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Skepticism or Dogmatism - has skepticism become just materialistic religion?

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  • Skepticism or Dogmatism - has skepticism become just materialistic religion?

    Hello all,
    Yesterday I had a read of Mario Beauregard's article on Salon.
    I take agnostic(so far) approach to NDE, and many things in Mario's article I've taken with a pinch of salt( the same as of K.Nelson, D.Mobbs,C.Watt and M.Raduga - I hold it for separate thread).

    But, it was interesting excercise to read comments on Salon's article(421).

    Most skeptical comments are sinoky amazing. I'd say(my personal opinion) that this is simply demonstration of close-mindness,arrofgance and dogmatism. It seems to me that materialists are the last persons who are willing to question their own paradigm(which is actually characterics of good skepticism),althoug I personally share the opinion of some thoughtfull persons that if not refute materialism,then at least suggest that materialism itself has "hard questions" to explain.
    Now, to the posts, I'm going to post a couple of them.

    There are good skeptical posts over there ,like that:


    page 2 of the comments
    I'm a member of part of the Randi crowd. Some of us are actual skeptics and certainly willing to read and accept evidence (and likelihood) of the supernatural if it's strong instead of dismissing it out of hand. Some presented in the article seems strong, and I'll check out the cases in more detail
    Ok,this person is at least willing to consider.

    What about this one:

    I can't believe Salon would even post crap like this. It's bullshit, NDEs are the sufferings of a brain in severe trauma. The very similarity of the experiences actually undermines the idea that they have any further significance.
    I love how everyone from Fundamentalists to some of the more outre agnostic crowd claims that our inability to "know everything" forces us to seriously consider any dumb hypothesis: It does not.

    And while we indeed don't know everything, we can be fairly certain at this point that there is no such thing as a soul, or any part of our minds that survives the death of the brain. Even if there were some alternate matter that could hold any of the contents of our beings, there would have to be some process to make it do so, which there isn't.

    On the other hand, we find that all parts of our thinking are housed in the brain, and altering the brain either permanently or temporarily can also alter our minds, including our entire personality (and what would once have been called a soul).
    I would say there are even some physicists who thin differently, for example Fred Alan Wolf states:
    I believe that the findings of quantum physics increasingly support Plato [who taught that there is a more perfect, non-material realm of existence]. There is evidence that suggests the existence of a non-material, non-physical universe that has a reality even though it might not as yet be clearly perceptible to our senses and scientific instrumentation. When we consider out-of-body experiences, shamanic journeys and lucid dream states, though they cannot be replicated in the true scientific sense, they also point to the existence of non-material dimensions of reality

    Next(JohnD,page6):
    The idea that people can see things with their eyes shut and think without brain activity is simply ludicrous. Now the apparently ludicrous can sometimes turn out to be true, but it almost never does.
    Aren't there case out there that NDErs claimed to see what was going on when their eyes were shut down, annd their "visions" were later confirmed?


    Next one is 'Nicole',page 10:

    I know it's fun to fantasize about NDE/OBE. We SOOO want these experiences to be real, perhaps to ameliorate the scary unknowns of death. But if we are going to be grown-ups about this, we must always accept the most rational "materialist science" explanation first before moving on to the more fantastical explanations. "Materialist science" (or even just plain common sense) explains nearly everything that is "unexplained" in this article.
    Really? I would argue with some points, but it is too late,comments are closed.
    At least,I'd consider that:

    An important veridical near-death experience


    Take the case of Pam Reynolds, who supposedly recalled details about the surgical procedures that were performed on her while she was unconscious. Common sense explanation: she researched the details of her surgical procedure before or after the surgery, down to the sound the drill makes and the way her hair would be shaved.
    Does everyone agree that this is "common sense explanation". To me it is just "ad-hoc/made up" without any solid ground.

    Then,somebody respond her, and she replied:

    "She researched in advance that they first leg they tried to tap had arteries that were too small, and that they'd have to try the other leg?"

    Someone could have told her this. Or she could have read it in her medical file.
    I never heard that the "common sense explanation" is built on pure guesses.

