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OK. I think I now know who/what Victor Zammit is. He's an impostor, a Skeptic in disguise, maybe even a creation of James Randi himself. His mission? To make those who have an open mind towards the spiritual realm look very, very, bad.

Y'know, it always did kinda seem like Zammit was way too dumb to be a lawyer like he claimed. "Insane con artist" makes more sense.

Given some of the crap I've seen Zammit spew on his site, I'm not surprised in the least by this purile attack of his. He's like a carciature of every bad stereotype the skeptics have tried to pin on those who are convinced by the evidence for the paranormal.

Not much more to be said. This guy is just a few screws loose.

I wouldn't say he's nuts. I'm guessing he bolstered his resume to make himself look more creditable and has a bad temper when confronted. I don't think he's losing it, more like he's immature.

I think Bruce Siegel might be right. VZ is a creation of Randi. The pseudoskeptics couldn't ask for a better opponent.

If Randi didn't create him, he sure should have.

Michael what is your response to this

Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker interviewed on edge.org

Three new sciences are now vividly rooting our mental processes in our biology. Cognitive neuroscience, the attempt to relate thought, perception and emotion to the functioning of the brain, has pretty much killed Soul One, in Richard's sense. It should now be clear to any scientifically literate person that we don't have any need for a ghost in the machine, as Gilbert Ryle memorably put it. Many kinds of evidence show that the mind is an entity in the physical world, part of a causal chain of physical events. If you send an electric current through the brain, you cause the person to have a vivid experience. If a part of the brain dies because of a blood clot or a burst artery or a bullet wound, a part of the person is gone -- the person may lose an ability to see, think, or feel in a certain way, and the entire personality may change. The same thing happens gradually when the brain accumulates a protein called beta-amyloid in the tragic disease known as Alzheimer's. The person -- the soul, if you want -- gradually disappears as the brain decays from this physical process.

We know that every form of mental activity -- every emotion, every thought, every percept -- gives off electrical, magnetic, or metabolic signals that can be recorded with increasing precision by Positron Emission Tomography, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetoencephalography, and other techniques. We know that if you take a knife and section the corpus callosum (which joins the two cerebral hemispheres) you have the equivalent of two minds -- perhaps even two souls -- in the same skull. We know that if you look at the brain under a microscope it has a breathtaking degree of complexity -- on the order of a trillion synapses -- that's fully commensurate with the breathtaking complexity of human thought and experience. We know that when the brain dies, the person goes out of existence. I consider it to be a significant empirical discovery that one cannot communicate with the dead, and excellent evidence that Soul One, in Richard's sense, does not exist.

A second science, behavioral genetics, has shown that there is a fascinating degree of specificity in our genome. You've all heard of the remarkable studies of monozygotic twins reared apart, who are remarkably similar in intelligence, personality, and attitudes -- even in their opinion on the death penalty and their tastes in music and clothing. And just in the past year there have been discoveries of genetic markers, and in some case genes and even gene products, associated with mental traits such as intelligence, spatial cognition, control of speech, the desire to seek sensation, and the tendency to be overly anxious.

The third science that's connecting mind to biology is evolutionary psychology, which takes an approach to understanding the mind that has long been fruitful in understanding the organs of the body. We can't make sense of an organ like the eye without considering it to have a function, or a purpose - not in a mystical, teleological sense, but in the sense of an illusion of engineering. That illusion, we now know, is a consequence of Darwin's process of natural selection. Everyone agrees that the eye is a remarkable bit of natural "engineering," and that may now be explained as a product of natural selection rather than as the handiwork of a cosmic eye-designer or as a massive coincidence in tissue formation. But the eye by itself is useless -- unless it's connected to a brain. The eye does not carry out its function by dumping optical information into a yawning chasm. Rather, the eye is hooked up to parts of the brain -- anatomically speaking, the eye is an extension of the brain -- and those parts contain circuits for analyzing the incoming visual material, for recovering the shapes and colors and motions in the world that gave rise to the stimulation of the eye. The perception of a world of colored 3-D objects, in turn, feeds into a system of categorization, allowing us to make sense of our experience, to impute causes to events, and to remember things in terms of their significant categories. And in turn, those categories themselves would be useless unless they were organized in service of certain goals, goals set by our emotions. Beginning with the eye, we have a chain of causation that leads to the study of faculties of mind, or modules, or subsystems, each of which can be seen as an adaptation akin to the adaptations in the organs of the body. Recent research has shown that aspects of the psyche that were previously considered mysterious, quirky, and idiosyncratic -- such as phobias, an eye for beauty, the tendency to fall in love, a passionate desire for revenge in defense of honor -- turn out to have a subtle evolutionary logic when they are analyzed in the way in which we have always analyzed the organs of the body.

I find these developments to be exhilarating; they are a fulfillment of the ancient imperative to know thyself. They also have important practical implications. Alzheimer's Disease, to cite just one example, will be one of the leading causes of human misery in the industrial world over the next several decades, as we live longer and stop dying of other things. Successful treatment of Alzheimer's will not come from prayer or wishful thinking or reasoning about soul one; it will come from treating memory and personality as biochemical phenomena.

Nonetheless, as I mentioned at the outset, not everyone shares this excitement. Sometimes the reaction of people who learn about these new sciences is uneasy ambivalence. The American author Tom Wolfe wrote an article called "Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died," a mixture of admiration and apprehension over the frontiers of cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. A reviewer of my book How the Mind Works, alluding to the rock and roll band, said that I was describing people as Meat Puppets, and several reviewers, to my puzzlement, asked whether, if I were right, life would be worth living. I am puzzled by these reactions, which are never backed up by argument, only by indignation and high dudgeon. But I'll do my best to recover the values and reasoning that lead to them, and to show why I think they are misguided.

