Does Sam Harris’ books literally deny any kind of afterlife

 
RydiafromFinalFantasyII
 
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RydiafromFinalFantasyII
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11 August 2008 05:16
 

Or is their atleast a slim possibility of a different afterlife than The Holy Bible talks about atleast that you know of?

 
 
Lapin Diabolique
 
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Lapin Diabolique
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11 August 2008 13:41
 

The easiest way to find out is to….....wait for it…....read his books.
But if you are not the reading type I don’t mind telling you that Sam does not believe in any afterlife.

 
 
kaliphonia
 
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kaliphonia
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11 August 2008 14:43
 

Sam doesn’t write about make believe things.

 
 
Lapin Diabolique
 
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Lapin Diabolique
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11 August 2008 16:19
 
kaliphonia - 11 August 2008 06:43 PM

Sam doesn’t write about make believe things.

Ola Kaliphonia and welcome to the wonder that is the Sam Harris forum.

You will like it here. We are all about harmony, snuggles and that warm and fuzzy feeling.

But just in case, wear lots of Teflar.  cool smile

 
 
kaliphonia
 
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kaliphonia
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12 August 2008 07:51
 

Thanks.  I’ll be here reading and hopefully will have something to say every once in a while too.

 
 
 
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unsmoked
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13 August 2008 14:06
 
RydiafromFinalFantasyII - 11 August 2008 09:16 AM

Or is their atleast a slim possibility of a different afterlife than The Holy Bible talks about atleast that you know of?

Will you settle for life after life?  I say our bodies have all been alive for 3 billion years or so.  The DNA that is passed from one generation to the next isn’t exactly dead material, is it?  Think of all the information/instinct it carries - just not personal memories which are stored as temporary data in the brain.  (personal memories are not stored in the DNA).

I realize you are wondering about Sam’s views on the continuation of the ego, or personal memories after we die, which is what the Christians, Muslims etc. consider to be life after death.  As indicated by the responses above, Sam doesn’t believe in the preposterous.

 
 
Tad Trenton's Ghost
 
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Tad Trenton's Ghost
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13 August 2008 23:58
 

When it comes to the afterlife, Sam’s position is that he just doesn’t know. I had a direct quote from him on another thread taken form an online debate, not from his books:

Contrary to your assertion, I have not made any claims about there being a “nothingness at the end of our mortal lives.” The truth is, I don’t know what happens after death. Is it dogmatic for me to doubt that you and the pope do? What reason have you given me to believe that you know that “something” happens after death, or that your something is more probable than the Muslim something, the Hindu something, or the Buddhist something? The question of what happens after death (if anything) is a question about the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. It is true that many atheists are convinced that we know what this relationship is, and that it is one of absolute dependence of the one upon the other. Those who have read the last chapters of The End of Faith know that I am not convinced of this. While I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the brain (as I am finishing my doctorate in neuroscience), I do not think that the utter reducibility of consciousness to matter has been established. It may be that the very concepts of mind and matter are fundamentally misleading us. But this doesn’t entitle religious people to imagine that all their crazy ideas about miraculous books, virgin births, and saviors ushering in the end of the world are remotely plausible.

[ Edited: 14 August 2008 00:02 by Tad Trenton's Ghost]
 
 
goodgraydrab
 
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goodgraydrab
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14 August 2008 13:32
 
Tad Trenton’s Ghost - 14 August 2008 03:58 AM

When it comes to the afterlife, Sam’s position is that he just doesn’t know. I had a direct quote from him on another thread taken form an online debate, not from his books:

The question of what happens after death (if anything) is a question about the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. It is true that many atheists are convinced that we know what this relationship is, and that it is one of absolute dependence of the one upon the other. Those who have read the last chapters of The End of Faith know that I am not convinced of this. While I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the brain (as I am finishing my doctorate in neuroscience), I do not think that the utter reducibility of consciousness to matter has been established. It may be that the very concepts of mind and matter are fundamentally misleading us. But this doesn’t entitle religious people to imagine that all their crazy ideas about miraculous books, virgin births, and saviors ushering in the end of the world are remotely plausible.

