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A materialist and an NDE proponent go to a stage magic show together
#1
Let us imagine that two friends go to a stage magic show together. It is a spontaneous thing they do, they have not planned it far in advance and they have never discussed the phenomenon of stage magic between themselves before. It also happens to be the case that these two friends are of opposite beliefs about the nature of reality. One of them, person A, is a materialist, who feels quite certain that the only thing that exists is the world he sees around him on a daily basis. His friend, person B, is a person who has taken a look at the NDE data and been fairly convinced by it that there is an afterlife. These two friends are aware of the fact that they have opposing worldviews, but they have never really spoken about it with each other in depth before. They do not know why the other person believes the things they do, they just know that they do believe those things.

They sit down to watch the show, and are treated to something quite spectacular. It is a classical Houdini-tier performance, where the stage magic artist makes it appear like he made an entire airplane disappear into thin air. Both person A and B are flabbergasted. To them, and to the entire audience, it certainly appears as if the plane really did disappear into nothing.

Both person A and B, however, know better. They are both convinced that the plane really did not disappear for their own reasons. But the interesting part is that they are also both convinced that the other person thinks that the plane really did disappear into nothing, based on the little information they have about the other person's way of viewing the world. Why?

Person A thinks that person B believes that the plane really disappeared because they view person B as a believer in magic. Since person B believes in something so unscientific as an afterlife, reasons person A, they surely might believe in magic in this world as well. "I know that the plane really did not disappear because I do not believe in magic, and I am sure that there is a mundane explanation for how they made that illusion of the plane disappearing seem so convincing. I do not know what it is, but it must be there, because that is what the laws of physics necessitate. But if person B is not restrained by the laws of physics to explain what happened, what stops him from believing that the plane really did disappear?"

Person B, on the other hand, thinks that person A believes that the plane really disappeared because he thinks that person A believes in what he sees, and does not believe that there might be something going on behind the scenes to account for the way things appear like. He feels quite confident himself that the plane really did not disappear, since he thinks that there is way more to it than meets the eye, and that appearances can be truly deceiving, but he is not sure that his friend is able to entertain that notion properly. "I feel quite confident that the plane really did not disappear despite the fact that it appears that way, since there is usually a lot more than meets the eye and appearances are often deceiving. Person A, however, feels confident that this world is all that exists because that is what his experiences tell him. If he is so easily fooled by experiences, and can not entertain the notion that this might all be a well-crafted illusion, then what stops him from believing his experience of seeing the plane disappear in such a convincing manner?"

This is admittedly a very crude representation of two stereotypes, but I do find myself thinking that it poses an interesting question: If the NDE world is real, then it follows that this entire world is a "stage magic illusion", which is almost verbatim what some NDErs are saying:





And if that is the case, then I find that person B's reasoning for the way that person A thinks that this world is all there is to be quite accurate. Or am I wrong in that assessment? It seems to me that the materialists are falling for the illusion, and are not properly considering the possibility that there are more things behind the curtain than meets the eye. Because if there is one thing that both camps agree on, it is that in our day to day experiences it certainly appears as if this universe is all there is. But whenever there is a serious glitch in the matrix, it quickly becomes obvious which camp is open-minded to the possibility of optical illusions on a larger scale, and which camp is not.
Chris Carter, therefore Neal Grossman, therefore what deep NDErs have to say, cumulatively.
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#2
I'm not sure that it's useful to demonstrate that someone's position can be misunderstood.

What about finding a way to accurately represent the materialist position? I wonder if instead of a regular magic show (where most people, regardless of ideology, know that it's tricks), it was a mentalist show like Derren Brown's? He 'explains' his tricks to the audience with (at least some) false explanations. Something could be made of that, I think, since there have been heated arguments among skeptics about whether those explanations are false, and whether they represent a betrayal of the rules of Magic shows.