One reason I find the reaction strange is that I can't imagine how anything coming out of the laboratory, computer, or theoretician's notebook could possibly subtract from what is the meaning of life, or Richard's sense of Soul two. Why keep on living if our minds are the physiological activity of the brain? Well, for starters there's natural beauty, and works of great art, and ethical ideals, and love, and bringing up children, and enjoying friends, and discovering how the world works -- I could go on. Why should the worth of any of those activities depend on the existence of a ghost in the machine?

Clearly there can be reasons that some people feel threatened by the idea that the mind is the activity of the brain, and here are my guesses about what they are. One is that since natural selection is not a process that is guaranteed to produce niceness, many typical human motives will not necessarily lead to ethically desirable outcomes. Much of the research in evolutionary psychology has shown that many ignoble motives have some basis in natural selection. An example is the desire, most obvious in men, to defend one's honor and reputation, by violence if necessary. Another is the characteristically male motive to seek a variety of sexual partners. It's easy to work out why those motives evolved, and there is by now an enormous body of evidence that they are widespread among humans. But people reject the explanation because of what they think is the subtext. If these motives are part of our nature, if they come from the natural world, well, everyone knows that natural things are good -- natural childbirth, natural yogurt, and so on -- so that would imply that promiscuity and violence aren't so bad after all. And it implies that since they are "in the genes," they are unchangeable, and attempts to improve the human condition are futile.

I think both parts are wrong -- the first part is so obviously wrong that it has been given a name, the naturalist fallacy, the idea that what we find in nature is good. What we find in nature is not necessarily good; as Richard has put it, the universe is not good or bad, it's indifferent. Certainly violence and philandering and all of the other sins are immoral whether their cause is the genes, or the wiring of the brain, or social conditioning, or anything else. It behooves us to find the causes, but the causes don't change the moral coloring of those acts.

Also, the human mind, I argue, is a complex system of many interacting parts. Even if one motive impels people to do immoral acts, other parts of the mind that can subvert its designs. We can think of the long-term consequences, and we can imagine what society would be like if everyone acted on a particular motive. The part of the mind that has those thoughts can disengage the part of the mind that has less noble motives.

I think a second discomfort with the biological approach to the human mind is the worry that it somehow makes our ideals a sham or less real. Life would be a Potemkin Village, where there's only a facade of value and worth, but really biology is showing that there's nothing behind the facade. For example, if we love our children because the genes for loving children are in the bodies of those children and so the genes are benefiting themselves, doesn't that undermine the purity or the value of that love? If our ethical ideals, our sense of justice and fairness, were selected for because it did our ancestors good in the long run, would that imply that there's no such thing as altruism or justice, that deep down we're really selfish?

I think that this reaction is based on a misreading of Richard's metaphor of the selfish gene. It's not because of what Richard actually said in his book The Selfish Gene, which is crystal clear. But here's how it could be misread: the theory says that one can make powerful predictions about the process of natural selection by imagining that the gene has a selfish motive to make copies of itself. Of course no one ever thought that a gene has real motives in the sense that people have motives, but it this is a valuable way to gain insight about the subtleties of natural selection, especially when it comes to social interactions, and it leads to many correct predictions.


As far as Victor goes it's true he really turns on people for no reason at all however i still like the informative info on his site about the evidence for survival after death

Zammit does remind me of Randi, honestly. He's just his polar opposite. They both fly off the handle when criticized, and slander those who disagree with their views. It's just that Randi has his mind so closed that nothing could ever get in, and Zammit's is so open that he lacks the criticality to reject anything he would find favourable.

I'd love to think the things Zammit advertises is real, but I realize it seems just too sketchy. Sorry, bud.

Michael and I share the same source of doubts about VZ due to his all too apparent problems with rhetoric and language: his inability to create and sustain a reasonable argument indicates a person of lesser education, not even rising to the level of a well-read dilettante. Worse, his ad hominem attacks on Michael portray a desperate person with anger management issues, a person whose dubious advocacy of DT's abilities is only further eroded by such unseemly outbursts. His antics do a great disservice to both afterlife studies and mediumship,offering a personality study in self-marginalization and irrelevancy instead. Very unfortunate.

Interesting excerpt you’ve posted here, Leo. I’m curious to see what MP has to say about this, but in the meantime, I’d like to point out that this entire excerpt is an excellent example of an argument predicated on preexisting beliefs.

The belief that consciousness is derived from matter exhibited here is encapsulated in the first sentence, to quote: “Three new sciences are now vividly rooting our mental processes in our biology.”

Then we are treated to examples from cognitive neuroscience, behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology that seem to strongly support the first sentence. If only it were so simple.

Craig Hamilton wrote an excellent, objective article in 2005, “Is God All in Your Head?” that is available as a PDF download here, free registration required:

http://www.wie.org/consciousness/

Hamilton discusses the findings of cognitive neuroscience, behavioral genetics and other sciences that do seem to support the evolutionary view of consciousness arising from matter, then goes on to explore other scientific findings that tend to support the opposite view. It’s an excellent introduction that should be considered by anyone interested in what David Chalmers calls the “hard problem” of consciousness studies: “How do physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective experience?”

As far as some of the specific examples supporting the arguments given in the excerpt you’ve posted, I recall reading of several instances of Alzheimer’s patients appearing to regain lucidity immediately prior to death, and as far as what findings regarding visual processes tell us, I’d suggest Hoffman’s piece “Dismissing God” at AntiMatters:

http://71.18.123.59/ojs-2.1.1/index.php/
antimatters/issue/current/showToc

The consciousness matter is anything but settled in the manner that Dawkins and Pinker would like to believe, and they know that. But they also understand that many of their audience do not, while the other portion of their audience shares their basic worldview in the first place, which renders the entire exercise a 21st century version of “preaching to the choir.”

It's a fascinating piece, and I think it reflects a view that should be discussed more often among those of us who accept and believe that psi and the paranormal are real and areas for study: that the mind may indeed be produced by the brain. That may seem to fly in the face of psi and survival evidence, but it really does not.

