Speculations about certain arguments for specific philosophical paradigms

Hi guys.

I got a bit of time on my hands, thats why ill write down a few of my thoughts again.

This time i like to talk about the “evidence” from materialistic and physicalistic believers (atleast one or two arguments from them since i like to stray of a bit). Stuff that is highly emphasized by them. Note that i call them believers on purpose. Many of them arent sceptics at all. If i would want to talk about those guys that are really sceptics i’d call them like that. No, i wanna talk about that stuff that is brought forward every time someone mentions arguments against alternative theories from other philosophical viewpoints like idealism or dualism, e.g. the filter model. There are also things that are speaking for those theories out there; thats not the topic for this blog post though.

So, what is this “evidence” that im talking about here? Many materialists are blurry about that. You got to poke them a bit to get a decent answer to that. Be careful there though, since many dont appreciate it when you ask for reasons. Thats not a materialistic phenomena though; many people out there just want to spout out a opinion. They get all angry and stuff if you ask them why. But luckily enough there are also those people out there that do want to answer here. That means that there are things that non-materialistic believers have to ponder about. Some of them are not as easy to dismiss. I wouldnt and wont call them evidence though, simply because there isnt anything like real evidence out there in my opinion. Thats kind of wobbly, i know that. Even so, it seems the most reasonable point of view for me. No evidence, just interpreations of certain data. Im 100% sure that i can interpret every piece of data out there in atleast two kind of ways. Just because i say that cheese is tasty doesnt mean that you have to say the same, right? Thats pretty much the same. Also note that scientists are also interpreting research data. If one scientist states that milk is bad for us it doesnt have to be true. Even so, the mechanics the scientist discovered that are related to milk could be real. The effects and conclusions though could be different.

Keep that in mind when you think about scientific facts as evidence.

Well, so, a few of those arguments of materialists out there that seem to favor their theory are related to our brain. Our thoughts, memories and our consciousness seem to be related to it; the materialistic theory is that those things are not just related to the brain, they are based on it. Some even say that consciousness and those other things emerge from the lump of matter we call our brain. Many who are not used to thinking about that stuff propably will say now “of course! It seems reasonable like that!”. Ask yourself though: Is that correct?

Propably the strongest argument for the materialistic theory of ourselves out there is that we can damage our brains and with that change our personalities and our consciousness. I have to admit here, i never experienced brain damage myself. I got hit a few times on my head, but i dont believe that i actually got influenced by that. Even so, there are certainly cases where peoples behaviour did change after they got brain damaged. Thats in fact one of the strongest arguments for the materialistic theory. Propably.

But does that really point us to a neurological explanation of ourselves? Of course i cant go on and say “absolutely no”. I dont believe in facts, remember? 🙂

Even so, ill try to think about that a bit right now. The whole thing can be easily explained with e.g. a soul-based theory. The body just restricts our minds there. If our brain gets damaged, our mind just cant express itself as good as before anymore.Idealism also got no problem with that since everything is in consciousness there. It would be just a restriction placed upon ourselves for unknown reasons.

If we try to “analyze” it from a more material-related view though, that kind of stuff seems rather intriguing. Can we verify that the consciousness/mind of those persons did change due to the damage? We cant “measure” consciousness or anything related to our subjective experiences until this very day; i atleast dont know of any scientific method to do that. Note that EEG’s and stuff like that only measures our brainwaves; those correlate to our thoughts and stuff like that. Even so, we cant produce a thought by just feeding in electronical signals. We also cant “decode” a thought by recording and analyzing brainwaves. Electronic signals seem to only show us that our conscious activities are somehow connected to our brain. That does fit in many theories out there.

Point is, we cant verify the change in the mind of a person unless we take the behaviour of the persons body into account. That means that the mind could still be intact. The only person who would know about that for real is the person we try to verify. We simply dont know what the truth here is.

Another thing that is rather weird about that argument is the very fact that according to that theory the whole brain is based on matter. What exactly is matter? I know that materialists usually counter that with questions like what is consciousness, but lets stay focused here. Consciousness could be many things; the main point related to consciousness though is propably self-awareness. I’d personally would also take thoughts and memories into account there.

Lets ask that again though: What is matter? A construct of many smaller parts, called Atoms, huh? Well there may be is more to that. Matter connects to each other and forms our bodies and everything we know (according to the materialistic theory of course). How can matter do that? Remember that matter got no specific properties in materialism. If we try to assign those kind of things we are drifting of into something different (panspychism? Not exactly propably). If we break the whole thing down to bin quantities, well – there are plenty of quantum operations happening, everywhere, all the time. They happen all around us. Some scientists even suggest that they are happening inside of us aswell. You propably know that already, but quantum physics are rather weird and i wouldnt dare to explain those. I obviously cant. Even so, matter is filled with operations. Various strange properties of those quantum operations allow for various new theories (->Quantum Soul). If materialism tries to take QM into account it got a huge hurdle to take. Due to certain rules and properties of QM there are open doors for all sorts of new theories. I dont believe that materialism or physicalism imply those. Surely, there are materialistic theories for that aswell that take those things into account. You can argue for ages here. I hope you saw though that it isnt as easy as many suggest to just say “well we are dead matter and thats everything there is”. If we look at matter a bit more closely we notice that matter  isnt such a definite thing as many suggest. It gets all wobbly and relative if we try to break it down. Especially when it comes to Quantum Mechanics nothing seems to be set in stone. A very fascinating field of science.

And that pretty much shows us what we are in for when we try to explain our reality. We can make it easy for ourselves and state a theory and be happy with that. However, if we examine the implications and everything related to that a bit further though we notice that my point of view of there not being a single fact out there might be not all that wrong (: So much room for speculations though. Dont even dare to believe that you know anything about reality! We humans can only see the tip of the iceberg.

