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Philosophy, Science, and The Unexplained




USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Experiment
The Hypothesis That Consciousness Is A Causal Factor Is Premature

It has been hypothesized that the results of The Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser experiment are a result of the experimenter's knowledge about how the experiment works. If that is the case, then the results should be different when the experiment is run by somebody who doesn't understand it, let's say someone who is completely unfamiliar with these sorts of experiments or QM in general.

On this question, I would wager a cup of coffee that the results will be the same whether the person who runs the experiment has "knowledge" about what is going on or not, in which case the hypothesis that the experimenter's knowledge about the experiment changes the results, cannot be correct. I'm not entirely sure how one would setup the experiment to test this, because I don't know if the experimenter actually views the patterns as described in the video below in order to determine the results.

However, if the experimenter must actually view the patterns as described in the video in order to get the results, then hypothetically, some other really interesting experiments could be done. For example, if the hypothesis is true that the knowledge the experimenter has about the experiment causes a specific type of pattern, then a pattern from the same experiment run by someone who has no idea what is going on, should suddenly change when viewed by someone who does understand the experiment. Does that happen?

This also brings up some interesting questions about what we mean by "knowledge" vs "consciousness" vs "intelligence". If it were the case that the system is in fact reacting to consciousness ( as is claimed by some ), then the system is a consciousness detector. This has some major philosophical ramifications, e.g. we could now tell if an AI, that in all other respects appears and behaves human, has consciousness, or is simply a clockwork orange.


A Review of The Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Experiment

 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
On The Subject of God
I have come to the conclusion that deification would be beneath any entity truly worthy of it.
 
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stonehart

Paranormal Adept
for those of you who like to watch the stars.... What's happening to Betelgeuse? just a simple explanation of possible causes to the sudden dimming of the star.

 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Article: Electromagnetic fields as structure-function zeitgebers in biological systems:
environmental orchestrations of morphogenesis and consciousness ...

 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
:) we were sort of on a similar subject on the show Randall.... space and time.

Yup. And there they go again making the assumption that geometry = reality. One not suffering from aphantasia can visualize the same concepts in terms of various forces causing specific kinds of behavior, and that such behavior can be mapped out on a parallel/perpendicular 3D grid ( simple x,y,z ). There need not be any curves unless we want to start joining points.

What is happening is that math has been evolving toward better matches with what nature is doing, not the other way around. Curved space is only an analogy that describes the behavior of things in space. The conclusion that space itself is actually curved is a leap in logic. There's a couple of ways to illustrate that. It's heresy to some people, I know ( sigh ).
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Recently, while explaining why afterlives are impossible on another thread, part of that process included the revelation that consciousness plays an entirely neutral role in the concept of personhood, and therefore has no bearing on notions such as afterlives or reincarnation. In other words. Even if consciousness itself could be transplanted into a person without it, all it would do is make them aware of all their own memories and experiences, not the memories and experiences of the person that it was transplanted from.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Explaining Afterlives
Why Afterlives Are Impossible
By J Randall Murphy

"I didn't believe in reincarnation in my past life, and I still don't." - Woody Allen

Understanding why afterlives are impossible requires that we define what we mean by an afterlife. The typical assumption is that persons continue to live after the death of their bodies, usually in some other realm or aspect of this realm that we cannot normally detect with our available senses or equipment, and that they either remain there, or return to this realm by occupying their original bodies, or as is the case with reincarnation, by occupying a new one, or as is the case with hauntings, manifesting themselves as some ghostly apparition.

What I mean by "impossible", is that based on the interpretations above, afterlives are not possible. Therefore no amount of additional information can make afterlives true. It is analogous to saying that if we only had more information, we could prove that there are four sided triangles, or three sided squares. We don't need more information to determine possibility.

With the above premises in place, the key to understanding why afterlives are impossible, is the word "person". What exactly constitutes personhood? Afterlife proponents would have us believe it is the soul. But what exactly do they mean by that? There is certainly no consensus. Some equate it with consciousness, but consciousness is an entirely separate concept than that of personhood. To clear that up, let's have a quick look at what we mean by consciousness and personhood.

