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Wow

I thought skeptics were paragons of virtue and reason and would never be mean or petty.....

Hey if you want a copy of those emails between me and Dr Greyson I will happily pass them on, speaking on information about Keith.

Ref- The recent Skeptiko podcasts,

It seems to me that Dr Persinger is contradicting himself. The God helmet stimulates the cortex and he says that mimicks the features of the NDE.

But he also speculates that even with a flat EEG, there can still be enough undetectable brain activity at a deeper level, ie consciouness has retreated to a different place. In that case, he is really saying that consciouness can move around in the brain, sort of like a 'bouncy ball of energy' in a box. But isn't consciousness ie sight, sound, cognition and memory formation a product of all the collective lobes and brain stem working together ?

Mind you, what do I know.

The Kevin Nelson interview was also very interesting but I had to read it(sound system broken) and therefore can't judge what tone of voice Nelson was using.

If I'm reading it correctly, Dr Nelson was getting a bit 'shirty,' brow beating with the... "You're not a neurologist and I am routine"....."Where's the data...no that's the conclusion....where's the data?"(Penny Sartori's Study)

I may have this wrong, but I thought the 'data' was the discovery and documentation of patient's lucid experiences while comatose, and the conclusion...consciousness may not be totally dependent on brain activity.

Alex Tsakiris tried his best to get Nelson to spell out exactly how he thinks NDE's are possible in a dead brain but he(Nelson) fell back on the 'just before' factor.

'''Dr Nelson was getting a bit 'shirty,'''

Ha ha Spike accused Buffy of being "Shirty" as well... though like her, I didn't believe "Shirty" was even a word,
At least until now...

I listened to the Tsakiris interview with *cough* DR* cough* Nelson…
And if "Shirty" means he was playing the "I am a Neurologist and you're not" card then yeah, he was all Shirt and no pants.

"Hey if you want a copy of those emails between me and Dr Greyson I will happily pass them on, speaking on information about Keith."

That would be nice. Thank you! After all, science is a human endeavour, and it is important to understand what our (in this case, Keith's) human aspect is doing while science gets done.

Julio Siqueira
juliocbsiqueira@terra.com.br

"Spike accused Buffy of being 'Shirty' as well"

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was my favorite TV show throughout the time it was on. I haven't seen it in years, but I imagine the dialogue, at least, would still hold up.

My all-time favorite TV show is HBO's "Rome." Wish it had lasted more than two seasons ...

"I thought skeptics were paragons of virtue and reason"

Are any of us? I know I'm not. I'm with Hamlet on this one:

"I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me: I am very
proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us." [Act 3, Sc. 1]

I'm a prick myself , however I like to think I reason out my views and I am not too beholden to a philosophy or a religion.

As for Dr Nelson

The proof is in the pudding. Gives us an explanation for what happened to Pam Reynolds, Al Sullivan and the Satori case. It doesn't matter one bit where consciousness is if you it has no way to interact with the outside world now does.

The only way consciousness could have interact with the outside world in those cases is to move it outside the body.

Basically we win by default.

"it is important to understand what our (in this case, Keith's) human aspect is doing while science gets done."

I have to say that I really, really hate the "holier-than-thou" tone of comments like this.

It just annoys the hell out of me. It puts me in mind of Matthew 7:3.

How about simply recognizing that all of us have strengths and weaknesses, insights and blind spots, good days and bad days?

And the remark about how "science gets done" is kind of ridiculous, given that the vast majority of scientists would not recognize the subject matter of this blog as having any connection with science.

I myself have suggested that there are limits to how much science can teach us in this area. A lot of these phenomena are inherently subjective.

I have no intention of allowing this blog to turn into a forum for bashing Keith Augustine or any other individual, and I'm increasingly tempted to clamp down on the comments in a major way -- possibly by instituting comments moderation, or by banning the people who keep bringing it up, or by shutting off the comments altogether, or just closing down the whole blog.

The blog post associated with this thread never even mentioned Keith or NDEs.

