1. Joined
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    29 Jul '08 05:50
    Suppose I choke on a jawbreaker tomorrow and die. Can somebody offer reasons to think there is something about me, the person I am, that will persist beyond this point of natural death? Suppose I concede that life after death is broadly possible; but are there any reasons that make the idea plausible?

    ----------

    Also, I was reading a work that more or less advances the idea that religions are more centrally conjoined in the notion of life after death than in theism. So I was wondering the following:

    (1) Do we have some theists here who nevertheless find the notion of life after death implausible?
    (2) Do we have any persons here who believe in life after death but find theism implausible?
  2. Illinois
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    29 Jul '08 06:13
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Suppose I choke on a jawbreaker tomorrow and die. Can somebody offer reasons to think there is something about me, the person I am, that will persist beyond this point of natural death? Suppose I concede that life after death is broadly possible; but are there any reasons that make the idea plausible?

    ----------

    Also, I was reading a work that mor ...[text shortened]... e?
    (2) Do we have any persons here who believe in life after death but find theism implausible?
    Suppose I concede that life after death is broadly possible; but are there any reasons that make the idea plausible?

    The immateriality of the soul.
  3. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    29 Jul '08 07:13
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Suppose I choke on a jawbreaker tomorrow and die. Can somebody offer reasons to think there is something about me, the person I am, that will persist beyond this point of natural death? Suppose I concede that life after death is broadly possible; but are there any reasons that make the idea plausible?
    This question speaks to a linear temporal bias!

    I came across an idea in WG Sebald's 'Austerlitz' that proposes time as discrete, non-connecting events (I paraphrase badly; my grasp of the concept is, to put it generously, loose). But I'm sure the idea occurs elsewhere.

    Actually, PKD's 'spiritual experience' (see thread in this forum) echoes it somewhat.

    Bottom line: you'll always have existed.
  4. Joined
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    29 Jul '08 07:321 edit
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    [b]Suppose I concede that life after death is broadly possible; but are there any reasons that make the idea plausible?

    The immateriality of the soul.[/b]
    That *I* am comprised by an immaterial soul sounds like a pretty substantial thesis. What evidence do we have for it? And, further, what need do we have for it, explanatorily speaking? For instance, as far as I know, substance monism still admits of non-physical properties that may emerge from the physical substrate (maybe something like property dualism). Is this enough to give adequate accounts of things like consciousness and agency?
  5. Joined
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    29 Jul '08 07:35
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    This question speaks to a linear temporal bias!

    I came across an idea in WG Sebald's 'Austerlitz' that proposes time as discrete, non-connecting events (I paraphrase badly; my grasp of the concept is, to put it generously, loose). But I'm sure the idea occurs elsewhere.

    Actually, PKD's 'spiritual experience' (see thread in this forum) echoes it somewhat.

    Bottom line: you'll always have existed.
    I came across an idea in WG Sebald's 'Austerlitz' that proposes time as discrete, non-connecting events

    Is his view substantively different from a reductionist view of time in which all meaningful talk of time is reducible to talk of events/changes (basically that there is no such thing as time independent of the events that fill it)? I guess I'm not entirely sure what the "discrete, non-connecting" bit would commit us to.
  6. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    29 Jul '08 08:36
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    [b]I came across an idea in WG Sebald's 'Austerlitz' that proposes time as discrete, non-connecting events

    Is his view substantively different from a reductionist view of time in which all meaningful talk of time is reducible to talk of events/changes (basically that there is no such thing as time independent of the events that fill it)? I guess I'm not entirely sure what the "discrete, non-connecting" bit would commit us to.[/b]
    I don't think so. It's the idea that the past persists. Duchamp's Nude descending a staircase, Ballard's Crystal World. It persists but you are not in it. OK I'll stop.
  7. Joined
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    29 Jul '08 09:01
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    ...Can somebody offer reasons to think there is something about me, the person I am, that will persist beyond this point of natural death? Suppose I concede that life after death is broadly possible; but are there any reasons that make the idea plausible?

