Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Resolving the ‘Natural Afterlife’ issue: It Seems There’s No Real 'Natural Afterlife' After All


 
Natural Afterlife proponent Bryon Ehlmann insists I have no clue about how the NA works, and that “there is no violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics”.  He writes:

Because the natural afterlife involves absolutely nothing that is physically any different from what science assumes occurs at or after death, it cannot possibly violate any physical laws, including the 2nd law of thermodynamics. If it does violate these laws, then such laws are being violated every time someone dies.”

 
Let’s drop the semantics and just cut to the chase: whether we are talking about the dead person locked into an “ideation” or a “perception” it still requires ENERGY to sustain it.  This is irrespective of whether the person is actually DEAD and in a natural AFTER-life, or is "near" - dead, in which case remaining living processes ensure further energy inputs!

Meanwhile, you cannot have a perception for an already dead man, unless you are arguing for a non-physical existent, in which case your afterlife is little different from supernaturalism.

 Now, since energy at death has reached the ultimate disordered state, as I showed in my blog post of Feb. 10, it means there is no further capability to support any kind of an ordered state, i.e. bearing content or information. This includes a “perception” which, irrespective of being for dead man or living, must embody an energy content per bit. This informational energy per bit has been quantified as 0.693 kT where k is Boltzmann’s constant and T is the ambient temperature.

 As for “laws being violated every time someone dies” – yes – they seemingly are, by the natural afterlife brigade! Specifically the 2nd law of thermodynamics is being violated. We are expected to believe that an entity in a state of maximal entropy, including its brain, can be expected to give rise to any kind of “perception”.
 
But wait! Hold strain! Evidently I got it all wrong and my presumption that the natural afterlife is really an AFTERLIFE, is totally mistaken! Evidently, according to a further comment from Mr. Ehlmann,  I have conflated a pre-death perception with a post –death “never ending dream” or dream state (never mind proponents refer to it as an NED, or “never ending dream”).   It’s time to really clean up the language here, especially the  murky semantics.

Fortunately, Mr. Ehlmann’s next comments help immensely:

My bottom line: the natural afterlife DOES NOT “persist indefinitely” in any physical way following death and thus needs no energy to support it!”

 But again, the problem is in the semantics! If it “does not persist indefinitely in any physical way following death”, then what NON-physical way is left?   It is clear that we are being led into metaphysical territory here. The only alternative is the supernatural.  

Let’s lay this out in clear terms: There are only two defined possibilities for bracketing conditions of life and afterlife: the physical and non-physical. If then the conditions don’t meet the first, then the second are all that’s left, and the only non-physical realm which has been adequately elaborated (by theologians) is the supernatural.

 
Bryon could help us out here by providing the necessary and sufficient conditions for the natural “afterlife” to occur, but he has not yet done so. This shows me the NA concept isn’t clear in his own mind. It’s more a matter of words or rhetoric, with overtones of philosophy.

Fortunately, an additional, clarifying  comment by Mr. Ehlmann seems to clear the way for final resolution, making it feasible for us to not even have to ‘agree to disagree’:

Your blog posts of Feb. 9-10 clearly indicate that you mistakenly think that the natural afterlife requires a dream state that survives death. IT DOES NOT! A timeless, everlasting natural afterlife exists only as a perception in the mind of the dying person BEFORE death. The combination of matter and energy required to produce this perception does not survive death.

 
Okay, I guess I can be forgiven for taking too literally the natural afterlifers’ NED – or “Never ending dream”….or AFTER-life concept. So, okay it’s not a never-ending dream after all, it exists only as a “perception” in the mind of the dying person before death. So, in other words, the natural after life doesn’t exist at all!  There is NO  “after”  in any real, objective sense.

 What we have here then is a phenomenon of subjective timeexperienced by the dying person before he shuffles his mortal coil.

 If this is so, then Ehlman is correct that the 2nd law doesn’t apply. (However, if he objects to the subjective time format, he essentially contradicts himself).

 The downside is that then there is no genuine afterlife, only a semantics ploy based on a perception that erupted in the dying person’s mind before death. Nothing is carried on.

 Let’s now examine subjective time as represented in the graphic shown at top. Here I plot the subjective time t on the abscissa vs. the proper time (actual clock time) T, in the objective physical world.  We assume an inertial reference frame to measure T, and no relativistic motion.  In addition, we adopt the (Henry Stapp) version of the Copenhagen Interpretation and assume that the angle f is linked to the presence of an evolving wave function y so long as there is an objective passage of time.  (In which case the time -dependent Schrodinger equation applies).

