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To play Devil's Advocate, is the burden of proof on "us" because we still haven't found a mechanism that's can be proven? This is where the skeptics start pulling arguments such as Betrand Russell's teapot or how they can say there exist unicorns in another dimension that can't be proven. Though you can't prove or disapprove their existence, one has to conclude they're unlikely to exist (leading into Occam's Razor).

One person I know that has read Woerlee's review claims that he makes a lot of "philosophical non sequiturs".

"It would appear that what the remote viewer perceives is a data set connected with that location, but it can be a data set linked to just about any time period." - Michael Prescott
--------------------------------------------

I think we have found the mechanism and it's very easily explained. We are living in a holographic projection. Sometimes our consciousness is able to access the information stored on this hologram.

excerpt from Our World May Be A Giant Hologram:
"then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: "If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126911.300-our-world-may-be-a-giant-hologram.html?full=true

excerpt from The Universe as a Hologram:
"Unlike normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole...{snip}... At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously."
http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

excerpt from Mark Horton's NDE:
"From this vantage point, I had to merely think of a place and time and I was there, experiencing everything about the place and time and people present."
http://www.mindspring.com/~scottr/nde/markh.html

And I reiterate for the billionth time, there is a very curious and strange connection between NDE's and the holographic universe theory that I find very evidential; even more so than the out of body perception reported in NDEs. A large number of near death experiencers sometimes describe their experiences in terms that can only be called "holographic."

I think to summarize what I said in my last comment, I'm referring to the "Argument from Ignorance" fallacy we've been accused of falling to all the time because of our views. We supposedly try to say our position is true because the materialist positions are wrong/weak but supposedly do nothing to prove our position (and then come the comparisons to us being like Creationists).

Thank You and good night, Dr Woerlee.

Hi MP,

It's interesting how you framed this whole blog around the "paradigm boxing in" Woerlee's thinking. I say this because five years ago http://www.dailygrail.com/Essays/2004/7/Blinded-Light>I wrote a critique of another of Woerlee's 'debunkings' of the NDE, which he replied to (scroll down in the comments). I thought I had plainly made a case that he had omitted (wilfully or otherwise) important information, and yet in his reply he didn't address this at all. It has always struck me as a perfect example of a person that just "didn't see" the valid points I had made because they disrupted the stability of his paradigm.

Excellent response Michael to Woerlee's review of Dr. Jeffrey Long's new book!

I'm definitely going to link to this.

Same with Greg Taylor's critique, excellent.

I myself wrote an indepth critique of skeptical arguments against the NDE several years ago, which I've revised several times since then...

http://eteponge.blogspot.com/2007/09/near-death-experiences-out-of-body.html

"Near Death Experiences / Out Of Body Experiences: An Indepth Examination of Veridical Evidence & The Rebuttal of Common Skeptical Explainations"

My friend Gerry Reid passed away today after being critically injured in a car accident on March 1. I was fortunate enough to have a visitation experience from Gerry yesterday early in the morning.

Thanks Michael for providing so much information about this very important subject here on your blog. I know you have comforted a lot of people by showing that the evidence that consciousness is more than just brain activity is most abundant and often of unimpeachable quality.

Sorry to hear that, Matthew.

Gerry
Very sorry to hear that. Perhaps when your feel able, you will consider telling us what happened although I appreciate this might not be the right thread.

The existence of paranormal perception during OBEs or NDEs (and remote viewing) poses interesting theoretical and philosophical problems related to perception.

But arguing that such perception cannot exist because consciousness is immaterial, and an immaterial thing cannot be in touch with material reality, is clearly question begging.

The crude reasoning of materialists would be like this: eyes are necessary to see (evidence: if you don't have eyes or if your eyes funtion improperly, you cannot see). Thus, consciousness being immaterial and hence lacking eyes implies the impossibility of visual perception.

This argument assumes that only through eyes you can have visual experiences. This assumption could be normally true in cases of embodied consciousness, where each physical part has a specific function to operate in the physical world.

But disembodied consciousness is not limited by biological constraints. Thus the existence of any particular organ to have the ability of having certain function is not required.

Theorically, the Woerlee's objection is interesting, but it's empirically irrelevant given the actual evidence.

It's like arguing that, as the speed of light cannot be overcome, aliens of remote galaxies cannot visit us here in the Earth, because they would need to travel large distances in a speed superior to the light speed.

Theoretically and as an a priori objection, this is an interesting point. But if we have evidence that aliens are actually visiting us, then such theorerical question is secondary as an objection (in fact it wouldn't be anymore an objection to the idea of alien visiting us).

Having a mechanism or full explanation for a fact is not a precondition for accepting the fact, because the actual mechanisms could be unknown to us. (And materialists agree about it when they're asked to explain how the brain produces consciousness... but they don't apply the same criterion when evaluating claims that they disagree with.)

PS
I'm not saying tha aliens are actually visiting us, I'm simply making an analogy.

