Alex Tsakiris and Tom Jump Debate Near Death Experience Sceicne |408|

For some reason I listened to the interview again when I did some gardening. I know its silly but how could somebody call himself an atheist and
materialist and base his whole argument on science knowing next to nothing,
Surely if he was honest with himself he could only be an "agnostic whatever"or is he a true believer of a system that knows about 1/1000000 of
something...maby.
Ahhh to have true faith.
 
For some reason I listened to the interview again when I did some gardening. I know its silly but how could somebody call himself an atheist and
materialist and base his whole argument on science knowing next to nothing,
Surely if he was honest with himself he could only be an "agnostic whatever"or is he a true believer of a system that knows about 1/1000000 of
something...maby.
Ahhh to have true faith.
I agree with you, blaise. I like to play around with the idea that maybe we only know some tiny fraction of all there is to know or experience. Maybe it's 1/1000000, or 1/1000000000000000, or even exponentially less than all that. I agree with you that a person who truly believes that this may be the case would seem to be agnostic more than anything else. I also believe there is a great deal of irony in truly believing that we only know a fraction of all there is to know, because that knowledge itself would seem to me to be part of what we don't know. So "truly believing" it would seem to be a leap of faith, as you mention.

In the thread I started called Ways of Not Knowing, I've been trying to experiment with how to operate from a position of agnosticism without taking "too many" leaps of faith. It's an experiment and I'm not convinced that it's been particularly successful. I have a new post to make that continues to play around with the idea of considering "existence" to be more a verb than a noun, and combining that with looking at language more as pragmatic social-practice than as a tool for representing inner experience or experience with the world. These are sort of like thought experiments to see how my "inner experience" changes when "running" these ideas mentally. When operating from a place of agnosticism, "inner experience" is very important, because working with it seems to require fewer "leaps of faith". We'll see how that goes. There are a handful of people out there who basically try to operate from a place of agnosticism, and also there are a few philosophers in history, but the ideas and practices tend to get murky, unclear, paradoxical, overly technical, etc.

Edit: I should also mention that operating from a place of agnosticism, I believe, has some really interesting implications for things like psi, NDE, mystical experience, UFO, psychedelics, etc. which I'm trying to "build up to".
 
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I don't really know what Tjump's precise stance is. He seems to be a materialist and an atheist, but then he seems to be indicating he can be convinced otherwise and accepts a certain amount of evidence for NDEs, etc.

His fallback position seems to be science-of-the-gaps admixed with a promissory note. There's something we don't know, and the gap will most probably be filled by science, practised more or less as it is now. Anyone who can prove him wrong on that, he'll change his mind and stop looking for materialistic explanations. Well, of course, no one can prove him wrong with regard to something that hasn't yet been discovered. Can I prove that at some future time some method of detecting presently undetectable signals in the dying brain won't go some way towards explaining NDEs? No.

There's always a chance that such signals will be detected. Why, it's probably part of the million things we don't know but that must (of course) be explicable under the current paradigms of science, or ones very similar to them. No matter that we didn't find the answer in the signals materialists hoped and believed we would. Let's let go of that pack animal and go looking for another, for surely it will be found; can't fail to be.

No less strong than faith in an Abrahamic God, is faith in materialism. I know, because I went from the former to the latter, before (eventually) ending up as an idealist with faith in consciousness as the fundamental primitive, and a science based on that idea rather than materialism could be more productive. I admit it's a faith, though it's backed up by quite a lot of evidence plus a little personal experience. I could be wrong, but I find the evidence intellectually satisfying because it explains much that neither Abrahamism nor materialism can (nor a number of other -isms including theism in general, dualism, panpsychism and animism).

That's just a personal opinion, and we all have those -- including TJump. It wouldn't be so bad if there was public space for varied opinion; if the models people have in their minds were recognised and encouraged to compete in the marketplace of ideas. I guess the thing about there being dominant paradigms is precisely their dominance, which tends to stifle other, possibly more fruitful, ways of modelling reality.

Empiricism is purportedly the backbone of science, and yet at present, quite a lot of science is based not on observation but speculation, and pretty wild speculation at that -- one might say woowoo. Modern science with its Big Bang (a universe arising out of nothing one fine day), black holes, neutron stars, inflation theory, etc. indulges in faux mysticism just as religion has always done in the past.

And, as in the past, its loyal devotees unquestioningly parrot the mantras as if they're facts as real as noses on faces. This enables them to bask in the glow of the exalted ones, borrowing from their authority, happily declaring heresy on, and and sneeringly denigrating, anyone who might want to pursue ideas residing outside the box they've defined. Why not? So many of their heroes do the same thing.

