Excellent work here. As a physician, I find it astounding how few people seem to firmly grasp evidence-based medicine... In my own profession! Some of my colleagues believe that an understanding of evidence should take precedent to understanding biochemistry/anatomy/cell bio in med school. I think this might be a good idea.

Living an evidence based life is a fascinating, though challenging, proposal. I suspect that an evolutionary approach to understanding biology, culture, anthropology, etc may ultimately provide the strongest evidence in how to live a life aligned with our true nature as humans. Evolution is, after all, a type of randomized controlled trial!

I will be publishing some thoughts on this in a few days. Though, I'm excited to keep following you. Great start to your substack!

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Does anybody in the medical field grasp evidence based medicine?


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Yes, most of us do.

I’m all for evidence based medicine, and I try to practice it. But there are problems with universal, constant application.

One is devastating lawsuits - people sue us for bad outcomes, and juries of laypersons are easily manipulated by trial lawyers. At best, doctors are judged against the standards of medical care rather than evidence based medicine - usually these overlap but not always. Jury emotions and opinions are all that matter at the end of the trial. Just look at all the C sections that occur because practitioners fear not “doing something” might translate into blame when a child is born with complications. Or even fetal heart tracings, which are done more for medicolegal reasons rather than sound evidence of benefit.

Evidence is also good for straightforward clinical questions, but answering a question like should I prescribe this anticoagulant for this patient with high risk of recurrent stroke and heart attack but with risk of falling, previous GI bleed 10 years ago, on 8 other medications, and who is currently in Afib…

The many inputs and outputs, deference to personal autonomy, and calculations of risks versus benefits make practicing evidence based medicine much murkier than practicing evidence based physics.

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McCormick writes, "I’m all for evidence based medicine, and I try to practice it."

As I understand it, evidence based medicine is in the end an attempt to keep people alive, based on a belief that life is better than death. Where is the evidence to validate such a belief?

Point being, medical science seems very rational on the surface, until we look closer to see what it's all built upon, and then it appears more as just another faith based operation.

I don't mean to blame doctors for serving the requests made by patients, as that's clearly rational and compassionate. Blaming doctors for doing what we hire them to do is not my point.

I'm just exploring a more philosophical kind of medicine by examining the death=bad story that is so common. This story comes with serious consequences, and is based on nothing more than ignorance and fear. The death=bad story might be considered a kind of philosophical disease.

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Hi Phil - doctors are notoriously late in offering hospice care, but patients are notoriously late in accepting it as well. I do think we reflect people’s expectations and wishes when we make treatment decisions and offer options. Sometimes “the evidence” does indicate that treatment offers more harm than benefit at the end of life in terminal conditions… but it is hard to accept that on both ends. Nonetheless hospice is a compassionate and generally very well appreciated intervention that we do use and recommend frequently. So much nuance and case by case experience that I would caution anyone against too much generalization about what practicing medicine means - including myself.

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Thanks for your reply Ryan, appreciated.

I'm all for hospice care, and any other method of addressing suffering. I'm not arguing against any of that, which I see as being rational and compassionate.

I'm addressing my concern towards what I see as being as kind of "philosophical disease", the widespread yet completely unproven assumption that life is better than death. This belief would seem to have profound implications for human health, and it's not really based on anything more than ignorance, fear, habit, reference to authority etc.

Dr. Dawkins is concerned with beliefs that are not based on proof. The notion that death=bad would seem to be one such belief. Here's one example of the implications...

I once heard a story on NPR about those working to reduce suicides. These are good very well intentioned people whom I respect, but....

Consider the message they are unintentionally offering to those considering suicide. Without really meaning to the anti-suicide activists are saying, "as bad as your life seems, the alternative is even worse".

That's a pretty negative message to be spreading to the suffering, considering that it is based on no data, no evidence, no proof.

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I agree with your thoughts here. There are situations when someone might choose death (biologically and spiritually it seems high probability that it’s just game over for our emergent sense of consciousness and self)… terminal disease etc.

By default though, unless there is terminal illness or suffering, we all have potential for a better future, a life that our present selves might not be able to grasp in a suicidal moment. I think we are talking about the same thing really… but the medical profession must always practice in the default mode of preserving life so that we do not facilitate game over before it actually is. Not sure I’m saying this clearly in comments, but I’m sure many books take longer to pin it down more precisely and ethically!

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"Evidence is also good for straightforward clinical questions, but answering a question like should I prescribe this anticoagulant for this patient with high risk of recurrent stroke and heart attack but with risk of falling, previous GI bleed 10 years ago, on 8 other medications, and who is currently in Afib…"

If I were your client, I would not like you "prescribing" me anything. You can propose me something, inform me about the pros and cons, about what we know and do not know, and then it is up to me to make an informed decision. True, many "patients" prefer the doctor to decide, but at least you have to first give them the possibility of deciding for themselves.

