Mind

Remember the telephone game?

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Yes, we all do, but that’s not the whole story …

Some findings in the field of collaborative memory research have been counter intuitive. For one, collaboration can hurt memory. Some studies have compared the recall of items on lists by “collaborative groups,” or those who study together, and “nominal groups,” in which individuals work alone and the results are collated. The collaborative groups remembered more items than any single person would have done alone. But they also remembered fewer than the nominal groups did by totaling the efforts of its solitary workers. In other words, the collaborators’ whole was less than the sum of its parts.

This so-called “collaborative inhibition” affects recall for all sorts of things, from word pairs to emotionally laden events; it affects strangers or spouses, children or adults. It is, in scientific lingo, “robust.”

What explains this? One dynamic is “retrieval disruption”: Each person remembers in his or her own way, and compelled to listen to others, can’t use those strategies effectively. Sometimes that effect fades. Sometimes it squashes the memories for good, causing “post collaborative forgetting.” Then there’s “social contagion” of errors, wherein a group member can implant erroneous recollections in another’s memory. – “Psychologists Ask How Well — Or Badly — We Remember Together”, ScienceDaily, (Apr. 28, 2011)

One wonders how Richard Dawkins’s theoretical meme (1976, a unit of idea, hopefully gene-based) would fare in all this? To say nothing of “memeplexes” or Susan Blackmore’s deceitful meme gangs (traditional religion, of course). One consequence of understanding the mind-brain complex as – in part – a quantum process could be the end of a search for a mechanism for how it works.

61 Replies to “Remember the telephone game?

  1. 1
    Bruce David says:

    I wonder how this relates to the reliability of the gospels as historically accurate records of events, being stories that were repeated orally (ie., as remembered) for some 3 to 6 decades before they were written down.

    The stories that comprise the various gospels certainly qualify as “emotionally laden events”, n’est ce pas?

  2. 2
    O'Leary says:

    Good question, Bruce David. In older cultures, where formal recitation of received texts was the normal method of transmission, once something came to be regarded as a received text, it didn’t likely change much. Many Jews could recite the whole Torah accurately.

  3. 3
    O'Leary says:

    PS: Solzhenitsyn wrote somewhere that during his time in the camps, his memory vastly improved because he no longer had access to printed material. He memorized his corpus of poems rather than taking the risk of writing them out.

  4. 4
    Bruce David says:

    Denyse,

    An interesting idea. I wonder if it is generally true that in societies in which only a small fraction or none of the population is literate, memory of societal history and myth is much more accurate than in literate societies such as ours.

    Of course in Muslim cultures even today, many people can recite the Koran accurately from memory.

    Do you know if there have been any studies of this phenomenon?

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable Christian Radio now has a video out on last weeks debate over Rob Bell’s new ‘universalism’ book ‘Love Wins’;

    Unbelievable? Debate: Heaven and Hell
    Rob Bell debates with Christian blogger Adrian Warnock,
    covering the issues raised by Rob’s latest book, Love Wins.
    (Total: 58mins)
    http://www.premier.tv/lovewins

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    I wonder how this relates to the reliability of the gospels as historically accurate records of events, being stories that were repeated orally (ie., as remembered) for some 3 to 6 decades before they were written down.

    Who says it took three to six decades before any of the material in the gospels was put into writing?

    The stories that comprise the various gospels certainly qualify as “emotionally laden events”, n’est ce pas?

    Maybe, maybe not. Some perhaps, certainly not all. For some people, perhaps, but hardly for all. Have you actually done an analysis of the Gospels for emotion laden content? Has anyone?

    How much emotion could there be in writing about something that didn’t happen to you first hand three to six decades after the events in question took place?

  7. 7
    paragwinn says:

    Mung: “How much emotion could there be in writing about something that didn’t happen to you first hand”

    Judging by such works as James Frey’s semi-fictional autobiography ‘A Million Little Pieces.’, quite a lot. Just ask Oprah.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    This helps Bruce David’s case how?

  9. 9
    paragwinn says:

    I was simply answering your question.

  10. 10
    O'Leary says:

    Hi all, especially Bruce David, Mung, and paragwinn: In an oral-based literary culture, one must be accurate when reciting key cultural sources because the text is owned by the whole culture, not by the reciter.

    Commentators are permitted to comment, but the text itself must be stable.

  11. 11
    Bruce David says:

    Denyse, you wrote:

    “In an oral-based literary culture, one must be accurate when reciting key cultural sources because the text is owned by the whole culture, not by the reciter.”

