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What happens after we die?

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28 Comments

  1. A.Sriskandarajah says:

    First we should know what happens when we are alive. Without knowing that talking on what happens after we die is meaningless. So first let Dr Michael Shermer answer my following question which is purely related to life not death. If he doesn’t know answer to my question then what he says is false. Something misleading the people.
    All our experiences, feelings, emotions arise through our brains. But there should be an existence whether a part of brain or something other than the brain to feel or to know all the experiences, feelings and emotions. What is that? Is there any center in the brain which is able to feel all kind of different sensations? Definitely there should be a center in the brain because I am able to feel all kind of different sensations. If there is no such center in the brain then which feels all sensations? Is it something other than the brain?

    • ryanp says:

      you should read Incognito by David Eagleman. It’s an easy to read and entertaining book on neuroscience and the “self”. May clear things up for you a bit.

  2. ML says:

    Oh, why don’t you drop dead…………. and get back to us :o) But seriously, the only thing false is your premise. The truth is unknown or if you’re like Donald Rumsfeld; it’s an unknown unknown and you like killing people…….. uh, providing them a path to paradise.
    Which leads me to my question: Would there be war without a belief in an afterlife?

  3. A.Sriskandarajah says:

    Dear Dr. Michael Shermer,
    Please answer my questions about what happens before death. Without knowing what happens before death talking about what happens after death has no meaning at all.

    You are talking about death. Good! What you mean by death? What is it that dies or come to a final end when the physical body stops its function? Is it this material body? There is continuity of material bodies by birth of new babies. So there is no final end to material bodies. This material body consists of atoms. When we die all atoms go safely without being annihilated. Really what happens in the material world is assembling of molecules and disassembling of molecules. There is no material loss. According to the reality of matter there is no death. You seemed to be a materialist to whom only real existence is matter. So, why do you talk about death? Is death end of brain process? Although brain process stops in a physical body it starts again in a physical body of a new born baby. Is it end of the mind? What is mind? Mind cannot be a separate existence. Mind is mortal. Mind does not come to an end only at death. It is always dying while we are living because its contents which are experiences, thoughts and memory are impermanent. Experiencing and thinking process start again with the birth of a new born baby. Really death means ending of a permanent existence which lasted during our entire life time. So, is there anything permanently existing in this physical structure to end at last? If not what is the meaning of death? Your judgment of death comes only by seeing this physical body in which death has already been taking place. Don’t you aware of the deaths of impermanent things in your existence during your life? So what is it that dies or coming to a final end or goes for ever? Here I am asking what is that gone when this body ceased to function. Is there anything come to a final end apart from cells, brain process, neural net work, electro chemical neural activities, thoughts, memory and experiences? But in your talk you say “you” gone after death. So we should understand what is that “you”. Please tell what is that you? What it refers to? What you mean by this “you”. When you say you gone forever after death what is it that you gone forever? What is there to go in this material world? What am I? What exists now as you or I to end or go for ever after death?
    You say that Science knows that nothing happens after death. So, let the Science answer my questions. Science is still unable to answer many fundamental questions. Science is still unable to solve the problem of sorrow of death.

    You say that everything will be gone and erased after death. Don’t you know even while we are living everything goes? Nothing exists permanently. Don’t you aware that whatever goes or erased may return? When our eyes are damaged our vision goes. But we can’t say that vision gone forever. If our eyes are transplanted our vision returns through other eyes.

    You say that after death you gone that is what Scientists say. When we are alive the “you” goes and come back under certain situations. The “I” or “you” often disappears and reappears during our life time. That is the mystery. How this is happening? What is the neural mechanism involved in this process of disappearing and reappearing? During deep sleep and under anesthesia the “I” or “you” disappears. Where it goes? How it come back again?

    • BBozkurt says:

      Mr. Sriskandarajah, I guess your are somehow trying to define a “Cloud Storage” of minds comprised of individual string of ever-evolving codes of genetics passed by one being to another throughout continuum of death-and-birth cycles. As yet, that is how I could give a meaning to death.

  4. A.Sriskandarajah says:

    Mr. BBozkurt,
    No! No! I don’t try to define anything what you say. My search is not related to genetics. Dr Michael Shermer talks about death. So I ask him only questions to understand our existence to solve the problem of sorrow of death.
    He says “you” gone after death. So I ask him what is that you? You know this “you” or “I” disappears when we are in deep sleep and under anesthesia. It is similar to death. Because in death also this “you” or “I” disappears. But there is return from sleep. We don’t know whether we can return from death like we return from sleep. To know that we should find answers to these questions. Don’t think I try to define soul. We may reappear without the need of a soul.
    (1)What am I?
    (2)Death means ending of a permanent existence for ever. So, is there anything permanently existing in this physical body?
    (3)What is it that dies or come to a permanent end when this physical body stops its function?
    (4)What is the neural mechanism involves when the “I” disappears and reappears during deep sleep and waking states?
    (5)Which feels all sensations or feelings arising through the brain?

