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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:14 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:29 am
Posts: 281
Got right into this kind of literature as a young twenty something. Of all the thinkers perhaps my favourite came to be Alan Watts. I liked his lucid comical approach.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
Location: Earth
Machinesworking wrote:
Angstrom and Eventful for the win!

All I have to say is I often wonder if stoner logic is going to set science back the way religion did?

An older ex super hot blond hippy friend of my moms posts all this shit on Facebook, every, single, day.
She's now a "scientist"........ She was a pagan witch too in the 70's and 80's, not surprisingly enough...


no, you've actually got it completely the wrong way around. What holds science back is rigid dogmatic and arrogant ideas that we have all the answers when we actually know very little. And it always has, going back to Galileo and before... people like him were well and truly pushing shit up hill trying to argue with people who have all the answers.

Lord Kelvin thought at the end of the 19th century that there was nothing new to discover in science and it was all just filling in the blanks, a few short years before Einstein's first theory of relativity. All the most influential thinkers of the last few hundred years were willing to consider all kinds of weird possibilities before they came up with any theories and they were usually treated like lunatics when they first published.... Quantum mechanics is one of the most totally bizarre and weird things there is and demonstrates more than anything else just how little we actually know. Try setting up an experiment to find conclusive proof of those 11 dimensions....

Rupert Sheldrake's book "the science delusion" is all about how people are using established mainstream science in the same dogmatic way that religions are used. The guy actually does have a bit of experience, and was a fellow of cambridge, harvard and the royal society, I'm not sure I'd really call it "stoner logic". He's actually done very detailed experiments and is very interested in finding "proof" if possible, and I think he would fit into your wildly generalised little X,Y,Z group.

Richard Dawkins is a shining example of this new-dogma. He seems to have a bunch of disciples out there who love quoting him almost like evangelical atheists. You see it all over the place now, people out there frantically going out of their way to belittle and ridicule people with any kind of religious belief, or even hinting at some kind of "spiritual" open-ness, apparently completely oblivious to how dogmatic and narrow minded they are themselves being. Anyone claiming to know anything that solidly for a fact really hasn't actually understood any of the science they are claiming to be quoting.

The best we have right now is that we understand a fraction of the 3-4% of the universe we can actually observe, and the rest is "dark matter", "dark energy" or "dark flow" and we understand roughly the same of what DNA actually does and the rest is supposedly "junk". The standard model of particle physics completely ignores gravity.... and so on....

hardly a position of omniscience IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:00 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
Location: Earth
Goddard wrote:
If you can't effort booze or dope (for consciousness development...)then you may be interested...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2UHLMVr4vg

Dirty Harry can't be wrong... Punk!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gM_sXiUPvo

Skål!


I bookmarked that talk a while ago and forgot about it, thanks for reminding me!


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:11 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
Location: Earth
well, this is relevant:

Worded with that classic media twist, but interesting:

SPIRITUALITY CAN MESS UP MIND, STUDY FINDS:

http://au.news.yahoo.com/queensland/a/- ... udy-finds/

I'd agree that people (like me) who are 'not sure' have a less rigid, and therefore less stable view of themselves and their surroundings, whereas people who feel they 'know' one way or the other might feel more solid in themselves.

But I would argue you can discover a lot more about life if you don't have any preconceived ideas of what you expect to find.

What is most interesting about that study is that Atheists had much the same results as and those with faith - which backs up the point that atheism can be just as closed as religion. Well it is by definition really, it is a belief that there is nothing beyond the mechanistic view of biological life.

But what I've been trying to argue is not that there is some "god" in the traditional sense, or even "spirituality", rather that there is a field, or form of energy that we haven't been able to quantify in scientific terms yet that accounts for consciousness.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:57 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
Posts: 9641
Location: Seattle
nathannn wrote:
^ Explain Deja Vu.