So Matthew sorry I got the names mixed. How dumb am I :(

I was interested to read the various comments on my critique of the book of Jeffrey Long. As a physician specialized in anesthesiology with 30 years busy teaching and clinical experience, I have come to the disappointing conclusion that I have learned nothing during all these years. Parapsychologists, radiation oncologists (Jeffrey Long), and non-medical people evidently have a profound understanding of anesthesiology transcending that of physicians specialized in anesthesiology, as well as their scientific associations. I stand humbled. All I can do is refer you to an inferior anesthesia teaching website describing the different types of consciousness people can undergo during anesthesia. See: http://anesthesiaweb.org/awareness.php

Moreover I would like to pose an interesting question:

- You the reader are conscious.
- A demented person with severe Alzheimers disease is conscious.

Would a demented person undergo an OBE with the same clear and transcendent consciousness as a person with a normal brain?

I cannot even begin to imagine the answer to this question, but perhaps one of the readers of this blog may.

Gerald Woerlee

Hi Gerald,

Parapsychologists, radiation oncologists (Jeffrey Long), and non-medical people evidently have a profound understanding of anesthesiology transcending that of physicians specialized in anesthesiology, as well as their scientific associations.

I don't think parapsychologists and other people you mention pretend to have a better or more profund knowledge of anesthesiology than anesthesiologists. But, as the issue at stake refers to consciousness in general (and its relation with the brain), and being this matter not an exclusive province of anesthesiology in particular, but of philosophy, psicology, neuroscience and cognitive science in general, non-anasthesiologist scientists can also comment on the evidence.

Many parapsyschologists, psi researchers, noetic scientists and consciousness scholars are psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, physicists or neuroscientists (see for example Mario Beauregard's book The Spiritual Brain; or the book Irreducible Mind).

Thus, trying to imply that anaesthesiology is the only relevant knowledge to assess the evidence for OBEs, NDEs and afterlife experiences in general is clearly fallacious (in addition to appealing to authority to discredit the professional competence of non-anaesthesiologists scientists who study the evidence)

- You the reader are conscious.
- A demented person with severe Alzheimers disease is conscious.

Would a demented person undergo an OBE with the same clear and transcendent consciousness as a person with a normal brain?

The answer to your question is empirical, not merely theoretical.

Empirically, there is evidence that during a NDE, the person can experience an expanded level of consciousness, presumibly due to the disconnection of the constrains of the biological brain.

Ian Stevenson et al. comments: "Individuals reporting NDEs usually describe the NDE as being quite unlike a dream, in that their mental processes during the NDE were remarkably clear and lucid and their sensory experiences unusually vivid, equalling or even surpassing those of their normal waking state."

http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_12_3_cook.pdf

If enhanced mentation is caused by an actual separation of consciousness from the brain, and if a demented person is demented due to a brain disorder (and not by a psychological or spiritual disorders, for example), then the dualist hypothesis predicts the person would experience the "same clear and transcendent consciousness as a person with a normal brain

Of course, if we assume that consciousnes is a product of the brain, that is, if we assume that materialism is true, your question almost answer itself: given that the brain is damaged, it's imposible or very unlikely that during an OBE or NDE the person will have the same clear consciousness than a person with a normal brain.

But assuming that materialism is true when examining evidence that, if correct, refutes materialism, is simply another example of begging the question.

Your post popped up on my google alert for consciouness. It is all a matter of perspective isn't it? Nice to find you in the neighborhood. Thanks for sharing. Will look forward to reading more.

The problem is with how tricky words can be. I "see" things in my dreams, sometimes vividly, even though my eyes are not being used to see. But "see" is an appropriate word to use because the information is in the form of imagery, but which does not come from the use of the eyes.

With NDEs the imagery and sounds may be so vivid that it is indistinguishable from imagery and sound perceived by the senses, and yet still not be by the senses.

Now the skeptical thing to say at this point is that the senses are the ONLY means we have of "perceiving" images and sounds. But this is not even trivially true, as dreams and hallucinations demonstrate. We can and frequently are aware of imagery that has nothing to do with eyes seeing objects. Every time I read a novel I read words which are translated into images in my mind.

And if nobody ever seemed to perceive accurately without the use of those senses (and not just during the NDE but during remote viewing or dreams that reflect events the person has no direct awareness of), then the standard model would be easy to accept.

That there is contrary evidence may be confusing, and may not seem to make sense, but that is a poor argument that the evidence doesn’t exist and that these things aren’t happening anyway.

How we can can get accurate sensory-like information without the senses is a very interesting question, but the absence of a clear answer does not indicate the phenomenon isn’t real.


"- You the reader are conscious.
- A demented person with severe Alzheimers disease is conscious."

"Would a demented person undergo an OBE with the same clear and transcendent consciousness as a person with a normal brain?"

It seems logical that he would, as ZC describes, but I would caution not to infer that we could obtain evidence of this afterward by the confirmed expectation that the demented person would be less demented and could therefore testify about the experience in a non demented way that would satisfy skeptics.

