Welcome


Thank you for visiting our new forum! To start posting again please follow the link below to create a new password. First time forum users please follow the link to register. CFI thanks you for continuing the discussion on evidence-based thinking and humanist values.

Evolution of Religion


Forums Forums Religion and Secularism Evolution of Religion

Viewing 15 posts - 196 through 210 (of 279 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #312479
    TimB
    Participant

    I think it would be good if data base was created of the most hi tech possible recordings of brain neuro electrical patterns at and beyond the moments of the pronouncement of clinical death. I might volunteer for such, were I on my deathbed.

    #312484
    Tee Bryan Peneguy
    Participant

    @michaelmckinney1951

    Do you really think that most scientists are going to accept the testimony of a dying patient claiming they are entering into the light? They will not because it smacks of religion and religious belief, and science has a long standing grudge against religion.

     

    It’s true that most scientists are atheists and agnostics, and that science and certain religions have been in conflict.

    However, it simply doesn’t follow that scientists, as a group, would ignore, ridicule or hide evidence of an afterlife. In fact, if a scientist ever provides such evidence, it will go down in history as one of the biggest scientific discoveries of all time. That may be why SO MANY ARE STUDING IT (below).

    The reason NDEs have thus far been explained as “a dying brain’s changing neuro-chemistry resulting in hallucinations and distorted perceptions of reality” is because for the past few decades, multiple studies have attempted to find evidence of bonafide spiritual phenomena in NDEs and haven’t. Until there is strong evidence of a spiritual cause, scientists will continue to accept scientific explanations.

    Here are 2 things that would suggest something spiritual or religious:

    1) A commonly-described NDE experience is of floating around the room, reading medical monitors or paperwork, and floating to other rooms or even other buildings.

    These stories HAVE been checked. And, they haven’t checked out. There are lots of urban legends about them, but they have been debunked.

    2) Studies look for objective similarities of NDEs across cultures and religions. Yes, a “bright light” is common, but what/who do people perceive the light to be?

    For example: If, in fact, God exists, and he happens to be the Christian God, one would expect all NDEs to involve a judgement by Christ, whatever that person’s culture; for Christians to come back from heaven; and non-Christians to come back from hell. But that’s not what happens. Those who do describe any particular God usually describe the one from their culture. Those who “die” peacefully report something like “heaven,” and those who die in terror report something like “hell,” regardless of their religion (or even whether they had a religion).

    Actually, some Christians oppose NDE studies for this very reason … it doesn’t agree with their narrative. So if anyone is discouraging discussion on NDEs, it’s those particular churches.

     

     

    https://owlcation.com/stem/The-Truth-About-Near-Death-Experience-Scientific-Explanations

    https://www.newsweek.com/what-happens-when-you-die-scientists-have-recreated-near-death-experience-1102292

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6139799/

    https://www.theuniversityofheaven.com/science-of-NDEs-with-Melvin-Morse

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/309454.php

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170726102934.htm

    https://iands.org/1349-participate-in-an-nde-research-study.html

     

     

    #312485
    Tee Bryan Peneguy
    Participant

    @timb

    There are studies all the time, tho I’m not sure if it’s like you describe. A couple are above.

    #312489
    Genus Homo
    Participant

    In response to Timb’s perceptive questions as to why we can’t tap more broadly or deeply into this reservoir of latent universal consciousness and why we have to learn everything we know, I believe the answer is actually inherent in the question itself. If we accept the notion of a preexisting realm of consciousness and that our brains, like the TV set or radio in the above stated analogy tunes in to,  receives and interprets this universal medium, then how well our brains function and more critically how far developed our brains are, must and invariably will diminish or amplify our reception of that universally signalling medium. Again using the apt analogy of a radio not originating the transmission signal it’s receiving but tuning it in and scrambling its radio wave energy into something intelligible and meaningful.

    We remember the cheap AM transistor radios we got as gifts back in the 1960’s and noted the poor reception. When technically superior radios were developed to receive more bandwidth the signal became clear and strong. Our brains are currently lacking the cerebral, evolutionary complexity to suddenly receive voluminous amounts of knowledge and information. If we went back to our earliest hominid ancestors and could some how communicate with them It’s not likely that they would respond coherently to ideas like truth, beauty or justice and not so much because we’d lack a common language; it would be because their brains would not be sufficiently evolved to conceive of such abstract concepts. We are evolved creatures, but we are not highly evolved. When we are if we survive, we will have an enhanced ability to tap into what Plato centuries ago called  a realm of “Universals” where all possible forms of all things conceivable already exist in an infinite catalog of endless universal ideas. That’s what Beethoven achieved and what he meant when he wrote on the margins of his Pastoral Symphony “I,m not doing this.”

