The Instigator
Fox-McCloud
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
jdoe0
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

During "Out-of-Body" Experiences, People's Consciousness Don't Leaves Their Bodies

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Fox-McCloud
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/1/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,197 times Debate No: 43225
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

Fox-McCloud

Pro

Resolution


During “Out-of-Body” Experiences, People's Consciousness Don’t Leaves Their Bodies


Definitions


Out of body experience: The experience where it seems that consciousness is located outside the body and one perceives the world and themselves from this position.


Consciousness: The state of mind that is aware of the experience of the self and the environment.


Burden of proof


The burden of proof will be shared. Pro has to show that it is more plausible that the consciousness does not leave the body, while con has to show that it is more plausible that the consciousness leave the body.


Argumentation


R1: Acceptance.


R2: Opening arguments.


R3: Furthering arguments, rebuttals.


R4: Closing arguments. No new arguments allowed.


jdoe0

Con

Happy to accept this debate. This is my first time on the site so please inform me of any infractions I commit if there are any.

A point of contention for me is your definition of consciousness. The phrasing "state of mind" you used implies a mental condition inherently centered in one's own head. I believe a more applicable term would be "soul." If you agree not to bring this debate into a religious context, using the word soul would allow for argument of physical movement rather than the perceived movement suggested by your definition. It's essentially the same definition, with the small difference that "soul" represents a physical, mobile state of mind rather than one located in a single place by definition.

Secondly, since you didn't specify what kinds of out-of-body experiences we are debating, I'd like to make it clear that anything that falls within your definition is fair game. This includes, but is not limited to, out-of-body experiences that occur while under the influence of illegal drugs, medicine, upon one's deathbed, or during any other situation where a person has recorded an out-of-body experience. While I freely admit that many of these experiences are most likely faked, the burden-of-proof requires Pro to "show it is more plausible that the consciousness does not leave the body."

To win this debate, I believe that Pro should have to show that the consciousness leaves the body in the all of the cases brought up, not just the obviously fake ones. I will argue that there is at least one case where it is more plausible that "the consciousness leaves the body" than that it remains grounded in one's body.
Debate Round No. 1
Fox-McCloud

Pro


Introduction:


I would like to thank my opponent for taking up this debate. This is also my first debate on this site. Let me make it clear that no semantics are allowed. I do not see what is wrong with the definition of consciousness I provided. My opponent should not try to change the definitions. Especially not when his definition assumes the question at hand.


Con: “I believe that Pro should have to show that the consciousness leaves the body”


No, I will argue that it is more plausible that the consciousness does not leave the body then that the consciousness indeed leaves the body.


This being said let’s move on to the debate.


In my opening I will lay out 3 arguments:


Argument 1: There is no good evidence for that the consciousness leaves the body during an Out of Body experience (OBE).


Argument 2: There is good evidence for a naturalistic explanation.


Argument 3: Dualism is false.


A1-1: Anecdotal evidence


There are many stories known of people who reported an OBE, they are indeed surprisingly common. It is known that people who report OBEs are also prone to fantasize during the day, report hallucinations and perceptual distortions [1]. One objection is that the evidence is anecdotal in nature. Moreover, it turns out that similar findings are a lot less impressive after thorough investigation. The hypothesis that the conscious leaves the body during the OBE is actually easily tested, by testing if one can observe something at a remote location during the OBE. Yet, the results turn out to be almost always inaccurate. When the OBE is researched in highly systematic controlled experiments, results seem to be always negative.


A1-2: Not scientific


There are some known cases in which a positive finding was reported. However, one of the main principles of the scientific method is replication. This requirement is not met. At best, the results could be described as good guesses in the rare instances that they have been accurate [2].


So if the consciousness does not actually leave the body during the OBE, what best explains the experience?


A2-1: Lucid dreams theory


Levitan en LaBerge found a relationship between lucid dreams and the OBE [3]. They theorized that the OBE is a projection of the mind and is formed when awake during REM sleep. Although the body is inactive during this period, the consciousness is in that period active. The brain fills in the absence of sensory information by fantasy and because the consciousness is in alert state, these experiences seem evocative. And indeed a correlation of 0.20 is found between having lucid dreams and OBEs [1].


