Dr. John Fischer, Another Philosopher Tries to Debunk NDEs |431|

Personally I do NOT think that such desires for greater purpose or meaning would undermine the logical interpretation of NDE data that folks in this community often put forth. I would see the desire for meaning, purpose, connection, etc to be influential in the development of MEANING itself in some big picture view, without which perhaps there would be no conceptual thought, language, etc. I would be interested to hear other ideas about this.

I would not suggest that this way of looking at things is an Absolutely Correct Way of Looking at Things. But it is useful for me, anyway, to experiment with.
If w distinguish between those who undergo NDEs and those who observe and interpret, I think we can say there are two distinct groups. Experiencers can be anybody - including people with not a spiritual bone in their psyche and no belief in religion at all. What they report seems to be a coherent body of experiences, which can be interpreted according to the lights of the inquirer/observer.

I think there is no doubt that a bias toward wanting to see a greater purpose or meaning influences how NDEs are interpreted, and whether that is a good or bad thing depends on whether you pay any credence to arguments about brain state at time of NDE.

It is argued that a positive bias leads to treating what other regard as inconclusive evidence as conclusive - and this is the basis for the current dispute, such as it is. I agree that the evidence about brain state is inconclusive, because we don't know what we don't know and all we can say is that it looks this way. Parnia's observation that 'consciousness survives physical death' is qualified by not knowing how long for. That's fair, but also irrelevant for those looking for deeper meaning and purpose.

You have to be disciplined about what you are asking - and not a lot of folk are. NDEs are an experience, so what should matter is what that experience tells us. If might want to ask 'If it turns out that the brain was active and engaged, does that negate the content of the NDE experience?" If you think it does, you have to contend with that. If you think it does not, then you can get on with figuring out what deeper purpose and meaning can be discerned from the reports of NDE experience.

I have said in this and other threads that the brain is irrelevant, because it is not a conditioning factor in any experience - NDE or OBE. I think it remains a player. Here's my principle issue about this whole subject. A lot of folk are ardently opining on matters about which they possess insufficient knowledge/information. I do not present myself as an expert, but well some direct experiences [not including a NDE], I have inquired into the subject to a reasonable degree.

While I entirely get the medical inquiry into NDEs it is not the only valid inquiry, and it is certainly not necessarily a pertinent one. It is important for physical science to advance in its own respect, but it so often comes behind the validation of experience. Its a bit like examining horse shit and declaring "Horses are real!" Well, that's no surprise to the guys riding the horse. The horse is real long before its droppings are examined and analysed.

If you think about it, you can't examine an experience that hasn't been had. And once it has been had, isn't that enough? Doesn't the experience stand on its own account?

We need to avoid the con pulled by materialists - whether an experience is valid, and whether it has been validated by authority. This started under Christianity - nobody could experience the divine unless it conformed to Church law and dogma. Invalidation of the experience of the sacred was a political objective of the early Church. That mentality transferred to Science. Having excised God from the picture, Science did not surrender any of the convenient conventions that go with power.

If we have a real passion for deeper truth and meaning we need to repudiate the right of science to validate experience. Not only does it not possess the knowledge, it does not possess motive. Parnia nailed the limitations of science - consciousness persists after the death of the physical body - but for how long? That's not useful. Is it relevant? No.
 
What wormwood said on people's belief shaping the evidence of something to that effect is 100 percent correct and the problem with ethical experimentation and skepticism
 
Yeah, that's what I meant but first off here's a better quote from parnia
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Evidence from AWARE and other studies, he says, raises the possibility that the mind or consciousness — the psyche, the “self,” the thing that “makes me Sam” and that makes us uniquely who we are — may not originate in the brain and may be a separate, undiscovered scientific entity, similar in nature to the electromagnetic waves that can carry sound and pictures. Modern science simply lacks the tools to show it. When we die, that entity we call consciousness or the self doesn’t necessarily become “immediately annihilated,” Parnia believes.
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Is there a reference for that quote? It seems to be made up of edited bits of the interview Steve shared, but I could be mistaken.
 
But it further shows that people will use their beliefs to shape evidence instead of allowing the evidence to shape their beliefs. I don’t claim to be immune to this type of thinking.
It is important to note that the NDE skeptic's "belief" is not pulled out of thin air but based on a lot of other strong lines of evidence that are hard to reconcile with some of the NDE accounts. Further the skeptic often has a grasp of how easily the processing of "experiences", and the memories thus formed, are malleable and can lead to unreliable accounts.
 