People keep saying, "The skeptics are mean to us, so it's okay for us to be nasty about them." If this is your philosophy, start your own blog. My attitude is that if you look for nastiness, you will found it. If you look for decency, you are more likely to find it. What you see in others is a reflection of who you are.

Try treating those who disagree with you with respect and courtesy, and you may be surprised at the results.

There is enough negativity and unfriendliness and incivility on the Internet. This forum is meant to be a friendly, open-minded place that welcomes all comers.

If some of you want to wage war on the "opposition," go somewhere else. Please.

I have to side with Michael on this one, when you have an eye for an eye attitude, no one wins. Some (notice "some') skeptics may not be nice or honest, but as Michael says if you still exercise kindness and respect, sometimes they will open up.

On topic, what else do you guys think of the second Braude video considering how many have known him as the champion of Super-Psi for years?

"Try treating those who disagree with you with respect and courtesy"

Wise and honorable words.

I just want to highlight that being critical towards Keith as a philosopher (and as a proponent of refutation to survivalist worldviews and theories) does not necessarily equal being destructive to him as a person. What I may do (after further extensive checking, as I usually do) is to present (in my website) some pieces of criticism towards some of his ideas and towards some of his conclusions, and also towards some of his "tactics" in his interactions with skeptics and non skeptics and etc (that, after triple checking). I repeat: science is not only ideas and theories; it is, topmost IMO, the making of these ideas and the interactions that we carry on along the way. (and if the subject of this thread is not scientific, I can't understand why so many scientific papers have already been published on this matter...)

And as far as I can see, it is quite legitimate to mention Keith in this thread, precisely because he is one who has forwarded pieces of information and reasoning (of very high quality, by the way - IMHO) to counter evidence for the afterlife from a logical and philosophical and scientific perspective. Just as it would be legitimate to mention Paul Edwards, or Ian Stevenson, and just as it would be, IMO, highly illegitimate (or at least far less legitimate) to mention Richard Wiseman, Ray Hyman or Adrian Parker (guys more dedicated to non survivalist psi investigation and refutation). Having a skeptic site myself, and also an "anti-skeptic" site, I must say that I myself have benefited enormously from criticism directed towards not only my ideas and my "pieces of information," but topmost directed towards my stands, my possible motivations, and my "methods," so to speak.

Michael, decisions regarding censoring are yours alone, and are to be respected. But trying to draw some wisdom from sources similar to yours, I would recommend Matthew 3:12...

Best Wishes,
Julio Siqueira
______________

Michael Prescott,
You need a large scotch...WITH ICE !

If my comments have been causing you stress, I'm happy to say thankyou and goodnight. It's a great blog and I've really enjoyed particating in the 'debate.'
Best wishes to all the commenters on here, including yourself.

I wonder what everyone thinks of this youtube video created by Qualiasoup. I just noticed it on youtube. It talks about substance dualism with the usual split brain evidence which doesn't show that we have two personalities by splitting brain hemispheres however according to this fellow it must be so. He does have a good point though about how processes don't have weight, color or texture the same as consciousness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsPn5dXfTvA

I've noticed this tension building up for awhile; I sensed some impatience in MP's comments. The thing is (IMHO), this forum is not "team afterlife"; and "skeptics" are not another team to be battled. People with different opinions are not nasty people because of it. One can feel under attack if someone strongly disagrees with one's beliefs. Especially with sensitive areas like a belief in the afterlife, that cut quite deeply into our fears and vulnerabilities. Sceptical opposition can feel personal – like our hopes are being dashed, and only nasty and insensitive people dash our hopes, don't they?

I think it's a good idea to try to cultivate that peace of mind where we're not grasping for a particular conclusion. Opposing arguments seem less jarring, this way – they become interesting, not threatening. Moody, Braude, Sheldrake seem to have this approach. Sure, some of these “sceptical” types don't do a good job of defending their position; they're neither sensitive in their conduct nor sophisticated in their arguments. And there is a lot of woo-woo and nonsense out there, too; but it all acts as a challenge to develop our analytic skills, self-awareness and “humaneness”. I do sense a bit of impatience from Moody, for example, insofar as he's pressured to support the afterlife position, when he just wants to investigate and explore (his Skeptiko interview is excellent, by the way).