This is really surprising and shocking coming from a PhD or MD candidate in neuroscience. Along with unsmoked’s reference to DNA transfer through reproduction, the other life after death process would be decomposition of our biological material which contributes to renewal of other forms of life and matter. Knowing, at least through observation and scientific examination, that our degree of consciousness occurs only through the healthy functioning of the physical body, the brain in particular, I would be hardpressed to accept the notion of a continuing consciousness without a functioning physical brain. Sounds like Sam is trying to have it both ways; sounds very intelligent design-esque to me. How can one debunk religions’ crazy ideas when you have some doozies of your own? I consider the utter reducibility of consciousness to matter to be essential evidence of the nonexistence of god. I mean, a supreme consciousness? He? I get a mental picture of an astronomically huge cerebrum and cock floating around somewhere out in the universe. Now, my thoughts are going to live on after death? (Better write them down). Hope the other appendage does too!

 
 
Lapin Diabolique
 
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14 August 2008 13:46
 
Tad Trenton’s Ghost - 14 August 2008 03:58 AM

When it comes to the afterlife, Sam’s position is that he just doesn’t know. I had a direct quote from him on another thread taken form an online debate, not from his books:

Paraphrasing Sam: The idea is that if you damage part of the brain you lose the ability to speak English but if the brain is destroyed altogether by death you will be able to recognize grandma in the afterlife.

Pardon my pissed-offness but I hear the shuffling sounds of some reluctant bliss ninnies in the distance.

Anyone who has been under general anesthesia on the operating table knows exactly what the after-life holds for us; A whole lot of nothing and that is a good thing too because you are not special and no one wants any of us around forever and who would want to.

Tyler Durden says it best:

We are all part of the same compost heap.

and

God Damn! We just had a near-life experience, fellas.

 
 
Tad Trenton's Ghost
 
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14 August 2008 18:49
 

How can one debunk religions’ crazy ideas when you have some doozies of your own?

Sam is not asserting that there IS consciousness after death, only that he doen’t know.

Paraphrasing Sam: The idea is that if you damage part of the brain you lose the ability to speak English but if the brain is destroyed altogether by death you will be able to recognize grandma in the afterlife.

We all know that electromagmetic waves exist all the time, even though we can’t see them. I have a wireless router that sends the Internet to my computer in the form of waves. If you computer or TV is damaged, then you will have troubling viewing or downloading. But even so, the Internet and Tv shows are still there. Why can’t it be the same with consciousness, and the brain?

But that’s my argument, and not Sam’s.

 
 
Lapin Diabolique
 
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15 August 2008 09:06
 
Tad Trenton’s Ghost - 14 August 2008 10:49 PM

We all know that electromagmetic waves exist all the time, even though we can’t see them. I have a wireless router that sends the Internet to my computer in the form of waves. If you computer or TV is damaged, then you will have troubling viewing or downloading. But even so, the Internet and Tv shows are still there. Why can’t it be the same with consciousness, and the brain?

But that’s my argument, and not Sam’s.

Tad,

You are correct. After you are dead there will still be porn to download but you will not be the one downloading it as your router will be that day’s special for a whole host of tiny creatures.

Let’s play a little game that will make us both feel a little better about our circumstance.
Imagine you are a little green fellow on Alpha Centauri and you are watching life on Earth develop. Your fancy telescope also has the ability to speed up time.
What will you see ?
Billions of people being born, fucking and dying, the generations following one another like waves.
It will almost seem as if you are looking at one thing that keeps going on and not billions of separate things.

No one wants to disappear Tad but the closest thing to immortality you can hope for is to write this generation’s Cannery Row.

 
 
 
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unsmoked
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15 August 2008 13:21
 

Christians like to talk about the blessedness of being ‘born again’, being washed clean, being innocent.  Next, they turn around and declare that they are going to live forever as the same set of memories, ego, or ‘me’ that they are now.