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Of course.

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PROTOCOLS OF THE MEETINGS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION . . . Protocol X – Preparing for Power . . . (((SARS-CoV2)))

❝. . . utterly exhaust humanity with dissention, hatred, struggle, envy and even by the use of torture, by starvation, by the inoculation of diseases. by want, so that the “Goyim” see no other issue than to take refuge in our complete sovereignty in money and in all else.❞


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Edit: I misread the original comment. I thought you said "evolution based medicine"


Yes, actually! I'm so happy you asked. Randolph (Randy) Nesse is a leading voice in evolutionary medicine, specifically evolutionary psychiatry. Psychiatry has been riddled by a poor empiric understanding psychiatric illness and an evolutionary framework seems to shine a lot of light on confusing topics.

Randy Nesse has written two books on evolutionary medicine: Why We Get Sick and Good Reasons for Bad Feelings. These ideas are starting to gain traction in psychiatry and may do so in other specialties as well.

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Is Randy Nesse trying to keep his patients alive? If yes, based on what?

Argument here: https://richarddawkins.substack.com/p/evidence-based-life/comment/16869323

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I do not know the answer to those questions. So, you do raise important topics of discussion. I do know that he specializes in anxiety. His perspective is that the experience of anxiety has an evolutionary purpose and function. And by helping patients understand this, they may better navigate their disease.

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If there is anything that evolution provides evidence for, it is the plasticity of biological forms. Given that I urge you to drop the clearly gratuitous anti-trans argument embedded in your examples.

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Thanks for putting it so succinctly! I had a similar reaction.

I've been wrestling with myself over the media reports on"AI" -which is applicable here, bear with me. I agree with Yaser Abu Mostafa that (multilayer neural net based) AI poses no threat of going rogue; my own explanation being that the human brain is more complex than simply a natural neural network with ca 100 trillion synapses. We know that the workings of the brain are profoundly affected by chemical agents, that can override the logical funtioning of the net by itself. In particular, sexual feelings and behavior are regulated chemically, at least to a large extent. Given our imperfect knowledge of the functioning of the human brain, how can one then be positive about another's feelings of sexual orientation? I think it mistaken to attempt to ascribe all human behavior based on logic nets alone.

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https://m.youtube.com/live/-a61zsRRONc (Skip to 16 minutes in to avoid the fluff).

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Evolutionary plasticity takes place over countless generations - the current pro-trans social contagion has exploded over a few years. They are nothing like each other.

Jane’s argument is anything but gratuitous - The subject of evidence-based medicine very naturally turns to the question of why physicians would abandon ANY sense of evidence when confronted with the mutilation and sterilization hysteria inherent in the current trend.

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Paragraph one. Replace “takes” with “has taken “. Paragraph 2, maybe reply to Jane??

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Has the scientific community evolved beyond faith? Let's look at the evidence...

A key mission of medical science is to help us live as long as possible. Trillions upon trillions of dollars are spent in pursuit of this goal. A huge percent of these funds are spent in last year of life, in a desperate attempt to prolong life as long as possible.

This monumental effort is based on the belief that life is better than death. And where is the proof that this assumption is true? There is no proof. Therefore, this is a faith based belief. No one has ever been able to conduct a scientific observation of the realm of death, that which we are making huge claims about. Our "death is bad" conclusion is based entirely on data developed from this side of the life/death divide.

To the degree we MAY have useful data from those who have been declared clinically dead, when such patients return from that state they typically report either nothing bad, or in a significant number of cases they report an extraordinarily wonderful experience.

In spite of having no data from the realm of death, or POSSIBLY having some limited data which MAY undermine the "death is bad" belief, medical science continues to invest huge amounts of money based on the completely unproven belief that death is bad, something to be avoided as long as possible.

Yes, the medical science community. The scientists. The experts. The people with advanced degrees, high positions, prizes, awards, professional recognition. Those who so often present themselves as authorities in the realm of reason. In spite of having no proof that death is bad, they continue to sell us the "death is bad" story, and spend trillions of our dollars maintaining what can only be called a faith based belief.

Dr. Dawkins has asked us to examine the evidence. And so this post offers you some evidence to examine. What do you think? Has the science community evolved beyond faith?

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Great questions you raise here. Speaking from experience, I do not believe that the medical field is generally based on a philosophical or intellectual framework that is equipped to answer whether or not death is something that should be feared. Agree this is a problem. Indeed, many of the endpoints in research that is done in medicine uses time to death as the measurable outcome to determine if an intervention is worthwhile or not.

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Thanks for engaging Wil.

A consistent theme of much of Dr. Dawkin's writing seems to be an attempt to make a case that the world of science and religion are fundamentally different. It interests me to explore the degree to which that is true.