Basically Deja Vu is a brain malfunction. Instead of a current event going into recent memory it gets catalogued as an old memory, without a specific date usually, because it would be 30 seconds ago... It feels very real, but yeah, that one has been known for a while.

Another interesting memory quirk is blackouts. You drink too much and you don't remember certain parts of a night or maybe all of it.
The thing is it's not a total determiner of how drunk you are, because it's a symptom of alcohol poisoning that not everybody gets. It's not that you don't remember the events, it's that your brain forgets to record them in the first place. That's why traumatic things will pull you out of a blackout.

Also, I didn't post to say that there weren't mysteries in the universe, just that we humans tend to want to throw answers to those mysteries that aren't close to being near backed up by any facts. All you have to do is look at mankind's history of ideas on how the universe works to see a litany of crazy fucked up ideas stated as fact.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:57 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
Posts: 12595
When people talk about "open mind beats dogmatic science" I cringe. It's a misrepresentation, a straw man designed to inflate and flatter the weirdly held opinions, offered with no proof.

It's non-logical that pseudoscience trots out

1: not everything has been discovered
2: I think elephants are unicorns in disguise
3: science disbelieves me
4: "science" once thought the earth was flat, and was proved wrong
5: therefore "science" can be wrong and elephants are possibly unicorns

Just to point out as an asside: nobody (of any repute) ever thought the earth was flat. Yet thats another "science gets it wrong" fact which is trotted out. It started in a humor book in the 19th century, and has been repeated as"fact" ever since.
Lord Kelvin never said "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now" . It is pseudoscience myth making. Just think - where was that quote from. What is its attribution?

Quote:
"There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement."
Although reportedly from an address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1900), the quote is only duplicated without citation to any primary source in various books, including Superstring : A theory of everything? (1988) by Paul Davies and Julian Brown; also in Rebuilding the Matrix : Science and Faith in the 21st Century (2003) by Denis Alexander. To be more credible, a source prior to the 1980s and close to 1900 is needed.
Confusion may be due to Michelson who made a similar quote whilst mentioning Lord Kelvin: In 1894, Albert A. Michelson remarked that in physics there were no more fundamental discoveries to be made. Quoting Lord Kelvin, he continued, “An eminent physicist remarked that the future truths of physical science are to be looked for in the sixth place of decimals. [1]


Now, consider that a pseudo science book has misrepresented a quite accurate Kelvin statement : that science will become more about smaller measurements, and the pseudoscience book has taken this fact and distorted it to provide a meaning : science gets it wrong.

In fact the pseudoscientific author has very clearly distorted the evidence to fallaciously bolster his belief system.

Ironic.

---

Scientists are in fact just as interested in the idea that metadimensional elves are creating our Universe from syntactical superstrings. But those things that are above and beyond our facilities remain that way. We can chat with elves on DMT all we want, but thats just our own fun times, not objective share-able reality. Scientists are not in the business of personal myth making, where we all become Arthurian heroes filled with might majesty and meaning.

A scientist would love to prove that (for EG) he pyramids are 1 million years old, because proof of such a thing would be the making of them. Einstein overturned accepted thought, and proved that accepted thought is ready to be overturned with the right evidence.

So anyone who says "science battles against open minded inquiry" can simply look at ll the times that accepted scientific thought was overturned and see that it is PROOF which is required, and that imaginitive open minded inquiry is built into science.

Blind willing Acceptance is not

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:18 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
Location: Earth
I just started replying to a couple of points from this post then noticed you have written a new one, so I'll finish this first.

Angstrom wrote:
For example "teleported photons", is actually a related to quantum entanglement, where two photons maintain an FTL information exchange through measurement of one implying the state of the other entangled photon. Measuring the polarity of one, implies the opposing polarity of the other, meaning that we know something about a particle "instantly" (FTL). The difficulty in testing this has been sending two entangled particles enough distance, and being able to measure and track both. THIS was recently achieved. Now, is this "teleportation" ? I'd say not. Indigochildrenstarwatcher might say it is proof of potential FTL communication and THEREFORE psi powers. Nope.
Firstly, all entanglements are by nature "encrypted", random gibberish until somebody sends over the initial state data to correlate it. That is : the data arrives FTL but nobody can understand it. So FTL communication by entanglement is still very much pie in the sky.

