    An alien could detect the external signal (no luck with consciousness), manipulate/interfere with signal itself WITHOUT futzing with the receiver itself (again no luck), show that the same sounds can be played on materials/machines other than radios (still no luck). The alien could move the receiver away from the signal source to show effect of distance, could triangulate location of a source via several receivers, yada yada, you get the idea…

    The point is that, like tmac and others have pointed out, this position ultimately retreats to “consciousness is non-physical spiritual ghosty-stuff” via goalpost moving. But if this is non-physical it loses all explanatory power or ability to prove, anyway, and is just useless light fairies.

  17. AliSinaon 27 May 2014 at 5:52 pm

    There are hundreds of cases of patients in coma, under operation and with no vital signs reporting having seen not just the medical team operating on them but their relatives in the waiting room and reported accurately what they did and said. This is not possible if they were fully awake lying in the operation room. I have posted a dozen of videos to such claims here http://alisina.org/blog/2013/08/28/why-i-believe-in-god-and-afterlife-now/

    Until that is not explained all this talk is intellectual masturbation.

  18. tmac57on 27 May 2014 at 7:00 pm

    I’m really not sure why we should stop with this one ad hoc hypothesis in any case. There is no compelling evidence for it,so why limit speculation to just one idea (in reality,I suspect there are many).
    Let’s try this one on for size: Because we are outnumbered 10 to 1 by bacteria in our microbiome, I suggest that the collective activity of the bacteria are creating a consciousness a la the Borg hive mind. Much like a TV picture is made up of billions of pixels to form a coherent whole,our minds are mediated by trillions of bacterial transactions to form an emergent activity that we call consciousness.
    C’mon guys lets use our imaginations to really rock new ideas! Don’t be limited by reality,just spitball something interesting.Who knows,it might just catch on. It’s not like anyone is actually going to test it out or anything.

  19. Bill Openthalton 27 May 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Attila -

    However being a layman am I missing anything. Is it fair to say if that if there was a mind/brain dualism we would have detected by now?

    That’s my understanding.

    One either has to simply affirm dualism, making the whole radio analogy extremely hokey, or run foul of physics. The fact is that we can measure the electromagnetic waves produced by the brain, and that we can influence the mind through electromagnetic waves makes it impossible to claim that this would be the mechanism used by the brain to receive and send information from and to the soul. If this were it, we would detect it, and would be able to manipulate it.

    To make the whole thing even less believable, the receiver theory usually dispenses with the sending part, claiming that the soul acquires all the sensorial information autonomously (because it’s supernatural), not realizing this renders the idea that the brain has to receive the return signals like a radio devoid of sense.

    I guess the analogy appeals to technically and scientifically naive people, who do not understand that we know enough about reality to make talking about unknown forces and implicit information transfer rather ridiculous. The watchmaker argument for intelligent design is similar, using the most complex piece of technology known at the time and dangling its awesome complexity in front of a gullible audience. Today’s woo-meisters are doing the same with quantum physics.

  20. Vijay2000on 27 May 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Could the brain be a transmitter and not a receiver? Maybe everything that our bodies do can be explained by the known laws of physics. But maybe there is some entity in some other dimension or something that receives inputs from the brain. And maybe we are those entities without any ability to control anything that the body does, but under the illusion that we are in charge.

    (This sounds wishy-washy, but it is like someone from the middle ages trying to speculate about radiation. If they realized that a rock made of uranium was weird, how would they describe their thoughts?)

    This could be similar to virtual reality rides like the Spiderman ride in Universal Studios. We sit in the machine and have no control over what will unfold, but if we sit in it our entire lives, and are made aware of what will happen a fraction of a second before it actually happens, we might start believing that we are actually controlling the machine.

    Basically, I find it very hard to accept that I am just a highly advanced robot. There must be something that is experiencing what I am experiencing. However, I am prepared to accept that I have no control over what I will do, and the belief that I am in charge of my body is just an illusion.

  21. Bill Openthalton 27 May 2014 at 7:16 pm

    tmac57 –

    C’mon guys lets use our imaginations to really rock new ideas! Don’t be limited by reality,just spitball something interesting.

    I definitely like P J Farmer’s “wathan” technology and his take on consciousness. I wouldn’t mind being resuscitated on Riverworld.

  22. Vijayon 27 May 2014 at 7:25 pm

    (Continuing my earlier comment)
    Likewise, I suspect that even if we are able to build robots as complex as us in 100 years, the robots will not be conscious, unless we link the robot’s CPU to an “entity in the other dimension”, just like us.

  23. Paulzon 27 May 2014 at 8:13 pm

    “There is no more reason to hypothesize a mind separate from brain than there is to hypothesize that there is a computer fairy that performs all the necessary calculations and then feeds the results to specific circuits in your computer.”

    Gods, I was thinking that exact same thing as you closed in on the end there. Nicely done.

  24. leo100on 27 May 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Lol, where do I start?. I am afraid the light fairy analogy that Steven Novella uses is a terrible analogy to say the least. He is saying the receiver theory is too complicated that a simpler theory such as the mind does what the brain does should be accepted instead. At the end of the article he said if the mind is not produced by the brain we should run into anomalies that the theory cannot explain. Well, I am afraid we have such as terminal lucidity, stigmata etc.

    Here is an excellent article by Steven Harp on the brain being a receiver of consciousness.

    http://jcer.com/index.php/jcj/article/viewFile/269/301

  25. leo100on 27 May 2014 at 8:48 pm

    M. Hector Durville did experiments on finding out if there really is an astral body. The subject of the experiment is constantly rapport with the double. Usually this is cylindrical , but may sometimes appear to be a sort of ribbon. As to the clothes of the phatom, these seem to be composed of a sort of “fluidic gauze”. Various sense-impressions are conveyed to the body by the means of the astral cord. the question of temperature is imporatant; as too much light has a detrimental effect upon the astral body. Experiments with the dynamometer showed that the muscular strength (grip) of the subject was always greater after the projection than before. On the contrary, the temperature of the hand, particularly of the right hand, almost invariably fell as the result of the experiment. The action of the phantom upon the double of another subject both being “projected” at the same time; and upon the physical body of another person.

    Some positive results were apparently secured in both cases. Some successes were also reported in obtaining physical movements of objects and raps, and moving the straw of a sthenometer, at a distance from the entrenched subject by the projected astral body, and various vital radiations emitted by it or by the physical body.

    These experiments were cited in this book http://books.google.ca/books?id=PmmmhS-pT38C&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=m+hector+durville+experiments+astral+body&source=bl&ots=yVonYP6Iob&sig=89iaZGFtgG0dijBpKOIIiUpgwFo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=eC2FU4ymMaKV8QHkrYCgDg&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=m%20hector%20durville%20experiments%20astral%20body&f=false

    He concluded like many scientists have that the projection of the astral body is a certain fact, capable pf being demonstrated by means of direct experiment. Also, since the phantom can exist and function apart from the physical body. It may also exist after death. That is, Immortality is a fact thus proved scientifically.

  26. grabulaon 27 May 2014 at 9:38 pm

    @Leo

    Harps article is just a ridiculous amount of goal post moving. He accepts we can measure specific physical reactions in the brain that coincide with the processes of the mind. But because we can’t literally measure ‘consciousness’ he’s seeing up a strawman and ignoring anything materialist point to.

    As an aside I find it hilarious you guys have built this bogeyman called materialism. I find it ironic you basically have to say ‘stupid materialists always have to have a rational explanation. ..’

  27. grabulaon 27 May 2014 at 9:40 pm

    @leo

    “He concluded like many scientists have ”

    What constitutes many Leo, the current scientific consensus does not support a belief in magic.

  28. leo100on 27 May 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Grabula

    Well we can’t measure consciousness that should be obvious. One of the fatal problems with materialism a dead end you can call it is the fact that consciousness is subjective if you are going to say that brain activity is consciousness itself then you have turned it all around by saying consciousness is physical. But consciousness isn’t physical at all its subjective.

  29. grabulaon 27 May 2014 at 10:50 pm

    @leo

    We can certainly measure the effect altering the physical brain has on the mind. In fact Dr. Novella points out that is understood more than most people really know. Anti-materialists have not been able to touch the fact that changing the brain changes the mind in highly predictable ways.

  30. Ekkoon 28 May 2014 at 12:06 am

    “Lol, where do I start?. I am afraid the light fairy analogy that Steven Novella uses is a terrible analogy to say the least. He is saying the receiver theory is too complicated that a simpler theory such as the mind does what the brain does should be accepted instead. At the end of the article he said if the mind is not produced by the brain we should run into anomalies that the theory cannot explain. Well, I am afraid we have such as terminal lucidity, stigmata etc.”

    Hahaha – this is too funny.

  31. Bill Openthalton 28 May 2014 at 3:23 am

    leo100 –

    Well we can’t measure consciousness that should be obvious.

    You can’t even define consciousness. Don’t get me started on your “something out there somewhere somehow non-physical but sending information to the brain but somehow not needing to receive anything because magically it has access to all experiences and memories even if the brain is damaged so that I remain whole once and alive after I’m dead” drivel.

    It’s the same “OMG we cannot be just animals” reaction people had to Darwin.

  32. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 8:30 am

    Grabula, but is electrical activity the same as consciousness no it isn’t. Can the brain affect the mind in highly predictable ways like you said? yes, sure it can no dualist denies that. Steven Novella is putting up a strawman.

    Bill

    Well I can at least give it a substance something tangible where you materialists like us to believe consciousness can magically be produced by electrical brain activity.

  33. Mr Qwertyon 28 May 2014 at 8:45 am

    leo100,
    > Grabula, but is electrical activity the same as consciousness no it isn’t.

    How can you make a claim like that when you cannot even define consciousness?

    leo100,
    > Can the brain affect the mind in highly predictable ways like you said? yes, sure it can no dualist denies that. Steven Novella is putting up a strawman.

    No, you have just made a straw man.

    Steve does not mention consciousness anywhere in the article.

    Steve is not saying that dualists deny or not deny that, he is putting it forward as an example of a logical, science based theory on brain function that does not require magic.

    > Well I can at least give it a substance something tangible where you materialists like us to believe consciousness can magically be produced by electrical brain activity.

    Your sentence begins with nonsense and ends with a straw man. Bravo!

  34. Aardwarkon 28 May 2014 at 9:00 am

    When we materialists (I strongly prefer ‘physicalists’) say that dualism is exactly as necessary for the explanation of consciousness as the charmingly invoked light bulb fairy would be for the explanation of electrical heating – and consequent lighting up – of a tungsten filament, what we are adressing is dualism of substance. This is very important, because it would also mean building a straw man to claim that physicalists deny that there is a phenomenological distinction between a subjective experience and its neurological correlate. On the contrary, the relation of the two is one of the most important areas of scientific research, philosophical analysis and human thought in general – what David Chalmers named ‘The Hard Problem’.

    All the more reason, I think, to steer well clear of any explanation that requires / depends on (substantial) dualism, i.e. existance of an immaterial soul. To accept such a notion would deny any hope for improving our answers to existing questions or improving our questions to existing answers, so that our understanding of Nature (and that includes ourselves and the organ we use for the process of understanding) might progress.

  35. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 11:20 am

    Mr Qwerty

    Looks like you didn’t pay any attention to his post he said and I quote “The hypothesis, however, is dependent upon a gross misunderstanding of the state of our knowledge about brain function, and the intimate connection that has been documented in countless ways between brain function and mental function”. How, is that a strawman? I am simply stating that no dualist denies the very strong connection between the mind and brain. Its nonsense to believe that somehow consciousness can come out of electrical brain activity its like a a magic rabbit jumping out of a hat.

  36. Steven Novellaon 28 May 2014 at 11:46 am

    leo – The strawman is yours. I clearly stated that dualists acknowledge there is some correlation – they underestimate its magnitude, and the details that strongly suggest that it is brain function that is the underlying cause of conscious subjective experience.

    Your next statement is just a naked assertion – on what basis would you conclude that consciousness cannot be a manifestation of brain activity? There is no magic necessary.

    From your previous comments you are also attempting to establish as a factual premise that psi abilities exist – but these have not been proven scientifically. Far from it. These remain fringe claims because the scientific evidence is either crap or negative. There is no psi phenomenon that demonstrates a clear positive result, with good signal to noise, and independently reproducible. It simply doesn’t exist.

  37. Steven Novellaon 28 May 2014 at 11:54 am

    AliSina (your link is not working) – those cases are not well documented. They were not controlled, and we have no idea how much cold-reading type evolution of the narrative took place. They are useless as scientific evidence.

    The burden is actually on you to document consciousness absent brain function. Such evidence does not exist. There are preliminary controlled studies that are negative, and a larger study about to be published. We’ll see what that shows. In these studies they have information placed in the operating room or ED that can only be seen from the vantage of someone floating near the ceiling. So far no one has reported the content of such information, but again we are awaiting the latest study.

  38. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 12:25 pm

    @Steven Novella

    Where exactly would that be? nowhere, in your article can I find that and you call dualists mostly non neuroscientists who have no vast knowledge of the magnitude as you call it of the correlation. Like, dualists don’t know that a simple blow to the head radically effects consciousness or how drinking alcohol affects a person’s thoughts. You got to give me a break we do. Because brain activity is nothing like consciousness, electrical activity is a physical thing consciousness isn’t.

    Well I would advise to actually look at the evidence for psi phenomenon with a open mind. Not too open that your brain falls out but open enough to at least realize that the evidence meets at least the scientific standards.

  39. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Well I would advise you to actually look at the evidence for psi phenomenon with a open mind. Not too open that your brain falls out but open enough to at least realize that the evidence meets at least the scientific standards. So it looks like the strawman is yours Steven but your trying to pass it on me. I will admit your a very smart man Steven and that is why you can get away with sweeping statements such as mind is what the brain does. No one here hardly would question you on it because of your qualifications in neuroscience.

  40. Steven Novellaon 28 May 2014 at 12:45 pm

    leo – you completely missed one of my major points. The correlation goes beyond head injury or alcohol diminishing consciousness. You can make specific changes to subjective experience by altering or damaging specific circuits in the brain. I have multiple examples. There are countless more.

    Saying that consciousness is not physical is meaningless. Consciousness refers to a process, not a thing. The brain is the thing, consciousness is a function of the brain. Saying that a process is not physical is just meaningless wordplay – and it seems to be your entire premise.

    I have looked very deeply into the evidence for psi. I have written about it many times. If you think it is real, then please provide me with references documenting a psi phenomenon that is objective (rigorous methodology), measurable, with reasonable signal to noise ratio, and independently reproducible. I am saying – after years of searching, of challenging proponents, and of publicly writing on this topic – that it doesn’t exist. Every single time someone claims to me that it does, and I push them for references, they reference crappy research, one-off studies, discredited research, or the like. Never what I ask for.

  41. ccbowerson 28 May 2014 at 12:47 pm

    “Because brain activity is nothing like consciousness, electrical activity is a physical thing consciousness isn’t. ”

    Leo- You are confusing yourself with language. Do you feel the same way about digestion? Digestion is what the GI tract does, yet digestion is not physical. Does this cause you to be a dualist about digestion, photosynthesis, respiration, etc? These are human concepts about certain processes that take place within the physiology. Making these concepts intectually does not create new entities.

    Your arguments and the way you talk about them assume dualism, so you are essentially begging the question and you don’t seem to realize it.

  42. Ekkoon 28 May 2014 at 12:57 pm

    leo has already referenced his “studies” in the After the Afterlife Debate comments. They are either links to books where cool stuff happened or they are “crappy research, one-off studies, discredited research, or the like”.
    “open enough to at least realize that the evidence meets at least the scientific standards”
    It’s been repeatedly pointed out to you, for a myriad of reasons, why the evidence does NOT meet scientific standards.
    leo I hope one day you look back on these comments and cringe because that will mean you have learned something but personally I’m going to stick to my theory that you are just trolling.

  43. midnightrunner2014on 28 May 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Leo100′s comment on 27 May 2014 at 8:48 pm which mentioned the test of an alleged astral body experiment from the occultist Hector Durville as “Immortality is a fact thus proved scientifically” was copied and pasted from:

    http://paranormalandlifeafterdeath.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/m-hector-durvilles-experiments-on.html

    On a second visit it looks like this may be his own blog, as he recently wrote:

    “A little update on this post I was recently discussing how the mind is probably not produced by the brain on Steven Novella’s blog called Neurologica. The whole thing was a waste of time I knew it would it be but I though maybe just maybe one of the skeptics on there was open minded to at least admit that there is strong evidence for an afterlife and psi phenomena and say I don’t know if there is or isn’t an afterlife.”

    http://paranormalandlifeafterdeath.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/the-afterlife-debate-is-death-is-final.html

    As for Hector Durville he was a French occultist who practiced “animal magnetism”. This has been discredited. For criticism of those experiments into “astral bodies” in the séance room see Milbourne Christopher’s book “Search for the Soul” (1979). It is the best book on the subject that looks at all the attempts of early parapsychologists to measure or weigh an “astral body” or “soul”.

    Christopher discusses the flaws in these experiments, most famously the ones by Dr. Duncan MacDougall who claimed to measure the soul The book also discusses the experiments of physicist R. A. Watters who chopped up loads of insects in a chamber and claimed to have observed their soul on camera. According to Christopher the pictures depict dust. The experiments contained sloppy controls and were never replicated by the scientific community.

    More about Watters here: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/R._A._Watters

  44. The Other John Mcon 28 May 2014 at 1:17 pm

    ANOTHER troll flogging their blog! Arrgghh!! Leo almost had us believing he sincerely wanted honest feedback on his views. How silly of us.

  45. Mlemaon 28 May 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Aardwark – i think that was well said

  46. midnightrunner2014on 28 May 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I would like to know what a dualist’s response would be to this comment from Victor Stenger:

    “Considerable evidence exists for the hypothesis that what we call mind and consciousness result from mechanisms in a purely material brain. If we have disembodied souls that, as most religions teach, are responsible for our thoughts, dreams, personalities, and emotions, then these should not be affected by drugs. But they are. They should not be affected by disease. But they are. They should
    not be affected by brain injuries. But they are. Brain scans today can locate the portions of the brain where different types of thoughts arise, including emotions. When that part of the brain has been destroyed by surgery or injury, those types of thoughts disappear. As brain function decreases we lose consciousness, as when under full anesthesia. Why would that happen if consciousness arose from an immaterial soul? There is no objective evidence that brain function stops entirely during a reported NDE.”

    Victor J. Stenger “Life after Death: Examining the Evidence. In The End of Christianity edited by John W. Loftus, Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, 2011.

  47. SunOfErison 28 May 2014 at 1:47 pm

    To me this underscore a real need to educate more people on the principles of Emergence. It’s like the gnomes from South Park:

    1. Physical Brain
    2. ?
    3. Consciousness

    Understanding that step 2 is an emerging system seems to get lost in the shuffle by simply equating it to “electrical brain activity.” There’s much more going on than that.

    A deep and thorough understanding of emergence helps immensely in making sense of step 2. (Aside:Although I still think it needs a lot more research to start to understand how the smaller behavioral rules manifest as organizational patterns to use practically).

    I’m unclear why the brain requires this phantom “receivership”, when no similar claim is made about an ant hive. Similar principle. No centralized control, no single ant has the whole view, just a collection of individuals making individual decisions (http://inspiringscience.net/2012/08/28/how-does-an-ant-colony-coordinate-its-behaviour/). Where are the arguments that the hive itself is a “receiver” from some “ant soul” to explain the organizational complexity of the hive itself and how tasks and work is accomplished?

  48. steve12on 28 May 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I think BJ7 was the first to point it out – but Leo is a dirty copy/paste troll and should never be responded to, as tempting as it is.

  49. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Midnightrunner

    So his criticism is true because he said so?. Yes good old rational wiki a very trustworthy site for sure lol. It has made huge misrepresenting people such as Michael Prescott and Michael E Tymn so why should I take this site seriously?.

    I got your point loud and clear Steven Novella no dualist denies that you can make specific changes to subjective consciousness. The dependency is very strong between the mind and brain I don’t doubt that nor does other dualists either. What matters is what type of dependency is it productive or permissive or transmissive function as William James mentioned before in his article on two objection against the doctrine against immortality. Is there anything subjective that we know of besides consciousness that is a process of something else that is physical besides the brain?. As you assume along with other materialists. Plus assuming consciousness is a process is reductionism your ignoring the reality of consciousness by assuming its a process.

  50. steve12on 28 May 2014 at 1:55 pm

    “When we materialists (I strongly prefer ‘physicalists’) say that dualism is exactly as necessary for the explanation of consciousness as the charmingly invoked light bulb fairy would be for the explanation of electrical heating – and consequent lighting up – of a tungsten filament, what we are adressing is dualism of substance. This is very important, because it would also mean building a straw man to claim that physicalists deny that there is a phenomenological distinction between a subjective experience and its neurological correlate. ”

    But subjective experience is the result of brain processes in the same way that light is the result of heating tungsten. We treat consciousness is if it has special status, but we really have no scientific reason for doing so. It’s implicit dualism.

    “On the contrary, the relation of the two is one of the most important areas of scientific research, philosophical analysis and human thought in general – what David Chalmers named ‘The Hard Problem’.”

    I disagree. I don’t think science is going to find a satisfactory answer to the hard problem any more than it’s going to give you a satisfactory answer to why you love your kids. We can describe the processes, break them down, identify necessary and sufficient condition – hell, even make it some day. But none of these things will answer this. It’s because it’s an ill-posed scientific Q. It’s a metaphysical Q, not a scientific one.

    “All the more reason, I think, to steer well clear of any explanation that requires / depends on (substantial) dualism, i.e. existance of an immaterial soul. To accept such a notion would deny any hope for improving our answers to existing questions or improving our questions to existing answers, so that our understanding of Nature (and that includes ourselves and the organ we use for the process of understanding) might progress.”

    I agree with this.

  51. Niche Geekon 28 May 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Leo,

    You keep asserting that materialism is wrong because consciousness is not physical. That is only true if you define consciousness as not being the product of something physical. In other words, your argument is tautological. To resolve this, may I ask that you define consciousness, not the mechanism of consciousness but consciousness itself.

  52. Ekkoon 28 May 2014 at 2:23 pm

    @midnightrunner2014,

    “I would like to know what a dualist’s response would be to this comment from Victor Stenger:”

    I would imagine the response would be that the receiver (brain) is damaged/impaired and so the signal (soul/consciousness) is not coming through clearly. This is addressed by the light fairy analogy in the original post.

  53. Niche Geekon 28 May 2014 at 2:24 pm

    @ Bill Openthalton 28 May 2014 at 3:23 am

    “It’s the same “OMG we cannot be just animals” reaction people had to Darwin.”

    Spot on. Well said.

  54. Aardwarkon 28 May 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Steve12,

    We clearly agree on what is essential, or perhaps we agree completely, but for some clumsiness in my use of language.

    What I really wished to emphasize was that after we (hopefully some day) gain a full understanding of the physical processes that consciousness is the result of, there will still remain the question of qualia – the Hard Problem. Perhaps we can shrug and say that this requires no further explanation. On the other hand, perhaps it is precisely in some future insight(s) that would allow us to reframe this question (admittedly perhaps not as strictly scientific, but not necessarily as metaphysical either) that the way forward may actually lie.

  55. Hosson 28 May 2014 at 2:58 pm

    AliSina
    “There are hundreds of cases of patients in coma, under operation and with no vital signs reporting having seen not just the medical team operating on them but their relatives in the waiting room and reported accurately what they did and said. This is not possible if they were fully awake lying in the operation room. I have posted a dozen of videos to such claims here [Link]
    Until that is not explained all this talk is intellectual masturbation.”

    I don’t deny that people have near death experiences, but I believe the burden of proof has not been met with the claim that the experiences happen outside of the brain. The evidence you present for the claim that consciousness happens outside of the brain has no controls and is a mixture of hearsay and testimonials. This is weak evidence, and to suggest the evidence is anything but weak is dishonest.

    Dr Novella has written in the past about NDE and gives a few possibilities for their explanations.
    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/studying-near-death-experiences/
    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/more-on-near-death-experiences/

    On a side note, the AWARENESS study by Dr Sam Parina has completed its first phase and has been submitted for peer review. http://www.horizonresearch.org/main_page.php?cat_id=293

    “The skeptics explain that when the brain is deprived of oxygen it hallucinates. This is just their theory.” – Ali Sina ‘Why I Believe in god and the Afterlife Now’

    It is a natural explanation that does not fit your conclusion. You fail to rule these explanations out, but you’re more than happy to just ignore them.

    I have a feeling you haven’t investigated any of these claim yourself.

    “New findings have made some to believe that memory is also stored in the heart. One interesting case is about an 8-year-old girl who had received a heart transplant from a 10-year-old girl that had been murdered, began to have nightmares about the donor’s murderer. After several consultations with a psychiatrist, it was decided that the police should be notified. The 8-year-old recipient was able to identify key clues about the murder, including who the murderer was, when and how it happened, and even the words spoken by the murderer to the victim. Amazingly, the entire testimony turned out to be true and the murderer was convicted for his crime. You can read about more such cases here or by searching “heart memory”.” – Ali Sina ‘Why I Believe in god and the Afterlife Now’

    Wow, what a convincing story. This is truly amazing evidence of “heart memory” that was verified by police several times over. There is only one little problem- this story is completely unverifiable and cannot be considered more than hearsay evidence, which is one of the weakest forms of evidence. I found the source of the story, something I doubt you even attempted.

    Paul Pearsall, ‘The Heart’s Code: Tapping the Wisdom and Power of Your Heart Energy’
    “The Heart that Found its Body’s Killer
    I recently spoke to an international group of psychologist, psychiatrist, and social workers meeting in Houston, Texas. I spoke to them about my ideas about the central role of the heart in our psychological and spiritual life, and following my presentation, a psychiatrist came to the microphone during the question and answer session to ask me about one of her patients whose experience seemed to substantiate my ideas about cellular memories and a thinking heart. The case disturbed her so much that she struggled to speak through her tears.
    Sobbing to the point that the audience and I had difficulty understanding her, she said, “I have a patient, an eight-year-old little girl who received he heart of a murdered ten-year-old-girl. Her mother brought her to me when she started screaming at night about her dreams of the man who had murdered her donor. She said her daughter knew who it was. After several sessions, I just could not deny the reality of what this child was telling me. Her mother and I finally decided to call the police and, using the descriptions from the little girl, they found the murderer. He was easily convicted with evidence my patient provided. The time, the weapon, the place, the clothes he worse, what the little girl he killed had said to him…everything the little heart transplant recipient reported was completely accurate.”
    As the therapist returned to her seat, the audience of scientifically trained and clinically experienced professionals sat in silence. I could hear sobbing and saw tears in the eyes of the doctors in the front row. Instead of commenting on the story, I asked the audience if I could lead them in a prayer. I asked the technician to softly play the Hawaiians call a “pule ‘ohana,” a prayer in honor of our spiritual connection as family. Unlike many of the presentations, this one produced no expressions of doubt or skepticism. The very real possibility of a hear that remembers seemed to touch all of us in our own hearts.”

    New findings my ass – more like double hearsay.

  56. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Steven Novella
    “A more accurate analogy would be this – can you alter the wiring of a TV in order to change the plot of a TV program? Can you change a sitcom into a drama? Can you change the dialogue of the characters? Can you stimulate one of the wires in the TV in order to make one of the on-screen characters twitch?

    Well, that is what would be necessary in order for the analogy to hold”.

    No, quite the converse. If altering the wiring did these things the analogy *wouldn’t* hold.

    Briefly, the picture quality on the television set that can alter without affecting the dialogue or plot being shown, can be compared to our various psychological states. Contrariwise the dialogue or plot of the programme being shown can be compared to one’s self. So, in a comparable manner to the way that the quality of the picture displayed on a television set can change, but without changing the plot/dialogue of the programme being shown, our psychological states are free to change without in any way altering or changing the self.

  57. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Steven Novella
    “There are two reasons to reject the brain-as-mediator model – it does not explain the intimate relationship between brain and mind, and (even if it could) it is entirely unnecessary”.

    It’s unnecessary? Reductive materialism leaves out the existence of consciousness. Non-reductive materialism entails epiphenomenalism. Those who suppose the brain produces consciousness are obliged to subscribe to *strong* emergentism. But that’s kinda magical. So rather than being entirely unnecessary the filter hypothesis is actually the one hypothesis which doesn’t appear to have any glaring problems

  58. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Steven Novella
    “The physics of electrical circuits do a fine job of accounting for the behavior of the light switch and the light. There is no need to light bulb dualism.

    The same is true of the brain and the mind, the only difference being that both are a lot more complex”.

