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Some further ideas and arguments
Posted: 15 February 2009 08:40 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Hello. I’m mathematician and former Evangelical Christian.
After my deconversion, I dedicated much effort to put my thoughts in order and explain all what was wrong with the Christian faith I had joined before. And also what is wrong in many widespread opinions more or less seen as “spiritual”, not only in organized religions or cults but also in the general culture.

As a lover of perfect logic and coherent theories, I develop many ideas and analysis of different subjects, to develop sorts of global coherent worldviews (even if of course never complete). By succeeding to rationally understand things and draw important conclusions that refuted much widespread so-called divine wisdom, I came to fully recognize the power of the scientific method and rational enquiry in our life, above other forms of assumed truth enquiries.

I first wrote things in French, then translated (and developed a bit further) the main parts of that into English, here
There I put some further ideas and arguments to support the value of reason, science and technology, that I did not see commonly developed in rationalist circles.
For example, let me quote from this morality essay: “it is not primarily souls that are to be judged as virtuous or perverse, but things” - “We must work to spread these higher truths and higher virtues, not primarily in the hearts of men, but rather in those of computers”.

Note that I try to not let my love for perfect logic and coherence, tempt me to hide troubles and contradictions when I find them. On the contrary, I work to develop and show the problems I face as clearly as possible, even when I have no solution to offer. So, to make a sort of perfect theory of absurdities (not exactly contradictions, that cannot be real by definition, but very serious paradoxes), insofar as these absurdities seem to me not as consequences of any wrong assumptions but as unescapable problems of reality, in the metaphysical context (a sort of deism or disappointed theism) I’ll explain below. So, my positions are quite complex and full of paradoxes. And I do concretely see many of these tough paradoxes as the sources of misunderstandings and dead-end debates between groups of people who each focus on a different side of opposed realities; while some other paradoxes are currently unnoticed.
For instance I strangely express some paradoxical convictions as this parody credo of a “religion” for unhappy singles (where the best dreams of members would be to be excommunicated…). And I see a number of unfortunate realities as the result of a very general underlying unfortunate natural temptation that is so hard to resist, especially as long as is it not explicitly formulated.

Now, I came here after reading the debate between Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan in beliefnet.com. There I found myself on the side of Sam for most issues, except the following key one : when Andrew wrote “I have never doubted the existence of God. Never. (...) I know of no “proof” that could dissuade me of this, since no “proof” ever persuaded me of it.” I was this time rather on Andrew’s side, as his situation of “innate faith” is, I’d say, also mine.

Then I found it a pity that this point somehow killed the debate while I see it as the very core of the subject, that can and deserves to be much more seriously explained. But Andrew failed to explain what exactly this innate source of faith was about. And, of course, to be able to progress, the discussion needs to have an object. As it had no object, the discussion had to end.
I’d see this missing object as the same as: what means “God” ? Indeed I had observed (generally in arguments or debates between religious and atheists) many arguments and discussions about the existence of God, to be somehow empty as people failed to define what the object of the discussion is (expressions like “ultimate cause” that may be suggestive are not accurate enough to serve as a proper basis for understanding and discussion). It is clearly expectable that people can’t draw the same answer to a question they interpret in a different way.
Of course, if “God” is merely a sort of celestial teapot, then its existence is implausible and escapes all discussion.

As for my own story, I roughly remember the first time the faith question was ever raised in my childhood in a way that made sense (while the Jesus story did not make any sense for me at that time): I heard about near death experiences and I naturally agreed that such things should be true.
Years later, during my high school (in parallel with my rediscovery of the general relativity equations) I had deep thoughts on metaphysics (this was lonely independent research, years before my first conversion to Christianity), where I somehow logically formalized this innate faith, which then turned out to develop into the idea of God.

So now I’ll try to explain what it is about (I’m sorry I only wrote the full version as a draft in French, I’ll here sum it up).

My point here is not to try to prove nor even convince anyone to the conceptions below. It is just to make the object of the discussion more meaningful, which I would already see as great progress.

