Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reality is an Illuison

Someone once suggested a person could be an isolated brain in a vat controlled by a virtual reality generator and there would be no way the person could tell the difference between that and an objective reality.

I suppose this could be true, but I think it is more likely that the brain is the virtual reality generator.

Neuroscience has shown that the brain produces the sense of self, and the sense of time.

People who have had Near Death Experiences say that they experience love, timelessness, and oneness while retaining their individuality. They say that when out of the body, deformities, disease and its associated pain, no longer exist.

The sense of time and the sense of self, disease and pain we have while incarnated are not real. They are illusions produced by the brain. All the studies by neuroscientists attempting to show how the brain produces consciousness are really showing how the brain produces a sham reality.

Many of the great mystical traditions have said that reality is an illusion. Neuroscience provides the mechanism for that illusion.

Copyright © 2012 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Near Death Experiencers Have to Say About Reincarnation

Many people who have Near Death Experiences learn about reincarnation during their experience. There are many examples of this described at

Sandra Rogers:

I was given the choice of remaining with the light, provided I return later to the physical world and experience all that brought me to the point of shooting myself, or I could return now and pick up my life where it was

Karen Brannon:

All of my being wanted to stay there in bliss, but ever since I was six, I knew that reincarnation is the natural fact of life, and now, I had the knowingness that if I chose to stay, I would have to reincarnate to Earth again later.

Thomas Sawyer:

Reincarnation is not a linear thing. One of the problems in defining it is that there is no analogy to it. It is outside of time, yet we can't help but think of it in terms of the past and the future, and this incarnation. The whole story is so big and so involved.

Christian Andréason:

Heaven, I undeniably saw that I had lived an innumerable amount of lives. Yet, what I saw went way beyond our comprehension of what we think reincarnation is. So, I am not exactly speaking of being born again and again on this planet alone.

Arthur Yensen:

Between lives, with the great knowledge of our oversouls, we choose the next life we are going to live and how much karma we are going to meet and settle. For example, if you abused animals, or people, in one life your oversoul would probably cause you to reincarnate into a situation where you'd get abused to make you realize the misery you've caused others.

Amber Wells' research:


Her paper was published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies in the fall of 1993. In her study, 70 percent of the group of near-death experiencers demonstrated belief in reincarnation. In contrast, a Gallup Poll found that only 23 percent of the general population endorse this belief.


"It is a matter of personal knowledge from what the being with whom I spoke during my near-death experience told me about my older son, that he had had 14 incarnations in female physical bodies previous to the life he has just had."


"My whole life went before me of things I have done and haven't done, but not just of this one lifetime, but of all the lifetimes. I know for a fact there is reincarnation. This is an absolute. I was shown all those lives and how I had overcome some of the things I had done in other lives. There was still some things to be corrected."


"I had a lot of questions, and I wanted to know what they [the light beings she encountered in her near-death experience] were doing – why are you just kind of milling around here? And someone stepped forward ... it wasn't just one ... I got information from a number of them ... that they were all waiting for reincarnation."


Some experiencers interviewed during Ms. Wells' study described the general process of reincarnation as one consciousness separating into individual souls to be embodied in matter. One experiencer took this idea even further, stating that reincarnation takes place more on a collective level rather than an individual level. In other words, this experiencer felt that a collective energy recycles itself through matter and that our sense of individuality is a product of our present incarnation only.


Some experiencers indicated that the cycle of reincarnation would probably come to an end for earthly embodiments, but that one would continue to incarnate into other realms or dimensions.

Betty Bethards:

As you are ready, and as you choose, you will be shown your past lives. If you do not believe in reincarnation it may take a long time before you are able to deal with this. Eventually, you must learn to understand yourself in a continuity of growth over many lifetimes. You must recognize all the strengths you have built and all the karmic ties you have created which must be dissolved.

David Oakford:

The being told me that each planet has a theme for learning and that any of them can be chosen by a soul when we are between physical lives.

More on reincarnation on my web site.

Copyright © 2012 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Acquired Savant Syndrome

Acquired Savant Syndrome occurs when a exceptional talents arise after a brain injury. The “Acquired” Savant—“Accidental” Genius by Darold A. Treffert, MD explains:

A 10-year-old boy is knocked unconscious by a baseball. Following that traumatic blow, he suddenly can do calendar calculations. He can also remember the weather, along with other autobiographical details of his daily life, from that time forward. An elderly woman who had never painted before becomes a prodigious artist after a particular type of dementia process begins and progresses. Another elderly patient with dementia has a similar sudden epiphany of ability, but this time in music. A 56-year-old builder, who had no particular prior interest or skills in art, abruptly, for the first time in his life, becomes a poet, a painter and a sculptor following a stroke that he miraculously survived. An 8-year-old boy begins calendar calculating after a left hemispherectomy for intractable seizures. These are examples of what I call the “acquired” savant, or what might also be called “accidental genius.”

