27 March 2011

Happy Birthday Richard Dawkins!

Here are some great clips to watch as you tip a glass of something to the great explainer of evolutionary ideas.









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47 Comments:

At 4:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If evolution is real, and I have no reason to believe it is unless I chose to blindly believe the opinions of some, but not others, then it is not Richard Dawkin's idea. What Richard is doing is trying to put a puzzle together that was created by something else while denying the exist of that 'somthing else' whose ideas he is only just discovering.

During Darwin's time, science was at war with Religion. There was no hope in hell that the theory of evolution was going to draw God into the equasion and therby disguising the presence of intelligence in the design to make it appear that the design designed itself without the need for a designer.

We know this to be true in everyday life. How many people speak without thinking? Build without a blue print? We all do for goodness gracious, for to think before speaking and build from a well thought out blueprint would hint of thought preceeding physical manifestation and we know this cannot be true. In the regard, man bucks the trend. Along with w whole bunch of other species that have problem solving capacity. But that's it. Before this it was the other way around. No thought went into designing anything despite the magnificance and genious of the creation that results.

Who can believe such crap? Oh yes, science and religion are at war. All common sense and objectivity gets thrown out the window. Silly me.

Twinkledorp Peabody IV.

 
At 9:59 PM , Blogger Max II said...

Actually Twinkledorp,
There is no reason whatsoever to rely on authority to hold an informed opinion about the veracity of evolutionary biology. There is a wealth of evidence that supports it. Science isn't a matter of opinions, or rather opinions aren't how scientific positions are derived. For the establishment of a robust scientific generalization what we need are evidence producing experiments and we need lots of them.

Also Richard Dawkins has never claimed that modern Evolutionary theory was his idea. He was just a student and later a professor of evolutionary biology. Certainly he is interested in the puzzle of life (all scientists like a good mystery), but we think we can be quite certain (based on reliable scientific evidence from various fields) that your "something else" was "selectve forces." So clearly Dawkins couldn't be said to denying this "something else," his books are fairly clear on this point.

Thanks for stopping by.

 
At 7:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Max.

Just consider me a Skeptic. Whilst you may believe your scinetific methods tell you one thing, I am not going to go on 'faith' and believe evolution is all that you believe it to be.

What others 'know as a scientific fact' is of little importance to me. I have yet to be convinced for a few reasons:

1). Though born Atheist, my free thinking process has lead me to the conclusion God exists, though not the Christian or religious God
that you might assume I may be referring to.

2). During darwin's time, Science and Religion were at war. Scientists were scratching at the bit to 'give ot to' the Religious folk and there was no way in Hell they were going to have God play any part in the evolutionary process were thus 'intelligence in design' had to be excluded from their conclusions.

This poses a massive credibility problem and therefore any conclusions drawn should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, the main objective at the time (which continues today) was winning the war with Religion therefore objectivity was sacrificed in the name of 'Victory'.

Sorry Max11.
Evolutionist will need to do a bit of evolving themselves to ensure objectivity and good old common sense in their work unless of course you believe houses are built without blusprints, and people speak 1st and then think, which in your case I could almost be convinced is true.

Stop by and visit my site anytime.

Twinkledorp Peabody IV.

 
At 8:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY MAX11

Better still, answer me this.
Is a bridge built in the absence of thought, or does the building of the bridge occur only after the deisgn or 'blueprint' is made?

Prove it - in other words, show me the 'thought' that produced the blueprint - any blueprint.

If you cannot and you 'can't', am I to assume thought does not exist and therefore no blueprint could be made from thought and that the bridge could not be made from the blueprint?

This is what evolutionists are asking us to believe.

So I'm asking you, when did the change take place? When exactly did thought for the 1st time 'preceed' physical manifestation of that thought. Please provide fact based evidence for your answer. This should not be hard considereing the overwhelming evolutionary facts you have to draw from.

I am allowing you the opportunity to demonstrate your massive power of logic and reasoning and delightfully 'put me to shame' in your not so subtl smug and arrogant way.

Do, once again, when did thought 1st come 1st and physical manifestation come 2nd?

