ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags neuroscience , physics

Reply
Old 3rd November 2019, 05:48 PM   #41
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
If you're posing this as a sort of natural process of evolution, then you can say that death by traumatic brain injury deprives the spirit of life memory. In that case it just sucks to die that way, but that's the breaks.
Yes, I guess it would suck. Hopefully it was a wrong idea. Surely there are alternative ideas about how incarnation might work. Maybe a dormant soul receives memories throughout the life and at the time of impending death or a shock it wakes up and experiences them vividly for the first time.

Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
But if you propose this kind of dualism as something designed and dictated by, say, an omnipotent god, then you have to answer that plot hole.
Unfortunately, it wouldn't be the first bad thing that happened. My hope is that bad things as a learning experience will help prevent future bad things. If there is a God, I don't know his moral calculus across spacetime or whether he is literally omnipotent or omniscient.
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd November 2019, 06:20 PM   #42
Matthew Ellard
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,325
Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
Surely the process of living our lives is the mechanism which causes the evolution of our souls?
No. Evolution is about species and not individuals.

As modern humans are 190,000 years old and souls have no mechanism to evolve ( no DNA & no interaction with the environment), your reincarnated soul may still be from homo erectus or even Australopithecus.
Matthew Ellard is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd November 2019, 06:22 PM   #43
Matthew Ellard
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,325
Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
What if the soul does not normally interact with the brain....
Well then your soul is obviously not learning from all your body's worldly experiences. That destroys all your previous claims about souls.
Matthew Ellard is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd November 2019, 06:58 PM   #44
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17,948
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
Surely there are alternative ideas about how incarnation might work.
There are, but they all tend to have one or more logical problems like this one. I'm not saying that reincarnation is therefore logically impossible. But until reincarnation presents itself in a way that we can study systematically, in a controlled fashion, the varied speculation we have instead is generally unsatisfying.

Quote:
Maybe a dormant soul receives memories throughout the life...
If so, that's not something I would call dormancy. Scorpion suggested that souls might be dormant as a way of explaining why we don't see anything that looks like the interaction between the organism and the soul. If the soul is receiving information from the organism, then you're just back to the original problem.

Quote:
If there is a God, I don't know his moral calculus across spacetime or whether he is literally omnipotent or omniscient.
Fair enough. My approach was to try to cover as much of the potential territory as seemed appropriate. Some of the models of animism, duality, and so forth in the Western traditions rely on a god to have designed this process and to mediate it on an ongoing basis. That is, it's meant to have rules. And those rules are meant to appeal to the morality of those who are made subject to them. The dharmic religions -- the ones that talk more about reincarnation and cycles of mortality that are meant gradually to converge to a globally optimal solution -- also rely on rules, but less on an omnipotent god.

If the rules say that getting shot in the head, such that your brain turns into a fine pink mist before being able to convey its memories somewhere, means the death of the sole, then I'd say that god is pretty far from omnipotent or omniscient. And therefore probably someone I don't consider worthy of my worship.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd November 2019, 07:26 PM   #45
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,901
Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Don't word it like that. He'll see it as an open door the idea that there is some sort of equally valid type of evidence that just isn't scientific.


I see your point, but as a lawyer one of the first things we learn is that there are many, many different types of proof. Scientific proof isn't even the most rigorous. We could demand mathematical proof. In that case, the proposition has to be shown to be absolutely necessary given the starting conditions. If we were to demand that of science, we would have to wait around until the death of the universe to say that a proposition is or is not proven.

In science, all we ask is that the proposition be consistent with all of the evidence we've gathered so far and that it be parsimonious - not add more assumptions than the minimum necessary.

Historical proof is less rigorous. Legal proof is a different animal altogether. And then there's personal proof - whatever you choose to believe based on your own experience. If litewave or Scorpion wants to say, "I personally believe in souls that transcend physical brains," I would be happy for them.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd November 2019, 07:47 PM   #46
Dr.Sid
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Olomouc, Czech Republic
Posts: 2,089
He's such a poor .. wait for it .. soul.
Dr.Sid is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd November 2019, 08:39 PM   #47
sackett
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Detroit
Posts: 5,704
Who in this thread has the oldest soul?

Or are we gargling incarnation yet?

But if we are, somebody here must have been to hell at least once.

So who on this thread has gone through intarnation the most times? Not counting lawyers, of course.
__________________
Fill the seats of justice with good men; not so absolute in goodness as to forget what human frailty is. -- Thomas Jefferson

What region of the earth is not filled with our calamities? -- Virgil
sackett is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 12:30 AM   #48
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 88,030
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
Yes, I guess it would suck. Hopefully it was a wrong idea. Surely there are alternative ideas about how incarnation might work. Maybe a dormant soul receives memories throughout the life and at the time of impending death or a shock it wakes up and experiences them vividly for the first time.







Unfortunately, it wouldn't be the first bad thing that happened. My hope is that bad things as a learning experience will help prevent future bad things. If there is a God, I don't know his moral calculus across spacetime or whether he is literally omnipotent or omniscient.
Why would NDEs happen then, if the soul has a record of all experiences why is it playing back through the brain? And if it isn't playing back through the brain then how do people remember it afterwards? Again whichever way you slice it there are changes happening to the brain therefore there is something that science could detect at the scale at which the brain works.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 06:59 AM   #49
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why would NDEs happen then, if the soul has a record of all experiences why is it playing back through the brain? And if it isn't playing back through the brain then how do people remember it afterwards? Again whichever way you slice it there are changes happening to the brain therefore there is something that science could detect at the scale at which the brain works.
From NDE reports, the state of mind of the person during the life review is markedly different from the states of mind when they were experiencing those events during their life. They describe the state of mind during the life review as more vivid (hyper-real) and empathetic. Apparently this is due to the soul detaching from the brain. It may not mean that the soul is receiving memories from the brain during the life review; the memories may have been recorded in the soul through the brain during the life but the soul may experience them in a specially vivid and empathetic way for the first time when it is released from the suppression by the brain.

In any case, there should be interaction between the brain and the soul but as I wrote in OP this interaction may be difficult to detect, especially if the soul is relatively passive and its manifestations during the life are limited to usual brain activity.
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 07:30 AM   #50
Apathia
Philosopher
 
Apathia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 5,379
Originally Posted by sackett View Post
Who in this thread has the oldest soul?

Or are we gargling incarnation yet?

But if we are, somebody here must have been to hell at least once.

So who on this thread has gone through intarnation the most times? Not counting lawyers, of course.
"Oldest soul?" It's been about an hour and a half since I woke up this morning. That's as far back as this current soul goes, if even that far.

