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Dr. Eben Alexander offering further proof of heaven: http://bit.ly/Rgk0bl
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Marcus Lee's profile photoMateo Williford's profile photoPaul Boldra's profile photosteven marshank's profile photo
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Except, of course, that it isn't really proof at all.
 
Is there a doctor in the house? A real doctor? My ears are bleeding after hearing that nonsense. 
 
I don't believe in an afterlife, but I wouldn't pass judgement on someone for believing in one after having a near death experience.  I figure if my brain gets so damaged that it thinks its in heaven, it might also loose the ability to think rationally about whether or not there is a heaven. 
 
Key quote about his near death experience: "It answered so many questions for me."

A moving story, but this man was psychologically primed by his life experiences to seek to fill the gaps and accept supernatural answers. He was adopted at birth, which is felt as a kind of rejection, as well as the later second rejection by his birth family when he tried to contact them. I am not surprised his unconscious mind formed memories of loving acceptance.
 
I had a NDE and saw exactly what I expected to see. As I did not see the "unexpected", intuition tells me that it was a fantasy manufactured by my own mind and nothing else. Experience with LSD and mushrooms has taught me a valuable lesson; The mind can make up some crazy shit!
 
+Paul Richwine right on. People need to learn to recognise when they are desperate to believe something, and understand that they should be doubly skeptical when the evidence starts to support that belief. This needs to be part of basic education, and needs to be emphasised for anyone working in sciences.
 
I feel quite sorry for this guy, not because he's mistaken about his experience (which he obviously is), but because he's obviously deeply touched by what his brain is telling him happened. If he was just some guy telling his story, I would have tons of compassion - too bad he's telling everyone it's science. Sorry, Dr Alexander, that it feels real, doesn't make it so (unfortunately?).
 
I seem to recall an episode of "Through the Wormhole" which showed a scientist inducing a NDE simply by shocking a particular region of the brain. I can't recall the specifics and I'm too lazy to use the Google right now. But it was truly a compelling example IMO of science explaining something that heretofore was considered mystical and outside the purview of science.
B Jones
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I am still waiting on proof that is replicable and testable.
 
The arrogance of Western mind never ceases to amaze me.  There are too many documented cases of consciousness outside the only way we here in the West have been entrained to think.  Instead of being openminded about the possibilities of other ways, we try to cram these experiences into our own entrenched model.  It is this way of limited thinking (of course while we stroke ourselves telling a story about using critical thinking) that prevents us from solving some of the great mysteries of life.  I have had one experience and in my 30 year pursuit to understand it, I came across a number of others who had remarkable stories.  The last one was last week when someone who was in renal failure and furniture walking from MS--all well documented told me his story.  He had one of these types of experiences and was told he was now "relieved" of the MS.  That was in 2000 and he has been completely symptom free and the MS is undetectable in his body.  There's just too much we don't know to be so cocksure about our assumptions.
 
There's a big difference between believing in unknowable things and not believing in unknowable things.  I admit to the possibility that somewhere out in the vastness of the universe there may be a planet populated with pokemon and smurfs.  I have no means to observe every planet in existence, so it would be irrational to claim with absolute certainty that none of them have pokemon.  However, this doesn't mean I believe pokemon exist, its something I could not know, though it seems improbable.  Admitting ignorance is not arrogant, it's the opposite of arrogant.
 
+C Chaos I enjoyed that read, but I can't see anything that really addresses the main argument.  Take this quote from Sam:
if I granted that his brain had been shut down — it’s not shut down now
It seems that Tsakaris misses (or avoids) the implied point here.  Brain activity during the coma would allow the possibility that Alexander was dreaming: making it all up.  He has brain activity now, so he might be making it up now!

It doesn't matter how suddenly he woke up (and the story about the ventilator, while it might be presented as "another miracle," is just a distraction), he couldn't have instantaneously shared his story, which means he had time to think about it.  Given that he was in a coma for a week, probably had various drugs and toxins still in his system, it's not unreasonable to give him the benefit of the doubt: he might not even have recognized that he was making it all up.

If it all comes down to what Alexander knew/remembered when he woke up, then that's what needs to be documented and presented.  Ideally there should be recordings of his first conversations, and garantees that nurses didn't talk to him.

