Scientific conjecture about an atheistic conception of the afterlife

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by entelecheia, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    On the contrary an arm doesn't have an identity outside of one's self. This is why arm's don't go on strike and refuse to co-operate with the body (no matter how bad we treat them) and also why arms, if they enter a state that is in-operable or otherwise independent of the body suffer a lesser/atrophied state of existence (unless you have stories of arms refusing to feed the mouth and instead mashing up food between the fingers to absorb nutrients or whatever :shrug: )
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  3. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    so complex that there is no way for you or anyone to evidence this claim ...

    indicating a dead body as evidence of a life having no further contextualizing qualities is just as two dimensional and misguided in thought as indicating a broken light bulb as evidence of electricity having no further power in the circuit

    even in the best of all possible lights, this statement is simply self referential faulty logic

    as opposed to getting all woo woo about complex electrochemical pulses
    (IOW regardless whatever way you take it, you are still talking about claims that don't fdraw from teh same body of evidence you are alluding to as authoritative - aka woo woo)

    you cannot authoritatively establish how the said consciousness exists (outside of woo woo) therefore logically you are not at all in a position to begin talking (at least authoritatively anyway) about how it "vanishes" (unless of course you have no problem with a busted lightbulb automatically and comprehensively indicating an absence of electricity in a circuit ... which probably wouldn't score you a passing grade in any reputable electrical trade)

    Only in the lexicons of a person who subscribes to the (unauthorative, non-evidenced, completely hypothetical and hence unscientific) claim that consciousness is ultimately a consequence of chemical combinations
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yep. Woo-woo. Pardon me for interrupting your little vacation from science.
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  7. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Without reliable evidence, you have no evidence of anything beyond the tools of evidence. That's a particular fallacy you love called "special pleading".
  8. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member


    Unless you can produce actual scientific evidence that subjectivity is "nothing more or less than a rather complex set of electrochemical activities in your brain cells",
    you are the one doing woo-woo. Big time.

  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    And because a statistically irrelevant number of people experience this phenomenon, it is true for all people, and mandatory conclusions can be arrived at that way.

  11. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    On the contrary, the post I was responding to was one massive long service leave vacation from science.

    Even without going into the epistemological shortcomings of playing reductionism as monopolizing all knowable claims, its notably duplicitous when the same speaker plays it as the be all and end all in one scenario and for it to be conspicuous by its absence in another .....

  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    I'm not sure how this lends credibility to your totally non-evidenced claims about personality/consciousness
  13. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    don't see anything in the link about arms going on strike for better conditions, or stealing and absorbing food in a bid for independence from the body, or entering a state beyond inferiority or atrophy when inoperable/compromised from one's own identity.

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It could happen again that the same pattern is arranged at a different place / time. And that pattern would consider itself the original. And it is a matter of subjectivity as to whether that is held to be true or not.

    Everything else rather depends on what one views as "I".
    Personally I tend to think of "I" as the memories.
    But what other people tend to think of as "me" would be a consciousness within my physical body.
    E.g. if I became unconscious and lost all my memories, then would I retain the same sense of "I"? In people who have such memory issues, where they can not retain long-term memory, the answer tends to be no... each time they awake they think it is the first time they have been so, and they take some convincing otherwise.
    But my friends would consider me to still be "me"... since to them I am a consciousness within a body. They may think my personality has changed, or that I am not the same person, but they would still think it is "me", even if that "me" has changed.

    Likewise if I retained all the memories and characteristics that I currently do, but woke up in the body of a machine (able to see, hear etc as I currently do, but clearly in a mechanical body)... then "I" would still think it is me, but now located in the machine body.
    My friends might take more convincing, but might see "me" as the personality, the characteristics of mind that I previously had.

    However, if we combine the two - and "I" lose all my memories and am transplanted into the body of a machine... I would suggest that neither "I" nor my friends / family would think that it is "me"/"I"... that it is a distinctly different "person", and that "I" had died.

    So I think the personal sense of "I" is memory-dependent. Without those continuing memories on which to root our sense of "I", I do not think there is a sense of "I" at all. "I" is a sense of continuation... and with nothing to provide input to the nature of that continuation there can be no "I".
    The sense of "me" that others see is more rooted in the continuation of the physical aspects that the other person experiences of "me".

    I'd also suggest you watch this:
    Youtube - - from about 28mins onward.
    Very interesting, regarding the sense of separation between the mind and body, and how the mind can be convinced it is located elsewhere other than behind one's own eyes.
  15. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    I will check out that video later as I have a slow connection right now for the remainder of the month.