    I’m afraid this is simply flat out false. If this were true then there wouldn’t be a mind/body problem.

  59. Steven Novellaon 28 May 2014 at 4:19 pm

    ian – you are wrong about the analogy. Changing the brain can change the content of your thoughts, feelings, and personality. Stimulating a part of the brain can make you smell lilac, or hear a particular piece of music.

    You just demonstrated one of my main points – those who deny the current neuroscientific model are largely ignorant of the type and amount of evidence for an intimate connection between brain function and mental experience.

    And – you are assuming there is a mind/body problem, but no one has demonstrated that there is a problem. Daniel Dennett has it right – there really is no hard problem.

  60. Ekkoon 28 May 2014 at 4:22 pm

    “But that’s kinda magical.”

    Emergence is not magical. There are countless examples in both living and non-living systems. You might as well say evolution of life itself is magical. It is a wonderful thing, but it isn’t magical in the sense of inexplicable or of unknown origin.

    “the filter hypothesis is actually the one hypothesis which doesn’t appear to have any glaring problems”

    This is pretty funny. Where is consciousness coming from then? Is it being broadcast to our brains from space? It just exists in the ether? Or is it the Akashic Records? A Galactic Library of Consciousness? I guess if you consider just blind assertions and ignoring all the mind-brain connections already covered to be “no glaring problems” then yes bingo!

  61. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Ekko give me an example of strong emergence. Not weak emergence which is compatible with reductionism.

  62. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 4:44 pm

    There’s no hard problem when why is there so many neuroscientist saying there is a hard problem such as John Searle, Chrisof Koch, Susan Blackmore etc. You are making an argument of authority right there Steven. For someone like you, you should know better than that.

  63. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 4:44 pm

    That’s “then”

  64. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Niche

    Consciousness is the inner subjective feeling of being someone. Your consciousness is what makes you who you are.

  65. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 5:03 pm

    As I’ve said before, appropriate brain damage should actual change the self (in the existential sense rather than alterational sense). But it doesn’t happen. Similarly damaging a TV set doesn’t change the plot of the programme being screened.

    This suggests that just as the plot isn’t a product of the TV set, neither is the self a product of the brain.

  66. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Exactly Ian there never is a existential change only a alterational change.

  67. steve12on 28 May 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Beyond the lack of science knowledge, dodgy reasoning, and vague philosophical buzzwords, Ian uses a semantic trick wherein he confuses the biological and psycholgical “self”. The actual physical “self” and the psychological sense of “self” are not the same thing.

    As I’ve pointed out before, this is just a rhetorical parlor trick, as is often the case with high-minded philosophy that’s really just BS.

  68. steve12on 28 May 2014 at 5:46 pm

    What do you mean by “reductionism” Ian. In your own words, please.

  69. Ekkoon 28 May 2014 at 5:49 pm

    “Ekko give me an example of strong emergence.”

    How about an obvious one: life is a strong emergent property of genes, genetic code and nucleic/amino acids.

    “As I’ve said before, appropriate brain damage should actual change the self”

    You are saying that if I get brain damage, my self will not change? My subjective experience of reality will not be any different? So if I suffer a severe traumatic brain injury, my “existential self” will be unaffected – just like a sitcom plot will continue even if the TV is smashed? Wow – this is fantastic news!! So when I lie comatose in the hospital how can I access this existential self? It would be good to know beforehand!

  70. Niche Geekon 28 May 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Leo,

    Thank you. I appreciate your response. It’s interesting to contrast your definition with those provided by a quick Google:

    Leo’s: “Consciousness is the inner subjective feeling of being someone. Your consciousness is what makes you who you are”

    Other/Formal: “the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world.”

    In neither case is materialism excluded unless, as you seem to, you simply can’t accept the proposition.

    ___
    Ian,

    I know you’ve been asked this multiple times, but why is existential change required? I’ve read your blog and you do not, in any of the articles you’ve referenced in recent weeks, define why. You’ve asserted it repeatedly based upon a teleportation thought experiment however you’ve failed to explain why you think that the equivalent of teleportation must be happening all the time. Why is that? Our physical bodies persist. The processes that are carried out by our bodies persist over long periods of time. There is no discontinuity in the conventional materialist view of the body. Why do you presume that there must be?

  71. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 6:04 pm

    steve12
    “Beyond the lack of science knowledge, dodgy reasoning, and vague philosophical buzzwords, Ian uses a semantic trick wherein he confuses the biological and psycholgical “self”. The actual physical “self” and the psychological sense of “self” are not the same thing”.

    Steve there is no biological self.

    There is a possible self, and there’s a sense of self.

    A materialist can only believe in a sense of self, what you refer to as a psychological “self”. A sense of self stands to a real self, as a sense of a table stands to a real table.

    Reductionism is the belief that all aspects of complex phenomena can be understood by reducing them to their constituent parts. It is the motions of these parts and how they interact together which explain the phenomenon concerned. For example, consider a clockwork clock. By looking at the components of that clock – namely the cogs, the springs, and the wheels – and how they all interrelate together, we can actually understand how the minute and hour clock hands move.

  72. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Ekko can we have an example of strong emergence apart from life and consciousness (since I believe all life might well be conscious).

  73. midnightrunner2014on 28 May 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Jeez guys sorry to spill the beans but…

    Do you not know who Ian is? He is almost like an online celebrity for very silly comments on the paranormal. He was famous for this quote:

    http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=9429

    “Indeed it is clear to me that the existence of fraudulent psychics makes the existence of genuine psychics more likely”.

    This was not a parody post, he actually believes what he wrote. He was banned on the JREF forum for such silly comments and has a track record of banning’s elsewhere.

    Debate between Ian here and three skeptics on the skeptic forum, Ian has a history of claiming the Victorian medium Leonora Piper was in contact with spirits or utilized psi but when he was shown evidence debunking Piper’s mediumship, he left the forum calling users biased.

    http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=21638&start=40

    Can’t win with this guy. He’s been doing this sort of thing for years online debating with skeptics, nothing wrong with that I guess but he’s been doing this for ten years now and in that time he has not acknowledged any of the evidence that goes against his belief system.

  74. steve12on 28 May 2014 at 6:30 pm

    “Steve there is no biological self.”

    You’re saying that my body doesn’t exist? Can you be more vague? (answer:no).

    “There is a possible self, and there’s a sense of self.”

    You need to define what you mean here, but probably can’t in any exacting way.

    “Reductionism is the belief that all aspects of complex phenomena can be understood by reducing them to their constituent parts. It is the motions of these parts and how they interact together which explain the phenomenon concerned. For example, consider a clockwork clock. By looking at the components of that clock – namely the cogs, the springs, and the wheels – and how they all interrelate together, we can actually understand how the minute and hour clock hands move.”

    Yeah, but the complexity and interaction are all studied as well in science. You keep using this critically, e.g.:

    “Ekko give me an example of strong emergence. Not weak emergence which is compatible with reductionism.”

    What does this mean in terms of your definition?

    I think reductionism=meaningless 99% of the time it’s used. It’s a word that people who, (a) don’t understand science and (b) don’t understand what the reductionism means, use to criticize science.

  75. karenkilbaneon 28 May 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I have raised 4 children, one with Trisomy 21, and have been a teacher, mother, and childcare-giver for 35 years. I have a Master of Arts in Teaching. I have taught or cared for children over periods of many years in many different environments, thus able to observe them develop and grow. The last 7 years I have been an adaptive P.E. teacher for students with special needs, ages 5-21. I have taught roughly 50 students per year, some of them for all 7 years, seeing them once a week during the school year. Because these 50 students all think so uniquely, and because the activities I ask them to do require them to actively manifest how they think because they have to translate my directives into an action, I hit the observational jackpot. At year five I had an explosive insight that I am writing a book about. I believe we have been using the wrong definition of the human personality. I have since learned the field of psychology does not mutually agree on any one definition of personality and they have 8 theories of personality, none of them verified, verifiable, or applicable. Psychology is the science of the human personality without a definition for what it is. I am writing a book about the subject and would love to correspond with you. Your ideas are all in alignment with how I see the human personality in most ways. I would describe our relationship to our emotions slightly differently than you do. I believe the only active role we play in our human existence if that of critical thinking, evaluating, organizing, and managing information in order to make decisions about “what to do next.” We are critically thinking every moment of every day and most of our biological structures and functions are devoted to critical thinking, not reproductive success. Our reproductive capacities take care of themselves just like digestion does. To eat and to reproduce, we have to make good decisions, sometimes only indirectly related to the actual act of eating and reproducing. Our entire biology is geared towards making effective and successful decisions, not towards reproducing. All my observations back this idea up, but thus far it is only a hypothesis. I believe our personalities are the reflection of how we understand and manage information in order to make decisions for what to do next. As such, I have figured out that all of our emotions are connected to our understanding. And, when anything challenges our understanding, in any way, we humans are wired with a life or death kind of ferocity to defend our own mode of understanding. Once I understood our biological imperative as making the best possible decision in any given moment in order to sensorially, physically, and cognitively manage the outcomes of our decisions, I had insight after insight about why we behave as we do. I applied my insights in the classroom and the results were better than I dreamed possible. I was teaching the hardest to teach kids in all the schools in our district. Engaging them effectively became effortlessly easy once I figured out the reasons behind our behaviors. I believe my ideas have merit and would love to discuss them with you. karenkilbane1234@gmail.com

  76. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 6:39 pm

    midnightrunner, the quote — “Indeed it is clear to me that the existence of fraudulent psychics makes the existence of genuine psychics more likely” — was at the long end of a discussion where I was patiently explaining to “skeptics” that fraudulent psychics do not constitute any evidence against the existence of genuine psychics. They failed or pretended to fail to understand.

    I’ve written a brief piece on my blog explaining this:

    http://ian-wardell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/does-discovery-of-fake-psychics-provide.html

  77. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Both skeptical attacks on Homes and Piper have been debunked.

    http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/reviews/hall.htm
    http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2007/08/how-martin-gard.html

  78. The Other John Mcon 28 May 2014 at 6:51 pm

    “Consider a clockwork clock.” God I love that Ian quote, gets me every time.

  79. Ekkoon 28 May 2014 at 6:57 pm

    This actually reminds me a lot of discussions with climate change denialists and creationists. The practice of trying to focus on or pick holes in scientific theories (note: not the everyday layman’s use of the word “theory”) and the use of outliers, anomalies and/or poor quality evidence as though these somehow prove anything. Unfortunately, this afterlife and spirit self stuff is even more lacking. The climate change denialists could teach leo and Ian a thing or two. I’m still really curious how Ian comes up with these distinctions like “an actual self” and a mere “psychological sense of self” (note: please don’t refer me to any blog posts). Especially considering my “actual self” is impervious to brain damage!

  80. Niche Geekon 28 May 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Ian,

    Doesn’t your argument apply to, well, everything that the human imagination has ever dreamt up? Fake bigfoot means bigfoot is real. Fake lake monsters mean lake monsters are real. Fake alien crop circles mean alien crop circles are real. If that construction is valid, then you are effectively saying that we cannot exclude ANYTHING, not matter how ridiculous, so long as SOMEONE, at any point in time tried to fake it.

  81. Ekkoon 28 May 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I mean I guess the conversation would be fairly circular and go something like this:

    “What is the difference between your actual self and your psychological sense of self?”

    “Your actual self is real – like a table is real – while your sense of self is just fleeting and changes over time.”

    “So you believe your actual self is eternal then in some sense – that it is the same now as when you were three?”

    “Yes”

    “How do you know you aren’t just confusing your psychological sense of self with what you call your “actual self”?”

    “Because of how I remember myself when I was three and because of NDEs, ghosts, and other evidence for an afterlife.”

    To me this is purely motivated reasoning (that helps ignore all evidence to the contrary and all shoddy qualities to the evidence for) stemming from a fear of death of the ego (and the physical body). It is identical to a religious belief in Heaven.

  82. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Niche Geek, the words “more likely” simply means the likelihood has increased. That increase might be very small indeed. It might, for example, have increased from say 0.01 to 0.011 probability. Nevertheless that would still be extremely unlikely.

    You might be interested in reading about “Hempel’s Ravens Paradox” (ignore the last paragraph at the end of the Addendum, it’s an irrelevance).

    http://platonicrealms.com/encyclopedia/Hempels-Ravens-Paradox

  83. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Ekko, we all do that — the motivated reasoning I mean. We all decide we believe something, then dream up arguments to support our beliefs, and rationalise away counter-evidence and reasons.

    All we can do is be aware of it and try to minimize this tendency in one’s own case.

  84. Niche Geekon 28 May 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Ian,

    That actually doesn’t address, at all, my point. Does it not apply to all things that humans have ever imagined?

  85. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Niche Geek
    “Does it not apply to all things that humans have ever imagined?”

    Yes it does. My shorts are blue. This gives evidence for the hypothesis that all ravens are black. So what? The evidence is so incredibly slight that for practical purposes it might as well be no evidence at all.

  86. midnightrunner2014on 28 May 2014 at 8:15 pm

    “Both skeptical attacks on Homes and Piper have been debunked.”

    This is not true Leo100, it seems to me you just cite anything quickly you can find on the internet that will reinforce your belief without really investigating the subject. The first link that you gave was a book review by Stephen E. Braude for Trevor H. Hall’s book “The Enigma of Daniel Home: Medium or Fraud?”.

    Stephen E. Braude is a parapsychologist and spiritualist who has claimed controversially that practically all Victorian mediums were genuine (including Eusapia Palladino). He does not acknowledge hardly any of the skeptical material on the subject in his writings, even Braude has admitted this to me in emails, apparently he has a new book coming out at the end of this year which for the first time acknowledge some of the skeptical material. Trevor Hall’s book does not even discuss the Crookes experiments with Daniel Dunglas Home, it is a book which mainly presents the case that D. D. Home was from a fraudulent background i.e. he made up his ancestry to get in with the rich. Your claim that skeptical attacks have been debunked is not true because there are many skeptical works on Home with valid criticisms which have not been addressed i.e. Gordon Stein’s book The Sorcerer of Kings (1993), Guy William Lambert (1976) essay and Frank Podmore’s criticisms (1910). Note that Lambert and Podmore were both believers in telepathy but accepted the evidence Home was a fraud. I cite these because you have a history of dismissing books as “biased” if they are skeptical.

    We also see the truth of the matter here which is well referenced:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Dunglas_Home#Critical_reception

    Home was caught in fraud by a number of different observers (even fellow spiritualists, see the account from Frederick Merrifield). Most of these exposures are not mentioned in Braude’s book review nor in any of Braude’s writings.

    As for Leonora Piper your link is to the blog of Michael Prescott, which in turn is mostly a copy and paste job from another spiritualist Greg Taylor. Taylor’s essay misrepresents the primary sources on the subject. For example he quotes two early psychical researchers Henry Sidgwick and Frank Podmore as believers in Piper’s mediumship but this is not entirely true, as both rejected the spiritualist hypothesis and wrote Piper’s trance controls were clearly fictitious creations.

    Prescott is a fiction writer and spiritualist, not a reliable source for information on these subjects. It’s well known similar to Braude he is notorious for ignoring the skeptical material on the subject.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Michael_Prescott

    As for his alleged criticisms of Martin Gardner, they have been addressed and they do not stand because William James’ maid was friendly with Piper’s maid, there was a strong link between the two households and Richard Hodgson was not a reliable source for information about the Piper case, he was caught fabricating evidence i.e. lying about séance sittings in relation to information about George Pellew.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonora_Piper

    This information is just a click away on the internet that debunks these mediums with countless references. It amazes me how you can still go on believing in these Victorian spiritualist mediums.

  87. The Other John Mcon 28 May 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Niche Geek, have you considered the consideration of a clockwork clock? That will help resolve your confusion.

  88. tmac57on 28 May 2014 at 9:08 pm

    For the Dualists:
    What is the reason for a hypothetical, specific ‘self’ or consciousness’ to target and sustain it’s presence in an individual for their entire life? How are we ‘chosen’?
    Why doesn’t the proposed ‘signal’ jump from person to person and minute to minute?
    Explain why people have a sense of continuity of self.

    For me,all of the above questions make more sense only in the context of my consciousness being part of my biological being that developed and changed alongside my growth and life experience as a complex animal. And I see it’s gradual decline as my body and brain age. This is what one would expect if the mind were part and parcel of the brain.

  89. grabulaon 28 May 2014 at 9:27 pm

    @Ian Wardell

    I got you here bud, don’t sweat it : Ians absolute proof for life after death- a table is a table, a table painted is still a table but now is painted. A table replaced by a table is still a table but also again is the table replacing the table though not the same table as the first table even if both tables are painted, therefore life after death.

    Nailed it.

  90. grabulaon 28 May 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I think my favorite part is watching arm chair (or table? ) philosophers explain to a neuroscientist how the brain works. .. The hubris kills me.

  91. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 9:58 pm

    I note that Bernardo contributed to the comments in “After the Afterlife Debate” about a week after my last comment. You all seem to have no understanding of his arguments either! Well . .well . .that’s a surprise :-)

    grabula
    “I got you here bud, don’t sweat it : Ians absolute proof for life after death- a table is a table, a table painted is still a table but now is painted. A table replaced by a table is still a table but also again is the table replacing the table though not the same table as the first table even if both tables are painted, therefore life after death”.

    Very amusing! :-) Be better if you could grasp my arguments though. Disagree with them by all means, but at least try to understand them. How can you you have any faith in the correctness of materialism if you’re unable to understand the arguments against it?

  92. grabulaon 28 May 2014 at 10:35 pm

    @ian

    “The evidence is so incredibly slight that for practical purposes it might as well be no evidence at al”

    Right, observable evidence from multiple sources is slight. Not to mention even when one doesn’t see a thing the same way others do, color blindness, you still get predictable.

    You guys have some of the worst arguments in this ever.

  93. grabulaon 28 May 2014 at 10:38 pm

    @Ian,

    Several of us spent an entire thread trying to interpret your egotistical drivel with no success. The problem is YOU make the mistake of not realizing what the common denominator is when several intelligent people can’t follow you. Hint, it’s not their lack of ability or intelligence no matter how badly you want that to be true. Most of the commentators here aren’t teenagers in a coffee shop you can confuse with nonsensicsl statements and hyperbole.

  94. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 10:42 pm

    midnightrunner

    Well this is good news for me when you said Stephen Braude says that every victorian medium is genuine because guess what? he doesn’t in fact he admits there is a lot of fraud in physical mediumship such as the old ectoplasm stuff. Which was just cheese cloth. Haha oh my god not the rational wiki again lol Michael Prescott made a nice blog post on this laughable garbage that rational wiki spews out on him. Not rational wiki but irrational wiki.

    http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2012/12/irrationalwiki.html

    I guess you haven’t read the actual article I sent you of Stephen Braude’s response I quote

    The accusations of fraud cited by Hall (‘considered’ would be too strong a term) are those of Messrs. Morio (the so-called Barthez exposure) and Merrifield. Quite apart from the fact that Hall was apparently unable to dredge up more than two mere allegations concerning nearly a quarter-century’s worth of mediumship, he makes no mention of Zorab’s examinations of both sets of allegations(5). Zorab’s more detailed and penetrating discussion demonstrates that the cases are far more complex than Hall suggests, and that there are good reasons for thinking that Home was guilty of no fraud at all. Furthermore, although Hall cites Perovsky-Petrovo-Solovovo’s paper as his source for the Morio, accusation (p. 48), he conveniently fails to mention the author’s reluctant conclusion that the evidence seems only to have been second- or third-hand. Nevertheless, Hall will undoubtedly mislead many readers simply in virtue of including that citation in the text. It creates the false impression that his examination of the evidence is scholarly and thorough. And although in fact there is no good evidence that Home was ever guilty of fraud, Hall will probably deceive many readers into thinking that damaging testimony was suppressed.

    You probably just read the part that are keep your belief that this stuff is all nonsense. Believe what the debunkers would like you to believe but it simply isn’t true. Richard Hodgson was a arch skeptic as Michael Prescott correctly put its and he e permitted no such information leakage of the type that Gardner imagines. He once berated a sitter for bringing an umbrella into the house on a rainy day, because, he said, the umbrella could have concealed a secret message! I quote.

    http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2007/08/how-martin-gard.html

    I strongly advise you to actually read both sides of the issue first because jumping to conclusions.

    Tmac those are interesting questions that still need to be answered. Skeptics think that if there was an afterlife we would know all these answers but the truth we wouldn’t because if an afterlife does in fact exist a lot of the evidence would be indirect.

  95. grabulaon 28 May 2014 at 10:46 pm

    @Ian
    Hempels raven paradox is philosophical. It also shows where guys like you go wrong in understanding the scientific method. For example one can safely theorize that most Ravens are black after observing that most Ravens are indeed black. Science doesn’t assume all Ravens are always black, only that most appear to be black most of the time.

    You’re issues with trying to prove science wrong through philosophical absolutes was addressed add nauseum in the other thread.

  96. grabulaon 28 May 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Just to remind everyone about how this is going to go with Ian Wardell

    First phase is spout a bunch of stuff and pretend we’re too stupid to understand him.

    Second phase is to begin receiving his blog because he’s explained the universe there brilliantly using tables and he doesn’t have time to educate you on the subject

    Third phase is to bail once he realizes no one’s buying his crap, or cares about his blog

    This conversation won’t be any more comprehensible than his last so you are definitely wasting your breath.

  97. Ian Wardellon 28 May 2014 at 11:03 pm

    grabula
    “The problem is YOU make the mistake of not realizing what the common denominator is when several intelligent people can’t follow you. Hint, it’s not their lack of ability or intelligence no matter how badly you want that to be true”.

    To quote Bernardo

    “People who are active on ‘militant skeptic’ websites are not trying to understand anything, but rather interested in making a point”.

    Might sound a bit harsh, but you guys are just insulting and ridiculing anyone who doesn’t share your beliefs. There doesn’t seem to be any genuine desire to actually consider and engage with peoples’ arguments. It’s all just playing to the skeptic crowd.

  98. The Other John Mcon 28 May 2014 at 11:08 pm

    grabula: “Hempels raven paradox is philosophical….one can safely theorize that most Ravens are black after observing that most Ravens are indeed black. Science doesn’t assume all Ravens are always black, only that most appear to be black most of the time”

    Spot on, grabula. But even the logic of this “paradox” doesn’t sound right to me, this is from the Hempel link provided by Ian: “According to the laws of logic, a conditional is equivalent to its contrapositive….This rule of logic is incontrovertible.” With the rule being that the statement If A then B is an equivalent statement to If Not B then Not A.

    Wouldn’t a counter-example be: “If I have 1.463 billion dollars then I am rich as $hit.” Contrapositive of this would be “If I am not rich as $hit then I do not have 1.463 billion dollars.” But it seems to me still possible to be rich as $hit without having exactly that amount of money. Sound right?

  99. The Other John Mcon 28 May 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Ian we are too deeply embedded in our own highly cherished and deeply felt scientific belief systems here, maybe if you had gotten to us sooner, when we were young, you may have had a change at converting and saving us…but I’m afraid it is too late for most all of us here in the Skeptic Brotherhood…peace be with you

  100. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Midnightrunner

    Another interesting honest skeptic at least looking at the case for and against DD Home

    http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/Examskeptics/Playfair_goodskeptics2.html

  101. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 11:37 pm

    I agree Ian and I should just leave myself which is a good idea.

  102. leo100on 28 May 2014 at 11:37 pm

    That way the skeptics can talk to themselves and see how good of a conversation they get going.

  103. grabulaon 28 May 2014 at 11:46 pm

    @ian

    ““People who are active on ‘militant skeptic’ websites are not trying to understand anything, but rather interested in making a point”.”

    I’ll call your bull right here, and again Ian. In the last conversation you were consistently condescending to anyone who didn’t agree with you. You literally only came to spout your rhetoric and generate interest in your blog, then predictably quit when you weren’t being fawned over for your ridiculously incomprehensible way of trying to explain yourself. I say predictably because I spotted and called your pattern and you successfully fulfilled my prediction.

    It doesn’t take a sharp eye to spot your patterns Ian, you’re far from the first and you’ll not be the last.

    Ironically while guys like you and Leo and Bernardino use writers and phrases like materialists and militant skeptics, you fail to budge on your own shoddy logic no matter how much your evidence is refuted. You out together arguments that aren’t understandable by a rational mind while Leo spins his wheels over and over the same territory. On to of all of this the both of you have the sheer hubris to argue with Dr. Novella on even the simplest of subjects regarding brain functionality when that’s his field of expertise. That simple fact right there, you’re inability to atleast consider that someone might know a little more than you is what damn you to the fringe until you realize you don’t have all the answers.

  104. steve12on 28 May 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Ian – I asked you about your definition of reductionist earlier because you use it quite a bit, and I’m not sure what you mean.

    ““Ekko give me an example of strong emergence. Not weak emergence which is compatible with reductionism.”

    Can you give an example of each?

    “Reductive materialism leaves out the existence of consciousness. Non-reductive materialism entails epiphenomenalism. ”

    Can you explain the difference?

  105. steve12on 28 May 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Ian:

    “I note that Bernardo contributed to the comments in “After the Afterlife Debate” about a week after my last comment. You all seem to have no understanding of his arguments either! Well . .well . .that’s a surprise”

    Can you briefly explain what he was saying that we missed? Like an elevator pitch of the what his idea is?

    Do you agree with it?

  106. Ekkoon 28 May 2014 at 11:59 pm

    “Might sound a bit harsh, but you guys are just insulting and ridiculing anyone who doesn’t share your beliefs. There doesn’t seem to be any genuine desire to actually consider and engage with peoples’ arguments.”

    I disagree. Firstly, most people here do not have “beliefs”. They look for good evidence, based on sound science, logic, etc. and come to probability driven conclusions accordingly. Most people here would love for there to be afterlife and have said as much. It’s just that the evidence for an afterlife, psi powers, a soul, etc. is at a trash level in terms of quality. A lot of good questions get asked of this dualist/after life outlook, and very rarely are there anything but vague answers. As has already been said, there is a lot of armchair philosophizing and Dunning-Krugerizing of neuroscience but good arguments and good evidence are sorely lacking…instead there is a blind commitment, a faith, in cherished “beliefs”. Which is fine as your personal choice, but really you shouldn’t be surprised when others don’t buy it.

  107. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 12:00 am

    @leo

    First your latest link again isn’t good skepticism, it’s true believers sullying the concept by disguising themselves l themselves as skeptics. You’re sources are tripe.

    How about you lurk a while, and see how skeptics engage in conversation. The solar powered road is a good place to start. There are some differences of opinion but we talk through it and then we move on.

  108. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 12:26 am

    “Might sound a bit harsh, but you guys are just insulting and ridiculing anyone who doesn’t share your beliefs. There doesn’t seem to be any genuine desire to actually consider and engage with peoples’ arguments.”

    Nah. If anything, you might say that we’re parroting the scientific consensus. But the scientific consensus re: psi and the like are what they are for a reason – the evidence is weak. YOu think the scientific consensus is BS, and we should accept your claims on the evidence you’re presenting – but that’s not how science works.

    When people are generally critical of science I simply point to the scoreboard. All the shit you’re embracing has been around for thousands of years, and our understanding of the universe (and therefor ability to manipulate it) crawled at best. In the few hundred years we’ve had science, however, we have lunar landings, smart phones, and blogs where people can criticize science.

    IOW, I think we’ll keep the standards right where they are.

  109. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 12:32 am

    “Nah. If anything, you might say that we’re parroting the scientific consensus. ”

    Awesome

  110. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 12:49 am

    Just trying to be helpful, Grabula. Thought I’d throw him a bone and give him a criticism that makes sense.

  111. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 1:23 am

    Ian got his chance on the last thread he showed up in to pimp his blog. Then he got condescending and and showed he wasn’t here for intellectually honest reasons. He’s that guy in high school who wow’s a bunch of his stoner buddies with double talk and big words strung in unintelligible sentences. Throw in some sweet sounding book references and between bong hits they all nod as his ‘sagacity’. He’s probably deluded himself into believing the stuff he says makes sense and still seeks to be the smartest guy around the hookah but these days is getting harder and harder for him to get the ego stroking he requires outside of his woo circle.

    Leo atleast generally sticks to attacking arguments besides the occasional attack on materialists in herbal. Ians’ pompous behavior however I find uninteresting and intolerable. He got shredded on the last discussion and quit and I expect to see the same pattern here.

  112. Davdoodleson 29 May 2014 at 1:28 am

    Similarly, it’s plausible for science to consider that fire could be the product of witchcraft because a “Kalahari Bushman” (or some other convenienly scientifically illiterate racist stereotype) might wrongly conclude that a toaster is.
    .

