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Old Nov 9, 2012, 11:01 AM   #126
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I've been on vacation on one of those Viking River Cruises in Europe cause I retired in Oct. That is why you have not heard much of me for the last 2 weeks. And I know your sad about that.

Anyway as I have toured fabulous castles and palaces, it has reinforced my view that human beings are fundamentally flawed. If you let them, a few powerful individuals will scoop up all the riches for themselves and tell the rest to screw ourselves, while claiming to be Christians completely blowing off the supposed teachings of Jesus. And while we as a society have supposedly advanced beyond our medieval beginnings, now I see these views trying to be resurrected in our politics and our business leaders. It's sad.

If it is not my imagination, how do we overcome this?
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 12:52 PM   #127
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I've been on vacation on one of those Viking River Cruises in Europe cause I retired in Oct. That is why you have not heard much of me for the last 2 weeks. And I know your sad about that.

Anyway as I have toured fabulous castles and palaces, it has reinforced my view that human beings are fundamentally flawed. If you let them, a few powerful individuals will scoop up all the riches for themselves and tell the rest to screw ourselves, while claiming to be Christians completely blowing off the supposed teachings of Jesus. And while we as a society have supposedly advanced beyond our medieval beginnings, now I see these views trying to be resurrected in our politics and our business leaders. It's sad.

If it is not my imagination, how do we overcome this?
Who knows, my personal opinion is that if we can learn to embrace the absurdity that is our universe we'll have fewer problems.

Religion teaches us to believe that things are the way they are for a reason, and that there is some over arching purpose or design. This message more than anything else has limited the advancement of humanity and I believe that advancement is our path out of poverty. Because while inequality certainly exists in our society's I think it's in-arguable that technological advances have improved everyone's lives (not just the lives of the rich and powerful).

The day when humanity realizes that there is no guiding hand, no watchful shepherd, no gods, no demons (on Earth or in Heaven). That our destiny is ours and ours alone, that is when we will begin to reach our potential.

Until that day comes we are nothing but group of frightened monkeys demanding compassion, justice, and purpose from a universe which has none of these things to offer.

These things our are own inventions for good and for evil, and only the fear of our own potential and inevitable oblivion holds us back.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 03:26 PM   #128
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Who knows, my personal opinion is that if we can learn to embrace the absurdity that is our universe we'll have fewer problems.

Religion teaches us to believe that things are the way they are for a reason, and that there is some over arching purpose or design. This message more than anything else has limited the advancement of humanity and I believe that advancement is our path out of poverty. Because while inequality certainly exists in our society's I think it's in-arguable that technological advances have improved everyone's lives (not just the lives of the rich and powerful).

The day when humanity realizes that there is no guiding hand, no watchful shepherd, no gods, no demons (on Earth or in Heaven). That our destiny is ours and ours alone, that is when we will begin to reach our potential.

Until that day comes we are nothing but group of frightened monkeys demanding compassion, justice, and purpose from a universe which has none of these things to offer.

These things our are own inventions for good and for evil, and only the fear of our own potential and inevitable oblivion holds us back.
Although I like the tone of your post, I still like to hope there is a purpose to this life, and I like to hope that lessons learned in this life are carried forward in some manner. Note, I did not say "believe". : )

Where I deviate from most religions, is that I don't pretend to know what is expected, if anything, and what I can expect at the end of this life. A continuation of consciousness is very attractive, and I hope for it, but I have not crossed the threshold of belief. And while there is no proof of a god or a spiritual existence, I think it is a mistake to rule them out completely, just cause. I realize if you are into proof, this line of reasoning carries no weight, but based on what we know for certainty, my "hopes" carry the same odds as the Atheist view.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 05:22 PM   #129
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Although I like the tone of your post, I still like to hope there is a purpose to this life
What you want has nothing to do with it, what's true is actually important.

There is meaning but you need to decide what life means to you, there isn't anything to decide it for you. People need to take personal responsibility for the meaning of life.

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Where I deviate from most religions, is that I don't pretend to know what is expected, if anything, and what I can expect at the end of this life. A continuation of consciousness is very attractive
What you wan't and what is real are two different things, what is real is important. People being divorced from reality is the origin of so many of the problems that humanity is facing now and has faced throughout our existence.