I await with beta breath.

Twinkledorp Peabody IV.

 
At 10:53 AM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:54 AM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

What I want to know is how the blueprint maker got all the necessary blue. I mean, it's not like there was much around on the early Earth, when the methane skies were orange. There can't be blueprints without blue, can there?

 
At 1:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what was said by the person whose comment was deleted but it could not have been pleasant. I can only assume evolution is taking a step backwards in his (?) case.

@ Steve Zara

I'm not sure if your'e attempting to be non-assumingly funny or saracastingly mocking.

If you leave one having to guess then the point you are trying to make becomes irrelevant.

I'm sure your'e a nice fellow so I will assume the best in you and go with the 1st option which was a stab at humour. If I am wrong I will not know it unless you write back and state your clear position.

Till then, all the best!

Twinkledorp Peabody IV.

 
At 1:59 PM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

How could I mock the necessity of creation? There is so much suffering in the world, that it could only be the result of a creator. Evolution is about survival of the fittest, and so how could it allow creatures riddled with parasites to live? How could it allow some animals to die slowly of starvation when their teeth wear out? There is no way that survival of the fittest could result in such pain from unfitness. The only explanation is a creator, who designed in pain and misery. That has to be the answer.

 
At 2:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve, you take a look only at the surface and declare that you know all that lies beneath. You don't.

Your reasoning is far too simplisitc to be taken as a serious argument against the existance of God. "If this is true, then that cannot be true". You assume a 100% correlation and leave no room for your logic to be incorrect.

You should have taken the humour option when you had the chance instead of coming back with this Hail Mary.


This is the counter argument that is equivalent to your logic:

"Science made a bridge and the bridge collapsed. Science is bad. If science is bad then science cannot be good. Therefore there can be no such thing as good science."

You see where I'm going with this Steve? Does this make any sense to you? Well this is how you sound to me.

Should have taken that humor option...

Twinkledorp Peabody IV.

 
At 3:09 PM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

Against god? Who said I was against god? There is no much sign of planning that there must have been a divine creator. Just consider the equisite mouthparts of the flea, the delicate hooks of the tapeworm mouth, the smooth and rippling body of the liver fluke. Look at the way the malaria parasite fits neatly within a blood cell, the way the heart worm anchors itself in the fast-flowing blood. How can these be anything but design?

 
At 10:08 PM , Blogger Max II said...

"Is a bridge built in the absence of thought, or does the building of the bridge occur only after the deisgn or 'blueprint' is made?"

Strange that you should bring up bridges that appear to have been built without thought.
For your edification I give you...
http://azstateparks.com/Parks/TONA/index.html
and
http://www.stateparks.com/natural_bridge_sweet_grass.html
and in Kentucky..
http://parks.ky.gov/default.htm

 
At 10:39 PM , Blogger Max II said...

Allow me to deal with the rest of your post.

"Prove it - in other words, show me the 'thought' that produced the blueprint - any blueprint."
This has absolutely nothing to do with evolutionary biology. I'm not entirely sure why you find this salient to our discussion.

"If you cannot and you 'can't', am I to assume thought does not exist and therefore no blueprint could be made from thought and that the bridge could not be made from the blueprint?"
More uselessness.


"This is what evolutionists are asking us to believe.
No it isn't. Thought has nothing to do with creation of stable biological systems.

"So I'm asking you, when did the change take place? When exactly did thought for the 1st time 'preceed' physical manifestation of that thought. Please provide fact based evidence for your answer. This should not be hard considereing the overwhelming evolutionary facts you have to draw from."

I'm not sure it matters when the first thought (would you care to define this please) happened. Humans are hardly the only animal that thinks in a complex way. Probably no animal (on Earth anyway) thinks with our level of sophistication. In any event it sure doesn't really matter when the first thought arose.

"I am allowing you the opportunity to demonstrate your massive power of logic and reasoning and delightfully 'put me to shame' in your not so subtl smug and arrogant way.

I'm not sure where your confusion arises Twinkledorp, you haven't framed a very cogent request, nor have you elucidated where you have problems with evolutionary biology. All you have done is get off track, or if your query is on track you have managed to frame your conundrum in the least clear, and helpful way possible.