East Asian Buddhism has six places the soul can be cranked through:
The Human Realm
The Animal Realm
The Heavenly Realm
The Hell Realm
The Realm of Hungry Ghosts
The Realm of Fighting Demigods
(Plus in many tales: Rebirth as a household utensil.)
So been there and done all of them.

As for "Intarnation," tarnations there be a plenty without count.

Buddhism inherited Reincarnation from the Hindu Milieu. It's never been a fit with the assertion of "No-Self." Over the centuries Buddhist thinkers have tried to fudge it in, but contemporary Secular Buddhists are all too happy to chuck the notion in the trash.
__________________
"At the Supreme Court level where we work, 90 percent of any decision is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for supporting our predilections."
Justice William O. Douglas

"Humans aren't rational creatures but rationalizing creatures."
Author Unknown
Apathia is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 07:49 AM   #51
sackett
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Detroit
Posts: 5,704
Oboy! Buddha-ism! About time!

Apathia, can we play kick-Zen? Pleeeeeze?
__________________
Fill the seats of justice with good men; not so absolute in goodness as to forget what human frailty is. -- Thomas Jefferson

What region of the earth is not filled with our calamities? -- Virgil
sackett is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 08:16 AM   #52
Apathia
Philosopher
 
Apathia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 5,379
Originally Posted by sackett View Post
Oboy! Buddha-ism! About time!

Apathia, can we play kick-Zen? Pleeeeeze?
If you see the Buddha on the road, keep kicking it till it gets stuck in a drain.
__________________
"At the Supreme Court level where we work, 90 percent of any decision is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for supporting our predilections."
Justice William O. Douglas

"Humans aren't rational creatures but rationalizing creatures."
Author Unknown
Apathia is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 08:51 AM   #53
Dr.Sid
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Olomouc, Czech Republic
Posts: 2,089
Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
"Oldest soul?" It's been about an hour and a half since I woke up this morning. That's as far back as this current soul goes, if even that far.

East Asian Buddhism has six places the soul can be cranked through:
The Human Realm
The Animal Realm
The Heavenly Realm
The Hell Realm
The Realm of Hungry Ghosts
The Realm of Fighting Demigods
(Plus in many tales: Rebirth as a household utensil.)
So been there and done all of them.

As for "Intarnation," tarnations there be a plenty without count.

Buddhism inherited Reincarnation from the Hindu Milieu. It's never been a fit with the assertion of "No-Self." Over the centuries Buddhist thinkers have tried to fudge it in, but contemporary Secular Buddhists are all too happy to chuck the notion in the trash.
Well it's useful mechanism. You need some form of after-life punishment. Buddhism with its nihilism is always in danger of disciples just resigning on life. Teach them about how the cycle is endless, how human existence is rare, and how in any case, suicide (and other 'sins') would lead to very bad incarnation. Problem solved.
Dr.Sid is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 10:40 AM   #54
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17,948
If I may elaborate and round off what I see are some sharp edges :--

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
In science, all we ask is that the proposition be consistent with all of the evidence we've gathered so far and that it be parsimonious - not add more assumptions than the minimum necessary.
Yes. But beware that "all the evidence we've gathered" is not an invitation to reason in circles. In science, we note an observation X that isn't presently predicted by any model. After some thought and discussion, we formulate a hypothesis H that attributes X to some supposed cause A. X is not proof of H. It may make certain sense to explain X in terms of what we think about A, but that's only because we formulated H arbitrarily and suppositionally to say that. To say that X therefore proves H is to reason circularly. X is not a sufficient body of information in science to constitute proof of H. We must gather more evidence of a different kind to test the hypothesis and break the circle.

We don't know that A causes X, and we probably can't observe A directly. But we may know that A must invariably result in observation Y, which is different than X. Y may be a strong enough proxy for A. We therefore deduce that where we fail to observe Y, we can deduce that A did not operate. Where we do observe Y, we can deduce that A operated. If we can observe X and Y together, and they vary together, this is when we can begin to say that we have enough information for scientific proof for H. The notion that causes, when they operate, leave behind more kinds of deducible potential observations than just the observation we want to explain is the heart and soul of what we call the hypothetico-deductive method of scientific reasoning. Where we can't directly observe the operation of some hypothesized cause, we turn to what we can deduce also follows the cause.

What we see often in reasoning about supernatural causes is that the hypothetical attribution tries to be the proof. If a person observes something that's difficult for him to explain by ordinary means at his disposal, he may formulate a hypothesis attributing the observation to supernatural causes. The contours of the hypothesis are intricately carved to match the contours of the observations and circumstances, leading to the illusion that the hypothesis forms a richly developed theory.

Here in this thread we're examining what happens when science recognizes one of those contours and says, "But we deduce that if this were the causation, then this other observation would hold. It does not, therefore the causation fails a scientific standard of proof." (More on this later.) Far too often the response from the claimant is to whittle out a new ad hoc curlicue in his hypothesis that deftly avoids the scientific deduction while maintaining the gist of the claim. Accumulate enough of these speculative notches, rabbets, and fleurs-de-lis and you have enough material to sell it as a book in those out-of-the-way bookshops that always smell so very nice when you step into them. Scientifically, however, the latticework of ad hoc refinements to the hypothesis soon collapse under their own prima facie weight, to be ground underfoot by the handsomely-sandaled foot of William of Occam.

[Loss Leader: "Objection, relevance."}

Yes, yes, I promised to talk about circularity. If we proposed to talk about all that's wrong with reasoning to support the supernatural we'd have, well, the forum in toto.

When a claimant is asked why he believes in the supernatural, he'll cite the former problematic observation. In other words, the observation that the hypothesis was formulated to explain is improperly given as the evidence that the hypothesis is true. It doesn't stand out as the obvious circularity it is, often only because it is a widely-communicated hypothesis, or one that was made in antiquity and repeated often enough to have become familiar.

The acquisition of additional, carefully-selected evidence is what makes a hypothesis scientifically tenable. Only when the observation quod erat demonstrandum and a consilient sum of additional evidence deducible from the proffered causes are amassed and considered together do you meet a scientific standard of proof.

What Loss Leader needs us to understand is about this is that not all that can be deduced according to H in terms of possible observables from cause A, say the set Z, Q, W, R, and V, will actually be observed in ways that correlate well to X. What we require from science is that the speculative assumptions we employ to prop up A and H in the face of those shortcomings are as few as possible, and that the few that remain are reasonable on their face. Science doesn't lie about them or sweep them under the carpet. It simply lists them as the conditions under which the theory thus proven can be considered predictive.

Quote:
Historical proof is less rigorous.
History and science become bedfellows when we ask science to explain happenstance events -- i.e., those which cannot be repeated on command or predicted.