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And while there is no proof of a god or a spiritual existence, I think it is a mistake to rule them out completely, just cause. I realize if you are into proof, this line of reasoning carries no weight, but based on what we know for certainty, my "hopes" carry the same odds as the Atheist view.
The atheist view isn't that there is no god or can't be a god, atheist is something I call myself because it describes me better than most other terms (IMO).

I would prefer that there were no words to describe my views on god. In the same way that there are no words to describe my views on unicorns, or magic.

We don't have a word for people who don't believe in unicorns, or space dragons, or magic. We don't have words for people who don't believe these things not because there is no possibility what so ever that they might exist but because there is no evidence that they do exist.

The lack of evidence is not evidence and until there is something to consider there is no reason to consider. It is quite possible to ask meaningless questions. What is the color of love? Or what is the taste of Thursday? Are some examples of these, just because a question can be asked doesn't mean there is a meaningful answer.

Why is the universe here? Well all the evidence suggests that the answer is, we're here because universes just happen sometimes.

What we want to be true has no bearing on it, only what we make true is important.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 11:22 AM   #130
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What you want has nothing to do with it, what's true is actually important.

There is meaning but you need to decide what life means to you, there isn't anything to decide it for you. People need to take personal responsibility for the meaning of life.



What you wan't and what is real are two different things, what is real is important. People being divorced from reality is the origin of so many of the problems that humanity is facing now and has faced throughout our existence.



The atheist view isn't that there is no god or can't be a god, atheist is something I call myself because it describes me better than most other terms (IMO).

I would prefer that there were no words to describe my views on god. In the same way that there are no words to describe my views on unicorns, or magic.

We don't have a word for people who don't believe in unicorns, or space dragons, or magic. We don't have words for people who don't believe these things not because there is no possibility what so ever that they might exist but because there is no evidence that they do exist.

The lack of evidence is not evidence and until there is something to consider there is no reason to consider. It is quite possible to ask meaningless questions. What is the color of love? Or what is the taste of Thursday? Are some examples of these, just because a question can be asked doesn't mean there is a meaningful answer.

Why is the universe here? Well all the evidence suggests that the answer is, we're here because universes just happen sometimes.

What we want to be true has no bearing on it, only what we make true is important.
I realize that what I hope has nothing to do with truth. However I am not willing to totally disregard my perceptions and intellect which might provide clues. No need to point it out. : ) Truth regarding this subject is mostly a guess anyway.

Read this for fun!
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newswee...afterlife.html

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Although I considered myself a faithful Christian, I was so more in name than in actual belief. I didn’t begrudge those who wanted to believe that Jesus was more than simply a good man who had suffered at the hands of the world. I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.

In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.

I know how pronouncements like mine sound to skeptics, so I will tell my story with the logic and language of the scientist
He is a neuro surgeon grounded in science, at least he says he is. : )
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 02:10 PM   #131
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He is a neuro surgeon grounded in science, at least he says he is. : )
Being a neurosurgeon really just means you're good at brain surgery, being a doctor or a surgeon isn't the same as being a scientist. You can be quite good at these jobs without ever learning to think in a scientific manner (though learning to think scientifically will help you, just like it will help with almost any job imaginable).

Even scientists sometimes fail to think very scientifically, one of my favorite examples of this relates to the discovery of H. pylori. A stomach bacteria which can cause ulcers discovered by one man who was generally ignored (despite the convincing evidence he presented) because the predominant scientific thought at the time was that bacteria couldn't live in the stomach.

No after life experiences have ever been stood up to any rigorous scientific study and there is no evidence to truly support their claims.

It is a few people espousing a view which is deeply influenced by what they want to be true not what the evidence suggests is true.

Being a good scientist requires (as much as is possible) one to disconnect themselves from their desires and to focus purely on the evidence and what it suggests.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 03:20 PM   #132
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Read this for fun!
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newswee...afterlife.html

He is a neuro surgeon grounded in science, at least he says he is. : )
One thing that struck me about that story is there's no verifiable timeline for his vision, hallucination, or whatever you want to call his near-death experience.

He says he was in a coma for 7 days. This is clearly verifiable by external means, i.e. by means not entirely in his own mind.

