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Keith said to Eric:
//Are agnostic philosophers like Paul Draper in on the conspiracy when they say that representative neuroscientific facts provide "very strong evidence for the position that human consciousness and personality are properties of brains or nervous systems or bodies rather than properties of immaterial substances"//

You continually appeal to authority. Are you not aware that this is an informal logical fallacy? Moreover, other people in other cultures across time and space put these thinkers in a distinct minority.

All that matters are peoples' arguments, and you are not providing them. *How* do "representative neuroscientific facts" provide "very strong evidence for the position that human consciousness and personality are properties of brains or nervous systems or bodies rather than properties of immaterial substances"?

To ask yet again... *How* can you have very strong evidence that X produces Y when there is no conceivable mechanism whereby X *could* produce Y? Indeed, how can it provide any evidence at all?

The problem is a lot of these people assume that modern materialism is unproblematic. I mean the type of materialism that makes reality co-extensive with what science can possibly discover about the world i.e physicalism. But this is not true as I explain in the following blog post:

If materialism is not possible and there is no conceivable mechanism, then Paul Draper's assertion is just simply nonsense. Indeed, my suspicion is that he has no more clue than any of the authors who contributed to "the myth of an afterlife". But, if contrary to the authors of that book, Paul Draper has any worthwhile argument to actually back up his assertion, I would very much like to hear it.

Just to mention that I've only just now read Matt's post about skeptics not being truth-seekers. So my post above where I say "Like most people on the net he seems to be not interested in the pursuit of the truth" was not influenced by what Matt said.

I got to say the latest from Keith was rather amusing to say the least.

I was rather amused at being called immature by the man who proclaimed my suggestion that his book could have included rebuttals by parapsychologists as indicating I wanted to suppress his ideas and I was opposed to democracy. The unintended irony is rich with this one.

Keith next complains another publisher was not willing to do a longer book but that excuse hardly cuts it; then just go to another publisher. Like the one Ian Stevenson used.

Seriously how hard is this to grasp??

Keith also remarked that writing a longer book or making it multiple books would have reduced sales. Seeing Keith is certainly not in this strange hobby of his for the money and Keith certainly knew his book was not going to be on the best sellers list this argument rings hollow.

Keith wanted to write a one sided tome. Fair enough. People do that all the time. His right.

But it does make it amusing indeed when he castigates parapsychologists for doing the same thing.

Keith had not been on this forum for almost a decade so when I saw his return I was curious to see if he changed any. Nope still moans everyone is biased toward him, we all misrepresent him, no one comprehends his arguments , no one is engaging his arguments ( now that one is amusing seeing everyone in here clearly is) and gets his feelings hurt mighty easily. I have come across new born puppies less delicate that Keith.

I on the other hand had spent a lot of time "debating" the online Jesus Never Existed brigade so I had learned a lot about how online contrarians argue and how to kick their nonsense to pieces. This brigade uses a lot of the same technique Keith does. Logically fallacies, strawmen, rationalizing away inconvenient data, how it could have been scenarios and when all that begins to fill they engage in verbal torrents upon their opponents.

I am pretty satisfied in how things went with Keith and I am on the amused side to see him going down the same path of failure as Carrier and Doherty. He certainly deserves it.

Apparently by admitting I had not read the book but the review of it by Matlock and his debate with Augustine I am now " covering" myself instead of providing a factual explanation for why I argued what I did. Talk about someone engaging in a petty attack on me based on the trivial! And yes that phrase does appear in the ARTICLE once. Keith posted a link to the BOOK.

Keith then castigates me for commenting on a book I have not read because I read articles on it; yet he has commented on Ian Stevenson's books based reading articles about it. Consistency is not a strong suit with Keith.

I would be curious indeed to see Keith back up that claim about paranormalia

I am glad that Keith finally comprehends the analogy from Ptolemy's model. Yes Ptolemy was brilliant. Yes his model "explained" the data. However it was contrived, forced and ultimately wrong. Which is what the rest of us having been telling Keith about his arguments for 15 years now!

Thinking about this thread some more I see how I have reacted and why.