    This seems reasonable, certainly, but this raises a couple of questions:

    1. First, has this thesis ever actually been verified by any kind of study of oral based literary cultures?

    2. To what degree does this observation actually apply to the spread of Christianity in the first few decades after the death of Jesus? In other words, the early Christians were not, strictly speaking, an oral-based literary culture. There were a number of groups of people (remember that early Christianity was far from monolithic, with many different groups representing a number of different views) spreading the “good news” from Aramaic speaking Galilee into the Greek speaking portion of the ancient Mediterranean. How certain can we be that by the time the authors of the gospels recorded them (in Greek) roughly 35 to 65 years later, these stories still accurately portrayed events and utterances as they actually occurred?

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    How certain can we be that by the time the authors of the gospels recorded them (in Greek) roughly 35 to 65 years later, these stories still accurately portrayed events and utterances as they actually occurred?

    How certain can we be that the authors of the gospels did not record them until 35 to 65 years later?

    How certain can we be that the only sources the gospel writers had available to them at the time they wrote were word of mouth stories rather than events that had previously been put into writing?

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Bruce David says:

    Mung: “How certain can we be that the authors of the gospels did not record them until 35 to 65 years later?

    How certain can we be that the only sources the gospel writers had available to them at the time they wrote were word of mouth stories rather than events that had previously been put into writing?”

    We can’t be certain of any of it. That is the point. If you believe that the New Testament accurately portrays Jesus’ life and teaching, it can only be on the basis of faith. My point, really, is that Christians would do well to recognize this fact and stop trying to convince the rest of us that there is any reason other than faith to be certain that the Bible is an unimpeachable source of truth.

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    We can’t be certain of any of it. That is the point. If you believe that the New Testament accurately portrays Jesus’ life and teaching, it can only be on the basis of faith.
    According to what definition of faith? Faith without evidence?

    My point, really, is that Christians would do well to recognize this fact and stop trying to convince the rest of us that there is any reason other than faith to be certain that the Bible is an unimpeachable source of truth.

    But you’re wrong, and therefore Christians have no reason to submit to your desires, regardless of whether or not they believe the Bible is an unimpeachable source of truth.

    Every objection you’ve raised is disputed, and you then aver that since your claims are disputed, they prove your claims are true?

  16. 16
    Bruce David says:

    DrBot: “But you’re wrong.”

    How am I wrong? What is a source of CERTAINTY that the Bible is an unimpeachable source of truth other than faith? Certainty means without any doubt, not just, “probable” or “the best explanation”, or something similar.

  17. 17
    Bruce David says:

    Sorry, my last post should have been addressed to Mung, not DrBot.

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David;

    And just how certain are you that when you got out of bed this morning that gravity would hold you to the floor instead of you suddenly flying off into space? i.e. looked at naturalistically there are probabilities for everything, even a probability that gravity will suddenly change in value right beside your bed. Yet you certainly did not grab hold of your bed this morning when you stepped onto the floor fearful of the ‘probability’ that Gravity should give way beside your bed. I maintain that the ‘probabilities’ of the Bible being ‘inspired by God’ to be just as great;

    The Case for Jesus the Messiah — Incredible Prophecies that Prove God Exists
    By Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon, and Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.
    Excerpt: ‘But, of course, there are many more than eight prophecies. In another calculation Stoner used 48 prophecies (even though he could have used 456) and arrived at the extremely conservative estimate that the probability of 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one person is one in 10^157. How large is the number 10^157? 10^157 contains 157 zeros! Let us try to illustrate this number using electrons. Electrons are very small objects. They are smaller than atoms. It would take 2.5 times 10^15 of them, laid side by side, to make one inch. Even if we counted four electrons every second and counted day and night, it would still take us 19 million years just to count a line of electrons one inch long.
    But how many electrons would it take if we were dealing with 10^157 electrons? Imagine building a solid ball of electrons that would extend in all directions from the earth a length of 6 billion light years. The distance in miles of just one light year is 6.4 trillion miles. That would be a big ball! But not big enough to measure 10^157 electrons. In order to do that, you must take that big ball of electrons reaching the length of 6 billion light years long in all directions and multiply it by 6 x 10^28! How big is that? It’s the length of the space
    required to store trillions and trillions and trillions of the same gigantic balls and more. In fact, the space required to store all of these balls combined together would just start to “scratch the surface” of the number of electrons we would need to really accurately speak about 10^157. But assuming you have some idea of the number of electrons we are talking about, now imagine marking just one of those electrons in that huge number. Stir them all up. Then appoint one person to travel in a rocket for as long as he wants, anywhere he wants to go. Tell him to stop and segment a part of space, then take a high-powered microscope and find that one marked electron in that segment.
    What do you think his chances of being successful would be? It would be one in 10157.
    Remember, this number represents the chance of only 48 prophecies coming true in one person. It illustrates why it is absolutely impossible for anyone to have fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies by chance. In fact, a leading authority on probability theory, Emile Borél, states in his book Probabilities and Life, that once we go past one chance in 10^50, the probabilities are so small it’s impossible to think they will ever occur.
    Again, all of this means it is impossible for 48 prophecies to be fulfilled by chance. It is proof that there must be a God who supernaturally gave this information.
    http://www.johnankerberg.org/A.....1103-3.pdf

    The question is, can it be shown that such prophecies do exist? Well yes, there is a Biblical prophecy that has been fulfilled within our generation that has the entire meta-narrative of the Bible wrapped up within it; The return of the Israelis to their homeland!