Linda
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#3
(11-11-2017, 11:02 AM)Hjortron Wrote: Let us imagine that two friends go to a stage magic show together. It is a spontaneous thing they do, they have not planned it far in advance and they have never discussed the phenomenon of stage magic between themselves before. It also happens to be the case that these two friends are of opposite beliefs about the nature of reality. One of them, person A, is a materialist, who feels quite certain that the only thing that exists is the world he sees around him on a daily basis. His friend, person B, is a person who has taken a look at the NDE data and been fairly convinced by it that there is an afterlife. These two friends are aware of the fact that they have opposing worldviews, but they have never really spoken about it with each other in depth before. They do not know why the other person believes the things they do, they just know that they do believe those things.

They sit down to watch the show, and are treated to something quite spectacular. It is a classical Houdini-tier performance, where the stage magic artist makes it appear like he made an entire airplane disappear into thin air. Both person A and B are flabbergasted. To them, and to the entire audience, it certainly appears as if the plane really did disappear into nothing.

Both person A and B, however, know better. They are both convinced that the plane really did not disappear for their own reasons. But the interesting part is that they are also both convinced that the other person thinks that the plane really did disappear into nothing, based on the little information they have about the other person's way of viewing the world. Why?

Person A thinks that person B believes that the plane really disappeared because they view person B as a believer in magic. Since person B believes in something so unscientific as an afterlife, reasons person A, they surely might believe in magic in this world as well. "I know that the plane really did not disappear because I do not believe in magic, and I am sure that there is a mundane explanation for how they made that illusion of the plane disappearing seem so convincing. I do not know what it is, but it must be there, because that is what the laws of physics necessitate. But if person B is not restrained by the laws of physics to explain what happened, what stops him from believing that the plane really did disappear?"

Person B, on the other hand, thinks that person A believes that the plane really disappeared because he thinks that person A believes in what he sees, and does not believe that there might be something going on behind the scenes to account for the way things appear like. He feels quite confident himself that the plane really did not disappear, since he thinks that there is way more to it than meets the eye, and that appearances can be truly deceiving, but he is not sure that his friend is able to entertain that notion properly. "I feel quite confident that the plane really did not disappear despite the fact that it appears that way, since there is usually a lot more than meets the eye and appearances are often deceiving. Person A, however, feels confident that this world is all that exists because that is what his experiences tell him. If he is so easily fooled by experiences, and can not entertain the notion that this might all be a well-crafted illusion, then what stops him from believing his experience of seeing the plane disappear in such a convincing manner?"

This is admittedly a very crude representation of two stereotypes, but I do find myself thinking that it poses an interesting question: If the NDE world is real, then it follows that this entire world is a "stage magic illusion", which is almost verbatim what some NDErs are saying:





And if that is the case, then I find that person B's reasoning for the way that person A thinks that this world is all there is to be quite accurate. Or am I wrong in that assessment? It seems to me that the materialists are falling for the illusion, and are not properly considering the possibility that there are more things behind the curtain than meets the eye. Because if there is one thing that both camps agree on, it is that in our day to day experiences it certainly appears as if this universe is all there is. But whenever there is a serious glitch in the matrix, it quickly becomes obvious which camp is open-minded to the possibility of optical illusions on a larger scale, and which camp is not.
This is the part where the argument stumbles. 
Quote:Both person A and B, however, know better.
Regardless of what each thinks of the other's worldview both know the trick is an illusion. A conversation would have them agree magicians lie for a living.

To your other question. 
Quote:If the NDE world is real, then it follows that this entire world is a "stage magic illusion", which is almost verbatim what some NDErs are saying:
That does not follow. There is a third possibility analogous to the quantum world versus the classical world. Both present true yet different descriptions of reality. The NDE presents truth of what happens after death. While one is physically alive is another truth. In other words both present true yet different versions of reality.
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#4
(11-11-2017, 12:00 PM)fls Wrote: What about finding a way to accurately represent the materialist position?