 As shown, the peculiar nature of subjective time is that a psychological, internal state is able to “stretch” the experience of objective or proper time. In the case shown, 1 minute is stretched to roughly 4 mins. of subjective time, though it could also be 1 hour vs.4  hours, or 1 yr. vs, 4  years. The point is that given an appropriate psychological state to induce it, yes, the personal experience of time can be subjectively extended at the level of t, but despite that the actual clock time hasn’t changed.  (I.e. minutes are still minutes, hours are still hours, etc. Perception doesn't change the units of proper time, only internal or subjective time!)

 Now,  what if the extreme case occurs such that f = 0?    This logically means there is no further evolution of  y   in time.  (Hence, by the CI model, consciousness is no longer applicable since it requires y,  according to Stapp's CI variant).  If we are reluctant to identify definite states, i.e. death – then we might use an analog of the limit concept such that:

 lim  t ® ¥    (T /t)  =   tan f = 0 

In other words, as the subjective time t tends toward infinity, the tangent of f  tends to 0, and of course so does the proper (clock) time T. (When T = 0 entropy ceases to enter into  further considerations. Bear in mind in our context here,  T is paired to the person's biological processes. Thus, at T= 0 there is full biological death)

 Bear in mind given the use of a limit here, we aren’t technically talking of a post death state, we are only approaching death as the time T  ® 0 (i.e. t ®  ¥).   But for all intents, to the person, it is a "timeless" state. In effect, we have finally come to agreement in what Ehlmann refers to as:

“A timeless, everlasting natural afterlife exists only as a perception in the mind of the dying person BEFORE death”

Indeed, in the subjective temporal context  the person would be in a timeless state, since for him the clock time T = 0 (i.e. “timeless”) but in his experience his perception is “ever lasting” given the subjective time t ®  ¥. (Again, bear in mind the limit concept!)

 My problem again, is the use of the term “after life” for this pre-death subjective, temporal anomaly  – experienced by the dying person. Indeed, given Ehlmann admits the NED isn’t a true post-death state then it bears some analogy to the NDE, which also isn’t a genuine post death state  - only “near” death. (I won’t get into all the technicalities of how NDEs differ from NEDs).

I am not sure what term (or acronym)  is better suited, but perhaps we might finally be able to agree on:

Ersatz afterlife, or NEAR Afterlife, e.g. NAL

Of course, this means that  the de Broglie wave option is the only true natural afterlife left – justified by the name!   That is, it is applicable to the post-death state, unlike the NED, which Ehlmann admits is only applicable to the pre-death state (irrespective of whatever “perceptions” the person has)

 
One more caveat. The Heisenberg energy- time uncertainty principle, e.g.

D E D t  ³  ħ  

Can certainly be applied to the case of a dying person’s synapses up to the point the proper clock time T = 0 (i.e. all biological 'clocks' cease). Hence, Ehlmann’s complaints that it’s “not applicable” are irrelevant. So long as any (biological) clock time is recorded, one can estimate energy in the dying person’s synapses using it.

In conclusion, it occurs to me – after seeing all these semantic contortions (in order to proffer an “afterlife” that’s not really an afterlife) - that the NAL proponents are more lost in their own rhetoric than they realize. It also brings to mind the old adage of Lord Kelvin: "Unless a man can quantify what he's talking about, he isn't saying anything."

But at least it appears we can finally end this debate if the NALs will at last acknowledge that what they have is no real afterlife but a facsimile of one- based on their insistence of a perception in the mind of the dying person BEFORE death.

5 comments:

Bryon Ehlmann said...

See my comments in brackets within Copernicus’s quoted statement given below.

“Okay, I guess I can be forgiven for taking too literally the natural afterlifers’ NED – or ‘Never ending dream’….or AFTER-life concept. So, okay it’s not a never-ending dream after all [It is to the dying person but not to an outside observer.], it exists only as a ‘perception’ in the mind of the dying person before death. [Correct.] So, in other words, the natural after life doesn’t exist at all! [It does to the dying person but again not to an outside observer] There is NO ‘after’ in any real, objective sense. [It seems REAL to the dying person but yes in a SUBJECTIVE sense. Moreover, and this is important, this ‘after’ life is NOT a subjective sense of nothingness.]

What we have here then is a phenomenon of subjective time – experienced by the dying person before he shuffles his mortal coil.” [Agreed!]