It seems rational that medical science should seek to address the fear we have of death, whether or not that fear is justified. Death is unknown, but the fear is a reality which can be addressed.

Isn't this just what Western religion does as well? In both cases, a story which can't begin to be proven is used to address a very human fear.

To the degree there is a difference, it seems to be that the science story is generally pretty grim (death is bad) whereas the religious story offers some hope (play by the rules to get your reward).

Which is more rational? An unproven grim story? Or an unproven somewhat hopeful story?

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The job of medicine is to protect health. It is generally -but per your post not universally - recognized that death is, in a natural situation, symptomatic of extreme poor health, and thus it is the physician's task to prevent it. What is sometimes overlooked is the physician's obligation to minimize suffering, but here the medical community is often constrained by the demands of patients or their family members who want to prolong life at any cost, or by clergy or politicians who proscribe assisted suicide. There is much to complain about concerning health care, especially in the US, but I think you lay too much blame at the feet of physicians. Also it is useful to distinguish science, the pursuit of truth and knowledge, from its practitioners, eho are subject to human frailties.

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Hi Stephen, thanks for your reply as always.

Yes, dying would be symptomatic of extreme poor health IF life is better than death. If death is better than life, then dying might be compared to the bloody screaming mess of being born.

I didn't mean to blame physicians so much as to point out that much of medical science is based on an typically unexamined, unproven, faith based assumption. I'm attempting to challenge the premise that science=reason, and religion=faith, a common theme in Dr. Dawkin's writing, as best I can tell.

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Your argument would be very sensible were it only possible to bring back the dead, in other words, to experimentally determine what happens after death. But it isn't. There are boundaries to what is knowable, scientifically, boundaries subject to broadening with time. Were we at a point where we could do the "Death Experiment" ethically, and did not do it, then I would agree that medical science is corrupted by faith. I do not accept the idea that the prevention and alleviation of suffering is based on an "unexamined, unproven, faith-based assumption".

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Hi again Stephen,

My argument is (to the best of my understanding) the same as made by Dawkins. Beliefs based on an absence of data are faith.

If I differ in this from Dawkins (not sure if I do) it's that I'm applying this principle across the board in an even handed manner to all death stories which are based on an absence of data. So, death=heaven=good is faith, and death=nothing=bad is faith also.

Medical science seeks to relieve suffering, and religions seek to relieve suffering, and relieving suffering is rational in both cases.

You write, " I do not accept the idea that the prevention and alleviation of suffering is based on an "unexamined, unproven, faith-based assumption".

Ok, but that's not the claim I made. I agree that the alleviation of suffering is rational.

What MAY not be rational is the embrace of a grim death=bad story which is built upon nothing more than a foundation of ignorance and fear. If the goal is to relieve the suffering of the dying, and if we have no data upon which to base any proven factual conclusion, then it seems more rational to embrace a happy story.

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And yet there is evidence that death is unReal It is based on the evidence of introspection, science and religion.

Self-evidently, Consciousness/Awareness is not a 'tangible thing'. All 'tangible things' are appearances in and to it. The appearances look 3D and appear solid... but appearances are deceiving :)

Introspection, science and all the great religions attest that the apparent world is a world of illusion.

The Bible refers to God as 'Invisible Living Spirit'. It says that no one has ever seen God and that no one ever can.

It also says that God alone is Real (the corollary being that manifestation is not, ie it is illusion... like a dream).

To live is to be Aware: to See-colours, Feel-feelings, Taste-flavours, Smell-odours, Hear-sounds and Know-ideas (number, form and meaning).

Spirit is just an old-fashioned word for Consciousness/Awareness.

Here Now is only Consciousness, Aware of this 'play of life'. This Consciousness is the ground of all being.

This is Thou.

As apparent life and bodies are illusion... so is death. How about that! :)

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Science deals with questions of fact. You cannot "prove" that something is good or bad, because that is a value judgement. Mere facts cannot give you values; that is the naturalistic fallacy.

But, we do not have to take on faith that people want to live longer and healthier lives. People tell us that they do. And we can also arrive our own ethical conclusion that promoting human health and longevity is a moral good via reasoned enquiry (which is not Science, but certainly is not faith). Once you arrive at the value judgement that health and longevity are suitable goals, then science can help you understand how to achieve those goals.

But, while science can't directly provide ethical goals, science and reason can certainly support enquiry into what those goals can be. Consider, for example, your argument that death might be better than life because some people who have been declared clinically dead report "wonderful experiences". First, note that you are already assuming that "wonderful experiences" are "good," which is essentially the same assumption we need to support the goal of helping people to live longer and healthier lives in the first place (i.e., so that they can have more positive experiences).