1. It matters not that Keith is philosophy guy. He places an emphasis on those credentials, but I don't see where they come into play since Keith's primary tactic - and it's common to all skeptic "debunkers" - is that, as Matt says, he argues like a defense lawyer. Attempting to poke holes in evidence counter to your position doesn't require a philosophy background.
2. Present evidence and he goes after the character, intelligence and credibility of the people involved. He sets it up as if anyone seriously testifying to witnessing paranormal events is somehow mistaken. All of these people are wrong and he, who has never had a paranormal experience, is right. He knows better. That is at the least condescending. People react negatively when condescended to. I did; especially as one who has had solid paranormal experiences.

3. Present an evidentiary case and Keith concocts alternative explanations for each aspect of the case regardless of how absurd and low probability each of his alternatives may be. This is also, as Matt says, a defense lawyer tactic. A desperate one at that in most instances.

As one who's current career (indeed the bulk of my adult life - 35 years or so in various capacities) involves turning data into actionable intelligence so as to predict future events as well as to understand current situations, Keith's approach to both correlation and probability really irks me. When there's not a terrorist attack or $gazillions on the line I guess you can sit around for ever playing word games and debating as to what "correlated" versus "causal" really mean; or what level of probability must be present for an alternative hypothesis to be taken seriously. However, in the real world, common sense is applied as much as statistical techniques. Most of Keith's (and other skeptics') alternative explanations to specific aspects of good cases defy common sense as well as statistical probability.

For example; remote viewing is proven and it was proven in tight lab conditions. I recall Randi (and maybe Keith parroting him) saying something about one of the experiments being confounded because there was a little hole (like the diameter of a tv cable) in the wall a couple inches above the floor and under a table that the subject could have discover and looked through into the next room and gotten information that was attributed to paranormal means (I hope someone recalls the case I'm talking about). Sorry, but that is nothing more than ivory tower mental masturbation. It should be no surprise that such arguments fail to persuade truly objective people. If the real world paused to consider that level of probability before taking action, society would paralyze and then crumble.

4. "If the glove don't fit you got to acquit" said Johhny Cochran at the OJ trial. The glove didn't fit. Great. Johnny just scored a point with the jury. Of course blood soaked leather gloves shrink. A glove that fit prior to the bloody murder may very well not after fit afterward. If Johnny Chochran was a truth seeker, he would spell that fact out to the jury. A new pair of gloves the same size and make as those in evidence would be obtained and tried on the accused and then soaked in blood, allowed to dry, and then tried on the accused again. I see Keith as presenting like Cochran. More interested in point scoring than truth obtaining.

So I'm not sure that conversation is worth while until such time that skeptics are willing to apply a reasonable level of common sense and probability to their counter arguments.

A little bit of comic relief: Yes, there will be cats in heaven. From the message board and a thread about deathbed visions....

"We had a 35 year old with down syndrome and heart failure. She was doing very well, but one day her sister called in a panic. The pt had started talking about a cat being in her home. Her sister was sure she was hallucinating. So we went to see pt, and after talking to her it became clear that this was not just any cat. This was Patches, the pt's cat who she had grown up with and who had died 18 years earlier. This pt was insistent on us feeding patches, getting a litterbox, etc. We mentioned to the family that we sometimes see this kind of thing at the end of life, but no one really took it seriously because the pt was doing so well. She died suddenly 5 days after Patches showed up."

If this story doesn't warm your heart and help comfort and uplift you then you have no heart.

I feel the need to respond to this.

Most survivalists do not understand that refuting materialism would not open the door for personal survival. Yes, if materialism were true, (dualistic) personal survival could not be true, but the impossibility of dualistic personal survival is entailed by most theories of mind--all of them other than substance dualism and idealism--and those other theories of mind happen to be the ones that current philosophers of mind put their money on. And dualistic survival could still be in actuality impossible even on substance dualism, because only a particular kind of substance dualism allows it. (You could be a substance dualist who believes that mental activity requires brain activity for its existence, even though the mind is an independent substance from the brain. E. J. Lowe's non-Cartesian substance dualism entails that the mind dies with the body, for example.)

Your are very wrong here many survivalists such as myself know this already. We know that for example Property Dualism would not allow for survival, however, we are also well aware that not just substance dualism would allow for survival, Stuart Hameroff's view would allow for survival. Solipsism would also allow for this too. Yeah I agree you could be a substance dualist without their be survival. You could also be a Materialist and think survival occurs too.

David Staume is one such Atheist who has propose a thought experiment allowing for survival.

John Lorber's research challenges the view that structures in the brain bring about intelligence. On top of that a paramecium can do many things a human can do like have sex, find find food and have mates, but it has no brain(no synapses or neurons). It also has no heart, no eyes, lungs, ears etc.