    The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041241

    Bible Prophecy Fulfilled – Israel 1948 – article
    Excerpt: Subtracting 907,200 days from the Gregorian date of May 14, 1948, the calculator reveals a date of July 15, 537 B.C. ,,, Although July 15, 537 B.C. can not be verified by outside sources as the exact day of Cyrus’s proclamation, we do know that 537 B.C. was the year in which he made it. As such, we can know for certain that the Bible, in one of the most remarkable prophecies in history, accurately foresaw the year of Israel’s restoration as an independent nation some two thousand five hundred years before the event occurred.
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Bibl.....;id=449317

    —————–

    Further note;

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life! – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection?
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Front and Back 3-D images – articles and videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    This following recent video revealed a very surprising holographic image that was found on the Shroud:

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041205

  19. 19
    Bruce David says:

    Bornagain,

    You keep trying to use Old Testament prophesies to prove that the New Testament is true. It simply doesn’t follow, for the following reasons:

    1. That a few of the numerous old testament authors had an accurate vision of the future does not make the writings of the other authors of the Bible true.

    2. Prophesies in general are vague enough that they can be interpreted as having foreseen a wide variety of actual occurrences.

    3. The authors of the Gospels, particularly Matthew, knew the old testament prophesies regarding the coming of the Messiah, and could easily have altered the stories to fit with them. There is evidence in the gospels themselves that that is exactly what Matthew and Luke did with the story of Jesus’ birth. They each knew that the prophesy is that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, yet it was known that Jesus was from Nazareth, so they each made up a story to have him born in Bethlehem but raised in Nazareth. But they are different stories!

    4. Jesus himself in Mark utters the prophesy that the coming of the new age on earth, when the sun and moon would grow dark and the stars fall from the heavens, etc., and God would establish the new order on earth with the “Son of Man” coming riding on the clouds to be its ruler, would happen during the lifetimes of his disciples. As this did not happen, a prophesy of Jesus himself was not fulfilled.

    Now I know that you and others have explanations for all of my objections, but to me your explanations seem to be simply wishful thinking born of denial. Nothing you or others have said has done anything to change my opinion on this, so please, stop with the prophesies already!

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David, I know that you are not given to reason from your many ‘denialisms’ at facing the absurdity of your own Patheistic belief. But what strikes me most about the absurdity of your pantheistic beliefs is that you will believe in the most absurd contradictions so as to maintain your beliefs even when shown point blank by StephenB and others their sheer irrationality, but when corrected of your shallow criticisms of Christianity, no matter how compelling or reasonable the evidence presented to you is, you will always choose the most mundane objection to cling to instead of soberly assessing the evidence. For instance, you plead with me to ‘stop with the prophecies’ but clearly the prophecies concerning Israel becoming a nation again were written centuries before their fulfillment. And we have solid archeological evidence that testifies to the ‘exactness’ of the year!!! The scriptures are not ‘fuzzy’ as you maintained but clearly state that Israel would be ‘dispersed and reassembled’ in the ‘latter days’. The only reasonable explanation for this is that God has left His unique ‘supernatural watermark’ on the Bible. This is clear to all fair minded people. And moreover the fact of the matter is that you cannot produce anything close to that sort of verifiability from your entire pantheistic ‘madhouse’ of writings. Yet you claim that your books are ‘inspired’ and that your ‘inner knowing’ allows you to deduce this. Forgive if I do not trust your ‘inner knowing’ and consider your criticism of Christian prophetic apologetics to be much less than forthright and ballanced!

  21. 21
    Bruce David says:

    Bornagain: And forgive me if I don’t buy your characterization of my beliefs as “absurd” and “irrational”. There is nothing in my belief system that is not also held by others, much smarter than you or StephenB, such as Ibn al ‘Arabi, Bulent Rauf, Bishop Berkeley, and it turns out, Bruce Gordon, co-editor of The Nature of Nature.*

    I don’t contend, by the way that each of these men held or hold every one of my beliefs, but I do contend that each of my beliefs is supported by at least some of these thinkers.

    As I have said before, this doesn’t make my ideas true per se, but I submit that it does rescue them from your charge of irrationality and absurdity.

