A major but biased new paper on consciousness

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A major new paper on science and consciousness, with one of the major contributors being Dean Radin (in Frontiers in Psychology, at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10....55594/full ):

"What if consciousness is not an emergent property of the brain? Observational and empirical challenges to materialistic models", by
Helané Wahbeh, Dean Radin, Cedric Cannard and Arnaud Delorme.

This article tries hard to be objective and thorough and uncompromisingly "scientific" (following its own scientistic definition of what is pseudoscientific), with both materialistic theories of consciousness and immaterial theories. The main topic is divided into Physicalist Theories and Non-local consciousness theories. Non-local theories are summarized as:

Quote:Alternative non-physicalist theories may inform other aspects of consciousness that are not completely explained by physicalist theories. Physicalist theories usually assume that consciousness is generated solely and purely from the brain and is only local to the brain. Alternatively, non-physicalist theories do not make these assumptions, even though both types of theories attempt to explain the underlying brain mechanisms of consciousness. Physicalist theories purport that consciousness originates from physical substrates like neurons that have evolved to be more and more complex over time through adaptation, leading to the emergence of consciousness. Non-physical models do not assume a physical substrate generates consciousness, and many even propose that consciousness is, in fact, more fundamental than matter and spacetime. In this view, that is the natural view for most ancient and eastern cultures, matter and spacetime arise from consciousness rather than the other way around. Perhaps a non-physicalist framework where consciousness is considered fundamental and has non-local properties (such as at the quantum scale) would better explain the full range of reported human phenomenology. For example, there are well-documented experiences of people perceiving information from distant locations, the future, and mental impressions from other people without the use of rationale or traditional means (Cardeña, 2018). In addition, there are verified cases of cognitive function when the neural substrate is severely degenerated, precluding normal brain function. These experiences, most of which are currently regarded as anomalous, will be described in the Section “Phenomena suggested by a model of nonlocal consciousness” as cases of what would be observed should non-physicalist theories of consciousness be valid.

These and other documented phenomenological experiences suggest a different nature of consciousness: one that may not be exclusively generated by neuronal activity and exhibits properties that transcend the conventional constraints of spacetime and, therefore, the physical body. The term “non-local consciousness” has been proposed to denote these purported transcendent properties of consciousness...
................................................
Summary of non-local consciousness models
Most of these theories assume that consciousness is fundamental and primary to all else. Our subjective intersection with this fundamental consciousness is described in different ways, such as being an interface, a dissociative boundary, or a consciousness unit. Moreover, the mechanistic structure of our world with consciousness as fundamental is explained in various ways (e.g., dimensions, conscious agents, gimmel).

However, it is important to note that physicalist theories still have a place in this framework. Even if consciousness is fundamental, these theories will inform on the mechanisms for the embodiment of consciousness into this materialistic reality (e.g., how the interface works).

However, this summary paper's credibility is overall in the end severely damaged by its prominent even glaring exclusion of even mentioning (much less covering in detail) the subject of NDEs, which are one of the major areas of excellent empirical evidence for the existence of an immaterial center of human consciousness that can leave the body under extremely stressful traumatic circumstances where the brain is severly compromised. And can even bring back veridical information strongly establishing the reality of the event, with numerous cases having been carefully investigated and confirmed. I guess the authors, from their lofty stance as arbiters of what is "scientific" as opposed to what is "pseudo-scientific", decided to leave out a very major area of the evidence, with the result of making their survey article fundamentally biased. By implication they dismissed the bulk of the exhaustive collective efforts of the authors of the slew of excellent essays submitted in the recent Bigelow contest for the best paper on the evidence for an afterlife, which essays focused mainly on the NDE evidence, and rightly so. I can imagine heated remarks like, "God forbid such a disreputable pseudoscientific subject matter - let there be no mention of it."

So put this down to an ultimately unsuccessful project irretrievably marred by a scientistic bias leading to exclusion of one of the major (if not the major) areas of empirical evidence for the existence of the human spirit. Of course, being "scientific", such terms as "spiritual" and "spirit" will not be found within the paper. It's still useful however as a seemingly thorough review of the current state of theoretical work on the nature of consciousness, albeit excluding one of the major areas of evidence.
(This post was last modified: 2022-09-08, 06:04 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 5 times in total.)
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Interesting article.
I agree. They did show one reference that includes NDE data. But nothing I could see in the paper reflects that.


