Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby whynotme » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:39 am

helparcfun wrote:I'm sorry but I haven't a clue what your above post is about. :?

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree here. All I was doing was asking about evidence for the claim by Kusala that "Not only is there scientific evidence to support Buddhist belief in rebirth, it is the only after-life theory that has any evidence to support it."

As no evidence is forthcoming I can only assume that there isn't any, at least none that any decent scientist would put their name to.

No problem, do you think how many people understood what Einstein said when he said about specific relativity theory? Or how many people actually understand quantum physics? Outside of formula and theory, the true meaning is hard to achieve

Also what evidence do you require to support rebirth? You should set clearly requirement, and why is there requirement, right?

Regards
Please stop following me
whynotme
 
Posts: 398
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:52 am

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:29 am

whynotme wrote:... do you think how many people understood what Einstein said when he said about specific relativity theory? Or how many people actually understand quantum physics?

Of course, it depends on what you mean by "understood". Hundreds of thousands of us understand those things well enough to be able to design lasers and semiconductor devices that work, and make the relativistic corrections (special and general) that make your GPS navigation system possible...

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10280
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:25 am

Also, the [lack of] understanding of the majority has no impact whatsoever on the scientific method. What I see here is the common, although fundamentally false, assertion that 'science is a system of belief'.
Mawkish1983
 
Posts: 1175
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby Mal » Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:06 am

helparcfun wrote:As no evidence is forthcoming I can only assume that there isn't any, at least none that any decent scientist would put their name to.


There is some evidence - e.g., toddlers supposedly remembering old retainers from their (supposed) previous incarnation. But this isn't very good evidence. Why don't scientists try to tighten up this evidence? Buddhist scientists would surely have motivation enough? For instance, a researcher I know specialises in interviewing very young children who have seen a crime. Couldn't Buddhist adapt this kind of close interviewing of young children to pull out more details? When Tibetans go on their next search for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama (or other Lamas) why not take a Western non-Buddhist, highly sceptical (!), anthropologist with them?
Mal
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:21 pm

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:19 am

Mal wrote:...When Tibetans go on their next search for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama (or other Lamas) why not take a Western non-Buddhist, highly sceptical (!), anthropologist with them?


“When the anthropologist comes, the gods leave.” – Haitian saying
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 662
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:37 am

Evidence should be objective.
Mawkish1983
 
Posts: 1175
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby Mal » Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:53 am

Seeking the evidence might destroy the search.
Mal
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:21 pm

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:39 pm

Mal wrote:Seeking the evidence might destroy the search.
I don't understand.
Mawkish1983
 
Posts: 1175
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby helparcfun » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:23 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:Evidence should be objective.


Yes indeed it should. Also I don't think it's right for people to talk of 'Buddhist scientists' or, as was mentioned elsewhere on this forum 'Western science'. To my way of thinking there is just "science". It doesn't need a qualifier. Science is the same all over the world - it must be objective. The same of course for that, what I would call a ridiculous term "Christian science".
helparcfun
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:11 am

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby helparcfun » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:14 pm

whynotme wrote:Also what evidence do you require to support rebirth?
Regards


Well, before we can even talk about evidence, we need to establish what "rebirth" involves. If you care to explain how rebirth is supposed to work maybe then we can talk about what evidence would be required. If you are saying that there is some kind of "soul" that transfers itself from a dead person to a person being born, then we need to know the location of this "soul" or whatever you want to call it so we can scientifically analyse how the soul gets from the dead person to the live person. If, however, you are saying that when someone is born they somehow inbibe a dead persons memories then we need to establish how these memories came to be put into the born persons mind. As far as I'm aware, at present there is no scientific method which could do any of this.

If you believe in rebirth, that's fine, you are of course free to believe what you want, but just like the belief in God, it should be simply a matter of "faith." As I've already said, religious people should not try to prove their beliefs by scientific methods - it'll never work.

History is rife with examples where science has proved religion wrong- it's a one way street. Nowhere that I'm aware of are there examples where religion has proved science wrong.

I am open to persuasion if anyone can show me examples where a religion has proved science wrong.
helparcfun
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:11 am

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:51 pm

helparcfun wrote:Well, before we can even talk about evidence, we need to establish what "rebirth" involves. If you care to explain how rebirth is supposed to work maybe then we can talk about what evidence would be required. If you are saying that there is some kind of "soul" that transfers itself from a dead person to a person being born, then we need to know the location of this "soul" or whatever you want to call it so we can scientifically analyse how the soul gets from the dead person to the live person. If, however, you are saying that when someone is born they somehow inbibe a dead persons memories then we need to establish how these memories came to be put into the born persons mind. As far as I'm aware, at present there is no scientific method which could do any of this.