We can't rewind the clock and replay the Battle of Cowpens. But we can know enough about what happened to conclude that Roland Emmerich didn't quite get it right. And we can't replay the crash of TWA 800. But we can know enough about it to say that it wasn't shot down by terrorists.

Back in the days when airplane cockpits had so-called steam gauges, we used to be able to recover their readings at the moment of impact using a phenomenon called needle slap. An airspeed indicator that goes from traveling at hundreds of miles per hour to a dead stop in only a few feet incurs such a high g-force that the needles hit the gauge faceplate hard enough to mar the paint at the place along the arc that the needle is currently reading. This and countless other tidbits of knowledge amassed via decades upon decades of systematic scientific testing and observation carried out independent of any particular crash lets us loosely fit the bits and pieces of what we can know from a crash site to a particular likely pattern of causation.

Similarly, historians can read what survives regarding 18th-century British infantry tactics and contemporary records of what was observed and what can be known via letters and journals about the people involved and come to a reasonably reliable picture of what happened on some momentous day at some important place.

What the study of happenstance events makes us think about is the difference between a standard of evidence and a standard of proof. The way I conceive it, standard of evidence describes what kinds of evidence you will regard, while standard of proof describes how much of it you need before a proposition can be relied upon.

The law has standards of evidence. Hoo boy, does it ever. In the U.S. we start with Federal Rules of Evidence and go from there, right down to individual rulings in limine that affect individual cases. I'm told that whether a case actually makes it to trial depends significantly on what is to be considered "admissible," or what meets the standard of evidence for that issue. Science has standards of evidence too, involving criteria such as reproducibility, objectivity, and measurability. The wisdom behind these criteria doesn't differ much from the rationale behind legal rules of evidence. We don't allow certain kinds of testimony in court because it's prejudicial, which correlates to scientific standards of objectivity. We don't allow hearsay as evidence of the matter asserted because it cannot be meaningfully put to the test. This is similar to reproducibility.

Science and the law butt heads sometimes on standards of evidence. Repeated testing in contrived high-g rigs have confirmed the reliability of the needle slap test. We can go into a crash site confident that if the faceplate can be carefully recovered, the slap mark on the airspeed indicator will be the airplane's speed at impact. However, little such preparatory work preceded evidence that fingerprints from a database can be assertively matched to others obtained from a crime scene, or that bite marks on skin can be conclusively matched to a given set of human teeth. Much of what has been presented in court as "forensic scientific evidence" doesn't at all meet a scientific standard of evidence.

[Loss Leader: "Objection, relevance"]

Okay, right. The anecdote is the ill-favored stepchild in the family of evidence. You have to examine it in terms both of standards of evidence and standards of proof. The reason anecdotes -- even lots of congruent ones -- don't make evidence is because they are generally untestable. They are the hearsay of the evidence world. As such they may incorporate selective recounting of fact, ad hoc interpretations, and so forth. When science is trying to discover a general rule, anecdotes are inadmissible.

But science isn't always trying to find a general rule. Sometimes it's just trying to find out why one Boeing 747 crashed. As such, it must consider eyewitness testimony -- happenstance observation in the form of an anecdote. But this is because science here is operating at a lower standard of proof. It's operating at more of an historical standard of proof. History notes general trends, but doesn't shoehorn individual occurrences into them. History and forensic science are more concerned with what happened here and now, agreeing that it may never be possible to decide that to a scientific degree of confidence.

On the one hand, the Battle of Cowpens was a classic double envelopment. It was a tactic well known in the 18th century among leaders of armies. It can be found in contemporary writings on how to conduct battles. The Colonial commander simply executed a textbook maneuver. But how did he know it was the right thing to do? Because the British commander at Cowpens was known to be brash and aggressive. The double-envelopment tactic requires the attacker to overextend his line, something the Americans felt this particular British commander would do. By the same token, overextending the line was something the British would not have done but for the individual characteristics of one person. The lesson here is that the relationship between standards of evidence and proof depend highly on the deductive and inductive properties of the thing you're tying to study. The battle was simultaneously representative and particular. There is no one-size-fits-all standard.

Here in this thread we're looking for a general-case explanation. We want to know how any soul allegedly communicates with its host organism. The desire is for a theory that will hold in all or most cases, not one that answers the particular fact pattern alleged in one anecdote. We're not trying to explain the equivalent of just the Battle of Cowpens, but rather some equivalent to the general doctrines of infantry engagements.

The standard of evidence in history accommodates the impracticality of obtaining new evidence to test hypotheses. As such, the standard of proof in history is more lenient. And because it is, the conclusions that history accepts remain more tentative. What JoeMorgue fears is that because different disciplines console themselves with different standards of evidence and different standards of proof when deciding different kinds of questions, all such standards must be arbitrary. That's not the case. Any conclusion in any field that is meant to stand as the general case must be based on standards of evidence and of proof that rise to that level of rigor. Anecdotes just don't do that on either dimension.

I won't delve into legal proof here because it really does seem to be a different animal altogether.

Quote:
And then there's personal proof - whatever you choose to believe based on your own experience.
That goes right to the various definitions of evidence and how that relates to the standard of proof.

We say that evidence is information that tends to make a proposition more probable or less probable. The question then becomes how we reckon that probability. In science, the standard of proof is generally a statistically computable probability that there is only a 5% chance the hypothesis is wrong. Granted that can be considered an arbitrary standard, but what's more important is that we require the relevant probability to be computable. That burbles back to the standards of evidence. Evidence is admissible only if we can measure the relevant observations so as to afford a statistically computable level of confidence in the answer.

History not so much. We have a fair number of documents in hand from the 18th century that prescribe good practice in leading infantry. And from those we can come to believe that Col. Tarleton botched the attack according to what another British commander may have done. But the probability that our conclusion is correct is difficult to quantify. You can't measure propositions like that in terms of numbers. No toehold therefore for statistics.

The law often uses the "reasonable person" standard. I'm estopped from going into too much detail by my comments above. But the gist of it is that we empanel twelve persons who we agree will collectively act as a reasonable person to weigh competing claims of fact and estimate which version of the facts a reasonable person would consider most probable. Perhaps not thoroughly objective, but practicable.

The personal standard is just the estimate of probability that allows the greatest proportion of subjective factors. Science tries very hard to approach the mathematical standard of proof. It seeks to measure the residual inductive leap and force it to be very small.. The personal standard is just at the other end of the objectivity spectrum from math. Too often a claimant wants us to just keep lowering the standard of proof -- the objectivity in the estimate of probability -- until his proffered evidence clears the bar.

