Arguments against Soul

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Arguments against Soul

Post by teo123 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:19 pm

What do you guys here think, what is the best argument against the existence of the soul (and therefore ghosts and afterlives)?
I used to think that the "Damage of the middle of the brain leads to two distinct personalities governing halves of the body." was an argument that would convince anybody, but, evidently, it won't. See here:
How do people who believe in souls explain away the fact that epileptic patients who have the middle of their brain severed appear to have two distinct personalities governing halves of their bodies?
In short, people respond with "Where is some reliable source for that claim?", and, to be honest, I am not sure what would be a reliable source for this. My psychology textbook saying that isn't really good evidence that's true, is it?
Perhaps the best response to that is "And where is some reliable source of the claims about Maria's Shoe, and other things that supposedly prove the existence of soul?", what do you think?

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:57 pm

Well, to start the soul is an additional assumption: it doesn't answer questions about cognition, it just puts them off. So in terms of Occam's razor, a rational person would not assume them to exist.

Beyond that, you're right that matters of brain damage causing certain kinds of personality changes are very strong evidence that these things derive from physical structure (making the soul completely superfluous).
We don't experimentally damage people's brains to test this more due to ethics, but we have plenty of strong accounts from tumors, surgeries, and accidents. Overwhelming evidence really; experimentation isn't needed.

That said, there could be a soul in addition to the brain already doing everything; you'll never falsify that if it's not actually doing anything. The bigger issue is one of epistemology and what's reasonable to believe. You can assert that there are souls in rocks which are just there are do nothing and can't be tested or proved too... not a very meaningful assertion.

Theorizing a soul adds no explanatory power, and there's never been any evidence of it, so why believe it?
Likewise with ghosts and afterlives: if there was a verified phenomena there which needed explaining, maybe there would be a reason to postulate a soul. The trouble is that there's not even evidence that there's something there to begin with. Explanations for phenomena that have no evidence for existing are not useful.

Might as well say that we have an invisible set of wings, which explains how when we run off cliffs we don't fall immediately, but only fall when we look down and realize because our fear of falling stops the wings from working.
Great explanation for a phenomena that doesn't exist.

Prove the phenomena first, THEN you can start to work up models for explanation. People are just assuming the phenomena on faith and looking for very weak confirming anecdotes (ones that fall apart on investigation, unlike the evidence for brain damage affecting cognition and personality).

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Post by teo123 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:09 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:Well, to start the soul is an additional assumption
I am not sure that's a good argument. We feel that a soul exists (We feel like we own a body, not that we are a body.), it's hard for us to imagine that our thoughts will stop existing once our body ceases to work... Assuming there is no soul means assuming our instincts about those things are completely wrong.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Beyond that, you're right that matters of brain damage causing certain kinds of personality changes are very strong evidence that these things derive from physical structure
Well, see, that's not a good argument. By that same logic, the fact that the radio stops playing music when it is damaged somehow proves that the music was in the radio all along. Using that argument with somebody who has studied that issue a bit actually damages your credibility.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:51 am

teo123 wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:09 am
I am not sure that's a good argument. We feel that a soul exists
People don't just feel a soul exists, they've been taught that one does. Plenty of long term atheists don't feel like souls in a body.
We are in some sense software running on wetware, so there's a grain of truth to "souls" as information systems, but there's no sensation by which we can meta-cognitively feel that. What you're talking about is some crazy intuition or faith, and we know how often that's wrong (see counter intuitive statistics, for example). That's a poor argument for anything, but if you want to have faith in something there's nothing I can do to stop you.

Occam's razor is actually a sound rational argument for erring against a soul. Again, a soul has no value as an explanatory theory.
teo123 wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:09 am
Assuming there is no soul means assuming our instincts about those things are completely wrong.
That's not an additional "assumption", because instincts are not a source of knowledge; there's no reason to assume instincts or intuition are right. They're wrong frequently, perhaps almost always. IF "instinct" was in overwhelming agreement and also right about everything else, then maybe that would make sense to err on the side of.
teo123 wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:09 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:Beyond that, you're right that matters of brain damage causing certain kinds of personality changes are very strong evidence that these things derive from physical structure
Well, see, that's not a good argument. By that same logic, the fact that the radio stops playing music when it is damaged somehow proves that the music was in the radio all along.
When the radio is damaged and the music stops, it would be a reasonable assumption that the music was coming from the radio. Nobody would assume that the radio was the original source of the music, however, any more than we'd assume that a player piano composed the music it's playing.