It's maybe not a good idea to turn this issue into a full discussion. Here, it may be best simply to read the words of our kind host and blogger, exchange ideas without any kind of tribalism, heeding always these words of Whitehead:

“There remains the final reflection, how shallow, puny, and imperfect are efforts to sound the depths in the nature of things...” (P&R, xiv).

Leo, thanks for the video

If its true that one could "Split up one Brain" into TWO people and get two distinct personalitys and consciousness
well that would be a powerfull argument for the Skeptics
I wonder if its true... I found this regarding "complete cerebral commissurotomy"
where they split hemispheres in epilepsy patients
and found seperate awareness......

http://tiny.cc/G3Gbm

sigh.....

Excellent video with Braude, and again you see someone's investigations into the paranormal are precipitated by some bizarre experiences of his own which he cannot ignore.

Now once you've been exposed to something odd and you do realize that — just as he says in the video — the universe is more strange than we want to admit, I think you tend to accept the possibility of weirdness, and because of that you may defend something that eventually turns out to be fraudulent, and this becomes the only thing your critics remember.

But I think it's much more important to be willing to be wrong rather than to miss an essential piece of the puzzle about how our universe works.

If you don't think something is possible you will not explore it as a possibility.

Because when you are curious that means you really want to know, and when you are not, that means you think you already do.

And the latter path is the easy one — whether what you think you know regards life after death or the impossibility of such.

I wish I did know. All I do know for sure is that weird things happen, and they don't seem to care that they don't make sense to us.

I often find myself getting angry when I see some 'skeptical' arguments to various phenomena that on the surface can appear as truth of 'debunking' but anyone who goes deeper will often find it false and possibly intentionally dishonest.

But I question why I get angry. Its not as if the winner of a debate determines the truth of reality. Reality will be reality regardless of how many people believe it.

I think it boils down to feeling betrayed by society and the scientific community to a degree. There is all this evidence and yet no one, including myself long ago, had heard of it. I was told 'you are a pack of neurons' and believed it. And youth today are told much the same.

I have to remind myself that science is a slow changing process, its best not to buy into an 'us versus them' mentality, and the material routinely discussed here will exist regardless of how many choose to ignore it.

At the heart of it, the skeptical crowd and myself often share a fundamental desire, and that is to 'stamp out' what we perceive to be ignorance. I need to work on letting this desire go.

I've seen Braude in two interviews and I liked him alot.
Some of what he says reminds me of something Moody said (I'll paraphrase) that he had been going to meetings of 'believers' and 'skeptics' for years. Saw the same people year after year, only the believer would become the skeptic and vice-versa.
Who couldn't like a subject like that?

"For now we see through a glass, darkly".......

"by banning the people who keep bringing it up, or by shutting off the comments altogether, or just closing down the whole blog. "

This is my first post here, although I've been reading MP's blog for some time, probably over 3-5 years now.

I never posted before for 2 reasons, first, because English is not my mother tongue and I still find difficult it to maintain lengthy discussions on these subjects without the language proficiency required to express all the subtleties and nuances needed.

And secondly and more important, because although I've learnt a lot since I began to investigate on these subjects 4 years ago (I was an skeptic myself until I was 36) I still can recognize I have a lot (and I mean a LOT) to learn, and I know when to keep my mouth closed, listen and learn from those who know much more than I do.

I must say that the tone of MPs posts and comments, his knowledge and approach to this field, and that from most of the people posting here, have been an amazing source of information and knowledge and a great help during this learning.

So, I just though it was about time to stop lurking and leeching to thank you all and specially MP for the effort put here and the work done.

I believe the frustration is reasonable and the time for dialog with skeptics is largely over.