It is important to note that the NDE skeptic's "belief" is not pulled out of thin air but based on a lot of other strong lines of evidence that are hard to reconcile with some of the NDE accounts. Further the skeptic often has a grasp of how easily the processing of "experiences", and the memories thus formed, are malleable and can lead to unreliable accounts.
The 'skeptic' (these are not skeptics) belief is based solely in predicate from a preferred religious belief. They should have started from a position of suspension if they were a skeptic - but most do not.

Given that none of the neurological or chemical evidence can involve deductive inference, and even in the case of inductive inference the risk horizon on the inference is extraordinarily large and the inference is linear affirmation only - please explain how you can frame such basis as strong.

Remember as well to address the ethical difference between a modus praesens (something is plausible) and a modus absens (something has been falsified or likely falsified) under a petition for plurality. The standard/rigor of evidence is vastly different between those two modes of inferential sponsorship.

Your third contention does not apply to immediate and fresh recounts, which most of these are... This is a canned talking point used by amateur skeptics. Memory 'malleability' applies to remote-in-time recollection or those memories recalled through hypnosis - by the Loftus studies on immediate recollection cases, does not apply to the schema (plot) of the memory, only to secondary details. Please read those studies and know how to apply them before attempting to use them as a weapon.

I thought you said that you were 'not this type of skeptic'? :)
 
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It is important to note that the NDE skeptic's "belief" is not pulled out of thin air but based on a lot of other strong lines of evidence that are hard to reconcile with some of the NDE accounts. Further the skeptic often has a grasp of how easily the processing of "experiences", and the memories thus formed, are malleable and can lead to unreliable accounts.
Interesting. I don't get that. I see most 'sceptics' are focusing on questions of brain activity, and are arguing with researchers about that. They do not see to be arguing with experiencers, and hence not with accounts of NDEs - unless I am misreading your assertion.

In terms of arguments about accounts of NDE experiences, I am inclined to dismiss 'sceptical' objections on the grounds that they do not start from having sufficient knowledge, even at a rudimentary level, such that their opinions are worth bothering with.

if we go down the path of the malleability of memory, then no account of any experience is to be trusted. I find the so-called sceptical response of cross-examining a target subject closely, while excluding everything subject to the same scrutiny for fairness, to be no more than an intellectual lawyer's trick - and worth as much in the real world - squat.

Self appointed 'sceptics' tend to be highly selective about what they doubt, and they frequent stand upon hidden certainties that are not offered up for examination. For example in the earlier video with Parnia the anonymous question seems to be asking reasonable questions, and he slips in an assertion of faith - to wit - we can't be conscious before we are born. That's not a statement of knowledge stated as a fact on no sufficient grounds.

This seems to me to be a common feature of people who call themselves a sceptic. Selective doubt is not scepticism - that's systemic doubt. ITs one thing to hold a statement to be provisionally true and another to weave into an undisclosed body of assumptions that are misleadingly weaponised in debate.
 
Your third contention does not apply to immediate and fresh recounts, which most of these are... This is a canned talking point used by amateur skeptics. Memory 'malleability' applies to remote-in-time recollection or those memories recalled through hypnosis - by the Loftus studies on immediate recollection cases, does not apply to the schema (plot) of the memory, only to secondary details. Please read those studies and know how to apply them before attempting to use them as a weapon.
I downloaded the whole of your post and will labour over my dictionary and Dr Google until I know I know what the hell you just said. :)
 
I find that statement of Parnia's very odd. It is a bit like studying Bigfoot, and saying, "Well we now have conclusive proof that Bigfoot exists, but it was a rather mangy sample!".

David
To me, David, its a perfectly scientific response. Parnia has no evidence of duration. Some effects linger for a time before dissipating. There 'life' after death on the evidence, but there is no evidence it is eternal or even long lasting - or pleasant. You got to go elsewhere for that stuff.
 
