Dexing wrote:Is there any justifiable reason to believe there can be consciousness absent a brain, while all scientific indications point toward it being an emergent property of a brain?
Keep in mind the dominant voice in mainstream thought is materialism which has a vested interest in maintaining the now orthodox position that consciousness is produced by the brain. Other positions, such as panpsychism, are not likely to receive much attention. They can be equally scientific and just interpret the data in a different fashion.
Also, keep in mind that science like any human institution is fallible and the individuals who benefit from it (particularly when it comes to money, i.e., their paid positions as academics and/or writers) have a clear advantage in having their views held up as foremost and most accurate while denouncing anyone who would challenge them as being either "unscientific" or even "superstitious". This is why the research on past life memories among children by fellows like Stevenson and Tucker receive very little attention. They are not taken seriously because their data would indicate the prevailing theories are fatally flawed: that a human persona can transit from one body to another, thereby undermining their theories that consciousness and a human persona arises and ceases with the life of a material brain.
If in fact NDEs and past life memories were taken as the actual real phenomena that they are, then the orthodox position will be revealed as fallacious, thereby rendering many careers effectively ruined and so many individuals likely out of work.
It is not so much about "being scientific" as much as it is about maintaining one's economic-power base. If mainstream science were truly scientific it would generally have their theories in line with the evidence rather than quite often forming the evidence to match their theories. This is clearly not always the case, but I often suspect it is when a touchy existentialist subject like consciousness is being discussed.
It would also be unwise to believe that science is self-policing. There are a lot of falsified experiments and data sets because of vested interests, whether they be for money or career. The orthodoxy of the white robed intelligentsia is more about power than the "quest for knowledge" they like to frequently announce to justify government funding for their endeavours.
Obviously to believe what we want to believe is a basic right. But is the practice of Dharma not about discovering the truth beyond the illusion of our beliefs?
There is belief and then there is testing theory against experience or reasoning.
It unwise simply to "believe in" things. It is best to form reasoned opinions and views based on the available data. One need not "believe in" rebirth, but use inference, valid testimonies and personal reflection to perhaps conclude, reasonably so, that post-mortem continuum of subjectivity is more likely than oblivion.