Opinion’s on Keith Augustine?

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Keith Augustine has recently (sorta) made a write up at a website called “debunking-christianity”. He goes on to point out or atleast try and point out  the ways that Christian and NDE-Afterlife science community use fallacious arguments and also has made a post about the Bigelow Institute paper competition thing (if I remember correctly). Any opinions?
https://www.debunking-christianity.com/2...oning.html
I’m aware some people have called him a pseudoskeptic so there’s that.
(2023-06-19, 07:22 AM)xman00 Wrote: Keith Augustine has recently (sorta) made a write up at a website called “debunking-christianity”. He goes on to point out or atleast try and point out  the ways that Christian and NDE-Afterlife science community use fallacious arguments and also has made a post about the Bigelow Institute paper competition thing (if I remember correctly). Any opinions?

I don't know the guy so I can't comment on his specific arguments.  I will have a look later when I get home from the library.  What I can say (and, as all the regulars here on PQ know, I am a Christian myself) is that he is right about Christians and psi proponents often using fallacious arguments.  He should, however also show how atheists and materialists use fallacious arguments.  I think it is a good thing if we see the weakness of our own arguments and make appropriate adjustments rather than being defensive about our respective positions, after all, the worst that can happen is that we are forced to find stronger arguments.  As a Christian, I often have to admit that I don't have a ready argument but I am aware that anybody who argues any metaphysical case, if they are honest, is going to run into brick walls every now and then.
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(2023-06-19, 07:24 AM)xman00 Wrote: https://www.debunking-christianity.com/2...oning.html
I’m aware some people have called him a pseudoskeptic so there’s that.

Wow - they seem to have miraculously avoided showing pro-christian arguments in the comments.  Maybe there isn't a Christian in the whole world who wanted to say something here?  Or maybe Christian arguments are being removed?  One thing is for sure, those atheists who are commenting are doing so with a passion and a zeal worthy of any religion!  OK so the premise - Christians often make bad arguments, therefore Christianity is nonsense - Huh   Show me one person who never makes bad arguments.
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https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/675...no1-70.pdf

Quote:To begin with, I am in complete agreement with Augustine's
summary of the evidence in controlled studies attempting to find
evidence of veridical perception during NDEs. While the evidence for
such perceptions is abundant from anecdotal sources, as I have
already pointed out in Chapter Two of my book Lessons for the Light
(Ring and Valarino, 1998), there is so far no evidence at all from
controlled studies. Thus, the burden of proof remains on the
proponents of this argument.
When it comes to Augustine's critique of the research on NDE in the
blind as reported in my book, Mindsight (Ring and Cooper, 2007),
however, most of his objections can be easily refuted or otherwise
dismissed.
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https://www.reddit.com/r/afterlife/comme..._debunker/

Quote:Keith Augustine is the owner of the site Internet Infidels/The Secular Web and the author of the controversial book 'The Myth of an Afterlife', which received several criticisms upon its release, and for good reason. Augustine is a firm materialist and militant atheist who has attempted to 'debunk' NDEs and reincarnation specifically numerous times, which is irritating in and of itself when you actually read his arguments. However, what is worse is the way he behaves online to proponents (and even those just agnostic on the subject of afterlife evidence) like myself. I would not normally seek to discuss him this way if it wasn't for his inappropriate behaviour and spread of misinformation online. Interestingly, he's been criticised by not just bloggers, but even prominent scientists and doctors in this field of research. I did some digging into the research and multiple forums and other blogs, and this is what I found...

At one point, Augustine had been claiming NDEs were a similar process to epileptic seizures, but that was criticised by epileptic expert Ernst Rodin, who stated that, after studying NDEs and hundreds of patients with temporal lobe seizures, he had 'never came across the symptomatology [of NDEs] as part of a seizure'.
There is more - do click on the link and read. Wink

EDIT:  It mentions a tim who has been trying to email Augustine.  I wonder if that is our tim?
(This post was last modified: 2023-06-19, 03:05 PM by Brian. Edited 2 times in total.)
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http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/artic...ustine.htm

Quote:The production theory, defended by a long line of materialists before Augustine, is really nothing more than an article of faith. Augustine, Shermer, and the others are merely the last, desperate defenders of a dying ideology.