The argument is then about whether the best way to achieve positive experiences is to help people live longer or let them die. And here the available evidence weighs heavily against your argument that death is better than life. For one thing, your argument is based entirely on a few anecdotes of people who had positive near-death experiences; meanwhile, other people have reported terrifying experiences in the same situation, which you selectively ignore. For another, you are using a definition of death that is not appropriate to the question being asked: whatever experiences you had at the precipice of death, if you came back to tell us about it, you were not really dead in the sense that matters here. Finally, and most importantly, everything that we know about human origins and evolution weighs heavily against the idea that there is some immortal soul that carries on living after death. No, we cannot prove that there is not life after death, but finding evidence of immortality would overturn almost everything we know about biology. And, as there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that there is life after death, much less that it is filled with "wonderful experiences," it seems reasonable to heavily discount that possibility when making ethical decisions. And we do not need to rely on faith to reach that conclusion.

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Hi czmarks, welcome.

First, I didn't argue that death is better than life. I argued that we don't know, and have no data, thus all beliefs on the subject are matters of faith.

It's generally accepted that beliefs such as "we die and go to heaven" are matters of faith. I'm just adding that beliefs such as "we die and then are nothing" are also a matter of faith. All I'm doing is taking Dr. Dawkin's stated principle, beliefs without proof are faith, and applying it in an even handed manner to all beliefs on the subject.

Once we see that all beliefs on the matter of death are faith, it should become clear that the science community and the religious community are not as far apart as is sometimes proposed.

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Hi Phil,

My point is that it is not a matter of faith. Certainly many people have faith that we go to heaven after death. I don't think that is true, but I don't have a faith-based belief that it is not true. I'm just have a deep skepticism about the claim because there is no evidence for it and a tremendous amount of evidence against it: if it turns out to be true it will overturn almost everything we know about biology and evolution, as well as the origin and evolution of religions and supernatural belief itself.

For similar reasons, if you believe there is an invisible dinosaur named Barney living in your garage, I don't need faith to think you are mistaken, even if I cannot prove that Barney doesn't exist. I can just be deeply skeptical of the claim based on our existing knowledge of dinosaurs, vision, and mental illness.

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Define death! It is historically used a bit carelessly as the opposite of being alive, i.e. life is taken as a starting point to describe death. Doesn't sound right.

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Hi CZ,

We have a lot in common, as I experience a deep skepticism that anybody has a clue what death is, because there is no proof to back up any position. It's not just that there is no proof, there's not even any data from that realm.

That said, everyone is of course free to come to their own conclusions, and there's no law that says that their conclusions have to be based upon data, evidence or proof.

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Agree, see previos post. Is that in you line of thinking?

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You are confusing 'matter of faith' with matter of fact. To go to heaven is an action based on a belief whereas 'there are nothing' do not necessarily mean it's a vacuum (nothing = no atoms).

In this current sense, it means that there is nothing we perceive and there is no indication that there is anything that the human brain surrogate will ever be able to perceive consciously post mortem.

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Woman is not a feeling in a man’s head.

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That would be in the ideal situation. Unfortunately 300 documents have just been retracted. I read that more than half of the articles published are fake. It is hard to trust these magazines after all the damage they did (and not only to themselves) in these 3 years. For myself, I still go with a saying of Carl Gustav Jung - truth is what works. If you apply that, I think it comes near the point you are aiming at as well.

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If truth works, why do we have to lie?

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I'm with you Richard: no one ought to believe in any god that any atheist does not believe in... for every god believed (or disbelieved) is merely an idea :)

That said, if you really want to take a view of reality based on truth, you have to recognise that science only reveals the (approximate) rules that govern the behaviour of observed forms.

The most rigorous theories use mathematics to describe theoretical forms (quantum field, sub-atomic particles, atoms, molecules, proteins, cells... all the way up to stars, galaxies, clusters, and the background radiation), and their theoretical properties (charge, mass, spin, temperature, pressure, etc), together with defined theoretical constants (Planck's Constant, Speed of Light, etc), and theoretical laws (Conservation of momentum, etc) that together describe the theoretical behaviour of the theoretical forms.

We say a theory is valid when the theoretical behaviour of the theoretical forms reliably (though not necessarily perfectly) maps or predicts the observed behaviour of observed forms... that is all. There is a long chain of maths (including the maths embodied in the devices used in any measurement) that links the theory to the observations.

On this view, 'science' can never say anything about this Consciousness in which and to which both the theories and the observations appear... because Consciousness is not a 'form'.

Though, there is the assumption that Consciousness arises inside a brain inside a head, enabling measurements of 'brain function' that correlate with reported awareness.

So in the spirit of inquiry, let's put this assumption to the test. Looking first at the process of Seeing which is an attribute of Consciousness. Based on current theories, the process involves light hitting the retina where it is transmuted into electro-chemical energy that moves along the optic nerves. During this process there is neither light, nor any Seeing. Only after the energy flow enters the visual cortex at the back of the head is it assumed that suddenly (no one knows how) the movement of the 'energy flow' transmutes into 'Seeing-colours'. Whatever, its 'ground', on this account, this Seeing-colours itself is 'immaterial'.