And that's really what we want to point our fingers at. The tendency of information to affect the probability of a proposition is most hopefully employed to create belief where none -- or a contrary belief -- previously existed. We want evidence to be convincing to people who don't already hold the belief and who may even be predisposed to reject it. The only evidence that has the power to do that is evidence whose effect on probability tends to be objective. So while a variety of standards of proof exist, a claimant doesn't arbitrarily get to decide what the standard should be for his question.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 10:54 AM   #55
Belz...
Fiend God
 
Belz...'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: In the details
Posts: 86,218
Thanks, Jay. Food for thought.
__________________
Master of the Shining Darkness

"My views are nonsense. So what?" - BobTheCoward


Belz... is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 04:54 PM   #56
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,901
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
From NDE reports, the state of mind of the person during the life review is markedly different from the states of mind when they were experiencing those events during their life. They describe the state of mind during the life review as more vivid (hyper-real) and empathetic. Apparently this is due to the soul detaching from the brain

What in the name of Marissa Tomei's Oscar are you talking about? How is it apparent that some asserted statement is due to a soul doing anything when you have yet to provide evidence that there is a soul to begin with?

One aid to memory is intense emotion. We remember emotional moments in our lives better than others. So why isn't it apparent that this phenomenon is due to strong emotions felt during traumatic experiences? For that matter, why are we believing the self-reporting of trauma survivors? Is there any reason that they are more truthful than the mistaken memories we frequently encounter. Memory has been shown to be notoriously unreliable - rewritten with each retelling, influenced by crowd consensus, and much more.

All of these explain the phenomena you're describing within our current understanding of the material brain without throwing in another condition that some sort of soul exists (let alone that it gets a magic info dump at the time of death but only in people who suffer trauma and survive. It hasn't been reported at all by people who died because, um, they're dead.)


Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
If I may elaborate and round off what I see are some sharp edges

Oy vey.



Quote:
Yes. <respectful snip>

I've read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I believe that I agree with what you've said.


Quote:
We don't allow certain kinds of testimony in court because it's prejudicial, which correlates to scientific standards of objectivity.

I'm about to destroy you completely, which should teach you to stay in your lane:

Why do we have a rule of evidence that disallows spouses from testifying to what the other said to them? It's not prejudicial, in that it doesn't cause the jury to form a strong emotional reaction that overwhelms the probity of the evidence.

Why do we have attorney-client privilege? Doctor-patient confidentiality?

None of these have to do with prejudice. All of them, if done away with, would produce more probative evidence that leads to more fair outcomes - the guilty are found guilty and the not-guilty are set free. The standard of objectivity argues strongly against these privileges.

So why do we have them? I'll give you a hint: it's a trick. My evidence professor tormented me with this and now I get to pass it on.



Quote:
However, little such preparatory work preceded evidence that fingerprints from a database can be assertively matched to others obtained from a crime scene, or that bite marks on skin can be conclusively matched to a given set of human teeth. Much of what has been presented in court as "forensic scientific evidence" doesn't at all meet a scientific standard of evidence.

Please take a look at the book The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist. The true depth to which courts and forensic "experts" will go to find whatever the police want them to find (especially against poor, black men) will terrify you.



Quote:
That goes right to the various definitions of evidence and how that relates to the standard of proof.

We say that evidence is information that tends to make a proposition more probable or less probable.

Don't get your standards of evidence mixed up with your standards of proof. Evidence is anything that makes a proposition more or less likely to be true. Proof is whatever satisfies the mind that a proposition is true.

In law alone, we may require the mind to be convinced: beyond a reasonable doubt; that something is more likely than not; that a government agency was arbitrary or capricious; or just that an articulable cause exists to investigate further.


Quote:
The personal standard is just the estimate of probability that allows the greatest proportion of subjective factors.

Disagree strongly. The personal standard of proof is just whatever the individual happens to require to believe something. It can consist of scientific evidence, anecdotes, bedtime stories, or just whim. My friend believes that ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America and that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. He's a great guy. I think his beliefs are bananas. But he is satisfied that these beliefs are true, and that's all he needs to satisfy his personal standard of what satisfies him.


Quote:
So while a variety of standards of proof exist, a claimant doesn't arbitrarily get to decide what the standard should be for his question.

Absolutely, so long as the claimant wants to convince anybody else. And, to get back on track, the supposition of the existence of souls is unconvincing to me without the same level of proof as the supposition of the existence of gravity - repeatable, falsifiable experimental data.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 05:35 PM   #57
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
What in the name of Marissa Tomei's Oscar are you talking about? How is it apparent that some asserted statement is due to a soul doing anything when you have yet to provide evidence that there is a soul to begin with?
It is apparent to the near-death experiencers.

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
One aid to memory is intense emotion. We remember emotional moments in our lives better than others. So why isn't it apparent that this phenomenon is due to strong emotions felt during traumatic experiences? For that matter, why are we believing the self-reporting of trauma survivors? Is there any reason that they are more truthful than the mistaken memories we frequently encounter. Memory has been shown to be notoriously unreliable - rewritten with each retelling, influenced by crowd consensus, and much more.
What if they remember similar things?
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 06:01 PM   #58
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,901
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
What if they remember similar things?

What if they did? Does this constitute any sort of repeatable, falsifiable test?

The fact is, they don't. People tend to believe they've seen, in their NDE's, whatever their personal culture dictates they see. People of various religions report seeing whatever that religion's concept of the afterlife happens to be.

And then, of course, there's selection bias. You're only counting people with NDE's who report anything. What percentage of all NDE's does that comprise? I, personally, straight up died when I was 23. My heart was stopped for over a minute. I didn't see or hear anything at all. It wasn't just blackness, it was nothing. I just woke up in a hospital. Why doesn't my story of not experiencing an NDE cancel out one story of someone who claims they did?
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 07:14 PM   #59
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
What if they did? Does this constitute any sort of repeatable, falsifiable test?
There are already records of thousands of NDEs.

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
The fact is, they don't. People tend to believe they've seen, in their NDE's, whatever their personal culture dictates they see. People of various religions report seeing whatever that religion's concept of the afterlife happens to be.
But there are also common elements:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-d...ommon_elements

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
And then, of course, there's selection bias. You're only counting people with NDE's who report anything. What percentage of all NDE's does that comprise? I, personally, straight up died when I was 23. My heart was stopped for over a minute. I didn't see or hear anything at all. It wasn't just blackness, it was nothing. I just woke up in a hospital. Why doesn't my story of not experiencing an NDE cancel out one story of someone who claims they did?
Only a minority of clinical death survivors report memories of an NDE; from what I glimpsed on the internet it seems to be about 10-20 percent. It is not known why. We can still compare stories of those who report having had an NDE.
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 08:02 PM   #60
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,901
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
Only a minority of clinical death survivors report memories of an NDE; from what I glimpsed on the internet it seems to be about 10-20 percent. It is not known why. We can still compare stories of those who report having had an NDE.