Consider on one hand we have overwhelming correlative evidence that the brain creates the mind. Yes, I am well aware that correlation does not equal causation, but when you have a vast amount of correlation i starts to look closed-minded and stubborn to continue ignoring it. On the other, we have scientific evidence for psi and survival and a far vaster body of anecdotal evidence for same that indicate that something is going on. How can we reconcile these two likely realities?

This way: brain is mind, but the matter of the brain, indeed the matter of everything is not what we think. Call it entanglement or a holographic universe or something new entirely, but it seems likely to me that some sort of trans-materialism may be the answer. Matter is not what we have thought. Instead of being dead and purposeless, it is all interconnected and responsive to intent and consciousness. So based on the idea that all matter is interconnected with all things in all places at all times, Mind would exist everywhere at all times, leading to the obvious time-and-space-independent quality of consciousness that would allow survival.

Just a Christmas rumination for the board...

Peace, y'all...

Here are my thoughts the brain split experiments that Pinker and Dawkins talks there is debate about that as Titus Rivas has said http://www.geocities.com/athanasiafoundation/Dualismlives.htm

Also there are cases of patients were very little brain matter but are able to still function http://www.flatrock.org.nz/topics/science/is_the_brain_really_necessary.htm

Plus the irreducble mind books blows away a lot of materialist's interpretation of the neuroscientific data.

The Transmission theory fits in perfectly with the overwhelming scientific evidence coming from psi, survival after death, other phenomenas known in neuroscience.

Speaking of The Transmission theory, is this similar to the ideas Aldous Huxley presented in 'Doors of Perception' and 'Heaven & Hell'?

I agree that this is a topic that could be explored further, Tim. Many materialists point to this data as critical to their POV.

Not all scientists agree, though. As neuroscientist Andrew Newberg suggests, "Perhaps consciousness and matter are two ways of looking at the same thing."

That may well be, Michael, many scientists' aversion to even considering consciousness in their thinking notwithstanding. Clearly, the nature of matter is not what the mainstream has led us to believe.

I tend to think reductionism, not materialism, is the enemy here. Reductionism tends to reduce things to the simplest form in the desperate need to feel like we have all the answers. Materialism may prove to be right in an odd way, if one considers that matter may stem from consciousness, not the other way around.

I basically agree with Michael H's analysis of the material Leo quoted. Of course, it's a truism that if there is no good evidence for life after death or psi or other paranormal phenomena, then the materialist view has to be preferred, since it is simpler than the alternatives. But if there is good evidence for life after death, psi, and paranormal phenomena, then the materialist view (at least in its crudest form) has to be rejected. Since I think there is good evidence for the things I mentioned, I reject materialism as a theory that does not adequately cover the facts.

Additionally, one might point to the complexity and habitability of the universe as evidence of a Mind that planned it all. Ditto the complexity of even the "simplest" life forms. Ditto the remarkable phenomenon of consciousness itself, which is not explained by materialist doctrine.

What Dawkins and Pinker are doing is a) brushing aside any anomalistic evidence that conflicts with their position, b) presenting a highly optimistic case for the explanatory power of reductionist science, and c) conflating a philosphical doctrine (materialism) with an empirical method (science).

I think they both suffer from "Right Man syndrome." From a Web article on the subject:

The "Right Men" ... can be found in all fields of life: in business, politics, art, culture. They are poor communicators, appalling listeners, tend to see everything in “black and white” and demonstrate a profound inflexibility.

One key feature is the “rule of permanency” – they tend to see every decision and action, error or mistake, as something that carries a permanent effect that resonates through time.

As a result, they tend to be hopelessly out of date with the current times in terms of fashion, relationships, social and cultural trends....

“Right Men” tend to “sort for error” and often give their approval/disapproval even when uninvited to do so. These behaviours are usually seen as being rather undermining by the recipients of these actions and the “Right Man” will deny their own actions vigorously. They only ever “intend” to be helpful.

Their ability at self deception can be staggering to those who know them well. Their catch-phrase is: “There is nothing wrong with me; it is everyone else that is at fault.” ...

Essential here is that the "Right Man" must always have his way and is afraid of losing face above all ("How dare you talk to me this way?"): anything that might be an indication of his infallibility or erroneous ways, something that he can never admit....

Is that the "Right Man" or (Ayn) "Rand Man" syndrome?

that voice inside your head is not the soul. - Art

I look at you and what do I see.
I see a beauty that shines and a heart the glows.
I Look into your eys and what do I see.
A great peace and gentleness that abides within.
A look at your smile,smiling sweetly at me.
I see a joy that flows and a happiness the grows.
I sit at my puter thinking of you.
How far across the you seem to be.
I sit and I think,while I am thinking of you.
Are u thinking of me.
Reply

“Materialism may prove to be right in an odd way, if one considers that matter may stem from consciousness, not the other way around.”

Good point Tim. Very profound insight.

I see it that anyone that becomes angry when someone challenges their cherished beliefs it is more about inner doubt rather than certainty. Our inner doubts can be painful and if we lack a knowing beyond knowing those inner doubts can cause us to attack as a defense mechanism to protect our cherished beliefs. Kind of like pain avoidance.

My own personal opinion is that many people have made statements about David Thompson’s séances with insufficient evidence to know one way or the other the validity of these séances. We humans tend to talk from our beliefs than from evidence.

Twenty years of teaching six-sigma statistical analysis to organizations and how our paradigms effect the way we manage our organizations taught me this very real phenomena.

It is a very painful wake up call to see how one’s own personal paradigms affect their outlook on life. been there done that and still a work in process.

“That voice inside your head is not the soul” Art how do you know that? Could you explain what you meant by that statement? Thanks.

If only VZ did not go berserk-a-la-randi he could have been appreciated alot more by the skeptics and the agnosts alike.

