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  • Introduce yourself

    Hi, everyone.

    Use this thread to make a short introduction of yourself. Where you come from, your interests in this field, what you'd like to see and anything else to let us know you better.

  • #2
    I think this thread is an excellent idea. I would like to suggest that we keep it just for personal position statements, and that we don't just spark another version of the endless debate here If nothing else, this would dilute its content and make it hard to read.

    I began life as a chemist in the UK, where I still live. However, I did so much computer programming as part of my PhD, that afterwards I decided to move into software development.

    Over the years, I have developed a number of compilers (programs that translate computer source code into machine instructions), including, in particular, a compiler for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) language, PROLOG.

    This was in the 1980's when AI was all the rage. I guess I accepted the commonly held view that the race to produce a truly intelligent computer program would soon be won. The idea that you could duplicate the 'software' of the brain inside a computer seemed amazing, but not impossible - just as many physics theories seem incredible at first sight (curved space-time, quantum theory, etc).

    I think the general enthusiasm for AI at the time was fuelled (in me and others) by the following logic. The brain is just a biochemical/electrical machine - a sort of fault-tolerant computer - and as such, it could in principle be simulated on a computer - which would then constitute a continuation of the brain's consciousness. The SF writer Greg Egan is particularly fond of stories of this type in which people transfer their consciousness to computer hardware.

    Of course, any actual simulation of the brain was no more than a gedanken experiment, but if such a thing were possible in principle, it seemed reasonable that a much simpler program could implement thinking as such without getting involved with the exact details of how nerve signals are passed across synapses, etc. There is an interesting analogy here. When Intel develop a new type of CPU, they write a program that simulates the operation of the CPU chip at a very low level. They actually load conventional programs into this simulator, and check that the simulation of the new CPU actually delivers the right answers!

    Although that work on the compiler did not involve AI directly, I saw a lot of other people's programs and read a fair bit about AI. I gradually became completely disillusioned by the whole field. The very fact that the gold standard for an AI program was the Turing test - in which a candidate program would try to fool a human that it too was human - seemed to sum up much of the research - pretence and wishful thinking. (This is not a dig at Turing, who developed his idea in the very early years of computing.)

    BTW, if anyone thinks the subject of AI has not failed - just read some of the hype of the early 80's (repeated in the 90's when people tried the neural net paradigm). It is also worth reading one or two of Greg Egan's SF stories - such as "Permutation City". I believe Greg Egan is a believer in strong AI, but parts of his stories read like gedanken experiments demonstrating the implausibility of the concept.

    To me, this left a huge hole in the conventional scientific picture - usually referred to here as scientism. If the vast amounts of funding that went into AI could achieve so little, maybe there was something wrong with the basic logic of the project. Far better minds than mine have also seen that hole - Roger Penrose's two books "The Emperor's new mind" and "Shadows of the mind" are very well worth reading, and reflect the struggles of a top theoretical physicist to understand consciousness.

    OK - that is the background behind my interest in PSI and consciousness. I feel I have watched scientism fail, and that makes me more open to alternatives. I always used to think of PSI as total bunk, but in recent years, I have been amazed at the hatred of conventional science towards the paranormal. There is very little money for PSI research - so relatively few experiments get done, those that do get done are smothered in statistical argument, and if that fails - as in the case of NDE's - extremely dubious explanations (brain activity while flat-lined) are touted almost as if they were established fact. Furthermore, as you can see if you visit Brian Josephson's site, the sceptics can even use totally underhand tactics to discredit PSI. Furthermore, science is incredibly reluctant to make the links between PSI and accepted science. Libet's neural timing experiments are extremely hard to explain, but are accepted as genuine. That puzzle is obviously related to the presentiment experiment - but nobody wants to know!

    Reputable scientists that publish anything paranormal can suffer something akin to the inquisition. Jacques Benveniste was a respected biochemist until he published evidence that might indicate that homoeopathy was genuine. Without wanting to get into that debate, I want to point out that his career was destroyed by the witch hunt that Nature instigated in return for publishing his results! There is endless talk - here and elsewhere - about the concept that many negative PSI experiments are never published, and that this skews the statistics. My suspicion is the opposite - that many experiments that show a PSI effect are buried because the experimenters do not want to ruin their careers!