  113. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 1:39 am

    @leo

    You were asked to define consciousness, do so please.

    Following that, provide your evidence for the brain as a reciever. Note: referencing woo hasn’t got you anywhere. Scientific evidence only please.

    Finally provide us your specific explanation for why the mind is so directly affected, predictably, by making changes to the brain

    You should be able to provide a solid basis in one reasonable length post, and still remain coherent.

  114. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 1:51 am

    Ian and Leo,

    I’m still trying to grasp why you both feel that materialism requires existential change of self. My previous question was ignored so I’ll try a different approach. Ian has used a table analogy several times. I’d like to try another. Imagine a typical hurricane. It forms off the coast of Africa, travels across the Atlantic, up the eastern seaboard of the US before making landfall in Nova Scotia and dissipating. Is it the same storm at the start and end? Is it a discreet entity? Is it a process? Is it an emergent phenomena?

  115. Davdoodleson 29 May 2014 at 2:09 am

    @Niche Geek: “Ian has used a table analogy several times. I’d like to try another.”

    I think the problem here is that the table “analogy” (and indeed the radio” “TV” and “Bushman” analogies) were introduced for a purpose entirely the opposite of the service an analogy is actually supposed to perform. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_analogy
    .

  116. the devils gummy bearon 29 May 2014 at 2:19 am

    Steve’s blog post is a receiver for leo100′s “stuff”. A lightning rod. Oy.

  117. AliSinaon 29 May 2014 at 5:26 am

    @ Steven Novella

    Yes the cases of patients seeing and hearing things that from their bed, even if they were fully awake, could not see or hear are well documented and confirmed by the doctors, the nurses and the relatives of the patients. There are thousands of such cases.

    Until last year I was an atheist. I explained that in my article http://alisina.org/blog/2013/08/28/why-i-believe-in-god-and-afterlife-now/
    The page opens but the site is experiencing some problem and it is slow.

    Facts are stubborn and at the end they rule. Science is not the ultimate authority: facts are! Any time facts and science collided, facts won and science had to change in order to accommodate them.

    Denial is futile. The evidence that consciousness survive the death is overwhelming. OVERWHELMING! All you have to do is watch the hundreds of videos about Near Death Experience and pay attention only to those that have been confirmed by someone other than the patient themselves.

    The tales of the ND experiencers are weird and fantastic, but so is the world of quantum physics. Nothing in quantum physics make sense and yet no one denies it because it is observable. The same applies to the evidence of the survival of consciousness after the death of the body.

    It is time for yet another shift in paradigm and this one is the biggest. The most earth shattering.

  118. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 6:06 am

    AliSina,

    “Facts are stubborn and at the end they rule. Science is not the ultimate authority: facts are! Any time facts and science collided, facts won and science had to change in order to accommodate them.”

    How do you determine what is fact? How have you used these facts to develop hypotheses and how have you tested your hypotheses? How have you controlled for human bias? What is the explanatory power of the theories you’ve developed? Where is the body of knowledge you’re theories have built?

    It seems you’re willing to accept the worst forms of evidence to back up the conclusion you’ve formed through wishful thinking and confirmation bias; anecdotes and subjective experience. As has been repeatedly stated here, the scientific method is the best (based on RESULTS; technology, space exploration, medicine, pharaceuticals etc.) method we have for understanding and describing the nature of reality; the nonsense you’re peddling has been spinning it’s wheels for centuries.

    “I explained that in my article http://alisina.org/blog/2013/08/28/why-i-believe-in-god-and-afterlife-now/
    The page opens but the site is experiencing some problem and it is slow. ”

    Keep your argument to the forum on which you’re making it, even if it means copy pasting from your own blog – you’re transparently attempting to get hits on your own blog.

    “Nothing in quantum physics make sense and yet no one denies it because it is observable. The same applies to the evidence of the survival of consciousness after the death of the body.”

    In one breath you’re implicitly acknowledging a lack of observable evidence for an afterlife; in the next you say it’s overwhelming. If the evidence isn’t observable, then how is it evidence?

    “Denial is futile. The evidence that consciousness survive the death is overwhelming. OVERWHELMING! ”

    “It is time for yet another shift in paradigm and this one is the biggest. The most earth shattering.”

    I don’t frequent true believer forums or blogs, so my only exposure to them is when they drift over to skeptical sites such as this. It’s nice to see this level of confirmation of my own stereotype – you really are hitting all the tropes aren’t you, AliSina?

  119. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 7:35 am

    ” you really are hitting all the tropes aren’t you, AliSina?”

    The trifecta in fact! My truths will charge the world! Is just like quantum physics! And finally, check out my blog!

  120. The Other John Mcon 29 May 2014 at 7:53 am

    I love this one: Quantum Physics doesn’t make sense. My ideas don’t make sense. Quantum physics is true, therefore my ideas are true. Yay!

  121. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 8:04 am

    I typically don’t bother checking out the blogs of these fisherman but I got bored and checked out alsinas. As you would expect, skeptics are evil, even though he claims to be one. Lots of credulous rationalization based on anecdotes about NEW including done 2 year old kid who ‘remembers’ being a ww2 veteran. Alot, I mean ALOT of bs to get through to the bottom line. .. which is also bs. Serves me right for even looking.

  122. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 8:04 am

    NEW=NDE

  123. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 8:22 am

    A lot of comments overnight!

    @The Other John Mc You don’t understand the Hempel raven paradox

    grabula
    “I’ll call your bull right here, and again Ian. In the last conversation you were consistently condescending to anyone who didn’t agree with you. You literally only came to spout your rhetoric and generate interest in your blog, then predictably quit when you weren’t being fawned over for your ridiculously incomprehensible way of trying to explain yourself”.

    I was asked questions and only linked to entries on my blog where I had already answered the point in question. I do not make any money whatsoever from people clicking on my blog. I do not get paid for it nor are there any advertisments on it. What would you prefer me to do? Simply copy and paste what I’ve already written?

    grabula
    “Ironically while guys like you and Leo and Bernardino use writers and phrases like materialists and militant skeptics, you fail to budge on your own shoddy logic”.

    Why would I budge on my position when no-one has provided any reasons to do so? I have yet to see anyone even understand my arguments, certainly they have not rebutted them.

    grabula
    “you have the sheer hubris to argue with Dr. Novella on even the simplest of subjects regarding brain functionality when that’s his field of expertise”.

    The mind/body problem is a philosophical issue. Dr Novella gives every impression of having absolutely no understanding of this problem whatsoever. The same goes to those “arguing” against me in the comments.

    @steve12 Regarding strong and weak emergence. Read this paper:

    http://consc.net/papers/emergence.pdf

    steve12
    “Can you briefly explain what he was saying that we missed?”

    It seems to me no-one understood anything he said.

    I’m not sure if I agree with everything Bernardo says. I gravite towards idealism, but maybe a different kind to him. I’ll be reading his materialism is balony book sometime in the near future.

    Steve12
    “In the few hundred years we’ve had science, however, we have lunar landings, smart phones, and blogs where people can criticize science”.

    Obviously you mean *scientists*. One can criticise scientists when they assume or make unsubstantiated metaphysical claims which many prominent scientists are prone to eg Hawkings, Krauss, Dawkins et al

    grabula
    “He’s that guy in high school who wow’s a bunch of his stoner buddies with double talk and big words strung in unintelligible sentences. Throw in some sweet sounding book references and between bong hits they all nod as his ‘sagacity’. He’s probably deluded himself into believing the stuff he says makes sense”.

    Do you have the same opinion for everything I say on *any* subject? Or does this criticism only apply where my thoughts are in conflict with materialism?

    Niche Geek
    “I’m still trying to grasp why you both feel that materialism requires existential change of self”.

    I explain this on my blog. I’m not sure I should simply paste it in since this post already is rather long. So the link is:

    http://ian-wardell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/does-self-as-opposed-to-mere-sense-of.html

    Niche Geek
    “Imagine a typical hurricane. It forms off the coast of Africa, travels across the Atlantic, up the eastern seaboard of the US before making landfall in Nova Scotia and dissipating. Is it the same storm at the start and end? Is it a discreet entity? Is it a process? Is it an emergent phenomena?”

    Weak emergence. I don’t actually believe in material substance, I only believe in mental substance. Whether you want to call it the same entity or not is a matter of convention.

  124. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 8:31 am

    Ian,

    “How can you you have any faith in the correctness of materialism if you’re unable to understand the arguments against it?”

    How can you have any faith in the correctness of dualism if you’re unable to present any cogent arguments for it?

  125. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 8:37 am

    Ian,

    I asked you on another thread where your terms ‘existential change’ and… I can’t remember the other one, come from. I also asked you to demonstrate how this is a necessary condition for materialism. I have checked out your blog but you don’t answer the question there sufficiently either. You’re assuming premises that nobody here agrees with, and reasoning from there. You need to start from the ground up and actually demonstrate that your premises are correct.

  126. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 8:56 am

    Ian,

    This was your argument as far as I remember it from the other thread: For materialism to be true, humans would have to undergo ‘existential change’. Humans don’t undergo ‘existential change’, therefore materialism is false.

    P1: Materialism requires existential change
    P2: There is no existential change
    Conclusion: Materialism is false

    1.) You have not demonstrated that materialism requires existential change
    2.) You have not demonstrated that humans *cannot* in theory, undergo existential change. While it may be highly unlikely we’ll ever see a brain injury cause the kind of change that would fit your criteria, it is possible in theory, given a fine enough mapping of the brain and its functional parts and ability to manipulate those parts, to create it artificially.
    Conclusion: Valid based on the premises but not sound.

  127. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 9:35 am

    @ian

    “The same goes to those “arguing” against me in the comments.”

    Yes Ian we get it. Anyone who disagrees with you obviously doesn’t understand you. It couldn’t possibly be that when they do make sense they’re so childish in thier makeup that they get torn to pieces over and over and over again.

    Common denominator. ..

    “Or does this criticism only apply where my thoughts are in conflict with materialism?”

    Most of them really. You have a hard time putting a cogent argument together. This was expressed by all in the last discussion you participated in, you’re just not getting where the issue lies.

  128. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 10:22 am

    People complain about when I go, but there’s absolutely nothing substantive being said. And people keep asking me questions that I’ve already addressed either in my blog or in that other thread.

    What is being achieved here? No ones going to concede anything to me. I’m unlikely to be persuaded by anything you guys say, not least of all because of the fact that no-ones given any indication that they understand what I’m saying.

    @mumadadd

    I probably gravitate towards idealism rather than any form of dualism.

    I don’t think I can add anything regarding existential via alterational change to what I’ve already said both on my blog and in the other thread. If you don’t get it, so be it. So getting drunk demonstrates that nothing could survive our deaths? OK fair enough. If there is a “life after death” you won’t be like you are now, so perhaps you don’t consider my concept of survival to be worthwhile anyway.

    I don’t think I have used the persisting self argument to argue against materialism. It’s a more convoluted and obscure argument than the main arguments.

    Incidentally brain damage and subsequent personality change could only create a difficulty for a “life after death”. It wouldn’t create a difficulty for interactive dualism since interactive dualism doesn’t entail there’s a life after death. Likewise brain damage and subsequent personality change doesn’t support materialism. There are *conceptual* i.e philosophical problems with all flavours of materialist positions. You cannot have scientific evidence for something incoherent. Same goes for the denial of “free will”. In as much as this denial is adopting an epiphenomenalist stance, I’m afraid this is incoherent.

  129. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 10:32 am

    Ian,

    “So getting drunk demonstrates that nothing could survive our deaths?”

    It looks like you addressed this to me, but I never said anything of the sort. Neither did anyone here, to my recollection. The effect of alcohol on brain state, and the reliable correlation of that change in brain state with a predictable and temporally later change in mental state is used as one of many ways examples of correlation. Nobody said it was their reason for dismissing the possibility of an afterlife.

    Did I misrepresent your argument in my previous post? If so, how?

    “There are *conceptual* i.e philosophical problems with all flavours of materialist positions.”

    Elaborate, please.

    “You cannot have scientific evidence for something incoherent.”

    What is incoherent? How?

  130. tmac57on 29 May 2014 at 10:49 am

    AliSina- If hundreds of videos attested to by others were valid proof of extraordinary claims,then all manner of the paranormal,conspiracy theories,alien abduction,free energy,contrarian cosmology,and outlier miracle cures should also be considered as plausible based on such a weak standard.
    Sorry,but that is an obvious fail.

  131. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 10:59 am

    mumadadd
    “It looks like you addressed this to me, but I never said anything of the sort. Neither did anyone here, to my recollection. The effect of alcohol on brain state, and the reliable correlation of that change in brain state with a predictable and temporally later change in mental state is used as one of many ways examples of correlation. Nobody said it was their reason for dismissing the possibility of an afterlife”.

    But this is the whole argument that people opposed to a “life after death” make. Brain damage changes our personalities, drugs, including alcohol, change our personalities, growing up from childhood to adulthood changes our personalities.

    Therefore if we *are* our personalities, and personality is changed when the brain functions differently, there cannot be anything which survives our deaths.

    That is the argument! And it includes alcohol. So even having one pint of beer shows there’s no life after death since there’s a very slight effect.

  132. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 11:05 am

    Ian,

    “But — so the materialist will argue — the exact same position pertains in our everyday second by second existence. We have an almost identical physical appearance, almost identical memories and more generally an almost identical psychological state from one second to the next. However there’s absolutely nothing persisting anymore than a table does if we were to continually destroy the table and replace it with almost identical versions every second.”

    No materialist here argues this. I have yet to encounter a materialist that argues this. You misunderstand the materialist position. For myself, it is best to think of consciousness as a process and not an object like a table. The materials and energy undergo existential change while the process only undergoes alterational change. Further, I don’t believe consciousness is a monolithic process, it is a process with multiple sub processes which are able to monitor each other.

    Given that your linked paper consistently uses the phrase “if it exists” when describing strong emergence, can you provide an example of strong emergence, particularly one that can be differentiated from a “god of the gaps”?

  133. The Other John Mcon 29 May 2014 at 11:08 am

    Ian: “You cannot have scientific evidence for something incoherent.”

    Quantum mechanics, ever heard of it? It is logically incoherent, yet absolutely and definitely proven true with 100 years worth of impeccable and irrefutable data. The science doesn’t cede to philosophy; it should be the other way around my special friend.

  134. The Other John Mcon 29 May 2014 at 11:12 am

    Niche Geek: Ian clearly defines “strong emergence” circularly, as anything that cannot be relegated to reductionism. Then he assumes consciousness is strong emergence, and given the fact that consciousness exists: whammo! He can conclude consciousness cannot be accounted for by reductionism. Circles circles circles.

  135. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 11:22 am

    Ian,

    “I don’t actually believe in material substance, I only believe in mental substance.”

    So you’ve solved the mind-body problem by disbelieving the body.

  136. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 11:24 am

    The Other John Mc
    “Quantum mechanics, ever heard of it? It is logically incoherent, yet absolutely and definitely proven true with 100 years worth of impeccable and irrefutable data”

    Well it’s certainly not logically incoherent. It’s not even weird. It’s only weird for those who subscribe to a mechanistic conception of reality.

    Niche Geek
    “You misunderstand the materialist position. For myself, it is best to think of consciousness as a process and not an object like a table. The materials and energy undergo existential change while the process only undergoes alterational change”.

    I was talking about the self, not consciousness. Of course the materialist considers the self to be a process. That’s the whole point, there is nothing that remains the same from one second to the next. Like one cannot step into the same river twice. We call it the same river by convention. It looks the same, occupies the same area. The materialist says we are the same self by convention. But *in reality* the self is changing (existentially) all the time. This can best be understood with teleportation/replication thought experiments.

  137. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 11:25 am

    The Other John Mc,

    Point well taken. I believe I understand, that many of us understand, his arguments. I reject his premises, many of which are either unsupported or assume his conclusion.

  138. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 11:31 am

    Ian,

    “Therefore if we *are* our personalities, and personality is changed when the brain functions differently, there cannot be anything which survives our deaths.

    That is the argument! And it includes alcohol. So even having one pint of beer shows there’s no life after death since there’s a very slight effect.”

    No, that’s not the argument against dualism, it’s evidence in favour of the hypothesis that brain causes mind. It’s one of the predictions that comes from this hypothesis, that appears to hold up in every way we can test it. Dualism is simply an unnecessary layer on top that adds no explanatory power and makes no new predictions that can be tested.

    Or correct me if I’m wrong – what predictions can your hypothesis make and how would we test it? If the answer is, “yeah, but NDE and ESP anecdotes…” then your hypothesis is scientifically useless, so the default position should be to reject it. There are no anomalous phenomena that would even require a non materialistic explanation, never mind any examples of phenomena that can be demonstrated to have such an explanation.

    You still haven’t answered my point about your dodgy premises, or even explained why you haven’t answered, save to say I don’t get it. If you have logic and evidence on your side this should be easy. If I got it wrong, then explain why.

  139. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 11:48 am

    mumadadd
    “No, that’s not the argument against dualism, it’s evidence in favour of the hypothesis that brain causes mind”.

    I’m not talking about dualism, I’m talking about the materialists contention of overwhelming evidence that there is no “life after death”. Anyway it seems you now agree.

    mumadadd
    “it’s evidence in favour of the hypothesis that brain causes mind”

    Brain changes precipitating personality changes is also evidence in favour of the filter hypothesis.

  140. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Ian,

    Sorry, when I said dualism I should have said the filter hypothesis.

    “Brain changes precipitating personality changes is also evidence in favour of the filter hypothesis.”

    No. It’s not incompatible with it, but it is not evidence in favour of it. The filter theory is simply unnecessary – see previous post.

    You have it backwards anyway – it’s not that there is a huge amount of evidence against life after death, it’s that the evidence for this proposition, or any of its component parts, like disembodied consciousness, is utter garbage.

  141. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 12:04 pm

    mumadadd
    “it’s not that there is a huge amount of evidence against life after death, it’s that the evidence for this proposition, or any of its component parts, like disembodied consciousness, is utter garbage”.

    Oh I see. Thanks for letting me know.

  142. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Slight addendum – if all evidence predicted by a hypothesis is absent, this can be taken as evidence that the hypothesis is wrong. Can’t remember what that’s call, but there you go.

  143. Insomniacon 29 May 2014 at 12:06 pm

    As Ian stated, he is in fact not a dualist but a kind of monist, because to him the Universe is made of one substance which is consciousness/the soul/whatever. But I have yet to hear how he accounts for every change the mind undergoes through physical/chemical action to the brain, though to him the brain doesn’t really exist…

    I guess his disagreement with us is deeper than what we’re discussing here, since he doesn’t even acknowledge the physical world as sometimes existing in itself, but rather a construction of the mind, or something like that. That’s why he says we don’t understand him, and maybe the debate should be about idealism vs materialism and not dualism vs materialism.

    Do I present your views correctly Ian ?

  144. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 12:18 pm

    # Ian

    >steve12
    >“Can you briefly explain what he was saying that we missed?”
    >It seems to me no-one understood anything he said.
    >I’m not sure if I agree with everything Bernardo says. I gravite towards idealism, but maybe a different >kind to him. I’ll be reading his materialism is balony book sometime in the near future.

    Ian – read carefully. I’m asking YOU for your synopsis of what Bernardo is saying (very briefly), what you agree with or not, and why. YOu just repeat that we don’t get it. I’m asking you: what don’t we get?

    Part of the problem with you guys is that you throw a lot of vague phrases around, and I don’t think you know what they mean. There’s a real lack of explanatory depth and shallow semantic level reasoning. Show me that I’m wrong.

    >”@steve12 Regarding strong and weak emergence. Read this paper:
    >http://consc.net/papers/emergence.pdf

    I was asking you to specifically explain the distinctions in the examples again, not simply offer a link. I can offer you all sorts of links on all sorts of things. That’s not how conversations work.

    >”“In the few hundred years we’ve had science, however, we have lunar landings, smart phones, and blogs >where people can criticize science”.
    >Obviously you mean *scientists*. One can criticise scientists when they assume or make unsubstantiated >metaphysical claims which many prominent scientists are prone to eg Hawkings, Krauss, Dawkins et al
    >grabula”

    Again, you’re not reading what I’m writing carefully. You’re advocating that science accept evidence that we consider weak and that we throw out materialist assumptions, which are central to the technical definition of science (i.e., you’re for re-defining science). That was how things were pre-science, so I’m speaking to the power of the current model. I never said scientists should be beyond criticism.

  145. Bronze Dogon 29 May 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Isn’t emergence a necessary consequence of reductionism? Two sides of the same coin, right? If you can break a whole into parts that each lack the complex features of the whole, I would think that necessarily implies that those parts can come together to form a whole with features they lack as parts.

  146. Bronze Dogon 29 May 2014 at 12:21 pm

    @mummadadd: I know it as the Modus Tollens Exception.

  147. Pete Aon 29 May 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Human consciousness is an illusion created by the brain, which has usefully served our species by producing in each of us the unique, and obviously apparent, actor whom we refer to as, and totally believe to be: Me; Myself; I.

    To the vast majority, this illusion is so overwhelmingly powerful that it seems well beyond the bounds of reason to even consider the possibility that the self is, perhaps, only an illusion (albeit a damned good one!) rather than being our personal autonomous agent (our manifest self).

    To a small minority with certain types of sudden-onset brain damage the self gradually reveals some of its many illusory tricks as time goes by. Some of the revelations are unsettling, but many are educational, and some are awesomely hilarious in retrospect. The concept of dualism is therefore completely nonsensical to this group of people for reasons that I’m sure will be obvious to anyone who thinks about it.

  148. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 12:28 pm

    “Ian: “You cannot have scientific evidence for something incoherent.”

    The problem is that you’ve not shown it incoherent. You just keep saying it and offering weak philosophical musings as evidence.

    This gets back to what I was saying above. These same type of musings have been around for thousands of years, and during that time our ability to manipulate the physical world went almost nowhere.

    Add science, with the assumption of naturalism and mix of empricism+rationalism, and BOOM – modern world in a few hundred years.

    Why would we turn the clock back re: our assumptions and evidentiary burden as you advocate? IF these methods and assumptions are incoherent, why are they so successful?

    What’s more powerful, rhetoric or results?

  149. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 12:48 pm

    @Insomniac

    I don’t know what my own view is, but probably some form of idealism yes.

    I’d rather argue about materialism. It is so absurd on so many levels. The idea that everything we see is an illusion — no colours, no sounds, no smells actually exist out there. That the solidity of objects is an illusion. That nothing we ever experience is real. The notion that we have no free will, that the self doesn’t even exist from one second to the next, that there is no objective morality, that we are merely biological robots living out our purposeless lives in a purposeless Universe. All this is unwarranted in my opinion.

    And of course materialism — which ever variety — cannot accommodate the existence of consciousness.

  150. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Midnightrunner

    When you said all of the psi evidence has been debunked. Aren’t you the one that was on Michael Prescott’s blog before as well as Greg Taylor’s Dailygrail. I remember that you admitted that you were defeated. Its hard to have a conversation with someone who thinks there skeptical sources are in fact intacted when in reality they are not. Oh yes I just found you under another name called honestskeptic where you got totally destroyed.

    I quote- I apologise for my previous comments, I have been a dishonest troll. Greg Taylor has got it correct and he has debunked the pseudoskeptics. Leonora Piper was in communication with spirits. Greg Taylor is my hero.

    Lots of love.

    http://www.dailygrail.com/Essays/2013/12/Top-Five-Phenomena-Offer-Evidence-Afterlife?page=1

  151. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Leo,

    “I quote- I apologise for my previous comments, I have been a dishonest troll. Greg Taylor has got it correct and he has debunked the pseudoskeptics. Leonora Piper was in communication with spirits. Greg Taylor is my hero.”

    You now owe me two new desks and two new foreheads.

  152. The Other John Mcon 29 May 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Lord Ian, where to even begin?

    “The idea that everything we see is an illusion — no colours, no sounds, no smells actually exist out there.”

    Wavelengths of light objectively exist, color is a constructed perception based roughly on this information from the environment. Loudness, pitch, timbre, etc. of sound again are mentally-constructed perceptions based on wavelength and intensity of physical acoustic vibrations which demonstrably exist in the external environment. Smells and touch, too, are perceptions based on physical analogues in the external environment. What are you not understanding about this?

    “The notion that we have no free will.”

    But we have the illusion of free will, that’s seemingly as good as the real thing for most practical purposes. So what? You just don’t want to entertain the possibility because it doesn’t *feel* right to you.

    “that the self doesn’t even exist from one second to the next.”

    Meaningless statement as far as I can tell. My self, The Other John Mc, am roughly the same individual pattern inhabiting roughly the same body as I was 10 years ago, and you can’t prove me wrong on this, ergo my self exists through time, your point refuted (if you had a point).

    “that we are merely biological robots living out our purposeless lives in a purposeless Universe.”

    We are biological robots instilled (instilled via evolution) with purpose; to do the things that provide us happiness and pleasure, and to avoid the things that do not. Seemingly coincidentally, the things we typically like to do (have sex, eat calories, spend time with family and friends, achieve success, play sports, etc., etc.) contributed to our ancestors ability to survive and reproduce, thus we inherited these tendencies.

    “And of course materialism — which ever variety — cannot accommodate the existence of consciousness.”

    Dr. N already nailed it: Consciousness is a physical process, a particular and seemingly unique type of information processing, carried out demonstrably by a physical object, the brain. What are you not getting? Materialism accommodates it just fine as long as you aren’t in stubborn denial.

  153. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 1:31 pm

    The Other John Mc
    “Wavelengths of light objectively exist, color is a constructed perception based roughly on this information from the environment. Loudness, pitch, timbre, etc. of sound again are mentally-constructed perceptions based on wavelength and intensity of physical acoustic vibrations which demonstrably exist in the external environment. Smells and touch, too, are perceptions based on physical analogues in the external environment. What are you not understanding about this?”

    None of this contradicts what I said. The world is divest of any colours, smells, sounds, everything that makes reality real. I’m talking about *colours* not the redefinition of colour made by scientists.

  154. Ekkoon 29 May 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Ian,
    “I’d rather argue about materialism. It is so absurd on so many levels. The idea that everything we see is an illusion — no colours, no sounds, no smells actually exist out there.”

    You honestly believe things like colour, sounds, smells, etc. exist in some absolute objective sense? That there is no subjective perception component? That every organism, no matter their sensory apparatus and brain, perceives the same thing? With smell for example, that the odorous molecules have some kind of absolute, universal smell property to them that exists independent of our olfactory receptors? This is what is absurd my friend…
    Those molecules, those wavelengths of light, those vibrations in air – those are real, those exist, those are not illusions – but our perception of them as colours, sounds, smells is dependent on the structures our of particular sensory apparatus and our brains. They will smell, taste, sound, look different to a dog. It’s an interpretation of something real on our part. Why is this absurd to you?

  155. Ekkoon 29 May 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Ninja’ed by the TOJMc.
    But: “I’m talking about *colours* not the redefinition of colour made by scientists.”

    What does this even mean?
    What are “*colours*” Ian?

  156. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Ekko
    “You honestly believe things like colour, sounds, smells, etc. exist in some absolute objective sense? That there is no subjective perception component? That every organism, no matter their sensory apparatus and brain, perceives the same thing? With smell for example, that the odorous molecules have some kind of absolute, universal smell property to them that exists independent of our olfactory receptors? This is what is absurd my friend…”

    Yes I think colours, sounds, smells as perceived exist out there. They are not objective but subjective though. And percipients will have different experiences — the shade of green I might perceive when looking at some plant might not be exactly the same shade as you perceive.

    The world as we perceive it really exists out there, but it is nevertheless conscious-dependent. It’s out there in the sense it is not the creation of my own consciousness but is something imposed on my consciousness.

    Read my blog entry:

    http://ian-wardell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/a-very-brief-introduction-to-subjective.html

  157. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 1:42 pm

    A colour is a particular characteristic experience — a particular quale.

  158. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Qualia, most likely.

  159. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Ian: we can’t base science on your existential crisis.

  160. mumadaddon 29 May 2014 at 1:44 pm

    He beat me to it!

  161. hardnoseon 29 May 2014 at 1:56 pm

    The brain does not generate the mind — one of its functions is to mediate between the mind and the body. Data enters the system through the sense organs, and is transferred into the brain for processing. The mind interprets the processed sensory data, and responds by sending data to the brain, which may involve activation of voluntary muscles.

    (Most of the brain’s functions, by the way, are unrelated to mind or consciousness, and involve all the myriad tasks that must be overseen and regulated to keep the body alive.)

    The fact that mental states correlate with brain states does not explain the relationship between mind and brain.

