The Instigator
Heraclitus
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
usernamesareannoying
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

The Afterlife more than likely exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
usernamesareannoying
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/12/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 986 times Debate No: 73327
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (19)
Votes (3)

 

Heraclitus

Pro

In this debate I will be arguing that it is most likely that some sort of Afterlife exists. The BOP is on me.
Round 1- Acceptance
Round 2- First Arguments
Round 3- Rebuttals and further arguments
usernamesareannoying

Con

I accept. Please begin with your opening argument and good luck. Thanks for instigating an interesting topic. I would also like to state that Pro assumes full BoP to defend the resolution - for me to win the debate, all I have to do is successfully refute Pro's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
Heraclitus

Pro

Afterlife: The state of life existing after the permanent cessation of vital bodily functions
Life: The condtition that distinguishes animate matter from inanimate matter
Death: The permanent cessation of vital bodily functions

What is it that distinguishes animate matter from inanimate matter? What is life?
You probably learnt in a science lesson when you were small that a being is alive if it can move, reproduce, be sensitive, grow, respire, excrete and is dependent on nutrition. However what if I create a hypotheitical robot that can do al these things. It is possible. Even reproduction could technically be possible with machines although it sounds ridiculous to think about! But all reproduction is is re-producing something like it. It could even grow and respire with artificial lungs. But is this robot alive? It has all the qualities you were taught a living organism needed to be alive however it is not because it is a machine.

Consciousness

So what differentiates us from this machine? We possess a fundemental attribute- consciousness. The ghost in the machine.
You are conscious. You are a thinking being. We know this thanks to Descartes who proved that consciousness is axiomatic. He also had another famous axiom- Cogito ergo sum or I think therefore I am. What he is saying here is that thinking (consciousness/the mind) is what defines being alive. And he was right. Think about it. If you cannot think in any way than you are inanimate. Even simple organisms such as bacteria think in a way although in a very primitive way. All they think about is movement, reproduction and the other attributes associated with life. They are barely conscious. The have no emotions and cannot think about much but none the less they are very slightly. What diffientriates the bacteria an the machine is the bacteria controls itself whereas the machine is controlled externally.

When are body shuts doen does our consciousness carry on? Is it part of our body or is it seperate? The latter is an age old question and those who say that consciousness is merely reactions between brain cells are called monists but those who say that consciousness is a seperate metaphysical entity from the physical body are called Dualists or Animists. They say that the mind or soul is not an illusion as Monists claim but very real and made of a non-physical substance. Here is evidence that the mind is seperate from the body.

Near Death Experiences

A case was carried out in the U.K over a period of four years focusing on cardiac arrest patients. 40% of the patients claimed to have possessed consciousness at a time when they were clinically dead and their brain wasn't working at all. After the heart stops beating., the brain shuts down after about 20-30 seconds and the chemicals monists claim are responsible for the illusion of the mind and consciousness were not working yet they claimed to be conscious. Let us not forget that this was not one or two crazy people. This was a vast scientfic survey. So to say that it is not true is too either say that they were all lying or mistaken. So it is highly probable that some were telling the truth.

Another notable case was that of a Harvard educated Neurosurgeon called Dr Eben Alexander. Before his experience he was deeply sceptic and very much a man of the physical and one who would reject the metaphysical as spiritual nonsense.
In 2008, after contracting severe bacterial meningitis he fell into a deep coma for seven days. His neocortex was completely non-functional and he was incapable of brain activity. What happened afterwards is something of a controversy but Dr Alexander claims to have been to the other side. He described a light spinning closer and closer and opening up. He then described climbing through it into a 'verdant' 'ultra-real' realm before climbing out of that deep hole into the physical realm.
Nowhe could have been imagining it but his brain was 100% not functioning or he could have lied but that is very unlikely.
Whether or whether not this event is true or not there is even more compelling evidence.

