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Author Topic: Is there a scientific study of life after death?  (Read 17188 times)

Offline Bored chemist

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #25 on: 12/11/2011 13:56:10 »
"The scientist could study claims of life after death -- the subset of them that involve some sort of physical manifestation."(Quote marks now added)
 I guess psychologists may well study why people believe things, but the study of actual life after death is another matter.
For them, "the subset of them that involve some sort of physical manifestation:" is already studied in mathematics.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empty_set
« Last Edit: 13/11/2011 10:22:35 by Bored chemist »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #26 on: 12/11/2011 22:32:20 »
In general, though, stage magicians with a little background in science and scientific method  are better at studying these phenomena than scientists. Scientists are not used to dealing with experimental systems that deliberately try to deceive them.
There are some people that cross disciplines.  For example, Professor Ray Hyman is an accomplished magician, and a psychologist that studies and helps debunk claims of paranormal activity/abilities.

If much of religion is just a stage show...  then the priests, cardinals, and popes must know that they aren't really talking to "God".
 

Offline damocles

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #27 on: 13/11/2011 00:06:37 »
In general, though, stage magicians with a little background in science and scientific method  are better at studying these phenomena than scientists. Scientists are not used to dealing with experimental systems that deliberately try to deceive them.
There are some people that cross disciplines.  For example, Professor Ray Hyman is an accomplished magician, and a psychologist that studies and helps debunk claims of paranormal activity/abilities.

If much of religion is just a stage show...  then the priests, cardinals, and popes must know that they aren't really talking to "God".

I did not mean to imply that claims of an afterlife were a "stage show".  I firmly believe that most clergy (and adherents) of various persuasions are sincere in their religious practice and belief. I can quite accept that they might even "talk to God". I get very concerned, though, when they think they can hear and interpret His answers, and want to base social policy on the replies they think they get!

The scientist could study claims of life after death -- the subset of them that involve some sort of physical manifestation.
 I guess psychologists may well study why people believe things, but the study of actual life after death is another matter.
For them, "the subset of them that involve some sort of physical manifestation:" is already studied in mathematics.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empty_set
(First line is italicized because it is actually a quote from my prior post.)

I expressed myself badly here. I was not claiming that there were any physical manifestations of life after death. Only that scientists could, and probably should investigate claims that there were. I do not believe that there are any physical consequences of life after death that are observable.

I am a great admirer of two famous men who passionately wanted to believe in ghosts, and in the possibility of communicating with recently deceased friends and relatives -- the "spiritualist" fad of the late 19th and early 20th century. I refer to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes' author) and Harry Houdini (famous escape artist). Both died deeply unsatisfied. Their main contribution was, in their very different ways, in managing to expose a number of fraudsters and charlatans. They did so by maintaining their sharp powers of observation and their knowledge of conjuring tricks, and by keeping up a totally honest and sceptical approach in their testing. This in spite of their passionate wish to believe.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #28 on: 13/11/2011 10:27:25 »
There is a difference between studying claims of an afterlife  (which would be a branch of psychology) and studying evidence of an afterlife (which isn't possible because there is no evidence).

People's belief certainly exists and can be studied.
My point was that you can't undertake a scientific study of life after death for exactly the same reason that you can't do scientific studies on unicorns.
 

Offline damocles

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #29 on: 13/11/2011 12:06:53 »
There is a difference between studying claims of an afterlife  (which would be a branch of psychology) and studying evidence of an afterlife (which isn't possible because there is no evidence).

People's belief certainly exists and can be studied.
My point was that you can't undertake a scientific study of life after death for exactly the same reason that you can't do scientific studies on unicorns.


OK I am still failing to communicate properly. When I was talking about "claims" I was meaning "putative evidence". I had in mind that scientists (other than psychologists) could legitimately study "evidence": alleged sightings, alleged temperature changes, broken crockery that was supposed to be the work of a poltergeist, appearance of "ectoplasm" at a seance, etc., bringing forensic type methods to bear. I would like to say "in order to falsify the claims" but a scientist ought not to approach a study with bias of this or any other sort (presuming to know the answer before the investigation), so I will say "in order to evaluate the claims".

A scientist can study claims that a unicorn has been around by investigation of dung, hoofprints, horn impressions, etc., to make sure it really was a unicorn and not a charlatan with some other animal. (or otherwise!)
 

Offline asia9218

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #30 on: 13/11/2011 17:29:45 »
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« Last Edit: 13/11/2011 17:51:04 by imatfaal »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #31 on: 13/11/2011 20:10:31 »
A scientist can study claims that a unicorn has been around by investigation of dung, hoofprints, horn impressions, etc., to make sure it really was a unicorn and not a charlatan with some other animal. (or otherwise!)

Unicorn horns exist!!!



They just never were on horse heads.
 

Offline damocles

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #32 on: 13/11/2011 20:34:02 »

Unicorn horns exist!!!

(image deleted; check CliffordK post above)

They just never were on horse heads.

This image shows the horn of a laevounicorn, as opposed to a dextrounicorn. In your imagination try to use it as a corkscrew and you will know why!
 

Offline Geezer

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #33 on: 13/11/2011 21:13:03 »

Unicorn horns exist!!!

(image deleted; check CliffordK post above)

They just never were on horse heads.

This image shows the horn of a laevounicorn, as opposed to a dextrounicorn. In your imagination try to use it as a corkscrew and you will know why!

Oh, you mean it's an antipodean corkscrew.
 

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Is there a scientific study of life after death?
« Reply #33 on: 13/11/2011 21:13:03 »

 

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