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In fairness to Keith I do not think we can say he is in this for the money. It's not like there is a lot of money in being a materialist preacher after all. I just see him as an odd fellow who for reasons known only to him has decided to become some sort of evangelical materialist. Unfortunately for him his exuberance far exceeds his ability to make arguments supporting the hallucination model for NDEs.

I can see why he is frustrated though. He has been preaching his views for 15 years now and in a correlation that I do not find to be surprising at all he has discovered the more people know about NDEs the less convincing they find him to be. That should give him a very strong hint but it won't.

Oh here is presentation at the TED Talks by Dr. Fleischmann, an emergency physician that is mildly pro survival https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMYhgTgE6MU&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop&fbclid=IwAR1nwBCvZyFfHR0AesOphDQEmCfEfPrKombKSwQxU2HP7BZk1OF6ij1UgJE

Keith has just done a crap, I got to write another 10K word easy to deal with this!!

Oh here is one from quora from Christopher Yerington, M.D. Medicine & Anesthesiology,

https://www.quora.com/As-an-anesthesiologist-what-has-been-your-strangest-experience-while-trying-to-put-someone-under/answer/Christopher-Yerington?fbclid=IwAR2_5N8D_Nr21tIKnC7eeTtAZkbbiO9kqw8KLAYGifX2DsomuAjMBhoZc8E

That obviously is pro survival.

Keith just did another crap, better call Gerry on this one as this guy is an anesthesiologist

Well that one will take around 15K words to make disappear.

And Keith will proceed to add even more epicycles to his model.

Keith I've asked you this before and I'll ask you again since you never answered. What mischaracterisations are contained in my review of your book? You keep accusing me of this but never specify what they are.

Keith said:
//You already know what I've said about [the notion of how we can have evidence that X produces Y if there is no conceivable mechanism that could achieve this]. If this is your standard, then you must not believe that there is any evidence for psi since there is "no conceivable mechanism" for clairvoyance, and certainly no accepted mechanism for any other form of psi like precognition or telepathy, although there are speculative quantum guesses about potential mechanisms.//

But psi will presumably be an innate ability of consciousness. To suppose there must be a mechanism is to assume the brain creates psi. If brains do not produce consciousness then the reason why there appears to be no possible mechanism for psi will be for the same reason that there is none for the production of consciousness -- namely because neither is produced by the brain.

Keith said:
//the exact mechanism by which smoking causes lung cancer isn't known, either//

As I keep saying to you (on forums, on here, on Amazon), there is *no conceivable mechanism* whereby brains *could* produce consciousness. It's why we've have this mind-body problem for the past 2,000 years. It is why so many scholars thereby conclude that consciousness must be identical to a physical process or what that process does, or that consciousness doesn't exist at all. It is in no way remotely comparable to to how smoking causes lung cancer.

Keith said:
//Since the heading is "Confirmation of the Dependence Thesis from the Falsification of Its Rival," it's hard to see how you could possibly miss this, but whatever. Here's a teaser from that section that I've mentioned to you before on this very point (and on which your review is conveniently silent): "The greatly enhanced mental powers of human beings, compared to those of our primate cousins, are a clear result of the enlarged brains that we possess but that they do not. But then how could human minds retain their impressive mental faculties in the complete absence of brain functioning after death?"//

My review is "conveniently silent" on this issue because I had already addressed it in a much shorter earlier review of one of the chapters you co-authored:

http://ian-wardell.blogspot.com/2016/08/keith-augustine-in-myth-of-afterlife.html

The point here is that no-one denies the brain affects our mental capacities. Compare a small B&W TV set to a 65 inch UHD TV set. In both cases the TV signal might be the same, but the picture quality is radically better for the UHD set. The soul or self is comparable to the TV signal *not* the quality of the picture.

So that was your "falsification" of dualism... Colour me unimpressed.

Keith said:
//Of course you might retort that something less than a full-blooded human mind is what survives death, but this is not what survival proponents believe//

Wearing a random pair of eyeglasses might vastly improve our vision. But it may make our vision much worse (or completely eliminate our vision by painting the lenses black). Or it may leave our vision wholly unaffected. The point being that the brain affects our cognitive abilities, but we cannot conclude it necessarily makes them worse. Indeed, even brain damage can sometimes improve certain mental abilities e.g. acquired savants and sudden savants:

https://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/nervous-system/does-everyone-have-ability-to-become-genius.htm

Matt Rouge
//I think your side can and does add value by challenging us not to glibly ignore the material side of things. I myself find the "brain is just like a TV set!" line of thinking to be simplistic and too easy,//

No-one as far as I'm aware claims the brain is just like a TV set. It's an example of where x affects y without y thereby being produced by x.

Many other examples could be given. Eyeglasses affect vision without the eyeglasses thereby producing vision. A house affects the ability to see the sky depending on whether the curtains are drawn or not, but doesn't entail the house *creates* the ability to see the sky. A prism affects white light resulting in coloured lights without thereby entailing that the prism creates the coloured lights. My computer affects the ability for the text to be displayed on my screen without thereby entailing the text has its genesis in my computer.

If changes in x result in changes in y, then either:

a) x produces y

or

b) x affects y only without producing y

To believe in survival, at least in the form of a soul inhabiting some afterlife realm(s) we surely have to go for "b".

I wonder why Keith Augustine cares so much? Why is it so important to enlighten us that there is no life after death? Why so bound and intent on making sure I go through life not believing that one day I won't see my mom again (who I haven't seen in 50 years since she died when I was 15 years old)?

I find great comfort in reading deathbed vision stories and believing that one day my mom will be waiting for me when it comes my turn to cross over. Why take that away from me? You want me to suffer? Why? Why spend so much time destroying people's belief that one day they will be reunited with their loved ones?

I can't for the life of me figure it out. Why do they care so much? I guess it's got something to do with "misery loves company?"

Juan, a God who places the fossils there to test our faith is as much "a cause unknown to current science" as is an etheric body. OBEs are not evidence for the existence of an etheric body. The clear-cut ability of OBE adepts to astrally project to particular locations and consistently set off detectors there, or consistently identify visual targets there, would be. But the actual evidence for any such ability is poor for reasons noted in The Myth of an Afterlife (pp. 218-223, 522-525), reasons provided by psychical researchers themselves, who are directly cited noting the reasons. (I merely report the reasons that they note, so they aren't "fundamaterialist distortions," since the cited reasons do not come from "fundamaterialists" in the first place. I won't repeat those reasons here since you can check for yourself.)

So the idea that OBErs have an actual ability to literally project elsewhere lacks independent support as much as the idea of a fossil-planting God. This despite active research for a decade and a half to document an actual ability to project elsewhere, largely funded by a roughly $500,000 bequest from James Kidd estate awarded to the ASPR by the courts in 1971, the fight over which is detailed in the book The Great Soul Trial. As Bertrand Russell noted long ago, "There is no scientific reason to suppose that after death the mind or soul acquires an independence of the brain which it never had in life."

Paul makes a good point. Nothing rakes in the big bucks, Eben Alexander money like arguments against survival. They're a surefire way to get booked on Dr. Oz. I mean, just look at the Amazon Best Sellers Rank for The Myth of an Afterlife compared to that of any of your favorite survivalist authors. It's just flying off the shelf!

Kris, the reason that The Myth of an Afterlife focuses exclusively on mortalistic arguments is because they are so hard to find in the survival literature. When you can only find a handful of books presenting such arguments in the last 100 years, compared to thousands of books arguing in favor of survival in the same time period, it makes sense to compile all of the best mortalistic arguments together in one place (which, incidentally, no one has ever tried to do before, which makes The Myth of an Afterlife rather unique even among already rare mortalistic works). Otherwise readers might not even be aware of what the arguments against life after death are. The only reason anyone would object to such a procedure is because they don't want people to encounter such arguments. Since Western civilization no longer has an Index of Forbidden Books, you're just going to have to live with a free marketplace of ideas where sometimes people advocate ideas that you happen not to like. How terrible it must be for you to live in a democracy.

The point of noting that survivalist and mortalist arguments are not equally represented in the survival literature was not a complaint that I or others mortalists are being treated "unfairly." The issue is not how any particular *individuals* are being treated at all, but whether certain *ideas* are given serious consideration or not by those entrusted to conduct an impartial, dispassionate inquiry. If those reading the survival literature only hear or care about one side of the issue, in what sense are they seeking the truth of the matter? In what sense is it scientific to only consider whether the evidence counts in favor your survivalist belief, and never consider whether the evidence counts against it? The survival-superpsi debate dominating the parapsychological literature only concerns the former: whether the evidence either supports survival (p > 50%), or fails to support it (p = 50%). That evidence might count *against* survival (p < 50%) hardly registers in that literature. Imagine if other scientists considered their hypotheses this way, only ever looking for confirming evidence, never even acknowledging the possibility that some evidence might disconfirm/falsify the hypotheses currently under consideration. When psychologists like Amy Tanner and G. Stanley Hall tried to test the spirits by asking mediums to contact fictitious or living persons, they were doing exactly what a scientist is supposed to do--directly testing to see if the medium can actually do what she claims to be able to do. They were *testing* her ability, trying to figure out *if* it exists, not trying to *confirm* that it exists. They left open the possibility that it might not, and tested for that possibility accordingly. It hardly seems to have occurred to others, like William James, to conduct such a basic test as this, even though it should be obvious to others, who have no dog in this fight one way or the other, why such a test would be important to perform.

If all that you are interested in hearing is confirmation of what you already believe, in what sense are you engaged in *finding out*? All of these little segregated bubbles that keep out any challenging information are great for tribal unity, but not much else. Don't kid yourself that you're looking for the truth if you only ever consider whether we can be somewhat confident or very confident that survival occurs, and never consider whether we can be somewhat confident or very confident that it does not occur. You'd be hard pressed to find a clearer example of confirmation bias than this.

In any case, I did not ask to be a "resident skeptic." I have no expectation that parapsychology journals are going to change their modus operandi any time soon. I simply said that they are unlike philosophy journals in not living up to the bar that philosophy journals live up to, and that they are the worse for it.

Leo, if a recent study suggests that split-brain surgery does not split consciousness, against "the established view" that it does (as your link calls it), then why you do give more weight to this one, unparsed study over the multiple previous studies that ground "the established view," if not simply because you have already predecided that split-brain surgery does not split consciousness, and so cherry pick the studies that support that conclusion while ignoring the ones that don't?

Moreover, suppose that that the new study does in fact ultimately overturn the established view. What do you think that would establish? That the soul maintains unity of consciousness? That more information is transmitted through subcortical structures than previously thought? Or some other thing? The apparent effects of split-brain surgery (on the current mainstream view) provide evidence against the idea that the mind can exist independently of the brain, but they are just one piece of evidence that count against such independence. If that particular piece evidence had to be rethought, all of the other pieces of evidence would remain, such as the fact that bath salts can turn a strict moralist into a psychopath, or that, as previously noted, "The greatly enhanced mental powers of human beings, compared to those of our primate cousins, are a clear result of the enlarged brains that we possess but that they do not" (p. 232).

As for the cross-correspondences and other ambiguous tests, Leo, what parapsychologist Stephen Braude has to say about them is apt here: "According to the survivalist interpretation, discarnate individuals orchestrate an intricate and obscure cross-correspondence among different mediums over an extended period, drawing on obscure but allegedly idiosyncratic classical and literary references and allusions. But if they could pull that off, couldn't they more easily (or just as easily) have provided a single medium with evidence that's not so perplexingly indirect--for example, incontrovertibly convincing and detailed straightforward manifestations of their surviving memories, personalities, interests, and activities?" (Immortal Remains, p. 99) Or, for that matter, something as simple as the single word that would unlock a combination lock? When the test is clear and unambiguous, why are the experimental results always negative?

Matt, the complexity of the causal mechanism, or whether one is known at all, is irrelevant to whether one can infer causation. In medicine, the inference to causation often precedes knowing the exact mechanism. Indeed, it is because an inference to causation has already been made that an exact mechanism is sought. Doctors inferred that AIDS was caused by a virus before HIV specifically was identified. Doctors inferred that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer even without knowing the exact mechanisms of the origin of lung cancers.

Incidentally, I'm perfectly fine with some falsification of materialism being discovered since I'm only advocating that consciousness ceases with the cessation of brain functioning, not that everything is physical, or even just that everything about the mind is physical. If reductionist materialism is false, property dualism, Russellian monism, or even interactionist substance dualism could be true at the same time that having a functioning brain is a necessary condition for having consciousness.

In any case, I'm unconvinced that the survival hypothesis is anywhere near as well established as the germ theory of disease or heliocentrism. If it were, maybe we'd already have those cell phones to the dead that Michael imagined in this post. (But I do hear that Gary Schwartz is working on one! You couldn't make this stuff up: https://www.thesoulphonefoundation.org/ )

Kris, how did you determine that no people with medical degrees, and no laymen, have ever found my arguments persuasive? What about this guy on PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140209/

Or this scholar: https://search.proquest.com/openview/d1098fb4e51bca15cc691580e90b4a0d/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2044903

Or others I could point to, if there was any point in listing more examples. Are you even aware of the complementary comments made by some of the commentators who were slated to comment on my lead JNDS papers, such as sociologist Allan Kellehear and Religious Experience Research Centre Director Mark Fox? You would, of course, have to had actually read their commentaries to know that they made these comments.

Kris writes: "Look at your typically weak response when I asked about the life review stage. First all memories are random to a degree. That doesn't make them not meaningful."

Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick report otherwise: "Although 15 per cent of the people we questioned said that scenes or memories from the past came back to them during the [near-death] experience, most of these were simply fragments of memory, sometimes quite random memories. Only about half said the memories that came back to them were 'significant'" (The Truth in the Light: An Investigation of Over 300 Near-Death Experiences, 1997, p. 116). Two pages later, the Fenwicks conclude that near-death life reviews "are not necessarily particularly significant memories. They seem just as likely to be random moments plucked haphazardly from memory, trivial events or people or places" (p. 118).

I'm not going to rehash whether Pam Reynolds could hear through her earplugs since the experiments that Gerald Woerlee suggested, and that Michael Prescott tried for himself, showed that she could have heard. I get that you desperately want it to be the case that it was completely impossible for her to have heard through those earplugs since you think that would show that her soul left her body. You should note, though, that Michael N. Marsh has argued that Pam Reynolds' knowledge of the details of her medical procedure did not even require her to hear normally during cannulation, for, Marsh surmises, such information might have been "relayed to her directly through nursing or medical staff" while she was in recovery after she "enquired why both groins had been opened when perhaps she only expected one to have been used," or that Pam "may have picked up conversations by the same female doctor" who had noted that her groin arteries were too small to perform cannulation while in the recovery suite (Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences: Brain-State Phenomena or Glimpses of Immortality? 2010, p. 23).

Of course, controlled experiments that eliminate possible normal sources of information, like the AWARE study, would make all such speculation moot--if only they could secure replicable, verifiable hits. But I'm not holding my breath for AWARE II. Why should its results be any different than those obtained in AWARE I, or in the previous five NDE target identification experiments, or in the multiple experimental attempts with OBE adepts before that utilizing optical target devices, kittens, and even human 'sensitives'?

I'm aware of some of those cases that have been touted as Stevenson's "best" cases of the reincarnation type, but I don't pretend to be familiar with the thousands of cases that he investigated (nor should you). Leonard Angel argues that Ian Stevenson's correspondences can be explained by chance alone. My *different* point was that, even in cases where chance alone might not suffice to explain them, that doesn't mean that those correspondences require a paranormal explanation. For it might be quite striking for me to get specific details about the life of some deceased person right, but not so striking once you realize that I overheard a conversation about his life or death.

As for why I never did a Skeptiko interview, I was asked once by Alex Tsakiris in 2009, to which I immediately replied that I would not do a podcast interview until after my book was finished, as I was preoccupied with getting that more important work done at the time. Then I was asked a second time, by a Skeptiko forum member, in 2011, and told him the same thing. If by "repeated invites" you mean "two invites," I suppose it's true that I didn't appear on the show "despite repeated invites." No one else has asked me to do a Skeptiko interview since 2011, and the book came out in 2015.

In any case, I was able to listen to enough Skeptiko episodes since 2011 to determine that the softball, pat-on-the-back questions that Alex asks guests like Chris Carter and Ed Kelly are quite different from the mudslinging interrogations that guests like Patricia Churchland or Michael Marsh had to put up with. (Alex doesn't even try to pretend to be equally accommodating to all sides in the very titles he gives his podcast episodes.)

