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It reads very well.

"Maybe at that point you will simply immerse yourself in the information processor itself, rejoining the ultimate source of your own identity."

This is the tricky bit for me. The source of one's identity already knows it all in your model, so why does it choose to forget and go through angst and ignorance?

I'd prefer the idea that the source of one's identity is evolving through us into something more, than that we're returning to something already much wiser than us. But this won't work either, because something very clever invented the universe of matter (or the computer matrix you refer to).

Still flummoxed.

Or we are learning something "here" that can't be learned "there". Like driving a car can't be learned by just reading a book about it or watching a video. Like riding a bike can't be learned by reading a book telling you how to do it. You have to actually get on the bike to learn how to ride it.

You have to get in a body and "drive it" in order to learn how to control it, how it feels, and what it means to inhabit a body and control it.

We learn stuff "here" that can't be learned "there." Time and space, separation, and what it means and how it feels to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

And the very first thing we experience in this life is separation from out mothers. After that it's one lesson in separation after another till the day we die and our death becomes a lesson in separation to our loved ones we leave behind.

Michael, the unending [re]incarnation of Life is like the spokes on a wheel. Which spoke do you begin so as to explain the wheel?

Any one. Best of luck with your effort.

MU!!

Ambitious. I like it. I will definitely buy the e-book.

Michael, I'm delighted to hear that you're thinking of a new writing project! And I think you're exactly right--it doesn't have to be a definitive presentation of all the arguments on all sides.

Now here's something that won't surprise you because we've talked about it before: the computer analogy leaves me cold. And I won't say another word about it because I'm assuming you remember some of my earlier thoughts.

So what would I *like* to see in your book? Well, all I can do is be really subjective here, and speak solely for myself, for whatever that's worth.

I'd like to see you write about stuff that only YOU can write about. You're an important part of the psi/spiritual community because of your blog. Through your writings, and through the forum you provide, you've been helpful, in many ways, to many people over the years. (Including myself.)

So why not something like this?

ADVENTURES OF A PSI BLOGGER

It might include:

• Your own development. What led you from atheism to spirituality. This would include your readings, relationships, mystical experiences, etc

•You were deeply involved in Ayn Rand's teachings and that's a story in itself, that would be of interest to many people because of their own experience with Objectivism.

• Your experience in launching and developing a blog that would ultimately become one of the key blogs in its field.

• What you've learned from your various commenters about attitudes towards psi, motives for believing or not believing, etc. The characters, the trolls, the grief-stricken, the insightful, the fearful, the psychic--even the impossible-to-categorize like me. :o)

* You could even include in the book some of your best posts. I remember one called Science De-throned (or something like that) that was masterful.

• Friendships you've developed with others in the field that readers would be interested in--people like Michael Tymn, for example.

• You might even open up and tell your readers some personal stuff about yourself that you've been reluctant to share before. Some behind-the-scenes soul development. This kind of writing can be scary and difficult to do, but it can also be the most rewarding, both for yourself and your readers.

As I said--a book that only YOU can write. And isn't that the only kind that's really worth reading? (As well as the most fun to write.)

Psi is not the right word for the title. Too clinical, and also a bit obscure for many people.

Maybe substitute LIFE-AFTER-DEATH for psi, though that doesn't flow so well.

"I take you from the moment of dying, through the transition to the afterlife, and onward to the bigger questions of where you go from there and what it all means."

By the way, this isn't a bad idea either! You have some great insights into this--I just don't like the computer analogy. it's too mechanical for my taste.

I liike the idea and I like the ebook format. Writing a book ebook on a subject I hd interest in did two things for. One I consolidated my thoughts on the subject(New Atheism). Two,I was able to put together a coherent arguement with a solid biblography,i just could not do that with blogs.
I will be interested in seeing how you handle the Programming aspect of a Cosmic Computer without getting into the infinite regress creation hole.
Anyway the Brain Centric reductionist's can't be argued with anyway so who care about them.Well I care about them as people but not their dogma.
Are you going to use graphs or illustrations? Are you familiar with Oxford Professor Nick Bostrom,this might interest you http://www.simulation-argument.com/ He argeus we may be living in a a simulation.

It sounds a great project. Bruce, the computer analogy needn't be mechanical. One of the best current thinkers and writers (to my mind) on the information theoretic approach to science is the mathematician Gregory Chaitin. He is especially good on how modern mathematics and computational processes (post Godel & Turing) can be both open and creative. Here's his website:

http://www.umcs.maine.edu/~chaitin/

Thanks for the comments, all. I'd like to know if I got the physics right, if anyone knows. Obviously I simplified to an almost ridiculous extent, and in the endnotes I would put in some more details - at least mentioning the delayed-choice quantum eraser experiment, the holographic universe idea (which I see as compatible with the information processing notion), and maybe a tangled hierarchy as the explanation for how the cosmic CPU got started. I'd also cite sources for the information processing idea, since it's not original with me.