    • Urietsin says:

      Mr. Sriskandarajah, I’m not Michael Shermer, but I feel compelled to speak to your questions. It’s difficult to get a sense for the tone of your questions via text, but it seems like you might be unnecessarily complicating what Michael is saying in this video.

      I agree that it is probably important to define what we mean by “life” when we talk about death. It’s probably also useful to define “self”. However, it’s important for us not to get lost in semantics when we have conversations that have such profound philosophical overtones.

      Natural language works because all the speakers of a language have a common understanding, an implicit agreement, about the meaning of words and grammatical constructions. When someone talks about what happens when he dies, we can understand the conversation because we all agree, in casual conversation, what “he” and “dies” means.

      Of course, everyone has perhaps some nuances to various words that is particular to her own experiences and perhaps some cultural biases based on the region where the speaker lives, but in general, this lexicographical consistency holds true.

      Given that, let me tell you what I think words like “I”, “life”, and “death” mean. We’re in a unique position as intelligent creatures to ponder the nature of our own existence. Because of this, I believe we probably have a richer sense of self than most other species, but I think this also contributes to our tendency to think there is more to our sentience than mere biochemistry.

      Nonetheless, there has yet been no credible evidence discovered to justify a belief in some immortal piece of our identity. And, in fact, the more science learns about the functioning of the brain and the nature of the mind, the more we seem to validate that biochemistry is indeed enough to describe the richness and texture of an individual’s existence.

      Now, getting to the point, what does “I” mean? Or, more generally, what is encompassed in the term “self”. What is it that differentiates one individual from another, for that differentiator is surely what we fear we lose upon death. Well, to some degree, there must be some genetic component to the structures in the brain that help to mold our personalities. In which case, a piece of that is perhaps continued in the offspring of an individual. But most likely, many of those genetic components are common to our species and affect mostly instinctual behaviors and perhaps a few general qualities.

      What is more likely, and I think significant amounts of research bear this out, is that the accumulation of all of our experiences throughout our lives is the greatest determining factor in defining and individual’s “self”. These experiences have a physical affect on our brains, in the storage of memories of those events. The neural pathways that are constructed by a lifetime of perceptions shapes and refines and individual identity, unique from any other.

      When you wrote in (2), “Death means ending of a permanent existence for ever,” the “existence” that we speak of ending in death, is the existence of that unique identity. When the physical body ceases to function in death and the processes of decay begin, the structures in the brain that were responsible for retaining that identity are irrevocably damaged, leading to a permanent loss of that identity from the universe. Sure, the matter that composed the physical body may persist, and other biological processes may continue, the most significant of which is any progeny left behind by that now extinct identity.

      Sleep is different from death because, while there are periods of seemingly complete and blissful unawareness, the autonomic biological processes that keep us alive continue to function and continue to power the internal maintenance of the neural chemistry which allows our memories and our ability to perceive to persist until we awaken. After death here are no autonomic functions that, for example, continue to carry oxygen to the brain to maintain the delicate biochemistry that is constantly churning away while we are alive.

      As for the center of all sensations and feelings in the brain, I’m not sure it works that way. If by “sensations” you mean physical, tactile sensations, that’s mostly handled in the parietal lobe. If by “feelings” you mean emotions, there are several areas of the brain that handle different kinds of emotions. The limbic system, for example, is responsible for strong emotions related to life experiences. Emotions like empathy are controlled by the prefrontal cortex.

      Anyway, the brain is a complex system and there are probably better people than Michael Shermer or I to explain it’s role in the various experiences that piece together a human’s existence. And there is still a lot more for us to learn about the brain and it’s role in the mind. Even so, it’s role is certainly undeniable. As Michael says in the video, Alzheimer’s patients slowly lose themselves from the havoc wreaked in their brains by the disease. And there are other neurological disorders, not to mention how our brains are affected by physical damage brought on by physical trauma. In all these cases, the same areas of the brain that are damaged seem to consistently affect the same aspect of our sense of “self”, suggesting that the brain and its complex structures are all that are necessary to explain this experience we call living.

      It is, at best, perhaps a bit prosaic to say that the thoroughly immersive and engaging existence each individual knows is nothing more than chemistry and that everything that truly matters about an individual is irretrievably lost in death, but I prefer to think that this should be a profound motivation to living life. Some people, it seems, live their lives obsessed with what will happen after their deaths, as if life were some waiting room in a maternity ward or long line for an amusement park ride. I think it is a much better thing to believe that our efforts in life go toward the benefit of this, the only life that we can know for sure that we have, and toward the lives of our fellow travelers in this brief, but incredible journey through the universe.

      • Gary says:

        Beautiful and eloquent, thank you.

      • BavonWW says:

        Eloquent, agreed; your post sums up what I already knew. My only concerns are that it would be nicer to have known all of this on the the day I was born, and that something in me, which strongly resembles an inner being, remains unaffected by the calming beauty of reason.
        I don’t want to be finite: I want to experience the revelations of discoveries yet to come; I crave infinity….