Many people have claimed to have had out of body experiences (OBEs) however what is really fascinating is that some have been verified.
For example one case in 1991 was a simger, Pam Reynolds who had developed an aneurysm. She went for a risky surgical procedure hypothermic cardiac arrest.
She reporting hearing the note D natural whilst 'popping' outside her body. The tone becoming clearer the further outside her body she was. When she was outside her body her vision was brighter, clearer and more focused and she was looking down as the doctor drove a saw into her skull. She ooked on for days as she saw friends and family come in and the syrgeons talking about her for example a woman by her groin saying that "Her arteries are too small." When she finally awoke she explained everything that had happened from the perspective of looking down. She described what people said and did and which guests came in on which days and what they did as well.

This is just one example of a verified OBE. There was another case where a man described himself looking across the room in the corner of the room at doctors and his own body. He too described what he saw. Dr Sam Parnia who previously described NDEs and OBEs as hallucinatory said his information as "very credible."
"The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the experience lasted for," Parnia also said.
Parnia's further studies included 2,060 patients. 55% claimed to have had OBEs. Many of which were also verified.

The probability of all them lying or being mistaken would be a possibility but due to the verification of OBEs, it looks like they were telling the truth.

Sources-

http://www.independent.co.uk...

http://listverse.com...

http://www.near-death.com...

http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk...



usernamesareannoying

Con

Prologue

Thanks for the response. I will now refute accordingly.


Consciousness

There argument does not pertain to the resolution. It is a red herring. Albeit, it touches upon a soul however, there is no empirical evidence to affirm that a soul exists. For this reason, there is no need for me to attack the veracity of the argument, since it is irrelevant.


Near Death Experiences

Pro's argument takes assumes the following logical argument:

P1: Near death experiences happen
P2: People say they have "possessed consciousness"
P3: They were either lying, mistaken, or telling the truth
P4: After thousands of cases, the probability of one case of them telling the truth would be very high
C: Therefore, it is likely at least one person was telling the truth

Nevertheless, there are numerous inconsistencies regarding this argument. I commend Pro to define "possessed consciousness", as this might not necessarily pertain to their "soul leaving their body". For this argument to be permissible, Pro must fulfill the burden of proof to provide sufficient evidence to support the assertion that they are actually "forwarding to the afterlife". It is applicable to attack the veracity of this argument - it is "near death experiences", they are not actually dead - they did not travel to this afterlife, then return again.

It appears rather illogical that only 40% of the people make the claim... Why wouldn't it be 100%? I mean, if there is an afterlife, why would the majority not experience what the others did? Unless, Pro is postulating that this afterlife is resembles a metaphysical sanctuary like Heaven...

"So it is highly probable that some were telling the truth."

Even if some were telling the truth, it does not mean that their experience is them transferring into the afterlife.

Pro then provides an anecdotal case of one person who apparently went to "the other side" and came back again. Despite this committing the anecdotal fallacy, his experience was debunked with: "It is not so easy, however, to dismiss neurological processes. Dr. Alexander presents himself as emerging from his coma suddenly: “My eyes opened … my brain … had just kicked back to life.” But one almost always emerges gradually from coma; there are intermediate stages of consciousness. It is in these transitional stages, where consciousness of a sort has returned, but not yet fully lucid consciousness, that NDEs [near-death experiences] tend to occur."(1)

In fact, many OBEs are debunked and many NDEs are explainable by science.

As far as OBEs go, studies show that multi-sensory conflict is a key mechanism underlying out-of-body experiences. (2)(3)

Even if we were to accept everything that Pro has said with undoubted cogency, it still does not suffice. OBEs does not infer an afterlife. The patients do not match the defintion that you proposed... So, even if OBEs were deductively proven, it does not fulfill your burden of proof.



Conclusion

Pro has not provided tangible, inductive evidence to defend the veracity of the resolution; OBEs do not necessarily pertain to an afterlife, since the people who experience it do not match the denotation provided for "dead". The definition of life, proves problematic... These OBEs implies a state of non-matter. And the definition provided conveys that matter can only have life. In fact, there can be no eye-witness accounts for this debate. Since, the definition of death provided infers permanent death. Ergo, life after permanent death. So, let's say Pro can link OBEs with a metaphysical sanctuary of some sort, the anecdotals are not credible, because they did not fulfill permanent cessation. Ergo, they didn't technically die. Over to you Pro.


