Afterlife exists says top brain surgeon

Dr Eben Alexander, a Harvard-educated neurosurgeon, fell into a coma for seven days in 2008 after contracting meningitis.

During his illness Dr Alexander says that the part of his brain which controls human thought and emotion “shut down” and that he then experienced “something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.” In an essay for American magazine Newsweek, which he wrote to promote his book Proof of Heaven, Dr Alexander says he was met by a beautiful blue-eyed woman in a “place of clouds, big fluffy pink-white ones” and “shimmering beings”.

He continues: “Birds? Angels? These words registered later, when I was writing down my recollections. But neither of these words do justice to the beings themselves, which were quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet. They were more advanced. Higher forms.” The doctor adds that a “huge and booming like a glorious chant, came down from above, and I wondered if the winged beings were producing it. the sound was palpable and almost material, like a rain that you can feel on your skin but doesn’t get you wet.”

Dr Alexander says he had heard stories from patients who spoke of outer body experiences but had disregarded them as “wishful thinking” but has reconsidered his opinion following his own experience.

He added: “I know full well how extraordinary, how frankly unbelievable, all this sounds. Had someone even a doctor told me a story like this in the old days, I would have been quite certain that they were under the spell of some delusion.

For he rest of the article go here

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9597345/Afterlife-exists-says-top-brain-surgeon.html

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9 Responses to Afterlife exists says top brain surgeon

  1. tildeb A says:

    This has already been thoroughly debunked. See how easy it is for even highly educated people to forget the most basic rules of critical thinking and fall under the spell of woo for an easy explanation? As Feynman so aptly pointed out, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Alexander has forgotten this principle and so he jumps easily and with conviction to an unsupported conclusion.

  2. A tildeb says:

    Another rather poignant smackdown:

    “Again, there is nothing to be said against Alexander’s experience. It sounds perfectly sublime. And such ecstasies do tell us something about how good a human mind can feel. The problem is that the conclusions Alexander has drawn from his experience—he continually reminds us, as a scientistare based on some very obvious errors in reasoning and gaps in his understanding.

    Let me suggest that, whether or not heaven exists, Alexander sounds precisely how a scientist should not sound when he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  3. I am always amazed at the speed people come back and provide me with the rebuttal. And as they try to portray this information as flimsy and deluded they keep on forgetting that the neuroscience researchers have been studying this phenomenon for some time now.

    Fact that there are delusions does not mean that there are no original experiences. There are millions of people who claim that have been abducted by aliens, and whilst I’m sure you will say that they are crazy and delusional, as someone who has frequently defended evolution you are bound to say that it is aliens are somewhere out there.

    Therefore I am somewhat puzzled that this is your reply. When personal experiences are rejected as delusional one should remember that we judge everything based on personal experiences.
    Fact that sometimes we need to explain our difficult experiences should not be ignored simply because it does not fit our acceptable patterns.

  4. tildeb says:

    Tildeb: I’m not rejecting the personal experience at all; I’m rejecting the conclusions Alexander reaches because they have no support from sound reasoning, no revelation of understanding how the brain actually works, and no supporting evidence from the reality we share. Other than that, I’m sure his experience was quite rich and personally meaningful. But, clearly, it’s not evidence of heaven.

    BTW, Harris is an actual published neuroscientist. To be sure of his facts, he checked his understanding of neural activity during coma with a pre-eminent neuroscientist. This is something Alexander failed to do, which is unfortunate, because how he reached his conclusions are an embarrassment to any practicing scientist.

    Defend the Word:I am failing to see your point because we are talking about the guy that is well equipped in the area of his expertise and had rejected initially any such notion as unlikely. He clearly says that he left that kind of talk to wishful thinking. It is only his personal experience that has changed his view.

    As such one must be reminded that research in this area is still on-going and has been in place for a while. Some operating theatres have drawings that can only be seen from high vantage points to work out if human spirits really live body during experiences of coma etc.
    Note that this is not the only example of such happenings but are unique with the guy who possesses enough understanding in the subject matter.
    Therefore I am somewhat puzzled at your cherry-picking what is and is not acceptable.

    Kind regards

    Defend the Word

  5. I am failing to see your point because we are talking about the guy that is well equipped in the area of his expertise and had rejected initially any such notion as unlikely. He clearly says that he left that kind of talk to wishful thinking. It is only his personal experience that has changed his view.

    As such one must be reminded that research in this area is still on-going and has been in place for a while. Some operating theaters have drawings that can only be seen from high vantage points to work out if human spirits really live body during experiences of coma etc.
    Note that this is not the only example of such happenings but are unique with the guy who possesses enough understanding in the subject matter.

    Therefore I am somewhat puzzled at your cherry-picking what is and is not acceptable.

    Kind regards

    Defend the Word

  6. tildeb says:

    Cherry picking? Alexander’s assumptions that lead him to suggest he experienced heaven are clearly, medically, and factually inaccurate. That’s why I linked to neuroscientists who explain exactly how and why the assumptions are wrong.