Definitions related to the field of parapsychology

Hi there.

I actually wanted to do a post last saturday, but some stuff did hold me up.

Anyways, lets get into it. Ive got quite a lot of stuff i want to write about. But with what should i begin? Well, propably with the beginning. Lets define some fundamental things that will always pop up in discussions about parapsychology, consciousness and so on.

First of all, what are the current most popular beliefs out there?

If im allowed to do so i’d sepeate them into 3 groups. First of all, theism. You all know that one. In public its sometimes the only one of those groups that gets associated with the word belief, buts its clearly not the only one of them that fits the meaning of it. Theism is a broad field; fundamental to it is that there is atleast one god. There could be more though; it would be still theism. (Let me quote a source of wikipedia here… http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theism . Its not worth much since wikipedia is also kinda corrupted these days, but that one should get it kinda right). Its propably the largest group worldwide with various subgroups (you know, christianity, etc…).

The second group is materialism (nope, im not dividing that up into physicalism and naturalism and all that stuff). Fundamental to it is the assumption that everything is material. Everything. Including our consciousness. As much as i can say its pretty popular over in the US (Especially in various fields of science that are closely based on matter, like neuroscience). Europe seems to be a bit less aggressive about that, but its still here. Many people relate materialism closely to atheism; but in my opinion those two can be clearly seperated. You dont have to believe in a god to think that there isnt only material out there.

And that brings me to the final group. Some of you may say that its a subgroup of theism, but just like i already wrote, non-material-beliefs dont necessarly need a god. Two good words to describe that group propably would be spiritiualism/dualism. Those two words can be related to each other (depends on your definition of them), but they dont have to be. That group holds the belief that there isnt just only material out there. And thats basically it. Things like life after death and paranormal phenomena are getting related to it; the first one is propably one of the things thats pretty popular in that group, the second one not necessarly so. But besides that, both are not clear indicators for it.

Anyways, as you can see it seems like there are clear definitions. Reality is, there arent. There is way too many stuff out there that cant be clearly defined as a part of any of those groups. And well, there are propably many out there who would punch me for sticking their beliefs in any of those.

But basically these are the larger ones. If you go to a random internet discussion plattform that you know about, it will be basically two or more people of one of those 3 groups that are trying to boost their egos. If you really want to know more, read science papers or something. Not just the mainstream science, the others too. It will help you so much more doing that instead of discussing with people that are already sure what they want to believe. They wont budge anyways.

Anyways, since i want to talk a bit more about some ‘paranormal’ things, let me try to define some of that too:

Consciousness

I would gladly refrain from defining that if i could. Its propably one of the most talked-about things out there since humanity exists. So, what is consciousness? Some out there describe it as self-awareness, others as a combination of behaviour, emotions, awareness and all that other stuff. And well, there are also materialists out there that claim that it doesnt exist at all, but lets ignore them for now. If we take the rest of them, it may be a combination of various of that stuff. Self-Awareness and Awareness in general are propably a big part of it. And since self-awareness comes with various other things (like the act of thinking; did you ever try to be self-aware without thinking about youself?), they are propably included too.

What doesnt have to be included though are memories (and emotions dont have to be either; i know i mentioned them before though). But as always, it can be included since you cant clearly define those things unless you make assumptions.

Parapsychology

I already wrote that one (the title…), huh? Its basically the science of everything that is ‘paranormal’. Stuff like ghosts, life after death and especially psi are getting related to that. Western science usually treats that one like the black sheep of the family. Thats propably related to various frauds in the past (the rest of western science had those things too though; but as usual, no one cares about those) and the fact that this science is mainly based on subjective experience. Its not like the other kinds of science arent based on that; but most of them can be measured with machines or stuff like that. Most of parapsychology cant. Therefore most scientists of matter-related science fields wont take anything of it seriously (and thats a sad thing 😦 ).

NDE & OBE

Those 2 words are insanely common these days when you are talking with dualists about life after death. NDE stands for near death experience. That kind of stuff are the moments where people are being conscious while they are getting in life-threating situations (or while they are clinically dead). Moments where they shouldnt be capable of observing anything at all; but some of them still do. They are linked to quite a few symptoms like a bright light, seeing your dead relatives, etc. There are lots of theories for it out there (materialistic, dualistic…whatever.). Materialistic theories are often related to drugs and the effects of chemicals. Also science is capable of triggering a few of those described sympthoms (if its the same experience as living trough the real deal…i dont know, i never had something like that. Thats a subjective thing after all). Dualistic theories are based on the notion that there exists something seperate to our body. Therefore all of that is possible, no probs.

OBE stands for out of body experience. They are related to NDE’s in that way that they often occur while NDE’s are happening. They dont have to though. OBE’s are the act where people are leaving their body; or atleast they say so. Many of them are reporting various things they saw while the where flying around. There are cases where that stuff was accurate and true. A bit frightening in my opinion, but its out there. Materialistic theories try to explain it just like they do with NDE’s. OBE’s can also be triggered with the stimulation of the brain (and again, i dont know if that would feel the same as the real deal). And well, i heard that you can actually learn to do that stuff freely. Eastern spiritual science is propably something that could help here. Dualistic theories are trying to get around that with the notion that a spirit exists (not all of them of course).

To be honest, i dont know anything about theistic theories for both of them. I may assume though that those would be similar to the dualistic ones.

Thats propably enough for today (and im out of things to define for now anyways). You may want to remember at this point that these are not explicit answer to the meanings of those things. Especially consciousness is something that cant be clearly defined. Also, in all of that stuff there is a lot of subjective experience involved. Something that science these days likes to ignore. But well, i hope that i gave some of you a bit of insight on how you can define these things.