Why subject myself to the sort of poor treatment that previous ("sidelined!") guests who don't toe Alex's party line have received on Skeptiko when its audience is unlikely to read my book whether I agree to an interview or not? Seriously, what could I possibly have to gain? Those who are interested in my arguments will seek them out; those who aren't, won't. Those who are genuinely interested, and not just looking for a fight, can find them on infidels.org, in PDFs at unt.edu or cengage.com, or in the book itself. Me doing a Skeptiko interview would be about as fruitless as Hillary Clinton speaking at a Trump rally.

You claim that Skeptiko is "an excellent venue for you to spread your views before your target audience," but I disagree. Skeptiko is an excellent venue for *survivalists* to spread their views before their target audience, but not for critics of survival. The vast majority of Skeptiko forum participants do not want to hear criticisms of survival. What would be the point of addressing an audience that isn't interested in *hearing* to what I have to say, but merely in finding some way of refuting or otherwise dealing with my *nuisance* arguments? There's a thread titled The Myth of an Afterlife in the Skeptiko forums now. The posts in that thread express little interest in seriously exploring *any* of the arguments of any of the chapters in the volume. Instead, they consist of quick dismissive comments suggesting that there is nothing worth seeing in the book. If that's their attitude, I'm happy not to waste either their time or mine by addressing them. Again, those genuinely interested in what I have to say already have the means to find it at their fingertips. They don't need any additional incentive from me to see for themselves.

Incidentally, it's nice to hear that Chris Carter likes to badmouth me behind closed doors. Too bad he doesn't have the courage to address me in print. He's never addressed my work in his books, though I didn't hesitate to address his in Chapter 10 and Chapter 25 of The Myth of an Afterlife, as well as in the Journal of Parapsychology for that matter. What, not even a letter to the editor, Chris? That's OK; I got to make my points in response to him whether he comes out of hiding or not. Just wait long enough and he'll trot out some medium to conjure up the channeled Keith Augustine to refute the living one like he did with Bertrand Russell.

You know, maybe it's possible that the "soul" that survives bodily death *is* a physical/material thing; just made of a finer grade of material/less dense than the body.

Just as invisible radio waves, etc cause the radio and tv to have sound and pictures, this invisible, yet physical force animates the body with which we are familiar.

MP wrote about this recently in his "Many Bodies" post.

I don't think this is the case, but it could be. It would make everyone happy :-)

Keith I am not one bit surprised you don't discuss the positive experiments supporting survival but instead focus on the negative experiments. There is nothing wrong with having some negative experiments. The point is if you actually do your research on this you find far more positive results from experiments on survival than negative results. The same way you take a small percentage of people who have out of body experiences whose accounts have hallucinatory features than try to say that it gives us reason to think the vast majority of out of body account "Must" also have hallucinatory features.

You seem to not have a real grasp on what substance dualism implies. You instead set up a straw man by saying that we deny strong correlations between the mind and brain. That couldn't be anything further from the truth. The brain doesn't just greatly effect the mind but the mind also greatly affects the brain. It is a two way street not a one way street like ( Materialism, Naturalism) supposes it is. Irreducible Mind puts the data that supports a two way street.

I agree with Keith that my comment about money applies equally to dogmatists on the other side of the fence.

Keith,
Your kind of ranting.

Ultimately - and I think Matt Rouge said this already - some us (myself included) are well educated, rational, cautious, skeptical and analytical people and we have had undeniable and verifiable paranormal experiences; to include sitting with real mediums (not the fake TV/psychic fair BS artists) after taking precautions to avoid hot or cold readings, and received highly veridical detailed information that no one else could have known from spirits.

Some of us (myself included)have experienced OBEs that resulted in obtaining highly detailed idiosyncratic veridical evidence that we were perceiving events not proximate to our physical bodies or temporal location.

We know what we experienced and you don't; nor do you care. All of your "logical arguments", such that they are, fail to persuade those who know better. You may call us/me mistaken, duped, dishonest, whatever, but you're just pissing into the wind. Sorry dude. That's the bottom line.

“I used to be a proponent of the Hallucination Model for NDEs. I gradually changed my view to survival because it simply made more sense.”

Tell that to a materialist, then he/she will think that you’re lying or deep down, you weren’t really a Hallucination Model proponent. Like a skeptic telling a former atheist that he/she wasn’t really an atheist to begin with.

“I wonder why Keith Augustine cares so much? Why is it so important to enlighten us that there is no life after death? Why so bound and intent on making sure I go through life not believing that one day I won't see my mom again (who I haven't seen in 50 years since she died when I was 15 years old)?”

Maybe it’s because he and many skeptics think that we’ll devalue this life, won’t live life to the fullest, won’t take life so seriously, or something.
If materialists are right and there’s no afterlife, they’d tell us anyway, because “the cold truth is more important than happiness and comfort.” One of their favorite sayings.
But the thing is many, but not all NDErs, appreciate life more, not devalue it.

Keith,

No Cherry picking required. I am just pointing out this recent study that it shows that Materialist's have done these split brain experiments and favored only one interpretation of the data for the sake of debunking substance dualism. I think it's the soul that keeps both hemispheres of the brain intact.

Big brains do not make better minds. This has been shown by neuroscience Keith. For example intelligence doesn't depend upon brain size. Substance Dualist's don't deny the fact that the mind to some degree has some physicality to it. We see this in brain damage etc.

As you should know Keith a single test doesn't prove anything. The thing that was interesting about the cross correspondences which is why they are brought up a lot by psychical researchers is that went on for 30 some years with strong positive results. Not all designs in experiments succeed even in well attested phenomenon.

“I can't for the life of me figure it out. Why do [skeptics] care so much? I guess it's got something to do with "misery loves company?””

Seems to me we *all* love company, Art, regardless of which side of the argument we’re on. We all take pleasure when others see the world as we do.

Still, I’m with you on this: I’d rather spend my time celebrating the positive than proving the negative!

I should have said: *trying* to prove the negative.

You know sometimes I feel sorry for Keith in his Don Quixote quest to tilt at windmills but then he comes back around and he reminds us why no pity is warranted. Especially when he sticks his foot in his mouth.

Like this:

KA Kris, the reason that The Myth of an Afterlife focuses exclusively on mortalistic arguments is because they are so hard to find in the survival literature.

KK That really isn't true. In plenty of more technical books on subjects such as NDEs and Reincarnation they do discuss naturalistic arguments and objects. For example Ian Stevenson does this a lot and so did Michael Sabom in Recollections of Death.

Of course Keith will howl that is not the same thing as discussing mortalistic arguments but they are same arguments made by mortalists so that is just splitting hairs.

I really don't mind that you wrote a one sided book, however I just found it to be amusing that you did that then howled that parapsychology journals don't provided you more space. Consistency is not a strong feature of your's Keith

KA When you can only find a handful of books presenting such arguments in the last 100 years, compared to thousands of books arguing in favor of survival in the same time period, it makes sense to compile all of the best mortalistic arguments together in one place (which, incidentally, no one has ever tried to do before, which makes The Myth of an Afterlife rather unique even among already rare mortalistic works).

KK Nice little chest puffing their Keith. However who should we listen to about this book:

Keith: "it makes sense to compile all of the best mortalistic arguments together in one place"

or

Keith from his response to Jim Matlock when discussing his books :

" First of all, as previously hinted at, it is pretty unreasonable for Matlock to require most of the contributors to engage the survival evidence directly. "

So which Keith do we believe? The Keith who assures of his tome discusses the best mortalist arguments or the Keith who tells us they didn't engage the survival evidence directly. Surely the best mortalistic arguments would engage survival arguments.

KA Otherwise readers might not even be aware of what the arguments against life after death are.

KK You must not have a very high opinion of your readers if you think they cannot separate the pro side from the con side.

KA The only reason anyone would object to such a procedure is because they don't want people to encounter such arguments.

KK But if you included both sides would they not encounter "such arguments"? What a silly non sequitur

KA Since Western civilization no longer has an Index of Forbidden Books, you're just going to have to live with a free marketplace of ideas where sometimes people advocate ideas that you happen not to like.

KK I wasn't aware I called for your book to be banned. I wasn't aware that pointing out you could have included both sides would somehow make people unaware of your side. Interesting things we learn from our resident philosopher.

KA How terrible it must be for you to live in a democracy.

KK And this childish pettiness dear readers comes from our trained logician with a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Colorado.

Behold the master philosopher has told us presenting both sides on argument would prevent people from learning his positions. Behold our master philosopher has told us his tome assembles the best mortalistic arguments and does not directly address the evidences for survival. Surely the best mortalistic arguments would address evidences against them.

KA "If those reading the survival literature only hear or care about one side of the issue, in what sense are they seeking the truth of the matter? "

KK If those reading Myth of the Afterlife or a skeptical journal only hear or care about one side of the issue, in what sense are they seeking the truth of the matter? See I can make broads swipes at people too....

KA In any case, I did not ask to be a "resident skeptic." I have no expectation that parapsychology journals are going to change their modus operandi any time soon.

KK Gee does anyone in here doubt you would leap at such an opportunity though. I do think parapsychology journals are simply horrible in how they actually move on to new topics. How fiendish of them....

KA Kris, how did you determine that no people with medical degrees, and no laymen, have ever found my arguments persuasive?

KK Easily. You would have crowed about it by now like you did below. You are pretty predictable when all is said and done. It's an argument from silence but is a silence that screams.

KA What about this guy on PubMed:

KK Swing and a miss! He is neither an NDE Scholar or a knowledgeable laymen. My comment was :

That is why for 15 years now Keith has interacted with NDE scholars and so far none of them have come to his position. He has done the same with knowledgeable laymen and none again have come to his position. If Keith was half the rationalist he thinks he was that would have him very disturbed.

But let's give Keith another swing at the ball....

KA Or this scholar: https://search.proquest.com/openview/d1098fb4e51bca15cc691580e90b4a0d/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2044903

KK A Bible scholar now. Clearly that is a NDE scholar or an knowledgeable laymen snicker snicker

https://www.unisa.ac.za/sites/corporate/default/Colleges/Human-Sciences/Schools,-departments,-centres,-institutes-&-units/School-of-Humanities/Department-of-Biblical-and-Ancient-Studies/Staff-members/Prof-PF-Craffert

Talk about scrapping the bottom of the barrel with that one.......

Maybe if you would slowly read what people say to you you wouldn't make these silly blunders

KA Or others I could point to, if there was any point in listing more examples.

KK Well seeing the ones you listed failed miserably to meet my criteria you might want to try harder next time......

KA "sociologist Allan Kellehear and Religious Experience Research Centre Director Mark Fox? You would, of course, have to had actually read their commentaries to know that they made these comments."

KK I would have to reread the journals however I have to note the obvious. If they had said anything that remotely met my challenge you would have quoted them.

One can note that Keith has never really addressed my point of why people would hallucinate the pain they caused others during the life review.. He is simply attacking the low lying fruit and leaving the rest alone. Those who are curious about the life review can read here-https://www.near-death.com/science/research/life-review.html

KA I'm not going to rehash whether Pam Reynolds could hear through her earplugs since the experiments that Gerald Woerlee suggested, and that Michael Prescott tried for himself, showed that she could have heard.

The issue though is Pam didn't hear the beeps which if she was conscious she would have. Case closed.

Do you think wearing ear buds is really comparable to what Pam had and went through master philosopher? You know if you would actually read what people say you would not keep on making these blunders.

From Steven Cordova, Neuroscience Manager at the Barrow Neurological Institute, who was the intraoperative technologist responsible for inserting small molded speakers into Robert Spetzler's patients in the early 1990s when Reynolds's surgery was performed, told me that after these speakers were molded into each external auditory canal, they were further affixed with ``mounds of tape and gauze to seal securely the ear piece into the ear canal'' (S. C. Cordova, personal communication, October, 10, 2006). This ``tape and gauze'' would ``cover the whole ear pinnae'' making it extremely unlikely that Reynolds could have physically overheard operating room conversation one hour and twenty five minutes after anesthesia had been induced.

Gee who should we listen on this. A Neuroscientist who directly participated in the surgery or some materialist with a pet world view on the line.

Michael N Marsh did that for real Keith!!!! Now does he have any evidence to support this claim?? What did that um "rant" from Grossman try to explain to you about such arguments...

KA After she "enquired why both groins had been opened when perhaps she only expected one to have been used,"

KK So if she heard that why didn't she hear the beeps? You know the beeps the rest of can hear.

Gee who should we listen to about Pam's surgery. Our evangelical materialists with no medical training or the neurosurgeon who performed the surgery. From Spetzler.

"I don’t think the observations that she made were based on her experiences as she went into the operating room, they were just not available to her. For the drill and so on, all those things were covered up. Not visible, they were inside their packages. You really don’t get to open them until the patient is completely asleep, so that you can maintain a sterile environment.”


KA If by "repeated invites" you mean "two invites," I suppose it's true that I didn't appear on the show "despite repeated invites." No one else has asked me to do a Skeptiko interview since 2011, and the book came out in 2015.

KK What Alex told me "hey Kris... not much in terms of details... multiple invites... I'd love to have him on." Multiple is certainly more than two and seriously do you think anyone is going to buy that book excuse? It is about as convincing as Trump saying he cannot release his tax returns because of his " on going audit by the IRS"

You won't go on there for the simple reason your contrived irrational nonsense would get ripped to pieces by an informed critic and we all know it. But feel free to prove me wrong Keith. Alex would love to have you. You know his email address. Go book your interview. Prove me wrong.

I said before I was done responding to you but when you made these nuggets of comedy gold I had to point them out. Thanks the laughs Keith ;)


Why do I expect a long response from you on here later. Prove me wrong

Batten down the hatches everyone Keith is going to blow another long essay saying the exact same arguments and providing even for more suppositions and how it could have been scenarios for us!

There is something I forgot to say. The Newspaper Tests and Book Tests are also "simple tests" and they got positive results. It's easy to nitpick certain experiments and gloss over other important experiments. There are far more positive experiments supporting the reality of survival of bodily death than their are negative experiments. This is the reason why a lot of people get involved into Psychical research Keith it is because of the very large number of positive results which outweigh any negative results.

Dr James Matlock in his review of Myth of Afterlife in the Journal of Parapsychology made this excellent observation about people like Keith Augustine

Philosopher David Ray Griffin (1997, pp. 26–27) distinguishes three types of thinkers: paradigmatic thinkers, data-led thinkers, and wishful thinkers. Paradigmatic thinkers are those who have adopted a particular worldview and see everything through its prism. The facts they attend to and how they interpret those facts are conditioned by what their worldview tells them is possible or impossible. Data-led thinkers are empiricists whose worldview is shaped by the facts before them. Their outlook is open and liable to change as new facts come to their attention; the facts determine what seems possible and impossible. The worldview of wishful thinkers is formed by what they would like to be true. Facts matter little to wishful
thinkers and neither does logic.

Michael Martin, Keith Augustine, and the contributors to The Myth of an Afterlife (MoA) give every indication of being paradigmatic thinkers. They are committed to a materialist worldview and a reductionist account of mind/brain relations that rule out of hand any possibility that consciousness, personality, memory, or anything else about personhood might survive bodily death. They evidently regard all who disagree with them as wishful thinkers. Indeed there may be wishful thinkers among “survivalists,” in particular New Age partisans and those who on religious grounds believe in survival in a resurrection body. However,
it seems to me that the majority of survivalists whose work is dismissed in this book are data-led thinkers.

They have come to doubt materialism and mortality because they have seen evidence that takes them in another direction. The paradigmatic-thinking authors included here are not much interested in this evidence and ignore it, distort it, or dismiss it without what data-led thinkers would consider a fair hearing.

This in a nutshell is why we find Keith to be so utterly unconvincing. We simply don't care about any particular paradigm. I am a survivalist with NDEs and Reincarnation because survival best fit's the data. It works and it is not any way as nearly contrived as mortalism views on these evidences.

Keith on the other hand absolutely has to shoe horn everything into a materialist paradigm. That is why we get so many contrived answers from him that he does not realize are simply contrived. After all if the answers are materialistic they are either correct or on the right path.

This observation would explain a lot on why we feel discussing these issues with Keith is simply pointless. We have simply different methods of filtering facts. It is not reconcilable.

Kris writes: "I just see him as an odd fellow who for reasons known only to him has decided to become some sort of evangelical materialist."

I'm curious as to your take on why "hard problem" coiner David Chalmers defends property dualism in books like The Conscious Mind. I would say because he is intensely interested in the mind-body problem and is trying to figure out it's solution. Do you agree?

