1. Joined
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    16 Mar '06 10:32
    Afterlife came up in another thread and while reading in Wikipedia I came across the following - thought some might find it interesting:

    "Other conceptions of an afterlife do not depend as heavily on religion. Certain scientific fields developed in the 20th and 21st centuries, that were previously either unknown or purely theoretical, support interesting speculation and questions regarding the afterlife.

    For instance, the special theory of relativity, known to many people at least in part through its most famous equation (E=mc²😉, implies that neither matter nor energy can be created nor destroyed. This implies that the fundamental quantities that our brains are comprised of cannot actually be destroyed. However, it is certainly observed that the specific composition of those quantities which produces the electromagnetic currents and fields thought to comprise consciousness and cognition do change after death to forms that no longer produce these currents and fields, which presents the question: Is consciousness a sole result of the specific configuration of matter of a living brain, or do some forms of consciousness or experience remain present in the matter and energy that used to be a living brain? If the latter is true, even in part, then it is not certain that the subjective experience of a being's consciousness ends at the time of death, which could be strongly interpreted as a form of afterlife."
  2. Joined
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    16 Mar '06 10:33
    "The emerging field of artificial intelligence in computing presents interesting questions regarding an experience of afterlife, as well: If a robot is created which possesses cognition and problem-solving comparable to a human, is that robot considered conscious or "alive"? If so, can he, she, or it "die"? The memories of such robots, if they are ever constructed, could theoretically be composed of some form of electronic storage and stored on devices identical in purpose to modern hard drives, which can be completely copied in a matter of seconds or hours. If a backup is made of such a theoretical robot's memory at some point, and that robot's current memory then is damaged, destroyed, or rendered inoperable, and then restored from the backup, in what sense, if any, does the newly restored robot's experience constitute resurrection - especially if, for instance, a wireless network is used to back up the robot's memory to the exact moment of destruction? Assuming that artificial intelligence research continues at the rapid pace it has shown so far, these and related questions may become quite meaningful in the future.

    Finally, though it is not a traditional conception of an afterlife by any means, one particular (and controversial) interpretation of quantum physics actually implies that a conscious soul may be immortal in a certain sense - see quantum immortality. (Though, admittely, in this theory, the organism does not strictly ever 'die', so the term 'afterlife' may be inappropriate.)"
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    16 Mar '06 10:34
    "Logical arguments
    If one accepts the afterlife, one also has to accept the concept of a soul, since when someone dies, the physical body decomposes. Some religions assert that only humans have a soul (although some religions say that some other life forms, such as animals, also do). The question remains as to why would monkeys, which have been shown to be intelligent, not have a soul while humans would. Also, since at the subatomic level, all things are made of the same elements, why would other animals, plants--or even rocks--not have a soul? If intelligence is the criteria to have a soul, where would the line be drawn as far as mentally challenged people, or very smart animals?"
  4. Joined
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    16 Mar '06 10:34
    "Philosophical arguments
    Some non-believers in an afterlife, influenced by positivism, have argued that claims of an afterlife are unverifiable and unfalsifiable, and therefore cognitively meaningless. Some have argued that, on the contrary, particular claims concerning the nature of the afterlife are verifiable and falsifiable: all one has to do to verify/falsify them is die. On the other hand, they argue, the belief in the absence of an afterlife can be attacked as vacuous on the grounds that the statement "I cease to exist" is unverifiable, unfalsifiable, and therefore by the same token cognitively meaningless. In particular, the concept of our own non-existence is inconceivable (what experience corresponds to your own non-existence? none.) Schopenhauer in particular argued that the idea of an afterlife or immortal soul is contradicted by the fact that it is impossible to attach sense to such a concept as the soul without reference to characteristics such as consciousness, which depend on such physical entities as the brain. Such concepts he argued, are beyond our reach and noumenal (thus unknowable).

    Other philosophical issues about the idea of an afterlife can be expressed in thought experiments. Johnny is shot and ceases existence for five minutes ( allow, for the sake of the thought experiment, regardless of your beliefs, that he does not experience any form of afterlife in this time.) Then, five minutes later Johnny is cloned, an exact replica is made, possessing all of the factual knowledge, beliefs, values, intentional states and emotions etc he had at the time of death. Is this being the same Johnny that was killed? The result of this thought experiment is arguably very important to some religious groups.

    Now, imagine that in accordance with the doctrines of some religious groups, that a person X dies and is ressurected after a period of death and essential non-existence (lack of awareness). Is this X the same X that died? The issue at stake is essentially whether identity is continuity over time, or a set of traits, i.e complexes of memory, personality, a soul etc."
  5. Cape Town
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    16 Mar '06 12:32
    Originally posted by JadeMantis
    Now, imagine that in accordance with the doctrines of some religious groups, that a person X dies and is ressurected after a period of death and essential non-existence (lack of awareness). Is this X the same X that died? The issue at stake is essentially whether identity is continuity over time, or a set of traits, i.e complexes of memory, personality, a soul etc."
    Nice copy and paste job. What are your feelings/beliefs in the matter ?