Quote:Kelly, E. W., Greyson, B., and Kelly, E. F. (2007). “Unusual experiences near death and related phenomena,” in Irreducible mind: Toward a psychology for the 21st century, eds E. F. Kelly, E. W. Kelly, A. Crabtree, A. Gauld, M. Grosso, and B. Greyson (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield), 367–421.


I don't see any major conclusions, or additions, or changes, to the usual discussions. 
I do see a call for others to submit theories.
(2022-09-08, 05:58 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: However, this summary paper's credibility is overall in the end severely damaged by its prominent even glaring exclusion of even mentioning (much less covering in detail) the subject of NDEs, which are one of the major areas of excellent empirical evidence for the existence of an immaterial center of human consciousness that can leave the body under extremely stressful traumatic circumstances where the brain is severly compromised.

I shudder to think what you mean by excellent empirical evidence.  You read it in a book somewhere so it must be true?
(2022-09-08, 07:11 PM)Brian Wrote: I shudder to think what you mean by excellent empirical evidence.  You read it in a book somewhere so it must be true?

Ouch dude, I wasn't going to go there. However, I'm sure this is exactly why it isn't included. The researchers probably went round and round and now don't speak to each other.
(2022-09-08, 07:11 PM)Brian Wrote: I shudder to think what you mean by excellent empirical evidence.  You read it in a book somewhere so it must be true?

https://www.bigelowinstitute.org/contest_winners3.php

https://www.amazon.com/Self-Does-Not-Die...0997560800
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(2022-09-08, 07:11 PM)Brian Wrote: I shudder to think what you mean by excellent empirical evidence.

You don't have to Brian, of course, but do you care to elaborate why you think it's less than excellent?
I think it's not quite time for the soul's "resurrection" in academia...it's getting there, bit by bit, but to suggest an immortal soul seems to be a death sentence for many people's academic credibility.

Though IIRC there is some talk about a consciousness that is both irreducible and immortal in the APA Published Transcendent Mind...and we are seeing more and more talk about Survival in mainstream media in tandem with various physicalist-leaning types trying to rescue causal agency from randomness/determinism.

All to say I think it's slowly getting to the point where people will at least be able to speak more on NDEs as a major data point. But some of these theories seem to lean in the direction of speaking about such things as souls & God:

Quote:Federico Faggin starts with the assumption that reality emerges from the free-will communications of a vast number of conscious entities (Faggin, 2021a). Faggin calls the totality of what potentially and actually exists, One. Any self-knowing within this one is a transformation from potential existence into actual existence, where potential existence is the “reservoir” of self-knowing that has not yet manifested. Each new self-knowing brings rise to a consciousness unit (CU). The CU reflects the whole of One and is also part of One because One is never complete in its self-knowing process. Thus there must be continued self-knowing and continual generation of CUs, which explains an apparently growing number of conscious entities (Faggin, 2021a, p. 294). Faggin describes the CUs characteristics and how they combine into self, in which an entity with identity, awareness, and agency is dynamic, holistic, and self-knowing. Faggin views the physical world as a virtual reality metaphor, in which sophisticated avatars controlled by conscious beings interact with each other, where the body that controls the avatar exists outside the computer and is not part of the program. Similarly, the conscious entities that control physical bodies exist beyond the physical world that contains the body (Faggin, 2021b, p. 286).

Quote:Donald D. Hoffman proposes a model based on a mathematical structure called “conscious agents.” Space and time emerge from conscious agents’ exchanges (Hoffman, 2014). Hoffman proposes that our perceptions (i.e., the conscious agents) are not views of a grounded truth but are more like a personal computer’s operating system and interface (Hoffman, 2014, 2019). Perceptions allow us to interact dynamically with the world and survive and evolve in this environment but not be aware of its actual structure. Space-time and physical objects do not represent a universal objective reality but are species-specific components that provide an evolutionary advantage. Hoffman highlights that evolutionarily, perception of spacetime and the physical world are shaped by natural selection in such a way that obfuscates the truth that we are experiencing an interface rather than a universal objective reality and thus influences adaptive behaviors. He further claims that the equations of quantum mechanics can be derived from formalized descriptions of the interactions between conscious agents (Hoffman et al., 2015).
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2022-09-08, 08:04 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 2 times in total.)
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(2022-09-08, 08:00 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I think it's not quite time for the soul's "resurrection" in academia...it's getting there, bit by bit, but to suggest an immortal soul seems to be a death sentence for many people's academic credibility.