    **** Afterthought ***

    I forgot to mention that I was brought up a Christian, but lost my faith at university. I am now pretty much against the orthodox religions because I feel they have discarded any spiritual quality and become mere vehicles for (usually male) power and aggression. I don't see religions where you are taught what to believe as a useful way forward.

    David
    Last edited by David Bailey; August 30th, 2007, 11:22 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey Jacob, nice idea to introduce ourselves here but why didn't you start first?
      David it was fun to read your introduction, I like the more detailed stories instead of the short things, my background is totally diffrent:

      I'm Filip from Belgium and I'm 22 years old. I graduated as a social worker and going for sociology now. My intrest in psi etc grew from my deep interest in eastern philosophy, mysticism in all religions etc.

      After being raised as a catholic, I became very anti religion at the age of 10 because of all the dogmatism in christianity and because I really felt they had lied to me all my life. So I became very anti-god and sought refuge in science because I believed they were not dogmatic and from then I regarded everything which smelled like spirituality as complete nonsense, something for idiots which believed in it out of fear. I took a deep interest in computer security and ICT in general.
      But then on some day when I was 15, I remember this day vividly, I was in my garden with a friend and we were talking and suddenly we started philosophising about the universe, universal energy, the idea of god... I had never been so excited in my life and it became a mental orgasm for me and I knew that it was this that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So the search began to find out the truth, a theory that encompasses everything... I eventually realised spirituality didn't stop with orthodox christianity. (I personally think a lot of media skeptics are stuck in their anti phase and consciously or subconsciously treath science as their religion...).

      To make a story short, in the following years I had my share of deep meditative experiences, conscious telepathic/telekinetic experiences with some friends and ofcourse the numerous subconscious telepathic experiences or syncronicities like an hour ago when I called a friend who was just typing in my number...
      All these experiences convinced me about the reality of psi and telepathy etc... The best teacher is your own experience for sure.

      Eventually I found out that there is a community of respected scientists who are busy with scientific research on telepathy etc. It also intrigued me that a lot of people are really threathing science as a new religion without realising it. For example it's pretty common to hear people saying "it's true because the newspaper says it's scientifically proven".
      Without seeing the research or doing the experiments yourself or delving into it, it remains a matter of belief and this doesn't differ one thing from believing something is true because the preacher said it's like that. Only now they do it with the idea that it's no problem because science is objective and assume science says the truth automatically. Besides this question of belief, the question if science itself is objective became an intrest, it is very interesting to see the history of science and the relation between the scientific establisment and the parapsychologists or any controversial subject. Anyhow don't forget that science itself is a paradigm


      greets,
      Filip
      Last edited by daresh; August 30th, 2007, 10:12 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        I guess Filip is right. I should introduce myself as well.

        I'm currently 29 years old, living in Israel for 17 years and born in Uzbekistan (former USSR). I've been often intrigued by paranormal, even as a child, but never had any experiences or saw any people like that in person. I've studied electronics engineering and work in this profession too long hours every day in the Israeli "Silicon valley".

        Several years ago I had several panic attacks out of the blue and my total "energy levels" and life tonus was kinda low. The regular treatments for panic attacks are drug based and after trying them for several days, I was very negatively impacted by them and decided to look for another solution.

        Some of the people I know here worked with different psychic healers and one woman was advised as good in particular. So I went to her and she made some chakra cleaning and similar stuff. At that time I already new some things about these things as I kept my interests in ESP and read some from information I could find on the internet. Also, beforehand I've read a book by Peter Kelder, about 5 tibetan rites for health. There he also describes about chakras somewhat.

        After her treatment I started to feel better (can't know for sure if it was it or psychological support given by her). Later she "prescribed" some homeopathic drugs to help more and in the end I was much better off. I learned that she gave private courses for small groups about all that esoteric stuff, mostly related to energy healing, based on some traditions developed in Russia + custom dowsing. She was also a Reiki Master and knew some other techniques as well. So I started to learn with her about healing, energy work, some extra-sensory perception. Then I took Silva Method classes with her (meditation+visualization techniques).

        I had some successes in energy healing using her methods on my relatives.
        I wanted to learn more about different healing methods and ESP.

        At about the same time (October 2005) I opened the mind-energy.net site, where I wanted to write on these topics, since I thought it would be interesting to share my experiences and also try and connect people with similar interests around the site. I wrote there about my experiences with healing, ESP development lessons etc.


