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I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Discussions about Afterlife Research, Survival Science, Near Death Experiences, Out of Body Experiences, Spirit Communication, Mediumship, Ghosts, Spirits, etc.

Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby Randi McSheldrake » 30 Jul 2012, 04:29

Until more evidence comes out, and others smarter than me can help verify the findings, I'm sticking with us being bug food.


For myself, until more evidence comes out, and others smarter than me can help verify the findings, I'm sticking with us being fragments of pure consciousness, living in an immaterial universe that presents the illusion of matter.

(On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays that is. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I'm plumping for the bug food. Sundays will be spent scratching my head.)
"Doubt A; then doubt B. Then doubt both A and B. Then doubt your ability to doubt enough."
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby NinjaPuppy » 30 Jul 2012, 05:59

Randi McSheldrake wrote:For myself, until more evidence comes out, and others smarter than me can help verify the findings, I'm sticking with us being fragments of pure consciousness, living in an immaterial universe that presents the illusion of matter.

(On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays that is. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I'm plumping for the bug food. Sundays will be spent scratching my head.)

That works for me. :)
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby Craig Browning » 30 Jul 2012, 23:58

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays that is. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I'm plumping for the bug food. Sundays will be spent scratching my head.


Hence, the 7 days of creation. . . :twisted: (couldn't let that one go by)

I do believe that the world, as we experience things, is an Illusion and our dreams a glimpse into alternative realities (especially when we have those odd little flashes while awake). It is however the dream world I'd rather exist in; at least for a time. It is the destiny I would much prefer over living in a hand-basket headed for hell.
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby truthleaker » 31 Jul 2012, 01:45

Randi, so what exactly happens after we die? do we go to a "waiting room" and prepare for our next reincarnation? do we turn to ghosts and roam the earth...?
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby Randi McSheldrake » 31 Jul 2012, 05:50

Randi, so what exactly happens after we die? do we go to a "waiting room" and prepare for our next reincarnation? do we turn to ghosts and roam the earth...?


Sorry, old chap, but I'm not actually dead yet, so I have no more idea than you have!

My purpose in pointing out Professor Zeilinger's work was to make known to this Forum that there is peer-reviewed scientific evidence (published in Nature, no less!) which strongly suggests - unless and until it is refuted - that there is no material reality behind the universe, and that the only reality is consciousness.

This was my attempt to answer your question: is there any proof of an afterlife? The above research doesn't actually address the afterlife, but if consciousness is the only reality, it must follow that it is life that's the illusion - our consciousness must have existed since the dawn of the universe, persists during this illusory lifetime (and maybe many others), and continues past the "death" of our (illusory) material bodies.

But what does this mean? I haven't a clue! Neither have the scientists! Professor Richard Henry, who first informed me about Zeilinger's experiment, said exactly this: we know that the immateriality of the universe is true; we have no idea what it means.

He did tell me his own view: either one must believe in solipsism (the doctrine that one's own mind is the only mind in the universe, and that everything - and everyone - else, are creations of one's own imagination), or one must believe in God.

Professor Henry took the latter step a few years ago. He wrote:

"For an atheist such as myself, the result is simultaneously enormous, and minor. I have made the leap of faith that MY mind is not the universe: well, you will not be surprised to learn that I sure don’t accept that YOURS is! So, I am forced to meet the Great Omniscient Spirit, GoS."

(Note: he deliberately doesn't use the conventional word "God" - Prof. Henry doesn't believe in a bearded magic man in the sky, or subscribe to unquestioning belief in any sort of Holy Book; he's not writing about religious faith but about a faith based on the best currently available scientific data, that the universe is mental in nature and must therefore be the emanation of a Great Mind.)