Consciousness is the experience of being in the world. In other words, it is what it's like to experience senses, emotions, knowledge, and ideas. However senses, emotions, knowledge, and ideas are only content. Consciousness is more like being aware that there is any content in the first place. This must be true because an awareness of a lack of content is an equally good indicator of consciousness. For example a person who has gone totally blind has an awareness that they can no longer see.

As we contemplate this further, it becomes apparent that the role consciousness plays with respect to personhood is entirely neutral. In other words, consciousness only makes a person
aware of their personhood. It doesn't in and of itself constitute personhood. Consider a patient suffering from a condition where they cannot regain consciousness. When their condition is repaired it makes them aware of their own memories, senses, ideas, and so on, not those of some other person.

Another analogy is that consciousness is like a screen that displays your senses, tastes, emotions, etc. But the screen itself is just a blank white surface. If it were moved to a person without one, it would then reflect all the things about that person, not the person it came from.

There are those who would deflect the above, claiming instead that you are your spirit. However the word spirit is often equated with that of a soul, so we're back to square one. The only alternative is to propose that souls or spirits, or whatever they may be called, are different than consciousness alone, and are able to carry with them in some ethereal form, the personality as well as consciousness. Let's say that happens to be the case. That would be a pretty good reason to suppose that there's an afterlife. Right? Not so fast.

All the things that constitute personhood have been proven beyond any reasonable doubt to be attributable to some aspect of our biology. Believers in afterlives would no doubt resist this truth, but I wonder how many of them wouldn't mind missing their morning cup of coffee. Let's face it, biochemistry has a huge effect on personality. Consider the differences between the sexes alone. Different hormones directly and significantly affect personality. Add to that all the other psychoactive compounds. The evidence is overwhelming.

Similar proof from neuroscience is available for all sensory and memory functions. Therefore retaining our gender, memories, intellect, and sensory systems after death are all very important requirements if personhood is to be retained. So the question is: What takes over for all these entirely biological systems and material compounds after death?

Proponents of afterlives might say that they don't know what takes over, but something does. I might be tempted to agree that such a thing is possible, but unfortunately, either way, the result is the same. The heavy lifting for personhood must be done either by our physical systems, or by some sort of replacement for our physical systems, otherwise there can be no continuity of personhood. So now we apply the logic.

With consciousness playing a neutral role, and biological systems doing all the heavy lifting, then regardless of whatever mechanisms takes over for our biological systems after their death, the best that such replacements can ever be are copies. They can never be your original biological systems, especially after they have been reduced to a pile of ash. Therefore everything responsible for personhood has not undergone any continuity.

In other words, your afterlife copy can have exact duplicates of all the memories, feelings, and senses that you do. It might even think it is you ( sans body ). But as we have just seen, it cannot be you. Hence, because there can be no continuity of personhood, there can be no afterlife in the sense we defined it at the start. The only way to truly retain continuity of personhood is to literally never die, body and soul ( or whatever else you want to call it ).

This realization should inform anyone who bases their assumptions about afterlives on the initial premises above, that they need to rethink their position and formulate
possible hypotheses to explain the phenomena reported. For example, if we are to accept that the phenomena that leads people to believe in afterlives is something real, then we should be asking how these copies are possible.

We may never be able to prove any particular theory, but at least exploring
possible theories is better than wasting time trying to prove impossibile ones. As a final thought, if it is actually the case that an afterlife copy takes over for us upon our death, perhaps it would be best to have treated ourselves well during life, so as to give them a good start in their new realm.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
If Afterlives Are Impossible - What's Going On?

The reader who understands and accepts the reasoning in Why Afterlives Are Impossible, can extrapolate why dependent concepts such as reincarnation are also impossible. For example, even if someone living now has memories identical to someone who has died, that doesn't make the living person, the same person as the one who has died. The living person is their own unique self with their own unique history and personhood. But by some unknown means, the living person has acquired some memories identical to those of someone else, who has died.