A2-2: The lack of oxygen theory


When the brains do not get enough oxygen, this can lead to disinhibition by which the brain activity does increase and may cause hallucination [4]. Furthermore, if the angular gyrus, an area on the border where the temporal lobe and parietal lobe meet and which is also very sensitive to oxygen deficiency, is being stimulated, OBEs can be generated [5].


A2-3: Hallucination theory


Olaf Blanke found that through electrical stimulation of the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) the area where the temporal lobe and parietal lobe meet, OBEs can be generated. Participants in one study reported the feeling of escaping their own bodies and watch them from a position outside their bodies, when this area in the brains is stimulated electrically. Moreover, research shows that people with epilepsy who regularly report OBEs often have injuries to the TPJ [5]. It appears that the TPJ is crucial for the body and self- perception. This brain structure is the center of visual information and information related to positional equilibrium and self-perception. Conflict arises when the brain wrongly integrates the information and comes to conclude that the body is standing at two different locations, which may lead to the illusion to see oneself [6].


A3-1: Biological development


For the consciousness to be able to leave the body it has to be immaterial. But because we are evolved out of material matter, ever since no immaterial substance is known to be added.


A3-2: Physical dependence of consciousness


Certain injures to the brain make it impossible for a person to have any mental state at all. Also brain states and mental states are highly correlated. Nothing mental happens without something physical happens. This strongly implies that consciousness cannot exist independently of the physical brain.


A3-3: Parsimony


As we have seen, an explanation of the OBE does not require the postulation of an additional entity. Thus, when it is not necessary to assume an extra term, the simplest hypothesis is preferred.


Conclusion


My opponent has to show that not only it is possible that the consciousness is able to leave the restriction of the physical body and can operate without the brain, but that it is furthermore more plausible than the theories I have suggested.


[Sources can be found in the comment section]


jdoe0

Con

Pro: "No semantics are allowed...What is wrong with the definition of consciousness"
My rephrasing of the definition was to reject any argument of yours along the lines of "Since the consciousness is defined as located in the head, I am right by default." If no semantic arguments are used, I have no problem with the definition.
To clarify, this debate is about true OBEs, not debunked ones. As Con I am arguing that during TRUE out of body experiences, people's consciousnesses do in fact leave their bodies.

Pro's Points:
A1-1: Pro states that in many cases, people reporting OBEs are unable to prove that the event occurred. Pro is correct; OBEs are often faked. To quote Pro's own statement,
"The results turn out to be ALMOST always inaccurate."
In this debate, however, Pro should not win by stating that the results are ALMOST always inaccurate. Just because most people don't experience true OBEs doesn't mean that no one has.
A1-2: Pro argues that since experiments are unrepeatable, they are invalid. See sources (2)-(5).

A2-1: Pro gives alternatives to OBEs including lucid dreaming, oxygen deprivation, and hallucinations. In his lucid dreaming example, he gives an R-Squared value of 0.2 (1). That value is extremely low and has zero statistical significance, rendering that connection irrelevant. However, Pro's alternatives are irrelevant, since they are all reasonable. Just because there are alternatives to OBEs does't mean that OBEs don't exist.

A3-1: Consciousness is intangible.
A3-2: Pro: "Nothing mental happens without something physical happens." Explain why this is important. Consciousness cannot exist without the brain, but it can exist outside the brain. This will be explained in my arguments.
A3-3: Here Pro misinterprets Occam's Razor(6). He first states that an OBE doesn't require 2 bodies, and then states that since 1 body is less than two, 2 bodies is an unnecessary assumption. Pro, please inform me if you meant something else, but this is my best interpretation of your language.

As Con, I will give a few examples of scientific OBEs. I'd like to emphasize that none of Pro's sources come from after 2005, so they may be outdated with regard to more modern OBEs.

Pro's Definition of Consciousness: The state of mind that is aware of the experience of the self and the environment.