What happens after we die? Well, if consciousness is the Ground of All Being, and persists eternally, then we might:

(a) Persist as our existing personality
(b) Reincarnate on Earth
(c) Reincarnate on another planet (or another universe) as an "alien" consciousness
(d) Meld back into the Great Mind
(e) Something else entirely

Your best bet is to read some of the best available thinking - e.g. Bruce Greyson on Near Death Experience, Ian Stevenson on reincarnation, Steve Taylor on "awakening" experience, Richard Smoley on Gnosticism, Bernard Haisch and Amit Goswami on the self-aware universe, Anthony Peake on the consciousness/multiverse connection......not forgetting the materialists' views also - e.g. Victor Stenger on the Quantum Gods, Gerald Woerlee on the mortality of mind -

- and then make up your own mind. Nobody on this Forum can give you the answers; we're all still alive! But you can look at good evidence, for and against, and arrive at a tentative conclusion which can furnish a philosophical backdrop to your life.

In the end, it's a leap of faith - but at least let it be an informed leap of faith!
"Doubt A; then doubt B. Then doubt both A and B. Then doubt your ability to doubt enough."
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby ProfWag » 31 Jul 2012, 09:31

Randi McSheldrake wrote:
In the end, it's a leap of faith - but at least let it be an informed leap of faith!

And how will you change the way you lead your life now that have discovered your "informed leap of faith?"
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby Randi McSheldrake » 31 Jul 2012, 23:29

ProfWag wrote:
And how will you change the way you lead your life now that have discovered your "informed leap of faith?"


That, Prof, is an EXCELLENT question, because it cuts to the heart of what people are searching for on this and other Forums - including those of the "skeptic" community.

Most people, at some time in their lives, come face to face with the two Big Questions: (1) What's it all about? and (2) What happens after we die? The existential fear and anxiety engendered by these two questions forms the springboard for the whole of humanity's scientific and spiritual endeavours.

A small minority of people are fortunate enough to obtain "insider knowledge" on the Big Questions. These are the mystics (including ordinary folk who undergo "awakening" experiences), and near-death experiencers. After their experience, these individuals are certain that they know the answers, and for them, faith is no longer an issue.

These people usually change their lives drastically as a result of something which they now say they know - not believe. Here is an absolutely classic example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zejLyVcyfU

The rest of us do not have these experiences, and yet are haunted by the same questions. Some people look for certainty in answering these two issues. But a control-freakish need for certainty will draw people to any individual, or institution, which claims to offer it. The usual claimants are (unfortunately) Organised Religion and the pronouncements of the Pope or the Mullah, or Materialist Scientism and the pronouncements of Richard Dawkins and James Randi.

But people looking here will be disappointed - when it comes to the Great Questions, neither the Pope nor Dawkins have the faintest idea what's going on - they're just much better than most of us at kidding themselves. (And, more regrettably, kidding millions of wide-eyed disciples who need a "guru" to do their thinking for them.)

So the only rational approach, therefore, is to rely on other people's research and experience, together with our own life experience, to make sense of things, and to come eventually to a conclusion - a "leap of faith", given the available evidence - in full knowledge that we cannot have all the answers.

"How do you change your life, having made your "informed leap of faith"?


The answer is that - usually - you don't. Life goes on much as before. But what you have achieved is peace of mind - at least, as much as one can obtain in our imperfect world. You have a working model - which makes sense to you if to no-one else - of your place within the scheme of things. You use this model to imagine what life is all about, and what happens after your death.

You may decide that your life is all about having as much fun as possible, while passing your genes on to the next generation, and that after your death you turn into wormfood and fade into eternal oblivion. You may decide that you are embodied consciousness, having this "virtual reality experience" as a learning tool, and that after your "death" you go on to further adventures. You may come up with another scenario entirely.

But whatever you decide, it makes sense to you and helps you through the tough times. That is the best that any of us can ever do. And having made this "leap of informed faith", we get on with living our lives to the fullest extent possible.
"Doubt A; then doubt B. Then doubt both A and B. Then doubt your ability to doubt enough."
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby NinjaPuppy » 31 Jul 2012, 23:33

Randi McSheldrake wrote:]But whatever you decide, it makes sense to you and helps you through the tough times. That is the best that any of us can ever do. And having made this "leap of informed faith", we get on with living our lives to the fullest extent possible.