I notice you have nothing to say about the positive results that Frederick Myers got in his envelope experiments before they started to do the Cipher Tests and Combination lock tests.

Taken from the occult world all credit goes there.

Frederic W.H. Myers described some apparently successful survival tests in his Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (1903). In one case, a brother left with his sister one piece of a brick marked with a streak of ink, telling her that he would hide the other part in a place that only he would know. After his death, his sister and their mother began trying to communicate with him through mediums, without success until they tried sitting at home. After some period of trying, their table began to tilt, and, by calling out the alphabet and recording the letter at which the tilt came, they were able to receive a message from the deceased brother, telling them where he had hidden his part of the brick. They discovered the brick in the place indicated, and it was found to match the piece left with the sister. The same brother left a sealed envelope, the contents of which he communicated in the same way.

This thread has gotten too acrimonious for my taste. I’m going to offer Keith the last word, then close it down. If other people want to get in their parting shots, they should act quickly because if/when Keith posts again, it’s over.

Debate is good, and by Internet standards this discussion may have been relatively civil, but I think we’ve gone about as far as we can in terms of substance, and a little too far in terms of rhetoric.

Just wanted to say something about the kind of idealism favored by Bernardo Kastrup vs dualism.

Bernardo Kastrup argues that his formulation of idealism is more parsimonious that materialism and on this basis idealism should be favored, while dualists argue that materialism should not be favored on the basis of parsimony because of other considerations.

To me it seems that there is a difference in the way that idealists such as Bernardo Kastrup, and dualists, make their case.

One more thing I would like to say about idealism. While it is true very few people in academia call themselves idealists there seem to be people who hold positions that seem close to the position held by people like Bernardo Kastrup . They just give different labels to their positions such as panpsychism or cosmopsyhism or priority monism.

One more point before I sign off this convo for good.

Re; smoking causes cancer versus smoking is correlated with cancer.

The hypothesis that smoking causes cancer
is clearly falsifiable and is falsified. I can show you that the majority of people who smoke do not develop cancer.
In fact, it is well established that Japanese men smoke more than Americans, but are *less* likely to develop cancer than American smokers.

I can show you that many people who develop lung, throat and oral cancer never smoked.

We know that American smokers have a higher incidence of certain cancers. We further know that the amount of smoking
and the number of years of smoking are associated with an increased risk of being a smoker who also develops cancer.

There are two ways of looking at this relationship between smoking and developing cancer.

1. My way - We can build a regression equation with many variables that does a reasonably
ok job of predicting who will be at higher risk for developing certain cancers (variables could be smoking history, genetic/family history, exposure to industrial hazards like coal and toxic fumes,
age, gender, dietatry habits, sun exposure, personal history of other cancers...on and on).
However, the predictive power is far from perfect. That lack of perfect predictive power tells us that we
do not fully understand all of the variables that contribute to, or are associated with, development of cancer.
We are obviously missing some key variables because we cannot predict at 100% from our regression equation.
How do we account for the Japanese?
Thus we know that smoking is one of many variables contributing within a regression equation predicting the development of cancer,
but only loosely. Thus, all we can say is that smoking is *associated* with an increased risk of developing cancer.

2. Keith's way - Expands, according to Keith, on what he says is a narrow deifintion of causation
(while appealing to the authority of epidemeologists and govt agencies).
In this view, any variable that contributes to the power of a regression equation can be
considered to be causal (proves causation). This is just plain wrong. It is a toal misunderstanding of how statistcal analysis/regression works.

Perhaps smoking is too far intot he realm of modern societal propaganda. Lets dispense with that example and move to
to another that is more common to all of us.

An example similar to smoking is eating sugary foods and developing diabetes.
Keith, if he is consistent, would have to say that eating sugar causes diabetes. Most of us enjoy sweets
to some extent and we will not develop diabetes. We understand that sugar does not *cause* diabetes. There are a host of genetic and behavioral
varaibles involved. We fully understand that a daily overload of sugar, over the years, combined with other poor diatary choices, lack of exercise
and a genetic history will increase our risk of developing diabetes. Keith would be employing incorrect understanding of correlation and causation
in this instance too.

