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Dave

You sure are angry. You also lack credibility. You believe there is no God yet you have not provided proof to support your belief. You also trivialize the experiences of people who 'know' because they have been there that conciousness is indeed seperate from the body. They come from every sector of society. Try as you may but you will never be able to tell them what they experienced cannot possibly have happened because you say so and because you fear if they are right it would shatter your world view and then where would you be? I suppose scared and angry - as you are now. The fiercer your argument the more threatened you must feel. I have no doubt by the desperation you have shown in attempting to make your point to seeming anyone who would care to listen (looks like I'm the 1st - and I don't agree with you) that you already have some doubts creeping in that challenge your own beliefs. Unless you've had an NDE you realy can't comment on their validity. I prefer to go directly to the source and speak with those who have had them. It really is a life changing event. You should try it. Or maybe you should'nt. I might make you more angry.

DSimon

Dave, so expressing disagreement, especially emotionally, is a sign of having doubt in your own beliefs? From that argument it would follow that you have significant doubts in your own beliefs; otherwise why would you bother to defend them?

Of course, that's silly: The obvious reason for you to defend your beliefs is because you think you're correct, and the truth is important to you.

Us skeptics feel the same way; that's why we don't put very much weight in personal anecdotes, since we know of many many common ways they can be misleading.

Maria

It really is a life changing event. You should try it.

How does one try a near death experience? :-)

Lekatt

You know so little about near death experiences that you have ignored 35 years of research on them. There is good solid evidence, scientific evidence, showing that consciousness does live after the death of the brain and body. Here is a link to some of that research. Now if you don't believe in God I don't care, but there is definitely a soul or spiritual existence.

http://www.aleroy.com/blog/archives/3370

David

WOW, you sound really angry and anxious and ever ready to misinterpret people with a different point of view, please back up your bogus lie that everything about NDE's are anecdotes. Even Professional Skeptics like Susan Blackmore actually consider David Chalmers, Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff some of the best minds in the field of neuroscience and guess what David Chalmers, Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff do have evidence to back up the claim that consciousness is not solely the product of the brain. And if you did your research you will know that The level of consciousness and alertness during near-death experiences (NDEs) is usually even greater than that experienced in everyday life even though NDEs generally occur when a person is unconscious or clinically dead. This high level of consciousness while physically unconscious is medically inexplicable. Additionally, the elements in NDEs generally follow the same consistent and logical order in all age groups and around the world, which refutes the possibility that NDEs have any relation to dreams or hallucinations.

john

Cynic Detection

You can spot a cynic by the words they utter. They will describe NDErs or the NDE phenomena in terms of “delusional, irrational, gullible, charlatans, superstitious, wishful-thinking, primitive and child-like thinking.” [4] To that I would add techniques used in the Lancet commentary such as implying that the whole experience was imagined or that the experiencer was fancifully filling in the gaps.[5] What better way to discredit an NDEr than to assume they are lying about their experience or convince others that the NDEr is of unsound of mind? The arguments of a cynic are designed to put one side at a power disadvantage over the other side. The net effect is to inflame, discount, or shut-down debate from the other side rather than trying to get a truth-finding dialog going between the two sides. However, look closer at what a false memory really is and the intellectual dishonesty of the writer is appalling. Yet hundreds of professionals who read the article, automatically agree with the commentary because they don’t understand the NDE phenomena.

A wonderful quote that epitomizes the cynic mindset is by scientist-author Arthur C. Clarke, “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”[6]

A cynic will frame arguments using certain styles of debate. These tactics include ignoring facts, inventing false explanations, raising the bar when their criteria for evidence is met, using double standards, character assassinations, grossly exaggerating and distorting trivial mistakes, or dismissing all evidence by classifying it as anecdotal, unreplicable, or uncontrolled

The main problem with most of these skeptical theories is that they build their argument on the preconceived classical model of the brain. Based on Darwin’s theory of evolution this model sees consciousness as something that evolved out of biology. However, as many of us are able to conclude consciousness is clearly very different from matter and therefore they have no evidence how exactly this would have occurred and no idea what produces consciousness.

The fact is that it’s all theory and classical science has no clue what consciousness is or what produces it. Also on a broader perspective classical science and materialism has a problem as new science has proven that the fundamental level of the universe is energy and our material world only consists of 5% of the universe – the rest is unknown dark matter and energy. So, if you hold on to strict materialism your world is pretty much flat.

Greta Christina

I have work to do, and I don't have time to reply line by line to each of these comments defending the validity of NDEs as evidence of an immaterial soul. I will simply point out that none of these defenses actually, you know, defend anything. None of them point to any rigorously gathered, carefully tested, thoroughly cross-checked, internally consistent, accurately predictive research backing up their claims. (The purported "link to research" links to nothing of the kind.) And none of them actually addresses the arguments I made in this piece. In fact, none of the commenters in question seem to have read the piece, as they are responding to points I didn't make and attitudes I didn't take.

If i see better evidence, I'll change my mind, For the time being, however, I remain unconvinced.