It seems fitting to conclude this essay with a quote from parapsychologist Charles Honorton. Shortly before his death at age 46 in 1992, Honorton wrote his classic article on skepticism, “Rhetoric over Substance”, which he concluded with these words:

    The distorted history, logical contradictions, and factual omissions exhibited in the arguments of the critics represent neither scholarly criticism nor skepticism, but rather counter-advocacy masquerading as skepticism. True skepticism involves the suspension of belief, not disbelief. In this context we would do well to recall the words of the great nineteenth century naturalist and skeptic, Thomas Huxley: “Sit down before fact like a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly to wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”
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Augustine recalls the proverb -

"The man who wants to beat a dog always finds his stick."

As such I pay him little mind at all.
'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


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Keith Augustine is controversial, to put it mildly.

I have mixed feelings with regard to his recent statement claiming that survivalists make arguments similar to those made by creationist crackpots. I agree that appealing to the depressing nature of an extinctionist and scientism approach is a weak argument. But this goes both ways, since often extinctionists like Augustine seem very keen on dismissing survivalism based solely on it's relatively comforting nature. The argument however tends to be true for some survivalists, and I defintely can name a few. He however misrepresented in his essay the position of Jeffrey Mishlove. He claims that Mishlove's essay about survival, Mishlove appealed to the majority belief in an afterlife to make his case for survival. This is not the impression I got from the essay.

Keith Augustine has raised some interesting philosophical questions in the past with regards to survival and dualism. He also raised in the past a very thought provoking point about survival, and that is the cryptographic evidence for survival. Ian Stevenson left locks at DOPS so that he could communicate the combinations after he died to provide evidence for survival. He has not done so. Why is that, if survival is true? In my opinion, this is an important aspect that we, as proponents, need to address.

I also appreciate that Keith has stated that there are survivalist whom he respects, including Alan Gauld, CD Broad, and the late Carlos Alvarado.

That said, it is nevertheless quite evident that Augustine is entrenched in his preferred position and of course there's nothing we can do about that. It is also quite clear that Keith Augustine has been intellectually dishonest in the past. I recall that one of the members of this blog (Tim) once emailed Augustine to inform him about evident inaccuracies that he committed in his presentation of the famous Pam Reynolds case. He has refused to change them to this day. He was emailed again (also by tim) to inform him that the statements made by the surgeons conflicted with his presentation (and that of anesthesiologist Gerald Woerlee) And that his response was to claim that "he didn't believe in what doctors (those involved in the case) told him", which is unreasonable, given that in these cases we have to rely in the testimony of the people involved to establish accurately what happened in these cases. Likewise, in his works, he often has cited sceptical viewpoints about, for example, cases of the reincarnation type. But he has ignored the responses that have addressed points that those critics whom he cites have raised.

In the end, for me, Keith Augustine is somewhat of a mixed bag. He is a skeptic that has posited some arguments that seem to have some merit. Unfortunately, it seems like his weaker points outweigh his better arguments and somewhat militate against his reliability, especially with regards to his inputs into the scientific investigation into phenomena that suggest survival.
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(2023-06-19, 05:21 PM)Sam Wrote: Keith Augustine has raised some interesting philosophical questions in the past with regards to survival and dualism. He also raised in the past a very thought provoking point about survival, and that is the cryptographic evidence for survival. Ian Stevenson left locks at DOPS so that he could communicate the combinations after he died to provide evidence for survival. He has not done so. Why is that, if survival is true? In my opinion, this is an important aspect that we, as proponents, need to address.

While I think it would be *better* if Stevenson had communicated this information, I'm not sure this would tip the scales much either way. People would just say the whole thing was staged prior to his death, or that someone had managed to guess the correct answer.

As to why he has not done so, I'd think Stevenson's own life's work would point to a possible answer?
'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


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