    The Hindu sage was correct when he observed “the purpose of our lives is to awake from the illusion of separateness.”

    #312510
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    @michaelmckinney1951

    Responding to

    The article was open minded and made the arguments for universal consciousness well, but the way I read it, he was showing that he was listening, but in the end, not agreeing. So I didn’t repeat that part but I don’t think it’s fair to say I dismissed it. But, no, I don’t have anything to add to it. I don’t think us picking apart an article is the best way to proceed.

    You ask the question, “how can any<one> know that?” That’s at the heart of this discussion. For me, science is the default position. I keep in mind however that Hume could not solve the problem of skepticism, that at some point you have to accept some truths and move on, or you will be paralyzed while looking for perfect data. I think a scientist will accept the “testimony” of a dying patient as data, but they shouldn’t accept the patient’s interpretation of the data as the final conclusion. A good scientist wouldn’t do that out of having a grudge, but out of knowledge of how individuals report experiences in a non-scientific way, reporting not just their physical sensations and measurable responses but also their cultural interpretation of the feelings. It’s hard not to do. Try explaining how much pain you are in without comparing it to something like stabbed with a knife or hit with a hammer, or explain colors without referring to a rainbow.

    For me, I’ve just shifted my culture. I used to get wonderful feelings of community and universal awareness in church. We talked about our ancestors and thanked our “creator”. We explored how we felt about life by discussing characters in stories. I still do all of those things, I’m just not limited to the stories of one particular collection, and when I’m done with the discussion, I don’t tell anyone that those characters were once real people in history, because, umm, they aren’t. Community is now everywhere for me and “miracles” happen all the time. Their “source” is a quantum field that created space/time and evolved into planets with conscious beings on them. That’s what I tune in to.

     

     

     

    #312514

    Genus wrote:  What I said was it’s very likely that “universal consciousness” exists prior to the human capacity to experience that consciousness and every individual enters into this universal consciousness to varying degrees. A person who is introspective to a very subtle degree is a very different kind of person from one who is crude and thoughtless which is why we call such people thoughtless.

    You could also look at universal cosmic consciousness from the other direction.

    Let me share the steps.

    I myself am fine with believing every living creature has a spirit/soul, in direct proportion to it’s neural and physical sensory and manipulatory abilities.  At death this spirit is reabsorbed by the “universe”, so yes, the individual is fini (we need to get over that detail).

    The Cosmic What If.  What if Evolution was all about the “universal consciousness” trying to understand itself.

    Of course, atoms are limited in their interaction with the universe.  Molecules less so, basic living cells must constantly interact with their universe, complex animals engage in even more interaction, and thus appreciation and awareness for the increasingly complex universe surrounding them.

    Now we have humans on this Earth for a short while, and the “universal consciousness” can gaze back upon itself through our eyes as never before.

    To know things “it” could never know if limited to the eyes and awareness of dinosaurs, or that of flat worms, etc.

    Of course, this is all philosophy and mind games, that fit with my personal perspective and sound harmonious with my basic outlook on life.

    But that’s how it’s always gone, we create our religions to please our personal desires – not to comprehend the universe.

     

     

    #312515
    Genus Homo
    Participant

    I think you’re exactly right Mr. Lausten in stating that researchers and clinicians who study these near death experiences must be both tentative and open minded in trying to decipher what some dying patients are reporting. I also have more respect for your general reluctance to accept things solely on face value than you may assume. Your skepticism reflects the careful, “wait and see” approach that has guided all genuine research and scientific inquiry. The scientist who designs an aircraft wing and the metallurgist who formulates the alloys holding the plane together, or the immunologist working on a vaccine, or the engineer working out the stress patterns of a high rise apartment building where families will be living know they have to get it right the first time because the consequences of not getting it right could be deadly. I have enormous respect for science and its stunning record of achievement. As I said, I trust science. When I said that science has a grudge against religion, that was a general statement more about the history of science and its undeniable suppression from religious authority. The free inquiry of science and rationalism was opposed for centuries by the most dominant institutions of religion, the churches and the encrusted hierarchy that oversees them. That’s changed, especially in the last hundred years or so and as a result the world is a much better place. As much as I respect science I firmly believe there are questions that are simply beyond its purview. I wouldn’t use a microscope to look at the moon and I wouldn’t use a telescope to search for microbes not because these instruments aren’t valuable tools of research, they work wonderfully when applied and used for their specific function, it’s because they simply can’t provide data they weren’t designed to detect. In the same way that science and its rigorous empirical methods can tell us volumes about how our universe works but is limited and indeed incapable of answering questions of its origin, ultimate purpose and eventual destiny.