He also says his cortex (or neocortex) was completely off. I presume this would also be verifiable by external means, e.g. the CT scans and other tests he mentions.

From the article:
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All the chief arguments against near-death experiences suggest that these experiences are the results of minimal, transient, or partial malfunctioning of the cortex. My near-death experience, however, took place not while my cortex was malfunctioning, but while it was simply off. This is clear from the severity and duration of my meningitis, and from the global cortical involvement documented by CT scans and neurological examinations. According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent.
What's completely unknown, AFAICT, is exactly when his cortex turned back on, and how soon after that his eyes popped open. It could have been minutes or hours between his cortex regaining function and his return to consciousness. Unless he was in a CT scanner or other machine that provides unequivocal and continuous measurement of his cortex state, there's no way of knowing when that happened.

Furthermore, I find it difficult to see how a cortex that was completely off (by his own words), can instantly switch to an "on" state of complete rationality, without going through some interval of "dim and limited consciousness". In any case, I wouldn't necessarily equate "dim and limited consciousness" with a dream state. That's certainly not my experience of dreams, even ones that are hyper-vivid and coherent.

I don't think there's any known way to correlate the timeline of dream experiences to the timeline of reality. Dreams that last only a few minutes may seem to last for hours to the dreamer. Dreams that last a long time under measurement (e.g. in a sleep lab) may be unremembered or of seemingly short duration to the dreamer.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:22 PM   #133
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Chown and AP, the guy says there would be skeptics. I don't believe the story is verifiable, but it is an event the author claims to remember vividly. There are 3 choices 1) Believe it at face value as something he experienced. 2) believe he hallucinated it just prior to regaining consciousness. 3) Believe he is a liar. Then pick which one you are most comfortable with. For myself, the story is compelling, makes me more hopeful regarding spirituality, but there is not enough for unconditional belief. I'm still Agnostic.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 08:18 AM   #134
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Pope Calls Virgin Birth Unequivocal Truth

I find it very interesting when I read an article about (have not read the book) Virgin Birth brought to us by the Pope. Here is the head man from one of the major religions making the classic mistake confusing or describing faith based belief with the same certainty as fact. I am critical of faith arguments presented with the same assurance as logical/fact based arguments. In the following quote, Benedict acknowledges former Egyptian/Greek legends and "archetypal concepts" of virgin birth, but insists that what happened between God and Mary was something new and valid, I guess just because he says so. How does anyone know this? For myself, I'd call it wishful thinking. I wonder if it is possible for theists to describe faith based beliefs as faith instead of making them sound like fact? In this realm, there really is no questioning about it. Where I on the other hand, I am full of questions.

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One section of the book is called "Virgin Birth - Myth or Historical Truth?"

The Church teaches that Jesus is the son of God and was not conceived through sexual intercourse but by the power of the Holy Spirit, one part of the divine trinity.

In simple language that is at once academic but still easily accessible to a non-specialist readership, Benedict says the story of the virgin birth is not just a reworking of earlier Greek or Egyptian legends and archetypal concepts but something totally new in history.

"It is God's creative word alone that brings about something new. Jesus, born of Mary is fully man and fully God, without confusion and without separation..." he writes.
He does acknowledge that the story of the 3 Kings could be made up, but reassures us, if not true would not shake any foundation of Christianity:

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Benedict says that while he believes in the story of the adoration of the Magi, no foundation of faith would be shaken if turned out to be an invention based on a theological idea.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 02:22 PM   #135
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I realize that what I hope has nothing to do with truth. However I am not willing to totally disregard my perceptions and intellect which might provide clues. No need to point it out. : ) Truth regarding this subject is mostly a guess anyway.

Read this for fun!
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newswee...afterlife.html



He is a neuro surgeon grounded in science, at least he says he is. : )
Here is the followup article recently published in Newsweek. You can scoff or be intrigued : The Science of Heaven.

