I started this train of thinking when my mother suffered for 9 years and eventually died from, Alzheimer’s, a dreadful, dreadful disease. Alzheimer’s can only be diagnosed positively by an autopsy after death which can then distinguish it from different dementias which are suffered by other, mostly older, people. We will discuss Alzheimer’s only.
What our family observed was the slowly deterioration of her cognitive abilities, her awareness and, at the later stages, her consciousness, a direct result of the slowly dying brain. I read as much as I could find about this dreaded disease, including many of the neuroscience publications, trying to understand what was happening. The literature explained that consciousness and awareness are brain-functions that are totally dependent on a healthy material brain. When the brain dies, consciousness and awareness die with it. In other dementias, lost functions are sometimes restored but not in Alzheimer’s. In the end, my mother was totally unaware and unconscious. My mother was a devoted Christian and my family is sure she resides in heaven.
By observing that awareness and memory, need a living material brain and confirmation of this from my readings in neuroscience, for an example, https://medium.com/@guglielm/zapping-elderly-brains-with-electricity-improves-short-term-memory-for-almost-an-hour-4ec861eab47 it seems to me that it is immaterial whether God or the supernatural world exist, since someone without a functioning material brain won’t be aware of either of them as the brain dies. Restoring awareness and memory in an unproven nonmaterial medium, is just another unwarranted conclusion unsupported by evidence.
The questions arising from my observations are many. Consider a copy made of the data in my mother’s brain in an unknown medium at a time before she contracted the disease. What would happen to her experiences after that point? In the supernatural world, would she have a gap in her memories of her life on earth? In that case, why did she have to live through her earthly life at all? There is also the dubious question of being a copy. If we ever are able to copy our brain data into a machine or other body, the copy would think it was you, but you would know that it isn’t you. So, who would be the “real” you?
There are other major problems with the conception of an afterlife. Do mentally defective persons become whole after death? If so, why were they born defective? Do babies, when they die young, grow up in heaven even though they had no later earthly experiences? In that case, they are the lucky ones since they will be spared the troubles of an earthy life. Or do babies remain as babies for eternity?
So an afterlife does not make sense. I know I’ll get back comments such as “We cannot understand God’s will” and “we are not intelligent enough to understand his ways.” Of course, such answers beg the questions “Why do we have the capacity to question and contemplate his (God’s) actions?” and “Why do we have different gods?” I want to know the answer to these questions. I will be listening but please refrain from stating that I am ‘barking up the wrong tree’ without explaining why. And please refrain from quoting scripture out of holy books, which, as I experience time after time, is usually out of context, they won’t be taken seriously. I expect some well reasoned logical discussion.
Please “share” with as many people as you can, since I need as many opinions as I can gather. I will be listening.