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  •  I think my point is that (3+ / 0-)
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    MRA NY, peregrine kate, worldlotus

    not everything is attainable via the scientific method.  I think that things happen that are too complex/chaotic/incomprehensible to be repeatable or testable.  The scientific method really relies on parameters--and really a minuscule number of parameters at that.  When these are definable, then you have something worthy of the scientific method.  When they're not, then I think it often gets in the way.  (I did a whole paper loosely based on this idea in archaeology--hopefully it'll come out soon--in a peer reviewed journal  :)  (if they like it, that is...)

    •  The scientific method can be somewhat employed (5+ / 0-)

      here, however.  We do have a collection of a great deal of data regarding OBEs--namely, the accounts from the individuals who experienced them.  While they do mostly seem to follow a pattern for how they start (white light, floating above things), the problem comes when people recount the actual "afterlife" experiences they had.  By and large, people tend to experience the afterlife they expect, based on their lifelong religious/spiritual beliefs.  Alexander's experience is about the most optimistic one an agnostic would have.  Others have reported seeing a distinctly Catholic heaven, or a Muslim one or a Hindu one, etc.  In that light, the most logical explanation is that the experiences are indeed products of the brain rather than any encounter with a real afterlife.

      •  not that i believe Alexander's story--but (2+ / 0-)
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        Timaeus, The Marti

        why does there have to be a single afterlife?  Each one of us has a conscience--maybe we get our own afterlives :)  If some kind of afterlife/heaven WERE real, I don't think any of our rules of reality would necessarily apply...

        •  If you continue to add.... (4+ / 0-)
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          skohayes, tommymet, corvo, Scott Wooledge

          ....theoretical planks to an already unsupported and rickety structure, try not to be so upset when others smile.

          "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

          by sagesource on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 11:51:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Its seems it would be more likely than not (4+ / 0-)

          that there would be a universal afterlife experience rather than an individual one.

          After all, one of the common elements in NDEs is reunion with loved ones.  Were we all in our own individual afterlives, then of course that wouldn't work.  It would mean the loved ones are fictions, hallucinations created for our comfort.  And if we figured that out, it would likely make us upset.  

          I know that if I were to realize I was in a tailor-made afterlife that was akin to a Star Trek holodeck, I'd ultimately find that deeply unsatisfying...

          •  well--it requires faith to assume that we're not (1+ / 0-)
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            living a solipsistic existence...

            Ulitmately--none of us really knows a damn thing about anything--we just act as if we do because it's kind of pointless otherwise...

            •  If we were living a truly solipsistic (1+ / 0-)
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              existence then where does the appearance of experience come from? And, just as importantly, how can we be wrong about anything if we are the only thing in existence?

              The existence of some sort of external material world is the most basic and simplest explanation that accounts for these two problems.

              The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

              by AoT on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 03:23:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Gets in the way of what? (6+ / 0-)

      Of trying to impose someone's subjective interpretations on the rest of the field?

      It is certainly true that there are numerous conjectures & hypotheses that cannot be rigorously tested via the scientific method for lack of data or control over conditions. The scientific method then serves to remind everyone that no matter how reasonable or attractive or fruitful such conjectures are, they remain unproven and therefore at best provisional.

      It's not a "fiscal cliff," it's a Fiscal Bluff--so why don't we call them on it?

      by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 11:55:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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