    *Toward the end of his essay, “A Quantum Theoretical Argument against Naturalism”, Bruce Gordon states, “I contend that there is one quite reasonable way to ground this ontology and obviate any puzzlement:…[a] theistic metaphysics THAT LOOKS A LOT LIKE GEORGE BERKELEY AND JONATHAN EDWARDS…The difference in the present case is that this explanatory hypothesis is grounded by ontological deduction from fundamental physical theory and experiment [ie., quantum mechanics and relativity], rather than by epistemological analysis (Berkeley) or philosophico-theological argument (Edwards).” (emphasis added)

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce Gordon, I don’t care if you appeal to Einstein, your beliefs are absurd from first principles of right reason;

    For one absurdity, your belief system, much like atheism, cannot ground morality, as Dr. Stephen Meyer makes clear at the 6:30 minute mark of this following video;

    Stephen Meyer – Morality Presupposes Theism (1 of 4) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSpdh1b0X_M

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    correction Bruce David, I don’t care if you,,,

  24. 24
    StephenB says:

    —Bruce David:

    —“Prophesies in general are vague enough that they can be interpreted as having foreseen a wide variety of actual occurrences.”

    What is vague about a virgin birth in Bethlehem?

    —“The authors of the Gospels, particularly Matthew, knew the old testament prophesies regarding the coming of the Messiah, and could easily have altered the stories to fit with them.”

    In the preceding paragraph you stated that the prophecies are too vague to qualify as a meaningful prophecy, and now you say that they were so precise that the apostles could rewrite history around them.

    —“There is evidence in the gospels themselves that that is exactly what Matthew and Luke did with the story of Jesus’ birth. They each knew that the prophesy is that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, yet it was known that Jesus was from Nazareth, so they each made up a story to have him born in Bethlehem but raised in Nazareth.”

    First, you say that the apostles disagreed over Christ’s birthplace and now you say that they colluded to come up with the same story. What is it rational thought that you find so unappealing?

  25. 25
    Bruce David says:

    Bornagain: “Bruce Gordon, I don’t care if you appeal to Einstein, your beliefs are absurd from first principles of right reason.”

    There you go again with “right reason”, as if only you and a few other people who agree with you understand the proper use of reason, and everyone else, including nearly all of the thinkers in the whole history of Western and non-Western philosophy did not. Now THAT’S absurd.

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Hi StephenB glad to see your clarity in full force.

  27. 27
    Mung says:

    4. Jesus himself in Mark utters the prophesy that the coming of the new age on earth, when the sun and moon would grow dark and the stars fall from the heavens, etc., and God would establish the new order on earth with the “Son of Man” coming riding on the clouds to be its ruler, would happen during the lifetimes of his disciples. As this did not happen, a prophesy of Jesus himself was not fulfilled.

    If you read the text again, you’ll see that Jesus said, “Do you see all these? (v. 2)”

    So what makes you think the events you are talking about refer to anything other than the destruction of Jerusalem, which did happen within a single generation, in AD 70.

    Now I know that you and others have explanations for all of my objections, but to me your explanations seem to be simply wishful thinking born of denial.

    Actually, you’re the one in denial.

    It is clear that Jesus was predicting the fall of Jerusalem and your failure to admit this is clearly due to denial on your part of the clear and plain referent.

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce, as Stephen Meyer pointed out in the video, since you maintain that all dualities are a illusion, since ‘all is god’ in your pantheistic worldview, how do distinguish between right and wrong since you have given the right to distinguish ‘rightness’ and ‘wrongness’ in the first place? Do you live as if there is no right and wrong in the world? i.e. do you walk your talk?

  29. 29
    Bruce David says:

    StephenB:

    The way you twist my statements to your own purposes is clearly the work of someone who is trying to win an argument, not someone who is genuinely seeking truth. In that you remind me of a Darwinist defending his cause. The most blatant example is the following:

    “First, you say that the apostles disagreed over Christ’s birthplace and now you say that they colluded to come up with the same story. What is it rational thought that you find so unappealing?”

    Did you actually read what I wrote? I said that the authors of Luke and Matthew appear to have made up DIFFERENT stories about Jesus’ birth. In order to fulfill the prophesy and yet have Jesus be from Nazareth, each one has him born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, but beyond that, the stories are very different. One has Mary and Joseph living in Nazareth, travelling to Bethlehem for the census, Mary giving birth to Jesus in a stable, and returning to Nazareth once the Jewish obligations of birth have been concluded (roughly 40 days later). The other has them living in Bethlehem, giving birth to Jesus (in their home, presumably), and then fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod, where they live until Herod dies. They then return, but to Nazareth, not to Bethlehem, because they fear Herod’s son, who was then king.

    My overall point is that it is quite possible that the reason Jesus’ life appears to have fulfilled the prophesies is that the authors of the gospels, who had knowledge of the prophesies, wrote the stories of Jesus life so that they corresponded to them.