The starting observation is that mathematical existence does not account for real existence. If one tried to “make the difference between a universe that exists and a universe that does not exist” while they both exist as mathematical objects, no intrinsic difference could be made. But a real difference does exist, so what can it be ? It can’t be something described as a mathematical object.
It has another nature, which is not mathematical. Let’s call this “life” (in fact, a synonymous for conciousness, so, to not be confused with the biological concept of life). Then, the physical universe is the trajectory of some visit of life inside the universe of mathematics. The elementary paths of this visit, are the quantum mechanical measurements. So, what makes the difference between a universe that exists and one that does not, and particularly what distinguishes our real universe (the one observed) among other Everett’s parallel universes, is that it is the one that life (us) is currently visiting.

So, just like NDE testimonies and the details of their contents sounded very natural to me, the “measurement problem” of quantum physics also sounded as something all clear and natural: not even a paradox but the simple expression of this same fact, that real existence is something else than mathematical existence. There is no properly consistent and natural mathematical description of how the quantum measurement could “physically happen”. So what ? Anyway there is not such a thing as a “physical process” happening here that begs any description, as the wave-function collapse that is “happening” is only a metaphysical process, the one by which mind and matter “interact”, by which life furthers its visit in the world of mathematics.

Now again, you may ask, what is the empirical object of the discussion ?
To be rationally meaningful, concepts and claims have to be falsifiable. I agree with this, so, to sum up in very short, the logical core (content) of natural faith can be expressed as the following claim:

“Artificial intelligence will never successfully pass the Turing test”

By just logically developing this claim into a globally consistent metaphysical worldview, a concept of the deep unity of all souls, and thus, we may say, a “God of love”, naturally emerges (in natural coherence with some aspects of near death experiences).
Maybe you need the details of this logical development ?

Another maybe not so clearly falsifiable claim but still, would be that near death experiences will never be explained by brain processes, as they are are really “happening” outside the brain.

I could bet any amount of money on either the above (just please let the turing test be an audio one that may last a few hours rather than a raw text one, and with a trained jury). But conceptually, the one of Turing test is the most central if taken with all its logical implications.

To rephrase everything: my position is that the first source of “faith” is some basic natural intuition on the nature of the difference between mere mathematical existence and full conscious existence, that can be expressed as the claim that “AI will never pass the turing test”, and is in natural coherence with NDEs and the quantum measurement “problem”.
Then, this natural “faith” happened to develop by mistake into other “cultural” forms of faith, while it basically did not need to, as they are in fact of different nature (unjustified beliefs) but happen to be mistaken with the former, and believed as if they were of the same nature, while in fact they are not.

Therefore: to understand better the faithful people, you can consider the above falsifiable claims that may be more meaningful for scientists and may offer more rational discussion subjects, than the raw stories of religious dogmas.
You can of course proceed the scientific investigation of these matters (neurobiology, AI, NDE and quantum measurement), to further the general scientific knowledge about them.
But I personally expect that the basic tenets of natural faith won’t be refuted by this progress: namely that AI won’t pass the turing test, and the contents of NDEs won’t be explained by material brain processes.

So, the main ways I see by which religious obscurantism can be defeated, are:
- Investigate the details of NDEs, and show how they contradict the specific details of religious dogmas. In particular, they suggest that our beliefs and religious practice don’t bring anything in themselves to our destiny in afterlife, as “God does not care” about them. And they do suggest that we came to live on this earth in order to complete a life on this earth with the means we have, to be helpful and contribute to make the earth a better place, rather than to worry and fancy about other realities that we currently cannot access, and that will care about themselves.
- Keep exploring all the inconsistencies of religious dogmas, develop and insist on many remarks of sane logic, conceptual clarity and the nature of science, such as you already do and to which I tried to add some more points in my web pages.
- Don’t keep asking people to justify their innate faith (why they think God exists, God is love or there is an afterlife), as this can only make them feel that you don’t understand them. Rather, insist on the difference between these basics and all the other specifics of their religion, which remain arbitrary.
- Keep explaining that, to be meaningful for life, doctrines must intersect with experience and observation, and investigate this intersection;
- Finally, I think this project I defined of a new online political order, once implemented, would not only constitute an alternative solution to the world’s problems that will make the religious claims of solutions partly obsolete, and will question the relevance of their “spiritual inspiration” on morality issues, but would also constitute an effective tool to put some order in the philosophical landscape, to fight swindles and to put groups of people and institutions in front of their inter-personal contradictions (like to put in clear whether some claim or speeker indeed represents the creeds of a given group, etc).