It's all totally FUBAR: gnarled and broken. These people have the effrontery to question the empirical evidence provided by rigorous NDE research, and at the same time to glibly accept without question so much of the woowoo that passes for "science" these days. I'm not saying that science is all completely wrong, still less useless. Models based on empirical evidence sometimes prove extraordinarily useful. But that doesn't prove that the models are literally true. Take the Bohr model of the atom: it's bollocks, but not entirely without utility if only as an educational tool.

More than anything, mathematics is responsible for the cachet that many modern scientific theories possess. Most of us aren't terribly good mathematicians, and stand in awe of those who are -- and they are probably aware of this and can't help feeling a bit special. By using pure mathematics in pursuit of beauty rather than truth, mathematical physicists have come up with the some pretty exotic models.

They speak without hindrance, nay active encouragement, about aforesaid black holes, multiple universes, and so on, looking for the merest scintilla of confirmatory "empirical" evidence to support their models, and at the same time reject whole swathes of actual empirical evidence that support uglier but possibly truer models of reality. That's why Electric Universe and cold fusion theories, for example, have garnered so much opprobrium: have had their leading exponents be marginalised or excommunicated.

I suppose the rot set in with Darwinism, the idea that a combination of RM+NS could account for macroevolution. Initially, the theory looked fairly plausible, but that was a time when cells were seen as mere blobs of protoplasm, and the fossil record could -- you never know -- have come to show many infinitesmal shades of variation between one type of body form and the next.

Today, the cell is shown to be of gargantuan complexity, and virtually all the modern extant phyla appear to have arisen in a comparatively short period during the Cambrian explosion. At the molecular level, there's no naturalistic explanation of how the DNA code came about, because it isn't dependent on pure chemistry, and the odds against random mutation being able to produce one (let alone thousands) of working proteins are enormous. As to abiogenesis (the origin of life), it's no less of a problem. There's increasing rebellion against Darwinism even among members of the non-ID camp, the so-called Third Way people.

We need much more space for rebelliousness like this in science. IMO, it needs to be much more vibrant and open to new ideas than it is now; it's presently full of sheep enclosed in barbed-wire paddocks to prevent wolves from entering, and sheep from straying. Arguably, fewer and fewer big discoveries are being made -- hardly surprising when the establishment sees to it that all the funding goes to those inside the paddocks, and woe betide any lamb that might leap the fence.

The really interesting figures, those I see as true scientists with open minds, have to tread carefully lest they suffer the fate of Hannes Alfven, Pons and Fleischmann, Peter Duesberg, Rupert Sheldrake, Jacques Benveniste and a host of other thinkers. The problem is, they are vilified, marginalised and ignored (and their work even actively lied about) by the high priests of modern science religion. Their models don't fit in, threaten the reigning paradigm, so they must be denigrated at all costs, otherwise many in the mainstream will lose their cushy jobs inventing absurd new theories or infinitesimally adjusting existing ones.

Like I said, I don't know where precisely on the materialist spectrum Tjump lies, so how much of the above applies to him I can't say; in any case, this isn't really a diatribe against him personally, but against the present attitude of modern science. It's not just that it rejects the primacy of consciousness, psi and other things it considers "woowoo", but it also gangs up against any idea that threatens the status quo.

Latitude is only allowed in acceptable directions, and in those almost anything goes, however offensive to commonsense. You want to talk about matter that can't be detected? About quasars that are purportedly enormously energetic and unimaginably far away despite the fact they appear to be connected to much closer galaxies? About all red shift as being down to the Doppler effect when it could actually be related to the age of galaxies? About basing your whole cosmogony on such ideas?

Fine. Wonderful. Here's a billion dollars, go build yourself a Hadron collider or launch a new space mission where you can continue to be surprised that empirical results don't support your theories. Waste as much money as you like, deprive resources from as many promising new lines of research as possible. We want to keep you as happy as pigs in dung, carrying on as always and getting yourselves more and more tied in knots tinkering endlessly with existing models.
Wow! So wonderfully, eloquently and astutely unpacked. My God man, Bravo !

You have both summed up my thoughts, sentiments and observations about the current cultural manifestation of the field of scientific enquiry, and educated me through providing an overview which deepens and broadens my perspective of this area.

I am in awe of this.

Thank you.
 
Alex, I am by no means a prude and love to swear, but I believe it detracts from professional venues like Skeptiko. In this interview and the one with Forte, you swear a great deal, so that I hesitate to forward these two to relevant forums whose admins and members never swear. Is it my imagination or are you swearing much more often in recent shows? I have been listening for years, and forwarding / sharing frequently, and this does seem to be a recent trend.
I think it could be a matter of how comfortable Alex feels with a particular interviewee. Even Joe Rogan probably wouldn't swear if he were interviewing the archbishop of Canterbury, though as I recall he did swear (if not as frequently as usual) when interviewing Rupert Sheldrake. Did Alex swear with Sheldrake? I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think so.