Why? The lack of NDE memories in 80-90% of the population is a pretty good argument that souls don't exist in any form that somehow downloads at the moment of death. Now, I expect, you'll offer some excuse for those 80-90%.

But if so, here's what you've done: 1) you've argued that NDE's are evidence that souls exist; and then 2) you've excused the lack of evidence so as to continue your belief that souls exist.

The explanation that best lines up with your data, though, is that human brains are material (for which there is evidence), they also don't remember things correctly (for which there is evidence, and those who tell their stories tend to embellish them and erase inconvenient details (for which there is evidence).

And still, no falsifiable, repeatable test is offered. We've have more data on the surface of Venus than we do on souls.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 08:10 PM   #61
Little 10 Toes
Master Poster
 
Little 10 Toes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,027
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
What if they did? Does this constitute any sort of repeatable, falsifiable test?
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
There are already records of thousands of NDEs.
I noticed that you didn't answer the question. Can you please do so?
Little 10 Toes is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 09:51 PM   #62
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17,948
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I'm about to destroy you completely, which should teach you to stay in your lane:
I did, mostly. But you err in suggesting the chagrin is painful. It isn't. I welcome being corrected if the result is that people who read the thread walk away better informed.

Quote:
None of these have to do with prejudice. All of them, if done away with, would produce more probative evidence that leads to more fair outcomes...
Agreed, but at what collateral costs? My point was to draw parallels between standards of evidence in various fields you brought up to illustrate standards of proof. I gave various examples, but I didn't propose to be comprehensive. I could have worded that analysis better.

But I can't lie: when I got to law, the only ones I could think of at the time had to do with prejudice, mostly because we had a great conversation in another thread about character evidence. I will take my lumps. I left out a lot of important ones and thereby conveyed an impression that wasn't accurate. I apologize.

Quote:
So why do we have them? I'll give you a hint: it's a trick. My evidence professor tormented me with this and now I get to pass it on.
The cycle of Socratic abuse continues. I'm actually okay with that, even if it means I get called out for being wrong.

Well, let's see. The right to be represented by counsel would be worthless without attorney-client privilege. If I have to guard what I say to my attorney, lest it be given in evidence, he could not effectively defend me. The right to compel testimony in my favor seems like it would be affected by privilege against self-incrimination, but don't press me for details. I'm not real sure about that one. In short, I think, the common law provides that the value of certain communications for their first intended purpose outweighs the need for evidence in specific cases -- even, in extremes, if it costs the state a conviction. Sometimes our need to protect fundamental rights and guarantees is bigger than any of the particular issues that could benefit from violating them ad hoc.

There are more visceral reasons. I attended a certain gathering in Oregon several years back. Certain fellow attendees partook of certain substances that, in my layman's understanding of the law, were not strictly permitted. A bad reaction ensued, necessitating the intervention of medical professionals. At that point, a frank disclosure on my part was needed in order to preserve life. People responding to life-threatening conditions need accurate, complete information on what substances a person may have ingested. The law is often wise in realizing that it needs to step back and allow such disclosures to serve a greater end.

I hope I'm close. If I'm not, feel free to go all Kingsfield on me.

In the spirit of showing congruence between standards of evidence -- which was my original purpose, and which hopefully gives this post proper standing in this thread -- there are obvious principles that science considers important enough to outweigh possible methods of obtaining conclusive evidence. For example, despite the possible benefit from information about the soul and of the mechanics we suspect might prevail at death, it would be immoral to instrument a perfectly healthy human being and then kill him in hopes of measuring some physical phenomenon associated with the departure of the soul. CFR proscribes against a number of protocols applied to human and animal subjects on similar grounds. Certain protections and ethical values are deemed universally more important than the information we might obtain if we violate them. Although I could make a non-Godwin Nazi reference here. {shudder}

Quote:
Don't get your standards of evidence mixed up with your standards of proof. Evidence is anything that makes a proposition more or less likely to be true. Proof is whatever satisfies the mind that a proposition is true.
That's where I started going with this
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
The way I conceive it, standard of evidence describes what kinds of evidence you will regard, while standard of proof describes how much of it you need before a proposition can be relied upon.
and it seems to have veered off course. In retrospect the attempt to make one field's standards look like another's may have been misguided and poorly informed.

Quote:
Disagree strongly. The personal standard of proof is just whatever the individual happens to require to believe something. It can consist of scientific evidence, anecdotes, bedtime stories, or just whim.
I don't dispute that. That's a bigger-picture version of what I was trying to say. Perhaps it was a mistake to express that in such one-dimensional terms as probability. Not everyone thinks of it in those terms.

Quote:
My friend believes that ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America...
You just described my whole state.

Quote:
...and that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.
Narrator: It isn't. I've been there.

Quote:
He's a great guy.
Frankly most are, and many of such folk work for me in capacities where I rely heavily on their prodigious critical thinking skills...in topics that don't involve Missouri.

Quote:
I think his beliefs are bananas. But he is satisfied that these beliefs are true, and that's all he needs to satisfy his personal standard of what satisfies him.
See, and I would say that this means he considers it more probable that ol' Joe really got all that from God and a hat full of rocks than that ol' Joe just made it all up. It's subjective, and I think we agree on that. But your model of the subjectivity includes more factors than mine and therefore probably incorporates fewer hidden assumptions. I stand corrected. I like your broader perspective better.

Quote:
Absolutely, so long as the claimant wants to convince anybody else.
True. And I have to concede that even when we can compute confidence in our answer to a 95% probability of being right, it's still up to the individual to consider whether that's probable enough for him. That is, whether it meets his standard of proof.

Quote:
And, to get back on track, the supposition of the existence of souls is unconvincing to me without the same level of proof as the supposition of the existence of gravity - repeatable, falsifiable experimental data.
Strongly agree. For me, the argument is still that such factors as repeatability and falsifiability provide assurances that the results tend to be objective rather than subjective. For me, objective proof is more convincing that a parade of testimonials.

Thanks for taking the time to indulge me on a post that I didn't have time to make shorter and better.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th November 2019, 11:07 PM   #63
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,901
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I hope I'm close. If I'm not, feel free to go all Kingsfield on me.

Ah, you take all the fun out of correcting you. What sort of torture is it when the person immediately apologizes and thanks you for the information? We had an intense two week trial techniques program in my law school for all 2Ls, where visiting trial attorneys would teach by burning your very essence like incense. Some 1Ls would serve as gofors and schedulers and drivers and whatever else for the visiting lawyers. And those 1Ls kept a list of every single 2L who cried during those two weeks. Oh, the delicious destruction it would cause when we'd show up at school at 8:30 a.m. to see our names on those neatly printed lists. And you ... you ruined my fun.