Now here is a situation that Keith wants to hammer the smoking and the diabetes scenarios into being an equivalent.
Sex is correlated with pregnancy. Therefore sex causes pregnancy. Note there are some similarities to the smoking/cancer and sugar/diabetes
scenarios. We can say that sex does not always result in in pregnancy. That is true. It is possible to create a regression equation that very well
- though not perfectly - predicts whether or not sex will result in pregnancy. Variables would include the age of the male and of the
female, the time of month on the females cycle, the male's sperm count, the female's egg count and a few other variables I won't delve into ;-).

But here's the kicker, pregnancy is not possible without sex, whereas lung cancer is possible without smoking and daibetes is possible without
an overload of sugar consumption. That is why smoking is only *correlated* with an increased risk in cancer and sugar consumption with an
increased risk of diabetes.

And so we come full circle. Keith's use of correlation = causation with regards to brain = consciousness only makes sense to him because he assumes,
a priori, that the brain = consciousness (like pregnancy cannot occur sans sex). As I said upstream, it's a self licking ice cream cone (circular logic).
All the talk about correlation, etc is just a smoke screen.

Another point too is that putting aside the mountain of strong scientific evidence for survival. It logically doesn't make sense that consciousness would cease to exist when we die. Why?. because consciousness is largely subjective in nature, how can something that is largely subjective be amendable to physical death?. So here with have a part of consciousness that is physical in a sense that it has a soul that is made up of a much finer form of matter, as well as a large part of it that has subjective qualities as well.

My last comment.

Art that case brings me no comfort as I hate my wife's cats!!

Keith wrote,

||which skeptical authors are "the good ones"? If none of them are, in your view, then the problem is likely not skeptical authors, but you.||

I became an atheist at age 13 and read in depth the polemics of "my side" and continue to feel that atheists and Skeptics have a great deal of intelligence to say about a wide range of things.

I think we can learn something by reading most major skeptical authors, including yourself, and what we read can even back up our own position. Just off the top of my head, I think Daniel Dennett's point about there not being a "homunculus" within the human mind, which to me seems true and raises interesting questions for both materialists and survival proponents to deal with. He has some other good stuff in there, though I think he is quite far from achieving the promise of the title, "Consciousness Explained."

So, to me it's not a matter of who the "good" Skeptical writers/thinkers are. There are a lot in the sense I give above, but a lot are, in my opinion, well... kinda a-holes. In general, Skeptics, including most media skeptics, are arrogant, mean, and inclined to sneer at those who hold belief with which they don't agree. It's a real problem. There is also a real misogyny problem in the Skeptical world, since women tend not to be atheists (at least not hard-core atheists), and Skeptical conventions, etc., are extremely male-dominated. (I also don't use "misogyny" lightly, as it tends to get thrown around a lot in today's political climate.)

My best friend is actually an atheist, and recently we were arguing about a paranormal topic, and he said (I paraphrase slightly), "Some Skeptics are so arrogant and nasty they make me want to believe in God."

I think this is a *big* problem your "side" has, Keith, and it makes engaging with and even reading/watching Skeptics not all that fun a lot of the time.

Eh...if I may...since Keith has not yet responded with the last word....

Another basic error I see in a lot of what Keith has to say (having just re-read it all) - and it also applies to many of his fellow "debunkers" - is that there is a frequent confusion of reliability versus validity.

Keith likes to ask why, if spirits are real and have the capabilities that evidence we accept shows them as having, they fail to perform certain tasks that Keith would need to see them do to accept them.

I will be the first to admit that spirits appear to be unreliable, at least by our standards (we don't know what laws may apply to their operations such that they may be hindered from performing the tasks in quite understandable ways if the laws were known). However, that they can perform similar tasks,spectacularly under controlled conditions (e.g. Beischel's experiments, cross correspondences and personal experiences), proves they are valid.

The Stargate program proved that remote viewing (e.g. psi and duality) is valid. There were many hits well beyond random chance. The US govt deployed remote viewers to use their skills on several missions and they had some amazing successes. Unfortunately, there were other occasions on which they failed - they either did not bring back information or they returned with flawed information. They were not reliable.

As an aside, Ray Hyman is said to have looked into the program and caused its cancellation by deeming it to not be valid. This is debunker mythology. After Hyman's report, the program moved from the DIA to the CIA (I can show you the now declassified proof of that). I guess the CIA wasn't impressed with Hyman's work and conclusion.

At any rate, Keith uses a confusion of reliable versus valid frequently. That is a problem for anyone who is paying attention and who understands basic analytical concepts. IMO, Keith would do himself a great service if he would cease with that approach.

