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 Subtle(astral) bodies compatible with materialism?
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Alexander1304
Skeptic Friend

75 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2011 :  11:34:50  Show Profile Send Alexander1304 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello all,
I've read Keith Augustin's essay "Case against immortality" and Keith makes the reference on the Carl Becker book "Paranormal Experience and Survival of bodily death".
So I had a look into this book.Becekr discusses different idues,mostly from Buddhist perspective.But I've been puzzled with his opinion of existence of so-called "wtheric bodies" .
I know these concepts are derived from Eastern Religions,Theosophy and many parapsychologists believe in their existence.But ,as Douglas M.Stokes states in his Consciousness and the Physical World":
"Most parapsychologists remain skeptical about the reality of astral bodies..."
What puzzles me is the statements made by Becker "etheric bodies" may even be reconciled with gross materialism.For example,J.Rhine said that "astral boies might well evolve along as we evolved from the lower species"
Another statement is made that `even gross materialist would allow that it is conceivable that human consciusness and personality are not stored in physical brain but in Óstral brain`.
he suggests at least 3 ways of how these "invisible bodies" reconcilable wuth materialism: 1.Particle Wave Theory(something that Myers followed),or: 2.Force Fields(J.L.Randall),or: 3.Forth Dimension.
I personally have some problems with this.First,it simply hard for me to see how these "subtle body" could simply "evolve"?

Second,how sure these above theories may be responsible for consciossness?
And,last,how credible are they as good scientific theories?As far as I know mainstream contemporary science doesn't support right now existence of "suble bodies".What is your opinion on the matter of "subtle bodies"?Is it proven,that they exist?Or it is just a possibility,and no good empirical evidence so far?
Becker also wrote the book about `Ófterlife in Buddhusm`,so he is very `pro-Buddhistic`,so to say,and `subtle bodies` are very central to Buddhism, so may be this explains his `Ŕmpathy` of such bodies.
My personal initial questions regarding this:
First,I personally cannot see how such bodies could simply "evolve".
Second,what is the official stance of materialistic science today about existence of such "bodies"?Any scientific evidence?
Third,even if something like that DOES exist - how can it former structure like "brain"?
And if "no" - how then these "bodies" can be anything more than abstract concept?
All thoughts would be appreciated

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2011 :  12:03:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
First, evidence demonstrating that any of the objects you mention are real will be needed. It isn't possible to discuss these things in a meaningful context otherwise.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Alexander1304
Skeptic Friend

75 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2011 :  12:13:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Alexander1304 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude

First, evidence demonstrating that any of the objects you mention are real will be needed. It isn't possible to discuss these things in a meaningful context otherwise.




I agree.Well,for Becker(the author) the evidence is OBEs and Apparitions,but I`m not sure if THAT can be regarded as an evidence.Because at least 3 modern paranormal researchers/afterlife researchers don`t count OBE and Apparition as a good evidence(Alan Gauld,Stephen Braude and Douglas Stokes).I read their books,and emailed this questions to Gauld and Braude.They responded.Gauld: ``I'm afaid I have not seen or indeed heard of Becker's book; but I am not clear how postulating the existence of subtle bodies in any of the forms you mention would solve the mind-body problem, and all that goes therewith, rather than pushing the problem back one remove.``

And Braude: `` I don't consider the OBE/NDE material to be clear evidence of anything other than vivid clairvoyance, and those who go further and assert the existence of subtle bodies or independently existing entities are guilty of various confusions.``

But my question was - is any scientifec research into this topic?
So far I`ve seen this material only on ˛ccult/spiritual sites,which I don`t consider as a good source of information...
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Baxter
Skeptic Friend

USA
131 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2011 :  12:41:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Baxter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't know what you're talking about, but I have intentional "out-of-body" experiences (new agers call it astral projection) and I am a lucid dreamer (after years of practice). I believe OBE's are just highly-lucid dreams. I haven't seen any scientific evidence for consciousness apart from the physical mind as of yet.

But some people swear that they have verified information that they have seen while "Out-of-body". Others swear that they have shared a dream with someone else and were able to verify it afterwards.

"We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me." ~from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

"We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know." ~Robert G. Ingersoll
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Alexander1304
Skeptic Friend

75 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2011 :  13:00:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Alexander1304 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Baxter

I don't know what you're talking about

I`m asking if there are any reason to suppose that there might be ``subtle bodies`` in addition to biological bodies,assuming materialism is true.
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2011 :  13:52:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Alexander1304

Originally posted by Baxter

I don't know what you're talking about

I`m asking if there are any reason to suppose that there might be ``subtle bodies`` in addition to biological bodies,assuming materialism is true.
Then the answer is "no."