I suppose he and his interviewees may sometimes talk a little before the interview, or he may know them well enough to judge whether or not to swear. I'm okay with it if I feel comfortable; which I wouldn't if he were interviewing certain people I can think of. I suppose as a general rule, it's best not to swear, then there's no risk of offending anyone, but I'm not overly bothered about it and so far I think he's being fairly judicious.
 
Finally had a chance to listen to the interview. Alex's question at the end to was to ask if we could try to summarize Tom Jump's position. I will give it a shot:

I think Tom Jump was trying to say that we may be in some sort of "pre-Copernican revolution" phase of understanding about consciousness.

I think that is an interesting perspective, though if he was trying to use it as a premise in some "biological robot" materialist argument for consciousness, I don't think it works. I'm not sure if that's what he was driving at or not.

I guess I would be inclined to try a different tack with Tom, and try to suggest that consciousness may be one of the only phenomenon that may be beyond the reach of the scientific method to "wrestle down to the ground". As things stand currently, I tend to think that consciousness is a "free miracle" in just about every scientific, philosophical, or spiritual theory. Consciousness is kind of like language/thought in that they seem to "precede" scientific method--so it may be the case that scientific method gets tripped up when it tries to loop back on itself and test its own necessary premises, kind of like philosophy gets tripped up when it tries to tackle these topics. Consciousness seems to me to be one of the primary mysteries of existence, right up there with the mystery of existence itself. (I would also include as fundamental mysteries the origins of life and the origins of language/symbolic thought/meaning.)

On a somewhat different but related note, I think the philosophy of science perspective that paradigmatic knowledge eventually gets overthrown in revolutions (Copernican revolution, etc) has interesting implications for spiritual and mystical questions. For example, if extended consiousness is the case, or if Kastrup's mind at large is the case, how do we know that there isn't something beyond universal consciousness or mind at large? And then something beyond that? And then something beyond that, etc?
 
I agree, and if people here start to swear at each other I tolerate a bit of it and then intervene - not that that happens often - but I can't be quite so forceful with the owner of Skeptiko!

I didn't actually watch this show, because I didn't expect to discover anything of interest from it - indeed I think at one point Alex himself said he had hoped for more from that interview.

For me, I think my primary objection, is that people come to these podcasts from very different positions. For example, if I were to say "F*****G science", I know what I would be referring to - the tendency for science to use its authority way outside its domain, and to twist facts mercilessly to assert various things (not always just in support of materialism). OK - so to me, that remark might make sense, but to someone else it could sound like a summary dismissal of our main source of knowledge about the world.

My secondary concern is that it does put people off - maybe very thoughtful people who we should attract.

David
Thanks, David. I will not share the Forte interview to a forum to which I have in the past shared a number of Alex's podcasts--where they have led to useful discussions. This forum would ideed be put off by the frequent swearing. I could forward it to another forum where anything goes, but that forum often devolves into unuseful discussions that recently are in fact a dumbing down and IMO a waste of time. Alex is a brilliant podcaster and it is a shame he is, as one poster said, fencing himself in. As an example, one of the few venues where swearing has not crept in, GlobalResearch.ca, would not accept an article from me incorporating a transcript of parts of the Forte interview. I would have to edit it, and simply do not have the time.
 
Thanks, David. I will not share the Forte interview to a forum to which I have in the past shared a number of Alex's podcasts--where they have led to useful discussions. This forum would ideed be put off by the frequent swearing. I could forward it to another forum where anything goes, but that forum often devolves into unuseful discussions that recently are in fact a dumbing down and IMO a waste of time. Alex is a brilliant podcaster and it is a shame he is, as one poster said, fencing himself in. As an example, one of the few venues where swearing has not crept in, GlobalResearch.ca, would not accept an article from me incorporating a transcript of parts of the Forte interview. I would have to edit it, and simply do not have the time.
Far more significantly, Alex and I are very skeptical of 'climate change' and a number of other commonly accepted ideas - I am also fairly pro-Trump. I this we are all under attack by 'fake news'.

