afterlife hypothesis.

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.

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8 thoughts on “afterlife hypothesis.

  1. usually your hypothesis has to be simple so that other statements can be proven using them.
    the existence of afterlife hypothesis, rests on another hypothesis, immaterial existence. First you have to “assume” that there is something about a human being that exists which is independent, different, however possibly connected existence. Something that is usually called “soul” or “ravan” in Farsi, or “rooh” in Arabic, Then you can drive afterlife from that assumption.
    But a theory of human existence that is founded upon the hypothesis of an immaterial being, is afflicted with the same problem that has befuddled the string theory. None of them are falsifiable! As a natural science theory, a theory that is not falsifiable is less than useless. As Paul said, it’s not even wrong.

  2. Paymane, thanks for your comment. Yes, usually hypothesis should be simple, however, it has not been the case for modern world. Not many of recent postulates are trivial to assume nor easy to understand.
    As I mentioned one has to be very careful to be concise in making assumptions. For example, instead of afterlife I suggest to postulate universal conciseness. Then, afterlife, and beforelife can be invoked.

  3. There are several hidden assumptions here (like soul that Paymane mentioned it in previous comment) that should be considered. When we talk about after life, I guess we assume we know what “life ” is,which is not correct. We know only some properties of life (or death) but we do not have any idea what “life” is. Let me give you an example. We do know know if we should consider virus as a living being or a molecular machine. “Prion” is even more difficult to consider as a living being but it causes disease (mad cow). Now, when we say something starts to have life or a moment after losses that property and considered dead, what does this mean ? Many scientists and philosophers tried to solve this mystery, but this is still an open question. The same open questions exist about conciseness. There are many theories about conciseness with different assumptions and postulates that contradict each other. My point is that if we knew what is life or death or conciseness then at least we could postulate about after life based on some known ground. Maybe life or conciseness has the “afterlife” in itself. Maybe this is us who draw the line between life and death without knowing that there is no line.
    My comment is more a philosophical comment. I think after life is far out of reach of science. There is no way (until now) to measure or to find a way out of materialistic view of science. Our science is based on matter (energy). So, if there is any non materialistic property for life, it would be controversial to find it by scientific means. We can only give a materialistic translation of non materialistic concepts (if we assume there exist). This is exactly what happen in religious texts. The translation of non materialistic world in the language of materialistic world.

  4. Ali, thanks for your comment. You are right that we do not have a good understanding of all forms of life, yet. However, we have some concept like death, for which experimentally, we know that the person after this event does demonstrate the same properties and action as before. For example, the person body does not regenerate. Or, the person heat does not beat anymore. Hence, we may not have a good understanding of life, yet we could understand when the life ends. The heart beat and brain (physical) response is a current measure of state of human being. For animal, we may define something similar in their realm which is not my concern now.

    About afterlife postulate, as I mentioned in my previous response, yes, we may need extra postulate or we can postulate something more profound which include afterlife in it.

    As I mentioned implicitly in my post, postulate does not necessary have to be in reach of current science, as non of postulates are. However, consistency is a MUST no matter what. The problem with current religious text is that they are not consistent within their definitions, postulates, and conclusions.

    • This is exactly what I am talking about. Our experiments show that some properties of life have vanished and we translate it to death. We are not sure that if “LIFE” has ended or just continue in a new form or any other idea that you can imagine. We only know that the materialistic part of life seems to be ended. That is why I think we need to know what is “life” before going to after life. But at the same time it does not hurt if we start to postulate there could be an after life. (if it helps us in any way). About inconsistency in religious texts(at least main ones and within themselves, and non even between them), I think this is a very strong statement. I am not sure about you, but I need much more study on these texts to reach to that conclusion.

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