To me, David, its a perfectly scientific response. Parnia has no evidence of duration. Some effects linger for a time before dissipating. There 'life' after death on the evidence, but there is no evidence it is eternal or even long lasting - or pleasant. You got to go elsewhere for that stuff.
Well yes, but all science involves some extrapolation. Without some extrapolation, science could never have got going. For example, Galileo obviously didn't test that every possible material falls at the same speed, but he extrapolated to his conclusion. To me, there is alwys a question of the burden of proof. After you reach the point where you are certain that consciousness extends a few minutes after death, I think the burden of proof shifts to the sceptics.

In any case, NDE's also provide evidence of contact with people who have been dead for a much longer period of time.

I feel rather the same way with the argument that mediums may be using ESP rather than actually contacting the dead. It is a totally wacky argument, because sceptics do not normally accept the existence of ESP, but if they did, it would vastly change the structure of the debate.

I am sure T.E.S will have a name for this kind of false argument!

David
 
I downloaded the whole of your post and will labour over my dictionary and Dr Google until I know I know what the hell you just said. :)
:)

predicate - that which stands as the basis, or preconceived notion of a sound or unsound argument
sound - an argument's predicates logically support its integrity (informal) and logical calculus (formal)​
unsound - an argument's predicates are irrelevant, non-salient, false, ignoratio elenchi, are a semantic truth and not a logical truth, or otherwise fail in their logical calculus as a means of supporting the argument​

deductive inference - that knowledge which is derived by reducing or altering an alternative or falsifying the field of possibilities (Sherlock Holmes inference)

inductive inference - that knowledge which is suggested through connecting disparate dots and predicting the next dot

risk horizon - in technology strategy, we compare that which we know about a subject, to that which we do not know and more importantly, do not know that we do not know - and then assess whether inference of any kind is really a relevant step at all. There are two types of risk horizon.

linear inductive affirmation - that form of induction where you presume the answer first, and then go looking for the observations which support it along one given lineation of research (such that consilience cannot ever come into play) - which will almost always show that your presumption was correct. Under this method, one will always find what one looks for.

modus praesens - a syllogism which contends that something is present - or at Ockham's Razor that something is plausible or possible for specific reasons of sponsorship.

modus absens - a syllogism which contends that something is absent - or likely is absent (this requires a proof standard, and cannot be inductively inferred (aka Hempel's Paradox))

plurality - the condition of science after Ockham's Razor has been surpassed, wherein scientists recognize more than one viable alternative which is legitimate for research (not that any has been proved)
 
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I downloaded the whole of your post and will labour over my dictionary and Dr Google until I know I know what the hell you just said. :)
Just a quick tip, if you double click on the word you want to look up and then right click on the selection, then (at least under Firefox) you can do the GOOGLE search directly from that menu. I have used that a lot with a certain person's posts!

David
 
:)

predicate - that which stands as the basis, or preconceived notion of a sound or unsound argument
sound - an argument's predicates logically support its integrity (informal) and logical calculus (formal)​
unsound - an argument's predicates are irrelevant, non-salient, false, ignoratio elenchi or fail in their logical calculus as a means of supporting the argument​

deductive inference - that knowledge which is derived by reducing or altering an alternative or falsifying the field of possibilities (Sherlock Holmes inference)

inductive inference - that knowledge which is suggested through connecting disparate dots and predicting the next dot

risk horizon - in technology strategy, we compare that which we know about a subject, to that which we do not know and more importantly, do not know that we do not know - and then assess whether inference of any kind is really a relevant step at all. There are two types of risk horizon.

linear inductive affirmation - that form of induction where you presume the answer first, and then go looking for the observations which support it along one given lineation of research (such that consilience cannot ever come into play) - which will almost always show that your presumption was correct. Under this method, one will always find what one looks for.

modus praesens - a syllogism which contends that something is present - or at Ockham's Razor that something is plausible or possible for specific reasons of sponsorship.

modus absens - a syllogism which contends that something is absent - or likely is absent (this requires a proof standard, and cannot be inductively inferred (aka Hempel's Paradox))

plurality - the condition of science after Ockham's Razor has been surpassed, wherein scientists recognize more than one viable alternative which is legitimate for research (not that any has been proved)
Thanks for the crib notes. They will save time. Now I need to find more time to do what i said I'd do.
 
Well yes, but all science involves some extrapolation. Without some extrapolation, science could never have got going. For example, Galileo obviously didn't test that every possible material falls at the same speed, but he extrapolated to his conclusion. To me, there is alwys a question of the burden of proof. After you reach the point where you are certain that consciousness extends a few minutes after death, I think the burden of proof shifts to the sceptics.
my reservation is that extrapolation from a tiny slice of knowing can lead to a big fat cake of fantasy that is dignified as rational and even, God forbid, 'scientific'.