It is what it is, which may or may not be what any given person expects to occur.

I appreciate Dr. Woerlee taking the time to reply, but his comment doesn't really address any of my points. In the main post I went out of my way to say that his remarks on consciousness during anesthesia were the most interesting part of his review and deserve further consideration. So it is something of a straw-man argument to imply that I was pretending an expertise in this area, or discounting his professional credentials.

His question-begging arguments about consciousness and perception were the focus of my post.

As far as an Alzheimer's patient is concerned, I would bet that his NDE would be just as lucid as anyone else's. But after being resuscitated, he would not remember it or be able to communicate it, because his consciousness would once again be constrained by his physical body, with its severely damaged brain.

Similarly, a small child who has not yet learned to speak could have an NDE that is as vivid and meaningful as an adult's, but until he learns to talk, he will not be able to describe it, so no one else will know about it. Such cases have been described by Melvin Morse, among others.

“Overall, however, it seems that Woerlee is so committed to his materialistic outlook that he honestly cannot imagine any other way of interpreting the evidence.”

The paradigm effect, Paradigm paralysis, and a personal Paradigm shift in consciousness must come through experiences and usually a profound emotional experience or experiences.

There is more to this world that meets the eye but I must admit materialism is very powerful and very convincing. Some of the best scientists in the world are fooled by it. I think our cherished beliefs and paradigms can make that veil very thick. At this stage of our evolution of consciousness process I suspect it is important that that veil be very thick for most people to allow those experiences to enter our lives to learn from.


“I'm not saying that aliens are actually visiting us, I'm simply making an analogy”

I believe we are being viewed maybe even studied and maybe even being helped in some way for those that live on other planets. If we had the capability we would visit other planets. Thank goodness at this stage of our consciousness we don’t have that ability yet. We still as a human species have much to work out with our own levels of understanding and compassion.

But I predict the day may come when we will be able to visit other planets and hopefully not tamper too much if any with their evolution of consciousness process.

"Would a demented person undergo an OBE with the same clear and transcendent consciousness as a person with a normal brain?"

Response: “It seems logical that he would, as ZC describes, but I would caution not to infer that we could obtain evidence of this afterward by the confirmed expectation that the demented person would be less demented and could therefore testify about the experience in a non demented way that would satisfy skeptics.”

Well stated.

The materialistic paradigm is so powerful that a materialist is unable to apply simple logic that a demented person after an OBE would be unable to testify about the experience in a lucid way.

Dr Woerlee

Get off your high horse. Other NDE researchers who support the traditional NDE view are every bit as qualified as you are, if not why not? Some I suspect are probably more qualified then you.

We disagree with your arguments. So do many NDE researchers. I am not so much interested in comparing degrees as comparing arguments. And your arguments have more holes in them then the Titanic...

I think Michael is right about Alzheimer's patients.

Evidence also seems to indicate Alzheimer does not destroy the mind, just inhibits it.

http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Abstract/2009/12000/Terminal_Lucidity_in_Patients_With_Chronic.12.aspx

Kris, can you re-post your link. Thanks.

okay it doesn't like that link, let me try again

http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Abstract/2009/120

00/Terminal_Lucidity_in_Patients_With_Chronic.1

2.aspx

Edit copy and paste it


Here's a link to an abstract of the "Terminal Lucidity" paper:

http://tiny.cc/OGZ68

ZC: "I'm not saying that aliens are actually visiting us, I'm simply making an analogy."

As soon as I remember where I parked my spaceship I'm going home.

I didn't read anything that seemed to question Dr. Woerlee's long experience or expertise as a physician specialized in anesthesiology.

But bad arguments do not discriminate, and one doesn't have to be a physician to spot or diagnose them. : )

I know it doesn't add much to the argument but didn't the Titanic only have one hole? :)

how did you do that tiny url Mike?

All fascinating comments. Yet some questions do remain.

I was pleased to hear that you believe that a person whose brain is destroyed by serious Alzheimer’s disease has a separated consciousness capable of lucid and transcendental OBEs and NDEs. Do you have any references, case reports of such OBEs and NDEs in Alzheimer or dementia patients? These would be fascinating proof.

The following question arose during a discussion with my daughter over an otherwise very pleasant evening meal in Utrecht. During 1949, the clinicians Nielson & Sedgwick published a case of a newborn anencephalic baby that survived 85 days after birth (http://unholylegacy.woerlee.org/images/torture/Nielson-1949.pdf>Journal of Nervous & Mental Diseases (1949) 110: 387-394). This baby had no brain above the brainstem, yet was conscious, reacted to people, to hunger, and had a day night rhythm. In other words this baby was conscious. Would such a baby also have a separated consciousness capable of lucid and transcendental OBEs and NDEs?

Gerald Woerlee

Dr Woerlee

To answer your first question. We cannot answer that now ( for obvious reasons) , however it would be the view expected of the afterlife hypothesis.

To your second question. I would have to answer yes again.

No offence, do you understand the afterlife hypothesis? It does postulate some sort of dualism.