An article from 2007 is titled "First Out-Of-Body Experience Induced In Laboratory Setting (3)." In the repeatable scientific experiment, patients recorded psychological, visual, and physiological responses to stimuli during the testing. One test included allowing the subjects to view and feel themselves being touched from a few meters behind their bodies. Another allowed subjects to view their illusionary second self being threatened, causing their brains to trigger a chemical reaction which made their body perspire, even though there was no danger. Only the illusory body was threatened. Pro's previously quoted definition of consciousness implies that the mind must be aware of itself. I ask, if the mind is observing its former body from an outside position, and the mind is experiencing not its former body, but another, then is the mind truly in its original self? No. Therefore in this scientific OBE, the consciousness really was out of its body, according to Pro's definition. This experiment was repeated in a 2008 Swedish study which made participants feel as if they were being cut with a knife even though the blade was slicing a dummy (who's eyes they were seeing through). Video (4), Article (5).

One's consciousness is located in what one experiences totally. If someone drives a remote control car by pushing a lever on a controller, their consciousness isn't in that car. However, if someone controls an avatar not with a controller, but with their mind, then their consciousness is located in that avatar. Lift your right hand. You can, because your consciousness is located within your body. Imagine if you thought about lifting your right hand, and instead of you doing so, the right hand of a robot over 1000 miles away lifted its hand. A robot has already been created and controlled, using only the power of the mind, from 1250 miles away (2). The student stated, "I really felt like I was there, moving around. One of the researchers picked the robot up"and I was like, 'Oi, put me down!'"

Pro presented alternatives to OBEs. He argued that true OBEs are unproven. He stated that there is no scientific evidence that's valid, that experiments supporting OBEs are unrepeatable.

I ignored historical OBEs because they lack enough documentation to convince Pro that John Doe experienced an OBE in 1643 after ingesting magic mushrooms. However, modern evidence proves OBEs true. Pro's arguments may have been relevant before our modern era, but now it is proven that OBEs are not only likely, they have happened from both sides. Humans have experienced from a dummy's perspective, and robots have experienced from a human's perspective.
Debate Round No. 2
Fox-McCloud

Pro

Introduction:
I want to thank my opponent for his interesting arguments in this debate. First I will rebut his arguments, then I will continue to defend my case.


Rebuttal
My opponents first argument can be summarized as follows:

A1: “If the mind is observing his own body from a remote location and experiencing his body from that place, then surely the mind must be outside the body.”

CA1: No. As argument 2-3 shows, it is possible that because the brain wrongly integrates the information and comes to conclude that the body is standing at two different locations, this may lead to the illusion to see oneself. This is even more plausible in an artificially situation where the brain is fooled to quite literally see itself through virtual reality. My opponent did not refute my argument, but simply stated this is irrelevant for his case. I submit the opposite is the case. My argument of hallucination still stands. Even Ehrsson himself calls it an illusion:

“I report an illusion in which individuals experience that they are located outside their physical bodies and looking at their bodies from this perspective. This demonstrates that the experience of being localized within the physical body can be determined by the visual perspective in conjunction with correlated multisensory information from the body.” [1]

Furthermore, The ‘rubber hand illusion’ (RHI) shows that by conflict between visual and somatic stimulation the sense of unity of consciousness and body can be broken. During this experiment, an artificial hand is stimulated in the same way as their own hand. The subject only sees the artificial hand. After a while one experiences the sensation that the artificial hand belongs to one's own body [2].

My opponent second argument can be summarized as follows:

A2: “If someone controls an avatar not with a controller, but with their mind, then surely their consciousness is located in that avatar.”

CA2: No. As your source clearly states:

“The fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) reads his thoughts, a computer translates those thoughts into commands, and then those commands are sent across the internet to the robot.”

I conclude that the conscious did not leave the body, but controlled the robot from inside his body.


Furthering own arguments

A1-1: Anecdotal evidence

Here my opponent draws a distinction between a ‘true’ OBE and a ‘debunked’ OBE. This distinction is non-existent and evidence to make clear this distinction has not been offered. Further, the fact that the results are not always inaccurate is statistically expected.

A1-2: Not scientific

My opponent states that my argument is invalid, but has offered no evidence to support the claim that veridical observations from remote locations during the OBE have been reproduced.

A2-1: Lucid dreams theory

My opponent states that:

“the found correlation of 0.20 is extremely low and has zero statistical significance, rendering that connection irrelevant.”