If so, why can't someone be intensely interested in the similar question of whether or not mental activity depends for its existence on brain activity? And why can't someone conclude that, given our best evidence, in all likelihood it does so depend? I'm asking these simple questions to determine why you think it odd that someone might be interested in such issues, or in taking a particular stance on them. There's nothing unusual about that at all to me.

Like most contemporary philosophers of mind, Chalmers' position has the implication that personal survival does not occur (sans bodily resurrection, anyway), but he simply doesn't emphasize this implication. (And if you doubt that it has this implication because I say so, and of course nothing I say can be trusted since I'm not in your in-group, I can point you to other sources that also note that property dualism has this implication.)

Kris writes: "And Keith will proceed to add even more epicycles to his model."

It's funny that you say this, because the bulk of my response is simply answering (some of) your dozens of questions. If you don't want to hear my answers, then don't pose so many questions to me. I've tried to be brief on each individual answer to each individual question, such as by quoting the Fenwicks verbatim in a few sentences. On previously covered ground, I've pointed out that I've already addressed what you ask about. And I've intentionally ignored he bulk of your questions simply to avoid writing even more.

Ian asks: "Keith I've asked you this before and I'll ask you again since you never answered. What mischaracterisations are contained in my review of your book?"

Ian, I'm not going to critique your entire review here (and maybe not anywhere). I was responding to just the one mischaracterization that you repeated here. (You did not retract your mischaracterizations subsequent to me having gone through them one by one when you made them on Paranormalia, so there's really no point in me going through all the ones in your various amazon and blog reviews. Me pointing all of them out would just needlessly piss you off, and you wouldn't change any of them anyway.)

The one mischaracterization you repeated here was, verbatim: "Keith Augustine banged on about the survival hypothesis (life after death hypothesis) being unfalsifiable in his book 'the myth of an afterlife'." I responded with a link to that very book where I explicitly said that my position was that the survival hypothesis was indeed falsifiable in principle, if only survivalists would not try to immunize it from falsification in practice. What more is there to say?

Ian writes: "To suppose there must be a mechanism is to assume the brain creates psi."

Let me get this straight. To legitimately inductively infer that mental activity requires brain activity to sustain it, a mechanism for how this is so must be proffered or else that inference is not cogent. But to legitimately inductively infer that minds can "remotely view" the middle cards in a boxed stack of playing cards, no mechanism for how this is possible must be proffered. Since the basic standards of inductive inference do not change depending on what phenomena you're talking about, why the double standard?

Ian writes: "As I keep saying to you (on forums, on here, on Amazon), there is *no conceivable mechanism* whereby brains *could* produce consciousness."

Perhaps mechanism is the wrong word here, but there are certainly conceivable reasons why mental activity requires brain activity. The reasons *why* the dependence thesis is true are metaphysical. If reductionist materialism is true, mental activity just is the same thing as brain activity. So when brain activity ceases, mental activity necessarily ceases, too. If alternatively property dualism is true, mental activity cannot persist absent brain activity because properties cannot survive the destruction of the substance in which they inhere (the roundness of a ball cannot survive the destruction of the ball). If Russellian monism is true, then physical objects like brains have intrinsic features that do not feature in physics' structural/functional/extrinsic explanations, but which nevertheless ground (or are "the categorical bases of") the brain's structural/functional/extrinsic features. Since the intrinsic features grounding physical properties would themselves be mental (or proto-mental), the destruction of a physical object and its physical properties would entail the destruction of that physical object's intrinsic features, too--in short, the intrinsic mental (or proto-mental) features and extrinsic physical features would be bound together and inseparable from one another, so both would have to come and go together.

Because these potential "why" answers are metaphysical, they likely can only be speculated upon, not determined decisively, precisely because the "why" question cannot be answered empirically, but only by conceptual analysis, and that can only rule out incoherent positions, leaving multiple coherent options that may or may not be true with no clear-cut way to decide between them.

But *that* existential dependence is true is a straightforward inductive inference from the mind-brain correlations that we actually observe. As philosopher of mind Colin McGinn writes: "The fact is that we know *that* the brain produces consciousness, we just don’t know *how* it does this" (The Mysterious Flame, 1999, p. 88, emphasis McGinn's). The "that" question can be determined (probabilistically) by empirical evidence. The *why* question requires speculative metaphysics.

Ian writes: "The soul or self is comparable to the TV signal *not* the quality of the picture."

This conception of the mind is idiosyncratically yours. The "quality of the picture," to use your analogy, is akin to being able to understand English and recognize grandma, in Sam Harris' earlier quote. I know of no survivalist who believes that some blank slate "self" that cannot understand English or recognize others survives death. So if those "quality of the picture" features die with the brain, whatever survives death is not "the human personality and its survival of bodily death." If an Aristotelian active intellect survived, this would not be the personal survival that those who believe in a *life* after death actually believe in. So there is no point in addressing this purely hypothetical form of impersonal survival that is not the thin "survival" that survivalists actually accept. You need a "thicker" kind of survival than that to have a *life* after death. As dualistic survivalist William Hasker has noted, "a disembodied self lacking memories of its previous life would be crippled at best" (The Emergent Self, 1999, p. 233). But memories (of earthly life or anything else" would be "the quality of the picture" that depends on the brain in your analogy. Dcleve's comments on amazon made clear that he understood this even if you did not, and he is a fellow survivalist of yours.

Ian writes: "The point being that the brain affects our cognitive abilities, but we cannot conclude it necessarily makes them worse."

You can't be serious. Are you familiar with mental retardation, or as it's now euphemistically called, "developmental delay"? Do you seriously believe that children born with this are not worse off than had their brains developed normally?

As for acquired savants and sudden savants: "A similar point applies to savants who “trade off” prodigious abilities in some areas with mental deficits elsewhere, and to experiments to intentionally enhance mental functions carried out in one brain region by inhibiting the activity of other areas of the brain (Chi, Fregni, & Snyder, 2010)." (The Myth of an Afterlife, p. 282n47, with note 47 occurring in the main text on p. 249. I would've preferred footnotes listed on the same page where they were made over endnotes, but Rowman & Littlefield's standard instructions told me to submit the manuscript with endnotes)

Ian writes: "No-one as far as I'm aware claims the brain is just like a TV set."

Rupert Sheldrake and Chris Carter use this analogy explicitly. (I quote Sheldrake verbatim using it in The Myth of an Afterlife on p. 233, and Carter endorses this same quotation in his NDE book.) As I've noted before, an aerial drone (or Mars rover in Michael Prescott's old analogy) is a much better analogy since the interaction is two-way in the latter cases but not for a TV set (which receives signals but does not transmit them), and dualists believe in two-way interaction. So I don't know why they continue to use such a poor analogy (one that should be deemed poor even by dualists for the reasons just noted).

Art writes: "I wonder why Keith Augustine cares so much? Why is it so important to enlighten us that there is no life after death? Why so bound and intent on making sure I go through life not believing that one day I won't see my mom again (who I haven't seen in 50 years since she died when I was 15 years old)?"

Art, I don't go knocking door-to-door to spread "the bad news" that (in all likelihood) there is no afterlife. I don't hand out copies of my book at funerals, just like I wouldn't tell Iraq war widows that Iraq is worse off after the US invasion than if the US had not intervened there at all. But hard truths are still truths, and there have to be some times and places to discuss them. This seems to be one of them since the truth of the survival hypothesis is often discussed here, and Ian specifically brought up The Myth of an Afterlife in his comments here.

If you were horribly disfigured in a fire, would you want me to lie to you and tell you that your chances of landing a new job are as good as they were before the fire, or tell you the truth that your chances of landing that job are significantly less now than they would have been had you never been disfigured?'

Eric writes: "You know, maybe it's possible that the "soul" that survives bodily death *is* a physical/material thing; just made of a finer grade of material/less dense than the body."

Then, of course, it should be detectable. And we would have to ask whether the failure to detect any such thing is a good reason to doubt that any such thing actually exists.

Eric writes: "We know what we experienced and you don't"

Eric, I can respect a belief grounded in a personal revelation to a "chosen person," a revelation unavailable to those of us who are not among the chosen people. (See my comments to Zerdini in this blog a decade or so ago.) I'm not addressing people who claim to have personally witnessed a spacecraft unlike any known aircraft hovering 10 feet over their heads for a good few minutes. These sorts of experiences are rare and not available to most people.

"Eric, I can respect a belief grounded in a personal revelation to a "chosen person," a revelation unavailable to those of us who are not among the chosen people. (See my comments to Zerdini in this blog a decade or so ago.) I'm not addressing people who claim to have personally witnessed a spacecraft unlike any known aircraft hovering 10 feet over their heads for a good few minutes. These sorts of experiences are rare and not available to most people."

Keith,
Whether or not such experiences are accessible to most people is irrelevant to whether or not they are real experiences.

I'm seriously trying to understand what you're getting at. Maybe I'm wrong about what you are trying to communicate.

Take UFOs (I'm agnostic about they are, btw). If the only people reporting them were drunk hillbillies, I'd decidedly lean toward rural mythology, hallucinations and mistaken identity (it's really swamp gas or whatever) as the explanation. Myths, mistakes and fraud are all unfortunately very real aspects of human life.

However, when sober professionals with relevant training see UFOs and stake their professional reputation on their report, I pay a little more attention.

Then, when there is evidence, such as radar and military aircraft gun cameras that actually present evidence of UFOs behaving exactly like many witnesses say they do and the phenomena is the subject of military investigations, it becomes an undeniable fact that UFOs exist and perform like physical craft that must be developed by alien intelligence. We don't really know what they are, but the alien hypothesis becomes as reasonable as anything else offered and more so than a lot of it.

It matters not than in some reports people were lying, hallucinating or whatever because in other reports it is clear that they are not.

The same goes for survival as demonstrated via mediums. I have already stated that most mediums are frauds or delusional. I'm sure a fair % of NDE stories out there are frauds or a mixture of truth and fantasy. I think it is likely that some true mediums with proven abilities fake it from time to time when their real abilities are failing them (just as a singer with sore throat might go on stage and lip sync. The show must go on). I also know that scientists fake results and publish fraudulent papers.

Humans are complex and plagued by the 7 deadly sins. No one is without them. Yes, that makes research into human activity and perception unreliable. It still doesn't mean, at least to me, that we never consider what people say they witnessed. Societal life would be impossible if we went that route. Perhaps you find your practice of philosophy a refuge from this problem. I guess that's healthier some than other forms of escape.

The problem for you is that, like with UFO evidence, there is survival evidence witnessed by respectable and capable people and there is tangible evidence. I know you like to poke holes in some of the better evidence, but I find your alternative propositions for what occurred to be highly strained and improbable at best in most instances. I think Kris is right; you are a paradigm thinker and not a data thinker. I'm the opposite. There it is.

"Eric writes: "You know, maybe it's possible that the "soul" that survives bodily death *is* a physical/material thing; just made of a finer grade of material/less dense than the body."

Then, of course, it should be detectable. And we would have to ask whether the failure to detect any such thing is a good reason to doubt that any such thing actually exists."

Keith, that is just a very silly thing to say. You are perfectly aware that many physical phenomena, like radio waves, were not detectable until recently. Yet they existed.

You really do rely on all kinds of assumptions. One of them is that philosophy is a tool that can bring you to truth; not just any philosophy, but your own particular brand of it. Since we know that philosophers disagree, does that mean that philosophy in a flawed method? I thin it does. Right there with people that see bigfoot and UFOs hovering ten feet over their heads for minutes. Philosophers see their own thoughts hovering about them like an aura.

BTW, I can't see your thoughts. No one else can either. They are only accessible to you, how did you put it? Oh yes, "the chosen one" ;-) How do I know you're really thinking what you say your thinking? Perhaps your own logic has led you to different conclusion than what you write here, but you are misleading us, like a fraud psychic. How do I know that you are hallucinating your thoughts and logical conclusions?

Keith,
This is a serious philosophical question = How do you know that you don't have a defective brain that creates defective logic? By your own logic, it seems to me, that is a real possibility.

I cannot see or otherwise directly experience or measure your thoughts. Plenty of people disagree with them. So they clearly lack objective reality.

I have your eye witness testimony that your thoughts are superior, but you are just a brain that may or may not be functioning on all cylinders. If your brain was malfunctioning, it would be impossible for you to know it because the malfunctioning brain, being the totality of your perceptual apparatus, would be unable to assess itself properly (by definition).

Yet you are so certain. It almost seems that your certainty is, in itself, evidence of a brain that is not working right because the certainty is illogical given what I wrote above.

Not singling you out. Maybe my brain is malfunctioning. I'd never know.

Truly looking forward to your reply.

"OBEs are not evidence for the existence of an etheric body."

Yes it is, like Karlis Osis's experiments with Tanonus. And you forget all the other phenomena that point to the existence of an etheric body: NDEs, apparitions, mediumship and memories of previous lives.

"But if they could pull that off, couldn't they more easily (or just as easily) have provided a single medium with evidence that's not so perplexingly indirect--for example, incontrovertibly convincing and detailed straightforward manifestations of their surviving memories, personalities, interests, and activities?"

There have already been mediums who have done that, but mortalists can always attribute it to super-psi. Of course, then there are the drop-in cases to refute it.

He is Tanous.

What I do not understand is why so much emphasis on materialism, if I'm not going to be more cheerful because it is refuted. The same thing about the psychic abilities: I am not so interested in the evidence about psi unless it is related to afterife, because the vast majority live as if they did not exist, that is, they will not be like the Internet, whose existence is blatant.

What I would rejoice is hard proof of a personal and hospitable afterlife for all conscious being, but this seems impossible. I am satisfied that in the light of all cases, both neurological and psychic, most likely there is a personal afterlife for all conscious being.

Leo writes: "I am just pointing out this recent study that it shows that Materialist's have done these split brain experiments and favored only one interpretation of the data for the sake of debunking substance dualism."

Give me a break. Split-brain researchers like Michael Gazzaniga didn't come to their conclusions "for the sake of debunking substance dualism" any more than Charles Darwin came to his conclusions for the sake of debunking biblical literalism. Gazzaniga discovered effects of split-brain surgery on patients who underwent it and then reported them, just like Darwin discovered that Galapagos finches had evolved over time and reported what he had discovered. That these findings happened to contradict dualist or biblical literalist belief systems was an incidental effect.

By the way, intelligence doesn't depend upon simple brain size, but upon brain size relative to body size (such that whales have "bigger" brains than us, but not bigger ones relative to their bigger bodies). Greater brain *complexity* is what leads to greater intelligence, whether it is the greater complexity of human brains compared to fish brains, or the greater complexity of adult brains compared to infant brains. I used the phrase "enlarged brains" in that particular spot because the person I quoted making the larger point used that phrase verbatim (though he later referred to it by its more precise biological term, "encephalization.") Everywhere else I used the phrase "brain complexity" to be clear about exactly what the claim is.

Since you acknowledged the negative results of all direct tests of survival undertaken thus far in your previous post--almost 40 such tests, by the way, not your "a single test"--I should note that the idea that taking these tests to be the ones that we ought to be paying the most attention to is not some fallacy that only "pseudoskeptics" refer to. One of the people I tried to get to contribute something to my volume was a neutral logician who had looked at the cross-correspondences and who came recommended to me by a different person that I had asked (and who had also declined to write anything). With wit, he responded:

"Thanks for your invitation! I do not have anything to offer. But you should invite Henry Sidgwick to contribute. He pursued psychical research and saw his death as an opportunity for further research. To forestall fraud, he arranged codes with his executors. I believe some mediums claimed to be channeling the great philosopher. But none got through the security arrangements. Sidgwick's failure to reply to invitation would be of more evidential significance than mine!"

Kris writes: "In plenty of more technical books on subjects such as NDEs and Reincarnation they do discuss naturalistic arguments and objects. For example Ian Stevenson does this a lot and so did Michael Sabom in Recollections of Death."

Kris, problems with survivalist interpretations of phenomena (which, if fatal, leave the survival hypothesis at p = 50%) are not the same as positive arguments that death ends consciousness (which leave the probability of survival < 50%). They are akin to problems with the fine-tuning argument. If the fine-tuning argument doesn't succeed, that simply means that that particular argument for the existence of God does not make the existence of God more likely than not. It does not make the nonexistence of God more likely than not. Evidential arguments from evil *do* make the nonexistence of God more likely than not (if they succeed). This is not hair-splitting, and journals like Religious Studies publish both theistic arguments and atheistic arguments roughly equally.