In cases of Alzheimer's etc dualist argue consciousness is being inhibited, not destroyed. The evidence for that view does exist in cases of people having their memories return as shown in that link I supplied earlier and here is another case

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1580392,00.html

We also do have rare cases of people having normal IQs with virtually no brain material as documented in the Lorber Study. In this case it seems these people's consciousness had to come from somewhere else.

Sorry about the link to the article. Here is the correct link to the article in the Journal of Nervous & Mental Diseases.

http://unholylegacy.woerlee.org/images/torture/Nielson-1949.pdf

Gerald Woerlee

As soon as I remember where I parked my spaceship I'm going home

I suspected that you are not from Earth, dmduncan.

“Would I recommend this book? This book is a new nadir in the study of near death experiences. Its only result will be to hurl uncritical readers back into a new dark age of superstition regarding this fascinating human experience. So I could not seriously recommend this book, except as an outstandingly good example of bad science.”

For me personally NDE’s did not prove that consciousness survives after the physical brain dies. But taken with the other evidence both personal and research into a wide variety of paranormal phenomena; NDE’s do support my belief that they are an example of how consciousness can live and move and have it’s Being outside of the body.

There are several points of interest with this above quote that are common for the materialist to make. One: reader’s that read these accounts and believe them are uncritical readers. Two: the word superstition, which is a common term used by materialists to define anyone that believes consciousness survives this body after death. And three of course an example of bad science of those those write books or do research into these mysteries of life. And of course the favorite of materialists anyone that believes such nonsense is still living in the dark ages.

Stated another way the only people doing good science are the materialists that hang on to a materialistic view of reality. But then the science that tells us that life started when lighting struck a mud puddle is good science. Or teaching Darwinism, as fact when indeed it is a theory with a ton of gaps in it, is good science.

I have found little evidence that those of the fundamentalist religious paradigm or the materialist paradigm do significant research into these mysteries of life. I must admit materialism is very very convincing; I suspect these physical phenomena exist for a very good reason to learn from experiences in a harsh physical environment. When one experience’s an NDE as several people I know have they have moved beyond beliefs from their personal experience; this is the power of experience.

But experiences can be very misleading and research and study into the mysteries of life is not for the faint of heart and if you start your research with a very religious or materialistic paradigm the chances of that paradigm biasing your analysis of that research is great.

“Accordingly, the ninth line of evidence of the afterlife is no proof of the reality of an afterlife, it is an expression of a belief system.”

It is data and like most data it is not proof but evidence. How can we evaluate another’s paranormal experience using a scientific method that demands reproducibility and repeatability? We must resort to using a qualitative approach to evaluate the evidence.

This is an interesting comment about a life changing experience only being an expression of a belief system as the materialistic belief system is as rigid as any fundamental religious belief system and neither the religious fundamentalist nor the materialist that worships at the altar of scientism has a clue they are entrenched in such a belief system. That is the power of the paradigm effect that often can become paradigm paralysis.

“This baby had no brain above the brainstem, yet was conscious, reacted to people, to hunger, and had a day night rhythm. In other words this baby was conscious. Would such a baby also have a separated consciousness capable of lucid and transcendental OBEs and NDEs?”

This is a good question and one that I have pondered for many years. What limited evidence I have found on this question is that it is possible for a “soul” to view its body from a distance and the body is still going through the motions of what we call life. This would lead to a long discussion on souls and do creature bodies have souls, etc. again research into the mysteries of life is not for the faint of heart.

What would life be if we had all the answers?


Woerlee

I will only answer yor first question by now:

I was pleased to hear that you believe that a person whose brain is destroyed by serious Alzheimer’s disease has a separated consciousness capable of lucid and transcendental OBEs and NDEs. Do you have any references, case reports of such OBEs and NDEs in Alzheimer or dementia patients? These would be fascinating proof.

Reply: Yes.

"A CASE OP APPARENT COMMUNICATION THROUGH A MEDIUM BY A PERSON LIVING, BUT SUFFERING FROM SENILE DEMENTIA." Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, nº 21, May 1923, pp. 87-92

Download link:
http://www.4shared.com/file/235208907/3f6d871a/piper1923.html

I hope you enjoy the article.

I was pleased to hear that you believe that a person whose brain is destroyed by serious Alzheimer’s disease has a separated consciousness capable of lucid and transcendental OBEs and NDEs.

I think it's an unaccurate description of what most people in this blog (including me) think.

It would more exact to say that any person (including an Alzheimer's patient) has a separable (i.e. susceptible of separation) consciousness, provided dualism is true. Not that consciousness is actually separarted from the brain during earhtly life.

The reason to believe in such possibility is parapsychological evidence in general, and afterlife evidence (including mediumship) in particular. Accepting this evidence force us to believe in some kind of dualism.

And once accepted that consciousness is not reducible to the brain, the conclusion follows: Alzheimer's patients ALSO have an eventually separable (not actually and currently separated) consciousness and hence the possibility that enhanced mentation also exist in these patients when experiencing NDEs or OBEs.