Obviously all known music ultimately originates in a composer. That is, we know the radio wasn't the original source because we already have outside explanatory knowledge of composers.

How the music got from composition to the radio is a good question. Does it have a sheet inside that it's reading from, or maybe it's reading from a sheet elsewhere? Something it can see? Yes, in a sense. It's reading musical sounds on radio waves that are visible to it and not us. These are not any faulty assumptions that would stem from a damaged radio stopping the music.

IF IF IF we knew there was some source for conscious thought outside of human beings, and all known conscious thought was established to have come from it by way of conduits, THEN and only then would it be reasonable to assume human beings to be conduits for that.

My point is that porting the source outside of humans does nothing to simplify matters, because no such thing is known, unlike with music.
teo123 wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:09 am
Using that argument with somebody who has studied that issue a bit actually damages your credibility.
No, being stupid damages your credibility. Anybody who knows anything about neuroscience would not interpret it that way.
You would need a very convoluted model of consciousness to explain all of the ways brain damage changes conscious thought while still having some pure source only interpreted by the brain.

Specific areas associated with specific memories or abilities can be damaged, resulting in loss of those memories and abilities. Lobes can be separated resulted in a bizarre form of divided mind where the right and left are clearly executing conscious actions without awareness of the other.

Indeed, you may be able to go through some logical gymnastics, adding on dozens of additional assumptions to somehow make the brain still nothing more than a radio that's receiving a consciousness signal from a soul. Being able to do so is no more to the point than being able to do the same thing and force a geocentric model to work, or even the Flat Earth one. Enough additional special assumptions and exceptions and you can negate ANY amount of evidence against your original theory. That doesn't make you so clever that you damaged the credibility of the skeptic who mentions brain damage and the predictable changes to consciousness it creates as an argument against the soul: it makes you so stupid that you've ruled out ALL empirical science as a means of knowing things. You've discredited yourself by pretending such an argument discredits a skeptic of souls.

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Post by teo123 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:People don't just feel a soul exists, they've been taught that one does.
I don't think that's what's going on. Virtually every culture on this planet, which had no contact with one another, has came up with the idea about the souls and afterlives.
brimstoneSalad wrote:there's no reason to assume instincts or intuition are right.
Sure, instincts are sometimes wrong. But if you claim something that's very counter-intuitive, perhaps the burden of proof is on you, don't you think? The existence of irrational numbers is quite a bit counter-intuitive, and it probably wasn't reasonable to believe in them until somebody came up with a proof that the square root of 2 is irrational. The Earth being round is extremely counter-intuitive, and the science wouldn't accept this assumption if it weren't based on solid evidence. Similarly goes for the regular sound changes in linguistics. And our instincts tell us big government can reduce economic inequality, so perhaps the burden of proof is on anarchists who claim it can't.
brimstoneSalad wrote:IF we knew there was some source for conscious thought outside of human beings, and all known conscious thought was established to have come from it by way of conduits
Now, we come to the question whether it's reasonable to believe that. Certainly there is some *weak* evidence of that: our instincts and almost all the cultures of the world telling us that, the NDEs, the OBEs... What we need to do is to weigh that evidence with the evidence of the other side of the story.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Specific areas associated with specific memories or abilities can be damaged, resulting in loss of those memories and abilities.
That's not evidence of any kind, you can damage a TV set so that it can't play sound but that it can show picture, that doesn't mean that the parts of the TV set that were damaged were generating the sound.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Lobes can be separated resulted in a bizarre form of divided mind where the right and left are clearly executing conscious actions without awareness of the other.
That's the argument I was talking about in the opening post. People on Quora tell me there is no actual evidence that the premise of that argument is true. So, is there more evidence of that than of the non-hallucinatory NDEs, OBEs and of psychic powers? If there isn't, then I am not sure which side bears the burden of proof here.
The concept of an omnipotent, omniscient and a benevolent God can be rejected because of the Omnipotence Paradox (which doesn't rely on any empirical evidence), Problem of Different Religions (and there is overwhelming evidence that different religions, some of which teach very harmful things, exist) and the Problem of Evil (and it's quite obvious evil exists). It seems to me now you can't make such a convincing argument against the existence of souls.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:47 am

teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
I don't think that's what's going on. Virtually every culture on this planet, which had no contact with one another, has came up with the idea about the souls and afterlives.
"Virtually every" is not every.
And that's not quite correct either...
Some afterlives, some souls, some physical reincarnation (literally being brought back to life in body on Earth without any souls at all). If you'll study your theology more you'll realize that the similarities are not as strong as you suggest here. Even contemporary theology. Look at Jehovah's Witnesses, look at a literal reading of most scripture.