At this point his behavior makes even those that accept some paranormal phenomena feel embarassed to accept his point of view.

Lets take for instance this piece from MP's post:

>Michael Pisspot - a closed minded loser defeatist is too silly to rebut the afterlife evidence, too dumb and negatively prejudicial to understand objective, repeatable evidence, too much of an imbecile to understand intellectual afterlife substance.
>

He calls MP so many things while he himself is throwing with mud.It completely takes away his credibility as a serious researcher.

If you read this VZ,refrain from posting like that.It gets you nowhere as a researcher and it's certainly depressing material for those spiritualists who seek somebody to look up to and as such you're not setting a good example.

Im sure all this has been mentioned before though.Healthy doubts about some aspects of the materialisations are bound to be in place.Im an agnost myself to the materialisations and I still share some of MP's concerns.

What I dont understand is why VZ doesn't value MP's opinions and try to improve the flaws mentioned from the seances.

'solicitor of the NSW Supreme Court' is the correct formal term for a solicitor in NSW. He's not claiming to be a barrister. This is the title that would appear on his practise certificate.

Also solicitors can represent clients in court at the pre trial stage

I sort of feel bad for VZ despite poor behavior. I maybe totally off base with this analogy, but VZ seems to mimic the pattern of the person who goes to a party, gets smashed and start making loud, bloated claims in order to impress the people around him. A few the other people at the party are predisposed to disagree with any of his claims. Some are interested in a few claims, but skeptical about the most outrageous claims. He lashes out at everyone who has the slightest doubt of certain claims. A few people try to calm him down out of his best interest and the interest of the discussion as a whole. He begins to insult them as well.

Instead of apologizing for it when he sees his friends again, he instead becomes even louder and more defensive in a misguided attempt to save face. Unfortunately, the people who share some of the ideas with him may begin to look bad by association.

Maybe that is a poor analogy, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I have seen a few people go through this on a micro level. So perhaps he has the motivator, trying to save face rather than just stepping away from his ego. Its an easy slope to fall down for any of us. And I am sure it is not a very comfortable place to be.

Almost everyone that has done paranormal research and especially those that come out in favor of materializations have come under attack and I suspect all of those people respond in a different way.

William Crookes who came out in favor of materializations came under tremendous attacks even to the point of being accused of having an affair with the medium. Even though most of his peers (but not all) refused to attend the séances. I think he was even removed from his position as head of the scientific community for his stance on materializations.

William James and those that worked with him came under attack by their peers with one of his associate’s losing his job at the university. Unfortunately victor is responding in such a way that does more harm than good for paranormal research. This may be why the silver cord chose to set up their own website.

Scientists can have as strong of beliefs as the evangels or the ultra skeptics. When one challenges another’s existing paradigm, sparks fly.

Personally I find this blog as open to others ideas as any blog I have been on. I detect some prejudice against materializations but why not. Materializations are a fantastic and hard to fathom claim and very difficult for the mind to comprehend if even true.

Again I will state we do not have enough data one way or the other. Several red flags have been raised for me but can only hope that victor’s claims are valid. Hope is not the best evidence, which can lead to beliefs and wishful thinking, and both can lead one down a very lonely and often an embarrassing road.

History has shown rampant fraud with materializations. One must proceed with extreme caution and have some understanding of the power of beliefs. Victor does not understand this as William Crookes did not understand the power of beliefs on the human mind.

Thanks, Mickey D, for that important clarification. I've updated the post to reflect this information.

http://www.wie.org/consciousness/

This website has an article that is a must read. What is enlightenment interviews Rupert Sheldrake about his and Matthew fox’s new book on angels. He has a brilliant mind with his ability to combine science with paranormal research. He makes some interesting points and his story about how a scientist responded to the question what or who is god is a classic and will bring a smile to your face. Funny very funny.

To access this article you only have to put in an email address now I suspect you may get some info from the mag but it may some good stuff from what is enlightenment.

My communication with Rupert was on the computer simulation that Dawkins did to prove in his mind Darwinism. My point was that he proved otherwise as he designed the software. i.e. intelligent design and also there was intelligence involved in the hardware of the computer.

We may have discussed this on this blog previously.

As noted in a previous thread on the topic of consciousness, the mathematician John von Neumann's strict interpretation of quantum theory led to the inescapable conclusion that an observing consciousness would be required in order for a physical universe of possibilities to become actual. That materialists such as Dawkins, Pinker, et al., should choose to side step von Neumann's profound interpretation with a dismissive pirouette is rightly pointed out by Michael and Michael H, exposing a rhetorical dance which indeed is intended for the choir providing the accompanying music and the audience which hasn't sought out all sides of the argument. These "champions of Scientism" are "Right" people, to be certain. Tim also contributes well in adding that reductionism accounts for much of the problem, something which has also been touched on in previous threads on this blog.Materialization is certainly a difficult subject, one for which I find myself unconvinced yet open to, but VZ's behavior hurts his own cause. His ego seems incredibly needy, one of the features of a "Right Man". I hope he reads this blog in its entirety and finds a way to temper his presentations, though I fear that MP's opinion in this is, sadly, "spot on".

"John von Neumann's strict interpretation of quantum theory led to the inescapable conclusion that an observing consciousness would be required in order for a physical universe of possibilities to become actual."

Kevin, this is a remarkable insight that you have mentioned before, and I suspect that there are many who just fail to grasp the implications contained in that single sentence.

And William, regarding the What is Enlightenment web site, they're pretty good about email communications. Seems I get maybe a notice per month from them, and the resources available there are excellent. Their discussion on the evolution debate is outstanding - I've found myself frustrated in trying to discuss the complexities involved in this discussion, which goes way beyond "Darwin vs. Intelligent Design":

http://www.wie.org/j35/real-evolution-debate-intro.asp

“That voice inside your head is not the soul” Art how do you know that? Could you explain what you meant by that statement? Thanks - william
------------------------------------------

I think it might take a book to explain it all but I'll try. I'm not sure where to start. First off let me say that everything I believe is a synthesis (matrix, mandala, etc.) of stuff I've read in near death experiences, death bed visions, and The Holographic Universe.