John

'The evidence supporting the "independent soul" explanation is flimsy at best. It is unsubstantiated. It comes largely from personal anecdotes'- LOL, back that up with evidence please Greta. Remote Viewing does indicate that Consciousness could exist outside the brain, and just read carefully what the lovely skeptic Richard Weisman has to say about it:-I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven.
Next your wonderful fellow skeptic Ray Hyman on Remote Viewing: -The SAIC experiments are well-designed and the investigators have taken pains to eliminate the known weaknesses in previous parapsychological research. In addition, I cannot provide suitable candidates for what flaws, if any, might be present.- Ray Hyman on SAIC experiments on remote viewing.
And this is my all time favorite: Why do we not accept ESP as a psychological fact? Rhine has offered enough evidence to have convinced us on almost any other issue... Personally, I do not accept ESP for a moment, because it does not make sense. My external criteria, both of physics and of physiology, say that ESP is not a fact despite the behavioural evidence that has been reported. I cannot see what other basis my colleagues have for rejecting it... Rhine may still turn out to be right, improbable as I think that is, and my own rejection of his view is - in the literal sense, prejudice- Donald Hebb.
Could it be Dearest Greta that Consciousness existing outside the brain just doesn't make sense to you.
All I can do is to send love and light to all of you Atheists.

Greta Christina

John: And I say yet again, you're not providing any links to any rigorously gathered, carefully tested, thoroughly cross-checked, internally consistent, accurately predictive research backing up your claim about consciousness existing outside. In fact, you're not providing any links at all. All you've done here is quote a few skeptics who seem to cite good research that they're ignoring. You're not providing links to the research in questions. You're not even providing links to the source of these quotations, so we can see the original context and see if you're quoting these people accurately and fairly.

As for this:

Could it be Dearest Greta that Consciousness existing outside the brain just doesn't make sense to you.

It made sense to me for years. I believed in a non-physical soul that existed separate from the brain, animated consciousness, and survived death, for years. It was only when I started reading the mountain of evidence debunking this belief, and supporting the materialist hypothesis of consciousness, that I changed my mind.

And as for this:

LOL, back that up with evidence please Greta.

I have done so. In this piece. I have provided link after link after link to evidence (a) supporting the hypothesis that consciousness is a biological phenomenon, and (b) debunking claims of an immaterial soul. You haven't responded to any of it.

John

Wrong again Greta, first of all you can check for your self how these hard nosed skeptics actually acknowledged Remote Viewing. Secondly, the hard fact is that neuroscience can’t explain how people have a conscious experience, where the mind is, what memories are, or where memories are stored. That's pretty remarkable considering that the brain has been carefully mapped using CTs, MRIs, PETs, and EEGs to find out which parts of the brain are active when a person is performing activities. In spite of all the brain mapping that’s been done, they can’t locate the mind and they can’t find memories.Many neuroscientists are also saying that even if someone could locate mind and memories in the brain, that still wouldn't explain who has the conscious thought. In other words, yes there's a thought, but who is thinking? Who requested the thought? Yes, the brain shows activity when there's a thought, but what caused the brain to show activity? How does a human being have a conscious experience?

Dwayne

Greta, I must admit, I came to your blog thinking that Atheists are kind and loving people but all I got after going through your posts about Death is fear and depression and also frustration on how you refuse to keep an open mind about an afterlife. Why do Atheists have to be so mean spirited, I along with many other people believe in God and an afterlife, how does that in anyway make us irrational or dangerous, I have nothing against Atheists, I will never vote against them or tell them what to believe. What I can't stand is their arrogance and downright meanness.

John

Dear Dwayne, why do you feel depressed about Atheism, it is just another belief system, don't get upset, read this quotes that I am about to put here and be strong. And please remember Sam Harris has said that some kind of afterlife is possible, in fact in his book The End Of Faith he actually said Science can never tell us for sure if there is or isn't life after death. So cheer up brother.

John

February 2001 issue of the journal Resuscitation by Dr. Sam Parnia: "The brain function these [near-death] patients were found to have while unconscious is commonly believed to be incapable of sustaining lucid thought processes or allowing lasting memories to form," Parnia said—pointing to the fact that nobody fully grasps how the brain generates thoughts.

"The brain itself is made up of cells, like all the body's organs, and is not really capable of producing the subjective phenomenon of thought that people have," he said."

Stanislav Grof, MD, Ph.D., Freudian psychoanalyst, assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, summarized his conclusion after his lifelong study of the mind and the brain:

My first idea was that it [consciousness] has to be hard-wired in the brain. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how something like that is possible. Today, I came to the conclusion that it is not coming from the brain. In that sense, it supports what Aldous Huxley believed after he had some powerful psychedelic experiences and was trying to link them to the brain. He came to the conclusion that maybe the brain acts as a kind of reducing valve that actually protects us from too much cosmic input. . . . I don't think you can locate the source of consciousness. I am quite sure it is not in the brain―not inside of the skull. . . . It actually, according to my experience, would lie beyond time and space, so it is not localizable. You actually come to the source of consciousness when you dissolve any categories that imply separation, individuality, time, space and so on. You just experience it as a presence
The same conclusion was reached independently by other brain specialists. Sir John Eccles, internationally recognized brain researcher whose work has had a major influence on brain research, concluded

. . . that the mind is a separate entity from the brain, and that mental processes cannot be reduced to neurochemical brain processes, but on the contrary direct them. And . . . a mind may conceivably exist without a brain.