Bruce, I hear what you're saying, but I've never had much desire to write about myself. Even I don't find me very interesting!

Hello Michael. I have some opinions about your book if you are interested.

First, I do not like the title How Things Are (Maybe), if this is the title of the book, because it does not show what things about the book. An appropriate title might be A Brief Investigation of the Afterlife.

Second, I do not like that in your book you show the idea that information is the basis of reality, because this conception no implies afterlife and there are many other conceptions that could make comprehensible the existence of some sort of afterlife.

And third, I do not like that in your book treat quantum mechanics, because if you do, the pseudo-skeptics will surely criticize the misrepresentation of that consciousness and quantum mechanics are mysterious, then they have to be related.

I limit myself to describing the various types of evidence for the afterlife, discuss why the survivalist interpretation of the evidence is the most plausible and show what kind of afterlife shows us that evidence.

Enjoyable and informing stuff - complex topics simplified with out dumbing down. I wanna buy it right now.

Ditch the "maybe" from any title ideas. It's good that you're not posturing as a Final Authority type, but don't be shy about what you think. No matter what you write, there will be arguments against it. Expect the usual pseudo-skeptic bilge, mixed with some respectful alternate theories - the same stuff that gets kicked around on this blog all the time, but on steroids.
Let's face it Michael, it's not like you just fell off the paranormal turnip truck. You've researched and pondered these things carefully and deeply. If anything irritates me about you at all, it's how you're always questioning yourself. But then, that's part of your charm and credibility.
Kick some a*s!

Michael,

Here is another line of thought that may bolster your arguments. Wish I could remember whose ideas these are, for they certainly are not mine.

In a virtual reality game, the speed and memory capacity of the computer determines the detail available in the game to the player. Infinite detail would require infinite computing power, and presumably infinite energy as well. So there is some level of detail in the game below which you cannot go. Maybe you can only move in increments of 4 feet or something. Movements are therefore quantatized. No movement can be smaller than the allowed quanta.

Physics says the real world works the same way. No physical measurement can be smaller than 10^-35 meters or 10^-44 seconds (Planck length etc). That has always seemed very strange to me - unless you are onto something.

I think the computer analogy should be seen as just that, an analogy. You are not saying, in my understanding, that the universe is a computer. No, but it may be compared to a computer in some respects. So call it the “mind of God” instead of a computer if that takes some of the coldness out of the concept. I suspect we have no words to accurately describe whatever it may be,

the physics seesm fine and reminds me of David Bohms Holonomic Brain Theory, However snce I I will run it past my daughter who is at Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics,in Heidelberg.

"Even I don't find me very interesting!"

Michael, that's a little sad. You obviously don't know yourself very well. :o)

Herb, those arguments possibly came from Brian Whitworth, a New Zealand physicist who has written some fascinating papers on the info-processing idea.

Steve, I'll be interested to hear what your daughter says. Hopefully she won't be so blinded by tears of laughter that she'll be unable to finish reading!

Bruce, I guess I exaggerated a bit. I have written about my experiences with Objectvism and my reasons for ditching skepticism and materialism. It could be an interesting angle. I'll have to think about it.

RD, in a comments thread on Paranormalia you said your worldview is constantly being modified ... so what's wrong with "maybe"? :-)

Juan, I see your point, but skeptics will find things to criticize no matter what. And if I don't present any theory, they will say, "There's a lot of anecdotal evidence, but no theory to make sense of it." Damned if you do, damned if you don't ...

Thanks to everyone else who's providing feedback. No space to acknowledge you all, but I appreciate it. Keep it coming!

"Bruce, I guess I exaggerated a bit. I have written about my experiences with Objectvism and my reasons for ditching skepticism and materialism. It could be an interesting angle. I'll have to think about it."

Of course you've written about yourself! You've talked about your experiences, your feelings, your journey. And I usually enjoy those posts the most.

Michael I was thinking of writing a book based on the theory wildebeest may've originated in China but in the end decided no one'd be interested in Everything You Gnu Is Wong*. Haha! Hehe!

Ooh...sorry!

Anyway your book though's a much better idea and I think you're wise to accept it's a complete waste of time to even attempt to persuade or convince anyone of anything.

The point of such work in a way's letters to earlier versions of yourself reviewing and clarifying how far you've presently got and what insights you've gained.

In fact on the super rarified esoteric levels that's supposedly exactly what you're doing refining and straightening out as it were the connecting cord between the various beads of yourself up and down Time hence one of the side effects of writing such things is you can suddenly start finding yourself grasping the stupendous or even monumental importance and significance of all but forgotten or neglected 'minor' insights earlier versions of you once had which's one of the interpretations laid on the important esoteric concept Uniting the Beads of Mercury.

