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Old 12-19-2011, 03:08 AM
 
31 posts, read 13,251 times
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Default Atheism..Questions regarding evidence

I’ve always tried to look at the supernatural subject with an open mind reading up on both the views of the believers and non-believers. I myself would be considered agnostic I guess because I’m not 100% convinced either way though I am leaning towards "there is something more going on after we die" purely on "circumstantial evidence" I’ve read but there would be nothing that would convince me completely besides a personal experience.


My question is directed at the atheists of the world who don’t believe in anything supernatural.


How do you come to this conclusion that supernatural occurrences simply do not exist? Is it just a stance you take….An opinion? Or have you researched the subject thoroughly? The reason I ask is from what I have read there is ample circumstantial evidence out there that shows there is more going on and no matter where I look I cannot find explanations from sceptics or atheist regarding a few of the topics (see below)


1. Reincarnation
Scientific Proof of Reincarnation: Dr. Ian Stevenson


2. OBE’S
Ok from what I understand here is that most nonbelievers explain this as a hallucination, a dying brain last breath, and they have backed it up by recreating the experience with pilots BUT at the very most all they achieve is “being out of body” seeing oneself from the roof or floating and the tunnel yet there have been reports of people having those experience’s and so much more for instance seeing dead loved ones, going to another place, feeling love and no judgment and finally giving information on things that were going on in the world while they were dead either in the room they were in or somewhere else.


I’m not religious so this is not an attack I’m simply interested in how a person who has zero belief in the supernatural explains these things to themselves, do you simply deny it because science cannot prove or disprove it? Are you of the opinion “there must be a logical reason for it all we just haven’t found it yet?” or maybe i have overlooked or missed some sort of explination regarding the above topics ? (if so please send me a link etc.



I’ll say it again though this very seldom works, Please no attacking we have enough of that going on in these threads, if you have an answer to the question post it…..simple J
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Old 12-19-2011, 03:49 AM
 
Location: London, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EyesWideOpen219 View Post
I’ve always tried to look at the supernatural subject with an open mind reading up on both the views of the believers and non-believers. I myself would be considered agnostic I guess because I’m not 100% convinced either way though I am leaning towards "there is something more going on after we die" purely on "circumstantial evidence" I’ve read but there would be nothing that would convince me completely besides a personal experience.


My question is directed at the atheists of the world who don’t believe in anything supernatural.
The atheist position on the supernatural is just the same as regards god - claims. We are, like you, agnostic. We do not know - and nobody knows - whether the stuff under the 'supernatural' heading are real phenomena or superstitious delusion. Since the evidence is not conclusive, the logical position is to withhold belief or credence until it is forthcoming. That is all that is needed for disbelief in the supernatural and is all that is required for atheism.


Quote:
How do you come to this conclusion that supernatural occurrences simply do not exist? Is it just a stance you take….An opinion? Or have you researched the subject thoroughly? The reason I ask is from what I have read there is ample circumstantial evidence out there that shows there is more going on and no matter where I look I cannot find explanations from sceptics or atheist regarding a few of the topics (see below)
This is based on doubts about whether the phenomenon is real, what it is and what it signifies. To give credence where the evidence is inadequate is irrational and is somewhat 'faith' - based; that is it is based more on personal preference than on verified fact.

"there is something more going on after we die" purely on "circumstantial evidence" This is too vague and debatable for belief to be invested yet. I can say that the subject of an afterlife has been discussed here and a case had not been adequately made or even made coherent.

Quote:
1. Reincarnation
Scientific Proof of Reincarnation: Dr. Ian Stevenson


2. OBE’S
Ok from what I understand here is that most nonbelievers explain this as a hallucination, a dying brain last breath, and they have backed it up by recreating the experience with pilots BUT at the very most all they achieve is “being out of body” seeing oneself from the roof or floating and the tunnel yet there have been reports of people having those experience’s and so much more for instance seeing dead loved ones, going to another place, feeling love and no judgment and finally giving information on things that were going on in the world while they were dead either in the room they were in or somewhere else.
What you are doing here is dismissing verified evidence in favour of feelings which may be no more than feelings. You must see that the degree of doubt about all this is such that we have to be agnostic about where it all comes from and what it all signifies. To leap to conclusions and beliefs about that is very much the leap of faith and starting with the conclusion and looking round for very debatable evidence to support it. This sort of argument can be very persuasive but is not correct scientific method.