    I’m not arguing that this is necessarily true, either. My point is that there is sufficient historical uncertainty that the only way to arrive at certainty about the truth of the New Testament is through faith, not reason, and not because the gospels are unimpeachably accurate historical sources. And not because prophesies were fulfilled, either.

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David if anyone is twisting stuff just so he can win an argument and could care less about the truth it is you, for you completely ignored where StephenB nailed you;

    ‘In the preceding paragraph you stated that the prophecies are too vague to qualify as a meaningful prophecy, and now you say that they were so precise that the apostles could rewrite history around them.’

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    background info for Mung;

    Pantheism is the position that God and nature are the same thing. “Pantheism” comes from two Greek words, ‘pan’ meaning ‘all’ and ‘theos’ meaning ‘god.’ So, it would teach that all the stars, galaxies, planets, mountains, wind, and rain, are all one and the same… part of what God is. So, pantheists would say that all is God.

    Biblical Christianity teaches that God is separate from his creation and he created it (Gen. 1:1-30), where pantheism says that God and creation share the same nature and essence.

    A huge problem with pantheism is that it cannot account for the existence of the universe. The universe is not infinitely old. It had a beginning. This would mean that God also had a beginning, but how can something bring itself into existence? This is impossible, so this leaves us with the question of where God and the universe came from. Pantheism cannot answer this question and it naturally leads to absurdities.
    http://carm.org/questions/abou.....-pantheism

  32. 32
    Bruce David says:

    Bornagain: …since ‘all is god’ in your pantheistic worldview, how do distinguish between right and wrong since you have given the right to distinguish ‘rightness’ and ‘wrongness’ in the first place? Do you live as if there is no right and wrong in the world? i.e. do you walk your talk?”

    Good questions. To the first, the difference between us, as I see it, is that I see ALL of God’s creation, including what we label as evil, as serving a purpose (God’s purpose), whereas you, I believe, see evil as an unfortunate byproduct of God’s having given us imperfect creatures free will. What is God’s purpose for what we call evil? As I have explained many times, it is so that we can EXPERIENCE our essential goodness by comparison. If all there is is good (which is true in the transcendent state), then it is like it doesn’t exist. In order to experience good, we need to have an experience of evil with which to compare it. Thus, from God’s perspective (and ours, when we can stand back and look at the big picture), there is no evil, since what we call evil is necessary for the fulfillment of that higher purpose, and what is necessary for the fulfillment of God’s purpose can’t be evil in the largest sense.

    In my personal life, I always try to understand and have compassion for the reasons that people do things that I might be tempted to judge. So for example, my stepson resists my control mightily. I am definitely tempted to judge him for it, but when I catch myself in that mode, I remind myself that he was raised during his first few years by very controlling grandparents, and developed his resistance to control as a way to survive. As a result, I back off much more from forcing the issue with him than I would have, say 30 years ago. So for the most part, I can say that yes, I do walk my talk. I’m still human and fallible, but when I catch myself in judgement mode, I generally self correct, and I don’t go into judgement very often these days.

    Judgement and love really are mutually exclusive: when we love we do not judge, and when we judge, we cannot love. Since God IS love, judgment cannot be one of His qualities.

  33. 33
    Bruce David says:

    Bornagain: “Bruce David if anyone is twisting stuff just so he can win an argument and could care less about the truth it is you, for you completely ignored where StephenB nailed you;

    ‘In the preceding paragraph you stated that the prophecies are too vague to qualify as a meaningful prophecy, and now you say that they were so precise that the apostles could rewrite history around them.’”

    Please read what I actually wrote. I deliberately used the phrase “in general” in my statement (which both of you pointedly ignore), because I know that in some cases prophesies or parts of prophesies are relatively specific. If you both had an interest in genuine dialog you would put a lot more effort into understanding what I am actually attempting to convey and a lot less effort in constantly trying to trip me up.

  34. 34
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David, but in your view judging is just as good as love is since ‘all is god’. i.e. you gave up the right to establish ‘competing identity’ for any terms you may choose to debate. For that matter lunacy retains as much ‘goodness’ as reason itself does since ‘all is god’ in your view. Lies are just as good as truth, Love is just as good as hate, death is just as good as life. No wonder you hate judgement, you have forfeited your ability to rationally judge in your starting premise of ‘all is god’! ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it to’ is truly a fitting statement for your pantheistic madhouse!