        Since then the site became somewhat popular and I've had people writing me their accounts on psychics. I interviewed several people, including Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove (Ph.D. in parapsychology), Alex Tsakiris, Cynthia Sue Larson (realityshifters.com) and more people.

        Later I decided that it would be nice to open forums to discuss these topics more seriously since many popular sites are too filled with children talking about ghosts, cryptozoology and other toipcs which are too far fetched for a serious discussion.

        I then advised Alex to open forum for his podcast here, since he didn't have one and I thought it would bring quality people here to discuss these topics. I believe I was right about that, at least.

        I'd be grateful to you all if you could refer people here and to other topics as well. Take the time to visit the main site (Parapsychology articles and blog) and read what's there. I believe you'll find some interesting stuff.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thx again to Jacob for setting up this forum. If anyone is interested in more background on me, check out this interview Jacob did:
          Interview with Alex Tsakiris of Skeptiko poscast and Open Source Science project - Parapsychology articles and blog

          Comment


          • #6
            I am a German surgeon and performing research in applied clinical studies, but also in molecular biology. I have also written some manuscripts, which are
            published in international medical peer-reviewed journal. Due to my work on the ICU some patients have reported to me over the last years about their
            paranormal experiences and tried to discuss them with me. After I time I started to become a sceptic of the widely accepted materialistic world view, especially about consciousness. But It was hard for me to find partners for discus this difficult field. So I have read some official articles and books regarding the mind in order to find a validation about the experiences. I have read the book from Dean Radin, David Fonatana (2005), Michael Thalbourne s book (2006) and still waiting for IRREDUCIBLE MIND. Mostly I was interested in OBEs, but I am still sceptic that the mind is really leaving the body during such experience. I have never found a study, which could validate this.
            I think that human consciousness can survive death. So you see I am still
            seeking for good and new studies about this field in order validate this
            antimaterialistic world view. I am bit sceptic about reincarnation like David Fontana, but still open-minded. At the moment I am seeking about studies regarding psychical mediumship. I have read the manuscripts from Gary Schwartz, which are at least interesting. I think he provide a good protocol for further research. Do you think that mediumship is validated (by which studies). In Germany mostly medium are very expensive, so I do not believe in them. I have read some protocols, but in general they were trivial. How are you discussing Super-PSI? I would be very glad for further discussion.
            In my opinion the most problem of mediumship research is to find the limits of the subconsciousness. It is very hard to find a good experimental setup, which can absolutely rule out cold reading techniques. I have seen here in Germany some mental magicans, for a non magician it is absolute fascinating, what they are able to read from person face or behaviour, even without eyes. The published studies from G.S. (2007) have an improved study design, but they did not absolutely rule out cold reading. What do famous mental magicians, who are open minded, think about the informations gained by genuine mediums?

            Comment


            • #7
              Topher Cooper's Life in Parapsi

              I was born a long time ago (1951) in the US. Since I was a small child I was interested in science and science fiction (There was always lots of SF around the house since my father was also a reader -- when he was a boy he used to go to the movies with his cousin, Rod Serling, to watch SciFi movies and serials like Buck Rogers). I got interested in computers because I thought that as a computer scientist I could work in many scientific fields.

              I enjoyed reading Fortean material, including stuff about parapsychology, but as a science geek, I was skeptical without really giving it much thought. I wasn't going around and putting down people who thought otherwise, but I thought that it was so unlikely to be true that I never went beyond the popular accounts, which were easy to not take seriously.

              I went to C-MU to study math and CS (there was no undergraduate CS degree at C-MU at that time) and began working for the AI lab the summer after my Freshman year. Eventually I switched from full-time student/part-time lab worker to full-time worker/part-time student.

              With convenient access to a world-class science/engineering library I got in the habit of going through the stacks and reading technical journals in whatever fields my hands came to -- sometimes I just picked at random and sometimes I followed some themes. Obviously, without much training in most of the fields, a lot went mostly over my head and perhaps more went completely over my head, but I got a feel for what science was like in many different areas.

              Then my hand came upon the Journal of Parapsychology and like anything else I began reading it.

              There was something very wrong there. The science was not only as good as in other fields, the typical experimental paper was up there, in terms of care and attention to detail, with the best in other fields. Certainly there was stuff to nit-pick but that can always be done. There was other stuff I admired -- the field was far and away the most openly self-critical that I had ever found. In other fields, you mostly find criticism limited to areas of controversy or between people who could be quickly identified with a bit of research as being from rival groups in the field. But in the parapsychology there was great gobs of criticism from people who clearly supported the other's goals and who elsewhere published papers with the person criticized.