The only logical stance is to withhold belief until we know what we are dealing with. Bear in mind that the effects of prayer and meditation have been linked to brain activity, Voices in the head have been linked to brain activity and the feeling of a 'presence' is also linked to brain activity. Of course that is not disproof and a rationalist would not say that it was. It is just doubt enough to withhold belief.

Quote:
I’m not religious so this is not an attack I’m simply interested in how a person who has zero belief in the supernatural explains these things to themselves, do you simply deny it because science cannot prove or disprove it? Are you of the opinion “there must be a logical reason for it all we just haven’t found it yet?” or maybe i have overlooked or missed some sort of explanation regarding the above topics ? (if so please send me a link etc.
There is a certain misrepresentation of the atheist and indeed rationalist position. The logical position (an people - even atheists -are not always logical) is to assess the evidence and see whether it is conclusive. That can look like “there must be a logical reason for it all we just haven’t found it yet?” but it isn't. It is more that we haven't found the explanation yet and so it is wrong to leap to 'supernatural is real' claims before we do.

I don't want to start an exchange of links to polemic sources, but perhaps it would not be off -topic to give the claims for 'supernatural' and the counter claims as we go on. I may have to begin though by asking whether you accept logic and the validity of scientific data and method before we go on because, if you doubt that, then discussion becomes pointless.

Quote:
I’ll say it again though this very seldom works,
In fact I'd say that it had worked, often and continually. From Comets and volcanoes to epileptic fits and Voices in the head and in respect of many other events which were once considered 'supernatural' the evidence has shown where we could find out what was doing it, that it was natural and nothing supernatural was involved. Even if we did sit back and say that 'it must have a natural explanation - we just don't know what, yet' one might say that rational skepticism has rather earned that right.

Quote:
Please no attacking we have enough of that going on in these threads, if you have an answer to the question post it…..simple J
Wouldn't dream of it. Looking for your comments. I shall have a look at the link to reincarnation. I have looked at the evidence and it all seems a bit anecdotal, theoretical and in fact unfeasible, but I'm willing to be convinced. I'd rather like there to be an afterlife but personal preference is not valid evidence.

Yes. There have been many claims of remembering former lives. Hypnotic regression was one that attracted a lot of attention. The fact is that a lot of the accounts I read were a bit debatable. Remember that Hypnotic regression also produces a lot of alien abduction memories. There are doubts about whether those are real, too. I don't talk diissmissal but doubts.

NED's have been discussed too, but when the objections are refuted, we seem to get anecdotal claims which never seem to be verified.

I'll put this point for you to consider. In considering reincarnation, just what is supposed to be reincarnated? Someone's soul or personality or memories?

Last edited by AREQUIPA; 12-19-2011 at 04:09 AM..
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:30 AM
 
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Just glancing through the interview I'm noticing things such as:

"Essentially I say that the idea of reincarnation permits but doesn't compel belief. All the cases I've investigated so far have shortcomings. Even taken together, they do not offer anything like proof. But as the body of evidence accumulates, it's more likely that more and more people will see its relevance."

This is considered something Atheists and other scientists have no answer for, why?

Also his conclusions that children interested in the other genders issues and who later grow up and get a sex change, supports reincarnation seems a bit of a stretch.

Not to mention the argument of children who show strong interests in subjects not introduced to them by parents or common in their environment.

He seems to be working backwards from the assumption reincarnation happens, and cherry picking whatever supports his position.

That's my initial take on it, I would be curious to read more from him because he does seem sincere, just not all together logical (as in those logical leaps) or in a position to be practicing good science (ie, he's already convinced reincarnation occurs and is searching for proof).
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:44 AM
 
31 posts, read 13,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEarthBeneathMe View Post
Just glancing through the interview I'm noticing things such as:

"Essentially I say that the idea of reincarnation permits but doesn't compel belief. All the cases I've investigated so far have shortcomings. Even taken together, they do not offer anything like proof. But as the body of evidence accumulates, it's more likely that more and more people will see its relevance."

This is considered something Atheists and other scientists have no answer for, why?

Also his conclusions that children interested in the other genders issues and who later grow up and get a sex change, supports reincarnation seems a bit of a stretch.

Not to mention the argument of children who show strong interests in subjects not introduced to them by parents or common in their environment.

He seems to be working backwards from the assumption reincarnation happens, and cherry picking whatever supports his position.

