> My take on this subject is the same as I have towards the
> existence of God, life after death, heaven and hell and
> reincarnation. I cannot dismiss people's experiences...
That's not an opinion, that's a cop out. It may have less chance of pissing people off, but it has no chance of accomplishing anything useful or helping the search for truth. Wouldn't it be 1000 times better to research and discover what it is about the human mind that fabricates these experiences, and why?
The "keep an open mind" mantra is usually spouted by the most closed-minded mystics who refuse to even entertain the idea that the mind can do these things. Frankly, I find that insulting. Of course the mind can do it--every experience you have is processed by that wonderfully complex machine of your brain; why should it be any more immune to an occasional malfunction than any other machine? Isn't that a far simpler explanation of these experiences than accepting them at face value? Isn't that a more profitable line of research than any effort based on taking these claims at face value?
I want to know how the mind works; examining those that fail is a great way to do that. Pretending that they are working well when they fail is a waste of opportunity.
-- Lee Daniel Crocker <firstname.lastname@example.org> <http://www.piclab.com/lcrocker.html> "All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past, are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC