I'm having a hard time dealing with non-existing after life. I mean I don't believe in any Gods so therefore there is no reason to believe in an afterlife. I know my conscious mind will be gone and therefore I will not be aware of anything but i still can't believe in completely and total darkness after life.


what do you all believe happens after death? Maybe hearing others opinions will make me feel better about this.

Views: 293

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

No we do know. We know that our brain stops all activity at death. Period.


There is no room for fantasy beyond that. 


What your talking about is unwarranted hope in the face of facts.


Fact. We die our brain stops working and our body rots. There is no evidence otherwise.

This is I suppose possibilianism applied, an appeal to ignorance.

It is fallacious even without acknowledgment that there is no equality between positions for there is evidence against it and no evidence for it. Naturalist explanations: consciousness is functionality of our brain have tons of evidence speaking for it. Take the brain away, or less drastically take certain small parts of the brain out, even temporarily with a chemical and there goes your consciousness, or you might alter it . Blind sight for example, seeing, but bypassing consciousness and other such phenomena.

Evidence for continuing existence after death: zilch. I mean cold readers, cushy and hellfire religions and wishful thinking motivated by grief and unfinished business, so zilch.

You fail to acknowledge the point I made about the epistemic limitations inherent in the scientific method. There is no absolute certainty in science. Not about electricity and magnetism, not about electrons, not about the Uncertainty Principle, not about Special Relativity, nor about wave-particle duality (especially that.) You need to suppose there being a point where we can be more certain than we are now there is no continuing existence after our bodies and brain are dead in order to make the appeal to ignorance seem ever so slightly reasonable. There isn't and it isn't. We know enough to resolutely, definitely and without reservation to state that death is final. And stronger than that as far as consciousness goes it can be terminally final even before the body dies.

I fail to see how an appeal to intuition plays into this at all. You seem to set up an argument that since Quantum Mechanics, or let's say the way the Universe works at it's deepest level is unintuitive, and existence of consciousness outside our brains is unintuitive, therefore the one lends credibility to the other.

I mean wow, really?

No. I'm really saying nothing more that we do not know. Before we found the evidence for other planetary systems we could not say we knew they existed. It was all but a certainty, but it was not a certainty until the evidence was confirmed. That's simply the discipline science must uphold. My message is definitely NOT an apologists for an after life. There is no evidence at this time that any part of our consciousness survives. But there is also no evidence that consciousness itself even exists. It's only empirically that you and I know it does. A scientifically understood mechanism of consciousness does not exist. And yet a certainty is put forth about its fate?

But now you are clarifying the error.

Let's take that example of planets orbiting other stars. You are acknowledging that yes, we do have a theory of the formation of the solar system and with of the course the Copernican Principle in the back of our minds always, that makes it highly likely that planets are orbiting around other planets. Nothing in the whole body of science even remotely objects to the presence of planets around other planets, instead everything relevant in science indicates it must be the case. But we can't be certain until we actually empirically establish their presence by direct observation.

I have no objection to that. It's a bit of caricature and not actually the way science works, but I don't object to the principle.

But now you want to compare this to extra-cranial consciousness, which is made extremely unlikely by everything relevant in science, and everything we do know objects to such a notion. What we do then in science is to reject the hypothesis - hop, out of the window - until evidence does arise in it's favor. We treat it like water with memory or astrological influences on human activities or telekineses and so on.

I have no objection to people who take it seriously now and want to test it in such a way as to (reproducibly) demonstrate the presence of free floating consciousness. I say the best of luck to them. There's an extra reward at the JREF in it for them too. Just like with other forms of woo.

This is different from dark matter for example. We have never seen it, but we know it is highly likely that it must exist, for example from analysis of the roughness spectrum of the CMB, matter dispersion in collisions of starclusters, relative orbital speeds of stars and so on. We know how to detect it, but it is a very delicate process, precisely because the interactions with normal matter are so low.

Same sort of story with gravitational waves for example. There is real hard-nosed science to back up the hypotheses.

And we do know that consciousness exists for example, even if we don't know fully how it works, we do have testable hypotheses for how it comes about and we're zooming in.

You're trying to use my remarks on the underlying mechanism against me, but you didn't understand the importance. This goes a little beyond rhetorics. When you posit a new kind of never before observed substance (this is not the case in naturalist explanations of consciousness) and you agree that it must somehow interact with the brain, at the level of the synapses perhaps or wherever you choose, which are made of normal matter, than you are going to have to explain how this new kind of substance interacts with matter, because it is the crucial, the vital point in your theory. Without it: poof!

Obviously the assumption of extra-cranial consciousness is a good candidate for Ockham's razor. When such an extra layer of complexity is added, it must be demonstrated then that it is actually needed, that brains by themselves cannot produce consciousness.

But it looks like consciousness is the result of (integrated) functionality of the brain, locatable in the brain and produced, however complex by the brain with neurons (action-potentials and synchronized spikes/wave-patterns) and perhaps glia (calcium-waves) as a substrate. It's window to the world is however small and drags along at a few hundred milliseconds after the facts.

True, there is a lot we don't know yet, but we do at least finally have come to an agreement - as unanimous at is possible to get with humans - in science that we have to study the brain, not the air that hovers above the cranium or wherever else it might live.

Have you begun reading into the philosophy of science, because I think it would do you a lot of good?

You really don't have to grasp the concept of nothingness. You don't, in fact, have to worry about it at all. In my case, that is what happened. I started out with the same sense of incompleteness when I thought about it, but eventually I realized it was a bit self defeating to bother. Whatever there is or is not after death, I can do nothing about it during life. What matters to me is how can I make the remaining years I have matter to me? With so much to see, do and learn post-death really loses all it's interest.

There is nothing--literally--to be scared of about death. It's horribly sad to lose someone you love and it's not pleasant to think of what your loved ones will go through when you die, but death itself is just the end. Wondering what happens afterward is a little like wondering what the flame is going through after you've blown out the candle.


The process of dying, on the other hand...well, that gives me the cold horrors. I'll be under my bed.

'Spook', by Mary Roach, is a very entertaining and informative book about the soul, spirit, and afterlife. I'd also recommend her book 'Stiff'.


Excellent recommendation

I like to think of it as the same as it was before you were born.  Before you were born you didn't know anything, you just didn't exist. You have no memories from that time.  The "afterlife" will be exactly the same.  


I too have sometimes struggled with this.  It can be very hard to believe that in an instant everything could be over and you will cease to exist.  However, my fear has never been enough for me to turn to religion for  comfort.   

You make death sound like the lights are out. Darkness. There needs to be a you to perceive darkness. Death=no more you. We are now sure that the universe and everything in it will just go dim and cold and simply stop existing in any meaningful way. Not even a Big Crunch. We are sensible and rational creatures, used to being able to wrap our minds around concepts, but you can't really get a handle on death because death is death. It isn't an experience we can analogize to something else in our experience the way we can analogize birth to a variety of experiences. Coming into being we understand. Going out of existence is something we will never understand.

Imho Who's to say? My belief is that we only have one life and we should live it to the fullest.

Be kind to every other living thing and learn as much as we can about the things that interest us, so that we fully understand what we enjoy the most.

Why do we make life so complicated? We think too much maybe.


Support T|A

Think Atheist is 100% member supported

All proceeds go to keeping Think Atheist online.

Donate with Dogecoin



Things you hate.

Started by Devlin Cuite in Small Talk. Last reply by Ari E. S. 3 hours ago. 67 Replies


  • Add Videos
  • View All

Services we love

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Into life hacks? Check out LabMinions.com

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

© 2014   Created by Dan.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service