Sir Cyril Burt, educational psychologist renowned for his studies on the effects of heredity on intelligence, wrote in his book, The Gifted Child,

The brain is not an organ that generates consciousness, but rather an instrument evolved to transmit and limit the processes of consciousness and of conscious attention so as to restrict them to those aspects of the material environment which at any moment are crucial for the terrestrial success of the individual. In that case such phenomena as telepathy and clairvoyance would be merely instances in which some of the limitations were removed.

Another brain specialist, Wilder Penfield, was a ground-breaking neuroscientist and physician. While performing surgery on patients, he noticed that stimulating a part of the brain cortex could cause the patient to recall a memory. However, while recalling the memory, the person’s conscious awareness was still active, aside from the memory, and no stimulation of any part of the brain could cause any of the actions we associate with the mind: beliefs, problem solving, decisions, or any of the other activities that happen when a person is "thinking." The mind activities went on even when he was stimulating the brain cortex, and were completely unaffected by any stimulation he applied to the brain.

He could stimulate small segments of memories, but he couldn’t locate the mind inside the brain.

He summed up the conclusions he formed on the basis of these experiments:

. . . none of the actions that we attribute to the mind has been initiated by electrode stimulation or epileptic discharge. If there were a mechanism in the brain that could do what the mind does, one might expect that the mechanism would betray its presence in a convincing manner by some better evidence of epileptic or electrode activation.

The mind, he writes, "makes its impact on the brain" but isn’t in the brain.

Dwayne

WOW, John, amazing, amazing, amazing, thank you for your research and for your courage in coming here.

Greta Christina

No, John. Not so amazing.

Here's what you've offered:

(a) some interesting studies showing that the brain functions oddly, in ways we wouldn't expect,

(b) other people's references to purported research -- research which you yourself do not link to,

and (c) some opinions of some people who agree with you.

None of the research you're pointing to (but still not providing links for) is conclusive evidence, or even strongly suggestive evidence, for consciousness separate from the brain. All it suggests is that we don't completely understand consciousness or brain function. Which is true. I have never claimed otherwise. But the fact that we don't completely understand these things doesn't mean that they are therefore best explained by anything supernatural or non-physical. To support a claim of consciousness separate from the brain, you need more than research saying, "Wow, consciousness and the brain are really weird!" You need research -- rigorously- gathered, carefully- tested, thoroughly cross-checked, double-blinded, placebo- controlled, replicated, peer-reviewed research -- clearly showing that consciousness is capable of existing separate from the brain.

Which you have yet to show us. Because it doesn't exist. As I said in the piece -- with links, which I actually provides and which you are apparently unwilling to offer:

"And every time a claim about a soul leaving the body when near death has been tested, using good, rigorous methods, it's utterly fallen apart. Every single rigorously-done study examining claims about near death experiences has completely failed to show any perceptions or predictions that couldn't have been entirely natural. Again. And again. And again, and again, and again. And again. And... oh, you get the idea." (Links in the original.)

And the opinions are just that -- opinions. Opinions are not research -- even the opinions of scientists.

Sorry. You're still not convincing anyone who doesn't already agree with you.

Greta Christina

As to this:

Greta, I must admit, I came to your blog thinking that Atheists are kind and loving people but all I got after going through your posts about Death is fear and depression and also frustration on how you refuse to keep an open mind about an afterlife. Why do Atheists have to be so mean spirited, I along with many other people believe in God and an afterlife, how does that in anyway make us irrational or dangerous, I have nothing against Atheists, I will never vote against them or tell them what to believe. What I can't stand is their arrogance and downright meanness.

Dwayne: I am aware that letting go of belief in an afterlife can be scary and depressing. I went through it myself. Which is exactly why I write so much about positive, comforting, meaningful atheist and humanist philosophies of death. I even linked to much of that writing in this very piece. See above, the paragraph that reads:

"If we find the idea of death upsetting, we need to not cover our eyes and ears in the face of death, and pretend that it isn't real. We need, instead, to find and create secular philosophies of death that provide comfort and meaning. We need to find value in the transient as much as in the permanent. We need to see change and loss and death as inherent and necessary to life, without which the things we value in life would not be possible. We need to see death as providing inspiration and motivation to experience life as fully as we can, and to get things done while we still have time. We need to view death as a natural process, something that connects us with the great chain of cause and effect in the universe. We need to take comfort in the idea that, even though we will die and our death will be forever, the memories people have of us will live on, and the world will be different because we were here. We need to take comfort in making this life as meaningful and valuable as we possibly can: for ourselves, and for everyone else around us. We need to recognize how astronomically lucky we were to have been born into this life at all, and not see it as a tragedy because that life won't last forever."

Click on the links in that paragraph. They go into some detail about some ways to see life and death without a belief in an afterlife, and that still make death bearable, and life feel meaningful and joyful.

Letting to of belief in an afterlife can be difficult. But most atheists have done so successfully, and are happy to have done so. I, for one, find my current philosophies of death far more comforting than the ones I held when I believed in an afterlife... because they offer the comfort of knowing that I'm not fooling myself into believing something just because I want it to be true.

And finally: I am entirely baffled by this idea that it's "arrogant" for people to think they're probably right about something.. or that it's "mean" or "mean spirited" to try to persuade other people that their ideas are mistaken. We do that all the time with every other topic: science, medicine, politics, philosophy, sociology, art. Why is it that religion and spirituality, alone among all other ideas, should get a free pass?