  5. Chris Sopko says:

    Too many people with far too much time on their hands…lol!

  6. ArchiesBoy says:

    Sriskandarajah asks interesting questions. I would like to hear his answers, and see the presentation of the evidence that supports them.

  7. Dana A. says:

    I do believe in an afterlife, however, like my great-grandmother told me as a child, “there is no way of finding out what death is really like because no one has ever come back to tell me.” In my childhood indiscretion, I figured since she was old and closer to death than me she would have that answer. She saw right through that. She too was very spiritual and God-centered, but ultimately there are the “natural” circumstances to consider.

  8. A.Sriskandarajah says:

    Mr. Dana A,
    It may be difficult to find out what death is and what happens after death. To find out what death is first we should find out what life is. In our life people say you are born and you are going to die. So we should find out what is that you. What am I?That is the important question. To find out what is it that dies we should find out what is it that living now or existing now. After death we cannot do any search and we don’t know whether we exist or not. But now we are sure that we exist. So find out what you are.

    A. Sriskandarajah

  9. Quân says:

    there is no “you” or “I” at all. You seems to think that there is some “you” DO own your body, which is not. It is just created from billions of cells, and each cell is created from billion of atoms. Nothing more.
    The fact that it seems like you can control your own body make you think there is some “you”, but no one can prove it. What if there is no “you” at all ?. What if the truth is you don’t really control yourself, but it just a series of actions of cells.
    And when we die, our cells gone, then we will gone too. Everything will become nothingness. No afterlife, no revival. Just gone.
    .
    Even when you make a copy of yourself and let it lives, still the real “you” has gone. So be grateful that you have one chance to live now :)

    • A.Sriskandarajah says:

      Mr Quân,

      If there is no you and I there would be no problem at all. There is no death also. Because you all say that when the cells die you also die. If there is no I or you why should Scientists do all the researches? Is it to keep the billions of cells alive? That is not necessary. Because new cells come into existence by birth of babies. It happens naturally.
      You say when we die our cells gone, and then we will be gone too. Why do you say we will be gone too if there is no you or I. Since you are using the term “you” I am asking what is that you? What do you mean by that you? Michael Shermer says that after death you gone that is what Scientists say. So I ask him what is that you gone after death.
      You say that there is only billions of cells. Nothing more. The cells die and new cells are being born during our life time. Cells do not continue to exist permanently. But I continue to exist during my entire life time. If I can’t continue to exist I cannot buy any food item and keep it to eat tomorrow.
      You say that even when you make a copy of yourself and let it lives, still the real “you” has gone. Please tell me what you mean by that real “you”. What is the difference between you and the real you? You are all using such terms. When I asked what is it you say it is nothing. What a funny thing?
      When you have a severe pain why do you go to the hospital? Why do you want to heal the pain? Because the sensation of pain which arises through many brain cells are directed to you. You feel the pain. That is why you may say to the doctor “I can’t bear the pain”. You say that there is no “you”. If so, what should you do if doctor tells there is no you to feel the pain.

      You say that there is no you or I and only billions of cells exist. Good. So please answer the following questions.
      (1)How does sensations like taste, pain, smell, sound, perception, hunger arises from the millions of neurons in the brain? How electrical signals are converted to sense of experiences by the brain?

      (2) When a man is suffering from severe pain really which knows or experiences the pain sensation? Which suffers from the pain? To which the pain sensation is made known? In our brain there are different areas to feel different sensation. Each area has the abilty to feelk only a particular sense of experience. Certain group of neurons in the brain feel only a certain sensation. But I can feel all sense of experiences. So there should be an existence which can feel all sense of experiences. What is that existence? Is there any area in the brain which is able to feel all sense of experiences?
      You are used to see things externally. You are conditioned to see things in such a way. That is why you see the billions of cells and accept the existence of billions of cells. You cannot see anything other than your billions of cells. That is why you say there is no you or I. You identify yourself as billions of cells. You have no inward awareness.
      If you ask a blind person what you see or what exist, the person would say there is only darkness. If you ask a deaf person “Do you hear the sounds”. The person might say there is no such thing as sound. You are blind inwardly. That is why you are not aware of your own existence. So, you deny your own existence and say there is no you or I. The only thing that we are sure without any proof or evidence is our own existence.
      You deny the existence of I or you. So please tell me what really exist? You need evidence and proof to accept any existence. So prove the real existence with evidence. You see the billions of cells. Seeing is a sense of perception. So seeing is a sensation like feeling hungry or pain which does not exist really. Likewise perception also has no real existence. So we can’t be sure that millions of cells really exist. It appears to exist.
      You say everything will become nothingness. It is a new invention. For an example please tell me a thing which become nothingness. If everything become nothingness don’t you see that everything manifest again from nothingness.
      You exist and you ask the question what if there is no “you”. This question has no meaning at all. This question is out of subject. You want to see “you” as a separate existence. You cannot do that because there is no another you other than you. So you say there is no I or you. This question is like asking what if there is no world.