If consciousness is not reducible to the brain, why should the consciousness of Alzheimer's patients be an exception?

I think Gerald has committed a common skeptical mistake skeptics. The mistake is to think that in Alzheimer's patients, with brain damage, consciousnes is intact or untouched.

The implicit assumption of this skeptical mistake (or straw man) about dualism is to think that for dualists the relation between consciousness and the brain runs in one way alone (from consciousness to the brain, but never from the brain to consciousness).

But dualists fully agree that consciousness can be affected by the brain (while the former is enbodied). So, dualists accept that the relation between consciousness and the brain runs in two directions (from consciousness to the brain and from the brain to consciousness, being neurological diseases a good example of this)

Chris Carter has made this point clear. Carter presents a citation from skeptic Paul Edwards, who brings the Alzheimer's objection to survival:

Let us now see what the survival theorists would say about Mrs. D.’s behavior. It should be remembered that on this view Mrs.D., after her death, will exist with her mind intact and will only lack the means of communicating with people on earth. This view implies that throughout her affliction with Alzheimer’s Mrs. D.’s mind was intact. She recognized her daughter but had lost her ability to express this recognition. She had no wish to beat up an inoffensive paralyzed old woman. On the contrary, “inside” she was the same considerate person as before the onset of the illness. It is simply that her brain disease prevented her from acting in accordance with her true emotions. I must insist these are the implications of the theory that the mind survives the death of the brain and that the brain is only an instrument for communication. Surely these consequences are absurd

Like Gerald, Edwards wrongly assume that survivalists think the consciousness of the Alzheimer's patient is "intact" by the brain damage.

But this is a crude straw man. Carter writes:

However, these are not necessarily the implications of the theory that the brain is an instrument of the mind, but only of Edwards’ crude caricature of this theory. The disputed issue is not the fact of functional dependence of mind on brain, but only the nature of this functional dependence – that is, whether it is productive, or transmissive and permissive. It is perfectly conceivable that Mrs. D.’s damaged brain prevented her from accessing memories of her daughter, so that she genuinely did not recognize her. If, following Ducasse, we define the mind as “a set of capacities”, then by this definition Mrs. D.’s mind was not “intact” (from the Latin word intactus, meaning ‘untouched’), since it would seem that several capacities were indeed affected. However, the fact that certain capacities do not appear to currently function because of impairment due to disease, injury, or intoxication does not imply that they have been permanently destroyed.
If the mind must inhabit a biological machine in order to operate in and manifest itself in the material world, then as long as it is bound to this machine we should expect its operation and manifestation to be affected by the condition and limitations of the machine. If the machine is impaired then - under both the production hypothesis and the transmission hypothesis - so too will be the operation and manifestation of mind. Both of these theoretical possibilities are consistent with the observed facts of this case.
However, the effects of brain damage and old age on the mind are not consistent with Edwards’ crude caricature of the transmission theory, in which causal effect only seems to run from mind to body, and never from body to mind. This seems to be the basis for Edwards’ repeated characterization of the instrument theory, and its implications, as “absurd.”
Yet it is conceivable that only as long as an individual has a body is consciousness dependent upon it for its operation and its manifestation, and that when the body dies the individual is freed from this dependency. Consciousness may be joined with a brain during life, the interaction may run both ways - as it apparently does with every causal relationship in the physical world - and at death the connection may be severed. The fact that up until the brain’s death the mind can be affected by the condition and limitations of the brain does not entail that the mind cannot continue to exist without the brain, and to carry on at least some of its processes.

http://www.parapsychologyandtheskeptics.com/Rebuttal-to-Augustine.pdf

There is not much to add to Carter's argumentation, except that skeptics seem incapable to addressing the actual position of survivalists about the mind-brain relation.

"how did you do that tiny url Mike?"

Go to this site and paste in the link you wish to use:

http://www.tiny.cc/

"I was pleased to hear that you believe that a person whose brain is destroyed by serious Alzheimer’s disease has a separated consciousness capable of lucid and transcendental OBEs and NDEs."

In my view, something like William James' transmission theory is true. This means that damage to the receiver (the brain) does not permanently impair the signal (consciousness), though it does, of course, impair the receiver's ability to pick up and decode the signal. In other words, while the person is living an embodied existence on earth, his mental faculties will be compromised by whatever damage or illness his nervous system has sustained. But I don't expect this damage to have any effect on his disembodied consciousness.

Can I prove it? Only by pointing to varieties of evidence that I doubt Dr. Woerlee would accept: communications via mediums from people who had suffered Alzheimer's and other diseases of the nervous system in life, but who were lucid in their postmortem communiques; Alzheimer's patients who regain lucidity just prior to death; and the whole panoply of evidence for dualism in general, which includes telepathy, remote viewing, precognition, psychokinesis, memories of past lives, apparitions, hauntings, poltergeists, etc., etc.