The Church finally had to yield to Galileo’s discoveries.  Before too long, only lunatics will deny the truth of evolution.  Feeling their house of cards threatened by science, Christians will retreat, like ants under seige carrying their queen, Queen Eternal Life, to safety, to what they think is an unassailble ‘crevice in the Rock of Ages’ - SCIENCE CAN NEVER KNOW WHAT LIES BEYOND DEATH.  “Ha ha, you can’t get us in here!  You can never prove that there is no life after death!  (i.e. you can never prove that there is no continuation of personal memories after the brain dies).

Besides the new ‘sciences of the brain’ and ‘sciences of the mind’ (which, I expect, Sam Harris will continue to write and talk about); besides the experience of Alzheimer’s patients, besides the ‘non-existent hours’ of the billions of people who have been anesthetized for an operation - more and more people are going to recognize that eternal life of the ego would be a horror.  More and more people are going to give a little thought to what eternity is.

If a grain of sand represents a trillion trillion years, all the sands of the earth would not add up to even a split second of eternity.  Christians et al may argue that they won’t get bored in eternity because ‘being’, time, thought, emotion, won’t be the same in heaven as on Earth.  “God,” they will say, “will have it worked out for us so that it will always be FUN.”  Probably they will say that every day they will be new, fresh and innocent - born again - flushed clean.  No matter how they rationalize their greed for the eternal life of memory, they will finally arrive at the wisdom of Mother Nature - new beginnings are best.

 
 
Tad Trenton's Ghost
 
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15 August 2008 14:24
 

The Church finally had to yield to Galileo’s discoveries.  Before too long, only lunatics will deny the truth of evolution.  Feeling their house of cards threatened by science, Christians will retreat, like ants under seige carrying their queen, Queen Eternal Life, to safety, to what they think is an unassailble ‘crevice in the Rock of Ages’ - SCIENCE CAN NEVER KNOW WHAT LIES BEYOND DEATH.  “Ha ha, you can’t get us in here!  You can never prove that there is no life after death!  (i.e. you can never prove that there is no continuation of personal memories after the brain dies).

We don’t know for sure that sceince will NEVER know what lies beyond the grave. Only that it doesn’t right now.

Besides the new ‘sciences of the brain’ and ‘sciences of the mind’ (which, I expect, Sam Harris will continue to write and talk about); besides the experience of Alzheimer’s patients, besides the ‘non-existent hours’ of the billions of people who have been anesthetized for an operation - more and more people are going to recognize that eternal life of the ego would be a horror.  More and more people are going to give a little thought to what eternity is.

If a grain of sand represents a trillion trillion years, all the sands of the earth would not add up to even a split second of eternity.  Christians et al may argue that they won’t get bored in eternity because ‘being’, time, thought, emotion, won’t be the same in heaven as on Earth.  “God,” they will say, “will have it worked out for us so that it will always be FUN.” Probably they will say that every day they will be new, fresh and innocent - born again - flushed clean.  No matter how they rationalize their greed for the eternal life of memory, they will finally arrive at the wisdom of Mother Nature - new beginnings are best.

We also don’t know for sure if that the mind survives the body’s death, if it’s an eternal state? Why should suppose it should be? I even remeber reading long ago somehwere that “ghosts are not immortal.” I have no idea where, so don’t ask.

Of course, form a strictly religious point of view, the existience of the soul/sprit is supposed to be eternal. I remeber once, when I still attended church telling my pastor that someday humans may be essentially immortal thanks to science. I thought that would be a good thing, but he disagreed, asking, “What would we do with all that time?” Apparently he was blind to the fact that the same question could be asked about heaven!

 
 
 
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unsmoked
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15 August 2008 14:50
 
Tad Trenton’s Ghost - 15 August 2008 06:24 PM

We don’t know for sure that sceince will NEVER know what lies beyond the grave. Only that it doesn’t right now.

Would you agree that science knows right now what is beyond the grave for fruit flies?

 
 
Tad Trenton's Ghost
 
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Tad Trenton's Ghost
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15 August 2008 16:48
 

Nope.

 
 
 
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unsmoked
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16 August 2008 11:11
 
Tad Trenton’s Ghost - 15 August 2008 08:48 PM

Nope.

Bacteria?