If you study theology you'll find that this widespread modern belief in abstract souls is actually more akin to winged people with halos as angels: it's something that has diffused through multiculturalism and pop-theology and it's actually pretty recent.

The fact that pretty much every culture has struggled in one way or another with mortality and tried to rationalize it isn't something that has to be explained. We don't like to think that our loved ones are gone forever. That's not intuition, it's wishful thinking.
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
Sure, instincts are sometimes wrong.
Instincts are really almost always wrong at least to some substantial degree. We're talking about what worked for monkey brains here. Close enough not to get you killed most of the time, but when it comes to an actual reflection of reality a very poor representation.
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
But if you claim something that's very counter-intuitive, perhaps the burden of proof is on you, don't you think?
Any claim can potentially carry a burden of proof. Occam's razor demonstrating the higher probability of a no-soul universe being true than a with-soul universe satisfies that to a reasonable degree.

You have to understand that a simple denial of the existence of something for which there is no evidence is categorically different than most positive claims.
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
The existence of irrational numbers is quite a bit counter-intuitive, and it probably wasn't reasonable to believe in them until somebody came up with a proof that the square root of 2 is irrational. The Earth being round is extremely counter-intuitive, and the science wouldn't accept this assumption if it weren't based on solid evidence.
Denial of the existence of the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy: where's your proof?
Again, this is a different category of claim.

Claiming souls don't exist doesn't make any substantive physical claims about reality that need to be proved.
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
Certainly there is some *weak* evidence of that: our instincts
Zero weight.
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
and almost all the cultures of the world telling us that,
Not really true, and given the obvious incentive to self delusion also zero weight.
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
the NDEs, the OBEs...
These are inconsistent with each other and don't produce any novel information that would confirm them as actual physical phenomena beyond hallucination.
Want to throw in desert mirages and claim that water is alive and likes to mess with thirsty people in dry environments by popping up to taunt them then vanishing as they get closer?
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
What we need to do is to weigh that evidence with the evidence of the other side of the story.
The "evidence" you cite is not credible evidence: it carries no weight and need not be weighed against anything.
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
you can damage a TV set so that it can't play sound but that it can show picture, that doesn't mean that the parts of the TV set that were damaged were generating the sound.
...Yes they were. If you cut a cord to a speaker you're interfering with a mechanical part that was instrumental in the causal chain of generating that sound.
Like I said, nothing about the TV implies it's the original source of the information, but neither does anything about even a live pianist who may be reading sheet music or have memorized sheet music (like a TV recording something).
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:Lobes can be separated resulted in a bizarre form of divided mind where the right and left are clearly executing conscious actions without awareness of the other.
That's the argument I was talking about in the opening post. People on Quora tell me there is no actual evidence that the premise of that argument is true.
You'll have to explain what you're talking about.
Creationists claim there's no evidence of evolution too. You probably just need to spend more time studying.
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
So, is there more evidence of that than of the non-hallucinatory NDEs, OBEs and of psychic powers? If there isn't, then I am not sure which side bears the burden of proof here.
The latter has zero evidence, so it doesn't matter how much or little there is. But in so far as you are willing to study neuroscience, yes there is a lot of evidence behind the brain generating conscious experience in a way that's very implausible without that fact.
teo123 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:45 am
The concept of an omnipotent, omniscient and a benevolent God can be rejected because of the Omnipotence Paradox (which doesn't rely on any empirical evidence), Problem of Different Religions (and there is overwhelming evidence that different religions, some of which teach very harmful things, exist) and the Problem of Evil (and it's quite obvious evil exists). It seems to me now you can't make such a convincing argument against the existence of souls.
I already said in my other post that a soul isn't impossible as far as we know: it would just be redundant, and it has no explanatory power.
Even with the brain doing everything, you could have a carbon copy of the consciousness survive death.
You could even have aliens scanning and uploading people's brains into heaven and hell simulations and call that data the soul (I'd bet there's some scifi short story about that out there).

Something not being impossible to our knowledge, however, does not mean it's automatically reasonable to believe.
Is it less unreasonable to believe in souls than in an impossible god? Sure.
It is less unreasonable to believe in something that can't be empirically tested than something that can easily be tested and requires a grand conspiracy (like Flat-Earth)? Sure.
But you've missed the point of knowledge if you think the answer to the question of souls is "flip a coin". It isn't.