              This was science as it should be -- except for the damned (using the word metaphorically rather than as a curse) results.

              These did not fit in with my view of the way the Universe works. So I read more -- both back issues of the JoP, other journals found in other libraries, books in the field, and learned more of other relevant fields. At times I was tempted to just say that appearances must be deceiving and that these were a bunch of poor researchers with faulty experiments. But I had always believed that in science one does not throw out experiments because you don't like the outcome.

              This was not easy -- it created real emotional turmoil, complete with bad dreams, irritability and loss of appetite. Eventually, though, I came to terms with it -- there was a big gaping whole in science's picture of how the universe was put together. Rather than try to ignore it, I decided to become involved. I made contact with people in the field, got "self-study" lab projects set up analyzing data, delivered some papers, etc.

              Since that time I've continued my interests. I've stuck with what I consider to be my areas of expertise: statistical computation, theory, interpretation; and mostly just dabbled with doing experimental and field work myself. For a while I had a mailing list of stuff of interest (not just parapsychology) I trolled from the Internet, with comments, and sent out to people I thought would be interested. Sort of a early-WWW news-blog via EMail. This became a "news of interest" column for the Journal of Scientific Exploration that I did for a few years. I'm also one of the authors of the widely circulated parapsychology FAQ.

              In the last few years I've been less active in parapsychology. Still as interested as ever, but my employment situation, and some other things going on in my life, has left me unable to attend meetings and I've sort of drifted away from most personal contact. I'm currently trying to reverse at least the latter and get back in the swing of things.
              Last edited by Topher Cooper; August 30th, 2007, 07:50 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Marcel Cairo

                In the past, I was a series of dreams, romances and adventures, now I've become a collection of hyperlinks:

                Web: Psychic Medium - Marcel Cairo
                Radio: AFM Home
                Mind: Marcel Cairo Presents
                Blog: I done thunk

                Still, I'm a hopeless romantic who loves foreign films, all sorts of music, and travel.

                I have little restraint from making a fool of myself, I don't hold authority in awe and I am in constant conflict with my inner demons. I'm a walking contradiction that cherishes solitude, yet craves the company of strangers.

                I'm lost somewhere in California now for 4 years and am almost certain that I''m nearing the exit. My most recent truth is that both my wife and I are about to turn 40 (only one day apart) and I'm trying to pretend that it's going to be OK. That 40 really is the new 20 or whatever people at my age say to pretend that we haven't yet made a reservation at the cemetery.

                I'm also an ex agent provocateur who is trying to be more productive than destructive. Still, I can't stand unabated cynicism from people who live life on the sidelines.

                Most importantly, though, I'm a happy cliché, a proud papa who can't wait to sing silly songs with his kids while dancing around in his underwear and wearing a pink tutu on his head (video forthcoming).

                Comment


                • #9
                  English, mid-30s. Ex-believer turned skeptic in my mid-20s. I describe myself as Fortean, meaning I have an interest in the paranormal but don't get upset if there's no obvious explanation or, indeed, if there is. My interest in parapsychology stems from a general interest in scientific controversies, which I read up about quite extensively and which brought me to this field.

                  My areas of knowledge are the ganzfeld work, remote viewing and mediumship. However, I've noticed that relying on second hand accounts of these subjects is a dangerous thing, and it isn't always easy to find the originals. Somewhere I have a series of four (I think) quotes from some papers on the ganzfeld, each of which references an earlier one, and each of which is misleading. I find this quite frustrating so I'm trying to cut down on the amount of time I spend on this subject. So how much I post here remains to be seen.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi I'm Matthew. I semi-regularly contribute to a blog, AMNAP, which is mostly about psi phenomena, and I occasionally write comments and messages on other blogs and fora.

                    I have always been very interested in science. Ever since the middle grades, my goal was a career as a scientist. I was an inveterate bookworm, and spent many hours curled up in some cushions or sprawled on a couch, reading about astronomy, biology, or other aspects of the natural world. Later on in high school I took a geology course, and the opportunity to study science and also spend time outdoors (which has also always been something I love to do) made it easy for me to decide, on the spot, that I would become a geologist.