Skeptics have no problem whatsoever suppressing any form of research into parapsychology nor do they have the slightest qualms with misrepresenting research that already exist.

They have no problem denouncing paranormal researchers for not publishing in mainstream journals but when we try they harass the journals. It is the old persecutors trick, denounce us for not doing something they won't let us do.

They have no problem creating absurd double standards for parapsychologist to jump through. They have no problem with goal posting. They have no problem misleading the public.

We have to start fighting back and fighting hard. If they misrepresent research on a public forum they should be sued for slandered. Hit them in the wallet. Hit them whenever we can. You catch one being dishonest you never let them live it down.

Skeptics are bullies and we are letting ourselves be easily bulled. The only thing a bully understands is harsh consequences for their actions.

"We have to start fighting back and fighting hard.... Hit them whenever we can." - Kris

You're welcome to do that, but I would prefer that you not do it here.

There are many other forums where this combative approach will be appreciated.

I prefer to maintain an atmosphere of decorum and mutual respect in this little corner of the Internet. As Hannibal Lecter once said, "Disrespect is unspeakably ugly to me." (This did not prevent him from murdering and cannibalizing his victims, but I digress.)

My standards may seem quaint in our increasingly uncivil society, but I intend to enforce them. For the time being, I've switched to comment moderation, even though it is inconvenient for all concerned.

Luis, I appreciate your kind words. Thanks!

There are other sites that are combative.
This site has been less combative, more open to ideas and possibilities. This is one of the things that makes it so good. (The knowledgeable author MP and posters (ZC comes to mind immediately) complete it.)
Michael-- do what you have to do to maintain the quality that this has.
Best Wishes

MP, couldn't agree more. I have developed my thinking on several consciousness related issues, in particular the possibility of survival, as a consequence of this blog. The pedagogical nature of the material is second to none, and I have learnt a lot.
If others have axes to grind, let them release their frustrations elsewhere and not here.


I'd like to comment something.

I think Michael (Prescott) is right about the need of keeping a positive, open mind atmosphere for exhanging ideas in his blog.

This blog is well read at the paranormal, spiritualist community, and many spiritual seekers find here a refreshing perspetive and a positive atmosphere to exchange ideas (or read them at least).

Thus Michael cannot allow this positive atmosphere be damaged by negative, purely critical or hostile contributions, even if they're somehow justified in one or other sense.

Kris, I fully understand your frustration. And I think your opinion against skeptics in general is largely justified. I've felt myself a similar frustration.

I even agree that proponents of parapsychology should be more active in replying, rebutting and exposing the skeptics' attitudes and double standards (you can call it "fighting back" if you want). Winston Wu' SCECOP is one first approach to that kind of tactic.

But it's a tactical mistake to "fight back" in the wrong places.

This blog is not a place to fight back skeptics in general or to debunk certain individuals in particular. Michael cannot allow his blog be pushed in that direction.

We have to respect the purposes and the spirit of this blog.

Perhaps you should join SCECOP, whose explicit purpose is actively to fight back the skeptics. Your contribution there possibly will be appreciated.

Kris, please send me a e-mail (my e-mail address is in the profile of my blog), I'd like to discuss with you many of these questions, share with you what I've learned from skeptics too and exchange some relevant information and evidence about the afterlife topic.

Hey Michael

I like being here so I will not be combative. Your house your rules.

"My standards may seem quaint in our increasingly uncivil society, but I intend to enforce them."

I thank you for heading such a civilised blog, Michael.

It is interesting though, that when things get a bit heated or controversial, the sheer volume of comments rises. Good old human nature, eh?

I remember stumbling into this blog on accident during my journey of researching NDEs. I've been hooked ever since, and it's definitely one of my favorite blogs out there.

“At the heart of it, the skeptical crowd and myself often share a fundamental desire, and that is to 'stamp out' what we perceive to be ignorance. I need to work on letting this desire go.”

