There is No Life After Death, Sorry.
That’s the title of a very interesting blog post written by Jayarava.
In it, Jayarava debunks the idea of life after death.
He takes off from an argument proposed by Sean Carroll, the famous physicist (cosmologist). You can read more about him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_M._Carroll .
Carroll’s argument against a surviving soul and/or a surviving consciousness begins with a series of four propositions:
1) The mind is the brain;
2) The brain is made of atoms;
3) We know how atoms work.
4) When you die there is no way for the information that was you to persist.
Jayarava also argues that this argument put forward by Sean Carroll effectively says – leads to the conclusion – that an afterlife would be a kind of miracle because it breaks the laws of physics.
In it, Hume gives us a useful criterion for assessing the testimony for miracles: “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish.”
Jayarava doesn’t stop here. Instead he tries to describe the dynamic of afterlife beliefs. And he does it, meritoriously, like this:
i) The fact of universal death creates cognitive dissonance.
ii) According to testimony, certain experiences appear to demonstrate that consciousness is not tied to the body, but can exist independently.
iii) So the idea that something might survive the death of the body and continue to “live” seems plausible.
iv) Emotional weighting of facts (salience) makes this seem probable, and the finality of death improbable.
v) Since the finality of death causes intense cognitive dissonance, post-mortem survival seems preferable.
vi) We make the leap from probable/preferable to actually true; and it feels satisfying because we have resolved the dissonance created by the fact of death and been consistent with our other beliefs.
In the remainder of his well-written blog post Jayarava analyzes the four points of Sean Carroll’s argument and debunks his six own summarizing points of the dynamic of afterlife beliefs.
His conclusion can’t be other than: THERE IS NO LIFE (AND NO ETERNAL SOUL AND NO SURVIVING NONLOCAL CONSCIOUSNESS) AFTER DEATH. IT’S NOTHING BUT WISHFUL THINKING.
Read Jayarava’s blog post in extenso by clicking this link: http://jayarava.blogspot.se/2015/01/there-is-no-life-after-death-sorry.html .