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Reply #44: Another problem: Sam Harris's speculation about an afterlife and the idea [View All]

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Ladyhawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 11:32 AM
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44. Another problem: Sam Harris's speculation about an afterlife and the idea
that consciousness doesn't necessary reside in the brain is very, very flawed. I see no reason to believe we continue to exist after our brains die. In fact, brain damage very clearly demonstrates a relationship between the brain and consciousness. Once the brain is damaged, consciousness changes. If consciousness were a separate entity, brain damage would not affect it.

I somehow get the idea that Harris is grasping at straws, that perhaps he has not come to terms with his own mortality or the fact that his ideas concerning "collateral damage" mean the end of life for those damaged fatally. Most of true morality is based on the idea that it is wrong to kill people or cause them to suffer. If there is an afterlife, the "sting" is taken out of death and morality becomes more fuzzy. Ironically, he is giving fodder to those who would kill based on religious notions.

After I came to the conclusion my consciousness would not survive the death of my body, I had to do a lot of grieving. I had to deal with a lot of fear. I'd been taught I would live forever and that death was but a passage into a new life. Coming to grips with the near certainty that this is a lie was very, very hard for me. I didn't want to believe I would cease to exist. Realistically, who wants to cease to exist? Who wouldn't wish for a paradise after this life? I've come to the conclusion that it is dangerous to believe something simply because you would like to believe it. It is far better to follow truth and face the fear. Once you've faced the fear, you are forced to deal with this life as it is: the only life you will ever live. Morality becomes more clear. It is oh so wrong to kill indiscriminately or cause suffering because the person who dies or suffers will never have a chance at a better life. He or she will have to deal with the suffering you inflicted in this life.

My 2 cents.
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