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Posted: 16 February 2009 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 01:40 AM

Maybe you need the details of this logical development ?

Another maybe not so clearly falsifiable claim but still, would be that near death experiences will never be explained by brain processes, as they are are really “happening” outside the brain.

I could bet any amount of money on either the above (just please let the turing test be an audio one that may last a few hours rather than a raw text one, and with a trained jury). But conceptually, the one of Turing test is the most central if taken with all its logical implications.

To rephrase everything: my position is that the first source of “faith” is some basic natural intuition on the nature of the difference between mere mathematical existence and full conscious existence, that can be expressed as the claim that “AI will never pass the turing test”, and is in natural coherence with NDEs and the quantum measurement “problem”.

No, I don’t “need” the details of this development, which revolves around your personal and subjective notion of what is meant by the word “explain”. That you toss in “quantum measurement” to add some special spice to your discourse is no indication that you have the first clue as to what physicists do when they make measurements, and your opinion that the Turing test is crucial and will never succeed is a very bold prediction, but one about which you simply speculate.

One concludes that though you have given up hooting nonsense about “God” and “what God desires for his creation” (and this is a good thing), you have not given up your personal wishes about ethereality and the afterlife. Grow up.

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Posted: 16 February 2009 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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‘Don’t keep asking people to justify their innate faith’

Who says or knows there is such a thing as ‘innate’ faith?

Have you proven something that the world does not yet know about?

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Posted: 16 February 2009 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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“Who says or knows there is such a thing as ‘innate’ faith?”

Just a simple observation, for example on myself as well as on other people, like Andrew Sullivan.
Why should we absolutely deny or forbid to mention ideas that naturally appear as a simple practical observation, for fear of the least shadow of possible inaccuracy ?
If one did not have the right to think or say something that appears likely unless having absolute proofs, it would not be scientific investigation but mental paralysis and paranoia.

“Have you proven something that the world does not yet know about?”

Well, if you think I’m just ignorant, I’m sorry I can’t follow you as I’m fan of mathematical physics, I rediscovered (because i could not follow the calculations in the book) the general relativity equations at the age of 16 (and then verified that it was rigorously equivalent to the known one), I made a PhD of mathematics on a construction of the Vassiliev knot invariants defined by the perturbative expansion of the Chern-Simons topological quantum field theory. I have many ideas to rewrite a number of basic mathematical concepts in clearer terms, up to tensor formalism, to improve the understanding of mathematics and fundamental physics theories.
I also have quite clear ideas, mathematically, on the EPR paradox and the concept of quantum decoherence. I also recently started explaining quantum physics to my mother by explaining her the core concepts in simple terms, aiming to go up to explaining molecular orbitals, (and am not far from completing this but we just don’t take the time for it).

You can also find many ideas on my web pages, I know some people who told me they found that insightful, did you at least have a significant look at them before judging ? Please, don’t see me as stupid just because my ideas are not identical with yours, and without even caring to see more about their contents.

Also, I have defined a concept of a new decentralized political order that could be easily made in the form of software, that would make the world much better. If you find this claim ridiculous, I’m sorry to see less significance in the mockery of those who reject this claim without even caring to read and patiently think and debate about its content, than in the near-unanimity I found among groups of economics students who were convinced of it after one or two hours of explanations and debates, where I could nearly always convincingly debunk objections that were raised.

And you ?

“you have not given up your personal wishes about ethereality and the afterlife.”

I have cared to read quite an important number of NDE testimonies and reports. I see this as a way of reviewing empirical data on the subject as the necessary way to build an informed opinion about it, instead of committing any mere wishful thinking.

And you, what quantity of NDE testimonies and reports have you reviewed before forming your opinion on the subject ?

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Posted: 16 February 2009 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 12:48 PM

“Who says or knows there is such a thing as ‘innate’ faith?”

Just a simple observation, for example on myself as well as on other people, like Andrew Sullivan.
Why should we absolutely deny or forbid to mention ideas that naturally appear as a simple practical observation, for fear of the least shadow of possible inaccuracy?
If one did not have the right to think or say something that appears likely unless having absolute proofs, it would not be scientific investigation but mental paralysis and paranoia.


