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\\"In science and history, consilience (also convergence of evidence or concordance of evidence) refers to the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can “converge” to strong conclusions."//
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Here's some examples of consilience,

"I literally had the feeling that I was everywhere in the universe simultaneously."
Mark Horton's NDE,
http://celestial.kuriakon00.com/nde/mark_horton.htm

"I had the realization that I was everywhere at the same time...and I mean everywhere."
Carl Turner's transcendental experience,
http://www.beyondreligion.com/su_personal/dreamsvisions-kundalini.htm

"Unlike normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole. The "whole in every part" nature of a hologram provides us with an entirely new way of understanding organization and order."
http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

"If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected. The electrons in a carbon atom in the human brain are connected to the subatomic particles that comprise every salmon that swims, every heart that beats, and every star that shimmers in the sky. Everything interpenetrates everything, and although human nature may seek to categorize and pigeonhole and subdivide, the various phenomena of the universe, all apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of nature is ultimately a seamless web."
http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

Good post overall. Thank you for the link to the interview with Cyrus Kirkpatrick.

Two things, though:

1) There definitely are similarities between what the medium said about the afterlife and the NDE reports, but it also bothers me that the mediums/NDErs seemingly report the afterlife as eternal, with no mention of reincarnation, while there are many reincarnation cases of various strengths. What do you think?

2) Your comments about The Atlantic piece seems somewhat contradictory to the first part, since you say in your comment about consilience that looking at the big picture is necessary. You give examples of how the middle class is feeling difficult, which I can agree with, but isn't that article approaching the question from a big-picture view instead of individual claims such as your comments?

"but it also bothers me that the mediums/NDErs seemingly report the afterlife as eternal, with no mention of reincarnation, while there are many reincarnation cases of various strengths. What do you think?" - aaa
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It's a misinterpretation of the evidence we have for reincarnation. Something else is going on. The brain is like a radio or television receiver picking up the memories of someone else's life and when they are little they think those memories are their own whereas in reality it's because they haven't developed their own sense of self and so their little brains are just picking up a different signal sort of like a radio being tuned between two stations. When the child gets to be 7 or 8 years old and starts becoming a separate unique individual it quits tuning into those old memories and instead starts becoming its own separate unique individual identity.

And as far as those supposed birthmarks as evidence? That's just "thoughts are things and consciousness becoming reality." Like one NDE I read where he said he went into a library or hall of learning it seemed like the building itself was "made of knowledge."

Good post! I'll respond to the part about 2015 being the best year for the average human being by way of what aaa said:

||Your comments about The Atlantic piece seems somewhat contradictory to the first part, since you say in your comment about consilience that looking at the big picture is necessary. You give examples of how the middle class is feeling difficult, which I can agree with, but isn't that article approaching the question from a big-picture view instead of individual claims such as your comments?||

I think consilience as cited by Michael. is relevant with respect to facts, roughly speaking, whereas how to measure the wellbeing of the average person is a judgment call and a matter of opinion that can be approached in different ways. I.e., skeptics doubt that Afterlife phenomena exist in the first place: showing that different sources of evidence add up is a powerful thing to use in the argument. Whereas, no one doubts that there is such a thing as wellbeing, and how well the average person is doing is open to interpretive argument.

I agree that it's iffy to say that 2015 is the best year for the average person. I think the goal is for the developed world to move forward while the developing world catches up, right? In the 1990s, this is what has been happening. Since roughly 2001, however, the developing world has continued to catch up while the developed world has moved backward by a number of measures. I think there is definitely a mood of malaise and directionless in the world that must impact the developing world as well, even if by other measures it is doing better. Personally, I would say 1999 was the time of my own life when the world seemed to be doing best. After 2001, it's been one disappointment after another.

10,000 people killed in Iraq, 20,000 in Afghanistan, 40,000 in Syria, the largest ever Ebola outbreak in West Africa that's still not over yet, a game of nuclear chicken being played between the US and Russia over Turkey and Ukraine, large areas of Mexico are under control of drug cartels, the US has no industrial base, $19 trillion in debt, and 90 million people unemployed or underemployed - worse than the Great Depression, 1/3 of Americans are obese and another 1/3 have STDs (there may be some overlap), more people are on psychiatric drugs than ever before, there have been a slew of mass shootings, riots around the country sprung up over alleged cases of police brutality, and 2015 is the BEST year in human history? What are the people at The Atlantic smoking, because I want some?

