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Illustration by Thomas James If consciousness is just the workings of neurons and synapses, how do we explain the phenomenon of near-death experience? By some accounts, about 3% of the U.S. population has had one: an out-of-body experience often characterized by remarkable visions and feelings of peace and joy, all while the physical body is close to death. To skeptics, there are more plausible, natural explanations, like oxygen deprivation. Is the prospect of an existence after death '€œreal'€ and provable by science, or a construct of wishful thinking about our own mortality?

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For:

Dr. Eben Alexander

5 Items
Dr. Eben Alexander
  • Neurosurgeon & Author, Proof of Heaven
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My coma taught me many things. First and foremost, near-death experiences, and related mystical states of awareness, reveal crucial truths about the nature of existence.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Death is not the end of consciousness but rather a chapter in a vast, and incalculably positive, journey.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Most doctors, and most scientists today, are confusing the fact that consciousness and brain activity are related (which they certainly are) with the opinion that the brain actually produces that consciousness.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An interview with Dr. Eben Alexander about his new book, Proof of Heaven, and the medical mystery of his NDE.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This interview reveals how a near-death experience changed everything neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander thought he knew about consciousness, spirituality, and life after death.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
For:

Dr. Raymond Moody

6 Items
Dr. Raymond Moody
  • Medical Doctor & Author, Life After Life
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

People who return from the brink of death after NDEs lose their fear of death, and in most cases find themselves adopting a new perspective on life.

Wednesday, March 1, 1995
Source

An interview with psychologist and renowned NDE researcher Dr. Raymond Moody, discussing how our language and system of logic limits our understanding of NDE accounts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This lecture presents a phenomenology of shared death experiences demonstrating an uninterrupted continuum with near-death experiences.

Friday, September 2, 2011
Source

Dr. Raymond Moody discusses the character and quality of near-death experiences, and their significance for understanding the collective unconscious. Transcript available .

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source

Dr. Raymond Moody discusses the character and quality of near-death experiences, and their significance for understanding the collective unconscious. Transcript available .

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source
Against:

Sean Carroll

5 Items
Sean Carroll
  • Physicist & Writer
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Carroll, Shermer, D'Souza and Hutchinson go head-to-head over science and religion at Cal Tech.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Source

Among advocates for life after death, nobody even tries to sit down and do the hard work of explaining how the basic physics of atoms and electrons would have to be altered in order for this to be true.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll uses science to explore the nature of humanity, live on stage at The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) 2012.

Sunday, July 1, 2012
Source

There is no life after death; there’s no spiritual essence that can preserve a human consciousness outside its physical body.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Living organisms are just very complicated chemical reactions, not vessels that rely on supernatural essences or mystical élan vital to keep them chugging along.

Thursday, June 4, 2009
Source
Against:

Dr. Steven Novella

4 Items
Dr. Steven Novella
  • Academic Neurologist, Yale School of Medicine
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Refuting Eben Alexander’s claims that there is no scientific explanation for his NDE, Novella offers several.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Steven Novella, M.D. talks about neuroscience and the nature of consciousness at The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) 2012.

Sunday, July 1, 2012
Source

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for a two-part series with Yale University Neurologist, Dr. Steven Novella, discussing his skepticism of NDE research claims. Part two available .

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

FOR

4 Items
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Life is an adventure that transcends our ordinary linear way of thinking.

Saturday, November 19, 2011
Dr. Robert Lanza

An interview with Dr. Jeffrey Long, whose comprehensive research into near-death experience deals a kill shot to skeptics and aims to change how science views the afterlife.

Monday, February 1, 2010
Alex Tsakiris and Jeffrey Long

Even if we set aside religious conviction, there are compelling reasons to believe in life after death.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Dinesh D'Souza

Luke Dittrich, contributing editor at <em>Esquire</em>, wrote an article critical of Dr. Eben Alexander's book <em>Proof of Heaven</em>. But how careful was Luke Dittrich with the facts <em>he</em> presented

Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Robert Mays

AGAINST

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A brief presentation of a skeptical view of NDEs.

Friday, January 10, 2014
The Skeptic's Dictionary

Hallucinations cannot provide evidence for the existence of any metaphysical beings or places. They provide evidence only of the brain's power to create them.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Oliver Sacks

The impediment to taking Alexander's claims seriously can be simply stated: There is absolutely no reason to believe that his cerebral cortex was inactive at the time he had his experience of the afterlife.

Sunday, November 11, 2012
Sam Harris

If life after death exists, then evidence should be there. It is not.

Monday, April 16, 2012
Victor Stenger

Near-death experiences (NDEs) can be reproduced by ketamine via blockade of receptors in the brain for the neurotransmitter glutamate, the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors.

Saturday, March 1, 1997
Dr. Karl L. R. Jansen

NDEs provide no evidence for life after death, and we can best understand them by looking at neurochemistry, physiology, and psychology; but they are much more interesting than any dream.

Friday, March 1, 1991
Susan Blackmore

Dittrich's criticism of Alexander's NDE experience as chronicled in <em>Proof of Heaven</em>, and a <a href="http://iands.org/news/news/ndes-in-the-news/970-esquire-article-on-eben-... target="_blank">rebuttal</a> from NDE researcher Robert Mays.

Thursday, August 1, 2013
Luke Dittrich

MORE ON THE AFTERLIFE

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If God is dead, does that mean we cannot survive our own deaths?

Sunday, July 29, 2007
Jim Holt

<em>Radiolab</em> stares down the very moment of passing, and speculates about what may lie beyond. In a slight departure from our regular format, we bring you eleven meditations on how, when, and even if we die.

Friday, September 18, 2009
Radiolab

NDE STUDIES

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Some people report a near-death experience (NDE) after a life-threatening crisis. We aimed to establish the cause of this experience and assess factors that affected its frequency, depth, and content.

Saturday, December 15, 2001
Pim van Lommel

Near-death experiences can be vividly real to those who have them; Belgian researchers want to see more empirical research on NDEs.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Ben Brumfield

The fundamental debate rages on: Are these glimpses of an afterlife, are they hallucinations or are they the random firings of an oxygen-starved brain?

Monday, October 25, 2010
Melinda Beck

NDE ASSOCIATIONS

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IANDS purpose is to promote responsible, multi-disciplinary exploration of near-death and similar experiences, their effects on people's lives, and their implications for beliefs about life, death, and human purpose.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

The NDERF is a website founded by Dr. Jeffrey Long as a worldwide platform for research on NDEs.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

MIND, BRAIN, CONSCIOUSNESS

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The present paper introduces the clinical picture of patients with impaired consciousness, and reviews the nosological criteria and functional neuroanatomical basis for brain death, coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, and the locked-in syndrome.

Sunday, May 9, 2010
Andrea Eugenio Cavanna

PHILOSOPHY

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Without denying the advances made in the last few decades, we are now in a position to reclaim the language of immortality.

Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Carol Zaleski

The focus in this article is on the possibility that the individual who dies will somehow continue to live, or will resume life at a later time, and not on the specific forms such an afterlife might take.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Known to ancient readers as On The Soul, <em>Phaedo</em> puts forward Plato's four arguments for the immortality of the soul.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969