    ----------

    Also, I was reading a work that more or less advances the idea that religions are m ...[text shortened]... e?
    (2) Do we have any persons here who believe in life after death but find theism implausible?
    I don't know how I got here, I just showed up one day. I don't know if my consciousness of myself makes me other than my biological self. I have no idea what happens when I die.

    I'm willing to attribute the "I don't know" of my pre-existence and post-existence to some sort of creator force; label it theism if you like. I'm also willing to entertain the possibility that any number of things could be going on or responsible for my awareness of myself outside of my biological state.

    Does it matter? How any of us address that question is central to whatever meaning we care to invest into our existence.
  8. England
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    29 Jul '08 10:36
    to the original question, its not a matter when you die, you will die at some point the hour of it is in question, and the same rule applies. im on the side of life after death, and the sins in this life revealed. whos life is found in the balance which side you are put is up to you. ie if you die at birth you are not in sin, if you die latter in life then the scales start to tip
  9. Illinois
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    29 Jul '08 11:5911 edits
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    That *I* am comprised by an immaterial soul sounds like a pretty substantial thesis. What evidence do we have for it? And, further, what need do we have for it, explanatorily speaking? For instance, as far as I know, substance monism still admits of non-physical properties that may emerge from the physical substrate (maybe something like property dualism). Is this enough to give adequate accounts of things like consciousness and agency?
    Is this enough to give adequate accounts of things like consciousness and agency?

    It would be enough for a strict materialist, yes, but it seems that the discovery of an enfolded order, beyond the limits of the physical (i.e. Planck's length), have changed all that. Far from being infinite, we've discovered that our physical world has a limit to its smallness: 6.3 × 10 -34 inches. This is a specific length; anything smaller can only be defined as non-physical.

    Consciousness is intimately linked with this "non-physical" quantum level due to the fact that brain processes (i.e., atomic, molecular, ionic processes) necessarily involve quantum effects. In quantum physics “free choice” unrestricted by history or mechanically determined consequences of brain action, is entirely plausible. The phenomenon of the "will" as demonstrated in the control a subject has over his or her attention, intention and effort (i.e., mind over brain matter), is explainable when quantum physics is applied to neuroscience. This "will" doesn't arise from the physical substrate, but from the non-physical, and exerts itself upon matter. Classical physics leaves no wiggle room for the possibility of this free will, but quantum physics leaves the door wide open.

    http://www.newdualism.org/papers/H.Stapp/Stapp-PTB6.htm#_Toc73278107

    In light of this, it is entirely plausible that there is life after death. In biblical terms, humans are spiritual beings first and foremost. The center of the spiritual in humans (as well as in God) is self-determination, also called freedom and creativity. We are not things, but have the capacity to be self-determined to a significant degree. That *I* which we are is a non-physical agent (like God), imperceptible by any of the five senses, without shape, size, weight, color, flavor, odor, or texture; yet it is an inexhaustible source of energy - thoughts, feelings, willings, etc. The soul exercises power and energy that is outside the physical.

    This *I* is an immaterial soul created by God and is only temporarily associated with the body. In terms of neuroscience, the soul interacts with the nervous system through brain processes sensitive to quantum effects, demonstrable in the willful focus of attention, intention and effort (i.e., mind over brain matter). "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18).
    _________


    As an aside, it is therefore for our own good, individually and collectively, to live our lives in interactive dependence upon God and under his kingdom rule, as Jesus taught (which is his gospel), because that is where our well-being lies, i.e., the invisible realm of the spirit is what we are suited to. "To fill your mind with the visible, the 'flesh,' is death, but to fill your mind with the spirit is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6).
  10. Donationbbarr
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    30 Jul '08 00:491 edit
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    [b] Is this enough to give adequate accounts of things like consciousness and agency?