When I was an undergraduate more than 20 years ago, most of the books on the survival problem in the main university library were next to each other on the same shelves, so that if you went to find one from the electronic catalog, you would discover similar ones near it on the shelves. Every one of the books on the shelves that discussed the survival question argued in favor of personal survival. Not one argued that we don't survive death, or even concluded something as modest as that we can't say one way or the other whether we survive. Now if you added The Myth of an Afterlife to those shelves today, you'd have one book arguing that we don't survive next to over a hundred arguing that we do. That would bring just a little bit of balance to the literature on those shelves. To claim that The Myth of an Afterlife being exclusively mortalistic (as intended and made clear in its title) is inconsistent with a desire for balance is just ridiculous. After all, if you as a reader are looking for balance, all you need to do is READ MORE THAN ONE BOOK. (And, in fact, I recommend survivalist books by Alan Gauld, Stephen Braude, and David Lund in the Introduction to The Myth of an Afterlife, telling readers exactly where to find the best survivalist books. When is the last time any survivalist book recommended a mortalist one for further reading?) And since books arguing against survival are so rare to begin with, one feels compelled to pack in as many of the best mortalistic arguments as one can since your mortalistic book might be the only one on the shelves taking an alternative position at all.

Incidentally, since it bothered you that I didn't invite any survivalists to contribute to The Myth of an Afterlife, why didn't it bother you that the editors of Irreducible Mind failed to invite any "materialists" to contribute to Irreducible Mind?

Kris writes: "The Keith who assures of his tome discusses the best mortalist arguments or the Keith who tells us they didn't engage the survival evidence directly. Surely the best mortalistic arguments would engage survival arguments."

You misunderstand what I'm saying in my reply to Matlock there, but at least you read it. Kudos for that! The book is divided into 4 parts. Only the last part concerns the survival evidence, so only the authors contributing to Part 4 should necessarily be expected to address the survival evidence directly. The other parts concern other things: Part 1, the evidence from cognitive neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and evolutionary psychology; Part 2, conceptual problems with interactionist substance dualism, astral bodies, and bodily resurrection; and Part 3, inconsistencies between specific theological accounts of the afterlife and the moral precepts of those theologies. You should not expect the survival evidence to be addressed in the other parts, although I do do so myself in the final chapter of Part 1 since I look at failed attempts to falsify the dependence thesis.

Kris writes: "You must not have a very high opinion of your readers if you think they cannot separate the pro side from the con side."

My statement was not about understanding sides, by considering the arguments of both sides. You can't consider one side's arguments if you have no idea what those arguments are.

Kris asks: "But if you included both sides would they not encounter 'such arguments'?"

If I had included both arguments for and against survival in The Myth of an Afterlife, I would have had to throw out half of the mortalistic arguments, or else double the size (and price) of the volume. Since I was already publishing a book twice as long as the initial publisher's longest book (and had to get a new publisher to accommodate the bigger volume), I wasn't going to double the size of the volume. And I wasn't going to cut out very many of the mortalistic arguments that I had already secured because if I had done so, then that would have meant fewer mortalistic arguments from the other side to be considered to balance out that 100:1 ratio of survivalist books on the survival question shelves.

Irreducible Mind was even longer than The Myth of an Afterlife, and you never hear anyone complain that it only contains arguments against "materialism." I pointed out that it only does so, but only to note that there is nothing problematic about IM's exclusivity. If it's OK for IM to be exclusively anti-materialist, surely it's OK for MoA to be exclusively mortalistic, no?

As for my "childish pettiness" when calling out your intolerance for alternative viewpoints, you only get what you give, Kris.

Kris writes: "If those reading Myth of the Afterlife or a skeptical journal only hear or care about one side of the issue, in what sense are they seeking the truth of the matter?"

They can read more than one book, Kris. I even encourage them to and point them in the direction of specific survivalist titles. If the entire literature on the survival question is slanted toward arguments for survival, by contrast, it will be difficult for readers to even *find* a book that argues against survival. That's the difference.

In response to my question about how he knows that no one has found my arguments persuasive, Kris writes: "Easily. You would have crowed about it by now like you did below."

Oh, would I have? You mean like I NEVER did before now, and only did now because you claimed that this never happens? I didn't even list more examples when I could have. "Cowed" indeed. Sheesh!

Kris writes: "Well seeing the ones you listed failed miserably to meet my criteria you might want to try harder next time."

Kris, you mentioned "NDE scholars," "knowledgeable laymen," and "people who have medical degrees and often times doctorates in various subjects." Fair enough, maybe you meant to say "NDE scholars who have medical degrees and often times doctorates in various subjects." How many Bigfoot skeptics have convinced "cryptozoologists who have biological degrees and doctorates in various subjects"? One could ask the same question about UFO skeptics and UFOlogists, demon skeptics and demonologists, and so on. If that was your criteria, it wouldn't mean much since people who become demonologists are by definition going to be antithetical to those who think we should not posit the existence of demons.

Kris writes: "I would have to reread the journals however I have to note the obvious. If they had said anything that remotely met my challenge you would have quoted them."

Really? Maybe I just didn't want to make my response even longer. Get a grip! The stuff's all there on unt.edu, a search and a click away. Should I directly link to them for you? Both Kellehear and Fox made their positive comments early on in their commentaries. Why do you constantly have to be such a jerk?

Kris writes: "One can note that Keith has never really addressed my point of why people would hallucinate the pain they caused others during the life review."

I pointed to direct evidence that this was rare in NDEs. Is it part of your belief system that lions experience the pain that they caused gazelles after they die, too? What about the creatures featured on Monster Bug Wars? Or are Homo sapiens "special" rather than just another species of animal?

By the way, since you mention him again, that Neal Grossman rant that I linked to I also responded to in the same JNDS issue. I could link to the response, but it would likely just go over your head like it went over Grossman's. At least Eztel Cardena also noted how Grossman's Foreword to Chris Carter's Science and the Near-Death Experience read like the account of a woman scorned--"My colleagues aren't interested in the same things that I am! They must love stomping on throats to get ahead and hate love!" Get over yourself, Grossman.

Kris asks: "So if she heard that why didn't she hear the beeps? You know the beeps the rest of can hear."

Marsh's position is that she did not hear during anesthesia, but found out about the procedures that were just performed on her when she was in recovery because staff had talked about them and she overheard their conversations. I'm not saying that Marsh is correct, only that he offers that possibility, and that because of it, it wouldn't even matter whether she should hear or not. That is, even if she could not hear, she still might have learned about what happened to her while in recovery, and then three years later when talking to Sabom, interpolated what she learned from the staff into her NDE account. I'm not saying that Marsh's account is correct, only that if he were, it would make the issue of whether Pam could hear (or not) when cannulation was performed irrelevant one way or the other. Incidentally, Marsh is not a materialist but a Christian biomedical researcher who did his divinity research on near-death experiences.

Kris writes: "Multiple is certainly more than two..."

That's correct. I missed the last one in 2012 when skimming through my e-mails. There were three invites. In the first two I declined because I didn't want to do interviews before the book was out, in the last one (which was still before the book was out) I declined because by that point I had decided to swear off addressing scornful survivalists like yourself altogether, specifically citing my decision to stop posting on Paranormalia and Michael Prescott's blog a few years earlier for the same reason. I could show you the e-mail saying exactly that if you like, but I'm sure you'll interpret my decision uncharitably whether or not I show it to you, so why bother at this point.

Kris writes: "Alex would love to have you. You know his email address. Go book your interview. Prove me wrong."

I get why you're trying to bait me here, Kris (you've always had my best interests at heart), but I've already explained why I don't feel any need to subject myself to the Alex Jones treatment I would get there, so conclude what you want about me. It's not like if I did do the interview, and even exceeded your expectations in it (if that was even possible for you), you would suddenly start talking about me charitably. I have nothing to gain by playing your game.

Kris writes: "Batten down the hatches everyone Keith is going to blow another long essay..."

You mean like you just did?

Kris writes: "We [survivalists] simply don't care about any particular paradigm.... Keith on the other hand absolutely has to shoe horn everything into a materialist paradigm."

I'm a mortalist, Kris, not a materialist. I'm open to the possibility that Platonic forms, nonphysical qualia, and nonnatural moral facts exist (though I'm generally skeptical of the existence of any moral facts, nonnatural or otherwise). I'm completely agnostic about the existence of Platonic forms, and lean in favor of the existence of nonphysical qualia (though Russellian monism can expand the concept of the physical to include qualia, in which case they need not be nonphysical--but I'm not sold that Russellian monism is true rather than merely possible, so if it were by chance false, qualia would have to be nonphysical properties of physical brains).

Matlock's "every indication that" insinuations are just that, insinuations. Nothing more. He paints a picture of me that conforms to his stereotypes instead of addressing the arguments found in the volume. Shame on him. That's why the title of my response is "Evidence or Prejudice?"

I explain both of these points in my response to Matlock.

Kris writes: "This observation would explain a lot on why we feel discussing these issues with Keith is simply pointless."

Then why do you keep addressing me with long comments of your own?

Eric writes: "Whether or not such experiences are accessible to most people is irrelevant to whether or not they are real experiences."

That's certainly true, but the issue here is what we can know given our imperfect access to reality. I've quoted Thomas Paine on this before:

"But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.... Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication. After this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him." (The Age of Reason, 1794, p. 21)

Incidentally, even William James held this view about religious experiences (which he would presumably hold for NDEs, too)--that they may be evidence for the person who experiences them directly, but they are not evidence for anyone else.

If any mediums can really talk to the dead, truth will out. Just get one to open Ian Stevenson's combination lock. It has remained shut for over a decade now, and other such tests have remained uncracked for over half a century now. (There are older tests than this for Frederic Myers and Oliver Lodge, but those tests could only be tried once, and so were ruined for future testing the minute they were tried, unlike the subsequent unsuccessful tests of survival that have been developed, which anyone could take a crack at at any time. Various psychical researchers might deny a request to guess at a combination lock because they don't want you wasting their time, but the cipher tests can be tried by anyone without their cooperation, as the ciphers are a matter of public record published in parapsychology journals. One need only know the key word/phrase/mnemonic that would decipher them.)

As you note, human perception (and testimony) is unreliable. Controlled experimental tests like those described above eliminate such weaknesses as a factor. We can certainly "consider what people say they witnessed," but this doesn't mean that it would be wise to just accept what they say at face value without any further evidence.

You say that "there is survival evidence witnessed by respectable and capable people," but such people have been duped before. The late David Fontana and others said that they witnessed impossible-to-fake events during the Scole sittings, like orbs passing through a table, and yet Alan Gauld and Cornell West found direct evidence that these sittings were hoaxed (such as "paranormally produced" photographs matching exactly the dimensions of images found in a single common book when they could have been produced at any size, among other things, and an increasing resistance to bringing in infrared videocameras during the darkened sittings, which suspiciously had to end abruptly when bringing in the videocameras that could see clearly in the dark could be put off no longer).

Eric asks: "How do you know that you don't have a defective brain that creates defective logic?"

Because the rules of logic exist independently of my thoughts. Whether a conclusion deductively follows from its premises, for example, is no more "up to me" than whether 2 + 2 = 4. Whether a new piece of evidence increases the epistemic probability of a hypothesis can be calculated using Bayes' theorem. The theorem determines the outcome; that outcome is not "up to me."

Eric asks: "Yet you are so certain."

Actually, I'm not. I just tentatively accept the most probable hypotheses given the best available public evidence. Perhaps new evidence will emerge in the future that will change the probabilities of those hypotheses, but for now, the best I can do is go with what best explains the total available evidence available to me.

Keith said:
//The one mischaracterization you repeated here was, verbatim: "Keith Augustine banged on about the survival hypothesis (life after death hypothesis) being unfalsifiable in his book 'the myth of an afterlife'." I responded with a link to that very book where I explicitly said that my position was that the survival hypothesis was indeed falsifiable in principle, if only survivalists would not try to immunize it from falsification in practice. What more is there to say?//

Well, if auxiliary hypotheses are introduced to save the main hypothesis of survival, then you are saying it's unfalsifiable.

But this is a totally irrelevant distraction.

First of all the hypothesis of survival does not need to be modified in the face of new neuroscientific evidence. It is *your* rather silly conception of the "soul" that neuroscience challenges, certainly not my own. With your conception of the "soul" we cease to exist after a couple of beers, only to spring back into existence again the next morning. The other authors of the tome share the same preposterous conception of the "soul" (rather like atheists always holding a preposterous conception of "God").

Secondly and more importantly, as I explain in my review part 8 (http://ian-wardell.blogspot.com/2018/04/a-response-to-myth-of-afterlife.html)the whole falsifiability issue is a complete red herring since the survival and extinction hypotheses are not scientific ones, they are philosophical issues. As indeed is the broader question of the mind-body relationship.

//Let me get this straight. To legitimately inductively infer that mental activity requires brain activity to sustain it, a mechanism for how this is so must be proffered or else that inference is not cogent. But to legitimately inductively infer that minds can "remotely view" the middle cards in a boxed stack of playing cards, no mechanism for how this is possible must be proffered. Since the basic standards of inductive inference do not change depending on what phenomena you're talking about, why the double standard?//

No. It might just be a brute fact about the world that when we have a degree of physical complexity, then consciousness appears (there's no possible mechanism as I've explained with respect to the birth of modern science argument). If psi is an innate property of souls, then there will be no mechanism. Why should there be a mechanism here any more than there should be a mechanism for the ability to think or experience emotions? Of course, if we presuppose some type of materialism, a mechanism is required for all these things, but then you would be begging the question.


//But *that* existential dependence is true is a straightforward inductive inference from the mind-brain correlations that we actually observe. As philosopher of mind Colin McGinn writes: "The fact is that we know *that* the brain produces consciousness, we just don’t know *how* it does this" (The Mysterious Flame, 1999, p. 88, emphasis McGinn's).//

{shrugs} I genuinely do not understand how we can conclude this. And I've never heard any explanation. There's correlations between the eyeglasses we wear and our vision, but no-one would ever conclude that eyeglasses thereby create our vision. Indeed they couldn't do as there is no conceivable mechanism. Jus' like in the mind-brain correlations.


//I know of no survivalist who believes that some blank slate "self" that cannot understand English or recognize others survives death.//

You just continual ascribe incorrect positions to me. It's like concluding that if someone wears various eyeglasses all his life, his unaided vision must be some pale shadow of his bespectacled vision. But that simply just doesn't follow. Could be worse, could be better, could be the same. But now I'm simply repeating myself and you'll just come back and attack the same straw men.

//William Hasker has noted, "a disembodied self lacking memories of its previous life would be crippled at best" (The Emergent Self, 1999, p. 233). But memories (of earthly life or anything else" would be "the quality of the picture" that depends on the brain in your analogy. Dcleve's comments on amazon made clear that he understood this even if you did not, and he is a fellow survivalist of yours.//

Obviously the TV metaphor applies to the embodied self, not the disembodied self. With what reason do we have to suppose the disembodied self forgets?

//A similar point applies to savants who “trade off” prodigious abilities in some areas with mental deficits elsewhere//

I'm not sure if this is always the case, but nothing rides on it. I agree it's desirable to have a 100% functional brain whilst embodied. A pair of glasses too needs to be in good nick in order for them to give you perfect vision.

//Rupert Sheldrake and Chris Carter use this analogy explicitly. (I quote Sheldrake verbatim using it in The Myth of an Afterlife on p. 233, and Carter endorses this same quotation in his NDE book.) As I've noted before, an aerial drone (or Mars rover in Michael Prescott's old analogy) is a much better analogy since the interaction is two-way in the latter cases but not for a TV set (which receives signals but does not transmit them), and dualists believe in two-way interaction. So I don't know why they continue to use such a poor analogy (one that should be deemed poor even by dualists for the reasons just noted).//

A balloon being blown up is not a good analogy for the expanding Universe either. What corresponds to the inside of the balloon? What corresponds to when the balloon pops? The TV metaphor is simply a refutation of the claim that constant correlation must mean that one of the variables produces the other.

As for the Mars rover, where's the analogy for when our psychological states change? The TV metaphor has the picture quality changing which represents changing psychological states.

"And why can't someone conclude that, given our best evidence, in all likelihood it does so depend? "
But you will be stubborn, we have already discussed this topic, and yes, we agree that mind depends on the brain, but not to exist; it must be a merely functional dependence in light of phenomena such as NDEs and mediumship.