"Do, once again, when did thought 1st come 1st and physical manifestation come 2nd?"
Again, what does this have to do with evolutionary theory Twinkledorp? Do you have a specific question about a particular lineage? How is this important to our discussion?


"I await with beta breath.
Its not beta by the way, its bated

So please clean up the terms, clarify your questions so we can move the discussion forward.

 
At 9:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Steve.

I have no idea what point you are trying to make, as you seem to be arguing for both sides.

I agree that there is a creator.

Even MAX 11 below believes that biological systems were 'created',
though without any thinking involved of course.

Cheers.

Twinkledorp peabody IV

 
At 10:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Max 11 says:

"Thought has nothing to do with creation of stable biological systems".

Max, thought has everything to do with creation. That is what the whole Creation argument is about: the existance of a 'thinking' Creator creating life forms through intelligent Design.

Glad you concede that there is creation in evolution.


Max 11 says:

I'm not sure it matters when the first thought happened. Humans are hardly the only animal that thinks in a complex way. Probably no animal (on Earth anyway) thinks with our level of sophistication. In any event it sure doesn't really matter when the first thought arose.

Max, I'm shocked and astounded that such a monumentous shift in
evolutionary biology in which thought for the 1st time preceeded creation has been written off as a seemingly irrelevant event.

Thought and intelligence emerging from nothing? And this is seen as irrelevant?

It would only be irrelevant if it really was irrelevant, and that would be if thought preceeded physical form all along, and E.B.'s knew it.

Unless you can come up with a beter explanation I'm sticking with that one. After all, you did acknowledge the involvement if 'creation' in maintaining stable environments.

Acknowledgement is the 1st step to rocovery...

Twinkledorp Peabody IV.

 
At 11:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Max.

One more thing. Near Death Experiences have been studied, tested, re-studied and re-tested. They are not caused by a 'malfunctioning brain' under stress. Actually, they have nothing to do with the brain at all. Cionciousness is independant of the brain and body and this is obvious to anyone who spends a bit of time researching the subject.

It is based on the revelation that I.D. is not only possibly, but pretty much a given.

What it the origin of the power source that allows the continuation of conciousness following bodily death (google Pam Reynolds; Dr. Peter Fenwick).

It is not a complcated Universe. The same power source that allows for the continuation of conciousness also accounts for the creative powers invloved in Intellignet Design.

Add this factor into the mix then you have an evolutionary theory that makes sense to the layperson who has no bee up their but in needing God completely out of the evolutionary equasion so Science and the 'tists' can 'stick it to God'.

No need to complicate things. keep them simple. NDEs do just that. They make everything else make sense.

Twinkledorp Peabody IV.

 
At 11:33 AM , Blogger Max II said...

Twinkledorp,
I'm using creation in its simply dictionary definition. Not in your magical sense.

Perhaps to avoid confusing you further I'll use formation instead. The formation of stable patterns in nature is all I am talking about. Stablity can occur, indeed does occur all the time without any intelligence or thought. Ecological succession, chemical equilibria, the balance between explosion and gravitational collapse of stars all seem to happen on their own without any imput from thoughtful beings. The evolution of biological systems is simply another example of this kind of thing.

 
At 11:33 AM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

Actually, they have nothing to do with the brain at all. Cionciousness is independant of the brain and body and this is obvious to anyone who spends a bit of time researching the subject.

That's amazing! I'm going to write to Bill Gates. It means he can tell his friends at Microsoft that they don't need computers to run their programs - all the work can be done by consciousy stuff! I will make sure I credit you though. You will deserve the billions from this, not me, or Bill.

Remember to get a good patent lawyer.

 
At 11:37 AM , Blogger Max II said...

Also,
Thought and intelligence cannot emerge from nothing. They can however emerge from matter. Given enough time, and the right selection pressures, evolutionary history and lots and lots of luck.

However the theist does ask that everyone believe that thought and intelligence arises out of nothing. For what else is your alleged creator but the very thing about which you are skeptical.