    It would be enough for a strict materialist, yes, but it seems that the discovery of an enfolded order, beyond the limits of the physical (i.e. Planck's length), have changed all that. Far from being infinite, we've discovered that our physical world has a limit ,' is death, but to fill your mind with the spirit is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6).[/b]
    Where did you get the idea that Planck's length delimits the physical domain? If anything, it merely delimits the classical or classically measurable (i.e., observable in principle) domain, but quantum effects are still physical effects.

    (1) That brain processes instantiate conscious states does not entail that conscious states require brain processes, and hence nothing follows from quantum events in the brain except the possibility that there is some contingent causal relationship between these and consciousness. But, for all we know, there is nothing essential about these quantum effects regarding consciousness.

    (2) "Free Choice" is just mumbo-jumbo. Quantum effects aren't chosen, and they don't allow for choice. They are metaphysically random but stochastically patterned. Quantum mechanics applied to neuroscience does not show anything at all about the will or attention or consciousness.

    (3) If the will is non-physical, and yet causally exerts itself on matter, then that means that the physical domain is not causally closed, and hence that the law of conservation of energy is false.
  11. Illinois
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    30 Jul '08 08:386 edits
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Where did you get the idea that Planck's length delimits the physical domain? If anything, it merely delimits the classical or classically measurable (i.e., observable in principle) domain, but quantum effects are still physical effects.

    (1) That brain processes instantiate conscious states does not entail that conscious states require brain proces l domain is not causally closed, and hence that the law of conservation of energy is false.
    "Free Choice" is just mumbo-jumbo. Quantum effects aren't chosen, and they don't allow for choice.

    On the contrary, the articles I've read suggest that quantum theory is unique precisely because it does allow for free choice:

    "The agent’s choice about how to act has been introduced into the scientific description at a basic level, and in a way that specifies, mathematically, how his or her choice about how to act affects the physical system being acted upon. The structure of quantum mechanics is such that, although the effect upon the observed system of the agent’s choice about how to act is mathematically specified, the manner in which this choice itself is determined is not specified. This means that, in the treatment of experimental data, the choices made by human agents must be treated as freely chosen input variables, rather than as mechanical consequences of any known laws of nature. Quantum theory thereby converts science’s conception of you from that of a mechanical automaton, whose conscious choices are mere cogs in a gigantic mechanical machine, to that of an agent whose conscious free choices affect the physically described world in a way specified by the theory."

    http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/PTB6.pdf
    __________

    The free choice is posited by quantum theory, but quantum theory is prevented by the uncertainty principle from determining the cause of the choice:

    "Thus one is faced not merely with a practical unknowability of the causal origin of the “free choices,” but with an unknowability in principle that stems from the uncertainty principle itself, which lies at the base of quantum mechanics. There is thus a deep root in quantum theory for the idea that the origin of the “free choices” lies not in the physical description alone."

    http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/PTB6.pdf
    __________

    Further, there is a significant brain process which is subject to the influence of quantum effects due to its extremely small size. The trillions of links between nerve cells in the brain contain ion channels through which calcium ions pass in order cause a neighboring nerve cell to fire. The ion channel is less than a nanometer in diameter:

    "The narrowness of the channel restricts the lateral spatial dimension. Consequently, the lateral velocity is forced by the quantum uncertainty principle to become large. This causes the quantum cloud of possibilities associated with the calcium ion to fan out over an increasing area as it moves away from the tiny channel to the target region where the ion will be absorbed as a whole, or not absorbed at all, on some small triggering site.

    "Consequently, the quantum state of the brain has a part in which the neurotransmitter is released and a part in which the neurotransmitter is not released. This quantum splitting occurs at every one of the trillions of nerve terminals. This means that quantum state of the brain splits into vast host of classically conceived possibilities, one for each possible combination of the release-or-no-release options at each of the nerve terminals.