    Perhaps you are dazzled by Alexander’s credentials as a neurosurgeon to think he knows what he’s talking about. But he doesn’t; for that you must ask the experts, and the experts in brain function are not surgeons but neuroscientists. And they correct Alexander’s mistaken assumptions very quickly in the links provided.

    Look, I would be thrilled if there was compelling evidence for some realm beyond death. Who wouldn’t? But Alexander’s experience does not provide us with any that cannot be more compelling explained with the neuroscience of the here and now. And I say that because the brain death experience described in detail by neuroscientist Jill Bolte-Taylor during her stroke coincide beautifully but in reverse with what we would expect people to experience coming out of coma. I am highly skeptical of Alexander’s conclusions not because it does not fit my ‘acceptable’ pattern of brain impediments to function but because it does fit.

  7. I am so sorry (Not) I misunderstood your point (Not). This is not a mockery of your answer, rather raising a point that you continue to deliberately avoid the issue. It looks like you are looking at this issue from your worldview and are reluctant to budge because you feel comfortable where you are.

    How can I spell this out to you any clearer, here is a highly skilled person that would be aware of the currently undergoing studies in his related field of work. Yet you are refusing his argument because of some work of yet to be completed study by someone else?

    And then you tell us that the correct and right person to look at this is someone who is more closely linked to statistical analysis of the data and someone who would go through many questionnaires over someone who would be questioned due to actual personal experience? I can tell you who I would prefer to talk to. If I was to talk sport to someone I would far rather talk to sports person than to a sports journalist; why? because one of them has actually experienced the game.

    Some years back I have lost eyesight for a short period of time and had seriously considered committing suicide, as I believed that young man would have to struggle through life with limited ability and I had decided that this struggle was not worth it for me. Just before I was about to jump under the passing traffic I had prayed to the God of my mother that if he is there and had a plan for me and if he give me my eyesight back I would consider changing my ways. (I give it a go) and within minutes my eyesight started slowly to return. As a young man I did not understand this medical process but it did not stop me from believing that God may have had something to do with it.

    Lack of medical knowledge did not stop me from understanding choices that I had and was making. It would be ridiculous of anyone to tell me that I did not experience this or that my mind was playing tricks on me. I was there and by the way we all use our personal experiences even when it comes to judging what is and is not logical. Some guy with PhD is not going to change my mind just because he/she thinks I did not respond according to what the majority of people normally do.

    Also; fact that some experiences differ are not excusable argument to say things that I think you are trying to suggest. I.e. That one’s experience is above the others simply because you prefer one outcome over the other.

    Lastly stroke experience is significantly different especially in terms of science which you pretend to be representing here.

    I did not suggest for a moment that the original post is a Biblical truth but rather personal experience of someone who use to be a sceptic just like you.

    Regards

    Defend the word

  8. I am so sorry (Not) I misunderstood your point (Not). This is not a mockery of your answer, rather raising a point that you continue to deliberately avoid the issue. It looks like you are looking at this issue from your worldview and are reluctant to budge because you feel comfortable where you are.

    How can I spell this out to you any clearer, here is a highly skilled person that would be aware of the currently undergoing studies in his related field of work. Yet you are refusing his argument because of some work of yet to be completed study by someone else?

    And then you tell us that the correct and right person to look at this is someone who is more closely linked to statistical analysis of the data and someone who would go through many questionnaires over someone who would be questioned due to actual personal experience? I can tell you who I would prefer to talk to. If I was to talk sport to someone I would far rather talk to sports person than to a sports journalist; why? because one of them has actually experienced the game.

    Some years back I have lost eyesight for a short period of time and had seriously considered committing suicide, as I believed that young man would have to struggle through life with limited ability and I had decided that this struggle was not worth it for me. Just before I was about to jump under the passing traffic I had prayed to the God of my mother that if he is there and had a plan for me and if he give me my eyesight back I would consider changing my ways. (I give it a go) and within minutes my eyesight started slowly to return. As a young man I did not understand this medical process but it did not stop me from believing that God may have had something to do with it.

    Lack of medical knowledge did not stop me from understanding choices that I had and was making. It would be ridiculous of anyone to tell me that I did not experience this or that my mind was playing tricks on me. I was there and by the way we all use our personal experiences even when it comes to judging what is and is not logical. Some guy with PhD is not going to change my mind just because he/she thinks I did not respond according to what the majority of people normally do.

    Also; fact that some experiences differ are not excusable argument to say things that I think you are trying to suggest. I.e. That one’s experience is above the others simply because you prefer one outcome over the other.

    Lastly stroke experience is significantly different especially in terms of science which you pretend to be representing here.

    I did not suggest for a moment that the original post is a Biblical truth but rather personal experience of someone who use to be a sceptic just like you.

    Regards

    Defend the word

  9. Is this because YOU SAY SO?

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