Citations

(1) https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com...
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
(3) http://phys.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Heraclitus

Pro

Defence of Arguments
Conciousness: This was not an argument in itself but more of a prologue before my argument about Near Death Experiences. As there is much confusion about what a 'soul' really is, I prefer not to use that term often but by a soul I mean a mind or conscousness that is seperate from the body (the ghost in the machine). To confirm that consciousness is seperate from the body using empirical evidence I used the example of NDEs.
Near Death Experiences: You mention that 'possessed consciousness' does not pertain to 'soul leaving their body'. I never ment that. I was stating that having the ability to possess consciousness while the body and the brain are not functioning at all shows that consciousness is seperate from the body. In later examples of NDEs I mentioned OBEs which are a kind of NDE. Your claim that 'wouldn't it be 100%' is a fair point. And honestly the answer is not all that clear and we do not know however what we do know is that certain cases have reported to have out of body experiences and that several of them have been verified which is something Con does not mention. He merely says that many out of body experiences have been 'debunked' but does not go on to explain how. Verified OBEs confirm that consciousness is seperate from the body. Now if consciousness is seperate from the body, then when the body shuts down consciousness does not neccessarily. So through that we now know 2 things:
a) Consciousness is separate from the body; ie. the soul exists.
b) Consiousness existing after the permanent cessation of the body is highly likely; ie. the afterlife is highly likely. And with these further arguments I will argue that the afterlife is more than likely.

Quantum Physics
Information Field Theory is a statistical field theory and has been proved with physical tests and mathematics. It was first theorised by Alain Aspect, the main proponent for Quantum Entanglement and who proved Einstein himself wrong.The Information Field is basically a higher field of consciousness. It is a quantum field that encompasses the whole cosmos. Professor Hans-Peter D"rr, former head of the Max Planck Institute for Physics explains: "Basically, there is no such thing as material. Primarily, there exist only connections to material foundation. We could therefore call it consciousness material. Energy appears only as coagulated, secondarily, solidified spirit. Many discoveries of quantum physics are not only immaterial, but that is a work in completely different ways that has nothing to do with the standard three-dimensional spatial sense we have. It is a pure information field, a sort of quantum code. It has nothing to do with mass and energy. This information field spans the entire universe. The cosmos is whole information because this field has no limit. There is only one, but this one united entity is differentiated." D"rr further goes on to explain how our own consciousness is part of this greater consciousness and that when we die our consciousness returns to the information field possibly to be re-used.
So this gives us a scientific explanation but what about real evidence.

Reincarnation Research
Dr Ian Stevenson is one of the most well known reseracher of reincarnation cases and so far has come across 3,000 cases. One of these cases came from a Sri-Lankan toddler who told her puzzled parents that in her previous life she was accidently drowned by her mentally handicapped brother and gave 30 wild details and claims about her previous family including their names and were they lived. What she had said was confirmed.

Another case came from a 3-year old boy from the border between Israel and Syria. He claimed that in his past life he was killed by an axe and showed the village elders and the witness to this Dr Eli Lasch where the murder buried his body and where he buried the axe to kill him. The skeleton found biried in the ground had a severe axe mark in its head much like the boy's birthmark which was a red streak on his forehead. Furthermore however he recounted his murderer's name. When questioned about it the man named as the murderer denied it but when he was taken to the site of the skeleton's burial and where the axe was buried he admitted that he had killed this man who the boy claimed to be. The murderer also confirmed the name of the person which the boy told the elders amd Dr Lasch before and the house in which he lived which the boy had lead the elders and Dr Lasch to before as well.

Bruce Whittier reported having realistic dreams about being a Jew in wartime hiding in a house with his family. He also said that in his dream his family called him another name that he had never heard before- Stefan Horowitz. Horowitz had been a real Dutch Jew who had been dicovered by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz where he had died.
Whittier was getting pannicked about his realistic dreams and in one of his dreams he saw a clock on the wall of the home he was hiding in. When he woke up he drew a detailed picture of that clock. He had another dream about a Nazi taking it. He then had a dream about it being in an antiques shop. When he went to the shop in his dream he saw the clock in his window. He asked the owner of the shop where it had come from and he replied that it it had come from a German Major in the Netherlands.