So true!
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby ProfWag » 01 Aug 2012, 01:45

I won't be passing my genes off to anyone and I'm left to disappear into oblivion. I can honestly say, however, I've enjoyed life as much as I can with few regrets. I've also tried to live it right...just in case I'm wrong... :shock:
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby Craig Browning » 01 Aug 2012, 02:18

truthleaker wrote:Randi, so what exactly happens after we die? do we go to a "waiting room" and prepare for our next reincarnation? do we turn to ghosts and roam the earth...?


Traditionally speaking, you're close.

The overly simplified explanation is that we die and the sentient side of the self (a.k.a. the soul or ego) is allowed to rest initially. In the case of those that died as "Atheists" or "non-believers" of anything, they will be in a state of general void until they start pondering why they can still remember things. Slowly these people will wake up and come into the same "waiting room" area everyone else gets to; very similar to the Catholic idea of "Paradise" (not the same thing as the celestial heaven but more of a lower form thereof). Everyone ends up at this starting point and when ready, moves into the "School & Planning" process which is in part, a time of judgement.

This is where we learn about karma we've created as well as lessons learned (balanced karma), etc. and them, working with our master guides & teachers we begin mapping out our next incarnation, which isn't an easy thing to do; you must create multiple paths because you will have multiple points in a lifetime at which decisions are made that will place you into an alternative "state" or "position" for encountering and dealing with completely different issues than you were previously -- new opportunities & circumstances will be formed as others fade away, etc. HOWEVER, there are "destiny points" in each of these maps; circumstances that you must be at a particular place and time in order to bring about a very specific "shift" when it comes to your karma and how it relates to other people, places & things. Nearly all of your life maps will offer such intersections and how you respond will either return you to the original course or move you towards a higher level of accomplishment or, sad to say, towards self-destruction. . . kind of -- it's just a path with harder lessens and greater challenges; having to do more with less.

Ideally this process takes between 150 and 250 years for the wise and learned soul. Sadly, there are a lot of immature souls that skip school and do a quick turn-around in that they enjoyed the ride known as "life" and the exhilaration it offers. It can take a soul multiple life-times before it realizes that there is "more" to the cyclic process. This is where they come to one of those major cross roads previously mentioned, and have to decide to deliberately change the direction of their existence and move away from debauchery and self-obsession. Typically, this will by a semi-spiritual transmutation via discovery of one's spiritual connection through the auspices or organized religion. This is frequently a cycle that gets repeated many times before the lesson starts dawning on us that there is far more to "god" than what the cult leaders keep telling us and worse, there is far more duplicity within the fraternity than originally conceived. So again, a transition point leads us to a "higher" level of concentration, focus and development.

While there are significant spiritual influences during this phase of spiritual evolution there is likewise a significant sense of struggle between total embrace of the spiritual vs. the carnal -- the fantastic vs. pragmatic.

Like the previous stages of the cycle we will repeat this stage numerous times, until we finally see how to bring balance between the two extremes; this moves us forward to another phase of soul-evolution and closer to what many refer to as "chosen one" status -- people born with an innate understanding of mind, body & spirit and in their own unique way, become "ministers" to the masses. Early in this phase they may embrace a more monastic sense of being because of their need to adjust, but over the course of a few dozen cycles they will begin to awaken to their true path, accepting the part of guru; a healer, guide & teacher. From this level there is but one addition stage of incarnation as it would apply to human beings and the earthly state of existence and very few reach this plateau -- it is akin to Buddhahood or the Cristos -- being seen as a truly enlightened Master of the Mind, Body & Spirit; one who understands the harmony between things carnal/pragmatic and that which is ethereal and of the mental-spiritual states of conscience.

There's a bit more to it all, but this is the Reader's Digest explanation as I recall it.
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby Randi McSheldrake » 01 Aug 2012, 04:05

ProfWag wrote:
I won't be passing my genes off to anyone and I'm left to disappear into oblivion. I can honestly say, however, I've enjoyed life as much as I can with few regrets. I've also tried to live it right...just in case I'm wrong...