That's my initial take on it, I would be curious to read more from him because he does seem sincere, just not all together logical (as in those logical leaps) or in a position to be practicing good science (ie, he's already convinced reincarnation occurs and is searching for proof).
Agreed it doesnt prove reincarnation there was even theories thrown around that when you die you leave some sort of fingerprint within the universe a collection of memories if you will and somehow those memories are imprinted on anothers mind, but to disregard his findings from that small statment doesnt seem feasible to me not to mention that huge amount of evidence that supports reincarnation, the birthmarks for example or that these kids are convinced they were these people, thanks for the response
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EyesWideOpen219 View Post
Agreed it doesnt prove reincarnation there was even theories thrown around that when you die you leave some sort of fingerprint within the universe a collection of memories if you will and somehow those memories are imprinted on anothers mind, but to disregard his findings from that small statment doesnt seem feasible to me not to mention that huge amount of evidence that supports reincarnation, the birthmarks for example or that these kids are convinced they were these people, thanks for the response
But those are examples of cherry picking...

Also it seems very cultural oriented. Cultures that already accept it as fact, seem to be reporting more instances where it occurs...

You can either come up with the "they're just more open to it happening.."

at which point I'd say "To what happening.."

And you'd say "To a fingerprint within the universe sort of collecting memories to be passed on.."

and then I'd say "really? Isn't the simplest solution usually the most accurate - that cultural influences seem to be intentionally/unintentially influencing children, + cherry picking + looking for proof from an agenda are what's influencing this research"

And then you would either agree, or say nope, somehow when we die our memories are fingerprinting themselves in the universe somewhere...

Which brings us to either the solution which invites many many many more questions and rewrites many topics of science/religion - or the one where a lone scientists is falling victim to bad science.

And again, even by his own admission from each case there are "short comings."

So why is he so insistent that reincarnation occurs?
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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There are hundreds of articles online illustrating problems with NDE's and alternative explanations for them. But, I wanted to highlight a couple:

You have to read this article: Hallucinatory Near-Death Experiences
Quote:
Even if we disregard the overwhelming evidence for the dependence of consciousness on the brain, there remains strong evidence from reports of near-death experiences themselves that NDEs are not glimpses of an afterlife. This evidence includes:

(1) discrepancies between what is seen in the out-of-body component of an NDE and what's actually happening in the physical world;

(2) bodily sensations incorporated into the NDE, either as they are or experienced as NDE imagery;

(3) encountering living persons during NDEs;

(4) the greater variety of differences than similarities between different NDEs, where specific details of NDEs generally conform to cultural expectation;

(5) the typical randomness or insignificance of the memories retrieved during those few NDEs that include a life review;

(6) NDEs where the experiencer makes a decision not to return to life by crossing a barrier or threshold viewed as a 'point of no return,' but is restored to life anyway;

(7) hallucinatory imagery in NDEs, including encounters with mythological creatures and fictional characters; and

(8) the failure of predictions in those instances in which experiencers report seeing future events during NDEs or gaining psychic abilities after them.
And here are two more good articles:
Near Death Experiences & the Medical Literature by Mark Crislip

NDEs Redux Skeptics need to reclaim, redefine & embrace Near Death Experiences by Sebastian Dieguez

OK, one last article on Out of Body Experiences
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:04 AM
 
31 posts, read 13,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEarthBeneathMe View Post
But those are examples of cherry picking...

Also it seems very cultural oriented. Cultures that already accept it as fact, seem to be reporting more instances where it occurs...

You can either come up with the "they're just more open to it happening.."

at which point I'd say "To what happening.."

And you'd say "To a fingerprint within the universe sort of collecting memories to be passed on.."

and then I'd say "really? Isn't the simplest solution usually the most accurate - that cultural influences seem to be intentionally/unintentially influencing children, + cherry picking + looking for proof from an agenda are what's influencing this research"

And then you would either agree, or say nope, somehow when we die our memories are fingerprinting themselves in the universe somewhere...

Which brings us to either the solution which invites many many many more questions and rewrites many topics of science/religion - or the one where a lone scientists is falling victim to bad science.

And again, even by his own admission from each case there are "short comings."

So why is he so insistent that reincarnation occurs?
Honestly a child remembering specifics such as parents names, house, dogs names, village even minute details + having these details confirmed by this scientist doesnt seem like cherry picking to me at all and totally eliminates cultural influence when it comes to knowing details. i wont go as far as saying that its reincarnation but it does tell me something more is going on here...especially with the whole birthmark thing, surley that cannot be faked. Interesting point regaring the cultures i have no clue when it comes to that though i have read and watched interviews were western kids has experianced similar events though they werent as convincing as his cases.