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce you simply completely lost!!. You have the audacity to try to overturn the fortress of Christianity, all the while having nothing but quicksand in your personal philosophy to stand on. It would be absolutely funny for me if the consequences were not so ‘potentially’ terrible for you;

    ————–

    Pantheistic Near Death Experience Studies:

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand:
    Excerpt: The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of `going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves. (Murphy 99)
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand: Discussion of case histories By Todd Murphy, 1999:
    Excerpt: We would suggest that the near-constant comparisons with the most frequently reported types of NDEs tends to blind researchers to the features of NDEs which are absent in these NDEs. Tunnels are rare, if not absent. The panoramic Life Review appears to be absent. Instead, our collection shows people reviewing just a few karmically-significant incidents. Perhaps they symbolize behavioral tendencies, the results of which are then experienced as determinative of their rebirths. These incidents are read out to them from a book. There is no Being of Light in these Thai NDEs, although The Buddha does appear in a symbolic form, in case #6. Yama is present during this truncated Life Review, as is the Being of Light during Western life reviews, but Yama is anything but a being of light. In popular Thai depictions, he is shown as a wrathful being, and is most often remembered in Thai culture for his power to condemn one to hell. Some of the functions of Angels and guides are also filled by Yamatoots. They guide, lead tours of hell, and are even seen to grant requests made by the experient.
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    A Comparative view of Tibetan and Western Near-Death Experiences by Lawrence Epstein University of Washington:
    Excerpt: Episode 5: The OBE systematically stresses the ‘das-log’s discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here.
    Episode 6: The ‘das-log, usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back.
    Episode 7: The ‘das-log witnesses trials in and tours hell. The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. Tortured souls also ask him to take back messages to the living.
    http://www.case.edu/affil/tibe.....4&amp

  36. 36
    StephenB says:

    bornagain 77, good to see that you are still minding the store. Keep up the good work.

  37. 37
    StephenB says:

    —Bruce: “Did you actually read what I wrote?”

    I am afraid so.

    —-[A] “I said that the authors of Luke and Matthew appear to have made up DIFFERENT stories about Jesus’ birth.”

    —-[B] “My overall point is that it is quite possible that the reason Jesus’ life appears to have fulfilled the prophesies is that the authors of the gospels, who had knowledge of the prophesies, wrote the stories of Jesus life so that they corresponded to them.”

    [A] the apostles told different lies [inconsistent accounts of Jesus’ birth] in order to

    [B] confirm the same lie [a consistent acount about the place of Jesus’ birth].

  38. 38
    Bruce David says:

    Bornagain: response to number 34:

    You are simply blind to the possibility that preference could be on any basis other than good and evil. I prefer love to judgement because I like the way it feels when I love.

    This does NOT imply that I hold love to be good and judgement to be bad, and I have NOT surrendered my right to prefer something over something else, in spite of how much you may think I have.

    You can rant and rail and call me incosistent all you want; it doesn’t make it so.

  39. 39
    Bruce David says:

    StephenB: “—Bruce: ‘Did you actually read what I wrote?’

    I am afraid so.” (#37)

    Just enough to cherry pick it, in order to try to make me look foolish. Again.

    Give it up, Stephen. Anyone reading the whole comment (#29) can easily see that in its entirety it makes perfect sense and is quite reasonable. This is not to say that one must agree with it, of course, but if you do disagree with it, have the good grace to respond to the complete meaning of what I actually wrote, not some straw man version.

    Or perhaps you’re just not smart enough to understand it.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David, by you making your ‘preference’ the final, and I would say sole, arbiter of what is right and wrong, good and evil, you have in fact taken ‘original sin’ to its absurd conclusion in your heart and in your mind; By you saying ‘all the universe is god’ therefore I am god also (aka the Shirley McClain mantra) you have exalted yourself into the position which only God Himself has the right to hold.

    Genesis 3:4-5
    “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Mark 10:18
    “Why do you call me good?” asked Jesus in reply; “there is no one truly good except One–that is, God.”

    John 8:23-24 And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

  42. 42
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David, I think this song most appropriate;

    God is God (HD Version) – Steven Curtis Chapman
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8u1in165g4

    You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” – Surprised by Joy

  43. 43
    bornagain77 says:

    the quote above is from C.S. Lewis

  44. 44
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David in case you did not see this in O’Leary’s post, This is really an interesting interview on ‘Undesigned Coincidences’ of the Bible, with Tim McGrew, which really provides airtight rebuttals to your arguments that you have been using trying to undermine the authority of scripture. At approx. the 46 minute mark of the interview they even go into one of your favorite arguments against the accuracy of the Gospel’s account of the beginning of Jesus’s life, and show that it is indeed historically accurate.

    here is the link:

    http://evidence4faith.com/

  45. 45
    Bruce David says:

    Bornagain: “Bruce David, by you making your ‘preference’ the final, and I would say sole, arbiter of what is right and wrong, good and evil…”

    You see, Bornagain, that is exactly what I am talking about. You are simply unable to imagine the possibility that right and wrong do not exist. (This is why I have accused you of a lack of imagination on occasion.) Therefore, you are unable to understand my spiritual position because everything I say gets squeezed into your own philosophy of “right and wrong” and comes out totally skewed.