They may be related to each other but they are not exactly the same thing. It has to do with the soul using the body to learn what it needs to learn. Time and space, separation, imprinting memories of the parameters of the body, etc. I believe the soul is ultimately in charge of what the body does, and that free will may be an illusion of the brain. The soul seems to animate the body. When it's not in it the body seems to be dead, and when the soul re-enters the body it becomes reanimated. People do crap to their body that if they were using their brain they wouldn't do. Self flagellation, cutters, piercing their body, self mutilation, etc. I think the soul directs the body to do these things so that it can store that information like computer code to be used at a later date to re-create or conjure a body on the other side. Keep in mind that the soul comes from a place where nothing exists unless it's first thought of. Pure and utter nothingness, not even time or space. Any reality that the soul may experience after leaving the body will be a synthesis of information that it learned while in the physical universe. There is a lot of stuff in life that can only be understood if you have experience it. Making love, eating food, riding a bike, time and space, swimming, etc. You can watch a blue million DVD's about sex and that doesn't come close to actually making love to another person. How would you describe what an olive tastes like? What the color red looks like? What it feels like to ride a bike real fast over a hill?

That may be why not everyone has an NDE. It may not be so much that they didn't have one as the connection between the soul and that voice inside the head may not be perfect. When the soul leaves the body it doesn't seem to care much what happens to it one way or the other. Sort of like two separate individuals inhabiting the same body.

I believe that the soul uses the body to learn what it needs to learn and then discards the body with about as much emotion as we might reserve for a pair of worn out tennis shoes. I also believe the reason "why we are here" is very simple. People who have near death experiences routinely say that they felt an overwhelming feeling of "oneness and connectedness" on the other side. I believe that these feelings come from the holographic nature of the Spiritual Universe. In a hologram each piece contains the whole and if you break a hologram into pieces, each piece will contain all the information of the whole. Another statement that NDE'ers routinely make is that time and space aren't real and that the soul is told it has to take a vow or pretend that it is in order for it to come to Earth and live a life in the physical Universe. So therefore the main difference between the physical universe and the spiritual universe are those feelings of connectedness and oneness that seem so pervasive and overwhelming in Heaven. I remember reading one NDE where the woman said that we here in the Physical Universe can't begin to understand the feelings of "oneness" on the other side. I believe that this is the true nature of the Universe, and that the separation we feel and experience on this side is an illusion created to teach the soul something. I believe that something is what it means and how it feels to be a separate, unique, individual and to experience time and space, and perhaps imprint memories of the parameters of a physical body.

Also all the information in Universe that has ever been gathered, will be accessible simply by focusing one's attention on it after crossing over. We'll be able to know what it was like to soar like an eagle or swim like a porpoise or a dolphin.

Jeezus I could go on and on. I've read hundreds of books and websites about this stuff but I'm tired of typing. Suffice it to say, we are spiritual beings having a physical experience and the soul uses the body to learn about the physical world. There is a whole lot of crap I would choose not to experience if I had the choice, but I believe the soul directs the body to experience stuff simply to imprint information to learn about the physical Universe. - Art

excerpt from Randy Gehling's NDE (age 10):
"That was really cool! I kind of felt as though my body exploded - in a nice way - and became a million different atoms - and each single atom could think its own thoughts and have its own feelings. All at once I seemed to feel like I was a boy, a girl, a dog, a cat, a fish. Then I felt like I was an old man, an old woman - and then a little tiny baby."
http://near-death.com/experiences/animals04.html

I'm not sure about the difference between solicitor and barrister, but I suspect it is as muddled as the titles given to lawyers in the United States. For example, lawyers are often referred to simply as "attorneys," but there are other types of attorneys. That's why they are more specifically called attorneys-at-law. The dictionary says that the word "attorney" simply means "agent." Thus, one can be an attorney at real estate, an attorney at insurance, etc., without being a lawyer. Just about anyone can be an attorney-in-fact.

We also tend to associate the word "Esquire" with lawyers. In fact, many lawyers seem to want to give themselves the title. In effect, Esquire is a title of respect that can be given to anyone. It is a form of respect above "Mister." It should be given and not assumed. Lawyers who put "Esq." after their names are assuming respect and thus being a bit arrogant.

Of course, usage changes and I've strayed from the subject matter, but the Esquire thing is sort of a pet peeve with me and so I thought I'd take the opportunity to sound off.

“Pure and utter nothingness, not even time or space.”

Art I realize that many that have NDE’s say the things you are reporting. But what about those that come through that actually have passed over and come through a medium. Many tell us that it is much like a physical world with trees and flowers Summerland if you will.

I tend to lean more towards those that have crossed over as to what they tell us then NDE’s as this is a temporal experience. I believe at this time in a many realms or astral worlds or dimensions on the other side depending on our level of consciousness.

Newton who wrote journey of the soul believes part of the soul still exists on the other side and this part of the soul could communicate with the soul in the physical body.

It appears to be that the soul comes to earth to learn lessons that it cannot learn in a more mental world. These harsh lessons often include mental and physical suffering and it appears this suffering gives us opportunities to learn compassion which appears to be some kind of divine understanding or divine love in action.

Only recently have I been able to begin to comprehend the profound difference between what we call love, which tends to be labeled emotional and true compassion for all of humankind yes even towards people like Hitler.

“It has to do with the soul using the body to learn what it needs to learn” I agree with this statement.

“and that free will may be an illusion of the brain.” This could be so about free will. But oh how we humans love the concept of free will. What would capitalism and religion be without this belief in free will?

“There is a lot of stuff in life that can only be understood if you have experience it.” I believe at this time that a soul can have experiences on the other side but not at the level of harshness that we experience them in the physical realm. Hence this harshness gives us more opportunities to learn compassion and divine intelligence.