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 03/30/2011 :  07:41:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Alexander1304

Originally posted by Dude

First, evidence demonstrating that any of the objects you mention are real will be needed. It isn't possible to discuss these things in a meaningful context otherwise.




I agree.Well,for Becker(the author) the evidence is OBEs and Apparitions,but I`m not sure if THAT can be regarded as an evidence.Because at least 3 modern paranormal researchers/afterlife researchers don`t count OBE and Apparition as a good evidence(Alan Gauld,Stephen Braude and Douglas Stokes).I read their books,and emailed this questions to Gauld and Braude.They responded.Gauld: ``I'm afaid I have not seen or indeed heard of Becker's book; but I am not clear how postulating the existence of subtle bodies in any of the forms you mention would solve the mind-body problem, and all that goes therewith, rather than pushing the problem back one remove.``

And Braude: `` I don't consider the OBE/NDE material to be clear evidence of anything other than vivid clairvoyance, and those who go further and assert the existence of subtle bodies or independently existing entities are guilty of various confusions.``

But my question was - is any scientifec research into this topic?
So far I`ve seen this material only on ˛ccult/spiritual sites,which I don`t consider as a good source of information...

There is a truckload of research into the nature, process, and cause of human consciousness. There are several fields of study that examine those questions; neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and others.

But you seem to be asking if there is any science dealing with claims made by "paranormal" investigators...? The answer is no, because all the testable claims made by them have long ago been shown to be false. The rest of their claims are untestable, which sets them outside the realm of science.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2011 :  10:49:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Alexander 1304.....

I've read all of your posts with great interest. You appear ambiguous as regards the paranormal and the natural. Why not just take an absolute position that there are no such things as ESP, UAP, anything that skeptics call "woo"?
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2011 :  11:29:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

Alexander 1304.....

I've read all of your posts with great interest. You appear ambiguous as regards the paranormal and the natural. Why not just take an absolute position that there are no such things as ESP, UAP, anything that skeptics call "woo"?
Come on Bill. That we are skeptical about ESP doesn't mean that we take the absolute position that ESP doesn't happen. We just doubt it and will look for other more worldly explanations. As for UAP's, your assertion is ridiculous. I don't think there is a skeptic out there who denies that UAP's and UFO's happen. What we don't do is conclude that its status as "unidentified" somehow makes them good candidates for extra terrestrial visitations.

Just because we argue from a skeptical point of view doesn't mean our position is there are no such things. Doubt is not "an absolute position" and you know it. So why make such a silly assertion?



Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2011 :  11:31:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

Why not just take an absolute position that there are no such things as ESP, UAP, anything that skeptics call "woo"?
Wouldn't it be better if Alexander1304 examined multiple lines of evidence for consilience (or the lack thereof) and came to a tentative, skeptical conclusion?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2011 :  11:58:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kil....

Skeptics believe that some "woo" could exist? Pure woo? As defined by Randi who maybe invented the term?
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2011 :  12:09:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave.....

Wouldn't it be better if Alexander1304 examined multiple lines of evidence for consilience (or the lack thereof) and came to a tentative, skeptical conclusion?
Yes, much better, if consilience is possible for "lines of evidence" for whatever the users of the word "woo" define that word to mean.
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2011 :  12:19:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kil and Dave.....

I actually was waiting to see if Akexander was an absolutist or a skeptic in the sense you describe. Maybe even an agnostic!
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2011 :  13:18:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

Kil....

Skeptics believe that some "woo" could exist? Pure woo? As defined by Randi who maybe invented the term?
What the hell are you talking about? Sure. There are some things we might call "woo." Some things like the beliefe in claims of efficacy made about homeopathy, for example, is "pure woo" (as you call it) because the claims made about its efficacy, as well as the physics behind the claims are demonstrably false. But just because we might think an idea is "woo" doesn't mean that we have completely rejected any possibility that with the proper evidence, we will change our minds. You called our position "absolute" which is simply not true. That spot is already taken by "true believers" who will not consider the evidence. You know... Woo's. People who are oblivious to the evidence, or who have a dogmatic adherence to an idea without any evidence to suport that idea. That's what we mean by woo, for christ sake. I assure you, Randi does not say that psi is not possible. Obviously, he strongly doubts it or he wouldn't be offering a million bucks to anyone who can provide a positive result under controlled conditions that are not only agreed to by anyone setting out to demonstrate their ability, but that person is also in on the protocols for such testing. And the test isn't limited to psi claims.