    But this one is the champion(page 6):

    It should be taken as axiomatic that when people ardent to believe in non-material explanations recount the cases that support their side, they will misrepresent them, omit important details, and suppress, ignore, or distort critical accounts.
    You got it? Shame on you that you even dare to try to represent the NDE outside of materialisitc paradigm. If you do that,you are automatically "wooster" and "nutjob"
    I am speechless...
    Comments?

  • #2
    Originally posted by fls
    I didn't want to have to be associated with this kind of garbage.
    Why is it garbage? It is a common sense explanation. It just might not be the actual explanation. It's even possible that she didn't do much formal research, but knew some of the details through the media. It's also possible that someone described some of the stuff to her before or after.

    ~~ Paul

    Comment


    • #3
      Regarding the OP: Yes, for some people, under some circumstances, skepticism is like a religion. This is also true for every other philosophy / metaphysic / worldview that people hold.

      ~~ Paul

      Comment


      • #4
        Hello Paul and Linda,
        It is interesting to see replies on this thread only by skeptics (so far, at least)
        To your points:

        Once in a while I agree with Linda(or Linda agrees with me) that this is garbage

        Paul:

        Why is it garbage? It is a common sense explanation(??? - Alexander1304). It just might not be the actual explanation. It's even possible that she didn't do much formal research, but knew some of the details through the media. It's also possible that someone described some of the stuff to her before or after.
        Why it is "common sense explanation" is beyond me.How is that anything but (wild) guess ? And how (wild)guess can be count as "common sense explanation"?
        For me it is better no to have an explanation, rather than have such one.

        Also Paul,I maked bold keywords in your post,why your statement is also guess
        Last edited by Alexander1304; March 1st, 2013, 08:03 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
          Regarding the OP: Yes, for some people, under some circumstances, skepticism is like a religion. This is also true for every other philosophy / metaphysic / worldview that people hold.

          ~~ Paul
          Well, I disagree. I would say that "skepticism is like a religion" is when the person is questioning everything, no matter what evidencein favour of what he is questioning is.

          In the posts I quoted,it is more like "materialism is religion". Persons are commited only to materialistic explanations, no matter what! In "champion" post person even states that if somebody is open to any other explanations,then "aximomatic" it means.... you've read the OP

          Make no mistake - I can understand peoples adherence to materialism.It is claimed that materialism explains the universe very well etc...I don't disagree with that,although I have also seen the critique of such view. But anyway, with all that I see no reason to turn materialism to dogma, and to impose that materialism is immune to criticism and challenges. I like the review of E.Alexander's book ,where the reviewer claims to be also NDE survivor,that review is on "most helpful", The review itself is long, but here is the middle part,and I agree:

          To get the most out of any book on NDEs, and especially one that intertwines a very personal journey to find family and self, you must start with an open mind and heart. Unfortunately, those who have already hardened their views on both sides of the spectrums of Science and Religion, will dismiss much of what anyone writes on this topic, because it doesn't fit their narrow, dogmatic view of the world.
          Even worse, it forces them to look outside of their safe little boxes, and take the effort to learn, while being open to the possibility that current models of both science and faith are a good starting point, but not the ENTIRE answer.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by OC68
            What experiences have you had Linda and what do you think was going on? No need to go into great detail unless you want to.
            Sorry,have seen your post after I posted that so far only skeptics replied

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by fls
              It's facile. It can be applied to any experience without any regard for the details.
              The fact that there are ways to gain knowledge about a particular medical device other than "seeing it" during an NDE is facile? It seems to me that dismissing the possibility of other ways to gain knowledge is what is facile.

              Now, granted, more details about how the person gained the knowledge would be good. However, it's almost impossible to track down how someone gains her knowledge.

              But more importantly, it fails to enagage everyone who has a first-hand experience. When I have one of these psi experiences, I know that I didn't make up. So if fraud is the explanation, I can dismiss it because it's obviously wrong in my case.
              It's not fraud, it's just a mistake in interpreting experiences during a period of great stress. And, as I said, there is no possible way you can track down every bit of knowledge that you have about some technical procedure such as surgery. In fact, you can't even enumerate what you know if asked to do so.