Special pleading? You mean as in the fear of being wrong about the apparent lack of a god? The great weight almost everyone arbitrarily assigns that particular question in spite of the utter lack of any evidence suggesting such an issue should even exist in the first place?

I’m just not sure what you’re getting at there.

Byron

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Posted: 16 February 2009 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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‘Well, if you think I’m just ignorant, I’m sorry I can’t follow you as I’m fan of mathematical physics’

I said nothing about you being ignorant. You made a statement about ‘faith’ being ‘innate’, as though it was proven or accepted as so. I simply asked if you had proven this or know if it has been proven.

We can all speculate.

I speculate that faith is a social contruction and we, as skeptics, should always question it, and those who succumb to it. To let people stay ‘deluded’ does not seem to be the proper thing to do.

Just my humble opinion of course.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 16 February 2009 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 12:48 PM

And you ?

“you have not given up your personal wishes about ethereality and the afterlife.”

I have cared to read quite an important number of NDE testimonies and reports. I see this as a way of reviewing empirical data on the subject as the necessary way to build an informed opinion about it, instead of committing any mere wishful thinking.

And you, what quantity of NDE testimonies and reports have you reviewed before forming your opinion on the subject ?

I don’t doubt that you “care”, Sylvain Poirier. I also don’t doubt that you are very talented at mathematics. History is littered with folks who were geniuses in one specialized topic and were rank idiots about almost everything else. You don’t know the first fucking thing, apparently, about the methodology of making scientific observations. You think it can all be done upstairs.

If you think a “quantity of NDE testimonies and reports” is persuasive, no one can stop you. They are first person accounts, also known as “anecdotes”. If you think they must be weighed with any amount of gravitas, I have some reports on UFOs to read to you as well. For a fee, of course.

You are playing the “open-minded” card, like so many before you who kept their minds so open that their brains fell out. Good day to you sir.

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Posted: 16 February 2009 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Salt Creek - 16 February 2009 02:29 PM

If you think a “quantity of NDE testimonies and reports” is persuasive, no one can stop you. They are first person accounts, also known as “anecdotes”. If you think they must be weighed with any amount of gravitas, I have some reports on UFOs to read to you as well. For a fee, of course.


It’s not saying a lot, but since these “accounts” are current, at least the UFO abduction crüe has a touch more to go on than the solid historical evidence of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection crowd ... well, okay, not really. That’s utter bullshit, pulled straight from my arse.

Oh well—tried to find some doubt through which SP could benefit there, but it’s incorporeally thin.

Byron

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Posted: 16 February 2009 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 12:48 PM

Well, if you think I’m just ignorant, I’m sorry I can’t follow you as I’m fan of mathematical physics, I rediscovered (because i could not follow the calculations in the book) the general relativity equations at the age of 16 (and then verified that it was rigorously equivalent to the known one

Since you mention that you were in high school last year, that places you at about 18 now.  I would be interested in knowing (a) how you derived the general relativity equations, (b) what your understanding of these equations and their physical implications is, and (c) what procedure you used to verify that these equations you came up with were equivalent to the usual expressions.  At this point, my opinion is that you are just throwing words about and are pretty much a crackpot, but I could be persuaded differently.

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Posted: 16 February 2009 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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burt - 16 February 2009 03:22 PM

Since you mention that you were in high school last year, that places you at about 18 now.

You may be projecting, Burt. Pretty good to get from HS to a math Ph.D. in two years. I suppose it has been done.

I made a PhD of mathematics on a construction of the Vassiliev knot invariants defined by the perturbative expansion of the Chern-Simons topological quantum field theory.

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Posted: 16 February 2009 06:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Uh ??? I converted to christianity after high school, then deconverted about 8-9 years later. This was some years ago. I’m now 34.
About “innate faith”, I tried to insist that the words were misleading as this has, imo, a very different nature from religious faith, and the confusion into the same word “faith” is unfortunate. But you did not seem to catch this.

“as in the fear of being wrong about the apparent lack of a god?”

I think there is overabuse from many sides for dismissing others’opinions as effects of fear or wishful thinking. Even fundamentalist Christians dismiss skepticism as the result of a fear to recognize one’s sins, and a wishful thinking to see oneself as a good person. I rather think that fear hardly explains much properly, well, except of course in those among religious people who take the faith in their dogmas as a necessary condition for salvation.
I’d rather say that the main cause for false beliefs is the high complexity of the world and of relevant concepts, that is so hard to understand to sufficient extents by most people.