Dwayne

Hi Greta, as I have said, I came to your blog wanting to learn more about the Atheist/Humanist perspective on death. There is absolutely nothing in Science that can dismiss an afterlife, in fact rigorous studies on Death Bed Visions, OBE's and NDE's have not till this day found the neuronal mechanism on how it works. Dr.Chrales Tart did induce an OBE where the person saw a number in a place that was high above or hidden indicating it was not a hallucination. There is prove that consciousness is a product of the brain, the brain may very well be something like a radio.
Let me just end by shaking your belief system a bit:
David Berlinski received his PhD in philosophy from Princeton University and was later a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University. He is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle : The defense of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has now fallen into the hands of biologists who believe in suppressing criticism when possible and ignoring it when not.

It is not a strategy calculated to induce confidence in the scientific method.

A paper published recently in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington concluded that the events taking place during the Cambrian era could best be understood in terms of an intelligent design - hardly a position unknown in the history of Western science. The paper was, of course, peer-reviewed by three prominent evolutionary biologists.

Wise men attend to the publication of every one of the society’s papers, but in this case, the editors were given to understand that they had done a bad thing. Their indecent capitulation followed at once. Publication of the paper, they confessed, was a mistake. And peer review? The heck with it.

“If scientists do not oppose anti-evolutionism,” remarked Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Council for Science Education, “it will reach more people with the mistaken idea that evolution is scientifically weak.”

Scott’s understanding of “opposition” had nothing to do with reasoned discussion. It had nothing to do with reason at all. Discussing the issue was out of the question.

Her advice to her colleagues was considerably more to the point: “Avoid debates.” Everyone had better shut up. But in this country, at least, no one is ever going to shut up, the more so since the case against Darwin’s theory retains an almost lunatic vitality.

Look: The suggestion that Darwin’s theory of evolution is like theories in the serious sciences - for example, quantum electrodynamics - is grotesque. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to 13 unyielding decimal places. Darwin’s theory makes no tight quantitative predictions all.

Look: Field studies attempting to measure natural selection inevitably report weak to non-existent selection effects.

Look: Darwin’s theory is open at one end since there is no plausible account for the origins of life.

Look: The astonishing and irreducible complexity of various cellular structures has not yet successfully been described, let alone explained.

Look: A great many species enter the fossil record trailing no obvious ancestors and depart for Valhalla leaving no obvious descendents.

Look: Where attempts to replicate Darwinian evolution on the computer have been successful, they have not used classical Darwinian principles. Where they have used such principles, they have not been successful.

Look: Tens of thousands of fruit flies have come and gone in laboratory experiments, and every last one of them has remained a fruit fly to the end, all efforts to see the miracle of speciation unavailing.

Look: The remarkable similarity in the genome of a great many organisms suggests that there is, at bottom, only one living system. But how then to account for the astonishing differences between human beings and their near relatives, differences that remain obvious to anyone who has visited a zoo?

But look again: If the differences between organisms are scientifically more interesting than their genomic similarities, of what use is Darwin’s theory since its otherwise mysterious operations take place by genetic variations?

These are hardly trivial questions. Each suggests a dozen others. These are hardly circumstances that do much to support the view that there are “no valid criticisms of Darwin’s theory,” as so many recent editorials have suggested.

Serious biologists quite understand all this. They rather regard Darwin’s theory as an elderly uncle invited to a family dinner. The old boy has no hair, he has no teeth, he is hard of hearing and he often drools. Addressing even senior members at table as “sonny,” he is inordinately eager to tell the same story over and over again. But he’s family. What can you do?

Dwayne

I don't think your jab at Religious folks being less prepared for death is fair. All Religions teach us to be mindful of death. Some religions like Buddhism actually have graveyard meditations where you sit down in a graveyard and meditate on the impermanence of all things. Even in Christianity you can't go far without hearing about Death, it's all over the scriptures. I am not just talking about an afterlife, but also the purely physical process of Death and Dying and how everything is transient.

Dwayne

In my opinion Atheism and Atheists/Humanist see death as something that will happen in the future not now, so they push death away with their neat philosophies. Spirituality on the other see's everything as constantly coming and going, everything is being born and dying at the same time, the trick is to not identify with the perishable but instead find the unchangable love that has always been there.

Dwayne

NDEs correspond to the "quirky" principles found in quantum physics.

Aspects of quantum physics which supports NDE concepts include the properties of light, a multi-dimensional reality, zero point, quantum interconnectivity, quantum consciousness, quantum synchronicity, space and time interconnectivity, time travel, teleportation, non-locality, singularities and the concept of subjectivity.

Dwayne

Experiencers of NDEs are profoundly changed in ways that cannot occur from hallucinations and dreams. No matter what the nature of the NDE, it alters lives. Alcoholics find themselves unable to imbibe. Hardened criminals opt for a life of helping others. Atheists embrace the existence of a deity, while dogmatic members of a particular religion report "feeling welcome in any church or temple or mosque."

Nancy Evans Bush, president emeritus of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, says the experience is revelatory. "Most near-death survivors say they don't think there is a God," she says. "They know."

Greta Christina

Dwayne: Are we debating NDEs and consciousness that survives death, or are we debating evolution versus intelligent design?