But consider the human need, the desire for a headline that is metaphysical, or "other", which makes a measured entanglement into "teleportation" . Why do humans feel attracted to that. And consider it like a heroin addict, drawn to smell poppies.


It's all pie in the sky.. but it will never be anything more if nobody ever wants to talk about it.

I was pretty sure the actual lead researcher on the project I was referring to in Austria actually called it teleportation. That could be just his over-eager interpretation, in either case, it was just an example I was relating to my pure speculation... I was just broaching the possibility that if Rupert Sheldrake's ideas of consciousness being like a 'field' have any truth to them then in theory based on what we know about existing fields maybe there is a particle associated with it... I was just following that idea through really.

Quote:
Secondly: psi powers, remote viewing, etc.etc.
My Familly are mystics. Clairvoyants, palm readers, psychics. Etc. Of the old school kind. Gypsy palmists, spiritualist church leaders. I was raised "believing in this stuff".

Unfortunately there is a strong, strong STRONG desire and need in humans to want and believe in this stuff. I'd say the desire is as strong as for sex. Now consider how easily humans fall for the wrong partner because of the sexual imperitive. It's the same deal here.

Unfortunately, even when a person like me, raised by psychics, tutored in mysticism, but also a member of the magic circle and owner of many books on cold reading and mentalism. Even if I laid out exactly all the flaws, human, and experimental, in psychic phenomena. A person who needs to believe ... Will believe.


Actually, my mentioning of it in the context of this thread is purely related to the idea of field consciousness and the possibility that it can "project" - all of these are ideas and theories and I am not trying to argue the point from any specific rigid viewpoint. In fact I want you to refute it! it's the discussion I am interested in.

The basic premise: I am not satisfied with the purely mechanistic explanation for consciousness, and thus am really interested in hearing different views on what exactly it is.
All of these topics are ideas that might be related, especially peaked by the doco I watched on Near death experiences.

Quote:
Here's the top remote viewer scoring a hit.

any cold reading aficionado would recognise the list of impressions. These guys were just one of many thousands of commissions made during the cold war. The Russians were rumoured to be trying it, so the Americans tried it too. Although the russians later admitted it was all a cover for information gathered by plain old spying. Just like the cover stories for RADAR .


I hadn't actually got around to looking into Joe McMoneagle, I wasn't sure he was the "top" one so much as number 001. I thought Ingo Swann was considered the one who had the best results. I have listened to talks by Hal Putoff who was the stanford researcher in charge of the program, and he seemed to give a lot more positive results. Ingo Swann was very interesting to listen to in the one talk of his I saw on Youtube, and I read one of his books which was a great read. If it's true it's an amazing story, if it's not it was still a good read.


Last edited by Forge. on Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
Location: Earth
Angstrom wrote:
When people talk about "open mind beats dogmatic science" I cringe. It's a misrepresentation, a straw man designed to inflate and flatter the weirdly held opinions, offered with no proof.

It's non-logical that pseudoscience trots out

1: not everything has been discovered
2: I think elephants are unicorns in disguise
3: science disbelieves me
4: "science" once thought the earth was flat, and was proved wrong
5: therefore "science" can be wrong and elephants are possibly unicorns


Well I think you are actually misrepresenting what I was saying a little here too though. I am a lover of science, I am very interested in what we have discovered so far, but more interested in what we don't know yet. I wish I had more of a maths background so that I had the patience to deal with complex equations, but I think I will probably just hang around where it intersects with philosophy and try and follow it as much as I can.