On a more straight forward level though you're actually providing maps and map commentaries for those at earlier stages of development to yourself which oddly enough includes precisely those who set about ripping such works to pieces because during their wanton acts of vandalism they never suspect the material they think they're obliterating's actually laying down slow detonating traces of truth all along the key junctures in their own belief structures making it the perfect revenge and hence the importance of stories about assassins coming to despatch in one way or another the likes of Jesus Muhammed and Padma Sambhava and ending up their companions.

The only thing I'd add having read as it were the conclusion of your hypothetical book is the importance of incorporating biographical details ie making it personal.

First of all it makes it that much easier for others to come out if only to themselves but it also helps them spot the key bookmarks strewn along the entire length of their life when they momentarily glimpsed or saw into the heart of things then had a failure of nerve to go with those insights.

I started reading Colin Wilson's books in the Seventies and it was exactly the personal little details he included that bound me to him stuff like about being in bed with girlfriends and experiencing electric current flows or the revelation he experienced crossing what I think he termed the Saint Neot Marginal Line which gave me the confidence to acknowledge the reality of at least some of my own truly weird childhood onwards experiences.

Ditto reading Carlos Castaneda for the first time circa the end of the Millennium and thinking all these years I've ignored this guy because he was supposedly a phoney or a nutcase or a drug fiend and all the time here was the confirmation I'm not the only poor bastard who has to go through all this bollocks.

Write the book Michael but write it from the heart as much as the head because then you can be certain the 'secret' messages and shots of strength to go on it contains for those who need them will be received.

Please do it, I can't imagine anyone being more thorough or providing a better read.

The book sounds like a great idea.

However, I always thought a fiction work -based on real stuff - would be an excellent platform. Maybe a thriller that involves a psychic medium that consults the police or a PI. Then some robust dialog throughout the story as the medium explains the nuances of his/her art to a skeptical investigator. The dialog would contain all - ok, most - of the topics we discuss here.

RD, in a comments thread on Paranormalia you said your worldview is constantly being modified ... so what's wrong with "maybe"? :-) - M.P.

Um...uh...point taken. But don't put it in the title, put in in the disclaimer!
:D

Here we go - the simulation hypothesis..

There is nothing fundamentally wrong about your physics says Dr Fiona given that you realize physicists will always criticize non physic's as some kind adolescent insecurity even when they are right(her words).Plasma physicists and theoretical physicists are still arguing over cosmology, steady state versus Big Bang. No laughing she like about forty percent of their colleagues are not at all convinced of reductionist materialist paradigm. Of course they do not want to be burned at the stake so they keep it in the QT. However I have been in more than a few discussion at social events where I get buttonholed by them and they give me there own non materialist metaphysical version of mind. Several have expressed a cosmogenetic view of reality,that is we create it which follows from the quantum enigma.

"she like about forty percent of their colleagues are not at all convinced of reductionist materialist paradigm. Of course they do not want to be burned at the stake so they keep it in the QT. However I have been in more than a few discussion at social events where I get buttonholed by them and they give me there own non materialist metaphysical version of mind."

Interesting, Steve! And encouraging to hear.

Speaking of being burned at the stake, the real action for the past several days has been over at the TED site, where Sheldrake and Hancock have each had videos censored by the TED science board for being too radical. The resulting passionate outpouring of support for them by members of the community has been wonderful to see.

http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/18/graham-hancock-and-rupert-sheldrake-a-fresh-take/comment-page-4/#comments

Thanks, steve em. I appreciate your taking the trouble to consult your daughter, and I appreciate her feedback. Yes, I agree that physicists are often somewhat derisory toward laymen's attempts to popularize their ideas. That's understandable. It's probably true that no one can really grasp physics without being able to do the math (which leaves me out).

Bruce, I think I will incorporate your suggestion into the book, with a preliminary chapter or two recounting my own "personal journey," before I get into the meat of the subject matter. Otherwise the afterlife stuff has no context. Good thinking!

No One, I've given a lot of thought to an afterlife thriller, but I've never gotten anywhere with it. Whenever I try it, it always seems too didactic for a novel. Dan Brown could probably pull it off, though.

"Bruce, I think I will incorporate your suggestion into the book, with a preliminary chapter or two recounting my own "personal journey," before I get into the meat of the subject matter. Otherwise the afterlife stuff has no context. Good thinking!"

Glad you agree!

In the TED discussion I just linked to, one of the commenters complained that the science board that censored those videos remains anonymous. She demands that they reveal who they are, and says that the first thing she does when reading a paper on any topic, is to research the researchers.