It's these kinds of truly basic errors in analysis that detract from the skeptical argument. I would sincerely like to converse with a skeptic that didn't muddy the concepts of correlation versus causation, reliability versus validity, who actually personally read thoroughly and evaluated the evidence and accurately depicted what it is and who doesn't confuse theoretical probability with practical probability (e.g. the guy could have discovered the little just above the floor, laid on the floor peering one eyed through the hole into the next room and somehow see things on a desk several feet higher than the hole and with no one observing him doing all of that).

I would also like a skeptic, like Keith, to honestly explain how memory is stored in the brain. Can he show me the bytes like we see on a hard drive? No. He has his correlation of brain damage impairing memory, but he can't show me the memory in the brain. He cannot even explain how a non-physical thing, like memory, could be housed in a physical structure without there being a physical trace (like bytes). How can a skeptic accept brain = memory with 0 proof?

These are serious requirements for a productive conversation between dualists and materialists. I just don't see them being met.

Then again, maybe if skeptics met the improved standards, they wouldn't remain skeptics

Kris wrote,

||Michael argues Keith is being " ganged up on". This is certainly true but he is being "ganged up on "by an informed audience of educated people who think his arguments are garbage. Is it our fault we think his arguments are garbage? Or is it his?"

Well, Kris, the point is that we should argue back without getting personal and mean, even if our opponent is being that way (I think Keith has been mostly polite).

“Most of my opponents would evidently rather talk *about me* than *to me* anyway.”

I could say the same thing about some materialists.
They go to JREF or skeptic forums after going to blogs like this and afterlife forums, and talk *about us* rather than *to us*.
Just look at Jerry Coyne and his commenters.
When they see a scientist questioning materialism ( his blog posts about Rupert Sheldrake, Eben Alexander, ect ), they talk, or more like whine about how “He’s not being a good or real scientist. He’s supporting fluffy spiritual pseudoscience woo, not real hard materialistic science and reality!”
And he still continues to whine about “woo”.

But like I said before at some point, nobody is immune to attacking things that challenge their beliefs. That goes for both materialists and mind beyond brain proponents.

I have a theory that it is near impossible to get humans to come to a consensus on pretty much anything. It has to do with my theory about duality and separation being inherent and inescapable properties of our universe. The Universe seems designed for us to experience "duality and separation" whether we want to or not.

And by the way we don't have to go looking for duality and separation... they will find us all on their own - and it is rarely pleasant when they do. That has to do with the connection between memory and emotion, the more emotion the more we remember.

We can keep talking about it till our heads explode but I'm fairly certain that no matter how many brilliant things we come up with Keith Augustine will not concede defeat and suddenly shout out, "You're right I now believe in life after death!" It's just not going to happen.

"Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.[1] It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs."

“People react negatively when condescended to. I did; especially as one who has had solid paranormal experiences.”

Eric, when are you going to learn? You won’t like hearing it, but you didn’t have a paranormal experience, your neurons were misfiring, and you were probably just mentally or physically ill.
And materialist who’ve had those “paranormal experiences”, were not really materialists deep down, they were believers in an afterlife.

Just kidding!

\\"Art that case brings me no comfort as I hate my wife's cats!!" - Kris//

Don't worry, there is no marriage in heaven. The physical laws of heaven are very different from the laws we normally encounter here. Because this side is the holographic projection, that would mean that the other side, the place we call heaven, is the original holographic film from which our side is projected. How do I know that? Because that is how about 33% of the NDEs that I've read describe it. And believe me I've read a LOT of NDEs.

That can't be accidental. They say things that sound very holographic, like being everywhere in the universe at once, or being one with the universe, or saying " I felt like I was the universe." They also say they had 360 degree vision, or that they had "all knowledge" (because of being connected to all the information of the universe at once), or their thoughts became things, realer than real (again total connectedness to everything at once), more colors than normal (see the entire light spectrum instead of just a small part of it), etc.

So, my point is that you will only encounter your wife's cats if love them. But I'm not sure that animals in heaven will be any less enlightened than we are. There is no reason to suppose that they won't also have access to all knowledge and be able to communicate telepathically than we are? The limitations that we live under here just don't exist in heaven.

By the way read Mark Horton's NDE if you want to sort of know what heaven's going to be like. It's my most favorite NDE description.