    As far as your experience with attending church, I had a similar experience and found that I didn’t learn much but the people were very friendly and welcoming but the tacit acceptance of doctrine and orthodoxy however gentle and non-threatening it was presented made me feel as if I was surrounded by a clique inviting me into its fold. It simply wasn’t for me.

    #312516
    Genus Homo
    Participant

    Wow, citizenchallenge has just made what I consider to be a logically flawless statement and his last sentence is nothing less than completely accurate, “We create our religions to please our personal desires- not to comprehend the universe.”

    The universe is trying to become self-aware through us.

    When Shakespeare said, “We are such stuff that dreams are made on.” he was speaking more accurately then he might have known.

    We are stardust that has awakened.

    #312536
    TimB
    Participant

    If you are right, we are some pretty groggy stardust.

    #312552
    Tee Bryan Peneguy
    Participant

    @michaelmckinney1951

    When I said that science has a grudge against religion, that was a general statement more about the history of science and its undeniable suppression from religious authority.

    Actually, Michael, your comment was fairly specific. In context:

    Do you really think that most scientists are going to accept the testimony of a dying patient claiming they are entering into the light? They will not because it smacks of religion and religious belief, and science has a long standing grudge against religion

    You’re suggesting that scientists are ignoring (at best) evidence of life after death, or at least near death experiences, because they’re still sore at Religion after all these years.

    Up at #312484 I replied to this, with some local reasons why this suspicion is likely false.

    I also included links to multiple articles on NDE studies.

     

    #312575
    Genus Homo
    Participant

    In response to TeeBryanToo

    I read the first of the articles you posted on NDE’s by Mrs. Giordano and found it’s criticism predictably unsurprising. I could have written that article for her and it would have listed all the stock, of the shelf statements about the subjectively questionable assertions that some who’ve had these unique experiences, have made, though I certainly wouldn’t have titled the article “The truth about the Near Death Experience” as Mrs Giordano did, what hubris. Her somewhat grandiose claim to declare the truth about a subject so steeped with unanswered questions should immediately be seen as a clear signal of a preexisting bias. In the comment section below Mrs. Giordano admits in so many words her lack of objectivity. Her skepticism is itself skeptical. It’s simply not possible to know whether or not what dying patients are describing in a near death experience is merely the last neuro-chemical gasp of a human brain projecting hallucinations on to itself or a valid description of something else, something very different.

    The mystery of what NDE’s may or may not represent is something much more fundamental than whether or not these postmortem experiences are valid. In that they point to a much deeper question about the existence or no-existence of what is generally called “the soul.” If someone is convinced that they do have a soul or to put it more accurately part of their being that is non physical, spiritual, timeless and immune from the eventual death of it’s host body, then the notion of  some experiencing an NDE makes perfect sense. If someone is convinced that humans don’t have at the core of their being something called soul or spirit then NDE’s are no more than a wishful fantasy. This implies that the question of NDE’s should be indexed to a much deeper question of whether or not humans are or aren’t in possession of  something called soul or spirit and this is solely dependent on how we answer the deepest question of all; that being, “does God exist?’

    As for my statement that science has a grudge against religion; there is no doubt that the history of science and the history of religion have been in conflict through the centuries. This is a generic statement that is undeniably true.  The Inquisition is a clear example of the how the Catholic church which was the dominant social institution in Western Civilization for hundreds of years tried to control through persecution the free thinking impulses of  independent minds. This has changed in the last century or so but not every where. Yes it’s true that many scientists are open minded about questions like the validity of  NDE’s but science will always lead with skepticism and hold in reserve any conclusions that smack of religious belief. Their default position is and will always remain “show me proof'” even when considering things that are not empirically demonstrable. Science cannot and will never be able to answer questions that don’t yield to it’s methods and techniques and the question of God or spirit is foremost among them.