Galileo had at least sufficient empirical ground to extrapolate and create theory that others could test. In Parnia's case he quickly steps beyond any extrapolation that is testable in scientific terms. He could employ ethnographic and anthropological data to infer what he has found exploring NDEs suggests that life does indeed continue - and that still would be a scientific thought - so long as materialist 'sceptics' agree with his logic and method - which I don't think they would.

Shifting the burden of proof to what is essentially a denialist attitude is futile, since their starting premise presupposes that there is nothing to prove. Once you accept a NDE is a 'real' experience, but you insist that conscious springs from the brain, you are forced to insist that a NDE is evidence the brain is active. Hence claims that the brain is in some kind of null state during a NDE is met with the argument that you can't prove that. The brain may be active beyond your ability to measure. That puts the burden of proof that the brain is actually in a null state on the NDE researcher - the person who made the claim in the first place - and round and round we go.

A more sensible approach is to observe that if the brain is the author of consciousness it is a remarkable thing that it can imagine it is not - and that it has an author beyond the brain. So the 'sceptic' [I know the term is misapplied here], who has no evidence the brain is the author of consciousness must explain why consciousness allegedly formulated by the brain imagines a different origin and nature. In fact the anomalous behaviour is thinking that the brain authors consciousness - given human consciousness overwhelmingly does not agree. So the push back, the emphasis of the burden of proof upon the 'sceptic' is justification for his argument - "How do you know the brain is the author of consciousness?"

My view is that we all make 'metaphysical guesses' - God is/God is not. For proper scepticism they are not articles of faith but launch points for inquiry. Alex's definition of scepticism = inquiry to perpetuate doubt = presents a problem. Doubt whether 'God is' or doubt whether 'God is not' [and, please these are just handy codes], if sincerely undertaken seems, on the whole, to favour the 'God is' option. You cannot prove 'God is not', only that God is not this or that definition of God - always avoiding the definition that might negate the premise.

The 'God is' option seems to generate experiences not available, generally speaking to the alternative. There is a bias toward the affirmative - God is, consciousness is not authored in the brain, life continues after death. The people who have mystical experiences are not the materialists and atheists. All the materialists and atheists can do is say that those experience violate their rules.

Science is not the arbiter of the real. Parnia's work is interesting if you already accept life transcends the material and biological, and a threat if you deny. The 'scepticism' expressed by materialists is fake. They have staked out a position and are defending it using stupid arguments that have no function or merit. The overwhelming majority of humans accept the spirit worlds and it has done so since forever. That fact that around 1% or less have issues should not be our problem.

I respect Parnia's work, because it is open minded. Brain state is an issue from his perspective because it is a factor he must consider, given that NDEs are almost exclusively trauma induced. And this is their point. They are not experiences sought after or even supposed to be real by those whom have them. They are radical and anomolous. But they are not part of what happens to people in medical crisis experience so much as a class of 'spiritual experiences' encountered by people in medical crisis.

NDEs fit with a range of experiences of non-ordinary awareness - OOBEs, lucid dreams, ecstatic mystical states and the like. We should be engaging the metaphysician, not the physician, to discuss them. What we are doing in responding to Parnia's limitations is ceding ground to the materialist presumptions. We are accepting the 'sceptical' premise. We should not.

Okay, a wordy response, but I had to lay out the argument. No doubt TES will succinctly [and, for me, incomprehensibly- at first] summit it all up in a line or 2.
 
I respect Parnia's work, because it is open minded.
Obviously I think we all do, but I still wish he had not qualified his work in the way he did.

Let the other side, try to put the argument, "OK so consciousness exists for some minutes after death (and seems to do some amazing things in that time interval), but there is no proof that it lasts any longer!"

It just sounds daft from a scientific perspective, because in normal science, a discovery of such magnitude would have scientists speculating wildly on all sorts of possibilities, and clamouring for grants - I mean they get some tiny blip on the trace from the LHC and they imagine whole alternative universes!

I mean, I do think it is vital to realise that we are not dealing with an idealised science of the type you read about in elementary text books, where every hypothesis can be destroyed by one piece of data, etc etc. We are really dealing with an idiotic bureaucracy that has completely lost its way.