Tsakaris is obviously trolling when he asks: "Why doesn't Sam have one hour for a debate" but also challenges Sam to read Alexanders book and 65 peer-reviewed clinical experiments of NDEs.  At least I now know what to expect from skeptico.com
C Chaos
 
Paul, I'm reading Dr. Eben Alexander's book now to get more context on his fascinating medical case. NDE or no NDE his medical case is worth a look because it is a very rare spontaneous recovery. 
C Chaos
 
here’s what Dr. Eben Alexander said on his FB thread:

“The skeptics’ response to the Newsweek article is totally misguided, because all of their points and so many more are handled in the book (I was my own worst skeptic as I originally tried to put it all together, helped very much by my son Eben Alexander IV, who was majoring in neuroscience at the time, and knew the myriad pitfalls of trying to harvest meaningful information from such bizarre memories). For months I was simply writing a neuroscientific report to explain the ultra-reality often described in NDEs, especially with severe bacterial meningitis which should have banished all but the most rudimentary of experiences from my brain. I was shocked how the dumbing down of my brain soaking in pus and approaching death actually enabled astonishing enrichment of consciousness! Any skeptics who want to discuss this with me need to start by reading “Irreducible Mind” (edited by Ed Kelly, Emily Kelly et alia, 2007) and “Consciousness Beyond Life” (Dr Pim van Lommel, 2010), “The Large, the Small, and the Human Mind” (Roger Penrose, Malcolm Longair, Abner Shimony, Nancy Cartwright, Stephen Hawking, 1997), and “The Conscious Mind” (David Chalmers, 1996). THEN be ready to discuss “The Hard Problem of Consciousness” (why reductive materialist science has absolutely no clue how consciousness emerges from the human brain) and the enigma of the interpretation of quantum mechanics, because those are the relevant stepping stones in the discussion of my evolving comprehension of my experience.”

https://www.facebook.com/eben.i.alexander/activity/3775519235464?comment_id=3767878&offset=0&total_comments=15
 
Even if he had called his book "A Very Rare Spontaneous Recovery" and hadn't damaged his reputation with stories of angels, it doesn't sound like the kind of book I want to read.

I suspect that spontaneous recoveries are more common than many doctors are aware of, simply because so few patients get 24 hour attention. Even when the patient is a doctor, he has to sleep. If I read a medical book in the next couple of months, it will probably be something by Oliver Sacks.


Please read on. Let us know if he has any evidence at all that he's not just making the whole story up! 
 
A personal experience is just that: personal. Therefore it is no proof at all that there is something physical and real outside that person's mind. What utter nonsense! If I dream that donkeys fly, that doesn't mean they do. I'm surprised this nonsense comes from a scientist... no matter what state his brain was in...
 
I had an experience that absolutely convinces me that there is a God.  Funny....it convinces no one else.  I am sure it would not convince +Maria Franca 
 
It is odd, or maybe predictable that God only chooses to reveal himself in such obscure, subjective conditions. I demand a less timid God.
 
It is not for you or me to demand a God.  I seek His will and try and do what he wants...or demands from me.  Not the other way!
 
I was being facetious, sarcastic, anti-theistic.
 
One thing I learned about good evidence is that it must be cross checkable. (e.g. meeting another deceased person and hearing some details about them would have been a great way of doing that.)
And it seems no-one mentioned the compressed time dreamstate that we all experience on waking, seems like hours of dreaming but may be 1 minute before we regain conciousness? But I have to say I have always believed in an intelligent design of the universe, and I hope like hell (forgive the pun) that it's all true... Looking forward to borrowing and reading the book.
 
To Jan Andersen, why don't you compare your portfolio to Alexander's and take a closer look at his peer reviewed contributions to science before implying he isn't a "real" doctor. And when does someone qualify as a real doctor-when his philosophy matches yours 100%?
 
What I find most remarkable about the skeptics is their insistence that empirical proof actually MAKES something true. If it's true, it's true-absent proof or not. No amount of certainty in any worldview will mold reality to suit our expectations. Not everything fits in a lab. Asking for proof of psi, God, or transcendental experiences in a lab may be tantamount to taking a fish from the sea and placing it on the top of a high and dry mountain and then saying to the fish: "prove to me you can swim and I'll believe that swimming is real."
 
+jerry decaire Proof makes something SALIENT. If you tell me that some poorly-defined event can occur under unknown conditions, the information has no use to me. I can't prepare for it, because I don't know what it is or when it will happen. So, true or not, if you don't have any evidence, I'm just not interested.

A believer will think I'm saying the claim is false, but I'm open to the possibility. As soon as there's more evidence, I can start basing some decisions on it.

BTW, if you want to challenge +Jan Bruun Andersen s qualifications, you might want to tag him.
 
Salient means "most noticeable or important." I can agree with the first but question the second. Until we are aware of everything it would be impossible to ascertain what would be more important to people. But as for the having no use to you, therein lays the hubris, the overbearing sense of entitlement and the assumption that your beliefs make something true. It may have all the use in the world for you if true whether you're aware of it or not. I am not aware of all the bio-mechanisms that are keeping me alive but they are surely of great use to me. As for the additional evidence you require, that can only come by way of experience; it won't come in the form of an experiment (at least not something like the NDE). But to the skeptic, the experiment is all that matters and experience counts for nothing. The absurdity of that position is that even our appraisal of the experiments are premised on experience. So then we go to replicability for our reasons why the one experience trumps the other. But if reality is only a persistent illusion as Einstein once said, perhaps replicability is only an expression of that persistence.
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