                    I studied geology in school. My academic qualifications were very good, so a career in academia seemed on track. I became good friends with several of the professors, most particularly a brilliant crystallographer and minerologist who I had learned more from than any other teacher. But as I got to know them better, I got to find out more about the way academia really operates. The social system that was all about grant proposals and publishing quantity, not important discoveries and quality of research. When my mentor failed in his bid for tenure, I knew that I would never go into academia. And so I finished my undergraduate degree in geology and left school behind, sadder but much wiser about how the world works. . .

                    Graduating in 1992, I soon found that the world was not my oyster. After completing an internship at the USGS, I found the opportunities with a B.S. in geology did not interest me. I did not want to go out to potential construction sites and examine soil samples, nor was I interested in groundwater sampling around Superfund sites. This was not why I had entered geology. So I bounced around a few odd jobs, including a brief stint selling books to teachers and libraries, tried to go into business with some friends, and ended up getting married and having my first kid. My wife quickly realized that I needed a real career, and encouraged me to enter the computer field. I had been writing computer programs since the age of 11 when I got my first computer, a Commodore VIC-20. I was able to get work in the field and after a couple of years, a full-time development position. And that is the field I have been working in for the past decade.

                    I have always wanted to know "how things work", and for many years I had been questioning how organisms could possibly work. I mean, I understood DNA, transcription, ribosomes and all that, but it seemed clear to me that you couldn't explain biology with just those ideas. I wanted to know how development work, how morphogenesis happened, how cells knew where to go and what to do. And it was clear to me that the standard explanation of "little machines doing there thing" was just a mystery, and that understanding how this stuff worked was the key to biology, not just the relatively boring facts about genes and proteins.

                    One day in college I came across a book by Rupert Sheldrake: A new science of life. I devoured it and had a sudden "aha" feeling. So this explains biology. It's not just machines! Life reflects field behaviors, not just chemistry and contact mechanics. His book The presence of the past is the best introduction to his field theory of biology for those interested.

                    Around that time I had my first really compelling psi experience. I was working as a research assistant to a geologist out west, and we were camped in southern Utah. During the days we went out and extracted samples and measured rock stratigraphy. One evening we got back to camp and I decided to remove my boots and walk around the camp barefoot. There were some nice large rocks near the campsite, and I went out to them to sit and enjoy the early evening. After I finished I started carefully walking back to the camp. Since I was barefoot and we were in a desert area I decided to stay on the rocks, where there was no chance of treading on a cactus plant! Suddenly I stopped picking my way from rock to rock. Looking ahead, I somehow "knew" that the next rock was dangerous, that there was a rattlesnake coiled in the shadow, and if I stepped down onto it I would get bitten. That's silly, I thought. If I don't step down then I will have to walk on the sand, and might easily step onto a poorly visible small cactus. I tried to continue on the rocks, but was simply unable to. I stood there a minute, trying to make myself continue on the rocks, but I was not able to. My mind had "decided" to ignore the warning about the invisible rattlesnake, but my willpower was unable to start moving to the next rock. Finally I gave up, irritated and annoyed that I was going to have to walk on the sand, very carefully, and hopefully not step on any thorny plants or cacti. I slowly made my way around to where I could observe the hidden area of the rock I had refused to step down to. Boggling my mind, there was a rattlesnake coiled up there. If I had stepped down in my bare feet I would almost certainly have been bitten!

                    Later on in college I had some even odder experiences:

                    In 1990 I was sitting with some friends in the Rathskeller, a favorite nachos-and-toppings hangout next to the NCSU campus where I was enrolled. Suddenly I had a strong feeling of deja-vu and I recognized the couple sitting at the next table over. Because the experience was stronger than previous deja-vu experiences I wondered if it would be possible for me to actually predict what was going to happen. I realized that I could "remember" what was going to transpire. I said to myself "that woman is about to say: " and came up with a 12-15 word sentence that I remembered her saying. About 5 seconds later, she turned and uttered exactly the sentence I "remembered".

                    In 1991 in another cafe, Elmo's Diner in a nearby town, I had exactly the same experience. Again, I "remembered" what a woman sitting at a nearby table was about to say to the man sitting with her. Again, she said it, word for word, about 5 seconds after I recalled the words I "remembered" her saying. In neither of these cases did I know the woman or her companion.
                    I've periodically had interesting telepathic experiences, mostly with my immediate family. Many could be coincidence, but a few were so specific and detailed that it seems very unlikely.