"And why can't someone conclude that, given our best evidence, in all likelihood it does so depend? "

But you will be stubborn, we have already discussed this topic, and yes, we agree that mind depends on the brain, but not to exist; it must be a merely functional dependence in light of phenomena such as NDEs and mediumship.

What I said a year ago today on facebook is of relevance to what Keith has been saying to me. I actually originally said it to Keith but he doesn't take a blind bit of notice. Here is the post:

This immunization of one's hypothesis is not necessarily an invalid approach, and it's not for 2 very good reasons.

First of all we might have excellent *independent* reasons for supposing we survive eg a child has apparent memories of a previous life, and the researchers get to see the child *before* the child's family has tried to locate the previous personality. The researchers find a likely candidate for this previous personality since most of the child's alleged memories check out, and some of those memories are sufficient specific that they wouldn't be correct just by happenstance. So, in that case, really a mortalist would have to eliminate any possible immunization options if the reincarnation evidence is very strong.

But, secondly, and I think even more importantly, this immunisation objection is assuming the competing hypothesis (no afterlife hypothesis) is entirely unproblematic. Keith points out that existential dependence on the brain is not predicated on any type of materialist position being true (none of the materialist positions in any of its guises). So even if *all* materialists positions are false (and I think that we are forced to this conclusion), there are yet other positions on the mind-body problems that have consciousness existentially dependent on the brain.

Fine, but why do the mind brain correlations imply existential dependence *given* *the* *commonsensical* *conception* *of *the* *self*?? Thus I am the very same self now as I were when 10 years old. I am the very same self after drinking lots of beer (or other drugs) than when I am sober etc. If my moods can change, if my emotions can change, if my demeanour can change, if my intelligence can change, if even my interests can change, yet we have a complete conviction that we are the very same person throughout all such mind changes, does that not provide at least *some* reason that we are the very same person throughout all these mind changes? That we are the very same person throughout our lives? But if this is so, the mind-brain correlations lose much of their relevance.

And if materialism is false, then neither consciousness or the self are material, and hence are undetectable. We cannot see a person's consciousness, we can only infer it from their voluntary behaviour. But what can we conclude happens to a person's consciousness when that person dies? How can we conclude it has simply ceased to exist since consciousness is invisible, intangible etc? We simply do not know if it has ceased to exist or not.

Keith,

I guess you just ignored when I said that the Newspaper Tests and Book Tests also simple tests came back with positive results of course they don't fit into other simple tests that you bring up that brought negative results. So you don't care about them. I haven't seen these tests yet that you keep mentioning were negative, only the Thouless one, as well as Charles Fryer and his Tape"". I would have to look at how they were setup and the actual design of the experiments as well. You seem to be against recent mental mediumship experiments done by Julie Beischel probably because they don't fit into your worldview.

As far as the Split-Brain experiments, just like their was some neuroscientists who made up more to the account of Phineas Gage actual personality changes. Yes there was personality changes but the extent in which these couple neuroscientists said it was wasn't true.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/27225153_The_Strange_Case_of_Phineas_Gage

http://paranormalandlifeafterdeath.blogspot.com/2016/06/phineas-gage-revisited.html

Keith, "You say that "there is survival evidence witnessed by respectable and capable people," but such people have been duped before....etc etc ad nauseum

But you accept anthropomorphic global warming (or any kind of warming) even though there have changes to the models countless times, questionable methodologies employed and, more germane to our discussion, outright hoaxes and fraud.

"Because the rules of logic exist independently of my thoughts. Whether a conclusion deductively follows from its premises, for example, is no more "up to me" than whether 2 + 2 = 4. "

You actually have no way of knowing that. Delusional people believe all kinds of things exist independently of their thoughts. When lots of people agree it's called a mass delusion.

You like academia even though many scientists have been caught in fraudulent activity. Your demands of flawless integrity are skewed.

I don't think you realize how obvious it is to many observers that your efforts to shoot down survivalism are the desperate act of an ideologue who has arbitrarily decided on a philosophical position and refuses to budge. No one cares about your special demands for "evidence" that go beyond what is expected (even by you) in most other science (including global warming "science" that you adhere to). You're really obvious and your "logical" arguments are easily refuted to the satisfaction of many; except you. You just jump into "No I'm not, that's what you are" type responses when called out. I guess it's a shtick and a gig. We all got to do something to pay the bills. Thanks for the convo. Best wishes.

I think this is a conversation that is going to be winding down for me. I am basically not interested in Keith’s arguments as they revolve around an assumed materialistic view of the world and his fallacious assumption that the correlation between the mind and the brain demonstrates production. This fallacy has been explained to him for over 15 years now and he still doesn’t ( more likely refuse to ) get it. Without being able to demonstrate how the brain produces consciousness we simply are not in a position as of yet to know what the nature of this correlation is.

On a side note I have to point out that even if production was demonstrated that doesn’t necessarily demonstrate extinction. I am currently listening to the radio. When one turns off a flash light the beam of light it produces still exists after all. I am sure people can think of others.

I don’t expect Keith to give up his correlation argument as it seems to be his favorite argument. It is akin to how Jesus Mythers love the argument that we have no primary sources for Jesus. They will always make this argument despite the fact that we have no primary sources for almost anyone from the Roman Empire; with the exception of very notable figures such as Roman Empires. In the end though Keith’s argument simply does not work no matter how much he protests to the contrary.

On another note I simply do not think Keith is a critical a thinker as he wishes he was and certainly should not be considered a superior guide to NDEs as NDErs and IANDS.

For example look at his nonsense on Grossman
KA “ Compare the heavily theistic editorial boards of Religious Studies nevertheless publishing atheistic and theistic pieces in equal numbers to the reaction Neal Grossman had to giving arguments against survivalist interpretations of near-death phenomena *any* space at all (even if only "not entirely shut out" space): http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/GrossmanLetter.pdf . Apparently airing any opinion other than Grossman's is some huge affront to him (a point similarly made by Etzel Cardena on another matter). I guarantee you that a rant complaining that atheistic arguments are given any space at all in the journal “

KK This paper was only eight pages long and Keith completely bungled it. As I pointed out earlier:

“ certainly saw nothing in this letter that could be considered a rant; if anything it was a nice concise letter explaining why many common materialist arguments against survival are flawed. Certainly there was nothing in the letter saying materialist arguments should not be published or given space, he simply argued that arguments should be based on evidenced possibilities instead of simply logical possibilities. Grossman provides the definition for each type of possibility in his article.
Evidence possibility- a hypothesis is possible only if there is some empirical reason to believe that it might be true.

Logical possibility- a hypothesis is possible means that it is consistent, that it can be formulated without self-contradiction

Grossman went on to explain that scientists only have to respond to evidenced possibility and not just logical possibilities. For example, there is an evidenced possibility that the asteroid that struck earth 65 million years ago did not alone cause the extinction of the dinosaurs. Scientist have to deal with that. Scientist are under no obligation to deal with the argument that Satan made the fossil record to deceive people as while this argument is consistent without self-contradiction it has no evidence to it.

Keith has completely misrepresented Grossman views. He did not object to publishing arguments for materialist views on survival and certainly there is nothing in this letter that would indicate that Grossman felt “airing any opinion other than Grossman's is some huge affront to him “ He was objecting to flawed irrational arguments from materialists.”

I see three possible explanations for this inept handling of Grossman.

1.) Keith does not comprehend what he reads.

2.) Keith is a liar. Not likely as he wouldn’t have made such a bungle of a lie

Or the possibility I think that is the likeliest.

Keith is a bit of a fanatic and like most fanatics he cannot take criticism and to put it mildly Grossman ripped Keith a new one.

His reaction is similar to Trump when criticized.

Needless to say none of this reflects well on Keith


Next up is this cluster of poor reasoning from Keith. Again this man has a Master’s in Philosophy and apparently never thought to hit the delete button on this comment before submitting it .

KA Kris, the reason that The Myth of an Afterlife focuses exclusively on mortalistic arguments is because they are so hard to find in the survival literature. When you can only find a handful of books presenting such arguments in the last 100 years, compared to thousands of books arguing in favor of survival in the same time period, it makes sense to compile all of the best mortalistic arguments together in one place (which, incidentally, no one has ever tried to do before, which makes The Myth of an Afterlife rather unique even among already rare mortalistic works). Otherwise readers might not even be aware of what the arguments against life after death are. The only reason anyone would object to such a procedure is because they don't want people to encounter such arguments. Since Western civilization no longer has an Index of Forbidden Books, you're just going to have to live with a free marketplace of ideas where sometimes people advocate ideas that you happen not to like. How terrible it must be for you to live in a democracy.

KK To put it mildly I tore that to shreds in my response to him. I will say I deliberately used this argument because I knew others had hit him with this criticism and it clearly gets under his skin. His ranting response to me ( and that really was a rant unless one thinks I am trying to prohibit books or oppose democracy) clearly showed that.

I pointed out to Keith that pretty much his arguments have convinced no one who is either and NDE scholar or a knowledgeable laymen. ( and certainly it hasn’t convinced anyone who has had an NDE ) That clearly struck a nerve as his response to that was to link to two people who were neither NDE scholars or knowledgeable laymen. Basically Keith saw red and like a bull he charged. If he had read what I said closely he would not have made this blunder. ( I will note more on this later)

KA Incidentally, since it bothered you that I didn't invite any survivalists to contribute to The Myth of an Afterlife

KK Thanks for once again showing you do not read things closely. I said on March 14th at 9:24 “I really don't mind that you wrote a one sided book.”

KA I wasn't going to double the size of the volume. And I wasn't going to cut out very many of the mortalistic arguments that I had already secured because if I had done so, then that would have meant fewer mortalistic arguments from the other side to be considered to balance out that 100:1 ratio of survivalist books on the survival question shelves.

KK That makes absolutely no sense. You would not have to throw out mortalistic arguments; you simply make your book bigger. Why not?? Are we running out of paper?? I could understand such an argument in the 1500s but this is the 21st century and well we can afford the paper. Ian Stevenson wrote Reincarnation and Biology in two volumes that was over 2000 pages after all.

KA “ How many Bigfoot skeptics have convinced "cryptozoologists who have biological degrees and doctorates in various subjects"”

KK. Nice little logical fallacy of false equivalency Keith. No one disputes the EXISTENCE of NDEs while plenty of people dispute the EXISTENCE of Bigfoot. What is disputed with NDEs is the EXPLANATION. The same goes for your other examples. Seriously did they not discuss basic fallacies with you as an undergrad?

KA Kris, you mentioned "NDE scholars," "knowledgeable laymen," and "people who have medical degrees and often times doctorates in various subjects."

KK This is what I actually said ( numbers added to each sentences for reasons to be seen below:

“1. That is why for 15 years now Keith has interacted with NDE scholars and so far none of them have come to his position. 2. He has done the same with knowledgeable laymen and none again have come to his position. 3. If Keith was half the rationalist he thinks he was that would have him very disturbed.

4 I want Keith to think about this. 5. He is arguing with people who have medical degrees and often times doctorates in various subjects. 6 These are all people trained in how to evaluate arguments and none of them find him to be convincing. 7 Not once in 15 years.”

Keith’s reading of what I said is sloppy at best. Let me explain why:

Sentence 1 clearly states Keith has interacted with NDE scholars for 15 years

Sentence 2 mentions knowledgeable laymen, but what are they knowledgeable of. Context clearly indicates NDEs

Sentence 5 mentions Keith is arguing with people. What people? See the previous paragraph. Sentence 5 mentions that fact these people often times have medical degrees and doctorates. Keith could protest that sentence 5 could simply means he is arguing with people with medical degrees doctorates but he isn't doing that. Context matters.

Keith attacked a position that would read something like. “ That is why for 15 years now Keith has interacted with NDE scholars, knowledgeable laymen and people with medical degrees and often times doctorates and so far none of them have come to his position.”

My argument had two categories with a modifier added but he read my comment as having three categories and then attacked it.

This is either sloppy reading or a deliberate misrepresentation and neither reflects well on Keith

KA By the way, since you mention him again, that Neal Grossman rant that I linked to I also responded to in the same JNDS issue. I could link to the response, but it would likely just go over your head like it went over Grossman's.

KK You could and you should because. I read it in 2007 and to say it mildly I was not impressed then. I doubt I will be now. Yes, Keith your arguments are so profound that no one can understand them except you. Yep your simply too brilliant and no one can comprehend you, including a man with a Doctorate of Philosophy. Humility is not your strong suit is it Keith, speaking of being a jerk.

KA “ Eztel Cardena also noted how Grossman's Foreword to Chris Carter's Science and the Near-Death Experience read like the account of a woman scorned--"My colleagues aren't interested in the same things that I am! They must love stomping on throats to get ahead and hate love!" Get over yourself, Grossman”

KK. It is nice to see that Eztel has the same reading comprehension issues that you do but again one can simply read Grossman's letter and see it said nothing of what you claimed. In fairness though to Eztel English is his second language, what is your excuse though?

It is pretty funny to find two materialists got their feelings mighty hurt by Grossman though; that does make me laugh.

KK I am glad you acknowledge Marsh might not be correct as that argument seems mighty weak ( I guess they showed Pam the bone saw too) and certainly unevidenced. You know the type of arguments that Grossman warned about.


KA “Matlock's "every indication that" insinuations are just that, insinuations. Nothing more. He paints a picture of me that conforms to his stereotypes instead of addressing the arguments found in the volume. Shame on him.”

KK I really hate to break it to you but that description fits you rather perfectly. I know no one likes to be labeled but dang the label fits.


This should be enough howlers and gaffs on Keith’s part to demonstrate to any reasonable person that Keith is probably not the best guide to researching NDEs; especially when he has come to the exact OPPOSITE conclusions of NDE experiencers and IANDS.

Just a few comments on dear ole Keith’s tepid tome after reading his discussion with Matlock ( if anyone wants a copy of it feel free to email me at krkey gmail). Well by Keith’s own admission it doesn’t really directly discuss survival evidence that means a lot of us ( including myself) simply will not have a lot of interests in it. Put it this way. Let’s say someone found a book on why traveling to the moon would be impossible. Would they feel the need to systematically rebut all the arguments inside it or would they simply show the Apollo Missions? I know my approach to say the least on this. I am quite content to let people such as Matlock, Carter or Wardell deal with the arguments produced by the book. I will have to note that Keith Augustine has learned well from Richard Carrier; as he simply screams everyone is misrepresenting or misunderstanding him ( I will confess I am proud to be added to that category) when he doesn’t like their criticisms. As things are looking now one has to wonder if like Carrier Keith will eventually declare himself to be polyamorous and get his harem of fan girls….)

Keith’s argument in the book about correlation has been addressed ( to death) . Oddly the book felt the need to critique some theological views on life after death, but it couldn’t get around to critiquing survival arguments. In a cute little howler Psychologist Stewart Williams argues that belief in the afterlife arose in people because it was pleasurable; however if you actually check the early concepts of life after death such as found in the Ancient Near East or ancient Greece you will find that people believed the afterlife was a shadowy existence far inferior to that of earthly life.

On an odder side note Keith seems to have taken some umbrage at the fact I referred to him as an “ odd fellow”. He then basically asked why is it odd that he is interested in the question of consciousness and the side issues related to it. Once again Keith misread something that was pretty basic. I never said that to be interested in the question of consciousness etc was odd; I said he was odd.

Here is the definition of odd-different from what is usual or expected; strange.

Certainly Keith is in a very small select group. He has a Master’s in Philosophy ( for what it is worth) and he has an evangelical zeal to proselytize everyone in the doctrines of materialism and his rather fringe views on NDEs. I think his zealotry would put many a fundamentalist preacher to shame. Certainly in my book that is strange and different from what is usual. He is in his peculiar way the William Lane Craig of materialism. But unlike Craig he probably isn’t going to make a comfortable income from this so at least we can certainly know Keith’s odd little hobby of peddling fringe views on NDEs is not motivated by a filthy desire for cash…..

I will offer Keith yet another back handed compliment. While I strongly disagree with him on many issues I have to say I consider him to far more coherent than Gerry Woerlee and certainly a better debater. On more than a few occasions I recommended Gerry in the past run a response by Keith in order to get help ( he seemingly did not listen though) . My opinion of Gerry’s coherence and ability to debate is so low on occasions I have sincerely wondered if he was secret paranormalist writing articles that he knew would trick more gullible materialists but could be easy kicked pieces by any informed opposition. I am not saying Gerry is truly doing this but I have sincerely wandered…..It would explain a lot…..