I like that. It's exactly how I feel about any book I'm considering buying. I want to learn as much as I can about who wrote it, because ultimately, whatever the topic, I know that the book is largely--or even primarily--about that person.

"It's exactly how I feel about any book I'm considering buying. I want to learn as much as I can about who wrote it, because ultimately, whatever the topic, I know that the book is largely--or even primarily--about that person."

I do the same thing for the same reasons

I think this sounds like a great book, but don't think the title fits.

One thing you might want to mention is the oxygen-deprivation theory as it relates to NDEs. This seems to be one of the first things people bring up, saying something like, "The brain being deprived of oxygen, starts to hallucinate." I don't recall which book discussed it in depth, but the author also wrote about an oxygen-deprivation study in the early 1900s. Also, perhaps refer readers to the nderf.org Web site.

Bernardo Kastrup is also weighing into the TED censorship controvesy - he's now saying on his blog that he won't respond to any TED invites in future - it's just too risky to have your work vetted by some kind of mcarthy-like anonymous panel of scientific 'experts' who decide if you are being 'scientific' enough to be included.

"Bernardo Kastrup is also weighing into the TED censorship controvesy - he's now saying on his blog that he won't respond to any TED invites in future - it's just too risky to have your work vetted by some kind of mcarthy-like anonymous panel of scientific 'experts' who decide if you are being 'scientific' enough to be included. "

I am now beginning to sympathize is mediums that have backed out of testing for almost identical reasons

Blackmores work on NDEs and her Oxygen deprivation theory are demolished in Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century by Kelly and Kelly.

However logic means nothing to the die hard materialist community it is a part of their persona there sense of self worth,that they have the truth and other s can nto face it. There is no point in argueing with people who are incapable of self examination.

Hi Steve,

Yes, indeed, we already have veridical NDEs from individuals who we know for a fact had normal oxygen levels during their experience.

I can't remember the precise case in mind, but there's a good veridical account where the NDEr saw the sugeon 'injecting something into his leg', from a viewpoint above the operating table. This account included many other veridical details.

It turns out that the doctor wasnt injecting soemthing *into* his leg, he was taking an arterial blood sample to check and record his arterial oxygen levels - not something that a lay person is really going to be able to distinquish from a normal injection, to be honest.

Anyway, the key point is that the blood sample was duly analysed and recorded, and we have on record that his arterial oxygen levels were normal during his NDE experience.

It's not the only case. Basically, Blackmore's oxygen deprivation theory has been discredited for years, and she knows it, but she's to lazy to do any further research so she sticks by it, even to this day.

"Basically, Blackmore's oxygen deprivation theory has been discredited for years, and she knows it, but she's to lazy to do any further research so she sticks by it, even to this day." - Douglas
------------------------------------------

Comparison bias: "All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest" - Paul Simon, The Boxer

It's human nature. Each one of us is a separate, unique, individual and I'm pretty sure that's the whole point.

I have had a written conversation or two with Dr Blackmore about Zen she seems to have little respect for aything but her own ego. Of course her understanding of Zen is abysmal as is Stephen Batchelor.

Mr Prescott said: "What matters is not the physical act of shooting electrons through slits, but the mental decision on how to measure them – even if that decision is made after the fact."

You need to understand that the wavefunction is a composite of wave and particle. The wavefunction does not “collapse”. The wave guides the particle as it performs quantum motions. It is quite wrong to say that our minds are involved -the wave-particle composite operates deterministically.

The wavefunction travels through both slits, but associated particles only pass through one of the slits in a completely classical manner. The particles are led away from areas where interference is destructive and moved towards the areas where the interference is constructive. The detector in the double-slit experiment captures the wavefunction self-interfering, but this does not mean the associated particle itself passes through both slits. How could it?

Remember, the wave takes up a finite amount of space and may overlap with other waves in such a way that separating out which wave is which is extremely difficult, particularly as different parts of the wave may be moving at different rates.

Therefore, the position and momentum are best described by an average and a spread of values around that average, which we call uncertainty. By uncertainty, we do not mean doubt, we mean indeterminacy, due to the very small scale. We simply can’t yet describe physical quantities at this level, but there is nothing spooky about them, and they certainly don't depend on our mental processes.


Awesome!

'The wavefunction does not “collapse”.'

Collapse of the wave function is standard QM terminology.

'The wave guides the particle as it performs quantum motions.'

Not as I understand it. The wave is a probability distribution of all possible positions of the particle. These positions are known as potentia. The collapse occurs when one position is determined, eliminating all others.

'there is nothing spooky about them'

Niels Bohr: "Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it." Richard Feynman: "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics."

'and they certainly don't depend on our mental processes.'