I think the great challenge in life is not to stamp out ignorance in others but look into that proverbial mirror and see our ignorance. Besides if there were no ignorance there would be no us just Isness. Perfection creates imperfection for a very good reason without our imperfections there is no unique souls. Those imperfections lead to much suffering, as there are consequences for our choices in life.

We are distinguishable from that that is (God) because of our ignorance i.e. lack of infinite intelligence. This is a very difficult concept to accept as the human mind and even the consciousness of a soul wants to make God in its image.

I just saw on TV that the last pope used to beat himself with a belt to draw closer to Christ. This behavior is based in guilt and this guilt has its home not in drawing closer to God or Christ consciousness but in self-confirmatory egotistical behavior which of course would not draw him closer to Christ Consciousness but separate him even farther from Christ. Even the pope’s ego can be very deceptive. It appears that the pope thinks his soul existed outside of infinite Oneness.

Does anyone know if a pope every came through a medium after the pope crossed over. It seems I remember reading something about this occurring. Or not.

Art I just read a book I think you would find very interesting and inspiring. This lady had a near death experience and later in life left her body while giving a eulogy and had a profound mystical experience and in her words an encounter with God and found these other dimensions very loving and knowledgeable. The book is “hear his voice” by Nancy Clark. No Art there is not any mention of reincarnation in this book.


I thought I posted this last night but it did not post. Was it considered combative or just ignorant?

I will repeat other peoples praise for your site MP. I've been following this blog for about 2 years and I check it few times a week for updates, since you have good knowledge on all things Psi, NDE, afterlife, etc.

"Your house your rules."

Well there you go. That's a fair way of putting it.

It's been a very long time since posting comments here but I still check in from time to time to read MPs posts, which he invests his precious time researching, analysising and producing intelligent, knowledgable and balanced views. Not everyone would give as selflessly for years to keep this blog going, making regular posts to quench everyone's thirst for knowledge and exchange, whilst tolerating immaturity, verbal attacks and commenters who use this platform as their pulpit, constantly rehashing their fixed beliefs in most posts whether related to the discussion or not.

It has been a pleasure to escape into this little corner of the world from time to time and learn new things and maybe for some of us even see things differently to one's current beliefs.

It's not a competition of conversion to one's own beliefs but identifying we are all united and deep down are all seekers of the truth, despite our fears and how they make us act out. They say the truth sets you free and it certainly does with most things, the question of immortality may one day be mostly proven scientifically but the questions of "why?" and "what for?" I believe and will always pose difficulties for science.

MP keep up the terrific work and your blog should always remain a place of harmony, wisdom and maturity, I totally agree with your vision and from what I've read so far so do many others.

Zetetic chick said:

"I think Michael (Prescott) is right about the need of keeping a positive, open mind atmosphere for exhanging ideas in his blog."

I acknowledge and support the numerous virtues of this blog and of Prescott's stand. Also, I fully support the above phrase from you, ZC, but I must say I did not see this "open mind atmosphere" towards me... So, again, I congratulate Michael for his good work. And in respect for his home rules (which, IMHO, disregard Matthew 3:12), I would like to wish him and you all good luck and say farewell.

Julio
_____

Hey, Hope - nice of you to drop in. I hope you're doing well.

@Julio - I think you may have just arrived at a bad time, so your comments were perhaps taken to be part of the larger tone that was building on the blog. You seem like an open-minded guy - good luck with your research into these mysteries. :-)

"The book is “hear his voice” by Nancy Clark. No Art there is not any mention of reincarnation in this book." - william
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay then, I will look for it! I do enjoy mystical experiences. Some of them that I have read have been very profound. One of my most favorite is on the Taste site: Transcendental Experiences of Scientists:
http://www.issc-taste.org/arc/dbo.cgi?set=arc&ss=1
The experience is called "Riding the Dragon" about this medical doctor that is at a Medical conference and I guess the talks were so boring that he kind of started zoning out and had this very profound mystical experience. The URL is:
http://www.issc-taste.org/arc/dbo.cgi?set=expom&id=00070&ss=1
I am also a huge fan of death bed visions and find them to be very full of hope and uplifting.