This final case is another of Ian Stevenson's. It is about a boy called Imad Elawar in Lebanon. His first words were two names- Mahmoud and Jamileh.
At the age of five he had made 55 claims about his previous life including his house which he took Dr Stevenson and his family to. From photographs there he pointed out Mahmoud who he said was his uncle which turned out to be true and Jamileh who was found to be the mistress of the man who had lived in the house. He was also able to remember where the man had kept his gun.

Conclusion
I first explored the possibility of consciousness being a separate entity from the body. Then I confirmed this with verified Out of Body experiences. Futhermore I gave a scientific explanation to this and the afterlofe with Quantum Mechanics and Information Field Theory and Finally with various examples of Reincarnation cases confirmed the resolution that the Afterlife more than likely exists.
usernamesareannoying

Con

Consciousness/OBEs

Since this has been acknowledged as a prologue, I need not refute the intentions of it. However, Pro states that OBEs confirm "consciousness" leaving the body. For sake of simplicity, let's take this at face value, and say that the vast anecdotals verify this. This only inductively proves that one's consciousness leaves their body whilst they are "alive" - notice every anecdotal does not fulfill permanent cessation. Therefore, even if one's consciousness can leave their body, Pro has provided no evidence for why it could happen after permanent, physical cessation. For this reason, the anecdotals provided do not pertain to the resolution.

Despite me not needing to debunk the veracity of OBEs, since it does not necessarily fulfill Pro's BoP, I will do so anyway.

" I was stating that having the ability to possess consciousness while the body and the brain are not functioning at all shows that consciousness is separate from the body"

If consciousness is separate from the body, then how are OBEs triggered from activating the angular gyrus in the right cortex? (1) If 'astral projection' exists, how is there no scientific proof for it? (2)


A recent study has verified that all OBEs are, in fact, lucid dreams (3). The source states "Lucid dreaming can be conditioned and bears an uncanny similarity to near-death". It states "NDE, as the most trusted reason for believe in life after life, may be just the result of spontaneous and hyper-realistic lucid dreams induced by narcosis or brain damage during dying,"

Another scientific study "has linked these experiences to instabilities in a part of the brain called the temporal lobe, and to errors in the body's sense of itself — even in healthy individuals" (4) The source says: "The temporal lobe interprets the sensory and other information coming in from the body and places it on a body map, giving us our sense of being inside our body, of looking out from our eyes. If this interpretation goes wrong, a hallucination can occur in which a person sees themselves from outside their body, also called an out-of-body experience (OBE)."

Occam's Razor

This will form another contention to OBEs, since this is what Pro's argument relies upon. This is also known as the law of parsimony - Occam's Razor, is a method devised to compare precedence of two or more different theories. It gives precedence to simplicity - an example could be, "Event: The tire on the car is flat. Of possible explanations a) It has a screw in it and b) A serial tire-flattener came through the neighbor and sliced the tire open, explanation "a" is more likely." (5). Outcome, "a" is more likely, since it relies on less assumptions. If we were to compare the likelihood of OBEs being an actual astral projection, one would have to assume certain aspects to be correct. However, there appears to be far less assumptions to be made if we were to accept the opposite theory - OBEs are not astral projections.

Information Field Theory

Pro postulates the following: "The Information Field is basically a higher field of consciousness". However, this is equivocates definitions of "consciousness"... IFT is used as a "logic of reasoning under uncertainty, in fields" (6) The proposed theory is effectively a combination of Bayesian Probability, Quantum Field Theory, and Statistical Field Theory. Bayesian Probability is a form of subjective quantification of probability - it stems as an extension of propositional logic, and verifies the veracity of a hypothesis. However, the calculation is contingent on previous evidence. (7) Pro has not implemented Bayesian Probability in his case, but instead relies on an appeal to authority fallacy - Pro provides no objective evidence that is solidated with sources, and uses non-sourced quotation from prestigious physicists. The physicist may be correct, but his word alone does not verify the existence of existential consciousness across the cosmos. Because Pro provided no sources, he commits the bare assertion fallacy.

Reincarnation Research

Pro also commits the bare assertion fallacy in this argument as well - he provides no sources for his claims. Without evidence, there is nothing to verify the truth of his findings. For this, I need not refute this argument. Nevertheless, I would like to add that the law of parsimony would favour the opposite of this argument as well.

