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Debate - Shermer and Chopra
Posted: 08 July 2008 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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eucaryote - 19 April 2008 05:37 PM

http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/debates/afterlife.html

I thought that this was pretty interesting. Chopra struggles to bend scientific jargon to support unsupported, extraordinary claims - the kind of claims that we know requires extraordinary evidence.

No kidding! Chopra does more than bend scientific jargon; by the time he is done blathering about quantum mind fields and other garbage that he makes up, science is unrecognizeable!

I read a book many years back that included a forward by Sir John Eccles, that was attempting to find a link between the mysterious properties of quantum mechanics, and consciousness. I can’t recall the title of the book now, but the authors acted like scientists, in that they made definitive predictions of what would be found with a better understanding of brain function, if quantum mechanics could provide some sort of mind/body dualism. I forget most of it now, but the deal-breaker is that functions of mind, such as making a free will decision would not be able to be correlated with brain activity! And if you’ve been following what’s happened in the last 20 years with Volition and Intentionality experiments, that one has been blown out of the water!

In contrast, what does Deepak Chopra offer?

#  Personality and memory begin to fade, but the sense of “I” remains.
# This “I” has an overwhelming sense of moving on to another phase of existence.

Now, what value is this crap to explain anything real? “The sense of “I” remains!”  You can’t form a sense of self without having short-term memory to provide a historical narrative in the first place! Can Chopra explain why the soul that leaves the body during NDE’s and out-of-body-experiences has a felt-sense of touch? or sees the same colour spectrum of light that people inside their bodies have?  If not, the experience is better explained as imagined, especially after the Olaf Blanke experiments that indicate that neural mapping is needed to give us our sense of embodied consciousness in the first place! A mild electric shock to the area in the right parietal lobe that disables this mapping ability, causes the patient to float out of body!

I’d like to believe I have a soul that will live forever after I die! But I’d also like to believe in things that are real!


Notice how guys like Chopra keep their heads down and dodged any attempt to provide a way to critically examine their beliefs! Instead, in his rebuttal, he keeps circling back to the argument that Schermer and other materialists, are rejecting his vision because they are predisposed to believe their materialistic worldviews. As if materialists, or any of us who reject substance dualism, are rejecting these ideas because we don’t want to live forever! We are all hard-wired with a survival instinct to avoid death, but people who want their beliefs to be as real and verifiable as possible, can’t accept Chopra’s notions, because there is no reason to believe them in the first place!

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Posted: 08 July 2008 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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We are all hard-wired with a survival instinct to avoid death, but people who want their beliefs to be as real and verifiable as possible, can’t accept Chopra’s notions, because there is no reason to believe them in the first place!

And it would also seem that those who must   believe in something beyond this life can’t accept Shermer’s notions, because a strictly materialistic model is not glamorous enough, glitzy enough and just does not “feel” good enough to be real.

While I consider myself a materialists, on a daily basis, it is not always a comfortable place to be, and some times it “feels” difficult to line up on the side of science and to be the dismissive one in a world where skepticism is not always welcomed.

Some days I simply want there to be more. It’s just easier.
If this is all there is, I have to keep reminding myself that it—-(my life)—can be gone in an instant.

Yet, while I don’t accept Chopra’s views, I do remain open to them.  Not because I believe in the extraordinary, but that someday we might discover their essence may be true.  If parrots, dogs and cats hold some ancient and mystical abilities to read our thoughts or see images through space and time, or children have come from former lives, I will be the first to embrace it in its truth.  That is the beauty of science, like a dear old friend,  which is something I can trust.

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Posted: 08 July 2008 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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lindajean - 08 July 2008 06:37 PM

If parrots, dogs and cats hold some ancient and mystical abilities to read our thoughts or see images through space and time, or children have come from former lives, I will be the first to embrace it in its truth.

Don’t hold your breath! wink

[ Edited: 08 July 2008 06:51 PM by eucaryote]
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Posted: 08 July 2008 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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eucaryote - 08 July 2008 06:58 PM
lindajean - 08 July 2008 06:37 PM

If parrots, dogs and cats hold some ancient and mystical abilities to read our thoughts or see images through space and time, or children have come from former lives, I will be the first to embrace it in its truth.