On this understanding, the observer and observed are 'one'... eliciting religious overtones :).

Plainly, there is no 'little person' inside the head looking out through the eyes into the assumed material world. The optic nerves are opaque.

According to current theories, the energy flows outside and inside the body are governed solely by the natural laws.

There is no place in such flows for the intervention of a 'personal will'... or any need for 'awareness'.

It all happens as a continuous flow of energy that may result in the mouth moving to expel air, creating pressure waves that are then assumed to be picked up by an ear and transmuted into mechanical impulses (in the bones of the ear) and then electro-chemical impulses (in the cochlear) that again (magically, no one knows how) are assumed to be transmuted into sound in the aural cortex, where 'the Hearer' and 'the sounds heard' are one.

The fleeting coloured images and sounds appear to be 'words, things, events and relations' as ideas (of number, form and meaning) are associated with the patterns in Awareness.

On this account everything Seen, Heard (and similarly, Felt, Tasted and Smelled) and Known is an illusory image (formed of fleeting sensations and ideas), inseparable from the Awareness in which and to which they appear.

There are many simple observations that confirm the apparent world is a world of illusion.

For example, hold the thumb to the eye. Notice it appears bigger than things known to be orders of magnitude larger than it. A thing that is smaller than another thing cannot also be bigger than it. A thing appearing to be other than it is, is the definition of illusion

As for your own head. See if you can find it

Looking straight ahead, notice the visual field appears like a circle. Notice that beyond the 'edge' is neither 'black' nor 'white'... simply 'nothing'. Notice no body is apparent. Now look down. Notice that only the front of the torso and limbs are apparent... but no head.

Where the head should be, the 'world' appears!

So, keep searching:

Looking in a mirror, a body appears with a head... but based on the scientific view of reality, that is just a coloured image appearing in and to awareness. It is not the physical head assumed to house the awareness.

So, keep searching:

Place one hand around the front of the head and the other around the back. Notice neither the 'feeling', nor the 'idea' (that the feeling is my hands holding my head) is an actual head.

Observation confirms, beyond theory or doubt, that Consciousness is not in any observable head, that every body (and everything else) is an appearance in and to Consciousness... inseparable from Consciousness.

This raises the problem that the 'world of matter' is forever beyond 'direct observation'... it must be taken on faith alone :)

Looking into the visual field to ascertain the true nature of reality is like looking at the images of a game-world on a display screen in an attempt to discern the nature of the hardware and software that generates the images. It cannot be done. The best that can be discovered are the rules governing the behaviour of the objects apparent on the screen.

And that is all that 'scientific observation' does: it discerns the rules governing the behaviour of apparent forms... apparent in and to Consciousness. And, just as there are no actual objects in a computer, there are no 'material objects' in reality... there are only the rules and the images generated within Consciousness... which is self-evidently the 'ground of being'.

Which raises the question: 'Who am I?'

Consciousness/Awareness is not a 'tangible thing'. All 'tangible things' are appearances in it. The appearances look 3D and appear solid... but appearances are deceiving :)

Introspection, science and all the great religions attest that the apparent world is a world of illusion.

The Bible refers to God as 'Invisible Living Spirit'. It says that God alone is Real. To live is to be Aware: to See-colours, Feel-feelings, Taste-flavours, Smell-odours, Hear-sounds and Know-ideas (number, form and meaning).

Spirit is just an old-fashioned word for Consciousness.

Here Now is only Consciousness Aware of this 'play of life'. This Consciousness is the ground of all being.

This is Thou.

As apparent life and bodies are illusion... so is death. How about that! :)

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You write, "for every god believed (or disbelieved) is merely an idea "

I look forward to reading your proof of this claim.

PS: I'm not religious.

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Can you think/believe anything that is not an idea/concept?

An idea/concept is the ‘number, form and meaning-Known of ‘things, events, and relations’.

All ideas/concepts are ‘self-referential. Which is to say each is defined by reference to other ideas/concepts.

No idea/concept can ever change, or else it would be a different idea/concept and not the idea/concept that it is.

No idea/concept can exist apart from the capacity to Know. Knowing-ideas/concepts is an undivided whole.

How could any idea/concept-Known (god) ‘be’ Reality?

Reality is inconceivable because it is by definition not an idea/concept... it is Real :)

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Can you think of anything that is not a concept? A concept is the number, form and meaning-Known that define ‘things, events and relations’. Concepts are all ‘self-referential’. They refer only to other concepts. How could a concept ‘be’ Reality?

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Fascinating comment...