Hard to explain the delayed choice quantum eraser without reference to mental processes.

Elevated, What interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM) are you using here? To me, with your talk of particles 'guided' by the wavefunction it sounds like the interpretation initially proposed by Louis De Broglie and later worked up in detail by David Bohm. This interpretation has its adherents (mostly philosophers of science) because of its purported scientific realism; but it also has many critics. It is certainly not the definitive interpretation your post suggests.

I would add that David Bohm himself used this interpretation of QM as the basis for a whole system of mystical thinking that many of those who post here would find highly congenial. I recall both Michael Talbot's 'Holographic Universe', and Jenny Wade's 'Changes of Mind', drawing extensively on Bohm's thinking. As an interpretation of QM per se, it certainly doesn't kibbosh Michael's proposed project.

Michael, Given what I said just now, I wonder if you need to tie in your proposed book too much into any particular interpretation of QM. The Bohmian none collapse approach, for example, rather than cutting across what you wanted to say, could be used to reinforce it from another perspective. Or would that overcomplicate things!

Interesting thoughts, Simon. As a decided non-expert on QM, I wouldn't want to get too deep into it. For those who are interested, a website called The Bottom Layer has a very good layman's guide to the virtual-reality theory.

"Jenny Wade's 'Changes of Mind' [draws] extensively on Bohm's thinking"

That's a very, very good book, one that made a lasting impression on me. Not the easiest read, though.

BTW, I wonder if Elevated was thinking of quantum entanglement when he wrote, "We simply can’t yet describe physical quantities at this level, but there is nothing spooky about them."

Because Einstein used that very term - "spooky" - to describe quantum entanglement.

Thanks Michael,

Jenny Wade's 'Changes of Mind': I also found her book very impressive; not least because of the breadth of scholarship she brought to working up her model of different states of consciousness. For me this model has great explanatory power; and, without wanting to take this thread off topic, what testifies to this is something you posted a while back about how - using Wade's approach - the outlier status of the NDE experiences of the likes of Anita Moorjani & Nancy Dannison can still be regarded as authentic.

"Spooky" entanglement: As I understand it, in the Bohm interpretation - if that's where Elevated is coming from - although there are 'real' particles, the way they are guided by the wave function brings out even more explicitly the radically non-local and holistic aspects of QM. Thus, while I would always hesitate to second guess the thoughts of the likes of Albert Einstein, I think it is likely that - at the very least - he would have regarded the behaviour of particles in the Bohm interpretation as equally "spooky"!

Michael Prescott said: “Hard to explain the delayed choice quantum eraser without reference to mental processes.”

Most physicists don’t equate consciousness with quantum phenomena. Just because we don’t understand two things (i.e. quantum and consciousness) doesn’t mean they are the same thing. You have become entangled in the ‘separation fallacy’, mistaking an entangled superposition with a measurement. The separation apparatus creates an entangled superposition state of the alternatives, which evolves till you actually take the measurement at the detector. The photon does not exist as a particle until it hits the detector. It has not passed through the slit as a particle. The interference pattern generated by the wave-particle composite (the wavefunction) did. There is no retrocausality.

Simon Oakes said: “This interpretation has its adherents (mostly philosophers of science) because of its purported scientific realism; but it also has many critics…I would add that David Bohm himself used this interpretation of QM as the basis for a whole system of mystical thinking that many of those who post here would find highly congenial.”

Bohm was regarded by Einstein as his “intellectual successor”, and he said de Broglie was “on the right lines”. Even Bell and Feynman deferred to Bohm’s expositions. However, Bohm is much misunderstood. He never regarded the implicate order as being “spiritual and quantum” and the explicate order as “material and Newtonian.” It was Wilber and the transpersonals who misinterpreted those orders as being mutually exclusive or “dualistic.” Bohm didn’t bother to correct Wilber because he completely lost interest in adversarial dialog.

Bohm says the explicate order is always a subset of the transcending/including implicate order. But he does not view the implicate order as spiritual. So far as transcendent spirit is concerned, for Bohm, if it exists, it would have to be “beyond thought” and therefore beyond mathematical expression. Bohm himself realized the subjective nature of his personal views which led him to add implicate levels (super-implicate and super-super-implicate). These extra levels had no basis in physics, and he did not pretend they did. The implicate is part of physical theory, but not the rest.

The implicate order moves to the explicate, and both are part of a physical system. He talks of “a wave that comes to focus in a small region of space and then disperses. This is followed by another similar wave that focuses in a slightly different position, then by another and another and so on indefinitely until a “track” is formed that resembles the path of a particle. Indeed the particles of physics are more like these dynamic structures, which are always grounded in the whole from which they unfold and into which they enfold, than like little billiard balls that are grounded only in their own localized forms.” (Science Order and Creativity 1987).