Mark Horton's NDE:

Matt said:
//I think Daniel Dennett's point about there not being a "homunculus" within the human mind, which to me seems true and raises interesting questions for both materialists and survival proponents to deal with.//

Sorry Matt, going to have to disagree with you again. The "humunculus" simply refers to a self, the author of our experiences, the *experiencer*.

To deny we are selves is *radical* in the extreme. It is a denial of the commonsensical conception of ourselves. In a sense it means we are constantly "dying" from one second to the next. This might be able to be understood by thinking of teleportation thought experiments, see a blog post by me:

I think that any materialist position cannot believe in a persisting self. Indeed, it is difficult to reconcile a persisting self with any position that has the brain producing consciousness.

Conversely, people who believe in an afterlife will almost certainly believe their selves persist in this life, otherwise what survives wouldn't be them, so how is it an afterlife?

There's nothing for survival proponents to deal with unless arguments are advanced against the notion of a persisting self. But all such arguments presuppose that the brain produces consciousness, and hence are question begging. Yes, they work against Cartesian materialism or any other materialist position that holds there is a self where it all comes together. But they don't work if we assume consciousness is both non-material and is not dependent on the body.


i just read an old post from November 14,
2014. It was a wonderful and powerful post.
I do not agree with you on everything but
your posting are invaluable. thanks for taking
the effort.

Ian wrote,

||Sorry Matt, going to have to disagree with you again. The "humunculus" simply refers to a self, the author of our experiences, the *experiencer*. ||

I don't think we actually disagree. My point (on which I was so unclear that I didn't actually make it :) ) was that Dennett undermines the materialist position by (accurately, it seems) not finding the self in any brain structures and thereby failing to explain the experience of having a self.

In my view (which I suspect matches your own), if materialism were true, we would not perceive a consistent self throughout our lives but would instead feel a constant "waking up" into our lives and worlds. Indeed, if that were the case, life would be much less burdensome than it is (example: suffering from the loss of a loved one for decades. It doesn't really make sense in ev-psy tems).

I've never quite understood why some materialists like Keith Augustine sincerely believe that somatogenic influences of the brain upon the mind prove (or strongly suggest) that materialism must be true. See:

This would only be the case if (a) the mind is reducible to the brain - which it is not unless one wishes to ignore or even deny qualia (and no, property dualism is not materialism, but a weak form of... dualism!) + (b) consciousness had no impact on the brain (a logical impossibility as Van Dongen and I have analytically proven here: ). Because if there is a bilateral influence or interaction, this clearly points to interactionist dualism rather than materialism. Keith, please read my two papers before you respond to this.

Then, I wonder whether Keith as ever read The Self Does Not Die:
If not, why not?? If he has, is there any other escape route other than just explaining everything away a priori, as a dogmatist would do?

Forgive me if I have simply repeated points already made by Keith, Michael, Matt, Juan or good old interesting Ian.

Hi Michael,

It has been perhaps some years since I last contributed with comments to your articles. I think I might be coming back now to these issues of the afterlife type, including arguments pro and con plus our flaws in dealing with these matters. As to flaws in dealing with it, the name Keith naturally springs to mind (in this case, at least, correlation does imply causation!), and I will be commenting briefly on...him.

Beginning with your article per se, you do bring crucial central ingredients in this whole scenario, that is: 1- The wisdom (and/or lack thereof...) of the correlation vs causation notion, and, 2- The falsifiability criterium. Personally, and somewhat humbly, I tend to think that both issues are often dealt with kind of wrongly. These two notions should be a tool for perfecting our worldviews (especially scientific ones) and not weapons for levelling down ideas opposed to ours. And it seems to me that this has been a plague on both sides of this front: survivalists and materialists alike.

I took a somewhat more careful look at Keith's views and at comments directed at him. One point that did seem relevant to me was Keith's complaint that we do not find in "survivalist papers" (my paraphrasis) the same amount of balance in opposing views as we do in "religious papers." This is indeed very serious, and it is highly counterproductive. I think he is right in his perception of this problem, sadly. It is also very sad that he fails to mention the similar plague that we meet again and again in works coming from the so called "organized skeptic movement," including former CSICOP. Remember the way they portrayed the Imad Elawar case (from Ian Stevenson, Twenty Cases), a total disaster. Shamefully enough, Keith allowed a comeback of Leonard Angel in his "The Myth of an Afterlife," basically repeating the same mistakes he had commited before (Angel) and even citing me (Julio Siqueira) wrongly on more than one account... I think, some comments above, Kris forwarded the question what good it is to have materialists publish poor criticism of this sort anyway. Unfortunately, I hihgly tend to agree...