     

    Critics are fond of using the phrase

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 16 hours ago by Genus Homo.
    • This reply was modified 6 days, 16 hours ago by Genus Homo.
    #312577
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    Science cannot and will never be able to answer questions that don’t yield to its methods and techniques and the question of God or spirit is foremost among them.

    In basic terms of the philosophy of science, you are talking about unfalsifiable questions. But science is starting to move beyond that basic test, and I don’t think we non-scientists need to say anything more about that discussion. We all just want answers. Some are content with the ones their culture hands them. Fortunately some aren’t, or we’d never progress. Once you decide to question the authority of age or wisdom or experience or power or might you need a way to work through the different possible answers. Taking the word of a few people is what got you into whatever un-true state you and are now attempting to escape. I could go into the details of how, but just I’ll say, to me, it’s the authorities I listed above that are designed to not yield to truth. Science is designed to allow for questions to every answer it has ever presented.

    #312648
    Tee Bryan Peneguy
    Participant

     

    @michaelmckinney1951

    In response to TeeBryanToo

    That isn’t a tag. It needs the @ to be a tag. I just happened to see this.

     

    I read the first of the articles you posted on NDE’s by Mrs. Giordano and found it’s criticism predictably unsurprising. I could have written ….

    Okay, you read one. Only one. It almost seems like you have a preexisting bias. I didn’t put them in any particular order, favorable or not, I just wanted to show people ARE researching this.

     

    It’s simply not possible to know whether or not what dying patients are describing in a near death experience is merely the last neuro-chemical gasp of a human brain projecting hallucinations on to itself or a valid description of something else, something very different.

    Different researchers are researching this in different ways. I’m not sure why you think it’s impossible to know,  but if it IS impossible, I’m not sure why you think scientists ought to be researching it.

    … they point to a much deeper question about the existence or no-existence of what is generally called “the soul.”

     

    Yes, I get that.

    If someone is convinced that they do have a soul …then the notion of  some experiencing an NDE makes perfect sense.

    Yes, I get that.

     

    If someone is convinced that humans don’t have … a soul or spirit then NDE’s are no more than a wishful fantasy.

    I don’t think that’s true. I’m sure it’s true for some, but not everyone “wishes” there was a soul/spirit. I actually feel much more at peace with life and death now that I don’t believe in the soul, than I felt for decades when I was 100% certain there was a soul. I know I’m not alone in this.

     solely dependent on how we answer the deepest question of all; that being, “does God exist?’

    There actually are religions that don’t believe in a God but do believe in souls/spirits/the afterlife etc.

    As for my statement that science has a grudge against religion; there is no doubt that the history of science and the history of religion have been in conflict through the centuries. This is a generic statement that is undeniably true.

    Yes, I get that. I did not say it was untrue. I’m simply not convinced that scientists are so angry and resentful about religion that they would choose to ignore evidence of an afterlife, soul or God… given that this would be the biggest scientific discovery ever.

     

    …science will always lead with skepticism and hold in reserve any conclusions that smack of religious belief. Their default position is and will always remain “show me proof’” even when considering things that are not empirically demonstrable.

    I’m not sure you understand what “skepticism” and “science” are.

    Both things are doing their “jobs.” By the same token, religion will always lead with faith, and its default position will always be that supernatural entities exist. That’s religion’s job.

    Science cannot and will never be able to answer questions that don’t yield to it’s methods and techniques and the question of God or spirit is foremost among them.

    Yes, I get that. So do most skeptics, atheists and scientists, and most theists as well. Science is based in the material world. Religion is based in the supernatural.

    I don’t know if God could be proven, but few things can be disproven. However, I think smaller questions, like NDEs or reincarnation, probably could be proven, if they’re real.

    #312675
    Genus Homo
    Participant

    In response to Tee’s comments,

    I read two more of the articles you listed and one was more focused on the effects of DMT, an agent that induces hallucinogenic states, so none of the 13 subjects involved in the study actually had a near death experience. The last sentence in this article contains this phrase; “So what exactly happens when you die? We’re still not sure,”

    The next article by Melvin Moore is actually more in agreement with my views on the subject and interestingly begins with the statement; “The next paradigm does not deny materialism, it simply says consciousness came first” That statement is in accordance with other comments I made on that different subject.