So the question should not be, how did the dead person come back to life as someone else e.g. How did Napoleon come back to life as Bob down in the psych ward. Rather, the question should be: How can a living person get memories identical to a dead person's? By focusing on the question of memory formation or transfer, we can avoid notions of souls, spirits, and other supernatural inconsistencies or impossibilities that won't advance our understanding in any way.

So what possible explanations might we consider? Anyone? Maybe we should start with false memories. Are false memories real?


 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Explaining Afterlives Continued
And Then There are Hoaxes
NPR - "Nearly five years after it hit best-seller lists, a book that purported to be a 6-year-old boy's story of visiting angels and heaven after being injured in a bad car crash is being pulled from shelves. The young man at the center of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story was all made up.

The book's publisher, Tyndale House, had promoted it as "a supernatural encounter that will give you new insights on Heaven, angels, and hearing the voice of God."

But Thursday, Tyndale House confirmed to NPR that it is taking "the book and all ancillary products out of print." ...

 
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Farlig Gulstein

Skilled Investigator
b”h

Several years ago, I searched youtube for vids on NDEs. Among the many I saw was one with a little kid sitting by his dad who was “hovering” over him on a couch during the interview. As I listened, I drew the conclusion that the kid had not had any NDE whatsoever, but that his dad had almost certainly coached him about what to say. Too bad the child went through this, but it’s great that the kid has now grown up and repudiates his former testimony. IMHO the kid underwent a form of child abuse.

As far as “afterlives” go . . .

It is analogous to saying that if we only had more information, we could prove that there are four sided triangles, or three sided squares.
Randall, your argument by analogy is unconvincing. Your two examples are implausible comparisons that are far too superficial and unrelated to the question, and as such, the possibility of the survival of one’s conscious personality after biological death is not eliminated. Not by your argument. You may be convinced, but to convince others you need to show quite a bit more well-defined and broad-based evidence.

I would like to suggest, Randall, that you work up a formal paper on your argument and submit it to Journal of Scientific Exploration, which is the publication of Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) which looks into unconventional topics. They will peer-review your paper and help you tighten up your arguments.

Having said that, I certainly grant that the inability to convincingly prove one side of the “afterlife case” does not necessarily mean that the other side of the case is therefore proved, i.e. that there is survival of conscious personality after biological death.

Nevertheless, as far as the so-called “materialist” view of the world goes, here are two PhD physicists who say that the “particles” that make up what we know as “material” are derived from the pre-existing fields that support those “particles”. In other words, expansive fields exist prior to any “particles” and the fields thus determine all the characteristics of the “particles” being expressed.

Matt O'Dowd


Harry Cliff



So, for all the “particles” that interact in the universe, including in biological entities, it is actually the pre-existing fields that determine how physical reality is expressed. All expansive and interpenetrating fields are more foundational to reality than the “particles” that are expressed in them. So then, what we each know as our “personal consciousness” may be far less established by the standard model “particles” of our physical biological bodies than as by these many and various fields, or even other fields yet to be discovered that interact with the ones we know about today. So, IMHO, there is a lot more to consider about these issues. Survival of personal consciousness after biological death is not conclusively disproved, or proven.

I for one do not find the evidence for reincarnation nearly as viable as Leslie Kean, and that evidence presented in her book could be explained in other ways. Such an explanation would still depend on discarnate conscious entities that can influence human beings.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Several years ago, I searched youtube for vids on NDEs. Among the many I saw was one with a little kid sitting by his dad who was “hovering” over him on a couch during the interview. As I listened, I drew the conclusion that the kid had not had any NDE whatsoever, but that his dad had almost certainly coached him about what to say. Too bad the child went through this, but it’s great that the kid has now grown up and repudiates his former testimony. IMHO the kid underwent a form of child abuse.
Interesting. I was not aware of that aspect of the story, but I wouldn't be surprised.
As far as “afterlives” go . . . Randall, your argument by analogy is unconvincing. Your two examples are implausible comparisons that are far too superficial and unrelated to the question, and as such, the possibility of the survival of one’s conscious personality after biological death is not eliminated. Not by your argument.
Perhaps you are being a little quick to judge. Please allow me the opportunity to explain: The use of an analogy to three sided squares is to illustrate what is meant by the concept of impossibility in the context of the argument. In other words, it isn't saying that afterlives are three sided squares. It is saying that afterlives are as impossible as three sided squares.