I would think the various gazillions of data that goes through the senses to the brain, perhaps feels like there is someone inside, due to emotions and memories that are stored, I assume, somewhere. A young baby has no sense of self yet, because there are not enough memories or emotions.

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For that to be True... you need to have a brain. Follow the text of the comment and see if you can find it. Or even just your head!

If you cannot find an actual head through direct observation, then you will have to admit that ‘having a material head’ remains a matter of faith/belief.

Consciousness is self-evident. It requires no theory or belief to recognise that it is.

What it is can never be Known, for all things Known are merely ideas... and it is not an idea... it is Real.

Consciousness itself cannot be Seen... it is doing the Seeing. It is formless, invisible. It cannot be measured, and is thus beyond the realm of science.

This is Thou :)

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I can feel my head, but you’re right I can’t see it unless I look in a mirror or see a reflection. The same is true for my neck and part of my upper back. Yet I see 1000s of heads, backs and necks all the time. I can’t see my brain but I can smash open all those heads I see, and I will see their brains.

Now consciousness is entirely different, you’re correct. It’s not a tangible thing, but obviously self evident.

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"I can feel my head"... close the eyes and focus on the 'feeling'. Isn't it just a 'feeling'... that is labelled as "feeling my head". Neither the 'feeling', nor the 'idea' (that the feeling is my hand touching me head) is an 'actual head'. Both the feeling and the idea arise together in Awareness. Yes, Consciousness/Awareness is not a 'tangible thing'. All 'tangible things' are appearances in it. The appearances look 3D and appear solid... but appearances are deceiving :) Introspection, science and all the great religions attest that the apparent world is a world of illusion. The Bible refers to God as 'Invisible Living Spirit'. It says that God alone is Real. To live is to be Aware: to See-colours, Feel-feelings, Taste-flavours, Smell-odours, Hear-sounds and Know-ideas (number, form and meaning). Spirit is just an old-fashioned word for Consciousness. Here Now is only Consciousness Aware of this 'play of life'. This Consciousness is the ground of all being. This is Thou. As apparent life and bodies are illusion... so is death. How about that! :)

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Then the parts of our own body that we can see are just more illusions, right? It’s all an illusion, but consciousness. This would mean all the death, violence and mayhem in the world over the centuries, is just an illusion, as well. Then you can get into time is an illusion also. It’s rather endless thinking about. The universe is an illusion….

We could also be living in a simulation and in that case consciousness would either be programmed, somehow with emergent properties.

You do make one think. I read a book years ago called "The Mind's I". Much along this line of thinking.

You need to do a blog….😊

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Yes... all experience is illusion.

This Consciousness/Awareness in which and to which the appearances arise is 'Real' (though any concept associated with the word Real is not Reality :)

A 'simulation' is just another idea 'about' Reality. No idea can 'be' Reality.

Consciousness/Awareness is 'self-evident'

It is this Here Now: Timeless, Formless, Invisible, Changeless Non-dual Sensing-sensations (colours, odours, flavours, feelings, and sounds) and Knowing-ideas (number, form, and meaning) with Power to manifest sensory images in accord with ideas within and to its own Awareness to create the experience of living in an apparently solid 3D world perceived (in turn) from the perspective of each creature in the apparent world, as though looking out its eyes and experiencing its body, thoughts, feelings and surroundings from the 'first person perspective' as 'my body' and 'my thoughts' and 'my feelings' and 'my surroundings'... as in a dream.

This is Thou...

As long as no ideas are associated with the words. Instead treat the words as mere 'pointers' to observe for oneSelf the Reality they point to :)

As this experience is arising, Here Now are no other experiences apparently happening, for there is now where but Here and no when but Now.

This is neither 'solipsism' nor 'pantheism' (they are simply more ideas)

Observe and the Truth is made plain (without theory or belief) :)

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The now popular paradigm that everything is an illusion is itself an illusion that is also an illusion which per se is another illusion.

Yesterday I saw my dog Rocky in the mirror and he appeared with a head. To test the scientific view of reality, that is a coloured image merely existing in the part of my brain that is housing awarenes I placed one hand around the front of Rocky's head and the other around the back.

Rocky looked at me strangely and he seemed to wonder if I had gone nuts. That observation confirms that Rocky is compos mentis and that his physical head is part of reality IRL.

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It seems you believe that the apparent world is a world of matter as described by science…

Yet science itself confirms the apparent world cannot be made of matter.

You may believe in matter, but that belief has no foundation… as it can never be tested.

However, there are simple tests that prove the illusory nature of the apparent world.

Hold the thumb to the eye… it appears bigger than things known to be orders of magnitude larger than it (eg mountain range, or skyscraper in the apparent distance).

A thing that is smaller than another thing cannot also be larger than it. A thing appearing to be other than it is, is the definition of illusion.