The whole point of this analogy is that I think that person B's assumption about how person A is reasoning is correctly and fairly depicting how the materialist arrived at their worldview. If you think that it is not, please elaborate further. This is how I see the materialist position at its very core, and in its simplest sense:

The materialist observes the world around them. It seems to them that it is all there is. Science describes how this world operates fairly well, and accounts for (at least) almost everything in it. According to contemporary scientific models, the world is made up of energy, time, and space, and nothing else. Hence, that is all that there is. Hence, materialism. 

There is a reason that materialism is an ancient worldview, and that is because it is an outrageously simple one that everyone can understand: The world we observe around us seems to be all there is, and it is made up of some stuff. 

Is this an incorrect characterization of how the average materialist arrived at their position in the most general way? I have highlighted the word 'seems' since their entire reasoning hinges on the fact that they trust in the way that things appear to be like at a first glance, and do not seriously question if there is more to the story. And that is why the stage magic analogy becomes so relevant.

(11-11-2017, 12:00 PM)fls Wrote: most people, regardless of ideology, know that it's tricks

(11-11-2017, 01:49 PM)Steve001 Wrote: Regardless of what each thinks of the other's worldview both know the trick is an illusion. A conversation would have them agree magicians lie for a living.

Thank you for the feedback. Perhaps the analogy works better in a hypothetical world where everything is basically the same as in this world, but where stage magic shows are a new phenomena that has not been understood yet.

(11-11-2017, 01:49 PM)Steve001 Wrote: That does not follow. There is a third possibility analogous to the quantum world versus the classical world. Both present true yet different descriptions of reality. The NDE presents truth of what happens after death. While one is physically alive is another truth. In other words both present true yet different versions of reality.

The thing is that "the truth of what happens after death" necessitates that, from the highest perspective, this world is like a stage play. It may not appear that way to us while we are inside of it, and it may not be useful to regard it that way, but it absolutely is true that this world is reasonably viewed as a stage play that we knowingly agreed to participate in in light of what the NDE testimonies are converging on. Hence, it does indeed follow.

With the caveat that I may have misunderstood what you were trying to say, in which case I apologize and ask for a more thorough elaboration.
Chris Carter, therefore Neal Grossman, therefore what deep NDErs have to say, cumulatively.
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#5
(11-16-2017, 11:59 AM)Hjortron Wrote: The thing is that "the truth of what happens after death" necessitates that, from the highest perspective, this world is like a stage play. It may not appear that way to us while we are inside of it, and it may not be useful to regard it that way, but it absolutely is true that this world is reasonably viewed as a stage play that we knowingly agreed to participate in in light of what the NDE testimonies are converging on. Hence, it does indeed follow.
With the caveat that I may have misunderstood what you were trying to say, in which case I apologize and ask for a more thorough elaboration.
Me:
Quote:There is a third possibility analogous to the quantum world versus the classical world. Both present true yet different descriptions of reality. The NDE presents truth of what happens after death. While one is physically alive is another truth. In other words both present true versions of reality.
You haven't addressed why it has to be the way you've defined it? The impression you give is this is more a belief than knowledge on your part. How do you know it is reasonably and absolutely true? Is there hard data or only testimonials to back this up? In essence you are presenting a logical argument which I've never found persuasive.
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#6
(11-16-2017, 11:59 AM)Hjortron Wrote: The whole point of this analogy is that I think that person B's assumption about how person A is reasoning is correctly and fairly depicting how the materialist arrived at their worldview. If you think that it is not, please elaborate further. This is how I see the materialist position at its very core, and in its simplest sense:

The materialist observes the world around them. It seems to them that it is all there is. Science describes how this world operates fairly well, and accounts for (at least) almost everything in it. According to contemporary scientific models, the world is made up of energy, time, and space, and nothing else. Hence, that is all that there is. Hence, materialism. 