    When brain functions are disrupted, the mind’s relationship with the “physical” world is disrupted. All sensations, and perceptions, including emotions, are mediated by the brain.

    Stroke patients who don’t recognize family members are missing the systems that interpret sensory data and generate appropriate emotional states.

    The brain is FAR more complex that Steve N. implies. He keeps saying it’s complex, but then states that he doesn’t understand it down to the very last detail. Well that implies that he understands most of it. NO, that is a very inaccurate estimation of current knowledge.

    Many correlations are being observed, thanks to imaging technology. Materialists are thereby deceived into thinking these correlations provide understanding. They do not.

    Steve N. uses an analogy of a light switch. The “materialist” explanation, he says, is the one that follows the obvious causal chain. That is NOT an example of materialism. It is an example of a clearly defined and well understood system.

    He says the non-materialist theory of the light switch involves a magic light fairy. That is NOT an example of non-materialism.

    Steve N.’s materialist / non-materialist dichotomy is nonsensical.

    The light switch analogy can be used to illustrate a different point. Steve N. would say that the light goes on and off by controlling its own switch. I would say that an outside agent is needed to control the switch. The outside agent may be a person, or a machine that was created by a person.

    Every intelligent system must have an outer context. This was demonstrated by Godel, for example.

    An intelligent system is one that is able to respond to its environment and deal with changing events. Every new thing that happens is at least slightly different from anything that happened before. A mindless mechanism can deal with things that have happened before, but they cannot respond to even the slightest change.

    A lot of what goes on in our minds and brains is mindless mechanism (habits). But the systems that form the habits can NOT be mindless mechanisms.

  162. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 1:59 pm

    steve12

    “we can’t base science on your existential crisis”

    Science is neutral between materialism and idealism . . no . . actually science is more compatible with idealism. Under idealism there is no “hard problem” of consciousness.

  163. Ekkoon 29 May 2014 at 2:03 pm

    “Yes I think colours, sounds, smells as perceived exist out there. They are not objective but subjective though. And percipients will have different experiences — the shade of green I might perceive when looking at some plant might not be exactly the same shade as you perceive.
    The world as we perceive it really exists out there, but it is nevertheless conscious-dependent. It’s out there in the sense it is not the creation of my own consciousness but is something imposed on my consciousness.”

    You realize this leads to the conclusion that every organism that perceives an external world is living in a different world from every other organism right? Is that what you believe?
    That shade of green that we see differently makes it so when you interpret it as something that “really exists out there” and is “imposed on” us rather than interpreted by our own brain and senses.

  164. midnightrunner2014on 29 May 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Leo100 you are correct about one thing, all of the information on Greg Taylor’s blog post in the comment section debunking Piper was by me on my account “honestskeptic”.

    http://www.dailygrail.com/Essays/2013/12/Top-Five-Phenomena-Offer-Evidence-Afterlife?page=1

    Taylor’s friend invited me to his website to have a debate but he and his spiritualist buddies never responded to any of my criticisms and I spent over 5 hours typing it all out – it’s just more evidence to me believers are not interested in these cases. For example there’s evidence Piper started her career as a physical medium doing slate writing (this evidence comes from William James, so not a skeptic), there’s evidence she charged a fortune for her séance sittings even turning those who could not pay away, there’s evidence Richard Hodgson deliberately fabricated evidence. I could be talking about the Piper case all day but very few people want to know the truth of it. As for the debate on Taylor’s blog the next thing I knew was that Taylor banned me from his blog and someone impersonated me with a silly comment. The comment you quote claiming “Greg Taylor is my hero” and admitting to being a “dishonest troll” amongst other silliness was posted by a user called “egomanicaltroll”. You should be able to tell this is a parody post by a troll account, it has nothing to with me and I certainly wouldn’t post such nonsense. Unfortunately this is what the internet has come to, paranormal believers or spiritualists can’t acknowledge serious research against their beliefs so have to resort to ad-homimem or impersonations – I have dealt with this for a long time, it is very sad, this is why I rarely engage in this anymore online.

    Anyway as for some of your early comments I won’t mention D. D. Home anymore because I have covered it all here in over 40 posts on the JREF forum http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=258077 I originally was going to self-publish a book on Home but I decided to just put some of my research online. There’s various pieces of evidence to suggest that Home used a secret accomplice.

    Back to the Piper thing – The reason of focusing on the Piper case is because it is one of the main cases that paranormalists, spiritualists or proponents of an afterlife use for their beliefs, but as I have shown on countless websites Piper was a fraud. Even most psychical researchers accept Piper’s trance controls were alternative personalities and that she “fished” for information (see William James, Frank Podmore or Henry Sidgwick etc).

    As for your comment “Richard Hodgson was a arch skeptic as Michael Prescott correctly put its and he e permitted no such information leakage of the type that Gardner imagines. He once berated a sitter for bringing an umbrella into the house on a rainy day, because, he said, the umbrella could have concealed a secret message!”

    The problem is that Hodgson was not “an arch skeptic”. He was a believer in mental mediumship and spirits before he began investigating Piper. There is solid evidence for this. I am not denying that Hodgson was skeptical of physical mediumship i.e. table tilting, “levitations”, ectoplasm or materializations (most psychical researchers have been skeptical of this stuff).

    I appreciate Richard Hodgson’s research, I have been reading about his psychical research for over twenty years. He exposed Madame Blavatsky as a fraud, he exposed the tricks of Eusapia Palladino, he exposed the tricks of the slate writer charlatan William Eglinton etc. He even wrote an important paper on the fallacy of memory and malobservation in the séance room which has been well received by skeptics. Richard Wiseman for example in his book “Paranormality” has a chapter discussing Hodgson’s research. The problem is that Hodgsons’ lover (his cousin) Jessie D. died and he sunk into depression. He literally lost his mind. On the day of his Jessie’s death he claimed to have communicated with her spirit. This was in 1879 before he investigated Piper.

    You can read about Hodgson’s mediumship in a very rare book “The Life of Richard Hodgson”. The book costs around $125-300 I am not expecting many people to have read it. It is the only biography of Hodgson. We learn in the book that Hodgson was actually a medium i.e. he claimed to communicate with spirits. After Piper died he also claimed to communicate with Piper’s spirit. He spent the rest of his life mostly in isolation in his locked room as he believed that a “magnetic atmosphere” would disturb the spirits away. Hodgson was not an “arch skeptic” leo100. You was also caught in two cases of deception (lying about various details in the Piper case deliberately). He was very eager to believe that Piper was in communication with spirits because he wanted to communicate with Jessie. Belief is a powerful thing and it destroyed him and his critical skills and his sense of reason.

    Michael Prescott, Greg Taylor, Michael E. Tymn etc and other spiritualists who I have debated do not acknowledge this evidence. I was the first person to publicly put this information on the internet two years ago. It is up to you if you want to accept it or not. I have studied such cases for over twenty years and debated many spiritualists it makes no difference to me if you come to see the truth that Piper was a fraud or not. I also have rare sources such as private letters and notes from Hodgson and Piper which reveal some interesting things, I may make some of this information public online one day. I will not further discuss the Piper case on this blog as I don’t want this to drift off topic. Regards.

  165. The Other John Mcon 29 May 2014 at 2:27 pm

    hardnose: “Every intelligent system must have an outer context. This was demonstrated by Godel”

    Nope. Try actually reading Godel, his conclusions have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with intelligent information processing systems. Keep trying.

    I think I need steve12 to again point out the absurdity of amateur philosophers and wanna-be brain scientists trying to explain to us idiots how the mind REALLY works, because they thought about it real, real deeply so they obviously know.

  166. The Other John Mcon 29 May 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Ian: “world is divest of any colours, smells, sounds, everything that makes reality real.”

    You mean really real reality? Or just real reality? Does this have to do with the clockwork clock thing?

  167. The Other John Mcon 29 May 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Midnightrunner – hats off to you and your awesomeness.

  168. Ekkoon 29 May 2014 at 2:33 pm

    hardnose had too many howlers to deal with. I especially liked this one though:

    “Steve N. would say that the light goes on and off by controlling its own switch. I would say that an outside agent is needed to control the switch.” L-O-L

    I also generally liked the way he tried to school the neuroscientist on how the brain and mind work…

  169. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Midnightrunner

    You seem to be the worst troll ever and your also lying as well. As another commentator pointed out on daily grail and I quote

    “Are you not aware that wikipedia is edited by any sundry, uneducated joe-blow who can operate a keyboard? And that several universities have banned the use of wikipedia, because so many of its entries are rife with factual errors? How about the fact that Larry Sanger, co-creator of wikipedia, severed his affiliations with site because he got fed up having to deal with biased editor trolls and trying to make amends to all the misinformation abounding on the wiki?”

    Greg Taylor had to put you straight because you were lying and I quote

    “The reference is one you posted yourself to RationalWiki a month ago. Please do not lie to readers of this website. I am allowing you to continue posting, as I encourage debate, but your continued deceptions and sock puppetry will not be tolerated any further than this point – clean up your act please, or you will be blocked”.

    Kind regards,
    Greg

    ” The comment you quote claiming “Greg Taylor is my hero” and admitting to being a “dishonest troll” amongst other silliness was posted by a user called “egomanicaltroll”. You should be able to tell this is a parody post by a troll account, it has nothing to with me and I certainly wouldn’t post such nonsense”

    Its called using another user name.

  170. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 2:41 pm

    This means nothing you say Midnightrunner should be taken seriously at all. I am 100 percent sure your wrong about dd homes too just as you were about Piper.

  171. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 2:45 pm

    midnightrunner2014
    “For example there’s evidence Piper started her career as a physical medium doing slate writing (this evidence comes from William James, so not a skeptic), there’s evidence she charged a fortune for her séance sittings even turning those who could not pay away, there’s evidence Richard Hodgson deliberately fabricated evidence”.

    There’s evidence for this . .there’s evidence for that . .there’s evidence for the other.

    “Skeptics” make all these claims all the time, yet time after time after time, when you start digging it transpires they’re talking bollox.

    It really doesn’t matter if any specific psychic turns out to be a fraud anyway. It’s highly unlikely they *all* are.

  172. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 2:45 pm

    This one made my giggle and laugh at the same time when you were told off by Greg Taylor by using multiple usernames on numerous other sites and I quote.

    What’s more interesting to me is that you post under the username ‘HonestSkeptic’, despite already having a username here that works perfectly fine. Though perhaps we should inform readers this is a habit of yours, you post under multiple different usernames on almost every forum I’ve spotted you on. At least this time (so far) you haven’t created another username in which you pretend to be your opposition, trying to ingratiate yourself with them, which you’ve also done multiple times? Will you be linking (spamming) to RationalWiki soon? You know those hit pieces on the likes of Michael Prescott that you wrote, then denied you wrote to readers here (under your old username here)? I did like the touch though of linking to Wikipedia articles to support your cause, when you’re the one who has been writing/spamming those entries over the course of this year, flooding them with…cherry-picked information that supports just your own conclusion.

    Honest skeptic? More like a dishonest troll methinks. And I don’t feed trolls.

    My suggestion to you? Create a website and post your rants there, rather than flooding Wikipedia, TDG and various other websites with your proselytising.

    Kind regards,
    Greg

    http://www.dailygrail.com/Essays/2013/12/Top-Five-Phenomena-Offer-Evidence-Afterlife

  173. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 3:03 pm

    “Science is neutral between materialism and idealism . . no . . actually science is more compatible with idealism. Under idealism there is no “hard problem” of consciousness.”

    No. This is just technically incorrect.

    Science assumes naturalism. You can’t interpret experiments w/o naturalism.

    You want to supplant science with something else. Science is not simply a colloquial “search for truth”. It is a specific set of assumptions and methods.

  174. The Other John Mcon 29 May 2014 at 3:07 pm

    “My suggestion to you? Create a website and post your rants there, rather than flooding Wikipedia, TDG and various other websites with your proselytising”.

    Leo please consider taking your own advice.

    Ian: “It really doesn’t matter if any specific psychic turns out to be a fraud anyway. It’s highly unlikely they *all* are.”

    Care to speculate why none of these people have taken or claimed the $1 million James Randi prize for demonstrating such powers? Or why they would have all, every single one of them, resisted the temptation of incredible fame/fortune that would befall anyone who could *actually* demonstrate such powers?

  175. Insomniacon 29 May 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Ok Ian I read your blog post. I’m responding to claims you’re making in your entry. You guys should read the bits of his article I’m quoting because that tells you a lot about Ian’s actual position.

    “The world is as it seems.”

    Demonstrably untrue.
    What about optical illusions ?
    What about a mirror ? It seems I am standing in front of me, but is that so or is there another explanation (namely the mirror reflecting my image) ?
    What about people who need glasses to see ? If they don’t use their glasses and experience a blurry Universe, is the Universe blurry ?

    “The answer is that Berkeley held that when I see something I am participating in God’s conception of the world. Our various perceptual experiences — vision, sounds, smell, tastes, sense of touch –is a result of God directly conveying to us his conception. Our perceptual experiences of the external world are a direct communication with God.”

    Ok you’re saying a bit later that you don’t necessarily follow him to this point with God communicating with sentient beings. But still, you’re using his theories as a basis and then modify them so that’s it suits your views. This is not an actual argument against you, I’m just quoting to present what kind of ideas you are thinking of.

    “The existence of unobservable entities such as atoms, although more hypothetical or theoretical, also play a fruitful role in our hypotheses and theories about the world and therefore can be said to exist in a comparable manner to the common objects of our experience.”

    Atoms are observed.
    http://ncem.lbl.gov/images/OAM/dumbell.jpg
    Feel free to ask how we got these pictures, I’ll be happy to explain.

    “The tree is still there because the computer game environment is governed by rules implemented by a computer programmer. Likewise our external world exhibits uniformity due to physical laws, with physical laws simply being directly caused by God.”

    Do you need God for your worldview to hold ? Because if so, you would have to prove God exists first.

    You criticize materialism but don’t you also want to present your worldview and let it be subject of scrutiny and criticism ? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to elude your criticism. I think your arguments against materialism are based on fragile and dubious premises, and materialism is not undermined in any degree whatsoever. But I’d like you to show how you reconcile idealism with the actual phenomena observed, even with our naked senses.

    You can try, but my conclusion is that your view is absolutely barren and fruitless. You claimed in the other thread one could do science in an idealistic framework, but I’m wondering how. How could you account for Cherenkov radiation if not by assuming particles unseen with the naked eye ? You can bring no mechanism whatsoever if you’re only based on your unaided subjective perception. And by the way, some of the things you’re saying are not true or don’t exist are the consequences of what we see, if not with our naked eyes, with a microscope. Is using a microscope legitimate or are we somehow distorting our qualia so that every conclusion we have using a microscope must be wrong ?

    Some things exist while we can’t see them : an electron can be detected. Like it or not, it’s part of your world, and it’s physical.

    Science as a whole is based on a different framework than yours. I think that they are mutually incompatible. If you want to say you can do subjective idealism science, you have to build your own model, you can’t borrow it from the actual science. I’m curious how you would proceed.

  176. Insomniacon 29 May 2014 at 3:22 pm

    By the way, if you accept atoms, which it seems is the case, you can’t deny that matter is mostly vacuum and therefore you contradict your statement that “the world is as it seems”.

    The only escape you have is to say that it’s both : mostly vacuum if you look carefuly with a scanning electron microscope and not vacuum if you just have an apple in your hand and look at it. Then reality is plural : if you put blue spectacles then here is another world !

    And I apologize if the quotes from your blog don’t include enough to make sense (while I’m wondering if they would make sense anyhow). I just took the bits I was interesting in, but I read the whole entry.

  177. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 3:24 pm

    “Science as a whole is based on a different framework than yours. I think that they are mutually incompatible.”

    Exactly. People usually will stop short of saying science it BS because it’s so damn succesful. But when they don’t like something resulting from the scientific method, they try to change the meaning of science itself.

    Doesn’t work that way. It’s been successful method WHEN FOLLOWED. When not followed, it’s literally something else.

  178. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 3:32 pm

    The Other John Mc

    That wasn’t my own advice that was Greg Taylor directing his message to midnightrunner, honestskeptic, egomaniactroll and so on the funny thing is all one person.

  179. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 3:35 pm

    The fact that atoms can be in a sense, be in more than one place at a time is mind boggling.

  180. RickKon 29 May 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Ian Wardell says: “It really doesn’t matter if any specific psychic turns out to be a fraud anyway. It’s highly unlikely they *all* are.”

    OK, well then by that logic we can conclude:

    It really doesn’t matter if any specific claim of 16th century witchcraft turned out to be false. It’s highly unlikely they *all* were.

    It really doesn’t matter if any specific claim of alien visitation turns out to be false. It’s highly unlikely they *all* are.

    It really doesn’t matter if any specific claim of Hindu statues drinking milk from a spoon turns out to be false. It’s highly unlikely the *all* are.

    It really doesn’t matter if any specific claim of body thetans turns out to be false. It’s highly unlikely they *all* are.

    It really doesn’t matter if any specific claim of human levitation turns out to be false. It’s highly unlikely the *all* are.

    See how that works?

    Ian – If I use my vast fortune to pay people to spread the word that you murdered your neighbor, if I convince my friend Rupert Murdoch to bring his resources to bear to convince the world that you are a murderer, if millions of people around the world are convinced that you are a murderer, how is it possible that *ALL* of them could be wrong?

    In the immortal words of Tim Minchin:

    ““Look , [Ian], I don’t mean to bore ya
    But there’s no such thing as an aura!
    Reading Auras is like reading minds
    Or star-signs or tea-leaves or meridian lines
    These people aren’t plying a skill,
    They are either lying or mentally ill.
    Same goes for those who claim to hear God’s demands
    And Spiritual healers who think they have magic hands.”

    Tim leaves out one category of paranormalist… the person who truly believes they have a supernatural gift because they’ve never been encouraged to think critically, and have been surrounded by people who support their confirmation bias.

    Many psychics (or dowsers or others) who get on stage with skeptics for a public test are genuinely surprised when they fail. And they are often all to quick to later rationalize reasons why they failed the test. These people are neither lying nor mentally ill – they are simply unfamiliar with skeptical thought.

    The spectacular failure rate of psychic claims creates a very unfavorable set of prior probabilities for the next psychic claim. This is EXACTLY comparable to patent claims for perpetual motion machines. If you make such a claim, the evidence must be big, dramatic and highly testable. Anything less fails to overcome the sheer weight of prior probabilities created by centuries of failures, frauds, dupes and true believers.

    So, Ian, we all know YOU’RE convinced. But you want to believe, so there’s no work involved in convincing you that people possess psychic powers. Alas, your belief isn’t convincing. If you want ton convince people then you’re going to have to provide some dramatic evidence, far from the noise level, replicated by skeptics. Anything less is just a continuation of parapsychology’s sordid history of failure and unfulfilled desires.

  181. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 3:40 pm

    @Insomniac Nothing you say constitutes any problem whatsoever. All existents are a hypothesis about how the world is. Tables are, quarks are. Some are more hypothetical than others but there is no strict demarcation. It is a confusion to ask do they really exist. It is merely helpful or unhelpful to think of reality that way. Even the notion of a 3D reality is something we impose upon the world.

    Think of it this way. Let’s suppose the world is governed by physical laws. *We do not need a consciousness-independent reality in addition to these physical laws*. The physical laws all by themselves suffice.

    Insomniac
    “Do you need God for your worldview to hold ? Because if so, you would have to prove God exists first”.

    No I don’t. But even if I did I wouldn’t need to prove it. What if I were to say you need to prove that consciousness-independent objects exist? Or that other people are conscious? Or that physical laws will continue to exist from this moment onwards?

    We build up a metaphysical picture of reality. The best we can hope for is to make it intelligible. We live in a world of uncertainty and can prove nothing outside formal logic and mathematics.

    It might be helpful to read another blog entry by me:
    http://ian-wardell.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/are-perceptual-illusions-always.html

  182. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 3:48 pm

    @RickK Various characteristic anomalous phenomena has been observed throughout history and across all cultures. I’ve only skimmed the surface of all the paranormal literature. But you guys seem to have read none at all. Your comments reveal a complete lack of familiarity with all the evidence.

  183. RickKon 29 May 2014 at 4:33 pm

    “Various characteristic anomalous phenomena has been observed throughout history and across all cultures.”

    Yes, like:
    - Witches and witchcraft
    - Demons
    - Many different gods
    - Ghosts
    - Extraterrestrial alien visitors
    - Astral projections
    - Statues that drink, weep and bleed
    - Body thetans
    - Out of body experiences
    - Psychic communion with the dead
    - Prophetic predictions
    - Mind reading

    There is nothing in that list that is inconsistent with human desire, human imagination and human ignorance.

    “I’ve only skimmed the surface of all the paranormal literature. ”

    … while apparently avoiding historical and skeptical literature.

    “Your comments reveal a complete lack of familiarity with all the evidence.”

    Ahh, the Courtier’s Reply.

    Do you consider a large number of anecdotes to be reliable evidence for the existence of a paranormal power or being? Do you find anecdotes for some of the items in my list above more convincing than anecdotes about others? If so, why?

    Here’s a hint, Ian: volume doesn’t equal quality. Ten data points gathered under controlled conditions can teach us something profound while millions of uncontrolled data points can tell us nothing.

    But let’s sincerely try to find some common ground. Give me a recent, well-documented example of a person with a paranormal ability that they were able to replicate under controlled conditions in the presence of skeptics, and we can discuss it.

  184. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Ian,

    Your use of language is imprecise both here and in your blog. In your perceptual illusions blog entry you say

    “Let’s consider the “illusion” above again. If this were a real 3D object and we were to approach it and view it from various angles, then we would see that squares A and B are very different colours. Indeed their intrinsic colours would be precisely as we perceive them in the illusion above.”

    If all of physical reality is hypothetical (“All existents are a hypothesis”) and our subjective perception is the only truth, then how can the squares have an intrinsic colour?

  185. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 4:35 pm

    “It might be helpful to read another blog entry by me:”

    You have figured it al out, haven’t you?

  186. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 4:52 pm

    steve12
    “You have figured it al out, haven’t you?”

    I think about things a lot. I mean about what the world is, why we’re here, what it all means etc. More so than the average person.

    But no, I know next to nothing. But I do know I know next to nothing. Unlike others.

  187. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 5:19 pm

    “But no, I know next to nothing. But I do know I know next to nothing. Unlike others.”

    You can’t be serious. You’re here saying that you’ve bested the last 150 years of science, but you’re a humble guy unlike us?

    Please. As I pointed out before: you’re more confident that you’re right than I am. This despite me having mountains of scientific evidence on my side.

    I mean, you go prattling on about the brain all the while evincing that you are unaware of the most basic neuroscience findings. That kind of chutzpah precludes humility, Ian.

  188. steve12on 29 May 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I just want to point out that Ian will only answer my posts when I don’t ask something specific of him.

    Look up at all of the unanswered posts – whenever I wanted him to get his hands a little dirty, I got no response.

  189. Insomniacon 29 May 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Ian : We actually know and acknowledge our lack of expertise, that’s what studying science does. In a sense, science goes and in hand with modesty. The more you study science, the more you’re aware of the huge amount of things you don’t know.

    “What if I were to say you need to prove that consciousness-independent objects exist? Or that other people are conscious? Or that physical laws will continue to exist from this moment onwards?”

    I would have to reply that assuming those things exist is a fantastically successful working hypotheses. But I agree that no one can prove they exist. I read a bit of philosophy so I’m quite aware of those questions.

    “We build up a metaphysical picture of reality. The best we can hope for is to make it intelligible. We live in a world of uncertainty and can prove nothing outside formal logic and mathematics.”

    Can’t you prove that heredity is based on DNA ? That water is made of two hydrogen and one oxygen ?

    RickK : Actually, out of body experiences exist and can be achieved with specific drugs for example. So I’m afraid you should have it removed from your list. By the way, I like the quote from Tim Minchin, actually his beat poem Storm is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

  190. BillyJoe7on 29 May 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Ian: “Under idealism there is no “hard problem” of consciousness”

    No problem at all.

    The Universal Consciousness is, was, and always will be.
    Sound familiar?
    He is in you.
    He is in me.
    He is in every thing.
    He is every where
    Oh sing the good Lord’s praises!

  191. BillyJoe7on 29 May 2014 at 5:40 pm

    HardNose: “Most of the brain’s functions, by the way, are unrelated to mind or consciousness, and involve all the myriad tasks that must be overseen and regulated to keep the body alive”

    Oh, earth shattering, life transforming revelation, you! Where have you been hiding all my life?

  192. RickKon 29 May 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Insomniac said: “Actually, out of body experiences exist and can be achieved with specific drugs for example. ”

    Thank you. I was imprecise. I meant OBE remote viewings like Susan Blackmore’s – those that claim to be more than the combination of perception and invention of a physical brain.

    You are right.

  193. Hosson 29 May 2014 at 6:43 pm

    BillyJoe: “The Universal Consciousness is, was, and always will be.”

    It does sound very familiar.

    “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.” – Carl Sagan

  194. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 7:00 pm

    @ BillyJoe7
    “He is in you.
    He is in me.
    He is in every thing.
    He is every where”

    real thin…

  195. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Or… put another way:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_hkIN38qnY&feature=kp

  196. Bruceon 29 May 2014 at 7:06 pm

    “The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.”

  197. Ekkoon 29 May 2014 at 7:27 pm

    @steve12,

    “I just want to point out that Ian will only answer my posts when I don’t ask something specific of him. Look up at all of the unanswered posts – whenever I wanted him to get his hands a little dirty, I got no response.”

    I’ve had pretty much the same experience. But this is what I would expect when specific questions are put to someone who subscribes to some form of philosophical idealism. Ian’s fondness for tables likely stems from George Berkeley, an 18th C philosopher. Ian already dodged my critique of idealism but Bertrand Russell demolished it long ago anyway. 10 different people’s sense data of a table = 10 different tables because there is no such thing as an external material object. I find it funny that Ian considers materialism “absurd” but the idea that there is no external world of things, only sense data in my mind that must be perceived to exist doesn’t strike him as as logically absurd.

  198. hardnoseon 29 May 2014 at 7:41 pm

    No one knows how the brain works. So neuroscientists and non-neuroscientists have that ignorance in common.

    I am a computer scientist (with a Ph.D.). I think someone in my field might have a better grasp of what intelligence is than a typical M.D.

    And by the way, in case I was misunderstood, I do NOT think the mind is something supernatural. I think it is perfectly natural, but is made of substances and energies not yet recognized by mainstream science.

    I don’t believe in dualism. I think the brain is an important part of the mind, and that it allows us to interact with the “physical” world.

    Does that mean I believe there are non-physical worlds? Not really, but I do think there are levels of reality that mainstream biology has not tried to explore.

    It seems odd to me that mainstream physics assumes there are alternate universes, higher order dimensions, etc., yet mainstream biologists and M.D. seem to have never heard about any of it.

  199. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Hi hardnose I agree with you it seems mainstream physics is in conflict with biology/neuroscience as no where in biology or neuroscience alternative universes the connection is never even considered.

  200. Davdoodleson 29 May 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Ian: “The world as we perceive it really exists out there, but it is nevertheless conscious-dependent.”

    Absolute rubbish. If every human and every “conscious” (whatever that means) entity were to simultaneously disappear the world, and every planet, star, and grain of dust would continue to whirl as it has.

    Or, to put it another way, the universe doesn’t need you or anyone, and doesn’t give a flying fig about your juvenile, self-centered dorm-room-stoner hubristic philo-sophistry.

    You should read Aesop’s fable The Gnat and the Bull some time.
    .

  201. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 8:16 pm

    The universe may have never existed without observers Davdoodles that is what experiments shown in quantum physics. That you need an observe to make collapse the wave function. That doesn’t mean of course that we create reality but it means the observer and reality exist as a pair.

  202. Davdoodleson 29 May 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Hardnose: “I am a computer scientist (with a Ph.D.). I think someone in my field might have a better grasp of what intelligence is than a typical M.D.”

    Good grief.

    “And by the way, in case I was misunderstood, I do NOT think the mind is something supernatural. I think it is perfectly natural, but is made of substances and energies not yet recognized by mainstream science.”

    Is that how you think computers work too? Mysterious ethers?

    In any case, why introduce these “substances and energies” that you “think” the mind is “made of”?

    As so many above have asked, and you have steadfastly ignored, what explanatory power does it add, and what testable hypothesis doe it generate?

    Until you can answer those simple questions, you might as wll be saying the mind is “supernatural” or “Bigfoot did it”.

  203. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Ian: “The world as we perceive it really exists out there, but it is nevertheless conscious-dependent.”