    • David Fortune says:

      The “you” or “self” is nothing more than your conscious mind. When the conscious mind deteriorates as in Alzheimer’s, people no longer know who they are. They lose that sense of “self”. They are still alive because their sub-conscious mind is now keeping them alive but when that dies, they simply cease to exist.

      • A.Sriskandarajah says:

        Mr David Fortune,

        Now it has become a common thing to point out an Alzheimer’s people without understanding the reality of our existence and brain function. If I ask a Neuro scientist how a sense of experience arises when stimuli reach the brain, definitely he can’t answer. Because he doesn’t know. But he will explain by using some terms like brain process, neural net work, epiphenomenon of brain, neuron firing, interpretation of the brain etc. We cannot find the real answer in their explanations. They also don’t know how to heal the damage brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. But they say that the Alzheimer’s patients lose their sense of self. Can they have the power to see inside the mind of such patients? Please answer the following questions.

        (1)You deny the existence of “you” or “self “but accept the existence of conscious mind only. Good! So what is conscious mind?

        (2)You may be nothing or something. But you are sure that you exist now. That is enough. You don’t need to worry about whether self exists or soul exists. If you are only conscious mind, you will not be going to exist tomorrow. If you buy an apple and keep it to enjoy its taste tomorrow you cannot do that. Because conscious mind is not permanent. Conscious mind is mortal. It always dies while the physical body is alive. The “you” being the conscious mind cannot continue to exist tomorrow. So, how can you expect to taste the apple tomorrow? You are sure that you exist now. Are you sure that you will exist tomorrow if nothing happens wrong?

        A.Sriskandarajah

  10. A.Sriskandarajah says:

    Mr Urietsin,
    Thank you very much for your explanation to my comments.
    “Our basic need is very important than the argument whether God exist or soul exist. Not only Dr Michael Shermer but there is many other scholars argue on these matters which serve nothing to the human beings. He talks about what happens after death without knowing what happens in life. Is it not misleading? I do not complicate his talk.

    It is very difficult to make each and everyone to understand my questions. I am not repeating what others say. I see the serious problems in our life and to solve the problems I ask many important questions to understand our own existence. Why do we need science? What is the purpose of science? What is our problem? We need science to fulfill our needs. We all want to exist in this world. We do not want to suffer and we do not want to die. It is our important basic need. So death is a very serious problem. We want to exist with peace and happiness. We need happiness. We want to enjoy life. But we cannot have enjoyments and happiness always. We may have to suffer for many reasons. Animals and birds are living without aware of their own existence and death. We are human beings. You say that we have a richer sense of self. So we should know the reality of life and death. Michael Shermer is helpless to a mother who lost his child and cries in deep sorrow. The problem of sorrow of death is part of life. Life cannot be like a waiting room in a maternity ward. Life begins when we are born with the beginning of breath. If we do not feel the seriousness of the problem of sorrow of death we cannot solve this problem. Unless we solve this problem we cannot live with real peace and happiness. Because we may live by enjoying everything but we may at any time have to feel the deep sorrow of death or fear of death. I don’t say not to live or not to enjoy. But I say enjoyments are not only life.”
    You say that some people, it seems, live their lives obsessed with what will happen after their deaths, as if life were some waiting room in a maternity ward or long line for an amusement park ride. Please tell me what I should do to live in this world. What is living? What you mean by living? No one is waiting to live. Some people are interested in climbing mountains. Some people are interested in searching what exist in other planets. Some people are interested to find the origin of life and universe. Some people are interested in solving the problem of human sufferings. Many Scientists are worried about death so they work very hard to cure many serious diseases like cancer which cause death. Are they not living?
    We all want to have pleasure in life. But we cannot have pleasure always. Today we may be happy. Tomorrow we may be sad. Don’t you feel very sad and depressed when you see people crying by the death of their loved ones? This sadness made me to ask questions to understand our real existence. If Scientists are not aware of death like animals and birds they will not do any research to stop death caused by physical ailments. I don’t say not to live. But when we are living we also have to face the problem of sorrow of death. So we need to solve this problem.

    It is obvious that science has failed to solve the problem of sorrow of death. To understand death we should understand what is it that dies or come to an end. To understand what is it that dies we should understand what is it that living. What is it that struggle for survival? So my questions are related to life. Without knowing answers to the questions about life how can he talk about death? Is it not misleading? So he is not clear in his subject. I cannot complicate anyone. If they don’t understand any subject they say it is complicating. It’s all.