As I've said elsewhere on this blog, I doubt that life after death can be proven absolutely, but there is enough evidence to justify (though not compel) such a belief.

The alternative view, that the brain produces consciousness, seems incompatible with the full range of the evidence. The best summary of this evidence is the book "Irreducible Mind," by Kelly & Kelly, et al.

I've held my tongue for many months here because I didn't want to get sucked into a fruitless debate with an audience largely uninterested in (or outright hostile toward) having their beliefs challenged, but I will say the following, since no one here has seemed to acknowledge or absorb the point.

(From this point forward I reserve the right to ignore subsequent questions asked of me given my past experience with "destructive criticism" here. A particular person here has "a special place in my heart" in this regard, so if you find yourself on my ignore list, it's only because you earned it long ago.)

ZC wrote: I think Gerald has committed a common skeptical mistake skeptics. The mistake is to think that in Alzheimer's patients, with brain damage, consciousnes is intact or untouched.

What is the alternative to Paul Edwards' supposition? If Gerald Woerlee's "oversoul," or "higher self," really has the character of Aunt Mary, but Woerlee's brain makes him the person Gerald Woerlee in this life, in what sense would the cessation of "transmission through the brain" allow Gerald Woerlee to survive death? (Note that attempting to overcome this sort of question is one motivation for Thomistic dualism, and so is not something that I just pulled out of thin air.)

How is basically saying that at the moment that Gerald Woerlee died on Earth, Aunt Mary came into existence in another realm, really any different than saying that at my death, some extraterrestial alien was born in Zeti Reticuli?

In other words, what I'm getting at is that the transmission hypothesis does not imply "Gerald Woerlee has survived death." Rather, it implies that "when Gerald Woerlee ceased to exist, this other person Aunt Mary emerged from his mental remains." This is not much different, really, from your corpse feeding the bacteria that lived in your gut while you were alive; the shared material doesn't mean that you have survived death simply because the bacteria might continue to exist after you have ostensibly ceased to exist.

If I have Windows NT and I upgrade it to Windows 7, so much has changed in the multiple versions of Windows in between that you can no longer call the resulting operating system Windows NT. Windows NT did NOT survive the upgrade, but was replaced by another operating system, Windows 7. This sort of point applies for human beings whether the "software" is instantiated in the human brain, an astral body, or in some nonphysical stuff.

The point is that "transmission" isn't really compatible with personal survival, for even if some nonphysical aspect of one's self is preserved, so much of what makes you the person that you are in this life is *undisputably* determined by physical factors which must not be present when the brain no longer functions. As William Hasker--a dualistic theist with no sympathy for "scientism" or "materialism" or whatever--has conceded:, "the dependence of personality states on hormone balance, the genetic determination by DNA structure of mental attributes and defects, the effects of drugs on mental states, personality changes in persons who have undergone such operations as frontal leucotomy or temporal leucotomy.... taken as a body ... demonstrate a profound and comprehensive dependence of the mental, emotional, and even the spiritual aspects of human personality on its biological basis in the human brain and nervous system."

Let me repeat that so that the point sinks in--"a profound and comprehensive dependence." Not merely two-way interaction, as Carter's reply to Paul Edwards implies. Interaction both ways is not enough, for reasons that I made clear here with the Mars rover analogy in that "Rovin" entry many moons ago, or in my own Predator drone analogy in that post. (And as Dainton showed with his drunkenness example.)

If a brain tumor can turn a person into a pedophile or sociopath, then what does that mean for the person born with a brain structure that made him sociopathic all along? Is his oversoul morally responsible for the actions fixed by the way that his brain developed while in the womb, perhaps because mom didn't get enough iron while pregnant? Would that oversoul even need a life review, given that it was the brained oversoul that committed that horrible crime, not the oversoul itself? If the tranmissive hypothesis is right, the "veil" that this life puts over our selves is not merely a veil of ignorance; the brain actually veils our true selves themselves. But then how could our true selves ever be responsible for what our veiled selves did while alive? It would be like holding a "spaced out" killer responsible for his homicide when someone spiked his drink with PCP without his knowledge, causing him to act in ways that he would not have done without the influence of PCP. On the transmissive hypothesis, it's as if we're always "under the influence" of our brains as long as we're alive, and so are never responsible for our actions, since our "true selves" never made them.

These are uncomfortable questions for dualists who wish to retain a role for personal survival after death, but they are legitimate ones.

If you want to believe in personal survival after death, fine. But don't pretend that squawking the catchphrase "transmissive hypothesis" makes the data all nice and tidy and unproblematic for a survivalist belief. It does not do so, demonstrably.

This should be fun ha ha. But will the ensuing debate be productive?... or transmissive. Who's betting neither side leaves here with their mind changed?

You know what this debate lacks? A bit of humour and good will between camps. Sure, go at it locks horns over these issues... but with the spirit that it could be done over a beer. You're probably wrong anyway...