Regarding the short comings if you have a look at his books or research him somemore on the net you will notice he only found shortcomings when it came to adults and could have very reasonable explinations when it comes to that. personally i dont think he had an agenda when it came to this and just presented the data as he got it.

Last edited by EyesWideOpen219; 12-19-2011 at 06:17 AM..
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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The "evidence" for reincarnation typically involves case studies, which is among the lowest grade of scientific research because it is highly susceptible to experimenter bias. Looking for evidence of reincarnation involves recording the living person's supposed "remembered details" about their past life, and then combing through any existing documents or artifacts one can find of people who lived in the past looking for parallels to the "remembered details". Trying to prove something through parallels is the absolute worst way to prove anything, because our minds are biased to find patterns even when they aren't there, to make things fit even when they don't, to ignore/forget details that don't match, and to underestimate how common some details are of people living in a certain era or of a certain profession. [Incidentally, that last problem is exactly what frauds who claim to speak to the dead take advantage of.] And finally, many things just aren't known about people who lived in the past, so many "remembered details" can't be evaluated for truthfulness because the historical record says nothing about some of those real or imagined details. Furthermore, each case study the public receives usually only comes from one researcher; in other words no independent research has replicated the research of that case study to find whether the first researcher is even telling the truth, or whether they conveniently left out "remembered details" that were discovered to be untrue about the dead person, etc.

Anyway, since the "evidence" for reincarnation is limited to case studies. The evidence against reincarnation also takes the form of case studies, in which the skeptic finds and points out the details that a living person got wrong about the dead person they claim to be, or evidence that the living person did research on that dead person before they claimed to be that person (thus giving themselves details they could "remember"), or evidence the original investigator "found parallels" that just aren't there, etc. But, of course, the problem with exposing these false reincarnations, one by one, leaves the process open to the believer saying, "Well, your disproving those instances of reincarnation says nothing about the validity of these other cases." Although that is true, a pattern of debunking claim after claim of reincarnation, leads me to think that the remaining claims are probably without substance either. In addition, some cases can't be debunked because there just is not enough there in the historical record of the dead person. Reincarnation is a very extraordinary claim; a number of remarkable claimed parallels between "remembered details" and actual details of a dead person's life cannot carrying the heavy load of establishing the validity of reincarnation for the reasons I stated in my first paragraph.

In any case, here is a case study that showed one publicized "case of reincarnation" was not a true case of reincarnation:

CSI | A Case of Reincarnation — Reexamined
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:17 AM
 
31 posts, read 13,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hueffenhardt View Post
There are hundreds of articles online illustrating problems with NDE's and alternative explanations for them. But, I wanted to highlight a couple:

You have to read this article: Hallucinatory Near-Death Experiences
And here are two more good articles:
Near Death Experiences & the Medical Literature by Mark Crislip
NDEs Redux Skeptics need to reclaim, redefine & embrace Near Death Experiences by Sebastian Dieguez

OK, one last article on Out of Body Experiences
Thanks i have never seen your top article, will read up
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,108 posts, read 1,250,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EyesWideOpen219 View Post
personally i dont think he had an agenda when it came to this and just presented the data as he got it.
That is your opinion, but you must see that for all of these cases that he researched, he was the only "scientist" researching and reporting on them. Someone else, preferably a skeptic, needs to go in and verify all of his original research. Without that, for all we know, he could have been pulling a fast one over on all of us to make himself famous.

It is quite common for people to get birthmarks in similar places on the body and in similar shapes and colors. I bet if an independent researcher closely examined both birthmarks, there would be subtle differences that the original researcher ignored because it would undermine his citing them as evidence. Furthermore, the vast, vast majority of reincarnation claims feature people that look nothing like the dead person. The theory is that their disembodied mind goes from one body to another. So, we should not expect the two people to have physical features in common, and if they do have physical features in common, it should be chalked up to coincidence, since by theory, reincarnation of the mind/spirit should not affect the development of physical features. It is not scientifically honest to throw in every parallel but the kitchen sink into a case study looking to see what sticks, regardless of whether or not it is consistent with what one would predict from the theory of reincarnation.

Last edited by Hueffenhardt; 12-19-2011 at 06:36 AM..
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