"Most physicists don’t equate consciousness with quantum phenomena. Just because we don’t understand two things (i.e. quantum and consciousness) doesn’t mean they are the same thing. You have become entangled in the ‘separation fallacy’, mistaking an entangled superposition with a measurement. The separation apparatus creates an entangled superposition state of the alternatives, which evolves till you actually take the measurement at the detector. The photon does not exist as a particle until it hits the detector. It has not passed through the slit as a particle. The interference pattern generated by the wave-particle composite (the wavefunction) did. There is no retrocausality"

Elevated
In the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment,
hasn't the signal photon already been "measured" at the
detector, prior to the decision on whether to obtain knowledge of "which path?" This choice has a direct effect on the measurement results. This would seem to implicate both consciousness and retro causality, or other unknown (VR hypothesis in Michael's book proposal). Some physicists do equate, or at l east include, consciouness (observer) in QM, for example von Nuemann, Stapp, Wigner and several of the founding fathers of quantum physics.

Ultimately it may be wrong, but it would appear that the consciousness argument is far from settled, and in many respects offers a more elegant and direct solution than some of the other theories being discussed. In addition there are consciousness study results (Radin double slit, Pear labs ) that lend further support to this position.

Greg L

Elevated

"Bohm was regarded by Einstein as his “intellectual successor”, and he said de Broglie was “on the right lines”.": That may well be the case (Bohm was an outstandingly talented physicist, and Einstein would have applauded the scientific realist aspirations of the De Broglie approach). But the fact remains that Einstein was vehemently opposed to the non-locality (or non-separability if you like) implied by Bohr's interpretion of QM - hence his work on the EPR thought experiment as a means of demonstrating the incompleteness of QM as a scientific theory. The "spooky" explicit and radical non-locality demonstrated by Bohm's fully worked up QM interpretation, therefore, would also - I think it can be safely said - have equally appalled him.

"But he does not view the implicate order as spiritual. So far as transcendent spirit is concerned, for Bohm, if it exists, it would have to be “beyond thought” and therefore beyond mathematical expression.": I'm sorry, but I think this is simply incorrect. There was a strong spiritual dimension to Bohm's thinking, as evidenced by his dialogues with Krishnamurti and the Dalai Llama; as well as his interviews with the philosopher Renee Weber. This review of Weber's book 'Dialogue with Scientists & Sages: The Search for Unity' captures this well:

http://bahai-library.com/?file=manocha_weber_dialogues_scientists

As you say, Bohm did not promulgate dualism. But within his unified world picture, as these interviews make clear, there is a basic role played by meaning and consciousness. Now, we can have a debate about whether this in itself amounts to spirituality/mysticism (I think it does here). But you must agree we are a million miles away here from the world view of Daniel Dennett. (By the way, Bohm said that key to properly understanding scientific theories properly was the use of insight i.e. the sort of vision that - as you pointed out in an earlier post - is rejected in Dennetts' philosophy of mind).

Much as I admire Bohm's thought, though, I'm not sure that the De Broglie/Bohm interpretation of QM is the best, or even properly viable. The whole QM interpretation question, it seems to me, looks at least to some extent to be a matter of personal taste (governed perhaps in large part by the sort of accompanying metaphysics you are happy buying into). Part of me is strongly inclined to the sort of information theoretic position Michael expounds above. But another part of me warms to the position posted by Greg L above.

Regards

Simon

As Michael P points out, nobody understands QM and there are several interpretations of the Quantum Paradox. However the violation of Bell's Inequality Theorem, ie non-locality and associated with this, the highly suggestive evidence of an Implicate Order (Bohm), does of course coincide with the idea of a unity underlying the dynamics of particle physics and hence the cosmos itself. I think the analogy with computer networking and its information processing holds given the information richness of QM. This is being stressed ever more by philosophers of science and interested academics.

It is worth adding that DNA and genetics as a whole is - especially in the last two decades with the explosion of knowledge here, including the new science of epigenetics - also evidence for information richness, both quality and quantity, that surpasses our own supercomputers in this regard! In other words, both Quantum Mechanics and biology (genetics notably, but also biophysics as a whole) are replete with information richness. I don't think this a meaningless coincidence. I think it a good idea to look at what is being said about DNA these days, as a digital informational code, because it coincides nicely with a lot of the stuff from QM and parapsychology (eg as eloquently summed up by Radin's The Conscious Universe).