    Davdoodleson
    “Absolute rubbish. If every human and every “conscious” (whatever that means) entity were to simultaneously disappear the world, and every planet, star, and grain of dust would continue to whirl as it has.

    Or, to put it another way, the universe doesn’t need you or anyone, and doesn’t give a flying fig about your juvenile, self-centered dorm-room-stoner hubristic philo-sophistry.

    You should read Aesop’s fable The Gnat and the Bull some time”.

    Thank you so much for your input. It was complete with a deep thinking philosophy predicated on an in-depth analysis. I bow to your superior knowledge and absolutely deft ability to make an informed statement. I await your sure-to-follow missive which I know will completely obviate the necessity for any further debate on this topic. I intuit that your philosophy has transformed into a complete and absolutely accurate knowledge of our universe. I now still my small voice and await the moment when I can sit at your feet and absorb the magnificence of your wisdom. Please do not make me wait too long, sir.

  204. Mlemaon 29 May 2014 at 8:23 pm

    The Other John Mc,

    “…If A then B is an equivalent statement to If Not B then Not A….
    Wouldn’t a counter-example be: “If I have 1.463 billion dollars then I am rich as $hit.” Contrapositive of this would be “If I am not rich as $hit then I do not have 1.463 billion dollars.” But it seems to me still possible to be rich as $hit without having exactly that amount of money. Sound right?”

    No. Your counter argument is fallacious – an example of equivocation. “If A then B, therefore if not B then not A” is sound logic.

    http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~morourke/524-phil/Handouts/Philosophical/LogicAndArgument.htm

    However, I’m not commenting on the original argument. I wasn’t paying attention :)

  205. Davdoodleson 29 May 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Leo100: “That doesn’t mean of course that we create reality but it means the observer and reality exist as a pair.”

    I have no idea what you mean by “reality” in this context, but that isn’t what “Ian” wrote. He claimed that “the world… is conscious-dependant”.

    The World. Dependant. Not merely that the world is, by some happy accident, currently populated by some observers. Rather, that the world depends on consciousness for its existence.
    .

  206. Mlemaon 29 May 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Ian, I can sympathize with certain attempts you’ve made to communicate the nature of the hard problem. But what I wonder about, and am hoping you might address is (you said):

    “Let’s suppose the world is governed by physical laws. *We do not need a consciousness-independent reality in addition to these physical laws*. The physical laws all by themselves suffice.”

    This is very confusing to me. What are the physical laws doing if there’s nothing physical for them to govern? In other words, what do the physical laws suffice FOR? Without sensory data, what is the content of consciousness? If there’s no objective world, from whence the sensory date?

    Also, and I’m not sure if or how this would tie in, but: if only consciousness exists, why do we have eyes? Whose consciousness or what consciousness do my eyes exist in? Just my own? How come other people seem to look at them when they’re talking to me?

    Thank you

  207. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Well Davdoodles we can never know really we could be living in a computer simulation.

  208. Davdoodleson 29 May 2014 at 8:38 pm

    “Thank you so much for your input. It was complete with a deep thinking philosophy predicated on an in-depth analysis. I bow to your superior knowledge and absolutely deft ability to make an informed statement.”

    You’re most welcome.

    “I intuit that your philosophy has transformed into a complete and absolutely accurate knowledge of our universe.”

    Not really. I leave the physics and astronomy to the physicists and astronomers. I’m only pointing out:

    (i) that you are (and forgive me if I’m giving you too much credit here) a little too old to still be spouting that sophomoric hubristic nonsense about how the laws of physics only operate on trees falling in forests, when some great-and-powerful “observer” witnesses it, and

    (ii) That the science is clear that that the world was here long before even your and my single-celled ancestors were around for it to “depend” on. And it did just fine without us.
    .

  209. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 8:46 pm

    @Mlema

    A reality existing independently of consciousness is a superfluous hypothesis. Nor could we ever know it exists anyway.

    There are selves and their conscious experiences. The physical laws can be used to predict the patterns in our perceptual experiences.

    Mlema
    “If there’s no objective world, from whence the sensory date”

    From God? A collective creation of all minds? Or why couldn’t they just be a brute fact.

    Even if we have a mind independent reality we can ask the same question. What are physical laws? Do they actually coerce reality to behave in a certain way? Where do they come from if so?

    Mlema
    “if only consciousness exists, why do we have eyes?”

    I didn’t say only consciousness exists. I denied the existence of a mind-independent reality. The mind perceives things which exist, it’s just they don’t exist when not perceived.

  210. tmac57on 29 May 2014 at 8:55 pm

    BillyJoe7 – For some reason,I now have ‘I Am The Walrus’ earworming itself through my brain.

    I have to agree with RickK about the long list of ‘anomalous phenomena’ observed throughout history.
    There seems to be no end of things that people seemed to be very sure of that,under objective observation,turn out to be either explained by natural causes,or unique to certain individuals or cultural myths,and rarely seem to happen to anyone outside those belief systems,and especially never happen under controlled and highly scrutinized conditions.
    What would be the plausible explanation for such ‘shy’ phenomena? Is it the case that the non-materialistic world is trying to hide from skeptics and scientists who seek to understand it?
    Maybe I just need a Jill Bolte Taylor event in my life to send me into the camp of the people like Ian or Leo,but I think a ‘stroke of insight’ is much less likely than a more prosaic stroke ,in my future.

  211. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 8:55 pm

    @Ian

    “People complain about when I go, but there’s absolutely nothing substantive being said.”

    That’s why people complain Ian, you almost never have anything substantive to say. for example:
    “So getting drunk demonstrates that nothing could survive our deaths? OK fair enough. If there is a “life after death” you won’t be like you are now, so perhaps you don’t consider my concept of survival to be worthwhile anyway.”

    You miss how getting drunk affects the brain and as follows, the state of the mind. It’s pretty simple Ian. You keep talking about how dumb people are, that they don’t get what you’re talking about but you miss the most basic of points. You won’t be like you are now…a nonsensical statement backed up by absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

    “There are *conceptual* i.e philosophical problems with all flavours of materialist positions.”

    Again, this is your problem, trying to apply philosophy to real life. I don’t how many times your philisophical argumetns are taken to pieces in no time flat but you keep insisting this is somehow evidence for life after death.

    “But this is the whole argument that people opposed to a “life after death” make. Brain damage changes our personalities, drugs, including alcohol, change our personalities, growing up from childhood to adulthood changes our personalities.
    Therefore if we *are* our personalities, and personality is changed when the brain functions differently, there cannot be anything which survives our deaths.”

    See Ian, I knew you’d start to figure it out.

    “Well it’s certainly not logically incoherent. It’s not even weird. It’s only weird for those who subscribe to a mechanistic conception of reality.”

    See there you go again, we’re too stupid to understand it, but you’ve got it all figured out.

    “I don’t know what my own view is, but probably some form of idealism yes. ”

    You’re out of your mind, you have the audacity to tell us we can’t comprehend your argument and YOU can’t even tell us what it is.

    “I’d rather argue about materialism. It is so absurd on so many levels. The idea that everything we see is an illusion — no colours, no sounds, no smells actually exist out there. ”

    This is an idiotic misrepresentation of what most of us understand to be reality. You build your strawmen by over simplifying then attack!

    “That nothing we ever experience is real. The notion that we have no free will, that the self doesn’t even exist from one second to the next, that there is no objective morality, that we are merely biological robots living out our purposeless lives in a purposeless Universe. All this is unwarranted in my opinion.”

    Again, nothing solid to work here but the same old ridiculous arguments againsty materialism. TIRED is the word I’d use. Nothing of substance here bu philisophical musings, which you’ve mistaken to be evidence for your points.

    It’s objective Ian, we see the same colors, we feel hot and cold the same. Some alterations of the mind can alter the way these are percieved but this is no way makes it ‘holographic’. Objectivity, something both you and Leo miss consistantly, can be tested easily.

    You’re morality argument against materialism is a red herring. It’s a weak argument that’s already been slamdunked a number of times as ridiculous.

    “None of this contradicts what I said. The world is divest of any colours, smells, sounds, everything that makes reality real. I’m talking about *colours* not the redefinition of colour made by scientists.”

    Redefining terms to suit your particular world view isn’t helpful. It’s this kind of crap that people have a hard time understanding what you’re trying to say Ian.

    “Yes I think colours, sounds, smells as perceived exist out there. They are not objective but subjective though. And percipients will have different experiences — the shade of green I might perceive when looking at some plant might not be exactly the same shade as you perceive”

    I remember haing this discussion in a Perkins my junior year of high school. Turns out we got farther than Ian did in finding answers.

    ““Skeptics” make all these claims all the time, yet time after time after time, when you start digging it transpires they’re talking bollox.”

    Actually Ian, we so consistantly uncover this stuff AS bollox. The problem is no matter how many times we SHOW you true believers the evidence you deny deny deny. In fact Ian YOU don’t even deny, you just make it all up on the fly and pat yourself on the back for confusing people.

    “RickK Various characteristic anomalous phenomena has been observed throughout history and across all cultures. I’ve only skimmed the surface of all the paranormal literature. But you guys seem to have read none at all. Your comments reveal a complete lack of familiarity with all the evidence.”

    Based on what Ian, the mountains of evidence we can supply daily that shows there’s nothing behind this garbage. You ridiculously believe in anything magical and call us irrational…

    You’re child like Ian in your understanding of what evidence is, and how philosophy and science actually relate. That’s not an ad hominem, you literally argue like some of my friends did in high school. The difference is they figured out where they went wrong long before they hit their 20′s.

    You can’t even explain your stance succinctly. When asked point blank you admit you have no idea what your stance is.

    Here’s a very serious question for you Ian:

    How would YOU have a discussion with someone who can’t solidify their own stance, can’t explain themselves using language appropriately, can’t understand the boundary between science and philosophy and spends most of his time dismissing anyone who fails to agree with them on their spurious points?

  212. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Davdoodles

    I must intervene here when you stated this

    That the science is clear that that the world was here long before even your and my single-celled ancestors were around for it to “depend” on. And it did just fine without us.

    I think you should watch this video about physicist Andrei Linde explaining that maybe not so. Its pretty short just a little over 4 minutes.

    http://www.closertotruth.com/series/why-explore-cosmos-and-consciousness

  213. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 8:57 pm

    @Ian

    “Or, to put it another way, the universe doesn’t need you or anyone, and doesn’t give a flying fig about your juvenile, self-centered dorm-room-stoner hubristic philo-sophistry”

    Other than you usual insulting tripe, this is exactly right Ian.

  214. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 9:00 pm

    @Leo/Ian

    Stop ignoring the direct questions, answer RickK’s question. You’re both so busy trying to slide around and avoid direct answers to questions it’s ridiculous. It’s why you aren’t taken seriously.

    “But let’s sincerely try to find some common ground. Give me a recent, well-documented example of a person with a paranormal ability that they were able to replicate under controlled conditions in the presence of skeptics, and we can discuss it.”

  215. Hosson 29 May 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Leo: “Well… we can never know really we could be living in a computer simulation.”
    You’re correct. Although hypothesizing, testing hypothesis, and philosophizing about our reality being The Matrix is fine, acting upon the belief could potentially bring unnecessary harm and reenforcing irrational behavior and thinking. There are an infinite number of possibilities, and you know what? I don’t have to proven a single one wrong. The burden of proof is on the other side – those making factual claims. Idealism and your interpretation of reality has not met the threshold of proof. The standards you’re using for collecting evidence have major flaws where your conclusions cannot logically follow.

    Non-naturalist/non-monist: How does your interpretation of reality differ from the reality of naturalism or materialism? Do these differences manifest themselves where they can be perceived/detected?

    I’m of the opinion that dualism and idealism serve no other purpose than to justify or a product of other (irrational) beliefs.

  216. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 9:17 pm

    @Ian

    I missed this doozy:

    “I think about things a lot. I mean about what the world is, why we’re here, what it all means etc. More so than the average person.

    But no, I know next to nothing. But I do know I know next to nothing. Unlike others.”

    This is laughable Ian. You’re assumption that you think about things more than other people is patently ridiculous, otherwise provide some proof. You’re false humility is even more ridiculous. You spend most of your time here trying to laud your own intellect over others – failing miserably mind you. Someone of some intelligence can also effectively communicate. You see it all the time here. You’d best be served lurking here and learning about all that stuff you don’t know.

  217. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 9:21 pm

    grabula
    “How would YOU have a discussion with someone who can’t solidify their own stance, can’t explain themselves using language appropriately, can’t understand the boundary between science and philosophy and spends most of his time dismissing anyone who fails to agree with them on their spurious points?”

    I can’t. I’m just wasting my time.

  218. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 9:24 pm

    @Hardnose

    On a neuroscientists blog you state this absurdity:

    “So neuroscientists and non-neuroscientists have that ignorance in common.”
    You ever look up the definition for irony?

    “I don’t believe in dualism. I think the brain is an important part of the mind, and that it allows us to interact with the “physical” world. “

    You’re partially right, without a brain you’ve got no mind!

    “It seems odd to me that mainstream physics assumes there are alternate universes, higher order dimensions, etc., yet mainstream biologists and M.D. seem to have never heard about any of it.”

    Mainstream physics assumes nothing. The multiverse, other dimensions and so on are extremely theoretical. You and leo keep taking these concepts on the extreme edge of science at the moment and assuming consensus just exists. That shows a profound misunderstanding of how science works and the specific sciences in general.

  219. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 9:25 pm

    @Ian

    “You can’t. I’m just wasting your time.”

    I fixed that for you.

  220. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 9:27 pm

    @Ian, Hardnose, Leo

    The question the three of you keep getting asked, and keep avoiding is this:

    Given that changes to the physical brain show changes in the mind, and given that specific changes to specific parts of the brain give predictable results, how do you explain this is your make believe world?

    You don’t have answers and that’s why you avoid the question but I’ll ask again anyway, just to prove the point.

  221. Ian Wardellon 29 May 2014 at 9:47 pm

    @grabula. OK wasn’t going to make another post, but since you ask:

    http://ian-wardell.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/is-after-death-conceivable.html

  222. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Mainstream physics does actually most physicists think we live in a multiverse. The evidence is growing that we live in a multiverse.

    http://www.messagetoeagle.com/evidencepararelluniverse.php
    http://www.space.com/25100-multiverse-cosmic-inflation-gravitational-waves.html

    Hoss

    Neither has your case met the threshold of proof. Your making an announcement that we know what reality is we have no clue what reality is. But we know that reality thanks to quantum physics is far more expansive than naturalism/materialism could have ever thought.

    Grabula

    We have already given your answers but you refuse to even consider them. We are not here to repeat ourselves for your satisfaction.

  223. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Leo,

    “But we know that reality thanks to quantum physics is far more expansive than naturalism/materialism could have ever thought”

    Quantum *is* a materialist theory.

  224. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Leo,

    Please read your own source:

    “It’s not impossible, so I think there’s still certainly research that needs to be done. But most models of inflation do lead to a multiverse, and evidence for inflation will be pushing us in the direction of taking [the idea of a] multiverse seriously.”

    “May… Suggests”

    So not accepted, and not even necessarily taken seriously. I personally find the possibility interesting, but you do yourself no favours when you over state it.

  225. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Niche Geek

    Did I say parallel universes are a fact? no I didn’t I said the evidence however is growing. Could that model in physics be overthrown sure it can. If, you know a lot about physics please give me a model that doesn’t have a multiverse in it?.

  226. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Niche Geek

    Was it brought in by the framework of materialism sure. Does it strongly challenge materialism? it sure does. As materialism assumes a casually closed universe but if there is a multiverse then the universe is not casually closed. Its open instead.

  227. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 11:08 pm

    @Leo

    “Mainstream physics does actually most physicists think we live in a multiverse. The evidence is growing that we live in a multiverse. ”

    I don’t know how many more times we need to tell you this is not even close to accepted as a consensus and generates a lot of contention. No matter how many times you say it, it still won’t make it true.

    “We have already given your answers but you refuse to even consider them. We are not here to repeat ourselves for your satisfaction.”

    No, you haven’t. You’ve danced around the subject. You’ve made outrageous claims about what mainstream science accepts or doesn’t accept but you have literally not delivered a direct response to my question, posed to you, by many others. again, you dodge the issue.

    “Did I say parallel universes are a fact? no I didn’t I said the evidence however is growing.”

    No, this is literally the first time you’ve acknowledged it’s anything but mainstream – see my quote from you above.

    Leo, ultimately until you realize that the dichotomy you’ve built around materialism and the rest of the world is full of holes, you cannot make any progress in your understanding. It’s approaching dogma.

  228. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 11:10 pm

    @Ian

    “OK wasn’t going to make another post, but since you ask:”

    Quitting already? In all honesty I thought it would have happened sooner but still falls successfully within my predictions, am I psychic?!

    More importantly, I’m not feeding your ego-train by going to your blog. Cut and paste or try to explain it to use muck dwellers if you can. So far you’ve failed to here and the few who have visited and criticized your blog have shown there’s nothing of substance there either.

  229. leo100on 29 May 2014 at 11:20 pm

    So the physicist Sean Caroll who was with Steven Novella debating the afterlife was wrong when he said and I quote. “Sean Carroll’s observation, “As crazy as it sounds, most working physicists buy into the many-worlds theory”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

    I mentioned that the filter theory of consciousness can explain those observations. You and other skeptics here just keep ignoring it.

  230. grabulaon 29 May 2014 at 11:35 pm

    @Leo

    “So the physicist Sean Caroll who was with Steven Novella debating the afterlife was wrong when he said and I quote. “Sean Carroll’s observation, “As crazy as it sounds, most working physicists buy into the many-worlds theory”.”

    Yes, he overstated the case.

    The filter theory has been taken apart here, including the blog post your posting on right now. Is that really you’re only shoddy evidence for something other than the brain/mind connection?

  231. Niche Geekon 29 May 2014 at 11:36 pm

    leo100,

    “Was it brought in by the framework of materialism sure. Does it strongly challenge materialism? it sure does. As materialism assumes a casually closed universe but if there is a multiverse then the universe is not casually closed. Its open instead.”

    You’ve confused yourself. Quantum is well established by experimentation. Multiverse is a mathematical implication that is not yet verified. How is quantum mechanics a challenge? It’s only a challenge to Ian as it shows that the world doesn’t actually work in the way we perceive it.

  232. Bill Openthalton 30 May 2014 at 3:33 am

    Niche Geek –

    How is quantum mechanics a challenge? It’s only a challenge to Ian as it shows that the world doesn’t actually work in the way we perceive it.

    Not even that — it shows that at the fundamental level, we cannot use analogies based on the level we experience. Electromagnetic waves are not like waves on a pond, as Michelson and Morley discovered.

    As far as the multiverse is concerned, you are so right to make the distinction between the mathematics and reality. It is a fact that often progress in mathematics has preceded discoveries in physics. When one knows how to approach something, it becomes a lot easier to study. But that doesn’t mean that reality always follows mathematics — negative numbers don’t make -2 apples possible.

  233. Insomniacon 30 May 2014 at 4:07 am

    leo : “The universe may have never existed without observers Davdoodles that is what experiments shown in quantum physics. That you need an observe to make collapse the wave function. That doesn’t mean of course that we create reality but it means the observer and reality exist as a pair.”

    This is just not true, this is an incorrect interpretation of quantum mechanics. The collapse of the wave function is just a matter of interaction with the macroscopic world, what we call a “measurement”, it happens even if there is no one observing. Maybe the use of the word “measurement” is misleading because it entails an observer. When you look at electron interferences, individual electrons have their wave function collapsed as soon as they hit the wall, and for that no human presence is required (or that of any sentient being for that matter).

    Ekko : “Ian already dodged my critique of idealism but Bertrand Russell demolished it long ago anyway. 10 different people’s sense data of a table = 10 different tables because there is no such thing as an external material object.”

    Actually I don’t know from which Russell’s work you got this, because I recently read On Our Knowledge of the External World and he clearly states that he could not prove that things don’t exist when not perceived. It’s still a good working hypothesis though. He just says that the perfect coordination of all senses stimuli when you move with respect to one object make it highly likely that the thing is just out there.

  234. Bruceon 30 May 2014 at 4:42 am

    “Not even that — it shows that at the fundamental level, we cannot use analogies based on the level we experience. Electromagnetic waves are not like waves on a pond,”

    I have always thought of it in a very basic sense, if you take an ant and make him as big as a human, he will not be the same as just a big ant, he will probably break under the weight of his own carapace. Just because something works at a micro or macro level does not mean it will work at all in the same way at the other end of the scale. Quantum woo-woo seems to revolve around trying to shoehorn macro and micro all in one.

    That is my very simple understanding of it.

  235. AliSinaon 30 May 2014 at 5:08 am

    Looks like I ruffled a few feathers here.

    The survival of consciousness in fact and the evidence is out there for anyone who cares to check them out. I did. I was challenged when I made the same baseless claims that you are making. Someone said, you claim to be after truth so watch these videos. I watched more than what he asked me. I watched hundreds of them. At the end I had to admit that if I keep denying I would be guilty of the same fault I accuse the Muslims of.

    “I love this one: Quantum Physics doesn’t make sense. My ideas don’t make sense. Quantum physics is true, therefore my ideas are true. Yay!”

    Sorry, it is not my fault that you have tenuous comprehension. I explain again so even you can understand.

    Our logic is based on our experience of things with which we interact, i.e. the Newtonian world. The world of quantum physics is beyond our experience. They are counterintuitive and strange. This strangeness is not the attribute of the minute particle but a characteristic of a word that is not dominated by time and space. The behavior of particles gives us an idea of what happens when space-time quantum is absent. Time and space are properties of matter (substances larger than atom). Without matter, there is no time or space. We can’t envision a world without time and space. Quantum world allow us to peep into such universe.

    Since consciousness is not made of matter, it is not subject to time and space quantum. The behavior of particles in a timeless and spaceless universe can give us an idea of the behavior of consciousness. So just like electrons consciousness can be in multiple places at the same time, it also can pop in and out of here and now.

    It is also absurd to say since we can’t see or measure consciousness it therefore does not exist. Has anyone seen or measured dark matter. Dark matter is all around us. It goes through us and neither can we sense it nor our instruments can detect it. Yet we are pretty much positive that it exists. Why? Because of its effect on galaxies. There is evidence that it exists. The evidence for the survival of consciousness is in the psychic/telepathic ability of the near death experiencers. There is no other way for us to detect it. This is the only way we can know that it is real. When there are thousands of people reporting coming out of their body, looking at the medical team operating on them from above and reporting accurately what the people did and said we can’t keep denying the phenomenon. When many of these unconscious patients go to the other rooms to find their relatives and the report accurately what they said and did, it would be intellectually dishonest to keep defending an ideology. Facts are facts and they are easily accessible to anyone who cares to check them out. Don’t pooh-pooh things that are beyond your ken. Check them out. You don’t want to know because you have already made your mind. You “know” there is nothing to be learned and hence why waste time. I deal with people like you all the time. My job is to show Muslims the fallacy of their belief and I am quite familiar with this attitude. Those who know least are often more convinced. They have no use to check out any evidence presented by their opponents since this to them mean waste of time. After all what is left to learn after having learned it all. Sorry buddies, but that is not the right attitude.

    We debate until cows come home. People have been discussing his subject for hundreds of years, if not thousands. This problem cannot be solved through discussion and argumentation. It can only be settled through observation.

    In the last 40 years, since doctors have managed to resuscitate dead patience millions of near death experiences have been reported. Thousands of them have been verified by the doctors, nurses and the relatives of the patients. I am only interested in the latter. Unless there is a worldwide conspiracy that includes the medical professionals and the relatives of patients, I have no reason to doubt that these reports are true. Only if one of them is true, it is enough. But we have hundreds.

    I fact I myself had a peep into a different dimension for a few seconds while fully awake and in good health. It happened over two decades ago. I could not make sense of it until I learned about the stories of the near death experiencer and realized I have been there.

  236. mumadaddon 30 May 2014 at 5:28 am

    Woooooo!

    AliSina true believer trope counter:

    - You just don’t get it
    - Skeptics are too closed minded to see the truth
    - I used be a Skeptic but now my eyes are open
    - My woo is true because quantum physics
    - Extensive strawmanning
    - You tube videos of anecdotal experience as evidence
    - The materialist paradigm is about to be shattered

    Keep them coming AliSina, help me pass some time today.

  237. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 5:42 am

    @AlSina

    “Looks like I ruffled a few feathers here.”

    You’re in the middle of a glut of true believers here at Neurologica Blog. I blame Dr. Novella, apparently afterlife/consciousness brings out the real wackadoos.

    “Sorry, it is not my fault that you have tenuous comprehension”

    We’re hearing this ad nauseum these days. Seems if someone goes with the evidence instead of the series of irrational loopty-loops one has to do in order to get around the evidence, then they obviously just don’t understand. So many geniouses and so little time…

    “They are counterintuitive and strange. ”

    You woo guys have got to get on board with a common theme here. Some of you say it’s completely understandable, some of you equate it’s strangeness with proof that whatever you want to believe in exists.
    I think the underlying problem here is that if you’ll pause to notice for a moment, the skeptical view is pretty synchronous amongst us skeptics. Wonder why that is? Possibly because we’re attemtping to follow the evidence and the science instead of trying to wing it as we go along. It’s why if you take 10 different woo practitioners of any one woo, they’ll give you 1000 different ways to do it. There’s no consensuse because there’s no evidence to support a consensus.

    “Since consciousness is not made of matter, it is not subject to time and space quantum.”

    Dr. Novella already addressed this bizarre belief – consciousness is a process. For example the process of evolution is also not made of matter, but it doesn’t require crazy quantum woo to explain it.

    “So just like electrons consciousness can be in multiple places at the same time, it also can pop in and out of here and now. ”

    Here’s why you’re already annoying me, guys and girls like you come in swinging with these absolute statements and nothing to back them up except some philosophizing. Philosophy is not science, though you and Ian both seem to make the mistake of thinking it’s so.

    “It is also absurd to say since we can’t see or measure consciousness it therefore does not exist. Has anyone seen or measured dark matter. Dark matter is all around us”

    Again, your ignorance leads you astray. For example ‘dark matter’ is theoretical – it’s not a specific thing. However, based on the hypothesis scientist have been looking for specific affects predicted by the theory and so far so good, it’s held up pretty well. We know there’s something but we have yet to identify what exactly it is, only some of it’s effects. Just like we can measure the effects of dark matter to strengthen the hypothesis, we have also observed how altering the physical brain alters the function of the mind. In both cases there are measurable and predictable effects.

    “The evidence for the survival of consciousness is in the psychic/telepathic ability of the near death experiencers. There is no other way for us to detect it.”

    Then you have absolutely no way to prove or disprove your theory. Anecdotal NDE’s does not evidence make. Someone said it earlier on this thread – thousands of anecdotes do not make good science. Millions are just as worthless as one. Show us even a couple of strong experiments proving any of these psi phenomena you guys keep claiming exist, and lynchpinning your arguments on.

    “When there are thousands of people reporting coming out of their body, looking at the medical team operating on them from above and reporting accurately what the people did and said we can’t keep denying the phenomenon”

    There are much simpler explanations for these than having to reach out and create a magical phenomena from thin air, with absolutely no evidence to support it.

    “Check them out. You don’t want to know because you have already made your mind. You “know” there is nothing to be learned and hence why waste time”

    We have, there’s no evidence,the last sentence holds some truth however.

    “When many of these unconscious patients go to the other rooms to find their relatives and the report accurately what they said and did, it would be intellectually dishonest to keep defending an ideology”

    Again, anecdotal evidence isn’t. It’s intellectually dishonest to avoid all the evidence for a mundane explanation just because you can’t get past your infantile need to exist beyond your death.

    “Sorry buddies, but that is not the right attitude.”

    Are you and Ian Wardell pals? I ask because you both have this way of trying to establish you know ‘stuff’, then turning around and accusing everyone else of representing themselves as knowing all. WE only know what the evidence shows us. YOUR only defense against that is to ad hominem because you cannot present facts or evidence to support your stance. You don’t even seem to be able to understand the problem with anecdotal evidence.

    “It can only be settled through observation. ”

    Then how about you take the pepsi challenge Leo, Hardnose and Ian are flailing away at. Explain to us and provide evidence to support your case for how all the evidence points to a brain/mind link, but you still come to the conclusion there is something else. Don’t link to your blog, I took a look last night against my better judgement and it’s as bad and unintelligible as Wardells’.

    “Unless there is a worldwide conspiracy that includes the medical professionals and the relatives of patients, I have no reason to doubt that these reports are true. Only if one of them is true, it is enough”

    No but you have enough motivated reasoning to ignore the evidence against and only select what you think supports your claims – mountains of useless anecdotal evidence.