“in spite of the utter lack of any evidence suggesting such an issue should even exist in the first place?” [about God]

I tried to explain that I see a misunderstanding between parts on this question, so that, while atheists see the question of God as the one of an existence of something unnecessary, the others’perspective is different, and the question takes another meaning. It is hard to express oneself here, and the misunderstanding comes from the fact people aren’t thinking about the same ideas and questions in the first place.

I’m not interested in UFOs, which I don’t see the sense of, while the question of afterlife is a much more meaningful concern in my sense (that fortunately we don’t need to care about as it cares about itself, but just as a subject among others for the sake of general curiosity and knowledge). UFO observations are just strange but don’t give their possible sense, so I see no point to focus on questions that lead nowhere, while NDE are much more meaningful. Moreover, there are much more NDEs data than UFO reports, aren’t there ?

“You are playing the “open-minded” card, like so many before you who kept their minds so open that their brains fell out.”

I’m not either the kind of person to accumulate extravagant data for the pleasure of it, but I care to analyze and check the consistency of everything, and to put a relative limit to the number of subjects considered, in order to not have too hazardous understanding of each.
But just as science is made of a large number of specializations, because the world is very complex, a too narrow focus would not bring a balanced worldview either.

About my understanding of general relativity, I managed to derive the Schwartzchild solution and got the known formula. Sorry but it is so clear for me that my formulation was equivalent with the official one that I could then read later, i would see it as ridiculous to doubt it. I don’t need an intellectual father to tell me if I have good reasons to think that given formulas are indeed equivalent, when they clearly are. Hyperbolic doubt about whether indeed 2+2=4 or not, is not rational.
The only difference is that I wrote things by listing all components in an orthogonal basis of the tangent space separately, and made a huge system of many linear equations, instead of the compact tensorial notation, that I then took years to master until it became very clear to me.
I know who I am and I have no duty to bother persuading anyone about it. I don’t request anyone for their credentials either. I just offer texts with new ideas for brainstorming about applied logic to the world. I’m not trying to convince anyone about the existence of God or afterlife, which was not even the point of any arguments in my web pages in English. You are free to enjoy some of this brainstorming, and you can think whatever you want of it.

What you seem to practice is a double standard skepticism, where you request anyone that does not think the same as you to practice hyperbolic doubt: just because they don’t think the same as you, you think they don’t properly know to doubt; but you have no trouble to make very bold claims about how weak their thoughts must be and what makes them think what they think, while you harldy know anything about their life and the very contents of their ideas and arguments.

The one thing I just tried to explain, is that it makes no sense to discuss about proofs and skepticism as long as people did not even properly get and agree on the meaning of the claims that they pretend to argue about. It makes no sense to discuss about proving, refuting or being skeptic about a claim that is not properly formulated. So I tried to offer a formulation. If you are not interested to hear and understand the intended meanings of claims, okay, go and keep doing your nonsense pseudo-debates with religious people, in order for you to feel proud and happy thinking how fool they are, while you don’t really understand what they mean. It is not my problem.

(If rational thought had to be defined as consisting of thinking the same as you, then what would be the difference with religious dogmatism ?)

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Posted: 16 February 2009 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 11:09 PM

About my understanding of general relativity, I managed to derive the Schwartzchild solution and got the known formula. Sorry but it is so clear for me that my formulation was equivalent with the official one that I could then read later, i would see it as ridiculous to doubt it. I don’t need an intellectual father to tell me if I have good reasons to think that given formulas are indeed equivalent, when they clearly are. Hyperbolic doubt about whether indeed 2+2=4 or not, is not rational.

Thanks for the semi-response.  You do need to discover how to use the quote function here though.  You are aware, of course, that the Schwartzschild solution is not the essential equation of general relativity.  One thing that I think you will have to learn is that many human problems may be helped out by logical formulation of the questions, but they may well require solutions that go beyond logic which is, after all, a limited instrument (at least if you are referring to what we ordinarily call logic, i.e., first order propositional logic).  If you are after clarity of formulation, that’s all well and good but you have to include the human element as well.