As Copernicus requested, here are the necessary and sufficient conditions for a natural afterlife:
1) a true NDE and
2) an unconscious death.

A third condition could be explicitly added but is assumed. This is our innate, human, subjective if you will perception of time.

Copernicus states:

“The downside is that then there is no genuine afterlife, only a semantics ploy based on a perception that erupted in the dying person’s mind before death. Nothing is carried on.”

Of course I wouldn’t characterize my use of terms like natural “AFTER life” and “never-ending dream (NED)” as a “semantic ploy.” I simply selected terms that made sense from the subjective viewpoint of the dying person, not from the objective, outside observer. From the outside observer’s viewpoint, the natural afterlife could certainly be called a “Ersatz afterlife, or a NEAR Afterlife, e.g. NAL” as Copernicus calls it. Again, to the dying person it is, at least subjectively, GENUINE—“more real than real” as is often used to characterize an NDE.

I will close this comment with the simplest analogy I know to describe the natural afterlife. It’s like never waking up from a dream.

I’ll close this discussion (hopefully!) by acknowledging that the natural afterlife is “a facsimile of one- based on … a perception in the mind of the dying person BEFORE death.” But once again, to the dying person, this “facsimile” MAY very likely look like the real thing.

The discussion with Copernicus has for me been very worthwhile. I believe there’s been some convergence, and based on his forcing me to address some issues, I will soon be adding two sidebars to my article “The Theory of a Natural Afterlife: a New Take on NDE Science”—one on the falsifiability of the theory and one on our perception of time. Lee Smolin and Stuart Hameroff will be referenced in these in regard to both time and consciousness.

Btw, I still wish Copernicus could get my WHOLE name spelled correctly! That’s 2 n’s in Ehlmann. :-)

Bryon Ehlmann said...

Correction on my previous comment: It is Robert Lanza (author of Biocentrism) whom I will be referencing in my sidebars, NOT Lee Smolin.

Copernicus said...

Sorry about your surname, Bryon! I will edit the relevant posts to correct!

Copernicus said...

"I will close this comment with the simplest analogy I know to describe the natural afterlife. It’s like never waking up from a dream."


BUT, the difference is that in a dream as we Materialists know them, one can detect theta and delta waves using the EEG. The presence of such waves means there is an energy to support and sustain real dreams.

But there is no way Materialists know for a "subjective dream" to exist or persist without energy. So, to us, it's like talking about ghosts or apparitions. Without a basis in physical energy - while claiming a reality - it makes no sense.

Hence, my complaints of an idealistic philosophy to describe any such thing as a "natural (subjective) afterlife" .

In this I share the objection of physicist Euan Squires ('Conscious Mind and the Physical World', Adam Hilger, New York, 1990, p. 74) who notes that "the most useful argument against all such philosophies is that they discourage any endeavor to understand the sensations of the conscious mind."

And thus, in the NED, we find invocations of "unconscious death" etc. in order to escape being accountable for such sensations. And yet one notices the contradiction in the claim: i.e. insisting that the perception can only exist BEFORE death and the NED only applies BEFORE death yet also invoking an unconscious DEATH as a sufficient condition for a natural afterlife.

But one cannot on the one hand demand no death (to accommodate the perception), then contravert it and demand death as a condition!

Let me correct that, a Materialist can't.

While it is fascinating to make the claim that a near dead man is in this state of unconsious dreaming, I am unable to accept it unless I can actually see for myself - using whatever future technology might be available - what exactly it looks like.

In other words, for me seeing will have be believing if I am to place it on the same level as objective experience, irrespective of how 'real' it looks to the subject.

Bottom line: the only incontestable reality for now is the objective one, and the only incontestable natural afterlife is the objective one: based on de Broglie waves.

Bryon Ehlmann said...

My article The Theory of a Natural Afterlife: a New Take on NDE Science at

http://bryonehlmann.hubpages.com/hub/The-Theory-of-a-Natural-Afterlife-a-Scientific-Perspective

has now been updated. Among the revisions is a new sidebar, “Our Perception of Time.” It discusses how our human conception of time supports the theory of a natural afterlife. It was motivated by my dialog with Copernicus on the “permanent anesthesia” analogy to the natural afterlife. It references both Robert Lanza and Stuart Hameroff. Have a look!

My closing thought on the natural afterlife vs. the afterlife based on de Broglie waves: There’s absolutely no conflict here. You can have them both! They’re not mutually exclusive.