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This not-quite-true story is that the brain produces consciousness. Most scientists accept this as dogma. I certainly did, and it’s why so many scientists still refuse to even consider that I really and truly experienced what I say I did. But we in fact have no real proof of this at all, other than our general distrust of anything we can’t put our hands on. But there are many established scientific facts that we haven’t placed our hands on either. No one has ever seen an electron, or touched the force of gravity. The fact is, most doctors, and most scientists today, are confusing the fact that consciousness and brain activity are related (which they certainly are) with the opinion that the brain actually produces that consciousness.
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Many scientists who study consciousness would agree with me that, in fact, the hard problem of consciousness is probably the one question facing modern science that is arguably forever beyond our knowing, at least in terms of a physicalist model of how the brain might create consciousness. In fact, they would agree that the problem is so profound that we don’t even know how to phrase a scientific question addressing it. But if we must decide which produces which, modern physics is pushing us in precisely the opposite direction, suggesting that it is consciousness that is primary and matter secondary.

This may sound absurd to some, but it is really no less absurd than the facts—now solidly established by quantum mechanics—of how we see the world around us right now. Every moment of every day, we completely personalize the data coming in at us from the physical world, but we do it far too quickly and automatically to be aware that we are doing so. Physicists discovered just how completely consciousness is wedded to the physical environment at the beginning of the 20th century, when the fathers of quantum mechanics (physicists such as Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Max Planck, and Albert Einstein) established that units of light, called photons, can appear either as waves or as particles, depending on how we choose to measure them. The implications of this seemingly minor curiosity are in fact enormous, for they demonstrate that at a subatomic level, perception itself (our inner consciousness) is so wedded to the world that our consciousness of a physical event—say, a moving photon—actually affects that event. The very nonlocal features of consciousness, so well supported in Irreducible Mind and in Pim van Lommel’s wonderful book Consciousness Beyond Life, are the resounding evidence that consciousness itself is a quantum phenomenon. Refinement in our understanding of this mystery proceeds even today, as the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland for their innovative work in isolating the “collapse of the wave function,” or the exact process by which the conscious mind of the observer paints subatomic reality (hint: Einstein would still be frustrated!).
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 05:55 PM   #136
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Here is another good article that questions the source of consciousness. It makes me wonder if this is the stuff of crackpots or is there really a sound scientific basis to question the conventional wisdom about the brain and consciousness.

Does Our Brain Really Create Consciousness?
The author: Peter Russell went from being a strict atheist and scientist to discovering a profound personal synthesis of the mystical and the scientific. That transition is the basis of this book.

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Yet whatever ideas are put forward, one thorny question remains: How can something as immaterial as consciousness ever arise from something as unconscious as matter?
If the anomaly persists, despite all attempts to explain it, then maybe the fundamental assumptions of the prevailing worldview need to be questioned. This is what Copernicus did when confronted with the perplexing motion of the planets. He challenged the geocentric worldview, showing that if the sun, not the earth, was at the center, then the movements of the planets began to make sense. But people don't easily let go of cherished assumptions. Even when, 70 years later, the discoveries of Galileo and Kepler confirmed Copernicus's proposal, the establishment was loath to accept the new model. Only when Newton formulated his laws of motion, providing a mathematical explanation of the planets' paths, did the new paradigm start gaining wider acceptance.
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This proposal is so contrary to the current paradigm, that die-hard materialists easily ridicule and dismiss it. But we should not forget the bishops of Galileo's time who refused to look through his telescope because they knew his discovery was impossible.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 03:38 AM   #137
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Here is another good article that questions the source of consciousness. It makes me wonder if this is the stuff of crackpots or is there really a sound scientific basis to question the conventional wisdom about the brain and consciousness.
Not what I would call a good article. Also if you are basing whether you think there is a sound scientific basis to question something based upon an article in a newspaper... well that's not very good science! Especially as they use the flawed logic of "people refused to believe Gallileo because is idea was to radical. He was right. This idea is radical, people will refuse to believe it. Therefore this idea could have some merit".

Point is this article doesn't really contain any evidence, it just says "how can unconscious matter produce consciousness?". Yes it's a question science is struggling to answer now... but that doesn't make the leap to something spiritual/supernatural true. Also the article states that consciousness could be an inherent property of life... which is manifestly wrong. Bacteria are alive and so are plants and fungi, they are not conscious! Only things with a brain are, and their 'level' of consciousness is directly proportionate to brain development (contrary to the article we do have ways to estimate levels of consciousness). An insect is not aware of itself, a pet dog is, and a human certainly is. What's more newborn human babies lack the level of consciousness or ability to store information as adults (that's why people can't remember the first couple of years of life) and it is something that develops as the brain does with age.