Clearly, you're right about privileges. You can throw out the wording about common law and everything else. The fact is that we, as a society, have chosen to value certain relationships more than right or wrong, guilty or innocent, liable or not liable. Imagine if spouses couldn't talk to each other, or people couldn't seek counsel from their spiritual leaders. That's not a world most people would want to live in. It's not a world most people would recognize.

I had one professor who put it this way: A couple's been married thirty years. He knows all her stories, she knows all his. They come home at night. If they can't gossip about the neighbors, what the hell are they going to talk about?

Thanks for being the best and most exhaustingly thorough poster here. I apologize for doubting you.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 02:18 AM   #64
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Why? The lack of NDE memories in 80-90% of the population is a pretty good argument that souls don't exist in any form that somehow downloads at the moment of death. Now, I expect, you'll offer some excuse for those 80-90%.
That's like saying that if only 10% of patients report a particular side effect of a medication that's a good argument that the side effect doesn't exist, especially if it is not clear how the side effect arises.
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 03:37 AM   #65
Porpoise of Life
Illuminator
 
Porpoise of Life's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,889
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
That's like saying that if only 10% of patients report a particular side effect of a medication that's a good argument that the side effect doesn't exist, especially if it is not clear how the side effect arises.
No, like with NDEs, the side effect exists. The question is, is this side effect caused by an unexplained undefined (perhaps even magical) entity?
It's safe to say it isn't, unless you've got both independent evidence of this entity, and something to link it to the side effect.

ETA: thanks for your thoroughness and informativeness Loss Leader and JayUtah.

Last edited by Porpoise of Life; 5th November 2019 at 03:39 AM.
Porpoise of Life is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 05:52 AM   #66
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,901
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
That's like saying that if only 10% of patients report a particular side effect of a medication that's a good argument that the side effect doesn't exist, especially if it is not clear how the side effect arises.

Exactly what I predicted you'd say. You're now offering a defense of how your soul-download thing might still work even though it only works for 10% of people who almost die but don't.

You have yet to show evidence that a soul exists at all before trying to figure out why only 10% of people experience its effects. Frankly, seeing one's life flash vividly before one's eyes during trauma seems easily explicable to me under current material theories of the mind, but whatever.

Side effects from medication are completely different. We know that the pills exist. We can touch them. A company actually manufactures them. Independent scientists, or doctors, test them.* And one of the things they test them against are placebos. If 10% report a side effect with the pill and 10% with the placebo, we may question whether we've found evidence of a side-effect at all. And yet, the pills still physically exist and can be played with - they can be sorted, arranged into rows of ten, stacked, worn as a hat, etc. They are testable, physical things.

Any falsifiable, repeatabe test yet for the soul?



*I am aware that our current drug approval system has problems with both independence of testers, repetition of testing, and validity of statistical evidence based on group size and composition. Still, we're acknowledging those problems and trying to work on them. Also, the pills they're testing actually physically exist in real space - they can be felt with one's toes if one is so inclined.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader

Last edited by Loss Leader; 5th November 2019 at 05:57 AM.
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 06:52 AM   #67
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Exactly what I predicted you'd say. You're now offering a defense of how your soul-download thing might still work even though it only works for 10% of people who almost die but don't.
My point was that whether a survivor reports an NDE may depend on various factors, just as whether a patient reports a side effect from a medication may depend on various factors. So the fact that only 10% report an NDE is quite conceivable also in the scenario that the experience is caused by the soul. For example, the survivor may experience an NDE and subsequently forget it, either naturally as one would forget a dream or as a result of anesthetics.
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 07:04 AM   #68
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,901
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
My point was that whether a survivor reports an NDE may depend on various factors, just as whether a patient reports a side effect from a medication may depend on various factors. So the fact that only 10% report an NDE is quite conceivable also in the scenario that the experience is caused by the soul. For example, the survivor may experience an NDE and subsequently forget it, either naturally as one would forget a dream or as a result of anesthetics.

And my point was that you are making excuses for why your theory of the soul doesn't manifest in the overwhelming number of cases that you put forth as evidence.

Instead, the question you should be asking yourself is why you're assuming the soul exists at all. 1) It's not showing up in the overwhelming number of cases where you predict it will; and 2) current physical theories of neurochemistry already sufficiently explain the small percentage of cases without adding the extra assumption of a soul.

Now, I did not receive any anesthesia when I died and I came back to life and then consciousness within minutes. So, even your excuses aren't born out by my experience.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 07:16 AM   #69
abaddon
Penultimate Amazing
 
abaddon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 19,163
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
My point was that whether a survivor reports an NDE may depend on various factors, just as whether a patient reports a side effect from a medication may depend on various factors. So the fact that only 10% report an NDE is quite conceivable also in the scenario that the experience is caused by the soul. For example, the survivor may experience an NDE and subsequently forget it, either naturally as one would forget a dream or as a result of anesthetics.
Have you had one? If not then you are merely making crap up. How can I be sure of that? Because I have had one. It's quite a wild ride but no souls are involved. That is post hoc rationalisation of a drug induced hallucination, nothing more.
__________________
Who is General Failure? And why is he reading my hard drive?


...love and buttercakes...
abaddon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 08:00 AM   #70
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17,948
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
For example, the survivor may experience an NDE and subsequently forget it...
This is called making the data fit the desired conclusion. Someone who disagrees with you can -- with just as much data to support him -- say that all those who do report an NDE are making it up.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 08:50 AM   #71
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17,948
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
My point was that whether a survivor reports an NDE may depend on various factors...
Including whether one actually finishes dying -- an important subset of the data that is missing for obvious reasons. Without it, we have little justification in saying that "near-death experience" is truly associated with death. "Clinical death" is a contrivance in medicine, hence the need to qualify it when we say it. All we can say is that it loosely correlates to a poorly coordinated set of physical parameters.

But because the phenomenon is correlated to severe distress in the organism, there's no reason to introduce a superfluous supernatural cause. The soul proposal doesn't explain anything we can observe that isn't easily attributable to the brain-in-distress model. The observation you've proposed to explain by the new cause is not actually an observation, but speculation that arises out of a different aspect of the supernatural proposal. This is circular reasoning at its roundest.

If, in the alternative, we reason in the direction suggested by the topic of the thread, the observation that's problematic for the soul proposal is the lack of evidence for ongoing interaction with the host. Under the hypothesis that the bulk of the interaction takes place as the organism is about to die, the proposal is that NDEs are the quod deductum est of that transfer. But you can't deduce any such thing for proof purposes, because there are no facts in the soul proposal upon which to hang such a deduction such that factuality passes to the desired consequent. Even if we grant all inferences in favor of the claim, the poor correlation to the proposed antecedent refutes the ultimate issue.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 09:29 AM   #72
Scorpion
Master Poster
 
Scorpion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2,106
Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
There just MUST be some way we can have a soul!