    I ask only questions which are purely biological and related to life. If Michael Shermer doesn’t know the answers how can he talk about death? Is it not meaningless? He says you gone after death. So I ask him what he means by that you. What is complication in my question?
    You say that we can understand the conversation because we all agree in casual conversation what he and dies means. It is a superficial understanding which is really a misunderstanding. Something related to mental images.
    You are talking about the evidence of some immortal piece of our identity. What do you mean by identity? Is it my country? Is it my race and color? Is it my position in the society? Is it my post in an institution? Is it my educational status? Is it my physical appearance? Is it my name? Is it my behaviors? Is it my accumulated knowledge and experiences which are recorded in the brain? All these things refer to the identity of a person. We identify a person in such ways. These are all superficial which we use for the purpose of identification and communication. But these identities do not refer to my real existence or inner being. We can’t find evidence of some immortal piece of our identities because all these identities have no real existence. So it is a wrong approach. If a person is a director in an institution we identify him as a director. After retirement this identity is lost. But he is not dead. We identify a child by its appearance. When the child becomes adult the appearance of the child disappears. But the child is not dead. We identify a person by name. My name is John. Tomorrow I am going to change my name as Wilson. Will I die tomorrow? Last year I was a theist which is a false identification. Now I become an atheist another false identification. I still exist. So, see the difference between your identifications and your real existence or inner being. You and your identifications are different. You see that in our existence everything is mortal. These mortal things are always dying while we are living. Nothing exists permanently. So what death means according to Michael Shermer who talks about death and after death? You need evidence of some immortal piece of our identity. What you see is mortal. What you think is mortal. Our body cells are mortal. Our organs are mortal. Our thoughts are mortal. Our feelings and emotions are mortal. Our memory is mortal. Whatever you see is mortal. So you can’t find evidence for anything immortal in these illusory things. But you understand that you may be immortal not your identities. Because you are not these mortal things although you need them. What evidence do you need for your own existence? Are you not sure that you exist? We need evidence for everything because we are conditioned to accept everything with evidence in the scientific world. What evidence you need to your own existence? Find out what you evidence. Free from your all identities which are mental images and see your own existence. What are you or what am I? That is my question. Without aware of our own existence which is the inner being we want to find immortal in our identities because we want to deny the existence of soul which is said as immortal.
    I said that death means ending of a permanent existence for ever. So my question is whether anything permanently existing on our physical existence. If not what is the meaning of death. Please tell whether any permanent existence is lost when death takes place. If not there is no death. Can Michel Shermer find any permanent thing in our existence? If he can’t why he talks about death without understanding what death is? Ending of a mortal thing cannot be death. Because it is happening while we are living. You say that that ending in death is the existence of that unique identity. What is that unique identity? What are the structures in the brain that are responsible for retaining that identity? You say that death leads to a permanent loss of that identity from the universe. First of all please explain what is that identity? Don’t you see that our identities are permanently ending not even after death but ending while we are living? Is that unique identity a permanent existence? I have already explained about identity. However I explain again.