Though IIRC there is some talk about a consciousness that is both irreducible and immortal in the APA Published Transcendent Mind...and we are seeing more and more talk about Survival in mainstream media in tandem with various physicalist-leaning types trying to rescue causal agency from randomness/determinism.

All to say I think it's slowly getting to the point where people will at least be able to speak more on NDEs as a major data point. But some of these theories seem to lean in the direction of speaking about such things as souls & God:

Mainstream acceptance might also open a mass suicide mentality, where people think they can just hit the reset button and all is well. Let's remove the existential anxiety caused by reminders of our own mortality, and replace them with evidence of immortality. Hopefully there will be something that appears in this research showing repercussions and consequences of unethical and immoral actions. Otherwise we might be headed for a horrifying free-for-all.
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(2022-09-08, 07:54 PM)Ninshub Wrote: You don't have to Brian, of course, but do you care to elaborate why you think it's less than excellent?

Since this is yet another NDE posting... (glad we can help you study what interests you)

Do we still have different types of experiences being reported based on type of death, i.e., heart failure = most tunnel experiences?
This allows a physical reason for parts of these experiences, or that empirically have to add to / take away from, the experience.

Do we still have different types of experiences that are dependent on background, religion, etc.? 
As in, a man from India having a completely different NDE experience, an experience colored by beliefs and the images associated with those beliefs?
This should prove that it is also an experience that can be based on expectations or beliefs. Thus colored by your own mind.

This is not necessarily then some common empirical reality theme that would, or should, apply to everyone in the same way.  

What is empirical to me, is that we have evidence of an altered state of mind caused by death and resuscitation that repeats in people in different ways. 

The content of that altered state being just as varied as the number of religions on the planet, plus more.

I tend to discount the OOBE's in NDE experiences. Other psi can do this.
And I remove hearing what other people (doctors, nurses) say while laying there dead. Other psi can do this.
Floating around seeing what people are doing can be achieved using other psi phenomena. 

Anything said, or thought, is in the mind's of others, and altered states of consciousness can retrieve this data easily. 
OOBE's are obviously not just a death / revival thing. 

We have tunnels, tethers, magic glowing cords, and more in AP practices. So also not particular to NDE alone.
 
Telepathic memory experiences often feel like your own "visual" experience, or "sound" experience, etc. Still not particular to NDE experience alone.

Thus we 'know' these are altered state Psi phenomena related instances, and thus nothing is actually visual, or sound, or experienced the way these people are describing it. 
They never actually "saw" or "heard" anything, but that is the experience, however emotional or moving it was to them personally.

And, once again, for the sake of empirical science, these are not the same experiences across the board. They are being treated like they are the same experiences because they have one thing in common, death and resuscitation, which creates altered states. 

That is all we have, death, altered state, life.

So the problem is that we should have defined and outlined this as an altered state that appears when people are resuscitated, because we still don't know when it actually happens, how long it actually takes (time distortion), etc.
 
We have empirical observation, or empirical study, of "accounts" of this altered state, which are still personal heresay, which can still be explained using other psi phenomena examples.

Those studied under hypnosis and EEG, show nothing but a likely memory recall, so they are not liars. 
Where my EEG studies show the same thing with every single personal altered state I can recall. This means these types of memory recall are not NDE specific, but altered state memory specific.

“Reality” of near-death-experience memories: evidence from a psychodynamic and electrophysiological integrated study

The bottom line is, we have zero empirical evidence of life after death using NDE's as evidence unless you ignore and discount other forms of Psi phenomena in the process. 

We have evidence that death and resuscitation can create altered state memories. That's it.

If you are willing to discard other possible explanations out of convenience, or because this is the "best" possible explanation, then that must be based on wishful thinking, and not science. 
And you likely then can't believe in other psi phenomena, plain and simple.
(2022-09-08, 10:43 PM)Durward Wrote: Since this is yet another NDE posting... (glad we can help you study what interests you)

Do we still have different types of experiences being reported based on type of death, i.e., heart failure = most tunnel experiences?
This allows a physical reason for parts of these experiences, or that empirically have to add to / take away from, the experience.

Do we still have different types of experiences that are dependent on background, religion, etc.? 
As in, a man from India having a completely different NDE experience, an experience colored by beliefs and the images associated with those beliefs?
This should prove that it is also an experience that can be based on expectations or beliefs. Thus colored by your own mind.

I'm not sure I understand grammatically what you're saying in those questions. What is the "still" there for?
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