If the former: Before pursuing this any further, please, PLEASE, click on the links provided in this piece -- links that specifically debunk the claims you're making. If you can't respond to this debunking, why should I respond to your claims, or take them seriously? And if you're going to refer to research, PROVIDE A LINK to it. I've asked everyone in this conversation to do this time and time again: nobody will do it, and it's making this conversation a waste of time. If I can't see the research you're talking about, I can't be expected to respond to it.

If the latter: I'm sorry, but you are absolutely flat-out wrong. There is a MASSIVE body of evidence from every relevant field of science overwhelmingly pointing to the conclusion that evolution happened entirely as a result of natural selection, with no intervening designer in the mix. Far from being an outdated theory, it is the very foundation of the entire science of biology: biology doesn't even make sense without it, and it has been corroborated again and again and again, by the fossil record, comparative anatomy, genetics, geology, chemistry, and more. The specific details of the theory as proposed by Darwin have been refined, but the fundamentals remain more sound, and better supported, than ever. Even current field observations have seen evolution happening in process.

Citations:

Why Evolution Is True by Jerry A. Coyne
The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald R. Prothero

And that's just a minuscule portion of the massive number of books, papers, articles and more, all explaining and defending the theory of evolution, and citing the overwhelming body of evidence supporting it.

The reason many in the scientific community suggest not debating with ID supporters is not an attempt to silence anyone -- it's because debating gives credibility to an idea that has been discredited over and over and over again. And if you look at the history of the ID movement, you'll see that it was a thinly veiled attempt to get religion taught in the public schools -- not a serious scientific hypothesis. (This link will take you to a site where you can watch "Judgement Day," the PBS Nova special on ID, or read a transcript of the show.)

The fact that you are attempting to argue against evolution makes it clear that you either are unfamiliar with current scientific thinking, or are deliberately ignoring it because it contradicts what you want to believe. If the former: please get better informed before asking anyone to take your ideas seriously. If the latter -- as I strongly suspect, given your previous comment defending your belief in the soul based on the fact that you find atheism scary and depressing -- then I have no reason to take any of your ideas seriously. I am willing to engage with believers on these topics -- but not if they express such a callous disregard for the scientific method, or indeed for the truth.

Greta Christina
Experiencers of NDEs are profoundly changed in ways that cannot occur from hallucinations and dreams. No matter what the nature of the NDE, it alters lives. Alcoholics find themselves unable to imbibe. Hardened criminals opt for a life of helping others. Atheists embrace the existence of a deity, while dogmatic members of a particular religion report "feeling welcome in any church or temple or mosque."

First of all, and for what seems like the fiftieth time: SHOW ME A LINK. You can't expect me to respond to research if I can't see it.

Second, even if this were true: So what? What does it prove? Yes, altered states of consciousness often affect people's lives deeply and profoundly. Drug experiences, trance-like repetition, sensory deprivation, sensory overload... all of these and more can be intense, life-changing experiences. That doesn't prove that they are anything other than altered states of consciousness, brought about by physical changes to the brain.

Nancy Evans Bush, president emeritus of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, says the experience is revelatory. "Most near-death survivors say they don't think there is a God," she says. "They know."

And yet again: So what? Even if this were true -- and again, you haven't shown me any actual research to show me that it is -- so what? For centuries, most people "knew" that the Earth was the center of the universe. They were mistaken. Personal experience and intuition are important -- but they are far too fallible, far too subject to bias and cognitive error and wishful thinking, to be seen as a reliable source of information about what is and is not literally true in the non-subjective universe. (More on this: Why "I Feel It In My Heart" Is a Terrible Argument for God

And finally -- and once again, seems like the fiftieth time -- GIVE US LINKS TO THE RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE YOU'RE CITING. If you can't do that, I'm not going to continue this debate. If I can't see the research you're talking about, I can't be expected to respond to it.

Dwayne

In no way do imply that evolution didn't happen. I am afraid you think I am an Anti-Evolution irrational idiot. I respect Science and I can care less about the debate. I see Evolution as a Spiritual process, it makes me feel so connected to everything on the planet, so I have nothing against it. I love how all of us come from Africa ( I am white by the way) and I love the fact that Atheists are not racists. My only issue with Atheism is about Life After Death. We do have a body of evidence that does indicate that Consciousness survives death, and Greta I will never ever allow any Atheist to suppress that. Give me some time I will be back with more scientific backed prove of the Afterlife. I have a massive amount but just give me a few day's, I am in the middle of an exam now.

Dwayne

The 9 Lines of Evidence From Evidence of the Afterlife

1. Crystal-clear consciousness. The level of consciousness and alertness during NDEs is usually greater than that experienced in everyday life, even though NDEs generally occur when a person is unconscious or clinically dead. In addition, the elements in NDEs generally follow the same consistent and logical order in all age groups and cultures.
2. Realistic out-of-body experiences. Out-of-body experiences are among the most common elements of NDEs, and what is seen or heard is almost always realistic. Even if out-of-body-experience observations include events that occur far from the physical body, and far from any possible sensory awareness of the patient, they are almost always confirmed to be completely accurate.
3. Heightened senses. Heightened senses are reported by most people who have experienced NDEs, and normal or supernormal vision has occurred in those with significantly impaired vision, and even legal blindness. Several people who have been totally blind since birth have reported highly visual NDEs.
4. Consciousness during anesthesia. Many NDEs occur while a person is under general anesthesia, at a time when any conscious experience should be impossible. Although there is speculation that these NDEs are the result of too little anesthesia, some result from anesthesia overdose.
5. Perfect playback. Life reviews in NDEs include real events that took place in the lives of those having the experience, even if the events were forgotten or happened before the person was old enough to remember.
6. Family reunions. During a NDE, the people encountered are virtually always deceased, and are usually relatives of the person having the NDE; sometimes they are even relatives who died before the patient was born.
7. Children's experiences. The NDEs of children, including children who are too young to have developed concepts of death, religion, or NDEs, are essentially identical to those of older children and adults.
8. Worldwide consistency. NDEs appear remarkably consistent around the world, and across many different religions and cultures. NDEs in non-Western countries are incredibly similar to those that occur in Western countries.
9. Aftereffects. It is common for people to experience major life changes after having NDEs. These aftereffects are often powerful, lasting, and life-enhancing, and the changes generally follow a consistent pattern.