I'm afraid Huntn you fallen into the same trap you've fallen into before- you want there to be a spiritual (or whatever) aspect to life and you are picking the evidence you want to try and prove it. You've ended up with an article that, even if we ignore the subject matter, is full of illogical statements. If you want an interesting discussion post a peer reviewed article from a respectable journal.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 03:53 AM   #138
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Not what I would call a good article. Also if you are basing whether you think there is a sound scientific basis to question something based upon an article in a newspaper... well that's not very good science! Especially as they use the flawed logic of "people refused to believe Gallileo because is idea was to radical. He was right. This idea is radical, people will refuse to believe it. Therefore this idea could have some merit".

Point is this article doesn't really contain any evidence, it just says "how can unconscious matter produce consciousness?". Yes it's a question science is struggling to answer now... but that doesn't make the leap to something spiritual/supernatural true. Also the article states that consciousness could be an inherent property of life... which is manifestly wrong. Bacteria are alive and so are plants and fungi, they are not conscious! Only things with a brain are, and their 'level' of consciousness is directly proportionate to brain development (contrary to the article we do have ways to estimate levels of consciousness). An insect is not aware of itself, a pet dog is, and a human certainly is. What's more newborn human babies lack the level of consciousness or ability to store information as adults (that's why people can't remember the first couple of years of life) and it is something that develops as the brain does with age.

I'm afraid Huntn you fallen into the same trap you've fallen into before- you want there to be a spiritual (or whatever) aspect to life and you are picking the evidence you want to try and prove it. You've ended up with an article that, even if we ignore the subject matter, is full of illogical statements. If you want an interesting discussion post a peer reviewed article from a respectable journal.
I still don't get why people are so horrified of death being the end of existence. We all do it. Enjoy your time here and do the best you can. Once you die, you won't care- you'll be dead. Why is that so scary? If we all do it, it must not be so terrible.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 05:59 AM   #139
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Not what I would call a good article. Also if you are basing whether you think there is a sound scientific basis to question something based upon an article in a newspaper... well that's not very good science! Especially as they use the flawed logic of "people refused to believe Gallileo because is idea was to radical. He was right. This idea is radical, people will refuse to believe it. Therefore this idea could have some merit".

Point is this article doesn't really contain any evidence, it just says "how can unconscious matter produce consciousness?". Yes it's a question science is struggling to answer now... but that doesn't make the leap to something spiritual/supernatural true. Also the article states that consciousness could be an inherent property of life... which is manifestly wrong. Bacteria are alive and so are plants and fungi, they are not conscious! Only things with a brain are, and their 'level' of consciousness is directly proportionate to brain development (contrary to the article we do have ways to estimate levels of consciousness). An insect is not aware of itself, a pet dog is, and a human certainly is. What's more newborn human babies lack the level of consciousness or ability to store information as adults (that's why people can't remember the first couple of years of life) and it is something that develops as the brain does with age.

I'm afraid Huntn you fallen into the same trap you've fallen into before- you want there to be a spiritual (or whatever) aspect to life and you are picking the evidence you want to try and prove it. You've ended up with an article that, even if we ignore the subject matter, is full of illogical statements. If you want an interesting discussion post a peer reviewed article from a respectable journal.
I'm not trying to prove anything, but I am keeping an open mind. Yes, I admit to leaning towards spirituality so I am open to articles like these. Because something currently resides in the realm of supernatural, should it be dismissed and not even considered? Project yourself back to Galileo's time and pretend you are one of the flat Earth folks who were sure we sit at the center of God's universe. This was a point the author makes.

The thing is, neither of the two authors opinions rely on "supernatural" to make their theories work, nor are they asking the reader to believe in the supernatural just because they say so. It is just one possible avenue. Both are seeking a scientific basis for their views.