"I thought I posted this last night but it did not post. Was it considered combative or just ignorant?"

Neither. I didn't see the earlier comment. I guess it didn't get through.

Thanks to everyone for the nice compliments. Nice to hear from you, Hope!

My apologies to Julio for seemingly singling him out when I was actually reacting to the general tone of the thread.

By the way, as far as Matthew 3:12 is concerned (a verse about sending people to hell), I would say that it probably reflects Matthew's predilections more than Jesus'. Matthew is very big on "wailing and gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness" and even modifies some of Jesus' parables to include this element.

In my opinion, we have to read any sacred text sensitively, accepting the truth we find there but not the less admirable elements. To me, Matthew 7:3 captures a profound truth (we see the splinter in our neighbor's eye but not the plank in our own), while Matthew 3:12 is mere fear-mongering coupled with a revenge fantasy. But your mileage may vary.

Speaking of New Testament quotes, Church service was canceled today because of all the snow and ice on the roads here in Middle Tennessee. I went out this morning and scraped about 5" of snow and ice off our cars this morning. The road out in front of our house is a sheet of ice at least a half an inch thick. It's like a skating rink! Down the street from us there are four cars stuck in ditches at the bottom of the hill. Glad it's not me!

Thank you for your words, Michael.

As to "while Matthew 3:12 is mere fear-mongering coupled with a revenge fantasy," I hope you undestood that what I meant was that YOU (you, Michael) should be careful when sorting out who and what you send to "hell."

Keith Augustine sent me an email and I have replied it to him already. I hope this will be one more round of constructive exchange of ideas with him, as have more than once happened in the last years (through private email).

Best Wishes,
Julio
_____

In my opinion, we have to read any sacred text sensitively, accepting the truth we find there but not the less admirable elements.

I couldn’t agree more. Another way to say that is to just follow your own wisdom, which simply involves accepting that which elevates your spirits and discarding that which lowers your spirits.

It seems to me that we’re all looking at everything through the plank in our own eyes, while other people’s specks of sawdust are obvious to us. We’re oblivious to our own planks, though, so we get upset when someone tells us we’re afflicted by a speck of sawdust.

All that planks and specks actually are is belief systems, though. When I read Matthew 3, I see an allegory about tossing our own belief system into a bonfire, a bonfire that begins when we find ourselves “gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire”, which only means that we need apply MP’s suggestion regarding the interpretation of sacred texts to our own mind: “accepting the truth we find there but not the less admirable elements”.

Once that fire has started, it can very well consume the whole damn plank. And when the plank is consumed, what remains is experienced as “the Spirit of God descending like a dove” and we will understand that the “kingdom of God” is nearer than we could possibly have imagined, and that the love expressed in Matthew 3:17 doesn’t apply to Christ alone, but extends to everyone and everything, despite whatever struggles we’ve had, or are continuing to have, with the stupid plank.

That’s how I interpret Matthew 3, but as MP says - your mileage may vary.

It also seems to me that the idea of following your own wisdom is a good rule to apply when we’re faced with opposing views. In my case, I’m pretty much opposed to all views – I think the solution to absolutely everything involves moving beyond our own belief systems, while nearly everyone else appears to think that everything would be just fine if everyone shared just one belief system, which interestingly enough, inevitably appears to be whatever belief system they happen to be attached to at the moment. That observation applies to me as well – the belief system I’m attached to at the moment tells me that everything would be just fine if everyone was willing to question their own belief systems. The truth of course, is that everything is perfectly fine already, and it's only my own belief system that tells me otherwise.

I’m sure some of the things I’ve written in these threads have offended some readers at times, but I do make an effort to avoid attacking the person while presenting an alternative position. That’s not always easy to do, given how whacked-out certain perspectives appear to me today, but I do try to remember where I’ve come from. As a friend of mine, a psychologist who experienced a profound shift in perspective in the middle of a session with a client put it, “It was amazing to discover that I’d been wrong about absolutely everything!”

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