    “I fact I myself had a peep into a different dimension for a few seconds while fully awake and in good health.”

    I took about twice as much acid at a party one night and saw monsters and flames swim across the sky for hours. All explained biologically and chemically. Your story is anecdotal – starting to see a pattern in your evidence?

  238. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 5:43 am

    haha, mumadadd beat me to it, and much more efficiently too!

  239. mumadaddon 30 May 2014 at 6:03 am

    grabula,

    Thanks. Did I miss any? Can’t wait for the next instalment…

  240. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 6:10 am

    mumadadd, AlSina hit all the classics so I think you covered it pretty well!

  241. BillyJoe7on 30 May 2014 at 7:13 am

    AlSina,

    Did any ONE of those thousands of cases you’ve investigated reveal the code on top of the cupboard?

    No?

    Then report back when you find one.
    That’s all we ask – just ONE verified case
    Is that really too much to ask?
    Shouldn’t YOU be asking for such a case…I mean…as a true sceptic!

  242. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 7:19 am

    “Shouldn’t YOU be asking for such a case…I mean…as a true sceptic!”

    Come on BillyJoe! There are THOUSANDS of people saying they had NDE’s. Using “Wardells Standard” (TM) – if there are thousands of them, not all of them can be wrong!

  243. Steven Novellaon 30 May 2014 at 8:06 am

    I want to emphasize one point:

    “Unless there is a worldwide conspiracy that includes the medical professionals and the relatives of patients, I have no reason to doubt that these reports are true.”

    But that is just it – there are plenty of good reasons to doubt that the reports are accurate and true. It’s called psychology. There are countless psychological experiments demonstrating in various ways, and unequivocally, that we cannot trust our memories of our perceptions. Our memories are not recorders. Rather, we actively construct a narrative that is just as much about belief and expectation as it is about our (also faulty) perceptions.

    Many belief systems built on millions of profound anecdotal experiences vanished under careful and controlled observing conditions.

    Haven’t you ever been in an argument with someone, and then immediately after the two of you have very different memories of the conversation you just had? You probably assumed it was the other person who was wrong (a natural assumption), but it’s likely you were both wrong.

    This is precisely where skeptics and believers separate. It is NOT because skeptics are closed minded or have already made up their minds. (If anything, the opposite is true.) Rather, it’s because skeptics understand the power of self-deception and the need for critical thinking.

    Millions of people can be profoundly and systematically wrong if culture, belief, and cognitive biases lead them there.

  244. hardnoseon 30 May 2014 at 9:06 am

    “Given that changes to the physical brain show changes in the mind, and given that specific changes to specific parts of the brain give predictable results, how do you explain this is your make believe world?”

    And changes in the mind influence the physical brain. How do you explain that in your 19th century materialist world?

  245. BillyJoe7on 30 May 2014 at 9:13 am

    The checkerboard illusion revisited.

    Ian has again linked to his interpretation of the checkerboard illusion:
    “http://ian-wardell.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/are-perceptual-illusions-always.html”
    (Don’t click on this link)
    I’m not sure why, because he has consistently got it wrong as has been pointed out many times before.

    Here is a link to the checkerboard illusion so you don’t have to click on Ian’s blog:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grey_square_optical_illusion.PNG

    (Note: The checkerboard illusion is a 2D illusion – simply the flat 2D screen of your computer with variously coloured areas on it. The areas on your computer screen marked A and B appear to be different colours but are actually the same colour)

    Ian: “I’m sure that all of us are astounded that the squares A and B are actually the same colour. It is the shadow cast over B by the cylinder which makes us think otherwise”

    If A and B are actually the same colour (which they are) the shadow cast over B by the cylinder would make B appear darker than A. In fact B appears lighter than A, so this cannot be the correct explanation The correct explanation of why B appears lighter than A is that B is surrounded by dark squares (making it appear lighter than it actually is) and A is surrounded by light squares (making it appear darker than it actually is). The reason that the “shadow” is added is that, without it, the actual colour of B would be too light to match the actual colour of A. The shadow makes the actual colour of B a little darker so as to match the actual colour of A.

    Continued…

  246. BillyJoe7on 30 May 2014 at 9:15 am

    Ian: “If this were a real object you are seeing, then squares A and B are very different colours. Our senses are not deceiving us”

    Really?
    Here is a video of the “real object”.
    You decide…are our senses deceiving us or not?

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Sen1HTu5o

  247. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 9:33 am

    “How do you explain that in your 19th century materialist world?”

    I love the fact that hardnose doesn’t believe in supernatural, but doesn’t believe in materialism. WTF does that mean.

    But if you really try to pin down hardnose, he just won’t reply. Like Ian. He just trolls comments until he finds one where he thinks he has the upper hand.

    Getting to the nitty-gritty is their cryptonite – and for obvious reasons.

  248. Insomniacon 30 May 2014 at 9:43 am

    Ian : As BJ7 pointed out, and also from what transpires in your blog entries, you’re demonstrably wrong by claiming that we are never fooled by our senses and that the world is as it appears to be. Forget about drugs or hallucinatinos, just think about mirages… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirage

    For me, as long as you keep asserting that, it’s nail in the coffin for your idealistic worldview as a whole.

    Please address this point, and don’t try to elude this remark. If you do then you should know you’re losing the last remaining bit of your credibility.

  249. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 9:49 am

    Philosophizing is great and it’s fun.

    But you guys are engaging in the same epistemological model as Aristotle. Which is fine until you become so filled with hubris as to think that you’ve trumped science!

    I know you guys literally don’t know what science is (as you’ve shown above)- but science has moved on. We’ve made our assumptions – no solopcism, no supernatural causation, etc – and we’re actually getting it done. All of you who say your dialectic reasoning has trumped science are getting nothing done. No predictions. No discoveries. Nothing, nada, zilch.

    While you guys write yet another blog post that is in reality a re-hashing of the same ideas that have been around for millennia, we’ll be in our labs or clinics actually finding out a little something about how the world works or APPLYING that knowledge in a way that evinces actual understanding.

    I know I posted a variant of this above, but it bears repeating. This is like the losing football team in a 100-0 game sneeringly professing that they’re still #1. Completely contradicted by the data.

  250. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 10:01 am

    Leo: “Neither has your case met the threshold of proof. Your making an announcement that we know what reality is we have no clue what reality is.”

    I’m never made an announcement that I know what reality actually is – I’m calling BS. Quote me and prove it.

    “But we know that reality thanks to quantum physics is far more expansive than naturalism/materialism could have ever thought.”

    You understand that the methods used to reach beliefs are extremely important, right? Before evidence is presented, belief is not justified. There is no telling to how crazy the world, even beyond quantum mechanics, actually is. This is not incompatible with naturalism or materialism. In fact, the methods build around naturalism and materialism was what was used to discover quantum mechanics in the first place.

    Pragmatically idealism, dualism, and supernaturalism are useless, while naturalism and materialism delivers the goods.

    AliSina: Why don’t you respond to my previous comment to you? I did more than call you out on your bullshit. I proved, in at least one instance, that your method of researching life after death was lazy and resulted in collecting bad evidence that does not support your conclusion.

    Grabula: “You’re in the middle of a glut of true believers here at Neurologica Blog. I blame Dr. Novella, apparently afterlife/consciousness brings out the real wackadoos.”

    lol This is the most wackadoos I’ve seen on the site.

  251. mumadaddon 30 May 2014 at 10:01 am

    I wasn’t sure what idealism is so I just read something by Bertrand Russell on the subject. I think this paragraph sums it up best:

    “He then proceeds to consider common objects, such as a tree, for instance. He shows that all we know immediately when we ‘perceive’ the tree consists of ideas in his sense of the word, and he argues that there is not the slightest ground for supposing that there is anything real about the tree except what is perceived. Its being, he says, consists in being perceived: in the Latin of the schoolmen its ‘esse’ is ‘percipi’. He fully admits that the tree must continue to exist even when we shut our eyes or when no human being is near it. But this continued existence, he says, is due to the fact that God continues to perceive it; the ‘real’ tree, which corresponds to what we called the physical object, consists of ideas in the mind of God, ideas more or less like those we have when we see the tree, but differing in the fact that they are permanent in God’s mind so long as the tree continues to exist. All our perceptions, according to him, consist in a partial participation in God’s perceptions, and it is because of this participation that different people see more or less the same tree. Thus apart from minds and their ideas there is nothing in the world, nor is it possible that anything else should ever be known, since whatever is known is necessarily an idea. ”

    What a crock of shit! How would it be possible to distinguish this from a materialistic world? What’s the point??

  252. The Other John Mcon 30 May 2014 at 10:04 am

    BJ, thanks for again pointing out Ian’s silliness with the checkerboard color illusion. Ian and his ilk are so confused by this (and the many hundreds of other) perceptual illusions because they provide overwhelming, easy-to-demonstrate, and obvious proof against their interpretation of the mind. Why aren’t our perceptions always accurate reflections of reality? Because our perceptions, minds, and consciousness are a constructed, interpreted model *based* on information from an external reality (but obviously not equivalent to the external reality, as these illusions so clearly demonstrate).

  253. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 10:15 am

    Insomniac

    This is just not true, this is an incorrect interpretation of quantum mechanics. The collapse of the wave function is just a matter of interaction with the macroscopic world, what we call a “measurement”, it happens even if there is no one observing. Maybe the use of the word “measurement” is misleading because it entails an observer. When you look at electron interferences, individual electrons have their wave function collapsed as soon as they hit the wall, and for that no human presence is required (or that of any sentient being for that matter).

    You said when you look at electron interferences that is the point of the observer phenomenon its not just simply that a observer looks at something its that a observer can interpret something like results like you mentioned with the electron interferences and bring it into reality.

    You should watch this short video by Andrei Linde explaining the observer effect in quantum physics.

  254. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 10:15 am

    http://www.closertotruth.com/series/why-explore-cosmos-and-consciousness

  255. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 10:28 am

    I’m never made an announcement that I know what reality actually is – I’m calling BS. Quote me and prove it

    What I met was you seem awfully sure that materialism is true you seem to get all your feathers are ruffled when someone challenges it.

    “But we know that reality thanks to quantum physics is far more expansive than naturalism/materialism could have ever thought.”

    You understand that the methods used to reach beliefs are extremely important, right? Before evidence is presented, belief is not justified. There is no telling to how crazy the world, even beyond quantum mechanics, actually is. This is not incompatible with naturalism or materialism. In fact, the methods build around naturalism and materialism was what was used to discover quantum mechanics in the first place.

    In fact your wrong and John Wheeler knew how incompatible naturalism was with quantum physics.

    And I quote from here

    Quantum mechanics, however, throws a monkey wrench into this simple mechanical view of things. No less a figure than Eugene Wigner, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, claimed that materialism — at least with regard to the human mind — is not “logically consistent with present quantum mechanics.” And on the basis of quantum mechanics, Sir Rudolf Peierls, another great 20th-century physicist, said, “the premise that you can describe in terms of physics the whole function of a human being … including [his] knowledge, and [his] consciousness, is untenable. There is still something missing.”

    http://vereloqui.blogspot.ca/2012/07/materialists-who-didnt-get-quantum.html

  256. Steven Novellaon 30 May 2014 at 10:28 am

    The mind changes the brain because the mind is the brain. The brain is wetware – it’s own activity changes it’s own function. It is communicating with itself.

    We call this strange phenomena memory and learning.

  257. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 10:37 am

    @Steven Novella

    Memory and learning are a part of consciousness. You said mind changes the brain therefore mind is the brain but then say the brain changes itself. Well which one is it?.

  258. Steven Novellaon 30 May 2014 at 10:40 am

    Leo – quantum mechanics is not incompatible with materialism, nor is it necessary to for consciousness. Here is a good discussion of the topic by a physicist. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/05/quantum_consciousness_physics_and_neuroscience_do_not_explain_one_another.html

    Key point – “The problem with Klemm’s assertions, as well as those of many others who misuse the word quantum, is that their speculation is based on a superficial understanding of one or both fields. Physics may or may not have anything informative to say about consciousness, but you won’t make any progress in that direction without knowing a lot about both quantum physics and how brains work. Skimping on either of those will lead to nonsense.”

  259. Steven Novellaon 30 May 2014 at 10:43 am

    “You said mind changes the brain therefore mind is the brain but then say the brain changes itself. Well which one is it?.”

    If mind is the brain, then these are both the same thing, right. What’s your confusion?

    You seem to be starting with the assumption that the mind is something other than brain function. If you treat this as a hypothesis, however (rather than a philosophical starting poimt) that hypothesis has failed.

    The mind as brain hypothesis has been remarkably successful, on the other hand, and is compatible with all reliable data we have.

  260. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 10:49 am

    leo:”In fact your wrong and John Wheeler knew how incompatible naturalism was with quantum physics.”
    Ohhh, damn. I’m sooo wrong. You got me with that argument from authority. Good job using a fallacy to prove me wrong.

    If quantum mechanics are not compatible with materialism and naturalism, how is it possible science, which assumes methodological naturalism, discovered quantum mechanics? How is it possible that quantum chromodynamics is so successful and accurate at explaining strong interactions? Quantum mechanics is one of the most accurate and successful branches of science.

    Quantum mechanics are not incompatible with naturalism or materialism.

    There is a slight problem trying to define the scope of naturalism and materialism – basically there isn’t a limit to what is possible within naturalism and materialism. Your arbitrarily setting a limit on naturalism and materialism, excluding phenomena that fall outside the bounds of common sense, in order to misrepresent materialism and naturalism.

  261. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 10:59 am

    Hoss

    I would think John Wheeler knows what he is talking about as he is an expert in quantum physics.True they discovered quantum physics but they didn’t expect to find what they found. They found that reality is far stranger than materialism would say it is. I agree quantum mechanics indeed is. Materialism states that everything is physical in nature that the universe is casually closed.

    Steven Novella

    But your admitting mind affect the brain makes it sound like you are following interaction dualism. Because that is what it says mind affect brain and brain affects mind a two way relationship.

    So your view is that consciousness can be explained by the brain and classical physics instead of quantum physics?.

  262. Steven Novellaon 30 May 2014 at 11:14 am

    Leo – again, you are getting lost in semantics. The mind is simply a process of the brain. So, when I say the mind affects the brain I am saying the brains functioning affects itself. When one neuron fires and affects the firing of a neuron to which it is connected, the dendrites become more dense, the receptor density may change, the synapse gap lessens, and the astrocytes modify their function further. It’s all biological stuff happening in the brain, all the way down.

    You are making an argument from authority, relying on a subset of physicists who have ventured outside their area of expertise, causing mischief. The majority of quantum physicists don’t buy this malarky. I linked to an article by one who lays this out. Sean Carroll is another, my partner in the Afterlife debate. In fact, every physicist I have ever spoken to agrees this is a nonsensical abuse of quantum theory. It’s just a few celebrity crackpots who are talking about such nonsense.

    I further never said that you can explain anything completely with classic physics. The reason we need quantum physics is because, when you dig deep enough, classic physics doesn’t cut it. However, that’s different than saying that quantum wierdness exists at the macroscopic level. It doesn’t. Decoherence and the De broglie limit see to that.

    Leo – to emphasize a key point, it seems that you are overly relying on a minority of physicists who have ventured into mysticism and areas outside their area of expertise. This is understandable, as they get disproportionate attention. But if you check, the majority of physicists don’t buy it. Just read the article I linked to in my prior post.

    Also – their arguments just don’t hold up, and they are generally ignorant of neuroscience.

  263. mumadaddon 30 May 2014 at 11:20 am

    Leo,

    The mind is a process. The process affects the physical substrate, like the process of cloud formation affects the water droplets in the cloud. Are you being deliberately asinine?

  264. mumadaddon 30 May 2014 at 11:27 am

    Oops, didn’t refresh so didn’t see Steve’s comment.

  265. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 12:14 pm

    “Leo – again, you are getting lost in semantics.”

    Cut them some slack Steve – that’s all they’ve got.

  266. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 12:33 pm

    @Steven Novella

    Thanks for clarifying. I would disagree they know consciousness has something to do with quantum physics they just don’t admit it. Consciousness is the skeleton in the closet when it came apparent it has some relationship with quantum physics.

    http://quantumenigma.com/

    Steve12

    If that is all we have then why bother debating with us.

  267. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 12:40 pm

    “If that is all we have then why bother debating with us.”

    Good question.

  268. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 1:03 pm

    If that is all we have then why bother debating with us.

    Leo, same question; why do you?

  269. hardnoseon 30 May 2014 at 1:04 pm

    “I love the fact that hardnose doesn’t believe in supernatural, but doesn’t believe in materialism. WTF does that mean.”

    Steve12,

    So … for every philosophical controversy there is an A answer vs. a B answer? That would make the world very simple and not much thinking would be required.

    But even if you prefer a simple world where you don’t have to wear out your brain with too much thinking, that is not reality.

  270. hardnoseon 30 May 2014 at 1:07 pm

    “The reason we need quantum physics is because, when you dig deep enough, classic physics doesn’t cut it. However, that’s different than saying that quantum wierdness exists at the macroscopic level. It doesn’t. Decoherence and the De broglie limit see to that. ”

    Well Steve Novella, you managed to ignore the article I linked in one of your earlier posts, about some birds using quantum entanglement in their navigation systems.

    Things will only get worse for you quantum-deniers, as the research continues. This might be fun to watch.

  271. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 1:10 pm

    @ the devil’s gummy bear

    Maybe because its kinda fun when people have different views from my own.

  272. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Hardnose

    I asked you to explain what a non-supernatural, non-materialist reality would mean. I laid out all of the several relevant questions and asked you to clarify / comment. You ignored them all, as you always do.

    A non-supernatural, non-materialist universe makes no sense. But I don’t expect you to get into any of the details. YOu don’t do that.

    “But even if you prefer a simple world where you don’t have to wear out your brain with too much thinking, that is not reality.”

    So if I don’t agree with you, I believe in a simple world? That’s ridiculous.

  273. The Other John Mcon 30 May 2014 at 1:15 pm

    hardnose, what exactly is a quantum-denier? when you get around to answering any of steve12′s questions, you might consider explaining (I am eager with anticipation!).

  274. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Leo: You really need to educate yourself about what quantum mechanics actually is before using something you don’t understand as evidence to support your ideas. (I don’t know what quantum mechanics are, but I know they support my philosophy) Read up on it.

    I’d suggest starting with something simple like the Feynman lectures. It starts off with a Newtonian mechanics understanding of would happen with the Slit experiments then goes into what is actually observed(quantum mechanics).
    http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/III_01.html

  275. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 1:16 pm

    @Leo

    Well, you’ve answered your own question. It is fun. As an exercise. And it is endlessly fascinating how people like you think. The foibles of human thinking gone awry are a curiosity, interesting to observe, and a cautionary example to remind me, at least, to remain vigilant in exercising critical thinking.

  276. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Hoss

    I got a good understanding of quantum mechanics and so does the two physicist’s you came up with the Quantum Enigma book.

  277. The Other John Mcon 30 May 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Leo: “I got a good understanding of quantum mechanics.”

    Sure you do, buddy. I’d ask you to explain entanglement or the quantum eraser experiment but I’ve had my fill of copypasta.

  278. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 2:00 pm

    I got a good understanding of quantum mechanics…

    You actually don’t.

    Even for a layperson, you seem to have less than a rudimentary understanding.

  279. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 2:09 pm

    http://scienceblogs.com/mixingmemory/2006/11/16/the-illusion-of-explanatory-de/

    +

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

    +

    too much self confidence

    = the problem for Ian, Leo, Hardnnose, etc.

  280. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 2:25 pm

    The Other John Mc

    Why would I have to explain it to you or any of the other skeptics on here?. You ask me to do that then ask me how that has any connection to psi/afterlife. I am not an expert in physics or another other fields but I do have some knowledge about it.

    Devil’s Gummy

    Because I say that quantum physics casts doubt on a materialist worldview?.

    Steve12 you and other skeptics here you have it totally backwards you seem to be awfully confident in materialism.

  281. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Because I say that quantum physics casts doubt on a materialist worldview?.

    Nope.

    Leo, part of having an “open mind” is understanding and admitting that one probably doesn’t know a whole lot about most things outside of their very specific area of expertise.

  282. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Leo: You’ve yet to provide a sound argument that puts materialism into question. All you’ve done is make erroneous assertions questioning the validity of materialism. Then you solve the non-problems of materialism, that you created, by asserting your philosophy is true through arguments from ignorance.(there is also equivocation fallacies, arguments from authority, flat out denial,…. – the list goes on and on.)

    Your methods are sloppy and inconsistent. You need to stop trying to defend your beliefs and fix your methods of inquiry, which are currently leading you to beliefs without valid justification.

  283. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Because I say that quantum physics casts doubt on a materialist worldview?.

    Let me clarify; because you make statements like this without irony. That’s why.

    (I say this knowing full well it will be entirely lost on you)

  284. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 2:42 pm

    leo: “Because I say that quantum physics casts doubt on a materialist worldview?.”
    That just means your ignorant of materialist philosophy and/or quantum mechanics.

  285. The Other John Mcon 30 May 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Yet another shining example of “Quantum mechanics is weird and difficult to undestand. My ideas are weird and difficult to understand. Quantum mechanics is true. Therefore, my ideas are true. Yay!!! In your face, you ignorant asshatted materialists!”

  286. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 2:54 pm

    “Why would I have to explain it to you or any of the other skeptics on here?. You ask me to do that then ask me how that has any connection to psi/afterlife. I am not an expert in physics or another other fields but I do have some knowledge about it.”

    Translation: I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’m right anyway.

    Now that’s funny shit right there….

  287. midnightrunner2014on 30 May 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Leo100 wrote:

    “Greg Taylor had to put you straight because you were lying”

    Leo I have not lied about anything, like I said before I have spent over 20 years investigating psychical research and I take the various case studies very seriously. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t be spending as much as $125 on various books to acquire little known information. I was a Wikipedia editor for over six years, I do not hide this fact as it is a great place to upload references, all the articles I created can easily be found.

    Most of the articles on Wikipedia relating to psychical research or spiritualism were either created/ or updated by me – I have put countless hours into making content publicly available about many of these old mediumship or psychical cases, you would never do this i.e put yourself out for others and give all this knowledge out. Helen Duncan, Minda Crandon and every other Victorian medium were all frauds, even yourself said that ectoplasm is nothing more than cheesecloth, so what’s the problem with mentioning the fraud? We should not supress this information. It seems to me you just want to believe in the paranormal without really investigating these cases.

    I and several other editors updated Leonora Piper’s Wikipedia page with all the evidence for her tricks and her failed mediumship communications. A month after this happened a different encyclopedia called rationalwiki decided to copy some of my paragraphs about what I had written on Wikipedia onto their own site about Piper. I personally don’t have a problem with this as I have several admin friends on rationalwiki and Wikipedia has no copyright problems, stuff on this website is copied all over the web, it is free knowledge. But Greg Taylor being a spiritualist and big promoter of pseudoscience hates rationalwiki and often posts libel about it on his twitter. Once he suspected I was involved in rationalwiki, i.e. he saw that the website was using the same material I had originally sighted he banned me from his blog without engaging in any of the material I presented, no comment from him at all on any of it. That’s the truth of the matter. You have done basically the same – ignoring my huge reply to you about Richard Hodgson communicating with spirits and just throwing ad-hominems at me or other nonsense.

    “You seem to be the worst troll ever and your also lying as well.”

    You have absolutely no evidence I am a troll or a liar apart from deliberate libel and misrepresentation from a spiritualist Greg Taylor. Do you know who Greg Taylor is? He is the owner of DailyGrail one of the most famous pseudoscience and conspiracy theory websites on the internet. He will make stuff up about me because I exposed his pseudoscience.

    Look at the nonsense he publishes on his website, just a latest example:

    http://www.dailygrail.com/Guest-Articles/2014/5/Australian-UFOs-More-100-Years-Ago

    “Australian UFOs More than 100 Years Ago”

    http://www.dailygrail.com/Guest-Articles/2014/5/Can-Science-See-Spirits

    “Can Science see Spirits”.

    Anything he says about anything should be taken with caution, especially his nasty remarks against Martin Gardner and other skeptics with border on libel.

    The case with you Leo seems to be that if anything a paranormal believer says you automatically believe it over a skeptic. All spiritualists like Taylor hate me because I have debunked all the mediums they believe in, all they had left was Piper but I debunked her. They hate me so much all they have done for the last six years on various blogs and forums is make stuff up about me. The latest allegations have been funny thing such as claiming I am Jon Donnis founder of badpsychics or Robert Todd Carroll of The Skeptic’s Dictionary, being paid by the government to destroy mediumship research or being paid by Susan Gerbic of the Guerrilla Skepticism Wikipedia team to discredit spiritualism. The newest ones (from you) is being a troll or liar. None of those are true.

    I won’t discuss this further as I have your paranormal blog and I will email you leo100 if you want any rare material on Hodgson or Piper. Cheers.

    Truth is here if you want it tho bro :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonora_Piper

  288. hardnoseon 30 May 2014 at 3:36 pm

    ” The reason we need quantum physics is because, when you dig deep enough, classic physics doesn’t cut it. However, that’s different than saying that quantum wierdness exists at the macroscopic level. It doesn’t. Decoherence and the De broglie limit see to that. ”

    What is a quantum denier? Steve N is one example. He states, as if it’s a proven fact that quantum “weirdness” does not exist at the macroscopic level.

    I have posted a link at this blog to research showing that some birds use quantum entanglement (which Steve N would call “wierdness”) in order to navigate.

    There are other biological studies showing quantum effects in plants and animals.

    Steve N is a quantum denier because he either ignores scientific facts that don’t fit his 19th century world view. Or he does not pay attention to research outside his own field (a very bad mistake, I think).

  289. hardnoseon 30 May 2014 at 3:41 pm

    How can I disagree with materialism, and also with supernaturalism? Because I think both are wrong.

    Materialism is wrong because it doesn’t make any sense given current scientific knowledge. We know that “matter” is not made out of little particles of “matter,” for example.

    I don’t believe in supernaturalism because nothing can be outside of nature. That is also an old and outdated way of thinking.

    I have said many times at this blog that I believe the universe is made out of information. And I believe there are higher dimensional levels, and possibly alternate universes.

    I don’t claim to know all about what the universe is made of and how it began. Unlike Steve N, I know enough to know that we understand very little.

  290. rjbullockon 30 May 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Ha, ha, ha… Spiritual paths and scientific paths both reveal different truths for different purposes. Both are entirely based on symbolic representation of a reality that is far beyond our understanding. That the believers and the skeptics are forever arguing is hilarious to me. Different modes of inquiry people! Both produce results! They don’t need to be reconciled when you recognize they’re both just ways of working with reality (whatever the hell that is…).

    Chill.

    Robert

  291. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 3:55 pm

    “Materialism is wrong because it doesn’t make any sense given current scientific knowledge. We know that “matter” is not made out of little particles of “matter,” for example.”

    Yeah – but that’s still materialism. QM, M-theory, etc are all consistent with materialism. It comes down to semantics of what you consider materialism, I suppose. There are a lot of (IMO) false BS philosophy distinctions.

  292. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Hardnose: I could copy and paste quotes from Steven that contradicts everything you just said.

    Your agenda of proving Steve wrong about everything he says is getting annoying. You constantly misunderstand what he says, then you vengefully attack your incorrect interpretation. People then have to constantly have to correct your false premises. Its getting annoying, but at least it isn’t as bad as it use to be.

  293. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Quite a statement, Robert, but it dissolves into meaninglessness towards the end. What are some results spiritual inquiry produces!? What do you mean by that?

    Eh, I like the most bang for my buck (he tapped into his science machine).

  294. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Midnightrunner

    Apparently you don’t care to bring up that Greg Taylor has refuted you numerous times as well as other readers on this blog. The same with Michael Prescott. No problem with mentioning the fraud but you have overstated your case.

    A poster by the name kaviraj refuted many of your arguments against Piper

    I quote

    HS,

    I provided a summary of points about Piper that I find interesting, including some of the conditions that were set in place that I regard as stringent and sufficient to rule out fraud. I hate repeating myself, but (AMONG OTHER THINGS): (1) the investigators had private detectives tail Piper, (2) Richard Hodgson dismissed those private detectives (when they informed him that Piper wasn’t getting intel from secret sources or engaging in any questionable behavior) and decided to stalk Piper to catch her himself, (3) Hodgson wouldn’t even let a sitter bring an umbrella inside on a rainy day (!), (4) the investigators often had stenographers write down every word, (5) the investigators took precautions against muscle reading and addressed that concern in detail, (6) the investigators often had *strangers* act as proxies for the actual sitters, (7) the investigators read all of Piper’s mail, (8) the investigators brought Piper to another country to test her, etc.