Materialists will say acquired savant syndrome occurs when part of the brain is injured because, either inhibitory function is lost or another part of the brain becomes more active to compensate for the damaged part. But why should compensating for lost functions result in new abilities that never existed before? That is not "compensation". It also seems unlikely that evolution and natural selection could account for the existence of these exceptional abilities that are only expressed as a result of brain injury. The materialist explanations are even less plausible when you consider the details of the cases.

For example:

Derek Amato:

A man who suffered concussion after diving into a shallow pool has made a seemingly improbable discovery: it made him a musical genius.


Amato, who can not read music, explained that he knew what to play as he could see black and white squares in his head that triggered his fingers to move.

Tony Cicoria

At a park in 1994, Tony Cicoria, an orthopedic surgeon, was hanging up a pay phone when lightning from a gathering storm struck the booth, shooting through the phone and into his head.


Shortly afterwards, he had a mysterious, insatiable need to listen to classical piano music. But he soon found that just listening to the music wasn’t cutting it. So, despite never showing any desire to play an instrument before, he bought sheet music and began teaching himself the piano. Learning was slow going though, because instead of playing the Chopin composition in front of him, he kept wanting to play the melodies that were echoing inside his head instead. When he realized these songs were of his own creation, he began furiously writing them down until he had dozens composed. In 2008, Cicoria released a CD of his music called, Notes From An Accidental Pianist and Composer. His best-known song from the album is fittingly titled, “The Lightning Sonata.”

This is how the brain compensates for an injury?

These new skills do not require the training an uninjured person would need to develop them. Some people may be able to learn to use uninjured brain tissue to compensate for functions lost due to brain injury. For example, after a stroke a person may be able to relearn how to move paralyzed muscles. However this requires a long period of physical therapy and usually does not return full function. Yet in Acquired Savant Syndrome, skills that the subject didn't have before the injury arise fully formed without effort or intention.

Natural selection occurs when a trait evolves in response to an environmental factor. How can the ability to do calendar calculations or playing the piano in response to seeing black and white squares in the mind's eye be explained by natural selection? What is the survival advantage in having these abilities in response to an injury? Pianos and calendars have not existed long enough for natural selection to play a role in humankind's ability to use them without making an effort to learn how.

Compensation, and or natural selection are not good explanations for these phenomena. A better explanation for acquired savant syndrome is that the brain does not produce consciousness but is a filter of non-physical consciousness:

The filter model is superior to the hypothesis that the brain produces consciousness because the filter model explains more evidence. You can damage a filter in two ways. You can clog it or you can punch a hole in it. When brain damage causes loss of function like amnesia, that is like a clog in the filter. When brain injury results in increased function, that is like a hole punched in the filter. Examples of increased function include Acquired Savant Syndrome and when people have increased psychic abilities after a brain injury.

Update: Also see my more recent post: Savants and ESP

Copyright © 2012 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Assessing Skeptical Claims

I often see questions on internet discussion forums asking if there is any known rebuttal to some skeptical claim. When assessing skeptical claims, it is important to understand that there have been many cases of misleading claims by skeptics.

Because there are so many misleading claims made by skeptics you should:

  1. Demand the same level of proof for skeptical claims that you demand for proof of the paranormal. An accusation of fraud is not proof of fraud, just as a claim of a paranormal phenomenon is not proof of a paranormal phenomenon. Skeptics demand scientific statistically significant evidence and replication and they still don't believe any paranormal claims. But when it comes to accusations of fraud, despite many misleading claims made by skeptics, people tend to assume that any accusation of fraud is reliable without considering it may be incorrect due to ignorance, incompetence or duplicity of the skeptic.

  2. Never make up your mind on a skeptical claim until you see how the other side rebuts the skeptics on that issue. Just like sometimes there is a simple natural explanation for a supposed paranormal phenomena that is overlooked because people are ignorant of science or magic tricks, sometimes a skeptical claim may be easily rebutted by someone who knows the details of the situation. The skeptic may be ignorant of the phenomenon he is criticizing, or there may be indisputable evidence the skeptical claim is false.

  3. Be especially suspicious of any side to a dispute that relies heavily on ridicule, persecution, tenuous unproven alternative hypotheses, and misleading statements rather than a simply relying of facts and arguments. People who can't argue based on the facts and logical analysis will resort to other means to convince people of their beliefs.

Copyright © 2012 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Physicalism is Dead: Ex-Skeptic talks about why he left the Skeptical M...

Physicalism is Dead: Ex-Skeptic talks about why he left the Skeptical M...: Stephen Bond, former skeptic, had this to say: Of course, there is nothing inherently elitist about reason or the scientific method. Cri...