    The only thing that would continue is the feeling of existence, no memory of past lives or any personal sense of "you". Your identity would be lost, whoever you are then would still feel existence, and that is the important part. So it doesn't end when you die, you will again feel existence in another body (and with a different concept of who you are).

    The concept of who you are can also change during your life, new memories can completely redefine you to be someone else, also those that loose all their memories would feel that they are someone else, yet there has been no discontinuation between who he was before and who he is now, he just can't remember it, but evidently he won't remember anything from when he was not conscious, and it would still feel as if he was ever present (no one can remember not being present, likewise someone who is dead and later is in another body won't experience the time-gap, you would stop to exist and then instantaniously start to exist, just like the amnesiac).
  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    If that is what people wish to believe - but it is unscientific.
    Occam's razor would certainly suggest that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then there is no need to believe that it is the soul of a pig somehow inhabiting the physicality of a duck.
    But for this to be even remotely acceptable you would need to show that the "feeling of existence" is more than just a by-product of being conscious - and that it is something that can even "continue", rather than being specific to every individual instance of consciousness.

    And what exactly is this "feeling of existence" that you talk about? How is it meaningful in any way?
    You say that noone can remember not being present, but that is just a useless truism - since one of the logical requirements of remembering is being alive/present. And it certainly doesn't support any particular case one might try to make.

    But that begs the question of who "you" are. If I have a different concept of who "I" am - a different body, a different way of thinking, a different personality etc... i.e. everything that one can use to provide a picture of who "I" am, can it ever be claimed or proven that "I" am actually the same as a previous entity?

    Afterall, the difference between the current "me" and the different "me" (as you suggest) are the same differences that make "me" different to "you".
    Or are you suggesting that "you" and "me" are the same???
  17. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    selfhood clearly goes beyond our memories/friends etc.

    Its a common experience of everyone to experience dreams where these characteristics don't come into play yet not not hesitate for a moment to think "i had this dream" or "I am experiencing this dream" .... or even to enter a state of deep dreamless sleep. IOW selfhood permeates all aspects of wakefulness, dreaming and deep dreamless sleep so it has qualities that are beyond these states
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    So says you... with nothing to support your case:...
    When we dream we have a different sense of "I" that is specific to the dream - at least I tend not have dreams where I am my real-life self - and I have no recollection during the dream of being my real-life self. Furthermore, any similarities between my real self and my dream-state self are most likely due to the fact that both are operating, albeit at differing levels, within the same brain-structure, and thus some level of similarity will be expected.
    It is a selfhood - but you would be hard pressed to convince me it is the same sense
    When I do recognise myself within the dream as the real-life me - i.e. lucid dreaming - it is precisely because a memory triggers it - a memory that causes us to recognise the dream for what it is. During such lucid dreams one recognises oneself as their real-life self precisely because they have greater access to their memories.

    Further it is only when we wake that we recall who we actually are... and that the fading memory must therefore have been a dream.
    And we recognise who we are because we access our memories that give us that sense of continuation.

    So no, selfhood does not "clearly" go beyond our memories... and your examples actually serve to show why I do not think it does.

    How does selfhood permeate a dreamless sleep - the state of unconsciousness that such a sleep results in?
    It exists beforehand (when we have access to our memories).
    It exists afterward (when we have access to our memories).
    Now explain how it permeates the state of unconsciousness - when we exist but recall nothing - when our experience of the period is akin to that of non-existence?

    Afterall, you say that it "clearly" goes beyond. Feel free to explain how.
  19. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Now you are arguing for a soul, cause how can there be something specific to this physical structure when a exact duplicate can be made? That there is something specific to me even though there can be exactly the same physical structures is what calls for a unphysical entity. What is the difference otherwise? That I am at one place and the duplicate at another? Then what is it that rules him to be him and me to be me at the instance that the two are created? Also, if we instead switched place but used the same physical matter then the two would have switched also subjectively (so that it definetely isn't the physical matter that defines who should be who).

    Why don't you see that there is a requirement for either a soul (what I would call a unphysical entity that defines who should exist in which body) or that a duplicate of me (although seperated in time) would actually be me since we share the same physical structure? Are there any other sensible options?

    To feel existence is to exist, it is simply the fundamental requirement for subjective existence. There is no requirement that you have the same identity or that you perceive of yourself the same way, as long as there is a feeling of existence (then you would exist - even if that is not the same you as you are now).

    No it can never be proven scientifically (as can no purely subjective thing be proven scientifically). Although it could possibly be "plausible" as the difference can't be proven either. To say that you die then nothing happens, is a statement of default and not a statement that has any proof. I would rather like for science to admit the possibility that you might exist again as the default, that a duplicate of me could come to existence later on in the universe is not unscientific and given that we don't know why each exist in that particular body and not another then that would be a plausible default. Why shouldn't we be able to exist again when we have existed once? Other things get to happen again but we are somehow special?