However there is one disagreement I have with Michael P and others here. That is whilst I think the evidence for survival is suggestive and highly likely in some form, I don't think it's an open and shut case, nor a proven one. I have to admit favouring super-psi here. Any such book project by Prescott (if it is going to stand out from the crowd) would at least need to acknowledge the super-psi argument properly, accurately and in its entirety, even if one didn't agree with it. That is really get to grips with it and take it seriously. For all the strengths of Chris Carter and Julie Beischel's work (and I admire them both), they do not get to grips with super-psi at all properly. They do not touch on all the obvious red flag problems with medium communications for example, past and present and reincarnation research.

Super-psi is also consistent with an informational and conscious universe. For what it's worth, super-psi and survival of consciousness are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps both are operating?

Very interesting comments from Elevated, Greg L, Simon, and Lawrence. Sometimes the discussions on this blog are carried on at a pretty high level, and I'm in danger of being left behind!

Lawrence, have you read Gauld's "Mediumship and Survival"? It deals with super-psi extensively. So does Braude's "Immortal Remains."

Carter devoted a lot of "Science and the Afterlife Experience" to addressing super-psi. Did you feel he misrepresented it?

Anyway, I agree there is no necessary conflict. In fact, one of the best books I've read on the subject of survival is Arthur Ellison's "Science and the Paranormal," which finds that mediumship, in particular, seems to consist of some genuine communications mingled with a great deal of unconscious psi and unconscious confabulation. Ellison ends up advocating an Idealist ontology, which I don't find too persuasive, but a lot of his other arguments are quite strong.

Regarding Bohm, it seems to me that his idea of the implicate order corresponds roughly to the information processing system of virtual-reality theory. In his model, the explicate order (observed reality) arises from the implicate order (the underlying substrate) in something akin to the way a hologram arises from a holographic plate. And what is a holographic plate, if not information? (Such a plate can be created purely by information processing, without the need for any physical template; Google "computer-generated holography.")

Quantum entanglement, in particular, seems to suggest an underlying matrix of informational states, whether that matrix is like a holographic plate or like a computer program. I don't think entanglement can be understood in classical terms - which is why Einstein called it "spooky."

The virtual-reality idea does have its adherents in the physics community, notably Brian Whitworth. As I may have mentioned, the website The Bottom Layer gives a good step-by-step overview of the idea. Whitworth's papers offer a more technical presentation.

Just to clarify, when I say that a holographic plate is essentially information, what I mean is that the plate is a record of interference patterns, which can be expressed mathematically.

Such a plate is ordinarily created by exposing an object (say, an apple) to a beam of coherent light that is interfering with itself, in order to produce the interference patterns. But it is possible to forego the object altogether and generate the interference patterns via computer calculations. In that case a hologram of an apple can be produced even if no real apple ever posed for its picture. This technology seems closer to what Bohm is getting at - a substrate of pure information.

Michael I have read Braude's Immortal Remains but not Gauld's book.

Braude of course is the heavyweight when it comes to promulgating the strengths of super-psi theory (or hypothesis if you prefer) over survival, and Braude has been a big influence on my own thinking here.
Michael I don't think those pushing survival over super-psi (say Carter and the late Montague Keen) get into the meat of super-psi, as Braude most notably does (and yes I am familiar with the Braude vs Keen debate). If I were to go by Carter and Beischel, I wouldn't know all the problems with the survival theory at all (especially medium related), nor the *actual strengths* of super-psi. Admittedly the NDE stuff is very impressive of something surviving death. In fact it is the NDE work that may be the cincher in favour of survival (even though there are a lot of problems here too, namely relating to clear fantasy elements, but that is arguably neither here nor there re survival of consciousness! It's just that a surviving consciousness/mind may be fantasizing. This is a whole other difficult and complex topic and is touched on by mystics and occultists, arguably more so than scientists and parapsychologists, the Tibetan Book of the Dead acknowledges this PoV for example), not mediumship at all which is fraught with way too many problems.

In fact I am adamant (for what it's worth) that super-psi is on far more solid ground than survival when it comes to mediumship and I think a thorough read-through of the unadorned unvarnished history of mediumship reveals alternative explanations at work (super-psi, the subconscious, the collective unconscious and archetypes). This unadorned history is nowhere in Carter's nor Beishel's writings, Keen, Steiger and Fontana neither.

Ian Wilson's book 'Mind out of Time' (also published as 'Reincarnation?'), even though it was published decades ago, is a masterpiece, a seminal book on all the problems with survival over other alternatives. The focus in Wilson's book is on problems re mediumship, possession and reincarnation. Wilson's book is very much in the spirit of Braude's, that is impressive scholarship and deep thinking, with a genuine healthy skepticism, as opposed to the pathological pseudoskepticism of the CSICOP types and their successors.

Also Joe Fisher's Hungry Ghosts is a must-read, all the problems with mediumship come to the fore there, and Prescott has of course reviewed this book in some detail at this blog! We all know Fisher's tragic fate and yet I disagree with him on what was going on, I do not think his idea of pretas/hungry ghosts are the answer. Yet Fisher's book is important, not for the solution he offers, but for the problems he shows up.