“You can watch a blue million DVD's about sex and that doesn't come close to actually making love to another person.” One can experience love on the other side and it is much more intense. It is called a spiritual hug and some call it spiritual sex. As I may have experienced this spiritual hug in a dream state it is about 1000 times the intensity of physical sex as you can feel the entire vibrational intensity or whatever of the other person. I suspect it is an aspect of that oneness you talk about.

“When the soul leaves the body it doesn't seem to care much what happens to it one way or the other.” I agree this is almost always the case few exceptions.

“Sort of like two separate individuals inhabiting the same body.” What happens to the “other soul” that was the human or creature part of the body? Newton refused to answer that question I sent him or anyone that he trained to do life between lives hypnosis. Hmmmmmmm red flag here.

“I remember reading one NDE where the woman said that we here in the Physical Universe can't begin to understand the feelings of "oneness" on the other side.” This may be true somehow the physical bodies make us feel much more separate than in a mental world. I think this is why people gravitate towards religion and even sex to try and find that oneness again.

“I believe the soul directs the body to experience stuff simply to imprint information to learn about the physical Universe” why learn about the physical universe? The soul is not perfect. I believe that it has desires and wants and lacks perfect intelligence from past incarnations (new souls) and souls come here for different reasons. Stated another way nature may be one huge soul making process. From star dust to rock to plant to animal to human to even higher realms we know little about.


You may enjoy reading Newton’s books on the journey of the soul and life between lives as his findings are very similar to yours.

art thanks for taking the time to reply.

Hey, Art! Our boy Josh's album "Noel" is the best-selling album (not Christmas album - album album) of 2007! Not bad considering it only came out in October! So proud :-) .... We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

Hey, Art! Our boy Josh's album "Noel" is the best-selling album (not Christmas album - album album) of 2007 - ginny
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I'm listening to it right now! - Art
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why learn about the physical universe?
- william

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I believe Heaven is a place where thoughts are things and consciousness creates reality. We'll use the information we gather in this reality to create our own heaven (or hell) in the Spiritual Universe. Who wants to exist in eternal nothingness for eternity? The reason we have to come here is because how can one know about anything unless they have first been exposed to it. Sort of along the same lines as why our cavemen ancestors didn't make airplanes and cars and boats. They were stuck making stone tools for 100,000 years because it took imagination and being exposed to new ideas for them to make that leap and create new things. This life is simple, duality and separation, time and space, and imprinting memories of a 3D + 1T Universe. That's why there seems to be as many different descriptions of heaven as there are people. We conjure up our own reality after we cross over. "As a man thinketh, so is he." In the Tibetan book of the Dead they tell the newly dead to not be afraid of the demons they encounter because they are only projections from their own mind. I can supply the links to the quotes below if you want them.

"Did you know that I was dead ? It was most extraordinary, my thoughts became persons." A..J. Ayer's NDE

"Suddenly I thought of a mountain, I had seen as a child. When I looked up from the road there it was; The Mountain!" - Mark H's NDE

with all of the conversation on this thread about Near Death Experiences, I am still in doubt, text books are to establish or enhence your learning in some feld of study/interestbut, still not the same as 'being'the doer or on sight activity, doing or on hands experience if you will. I do like what MP and Tim I think it was that said that it could very well be the mind that constitutes the matter instead of the other way around. When you think of it from a physics point of view, matter is force and force is matter in bondage. cental petal verses central fugal. force or velocity of triune streams or a 3D view.

LucyJane D

with all of the conversation on this thread about Near Death Experiences, I am still in doubt, - lucyjane
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No one has ever been able to adequately explain away to me the amazing and mind boggling parallels, collaboration, and support between near death experiences and what Michael Talbot says one might expect in a holographic universe. There is something supernatural, transcendental, and mystical about it. Dr. Ken Ring has a whole chapter in his book "Life At Death" about the holographic universe and NDE's, and Dr. Melvin Morse devotes several pages to the parallels between them in his book "Where God Lives" and most recently Dr. Oswald Harding published a whole book about it called Near Death Experiences: A Holographic Explanation. How is it that so many average ordinary people with no knowledge whatsoever about the holographic universe come back and make statements that sound like they came straight out of Talbot's book? Feelings of oneness and connectedness, feeling like they are literally everywhere in the Universe at once, 360 degree vision, all knowledge, telepathy, and during the life review feeling the emotions and thoughts of everyone you ever came into contact with? Not to mention saying that time and space didn't seem to exist and that one's thoughts became things. Which seem to have a very "Quantum" flavor to them if you ask me. It's a holographic experience par excellance. There is something magical about it. If Near death experiences are not real than how does one begin to explain thousands of people making these kinds of statements? Truck drivers from the rural south, housewives from Nebraska, people who don't have a clue what the holographic universe means or says routinely come back and make statements that can only be interpreted in light of what Talbot says? Read the little 6 page essay about the holographic universe then read Mark Horton's NDE; the parallels are obvious and amazing.

The Holographic Universe, online essay: http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html#zine

"I literally had the feeling that I was everywhere in the universe simultaneously." - excerpt from Mark Horton's NDE, http://www.mindspring.com/~scottr/nde/markh.html

Emmanuel Swedenborg:
http://www.soultravel.se/2004/040907-swedenborg/index.shtml

Riding the Dragon, essay by a Medical doctor:
http://www.issc-taste.org/arc/dbo.cgi?set=expom&id=00070&ss=1


- Art

Wow. I don't check the web for two days and I miss out on this megathread. ;-)

First, regarding Victor, I sense a profound insecurity. He has invested so much emotional security into David Thompson that he is lashing out at critics because they are attacking the fundamental properties of his belief system and faith. His entire universe is on the line. This condition could eventually lead to madness, and I believe there is reason to be concerned about his well-being.