              ~~ Paul

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
                The fact that there are ways to gain knowledge about a particular medical device other than "seeing it" during an NDE is facile? It seems to me that dismissing the possibility of other ways to gain knowledge is what is facile.
                ~~ Paul
                And such possibilities are?...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Alexander1304 View Post
                  Well, I disagree. I would say that "skepticism is like a religion" is when the person is questioning everything, no matter what evidence in favour of what he is questioning is.
                  I'd say "scepticism is like a religion" when a person questions everything apart from their own point of view. And since their own point of view encompasses a broad spectrum, that's a major oversight.

                  What is clear is that many people are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of really questioning everything.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Alexander1304 View Post
                    Why it is "common sense explanation" is beyond me.
                    Because that is a perfectly straightforward way in which she could have gained knowledge about the surgery. No proposals for souls leaving bodies during surgery are required.

                    How is that anything but (wild) guess ? And how (wild)guess can be count as "common sense explanation"?
                    For me it is better no to have an explanation, rather than have such one.

                    Also Paul,I maked bold keywords in your post,why your statement is also guess
                    I said it was a common sense explanation. It's obviously not necessarily the explanation. There are multiple common sense explanations.

                    ~~ Paul

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Alexander1304 View Post
                      Well, I disagree. I would say that "skepticism is like a religion" is when the person is questioning everything, no matter what evidencein favour of what he is questioning is.
                      You know someone who questions everything, regardless of the subject?

                      ~~ Paul

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Alexander1304 View Post
                        And such possibilities are?...
                        Huh? Studying the subject before or after. Being told about the subject before or after. Seeing a story about it on TV before or after.

                        Your question makes it appear as if you think the only way to gain knowledge is to leave your body and view it during surgery.

                        ~~ Paul

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
                          Because that is a perfectly straightforward way in which she could have gained knowledge about the surgery. No proposals for souls leaving bodies during surgery are required.~~ Paul
                          Problem1 : Besides guessing that she could have gained knowledge,are there any evidence that she actually did?

                          Problem2: Speaking of gainig knowledge before - what is her logical motivation? She was going to make a story later? How did she know in advance?
                          Also,about gainig after - what is the motivation?

                          Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
                          I said it was a common sense explanation. It's obviously not necessarily the explanation. There are multiple common sense explanations.

                          ~~ Paul
                          This and they are all pure guesses,sorry. And pure guesses it the last thing I take into account. The only worth point is to get as many details as possible about her story.
                          I'll try some search. Maybe will email IANDS folks and will ask for some related material
                          Last edited by Alexander1304; March 1st, 2013, 08:44 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
                            Huh? Studying the subject before or after. Being told about the subject before or after. Seeing a story about it on TV before or after.

                            Your question makes it appear as if you think the only way to gain knowledge is to leave your body and view it during surgery.

                            ~~ Paul
                            You generilizing, and I'm talking only about her story. What does it have to do with TV?

                            To leave body to gain knowledge is at least plausible hypothesis as any other "common sense"(read - pure guess)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alexander1304 View Post
                              Problem1 : Besides guessing that she could have gained knowledge,are there any evidence that she actually did?
                              Is there any evidence that she gained it some other way, such as by leaving her body during the surgery? No.

                              Problem2: Speaking of gainig knowledge before - what is her logical motivation? She was going to make a story later? How did she know in advance?
                              Also,about gainig after - what is the motivation?
                              I really don't understand your questions. Her motivation to study up on her surgery was because she was about to have surgery. Or perhaps she just happened to know about surgical instruments.

                              This and they are all pure guesses,sorry. And pure guesses it the last thing I take into account. The only worth point is to get as many details as possible about her story.
                              I'll try some search. Maybe will email IANDS folks and will ask for some related material
                              So the idea that she left her body during surgery and remembered what the instruments looked like even though she supposedly had no brain function is not a guess?

                              You appear not to be applying your skeptical skills to your own assumptions.

                              ~~ Paul

                              Comment

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