Still all and all I must say a debate with Keith is like being scourged with a piece of dental floss.

I think it is interesting that some people make reference to what Charles Darwin either concluded or didn’t conclude without, I suspect, having read his works. For instance, in the above long comment by Keith, he says that, “Split-brain researchers like Michael Gazzaniga didn't come to their conclusions ‘for the sake of debunking substance dualism’ any more than Charles Darwin came to his conclusions for the sake of debunking biblical literalism.”

I suppose one could get into a discussion over semantics here or literal definitions but clearly, at least to me, Charles Darwin believed that he did have a goal of “debunking biblical literalism”. In his book, “The Descent of Man”, Darwin writes in Chapter 4 that in proposing his theories of natural selection and survival of the fittest he had two objects in view. He writes, “I had two distinct objects in view, firstly, to shew that species had not been separately created, and secondly, that natural selection had been the chief agent of change though largely aided by the inherited effects of habit and slightly by the direct action of the surrounding conditions.” But, he goes on to write that it was difficult for him to ignore the influence of his former belief in special creation in developing his ideas about natural selection and survival of the fittest.

I might point out that Darwin’s second object to show that natural selection had been the chief agent of change, does not address ‘creation” of species, his focus is on “change” and how variations of species might have come about and I think he did a reasonable job of doing that. Arguably, He failed to achieve his goal to disprove special creation.

Darwin may not have been the man that many people, who haven’t read his books, believe him to be nor are his actual theories clearly understood without the biases of atheism. I recommend reading two of his books: The Descent of Man”and “The Origin of Species" for a better understanding of what Charles Darwin may have actually believed and subsequently proposed as theory. - AOD

I am sure this will leave Keith's mind boggled. A book I have come across called The Test: Incredible Proof of an Afterlife. A man places five objects in his father’s coffin and tells no one. Can a medium tell him what they are?. The results are astounding and positive. Another simple test and is unambiguous but nowhere will you hear Keith mentioned it as it doesn't fit into his worldview.

https://www.amazon.com/Test-Incredible-Proof-Afterlife/dp/1510729364

\\"By the way, intelligence doesn't depend upon simple brain size, but upon brain size relative to body size (such that whales have "bigger" brains than us, but not bigger ones relative to their bigger bodies)." - Keith//
-----------------------

Density of neurons. Members of the Crow/Raven family and also a lot of parrots are incredibly intelligent birds. I have read that it has something to do with the density of neurons in their brain, how tightly packed they are.

Good god, people! Do you think that if you were a young handsome man who had a long steel rod driven through your skull, losing sight in one eye and disfiguring your face that you wouldn't have any personality changes! Phineas Gage had reason(s) not be to the same charismatic happy camper that he was before the accident. Brain damage may or may not have had anything to do with his personality changes. - AOD

Kris - "1. That is why for 15 years now Keith has interacted with NDE scholars and so far none of them have come to his position. 2. He has done the same with knowledgeable laymen and none again have come to his position. 3. If Keith was half the rationalist he thinks he was that would have him very disturbed"

He is not disturbed because he thinks whatever he "reasons" out in his head is the equivalent of objective truth; like 2+2=4. He believes his thinking is flawless and we are the irrational half-baked thinkers. That is how delusional people think.

Of course, that is what he says. However, as I mentioned, we have no objective evidence of what he really thinks. He could very well know that he is wrong and survival is the best answer and is engaging in trolling behavior. In fact, he may not think at all. Rather, someone else is the source of his ideas. That is a possibility. By Keith's own methods, since that possibility exists and there is no objective way to prove it isn't, we must consider it and not accept that Keith's ideas come from himself. After all, many academics have been plagiarists. The existence of plagiarism brings the entire academic world into question.

Also, I must note the shifting goal posts that Keith employs. He demands objective evidence. When UFOs appear on radar and images are captured on fighter jet gun cams, are seen by dozens of highly trained US Navy personnel - all in the same incidents - and they are performing maneuvers that experts who's job it is to know the capabilities of every aircraft in the world say are impossible for any man made craft, Keith still dismisses the alien hypothesis and makes fun of people that have seen UFOs. I guess that is because UFOs are in the realm of "woo" for his crowd.

So I doubt he would except any evidence at all that suggests survival. He would just move the goal posts again. His ever shifting dialogue reminds me of a convo with one of the Clintons when pressed on an issue ;-)

Juan writes: "Yes it is, like Karlis Osis's experiments with [Alex Tanous]."

Some of the weaknesses of the Tanous experiments were discussed in the JASPR in replies to the Osis and McCormick write-up about their experiments with him. I summarize this discussion in The Myth of an Afterlife (see pp. 219-220 & 523-524 of MoA, https://books.google.com/books?id=dlRuBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA219#v=onepage&q&f=false ), along with some telling points made in other journals about these experiments, such those made by Carlos Alvarado in the Journal of Parapsychology and the obscure, now defunct survivalist journal Theta (most of whose issues are archived as PDF files online today).

Juan writes: "And you forget all the other phenomena that point to the existence of an etheric body: NDEs, apparitions, mediumship and memories of previous lives."

I don't "forget" them. To count as evidence for the existence of an etheric body, all of these phenomena have to be given a survivalist interpretation. If NDEs are one kind of hallucination, whereas REM dreams are a different kind of hallucination, for example, then NDEs would not be evidence for an etheric body. So you need to provide evidence for a survivalist interpretation of these phenomena specifically, evidence ruling out alternative nonsurvivalist interpretations of them. Replicable positive results in direct tests of survival would do the trick for me.

Juan writes: "Of course, then there are the drop-in cases to refute it."

The drop-in communicator cases on their face aren't very impressive, despite Alan Gauld's presentation of them as evidence for survival. Brooke Noel Moore spends a chapter outlining why Gauld's and others' drop-in communicator cases are very weak evidence in his 1981 The Philosophical Possibilities Beyond Death (including the famous "Runki's leg" case).

Juan writes: "What I do not understand is why so much emphasis on materialism, if I'm not going to be more cheerful because it is refuted."

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.)

For dualistic personal survival to be true, you need the truth of interactionist substance dualism plus the thesis that (most or all) of our mental traits are harbored by that substance plus the independence thesis. The only source I know about that explicitly spells out the implications of property dualism for personal survival explains this well. (Most books on the philosophy of mind focus solely on the mind-body relation, and don't bother to explicitly state the implications of various theories of mind for personal survival because those implications are only of passing interest to philosophers of mind.) Allen Stairs (one of the members of my master's thesis committee) and Christopher Bernard (a Christian philosopher so devout that he actually did missionary work that took him, his wife, and his children into third world countries) write:

"Suppose we were to decide that there's something more to us than our physical bodies and their physical properties. Even if that were true, the 'something more' wouldn't necessarily help explain how life after death could be possible. Suppose that what we need to be conscious isn't a non-physical *thing* at all. What we need could be non-physical mental 'properties' or 'qualities' that can't exist apart from the physical things that possess them. In that case, we would have property dualism rather than substance dualism, and property dualism doesn't give us anything that survives the death of the body. Or suppose that bodies only become conscious when a flow of non-physical 'energy' runs through them (whatever that might mean). The 'energy' wouldn't be the consciousness; it would merely make consciousness possible. Compare: your computer only operates when a current runs through it, but the physical computer does the calculating. If the current in the computer doesn't amount to computation, why should the flow of 'psychic energy' amount to sensation or thought?

The point is that even if some sort of dualism is true, it might not provide for life after death in the way people sometimes think it would. But suppose we grant that each of [us] has some sort of non-physical thing, which we'll call a soul, and that it's capable of existing apart from our bodies. Suppose we grant that we wouldn't have a mind unless we had a soul. The problem is that whatever our minds have to do with souls, they pretty clearly have an enormous amount to do with our brains. Damage to the brain can take away our memories or mobility or speech. At least some mental illnesses seem to depend on the balance of chemicals in the brain. The idea that we need a soul to think and feel is speculation. The idea that our minds depend on our brains is difficult to deny. This makes it doubtful that your soul by itself could be you." (A Thinker's Guide to the Philosophy of Religion, 2007, p. 301)

Ian writes: "Well, if auxiliary hypotheses are introduced to save the main hypothesis of survival, then you are saying it's unfalsifiable."

I figured you might say this, but this is a very weak sense of unfalsifiable, since EVERY hypothesis can be "made" to be unfalsifiable by continually tagging on untestable auxiliary assumptions. The sense in which some theories are unfalsifiable and others are not, the in principle sense, is the sense that matters, and the sense that distinguishes scientific theories from nonscientific ones (like metaphysical theories). You can effectively "make" any scientific theory "metaphysical" by completely immunizing it from any possible falsifying evidence. But when people say that theory X is scientific because it's falsifiable, and theory Y is not scientific because it's not falsifiable, they mean the in principle sense, not the in practice sense that could apply to every theory ever conceived, scientific or otherwise.

Ian writes: "First of all the hypothesis of survival does not need to be modified in the face of new neuroscientific evidence."

I agree. In the face of the mountain of neuroscientific evidence against it--provided that you don't immunize survival/independence from falsification by saying that such evidence "doesn't count" and thus can be ignored--the independence thesis ought to be abandoned, not modified with ad hoc (untestable) auxiliaries about the nature of discarnate minds, a nature that cannot be corroborated by any independent evidence but must simply be assumed (and hence is untestable).

Ian writes: "With your conception of the 'soul' we cease to exist after a couple of beers, only to spring back into existence again the next morning."

Actually this is your assumption, not mine. It depends on what your conception of personal identity is. Most personal identity theorists today have a relational concept of personal identity--that the psychological *continuity* of memories, personality traits, dispositions, etc. is what makes you, you. This is where the standard view has gone ever since John Locke's memory criterion. There would be a smooth continuity between your sober self and your drunk self in this sense. You're one of the rare birds that still holds to an archaic "same substance" view of personal identity. That's why mind uploading is considered a possibility--it's debated, but considered. Obviously, if your mind were copied on to a computer, the same substance would not be involved (silicon chips would preserve your mental traits, not neurons), but your psychological traits might conceivably be transferred in this way. The same with bodily resurrection in which there is no soul, but God creates a new body from new matter rather than restoring the atoms that made up your old body. The same with Star Trek transporter thought experiments of beaming "you" down to the surface. And so on. It is your archaic conception of personal identity that is preposterous, not the standard view (and the common sense one). To see how common sense it is, just consult David Hume:

"But admitting a spiritual substance ... to be the only inherent subject of thought, we have reason to conclude from analogy that nature uses it after the manner she does the other substance, matter. She employs it as a kind of paste or clay; modifies it into a variety of forms and existences; dissolves after a time each modification, and from its substance erects a new form. As the same material substance may successively compose the bodies of all animals, the same spiritual substance may compose their minds: Their consciousness, or that system of thought which they formed during life, may be continually dissolved by death. And nothing interests them in the new modification. The most positive asserters of the mortality of the soul, never denied the immortality of its substance. And that an immaterial substance, as well as a material, may lose its memory or consciousness, appears in part from experience, if the soul be immaterial."

Imagine that everything unique about *your* mind--your particular memories, dispositions, personality traits, etc.--were erased by death, but some spiritual "substance" still continued on with maximum dementia. For all you know, that spiritual substance existed since the Big Bang; nevertheless, Hume points out, "if the former existence [of this spiritual substance for billions of years prior to your birth] no ways concerned us, neither will the latter [its continued existence for billions of years more]." The reason it doesn't concern us is because *persons* are not this "substance" any more than persons are the atoms that make us up, which will continue to exist for billions of years even if none of our psychological traits persist. This is why Sam Harris talked about understanding language and recognizing grandma--if such abilities do not persist, personal survival doesn't occur, and there is no *life* after death. The persistence of a maximally demented soul would no more be what survivalists mean by the survival hypothesis than the persistence of Charlemagne's bones would be the survival of the person Charlemagne.

Ian writes: "the whole falsifiability issue is a complete red herring since the survival and extinction hypotheses are not scientific ones"

If by survival you mean to include survival via bodily resurrection alone, then that's true. But if by survival you only mean dualistic survival--as empirical survivalists do (to use Michael Sudduth's label)--then it is not. If the survival hypothesis is not an empirical hypothesis, then there is no point in doing survival research within parapsychology since the survival question is not one even potentially resolvable by science. But since you *do* appeal to things like cases of the reincarnation type as empirical evidence for survival, you are making inconsistent claims here. If there can be evidence that favors survival, there can be evidence that disfavors it. A testable hypothesis predicts; predictions that come true are evidence in favor, predictions that are not borne out are evidence against. In principle (with the caveat that the hypothesis can always be immunized, as any scientific hypothesis can), the survival hypothesis is testable/falsifiable. It makes claims about the way that the world is. We can then go on to check the world to see if the world is in fact the way that the hypothesis says that it should be. End of story.

When I talk about the "potential falsifiers" of the independence thesis, I not only concede it's falsifiability by the use of that Popperian phrase, but give examples of evidence that could (and in fact does) falsify it. The independence thesis is more basic than the survival hypothesis, but the dualistic survival hypothesis entails the truth of the independence thesis, so anything that falsifies existential independence would simultaneously falsify dualistic survival. If you're going to make a blanket claim that neither the dependence nor the independence thesis is not falsifiable in principle (which is what your "they're not scientific hypotheses" assertion implies), you need to SUPPORT that claim. How? Say *why* the potential falsifiers I list are not in fact data that either favor or disfavor one or the other thesis. If you can't imagine how to do that, you have no business saying that these are not empirical hypothesis. Either support your claim or retract it, don't merely continue to assert it without argument.

Ian writes: "It might just be a brute fact about the world that when we have a degree of physical complexity, then consciousness appears"

If strong emergence is a brute fact, no mechanism could be provided in principle. The same if clairvoyance is just a brute power of minds. Either way, the absence of mechanism would not block an otherwise legitimate inductive inference that emergence occurs or clairvoyance exists since there could be evidence for these occurrences or powers. No mechanism *could* be provided it either is a brute fact. So how can the absence of mechanism block an otherwise legitimate inductive inference here? You still haven't said how. You've just asserted/assumed it without argument. BTW, materialism allows the existence of brute facts as much as any other -ism.

Ian writes: "There's correlations between the eyeglasses we wear and our vision, but no-one would ever conclude that eyeglasses thereby create our vision."

And yet we might still need eyeglasses, or eyes for that matter, to see, even though eyes don't "create" vision, but simply enable it. Presumably activity in the visual cortex is what creates vision. Working eyes would still be *necessary* to be able to see. Just like working brains are necessary to be able to think.

Ian asks: "Obviously the TV metaphor applies to the embodied self, not the disembodied self. With what reason do we have to suppose the disembodied self forgets?"

OK, let's see if this analogy gets the point through. Suppose for the sake of argument that the only "telepathy" that exists is artificially created by adding cybernetic supplements to human brains, creating a cyborg. Cybernetically enhanced humans would have telepathy, but unenhanced humans would not. Rip out those enhancements and the telepathic ability disappears. Now suppose that the only memory that exists is created by adding neural circuitry to human souls, creating a biological human animal. Destroy that neural circuitry and disembodied souls would not be able to remember (by definition, souls with no access to neural resources). Now you might ask what reason we have to think that neural circuitry is necessary for memory. And the answer is long-term potentiation: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/health-and-medicine/executive-systems-of-the-brain/memory-lesson/v/long-term-potentiation-and-synaptic-plasticity

Ian writes: "As for the Mars rover, where's the analogy for when our psychological states change?"

Aye, there's the rub. The Mars rover is a better analogy because it's an example of two independently existing things (like the substances in substance dualism) in interaction with each other (like the interaction in interactionism). But it does not in fact account for how bath salts can radically modify our mental states, making us psychotic. The reason that the analogy does not account for such facts is not because the analogy is deficient, but because interactionist substance dualism does not predict that such facts will be found, but rather predicts their absence. So the fact that such facts *are* found is strong evidence that interactionist substance dualism is false.

Juan writes: "yes, we agree that mind depends on the brain, but not to exist; it must be a merely functional dependence in light of phenomena such as NDEs and mediumship."

And what prevents you from similarly concluding: "yes, we agree that the fossil record we observe is what the hypothesis of biological evolution predicts we will find, but not because evolution has occurred, but because God planted the fossil record to make it look like evolution occurred; it must be God's planting in light of the Bible saying that God created us directly."

Eric writes: "But you accept anthropomorphic global warming (or any kind of warming) even though there have changes to the models countless times, questionable methodologies employed and, more germane to our discussion, outright hoaxes and fraud."