    "This focus on the motions of calcium ions in nerve terminals is not meant to suggest that this particular effect is the only place where quantum effects enter into brain process, or that the quantum Process 1 acts locally at these sites. What is needed here is only the existence of some large quantum of effect. The focusing upon these calcium ions stems from the facts that (1) in this case the various sizes (dimensions) needed to estimate the magnitude of the quantum effects are empirically known, and (2) that the release of neurotransmitter into synaptic clefts is known to play a significant role in brain dynamics."

    http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/PTB6.pdf

    If the will is non-physical, and yet causally exerts itself on matter, then that means that the physical domain is not causally closed, and hence that the law of conservation of energy is false.

    I don't know about that. From what I read the implication is that there is a potentially infinite amount of energy to draw upon. Whether that upsets the law of conservation of energy or not, I suppose, is debatable (by someone with way more expertise in this field than myself).

    The main idea, as far as I can tell, is that classical physics is insufficient to describe the causal efficacy of mental effort. The standard way of conceptualizing what appears to be an "uncaused" act of will was to label it an "illusion". Quantum physics, as opposed to classical physics, introduces a subjectively free agent, to which can be attributed the observable effects of mental effort (heretofore only considered an illusion). "Our willful choices enter neither as redundant nor epiphenomenal effects, but rather as fundamental dynamical elements that have the causal efficacy that the objective data appear to assign to them."
    __________

    Further, quantum theory posits that at any given moment there are many possible futures, and if we were to adhere to the mathematics of the quantum wave function, we could no longer assume an objective, material universe - just potential versions of physical existence - and only one version perceived. Because only one version of material reality is ultimately perceived, the contention is that it can be mathematically proven that the conscious perceiving agent must be non-physical:

    "That is, each of us must have a non-physical perceiving aspect that looks into physical reality and perceives just one of the quantum mechanical versions of physical reality. And since it is nonphysical, it is, of course, not located anywhere (such as in the brain) in physical three-dimensional space. It is this feature that distinguishes sentient beings from laboratory detectors."

    https://bandura.sbs.arizona.edu/login/consciousness/pubreport.aspx?aid=2951



    *****************************************
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    At any rate, quantum theory at least gives the immateriality and self-determination of the soul some plausibility. That's really the only reason I brought it up. Beyond the plausibility of all this, I have nothing invested in the particulars of quantum mechanics as it relates to neuroscience.

    Here's what I see as plausible, which you, of course, are free to deny:

    Quantum effects have influence upon brain function, on a large scale, splitting the brain's nerve cells into the trillion or so "Yes-No" possibilities defined by the mathematics of the quantum wave function, effectively allowing for a variety of possible realities. The focus of attention, or effort, being the primary vehicle for the assertion of the non-physical agent's will.
  12. Joined
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    30 Jul '08 09:44
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    [b] Is this enough to give adequate accounts of things like consciousness and agency?

    It would be enough for a strict materialist, yes, but it seems that the discovery of an enfolded order, beyond the limits of the physical (i.e. Planck's length), have changed all that. Far from being infinite, we've discovered that our physical world has a limit ...[text shortened]... ,' is death, but to fill your mind with the spirit is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6).[/b]
    Thank you for the link. I need some more time to read through it carefully before I can assemble my thoughts and comment on the Schwartz/Stapp model.
  13. Illinois
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    30 Jul '08 10:06
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Thank you for the link. I need some more time to read through it carefully before I can assemble my thoughts and comment on the Schwartz/Stapp model.
    No problemo. I'm still trying to understand it myself.
  14. weedhopper
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    30 Jul '08 23:13
    I think you're onto something. I've never met an atheist who believed in an afterlife --at least, not one to be looked forward to.
    And as a Christian, a better life to come is certainly one of the tenets I am most attracted to.
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    31 Jul '08 10:16
    Epiphinehas'

    I am a big fan of henry Stapp and also David Bohm - I agree with much of what you have written although we part company when you talk about God. Buddhist philosophy accounts (with rigourous precision) all aspects of Stapp's and Bohm's work. Buddha got there 2,500 years before them.
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