I was objecting to a specific trend that seems to be happening recently, especially since Richard Dawkins published the God delusion. A seemingly endless number of smart arses on the internet seem to have taken it as a carte blanche to go around shouting at people who dare to mention anything slightly weird and calling them morons, without the vaguest hint of the irony of their over zealous bigotry.

As a result, people just might not read really interesting and well thought out theories because they don't fit into that mould, which is just a shame really. And it also could hold up a valuable line of inquiry. I mean, what if he is actually right?

At the end of the day, people from all sides of any argument can be just as dogmatic about any position.

Quote:
Just to point out as an asside: nobody (of any repute) ever thought the earth was flat. Yet thats another "science gets it wrong" fact which is trotted out. It started in a humor book in the 19th century, and has been repeated as"fact" ever since.
Lord Kelvin never said "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now" . It is pseudoscience myth making. Just think - where was that quote from. What is its attribution?


well that quote may be wrong, but I was using it to make a point and the point is obviously not complete bollocks. There has always been significant resistance within the scientific establishment to revolutionary ideas. They wouldn't be revolutionary otherwise.

Quote:
Einstein overturned accepted thought, and proved that accepted thought is ready to be overturned with the right evidence.


Einstein used thought experiments to come up with his theories. I'm sure he thought about plenty of weird stuff in the process..

Quote:
So anyone who says "science battles against open minded inquiry" can simply look at ll the times that accepted scientific thought was overturned and see that it is PROOF which is required, and that imaginitive open minded inquiry is built into science.

Blind willing Acceptance is not


Again, that isn't what I was getting at, and I think you have made some assumptions based on the fact that I am interested in topics that are often treated carelessly in a pseudo scientific way by people who "want to believe". But actually I would argue that in part that is related to the sheer fact that a lot of these more 'esoteric' topics don't often get funded and thus don't get the opportunity to be studied properly.

But two people I've mentioned, Rupert Sheldrake and Peter Fenwick are perfectly credible scientists who have done a lot of research in these areas, and cmcpress demonstrated straight away the kind of response Sheldrake gets, and I have to wonder if that's based on reading any of his stuff.. I know there has been quite a bit of resistance to his theories out there, because it's unconventional, it's a shame to not listen to what he's saying, it's really very interesting. He may or may not be right, but it is based on a lot of experience, I'm not sure there's anything wrong with his method. The mechanistic Dawkins view is very popular these days, but I definitely don't think he's been "proven right", and in fact this is the whole reason I brought this topic up - it can't even be proven right unless we really understand what consciousness is. We still don't know anything like enough about the brain to be able to conclusively say that all of our experience is purely down to chemicals and electrical signals.

I actually have a similar family background to you, I was brought up with a fair amount of weird stuff. I have a step father who lived in an Ashram in India in the 70s, and was a spiritualist as well, but in contrast my real father was a deeply skeptical social scientist. I think as a result of that I think I have seen enough to make me not dismiss it outright, but I'm much more interested in removing it from the realms of "pseudo-science" trying to approach it properly and rationally, and I do think it's possible.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:53 pm
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I'm pretty atheist. I don't have any problem with anything anyone wants to personally believe, or even with anything they want to write about and tell others about. But these are just ideas unless they stand up under scientific scrutiny.

This life field thing you're talking about is basically the force, isn't it? (at least before, it was changed to bacteria or something). Anyway, if anyone ever manages to detect it, or comes up with a sound theory of why it explains measurable data that can't be explained with conventional science, then I'll take it seriously.

Does this make me a dogmatic follower of science? Maybe, but no more than religious people or spiritual people are about what they believe.

Forge, you're getting close to being on a soap box talking about how it's better to be open minded. Too far in that direction, and you'll sound as bad as the "arrogant" atheists.

So can we leave any sweeping generalisations about personality out of the conversation?


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
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andydes wrote:
I'm pretty atheist. I don't have any problem with anything anyone wants to personally believe, or even with anything they want to write about and tell others about. But these are just ideas unless they stand up under scientific scrutiny.