There is a reason that materialism is an ancient worldview, and that is because it is an outrageously simple one that everyone can understand: The world we observe around us seems to be all there is, and it is made up of some stuff. 

Is this an incorrect characterization of how the average materialist arrived at their position in the most general way? I have highlighted the word 'seems' since their entire reasoning hinges on the fact that they trust in the way that things appear to be like at a first glance, and do not seriously question if there is more to the story. And that is why the stage magic analogy becomes so relevant.

Given that the materialist believes that the stuff we observe around us consists almost entirely of empty space, and the minuscule bits that could be reasonably called "stuff" don't actually have properties of "stuffness" until we look at them, and that stuff which doesn't actually exist has all kinds of lasting effects, I'm not sure that "what you see is what you get" really describes their perspective. And it seems like proponents adopt this perspective, when experiences which feel real are presumed to represent actual experiences, if the experience is spiritual or otherworldly in nature.

I wonder, are you referring to the tendency of proponents to see agency behind the scenes, while skeptics tend not to?

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a3b4/58...8d2b47.pdf

Linda
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#7
(11-16-2017, 11:59 AM)Hjortron Wrote: The whole point of this analogy is that I think that person B's assumption about how person A is reasoning is correctly and fairly depicting how the materialist arrived at their worldview. If you think that it is not, please elaborate further. This is how I see the materialist position at its very core, and in its simplest sense:

The materialist observes the world around them. It seems to them that it is all there is. Science describes how this world operates fairly well, and accounts for (at least) almost everything in it. According to contemporary scientific models, the world is made up of energy, time, and space, and nothing else. Hence, that is all that there is. Hence, materialism. 

There is a reason that materialism is an ancient worldview, and that is because it is an outrageously simple one that everyone can understand: The world we observe around us seems to be all there is, and it is made up of some stuff. 

Is this an incorrect characterization of how the average materialist arrived at their position in the most general way? I have highlighted the word 'seems' since their entire reasoning hinges on the fact that they trust in the way that things appear to be like at a first glance, and do not seriously question if there is more to the story. And that is why the stage magic analogy becomes so relevant.



Thank you for the feedback. Perhaps the analogy works better in a hypothetical world where everything is basically the same as in this world, but where stage magic shows are a new phenomena that has not been understood yet.


The thing is that "the truth of what happens after death" necessitates that, from the highest perspective, this world is like a stage play. It may not appear that way to us while we are inside of it, and it may not be useful to regard it that way, but it absolutely is true that this world is reasonably viewed as a stage play that we knowingly agreed to participate in in light of what the NDE testimonies are converging on. Hence, it does indeed follow.

With the caveat that I may have misunderstood what you were trying to say, in which case I apologize and ask for a more thorough elaboration.

I don't find the materialist vs proponent argument very accurate, things seem to split better along lines of perception, roughly... direct vs indirect perception, and perhaps realism vs representationalism. Even then I object to these types of labels because they too mean different things to people, and are inaccurate. Better to just talk about the detail of the phenomena that is in dispute.
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#8
(11-16-2017, 02:53 PM)fls Wrote: ...it seems like proponents adopt this perspective,  when experiences which feel real are presumed to represent actual experiences, if the experience is spiritual or otherworldly in nature.

I'm not sure that reads very well, as experiences which feel real, presumably are still actual experiences, whether they are/are not spiritual or other worldly. I guess you need a better way of describing what you feel are the defining differences between these experiences.
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#9
Can I just say that I don't think materialists necessarily have to believe we're aware of all the relevant laws governing the material universe? And if there are laws we don't know about, then in principle there could be materialist theories of psi.
"There are more things in philosophy than are dreamt of in heaven and earth."
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#10
(11-16-2017, 08:09 PM)Chris Wrote: Can I just say that I don't think materialists necessarily have to believe we're aware of all the relevant laws governing the material universe? And if there are laws we don't know about, then in principle there could be materialist theories of psi.

You dear sir blaspheme! Surprise
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