The first author (I linked to) is simply reporting his experience and is continuing to research what happened to him. He refers to an experience he had when the part of his brain that creates consciousness/dreaming was shut down. According to the article this was not speculation. And he confirms that accepted scientific dogma is that the brain creates consciousness and that he has many critics who dismiss it, and he himself would not have believed it, if he had not experienced it. His thesis is that consciousness coexists with the brain, but is not created by the brain. It is not proven and unfortunately it drags all of this souls/heaven crap into the equation.

The second author refers to neuropeptides, quantum physics, microtubules found inside nerve cells, brain's processing, and chaos theory as focuses of research regarding the origin of consciousness. These are hardly supernatural. Although you did not say it, boxing yourself into current understandings of the origins of consciousness, appears to lock you into a belief that the only possible motivation for this research are fears of death our species has had from the beginning. As previously stated, the first guy clearly states prior to his experience, he was grounded in science and he would have been critical of anyone who told him of such an experience as he had.

No, none of this is a basis to believe, just to consider. It is fine to stick with what you can logically understand/prove, but these guys are doing exactly what you want, seeking proof of their theories.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 07:46 AM   #140
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I still don't get why people are so horrified of death being the end of existence. We all do it. Enjoy your time here and do the best you can. Once you die, you won't care- you'll be dead. Why is that so scary? If we all do it, it must not be so terrible.
None of us existed for the first 13.75 billions years of the universe, and it didn't seem so scary then.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 09:39 AM   #141
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None of us existed for the first 13.75 billions years of the universe, and it didn't seem so scary then.
"Please Sir, I want more."
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 10:20 AM   #142
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None of us existed for the first 13.75 billions years of the universe, and it didn't seem so scary then.
But it was boring... Actually you don't know for sure trapped in your Earth bound flesh and blood.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 10:50 AM   #143
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But it was boring... Actually you don't know for sure trapped in your Earth bound flesh and blood.
If only those 13.75-billion-year-old hydrogen atoms in our earth bound flesh and blood could talk...
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 11:18 AM   #144
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His thesis is that consciousness coexists with the brain, but is not created by the brain.
One problem with this thesis is you still need an interface that connects one to the other. There must be some mechanism whereby this non-physical consciousness not created by the brain connects to the physical observable brain. This mechanism must also explain all the observed characteristics of brain/consciousness interaction, such as the way that certain brain injuries affect awareness and emotion, the way that electrical activity reflects conscious experience, and so on.

A few articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homunculus_argument
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_Theater
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_pr..._consciousness
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Hofstadter

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No one has ever seen an electron
This is specious.

No one has ever seen air, either, because it's transparent. But it's clearly there (or something is), because we can do things with it, manipulate it in certain ways, even liquify it. Either it exists and behaves according to its catalogged physical principles, or we're all being tricked into believing it by some incredibly powerful illusion.

Think about how we know things are there. They do certain things, act certain ways, have physics they follow, and so on. They exhibit observable quantifiable phenomena.

I can create a magic-like vacuum tube with a heater in it, and phospors on one side. I can then generate electrons from the heater, accellerate them towards the phospor coating, and they make a bright dot. This invention is called a CRT (cathode-ray tube), and is over a century old.

I can also make a different kind of vacuum tube that some manages to amplify electronic signals applied to a strangely placed "grid" or "screen" in the tube.

I don't have to see the actual electrons to know they're there. As long as they behave in the way that electrons are catalogged to behave, I have reasonable assurance my electronic circuits will work (unless I've made a circuit design error).


For an example of something that's only perceivable by a single individual, but nevertheless is observable and describable, see this phenomena:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphene

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Old Dec 1, 2012, 11:47 AM   #145
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One problem with this thesis is you still need an interface that connects one to the other. There must be some mechanism whereby this non-physical consciousness not created by the brain connects to the physical observable brain. This mechanism must also explain all the observed characteristics of brain/consciousness interaction, such as the way that certain brain injuries affect awareness and emotion, the way that electrical activity reflects conscious experience, and so on.

A few articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homunculus_argument
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_Theater
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_pr..._consciousness
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Hofstadter



This is specious.

No one has ever seen air, either, because it's transparent. But it's clearly there (or something is), because we can do things with it, manipulate it in certain ways, even liquify it. Either it exists and behaves according to its catalogged physical principles, or we're all being tricked into believing it by some incredibly powerful illusion.