You can keep your belief in matter, but remember it is just a belief :)

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The original comment has been edited to point to the answer of to the question 'Who am I?', so the two people who liked it may want to reconsider their likes :)

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Yes, anaesthesia is like deep sleep.

The ‘sense of self’ is an illusion. It is formed of ideas and sensations... just like ‘the whole apparent world’... just like a dream.

Ideas and sensations cannot exist apart from the capacity to Know and Sense them.

Sensing-sensations (colours, flavours, odours, feelings, and sounds) and Knowing-ideas (number, form, and meaning) is Awareness.

This Awareness is formless... immaterial. It cannot be measured.

Objectively, it appears as if it is not.

Subjectively, it requires no theory or belief to recognise that it is...

This is Thou.

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“Nevertheless, scientific evidence is not always reliable. With the best will in the world, scientists can deceive themselves.”

I fear this is a serious barrier to elucidating life or even for finding truth. The homosapien is just not a reliable enough tool. Moreover, the abilities of individual homosapiens vary widely, so it becomes difficult to discern which ones are reliable enough to depend on for information.

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How I stopped caring about other people’s religious beliefs.

I am not a religious believer...period! Unfortunately, my dear departed brother was a devout Christian who used to waste a lot of my time trying to convince me of the validity of his religious beliefs. One day I told him that I was going to write a book that would scientifically explain how the Universe came into existence, and that would completely destroy his biblical Genesis story. It was his response that made me stop trying to convince believers in the errors of their ways, and just accept them for who they are. My brother’s heartfelt pleading response was, “Don’t take our beliefs away from us!” It was at that moment that I kinda wished that I, too, was a religious believer, for at that moment I realized exactly what his religious beliefs meant to him, and every other religious believer throughout the world. What my brother didn’t want me to take away from him was all of the comfort and joy that his religious beliefs brought to him. I don’t know how one’s religious beliefs interact with one’s brain chemistry, but there’s something about religious beliefs that provides believers with feelings of great joy and companionship and compassion and hope and a sense of being forgiven and accepted and appreciated and community and so much more.

Then I got to thinking about the Biblical Genesis story and the Origin of the Universe. Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity tells us that Energy is equal to a mass at rest multiplied by the speed of light squared. E=mc^2. What Einstein’s theory doesn’t tell us is where did all of the Energy come from, and what mechanism caused the Energy to convert into mass??? And for that matter, just what the Hell is Energy anyways? So it all comes down to this dichotomy: for the science believer....Where did the Energy come from, and for the religious believer....Where did God come from?

See my Substack to read my “Apeiron Cycle Hypothesis” that “scratches my personal itch” for an explanation of how the Universe might have come into existence. It ain’t perfect. More like a diamond in the rough that needs polishing by a trained cosmologist/mathematician.


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"The evidence of my biology clearly indicates that I am male, but I feel I am a woman therefore I am a woman"


It needs to be clearly defined from scientific evidence if someone can have the brain of the opposite sex but the body not of the opposite sex rather than just a sex based of the body or a body always having the same sex of the brain in an individual. Regardless of trans people someone claiming to feel they have the opposite sexes body is delusional if sincere. Anybody can tell what a bodys sex is for non transitioned people. You can get away with saying you have the brain of the opposite sex as nobody can see ones brain. Nothing about a human brain if ripped out can show what sex the brain belonged to on sight. With further investigation beyond sight could determine the sex of the brain if brains can be categorised under sex. An individuals feelings dont determine the sex of their body .... and I dont think it can of the mind either, I personally think trans people are deluded. Why doesnt a trans person say they were born with the wrong brain rather than body? If a trans person identifies their sex based on their brain then when you ask what sex he or she is then that person will say female if he has a body of a man. If the other way round then it aligns with the publics perception of the individuals sex. In a world where gay people are being more and more accepted why transition at all? Many gay people dress and behave in the cliche way of the opposite sex. You can keep your genitals and thus enjoy sex. If you think about it shouldnt people with the opposite sexes brain make them mostly appear gay as most people are straight. Is being gay simply having the opposite sexes brain so youd be straight in the right body? Another thing about the idea of a sex based brain is that it means that a humans personality is rigid and stuck. So all blokes love cars and all women love makeup. Doesnt this enforce stererotypes on many people that arent stereotypical. However I do think they need help and to be cured of their delusion whether that means they transition or are convinced they are wrong.

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"I don’t need science, commonsense is good enough for me"


Evidence always supersedes anything else. Although evidence without logic is a waste as evidence needs to be noticed.

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"Alternative “ways of knowing” are just as valid as science, which is just the mythology of a white male tribe"


If "alternate ways of knowing" means alternate methods to get to the truth then science will adopt them if they work. Pseudo science, religon, etc arent adopted because they are false and thus dont work and are not just as valid as science. I dont think science is the mythology of a white male tribe and even if it were that wouldn't mean it was worthless. Darwin, newton and Dawkins are successful and intelligent not because they are white men.

