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Intro

Discussion in 'member introductions' started by dingodile, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. dingodile

    dingodile 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.
     
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  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 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 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 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.
     
  8. STEVEN LEVEE

    STEVEN LEVEE 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.
    Steve
     
  9. dingodile

    dingodile 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 Member

  11. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Materialism goes back at least as far as Plato and Aristotle, but it was only in the first years of the 20th century that mainstream science began to enforce it via peer-reviewed journals and university departments. It was only then that you could no longer be a legitimate scientist and research anything that could not be reduced to materiality in some fashion.

    And everyone, please understand that it is this arbitrary decision that reality must be material that is the only reason why people who insist that consciousness must be material even can come up with a reasoned argument for their positions! "How can you see if you don't have eyes?" is, for example, a ludicrous and specious argument; it's not even an argument at all. Those of us whose minds are more open and who actually have examined all the evidence know that the dead have been telling us for more than a century that in the afterlife our vision is nearly 360 degrees, and it is so much better that they can see every leaf on every tree on foothills that appear to be 50 miles away (that's a nearly direct quote from a man who died 100 years ago and was nearly blind in life; he was asked by one of his loved ones if he could see better now). It's called mind-sight. And mind-hearing is comparable! Mind-sight and mind-hearing have been demonstrated so often, during NDEs and at other times, that the fact that mainstream scientists are so incurious about these phenomena renders absurd their entire discipline.

    In every argument these supposed scientists make, they spout such nonsense and in their little materialist world they get away with it because their materialist dogma allows (indeed, requires) that they ignore a good part of the evidence. Think about this for a minute! They are investigating consciousness, for heaven's sake. You can't measure it, weigh it, put it in a beaker. So you can call it "material" only if you can demonstrate that it arises from a material brain, but of course that is the very thing that they never have been able even to begin to understand. So to be able to talk about consciousness at all, they get around the "hard problem" by simply assuming (but never demonstrating) the spurious conclusion that consciousness arises from the brain, and then they use their spurious conclusion as one of their tools for solving the "hard problem." They assume the conclusion, then base their further research on that assumption! And this is supposed to be science??
     
  12. dingodile

    dingodile Member

    That's correct; it's not an argument in that form. But it's not as if there are no arguments for materialism. You and I may not find them satisfactory but the people who advance these arguments are not fools. For example, this book, https://smile.amazon.com/Myth-Afterlife-against-After-Death-ebook/dp/B00UV3VFW8/ is not devoid of arguments.

    There is a deeper problem, identified by Bertrand Russell in the 1920s, namely that we don't have any real understanding of what matter is anyway, or what its fundamental properties are. We are therefore not in a position to say what kinds of phenomena matter can and cannot give rise to. This is precisely the point that the new generation of panpsychists are starting with.
     
  13. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    There are no good arguments that can be made for materialism, simply because it IS an "- ism"! It's a supposition. A dogma. A basis for a belief-system. It is supposed to be in the very nature of science that nothing ever is quite proven! Even gravity is a theory, no matter how many apples might have fallen on Newton's head. Materialism supposes a whole world of things - espeially including time - that must be taken as givens, but frustratingly never can be well understood because that basic supposition - materialism itself - must forever remain a mere supposition.

    As I have said elsewhere, I love Scientific American and I learn a lot from it, but I see it as for now still a humor magazine. Over and over, in probably every issue, I see physicists trying to solve problems (the source of ambient light in the universe; the composition of dark matter; etc.) and coming up against walls created by their own dogma-based prejudices. Occasionally someone even will say something like, "perhaps we will need to reconsider our basic premise" or "maybe our model is wrong after all" (they never call it a "dogma" now, but from the context it is clear that materialism is their problem). To be frank, either you are open-mindedly seeking the truth based upon all the evidence, or you are not! And to even give mind-space to questions like what kinds of things matter can give rise to when they haven't yet figured out what matter even is makes no sense. But they all do it now! They closed-mindedly beg the most basic questions so they can go on and try to answer the other, more interesting questions that they prefer. This kind of nonsensical inquiry is not science. And it leads nowhere!
     