There is a clear and even desperate will to believe when it comes to the notion of survival wrt mediumship especially, and the reincarnation work (let's ignore the complex NDE stuff here for argument's sake), and I don't just mean among New-Agers. I mean among the more sober researchers and writers (Carter, Zammit, Beischel who admits the suicide of her mother was a catalyst for her getting into this line of work, British journalist Robert McLuhan and others). I am aware of the conclusions of their illustrious predecessors - Lodge, Hodgson, Hyslop, Myers and others of that era. So? I am with William James here, we don't know...

I cannot stress enough the irony of survival believers ignoring the incredible powers of psi when it suits them, even as they are firm believers in psi and routinely mock the Randibots for the latters' stubborn pseudoskepticism! I am adamant (for what it's worth) that the unvarnished true history of Western mediumship alone is overwhelmingly in favour of super-psi and subconscious, collective unconscious factors; and this warts-and-all history of mediumship is nowhere properly acknowledged by the likes of Carter, Beischel, Keen, Fontana and others. The true psi powers of authentic shamans and paranormal healers (as far as we know) have crossed the boggle threshold, the IMPLICATIONS of synchronicity (see Braude), of multiple personality disorder (see Wilson), of dowsing (including map dowsing) are stranger than science fiction and fantasy. What of Helmut Schmidt's seminal research on retro-PK? I still can't get my head around it. Even remote viewing and precognition are no 'tamer', if you think about it, bizarre and extreme in what they tells us about the powers of the mind. We cannot set limits on psi merely because to do so is necessary to push survival as the alternative, as Braude reminds us, because we do not know where these limits of psi are or what they are!

And when I speak of the problems fraught with mediumship, one needs to include the spiritist religions and animist or quasi-animist movements/belief systems, Haitian Voodoo, 'possession' in African and Asian animist (and even nominally Christian and Muslim) populations, Candomblé and Umbanda in Brazil alone. The writings of Oesterreich, Ioan Lewis, Metraux and so many others are invaluable here. When one gets to grips with possession and mediumship in say Haitian voodoo, the multiple Brazilian and Latin American religions and 'possession' in East African populations alone (I am reliant on Ioan Lewis's excellent study for the latter), it is evidential that a combination of subconscious factors, even at a stretch that archetypes of the collective unconscious are entailed, not surviving spirits of the dead. So why pretend none of this relevant when looking at Western spiritualism and spiritism?

Where do the believers in survival begin to get to serious grips with the implications of the real facts of Haitian Voodoo alone to Western spirtualism? Nowhere I can find. Voodoo like Brazilian and West African 'possession' (and yes they share common broad roots of course, no matter how distorted, along with their dynamics) is possibly a case of archetypes at work at one end of the spectrum and of course not a little acting, role playing, subconscious and/or conscious at the other end.

I cannot write a book here, so in closing, my point is that the survival believers' argument re mediumship especially lacks a thorough scholarship, it is neither deep enough nor wide enough in acknowledging the
scope of its problems and objections.

"But it is possible to forego the object altogether and generate the interference patterns via computer calculations. In that case a hologram of an apple can be produced even if no real apple ever posed for its picture. This technology seems closer to what Bohm is getting at - a substrate of pure information." - Michael Prescott
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I think that is what near death experiencers are describing in their NDE descriptions. A place where consciousness creates reality. Where matter is an epiphenomena of consciousness. Where consciousness is primary and matter is secondary.

Excerpt from Mark H's NDE description:
"Suddenly I thought of a mountain, I had seen as a child. When I looked up from the road there it was; The Mountain! Not just the mountain! But the most breathtaking mountain I had ever seen! Details the likes of which no one could imagine. Colors shades of color, shadows for which there are no words in the human language to describe it." http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/mark_h%27s_nde.htm

For all the strengths of Chris Carter and Julie Beischel's work (and I admire them both), they do not get to grips with super-psi at all properly. They do not touch on all the obvious red flag problems with medium communications for example, past and present and reincarnation research.

I think Carter does a good job criticizing the super-psi hypothesis in the following interview:

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com.es/2013/03/interview-with-chris-carter-on-his-book.html

For what it's worth, super-psi and survival of consciousness are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps both are operating?

I admit that some cases of mediumship are quite probably cases where the medium has obtained information through ESP and unconscious, but cases of mediumship where the person through the medium shows the personality of a deceased that medium unknown, that person recognizes only acquaintances when he or she was alive, among other things, are probably cases of contact with spirits of deceased. Besides that there are other independent evidence pointing to a form of afterlife.

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