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Post by teo123 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:34 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:look at a literal reading of most scripture.
Well, yes, I know the Bible is quite inconsistent about it. Ecclesiates 9:5-6 appears to deny that there is an afterlife (or it can also be interpreted as saying "Souls don't remember what the person knew before they died.", which is almost the same thing), some prophecies appear to imply that the prophets would get reincarnated, quite a few of them imply at least some people would get resurrected, and Jesus said that people get to heaven or hell the same day they die. Overall, I'd say all or almost all the authors of the Bible believed in souls and afterlives, but that they came up with the descriptions of it independently of one another, either by themselves or from other cultures.
OK, well, the Native American cultures and Aboriginal Australian cultures certainly didn't have much contact with our cultures, yet they also came up with the ideas of souls and afterlives.
brimstoneSalad wrote:You have to understand that a simple denial of the existence of something for which there is no evidence is categorically different than most positive claims.
So, if I think there is no evidence of the Massacre of Vukovar, I am justified to deny it, right?
brimstoneSalad wrote:don't produce any novel information that would confirm them as actual physical phenomena beyond hallucination.
Well, there are countless stories apparently confirming they aren't just hallucinations. Maria's Shoe is one of the most famous ones. In Book, a Croatian right-wing newspaper, there was recently a story about a man who saved a child trapped in a building ruined by fire, and he knew where that child was because he saw it in an NDE.
brimstoneSalad wrote:nothing about the TV implies it's the original source of the information
And nothing about the brain implies it's the original source of consciousness.
brimstoneSalad wrote:You'll have to explain what you're talking about.
I've linked to the question I asked on Quora in the opening post. Do you think I formulated it badly?

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:13 am

teo123 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:34 am
Overall, I'd say all or almost all the authors of the Bible believed in souls and afterlives, but that they came up with the descriptions of it independently of one another, either by themselves or from other cultures.
Of course YOU would say that, because it supports YOUR argument. Convenient.
brimstoneSalad wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:47 am
Look at Jehovah's Witnesses
teo123 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:34 am
OK, well, the Native American cultures and Aboriginal Australian cultures certainly didn't have much contact with our cultures, yet they also came up with the ideas of souls and afterlives.
:roll: This idea of cultural concordance on souls is a very extraordinary claim, and it derives from people with agendas finding what they want to find and being very loose with interpretation.
teo123 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:34 am
So, if I think there is no evidence of the Massacre of Vukovar, I am justified to deny it, right?
If somebody just came up and said he or she felt like there'd been a massacre and pointed at a map, then yes.
But would you be justified in denying consensus among historians? No.

We've already discussed how consensus among historians is different from consensus among "theologians".
teo123 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:34 am
Well, there are countless stories apparently confirming they aren't just hallucinations. Maria's Shoe is one of the most famous ones.
Teo... you're seriously telling me Maria's Shoe is convincing to you?
Are you not in the slightest bit less gullible than you were as a flat Earther? Seems not.

Read this: https://infidels.org/library/modern/kei ... html#maria
teo123 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:34 am
In Book, a Croatian right-wing newspaper, there was recently a story about a man who saved a child trapped in a building ruined by fire, and he knew where that child was because he saw it in an NDE.
Theists fabricate things like that all of the time, and not necessarily intentionally. See the Maria's Shoe case: we're dealing with cognitive biases that affect memory, embellishments created with retellings, etc.

This is why witness accounts to convict people are considered unreliable.

To have something like credible evidence, you need a more controlled environment.
teo123 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:34 am
And nothing about the brain implies it's the original source of consciousness.
Yes, it does.
It's like if you messed with part of a TV, and all of the dogs in the TV shows turned into cats and all of the cats into dogs, and all of the narratives immediately and retroactively adapted to that change.

It's incredibly implausible for the brain not to be the source of consciousness due to the complex way structure relates to function. It's not just a receiver.
teo123 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:34 am
I've linked to the question I asked on Quora in the opening post. Do you think I formulated it badly?
Can you quote it here?