David
 

Alex

Administrator
However, If someone falls off a mountain or is in a car crash and has an NDE, but never actually died from a clinical perspective, then a TJump could say that the brain was hallucinating under stress.
dr. Jeff long did a great job of hitting this point during our interview
... it's a little counter intuitive, but the key thing to remember is that all the research on NDEs has given us a pretty good definition of the phenomenon. I mentioned the scale Greyson posts ago, this has become a widely accepted standard for measuring whether or not someone had an nde. again, keep in mind people have all sorts of strange experiences but we now have way of classifying which ones of are ndes and which are not. so with that in mind we can ask whether it's reasonable to believe such a wide variety of conditions in the brain could produce the same experience. hypoxia, anesthesia, DMT blast, cardiac arrest, last gasp of a dying brain, comma, extreme fear or trauma with no reduction in brain flow -- is it reasonable to believe that all these conditions are responsible for the same experience? is it reasonable to believe that reported phenomenon is occurring during all these brain states?

Alex - since you have contact history w/ Parnia, Von Lommel, Long, etc, what do you think abut contacting them and asking them about TJump's ATP theory and then bringing back their response? Or have them directly address TJump?
what was TJump's ATP theory?

I would be happy to go with these guys if he can point to any real research or any respected academic / researcher who supports his position, but these guys get a ton of wacky homegrown theories and I wouldn't want to waste of time with that kind of stuff.
 

Alex

Administrator
Alex, I am by no means a prude and love to swear, but I believe it detracts from professional venues like Skeptiko. In this interview and the one with Forte, you swear a great deal, so that I hesitate to forward these two to relevant forums whose admins and members never swear. Is it my imagination or are you swearing much more often in recent shows? I have been listening for years, and forwarding / sharing frequently, and this does seem to be a recent trend.
ok I can try and tighten up :)
 

Alex

Administrator
For some reason I listened to the interview again when I did some gardening. I know its silly but how could somebody call himself an atheist and
materialist and base his whole argument on science knowing next to nothing,
Surely if he was honest with himself he could only be an "agnostic whatever"or is he a true believer of a system that knows about 1/1000000 of
something...maby.
Ahhh to have true faith.
nice one... I Hadn't thought of that before but you're so right, " I put my total faith in science because it knows almost nothing about the world I live in :)"
 
what was TJump's ATP theory?

I would be happy to go with these guys if he can point to any real research or any respected academic / researcher who supports his position, but these guys get a ton of wacky homegrown theories and I wouldn't want to waste of time with that kind of stuff.
A couple or three pages of comments back, TJump says. "The brain never stopped functioning during NDE's... it take 20 min for brain cells to run out of ATP (energy) and die so they continue to function 20 min after cardiac arrest with no blood flow. If being given CPR all the cells continue to be given energy and function up to 45 min after cardiac arrest. Even if there is no measure EEG (electrical activity) in the brain, there is still measurable fMRI activity so it is simply false to say the brain is "dead".... its not dead at all.the cells are doing just fine you simply are not conscious."

It sounds to me like a very desperate last ditch effort on TJump's part to save his paradigm given the nature and quality of the NDE experience, but I wondered what a medical doctor who understands NDEs would say about it.
 
TJump says. "The brain never stopped functioning during NDE's... it take 20 min for brain cells to run out of ATP (energy) and die so they continue to function 20 min after cardiac arrest with no blood flow. its not dead at all.the cells are doing just fine you simply are not conscious."
Agreed, this is an ad hoc fallacy. It can always be posed, can never be disproved and is taken as a logical proof by the scientifically illiterate.

The key with this type of construct is for its proponent to seek to mature it into a hypothesis. As long as they conduct that activity, then we should be OK with an ad hoc construct being held as one of several considerations.

However, when an ad hoc construct is posed as a plausible deniability... this is nothing but methodical cynicism. It is nothing more than saying 'I am in charge. I do not like any idea except for this one. I want no more science done. Here is the answer.'

This is the habit of a fake skeptic.

The difference between an ad hoc construct and a real big-boy scientific hypothesis, is that the proposer of the hypothesis

1. Is eager for more science on the topic - as they do not think we know everything we need to know just yet.​
2. Crafts an incremental prediction at risk, inside their hypothesis and WANTS IT TESTED.​
Fake skeptics never do 1 & 2, because they are here to push a religion and could give a flip about actually doing any science (science is a costume).
 
A couple or three pages of comments back, TJump says. "The brain never stopped functioning during NDE's... it take 20 min for brain cells to run out of ATP (energy) and die so they continue to function 20 min after cardiac arrest with no blood flow. If being given CPR all the cells continue to be given energy and function up to 45 min after cardiac arrest. Even if there is no measure EEG (electrical activity) in the brain, there is still measurable fMRI activity so it is simply false to say the brain is "dead".... its not dead at all.the cells are doing just fine you simply are not conscious."