  14. dingodile

    dingodile Member

    We can't think about anything at all without suppositions. It's also impossible to have beliefs without belief-systems, because beliefs are not atoms that have no connection with each other. Suppositions only become dogmas when they are not allowed to be questioned. I tend to agree that materialism has been elevated to the status of a dogma.
     
  15. genewardsmith

    genewardsmith Active Member

    If scientists had to first solve the basic metaphysical questions at issue they would never be able to do any science. It would be nice if more of them were more alert to the fact that they are indulging in metaphysics, but what you ask for seems impossible.
     
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  16. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    No, dear Gene, it's easy! In fact, there is no such thing as metaphysics; but rather, that is a pejorative term used only to absolve scientists from studying non-material evidence. There is just one reality, and none of it is "material" in the sense of solid. That sentence deserves a big, fat period!
     
  17. jimrich

    jimrich Active Member

    I have sat with many psychics and mediums, including my late wife, and I have had direct contact with many family Disincarnates so my basis or proof of an Afterlife is simply the experience of speaking to and with a Disincarnate that I once personally knew. I have no "proof" to offer anyone other than my own, personal experience so it could be argued that I was hallucinating, hypnotized, confused, fooled, insane, etc., etc. Since my direct and personal experience of contacting Disincarnates is absolutely real to me, I find no point in going into meaningless arguments and philosophical ramblings about the reality of an Afterlife. I certainly would not base the presence or absence of a Disincarnate on a one-time meeting with a "kind and sincere man" who did not or could not bring a Disincarnate to the session. Not all the psychics I met were able to bring in a Disincarnate to the sessions.

    The only way I currently know to over come these "epistemic challengesB" is to go sit with a Medium and ALLOW the Medium to bring a Disincarnate into the session. I say "allow" because many frightened, angry, sad or cynical sitters can unwittingly block the Disincarnate from showing up at the session. If you, or anyone, need to understand the Disincarnate life/world, I'd recommend reading some books by James Van Praagh or go sit with a few Mediums.

    i wouldn't even bother to "challenge" an academic/intellectual but can offer that the Disincarnates I personally encountered, including my late wife, were just as "alive, conscious and individual" as they ever were while in the Incarnate plane or state. The Disincarnate plane is just as "real" as the Incarnate/earth plane or state BUT, I have to way to prove that to an academic - for now!

    The encounters that I've had with Disincarnates required NO "evidence, reason or proof" of any kind. The personality of the Disincarnate "was convincing enough plus a few details from the past that only the Disincarnate could know.

    Re: "What could possibly count as a reason to believe such a thing?"
    I did not simply "believe" I was in communication with my late wife and other Disincarnates, I KNEW they were who they were and still are! The need for "evidence" and/or "belief" is OK but totally beside the point. When you know a Disincarnate is present, belief and evidence becomes meaningless UNLESS you are so suspicious, skeptical, afraid or angry that you completely discount your own realization/experiences. Fear alone will prevent you from seeing and KNOWING that you are in contact with a real Disincarnate!

    RE: "That problem is compounded by the possibility that there are discarnates with an interest in deceiving us."
    No Disincarnate I've met (so far) ever tried to "deceive" me but a few psychics tried to! I relied on my own common sense to see through their "deceptions". The Disincarnates were honest, respectful and LOVING.

    Re: "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."
    The Disincarnates that I met and know were what I could call disembodied conscious beings but still had the very same personality/beingness that they had in bodily forms. It's obvious to me that there are many other states and forms of consciousness or beingness than our Incarnate/earthly ones but I can't prove any of that for now.
    I don't simply believe in Disincarnates, I KNOW them and I know there is an afterlife but I have no way to prove it to anyone - for now.
    To each their own..........
     
  18. dingodile

    dingodile Member

    Neither would I.
     
  19. genewardsmith

    genewardsmith Active Member

    "Metaphysics" is a term of art in philosophy. When you say materialism is incorrect, that's a claim about metaphysicis.
     
  20. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Thank you. Now my eyes are officially crossed.
     
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