    The central paradox of the soul is:
    The human mind is constantly changing over time and could for all intents and purposes be considered a near copy or clone of itself every passing moment and thus a new entity though bearing much resemblance to the previous moment.
    If there is an entity called the soul, does it behave in this way or is it somehow more permanent? To what extent are we and our thoughts, conciousness etc the soul and to what extent not.

    One paradox you missed in your thought experients above is this:
    If a persons brain is divided into two funtioning units (and yes half a brain can funtion) then does the soul split in two ?

    The most important question for me would be if a soul exists but is not an itegral part of my conciousness then do I really care what happens to it in the afterlife?
  6. Joined
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    17 Mar '06 08:33
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    What are your feelings/beliefs in the matter ?
    This is precisely my problem. I do not know. I do not even know if the questions I am asking CAN be answered.

    My experiences tell me there is more than we currently recognize, but I cannot really determine WHAT it is with any certainty.

    Physically, how much of the matter that was me 10 years ago is still with me today? What exactly constitutes ME and how dependent is it on the support of the physical infrastructure to maintain it? How much of our consciousness is tied to the physical infrastructure and are then perhaps not US in the first place?
  7. Cape Town
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    17 Mar '06 09:29
    Originally posted by JadeMantis
    This is precisely my problem. I do not know. I do not even know if the questions I am asking CAN be answered.

    My experiences tell me there is more than we currently recognize, but I cannot really determine WHAT it is with any certainty.

    Physically, how much of the matter that was me 10 years ago is still with me today? What exactly constitutes ME an ...[text shortened]... ciousness is tied to the physical infrastructure and are then perhaps not US in the first place?
    I believe that ME is an illusion. Yes it is a very strong illusion and infact can be said to be timeless, seperate from the physical and very similar to the soul concept. Nevertheless it is still an illusion. A lot of the assumed attributes can be answered by experiments for example machine conciousness, "cloning" of conciousness and division of conciousness, would all result in many assumed attributes of the 'soul' being proved false or missunderstood.
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    17 Mar '06 21:13
    Originally posted by JadeMantis
    This is precisely my problem. I do not know. I do not even know if the questions I am asking CAN be answered.

    My experiences tell me there is more than we currently recognize, but I cannot really determine WHAT it is with any certainty.

    Physically, how much of the matter that was me 10 years ago is still with me today? What exactly constitutes ME an ...[text shortened]... ciousness is tied to the physical infrastructure and are then perhaps not US in the first place?
    The Bible teaches that our souls are eternal and our bodies temporary.
    Think of it like this. You (your soul) are the driver of a car (your body). When the engine ceases and the car stops, the driver, unharmed and unchanged, gets out and continues on.

    DF
  9. Standard memberscottishinnz
    Kichigai!
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    17 Mar '06 23:31
    Originally posted by JadeMantis
    Afterlife came up in another thread and while reading in Wikipedia I came across the following - thought some might find it interesting:

    "Other conceptions of an afterlife do not depend as heavily on religion. Certain scientific fields developed in the 20th and 21st centuries, that were previously either unknown or purely theoretical, support interesti ...[text shortened]... sness ends at the time of death, which could be strongly interpreted as a form of afterlife."
    People who try to invoke science to say that the mind must be eternal are ignoring the fact that the brain requires energy to function. No energy source, no brain function = no mind.

    When you're dead, you're dead.
  10. Joined
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    20 Mar '06 13:46
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    People who try to invoke science to say that the mind must be eternal are ignoring the fact that the brain requires energy to function. No energy source, no brain function = no mind.

    When you're dead, you're dead.
    So what do you do with all of those NDE reports? Remember, some of those come from people who where pronounced brain dead.

    DF
  11. Joined
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    20 Mar '06 13:492 edits
    Originally posted by DragonFriend
    So what do you do with all of those NDE reports? Remember, some of those come from people who where pronounced brain dead.

    DF
    False. People who are pronounced brain dead do not come back to life. People who's hearts have stopped may do, if the heart is restarted, but brain death is a permanent state. NDE's IMO are nothing more than subconscious hallucinations.
  12. Joined
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    20 Mar '06 14:16
    Originally posted by Starrman
    False. People who are pronounced brain dead do [b]not come back to life. People who's hearts have stopped may do, if the heart is restarted, but brain death is a permanent state. NDE's IMO are nothing more than subconscious hallucinations.[/b]
    brain death is a permanent state.

    Do you have evidence to back up this statement?
  13. Joined
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    20 Mar '06 14:18
    Originally posted by dj2becker
    [b]brain death is a permanent state.

    Do you have evidence to back up this statement?[/b]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_death
  14. Joined
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    20 Mar '06 14:41
    Originally posted by Starrman
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_death
    Do you know how many hours after their death it takes for a 'dead' person to be pronounced brain dead?
  15. Joined
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    20 Mar '06 14:44
    Originally posted by dj2becker
    Do you know how many hours after their death it takes for a 'dead' person to be pronounced brain dead?
    I fail to see what that has to do with anything, once brain death has been achieved, there is no return.
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