Hypotheses are essential ingredients of a theory. Some of these hypotheses are easy to accept intuitively. For example, in planar geometry, it is postulated that given any straight line and a point not on it, there “exists one and only one straight line which passes” through that point and never intersects the first line, no matter how far they are extended.However, some of the postulates are hard to accept or refute. For example, in standard model of particle physics, an elementary particle is a zero dimensional object with no internal structure.
In general, who and how to determine validity of a postulate is an interesting question. Based on my understanding, there are three ways to make a postualte. First, we postulate something based on our every day understanding (common sense) of that particular field. Second, sometimes we postulate based on what mathematics/observation suggests. Sometimes we just postulate based on necessity in our theory. However. the postulate of no afterlife, is not based on any of these notions. My guess is that, since after life was linked to religion, by rejecting religion in the renaissance, after life was also nullified.
Breaking any of those above postulates, opens a window of new possibilities in front of us. All of these new postulates will be the basis of new theories, with possibly some predictions which will not be possible to forecast otherwiseFor example in the case of geometry, non-Eucleadian geometry arises and in the case of particle physics, string theory flourishes.
Sadly, I have encountered many people who assume that no afterlife is proven with our physical theories, while it is not. So far, it is only assumed that there is no life after death. The current scientific status does not have any evidence against or in favour of afterlife. So, it can be either postulated that such things do not exist, and pursue some type of theories, or we can assume otherwise and look at the possibilities. At this point, I personally don’t see any objection against any of those possibilities, scientifically.
Furthermore, afterlife need not to be mystical or religious. Let me give a rough example. Assume an infant in the mother womb, after life for an infant could simply be referred to the life after birth. However, we should be very careful here, and be consistent with our postulate within our theory, and then make a sensible conclusion and predictions. We have every right to accept a new postulate or break an old postulate toward finding new things. Afterlife is also one of those assumptions which can be hypothesized and one can build a theory around it.
However, we should not forget that people religiously believed for a long time that some form of afterlife exists. So, it should not be very hard to postulate such an assumption. However, I should emphasize that even postulating such a statement, does not prove or disprove presence of a God. So, I imagine someone can start a theory with a postulate that says: there is a life after death, and then investigate scientific (physical, psychological, etc) aspects of this new theory.
I would like to end this post with a statement that according to my understanding there is no accepted (scientific) evidence in favour or against afterlife. So, postulating one with respect to the other has no (experimental) advantage, although all current philo-psychological theories postulate no afterlife. The most important problem that I see with a community that believe otherwise, is that they usually mix up things, and mostly draw non-scientific conclusions, sadly, sometimes for their financial benefits, which makes it hard to discuss afterlife-based theories in a scientific community.
One last thing is that, every postulate sometimes comes with huge philosophical aspects which would change the way we live. Afterlife is one of those postulates which drastically change our worldview. I will come back to this point in my future posts.