Dr. Kevin Nelson on Skeptico

Kevin Nelson

I personally find Alex Tsakiris profoundly annoying. I think he has a naive believer’s mentality, is condescending and gets in over his head. Why doesn’t Alex Tsakaris have a show about how Pam Reynolds NDE started 2 hours before stand still?

I am partial in this debate to Roger Nelson even though I frankly don’t agree with either of them. DOCter Nelson is fond of saying that we have an enormous amount of understanding about consciousness. But what he means is we have a bunch of data about the neural correlates of consciousness and no understanding at all of the actual generation and origin of experience (assuming you are not like Dan Dennett and think there actually is a problem to be solved). One must explain what the correlation is between electromagnetism generated by ion gradients across membranes, and the experience of being aware of your existence and typing such emails to your friends all the time as “why do we even bother to wake up in the morning”. Descartes should have said something like “I am healthy and pain free, yet I often wonder why I bother to exist….. therefore I am.” That would have been far more profound. Unconscious entities don’t ponder why they continue to bother operating. In reality, everyone who thinks for a moment about this puzzle of consciousness must find it absolutely striking. The total failure of AI to form anything resembling a consciousness or a fluid intelligence seems to drive home the point that the complexity and number of interconnections is not what *causes* consciousness to occur. At least, it has mostly convinced me. Wrapping quadrillions of Christmas lights around the planet and turning on the power would do nothing to make the planet conscious, or even on iota closer to becoming conscious. There is a totally missing element. One we have no idea about. It may be generated by the brain, it may not. But the typical non-religious lay person who thinks ¬†they have consciousness all figured out just because there are neural correlates just hasn’t ¬†thought deeply about the problem at all.

5 Responses to “Dr. Kevin Nelson on Skeptico”

  1. Aaron,

    Let us cut to the decisive statement:

    Pam Reynolds’s NDE started 2 hours before standstill.

    Devastating. Utterly devastating. Consequent to this fact, the supposed NDE of “Pam Reynolds” is completely fraudulent and has become an urban legend. Not only is there no “Pam Reynolds,” but neither is there a “Maria,” never mind a shoe. If NDE’s occur, there is no evidence to be found in “Pam Reynolds” or “Maria.” We must turn elsewhere.

    Let us state this once again:

    Pam Reynolds’s NDE started 2 hours before standstill.

    What this means is that:

    “Pam Reynolds’s” anesthetic-induced hallucination started in the operating theatre 2 hours before standstill. She used her auditory apparatus to discern conversations in the room, and echolocation to confabulate educated guesses about the objects used for the surgery. It is a story told by an idiot signifying nothing.

    “Doctor” Kevin Nelson looks like a younger version of “Doctor” Brian Weiss.


  2. jackpot12 Says:

    As DOCter Jeff Long puts it- I have not a shadow of a doubt that we survive death.

    I would say I have barely a glimmer of hope.

  3. Jeff Long is scared.

    He is an oncologist. He sees horrible dying every single day. What was one week a living baby becomes, the next week, a cold and hideous cadaver with sores and boils, its skin shorn from its flesh by radiation.

    Of course he doesn’t have a shadow of a doubt that we survive death. It’s an unconscious self-defense mechanism against the realization that regardless of the timing, he, too, will one day die.

    Death doesn’t matter. Living and the quality of life does. It matters very much.

    The dying process is bad, very bad.

    Let us therefore do everything possible to make this life count.


  4. first off, it’s skeptiKo.com with a K. I’m not really “profoundly annoying” just come off like that to some. Started out studying AI (left PhD program for my own biz), but I don’t think that road leads very far.

    Don’t get the sense you’ve really dug into the NDE data… Nelson’s is quite weak… just interviewed Dr. Jeff Long (up in a couple of days) very strong.

  5. Alex, I actually really love your podcasts. I often agree more with the non-believers and sometimes get the impression that you have a naive believers attitude (but maybe I’m the one who is wrong about that I don’t know). I am pretty much 50-50 on survival of consciousness. I really want you to persuade me. I want to come up with ways to really prove or disprove this stuff once and for all and I commend you for trying.

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