For fans of the NDE who think the brain is like a radio, I've added a footnote: http://bit.ly/U4RMUX
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- great to see Dr. Alexander responding to his critics. for what it's worth, I'm just glad to see the NDE debate going mainstream. so take your best shot Sam Harris! this rabbit hole goes deep...
"Since telling my story here, I’ve been amazed and profoundly gratified at how powerfully it has resonated with people all over the world. But I’ve also weathered considerable criticism—in large part from people who are appalled that I, a brain surgeon, could possibly make the claim that I experienced what I did.
"I can’t say I’m surprised. As a scientist, I know that the consensus of my tribe is that the self is created through the electrochemical activity of the brain. For most neurosurgeons, and most doctors generally, the body produces the mind, and when the body stops functioning, the mind stops, just like a picture projected on a screen does if the projector is unplugged.
"So when I announced to the world that during my seven days of coma I not only remained fully conscious but journeyed to a stunning world of beauty and peace and unconditional love, I knew I was stirring up a very volatile pot. Critics have maintained that my near-death experience, like similar experiences others before me have claimed, was a brain-based delusion cobbled together by my synapses only after they had somehow recovered from the blistering weeklong attack."
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/11/18/the-science-of-heaven.htmlNov 20, 2012
- He might be responding to his critics, but he seems to be ignoring their criticisms. He's still supplied no evidence!Nov 21, 2012
- There is this confusion between "substance" and "process". The former is conserved in Nature, while the latter is not. Consciousness, mind, and indeed, life itself are the latter: they are just a sequence of coordinated, internally driven, activities. It is a molecular machine running. When the machine becomes severely discoordinated, it ultimately stops. But this is apparently a difficult concept.
My son recently asked me, after some cellular biology class: if one could place all the atoms and molecules exactly in the right position, and have them each in the right internal state, the way they are organized in a cell, would it then become alive? It puzzled me a bit, why is that not obvious? Why do we doubt that? Why proper organization of matter alone cannot be enough? Surely, some sort of soul, prana, chi, the "stuff" of life (eternal!) has to be added and only after that things are alive.
Part of the reason, I think, is nowhere in our everyday macroscopic experience do we ever see machines so intricately complex as those behind life and mind. So due to this incomprehensible complexity gap, life and mind look to us as "something else".
The problem is, this something else would have to interact with "normal" matter, the very matter of which living things are composed. So why wouldn't the numerous physics experiments that probe fundamental interactions of matter ever see it? Why did the LHC collaboration (the Higgs boson people) never detect any inexplicable interactions of normal baryonic matter with the "soul stuff"? My point is, I don't think we need to go to neuroscience, biology or even chemistry. The lack of evidence for any soul, beyond-death entity is showing already in fundamental particle physics.
All that's left is "soul is made from ordinary matter", but then finding it would be even more trivial.Nov 25, 2012
- Sam dismisses the filter theory on the basis that brain damage would lead to the filter not working correctly - not filtering out enough. I would love to know why, if it is, is it inconceivable that the filter might stop working correctly by filtering out too much?Nov 26, 2012
- Sam writes well. Thanks, Sam!Dec 8, 2012
- People do have a hard time facing truth and even really knowing what truth really is. With what people try to understand through all these atoms and particles I can see where things can get confusing among the neurons in each brain.Dec 9, 2012