Sounds like a life well lived, Prof. I'm sure that if you end up as nothing more than wormfood, you'll be the tastiest wormfood ever.
(And if you're wrong, we'll share an ectoplasmic beer in the Afterlife! :D )
"Doubt A; then doubt B. Then doubt both A and B. Then doubt your ability to doubt enough."
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby Craig Browning » 01 Aug 2012, 11:38

From Another Point of View
I found this whilst stumbling about this evening, thought it might be a fun "twist" to things :mrgreen:


Death and What Comes Next
A Discworld short story
By Terry Pratchett

Copyright © Terry Pratchett 2002

When Death met the philosopher, the philosopher said, rather excitedly: "At this point, you realise, I'm both dead and not dead."

There was a sigh from Death. Oh dear, one of those, he thought. This is going to be about quantum again. He hated dealing with philosophers. They always tried to wriggle out of it.

"You see," said the philosopher, while Death, motionless, watched the sands of his life drain through the hourglass, "everything is made of tiny particles, which have the strange property of being in many places at one time. But things made of tiny particles tend to stay in one place at one time, which does not seem right according to quantum theory. May I continue?"

YES, BUT NOT INDEFINITELY, said Death, EVERYTHING IS TRANSIENT. He did not take his gaze away from the tumbling sand.

"Well, then, if we agreed that there are an infinite number of universes, then the problem is solved! If there are an unlimited number of universes, this bed can be in millions of them, all at the same time!"

DOES IT MOVE?

"What?


CONTINUTED http://www.ie.lspace.org/books/dawcn/dawcn-english.html


This seems a good night for stumbling over death related thingies. . . here's another to cuss & discuss. . .
http://www.robertlanzabiocentrism.com/is-death-an-illusion-evidence-suggests-death-isnt-the-end/
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby ProfWag » 01 Aug 2012, 19:31

Randi McSheldrake wrote:ProfWag wrote:
I won't be passing my genes off to anyone and I'm left to disappear into oblivion. I can honestly say, however, I've enjoyed life as much as I can with few regrets. I've also tried to live it right...just in case I'm wrong...


Sounds like a life well lived, Prof. I'm sure that if you end up as nothing more than wormfood, you'll be the tastiest wormfood ever.
(And if you're wrong, we'll share an ectoplasmic beer in the Afterlife! :D )

Sounds great!!! I just hope it's cold ectoplasm...
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby Randi McSheldrake » 01 Aug 2012, 21:31

Craig Browning wrote:
This seems a good night for stumbling over death related thingies. . . here's another to cuss & discuss. . .
http://www.robertlanzabiocentrism.com/i ... t-the-end/


Interestingly, Prof. Richard Henry, the guy I've mentioned several times in my contributions to this thread, wrote a review of Lanza's book:
http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/biocentrism.pdf
- which contains some quotable quotes from the good Professor, concerning the non-materiality of the universe:

What Lanza says in this book is not new. Then why does Robert have to say it at all? It is because we, the physicists, do NOT say it––or if we do say it, we only whisper it, and in private – furiously blushing as we mouth the words. True, yes; politically correct, hell no!

Energy doesn’t exist––it is simply a conserved quantity (due to time-translation symmetry).

There are no particles. (There are) observations (which we often misinterpret as “particles”).

There are no photons. Quantum mechanics deals with nothing but observations; photons are a useful engineering concept and nothing more.

“The animal observer creates reality and not the other way around.” That is the essence of the entire book, and that is factually correct. It is an elementary conclusion from quantum mechanics.

Once you understand that the universe is purely mental, you are hardly surprised at the fine tuning.

The notion that the universe exists only in our minds also seems patently ridiculous. I don’t mind the “patent ridiculousness” of explanations, for that reason: what I care about is truth or falsity, as judged by experiment. And the answer, by experiment, is, that the universe exists only in our minds.
"Doubt A; then doubt B. Then doubt both A and B. Then doubt your ability to doubt enough."
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Re: I'm a skeptic of any afterlife

Postby zxzzzz » 11 Aug 2012, 16:42

Proof" of an after life, it could be argued, is a matter of one's own perspective. While 90% of the world (it seems, at times) take such things on faith alone, there's likewise a huge percentage that believe that one must earn that "next life". While that sounds like reincarnation thinking it's not completely; moving into a new existence or state of being, including such things as Heaven (or hell) are akin to the famed caterpillar metamorphosis; on one level we have ceased existing and yet, we return in a newer "higher" form.
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