Its hard to be sure that is your position though because, as ever, you remain dutifully unclear.

 
At 11:42 AM , Blogger Max II said...

Twinkledorp,
Now you are amusing the hell out of me. Near death experiences now? Hilarious. Actually what you say simply isn't true. Except for the first part, the psychology of NDEs has actually been studied quite a lot, and the answer like all studies of the brain have not been kind to dualism (the idea that the mind and body are different things). Researchers can induce NDEs by altering brain activity in a variety of ways.
I shall try to find some references for you.

 
At 11:57 AM , Blogger Max II said...

Twinkledorp said,
"One more thing. Near Death Experiences have been studied, tested, re-studied and re-tested. They are not caused by a 'malfunctioning brain' under stress. Actually, they have nothing to do with the brain at all. Cionciousness is independant of the brain and body and this is obvious to anyone who spends a bit of time researching the subject."

Let me also say, that you have an amazing talent, I mean stunning, stating the blatantly untrue, with startling certainty (as the quote above demonstrates).

Mind/body duality has been about as thoroughly falsified as it is possible for a hypothesis to be falsified. It all seems to be the brain at work. And while we don't understand all the workings of the brain that give rise to consciousness, we can see plainly enough how it is affected by damage to the meat computer that produces it.

Nothing demonstrates this better than the way various physical states, and chemical addlement induces changes in conscioussness. Fatigue, sickness, extreme malnutrition, dehydration, alcohol and other drugs, brain damage, all have been demonstrated to alter conscioussness.

 
At 12:00 PM , Blogger Max II said...

Also, you should think very very hard about Steve's analogy with computers. Why do they need anything at all, why not just a monitor, maybe a keyboard and mouse so you can interface with the whatever it is that carries out the programing?

 
At 12:06 PM , Blogger Max II said...

Oh here you go, a nice primer on OBEs and NDEs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out-of-body_experience#Near-death_experiences

I once had an out of body experience. It happened in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and I was caught in a novel carotid choke. I had the distinct sensation that I was looking at my body from an odd angle and slightly outside myself, I think was about ready to tap out. There was a tunnenling of my vision which closed off to black and then I woke a few seconds later. The choke cut off blood flow to my brain, it took just a few seconds. While this is just an anecdote and cannot be adduced in support of the brain being the source of consciousness, it is a curious recurring fact that these kinds of things occur when the brain is seriously screwed with in this kind of way.
Don't you think?

 
At 12:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Max.

NDEs are real ad have nothing to do with the brain. Yes, brain function can be manipulated. But when a brain ceases functioing altogether the lights should be out. What all the fuss is about is that they are not. According to your world view this could not happen which poses quite a dilema for team Max. Yet it does happen. Oh what to do...

Take the case of Pam Reynolds who was 'put to death' by doctors who ceased the functioing of both her heart and and her brain. Her body temperature was lowered to 60 d and all blood was brained from her head so that a delicate brain operation could occur.

And yet, jjst as you would assume max, during this procedure Pam was 'more concious than she has ever been in her life'. She described the operation procedure to the doctors along with the very unique medical instruments that were used - from a vantage point near the top of the room.

Unbelieveable, yet true. I'm sure if these NDE's did not happen you would use that as 'proof' that conciousness does not survide bodily death. By the same account I offer them as proof that conciousness does survive bodily death.

What a drag these NDE's must be for your team huh?

Sorry i haven't got time to respond to the 17 other comments uyou made in the past 20 minures but considering the above I believe you'll agree I don't need to.

Twinkledorp peabody IV.

 
At 1:16 PM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

"NDEs are real ad have nothing to do with the brain."

That's amazing. Do you mean that people can talk about them without using their brains? How does that happen - does the soul move their lips?

 
At 1:17 PM , Blogger Max II said...

The Pam Reynolds case is an interesting one, but having just read the timeline of the operation, it indicates that she had her NDE at times in which we would expect some brain function to occur.

Her first NDE took place prior to her core being chilled and the head being mostly drained of blood. She heard the doctor speak, and felt the drilling, or heard the drilling or was otherwise potentially informed of the drilling well before her meat computer was brought to a standstill. All times we might expect her brain to try to make sense of the sensory data it was recieving.