This life field thing you're talking about is basically the force, isn't it? (at least before, it was changed to bacteria or something). Anyway, if anyone ever manages to detect it, or comes up with a sound theory of why it explains measurable data that can't be explained with conventional science, then I'll take it seriously.

Does this make me a dogmatic follower of science? Maybe, but no more than religious people or spiritual people are about what they believe.

Forge, you're getting close to being on a soap box talking about how it's better to be open minded. Too far in that direction, and you'll sound as bad as the "arrogant" atheists.

So can we leave any sweeping generalisations about personality out of the conversation?


Well no I'd hoped I'd made it clear that I'm certainly not taking issue with atheism in general, just the evangelical atheists who feel the need to batter other people with it. And I'm just really arguing that we can't really say for sure that life, or consciousness is purely down to brain function. That's really the main point I'm trying to make.

Actually I'd probably almost consider myself an Atheist in terms of the idea of "god" etc.... I'm actually trying to consider all of these topics from the point of view of them being completely rational just not understood in a scientific context by us yet.

I'm also adding plenty of speculation, but I'm trying to base it on ideas from people who have put a lot of effort into studying it, usually from scientific backgrounds. I'm not really very interested in just making random wild claims without some kind of logical reasoning behind it. It can be fun to speculate, but not if it's just some arbitrary idea about imaginary friends or whatever.

I'm not really sure what you are referring to with the sweeping generalisations about personality.. do you mean the comments on that "spirituality" study?


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
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Location: Seattle
Forge. wrote:
Well I think you are actually misrepresenting what I was saying a little here too though. I am a lover of science, I am very interested in what we have discovered so far, but more interested in what we don't know yet. I wish I had more of a maths background so that I had the patience to deal with complex equations, but I think I will probably just hang around where it intersects with philosophy and try and follow it as much as I can.

Therein lies the problem. Philosophy while an interesting academic excursion isn't anything to replace math with. In fact every single time mankind has let philosophy or religion take precedent over science, we have been led into the darkness.

You've already made conclusions that you don't have to back up with evidence because it's part of your world view, (Dawkins is a mechanical thinker etc.) yet you want your world view scientifically validated. I find Sheldrake kind of interesting, but he's scoffed and downplayed every challenge to his conclusions. Numerous tests have been discredited, tests done with impartial scientists have come up empty, and he always denies this. If he really wants to be taken seriously he will start without a premise that cannot be verified... but I'm digressing.

Basically the spiritual "What The (*$%^#()_ Do We Know?" crowd has made it VERY VERY difficult for traditional scientists to even want to vaguely pay attention to anybody who claims any paranormal insight or study without a huge amount of skepticism. Quantum mechanics and physics have been given whole new meanings by people without a clue about the math or science behind them, or even what the reasons are for the studies in the first place, but that hasn't stopped them from claiming they now have proof of the power of positive thinking to physically alter reality! These same people have rallied behind Sheldrake and he's responded by attacking raw science..... yet of course he's being mistreated by "mechanical" science.

So to me anyway, so far Sheldrake had some interesting findings, but he's decided to rally behind the pseudo science crowd, and that's not making me think he's onto anything. If he gently brushed off the new age types and doggedly pursued his studies, and was capable of having negative results I would take him a little more seriously. None of that seems to be the case though.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:50 pm 

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Thanks for the thread Forge - very interesting read so far.

Before theorizing about what consciousness is or where it comes from I think it helps to think about what is it that we are actually conscious of.

I believe that our experiences are a construct of our brains, nervous system and sensory organs, etc. signals from many sources are transformed and integrated in a complex dynamic process that creates the contents of our consciousness from moment to moment. Without these mental contents there is nothing to be conscious of.