David
 
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Obviously I think we all do, but I still wish he had not qualified his work in the way he did.

Let the other side, try to put the argument, "OK so consciousness exists for some minutes after death (and seems to do some amazing things in that time interval), but there is no proof that it lasts any longer!"

It just sounds daft from a scientific perspective, because in normal science, a discovery of such magnitude would have scientists speculating wildly on all sorts of possibilities, and clamouring for grants - I mean they get some tiny blip on the trace from the LHC and they imagine whole alternative universes!

I mean, I do think it is vital to realise that we are not dealing with an idealised science of the type you read about in elementary text books, where every hypothesis can be destroyed by one piece of data, etc etc. We are really dealing with an idiotic bureaucracy that has completely lost its way.

David
Okay, I get your POV. I think it is precisely because you don't get that reaction that we have that problem with denialism that is not going to be shifted with reason or science. Here I am not tarring scientists in general with the same brush, just the materialist denialists who falsely seek to dignify their POV as skepticism. They seek to misguide our attention into confusing denial with doubt. Skepticism is an actual thing - and its not denial. it is doubt.

This is why scientific bureaucracy has lost its way - in part. It is also amoral and even immoral. You will recall when science was just 'facts' and had nothing to do with right or wrong - you could use 'science' to deny flagrant wrong because there was 'no scientific proof'. All that was was a measure of certainty. 95% certain still left 5% uncertainty - and hence no 'proof'. Complete intellectual fiction of course, but it permitted moral outrages that were/are profitable.

Have no regard, no I have contempt, for intellectual dishonesty that conceals moral outrages for power and profit. The misrepresent of skepticism is a wilful deception predicated on wilful ignorance - sacrificing integrity for ego. We should be calling it out when we see it and not accept the premise of denial as grounds for discussion or debate.
 
Well yes, but all science involves some extrapolation. Without some extrapolation, science could never have got going. For example, Galileo obviously didn't test that every possible material falls at the same speed, but he extrapolated to his conclusion. To me, there is alwys a question of the burden of proof. After you reach the point where you are certain that consciousness extends a few minutes after death, I think the burden of proof shifts to the sceptics.

In any case, NDE's also provide evidence of contact with people who have been dead for a much longer period of time.

I feel rather the same way with the argument that mediums may be using ESP rather than actually contacting the dead. It is a totally wacky argument, because sceptics do not normally accept the existence of ESP, but if they did, it would vastly change the structure of the debate.

I am sure T.E.S will have a name for this kind of false argument!

David
I agree... Parnia's "carefulness" has always seemed a little contrived to me
 
I agree... Parnia's "carefulness" has always seemed a little contrived to me
He is walking a tightrope, in my best estimation.

On the one hand if he is too liberal in his semantics, he will be crucified for promoting 'woo' by our fake 'science communicators' who don't know their ascience from a hole in the ground.

On the other hand if he chooses the wrong words - reminiscent of catch-phrases familiar to monists and nihilists - they will jump on the chance to crucify the topic as well. They don't give a damn about the answer, they are just here to win an argument and gain celebrity.

This is a common challenge which faces a focused-research corporation head. You have competitors looking to jump on any clue-words which might hint that your pathway of research is now faltering, so that they can scream about it in the industry press. They are constantly floating employment offers to your senior techs. You can gauge how much they know by the persons they target through third party head hunters. If they begin to become too accurate in their targeting - someone is talking.

On the other side you have stockholders, plankholder owners and a board of directors who are looking for any clue or hint, that the big payoff milestone has been achieved - and will grow overly exuberant or whisper to investment trusts or outsiders that the 'big break' is about to happen. Thereafter, you can be pursued personally for misleading investors, as CEO.

So every Friday at 2pm is the "Here is what you can say, and what you cannot say" meeting. The worst thing that can happen is to then have a big break in series-testing come at 3:45pm on Friday - all the lab techs and junior researchers go to celebrate over beers at Flingers and the rumor mill network gets out of control - then you spend all your weekend on the phone trying to calm down investors/owners and field calls from random strippers ... uhhhh, stage entertainers, who want to now invest.

It is serious business - Parnia I suspect, is under similar-styled pressure - because I see the familiar conservative patterns in the language he employs.
 
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