                    I am interested in parapsychology, but I have a lot of other interests and responsibilities that compete, such as family, career, nature photography, and the non-dual nature of reality.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hello everyone,

                      I am currently living on the East Coast of the United States. I've had a long-standing interest in some of what is usually called paranormal phenomena (although I don't particularly like the term "paranormal"). I tend to approach such phenomena from a standpoint that I'd call "open minded agosticism." I try to avoid the extremes of "fundamentalist" approaches, but rather to appraoch any phenomenon from the standpoint of critical thinking and with a willingness to alter my views as I learn more. I am interested in reports of unusual phenomena because of what they might tell us about untapped human potential. I also am not that interested in sterile laboratory studies of the paranormal, but am much more interested in careful field investigations of so-called "spontaneous phenomena."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi all. I'm Eteponge. I'm 26 (soon to be 27). I'm simply an open-minded paranormal researcher who prefers researching phenomenon from all sides of the issue, and goes for a "full data" presentation in the articles I write on a perticular subject. I know Marcel Cairo and Matthew Cromer who also post here, and have spoken with Alex of Skeptiko a few times, and I am a frequent commenter on Michael Prescott's Blog (which is from where Marcel and Matthew know me from). I was recommended here by Marcel, after I wrote my indepth article examining the Veridical Cases of Psychic Dorothy Allison indepth.

                        My Blog:

                        Eteponge's Blog

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Software developer in michigan, standing in line for soup handouts with everyone else here. I'm not sure I have an explanation for why I care about the paranormal except that its on tv and in the movies. What I do care about though is the stupidity of old age and death. I get frusterated when I see the headlines of another brilliant mind has succumbed to cancer or heart failure. The loss in intellect we are forced to suffer because we fail at life. That we subscribe to belief systems that teach us to accept death as inevidable. That we live with this delusion that somehow we will magically not be rotting in a box in a cemetary after we die just seems so tremendously unproductive. That we spend so much money on things like football and christmas presents and so little of our time working together in a feverish panic to solve what seems like the only stupid obvious real problem we will ever really have.

                          I listen and read about the topic of life after death, ghosts and hauntings, those stupid ghost hunter shows on travel channel and sci fi where the second they hear a noise they scream away scared as quickly as possible as if actual contact wasn't really what they were looking for in the first place. I ask myself why new york ground zero isnt a churning hurricane of massively pissed off poltergeist making reconstruction virtually impossible to consider due to an endless series of unexplained reoccuring paranormal disorder. Then I think about the disasters of history. These people in their ghost stories go to creepy buildings and then inject their fears, they should be going to places where mass death has actually happened, regardless of the architecture involved. War fields, old torture camps...um HOSPITALS hello???? And they should be using deployed surveillance, robots or remotes, instead of bringing in 'clairvoyants'.

                          Delusion has served its purpose in evolution. People who are superstitious about a thing are less likely to be careless. They might not have the right reasons for a behavior, but a behavior that gives them better odds at survival is really all that matters. So man doesn't really need correct perceptions, he doesn't need the truth to pull off a life that creates offspring, he only needs to do what doesn't kill him - often a tall order. So we see our world exactly the way we need to in order to survive, and what we see doesn't require truth for this purpose.

                          I think being a skeptic means being tired of the delusion constructed for bare survival, we're tired of getting our chains yanked by those drunk on their own imaginations. We are at an end with the institutions that dominate our cultures whose outer workings are based on mythology and inner workings based on money and control. Some of us have an interest in truth, because we are tired of the lie that death is a thing that just has to happen. That if we just lay down and be quiet theres some damn light that will make us be happy again. I believe that the greatest most important discovery mankind can experience is the discovery and proof that there is absolutely nothing after death. That the only thing you will ever have is this thing right here and now. What would you do? Personally i think any religion that teaches life after death truly devalues life for how fragile and precious it really is. Inarguable proof that death means death is something we need for global reasons. All cultures are infested with belief systems to the contrary.