Neither of these, however, are views on rebirth that any Buddhist holds. I'm not accusing you of making a strawman, but if you are going to ask for evidence for a phenomenon, it's important to know exactly what you're discussing.

If you believe in rebirth, that's fine, you are of course free to believe what you want, but just like the belief in God, it should be simply a matter of "faith." As I've already said, religious people should not try to prove their beliefs by scientific methods - it'll never work.

You're right that rebirth is never going to be proved by science, but that is a far leap from saying it is a matter of faith. We know many things on a deep, experiential level, and we know them without science, or at least the material hypothesis-theory science of today.

There was a philosopher who once called this the "Cookies in the pantry" fallacy: the assumption that all important matters of truth or knowledge are determined in the same way. He called it that because, as he put it, "We have a certain method of investigation to find if there are cookies in the pantry, but the same method doesn't help us know if there is a soul." I would argue that you are making the fallacious assumption that all truths, from the age of the earth to the nature of the mind, can be known directly through the same method, i.e. modern scientific methodology.

History is rife with examples where science has proved religion wrong- it's a one way street. Nowhere that I'm aware of are there examples where religion has proved science wrong.

It's not a zero-sum game where science must take from religion and religion must take from science. They can work together to cover the various aspects of human experience.

I am open to persuasion if anyone can show me examples where a religion has proved science wrong.

I would argue that "religious" Buddhism has shown a far better understanding of the psychology of human experience than traditional Western psychology for certain.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby helparcfun » Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:15 pm

It is fair to say that I was perhaps being a little facetious in my reply to whynotme. I don't really believe that any Buddhist would characterize rebirth in either of the ways I described. However, the point is that rebirth, like so many other things of this nature, are believed not upon evidence but simply because it is the doctrine of the religion. Doesn't this, in effect, mean that it is taken on faith?


It's not a zero-sum game where science must take from religion and religion must take from science.

As far as I am concerned there is no "take" involved, my point was simply that once religion had all the answers - now it doesn't.
helparcfun
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:11 am

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:53 pm

Going back to the neurosurgeon, he claims to remember these events that he believes he experienced whilst his brain was not functioning. I am certainly not a neurosurgeon and my biology knowledge is severely lacking in comparison to my knowledge of physics, but I had this thought: is it possible that his brain fabricated the memories of these strange events after his brain became active again? I have had curious dreams that seemed to run for hours when I've been asleep for no more than 30 minutes (an afternoon nap), and conversely I've had dreams that have seemed to be no more than a few minutes when I've been asleep for hours. It seems to me that perception of time during dreaming is not reliable. If we make an assumption that the neurosurgeon did not go from a brain-dead state to being conscious and awake instantaneously, that there would have been a transistion period in which he was unconscious but his brain was active, is it not possible that the hypoxia could have caused his brain to fabricate memories of events that he did not experience?

Just sharing some thoughts as I think them.
Mawkish1983
 
Posts: 1175
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby darvki » Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:51 pm

Then there's the fact that people's memories around very recent and specific events are often quite malleable, to say nothing of a memory that is so far back it's supposedly from before one's birth (or in a high stress situation where one's brain may have stopped functioning at one point).
darvki
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:20 am

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:38 am

helparcfun wrote:It is fair to say that I was perhaps being a little facetious in my reply to whynotme. I don't really believe that any Buddhist would characterize rebirth in either of the ways I described. However, the point is that rebirth, like so many other things of this nature, are believed not upon evidence but simply because it is the doctrine of the religion. Doesn't this, in effect, mean that it is taken on faith?

Rebirth is, to me, the most parsimonious, logical, and "safe" theory to adopt because it is the one that aligns best with the nature of the mind, which we can directly, scientifically see through meditation. Rebirth is the theory that we come to when we examine the mind with clear comprehension, make sense of the mechanisms at work, and then seek to find a consistent explanation for how those mechanisms function upon the breakup of the physical body.