The question here is, whether the problem is seen in the best veridical OBE cases. I am a physican (trained in cardiology) and totally aware of the different states of consciousness and have seen several cases, where I could describe confabulations between the mental states of patients and their EEGs. Raimond Moody and Stephen Braude have both raised this problem in their discussion and came to the same conclusion. The cases with flatlined EEG like the classical Reynold case did not clearly account for the survival hypothesis in a hard way. On the hard other it is superficial to dismiss the hard cases of OBEs and to conlude that they are no more then false memories. Whether Worlee nor Augustine have never discussed these cases (like long disctance experiences) in a proper way. Veridical OBEs obviously undermine the existence of ESP in my view.

Regarding Mr Augustine´s naturalism I would recommend him to downlaod an article from Stephen Braude´s webside, which is called "Memory without a trace". He discusses the main problems of the trace theory of memory, which he also refers to parapsychology like Sheldrake´s idea or the idea of memory fields. This is a intellectual discussion and has nothing to do with spiritualism or naturalism, and is more a pamphlet for a different view of nature. Prof Braude is also concluding that the btain acts more like a transmitter, but in a much proper way like the ideas from van Lommel and other spiritualists. This has to discussed by Mr Augustine...

Entertaining discussion between believers and non-believers in dualism. The point raised by Augustine is a real and relevant one. It has even been discussed at length by many philosophers. I even discussed it from a biological viewpoint as long ago as 2003 in a book called Mortal Mïnds. The only conslusion to the question is that dualism is unprovable, whereas biology and physical facts are provable. In fact, any discussion on this matter usually results in the citation of emotionally loaded popular articles, (such as from Time magazine - see above), instead of properly investigated fact. And when facts do enter the discussion, many react like the middle-ages astronomers who believed in an earth-centric universe - they add a few new epicycles to make their models accord with the observations.

Interesting, but unending discussion. Not productive. So I shall cease contributing to this blog with one piece of advice. Read the original medical articles on brain damage etc. They are more informative and scientific than the pronouncements of Beauregard or Jeffrey Long.

I'm going to open another bottle of wine and make the tax-man happy.

Gerald Woerlee

p.s. Hamsters are also conscious. So presumably their consciousness is also independent of their cuddly little bodies. Are there hamsters in heaven, as well as coffee?

Woerlee,

you asked "any references, case reports of such OBEs and NDEs in Alzheimer or dementia patients? These would be fascinating proof."

I gave you the reference.

"A CASE OP APPARENT COMMUNICATION THROUGH A MEDIUM BY A PERSON LIVING, BUT SUFFERING FROM SENILE DEMENTIA." Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, nº 21, May 1923, pp. 87-92

Download link:
http://www.4shared.com/file/235208907/3f6d871a/piper1923.html

No comments?

Another very interesting article is this:

Spiritual practices in an institution for mental disabilities

Abstract
Objective: To evaluate the impact of spiritual practices in the clinical and behavioural evolution of inpatients with mental disabilities in a health institution. Method: Two groups of patients were compared: the experimental group submitted to spiritual practices and the control group. The Interactive Observation Scale for Psychiatric Inpatients (IOSPI) was employed to obtain data. Results: The comparison of control group (n = 20) with the experimental group (n = 20) verified the difference of variation between the groups (p = 0.045), what demonstrates possible benefits of such intervention. Conclusions: The research confirmed the hypothesis that practical spirituals uses presents positive results on clinical and behavioural evolution of internal patients with mental disabilities.

http://www.scielo.br/pdf/rpc/v34s1/a08v34s1.pdf

Well Keith

I decided you are a waste of time the moment I caught you completely misrepresenting the Al Sullivan case. So no I won't direct comments at you anymore, as I refuse to waste time with someone who is dishonest.

What I saw when I read this thread:


Woerlee: "LOL stupid believers, read some science"

Some guy: "NO U"

Woerlee: "Ur still stupid, I'm out of here LOL"

Augustine: "This thread sucks"

Kris "You suck"


And life goes on...

Are there hamsters in heaven, as well as coffee?

What makes you think there aren't?

Gerald,

You have not addressed the points raise by Michael, me and others.

You didn't reply to Vitor's reference paper either.

You posed some questions, and we gave possible and reasonable (at least from our point of view) answers to them, and your only reply to them is an absolute silence and a change of topic.

Your reply that dualism is "unprovable" is not true. If a positive result is gotten in the AWARE study, it's evidence for some kind of dualism and against materialism.

Even your spontaneous and implicitly self-appointed lawyer and defender here (a good friend of Kris) has publicly and explicitly admitted that in this blog before. So you should address his arguments in favor of the provability of dualism.

So your answer is not good.

In any case, I'd like to ask you: suppose that for the argument's sake dualism is unprovable. My question is: Is materialism falsifiable? What would falsify it, in your opinion? And what alternative would be confirmed if materialism is proven false?

If you want a constructive or productive (not transmissive, sorry Ryan) debate, please give us some actual and valid arguments and stick to the issues.

Otherwise we're wasting our time here.