Don’t hold your breath! wink

Not to worry.  Breath holding: not good for what ails you. raspberry

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Posted: 08 July 2008 06:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Jefe - 08 July 2008 07:04 PM

Scratch reads my mind all the time.
He is also very adept at projecting his desires into my mind.  I know precisely when he would like a treat, thank you very much.

Yeah I know about that kind of mind reading.
You know precisely when he would like a treat because that’s all the time. wink

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Posted: 08 July 2008 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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eucaryote - 08 July 2008 10:48 PM
Jefe - 08 July 2008 07:04 PM

Scratch reads my mind all the time.
He is also very adept at projecting his desires into my mind.  I know precisely when he would like a treat, thank you very much.

Yeah I know about that kind of mind reading.
You know precisely when he would like a treat because that’s all the time. wink


Not all the time.  My two mutts sleep 50% of the time so it’s impossible for them to project (consciously)  their desires into my mind “all the time” but your point is well taken just the same.

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Posted: 08 July 2008 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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workinprogress:
Given your comments on the Panpsychism thread your comments here seem incompatible…......

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Posted: 08 July 2008 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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lindajean - 08 July 2008 06:37 PM

We are all hard-wired with a survival instinct to avoid death, but people who want their beliefs to be as real and verifiable as possible, can’t accept Chopra’s notions, because there is no reason to believe them in the first place!

And it would also seem that those who must   believe in something beyond this life can’t accept Shermer’s notions, because a strictly materialistic model is not glamorous enough, glitzy enough and just does not “feel” good enough to be real.

While I consider myself a materialists, on a daily basis, it is not always a comfortable place to be, and some times it “feels” difficult to line up on the side of science and to be the dismissive one in a world where skepticism is not always welcomed.

Some days I simply want there to be more. It’s just easier.
If this is all there is, I have to keep reminding myself that it—-(my life)—can be gone in an instant.

Yet, while I don’t accept Chopra’s views, I do remain open to them.  Not because I believe in the extraordinary, but that someday we might discover their essence may be true.  If parrots, dogs and cats hold some ancient and mystical abilities to read our thoughts or see images through space and time, or children have come from former lives, I will be the first to embrace it in its truth.  That is the beauty of science, like a dear old friend,  which is something I can trust.

Egad! You can’t sit on the fence any better this smile

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Posted: 08 July 2008 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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My canine buddies are quite adamant as to their desires, which are only overridden by their habits, which are my habits. They quite often know what I am doing before I do, even though much of what I do baffles them. Still, there are many places we connect…walk, hike, swim, ball, soccer, frisbee, bike, dinner, breakfast. They have a very good idea of the schedule upon which many of these things occur…they’ve been known to protest if they don’t occur when expected,.... “ok you’ve been staring at the glowing box long enough now, it’s time for me to kick you in the head and we go for a bike ride…kick!”
Because of my depression, it has been prescribed for me that I have clowns follow me every where I go. Attention!

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Posted: 08 July 2008 09:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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GAD - 09 July 2008 01:22 AM

workinprogress:
Given your comments on the Panpsychism thread your comments here seem incompatible…......

Panpsychism doesn’t open the door for the supernatural claims of a spirit world that Deepak Chopra is trying to make! Just the opposite, panpsychism would be a property dualist position that would deny any irreducible conscious properties a separate supernatural world to exist in.

It may be an aggravation to strict materialists who see it as an artificial roadblock to reductionism, but just because property dualism’s arguments are misused by substance dualists in the same manner that Chopra hijacks quantum mechanics, doesn’t mean that they should be automatically discredited!

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Posted: 08 July 2008 10:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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lindajean - 08 July 2008 06:37 PM

We are all hard-wired with a survival instinct to avoid death, but people who want their beliefs to be as real and verifiable as possible, can’t accept Chopra’s notions, because there is no reason to believe them in the first place!

And it would also seem that those who must   believe in something beyond this life can’t accept Shermer’s notions, because a strictly materialistic model is not glamorous enough, glitzy enough and just does not “feel” good enough to be real.