    That depends on what makes me be my body and you be your body (why is it my body?), if there is some kind of unphysical entity (soul?) then there could be physical duplicates which were still different by that entity. If there is no unphysical entity then we would have a paradox if there were duplicates, however, then you and I would be different physically so there would be differences between "me" and "you". Could also be that you and I are the same, in that case subjectivity is a general quality that is the same for everyone. Then you wouldn't actually exist subjectively outside of my own subjectivity, until I am you, where I wouldn't exist but would exist as you. That would also mean that all of us will exist as all of us. That would however need some kind of unphysical queue, so it doesn't get rid of the unphysical (I already thought of it, but decided that a 'soul' should be better to argue for at this point).

    Also, if it doesn't depend on the physical then I see no reason why I was born with this body instead of the body you have. We had no differing quality when we didn't exist.

    Occam'z Razor doesn't apply to me because you haven't offered a simpler explanation which has the same explanatory power (if you don't understand the problem then that's up to you, but as far as I am convinced I will still go with one of the ideas I've argued for simply because I believe that there is a problem with the current view).
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    What do you mean?

    That in the dream, you look differently, talk differently, are of a different age/race/sex/nationality/job than in ordinary waking life?

    Also, your description of lucid dreams is new to me. From what I understand, lucid dreaming is when one is aware that one is dreaming.
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    There are other options, although I wouldn't exactly call them sensible.

    Namely, one such option is to downplay the revelance of subjectivity or individuality and consider it something of such minor relevance that it can be neglected. Something like saying "You have a few more carbon atoms than I, and this is why you feel you are not I."
  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Quite often, yes.
    My dreams tend to play like films... even the "camera angles" that some things take place at are not always "first-person".
    And I rarely ever have any memory, while dreaming, of "real life".

    If one does have similarities (e.g. age, appearance etc) I would suggest that this is more to do with the subconscious memories that are still operating and influencing the dream.
    Yes, that is how I understand it. But I can not be aware that I am dreaming without also being aware of the real-life "me". I.e. the awareness of dreaming - for me at least - means that the "me" of the dream is one and the same with the "me" of real-life. Lucidity, for me, creates the link between the two rather than the two senses of "I" being distinct.
  23. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    I'm not sure I understand.

    You are admitting that you can experience dreams that bear no semblance to one's memories, friends etc (ie all those things you attribute "selfhood" to) and yet come back with the notion of "I had this dream I was a frog living in a Brazilian tomato plantation" (or whatever). IOW your sense of "I-hood" has no trouble expanding to experiences that are totally alien to what you attribute to the alpha and omega of selfhood. I mean suppose (for the sake of argument) you entered a dream and didn't wake up? Who exactly would be having the experience of a tomato plant dwelling brazilian frog? Or suppose you did wake up after 1000 years of such dreaming? Did two different personalities have the two experiences? Or were both experiences filtered through the same identity (an identity that obviously expands further to provincial friends, memories etc)?
    Or just top add to the complexity, what if you had a dream that you were a brazillian frog dreaming? Does the number of personalities involved suddenly expand to three?

    Not only that.
    We also recall who we were (namely a potentially different individual with different memories, friends etc and all those other formative things which you are attributing to the length and breadth of "personhood")

    I think you miss the point.

    I am not arguing that the waking self is somehow inferior or on equal terms with the dreaming self. I think its clear that a constant sense of self is what contextualizes other temporary senses of self (so we can not only talk of "I had a dream I was a brazillian frog" but also "i was only like that because I was a teenager" etc.

    I am illustrating how selfhood is obviously a lot more flexible than your definition attributed to memories, friends etc since we experience on a daily level that this is not the case.

    I am not sure why you can't grasp this point since you admit that we can have dreams and not be aware that we are dreaming (IOW at that current point in time, all our memories, friends etc amount to zilch)

    You can wake up and be aware that there was a breach in your consciousness

    dreamless sleep is characterized by an absence of memory of the experience, yet we can still recognize the breach without the help of digital clocks or whatever else else one would use to garner a sence of chronological continuum

    If we recalled completely nothing we would require a clock or something to understand that we have just experienced deep dreamless sleep.
    Obviously we don't.

    Hence selfhood moves freely between the states of wakefulness, dreaming and deep dreamless sleep without being overtly defined by either three states (or you could say that selfhood is transcendental to wakefulness, dreaming and deep dreamless sleep ... although its probably a bit too early at this point of the game for you to get your head around that concept). IOW you cannot say that the memories/friends etc of the waking state define selfhood in toto since its within everyone's experience to access two other states where they have no bearing.

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