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  1. #1546
    Kiss my axe! kahnovitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironchef texmex View Post
    I'm no doctor either, but my understanding is that a number of studies on this have been aimed specifically at "brain death".
    We were talking about patients resuscitated after flat lining right?
    (Resurrected just doesn't sound right!)
    I assumed we were talking about once the heart stops beating, as I'm pretty sure, when your diagnosed "brain dead" you are beyond any further medical assistance
    .

  2. #1547
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahnovitch View Post
    We were talking about patients resuscitated after flat lining right?
    (Resurrected just doesn't sound right!)
    I assumed we were talking about once the heart stops beating, as I'm pretty sure, when your diagnosed "brain dead" you are beyond any further medical assistance
    .

    Brain death meaning that the patients' brains are displaying no electrical impulses that can be detected with an electroencephalograph -- which requires a restarting of the heart for the patient to recover brain activity. Not brain death meaning that the brain cells themselves have physically died -- which, of course, requires a cleric... tenth level or above.

    Just so you know, I've never seen a skeptic argue the electroencephalograph readings. The usual line of materialist argument is that the 'experiences' may have occurred in the brain during the period of recovery, and that impairment of the patient's sense of time led to their confused belief that the experiences occurred during brain death.

  3. #1548
    Master Obfuscator Dawnstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironchef texmex View Post
    I'm not asking people to agree with me, Dawnstorm, just to think about what they believe -- and why.
    Heh, posting would be easier if I didn't think about what I believe. There's a downside to that. People with a greater certainty tend to walk all over you...

    To my mind, I would actually reverse your statement about comparing God to people, since in my experience God been present, and never left. Whereas most of the people in my life have come and gone with a fair amount of fluidity.
    Seems to me, you haven't met my "if ignored" condition, then.

    As for your above statement, let me first preface by admitting that no analogy of the metaphysical will ever be perfect. My point with the bricks is that whenever we CANNOT be a disinterested party then both desire and observation will factor into the mental exercises that follow, both will be weighted into any decision.
    Chicken or Egg question to me. ...influences desire influences observation influences faith influences desire influences...

    As for the scientific community, I would argue them as exibit A. The numbers that constitute disinterested items work wonderfully as long as the human being working with them are more or less disinterested. Add desire into the equation and all of the sudden those numbers can do some pretty amazing things. We see this on a small scale when a certain person or group go to great lengths to defend a particular hypothesis on which their funding or even their careers are founded. We see it on much grander scales when talking about a political hotbutton issue like global warming or the biological underpinnings of human sexuality.
    Quite true. All science is pretty useless when it comes to eveluations of the results in any way, unless it's things like "helps me build a car, yes/no".

    I'm still wondering about the balance, how much evaluation can you get rid of without ending up with useless data.

    But I also recognize that disinterested numbers are filtered through human eyes and human hearts.
    Quite true. What I'm not sure at all about is how to determine what's disinterested about disinterested numbers, and what isn't, when the reason we have these numbers in the first place isn't disinterested at all.

    Quagmire to me. Can't think...

  4. #1549
    Kiss my axe! kahnovitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironchef texmex View Post
    Brain death meaning that the patients' brains are displaying no electrical impulses that can be detected with an electroencephalograph -- which requires a restarting of the heart for the patient to recover brain activity.
    So restarting the heart, restarts the brain too?

    I admit it's the first time I've heard that.

    Considering the heart (being a muscle) is usually "jump-started" by a defibrillator. How is the brain restarted?

  5. #1550
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    We know so very little, Tex. So very little. To jump from that reality to another one that requires faith in addition to reason in order to even comprehend what we're talking about, is a leap too far for me. You're comfortable with it. You make it to the other side unscathed. I never do.

  6. #1551
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahnovitch View Post
    So restarting the heart, restarts the brain too?

    *sigh* You're not going to let me get away with a gross oversimplification, are you?

    Okay, I'll say a little more on the topic, although I have to admit that we're quickly going to reach the end of my knowledge on this topic.


    When talking about human brain functioning, doctors and scientists split the functions of the brain into HIGHER order functions, and LOWER order functions. Higher order is cognition, lower is the functions of the brain and brain stem that coordinate autonomic functions like breathing and metabolism. Defibrillators work by targetting the nerves, and therefore the lower order functions of the brain stem. They send an electrical pulse into the nerves around the heart in an attempt to restart the chain of electrical pulses between nerves, spinal cord, and brain stem. Often the restarting of lower order function is enough to restart higher order function. Sometimes it isn't.

