Question by Clam Crunchy: Best scientific evidence for an afterlife?
(1) Materialistic Resurrection: Boltzmann’s Brain.
There is a hypothesis in thermodynamics and cosmology that if we wait for an EXTREMELY long time, a random entropy decrease in a cold, thin gas could produce a human brain. The amount of time for a human brain to appear from a random entropy decrease has been estimated by Andrei Linde to be on the order of 10^10^50 years.
(2) Materialistic Resurrection: Poincare Recurrence Theorem.
The Poincare Recurrence Theorem states that after some finite time, a dynamical system will eventually return arbitrarily close to some state in the past. This essentially means that the history of a dynamical system will repeat itself.
The amount of time it would take for the universe to undergo a Poincare Recurrence (loosely, the time it takes to repeat itself)
has been estimated to be between 10^10^10^10^2.08 and
10^10^10^10^10^1.1 years, which is vastly longer than the time for a entropy decrease to create a Boltzmann’s Brain.
Materialistic Resurrection depends on a certain philosophical problem, though. If we kill someone, and then recreate their body perfectly, down to the individual atom, would that person come back to life, or would another person come into existence?
(3) Near Death Experiences.
It is possible that NDEs are a glimpse into an afterlife, and that people who have come close to death really have experienced an afterlife.
There is some, although dubious, experimental support for the notion of consciousness existing outside the body. People have verified details about their operation while having earplugs in, eyes tapes closed, etc.
A possible mechanism for consciousness existing outside the body is the idea of a “consciousness field”. The brain does not generate consciousness, but simply receives the field. As an analogy, one may consider a radio receiving EM waves. The radio doesn’t generate the waves, but receives them, and the content of the waves depends on both the waves themselves and the radio.
One could even imagine that things like mental disorders could be explained in the context of this radio analogy; changes in the content of consciousness depends on how the brain changes in its ability to “receive” consciousness.
The idea of a consciousness field, however, is far from proven, and I can think of no way of testing the theory.
However, NDEs should be treated with skepticism, as it may turn out that even exceptional NDE cases that don’t seem explainable in naturalistic terms may have a mundane explanation.
Information Loss in Black Holes and/or Conscious Beings?, Don N. Page, Heat Kernel Techniques and Quantum Gravity (1995), S. A. Fulling (ed), p. 461. Discourses in Mathematics and its Applications, No. 4, Texas A&M University Department of Mathematics. arΧiv:hep-th/9411193. ISBN 0963072838.
“Sinks in the Landscape, Boltzmann Brains, and the Cosmological Constant Problem”, Andrei Linde, Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 0701 (2007) 022 (at arXiv)
My question is, how strong is the evidence that I have presented, in your opinion, for an afterlife?
Answer by Vaes
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