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Post by teo123 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:Look at Jehovah's Witnesses
OK, what about them? I believe I've read somewhere they believe only in the resurrection, that the good ones will rise from the dead when Jesus comes back, and that nobody has yet been to heaven (which is, I think, said by Jesus in the Testimony of John, and contradicted by Jesus himself on the cross when he famously said "I tell you that you will be with me in heaven today."). However, I don't see why that is important enough to research that over the slow and expensive cellular Internet I have access to now.
brimstoneSalad wrote:This idea of cultural concordance on souls is a very extraordinary claim, and it derives from people with agendas finding what they want to find and being very loose with interpretation.
This coming from a guy who insists all tribal societies are violent...
OK, now, weren't some testimonies about NDEs recorded by Plato?
brimstoneSalad wrote:We've already discussed how consensus among historians is different from consensus among "theologians".
Yes, that history is sometimes backed up by harder sciences. And that the testimonies of ancient historians should probably be accepted as long as they don't contradict harder sciences.
Well, the NDEs being true also doesn't strictly contradict harder sciences, it doesn't assert that the little what we know about how brains work is false, it just asserts that there is something we don't know about where consciousness actually gets generated.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Are you not in the slightest bit less gullible than you were as a flat Earther?
What do you mean by "gullible"? If anything, this is the opposite of Flat-Earthism. Flat-Earthism is rejecting strong evidence because it contradicts what you already believe. Suggesting that there may be some truth to the stories about NDEs, OBEs and what nearly all cultures tell us is accepting weak evidence even if it contradicts what you already believe (as I used to be a strict naturalist). I don't see how can trying to understand the other side of the story be Flat-Earthism.
brimstoneSalad wrote:This is why witness accounts to convict people are considered unreliable.
So, why can't we reject the witness testimonies of the Vukovar Massacre the same way? Let's pretend we don't know about the Ovčara Site (the mass grave).
I just don't see how can you know when "Well, some stories just get popular. There doesn't need to be a conspiracy. It's just mythology." applies and when it doesn't apply. The newspaper was reporting about something that happened, I don't know, a few weeks before that. It's quite hard to imagine how the journalists could convince themselves that the story about the man receiving the information about a child that needs to be saved in an NDE was true if it were false. Unless you will assume that the man and everybody who was helping him save that child (and the people whom he talked to after he woke up in hospital and before he went to save that child) were lying, or that a truly amazing coincidence happened.
brimstoneSalad wrote:It's incredibly implausible for the brain not to be the source of consciousness due to the complex way structure relates to function. It's not just a receiver.
Sure, the brain is a complex machine in itself, a better analogy may be a computer that's connected to the Internet.
What would be convincing piece of evidence that the conciousness is generated by the brain itself would be if there were some credible evidence that the damage to the middle of the brain caused two different personalities to govern halves of the body. But there doesn't appear to be credible evidence of that claim.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Can you quote it here?
Then stop calling me lazy for not doing the research about what Jehovah's Witnesses believe about eschatology. I quoted it right in the Opening Post: "How do people who believe in souls explain away the fact that epileptic patients who have the middle of their brain severed appear to have two distinct personalities governing halves of their bodies?".

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:54 pm

teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
brimstoneSalad wrote:Look at Jehovah's Witnesses
OK, what about them?
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
brimstoneSalad wrote:Can you quote it here?
Then stop calling me lazy for not doing the research about what Jehovah's Witnesses believe about eschatology. I quoted it right in the Opening Post: "How do people who believe in souls explain away the fact that epileptic patients who have the middle of their brain severed appear to have two distinct personalities governing halves of their bodies?".
You seemed to be referring to something different. See your comment to me. I don't know what you're looking for here.

The relatively large Christian group that you're ignoring contradicts your very broad statement about souls: they don't believe in them.
And contrary to your shallow scriptural reasoning (scripture is full of contradictions, and no scripture is not a credible historical document) Jehovah's witnesses use about the most literal and conservative reading of the Christian bible possible.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
This coming from a guy who insists all tribal societies are violent...
Stop strawmaning me Teo. You'll only get banned again.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
OK, now, weren't some testimonies about NDEs recorded by Plato?
Possibly, he also wrote plenty about Alchemy and other mystical subjects. He wasn't a historian first by any means, he was a philosopher and like all philosophers before the age of modern science he saw what he wanted to see; what confirmed his hypotheses.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
Yes, that history is sometimes backed up by harder sciences. And that the testimonies of ancient historians should probably be accepted as long as they don't contradict harder sciences.
Testimonials about mundane historical events. Not anecdotes on the level of individual UFO sightings or worse.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That X army invaded Y location and killed Z people is not an extraordinary claim; it happens all of the time WITH hard science to back it up.