Then nothing for a long stretch of operating time (the time they induced standstill) There is a bump of the NDE while the blood was drain and the angle of her body was changed. She claims to have felt pulled in a direction. Stimuli that might have caused sporadic neurons to fire, while not demosntrating any kind of coherent pattern of activity on the EEG.
Her second report of NDE according to this time line doesn't occur until blood is being pumped into her body and her EEG is showing coherent readings. One of her most vivid reportings was when she was defibrilated twice.

This story as evidence is actually upon examination pretty thin, and well within the scope of nature to accomodate without leaping to your hypothesis.

 
At 1:19 PM , Blogger Max II said...

For those readers who are unfamiliar with Pam Reynolds (as I was until mere moments ago)here is the interesting story. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds_(singer)

 
At 1:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Max. Despite your best efforts to discredit Pam, there are hundreds if not thousands of cases which your logic cannot apply. For example, when NDE folk have 'traveled' to differnt areas of the Hospital and 'see' people they knew and 'hear' their conversations which were repeated and varified to be true. No spasm in the brain could replicate that.

And of course there's the ever popular 'I was blind but now I can see' NDE experience where people wjo have been blind since birth have reported the ability to 'see' during their experience.

Still more troubling for team Max is when Atheists have these expereinces and are no longer Atheists. Maybe there's more to them than even you know Max.

Looks like you have your work cut out for you.

For every one or two you claim to have an answer for there are several hundred more waiting with 'beta' breath for you to set the record straight by telling them what they really experienced and that what they 'thought' they expereinced was terribly wrong.

After all, who are they to tell you what they experienced? I mean, whose experience was it anyway?

Silly them. Have'nt they read the 'Skeptics guide to answering all things NDE? They should. It would sure save you a lot of work.

T.P. IV.

 
At 1:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Max:

Atheist Carl Jung's NDE might be worth reviewing. Considered the founder of Analytical Psychology.

I'll let you guess whether or not he was still an Atheist after this experience...

T.P IV.

 
At 1:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Steve, no one cares...

 
At 2:03 PM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

T.P.

How is near death experience nothing to do with the brain when people clearly have what they consider memories of such experience in their brains? How did it get there? Are you trying to say that memories are non-physical? I'd be fascinated to know. How do non-physical memories fit with current understanding of neuroscience?

 
At 2:15 PM , Blogger Max II said...

All these reports are just stories Twinkledorp. No amount of anecdote can constitute evidence of an interpretation for a phenomena, or even constitute evidence of the existence of the phenomena they purport to be about.

There are numerous problems with anecdotes because there are numerous problems with human observers. People can be mistaken about what they saw, can fill in details, can tailor (often without meaning to) their stories to the wants and desires of those listening, bias can creep into their self-analysis, all while trying to be completely honest about what they think they saw. People also lie and make shit up. Think of bigfoot and UFO abductions a moment and you begin to see the scope of the problem with anecdote and personal testimony. They just don't constitute good evidence.

As I have said, I have had OBE/NDE experiences courtesy of my martial arts. Twice have I been choked totally unconscious via carotid artery chokes and twice have I seen weird things, had conversations, imagined myself somewhere else. When I wake up I feel a sense of sweeping euphoria, and have a lot energy. While anecdotal, the fact that these experiences occur so quickly in conjunction with a direct attack on my CPU seems telling. You could do an interesting study to examine this in fact. My guess is you would find a striking correlation between NDE/OBE type experiences and such reductions in blood flow to the brain. How often do people report odd hallucinations, OBE, talking to lost loved ones etc.

I also once managed to tap just as my vision went totally black (I have experienced a tunnelling of vision several times on the mat, where blackness creeps in from the periphery of my visual field inward). It took a few seconds for my vision to return, but I was conscious and cognizant the whole time. Again an anecdote, but not qualitatively too different from any other OBE/NDE you could cite.

Why do these things happen when brain activity is perterbed well beyond normal operating conditions?