    Under those conditions, Piper’s controls often produced highly intimate hits immediately, even in cases where stenographic records show *no* evidence of fishing, in cases where strangers sat in for the actual sitters, and in cases where the sitters were far removed from any of the investigators (in terms of personal connections).

    I mentioned all of this before. I also already acknowledged that some of Piper’s controls sometimes fished for information. That was already reported in the PRIMARY literature by the ORIGINAL investigators. But there were times when they didn’t fish and also times when they would have been UNABLE to fish (such as times when strangers sat in for the actual sitters).

    Then I reminded you of that fact and pointed out that you have been unwilling or unable to actually address my points via argument.

    You replied to me by citing a Wikipedia entry on mediumship per se that only very briefly deals with a handful of mediums and then said that you would become a “believer spiritualist” like me if I could “refute all of this”. C’mon man… that is simply not an acceptable approach to conversation or debate.

    The wiki entry you provided does NOT mention (let alone seriously engage) ANY of the points I mentioned. Not one.
    wiki wrote:

    In an experiment to test if Piper’s “spirit” controls were purely fictitious the psychologist G. Stanley Hall invented a niece called Bessie Beals

    It’s certainly an embarrassing case and certainly OUGHT to be taken into consideration along with all of her other cases (failures and successes alike). But here are a few things I like to point out:

    (1) Stanley Hall later acknowledged that there was an actual Bessie Beals, although she wasn’t his niece and he says she was still alive at that time (I’ll take his word for it). (2) Hall admitted that he had “no desire whatever to obtain ‘test messages’” (and so he ignored and failed to follow up on the Hodgson control’s attempts to communicate information about other people). (3) There were no detailed stenographic records taken and so nothing for others to investigate for themselves. (4) In the midst of the deception, The Hodgson control actually said the following: “I am interested in seeing I I I am interested in seeing how many stories you can tell in a minute. They are awfully bad. They are awful whoppers. They are awful whoppers. I never heard so many from one in a minute.” That sure sounds like the Hodgson control saying that he was aware of their BS but wanted to play along…(5) In any case, it was already known and openly acknowledge by all of the primary investigators that some of Piper’s controls were ridiculous and dishonest. But (6) none of this justifies the full dismissal all of the cases where Piper’s controls quickly produced *very* intimate hits under the fraud-resistant conditions I described earlier (and more details could have been added).
    wiki wrote:

    The psychologist Joseph Jastrow wrote that Piper pretended to be controlled by spirits and fell into simple and logical traps from her comments

    Except that Piper’s trance was tested by having needle prick her skin, ammonia placed beneath her nostrils, having a flame make contact with her skin, by having spoonfuls of perfume and laundry detergent shoved into her mouth, and by having her pupil responses and respiration measured. Her trance was genuine. She wasn’t (consciously) faking *anything*, even if the controls were secondary personalities.
    wiki wrote:

    Researchers who studied the mediumship of Piper came to the conclusion she was a cold reader

    At best, this is a very irresponsible claim. At worst, it was intentionally misleading. Most of the primary researchers came to the opposite conclusion because of the specific points I summarized earlier.
    wiki wrote:

    and would “fish” for information

    Except in cases where STRANGERS sat in the actual sitters, cases where stenographic records fail to show evidence of fishing taking place, etc.
    wiki wrote:

    The physiologist Ivor Lloyd Tuckett who examined Piper’s mediumship in detail wrote it could be explained by “muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting, knowledge surreptitiously obtained, knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings and lastly, facts already within Mrs. Piper’s knowledge.”

    I already addressed that. No thanks don’t email I don’t you spamming me next thankyou.

  295. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 4:19 pm

    The source of that conversation is here http://www.dailygrail.com/Essays/2013/12/Top-Five-Phenomena-Offer-Evidence-Afterlife?page=1

  296. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Hoss

    Keep saying that quantum mechanics don’t shown that materialism is probably false that isn’t going to change the fact that its false.

  297. Ekkoon 30 May 2014 at 4:30 pm

    leo,
    Please explain in your own words how quantum mechanics shows that materialism is false.

  298. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Keep saying that quantum mechanics don’t shown that materialism is probably false that isn’t going to change the fact that its false.

    You have no idea what you’re talking about. I would ask you to define what you think the words you used in that sentence mean, but that would go nowhere.

  299. BillyJoe7on 30 May 2014 at 4:37 pm

    rjbullocks,

    “Spiritual paths and scientific paths both reveal different truths for different purposes”

    Bullocks.
    Show me just one “truth” arrived at via the spiritual path.
    Show me just one contribution one such “truth” has made to the world.

  300. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 4:38 pm

    “Both produce results! ”

    What results does the spiritual path produce?

  301. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 4:41 pm

    “Please explain in your own words how quantum mechanics shows that materialism is false.”

    If he reads aloud the text from the link he’s going paste, will this count as his own words?

    What am I talking about, he doesn’t read these links before pasting!

  302. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 4:44 pm

    steve12, 10 internets says it’s going to be a (rolls dice)… a wordpress link.

  303. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 5:03 pm

    @the devil’s gummy bear

    Your one funny person.

    @Ekko

    Paul Davies and John Gribbin do a good job of showing how quantum physics undermines materialism.

    It reveals matter itself has far less substance than what we might believe it to be- Paul Davies. Another scientist in that wiki entry is Max Planck. I would strongly advise you study the physics of today not of decades and decades gone by.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism

  304. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Leo, I have read this very article on materialism on wikipedia in order to try to understand where you’re getting your definitions from. I see I was pretty spot on… However, which section of this article are you basing your definition of materialism on? How are you defining “materialist” or “materialist view”?

    IN YOUR OWN WORDS, DEFINE MATERIALISM!!!

  305. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 5:13 pm

    leo: Materialsim is the idea that everything is made up of matter/energy. There is nothing in quantum mechanics that contradicts this. Also,to head off any of Hardnose’s objections, information is a type(my wording might be a little off here) of matter/energy and not some other thing.

    Science assumes methodological naturalism – not methodological materialism.

    I believe in philosophical naturalism, which is much larger in scope than materialism.

    I have a feeling you’re about to play more semantic games. I would prefer to argue for naturalism rather than materialism. Do you think quantum mechanics contradicts naturalism?

  306. AliSinaon 30 May 2014 at 5:15 pm

    “Sorry, it is not my fault that you have tenuous comprehension”
    “We’re hearing this ad nauseum these days.”

    Let us analyze this. I said here the behavior of particles as demonstrated in quantum physics make no sense and yet we do not reject it because it is observable. I then said the same applies to consciousness surviving the death. Even though unexplainable, it must be accepted because it is observable. So the commonality is observation. One genius commenter mocked my argument thinking that the commonality I am suggesting is the inexplicability of the two phenomena. Is that commentator stupid? I doubt it. So why he prefers to engage is straw man and ridicule fallacies instead of refuting my argument rationally? This behavior is peculiar to believers. So don’t call yourselves skeptics when you act like believers.
    I said it before that any discussion on this subject is intellectual masturbation. It is like trying to argue whether Big Foot is real or not through logic. This argument can settled only through evidence. For thousands of years the evidence was scant and hearsay. In the last 4 decades such evidences have been accumulating and now number hundreds of thousands. All is left to do is look at the body of the evidence. But obviously the believers in materialism have not use for evidence. They have already figured out everything, so why waste precious time digging for evidence. It is must more pleasant to intellectualize.

    “Some of you say it’s completely understandable, some of you equate it’s strangeness with proof that whatever you want to believe in exists.”

    The two positions are not mutually exclusive. The phenomenon is unexplainable through Newtonian physics, the physics that is intuitive to us. But it can be perfectly understood and explained through quantum physics. All you need is a shift in paradigm. Think of countless visual illusions. See this for example. Is this a cat or a rat? http://knowledgeoverflow.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/scary-optical-illusion-29.gif Survival of consciousness makes no sense if you wear materialistic glasses. Materialism filters anything that does not interact with matter directly and hence cannot be detected. At one point, even the materialists have to bow to evidence. The best example is the dark matter that I mentioned before. Why do we even consider such thing when dark matter is just as ethereal and undetectable as spirit? We accept the existence of dark matter because we see its effect. It is evidence that compel us to believe in something no one can see or measure. We have now plenty of compelling evidence that consciousness acts independent from the brain and survives its death. The evidence is there for any genuine skeptic. But the believers is materialism have no use for evidence. They rather intellectualize and engage in mockery than waste precious time checking out the evidence. Isn’t it true that you have figured out all the secrets of the universe and that there is nothing else to be discovered? Isn’t it a fact that our great scientific ayatollahs such as R. Dawkins and Carl Sagan are/were materialist? So why bother?

    “Dr. Novella already addressed this bizarre belief – consciousness is a process.’
    That is not fact but theory. Consciousness is not a process or the function of the brain. I debunked this theory in an article titled “The Faithfulness of the Skeptic.” You can search it on Google. I don’t give the link since Dr. Novella does not seem to like me giving links to my blog. Again I backed my argument with evidence.

    “Philosophy is not science,”
    Isn’t this exactly what you people do all the time? Isn’t the above article philosophy in the garb of science? Science is supported by evidence. This article ignores the mountain of evidence altogether and engages in nothing but philosophy. Providing rational arguments that are not based on evidence is straw man fallacy. Yes you make perfect sense but since your premises are wrong, you are wrong. It is like saying since 2+3= 8 then 2+4=9. There is nothing wrong in your logic. Your error is in your premise. Your premise is wrong because you ignored the body of evidence.

    As for dark mater you first mocked me (which shows you are highly smart) and then rehashed the same thing I said. As for altering the brain and thus changing its function, it is does neither prove your argument nor proves mine. You can also tinker with a radio receiver and alter its function.

    “Then you have absolutely no way to prove or disprove your theory. Anecdotal NDE’s does not evidence make. Someone said it earlier on this thread – thousands of anecdotes do not make good science. Millions are just as worthless as one. Show us even a couple of strong experiments proving any of these psi phenomena you guys keep claiming exist, and lynchpinning your arguments on.”

    That is denial of facts. Tell us then what constitute evidence for you? A patient is brought to hospital. She is unconscious. She is taken to the operating room and flat lines. No vial sign exist in her. She is clinically dead. She is then resuscitated and reports accurately seeing what the doctors were doing, (confirmed by the doctors). And reports accurately what her relatives in the waiting room were doing and that too is confirmed by her relatives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EydWO5vqT80
    When we have thousands of cases like this, it is only intellectual dishonesty to dismiss them all as hearsay. I am dealing with faithful believers and I nothing you say surprises me. You can’t accept the evidence because it will shatter your faith in materialism. Read my article “The faithfulness of the skeptics”

    “When there are thousands of people reporting coming out of their body, looking at the medical team operating on them from above and reporting accurately what the people did and said we can’t keep denying the phenomenon”
    There are much simpler explanations for these than having to reach out and create a magical phenomena from thin air, with absolutely no evidence to support it.

    Okay! Please provide those “much simpler explanations.” I am all ears! If you can provide them you have be back into atheism. that would end the discussion. So since you are going to provide those simpler explanations, there is no point for me to answer the rest of your arguments (logically fallacies)

  307. rjbullockon 30 May 2014 at 5:18 pm

    BillyJoe7, my particular spiritual path is Tibetan Buddhism. Here are the truths I’ve learned:

    1) Nothing has any intrinsic reality. All identities are imputations or projections (however you want to put it). The ultimate nature of reality is far, far beyond our thoughts about what it might be. This should be obvious to us but it is not. It’s obvious to quantum physicists. But no, we don’t need scientists and especially not physicists to “prove” this is the case; we just need to look at our own direct experience, contemplate it, and we’ll see it is true if we look very, very carefully. Everything is empty of true existence. We mistake our models of reality for reality itself and end up in some pretty strange arguments because of that!

    2) Naturally, there is no self. “Self” is also a conceptual fabrication, top to bottom, a convenient way to refer to a whole host of aspects that are roughly associated (body, thoughts, feelings, social position, name, etc.). If anything is a self, it would be the continuity of experience, but as that has no identity, it’s not much of a self.

    3) Since identities / models / concepts, etc. are all basically imaginary, to cling to them is the most ignorant thing you could do, but it’s our intense clinging that causes us our greatest suffering.

    Now, the above to you might a) seem like bullshit and if not then, b) not seem to have anything to do with spirituality. If (a), then we’re in for a long discussion. If (b), then you don’t get that “spirituality” need not evoke supernatural beliefs. The point of spirituality is to help us work through the existential dilemma’s we face, to overcome our psychological suffering and to live happy, meaningful lives. That’s it, in my opinion. All of the metaphysical claims and speculations about what we “really are” are just a lot of wasted air… It might be sometimes fun to talk about such things, but they’re really quite beside the point of a spiritual path as far as I am concerned.

  308. Ekkoon 30 May 2014 at 5:20 pm

    AliSina,
    “I said here the behavior of particles as demonstrated in quantum physics make no sense and yet we do not reject it because it is observable. I then said the same applies to consciousness surviving the death. Even though unexplainable, it must be accepted because it is observable. So the commonality is observation.”

    The problem here is where you claim that consciousness surviving death is observable. It is not. The evidence for it is in no way comparable to evidence/experiments in quantum physics. The two are not on the same order of credulity in any way imaginable.

  309. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 5:30 pm

    rjbullock, so… Hot air, is it? RESULTS!

    Not really the same results as, say, oh… I don’t know, parking shit in geosynchronous orbits, is it?

  310. hardnoseon 30 May 2014 at 5:36 pm

    “Yeah – but that’s still materialism. QM, M-theory, etc are all consistent with materialism. It comes down to semantics of what you consider materialism, I suppose. There are a lot of (IMO) false BS philosophy distinctions.”

    Steve12,

    You take a word, such as “materialism,” and then do with it whatever you like. That’s fine, but don’t expect anyone to understand what you mean by the word. I have absolutely no idea what you mean by “materialism.”

    Well, actually, maybe I can guess. By “materialism” you mean that things such as ghosts, spirits, gods, angels, etc., are not real. They are hallucinations.

    I think you need to find a better word to describe your belief system.

    Maybe you should call yourself a “hallucinationist.” Meaning that everything anyone experiences that does not fit your preconceptions must be a hallucination.

  311. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Ha! Hardnose – materialism is a classically slippery definition in philosophy. You seem to think material means you can hold it in your hand.

    So educate me hardnose. How are you defining materialism?

  312. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 5:47 pm

    AliSina: You should read what I wrote, specifically, to you. Hoss on 28 May 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Your methods of inquiry are garbage as they lack reliable standards.

    The only thing people here(the naturalist) are denying about NDEs is your interpretation of them – that they happen outside of the body. No one here is denying that people are having these experiences. You’re presenting poorly controlled evidence as incontrovertible. I’m sorry but science does not work like that. The explanations that science provides for NDEs are much more satisfying and does not invoke unnecessary, unverifiable variables.

  313. steve12on 30 May 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Oh, and Hardnose:

    When you answer that “everything is made of matter”, please explain your words here a bit more:

    >Materialism is wrong because it doesn’t make any sense given current scientific knowledge. We know that >“matter” is not made out of little particles of “matter,” for example.

    How do we know this?

  314. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Hardnose: When answering steve12, remember e=mc^2

  315. BillyJoe7on 30 May 2014 at 6:24 pm

    HardNose,

    “What is a quantum denier? Steve N is one example. He states, as if it’s a proven fact that quantum “weirdness” does not exist at the macroscopic level.
    I have posted a link at this blog to research showing that some birds use quantum entanglement (which Steve N would call “wierdness”) in order to navigate.
    There are other biological studies showing quantum effects in plants and animals.”

    Here is your problem.
    Steve says that macroscopic objects don’t EXHIBIT quantum effects.
    You counter by giving examples of quantum effects having CONSEQUENCES at the macroscopic level.
    Do you see your problem?

    The macroscopic consequences of radioactive decay are clicks on a geiger counter.

    The macroscopic consequences of interference at the quantum level is an interference pattern on a photographic plates in double slit experiments.
    But photographic plates themselves do not exhibit interference.

    The macroscopic consequences of quantum tunnelling in the Sun is that the Earth gets warmed.
    But the Earth does not exhibit quantum tunnelling.
    Tennis balls do not pass through solid brick walls.

    The macroscopic consequences of entanglement in electrons within certain molecules in the retina of migrating birds is that birds migrate successfully.
    But birds do not exhibit quantum entanglement with other birds.

    The macroscopic consequences of entanglement in the chloroplasts of plants is that plants are able to use the energy from the Sun at >90% efficiency.
    But the plants do not exhibit quantum entanglement with other plants.

    I am labouring this so that you will understand this and not make that mistake AGAIN!

    If quantum effects did not have consequences at the macroscopic level, then they would not be detectable and physicists would not even know that they exist. So, of course, quantum effects have consequences at the macroscopic level. In fact, the entire macroscopic world is a consequence of quantum interference, entanglement or tunnelling. But the fact is that macroscopic objects do not themselves exhibit quantum interference, entanglement or tunnelling.

    (Theoretically, a tennis ball could pass through a solid brick wall but the universe would have to continue for another trillion trillion trillion times as long as it has already existed in order for there to be a trillion trillion trillion to one chance of that happening – my figures may be off here but, hey, it aint gonna happen!)

  316. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Here is an interesting article I thought relevant to the current discussion.

    “Is materialism “known to be false”?”
    http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2012/12/is-materialism-known-to-be-false.html

    On a side note, I greatly respect many of the commenters here and of course Dr Novella. The insight and entertainment is very much appreciated.

  317. BillyJoe7on 30 May 2014 at 6:40 pm

    AliSina,

    But still not ONE verified case where the code placed on top of the cupboard was successfully read.
    Why is that?
    After so many thousands of cases, why is that ONE piece of incontrovertible proof missing?

  318. AliSinaon 30 May 2014 at 7:00 pm

    @ # Steven Novella
    “There are plenty of good reasons to doubt that the reports are accurate and true. It’s called psychology. There are countless psychological experiments demonstrating in various ways, and unequivocally, that we cannot trust our memories of our perceptions.”
    This argument would have had some validity if the reports of the NDErs were solely confined to them. Many of these report are confirmed by their doctors while there was no possibility for them to see from their bed, even if they were fully awake. You must explain how one in coma gains psychic ability that they can see things happening in other places and their reports are confirmed.
    I am not going to be impressed with your explanation of how a person with comatose brain can hear and see. It is not rational, but I even accept this fallacious argument if you can explain the telepathic and psychic phenomenon. In the article “Why I Believe in God and the Afterlife Now” I posted a dozen of such cases. There are hundreds of them on youtube.

    “It is NOT because skeptics are closed minded or have already made up their minds”

    I have no argument against this statement. My argument is that many who love to call themselves skeptics are hardcore believers. When you deny evidence and dismiss a mountain of proof as hearsay, you are a believer.
    You dismiss all the testimonies of doctors and the relatives of patients who corroborated the stories of the patients and say they were not done under controlled observing conditions. What constitute controlled observing conditions? Does placing a picture in a high place satisfy your criterion? Why should it? You still have to rely on the testimony of the doctors or experimenters. As far as your reasoning goes it is still hearsay. Please explain in what way it differs from the testimony of doctors and nurses that we have now?
    Raymond Moody has compiled the testimony of over 300 relatives of dying people who although in good health themselves claim to have shared the NDE of their dying relative. That to you is still hear say. I am dealing with believers on daily basis. I know their mindset. You are a believer my dear doctor. I am a skeptic. I left Islam when I saw the evidence, even though it went against everything I held sacred and dear some 18 years ago and less than a year ago I again changed my core belief from atheism to spiritualism, when I see the facts. Denial is stupid. I am committed to truth not to an ideology. I have proven I can change my mind when facts are shown to me. How many times have you changed your mind? You were born with truth. You are above searching for it. Truth bubbles from inside you, so why search it anywhere else.
    Well I was not born with truth inside me. Not as lucky as you I suppose. So as a self-professed ignorant I know the only way for me to become wise (like you) is by being humble and question my beliefs and convictions every day. I pray never arriving at the conviction that you and other faithful believers have arrived.

  319. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 7:12 pm

    AliSina, it appears you are not going to “impressed” by what we mean by controls, blinded studies, or quality evidence.

    It appears you are not going to “impressed” by psychological explanations for supposed phenomena, or belief therein, or explanations that are mundane or common (not necessitating flights of fancy).

    You seem to be “impressed” by anecdotes.

  320. AliSinaon 30 May 2014 at 7:20 pm

    @Steve 12
    “How are you defining materialism?”

    I don’t think there is a consensus on the definition of materialism. However, since the meanings of word are conventional, for me matter anything bigger than atom. There is not the universally agreed upon definition. It is just my definition

    Subatomic particles are forms of energy. Yes energy and matter are convertible, just as water and ice are convertible, but they are not the same.

    Consciousness is also a form of energy. It is just as real as matter, but with a different vibration.
    Everything is energy. Or perhaps a better way to say it is, everything is consciousness. Even matter is consciousness. To put it in a simpler way, everything is thought. Maybe the old Hindu sages had it right when they said, the universe is the dream of Brahma.

  321. tmac57on 30 May 2014 at 7:25 pm

    AliSina- What you consider evidence and mountains of proof are still firmly in the realm of ancedote.
    How many times have we heard from the persons who once visited a so called psychic,that “They knew things about me that there IS NO WAY for them to know!”
    But sadly,we DO know how psychics can ferret out such information,through cold reading, hot reading,guessing combined with the motivated sitter unconsciously colluding with the psychic by forgetting the misses and only remembering the hits.
    And as time passes,the story (just like a ‘big fish’ story) gets more eerie and uncanny than it actually was. People’s memory of such things are really,really terrible and fallible to confabulation and exaggeration.
    All of this is the exact reason why no one in their right mind (rational) would accept such unusual stories as fact,solely on the testimony of observers.We are (all of us) really shit when it comes to observation,and especially so when it feeds in to our expectations,wishes,and cultural biases.
    That is why the scientific method was developed.It is not perfect,but out of the whole range of cognitive tools that we have for interrogating reality,it is the one that has again and again got the job done,where other methods have fallen flat for centuries.

  322. AliSinaon 30 May 2014 at 7:30 pm

    @ the devils gummy bearon

    “It appears you are not going to “impressed” by psychological explanations for supposed phenomena, or belief therein, or explanations that are mundane or common (not necessitating flights of fancy).”

    Sure I will be. Please impress me. Explain how patients in coma gain psychic and telepathic ability to see things in other rooms and I will be immensely impressed.

    Explain under what psychological conditions doctors share their patients’ psychosis when the patients are in coma and incommunicado from the world and I will be very impressed.

    What does not impress me is to deny the millions of evidences and pooh-pooh the testimony of those around the patients as shared hallucination. That I find dishonest and disingenuous.

  323. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I agree with Alisina that the evidence for near death experiences is very good. How do you explain people with very little brain activity having these experiences?. Even neurologically speaking these experiences should be impossible if the mind really produced by the brain. Plus, skeptics say that there can still be some deep level of brain activity that could account for these experiences well I don’t think lower cortical processes can take over higher cortical processes. As its usually assumed that the cerebral cortex of the brain is the crucial area for consciousness itself.

  324. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Hoss

    From the blog post you linked too. It is a non-starter to say that reality becomes stable only through the presence of an observer. What was the universe doing before we came along?

    As Andrei Linde puts it nicely you can’t cut me out of the observations and my observations is my consciousness so its kinda weird isn’t it because it assumes that consciousness may have some independent importance. Lawrence Kuhn asks Andrei Linde a question the same one posed above. So sentinent creature have been around for lets say 100,000 years or 10 million years pick your number but the universe seems to have to been around a lot longer than that. Andrei Linde then says that true it seems that way as if it were around that long and this brings me too a quantum interpretation of Copenhagen that everything comes to existence by the time it is observed you reduce the wave function of the universe into a certain state after you observe the universe. Before you make an observation there is no such thing as a real existence of anything there but once you make an observation everything looks as if it existed all the time before it happens.

  325. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Hoss

    Quantum physics says that matter isn’t primary anymore that energy is now. But, my point is that consciousness fits perfectly into quantum mechanics and many physicists know this. I find naturalism a dead end when it comes to consciousness and other phenomenon that I think are indeed real like some mediums, near death experiences, out of body experiences, apparitions and so on.

  326. Hosson 30 May 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Leo: Holy crap….
    I don’t have time to deal with you, but you’re wrong about the science.

  327. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Sure I will be. Please impress me. Explain how patients in coma gain psychic and telepathic ability to see things in other rooms and I will be immensely impressed.

    I am unaware of any verifiable evidence that demonstrates psychic or telepathic abilities. Will you provide me with this evidence, cited appropriately? This will surely be impressive, will it not?

    Please impress me. Explain how patients in coma gain psychic and telepathic ability to see things in other rooms and I will be immensely impressed.

    Doctors share patients’ psychosis when they are in a coma? I’m afraid I don’t follow (and I don’t want to presume)

    What does not impress me is to deny the millions of evidences and pooh-pooh the testimony of those around the patients as shared hallucination. That I find dishonest and disingenuous.

    I don’t understand what “millions of evidences” means. As for pooh-poohing the testimony of… I think I understand what you’re getting at, but it would appear you are not open explanations that are not inline with what you believe in. If I am to take your statement at face value, you are saying that explanations that you don’t agree with… are dishonest and disingenuous?

  328. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Sorry AliSina, I made a markup mistake and pasted the same quote twice. It should be obvious what I meant anywho…

  329. rjbullockon 30 May 2014 at 8:26 pm

    There’s no way to reconcile this guys, isn’t that obvious? Different models, different purposes.

    From a certain perspective you can say the brain produces consciousness… from the perspective of a neuroscience major *perhaps* (and not even definitely)…

    But from the perspective of a laymen, we use “folk models” for describing the ways we experience reality. That’s our primary concern: *how we experience reality*… not what is “real” or “true” or “scientifically valid” but what makes a difference in the quality of our lives. Utility, in other words.

    For example…

    While I am in no way a theist, I find great utility in the use of symbolic beings to represent various states of mind… So, for example, when you are in a very kind, compassionate state of mind you call that “Chenrezig” (a sound symbol) and perhaps give it a visual symbol as well… something that looks like a human or a mythical creature, or a simple geometric design, etc. Then, when you wish to enter that state of mind, you call that symbol to mind, you “supplicate it” (that is, generate the desire to enter the target state of mind) and you’re either their or not.

    That’s a spiritual practice but it makes perfect sense, does it not? It’s an incredibly powerful way to work with our own minds. Now, if you were to say, “But that’s just symbolic! True believers take the symbols literally!”, I would agree, that is a mistake. But why do the fundamentalists / literalists get to lay claim to spiritual traditions and teachings they don’t even understand?!

  330. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 8:34 pm

    @steve12

    “I love the fact that hardnose doesn’t believe in supernatural, but doesn’t believe in materialism. WTF does that mean”

    Hard nose definitely believes in the supernatural, he’s defended it on this blog on the past. Don’t let him fool you.

  331. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 8:48 pm

    @leo

    “In fact your wrong”

    You idiots have yet to prove a single concept you’ve defended and yet you keep making this absolute statement. You’ve shown less than a basic understanding of science, the scientific method, physics or evidence and somehow keep making this statement.

    How about you try this Leo, next time you want to accuse someone of being ‘in fact’ wrong, you then follow that with some evidence for your statement?

  332. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 8:49 pm

    rjbullock, no offense, but what you are describing as “incredibly powerful” spiritual practices, I call naval gazing.

  333. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 8:52 pm

    *”Navel gazing”

    Not to be confused with leering at hot sailors.

  334. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 9:00 pm

    @leo

    . “I am not an expert in physics or another other fields but I do have some knowledge about it.”

    And yet some knowledge allows you to state absolutely that people who disagree with you are ‘in fact’ wrong. Dunning, this is Kruger, I have another subject for our study

  335. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Neither do on have the time time to deal with you either Hoss. I have evidence why not look at my blog instead of me having to repeat the sources.

    http://paranormalandlifeafterdeath.blogspot.ca/

  336. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 9:06 pm

    There it is. There’s the money shot. Blog to flog.

  337. AliSinaon 30 May 2014 at 9:15 pm

    @ the devils gummy bear
    >>I am unaware of any verifiable evidence that demonstrates psychic or telepathic abilities. Will you provide me with this evidence, cited appropriately? This will surely be impressive, will it not?<>Doctors share patients’ psychosis when they are in a coma? I’m afraid I don’t follow (and I don’t want to presume)<>“it would appear you are not open explanations that are not in line with what you believe in.<<

    I could say that same about you. This is not true in my case. I have provided my evidence and you can find plenty of them if you search NDE on Youtube. Ignore the ones that are not confirmed by someone other than the patient. Just pay attention to the ones attested by others. If you spend time watching many of them, you eventually agree that something is going on and it is no longer honest to dismiss all these testimonies as hearsay.