This type of impossibility ( a logical impossibility ) is different from casual notions of impossibility e.g. "Me become a Republican? Impossible!" I felt it important to get that across at the start, and three sided squares seemed to me to be a simple way to do that. So the simplicity is intentional ( as any good analogy should be ) and the analogy itself is very relevant to the argument, because it sets out the conditions for the premise.
You may be convinced, but to convince others you need to show quite a bit more well-defined and broad-based evidence.
When one understands the argument, they also understand why no amount of additional evidence can change the outcome. I'm not sure at this point how to make it any more clear. It doesn't seem all that difficult to me. Other people I've relayed it to have gotten it just fine. Maybe you do too. I don't know for sure at this point. Perhaps it would help to simply ask if you understand why any afterlife version of a person as outlined by the premise, must be a copy?

If you disagree, then please provide an example of a possibility you see as an alternative. So far I haven't found one. The closest I've come is to suppose that time itself is quantized so that each and every moment is a reconstruction, in which case we are all being constantly killed and recreated to fit the parameters of change required by whatever is responsible for our existence.

In that case, we're all copies all the time, like characters drawn in frames along a filmstrip. If that's the case, then there is still no continuity as outlined in the premise, but we would also need to ask some different questions in order to determine if that problem remains relevant.
I would like to suggest, Randall, that you work up a formal paper on your argument and submit it to Journal of Scientific Exploration, which is the publication of Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) which looks into unconventional topics. They will peer-review your paper and help you tighten up your arguments.
Thanks for the suggestion. About the only way that I could tighten the argument up any further is to provide specific medical references to the biological components of personhood. However I believe that those components are common knowledge enough to get the point across to the average person. A bunch of citations that support the obvious wouldn't really improve the argument ( IMO ).
Having said that, I certainly grant that the inability to convincingly prove one side of the “afterlife case” does not necessarily mean that the other side of the case is therefore proved, i.e. that there is survival of conscious personality after biological death.
My argument may remain unconvincing to those who either reject it out of hand or simply don't grasp the concept I've attempted to convey. The former isn't something I can do anything about, but perhaps I can come up with a better way to convey the latter. Then again, maybe some people will never get the reasoning no matter how anyone conveys it. I don't know.
Nevertheless, as far as the so-called “materialist” view of the world goes, here are two PhD physicists who say that the “particles” that make up what we know as “material” are derived from the pre-existing fields that support those “particles”. In other words, expansive fields exist prior to any “particles” and the fields thus determine all the characteristics of the “particles” being expressed.

So, for all the “particles” that interact in the universe, including in biological entities, it is actually the pre-existing fields that determine how physical reality is expressed. All expansive and interpenetrating fields are more foundational to reality than the “particles” that are expressed in them. So then, what we each know as our “personal consciousness” may be far less established by the standard model “particles” of our physical biological bodies than as by these many and various fields, or even other fields yet to be discovered that interact with the ones we know about today. So, IMHO, there is a lot more to consider about these issues. Survival of personal consciousness after biological death is not conclusively disproved, or proven.
The thing is. once someone understands the argument, it makes no difference if fields or particles or vertices or what have you is responsible for the situation, the logic of the argument remains intact. After the fundamental situation is no longer the case, any other situation like it can only be a copy. That includes you and I. There will never be another you. The person you are now is unique. No copy will suffice ( IMO ).
I for one do not find the evidence for reincarnation nearly as viable as Leslie Kean, and that evidence presented in her book could be explained in other ways. Such an explanation would still depend on discarnate conscious entities that can influence human beings.
I think we can all agree that something strange is going on. It's not all hoaxes, false memories, and misperceptions. What this analysis does is explain why typical notions of afterlives must be a misinterpretation. That should move the whole quest for answers forward, and that is my only intent.

BTW: Good video selection :cool:
 
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