Think about how we know things are there. They do certain things, act certain ways, have physics they follow, and so on. They exhibit observable quantifiable phenomena.

I can create a magic-like vacuum tube with a heater in it, and phospors on one side. I can then generate electrons from the heater, accellerate them towards the phospor coating, and they make a bright dot. This invention is called a CRT (cathode-ray tube), and is over a century old.

I can also make a different kind of vacuum tube that some manages to amplify electronic signals applied to a strangely placed "grid" or "screen" in the tube.

I don't have to see the actual electrons to know they're there. As long as they behave in the way that electrons are catalogged to behave, I have reasonable assurance my electronic circuits will work (unless I've made a circuit design error).

For an example of something that's only perceivable by a single individual, but nevertheless is observable and describable, see this phenomena:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphene
The point either one or both quoted authors are trying to make is that there is no meaningful scientific way to connect consciousness to the brain other than to assume that is where it comes from. I've read about NDEs (near death experiences) and the reports are, they are vivid occurrences, clearly remembered, not elusive like dreams are.

Thanks for the links! I'll take a look at them.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 11:04 AM   #146
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Newsweek/Daily Beast: Who Was Jesus?

Outstanding article in the December Newsweek about Jesus. For the doubters, the article illustrates why faith is faith, but it is not based on factual historical documents, it's based on good stories. For believers, I think you have to take a step back and consider upon what basis your faith has been established, something that looks like fact, or for lack of fact, a sense of the truth of all Christian based dogma, or just wishful thinking and latching on to a conveniently promoted structure combined with childhood indoc.

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As Christians around the world now prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, it is worth considering that much of the “common knowledge” about the babe in Bethlehem cannot be found in any scriptural authority, but is either a modern myth or based on Gospel accounts from outside the sacred bounds of Christian Scripture. Some obvious examples: nowhere does the Bible indicate what year Jesus came into the world, or that he was born on Dec. 25; it does not place an ox and an ass in his manger; it does not say that it was 3 (as opposed to 7 or 12) wise men who visited him.

For many centuries, most Christians garnered their information about the birth of Jesus not from the New Testament but from popular writings that were not officially considered Scripture. One of the best known of these books is called the “Proto-Gospel of James,” composed probably in the late second century, a century after the canonical Gospels, and accordingly, far less likely that they contain anything like historically accurate information. But Christians throughout the Middle Ages were rarely interested in historical accuracy; they loved stories and reveled in their meaning, especially stories having anything to do with the appearance of the Son of God in the world.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 11:42 AM   #147
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Nor, of course, was the Trinity part of Christian teaching until 300 years after Jesus' (very poorly-attested and maybe invented) death on a cross.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 12:15 PM   #148
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Nor, of course, was the Trinity part of Christian teaching until 300 years after Jesus' (very poorly-attested and maybe invented) death on a cross.
Maybe it took some time to think out Jesus's significance?
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 06:29 PM   #149
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Maybe it took some time to think out Jesus's significance?
More likely to embroider the narrative with suitably recognisable motifs and endow the Teacher of Righteousness with unquestionable authority.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 08:49 AM   #150
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A Christian who has his head on straight: Newsweek- Can Safe Sex Save The Earth?

Richard Cizik worked for 28 years at the National Association of Evangelicals, eventually becoming the lobbying group’s vice president for governmental affairs. That is until he took a controversial stand on climate change and deciding that same-sex civil unions were ok. Then he got booted, but not silenced.

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If his ouster was meant to silence him, it didn’t work. Earlier this fall, the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good—a nonprofit Cizik cofounded—released a position paper laying out a moral argument for improving access to contraceptives and maternal health care. Although it’s not addressed in the paper, Cizik has also made the case that access to contraceptives is not only good for people, but also, since it helps curb overpopulation, good for the planet. On his blog, he calls family planning a “green technology.”
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But he says that the more he looked at the data, the more convinced he became that those arguments were not just wrong, but un-Christian. Among the figures the paper uses to bolster this case are the fact that a woman dies in childbirth each minute, one in every four births is unplanned, and every year, contraception prevents some 112 million abortions worldwide. “How can you look at the data and not have your heart break? And not do something about it?” he says.
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