    Your identity of a person is really an illusion. It is very difficult to make you understand. Identities are not ending only after death. Don’t you see that your identities are dying while you are living? Now I am a Director in an Institute. Tomorrow I am going to resign from my post as a director. This post is one of my identities. Will I die tomorrow with the end of my identity as a director? According to you I should die. What a funny thing. My color was black. Due to some skin therapy I became white. Am I dead with the loss of my color identity? One man is a cruel person. He is identified as a cruel person. It may be possible by doing some changes in his brain structure to make him a kind person. Will he die when cruelness changed to kindness? We have physical identities as well as psychological identities. My childhood and teenage physical appearance are permanently lost. Am I dead now? According to you I am dead. These are all very serious things which we are not aware of. Loosing of identities permanently doesn’t mean death. Losing of my existence is death. So we should find out what am I and find out whether my inner being except all mortal identities is lost when physical death takes place.
    Sorry, you don’t understand what I say. I know that sleep is different from death. Sleep is not death. I say that death is similar to deep sleep. Why? Sensing or feeling is life. In deep sleep or under anesthesia we don’t feel any sensations. We fear to die because we think that we don’t feel any sensations forever after death. So losing of sensations may occur after death like in deep sleep. In sleep we have a physical base so we return. In death our physical base is out of function. But in both cases our psychological existence which is feeling of experiences disappears. That is why I say that death is similar to deep sleep. Obviously a regenerative autonomic biological process goes on during sleep for me. But I am not there. I am absence. In my absence the regenerating energizing processes happen. After death it doesn’t happen. So I think that there is no chance for me to come back. But there is another important process that makes me to disappear and makes me to reappear during deep sleep and waking states. What is that process? How I disappear and how I return? Does Michael Shermer know that process? Without knowing that talking about death is absurd. It is very easy to say that nothing happens after death. But it is very difficult to answer the questions involved in the existence of life. What becomes nothing? To know that we should find out what exists now. Without knowing what exist now talking what happens after death is meaningless.
    If there are better people than Michael Shermer or you please let them answer my questions. You say that there is still a lot more for us to learn about the brain and its role in the mind. So how can Michael Shermer come to conclusion that there is nothing after death? Is it not misleading? So let them to learn first. Do you know what is self or sense of self? What you thing as self is an imagination. We cannot sense our self; really speaking self is not the suitable term due to different interpretations. What we sense as self is our body feeling, our emotions and sensations and our mental images. Real self or inner being is not sense of self or self. If there is still a lot for to learn why these people talk about serious matters? There are many terrible neural diseases these experts do not know to heal them. If they are able to heal them, then that could serve the mankind. The statements like No God, No soul, nothing after death will not serve anything to mankind. Now it has become a fashion to some Neurologists to carry some false identification such as atheist, materialist and write articles and books on God and soul without understanding the reality of all existence. Utter wastage. It is true that brain damages alter our experiences. Inner being is different from experiences.
    You can feel all sensations. All sensations are directed to you. Don’t you see that? So there should an existence which can feel all sensations. What is that? You say that there are several areas of the brain that handle different kind of emotions. One area can feel only its relevant emotion. But you can feel all kind of different emotions. You see the difference between you and your brain areas. So there should be a center of existence in the brain to feel all sensations or some other existence other than the brain which can feel all sensations. What is that?
    We should not use a word without knowing what it means or what it refers to. But words like mind, individual, person, self, consciousness and soul are being used without understanding the reality of these words. You say that individual is irretrievably lost in death. What is that individual that existed in life and lost in death? Do you refer to the physical appearance? Do you refer to the cells which make the physical body? Do you refer to the sense of experiences which are arising through the brain? Do you refer to the behaviors? Do you refer to the mind or consciousness? What do you mean by this word individual? Is it a material formation consists of cells and feelings? It is a common fact that we identify a living physical existence as individual or person. But that individual being an identity does not refer to the inner being. In that individual existence, if you cannot find any permanent existence other than the mortal things such as body cells, emotions and experiences, mental images, memory and thoughts what is the irretrievable loss in death? Because when we are living these mortal things die and new mortal things are born. So losing of mortal things happens while living. We can’t keep any of these things as immortal. But are you also mortal? So find out what you are. Because we want to exist and we want to continue to exist. Nobody likes to die. We need immortality. But we do not need to keep our thoughts, experiences, body cells, organs as immortal. You see when our heart gets damaged we want to replace it with another good heart. When our eyes are damaged we want to replace them with a new one. Medical science does that now. Although medical science is now unable to regenerate the damaged nerve cell we need to regenerate the damaged cells. You continue to exist while these mortal things are not continuing with you. You may temporarily disappear like in deep sleep. You may reappear when all mortal things come in to existence in a life form. What you thing as individual does not refer to you. Because all those things are already dead and new things are born in your life. But you are not dead. What you think as individual may be lost in death. But you may not. Temporarily you may disappear. Please tell me what you are. If you don’t know what you are then how can you say that you get lost in death? You existed yesterday. You exist today. You are going to exist tomorrow if nothing goes wrong. But what existed yesterday in your physical structure may not exist today. So find out first what you are.
    Michael says in the video, Alzheimer’s patients slowly lose themselves from the havoc wreaked in their brains by the disease. First thing, what is the use of this statement to the people who are highly worried about this disease? Everybody knows that something sad happening in an Alzheimer’s patient. But nobody knows the cure. If Michel finds a treatment to heal the brain damage it would be a great thing and great relief to the suffering people. Second thing what will be lost when our brain is damaged? Functions may be lost partly or completely. Our awareness and feeling of sensations may be lost partly or completely. What does an Alzheimer’s patient lose? Patient loses his or her memory. Not losing themselves. Because there may be still an inner being or inner consciousness in a state of non experiencing like in deep sleep. Now we will see. What will happen if science advanced to regenerate the damaged brain cells? Can’t that same inner being return to normal or come back again? Third thing we also lose our awareness and experiencing of sensations and memory slowly when we fall into deep sleep. Here no death takes place. It is true that damages in the brain cause losing of sensations. Having understood this fact many scholars like Michael express many wrong statements without understanding the truth of our real existence. This is very unfortunate.

    If biochemistry is indeed enough to describe the richness and texture of an individual existence please answer all my questions.

    (1)What am I?

    (2)How a sensation does arise by brain process? How electrical signals are converted to sense of experiences such as taste, smell, sound, perception, hungry, heat, cold, pain etc?

    (3)When a man is suffering from severe pain really which knows or experiences the pain sensation? Which suffers from pain? To which the pain sensation is made known?

    (4)In our brain there are different areas to feel different sensations. Each area has the ability to feel a particular sense of experience. But I can feel all sense of experiences. So there should be an existence which can feel or know all sense of experiences. What is that existence? Is there any such area in the brain which can feel all sense of experiences?

    (5)Death means ending of a permanent existence forever. So, is there anything permanently existing in this physical body? What is it that dies or come to a permanent end when this physical body stops its function?

    (6)What is the neural mechanism involves when conscious of I disappears and reappears during sleep and waking states?

    (7)In this physical structure everything is changing. Nothing exists permanently. But I am able to continue to exist till birth to death. How is it possible?