Eric, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts: https://www.factcheck.org/2009/12/climategate/

I would suggest that you consider whether the sources you rely on are in fact sources of misinformation, not information.

Eric writes: "I don't think you realize how obvious it is to many observers that your efforts to shoot down survivalism are the desperate act of an ideologue who has arbitrarily decided on a philosophical position and refuses to budge."

Really? Then what do you make of Allen Stairs and Chris Bernard saying basically the same things that I have been saying in my quotation of them above? Were they credible right up until the moment they said something you disagree with, but not afterward? Or did you automatically decide that they were not credible because the first thing you read them saying happened to be something you already disagreed with?

Since my position is in fact data-driven--I've pointed out exactly what the data are--what makes you so sure that a POV determined what data I take to be reliable, rather than reliable data determining what POV I should hold? After all, I can justify which data are reliable, and which are not, by appealing to reasons independent of the POV I hold. The reasons that the testimonial evidence favoring the existence of Bigfoot are not trustworthy are EXACTLY THE SAME reasons why the testimonial evidence favoring survival are not reliable. There are independent standards that apply across the board, and when they are applied specifically to the evidence for survival, they show that the evidence for survival falls short of adequate for exactly the same reasons that the evidence for other fringe ideas fall short of adequate.

What about when it's not just me, indeed when it's not about me at all, but about what the consensus of psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists, philosophers of mind, etc. think? Are each and every one of those vast swaths of people of varying interests and backgrounds all in on the conspiracy, too? Or could it be that you are the only letting your biases decide what you believe, rather than basing your beliefs on *all* of the relevant evidence, taken as a whole? 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" such that "nothing mental (and human) happens unless something physical happens" ("Seeking but not Believing: Confessions of a Practicing Agnostic," 2002, p. 202). Was Bertrand Russell in on the conspiracy, too, simply because he did not come to accept questionable statements as easily as you did?

At what point will you cut through all the rhetoric about paradigms, pseudoskeptics, and ideologues, and go straight to the real-world results of cipher tests, combination lock tests, OBE detection studies, and target identification experiments like AWARE I and II?

Kris writes: "When one turns off a flash light the beam of light it produces still exists after all. I am sure people can think of others."

True that! Just like human bodies still exist after they die, only no longer breathe, metabolize, or think.

Kris writes: "Keith has completely misrepresented Grossman views. He did not object to publishing arguments for materialist views on survival and certainly there is nothing in this letter that would indicate that Grossman felt “airing any opinion other than Grossman's is some huge affront to him"

Grossman wrote: "[T]he burden is on ["fundamaterialists"--a new term that is only slightly better than an ethnic slur] to provide non-ideological empirical support for their hypotheses before scientists should take them seriously... [W]e should not pretend that the debunkers and fundamaterialists are concerned with empirical science, and hence journals such as this, should not allot so much space to mere ideology."

The problem with Grossman's response is that the previous three papers I wrote that he was responding to were nothing but "non-ideological empirical support for their hypotheses." The support for "my" hypotheses, in fact, came straight from the mouths of parapsychologists and near-death researchers like Carlos Alvarado, Harvey J. Irwin, Peter Fenwick, Mark Fox, and so on. I quoted their cases verbatim, as well as their own words verbatim. Ask these researchers whether I quoted them "out of context," or fairly represented their points. The problem is that you simply don't like the points that they made, and are hostile to me for compiling such disagreeable points, whatever their source.

Elsewhere, Grossman wrote: "However, in my opinion, the opinions and speculations of materialist ideologues ought not be included in serious discussions of NDE research."

That's right, just *exclude* criticisms from the literature entirely, writing-off your critics as ideologues, lest you be disturbed by coming across information that you'd rather not have learned. After all, this is exactly what dispassionate scientists do (not!) when the subject is whether cold fusion occurs. Cold fusion denialist ideologues ought not be included in serious discussions of the physics of fusion, right? Sigh...

Kris writes: "You would not have to throw out mortalistic arguments; you simply make your book bigger."

You conveniently ignored the part where I pointed out that there are just so many pages to a book that a publisher will tolerate. Well done!

Kris writes: "No one disputes the EXISTENCE of NDEs while plenty of people dispute the EXISTENCE of Bigfoot."

As no one disputes the existence of UFOs while plenty of people dispute the existence of extraterrestrial spacecraft visiting Earth. Since I used both analogies, what's your point?

Moreover, plenty of people dispute the existence of experiences literally outside of the body, which IANDS at least admits they take NDEs to be. And we are talking about the NDE researchers that IANDS favors, not the Susan Blackmore variety, right?

Kris writes: "Well by Keith’s own admission it doesn’t really directly discuss survival evidence that means a lot of us ( including myself) simply will not have a lot of interests in it."

Now you are just straight up lying. Different topics were covered in different parts of the book. What I said is that not every contributor addressed the "survival evidence"--the standard term for studies of apparitions, OBEs and NDEs, cases of the reincarnation type, and mental mediumship--because only the last part of the book was about that evidence. Part 1 was about other kinds of evidence, and parts 2 and 3 concerned (in part) conceptual issues. Shame on you now, if you have any shame.

Kris writes: "As things are looking now one has to wonder if like Carrier Keith will eventually declare himself to be polyamorous and get his harem of fan girls"

Wow, just wow, Kris. Thanks for making clear just how impartial you are even better than I ever could. I honestly thought you stopped posting here. If I had known, I would have never opened up this can of worms.

Kris writes: "Oddly the book felt the need to critique some theological views on life after death [in Chapters 20, 21, and 22], but it couldn’t get around to critiquing survival arguments" [in Chapters 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30]

You are an exemplar of honesty, Kris.

Kris writes: "Psychologist Stewart Williams argues that belief in the afterlife arose in people because it was pleasurable"

I quoted SSW verbatim saying that wishful thinking couldn't account for afterlife beliefs (or couldn't count for them alone, anyway) because they were often "anything but comforting" in my response to Matlock, Kris. You really don't have any shame, do you?

I would like to go a bit meta on the this discussion.

First, I have been in the opposite position from that in which Keith finds himself here: having a bunch of Skeptics ganging up on me in an online forum. It's not fun. While there can be *no comparison* to the level of plain old a-holery that Skeptics exhibit in such situations, and while I think most people here have been rather polite, and while it's very tempting to act upon the principle of "turnabout is fair play," I still think that, as difficult as it is, we could be a bit nicer to Keith here.

Further, here's why I think discussions such as these end up so frustrating.

The main problem is that Skeptics argue like lawyers instead of truth-seekers. They seek to discredit opposing witnesses (cases, evidence, etc.) as much as possible while leading people to believe that, without such witnesses' testimony, their side is automatically correct.

Skeptics are not trying to convince us who believe. Skeptics are trying to convince those who are in doubt or sitting on the fence to strike preemptively those who have never considered these matters before. That is why they dismiss in the most expedient manner possible, rather than constructively engage with, evidence against their position. (It is true that they have to deal with some of the most famous and compelling cases, but, in the main, they avoid going out of their way to educate the "jury" with respect to their opponents' position. This is exactly how lawyers operate.)

A truth seeker tries to explain the big picture. A materialist truth seeker would at least try to explain why the individual phenomena are so compelling to those who believe in them and explain why so many difference types of evidence (NDEs, ADCs, etc.) converge upon a particular interpretation. A *nice* materialist truth seeker would try to do so in a kind, engaging, and inclusive way. (Sam Harris seems to make this kind of effort, though I don't find him to be very intellectually compelling.)

I think Keith is a very good debater on the terms in which he is choosing to engage. He has a lot of knowledge, and his polemics are sharp in general. He is being a good courtroom lawyer. If he is frustrating to debate (and he is for me as well), it is because he is in lawyer mode and we are in truth seeker mode. (No, we are not perfect either, but I think that the regular posters here are non-dogmatically and sincerely searching for an explanation to the big truths of life and death. It is possible, however, for any of us to slip into lawyer mode at any time.)

Those are some of my thoughts on what's going on here. I hope they are helpful.

Kris writes: "When one turns off a flash light the beam of light it produces still exists after all. I am sure people can think of others."

True that! Just like human bodies still exist after they die, only no longer breathe, metabolize, or think.

KK Speaking of not thinking once again our philosopher fails to understand a basic analogy. This is getting to be a frequent problem. The beam of light is fine despite the flash light being turned off. In a the analogy the body could died ( ie off) body the mind is fine and moving on. I am sure everyone got the analogy but you.

You do the Philosophy Department of Colorado University proud Keith. I am sure the citizens of Colorado will be thrilled to know their taxes helped pay for your um education.

KA The problem with Grossman's response is that the previous three papers I wrote that he was responding to were nothing but "non-ideological empirical support for their hypotheses."

KK The rest of us who read it and certainly IANDS has had the opposite reaction to it....

KA Elsewhere, Grossman wrote: "However, in my opinion, the opinions and speculations of materialist ideologues ought not be included in serious discussions of NDE research."

KK Yes and as he explained in his paper there is a difference between and Evidenced possibility- a hypothesis is possible only if there is some empirical reason to believe that it might be true

and a

Logical possibility- a hypothesis is possible means that it is consistent, that it can be formulated without self-contradiction .

Grossman was talking about materialists who use the second type of possibility to make arguments in his paper as anyone who has read his paper knows. Of course this has only been explained to you for almost 12 years so there is no particular reason to expect you to have comprehended this very simple point by now.....

Again Keith you are shining example to all of us on how a true rationalist thinks

KA You conveniently ignored the part where I pointed out that there are just so many pages to a book that a publisher will tolerate. Well done!

KK I don't have a prestigious degree like you do in philosophy but if I was in your situation I would simply find another publisher who does . Clearly there are publishers who publish longer books for example the company who published Reincarnation and Biology ( Praeger Publishers) . Or simply publish it in two books, like Ian Stevenson did.


To bad common sense was not an elective you could have taken while in college; it would really help you

KA As no one disputes the existence of UFOs while plenty of people dispute the existence of extraterrestrial spacecraft visiting Earth. Since I used both analogies, what's your point?

KK I figured you would use that argument. Skeptics and materialists both agree on the description of what happens within the NDE experience, they simply disagree on the explanation. On the other hand with UFO skeptics and UFO proponents certainly do not agree with the alien description at all. Your argument fails. Again

KA Moreover, plenty of people dispute the existence of experiences literally outside of the body, which IANDS at least admits they take NDEs to be. And we are talking about the NDE researchers that IANDS favors, not the Susan Blackmore variety, right?

KK Actually IANDS said the evidence is suggestive of it; they do not say that it is that . If you cannot see the logical difference between those two points then well you probably got a Master's in Philosophy from the University of Colorado.

In my personal opinion I think a key requirement of being an NDE researcher is actually researching NDEs. You know working with the population. Something Blackmore has not done. She simply read the research of others and offered her opinions on it.

And no I do not consider people such as Chris Carter to be NDE researchers, I consider him to be a knowledgeable laymen.

Who do we listen to?? Keith or Keith

Keith from his response to Jim Matlock when discussing his books :

" First of all, as previously hinted at, it is pretty unreasonable for Matlock to require most of the contributors to engage the survival evidence directly. "

And Keith now

Now you are just straight up lying. Different topics were covered in different parts of the book. What I said is that not every contributor addressed the "survival evidence"--the standard term for studies of apparitions, OBEs and NDEs, cases of the reincarnation type, and mental mediumship--because only the last part of the book was about that evidence. Part 1 was about other kinds of evidence, and parts 2 and 3 concerned (in part) conceptual issues. Shame on you now, if you have any shame.

I will let you dear reader decide which one of our Keith's they wish to listen to

KA Wow, just wow, Kris. Thanks for making clear just how impartial you are even better than I ever could. I honestly thought you stopped posting here. If I had known, I would have never opened up this can of worms.

KK Did I claim to be impartial? I think it is clearly apparent that I consider the hallucination argument for NDEs to be garbage. I made that decision a decade ago and have seen nothing that has changed my mind. I am also not impartial to creationism. See how this works now. You probably don't.

I certainly do think you and Carrier have a lot in common. Both of your academic careers are dead via suicide. Both of you have absolutely failed to convince relevant experts of your view points despite trying for over a decade. Both of you have numerous critics who are both experts and knowledgeable in relevant areas who think you two are full of crap. Both of you prefer to preach to the already converted be it as it may. Seeing your path is modeling Carriers I just figured you might as well get your harem full of fan girls; maybe you could email Lauren Lane.

You could simply not respond to me, but that will never happen. You are way too egotistical to ignore any critic and frankly I get under your skin. You're like Trump; you just cannot take any criticism and you got to say something.

KA Kris writes: "Psychologist Stewart Williams argues that belief in the afterlife arose in people because it was pleasurable"

I quoted SSW verbatim saying that wishful thinking couldn't account for afterlife beliefs (or couldn't count for them alone, anyway) because they were often "anything but comforting" in my response to Matlock, Kris. You really don't have any shame, do you?

KK You did no such thing. Here is the passage verbatim

"True, the Foreword considers “wishful thinking” as one of many possible explanations for the prevalence of afterlife beliefs throughout human history (pp. xv–xvi)—but also notes how that kind of explanation falls short (particularly because “wishful thinking does not account for the fact that so many afterlife beliefs are anything but comforting” (p. xv)."


That is the only part of this entire article with the phrase " anything but comforting" and it clearly does NOT direct quote Psychologist Stewart Williams. At best if references it. As I have already stated I do not have this book so if in fact Williams argued that then there is no way I would have known that from reading the quote source in your response.

Seriously Keith your arguments have less depth to them than a side walk puddle.

@Eric

Keith will do what he always does when presented with the "slightly inconvenient " fact that pretty much everyone who has an indepth knowledge of NDEs considers his arguments to be crap. He will simply dismiss then as his intellectual inferiors. It is the same approach that Richard Carrier uses to dismiss critics of his Jesus Mything nonsense.

I can only say I wish I was half as intelligent as Keith THINKS he is.

Matt wrote, //I have been in the opposite position from that in which Keith finds himself here: having a bunch of Skeptics ganging up on me in an online forum ...//

Like Matt, I find myself feeling uncomfortable when most members of a forum gang up on an "interloper" with a contrary point of view. It’s one reason I’ve participated only minimally in this discussion. (The other reason is that a lot of the comments are really, really long.)

In general, I’ve found that if someone’s style of argument presses your buttons and makes you want to respond by being denigrating or unkind, it’s better to just walk away.

“In general, I’ve found that if someone’s style of argument presses your buttons and makes you want to respond by being denigrating or unkind, it’s better to just walk away.”

That’s great advice. I’ll try to take it more often.

"Some of the weaknesses of the Tanous experiments were discussed in the JASPR in replies to the Osis and McCormick write-up about their experiments with him."

You do not show that those experiments were invalid; you just shows that every time you show a positive experiment, you're going to raise the bar.

"To count as evidence for the existence of an etheric body, all of these phenomena have to be given a survivalist interpretation. If NDEs are one kind of hallucination, whereas REM dreams are a different kind of hallucination, for example, then NDEs would not be evidence for an etheric body. So you need to provide evidence for a survivalist interpretation of these phenomena specifically, evidence ruling out alternative nonsurvivalist interpretations of them."

True, and that is what all of us here have been, to reason that the interpretation more plausible than those phenomena is the survivalist interpretation. For example, some NDEs can not be hallucinatory because they contain veridical information not obtainable through the senses or memory.

"The drop-in communicator cases on their face aren't very impressive, despite Alan Gauld's presentation of them as evidence for survival. Brooke Noel Moore spends a chapter outlining why Gauld's and others' drop-in communicator cases are very weak evidence in his 1981 The Philosophical Possibilities Beyond Death (including the famous "Runki's leg" case)."

Whether or not it is impressive is subjective, but this claim does not invalidate it. You should also show why they are not valid instead of mentioning others.

"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."

I do not care, since the vast majority of the philosophers of the mind have not studied the survivalist evidence and have been educated not to take it seriously. For example, Chalmers in his book The Conscious Mind talks about how he can argue in favor of a dualism without invoking "the forces of darkness", whatever that may be, when the psychic evidence is not worthy of this ridicule.

"The point is that even if some sort of dualism is true, it might not provide for life after death in the way people sometimes think it would."

The case is that although it is true, it is a red herring, because we must start from the data, not from the philosophical conceptions.

"The problem is that whatever our minds have to do with souls, they pretty clearly have an enormous amount to do with our brains."

True, and we have already told you how it is possible to reconcile it with the existence of an afterlife.