    You want to quote scripture to me? Here is a quote from my own source of revelation (The New Revelations, a Conversation with God, by Neale Donald Walsch, p. 340): “There is no such thing as Right and Wrong. There is only What Works and What Does Not Work, depending uponwhat it is that you seek to be, do, or have.” That comes directly from God.

    Now I know that you will be aghast and dismayed that I could actually believe that the Conversations with God books are a direct source of revelation from God, but the fact is that I do. You’re just going to have to accept it.

  46. 46
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David, you simply have no foundation to state,,

    ‘Conversations with God books are a direct source of revelation from God’

    ,,, for ‘all is god’ in your view! For you state that any part of reality provides ‘more’ revelation from your god than any other part is to deny your premise that ‘all is god’ i.e. you can’t have your cake and eat it to Bruce!!!!

  47. 47
    Proponentist says:

    Here is a quote from my own source of revelation (The New Revelations, a Conversation with God, by Neale Donald Walsch, p. 340): “There is no such thing as Right and Wrong. There is only What Works and What Does Not Work, depending upon what it is that you seek to be, do, or have.”

    I haven’t read the book, but I would bet that statement comes with very many qualifications and cannot be taken at face value. If not, it could be a very dangerous philosophy.

    At the same time, exchanging the terms Right/Wrong, for Works/Does Not Work may actually be changing nothing.

    For anyone, for example, with a single-minded desire to serve God – things that “do not work” are the same as “things which are wrong”.

  48. 48
    Bruce David says:

    Proponentist: “I haven’t read the book”

    I recommend that you read the book. There is a quite extensive discussion of the whole idea of right and wrong and how it basically collapses when examined carefully. It’s too long for me to paraphrase here and do it justice.

  49. 49
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David,

    “There is a quite extensive discussion of the whole idea of right and wrong and how it basically collapses when examined carefully.”

    So being able to see what is ‘right’ exists long enough for you to be able to decide that there is no right and wrong, good or bad, or truth or deception??? ,,, I’d say something has collapsed alright, but it sure ain’t moral objectivity!

  50. 50
    Bruce David says:

    Bornagain: “For you state that any part of reality provides ‘more’ revelation from your god than any other part is to deny your premise that ‘all is god’ ”

    You don’t seem to have much ability to draw fine distinctions. Everything that exists is Him, yes, but that in no way implies that every utterance by every person throughout all time is the truth. This should be obvious.

    I have explained many times that in my philosophy, when we are born into a physical body, we forget Who We Really Are, and that this is in accordance with the Plan. Thus, even though we are all a part of God, we have deliberately forgotten that fact in order to have the glorious experience of remembering. So it is not surprising that most of us most of the time do not reveal the Truth in our utterances.

    Revelation is an outcome of someone being strongly in touch with the Truth (i.e., God) and with minimal interference from his or her intellectual and emotional ‘filters’. I say “minimal” because it is virtually impossible to be a completely pure channel while in a physical body, so all revelation is provisional. Another reason why revelation can never be perfect is that it must of necessity be expressed in language, and language is an imperfect vehicle for expressing spiritual Truth, which is ineffable. This is why the ultimate authority is always our own inner knowing.

  51. 51
    StephenB says:

    —Bruce David: “Anyone reading the whole comment (#29) can easily see that in its entirety it makes perfect sense and is quite reasonable.”

    Througout the ongoing debate, you have tried to juggle two irreconcilable arguments:

    1) The apostles told different stories and contradicted each other, meaning that their stories were too dissimilar to be believable

    2) The apostles colluded to make sure that their stories all corresponded to Old Testament prophecies, meaning that their stories were too conveniently similar to be believeable.

    —“Or perhaps you’re just not smart enough to understand it.”

    Or perhaps you are interpreting your muddled thinking as subtle thinking.

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David you state;

    ‘You don’t seem to have much ability to draw fine distinctions.’

    Bruce David it is you that refuses to see ‘the fine distinction’ that you have made in your premise. In fact, your premise that ‘all is god’ precludes any such distinctions from being possible in the first place (coarse or fine). Moreover you have lost the right to tell me that my ‘inner knowing’, that you are completely lost in a fluffy ‘if it feels good do it’ philosophy, is any less valid than your ‘inner knowing’ that tells you that you are your own god.

  53. 53
    Mung says:

    You see, Bornagain, that is exactly what I am talking about. You are simply unable to imagine the possibility that right and wrong do not exist. (This is why I have accused you of a lack of imagination on occasion.) Therefore, you are unable to understand my spiritual position because everything I say gets squeezed into your own philosophy of “right and wrong” and comes out totally skewed.

    Sheesh. To an unbiased observer it could even seem that you think he’s wrong for doing so.

    If there’s no right and wrong what are you complaining about?

  54. 54
    Bruce David says:

    Mung: “Sheesh. To an unbiased observer it could even seem that you think he’s wrong for doing so.