PS
Gerald, I'm sure that your spontaneous self-appointed lawyer will contact you by e-mail to give you some dialectical suggestions on how you should to reply to the questions and objections posed in this blog.

Possibly, he'll recommend to you some tu quoque (you too!) strategy combined with expressions and feelings of victimization caused by the agressive and bigoted believers in survival in this blog.

I'd suggest you not to hear him, and stick to the issues without appealing to any fallacy intented to win arguments.

This is not a court of law nor a debate competition, and I guess that most of us (including Gerald) intend to find the truth.

Regarding the issue of exactly what sort of consciousness survives death, I would say that ego-based consciousness for the most part does not survive. The mind or self seems to expand into a higher consciousness that is not so narrowly delimited. So there is a transition, but there is also a connection between this higher self and the ordinary, prosaic self. Our ordinary self might be visualized as a narrow part of a spectrum, and the higher self is a wider range of the same spectrum.

It is possible to access this wider spectrum of consciousness while still embodied, as for instance in mystical experiences, but for the most part we are not directly in touch with it.

When I say that ego-based consciousness doesn't survive, I mean that it is subsumed in a much wider range of consciousness that puts egoic concerns into a radically different perspective. It's not that the ego necessarily disappears; it's simply that we no longer identify with it.

What provides the continuity from one state to the next is the sense of self, or what has been called the "witness." This is distinct from the ego in that it is nonverbal, nonjudgmental, and disinterested.

Meditative exercises can be helpful in becoming more attuned to the witness.

“But I will say the following, since no one here has seemed to acknowledge or absorb the point.”

Oh the often revealed I am smart and you are not. The beginning of wisdom is the recognition of our ignorance. The religious believe that everyone else is ignorant but them so many believe they must evangelize others to their beliefs. The atheists believe they are the only ones that can absorb the point translated means have the ability to be rational and can reason. I.e. an example of this is the website called the reason project.

“Are there hamsters in heaven, as well as coffee?”
“What makes you think there aren't?” well stated.

“p.s. Hamsters are also conscious. So presumably their consciousness is also independent of their cuddly little bodies. Are there hamsters in heaven, as well as coffee?”

This comment reveals to any reader that has done the research that the person making such a statement has not done the necessary research or has not had a realization on their eternal self or a profound personal experience that revealed to them their eternal self. Also this person making such a statement knows little if anything about the evolution of consciousness process.

Again research into these mysteries of life is not for the faint of heart. The intellect can often become intellectualism and reveal itself as positive ignorance which is very difficult to overcome but not impossible. Both positive and negative ignorance are troublesome but positive ignorance when we think we know but do not know reveals itself as vanity. The path to knowledge and a realization is humbleness not vanity.

Of course without our ignorance there is no us, just Isness.

“What I saw when I read this thread”: Breanainn

”Woerlee: "LOL stupid believers, read some science"
“Some guy: "NO U"
“Woerlee: "Ur still stupid, I'm out of here LOL"
“Augustine: "This thread sucks"Kris "You suck"

”And life goes on...” Breanainn

We humans do love our drama. But this friction (ignorance revealed) is the very stuff of life and is the vital aspect of the evolution of consciousness process. How else would our consciousness advance without this friction? What is compassion but a learning process of experiencing the friction of life?
Ignorance has meaning; discover that meaning and a whole new awareness of the world is revealed to any seeker into these mysteries of life.

Think of the souls journey as a giant lapidary process and we humans are the rocks (hard headed) in that slurry going round and round, meaning Life after life until we are a beautiful reflection of that that is.

People like Woerlee neither refuse to objectively examine any strong evidence that is contrary to their belief system. Period.

Worse, Woerlee is a physician of the type - and there are many like him - that thinks his education and experience as such makes him a high priest of knowledge. Of course, he ignores the fact that others with equal or more impressive (by his own rating scale) educational credentials have carefully examined the evidence for individual awareness separate from the physical brain and come to the exact opposite conclusion.

I do not see where anesthesiology has much, if anything, to do with OBEs/NDEs or the nature of consciousness more generally. Arguments that it does are exclusively for hardcore materialists who lack experiential understanding.

I have had veridical OBEs, as I have mentioned elsewhere in comments on this blog. I have also been under anesthesia for minor surgeries like impacted wisdom teeth and once for an injury. Over the years I have been drunk. I have been stoned (both marijuana and opium). I have also used psychedelics both in Native American cermonies (peyote) and in self experimentation (psilocybe mushrooms). The drug use was not for escapism, but in an attempt to achieve, on demand, the state of awareness experienced in deep (sober) mediation and in OBEs.

As far as I am concerned none of the substances (ane.s, alcohol, drugs, psychedelics) produces effects anything like the clarity and penetrating insights and knowledge of the sober OBE. Anesthesia and alcohol are particularly antithetical to an OBE experience.

I don't think that anyone who has "been there" would consider the administered/ingested substance as the cause of these OBE/NDE experiences.

ooops........that "neither in the first line shouldn't be there.......bad cut/paste.

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