IF there were hard science to back up SOME claims of NDEs then additional claims would no longer be extraordinary.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
Well, the NDEs being true also doesn't strictly contradict harder sciences, it doesn't assert that the little what we know about how brains work is false, it just asserts that there is something we don't know about where consciousness actually gets generated.
Which is an extraordinary claim, unlike most historical claims which are not at all extraordinary. We don't look for novel information on science from historians who knew nothing of science and weren't skeptical enough to tell if something is a con, a delusion, or real.

teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
brimstoneSalad wrote:Are you not in the slightest bit less gullible than you were as a flat Earther?
What do you mean by "gullible"? If anything, this is the opposite of Flat-Earthism. Flat-Earthism is rejecting strong evidence because it contradicts what you already believe.
No, Teo, it's the same. You didn't start out a Flat-Earther, you learned about Flat-Earth and you bought into it because you're gullible. Just like now with the NDE stuff. And learning about this stuff makes you feel like you're discovering something important; it inspires you and excites you in some way. I get it. Your home life sucks, you're struggling with existential questions, you probably don't have that many friends where you live. You're dying for stimulation and purpose. But Teo: you're barking up the wrong tree yet again. Don't make the same mistake you did with Flat-Earth with NDEs.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
So, why can't we reject the witness testimonies of the Vukovar Massacre the same way? Let's pretend we don't know about the Ovčara Site (the mass grave).
Three key differences:

1. Massacres are not extraordinary. There's physical evidence of OTHER massacres. IF there were physical evidence of NDEs then additional NDEs would no longer be extraordinary claims.
2. Massacres like that are corroborated by multiple people. IF two people who didn't know each other had NDEs at the same time and met in that NDE and were able to relay identical accounts that would be intriguing. If DOZENS of people did the same, that would be much more convincing.
NDEs, by their nature, are personal experiences and can't be corroborated. We might be able to see similarities BETWEEN NDEs, but it turns out they contradict each other just as much as any cultural or religious belief does. There's no corroboration there.
3. A fabricated massacre would be relatively easy to throw into doubt by conflicting evidence. It's falsifiable. NDEs and other anecdotal claims of the paranormal tend to dodge falsifiability which makes them very suspicious.

If there had never been physical evidence of a massacre before anywhere ever with human beings AND there was only one person reporting the event, it would be entirely appropriate to reject it. If on top of that the person claimed the massacre happened in a time and place that was conveniently beyond the bounds of falsification (like at ground zero of a nuclear blast right before it happened) it would seem appropriate to ridicule the claim.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
I just don't see how can you know when "Well, some stories just get popular. There doesn't need to be a conspiracy. It's just mythology." applies and when it doesn't apply.
See above.
Sometimes one or two of those facts may apply, which makes skepticism more understandable, but when all three do that makes believers nothing but gullible.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
It's quite hard to imagine how the journalists could convince themselves that the story about the man receiving the information about a child that needs to be saved in an NDE was true if it were false.
Have you never heard of yellow journalism?
Many and perhaps even most Journalists don't print stories to spread the truth or important news, they do it to sell papers.
Journalists in general are not usually that well educated, particularly in scientific matters, and in that ignorance it's very easy to convince yourself of something's credibility when you think it'll sell well.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
Unless you will assume that the man and everybody who was helping him save that child (and the people whom he talked to after he woke up in hospital and before he went to save that child) were lying, or that a truly amazing coincidence happened.
There may have been a small coincidence, and then the story had probably been gradually embellished to make the coincidence more impressive.
See Maria's Shoe. When you investigate these things critically (if you waste time doing so) you find not so much that people are trying to lie (they usually aren't) but that people are ignorant and that their retellings are gradually embellished (even without them realizing it). Even in the case of fabrication they often think they're conveying the idea truthfully.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_memory

Can false memories apply to historical events? Sure. Like maybe there was a lot of blood in this massacre but people remember it as rivers of blood flowing down the streets and carrying bodies away... and it was at most a trickle in the gutters.

The kinds of embellishments we see are usually more subjective matters of perception or things that make a better storytelling flair.
It doesn't make a better story to *make up* a massacre, but to exaggerate the blood and add in some evil laughs from the soldiers? Sure.
The kinds of embellishments you see in NDE reports are the kind that make it a better story: thus small adjustments that make the event more improbable. These embellishments are more focused and less random.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:47 pm
What would be convincing piece of evidence that the conciousness is generated by the brain itself would be if there were some credible evidence that the damage to the middle of the brain caused two different personalities to govern halves of the body. But there doesn't appear to be credible evidence of that claim.
There is, but the claim is a little off. The kind of communication issues are more complex and weird than that. You really just need to study this issue better.
And it's not limited to left/right brain stuff either.

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