    Brain death is actually a legal term as well as a medical one. A person with lower order function may not have any higher order function (comatose). If they show no higher order brain function for a certain amount of time they are legally considered "brain dead" even though the brain stem may be in complete control of the patient's basal metabolism.

    Studies on NDE's (near death experiences) focus only on higher order functioning.

  7. #1552
    Kiss my axe! kahnovitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironchef texmex View Post
    *sigh* You're not going to let me get away with a gross oversimplification, are you?
    Hell no!

    Thanks for the elaboration though Tex.

  8. #1553
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    Seems to me, you haven't met my "if ignored" condition, then.

    You're assuming that I've never ignored God. I have.

    But even then I think, deep down, my sense of it was that I was just sort of putting God off, like maybe sort of treating God as a creditor, and as long he wasn't calling to remind me of the bill I could just pretend that it, and He, did not exist.

    Of course, when it comes to down to experience I can only speak for myself. Your 'ignoring' may be a whole different animal.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    Chicken or Egg question to me. ...influences desire influences observation influences faith influences desire influences...

    Yes, and getting away from the sticky question of escatological origins for a minute, both chickens and eggs (gametes) must exist together, although the proportion of each may vary depending on the season and percentage of roosters in a given........ hey Dawn... I think I like the brick analogy better.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    I'm still wondering about the balance, how much evaluation can you get rid of without ending up with useless data.
    How many bricks can you pull out before the house falls down? Another one of those questions everyone has to answer for themselves. But a quick example from something that the mention of NDE's made me think of:

    Last year in his Skeptics Corner of Scientific American, Michael Schermer wrote an article on NDE's. In it made a statement to the effect of 'we don't yet have a good explanation for the phenomenon, but don't worry, we will' (paraphrase, I'm not at home to pull the actual article). I howled when I read it. Thanks for the reassurance, Michael, but I had said it that would have been a statement of dogma. So how come you can get away with the same thing and it's called rational?

    I still think it's a little funny. But I've stopped howling. I know what he's thinking and why he wouldn't have considered that an unreasonable statement. He's thinking that after science has debunked untold number of hoaky beliefs, that it should be a reasonable extrapolation to conclude that it will eventually come up with a physical explanation for every metaphysical phenomenon. "It's happened a millions times before, don't worry, it will happen again.

    I do the same thing. I don't fully understand everything in the Bible. I have questions. But after having done my own sort of debunking -- some of which is scholarly, some is experiential -- I find myself looking at my questions and saying, "I've been here a million times before, the answer to this question is out there, just like with all the others".

    How many bricks can you pull? I don't know. But I know that you can pull a few without compromising the overall integrity of the structure.

  9. #1554
    Master Obfuscator Dawnstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironchef texmex View Post
    You're assuming that I've never ignored God. I have.

    But even then I think, deep down, my sense of it was that I was just sort of putting God off, like maybe sort of treating God as a creditor, and as long he wasn't calling to remind me of the bill I could just pretend that it, and He, did not exist.

    Of course, when it comes to down to experience I can only speak for myself. Your 'ignoring' may be a whole different animal.
    True, that. The problem being that I can't help viewing God as "an idea", in the sense that if I don't think about Him he's gone away. And that this only presents itself as a problem to me in the presence of "believers" (people who either speak a different language, or experience different things).

    Yes, and getting away from the sticky question of escatological origins for a minute, both chickens and eggs (gametes) must exist together, although the proportion of each may vary depending on the season and percentage of roosters in a given........ hey Dawn... I think I like the brick analogy better.
    Whereas, if I try to view it with the brick analogy, I get the sense of a brick that, itself, consists of two/three/... bricks, forms helps form all those bricks it's composed of. I feel trapped in an Escher painting... Sequencing it isn't perfect, but it helps. Me, at least.

    Last year in his Skeptics Corner of Scientific American, Michael Schermer wrote an article on NDE's. In it made a statement to the effect of 'we don't yet have a good explanation for the phenomenon, but don't worry, we will' (paraphrase, I'm not at home to pull the actual article). I howled when I read it. Thanks for the reassurance, Michael, but I had said it that would have been a statement of dogma. So how come you can get away with the same thing and it's called rational?
    Anyone who says "don't worry, we will," should be excommunicated from skeptics corner. Oh my, what has Skepticism come to? When I was young we used to doubt doubting and then we doubted that was the right thing to do...