Dwayne

Nope, Evolution was not random.

Greta Christina
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Once again: LINKS, PLEASE. If I can't see the research you're talking about, I can't be expected to respond to it.

Not that any of this is persuasive anyway. Even if these points are true -- and I know that many of them are not, and you would know that too if you looked at the research I cited and linked to in this piece -- almost all of them are entirely consistent with NDEs being a physical process of the brain. And the ones that aren't consistent with this view have been debunked. Heck, most of the ones that are consistent with this view have still been debunked.

Evolution was not random.

Nobody says it was. Evolution happens through a combination of random mutations and the entirely non-random process of natural selection: i.e., living things that are better adapted to survive and reproduce in their environment are more likely to pass on their genes to the next generation. It's not random at all.

But "not random" does not in any way imply "intervention by an intelligent designer." There is not one shred of positive evidence supporting the idea that any outside intervention happened at any point along the process. And there is a significant amount of evidence strongly suggesting that this never happened -- mostly in the many, many ways that the "design" is shot through with clumsiness, half-assedness, inefficiency, "fixed that for you" jury-rigs, pointless superfluities, glaring omissions, laughable failures, and appalling, mind-numbing brutality.

More on this:

Why "Life Has To Have Been Designed" Is a Terrible Argument for God's Existence

By the way, the theory you're advocating is better described as "theistic evolution," not "intelligent design." Again, I suggest you look up the history of the "intelligent design" movement. Theistic evolution is the theory that evolution happened but God had a part in it. Intelligent design was a deceitful, underhanded attempt to get religion and creationism taught in the public schools, when the Supreme Court specifically ruled that it couldn't be. When you defend "intelligent design," you're going to get people who are passionate about science and the separation of church and state very, very upset indeed.

Dwayne

Skeptics attempt to ascribe NDE perceptions to lights and other possible perceptions of a dying brain. However, lucid projectors have out-of-body experiences by will without a dying brain condition and can still see “beings of light,” and even perceive the characteristic “tunnel” often associated with NDE’s. More importantly, they are able to make accurate observations of distant physical environments and interact among themselves while projected. For instance, in van Lommel’s study, one patient recognized the nurse who removed his dentures while he was in a coma.

Dwayne

Together with Rodrigo Medeiros, Patricia Sousa runs the Image Target Project, an experiment that invites people from all over the world to drop by a locked room in Miami with a computer monitor displaying a picture. The picture is randomly selected by a computer. A similar experiment by Wagner Alegretti and Nanci Trivellato brings dozens of projectors together to a ballroom for a weekend of eight OBE attempts. After several editions, these experiments have captured relatively rare but uncanny OBE and remote viewing observations of photographic precision.

It seems that no matter how the credible and persuasive the experimental evidence, there is no replacement for personal experience. After innumerable experiences outside and inside the body, non-physical reality is self-evident for this author, hundreds of colleagues, and many thousands throughout the world. As they say, proof is in the pudding. Have your own experiences!

Greta Christina

For the eighty billionth time, Dwayne: Please provide links to the research you keep citing. If we can't see the research you're talking about, we can't be expected to respond to it. We can't evaluate whether it's credible: whether the testing conditions were rigorously controlled, whether double blinding and placebo controls were in place, whether there was any way for conscious or unconscious cheating to take place, whether the tests were replicated, etc. I have, in this piece, provided multiple links to careful research that contradicts every one of your claims. You have not said anything to indicate that you have bothered to even check these links -- and you keep citing "research" that we can't look at and critique for ourselves.

I have now asked you this again and again and again. Please do not waste my time, and the time of my other readers, by repeatedly citing and referring to "research" that you won't show us.

As for this:

It seems that no matter how the credible and persuasive the experimental evidence, there is no replacement for personal experience. After innumerable experiences outside and inside the body, non-physical reality is self-evident for this author, hundreds of colleagues, and many thousands throughout the world. As they say, proof is in the pudding. Have your own experiences!

This, more than just about anything else you've said, makes me realize that debating with you is almost certainly a complete waste of time.

Do you really not understand how deeply biased personal intuition and experience is? Do you really not know about the countless cognitive errors and biases that it's subject to? Do you really not understand that the whole freaking point of the scientific method is to filter out these errors and biases, to the best of our ability? Do you really not understand that the whole point of the scientific method is that it's way too easy to fool ourselves into thinking that whatever we already think, or whatever we most want to think -- so we have to be scrupulously careful, and jump through dozens of hoops that are specifically designed to make sure we aren't doing that?