Wishful thinking. Modern neuroscience has shown us that the electrochemical activity of our massively complex and interconnected brains is quite adequate to produce consciousness, even if we donít have all the fine details as yet.
Oh yea ! well is a fly conscious ? Because fly's interact with he environment and seek food and avoid being swatted. So are they conscious, because if so they are doing it with a brain smaller than a pin head.

Spirit guides have said insects have group souls. Many individuals make up one soul.
__________________
You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises. Can you therefore say there are no stars in the heavens during the day? O man because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God.
Sri Ramakrishna
Even in the valley of the shadow of death two and two do not make six.
Leo Tolstoy
Scorpion is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 09:33 AM   #73
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
And my point was that you are making excuses for why your theory of the soul doesn't manifest in the overwhelming number of cases that you put forth as evidence.
Are you saying that people remember most of what happens to them during sleep or that anesthetics don't cause amnesia? How do you know that 10% is too little and not, perhaps surprisingly, too much?

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Instead, the question you should be asking yourself is why you're assuming the soul exists at all.
Because that's what the common elements of thousands of NDE reports suggest.

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
1) It's not showing up in the overwhelming number of cases where you predict it will;
I am not predicting that a majority of clinical death survivors will report NDEs.

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
and 2) current physical theories of neurochemistry already sufficiently explain the small percentage of cases without adding the extra assumption of a soul.
There are neuroscientists and doctors who don't think that these explanations are sufficient. What is clear is that neurochemistry didn't predict NDEs, just suggested possible causes after the fact. If you want to complain about excuses, maybe you should turn to neurochemistry.

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Now, I did not receive any anesthesia when I died and I came back to life and then consciousness within minutes. So, even your excuses aren't born out by my experience.
That's fine but it is already clear that most of clinical death survivors don't report NDEs.
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 09:34 AM   #74
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Have you had one? If not then you are merely making crap up. How can I be sure of that? Because I have had one. It's quite a wild ride but no souls are involved. That is post hoc rationalisation of a drug induced hallucination, nothing more.
Did you have a drug induced hallucination? Or is it what you rationalized post hoc?
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 09:48 AM   #75
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
This is called making the data fit the desired conclusion. Someone who disagrees with you can -- with just as much data to support him -- say that all those who do report an NDE are making it up.
Amnesia in the context of a flatlined brain or anesthetics is a legitimate factor to consider, isn't it? It doesn't seem more of a data-fitting to a desired conclusion than suggesting possible causes like hypoxia, hypercarbia etc.
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 10:13 AM   #76
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17,948
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
Amnesia in the context of a flatlined brain or anesthetics is a legitimate factor to consider, isn't it?
I don't know. Show me the medical research that supports such a claim.

Quote:
It doesn't seem more of a data-fitting to a desired conclusion than suggesting possible causes like hypoxia, hypercarbia etc.
When there are actual numbers on the table you have to do more than suggest possible alterntatives. You're trying to excuse the poor correlation of quantitative data to the conclusion you say it supports by saying that the reported data and the actual phenomenon differ according to factors. They probably do, but which ones? In what direction? By how much? Until you can answer those questions with data, the numbers in hand are the quantities you have to use.

The percentage of people who had NDEs but forgot them lies somewhere between zero and ninety percent. You have no idea where it lies because you have no data to support any such error analysis. You're alluding to an error analysis as if it would fix the problem with your proposal, but you can't actually provide the error analysis to show that it does.

What I mean, however, is that you've allowed for factors only in the direction favorable to your claim. If the criteria for error factors is simply, "This is something I can think of," then someone else can say, "Yeah, all those NDEs are just stories the people made up when they were told they had been clinically dead." A person raising that objection would have just as much justification (mere possibility) and just as much evidence (none) as you have for your error analysis.

The lesson you were supposed to learn is that fixing evidence that doesn't fit your conclusion by idly speculating how the evidence may not be correct doesn't rehabilitate the claim.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 11:16 AM   #77
jrhowell
Muse
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 636
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
Yes, I guess it would suck. Hopefully it was a wrong idea. Surely there are alternative ideas about how incarnation might work. Maybe a dormant soul receives memories throughout the life and at the time of impending death or a shock it wakes up and experiences them vividly for the first time.
So a soul should not experience life until its body approaches death.

If you are experiencing reading post this doesn't that mean "you" are just a body, not actually a soul, or else that you are about to die?
jrhowell is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 12:10 PM   #78
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17,948
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Ah, you take all the fun out of correcting you. What sort of torture is it when the person immediately apologizes and thanks you for the information?
As your story illustrates, there are worse ways to be corrected. And I've endured almost all of them.

That said, I take it seriously. Certain facts prevail, some of them being that the law really is a different animal and that people really should stay in their lanes. I do have an interest in the law, so I appreciate it when legal professionals let me wave at them from the next lane over. I know many people who are fascinated by my profession, and I'm always happy to indulge their curiosity and intellect. They just want to be better informed and become better critical thinkers. They get my vote.

A fair amount of my knowledge of the law comes from being in a profession that risks a good deal of liability, and thus of having been sued a lot and having to assist in preparing cases and seeing a few actually go to trial. I am not in any way a legal professional, nor even a serious student of the law compared to what I see law students endure. I'm merely a law "familiar." I'm the Art Garfunkel of law.

Quote:
And you ... you ruined my fun.
Okay, then, can we settle on me owing you a Martini? As I may have said earlier, my home bar is the closest watering hole to our university's law school. This and other reasons seem to have made me popular with the law students and some of the faculty. As such I have sporadic access to tidbits of legal wisdom and snippets of insight into the apocalypse that is law school.

Having seen law school in action and having taught engineering, I wondered why we don't teach engineering Socratically, if only to get students to do the assigned readings. They never do, probably because we saddle them with crippling practical homework. Nothing would have given me more pleasure than to cold-call, "Mr. Jones, will you please recite the facts of Minnesota I-35 Bridge v. Gravity?" But we don't want science and engineering to think on their feet. We want them to be moderate, well-paced, and comfortably deliberate. We don't want to terrify science students into stumbling through a half-assed recitation of poorly-remembered natural law. I passed PhD orals, and that's good enough for me. That said, I want my litigators to be able to do that. So good on your law school for prepping students to think on their feet, however traumatic it may have been for them and however delightful for you to witness.

I have a certain upper hand, though. I proved mathematically once that an italicized period is different from a non-italicized period, even when the glyph is a circle, thus justifying certain Bluebook pedantry. I know they said there would be no math, but math nonetheless applies. Deal with it.