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"It's how I feel. It may not be true for you but it’s true for me"


Well if somebody said that based of their feelings you could argue that person saying that is fine but if a person said that about a fact you cant do that because reality doesnt owe you anything and reality exists and is not in somones mind. A mind can perceive reality but cant create or detemine reality.

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"It’s how I feel. It may not be true for you but it’s true for me."

This covers a lot of ground. It's pretty easy to see how it could turn into someone with a world-model based on certain experiences lecturing someone else with a different but absolutely equally valid world-model based on vastly divergent experiences. I'd recommend a very large amount of humility here.

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I'm willing to accept people for who they are, believe they are, or want to be.

But there are certain truisms in this evidence based world.


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I have a few issues with this black-and-white approach. It is either evidence-based or intuition-based, or feeling-based, or faith-based, or belief-based, etc. Why "or" and not "and"? Why do you need to put evidence-based life on top of the hierarchy? Why do you need a hierarchy at all? Aren't all of these methods valid? Don't all of them have a place for specific life situations? Why do scientists need to put themselves on top and discard other methods as inferior, less accurate, or wrong?

Evidence-based science certainly has a place - the proof lies in its existence. Ineffective methods are usually abandoned. But the same is true for all the other ways. This is because they have practical uses for certain people in certain situations. This scientific arrogance reminds me of the religious arrogance shown through the centuries.

Evidence-based knowledge is excellent for relatively simple problems like the razor blade example. Evidence-based knowledge has the greatest success and value in "hard" science like physics, chemistry, biology and technology. Evidence-based knowledge has significantly helped build complex machines and technologies to control the human environment and improve wealth and health in certain areas.

But it is not helpful regarding sociological, inter-relational, psychological, emotional or spiritual knowledge and problem-solving. These problems are too complex and too individual. No laws and methods can be applied with consistent success over and over again. For example, evidence-based science doesn't help me to deal with my sixteen-year-old daughter coming home distressed because she was excluded by her peer group that morning.

Of course, there are many evidence-based parenting books with general advice based on some research, but good luck solely relying on them. We are dealing with a complex matrix of ever-moving parts, and intuition, feeling, beliefs, compassion, biological stress level, and many other factors play into possible solutions.

Even when it comes to evidence-based medicine, science is failing spectacularly with the sheer complexity of so many problems and the individual-specific nature of each patient. I believe no one should be allowed to practice science in a way that inflicts methods on other people without fully and profoundly understanding the words: I know that I don't know. Only the most clever and humble scientists know that they don't know much at all.

Almost all other scientists think they know a lot when all they know is a little more than the average scientist. These are the most dangerous ones. Only people who have deeply mystical experiences and insights about the nature of life should give guidance and recommendations to other people, and that's how it worked through the millennia. And they don't have to impose themselves. People seek them out for their wisdom. These are the true healers.

The so-called evidence-based medicine I experienced throughout my life was shockingly wrong, ineffective and caused more harm than good in about 80% of all problems. In fact, I got so disappointed and frustrated that I decided to take my health into my own hands. Since then, I have been in almost perfect shape and haven't seen a doctor for nearly ten years.

I get much health information from ordinary people through anecdotes from their lives and experiences. I use common sense, intuition, and careful trial and error to see if it applies to my situation. After all, no doctor or scientist is healing anything. Every living system, including our psyche, is constantly healing itself. All we need to do is support that process.

In closing, evidence-based science and medicine have a place on the table of life and can be helpful for a limited number of problems, but they shouldn't think or pretend to be the master and superior to other methods. If they do, they will cause harm.

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First do no harm should apply to all scientific, technological and commercial activities. I don't think it should or can be enforced. It should be taught from kindergarten onwards. It is the principle of loving-kindness and Non-violence. Then we have a teuly humane society. Maybe one day. Curently the opposite rules, especially in the West. Greed and Egoism rule and tears our societies apart and causes great suffering. It will end in chaos and grief. That's how we learn to be humble again. Sadly, these cycles seem to repeat endlessly and we don't learn on a collective level. But we have power over it on an individual level thankfully.

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I do not think that is a sufficient ethics for living beings - a lion living by "do no harm" would starve, and capitalists build a business by 'harming' competitors with a better product and taking their customers and livelihood. The religion I learned a lot of wisdom about life from has the main character saying, you MUST harm me, take a bite, you have to, that's life.

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Up to you. Live by the sword, die by the sword. This works great as long things go well for you. Good luck.

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Who gets to conduct research and develop the evidence base in our society? Traditionally wealthy white men, thus evidence based medicine can still be inherently biased as who gets to decide what research is done? Which results are published? Which subjects are included in the research? What factors matter? The people conducting the research are going to conduct research that services them in some way.

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