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Discussion in 'Member Introductions' started by dingodile, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. dingodile

    dingodile New Member

    Hello all. I'm an interested person in the Philly area. I've had no experiences suggestive of an afterlife, but I've done a great deal of reading on the subject over the years (decades). I even teach a university course in which we spend almost half of the semester considering the case for an afterlife. I did consult a medium once, as personal research for that course. He was a very kind and sincere man but there was nothing to suggest that he contacted any deceased person known to me. This was just a one-on-one session, not a group sitting.

    As I posted in a thread just a little while ago, in my personal judgment a reasonably good cumulative case for an afterlife can be made, although there are certainly some serious epistemic challenges involved. I am committed to avoiding dogmatism in any form and to following the arguments wherever they lead. In the case of afterlife research, this can be pretty difficult to do.

    That's about it for now.
    Amore and genewardsmith like this.
  2. genewardsmith

    genewardsmith Active Member

    Your university course sounds interesting. Can you tell us more about it?

    Your synopsis of the varied evidence for an afterlife mentioned mediumship, but not physical mediumship. Have you studied direct voice or the Scole experiment? Also, do you think ITCs are evidential?
  3. dingodile

    dingodile New Member

    My course is something I've cobbled together over the years. It deals with some core issues around life and death. For example, Epicurus and Lucretius, both materialists, argued that the only rational thing to feel about death is indifference. Since then, many scientists and philosophers have attempted to respond to their arguments. The overwhelming majority of academic scientists and philosophers today appear to accept some form of materialism, and to reject the very coherence of the idea of an afterlife. There are also issues about the origin of life, the nature of aliveness--whether living things are just machines made of machines. I go into all of these things in my course.

    Since the dominant view in the academic/intellectual world is that death=annihilation of the conscious person, I raise the question of whether this must be so, and if there is reason to challenge it.

    As for physical mediumship, I do mention it but I don't delve into it much. Physical mediumship is very interesting, but in terms of its evidential value, it's not clear that it provides anything that mental mediumship doesn't. In order to count as evidence for afterlife, there must be reason to believe that one is in communication with dead people. So the key question is: What could possibly count as a reason to believe such a thing? That question must be answered first. By analogy, suppose I receive an email claiming to be from my father, who passed away 15 years ago. What could lead me to believe it was actually from him? Suppose the email contained lots of interesting and hard-to-explain content, such as predictions of things about to happen, which were quickly fulfilled. That, as arresting as it might be, would have zero value as evidence for the hypothesis that the email was from my father. If, however, the email also mentioned things that only my father could know, it's evidential value would be greater.

    The problem, clearly, is in determining precisely what "only my father could know." That problem is compounded by the possibility that there are discarnates with an interest in deceiving us. We had some discussion of this in another thread that was closed. But anyway, I take the view that physical mediumship involves many phenomena that are very challenging to understand, but are somewhat beside the point as afterlife evidence. And yes, I've read about the Scole experiment, and similar things. Braude's book on physical mediumship is quite good, and the more recent Leslie Kean book on afterlife evidence has quite a bit of material on physical mediumship. I have not, I confess, done much research on ITCs.
  4. genewardsmith

    genewardsmith Active Member

    I think the "hard problem of consciousness" is just as hard now as when Descartes considered it. As for the afterlife being incoherent, years ago I ran across a short paper by accident, I think in Mind, which purported to show that the idea was incoherent. It starts off by saying something like you are dead and look around. But you can't look around--you don't have any eyes! It struck me at the time as the worst argument I'd ever seen from a well-known philosopher, but sadly, I don't recall the author. I wonder if you know of anyone arguing the idea is incoherent a little more plausibly.

    It can add another evidential layer via the voice ("it sounds just like him!") and manner of speech, and the immediate interaction between the communicator and the sitter. It also hints at the nature of the afterlife and how communication is even possible.
    dingodile likes this.
  5. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Dingodile, mainstream science has for the past century been based in the dogma of materialism, so it is best to begin with independent information about the source and nature of consciousness, or mind (what they call the "hard problem"). Max Planck discovered that consciousness is primary, but of course that violates the dogma so his work on this has been ignored; but people not bound by the dogma have carried it on:

    The Mind Is Not in the Brain:
    The Brain Is Superfluous:
    There Is Nothing but Mind and Experience:

    Here is where a study of what comes next begins! We first have to digest how it even is possible to survive death. After that, this research is easy....
  6. dingodile

    dingodile New Member

    I'm not sure what article in Mind you might have read, but the general argument is familiar to me. Roughly, it goes like this: Human consciousness essentially involves a spatial point of view. That is, we can only conceive of space from a point within it, and only physical entities are capable of being located in that way. Human consciousness is thus essentially embodied, making the idea of disembodied consciousness incoherent. I'm not going to defend that argument, since I don't agree with it, but I will point out that even in much of what we read about afterlife, OBE and NDE, etc, there are often references to some other kind of body (a "subtle" or "astral" or "perispiritual" body). One person who argued against the coherence of disembodied consciousness was the late Jay Rosenberg, who wrote the book Thinking Clearly About Death, in which he made his case.

    A more serious argument against mind-body dualism is made by Jaegwon Kim in a fairly well-known essay called "Lonely Souls."

    As for physical mediumship phenomena adding an evidential layer, I guess it depends on the phenomena. Direct voice is one thing; things like floating tables, orbs of light, and so on are another. I sometimes ask myself what it would take, personally, for me to be convinced that I am in real-time contact with a deceased person that I once knew. I can certainly imagine being convinced by things said. I don't know whether things like ectoplasmic forms or direct voice phenomena would bolster or detract from that conviction. It's just too far from the realm of anything I've experienced for me to know what to think, so I just try to suspend judgment.
  7. dingodile

    dingodile New Member

    Roberta, thank you for the video links. I've watched a couple of them before. In fact, I've had my students watch one of them. I'd also point out that the materialist dogma does back a lot farther than the last century. Some of the ancient philosophers, such as Epicurus and Lucretius, were making the same case. And I wouldn't say that Planck's views have been ignored, but they have been resisted. There have been many attempts to get consciousness out of the quantum mechanical picture. It all comes down to what counts as a "measurement", and this is still a disputed point. Personally, I hold a view similar to yours (I think), which is that all attempts to conceive of measurement without consciousness ultimately fail, but I claim no expertise in the matter.

    STEVEN LEVEE New Member

    Hi Dingo,
    Have you read "Voices in the Dark?" (Leslie Flints bio) & listened to any of his recordings available on Youtube? Or read any of Arthur Findlay's books regarding the subject and his dealings with John Sloan? There is so much convincing material between the two.
  9. dingodile

    dingodile New Member

    Hello. I haven't read the Flint bio but I have listened to some of the recordings on YouTube. I don't think I've read any of Findlay's work. Do you recommend a particular title?
  10. dingodile

    dingodile New Member

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