The Myth of an Afterlife (Keith's pet project) was a failure from beginning to end. Very little in it is of any worth. Keith's stand regarding criticism to it has been, to put it politly, irrational (to say the least...). I did expect a lot more from it, and I do think that true honest materialists do deserve a better material covering this subject. Keith did have a good beginning back around year 2003 with his online paper about the afterlife (The Case Against the Afterlife, if my memory serves me well). From then on, it has been downfall after downfall (his papers on JNDS are somewhat of an exception, since they were an attempt to improve on his Hallucinatory NDE's online paper).

At this point, I must make it 100% personal! (and highly constructively so). What on Earth has happened to Keith? I broke with him some years ago precisely because of his lack of gratitude regarding his publishing in JNDS. He seemed pretty much a gentleman then (I mean, right after publishing, as opposed to about two years later), and I do not mean to say merely in manners, but in attitude regarding this whole set of issues. He did make some very grateful comments regarding the JNDS's guys right after having published the papers there. He even felt excited about the various criticism that he got there from all sides. Then, about two years afterwards, I caught him bad mouthing the JNDS guys on their backs, in skeptic Victor Stenger's email list (AVOID-L). And from then on, it is getting worse and worse. Why is that so?

In a way, it seems that the answer is highly personal, and will not be satisfactorily fought on the intellectual arena (or scientific, etc). But it is severly affecting the quality of the works of someone who might, otherwise, be indeed making good contributions to this debate. What a waste.

Anyway, I do want to emphasize (as a matter of fact, to emphasize again...) that, sometimes, it seems indeed correct to point out that the notion that correlation is not causation is wrongly used by survivalists (or perhaps overused). Yet, materialists fail again and again to notice that this mistake, even when it is truly a mistake, stems out of important and true issues that simply cannot be swept under the carpet.

I think (IMHO) we all need to become wiser...

Best Wishes to all,
Julio Siqueira

"Forgive me if I have simply repeated points already made by Keith"


"Forgive me if I have simply repeated points already made by Kris"

I really hate it that there is no editing button :-)

@ Julio

What happened to Keith was reality caught up with him. Weak contrived arguments go no where and IANDS was not going to change it's views, based on then 30 years of research to cater to his whims.

Reality can often times be harsh.

Is it allowable to say that I think that this thread is going nowhere and should be shut down whether or not Mr. Augustine provides the final comment?

I don't think the discussion is contributing to any understanding of whether or not there is an afterlife in any kind of a meaningful way. It seems to be just tit for tat attacks by several vocal vociferous egoistic commenters who provide wordy expositions that don't lead anywhere. Apparently some people 'get off' on verbose philosophical challenges which at the end provide resolution of nothing. There is so much more to parapsychological phenomena today than philosophical arguments from learned individuals, who may or may not be aware of the depth and breadth of paranormal data available, want to entertain. It seems that they always like to wander from the topic of interest and take the readers into a mish mash of egoistic philosophical diatribes, like jumping on a horse and riding off in all directions. That always leads to nowhere. -AOD

"Anyway, I do want to emphasize (as a matter of fact, to emphasize again...) that, sometimes, it seems indeed correct to point out that the notion that correlation is not causation is wrongly used by survivalists (or perhaps overused). "

Julio, I am interested to learn your thoughts on this. Why do you say this?

One final thing from me and than I am out on this post. I can't think of a more simple experiment than Harry Houdini's secret message. It looks like that message was indeed success despite what the mainstream news at the time led people to believe.

Another accurate Veridical out of body case who identified a 12 digit number.

Dr. Norma Bowe from Kean University. The patient suffered an extreme case of OCD, which led her to having a counting problem. What is remarkable about this case is she saw a 12 digit serial number where the only way to see the serial number would be if you had a ladder in order to see it from a standing position .

As it would be impossible to read the 12 digit serial number from just a standing position.

I think Amos makes a valid point. Keith Augustine has apparently left the thread. It’s not really fair to let people keep taking potshots at him (whether justified or not) when there’s little likelihood he’ll return for a last word.

So I’m pulling the plug.

It’s been an interesting discussion in many ways, but I think it’s time to move on.

Please don’t contribute any more comments to this thread. They won’t be posted. Thanks.

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