If you're just going to say, "My experience trumps everything," no matter what good, solid, carefully gathered, rigorously tested evidence is presented to you showing that the conclusions you've drawn from your experiences are mistaken... why on earth should anybody waste their time debating with you?

Dwayne

WOW, WOW, WOW, Anger, Anger.
Anyway here is the prove that you asked for, I can't send you the journals because I this is from my school library :
Summary and review of further papers related to material suggestive of quantum coherence in living matter

1.) Coherent spin transfers between molecularly bridged quantum dots - Ouyang M. & Awschalom, D. - Hameroff has suggested this as a method of sustaining coherence in microtubules.
2.) Memory depends on the cytoskeleton, but is it quantum? - Andreas Mershin & Dimitri Nanapoulos - Experiments demonstrating the involvement of microtubules in memory

3.) Evidence for coherent proton tunnelling in a hydrogen bond network - Horsewill et al

4.) New insights into enzyme catalysis - Scrutton et al

5.) Quantum afterlife: a way for quantum benefits to survive after entanglement ends - Based on Seth Lloyd

6.) Whole Brain - based on Raphael Gaillard - Evidence relative to consciousness and synchronistic activity in the brain

7.) Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light harvesting complexes - Sarovar et al - Further evidence of quantum coherence and entanglement in biological systems.

8.) Coherence dynamics in photosynthesis: Protein protection of excitonic coherence - Lee, H. et al - Further evidence for quantum coherence in biological tissue

9.) Coherent intrachain energy migration in a conjugated polymer at room temperature - Elisabetta Collini & Gregory Scholes - Extension of the concept of protein protection developed by Engel et al.


Greta Christina

And once again, Dwayne: Without links, I have no way of knowing what these papers say, or whether they actually support your claims, much less whether their methodology and logic are valid.

And also once again: Since you have already admitted that you think personal experience trumps credible and persuasive experimental evidence, why on earth should anyone take seriously your claims of scientific support for your beliefs... or indeed bother debating with you at all?

Dwayne

Ok then Greta, thanks for your time

John

Congratulations Brother Dwayne, I am really impressed with your research. This just proves my point, whenever a hardcore materialist is faced with something that is against their world view, suddenly they raise the bars for the evidence presented. It's funny, you gave us peer reviewed journals, if only she took some time to go to google scholar to check them out herself. Don't waste your time with these hard core skeptics Dwayne, as you know life is eternal, death is just a horizon, relax your clutch on life, there is simply no such thing as Death. What we call death is moving from one frequency of existence to another. Greta keeps saying the Physical Universe is all there is and there is so much too it, what I am saying is that the physical world is such a small portion of reality. Greta and all the other hard core skeptics will understand that someday. God Bless you brother Dwayne.

John

LOL, this made me laugh
Tears in Heaven – Atheist Despair Version
By Scott Thong
Tears in Oblivion

You won’t know my name
I don’t believe in heaven
Things won’t be the same
‘Cause there’s only oblivion

Religion’s wrong
Farewell, so long
‘Cause you know that I just long
For oblivion

You won’t hold my hand
‘Cause we won’t be existing
You won’t help me stand
We won’t know what we’re missing

No joy above
No long lost loves
There’s no faith, hope or love
In oblivion

Atheists have no hope
In life after death (~ooo)
Once you die you’re gone
And then that is that, that is that~

[Sentimental guitar bridge]

Beyond the door
It’s blank I’m sure
And I know I’ll be no more
In oblivion

Life’s a short, sad game
Atheists just despise heaven
Even though it’s lame
Atheists prefer oblivion

Hope that we’re right
‘Cause Hell’s a fright
And that’s why all atheists fight
For oblivion

Now just watch the atheists fight
For oblivion

John

Just another small quote to annoy Atheists:

In regards to atheism and mental and physical health, there is considerable amount of scientific evidence that suggest that theism is more conducive to mental and physical health than atheism.The prestigious Mayo Clinic reported the following on December 11, 2001:
“ In an article also published in this issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Clinic researchers reviewed published studies, meta-analyses, systematic reviews and subject reviews that examined the association between religious involvement and spirituality and physical health, mental health, health-related quality of life and other health outcomes.

The authors report a majority of the nearly 350 studies of physical health and 850 studies of mental health that have used religious and spiritual variables have found that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes.[2]

In regards to data that relates to mental health and atheism, in December of 2003, the University of Warwick reported the following:
“ Dr. Stephen Joseph, from the University of Warwick, said: "Religious people seem to have a greater purpose in life, which is why they are happier. Looking at the research evidence, it seems that those who celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas are on the whole likely to be happier

John

Concerning atheism and suicide, although there are recent studies relating to atheism being a causal factor for suicide in some individuals, an early proponent of atheism being a causal factor for suicide in some individuals was the Reverend Dr. Robert S. MacArthur.

In 1894, the NY Times declared regarding atheism and suicide:
“ Dr. Martin urged that a great cause of suicide was atheism. It was, he said, a remarkable fact that where atheism prevailed most, there suicides were most numerous. In Paris, a recent census showed one suicide to every 2,700 of the population. After the publication of Paine's "Age of Reason" suicides increased.
In 2004, the American Journal of Psychiatry reported the following:
“ Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. Unaffiliated subjects were younger, less often married, less often had children, and had less contact with family members. Furthermore, subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide. In terms of clinical characteristics, religiously unaffiliated subjects had more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder. No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found.