 
At 3:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Max, I'm not sure what you experienced but unless you were flatlined without EEG reading then it probably wasn't an NDE. Mind you I do not mean to diminish what you did experience. I'm glad you came out ok.

I know tossing out the word 'anedote' is a commonly used strategy used to diminish or discredit a very real human experience. So is the 'human perception cannot be relied upon' argument which is again used for convenience as a strategy to dicredit the experience. I just don't buy it.

When an individual lying 'dead' on the operating table finds himself totally concious and aware and in a room away from the operating room and sees people he knows and hears the conversations they are saying all of which has been verified as true then the 'perceptions' of the individual seem to be operating a little bit better than fine wouldn't you say?

You toss out a lot of stuff that would contaminate personal experiences, but unless you have factual evidence that what you say is exactly what happened in each and every one of those Millions of cases then I toss it right back out as a monumentous pile of usless bunk.

I listen to what people say about their experiences and they are profound. Moving. Life-changing. They offer a glimpse of eternity and paint a picture that is so astounding that I would be doing myself and them an injustice if I were to dismiss out of hand their experiences because I assumed an 'all-knowing' belief system which has more holes in it than a sieve.

I cannot imagine being so arrogant as to place my intellect at such lofty heights that it could not be challenged by such silly things as a profoundly articulately NDE as described by Dr. Carl Jung whose analysis of his experience does not give up any reason to doubt the soundness of his reasoning about the experience itself.

I'm sure Mr. Jung is at least as intelligennt as you, and probably far, far more so. To doubt his testimony as one given by a confused individual would be assuming a position of knowledge and authority which well surpasses any which you may realistically claim to possess.

Tread carefully with this one max, for I think you will find yourself in well over your head.

T.P IV.

 
At 3:58 PM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

T.P.

I'm sorry you won't respond to my questions. They are at the core of beliefs in dualism and spirituality. They are also the reason why a large majority of philosophers and scientists reject your beliefs.

But if you want to avoid them, I do understand.

 
At 4:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Steve.

Most of your comments are confusing or silly attempts to be funny. What is there to take seriously?

Science does not have all the answers, so it is irrelevant to me what they think.

Also, there is a credibility dilema that scientists face. They need to think a certain way and believe what is 'acceptable' to believe from a scientific standpoint least they be considered not be taken seriously and lose all credibility. Believe me, science has a pecking order and has close 'mind controls' within the establishment which does away with true freedom of thought and the pursuit of truth.

Just look at the garbly-gook that Max spews out. Classic recycled/regurgiated arguments taken right out of the age old play book on how to discredit and bellitlle or minimize opposing points of view.

I chose not to live this way, for it involves a great deal of fear over loss of status etc. That's why i take all that he says with a big grain of salt. there are other factors at play that influence his comments profoundly.

Stay the course I say. See things as they really are and move on. Don't be swayed by the likes of max whose responses are beyond predictable and therefore lack credibility.

T.P IV.

 
At 4:34 PM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

Science does not have all the answers, so it is irrelevant to me what they think.

No, it isn't. If you had a stroke then it would effect your ability to speak, wouldn't it? So speech comes from the physical brain.

Now, if someone has an experience, and they talk about it, then that experience must have someone got into the physical brain. So it does not help to say that an experience 'had nothing to do with the brain'. If it had nothing to do with the brain, then there would be no possibility of talking about it.

This is one of the deep epistemological problems of dualism.

It's not that science has all the answers, it is that what you are claiming is contrary to what science has discovered over centuries. All I'm asking is how you reconcile that: How does a brain acquire knowledge of spiritual experiences?

 
At 5:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve:
Thought comes the mind which is then translated into speech.

During an NDE the ability to 'communicate' still exists and this is well documented. Sijnce there is no physical body, there is no need to physically 'speak'. Communication occurs through 'thought' with other 'souls' if you may.

The interesting thing about returning to the body is that the memory of that out of body experience is retained so memory can hardly be a product of the brain. The need to physically 'speak' is once again necessary so thought is once again translated into physical speech and the experience of being out of the body is then communicated.

There is no conflict, or 'problem' in dualism as you refer to it. It is only through limited understanding that problems appear. Hope this clears things up.