                          My number one issue with life after death is our five basic senses we use to perceive the world. These senses exist because over time they proved advantageous. In our evolutionary history we didn't always perceive vibrations in the air or temperature changes in our environment. But those creatures that did develop these senses better avoided approaching predators and did a better job at keeping their bodies operating better. The sense of sight especially is so incidental. The small spectrum of light we filter out and use as a way to gauge our surroundings is barely a decent facimile of the real universe we live in. Any of these senses exist as a complex fabrication requiring a number of different neurologicaly systems stacked up on top of each other to process the data, assemble the data, and then interpret that data. And the final end product isnt even a reality its a general reading that lives only in our heads, it is not the truth. Its the delusion that did just good enough to allow us to survive. When we die, those systems are GONE. Theres no organ to filter out the information from your surroundings, theres no pathways to carry that data to a brain for processing and reconstruction. Even if there was some sort of risidual echo of consiousness to interpret this data, there is no longer a way to gather information to react to. Those pieces are no longer doing their job. A consciousness that carries on would do so in a void. There would be no eyes, no ears, no skin. Just your thoughts, and memories... as those cells slowly fade away for lack of oxygen.

                          If our spirit could truly see the world around us even though the eyes are gone? What makes this so? What other organs do you think would live on also in some spiritual form? Is there appetite after death too? Is arrousal possible, or any sort of excitement that is supposed to require hormonal release? You know my neighbor is deaf, there is no amount of personal adaptation he can make in his life that will ever truly give him the sense of hearing that I have, EVER. Is he going to be hearing things in his nde too? What if he had been blind? If the 'soul' can somehow 'see' after death why is it waiting till then? If the soul can see without eyes I could save a lot of money on corrective eyewear right now. If the 'soul' could see without eyes theres a couple pounds of flesh we could all be happily doing without right now. There are people who wouldn't need guide dogs to get around, they would just use their soul to see things. Wishful thinking is what i see.

                          Its like instead of working hard to earn immortality ourselves, mankind waste its time dreaming about winning the heaven lottery. And if you dream hard enough, and dream just the right way, the dream will somehow come true...

                          If we are serious about getting off this world and on to the next one, this is not a system of belief that should be coming along with us. Especially looking at journeys that require eras to complete. We will need minds geared toward fact and not faith. We need to stop losing wisdom to the grave. And we will need lifespans that last the distance of our stars.

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                          • #14
                            I guess I'll briefly introduce myself too.

                            I've always loved science in all its various forms, which is what has led me to my current position as a grad student in psychology. It's also what's causes me to pick up books about a wide variety of subjects, and after one random library looting, I found myself with several books on parapsychology. The one that got me particularly intrigued was Richard Broughton's "The Controversial Science", which revealed just how much actual scientific research had been done on things that I had assumed were fiction, long put to rest by serious scientists.

                            I still don't know if there is anything to the phenomena that parapsychologists study. What I am sure of, though, is that these phenomena deserve serious scientific inquiry, whether they are genuine or not, and that there is a large body of evidence that there is something going on. I don't see how any true scientist can look at that evidence and not see it screaming out for explanation.

                            This is sad, but I don't want to give away too much more information about myself. I am in academia, and an admitted interest in parapsychology could do real harm to my career. But let's say I've looked into it pretty deeply, I've gotten to meet Richard Broughton and many other parapsychologists, and getting to the bottom of these unusual phenomena is one of my many passions.

                            I hope to have some nice lively conversations here! See you all around.

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                            • #15
                              Expelled: no intelligence allowed.

                              Phronk:
                              I am in academia, and an admitted interest in parapsychology could do real harm to my career.
                              Bertvan: This is not only true of an interest in parapsychology, but academics dare not show an interest in any subject these days that does not dogmatically parrot the tenets of deterministic materialism.

                              I know psi exists; I experienced it. A century ago many people in this country had no trouble getting a table to move around. They believed they could do it and they did. Even though I witnessed examples of mind interacting with matter by table tipping, I doubted deceased spirits were involved. But whether or not table tipping is a real phenomenon is not important. What is important is that academia has become so dogmatically entrenched that no one is permitted to investigate anything that shows doubt about materialism..

                              Questioning the materialist view of biology is equally forbidden. Anyone doubting that “natural selection” can organize a bunch of genetic accidents into complex biological systems is denounced as “an ignorant creationist”. There should be enough tenured professors to fight such tyranny, but sadly that doesn’t seem to be true.

                              http://30145.myauthorsite.com/

                              See question ten of my “Questions about Materialism” for my experience with table tipping.

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