I've noticed a common theme when I discuss this heated topic with the ladies and gentlemen on these forums and elsewhere. It is often rational, understanding and stimulating discourse. Reasonable skeptics who raise questions end up provoking even better conversation, and in the end everybody has a good time. That is, until a "true believer" comes along.

In another thread, one of these uber-skeptics pitched in with a comment "Another discussion by religious zealots!" Without trying to converse with us he decided to crack a broad sweeping insult. This guy jumped into the party with machine guns in both hands! The only explanation is a deep insecurity. The same thing now with Zammit. It seems when people are emotionally invested in something, then conversation is taken to extremes and it becomes an ideological war. And, this is bad news for the rest of us.

Switching topics to the afterlife-- William, I also agree that personal accounts through mediums, ADCs and even EVP to a small extent is better information than NDEs which are sometimes limited to feelings of cosmic awareness... Something that might be a very short aspect of the whole death experience, and hardly fitting of the whole story. The NDE is just a piece of the jiggsaw puzzle.

Art when I started this research 16 years ago I decided not to put all my eggs in one basket so I researched as many areas as possible from theoretical quantum physics to spiritualism and look for cross validations of data. Not a perfect plan but what is in the area of the paranormal. Spent two years on nde's alone. In fact that was my main interest at first.

My life has become interesting because now I have a granddaughter that is claiming to see people that her mother cannot see. Imaginary friends maybe, maybe not. One must be open to the possibility of more than imaginary friends.

I have noted many mediums were able to see “people” that others could not see when they were young. Ie ena twigg. My granddaughter’s mother has been able to leave her body several times and hover near the ceiling and watch my son and her own body sleep then she gets fearful and is immediately back into her body.

I suspect there are a lot of people out there doing such things and having paranormal experiences but not talking about them. I had something paranormal (movement of a heavy object 20 feet away on its own at the moment I thought a certain question) happen to me when I was 18 years old and kept it to myself for 27 years and the person I told basically said it was all in my head. To say that it scared me when this very heavy object moved back and forth only when I thought a certain thought is an understatement.

When one is emotionally invested to an extreme degree in something, I find that its a good idea to step back and take a breather, focusing on something else for several weeks/months. That way you can come back with a fresher and more objective perspective.

I doubt Zammit will do this however. I have a bad feeling that if he finds out Thompson is a fraud (which I heavily suspect), he will then swing to the other side of the pendulum and become a rabid skeptic.

Regarding the edge.org interview quoted above:

In the world of analytic philosophy, Jaegwon Kim is one of the top philosophers on the subject of the mind-body problem. He was recently asked about how the new discoveries in the field of neuroscience have a bearing on his work, and he said they have almost no bearing. The mind-body problem is a metaphysical problem. Philosophers who do not subscribe to the metaphysical doctrine of physicalism have for centuries tried to explain why the mind-body problem is a metaphysical problem, not a physical one, but seemingly to no avail.

H, the problem with philosophers trying to claim that mind-body is a metaphysical issue is that according to the reductionists, there are no metaphysics. No mind, no self, no free will, yada yada. So it's a useless point when you're dealing with people who think they have it all figured out.

I think I may write a book called "The Curse of Knowing, about the human need to feel like we have all the answers. Re: a slightly earlier posting about uber-skeptics and VZ sharing a similar attitude, I'm fascinated by the psychology of the compulsion to convince oneself that one's views are absolutely in the right. There's a very reliable correlation between a person's belief that he or she is 100% correct about a subject and his or her belligerence on the matter. I think we've all been on discussion boards with those pseudoskeptics who spend all their time rolling their eyes at the stupidly of the "creduloids" and berating people for the empty-headedness of their logical arguments.

For the uber-skeptic and fundamentalist paranormal or religious believer alike, the pattern seems to be that utter certainty, rage against those who disagree, deep personal insecurity and the delusion that he or she is really incredibly open-minded are all of a piece.

"the curse of knowing" very good.

Maybe just maybe the universe is a perfect design for soul progression and doubt is part of that design. Without doubt there is no progression. The “master mind” in the book the open door claims that removing doubt gets us half way home to truth. Whoops, but these folks have removed doubt and have such certainty. But do they?

Maybe these attacks and these defense mechanisms are based in doubts not certainty. I suspect that with true certainty we have no need to attack and degrade those that do not share our beliefs or those that challenge our cherished beliefs.

Could it be that atheists like Randi, Dawkins, and Hitchens have doubts? I suspect so. Could it be that the vitality (spirit) that dwells within us “whispers” perfect truth to us and until we align our consciousness with these truths we remain in ignorance.

I am so certain this is so that anyone that thinks other wise is just plain stupid and is a pisspot and unscientific.

On a different note I cannot get out of my mind David Thompson crawling on his hands and knees with some fur in his hands crawling up to a sitter and pretending to be his long lost former pet dog and barking. Sorry but that is a pretty big stretch for me to accept that a sitter cannot tell the difference between a David barking and his pet dog barking.

One of my questions was asked to William at a silver cord séance concerning the origin of ignorance but the person that asked the question screwed it up so bad I could not determine if William knew anything about the origin of ignorance. Why did the person asking the question believe that he knew better how to ask the question rather than just ask it like I stated. Oh the curse of thinking we know.

william, it's a common allegation but I really do believe most people who are atheists and skeptics do not have doubts about their atheism. Before I got in to all this, I would often say that I kind of wished there was a deity, but I couldn't see it being possible. Dead sure about it. I still can't see it being possible, honestly, but I'm more open to the possibility.

Re: The Curse of Knowing.

I can’t recall who it was that said that it wasn’t ignorance that caused us problems; it’s knowing too many things that just aren’t so. The statement is worth reflection.