It sounds to me like a very desperate last ditch effort on TJump's part to save his paradigm given the nature and quality of the NDE experience, but I wondered what a medical doctor who understands NDEs would say about it.
The thing is, if you turn over enough 'established' science, you can 'explain' any evidence conventionally! Brain cells are believed to communicate primarily by nerve impulses - all or nothing processes - and if there isn't enough energy left to sustain such processes (so the EEG is flat) can the brain reasonably be said to be 'doing' anything meaningful?

Furthermore, my sense is that the longer NDE's become more exciting and innovative (if that is the right word), whereas any theory based on dwindling ATP, or oxygen, or whatever, would predict a fantasy that would gradually fade out. The fact that people faint with even reduced blood flow, certainly gives a measure for how long useful brain activity lasts.

Finally, there are a scattering of reports of much longer NDE's - such as cases where people die in hospital, are moved to the morgue, and then 'wake up'. The point is that although you might explain such cases as misdiagnosis of death, if you explain a phenomenon with all sorts of subsidiary hypotheses to mop up all the outliers, you probably don't have right explanation!

David
 
My concerns about the planet do not derive from climate change.

To me the biggest threat is to venues like Alex's and like Global Research.
Right - we have to protect freedom of speech.
I still have some hope, because the internet is pretty robust -designed to survive a war. People can be censored on platforms like Facebook, but people can set up blogs and other websites to spread their views. Also, people are becoming wise to the fact that certain internet venues are censored.

There are even alternatives to Wiki that don't have certain points of view blocked.

Of course, some censorship is good - extreme pornography, incitement to violence, etc, but the problem is, it spreads.
Somewhere I have the link to the alternative version of wiki - indeed I posted it here some time back - I'll edit this if I find it.

David
 
Right - we have to protect freedom of speech.
I still have some hope, because the internet is pretty robust -designed to survive a war. People can be censored on platforms like Facebook, but people can set up blogs and other websites to spread their views. Also, people are becoming wise to the fact that certain internet venues are censored.

There are even alternatives to Wiki that don't have certain points of view blocked.

Of course, some censorship is good - extreme pornography, incitement to violence, etc, but the problem is, it spreads.
Somewhere I have the link to the alternative version of wiki - indeed I posted it here some time back - I'll edit this if I find it.

David
https://jwork.org/main/article_top_best_alternatives_to_wikipedia
https://www.lifewire.com/alternatives-to-wikipedia-3482764
 
B

Baccarat

Interviews like this are a complete waste of time. It's basically interviewing some random person with atheistic beliefs(pre sets) and trying to convince them to look at their stance from a different perspective, at that point they really don't instead they look at it from the lens of their materialistic dogmatic philosophy. You could provide some of the most profound latest evidence and it wouldn't be viewed 100 percent through their lens,more so the cognitive biases they read or researched because they have yet to have the experience themselves. It leaves them in a slightly deluded state. In part I blame the shaky foundation of Christianity, taken literally the bible is at almost 100 percent failure rate. The esoteric value of the Bible and other texts has been diminished to almost purely exoteric (outer).
When indoctrinated at an early age we are more or less taught that heaven is out there and God is some man in the sky,or Jesus walked on water. People begin to realize they never physically seen that in their life and begin to doubt the veracity of the Bible and doubt sets in usually setting them on their path of materialism. We now have a human who was an arm chair Christian and now is an arm chair materialist
 
ok I can try and tighten up :)
Really? I get the manners thing, and over doing swearing can be a but hard to handle at times, but if a few expletives put a person off their inquiry into truth, knowledge and wisdom that's getting a wee bit too precious for me. There's a certain robustness needed here. Usually expletive encrusted opinions are not worth much to being with, so there is a sense in not tolerating an excessive burden of profanity and crudity.

To be fair I didn't bother listening to the TJump show because, after reading the early posts, and with it arriving in my podcast feed days after, the last thing I wanted to do was excite my own occasional love of expletives by having to listen to more materialistic nonsense. So I missed Alex's supposedly offending bout of swearing. Its not sufficient motive to move me to listen to the show, however.

But I must say that if there is an audience that is exceedingly sensitive about 'language' it would also be just as sensitive about ideas - but operating under a mannered pretence of being 'polite' while also being very controlling. Now while I have no doubt that such folk do exist, such as are exceedingly mannered and relentlessly in search of truth, I would imagine they would also be prepared not to complain about the speech of a cussing saint if knowledge and wisdom also flowed from their lips. There are lots of buddha jokes on this theme - which is don't take yourself too seriously.

So Alex, maybe tighten up, but also don't forget to loosen up - there are other opinions on this subject.
 
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