    (8)What is the reality of matter? Where did matter exist before there was consciousness? How and when matter came into existence in this universe? Can matter exist independent of consciousness or in the absence of consciousness? If so, what is the proof for its independent existence?

    • J Brock says:

      Mr Sriskandarajah

      Your arguments are abstract and semantic. It is obvious that you are affected by confirmation bias.

      As Dr. Sherman stated in the video, it is not comforting to believe that our individual existence is finite. No individual finds happiness in the prospect of leaving behind all that they have ever known or loved. For some the thought is too much to bear and this is one of the reasons for religious belief. Most people at least think that they want to live forever.

      You should always be skeptical of what you want to believe.

      Secondly, communication breaks down when we fail to agree on definitions of words like “you” and “I”. You may as well debate the definition of “is”. When you can’t agree the general meaning of basic words there is no hope of finding common ground on complex and profound issues.

  11. E.Kaya says:

    …After death ? …Know living ? …Infinite existence ?

    What happened “before” birth ? Do you remember ? No… Any clues ? No… Any single discussion, text, speculation ?

    “But” future is a big deal… :p… as always…

  12. A.Sriskandarajah says:

    Mr J Brock,

    You are misunderstood. It is not an argument. To understand our existence I ask some questions. The terms abstract, semantic and confirmation bias which you have used in your comments are not relevant to my problem at all. You are talking something out of my subject. Not relevant to my questions. Sorrow of death is a very serious and real problem we all face in our life, may be now or at any time later. I strongly feel that. To solve the problem of death we should very clearly understand our nature of existence. So please answer my questions. At least understand my questions. If you don’t understand my questions there cannot be any meaning to listen what you say. Why you mention religious beliefs? My questions are not related to any religious beliefs or any mystical or paranormal experiences. My questions are purely biological.

    You say that as Dr. Sherman stated in the video, it is not comforting to believe that our individual existence is finite. There is no meaning in this statement. You are also repeating the same thing by using the term individual. What is that individual existence that is finite? What is the meaning of finite? It means that something exists permanently for a certain period of time and ceases to exist. So what are the finite things in our existence? How long they exist as permanent? What are the contents of our existence? Don’t you see that all the contents of a physical existence are finite not by death but even before death? The contents of our existence are all finite things. Not only at the end of life but even before all finite things die or come to an end. Nothing last during our entire life time. Why should one feels uncomfortable without understanding what is individual existence? Dr Michael says that no individual finds happiness in the prospect of leaving behind all that they have ever known or loved. So he accepts death as a serious problem. Being unable to understand the truth of our existence and being unable to solve the problem he says nothing happens after death. It is easy and lazy to say nothing. But it is difficult to solve the problem. Unless we solve this problem we cannot have real peace and happiness. If science cannot find peace and real happiness why these people talk about science? We think that death not only leaving behind everything but puts an end to our existence. That is the problem.

    You say that I should always be skeptical of what I want to believe. I do not have any blind belief. So I need not to be skeptical. I am searching to find the truth. Why should I be skeptical? On what grounds I should be skeptical? Do I know everything? Am I able to solve all human sufferings? To find the truth we should be free from all conditioned ideas such as skepticism, atheism, theism, materialism etc. If I am a skeptic I can act only in a narrow field. I cannot have a free mind. I am very clear in my questions. Atheism, skepticism, theism, materialism, dualism, these are all false labels for the purpose of arguments. We cannot find any truth in these labels.
    Dr Michael says you gone after death. I do not know whether he knows what is that “you”. So if you are interested in understanding what “you are”, you will see that you are not these finite things.

    I know the general meaning of “I” and “you”. What I mean is something deep not superficial. An existence related to our sense of experiences like feeling hungry, hearing sound, tasting food, feeling pain. seeing vision etc.

  13. Scott says:

    Skeptics are very funny — I was on the fence until i got off my butt and researched for myself (along with a team). We want into many so called haunted places and for starters — we picked up many intelligent EVPs.

    If you skeptics were right — we would not have direct answers to questions. For example — we said — we wish to thank you for your participation:

    entity response: “YOUR WELCOME”

    In a old jail house that was suppose to be haunted — we taunted it

    “You must have liked man love!!!” (purposly trying to get a response.

    entity: “Fuck you”

    We have 100s of these. So Skeptics — if you were correct and humans were just brain cells — we would not have these intelligent EVPs. Not only do we get these — 100s of other teams get the same result.

    And please Skeptics — please do not tell us that these are radio waves or cell tower noises — they would not answer our questions — they would be random noises or fuzzy noises.

    I would love to debate any of you any place and time.

    • Robert says:

      Regarding the EVP thing. It is very interesting and very compelling except it is unbelievable.

      First of all, since every voice leaves a pattern, why should an EVP not leave a pattern? Why not take some of these EVPs and measure them for voice patterns?

      You can’t really expect people to believe in such a fantastic claim. Old records are prone to hiss and have scratchy sounds. Nobody ever thought of making that into some type of ghostly speech from beyond.