While I consider myself a materialists, on a daily basis, it is not always a comfortable place to be, and some times it “feels” difficult to line up on the side of science and to be the dismissive one in a world where skepticism is not always welcomed.

Some days I simply want there to be more. It’s just easier.
If this is all there is, I have to keep reminding myself that it—-(my life)—can be gone in an instant.

Nothing wrong with wanting more! For myself, the downside of not believing in an afterlife that will make everything better, is that many people don’t have the chance to enjoy any kind of quality of life that we have! A child born with severe birth defects, or now that I’m in my 50’s, I’m seeing people my age who are being taken down early by cancer or other debilitating diseases. It doesn’t seem fair, and that’s a big part of wishing for a second chance in the next life; but if it doesn’t exist, the smart thing to do is to make this one count and not waste time like many people who believe in an afterlife do!

Yet, while I don’t accept Chopra’s views, I do remain open to them.  Not because I believe in the extraordinary, but that someday we might discover their essence may be true.  If parrots, dogs and cats hold some ancient and mystical abilities to read our thoughts or see images through space and time, or children have come from former lives, I will be the first to embrace it in its truth.  That is the beauty of science, like a dear old friend,  which is something I can trust.

The problem is that these hucksters who line their pockets taking advantage of our hopes and wishes like Deepak Chopra, are feeding off of that desire without offering anything of value to the people who buy their books and videos.

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Posted: 08 July 2008 10:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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workinprogress - 09 July 2008 01:45 AM
GAD - 09 July 2008 01:22 AM

workinprogress:
Given your comments on the Panpsychism thread your comments here seem incompatible…......

Panpsychism doesn’t open the door for the supernatural claims of a spirit world that Deepak Chopra is trying to make! Just the opposite, panpsychism would be a property dualist position that would deny any irreducible conscious properties a separate supernatural world to exist in.

It may be an aggravation to strict materialists who see it as an artificial roadblock to reductionism, but just because property dualism’s arguments are misused by substance dualists in the same manner that Chopra hijacks quantum mechanics, doesn’t mean that they should be automatically discredited!

Oh yes it does! It just trys to use scientfic views to make it sound more reasonable!

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Posted: 09 July 2008 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Gad

Egad! You can’t sit on the fence any better this smile


EGADS!  Gad is back and with a cute smiley.

I said:

Yet, while I don’t accept Chopra’s views, I do remain open to them.

....which is not a fence sitting position but a contemplative one.

However, sitting on a fence while contemplating will result in a sore ass, so I have learned to stay away from fences when I contemplate. tongue wink

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Posted: 09 July 2008 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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I said:

And it would also seem that those who must   believe in something beyond this life can’t accept Shermer’s notions, because a strictly materialistic model is not glamorous enough, glitzy enough and just does not “feel” good enough to be real…........

WIP

.....but if it doesn’t exist, the smart thing to do is to make this one count and not waste time like many people who believe in an afterlife do!

Agreed.  That’s why I think the religious want the “feel good” version that there is more than this. I admit I want that version too, because while qualitatively life is “good” (on this end), quantitatively it isn’t long enough.  If I am lucky to live to 100 (no guarantee) and those 100 years are good qualitative years, they are only a spit in the bucket.  So the religious can tell themselves, even if my life is short on earth, I will have eternity in the next life.  The rest of us don’t get to believe that even though we may want it.

The problem is that these hucksters who line their pockets taking advantage of our hopes and wishes like Deepak Chopra, are feeding off of that desire without offering anything of value to the people who buy their books and videos.

The lure of the appeal is grandiose and literally bigger than life.

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Posted: 09 July 2008 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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Jefe - 09 July 2008 11:45 AM
eucaryote - 08 July 2008 10:48 PM


You know precisely when he would like a treat because that’s all the time. wink

Yes.  But it does not change the efficacy of his “Jedi Mind Tricks” used to encourage me to get said treat.

Yes, they try to projects thoughts into my head but if that doesn’t work, a swift paw to the head gets my attention. Only this morning I woke to find a slimy tennis ball in front of my nose…..not so bad, I once had a cat buddy that would deposit dead mice in front of my face and then purrrr like crazy to wake me up. grin

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