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- interesting stuff from NDE researcher PMH Atwater on Eben Alexander III's book, "Proof of Heaven"
"There is one factual error in the book on page 78, where he states that he was allowed to die harder, and travel deeper, than almost all other NDE subjects. Almost all? Well, not exactly true, but sort-of. Come to find out his editor insisted that this line be in the book, even though Eben did not agree and felt it was a stretch. Seems to be the way of publishing these days - when in doubt, exaggerate. There are several who evidenced medical conditions similar to Eben’s. The record holder I know about is Walter Russell. I carried some of his case in a number of my books. You can look it up if you wish on page 129 and 130 of The New Children and Near-Death Experiences. In a nutshell, Walter’s first near-death experience occurred when he was 7 years old. It prepared him for the financial disaster his family would soon suffer. Every seven years after that he had another one, each filling him with more knowledge and guidance, until, at age 49, he was suddenly enveloped within the fullness of cosmic consciousness and left “wholly mind,” dead or nearly dead to his family, his brain non-functional. For 39 days and nights he existed similarly to how Eben did. His family was on the verge of committing him to a hospital for the mentally ill and insane when he finally revived. Eben got his mind back, all his scientific work, his family memories, everything that made him who he was, as well as all the “new stuff” - a new understanding of reality, of spirit, of God. Water was not that lucky. He was incapable of language afterward, nor could he even hold a pencil or walk normally. It took him some time before the world inside his brain returned - along with so much more that eventually he was recognized as a genius specializing in chemistry, physics, and electromagnetics. He was the first to predict black holes, and had an ongoing correspondence with Albert Einstein. Read any of his books, especially The Secret of Light or the huge Universal One. All of his work, his theories, his books, and his scientific experiments came directly in content and power from that 39 days and nights “without a brain, hovering at the edge of death - wholly mind.” Link tohttp://www.philosophy.org or google him. He and his wife Lao Russell founded the University of Science and Philosophy. It exists today only via mail and Internet."
http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=e1987e10867e1be15381585f0&id=0cee899157Nov 17, 2012
- +Chintamani Chary, i'm familiar with NDE literature and the leading researchers in that field. I've read Dr. Alexander's book. I don't necessarily agree with his aftelife interpretation but I think that he has the necessary credentials to at least explain in neuroscientific terms that what happened to him is still a mystery (e.g. ultra-real experience, memory recollection and formation, and miraculous recovery). I also havent seen Sam Harris refute Alexander's 9-Point Hypotheses. Harris' main contention was Alexander's interpretation. this boils down to epistemology and eventually the philosophy of mind. see also my position here. ~ http://www.c4chaos.com/2012/10/sam-harris-vs-dr-eben-alexander-on-nde/Nov 17, 2012
- C Chaos+1when Sam Harris was interviewed by Steve Paulson on "To the Best of our Knowledge", here's what he said. so I'm wondering why he was so hostile and insulting to Dr. Eben Alexander when Sam is really more like an agnostic on survival of consciousness beyond the brain/body. the bottom line is we simply do not know. the NDE phenomenon is another mysterious puzzle in the hard problem of consciousness.
Paulson: Now the really interesting thing about listening to atheists on consciousness is they're actually all over the map. Sam Harris, who is a neuroscientist, he has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, he has a very different view. It's entirely possible that there could be life after death. He is not willing to rule that out.
Sam Harris: There are good reasons to be skeptical of the naive conception of a soul and so that the idea that the brain can die and a soul that still speaks English and recognizes Granny is going to float away into the afterlife, that seems to be profoundly implausible. And yet, we do not know what the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity ultimately is and... For instance, we could be living in a universe where consciousness goes all the way down to the bedrock so that there is some interior subjective dimension to an electron, say.
Paulson: That's interesting, though, because most evolutionary biologists, I mean I'm in particular thinking the, the secular ones would say, "Of course, consciousness can not survive the brain. It will not survive death." You are not willing to make that claim.
Harris: Yeah, I just don't know. If we were living in a universe where consciousness survived death in some sense or just transcended the brain so that, you know, that single neurons were conscious. We would not expect to see it by our present techniques of neuroimaging or cellular neuroscience, and we would never expect to see it. There are profound philosophical and epistimoligical problems that, that anyone must confront who's trying to reduce consciousness to the workings of the brain and this discourse is in its infancy, and who knows where it's going to go?
http://ttbook.org/book/transcript/transcript-steve-paulson-why-consciousnessNov 17, 2012
- There are quite a few logical errors being made here. How about we avoid the he said / she said, and stick to facts?Nov 17, 2012
- Bernardo Kastrup just posted an addendum on his blog as a response to Sam Harris's footnote on brain as "reducing valve" hypothesis. nice. why don't you guys do a formal debate already! :)
"Harris wrote an addendum to his post, which you can find here. In it, he equates the 'filter hypothesis' to what is known as the 'transmission hypothesis,' according to which consciousness is a kind of radio signal received by the brain. He then proceeds to correctly point out the problem with the transmission hypothesis, which is that we are supposedly the signal, not the radio.
However, although the transmission hypothesis entails the filter hypothesis, the filter hypothesis does notnecessarily entail the transmission hypothesis. As a matter of fact, the filter hypothesis doesn't even entail dualism! My own metaphysical position, for instance, is not dualist. Yet, the filter hypothesis holds well under my views, as I wrote about in this earlier article, which I encourage you to read. According to this article, the brain is the partial image of a process by means of which mind localizes itself, 'filtering' everything else out. Notice how this solves Harris' question: Instead of being an external 'signal' that is no longer being received, but which we still are, in my formulation mind folds in on itself in the form of a vortex, limiting its own breadth. We are mind, and yet mind self-limits. Under this formulation, to say that electrochemical processes in the brain are the cause of consciousness is as illogical as to say that lightning is the cause of atmospheric electrical discharge; or clots the cause of coagulation; or fire the cause of combustion. Fire is the partial image of the process of combustion as viewed from the outside and, as such, correlates very well with the process it depicts; just as electrochemical processes in the brain correlate very well with conscious states.
Currently, I am 2/3 of the way through writing a new book that will explain all this in details, and very specifically. That book will be my ultimate reply to Sam Harris. So please bear with me while I finish and publish it. It should be available at some point in 2013.
It is true that even I have used the radio metaphor when discussing the filter hypothesis. After all, the analogy is a very handy, metaphorical device to convey certain ideas. For instance, I once wrote a fairly elaborate explanation of the filter hypothesis under an implicit dualist metaphor. The article is availablefrom here. But my use of the radio metaphor does not mean that I believe consciousness to be literallysome kind of external signal being received by the brain. I don't. Assuming that would amount to taking the metaphor way beyond its intended scope.
Overall, Harris' understanding of the filter hypothesis seems to be based on an extremely casual and limited reading of it. Huxley wrote two paragraphs about it in The Doors of Perception. When Bergson wrote about it in Matter and Memory, his point was to discuss memory. Before Harris can pass judgment on the hypothesis, he needs to, at the very least, acquaint himself with a proper articulation of it. For instance, he should read my paper on it, and then my idealist formulation of it."
~ http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2012/11/sam-harris-prejudiced-or-ignorant.htmlNov 17, 2012
- Feb 24, 2013