    As for scientists being “so angry and resentful about religion that they would ignore evidence”, I never said that. Those are your words, not mine.

    Tee, do you honestly believe I don’t know the difference between science and skepticism? Please,

    When you say you actually feel better believing you have no soul as compared to when you believed with 100 percent certainty that you did, it’s my guess (since I don’t know your history) that you are recovering from the toxic effects of religion and church indoctrination. It’s usually the case that when people have a 100 percent certainty about such matters they’re under the sway of stifling, mind numbing religious orthodoxy.

     

     

    #312690
    Tee Bryan Peneguy
    Participant

    @michaelmckinney1951

    The last sentence in this article contains this phrase; “So what exactly happens when you die? We’re still not sure,”

    Um … okay. ? So, was this a good or a bad thing for them to say, in your opinion? In my mind, this is an absolutely appropriate thing for researchers to say, because as of this moment (10:28 am, Nov. 11, 2019), I don’t think anyone has proven, scientifically, definitively, what happens when we die. I think if anyone ever does, it will be all over the news.

    As for scientists being “so angry and resentful about religion that they would ignore evidence”, I never said that. Those are your words, not mine.

    Yes, I get that. I paraphrased what I understood your issue to be. Twice, you have detailed the centuries of bad blood between religion and science (which is clearly a real thing). And you asked, “Do you really think that most scientists are going to accept the testimony of a dying patient claiming they are entering into the light? They will not because it smacks of religion and religious belief,” which, to me, really sounds like scientists will just ignore what these people say, Because Hate Religion.

    Obviously I misinterpreted. Maybe you can clarify.

    BTW, I don’t think many doctors studying NDEs are looking just at what people mumble as they die.  I have learned, from having elderly parents, that it’s actually incredibly hard to predict when someone will actually die, and also that people mumble lots of things when they’re seriously ill.  Someone who is REALLY at the point of death is usually non-verbal; if they are talking about going into the light, most of the brain is still functioning.

    I think they really get interested AFTER a person has apparently gone through that process, AND come back.

    Tee, do you honestly believe I don’t know the difference between science and skepticism? Please

    It seems to me like you want skepticism to not be skeptical, and you want science to investigate and answer things that science, by nature, cannot investigate and answer. Whether or not God exists is one of these things, until (if and when) God chooses to reveal himself clearly in the material world.

    Some things, research can definitively rule out. For example: A 9-year-old girl in India claims to have been a certain person in a prior life; she provides specific details: the name of a woman born in 1956, her hometown, her occupation, workplace and years worked, the name of husband and children, etc.

    If research shows none of these existed, then her story is false. If they do exist, I’d assume researchers would then try to rule out other ways she may have accessed such information. This is like a medical diagnosis; they begin by ruling things out. Eventually, if they ruled out all other possibilities, they may say, cautiously, that this case appears genuine. But they would not claim to have proven reincarnation is real, not until they have many, many such examples.

     you are recovering from the toxic effects of religion and church indoctrination. It’s usually the case that when people have a 100 percent certainty about such matters they’re under the sway of stifling, mind numbing religious orthodoxy.

    You’re right, I am def recovering from religious trauma. But you’re wrong about how my beliefs originated.

    My folks were, at best, liberal Protestants; they were more like universalist agnostics. Both had been turned off to extremes of religion in their youth, and so they didn’t impose it on me — other than teaching me to say simple prayers at bedtime, and attending church on Christmas and Easter (some years). It was a very American Milquetoast Merhodist upbringing, with God a friendly being in the sky who loved everyone.

    My best friend in middle school was Jewish — all our neighbors were Jewish — and my folks were fine about me going to Synagogue with them. In college, I spent the summer as a nanny for a family who kept Kosher. None of these Jewish people focus on an afterlife at all. My folks would have been fine with my having any faith or none.

    Yet I felt some sort of presence of God watching, protecting, and then  judging me, as far back as I have memory. By the time I chose to be confirmed into a religion (a liberal branch of Lutheran, at 17) and officially convert (to Eastern Orthodoxy, at 33), my internal images (and discomfort with) the afterlife were fully formed, by myself. Yes, once I was in college I succumbed to the nightmare of Evangelicals, which made everything worse…but my anxiety about god and an afterlife led me to them, not the other way around.

    I’ll never understand where it really came from.

     

Viewing 15 posts - 196 through 210 (of 279 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.