  338. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 9:17 pm

    @midnight

    “I already addressed that. No thanks don’t email I don’t want you’re rationality and science intruding on my woo”

    There, I fixed Leo’s response to you

  339. AliSinaon 30 May 2014 at 9:21 pm

    @ the devils gummy bear

    Sorry for the double posting but the first one was not published correctly I supposed the signs I entered were interpreted as html code.

    “I am unaware of any verifiable evidence that demonstrates psychic or telepathic abilities. Will you provide me with this evidence, cited appropriately? This will surely be impressive, will it not?”

    In the article Why I Believe in God and Afterlife Now I posted a dozen of such examples. You can find it with Google. I am a guest here and have to follow the orders of the host. He is not happy with me posting links to my articles on his blog.

    “Doctors share patients’ psychosis when they are in a coma? I’m afraid I don’t follow (and I don’t want to presume)”

    The examples I posted in the above mentioned article all are endorsed by people other than the patients, which exclude the claim that their experiences were subjective and hallucinatory. For example, a patient dies. His doctors, end the operation and leave him to be taken to the morgue. A couple of them then discuss among each other in the corridor about what they could or should have done. There was no way for the patient to see them or hear their conversation from the bed he was lying on, even if he was fully awake. (He was dead.) Then the patient comes back to life, on his own and reports exactly what the two doctors were discussing and where they were standing. He even says who had his arms crossed and was leaning against the wall. If anyone can explain what psychological phenomenon can make two doctors and their resuscitated patient share a hallucination of this kind I will be very impressed. Forget about me. You will be making a name for yourself in science and will certainly win the Nobel Prize.

    The believers in materialism will go to any absurd explanation to deny that such experiences are real. Sorry I am not a believer. I have no faith to defend, no ideology to fight for. I accept the truth when sufficient proof is provided. What I have seen in NDE is more than enough proof. Those who deny them have not seen them. They have not seen them because they feel no need to. Why waste time when they already know the truth?

    “it would appear you are not open explanations that are not in line with what you believe in.”

    I could say that same about you. This is not true in my case. I have provided my evidence and you can find plenty of them if you search NDE on Youtube. Ignore the ones that are not confirmed by someone other than the patient. Just pay attention to the ones attested by others. If you spend time watching many of them, you eventually agree that something is going on and it is no longer honest to dismiss all these testimonies as hearsay.

  340. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 9:34 pm

    @alsina

    “That is not fact but theory”

    Supported by tons of evidence, repeatable. This is something you guys keep missing the point of. You want to put strictly anecdotal evidence up against hard, experimentally verifiable evidence.

    “Isn’t this exactly what you people do all the time? ”

    Uh no, we support or claims with actual dyed in the wool scientific evidence. You guys dint seem to comprehend the difference. That’s why the continuous statements about us not understanding you come ase extremely ironic. You need to grasp the basics before you can start pointing fingers

    “The Faithfulness of the Skeptic.”

    Alsina, you can’t debunk something if you dint even understand the fundamental basics you are arguing with our against. With each ridiculous claim your hole gets that much deeper.

  341. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 9:41 pm

    @rbullock

    “It’s obvious to quantum physicists”.

    Fantastic, another one to add to the flock. You haven’t done much reading around these parts have you. The minute you invoke quantum physics as an excuse to believe what you want to believe because it’s ‘wierd’ you’ve already defeated yourself, no effort on our part needed

    If there’s one lesson you true believers should walk away with, it’s that just because quantum physics is wierd, it in NO WAY supports any type of bizarre magical thinking you want to defend. The minute you make this mistake you lose all credibility.

  342. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 9:48 pm

    I apologize for the string of posts guys. I go to bed and wake up 7 hrs later to find the special needs kids still pushing against the door that says pull

  343. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 9:56 pm

    @AlSina

    “So as a self-professed ignorant I know the only way for me to become wise (like you) is by being humble and question my beliefs and convictions every day”

    I’m not buying your BS. This is yet another tactic by you woo believers, a claim of humbleness in the face of skeptical hubris. Except where you guys accuse us of being absolutely wrong, incapable of understanding your arguments or your ‘evidence ‘. Please read up on Dunning/Kruger to find the source of your mistakes.

  344. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 9:58 pm

    @AlSina

    “Explain how patients in coma gain psychic and telepathic ability to see things in other rooms and I will be immensely impressed.”

    Evidence please.

  345. pious fraudon 30 May 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I was seriously hoping that Alien Hand Syndrome link was going straight to a picture of Dr Strangelove saluting

  346. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 10:07 pm

    @rjbullok

    “There’s no way to reconcile this guys, isn’t that obvious? Different models, different purposes”

    This is wishful, magical thinking at its worst. All things are subjective dudes. .. It’s all good, interpret and believe in whatever makes you comfortable. ..

  347. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 10:10 pm

    I could say that same about you. This is not true in my case.

    Okay.

    I have provided my evidence and you can find plenty of them if you search NDE on Youtube.

    I have to search YouTube for your evidence?

    Ignore the ones that are not confirmed by someone other than the patient. Just pay attention to the ones attested by others.

    So… Ignore some, but not others? I don’t understand the criteria.

    If you spend time watching many of them, you eventually agree that something is going on and it is no longer honest to dismiss all these testimonies as hearsay.

    If I spend time, let’s say a lot of time, watching videos, many of them, but if I don’t come to the conclusion that “something” is going on, are you telling me I would have to be dishonest by that point? What if there are other explanations that are plausible? Is any explanation not inline with what you believe going to be a form of “dismissing testimonies as hearsay”?

    In the article Why I Believe in God and Afterlife Now I posted a dozen of such examples. You can find it with Google.

    I have to do a web search to find your “examples”? What are your examples?

    I am a guest here and have to follow the orders of the host. He is not happy with me posting links to my articles on his blog.

    Steve isn’t allowing you to share links? I wouldn’t know anything about that.

    The examples I posted in the above mentioned article all are endorsed by people other than the patients, which exclude the claim that their experiences were subjective and hallucinatory. For example, a patient dies. His doctors, end the operation and leave him to be taken to the morgue. A couple of them then discuss among each other in the corridor about what they could or should have done. There was no way for the patient to see them or hear their conversation from the bed he was lying on, even if he was fully awake. (He was dead.) Then the patient comes back to life, on his own and reports exactly what the two doctors were discussing and where they were standing. He even says who had his arms crossed and was leaning against the wall.

    I don’t understand the purpose of this story. Is this an anecdote you heard?

    If anyone can explain what psychological phenomenon can make two doctors and their resuscitated patient share a hallucination of this kind I will be very impressed. Forget about me. You will be making a name for yourself in science and will certainly win the Nobel Prize.

    I don’t think you will be “impressed” by anything. I think it is you, who will be making a name for yourself, winning a Nobel (or whatever), but I don’t think you are going to get anywhere with stories.

    Sure.

  348. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 10:11 pm

    @AlSina

    “This is not true in my case. I have provided my evidence and you can find plenty of them if you search NDE on Youtube”

    I have a challenge for you AlSina, can you define anecdotal evidence and can you explain to us why anecdotal evidence is problematic. Don’t cut and paste, just answer the question

  349. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 10:12 pm

    @pious fraud

    Lol, I keep getting flashes of idle hands…

  350. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Whether Dr.Novella cares about blog posts or not, if you came here to discuss there’s no reason you can’t post your arguments here. I don’t click on blog links about 99% of the time because it’s just fishing for hits.

  351. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 10:17 pm

    The believers in materialism will go to any absurd explanation to deny that such experiences are real. Sorry I am not a believer. I have no faith to defend, no ideology to fight for. I accept the truth when sufficient proof is provided. What I have seen in NDE is more than enough proof. Those who deny them have not seen them. They have not seen them because they feel no need to. Why waste time when they already know the truth?

    Sure.

    You’re not a believer. Believers go to absurd… Denial… Yada yada yada. You have no faith to defend. No ideology to fight for. You accept the truth… Adequate proof… Provided… Deniers… Why waste time… Got it.

    Totally.

    Godspeed with all of that.

    Gummy Bear out.

  352. rjbullockon 30 May 2014 at 10:27 pm

    “This is wishful, magical thinking at its worst. All things are subjective dudes. .. It’s all good, interpret and believe in whatever makes you comfortable. ..”

    No, that’s not what I said. I did NOT say that “all things are subjective”… I said that SOME things are subjective and we have ways of working with THOSE things and it’s called, among other things, “spirituality”… You apparently believe that the scientific mode of working with reality is the ONLY means of working with reality. I say that’s a pretty narrow approach.

    Guess what? Subjective reality is a reality!

    Another one of you Adherents of Scientism dismissed my religious practice as “navel gazing”… Ah, sure, right. Because there’s nothing else to see here, learn here or realize here except the terms, methods and conclusions of The Scientists.

  353. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Grabula

    Stop misrepresenting my response to Midnight he is an obvious troll and has an axe to grind. He is also a spammer and liar as well. He leaves too when at the end of the daily grail discussion when someone called his out on his arguments and debunked them.

  354. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 10:59 pm

    @rjbullock

    “I said that SOME things are subjective and we have ways of working with THOSE things and it’s called, among other things, “spirituality”… ”

    This is nonsensical. What you’re trying to say is since we don’t understand everything, therefore magic!

    Science is a methodology, a way of finding answers and it’s the absolutely the best process we have currently. Just because it doesn’t support what you want to believe doesn’t make it anything more or less.

  355. the devils gummy bearon 30 May 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Guess what? Subjective reality is a reality!

    Anything goes pomo land. WHEEEEEEE!!!

    Another one of you Adherents of Scientism dismissed my religious practice as “navel gazing”… Ah, sure, right. Because there’s nothing else to see here, learn here or realize here except the terms, methods and conclusions of The Scientists.

    Now now, no need to get cranky. No one cares what you believe in. You’re welcome to it. And you’re also full of it. Who cares?

  356. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 11:02 pm

    @leo

    “Stop misrepresenting my response….”

    I don’t care what your beef to grind with midnight is. It appears he’s called some true believers out and they don’t like it. What’s more telling to me is that you’re so busy cut and pasting some argument someone else has with him, and not busy enough trying to understand where you reason has gone. I highly recommend you start with the last article Hoss posted. Massimo dies a good job of breaking down the problems you guys are having with reconciling your deep misunderstanding of physics and consciousness.

  357. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 11:07 pm

    @midnight

    A full rebuttal of arguments against DD Home mediumship can be found here. http://bensteigmann.blogspot.ca/2014_02_01_archive.html

  358. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 11:19 pm

    You kill me leo…

    “http://bensteigmann.blogspot.ca/2014_02_01_archive.html”

    He builds ridiculous strawmen such as our ‘fear’ that an acknowledgement of psi or the soul would somehow bring us back to the dark age. What people like you and him don’t understand is that most of us are behind the advancement of knowledge and our understanding of the universe. I would LOVE to find out there is life after death, the problem is, I won’t follow that desire credulously. Psychic powers, pretty sweet if they were real. Being visited by aliens from another world, my dream come true. However where skeptics part with true believers is the scientific method, not fear.

    The second thing I find ridiculous about this article is all his ‘heroes’ he admits aren’t lauded, and ate typically regarded as charlatans and frauds within the scientific community. Of course he sees a conspiracy to keep the truth down but we know better than that don’t we Leo. If these guys were providing good, hard evidence they wouldn’t be viewed as crackpots would they?

  359. leo100on 30 May 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Are you so sure about that?. The psychology is pretty simple here you guys don’t care one ounce about scientific evidence. It would bring us back to the dark age the costs are too high are on your side of the fence. I don’t believe in conspiracies at all because there is no good evidence for any conspiracy theory that I have heard of. But I do think that materialists like to slow the progression of science down. Sure has materialism succeeded greatly before it sure has it gave us all this technology we have today. But when it runs into a brick wall when it comes to evidence it can’t erase such as life after death evidence, consciousness, psi phenomenon evidence as well as quantum physics.

  360. hardnoseon 30 May 2014 at 11:28 pm

    “Steve says that macroscopic objects don’t EXHIBIT quantum effects.
    You counter by giving examples of quantum effects having CONSEQUENCES at the macroscopic level.
    Do you see your problem?”

    No BillyJoe7 I don’t see the problem. If birds can use quantum entanglement, then we know quantum effects can be perceived by at least some animals. This makes all kinds of “weirdness,” including ESP, possible.

    Materialists love to say this is all woo and nonsense. But as more evidence is collected, it will get harder for them to ignore. Of course, then they will say that the researchers cheated, or are complete idiots who don’t understand anything about science. EVEN IF the research is published in the Physical Review.

  361. The Other John Mcon 30 May 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I have an honest set of questions for those of you that think: “if some subset of people believe it [OBE, NDE, Bigfoot, spirits, etc.] then some of them MUST be correct, therefore it must be true.”

    Am I correctly representing your thinking with the following?: There are thousands of reported sightings/experiences of [OBE, NDE, Bigfoot, spirits, etc], so if only a measely 1% is correct, then there are almost certainly *dozens* of true reports of these things, and it’s not possible all of them are lying/hallucinating/confused/on-drugs/etc. Ergo, some are true, this is good proof.”

    This is a pretty convincing argument, except for the fact that you have the math totally and 100% ass-backwards. I’ll explain with an easy to follow demonstration:

    Some people, some of the time, misperceive and misunderstand what they experience, they sometimes lie, sometimes are on drugs, sometimes (most likely I believe) they are honestly confused. I think (hope) we can agree this is undeniably and absolutely true.

    There are 7 billion people on planet earth. Let’s say each of us, once per week, has some experience that results in some type of misperception, it could be minor (I thought I put my keys over here!), it could be major (OMG I just saw a flying monkey!), but let’s assume on average one occurs once per person per week. Any type of notable misperception will do.

    Misperceptions = 7 billion/week. In a given year that’s 364 billion opportunities for some misperception of the external environment to occur, for whatever reason. Out of all the possible misperceptions that might occur, maybe only a tiny tiny tiny fraction (let’s say .00000001%) involve the misperceived feelings of OBE, NDE, or seeing Bigfoot in some nearby shrubbery. This math predicts that roughly 3,640 reports of OBE, NDE, or Bigfoot should occur each year, due ONLY to misperceptions that we all agree can occur at anytime to any of us.

    The important point to notice here is that there are MORE than enough possibilities of misperceptions to account for ALL REPORTED sightings of Bigfoot or OBE or NDE experiences reported each year across the world (and this is excluding possiblities of outright lying or drug use, which demonstrably occurs at a high rate). It really is simple math here, you just need to work in the proper direction without ASSUMING beforehand that some of these experiences must absolutely definitely undeniably have to be true, because the math speaks for itself.

  362. grabulaon 30 May 2014 at 11:57 pm

    @leo, you’ve shown that what you think and the reality are not the same thing. When presented with actual evidence you do nothing but deny. You simultaneously claim weer know nothing and aren’t interested in evidence then proclaim your own ignorance and deny evidence presented to you.

    I don’t believe ANYTHING that advances or knowledge of the world will inherently set us back. In fact is probably true that many skeptics started out wanting to believe but when the evidence collapsed faced the reality instead of running screaming from it and into the arms of the irrational. As a child I read every book on ufo and aliens I could. I soaked up comic books like any other young boy would. I didn’t one day decide not only does all of that stuff suck but now I have to fight ruthlessly against it no matter what. I came slowly, kicking and screaming, to the realization that that isn’t the world we live in. I decided that is only rational to follow the evidence.

    This is one of the biggest strawmen true believers construct about us to defend their intellectual dishonesty. Instead of accepting the evidence plainly in front of them they’re still in that kicking and screaming phase and they won’t let go.

    So far any brick wall science had run into has been moved past in favor of a path to more knowledge.

  363. grabulaon 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

    Not only would I like to see any of this stuff confirmed by actual evidence, the little kid inside of me still gets excited to see reports of ufo or Bigfoot or psychic powers. The problem is time and time again that little kid still gets let down.

  364. the devils gummy bearon 31 May 2014 at 12:22 am

    I’ve Tim Minchin’s Storm (NSFW) on my mind, after the latest leo/hardnose/rjbullock (yes, rjbullock too) barrage.

    I want there to be evidence for something incredible. That would be something. That would be AWESOME! That would be so fucking massively cool.

    What do we get instead of evidence? Limp debunked-to-fuck links and links and links… and links… that go on and on and on into tunnels of dim dinky dumbness forever and ever, and advocates so steeped in credulity that they can’t even see the end of their noses through the dank of their thinking.

  365. The Other John Mcon 31 May 2014 at 12:27 am

    A related question regarding OBE’s after resuscitation from “death.” Out of the total number of people that are “dead” but then resuscitated, how many report OBE’s? My guess would be a small percentage or even a tiny one. But if the soul is real and explains consciousness (plus some quantum mechanics thrown in), and this survives after death, and lives deep inside all of us…why only the small percentage of people that this actually occurs to? Why not a majority, or even all resuscitation patients? Seriously, why the huge disconnect. Please think about why this occurs so very rarely.

    A random but perhaps related quote by Jack Handey: “If God lives inside all of us, like some people say, I hope he likes burritos because that’s what he’s getting!”

  366. rjbullockon 31 May 2014 at 1:04 am

    Grabula, why do you have to be so rude and condescending? Does it fill an emotional need of some sort? I’m sure it’s VERY rational, whatever it is.

  367. BillyJoe7on 31 May 2014 at 1:23 am

    HardNose,

    Nope, it seems you don’t see the problem…

    “No BillyJoe7 I don’t see the problem. If birds can use quantum entanglement, then we know quantum effects can be perceived by at least some animals. This makes all kinds of “weirdness,” including ESP, possible”

    In that short paragraph you have made no less than three errors.

    Firstly, the idea that birds use quantum entanglement for navigation is, at present, pure speculation: It was observed that a magnetic field one thousandth the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field could put a migratory bird off course. They only way they could think of that that could happen is if there is a quantum explanation for the phenomenon. They then hypothesised about what a quantum explanation would look like, and they came up with a possible mechanism involving quantum entanglement.
    But none of this has been verified. After three years it remains as pure speculation.
    Although I agree that this is a plausible explanation, it is telling that you have latched onto this possible, maybe, as yet un-evidenced, preliminary idea as if it’s been set in stone.

    Secondly, how these birds “perceive quantum entanglement” is essentially no different from how physicists “perceive quantum interference”. The hypothesis is that migratory birds have a map of the Earth’s magnetic field superimposed on their retinas, and hence their vision. This is no different from the interference pattern that appears on the physicists’ screen in the double slit experiment.
    Also, anyone can perceive radioactive decay (listen to a Geiger counter!) or quantum tunnelling (stand out on the sun).

    Thirdly, just because quantum effects are weird doesn’t allow you to pull in any sort of weirdness you like. No matter how weird quantum effects are, they are real with incontrovertible evidence to back them up. That quantum effects are real and weird lends no credence at all to any other type of weirdness being possible. Quantum physics has done the hard yards of evidence. ESP has been driven out of the yard by the lack of evidence.

  368. BillyJoe7on 31 May 2014 at 1:51 am

    AliSina,

    Okay,

    You have got thousands of anecdotes.
    But, you have not got one piece of hard evidence.
    You have got the anecdotal basis for an hypothesis.
    But, you have not got the evidential basis for a theory.

    May I suggest the following:
    (Seeing that you have been unable to come up with that ONE case I asked for)

    Instead of collecting more fairly useless anecdotes, use your valuable time to collect some hard evidence. Set up an experiment where codes are placed on top of cupboards in a resuscitation wards around the country. Then wait for someone experiencing an OBE to crack the code.

    Done.
    No more arguing.
    But you have to be willing to put your belief in the afterlife on the line – are you up to it?

  369. grabulaon 31 May 2014 at 1:56 am

    @rjbullock

    “Grabula, why do you have to be so rude and condescending? Does it fill an emotional need of some sort? I’m sure it’s VERY rational, whatever it is”

    I’m calling your BS. I’m not as patient as the rest of these guys for the silliness some if you bring to these conversations. You have no interest in an intellectually honest conversation, you’re just here to spot off your crappy philosophy you have mistaken for science. We’ve been dealing with just your brand of bs so much in this thread I could have your argument for you. As the rest of them you’ll come here, spout the vacuous crap you have, refuse to acknowledge any kind of evidence we provide you refuting your claims. You’ll mistake your huge gaps in understanding as proof for your claims. You’ll condescend and say we don’t understand your arguments, then you’ll turn around and try to paint yourself as just a humble question asker who’s keeping an open mind while us evil close minded skeptics continue to not understand poor rjbullock.

    It’s tiresome, and I’ve lost all of my patience. Some if these guys feel honest discourse is going to get them sonewhere with you but the problem is you’re not here asking honest questions, you’re here to test you’re personal theories with non believers but you’ll get frustrated because we won’t buy your unintelligible and unsupportable stance. If we’re really ‘lucky’ you’ll start posting links to your blog so you can atleast score some hits there before you go.

    It’s extremely rare to gety someone in here who starts talking about woo based garbage who is honestly keeping an open mind. 99% of you tiresomely repeat the same crap making the same bad arguments. YOU within two posts jumped straight to quantum physics to support your crap, classic mistake.

    Maybe you’re getting the picture? Close minded commitment to useless misunderstandings of science do not a conversation make.

  370. AliSinaon 31 May 2014 at 1:59 am

    @ the devils gummy bear

    “I have to search YouTube for your evidence?”
    All you have to do is type NDE in Youtube and you’ll find hundreds of videos.

    “So… Ignore some, but not others? I don’t understand the criteria.”
    Since you will dismiss the testimonies of people with NDE with no other person corroborating them as hallucination, I said you can ignore them. But if you want to believe them you may do so and it will make my job easier.

    “If I spend time, let’s say a lot of time, watching videos, many of them, but if I don’t come to the conclusion that “something” is going on, are you telling me I would have to be dishonest by that point? What if there are other explanations that are plausible? Is any explanation not in line with what you believe going to be a form of “dismissing testimonies as hearsay”?”

    If you have any explanation I would be glad to hear them. So far the only explanation I heard is that these stories are hallucination. That is not a correct answer. A dead person cannot hallucinate what is going on in the other room and be right about it.

    “I have to do a web search to find your “examples”? What are your examples?”
    I am afraid you have to search my article as I was specifically told by the owner of this blog not to post links to my blog. Just type the title I gave you and it will be the first article on Google search.

    “Steve isn’t allowing you to share links? I wouldn’t know anything about that.”

    I was told not to do it. You can read it yourself

    “I don’t understand the purpose of this story. Is this an anecdote you heard?”
    It is one of the cases I posted on my blog. But you can watch it on Youtube. Here is the link.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL1oDuvQR08

    ‘I don’t think you will be “impressed” by anything.” This is projection. You are projecting your own trait on me. I am always open to hear new ideas and willing to change my views. Done it at least twice! I was a Muslim and then an atheist and now a spiritualist. You can still read my atheistic articles on my blog. Haven’t changed them.

  371. AliSinaon 31 May 2014 at 2:20 am

    @ BillyJoe 7
    “Instead of collecting more fairly useless anecdotes, use your valuable time to collect some hard evidence. Set up an experiment where codes are placed on top of cupboards in a resuscitation wards around the country. Then wait for someone experiencing an OBE to crack the code.”

    And in what ways the above is different from the cases I provided in my article? It is my understanding that such test is being conducted. It is only a matter of time to get result.
    No one knows why only a fraction of people who flat line have OBE. That is of yet a mystery. But I suppose if one person has a soul everyone must have it.

  372. BillyJoe7on 31 May 2014 at 2:34 am

    BJ: “Set up an experiment where codes are placed on top of cupboards in a resuscitation wards around the country. Then wait for someone experiencing an OBE to crack the code.”

    AS: “And in what ways the above is different from the cases I provided in my article?”

    You really don’t know do you?
    You really don’t know the difference between anecdotes and hard evidence.

    “It is my understanding that such test is being conducted. It is only a matter of time to get result”

    But what do you care?
    You don’t even think that hard evidence is necessary.
    All you need are your anecdotes.

  373. the devils gummy bearon 31 May 2014 at 2:47 am

    Hey AliSina, I’m more than willing to return to a discussion, but I would prefer a more thoughtful one, as I’m sure you would too. I gave you a little bit of my time, please tell me if this acceptable- give my five minutes of your time… Here’s a starting point, regarding anecdotes and testimonials and so forth, brought to you by the SGU 5X5 (our distinguished and lovely all around host’s companion podcast): http://www.theskepticsguide.org/podcast/5×5/112

    It will only take five minutes of your time.

    Also, tell me if you’re not even going to bother, just as a courtesy, if you wouldn’t mind (I don’t want to spend any more time on anything if you’re not going to spend any time either).

    And if you’re really up to talking about this stuff, like for realz… Here’s Steve et al discussing NDEs and OBEs: http://www.theskepticsguide.org/podcast/5×5/68 (c’mon, you know you have 5 more minutes, I mean, all of the questions you’ve asked me, the things you’d say you’d be “impressed” by, are gone over right there).

    If you’re really serious about this stuff, AliSina, let’s start here. Or not. That’s fine to.

  374. the devils gummy bearon 31 May 2014 at 3:17 am

    Oh…

    If you have any explanation I would be glad to hear them. So far the only explanation I heard is that these stories are hallucination. That is not a correct answer. A dead person cannot hallucinate what is going on in the other room and be right about it.

    I’m pretty sure a dead person means they’re dead. Died. Gone to meet his maker… Pining for the fjords. Passed on. Ex-parrot. Etc.

    What I mean, AliSina, is that if you a person is “dead”, you are of course referring to brain death? You know there’s no coming back from that, right? There’s no story time after brain death.

    Not to get ahead of myself here, I want to know if you’re going to bother listening to those 5X5s. This comment you made caught my eye for some reason. I’ll get to the rest of your comment after I find your site/blog.

  375. AliSinaon 31 May 2014 at 4:18 am

    @ the devils gummy bear

    I listened to the audio on anecdotal evidence. I have no problem with that definition. I told you to watch the videos about NDE and ignore the ones that are not corroborated by someone other than the patient. You wondered why. It is because those testimonies are anecdotal. Someone can report he went to heaven and met God and his grandparents. We have no way to confirm that his experience was real.

    However, if this person also sees an aunt of his in heaven of whom he had no knowledge because she had died before he was born and no one had told him about her, then he is coming back with information that he could not have known. Then you can no longer dismiss his experience as anecdotal. If you dismiss that experience then you have to explain how he came to know of his aunt? There are several cases like that. One child died and when he was resucitated he said he met his sister. No one had told him about his dead sister. Another two years old child has memories of being a pilot in the Second World War and his airplane being shut by the Japanese. His agnostic father finally decides to investigate and finds out that a pilot as described by his son actually had been killed during a bombing mission on Japan. The boy also remembered the name of his friend in the war who was also identified and was still alive in his 80s. Cases like these cannot be classified as anecdotal.

    So while the first category of testimonies, that I said ignore, is anecdotal the second category is not. They are also not scientific. They can’t be tested in laboratory or replicated. This is all we can get and that is good enough. The test you are proposing and is being conducted will not give us anything more than what these proven cases give us.

    I hope it I was successful to explain the difference between anecdotal and proven cases.

  376. AliSinaon 31 May 2014 at 4:23 am

    Just search my name on any search engine and you can get to my blogs

  377. the devils gummy bearon 31 May 2014 at 4:46 am

    I do not see the purpose of these stories or understand where you’re getting them from. Regardless, these are anecdotal stories.

    This is all we can get and that is good enough.

    If this is all we can get, then it is not good enough.

    BJ7 suggested an experiment to test your hypothesis. It is a very good example of the sort of controlled example that could test your claim.

    …will not give us anything more than what these proven cases give us.

    I see no indication that anything has ever been proven.

    I’ve found your blog, and can make very little sense out of it, and don’t understand what I’m supposed to find there. I also watched the YouTube video you linked to. Every physician I know has a freak story or two. I didn’t find his interesting at all, in fact, as far as freaky doctor stories go, that one was kind of lackluster.

  378. the devils gummy bearon 31 May 2014 at 5:00 am

    If your threshold for what constitutes as “proven” is this low, then I have a bridge to sell you.

    (And don’t worry, a guy who knows a guy says he spoke to someone about the bridge and their story vaguely lines up with another bridge story about this same bridge, if you tell the story just so, so