    How you get away with it? Know where the money comes from. If you remain, you pretty much didn't upset them. *Shrug*

    I still think it's a little funny. But I've stopped howling. I know what he's thinking and why he wouldn't have considered that an unreasonable statement. He's thinking that after science has debunked untold number of hoaky beliefs, that it should be a reasonable extrapolation to conclude that it will eventually come up with a physical explanation for every metaphysical phenomenon. "It's happened a millions times before, don't worry, it will happen again.

    I do the same thing. I don't fully understand everything in the Bible. I have questions. But after having done my own sort of debunking -- some of which is scholarly, some is experiential -- I find myself looking at my questions and saying, "I've been here a million times before, the answer to this question is out there, just like with all the others".

    How many bricks can you pull? I don't know. But I know that you can pull a few without compromising the overall integrity of the structure.
    If the building comes tumbling down you have lots of bricks to build another with. Some are damaged, but you can get new ones. Too bad really the architects hide in the shadows and whisper sublimanals. If I could only catch them...

  10. #1555
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    We know so very little, Tex. So very little. To jump from that reality to another one that requires faith in addition to reason in order to even comprehend what we're talking about, is a leap too far for me. You're comfortable with it. You make it to the other side unscathed. I never do.

    Not quite unscathed. Very appropriate imagery though.

    Do you know what the word 'Israel' means? It goes back to a story where a man by the name of Jacob has an encounter with God in human form. They start fighting. God begins to walk off but Jacob latches on and refuses to let go until God agrees to give him a blessing. God blesses him and then tells him that his name is now 'Israel', meaning: the one who wrestles with God. So in the Judeo-Christian belief system the name for the nation of God is literally translated: the country full of people who wrestle (ie: struggle) with God.

    I remember thinking that was so strange when I first heard it. I would of thought it meant 'God's chosen', or 'God's buddies' or something like that. Now I think I understand it. Struggling with god -- Struggling with the truth, a hard truth.

    Not everything in the Bible says what I want it to. Desire conflicts with belief. I struggle, but I don't let go because I believe, like Jacob, that in the end I will ultimately benefit from the effort.

    So not unscathed, but yes, I like the other side. I think it's worth the struggle.

  11. #1556
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I've never been able to latch on. It slips out of my hands each time I try. And then I wonder if it was ever there to begin with. Sometimes the feel of it on my fingers is comforting, but sometimes it leaves these prickly little threads in my skin and I need a very sharp needle to pluck them out. Most of the time though it's just some cloth worn by some other people whose tastes in apparel are very different from mine.

  12. #1557
    Where's Tonto zorobnice's Avatar
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    I realised very young in my life that there was a ned in me to believe in a greater power out there. I know now after many years that there are people who have none of this, there is an active thing in them to oppose the idea. It is a question I have struggled with for many years. I am with Tex on this, after trying many paths, and I mean many, I finally came back to the Christian Faith, and must say that the struggle was worth it. I have made a statement before, no one has commented on it so I now throw it out as a question to you all.

    If I am wrong, and there is no God, that there is just nothing, what have I lost by living my life as I do with Faith in God. But if I am right, what will those who never believed lose???

  13. #1558
    Master Obfuscator Dawnstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorobnice View Post
    If I am wrong, and there is no God, that there is just nothing, what have I lost by living my life as I do with Faith in God. But if I am right, what will those who never believed lose???
    Sorry to ignore this. It's come up multiple times on these boards (not sure if it came up in this thread). It's

    Pascal's Wager.

  14. #1559
    Where's Tonto zorobnice's Avatar
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    Hey Dawnstorm, don't be sorry, I followed the link, thanks will check it out in more detail.

  15. #1560
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    The problem I've always had with Pascal's Wager, and with all like arguments, is that I don't feel the risk attached to the wrong choice, if there is such a thing as a wrong choice at all. "If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is." I don't cherish the gain. It's not important to me or to my life. It's just not compelling one way or another. I don't even understand the gain; heaven, God, the soul. And if the gains are as incomprehensible to me as the concept of God, then there is once again no wager to make. The loss is more tangible: a life devoted to an idea that seems so outlandish, and in many respects, foolish.

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