While the materialist cults are continually chipping away at the idea a human is more than a machine, if anything I think the western world has actually become increasingly moral in its acknowledgement of humanity's diversity, unless morality is aligned with religious superstition.

In which case yes, people no longer think eternal damnation for picking the wrong set of claims lacking in evidence is a good thing.

Sadly religious nuttery (which includes the materialist cults) may ruin it all in the name of terrorism or reductionism but the growing appreciation of secularism and immaterialism may prove to a beacon of light that pierces those places still under the shadow of ignorance that scriptural literalists rely on (which sadly includes Western science departments).

I really think it's impossible to say any year is better than another - it's all comparing apples to oranges IMO. For the average middle-age, middle-class American person, they're far better off than their average peasant ancestors in middle-ages Western Europe, but probably worse off than their own parents.

I do agree that a preponderance of evidence, from PSI to NDEs, indicates that there is an Afterlife. It's all too much of a coincidence IMO not to be taken seriously.

"Your comments about The Atlantic piece seems somewhat contradictory to the first part, since you say in your comment about consilience that looking at the big picture is necessary. You give examples of how the middle class is feeling difficult, which I can agree with, but isn't that article approaching the question from a big-picture view instead of individual claims such as your comments?"

Yes, but I was explaining why the article does not ring true for me personally.

"There definitely are similarities between what the medium said about the afterlife and the NDE reports, but it also bothers me that the mediums/NDErs seemingly report the afterlife as eternal, with no mention of reincarnation, while there are many reincarnation cases of various strengths. What do you think?"

According to reports of mediumship the spirits of the deceased do not know much more after their deaths, so most do not know if reincarnation occurs or not, hence not mention reincarnation.

"It's a misinterpretation of the evidence we have for reincarnation. Something else is going on. The brain is like a radio or television receiver picking up the memories of someone else's life and when they are little they think those memories are their own whereas in reality it's because they haven't developed their own sense of self and so their little brains are just picking up a different signal sort of like a radio being tuned between two stations."

And why do we accept this interpretation when we accept that some mediums were possessed by deceased humans? Or do you just accept NDEs as empirical evidence of the existence of the afterlife? In the case of mediumship, we find that someone shows personality, knowledge, etc., of someone deceased, and infer that this someone is the deceased, for a time. In the case of reincarnation, we find that someone shows personality, knowledge, etc., of someone deceased, and infer that this someone is the deceased. The differences are that in mediumship there are two individuals and that the presentation is only temporary, while in reincarnation there is an individual and his / her presentation is permanent. But the reasoning is identical.

Sorry to lower the intellectual tone but the Father Christmas cartoon made my spit me cup of tea out lmao

Guys, really, "better" is relative: http://www.cracked.com/article_20731_5-amazing-pieces-good-news-nobody-reporting.html

Chel, that Cracked article is interesting but not entirely accurate or up to date. For instance, its claim that drug abuse is declining seems to be contradicted by more recent reports:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/science/drug-overdoses-propel-rise-in-mortality-rates-of-young-whites.html

On an anecdotal basis, I am convinced that heroin use is sharply rising among middle-class high school students, at least in the Northeast.

In any event, the point of my criticism was not that things aren't getting better for most people throughout the world; it was that while conditions do seem to be improving dramatically in the developing world (as Cracked says), conditions for middle class Americans are not improving and are arguably deteriorating - so the study's claims simply don't ring true for us. Intellectually we may agree that on average people around the globe are better off; but our own personal situations and those of the people we know are not necessarily improving.

Okay, I guess I misunderstood your point. I guess this might have been a more accurate reference: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2560
I sorta like this concept of God. Maybe because I'm a writer and I'm fumbling through my characters' lives like that.

Unconnected, but I found your old post of the story of the monk, and all I can think of is Saint Marina: http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/synexarion/marina.html

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