If I were to walk into Stephen Hawking's office and say, "Show me the pure evidence for black holes," the best he could give me is some complex math and physics that I would not be able to understand. Would it be appropriate for me to just give up then and there and say that there were no black holes? Of course not. Nor would it be "faith" if I took on a belief in black holes after examining him as a teacher, examining his methods, and deciding that I would trust them for the time being until my skills were developed enough for me to understand the evidence directly. In the same way, to fully, completely understand the nature of the mind and how craving perpetuates being, it takes years and years of meditation practice. But I trust the Buddha, I understand his methods, I see the logic in his statements, and the little progress I have made in my own meditation practice aligns very closely with his "results." So while I may have a confidence in his teachings that guides me onward as I make the journey to direct understanding myself, I hardly take rebirth on faith; on the contrary, rebirth is the only theory relating to the nature of experience that I think holds up when compared to the results I have found "testing" my own mind.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:00 am

The neurosurgeon never mentioned rebirth.
Mawkish1983
 
Posts: 1175
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby whynotme » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:14 am

mikenz66 wrote:
whynotme wrote:... do you think how many people understood what Einstein said when he said about specific relativity theory? Or how many people actually understand quantum physics?

Of course, it depends on what you mean by "understood". Hundreds of thousands of us understand those things well enough to be able to design lasers and semiconductor devices that work, and make the relativistic corrections (special and general) that make your GPS navigation system possible...

:anjali:
Mike

Of course, or should I fix it for you, hundreds of thousands of scientists and engineers understood the effect of the theory (not the theory itself) or understood the theory as a tool well enough to be able to design lasers and semiconductor devices that work.

It is quite different between understanding a theory and understanding how to apply that theory. And in fact, applied engineers who design laser or semiconductor device don't care much about what quantum theory's meaning is, only physicists care

Regards
Please stop following me
whynotme
 
Posts: 398
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:52 am

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby whynotme » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:18 am

Mawkish1983 wrote:Evidence should be objective.

That is a serious problem. Tell me, I am seeing the red color, is red color objective or subjective?

I see the red color, my brain has the state xyz, you see the red color, your brain has the state xyz, is that enough to say my red color is the same as your red color? What if in fact my red color is similar to your blue color?

Regards
Please stop following me
whynotme
 
Posts: 398
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:52 am

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby whynotme » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:34 am

helparcfun wrote:
whynotme wrote:Also what evidence do you require to support rebirth?
Regards


Well, before we can even talk about evidence, we need to establish what "rebirth" involves. If you care to explain how rebirth is supposed to work maybe then we can talk about what evidence would be required. If you are saying that there is some kind of "soul" that transfers itself from a dead person to a person being born, then we need to know the location of this "soul" or whatever you want to call it so we can scientifically analyse how the soul gets from the dead person to the live person. If, however, you are saying that when someone is born they somehow inbibe a dead persons memories then we need to establish how these memories came to be put into the born persons mind. As far as I'm aware, at present there is no scientific method which could do any of this.

If you believe in rebirth, that's fine, you are of course free to believe what you want, but just like the belief in God, it should be simply a matter of "faith." As I've already said, religious people should not try to prove their beliefs by scientific methods - it'll never work.

History is rife with examples where science has proved religion wrong- it's a one way street. Nowhere that I'm aware of are there examples where religion has proved science wrong.

I am open to persuasion if anyone can show me examples where a religion has proved science wrong.

Well, of course that's right, except that you should understand the concept you are working with.

In science, sometimes they used thought experiment, should we use it here as you already mention the possibility of transmission of memory from a brain to another to explain the phenomenon? Here are some thought experiences to identify the soul:

Human, as assumed by science is a structure of material, then all of memory, emotion, personality, skills are all based on this structure, right? So if it is a structure, we copy the info of that structure then destroy it, i.e kill that person, burn his body into dust, none of his was left. Then based on the info of his body structure, assume that we have the technology to build a biology structure then duplicate his structure exactly. A new structure exists with the same memory, personality, emotion, skills as the person we destroyed. Do you consider he is the same person as the man we killed?

Regards
Please stop following me
whynotme
 
Posts: 398
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:52 am

Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:07 am

whynotme wrote:
Mawkish1983 wrote:Evidence should be objective.
That is a serious problem. Tell me, I am seeing the red color, is red color objective or subjective?
Wavelengths can be objectively measured. The 'subjective experience' of colour, however, has nothing to do with physics. Maybe philosophy, not physics. Physics deals in what can be objectively measured, quantified and compared quantitatively so that predictions can be made.

I don't understand how subjective experience of colour has anything to do with the bold, and erroneous, claim the neurosurgeon made; that his memory of an experience constitutes evidence (he even says 'proof') of an objective realm beyond our typical living experience. THAT is the poppycock statement.
Mawkish1983
 
Posts: 1175
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Essex, UK

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Anagarika, palchi and 7 guests