 
At 5:47 PM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

There is no conflict, or 'problem' in dualism as you refer to it. It is only through limited understanding that problems appear. Hope this clears things up.

Oh there is a problem. It's called the problem of interactionist dualism.

What I need from you is the mechanism of how the out-of-body experience enters the brain. As you know the brain consists of nerve cells. The state of those cells must be changed for the brain to find out about the experience. How does it happen, and where in the brain?

What you might not realise is that non-physical communication with the brain breaks conservation of energy. How is this overcome?

 
At 7:13 PM , Blogger Max II said...

Twinkledorp,
I think you have missed the boat in a major way with the following.

"I know tossing out the word 'anedote' is a commonly used strategy used to diminish or discredit a very real human experience. So is the 'human perception cannot be relied upon' argument which is again used for convenience as a strategy to dicredit the experience. I just don't buy it."

Nothing could be further from the truth. In no way does identifying a story, often told second or third hand, deny "a very real human experience." By itself it doesn't add up to evidence for or against something. Sometimes anecdotes add up to a very real phenomenon worth further investigating. Sometimes they don't (think bigfoot, think UFOs and UFO abduction). Even several combined anecdotes don't mean much. Where there are no controls its simply impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions. Nor is wrong to point out that people often make mistakes in observation. This in no way diminishes the experience of the person who felt, or observed something, it just doesn't add up to data supporting a hypothesis.

Thousands of people swear by homeopathy. Yet it fails in clinical trials. It does no better than a placebo. People make all kinds of observational errors, they remember hits and forget misses, they fail to think through lots of other mundane explanations. Experimental design is crucial to removing sources of error, bias and confounders. No anecdote does this.

 
At 7:57 PM , Blogger Max II said...

Twinkledorp,
You cannot even report on your best cases without hyperbole and subtle dishonesty.

The case of Pam Reynolds is not nearly as cut and dry an experience as you make it out to be. She was not more conscious than she ever was when she was alive. During great swaths of her operation there would have the potential for brain activity. Even during the portion of her operation where she was brought to standstill, body chilled, and blood drained there is no guarantee that she wouldn't have had random neurons firing. Any cell will have a store of ATP, will be able to carry out anerobic respiration to make more ATP for a short time before succumbing to major damage and dying.
But we also know that she wasn't keeping dutiful records of what happened when. Her report of hearing that her veins were to small happened when she was just under general anestesia, and not flatlined. The amount of time she was flatlined was around five to six minutes. So we have clinical deadness for a very tiny amount of time in the Reynolds example and no way to verify her claims of visiting relatives, or hearing singing etc. In any event, we have no way to verify when she had these vivid perceptions at all. So it is a messy messy anecdote. Impossible to draw any conclusions from.

As for Jung, it isn't very clear that he was an atheist at all, nor that his brain was in active. In 1944 Jung appears to have had a heart attack that left him clinically dead for a few minutes, but doctors were able to revive him. However we have no way of knowing at what point he had his NDE, and I am not even sure what the criteria for clinical death was in 1944, its likely that they have changed in the interim given that we understand more and can revive people much better than we could in '44. So did Jung experience these vivid perceptions during his clinical death, or during the crisis prior to or after clinical death. Or was the perception a product of central nervous system activity before and after? We simply have no way to know.

I don't ask these kinds of questions to rain on anyone's parade either. These are simply some of the problems with anecdotes. Stories without controls, are stories. They may be interesting, they may have great personal meaning, they may even be true, but we simply cannot use them as evidence of anything.

 
At 9:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry max. Your counter arguments are a desperate attempt to discredit NDEs by any 'magical/mystical' means possible. They just don't cut the cheese.

I've read Dr. Jung's account and I really believe his powers of deduction to be far superior to yours. I have no reason to doubt on his experience based on anything you have to say.

Time to recognize the limitations to your intellect which you have failed to do to this point. Do less speaking and more listening...
You have a great deal to learn, but you have to come down from your perch first.

Over and out.
T.P. IV.

 
At 9:42 PM , Blogger Steve Zara said...

