Monday, January 12, 2009

The Implications Of The Empirical Evidence For Survival

Obviously the implications are huge, I have often pondered the implications of it. Of course their are still materialists who say the evidence can be explained away by natural explanations. For those you believe that, I think they should consider doing some research on experts in afterlife research. Then conclude for or against survival. One of the most often problems materialists have is, they say that they have researched the evidence for survival. But the fact is when you start talking to them, you soon find out that they haven't bother to research the evidence.

Could survival after death not be true?. Of course, that is certainly is something worth considering. What we deal with in science anyways is probability not facts. So with that I would conclude the probability is far greater of survival being true, then not true.

Now the common objection to survival with the transmission theory, is it falsifible? Which I don't think is true, one way to falsify it is to show that our brain isn't a receiver of consciousness. How would we show that?. Well one is through further investigation. We shouldn't rule out transmission theory because it is complicated, or write it off as an apriori.

Just because the production theory is simple doesn't mean it is more probabilble then the transmission theory. We must look at all the facts. Some evidence that materialists use to support their case which are open to different interpretations. For example, Benjamin Libet's finding that brain activity precedes a conscious decision, which is routinely presented by sceptics, in their dull way, as 'another nail in the coffin for dualism' (Blackmore, Dying to Live, p. 237), and which of course is open to contrary interpretations, as Libet himself pointed out. Wilder Penfield's experimental findings on the neurological basis of memory is also used by sceptics in an anti-dualist sense which Penfield himself did not endorse.

5 comments:

Zetetic_chick said...

One of the most often problems materialists have is, they say that they have researched the evidence for survival. But the fact is when you start talking to them, you soon find out that they haven't bother to research the evidence

I've seen the same. Most materialists I've known don't have deep knowledge of the literature. They read the casual articles of skeptical websites, and conclude from them. Obviously, they are reading only one side of the story (the side that confirm their anti-psi beliefs).

The same applies to some paranormal believers who doesn't have knowledge about the technical literature and experiments on psi, or the evidence suggesting afterlife. Sometimes, they believe in it for personal reasons, not due to a deep study of the scholarly pertinent literature.

For a discussion of the philosophical problems and implications of afterlife evidence, I'd recommend philosopher Stephen Braude's scholarly book "Immortal Remains"

For a detailed overall summary of the empirical evidence against materialism (evidence from many scientific fields, not only parapsychology), probably the best book is Dr.Craig Hogan's "Your Eternal Self".

I don't think you'll change the mind of a hard-core materialist through of evidence alone, because the problem isn't only about evidence, but about its interpretation (and interpretations may be colored by worldivews, epistemological preferences and personal bias; and nobody is totally inmune to them).

And materialists will always interpret the evidence for psi or afterlife as "non-evidence at all". They deny this, but a close study of their behaviour and thinking will reveal that they force interpretations of the evidence consistent with his materialist worldview.

Something of that was commented by Alex Tsakiris in one of his podcast, who learnt how professional skeptics works to debunk psi research:

http://www.skeptiko.com/index.php?id=42

For instance, if you show them a controlled test, and it gets a unexpected positive result for the paranormal hypothesis, they will interpret it as fradulent, flawed, accidental or irrelevant (or invent any other assumption). An example is this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N1dIUTbZTo

(But if the results were negative, they'll interpret it as evidence against the paranormal. This double standard enables them to dismiss easily any piece of evidence suggesting psi. This double standars is absolutely needed to keep materialism internally consistent and protected from potential empirical refutation)

Hard-core skeptics can't see (literally, they can't perceive) the flawed research done by skeptics. An example of this was the flawed skeptical "research" with Natasha Demkina:

http://www.criticandokardec.com.br/CSICOP_vs_Natasha_Demkina.htm

If you give them evidence of mediumship, they'll interpret it as fradulent (even if, in the specific case, fraud hasn't been proved to be true. But they will believe that non-proved assumption to dismiss the evidence, because that assumption is needed to protect materialism), and argue that fraud is common in mediumship history (what is true, but it doesn't prove that all the cases are fraudulent)

I think that hard-core materialists, as any other strong believer, will have always a way out to dismiss the evidence and avoid the cognitive dissonance caused by unexpected evidence contrary to their beliefs.

The same applies to strong paranormal believers (and, in principle and in less degree, to any person).

Reckless Divinity said...

Here is an interesting blog post that I would love for you to comment on in your well written blog entries.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/10/where_will_you_be_after_youre.php

Leo MacDonald said...

Sure Reckless I will do that.

Reckless Divinity said...

Cool, drop me a line when you have gone through it. After reading that linked I am somewhat ashamed to call myself an atheist, even blogged about it.

Leo MacDonald said...

I have gone through, i also gave my rebuttal on here about the post.