John

So please my dear friends, keep an open mind about Theism too.
Theism is not as bad as Atheists will have you believe.

Greta Christina
This just proves my point, whenever a hardcore materialist is faced with something that is against their world view, suddenly they raise the bars for the evidence presented.

I would just like to point out that I did not raise the bar. I kept the bar exactly the same: Provide me with links to rigorously- gathered, carefully- tested, thoroughly cross-checked, double-blinded, placebo- controlled, replicated, peer-reviewed research, clearly showing that consciousness is capable of existing separate from the brain. Not references to research, not citations of research, not other people's opinions about research. Actual links to actual research, which we can then look at and evaluate. (And not half-assed research with lousy nethodology, or research showing that the brain works differently than we'd thought but not unequivocally supporting a hypothesis of consciousness capable of existing separate from the brain.)

This is the standard I have been requesting from the beginning. So far, neither you nor Dwayne has done this. Until you do, I see no reason to take your claims seriously.

As to your argument that theists are, on the whole, happier than atheists: Yes, in many circumstances, that may well be true. Religion is the dominant culture in most countries, and religious believers have access to social support networks that atheists don't have. What's more, atheists in many countries (including the U.S.) are outsiders, largely reviled and despised, and that takes an emotional and psychological toll as well. When these factors are taken into account -- such as in countries with high levels of atheism, or among atheists who belong to atheist support networks -- this happiness difference disappears. And your suicide statistics are actually very telling. They don't show less depression among the religious -- simply less suicide among those who are depressed. (Very likely due to religious prohibitions on suicide.)

In any case: My argument about atheists being better prepared for death than theists was not about atheists being happier or better able to cope with life overall. It was limited to that one area.

And more to the point: None of these arguments is an argument for why your God/soul hypothesis is correct. A case you have yet to convincingly make.

Greta Christina

Oh, and by the way, John: Five consecutive comments on one post in ten minutes is pretty much a working definition of "comment hogging." Please don't do it again. Thanks.

Eclectic

In case anyone doesn't know, to make a link to, e.g. Greta Christina's Blog, you type <a href="http://gretachristina.typepad.com/">Greta Christina's Blog</a>

The fact that NDEs are consistent does not in the slightest suggest that they are providing access to some otherwise invisible truth; rather, they show that the brain (mis)behaves in consistent ways under near-death stress.

Amputees pretty consistently have phantom feelings in the amputated limb, but that's due to the still-existing nerves that used to connect to it (see the "Neurological basis" section of the linked article), not any persistent spirit of the limb itself.

Likewise, many hallucinogens produce characteristic geometric patterns. That doesn't mean the hallucinations reflect reality, rather, they reflect the structure of the brain.

John

Ok fair enough, before I get to the Scientific research, let me just point out where I come from being an Atheist just doesn't bother anyone, I don't understand why it's so exclusive to American Atheists to mercilessly complain about discrimination about being an Atheist. I find it too hard to believe, we are talking about America here not some Muslim Nation. Maybe American Atheists could be in fact an annoying lot, that's why they keep being singled out by the larger American population. And you keep complaining about separation of church and state, I don't understand what's the big deal about it, fine I agree that the Church shouldn't stop same sex marriage but other than that I don't see anything wrong with lawmakers constructing laws from a Spiritual perspective. Now, moving on to the Scientific facts, how many times do I need to tell you that those titles given to you by Dwayne are from Journals, please look it up. What we are saying is that the brain is very likely a hologram and/or a quantum computer. I can't give you those links because they require student passwords, just type it under google scholar, you will atleast be able to read the abstracts. You can't even show us that the brain produces Consciousness in the first place.

Greta Christina

Thank you for sharing, John.

John

Thank You Greta, please do forgive me if I was rude to you in anyway. I understand what you and others are saying, but I just hope and pray that some how there will be an afterlife where we will be united with our loved ones again, I don't care about God, I just care about my grandparents, I miss them and hate living in this world without them. Thinking that somehow they are somewhere in a better place gives me hope to carry on. Even Christopher Hitchens said that there might be an afterlife without God, or God without an afterlife. And Christopher Hitchens praised Dinesh D'Souza's book Life After Death.
Love and Light,
John

Greta Christina

Thank you for sharing, John. But wishful thinking is not an argument.

DA

"Atheists consistently remain most-reviled group in America, even by non-Christians."

Most hated in America? We're number one! In your face, Islam and Scientology!

John

Nope I disagree, I don't think Atheists are the most reviled group in America. It just doesn't make sense, learn to look beyond your Atheism. Why oh why would people hate you just because you don't have the same beliefs as them. I don't hear about Buddhist hating Hindus because they have different beliefs, I don't hear about Christians hating Jewish people because they have different beliefs. I know Atheists love playing the victim role. But it's just not going to work. Just like Greta Christina say's reality rules.

John

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1330596/Humans-psychic-powers-New-study-proves-future.html
Check this out guy's. I can already hear angry Atheists and Skeptics screaming faul play and cheating regarding this beautiful experiment which was conducted using the golden standard of rigorously- gathered, carefully- tested, thoroughly cross-checked, double-blinded, placebo- controlled, replicated, peer-reviewed research.

John

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TQcedvxPxY
This is a video that shows strong evidence for survival of consciousness.

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