This is factually incorrect. The paper I provided shows clearly that the P-value is less than 0.05 which means that this finding has indeed significance [3].

A2-2: The lack of oxygen theory

My opponent drops this point completely. He states that:

“just because there are alternatives to OBEs, it doesn’t mean that OBEs don’t exist.”

My opponent conducts a logical fallacy, known as the argument from ignorance. He implies that his proposition is true, because it has not yet been proven false. I want to remind you that the point I made was that my opponent has to show that his explanations are more plausible then mine. He did not.

A2-3: Hallucination theory

As I have argued above, this explanation has significantly relevance to the subject at hand. The cause of all the characteristic aspects of the OBE can be traced down to disrupted brain processes, mainly in the region of the brain called the temporo-parietal junction. My opponent has to show that his explanation is plausible than mine.

A3-1: Biological development

My opponent does not make a substantiated response, but makes an unsupported assertion, thus drops this point.

A3-2: Physical dependence of consciousness

My opponent needs to explain how the consciousness interacts with the brain when they are separated, instead of just assuming it. Further, see rebuttal.

A3-3: Parsimony

My opponent posits that consciousness is a non-physical substance. As I have shown, this is an unnecessary assumption and therefore less preferred as explanation.

Conclusion

My opponent fails to offer convincing evidence to support his side of the burden of proof. He has yet to fulfill his main burden, which is to show that it is more plausible that the consciousness indeed leaves the body during the OBE, than it does not.


Affirmed

[Sources can be found in the comment section]

jdoe0

Con

jdoe0 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Fox-McCloud

Pro

Extending all arguments.

It's a shame my opponent has forfeited his last round, as I was enjoying this debate tremendously.

My case stands firmly and I think I refuted my opponents arguments adequately.

I urge a vote for Pro.

Affirmed
jdoe0

Con

jdoe0 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Fox-McCloud 3 years ago
Fox-McCloud
You have 3 hours left to post your argument, hurry up.
Posted by Fox-McCloud 3 years ago
Fox-McCloud
Sources (Round 3)
[1] Ehrsson, H. (2007). The experimental induction of out-of-body experiences. Science, 317(5841), doi:10.1126/science.1142175
http://www.sciencemag.org...
[2] Botvinick, M., & Cohen, J. (1998). Rubber hands 'feel' touch that eyes see. Nature, 391(6669), 756-756.
http://www.psychology.mcmaster.ca...
[3] Blackmore, S. J. (1984). A postal survey of OBEs and other experiences. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 52(796), 225-244.
http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk...
page 240 (or 16 of the link)
Posted by jdoe0 3 years ago
jdoe0
I'm not invested enough in this debate to provide a full list of MLA sources, and I don't think it's necessary that you do either. I'll post internet sources and I'd appreciate it if you did the same. I was trying to look up your sources and it'd be easier to just have links available.
Posted by Fox-McCloud 3 years ago
Fox-McCloud
Sources

[1] Blackmore, S. J. (1984). A postal survey of OBEs and other experiences. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 52(796), 225-244.
[2] Alvarado, C. S. (2000). Out-of-body experiences. In E. Carde"a, S. Lynn, S. Krippner (Eds.) , Varieties of anomalous experience: Examining the scientific evidence (pp. 183-218). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/10371-006
[3] Levitan, L., & LaBerge, S. (1991). Other worlds: Out-of-body experiences and lucid dreams. Nightlight, 3(2), 1-5.
[4] Blackmore, S. J. (1991). Near-death experiences: in or out of the body? Skeptical Inquirer 16: 34-45.
[5] Blanke, O., Ortigue, S., Landis, T., & Seeck, M. (2002). Neuropsychology: Stimulating illusory own-body perceptions. Nature, 419(6904), 269-270.
[6] Blanke, O., & Arzy, S. (2005). The out-of-body experience: disturbed self-processing at the temporo-parietal junction. Neuroscientist, 11(1), 16-24.

I think I can find an internet link upon request.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by theta_pinch 3 years ago
theta_pinch
Fox-McCloudjdoe0Tied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited and didn't use any sources. Pro didn't forfeit, used sources, and made better arguments.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Fox-McCloudjdoe0Tied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Multiple round forfeit.