[Buddha-l] Being unable to imagine dying and living

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Tue Jun 29 16:38:32 MDT 2010

On Jun 29, 2010, at 3:30 PM, Franz Metcalf wrote:

> I would just add that Charles Tart has recently  
> published a book, _The End of Materialism_,

Be suspicious of any book proclaiming the end of anything. For many of us, materialism is the only game in town, and all attempts to discredit it fall short of rigor. Granted that materialism is an ideology and cannot be proved, no attempt to disprove it manages to rise above the same degree of ideological commitment.

> I've not read the book, but I know Dr. Tart and he's a serious scholar  
> with a deep respect for scientific principles, falsifiability, and the  
> like

He used to be on buddha-l. I recall he put out an invitation to everyone who had had an out-of-body experience. He had made the claim that no one could have such an experience and continue to believe that the mind is a function of nothing but electromagnetic and biochemical process located in the brain. I had an extremely vivid and unsettling out-of-body experience in 1965, so I wrote to him privately and described it to him. He asked me a few questions about the experience and said it sounded to him like the real thing. I then told him I was a counterexample to his claim that no one can have a genuine out-of-body experience and still be a materialist, because I had such an experience and was still a materialist. He then told me that my experience had not been genuine after all. At that point I began to suspect he might be cooking the books. I know there are several quadrillion people who think Tart is the meow of the cat, as the saying goes, but I still think he might be the emperor minus the clothes.

> Tart's position is that consciousness is non-local, but  
> he's sincere in trying to find and conduct research to actually *test*  
> that theory.

Sincerely believing that one is sincerely trying to test one's belief is not always enough to manifest the scientific principles for which one has a deep respect. His mind has been made up for such a long time that one must at least suspect that he might grade his tests on a curve.


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