And really Bill. I think you have avoided my response with the above question. Find me a skeptic who says there are no such things as UAP's?

You seem to be on a mission these days to define skeptics as dogmatic black and white thinkers. As if our insistance on evidence supporting claims of fact were somehow a bad thing. Okay then. Tell me a better way to start the process of inquiry and to get to the truth value of a claim?

Bill. Why don't you tag along with me the next time I visit a New Age Expo? Maybe when you see one exhibiter after another promising miraculous claims of cures for everything, including HIV and cancer if you just do or take whatever it is they are selling, you might become a bit jaded yourself and refer to many of those exhibiters, or the people who fall for their products as Woo's. Maybe when you have had as many psychic readings as I have had, without giving away too much personal information, and you watch the psychic grasping to come up with something, you might begin to wonder if the people who believe in such things just might be Woo's? I'm not saying that all people who claim to be psychics are not. I'm saying that I have not seen a shred of evidence to support their claims. And I say that from personal experience. (Though my experiences are admittedly anecdotal. And I think it would be pretty cool if any psychic could actually demonstrate any real psychic ability.)

Why are you an atheist Bill?

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2011 :  19:30:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kil.....

There are some things we might call "woo."
Does "woo" lie on a gradient scale? If so, what are the initial and terminal points? Like 0% to 100%?
You called our position "absolute" which is simply not true.
I said...
Why not just take an absolute position that there are no such things as ESP, UAP, anything that skeptics call "woo"?
I address you and Alexander on different planes. That was directed to Alexander. I was interested in his personal response. You are inferring from my question that I believe that all skeptics are absolutist. That is not true. I have been confused about the word "woo". I felt that it was somehow different than "paranormal" or "very unlikely". You have already given me a different perspective in your above post.
And really Bill. I think you have avoided my response with the above question.
No avoidance intended. We are misunderstanding one another. I saw absolutism in "woo". You have clarified that considerably above. I did state:
I actually was waiting to see if Alexander was an absolutist or a skeptic in the sense you describe. Maybe even an agnostic!
That was intended as additional explanation. Guess it didn't work.
You seem to be on a mission these days to define skeptics as dogmatic black and white thinkers.
"Mission" is hyperbolic. Just another stirstick of the imp. However, I do see some skeptics as black and white thinkers. Especially when they get excited!
Tell me a better way to start the process of inquiry and to get to the truth value of a claim?
The method is the best available for many such claims. There are some (like Le Penseur's) on which it doesn't work, as we have seen. Most importantly, I feel that beginning any investigation requires a complete lack of prejudice.
You mention Randi. I have corresponded extensively with Randi in the past concerning a Breatharian claim. I have e-mails demonstrating extreme prejudice aforethought on the part of Randi. He can be very absolutist, believe me!
Bill. Why don't you tag along with me the next time I visit a New Age Expo?
I would love too. But not for the Expo, for your company. I have probably been going to thse things longer and more frequently than you have, David. I have been to many dozens of smaller meetings (20-30 booths) all over the country from Kentucky and Tennesee to Indiana, Florida, Iowa and Colorado. And right here in Spokane, Washington, (30 miles from my home) last year. All told, I would guess I have been to 60 or 70 different "New Age" gatherings over the past 25 or so years.

I find them fascinating, both in terms of what crazies these mortals can be! and also for the cleverness of some of the pitchmen. It can be difficult to maintain an open mind at some of these gatherings!
I'm saying that I have not seen a shred of evidence to support their claims.
Are you certain that you would recognize a shred of evidence if one turned up?
Find me a skeptic who says there are no such things as UAP's?
I shall try!
Why are you an atheist Bill?
I am not an atheist as commonly (dictionary) defined. However, not to evade, primarily because I inherited excellent intelligence genes and my parents were non religious in any sense whatsoever. So my mind was free to question and learn when I first began to really think upon entering college.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2011 :  20:50:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

You are inferring from my question that I believe that all skeptics are absolutist. That is not true.
Well, the question was hostile no matter to whom it was directed. Your question boiled down to "why not be dogmatic about [subject at hand]?" which appears to presume that absolutism should be your interrogatee's default position. So saying you weren't being hostile to skeptics simply means that you were being hostile to Alexander1304.
Most importantly, I feel that beginning any investigation requires a complete lack of prejudice.
Doesn't it only require a willingness to overcome one's biases as the evidence demands?
You mention Randi.
Actually, you did.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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