      People might whisper and say things to make it sound like an EVP. People might imagine it all. Someone might slide a piece of furniture across a wooden floor and some paranormal investigator will call it the voice of a ghost. At least with the Brown Mountain lights there is something there. It does exist. EVPs are not so clear as a light in the sky or even a coherent syllable on these EVPs.

      You who claim to believe in the spiritual sources of EVPs have the burden of proof. You make the claim and those of us who doubt are not under obligation to defend a rational point of view against something that is either fraud, imagination or ambient noise which forms a spoken statement to what you think you want to hear.

      Tell it to James Randi at jref.org. He has his Million Dollar Challenge. Prove any of your EVPs are from the ‘dead’, and you can be a millionaire within days. Randi lives in the USA in Florida. I bet your EVPs won’t tell you that. He will pay you $1,000,000 US dollars, so bring on your EVPs and shut us doubters up.

      If you really believe what you say, why are you challenging forum readers who haven’t fired a shot at you to debates? Why not take your argument to the sources: Michael Shermer, the Skeptic podcast or the Amazing Randi? Prove what you have and James Randi will make you rich. You can laugh at all of us doubters on the way to the bank.

  14. A.Sriskandarajah says:

    To- Mr. BBozkurt, Mr. Dana A, Mr Quân, Mr Urietsin, Mr J Brock, Mr David.

    I have responded to your comments with my questions. You all not answered my questions. please answer my questions.

    I thank Mr ArchiesBoy who understood my questions.

    A.Sriskandarajah

  15. Marcos Junior says:

    Por mais ”cético” e racional que o ser humano tente ser com todas essa explicações, nada até hoje explica com exatidão e precisão o que é a morte e o que acontece após a morte e entre muitos outros assuntos, além disso o seres vivos são dominados por um manto que nunca poderão retirar os sentidos. Por mais avançada a tecnologia durante o passar dos anos, novos processo e ideologias a descobrirem, o ser humano está aprisionado a seus pensamentos que ele cria para tornar o mundo mais claro e objetivo. Com isso ele pode ”acreditar” que está fazendo um bom trabalho como pessoa e para a humanidade. O ser humano é uma ser por natureza egocêntrico o que o torna cego em diversos aspectos, como por exemplo ”crenças” que são ridicularizadas hoje, no futuro serão acontecimentos do cotidianos.

  16. whatrick says:

    Mr. Sriskandarajah

    You state “My questions are purely biological”. The question(s) you ask are basically, “Who or What is the ‘I’ that is the one that experiences consciousness ?”.

    This is clearly a Philosophical question and not a Biological question.

    Like a Zen master presenting a koan to a seeker of truth, you have presented a question that even you do not seem to be willing or able to provide any adequate answer to.

    Humans have “created” stories, legends, and myths for millenia attempting to “explain” life, death, afterlife, and the answer to “Who am I” or “Who is the ‘I’ that seems to be the conscious experiencer of life”.

    Religions certainly have never answered those questions accurately,adequately, or with any verifiable measure of fact.

    What are your answers to the questions you are asking Shermer to reply to ???

  17. Patrick says:

    I’ve heard over 100 people describe dying; doctors, atheists, children, people of all different religions. 600 people every day in this country have a near-death experience, and competent, unbiased researchers have studied them for over 30 years. Ken Ring was the chair of psychology at UConn. There is real data about every good question you can think to ask about this experience, and I suggest you read it (“The Handbook of NDEs”). Hitchens dismissed it out of hand in a debate with Rabbi Wolpe, and showed no evidence of having read the data, which is the only instance where that can be said – rather interesting in and of itself.

    If anyone has a good BS meter, it must be the authors of this website. But well-documented veridical experiences?. Doesn’t it seem incredibly unlikely that people would be so fundamentally changed, switch careers, renounce atheism, based on something that isn’t real? Infinite North Korea indeed – people who’ve died and returned discover that they chose their mortal life, and by and large judge their own lives as part of a life review. Women who’ve bled to death giving birth and not wanting to return, knowing fully that they just died giving birth. An orthopedic surgeon who was naming the ligaments rupturing as her canoe overturned, as she drowned, and said it was a fantastic experience she’d love to repeat. A multimillionaire who gave up finance to become a counselor. A powerful Chicago attorney who turned to volunteer work. Incredible. Psychologists who study these things state that no other experience brings about these lasting changes.
    I’m a physician myself – and I’m not easily convinced – but the commonality of these experiences, and their deeply personal individual features, are overwhelming. Everyone has the opportunity to look in the eyes of hundreds of people, and listen to their accounts on YouTube, and decide whether they’re telling the truth. Howard Storm, Gordon Allen, Pam Reynolds, Dr. Mary Neal, Ian McCormick, Kimberly Clark Sharp, Suzanne Ingram. Does it PROVE anything? Ask yourself after hearing the accounts – it’s too interesting a question not to.

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