As far as the findings of neuroscience rendering philosophical debates obsolete, cognitive scientist Don Hoffman’s article “Dismissing God” at AntiMatters that I linked earlier in this thread addresses this question directly, correctly pointing out that neural correlates can be used by either camp to support their point of view. The findings themselves are neutral. Though no one would say that the brain is not involved in experience, identifying neural correlations to a given experiences can’t tell us anything about the source of the experience itself.

Andrew Newberg has mapped the neural activities of meditating Buddhist monks and Franciscan nuns in contemplative prayer. His findings have been used by reductionists to support materialism, claiming the correlations prove that the experiences described by his subjects are illusory.

But what does Newberg say himself?

“I can tell you what the brain is doing during the experience but I can’t tell you whether or not God was really there, whether the experience represented a true reality. Neuroscience can’t answer that epistemological question.”

Newberg also points out that the experiential aspect of mystical experience is universally regarded as “realer” than ordinary experience by those describing it. It interests me personally that this is commonly reported by NDEr’s also.

The metaphysics the reductionists end up resorting to sounds pretty bizarre. Dan Dennett has concluded that in the end, the self is an illusion, and Pinker apparently concurs. See this article:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/points/
stories/DN-achenbach_02edi.ART.State.Edition1.368eab3.html

I can’t help but wonder who these guys think it was that committed those conclusions to paper (it apparently couldn’t be them), but then I’m just a simple guy, not a published philosopher.

Well stated by Tim, and we should note here that, even if we have received no formalized schooling in psychology, we can recognize in ourselves and others that when anything provokes that extremity of emotional reaction (the "zero-to-100" effect), we should be mindful enough to recognize it as a signal or indicator of a subject in which we have an overlarge investment of our sense of being or worth. If we have developed the mindfulness to do so, we should use the moment to step back and make a self-assessment, ask ourselves why we needed to react in such a way. This act of self-editing is a CONSCIOUS reaction to a SUBCONSCIOUS behavior, and I have been wondering of late if it is a sign of "progress" or not as regards the state of the self and its interactions with others. With all the various researches I've been absorbing in the last few years regarding the "re-awakening" of consciousness studies since the Behaviorists wrested the ship's tiller from William James, F.W.H. Myers, et al.,I've encountered the findings that some 90 to 95% of our actions/intentions are SUBCONSCIOUS in origin, a startling and fascinating statistic. If we can ,in effect,monitor or edit our subconscious thoughts and behaviors with the use of conscious mindfulness, does this constitute "progress" in the education of the mind/soul? Additionally, if these subconscious directives are the mechanism by which fate or predetermination is manifested in our physical lives, are we somehow thwarting or altering the intentions of the source of that destiny (God?) when we exercise mindful self-control? Is THAT predetermined, too? Why do a significant number of NDE reports end with the subject being told that it is not their "time" yet, that there is more to be done/experienced? If our lives are in any way "fated" (and I've had too many precognitive moments to consider otherwise), how can such seeming "mistakes" be made, instances in which a person experiences a genuinely life threatening event prior to their predetermined "time"? Are NDEs experienced by some as part of the educational process? These are some of the questions which occupy a good deal of my mental time as of late, and I apologize for digressing so far into my metaphysical speculations. Returning to my main point of the moment, I can only suggest that Mr. Zammit could find benefit in the exercise of mindfulness and its ability to reign in the more negative extremes of his emotional reactions.

Michael,

Please keep mentioning Victor in your blog. No publicity is bad publicity. Since your recent blog article the number of members of the forum associated with Victor's site has had a record increase in membership. It doesn't matter what your opinion on the issue is, people are looking at the evidence and deciding for themselves. You deserve high praise for leading so many people to Victor's site where they learn the truth about the afterlife.

Did Victor just materialize here?

Michael

I agree that there is a lot of interesting material on Victor's website. It is a great shame that he has responded in such an immature way to you. I don't think this devalues the information on Victor's website per se but it does bring his judgement into question.

I do enjoy reading this blog however I find all of my comments so far have either been deleted or not appeared - have I said something wrong? :)

Paul

Dr Hora claims there are two types of ignorance. Positive ignorance and negative ignorance. Positive ignorance is when we think we know but do not know and negative ignorance is when we don’t know that we don’t know. Both types cause us problems but positive ignorance is the most difficult to overcome.

“William, it's a common allegation but I really do believe most people who are atheists and skeptics do not have doubts about their atheism” if they did not have doubts they would not be so defensive and hostile when anyone challenges their cherished beliefs. A knowing beyond knowing or maybe I should say a knowing beyond doubt eliminates the need to attack others that do not share one’s beliefs.

You stated it is a common allegation please if you have any links that discuss this aspect of doubt would you post them on here for me. Thanks.

Kevin: very interesting topic about fate. When I look at my life it appears to be more about fate than the choices I have made. It appears that the more advanced the soul the more the soul uses fate to learn its lessons. Less advanced souls just kind of coming crashing onto the human scene. This may explain why there are such a wide variety of human behaviors on this earth.

I personally enjoy victor’s website. I have found many interesting articles and topics on this site. Victor is in good company when he is attacked or challenged one only has to look at the history of anyone that has come out in favor of materializations.

All of those attacks and challenges appeares to have had a negative impact on victor’s ability to respond in a positive or neutral way. Houdini even tried to sneak in props to make it look like Margie Crandon was a fraud. It is interesting to note that a curse was put on Houdini by Walter, Margie’s contact on the other side and Houdini died shortly thereafter.

>I do enjoy reading this blog however I find all of my comments so far have either been deleted or not appeared - have I said something wrong? :)

I haven't deleted any of your comments. TypePad's antispam filter has been known to arbitrarily block comments (including mine). The likelihood of having a comment blocked increases when you cut and paste text, or when you include an URL in your message. If you do neither of these things, you are more likely to get through.

>You deserve high praise for leading so many people to Victor's site where they learn the truth about the afterlife.

Thank you. But I think that should read: "where they learn The Truth (TM) about the afterlife."

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