I've read Dr. Jung's account and I really believe his powers of deduction to be far superior to yours. I have no reason to doubt on his experience based on anything you have to say.

This isn't actually a refutation of anything, is it?

 
At 10:56 PM , Blogger Max said...

Twinkledorp,
"Sorry max. Your counter arguments are a desperate attempt to discredit NDEs by any 'magical/mystical' means possible. They just don't cut the cheese."

My review of your best cases had two goals. The first of which was to demonstrate that you had serious trouble reporting the events accurately, and that you present them only in the very best light possible.

And my second point was to demonstrate that anecdote is practically useless, and cannot be construed as useful for building a body of evidence for a hypothesis. Maybe your two best examples are actually accurate reporting of supernatural NDEs. The anecdotes that describe these events don't allow us to draw that conclusion at all.

"I've read Dr. Jung's account and I really believe his powers of deduction to be far superior to yours. I have no reason to doubt on his experience based on anything you have to say."

What Steve said.

"Time to recognize the limitations to your intellect which you have failed to do to this point. Do less speaking and more listening...
You have a great deal to learn, but you have to come down from your perch first."


I'm well aware that I am fallible, its why I like the scientific method. Its why I think anecdote is worthless for establishing facts/evidence.

"Over and out.
T.P. IV."


You should check out my latest post. Its all a long response to one of your earlier posts.

 
At 10:57 PM , Blogger Max said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, this blog sure died.

 
At 2:59 PM , Blogger Max II said...

Or did it simply have a "near death experience?"

 
At 5:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like since Twinkledorp left this blog has gone extinct.

Atheists need to demonstrate (at least to themselves) their 'intellectual superiority' over non-atheists which is why since T.P. vanished the Atheists have no one left to kick around to the comments stopped.

I bet you Twinkledorp still believes in God despite the collective genious in the form of 'rational thought' served up by the 'A's. Maybe they ain't as clever as they think after all. Maybe there's more to life than meets the eye, after all, the eye is not cabable of seeing all that there is to see.

It is very illogical to only believe what one sees for this very reason. Atheists box themselves into a tiny corner by thinking this way. If it exists, it must be seen. If it cannot be seen, it cannot exist.

No, the eye is limited in its capacity therefore such assumptions cannot be made. Its the same with God. We cannot eliminate the existance of God because God cannot be 'seen'. All we can deduce from that is out eyes are too limited to see God if god does exist.

Silly Atheists. They've gotten it all wrong.

Henrietta Rothenfellow V.

 
At 11:10 AM , Blogger Max II said...

Henrietta,
Let me address only this point, because I am short on time today, and because the argument at the tail end of your post is offered fairly often.

You suggest :"No, the eye is limited in its capacity therefore such assumptions cannot be made. Its the same with God. We cannot eliminate the existance of God because God cannot be 'seen'. All we can deduce from that is out eyes are too limited to see God if god does exist."

To the first part of you point about eyes. No scientist, or rationalist, or methodological naturalist, rationalist (pick your epithet) establishes anything based soley on our physical senses alone. We use various tools to tease out a picture (approximate) of the natural world. This part of your statement seems ill formed, or perhaps just uninformed. May be you just didn't give the matter enough thought. THink about microscopes, telescopes (in their grand variety) which are just two tools that help us to compensate for our feeble senses.

The second part where you say we cannot eliminate god(s) because we cannot see him simply isn't the case. We should see the effects of god(s) prominent enough that we would have to invoke them in our explanations. We don't. There is simply no need for god(s) in our explanations, our models anywhere in science.

Proving a negative (Prove God doesn't exist, say, or prove there are absolutely no Ivory-billed Woodpeckers left in the world)is a tricky business. To have 100% certainty would require perfect knowledge. However we don't need perfect knowledge to reject a hypothesis that has no positive evidence supporting it. The burden of proof is on the person or party making the claim.

Also this lack of 100% certainty in no way justifies specific beliefs in any of the gods on offer. So it always baffles me when people use the fact that I cannot absolutely prove that no god exists, as if it somehow justifies particular beliefs in their favorite deity, or version of that deity.

 

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