Keith writes:

"And what prevents you from similarly concluding: "yes, we agree that the fossil record we observe is what the hypothesis of biological evolution predicts we will find, but not because evolution has occurred, but because God planted the fossil record to make it look like evolution occurred; it must be God's planting in light of the Bible saying that God created us directly."

It is not valid to conclude that because there is no empirical evidence about biblical literal creationist God, but it is valid to conclude that mind-brain dependence is only functional due to OBEs, NDEs, mediumship and memories of past lives, which as we have already said, the most plausible interpretation of some of these phenomena is the existence of an afterlife. Seriously this does not lead anywhere, if I have already mentioned this before.

"The main problem is that Skeptics argue like lawyers instead of truth-seekers. "

Yes, Matt, that is a helpful perspective. I think that is what I find so annoying about Keith.

His quips, about spirits not being able to solve some arbitrary cypher, are stupid and misinformed. For one, when a proven medium brings a spirit into the room, the spirit does everything possible to convince the sitter that it is indeed a deceased person the sitter knew in material life by providing detailed unique personal knowledge. For another, it assumes a lot about what spirits can or cannot do, what motivates them and it is ignorant of instances in which they have performed such feats.

Keith says to me:

//In the face of the mountain of neuroscientific evidence against it--provided that you don't immunize survival/independence from falsification by saying that such evidence "doesn't count" and thus can be ignored--the independence thesis ought to be abandoned, not modified with ad hoc (untestable) auxiliaries about the nature of discarnate minds, a nature that cannot be corroborated by any independent evidence but must simply be assumed (and hence is untestable).//

This whole conversation is pointless. Keith mostly fails to address the original substance of the points I make and frequently goes off on a completely irrelevant tangent. Plus many of his arguments are simply question-begging. In addition, he continually ascribes positions to me that I simply do not remotely hold i.e he frequently attacks straw men. And I have told him ad nauseum that I do not hold such positions.

Like most people on the net he seems to be not interested in the pursuit of the truth, but rather in appearing to be competent and knowledgeable to the casual reader who hasn't the understanding or patience to follow the arguments in detail.

This is what the world is mostly like. People who are trying to put forward an image, trying to convince others that they are clever. We get precious little in an honest exchange of views with the participants willing to grapple with the ideas of the people they are debating.

What he says in the quote above is a case in point. The neuroscientific evidence essentially only works with a certain conception of personal identity. A conception that holds that one's current memories, one's current interests, demeanour etc is *constitutive* of any self or soul. But it's a conception of the self that modern thinkers are forced to adopt if they are to hold the brain somehow produces consciousness. It is not commonsensical otherwise we would be obliged to conclude we have quite *literally* ceased to exist since we were children. So when Keith insists on such a conception of personal identoity, it is transparent question begging.

I'm sure that people are getting sick of me saying the same things. But Keith keeps ignoring my arguments and simply reiterating what he has previously said. So this whole conversation is without any purpose and I'm bowing out.

For those who are interested I set out my arguments about the mind-brain correlations and what I think constitutes the self in a blog post. People can judge for themselves whether my views on personal identity are odd as Keith continually claims:

http://ian-wardell.blogspot.com/2018/11/can-we-really-be-so-certain-theres-no.html (see especially part 4 which Keith finds so odd and strange but which I kinda think is a commonsensical conception of the self).

Matt writes: "While there can be *no comparison* to the level of plain old a-holery that Skeptics exhibit in such situations, and while I think most people here have been rather polite, and while it's very tempting to act upon the principle of 'turnabout is fair play,' I still think that, as difficult as it is, we could be a bit nicer to Keith here."

Thanks for that concession, Matt, though I don't agree that Kris doesn't fit the profile of the capital-letter Skeptics you have interacted with in the past. Unfortunately, too many people take sides based on who is in their tribe, rather than on who can engage in decent, rational dialogue. Atheists/skeptics who just provide knee-jerk slogans in response to reasoned theistic/parapsychological arguments are just as bad as theists/paranormal enthusiasts who provide knee-jerk slogans in response to reasoned atheistic/skeptical arguments. The world would be a much better place if people would side with those who back up their statements over those who don't rather than those who agree with them rather than those who don't. The philosophically inclined Editorial Board of Religious Studies understands this because, whether an author agrees with them or not, they value reasoned argument. Outside of philosophy, in the general population, reasoned argument is not nearly as valued. More so--or so it seems--in this "post-truth world" than in previous generations.

Matt writes: "The main problem is that Skeptics argue like lawyers instead of truth-seekers."

From my POV there is a damned-if-you do, damned-if-you don't element to this typical paranormalist critique (hat tip to Robert McLuhan, as well as previous posters here). If a skeptic provides off the cuff, uninformed opinions, then he is (rightly) criticized for proffering sloppy arguments. But if a skeptic provides well-researched, clearly reasoned arguments, he is (wrongly) criticized for being "laywerly." The only resort left for the skeptic is to keep his conclusions (or the reasons for them) to himself. Which is maybe the point of such critiques, to keep the information bubble intact by getting skeptics to just shut up.

Anyone can call members of their own tribe (or at least some of them) truth-seekers, while calling those outside of that tribe (all of them?) "defense lawyers." But merely falling back on one's preconceptions like this is pretty uninteresting to outsiders looking in. In the hope of generating a little self-awareness about this problem, just ask yourself this simple question: 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. Because if you asked me which parapsychological/survivalist authors are the good ones, I could easily come up with such a list: C. D. Broad, H. H. Price, Harvey J. Irwin, Carlos Avarado, Alan Gauld, Stephen Braude, David Lund, Michael Sudduth, and others.

Matt writes: "They seek to discredit opposing witnesses (cases, evidence, etc.) as much as possible while leading people to believe that, without such witnesses' testimony, their side is automatically correct."

People like William James, Chris Carter, and Neal Grossman seek to reinterpret neuroscientific evidence such that no conceivable evidence from neuroscience (or behavioral genetics, or evolutionary psychology, or anything else) can ever count against survival/independence, come what may. They actually *say* this explicitly. Skeptics, on the other hand--at least some of them--point out weaknesses in particular cases, showing that those particular cases are not as strong as claimed. But they don't immunize their positions from the possibility of any disconfirming evidence in the way that people who maintain that any possible evidence for existential dependence will never be anything more than evidence for mere functional dependence. For example, I'm quite happy to concede that replicable positive results in cipher tests, combination lock tests, OBE detection studies, OBE and NDE target identification experiments, or any similar such "decisive" tests would falsify personal extinction/existential dependence. I don't posit super-psi/living agent psi as a sort of catch-all explanation that could account for all potential evidence for survival, come what may, making it unnecessary to even look at the survival evidence, since you can *always* explain it away using that sort of alternative paranormal explanation. That's why looking at the actual results of these survivalist experiments is important; they could have turned out differently than they did turn out, in which case there would be strong evidence against personal extinction/existential dependence. It's because they did not turn out that way that their failure corroborates what the *independent* evidence from cognitive neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and evolutionary psychology points to--that consciousness/personalities/minds cannot be sustained in the absence of brain activity.

Incidentally, Matt, the reason that skeptics "deal with some of the most famous and compelling cases" is because, being mortal beings, we don't have an infinite amount of time to look at every case. Give us *your* best cases, and then we can critique them. Brooke Noel Moore did an excellent job of this in 1981. But like everyone else, there are other pulls on our time. (Moore has since focused his efforts on teaching philosophy and preparing critical thinking textbooks because we all have to make a living, and sometimes that precludes continuing to work on projects that personally interest us as much as we'd otherwise like to do.)

Matt writes: "A truth seeker tries to explain the big picture."

YMMV, but Matt McCormick certainly does this in Chapter 2 of The Myth of an Afterlife, as I do in both the Introduction and "The Dualist's Dilemma." Other contributors do it, too, for the areas that they were slated to talk about--for example, providing the "big picture" about what we know from brain damage cases or neural localization, or research into OBEs.

Kris writes: "You do the Philosophy Department of Colorado University proud Keith."

I didn't correct you last time because the point was unimportant, but FYI, I've never physically set foot in any of the branch of the University of Colorado, let alone got a degree from any of them. Talk about being sloppy...

Kris writes: "The rest of us who read it and certainly IANDS has had the opposite reaction to it."

IANDS is not neutral as to whether they think that something leaves the body during NDEs, nor do they pretend to be. So of course they're going to take anyone who argues that nothing leaves the body during NDEs with a grain of salt. It's part of their formal, corporate position, as you revealed earlier when you quoted that position. It's not dissimilar to Liberty University requiring faculty to sign a formal, corporate statement of adherence to specific doctrinal positions.

Kris writes: "Yes and as he explained in his paper there is a difference between and Evidenced possibility- a hypothesis is possible only if there is some empirical reason to believe that it might be true and a Logical possibility- a hypothesis is possible means that it is consistent, that it can be formulated without self-contradiction."

Indeed, and this distinction has no relevance to the papers of mine that he was complaining about since they were supported by data from the literature whenever there was relevant data about the issues under discussion. So raising this distinction as a response to my papers is a straw man, as I pointed out in my print response to him. For example, my conclusions about the cultural influences on NDE content were based exclusively on cross-cultural research into NDEs, not "ideology" or anything else. That's why my conclusion that there's probably a sociocultural source of prototypical Western NDE motifs was at variance with BOTH what most survivalists and most skeptics had said about these motifs in the past (because they wanted universal motifs as evidence for either a universal afterlife, or else a common neurological mechanism for NDEs). My conclusion was based on what the cross-cultural research itself found, nothing more.

Kris: "I don't have a prestigious degree like you do in philosophy but if I was in your situation I would simply find another publisher who does."

You conveniently forget that I was already forced to find a new publisher because the old one was not willing to accommodate such a large volume. And you fail to consider what the effect on sales would be of splitting the volume up into two volumes, which is what publishers care about most (they are a business, after all), especially for a volume that wouldn't sell nearly as well as books advocating survival, which undeniably get a large sales boost merely for telling a large audience what they already want to hear regardless of their particular contents. (How many people who bought Beyond Physicalism do you think ended up just sitting it on a book shelf somewhere?) You fail to consider what a "hard sell" any book arguing against survival is for a publisher because any market for any such book is small, which is why this one *had to be* comprehensive to get the support of any publisher. Compare this to something like a book from Eben Alexander, who could just write something stream of consciousness with no research at all and still make decent sales for a publisher. A retired philosophy professor recently put up a cheap Kindle version of a short book arguing against survival on amazon.com as an experiment to see if it would be worthwhile to publish it as a print book from a publishing or "market" point of view. He withdrew the Kindle version and decided not to try to market it as a print book after selling just 10 Kindle copies. (Incidentally, he had every emotional reason to favor survival given that his own son had been killed in his 20s. But he understood that the world is not necessarily the way we would like it to be.)

Kris writes: "Who do we listen to?? Keith or Keith"

Actually the two quotes you cite back each other up. Just read the sentences after the one you quoted from my Journal of Parapsychology reply to Matlock, where I say exactly the same thing that I've said here. Since this is in print and can currently be found online as a PDF, you're not very good at this.

Kris writes: "You could simply not respond to me, but that will never happen."

That's true, but look at how well that worked out for Hillary Clinton. We could publish fact checks of all of this misinformation on fake Facebook-promoted news sites, or we could "take the high road" and not dignify it with a response. The danger of letting the misrepresentations go unchecked is that large numbers of people will often believe them if they never hear any response to them, whether they are accurate or not. Just look at the appeal of "Climate Gate" and other tales.

Kris writes: "That is the only part of this entire article with the phrase 'anything but comforting' and it clearly does NOT direct quote Psychologist Stewart Williams"

Actually, it clearly does: https://books.google.com/books?id=dlRuBwAAQBAJ&pg=PAxv#v=snippet&q=%22anything%20but%20comforting%22&f=false

Of course, you quickly cover yourself by adding: "As I have already stated I do not have this book so if in fact Williams argued that then there is no way I would have known that from reading the quote source in your response."

Surrounding the statement with quotation marks and placing page numbers in parentheses after it should have been a hint. But apart from that, why are you making judgments about the contents of something that you concede that you have not read? (Note that we're only talking about the 12-page Foreword here, not the whole book.)

As I said before, you're not very good at this. Maybe you should try something else?

Kris writes: "He will simply dismiss the[m] as his intellectual inferiors."

Actually, Kris, I won't. Ptolemy's geocentric model of the solar system was ingenious in how it accurately predicted the positions of the planets in the sky, but Ptolemy's ingenuity didn't prevent him from being wrong. That's why positions need to be evidence-based as much as possible; checking one's hypotheses against the real-world data prevents us from merely falling into a self-supporting fantasy world of "thought forms" and "chemtrails" and pizzeria basements holding child sex slaves hostage at the bidding of high-level political leaders.

Michael writes: "I find myself feeling uncomfortable when most members of a forum gang up on an 'interloper' with a contrary point of view."

I appreciate the moral support here, Michael, but to be fair, it's an open question whether I should have posted here in the first place knowing how things have turned out in the past. (I seriously contemplated asking you not to approve my first comment after I had posted it, as if I had just made some drunken mistake that I knew I would regret the next morning.)

When I first corrected Ian's characterization of my book with a link, I was under the impression that Kris Key had stopped posting here, having been mercifully caught up in offline life long ago. I wasn't expecting to run into him here again, and the last time that we interacted, I straight up told him that I would not return to Paranormalia until he left it. (Thankfully, he did not find me there at the end of 2016 when I wanted to point readers to the Journal of Parapsychology exchange with Matlock.) When someone less mature won't voluntarily walk away, you always have the option of walking away yourself.

Given how polarizing this topic is for so many, maybe skeptics and proponents shouldn't talk to each other. For just shy of a decade I've been for the most part content to just say what I have to say in print and stay away from online spaces like this. Those who are hostile to your ideas won't seek them out, so strictly sticking to print publication is a practical way to avoid their invective. Most of my opponents would evidently rather talk *about me* than *to me* anyway.

As for David Hume's conception of the self (which modern scholars are so infatuated with), you might be interested in this paper Keith:

https://www.academia.edu/225938/Berkeleys_Refutation_of_Hume_On_the_Self

Keith is simply suffering the fate that has befallen Earl Doherty and Richard Carrier; he is ultimately not convincing.

I have noted for the past 15 years with Keith that there is a strong correlation between expertise ( or at least being knowledgeable) on NDEs and thinking his arguments are crap.

Keith's response to that will of course be the egotistical one. No one can comprehend his brilliance; however this seems unlikely when you look at the education level of people he interacts with. This is one of the reasons I compare him to Carrier; though in fairness to Keith I don't think he has Carriers narcissism.

Keith keep's arguing that we are all close minded to and unfamiliar with the mortalist argument but that makes little sense. Anyone who has studied survival knows the argument from mind brain correlations. Any decent book on reincarnation or NDEs will discuss non paranormal explanations. It is simply pedantic to argue that refuting the evidence for survival makes survival a neutral view. Of course many of the arguments from these books would be the ones that materialists ( err mortalists) would use.

So in the end Keith is being found unconvincing by people who know the survival data and the mortalist arguments. This has been happening for 15 years. Keith protests that Skeptiko is similar to Alex Jones ( of course other materialists don't have a problem with this and appear on the show) and that he no longer goes on pro survival forums but why shouldn't he seek all of these out? They will have many people in the audience who are often educated, familiar with parapsychology and familiar with mortalist objections. Certainly that would be far better than preaching to the already converted, doubly so when you consider many of them are unfamiliar with parapsychology and only know mortalist views. Surely he should seek out the best forums and most knowledgeable audiences to evaluate his arguments.

He has and he doesn't like the results. IANDS has certainly not been convinced. I know this forum has not been convinced. I doubt other forums like I mentioned above have gone any better for Keith. Skeptiko would be embarrassing for Keith and we all know it. Hence the avoidance. He prefers to stay on forums with like minded people. When he does risk coming out it is typical in Journals that few people and fewer materialists will ever read so the risk of embarrassment is minimum. ( Yes Keith I concede few people read JNDS or the Parapsychology Journal. Few people read any academic journals period)

On the other hand the survival side has been doing fine. NDE research is making it into more and more mainstream journals ( such as the Lancet). More vertical cases are being found ( such as the one I posted from Quora). I also posted a presentation from TED Talks which was supportative of the survival view. I want to note the audience didn't boo the presenter; they didn't heckle him; they went away open minded like rational people are supposed to be. The exact opposite of Keith.

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?

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