Conclusion

Through evidence proposed, Pro could not inductively link OBEs to astral projections. Scientific research provides substantial evidence that OBEs are hallucinations and lucid dreams that can be triggered when specific parts of the brain are stimulated. Even if it were to be true, Pro hasn't provided any evidence that they are transferring to an afterlife. Occam's Razor, inductively verifies my contentions as assuming higher probability, since it is contingent upon less assumptions. Pro neglects Bayesian Probability in his Quantum Physics argument, so there was no probability calculated. The argument equivocated definitions of "consciousness". He then relied on an appeal to authority fallacy, since he provided no sources to ratify the assertions. Both his Quantum Physics and his Reincarnation arguments, commit the bare assertion fallacy, since the credibility can not be determined without sources. Since all proposed arguments have been refuted, the resolution is negated.

Thanks for the argument Pro.

Citations

(1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk...

(2) http://www.livescience.com...

(3) http://www.livescience.com...

(4) http://www.livescience.com...

(5) http://examples.yourdictionary.com...

(6) http://en.wikipedia.org...

(7) http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by usernamesareannoying 2 years ago
usernamesareannoying
I kinda disagree with FreedomBeforeEquality's vote... He states I did not refute the quantum physics argument, nor the definition. However I did both. Since the quantum mechanics argument was unsourced, it commits the bare assertion fallacy, as I stated for a refutation. I also stated that life after death is incoherent, because the entity would not have permanent cessation...

Sorry, just my opinion :/
Posted by usernamesareannoying 2 years ago
usernamesareannoying
I am seriously in the mood for some irn bru now.
Posted by Heraclitus 2 years ago
Heraclitus
I can no longer edit. I will define afterlife in round 2.
Posted by usernamesareannoying 2 years ago
usernamesareannoying
And could you please define "afterlife".
Posted by Heraclitus 2 years ago
Heraclitus
Aye
Posted by usernamesareannoying 2 years ago
usernamesareannoying
Hehe, we can settle this over a bottle of irn bru then.
Posted by usernamesareannoying 2 years ago
usernamesareannoying
Aye. Could you please change the debate format, since you have full BoP, I cannot produce an argument in round one. Can it be a round for acceptance?
Posted by Heraclitus 2 years ago
Heraclitus
By the way I am Scottish too.
Posted by usernamesareannoying 2 years ago
usernamesareannoying
Just challenge me and I will accept. Good luck btw.
Posted by usernamesareannoying 2 years ago
usernamesareannoying
Sure thing.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by FreedomBeforeEquality 2 years ago
FreedomBeforeEquality
HeraclitususernamesareannoyingTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct was the same. Pro had some spelling and verbiage errors. Both pulled their claims from reliable sources on the matter they were referring to and didn't take those references out of context. Convincing argument went to Pro for the fact that he defined life and consciousness as a thing that could be attained after death prior to making all his claims about OBE's etc. The fact that his definition of life/consciousness was not refuted set him up for being able to make any claim he wanted about life after death and it be true. The highlight was his round 3 "Quantum Physics" section that had me thinking the whole "if a tree falls in the woods" type of thing. That argument strongly supported his definition and was not refuted. Despite the emphasis of OBE's as a source of proof ... I found that the "connections to the material foundation" idea to be the strongest ... sice that supported the definition he laid out.
Vote Placed by Philocat 2 years ago
Philocat
HeraclitususernamesareannoyingTied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Good debate here, but ultimately it was Pro who had the most combining arguments. Namely the presentation of examples of verified OBEs - Con did not sufficiently refute these examples because the naturalistic explanation (lucid dreams/hallucinations) does not explain why the people are able to make many correct claims that they couldn't possibly have known before. This is where Pro wins the debate. However, I will give sources points to Con, since Pro didn't give sources for all his examples of OBEs and NDEs.
Vote Placed by Chaosism 2 years ago
Chaosism
HeraclitususernamesareannoyingTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's rebuttals prevented the resolution from being affirmed. The lack of sources hurt the reliability of the accounts described, and Con's points were stronger, sticking to the provided definition of the word, "Death", specifically being permanent. Con made the most use of sources.