I'd recommend watching some of the videos on this site, particularly the TED talk. Any theory of consciousness has to be compatible with these actual experimental observations. IMO these experiments show that there is no consciousness independent of the model created by/in our brain.

http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/videos.html

As a person with a past history of heavy psychedelic drug use I have thought a lot about this question but I don't have the intellectual stamina of some of you guys so I need to marshal my thoughts before wading in too deep in the discussion.

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:22 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
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Machinesworking wrote:
Therein lies the problem. Philosophy while an interesting academic excursion isn't anything to replace math with. In fact every single time mankind has let philosophy or religion take precedent over science, we have been led into the darkness.


I'm not talking about anything taking precedent about anything else, I see no reason they can't co-exist... It's not a "you're either with us or against us" thing.

What about Pythagoras? Or Bertrand Russell? Physics even used to be called 'natural philosophy'. I think people have an incorrect idea of what philosophy is. It's about logic and reason, and ethics. Actually most political ideologies and laws have their roots in philosophy. A lot of the people we have respected most throughout history are essentially philosophers.

Quote:
You've already made conclusions that you don't have to back up with evidence because it's part of your world view, (Dawkins is a mechanical thinker etc.) yet you want your world view scientifically validated.


No, I haven't made any conclusions here. I realise I've probably written far more than anyone wants to read, but I did think I went to great lengths to labour that point. This is just a discussion.... I only really feel the need to 'debate' it if I feel like people are dismissing ideas that could have some validity based on a preconceived notion.

Actually I agree with a lot of what Dawkins says about the problems of religion. The only real problem I have with him is the 'mechanistic' idea of biology as I've said. I just don't find it satisfying. Apart from that it's mainly the people who go around using his ideas (and others like him) to berate and ridicule other people, when I really think none of it is absolutely certain.

Quote:
I find Sheldrake kind of interesting, but he's scoffed and downplayed every challenge to his conclusions. Numerous tests have been discredited, tests done with impartial scientists have come up empty, and he always denies this. If he really wants to be taken seriously he will start without a premise that cannot be verified... but I'm digressing.


Well, "scoffed or downplayed" is kind of a loaded way of describing it, but of course he is going to try and defend what he's said. I'm not sure anyone has conclusively proved him wrong on everything. But again, I see it as food for thought. I'm not even saying I think he is right about everything he says, I'm really just flagging him as someone who I think has some very interesting ideas that are worth exploring, and he has a solid background of experience that lead him to his views. I've found his arguments to be mostly pretty reasonable in the book I've been reading, and have seen some interesting talks.

Quote:
Basically the spiritual "What The (*$%^#()_ Do We Know?" crowd has made it VERY VERY difficult for traditional scientists to even want to vaguely pay attention to anybody who claims any paranormal insight or study without a huge amount of skepticism. Quantum mechanics and physics have been given whole new meanings by people without a clue about the math or science behind them, or even what the reasons are for the studies in the first place, but that hasn't stopped them from claiming they now have proof of the power of positive thinking to physically alter reality!


Actually I was pretty critical about "what the bleep" when I watched it after it was recommended to me, because I think the film makers did make a lot of leaps and quote people out of context. I agree they could have possibly done more harm than good in that respect. But I'm not sure they are completely wrong about "the power of thought". I'm not making any leaps either as to what that is or how much of an effect it can have, but this is exactly one of the areas that I think should be studied more. The Ice crystal stuff was interesting, but it needs to be made clear that it was an art project and not a scientific study. Even still, it is definitely interesting that the "positive" thought ones tend to be harmonic - if you think about that in parallel with cymatics it certainly raises some interesting prospects that there could be some kind of 'harmonious' thought projection...

Quote:
These same people have rallied behind Sheldrake and he's responded by attacking raw science..... yet of course he's being mistreated by "mechanical" science.

So to me anyway, so far Sheldrake had some interesting findings, but he's decided to rally behind the pseudo science crowd, and that's not making me think he's onto anything. If he gently brushed off the new age types and doggedly pursued his studies, and was capable of having negative results I would take him a little more seriously. None of that seems to be the case though.