Quote:
Clearly, you're right about privileges. You can throw out the wording about common law and everything else.
I brought it up only because in light of your rebuttal I went and read the actual rule, and that was mentioned. The notion of common law has a paragon in science. I think it's an important one.

Quote:
The fact is that we, as a society, have chosen to value certain relationships more than right or wrong, guilty or innocent, liable or not liable.
No one scientific theory holds for all possible conditions. We can at best say that a theory holds only for the conditions that prevailed or were controlled for when the observations that confirmed the theory were made, and only insofar as they did. What one scientific theory ostensibly predicts may conflict with the prediction of another theory simply because we haven't yet figured out how to refine them to account for more factors that would distinguish the cases. Progressive refinement in science is motivated by much the same desire as motivates common law.

The way I see it, the body of law that governs our conduct will never perfectly be in harmony. There will inevitably arise a set of facts upon which two laws operate in conflict, even if in all other cases they do not. Therefore we must have a court with the power to decide which of the interests protected by those laws prevails for that set of facts, and in case that same set of facts should arise again -- stare decisis. This is how we arrive at the principle that communication with my attorney is not privileged if it involves the attorney helping to commit a crime. Novel fact patterns in law are the equivalent of unpredicted observations in science. They're why each of us gets up in the morning. The ability to refine knowledge and improve our scrutiny as we go is the hallmark of any rational means of observing and reasoning about the world. The hierarchy of power among theories is part of that.

Battering litewave's theories around shouldn't be unpleasant for either party. Nor is it that skeptics don't want to believe in a soul. The notion that some essence of life and memory persists after death is an attractive one, and the emotional component of that is not lost on skeptics. But skeptics consider it a higher law to believe in only those things for which there is reliable evidence. Skeptics are not buoyed up by false hopes or wishful thinking. If there is no conscious afterlife then there is no point treating the present as if there is one.

Someone up-thread posed the problem that the specific idea we're discussing suffers from an assumption that the soul, if it exists, must exist as a material entity. The epistemology that governs that question is as murky as for anything else that's pure speculation. How do you prove something exists when you can't be sure what properties it has? How can you determine what properties something has if you don't know whether it exists?

Claims for the existence of the soul have hidden forever in those vast chasms, resting on the belief that vagary means science can't know enough about souls to refute their existence. Some even claim that science can never know, because the mode in which souls exist is necessarily and forever invisible to science, because God wishes it. What some physicists have recently written aims at divorcing the problem of existence from the specific limitations of empiricism and specificity. They say that in order to have the claimed interaction effect, a soul must comport to certain deducible constraints no matter how it's composed. That undercuts the argument that the interaction can still be something we haven't discovered yet. It tries to argue that nothing in that chasm can rescue the claim, so no point hiding in it any longer.

If we were to compare this with the law, it would be equivalent to reducing the complaint to a contradiction in the matters asserted. As you well know, a court will not touch the merits of a case until it has ascertained -- among other things -- that the complaint is correctly pled and that it has been brought before a court empowered to judge it. One of the most important cases in American law, Marbury v. Madison, established a foundational concept in constittutional law and then went on to rule that it didn't have original jurisdiction in the matter Marbury brought and so dismissed the case "on a technicality." A suit for foreclosure cannot simultaneously assert that the homeowner both maintained and did not maintain homeowner's insurance as required by contract. At law, I believe such a claim would fail at the pleading stage because the assertions cannot be anything other than mutually exclusive, and a cause of action predicated on them cannot have any consistent basis in fact. In science, showing that the essence of interaction, as physicists model it, cannot simultaneously be said to occur yet not be observed is just as much a non-starter.

Advocates for the soul have tried to rehabilitate the claim by saying that the allegedly universal rebuttal still relies upon the soul being a material entity. They want to argue that the rebuttal thus fails as a straw man. Well, no. A soul that escapes all the requirements of matter, yet is purported to have a material influence requires us to imagine a wholly different -- and unevidenced -- mode of existence and interaction, just to accommodate the desired hypothesis. There are no gaps yet in our present model that require us to look for such a thing, so it fails on its face as ridiculously unparsimonious. Plus it raises existential questions like whether the souls of certain individuals went to heaven with a hairy hand. The premise that if a soul must exist, it must exist according to the only mode of all existence for which we have evidence, is entirely reasonable. It is not a straw man, and will not be until evidence -- not speculation -- for some other kind of existence arises

Related to this is the notion that science may yet discover more revolutionary ways to model and observe the natural world, as it has at times in the past. One of those may conceivably open the door to considering ways in which a soul may be understood by science. This should give litewave hope, at least in the comfort that we don't categorically close the door to any proposal. But it hasn't happened yet, and therefore it's improper to ask science to reason as if it has. Even though we look to the possibilities of the future, we keep our feet firmly on a grounding of fact. As it stands now, science doesn't allow for a soul that interacts with an organism as claimed.

Quote:
Thanks for being the best and most exhaustingly thorough poster here. I apologize for doubting you.
That's high praise. Thank you.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 12:58 PM   #79
JesseCuster
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 1,014
Originally Posted by litewave View Post
From NDE reports, the state of mind of the person during the life review is markedly different from the states of mind when they were experiencing those events during their life. They describe the state of mind during the life review as more vivid (hyper-real) and empathetic. Apparently this is due to the soul detaching from the brain.
There's nothing apparent about that to me. That seems to be a complete non-sequitur.

Why is it apparent that reports of vivid and empathetic states of mind during NDEs would be caused by souls detaching from the brain? Given that we've yet to even establish the existence of souls, where are you getting this information about how they detach from brains? What's the link between vivid NDEs or empathetic NDEs and souls detaching from brains?

Premise 1: NDEs are reported as being vivid or empathetic.
Premise 2: ?
Conclusion: Vivid and empathetic NDEs are caused by souls detaching from brains.

Like I said, it's a non-sequitur.

Last edited by JesseCuster; 5th November 2019 at 01:03 PM.
JesseCuster is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th November 2019, 02:08 PM   #80
litewave
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I don't know. Show me the medical research that supports such a claim.
General anesthesia usually causes amnesia.

Quote:
Although improbable, with the current knowledge of neurophysiology one cannot rule out the possibility of memory formation during anaesthesia.
https://academic.oup.com/bja/article...l_1/i13/233639

As for a flatlined brain, I guess one would not expect memory formation just as one would not expect consciousness at that time.

Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
You're trying to excuse the poor correlation of quantitative data to the conclusion you say it supports by saying that the reported data and the actual phenomenon differ according to factors. They probably do, but which ones? In what direction? By how much? Until you can answer those questions with data, the numbers in hand are the quantities you have to use.
Ok.
litewave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:06 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.