    If there’s no right and wrong what are you complaining about?”

    I am not saying he is wrong in any MORAL sense, which is the only sense in which I believe that right and wrong don’t exist.

    If you actually interpret what I wrote to mean that I am accusing him moral turpitude, well, I can only say that was never my intent. My intent was to demonstrate that his biases prevent him from understanding my point of view.

  55. 55
    Mung says:

    My intent was to demonstrate that his biases prevent him from understanding my point of view.

    Just sayin. You make it sound like that’s a bad thing. But it’s not. So why bring it up?

    He should be able to flat out lie and completely misrepresent anything you say and what ground would you even have for objecting?

    You actually appear to care that his biases prevent him from understanding your point of view, and I’m trying to understand why.

  56. 56
    Bruce David says:

    To both Mung and Bornagain:

    You both include much more of life in your concepts of right and wrong than I do. Living without right and wrong in the way that I mean the terms does not preclude having preferences, likes and dislikes, desire, or passion. It only requires surrendering judgment (in the sense of labeling someone morally wrong or evil). What you get in exchange is love. It’s a trade I’ll take any day.

  57. 57
    bornagain77 says:

    Bruce David;

    ‘It only requires surrendering judgment’

    And you have ‘surrendered judgement’ quite well! 🙂

  58. 58
    Bruce David says:

    StephenB:

    You do love those straw man arguments, don’t you, Stephen? It’s a shame you aren’t a Darwinist. You’d be right at home. They love the straw man arguments, too.

    I’m going to show you exactly how you distorted my meaning so you could claim that my thinking is “muddled”.

    “1) The apostles told different stories and contradicted each other, meaning that their stories were too dissimilar to be believable”

    What you represent as my meaning is something I never said and is not, in fact my meaning. My meaning is this (and has been from the beginning): given that the stories recorded by the gospel authors (who I do not believe were any of the apostles) are different and in several instances apparently contradictory, this is evidence the Bible cannot reasonably be taken as an unimpeachable source of truth except on the basis of faith. Since I explicitly allow for accepting the truth of the New Testament on the basis of faith, that implies that I do not hold it to be unbelievable (since faith is belief, is it not?).

    “2) The apostles colluded to make sure that their stories all corresponded to Old Testament prophecies, meaning that their stories were too conveniently similar to be believable.”

    This one is WAY off. I never said that the authors of the gospels colluded in any way, nor did I say that their stories were too similar to be believable. My contention with regard to the prophesies was simply that a possible explanation for Jesus’ fulfillment of the prophesies is that one or more those authors altered the stories so that the prophesies were reported as fulfilled. I further offered as evidence for this possibility the two conflicting stories of Jesus’ birth from Matthew and Luke, which appear to be two such attempts at having part of the prophesy fulfilled (that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem) while still being faithful to known historical fact (that Jesus was from Nazareth). Again, since I allow for the acceptance of the unimpeachable truth of the Bible on the basis of faith, I clearly have not concluded that it is unbelievable that the prophesies were in fact fulfilled, or that the stories themselves are unbelievable, merely that such a belief would be an act of faith.

    Feel free to believe that the Bible is unimpeachably true if you wish, and I know that you have interpretations that in your own mind resolve the apparent contradictions in it. I don’t say that the Bible is unbelievable, I merely contend that there is legitimate room for doubt, so that if you wish to hold that it is absolutely true, faith is what is required (given the absence of a time machine that would allow us to go back and check).

  59. 59
    StephenB says:

    Bruce, I have penetrated your fog several times and provided a summary account of your errors. I feel no need to do it again. Nor do I feel any obligation to provide for you the correct time line of Gospel events as I did on another thread.

  60. 60
    Mung says:

    Believing that someone is wrong, and even telling them so, is not inconsistent with loving them.

  61. 61
    Bruce David says:

    Mung: “Believing that someone is wrong, and even telling them so, is not inconsistent with loving them.”

    The trouble with the English words “wrong” and “right” is that they have multiple meanings, which are often confused in usage. If by “believing that someone is wrong” you mean the act of judging them morally, then I respectfully disagree, for two reasons:

    1) Judgment is an act of separation. When I judge another I separate myself from them, whereas love, real love, is an act of uniting, bringing into oneness.

    2) From my own experience, it is invariably true that in the moment of judgment, I do not love, and in the moment of love, I do not judge.

    Note: the term judgment as I am using it here includes moral condemnation. One can love and still recognize that a person is not acting in accord with their own integrity or values, for example, as long as there is no moral condemnation included in the observation. And indeed one can even speak to them about it from a stance of loving them, as long as there is no condemnation included. But if one comes from a place of judgment, the communication will inevitably reflect that, and they will know, always, that they are being judged and condemned, and will react accordingly.

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