I don't know, I don't really get that from his book. He goes into a lot of detail about exactly why he thinks he's been greeted with a certain amount of dogma and been dismissed unfairly by some. He's not just putting his hands over his ears and stamping his feet.

I'm not sure I'd say he's "rallied behind" the pseudo science crowd either, I think he probably speaks at conferences or gives interviews that are maybe hosted by people who some might see that way, but that's as much because they are the ones who are interested in what he says.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:45 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
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crumhorn wrote:
Thanks for the thread Forge - very interesting read so far.

Before theorizing about what consciousness is or where it comes from I think it helps to think about what is it that we are actually conscious of.

I believe that our experiences are a construct of our brains, nervous system and sensory organs, etc. signals from many sources are transformed and integrated in a complex dynamic process that creates the contents of our consciousness from moment to moment. Without these mental contents there is nothing to be conscious of.

I'd recommend watching some of the videos on this site, particularly the TED talk. Any theory of consciousness has to be compatible with these actual experimental observations. IMO these experiments show that there is no consciousness independent of the model created by/in our brain.

http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/videos.html

As a person with a past history of heavy psychedelic drug use I have thought a lot about this question but I don't have the intellectual stamina of some of you guys so I need to marshal my thoughts before wading in too deep in the discussion.


Thanks Crumhorn - good point about 'what we are conscious of' - this in itself is a big question..

We're pretty limited by our own sensory perception, and this shapes our ideas about the universe. It's like that Carlos Castaneda quote, that Donald Rumsfeld kind of strayed onto, about what we know being a tiny fraction of what we don't know, and what we don't know but can know being a tiny fraction of what we can't ever know.

Interestingly enough the theories of dark matter/energy/flow seem to demonstrate that - what we can actually see is only a tiny fraction of what is out there, and we might possibly never be able to understand the vast majority of it.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:10 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
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But you also raise an interesting point about there being 'nothing to be conscious of'... we're getting into Schroedinger territory here...

Getting back to the idea I mentioned before about consciousness being like light and the brain being like a prism/receiver. Understanding how light works is a real brain twister when you think about everything you take for granted that you see at every moment is actually just reflecting the same white light back at you but at different wavelengths.... the sky has no colour in itself, there are just tiny bits in the way between the sun and you that alter the way it looks to you. So if your own visual system couldn't recognise the different wavelengths then everything would just be light... or dark....

On that NDE doco i watched the other day there was a blind woman talking about how in her NDE she could actually see herself lying on the bed, and all the people in the room, objects etc. She had never seen anything at all her entire life. She said people always ask her if she just sees black, but she said 'no, I just see nothing'. I'm not sure how she knows what black is, but the concept of seeing nothing at all is incredibly difficult for us to comprehend because we are so used to seeing.

So maybe the universe is just like light, and things just 'get in the way' between the source and the receiver. Including our brain structure, which has been slowly built over our lifetime.

When we are first born we are a completely blank slate, and each experience we have adds a little notch to the brain, working from a genetic blueprint of how it will respond to things.

all those years at the start we have such an amazingly pure view of everything. It's like we are a big blob of plasticine constantly bumping against the world, and each time we do it moulds a little bit of us into shape.

I guess what made me post this thread in the first place was that NDE doco and hearing Peter fenwick's views on it - he is a neuropsychiatrist so he has been studying it as someone who has spent his entire career trying to understand how the brain works and he was really starting to come around to thinking there is more going on than what is just in the brain. Of course, it's massively controversial within that field too and others argue the opposite. The point being, the jury is still out, and there seems to be a very compelling case that there is something that exists beyond the material body, at very least temporarily. It's very hard to explain those cases when the patient recounts details of what went on at the moment their brain was completely inactive and they were technically dead, or why a woman who had been blind her whole life could see while she was dead.


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