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Posted: 16 February 2009 07:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 11:09 PM

I’d rather say that the main cause for false beliefs is the high complexity of the world and of relevant concepts, that is so hard to understand to sufficient extents by most people.

Since you have no basis for establishing “understanding”, you end up just bullshitting about incoherent nonsense. Believers do not think that their beliefs are “false”. Sort of the way you still are with NDEs.

Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 11:09 PM

It is hard to express oneself here, and the misunderstanding comes from the fact people aren’t thinking about the same ideas and questions in the first place.

Yeah, and if there were a way to get people thinking about the same ideas and questions, we would not be bullshitting about incoherent nonsense questions.

Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 11:09 PM

Moreover, there are much more NDEs data than UFO reports, aren’t there?

However many there are, they are all anecdotes, and some reported NDEs are very likely the product of the effect of reading such reports interacting with the suggestibility of less-than-objective and less-than-critical thinkers. All I am saying is that not all NDE reports are independent of one another. One person describes seeing a bright light; pretty soon, everyone having an NDE is going to want one of those. I’d settle for a brightly-colored gumball. You won’t get this right away, but if you keep up your blathering, I’m sure we’ll get ‘round to it.

Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 11:09 PM

The one thing I just tried to explain, is that it makes no sense to discuss about proofs and skepticism as long as people did not even properly get and agree on the meaning of the claims that they pretend to argue about.

No, nobody’s saying you have to prove anything. You seem well aware that the main problem is that people do not properly agree on the meaning of the terms they pretend to argue about. Don’t forget, you brought this crap to my attention.

Sylvain Poirier - 16 February 2009 11:09 PM

If you are not interested to hear and understand the intended meanings of claims, okay, go and keep doing your nonsense pseudo-debates with religious people, in order for you to feel proud and happy thinking how fool they are, while you don’t really understand what they mean.

It is patently obvious that you get most of your mileage out of blathering with people who don’t care to define any terms before they start chatting. This is perfectly all right with me. I’m here to point out that the purpose of such conversations is entertainment; however, you put this in the Philosophy forum. I think you have pretensions of being a philosopher. Have at it, then.

If you have a yen for blathering about NDEs, you have much more of a concern about the afterlife than I have. I think the interesting part is not whether NDEs are valid reports (they’re not) but what quirks motivate you to your fascination in them.

If it were possible to do statistics on the numbers of NDEs, I would venture to guess that reports of NDEs are accumulating faster than the overall population is growing. Furthermore, the incidence of NDE’s (plotted on a map) probably forms clusters that are related to the media channels in which NDE reports are made.

You could do some scientific investigation of them, preliminarily to taking them seriously, if you wanted.

[ Edited: 16 February 2009 07:30 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 16 February 2009 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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What the fuck is an NDE?

Please tell me it is not a “near death experience.”  I had a number of those in the 60’s, none of them particularly religious.  Many involving driving under the influence of something or other.

If I recall correctly, oxygen deprivation can be a gas, but not particularly generative of spiritual experiences.

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Posted: 16 February 2009 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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teuchter - 17 February 2009 12:41 AM

What the fuck is an NDE?

Please tell me it is not a “near death experience.”

Sorry to ruin your night teu, that’s a yes.

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Something’s Moving.

      ~Albert Einstein

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Posted: 17 February 2009 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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I made a PhD of mathematics on a construction of the Vassiliev knot invariants defined by the perturbative expansion of the Chern-Simons topological quantum field theory.

Even I, a non-mathematician and general ignoramus in a kaleidoscopic array of academic fields, can’t help but feel a twitch in the old worm whenever someone brings up the Vassiliev knot.

Truly wonderful stuff.
I’d say it is even more fascinating than the malefic syncretism of neo-Peruvian inflection modulation and Chomsky’s, much criticized, language theorem as brilliantly captured in Ingmar Vollhavenskot’s 5-volume monograph ‘From twiddle to twaddle’

Still, I have to say that nothing produces such phantasmagorical imagery in my, no doubt, sordid and wanton mind as when I listen, with heart aflutter, to Sister Agnes Lubricious and Sister Helena Merrybottom, both of Our Lady of the Twisted Knicker fame, discussing the merits and intricacies of the madrigal.

[ Edited: 17 February 2009 08:08 AM by Lapin Diabolique]
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“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

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