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“It should be pointed out also that we are not arguing for the ideas of an astral body or ethereal energies and auras. Such claims, in any case, are quasi-scientific in nature because they concern a physical reality. As such, they should be tested scientifically, and science tells us that there is no evidence for their existence. [P. 59]”

An astral body is a physical reality? Science tells us that there is no evidence for the existence of auras, ethereal energies or astral bodies? How much research did this person do?

“New Age/Gnostic liberals who do not believe that our choices here can have consequences in the hereafter and that there is such a thing as evil.”

All choices have consequences this cross validates with a high probability with my research. Now as far as evil there certainty is phenomena that could be stated as evil but evil as an absolute reality is nonexistent. All evil has its home in ignorance and that ignorance has consequences for what we sow we reap.

Once we demonize someone and label them evil we at that moment fail to seek understanding and the human ego sits comfortable in its ignorance. Well maybe not too comfortable.

“emphasize "spontaneous" because claims involving mediums, ouija boards, channeling, hypnotic regression to past lives, and the like are "artificial" and hence, in my view, inadmissible.”

Again we must deal with probabilities not opinions based on what appears to be minimal research or research that is biased.

“The debate on whether paranormal phenomena such as telepathy take place is a legitimate one. But the jury is still out on this question as it was a hundred years ago." [Pp. 79-80]”

Once you experience telepathic communication the jury is no longer out. This is the role of experience for without it I doubt the soul would ever advance in infinite love and divine intelligence.

“Incidentally, anyone who insists that European health care is invariably superior to America's might ponder Storm's harrowing ordeal in a Paris hospital,”

Again we can cherry pick and prove anything we want it just happens that I needed some attention with a medical problem while visiting Paris, France in 1989 and got excellent attention with minimal wait and little expense. France is ranked number one in health care by an agency that ranks health care in the world. America is ranked 37th right in front of Cuba and last of all industrialized nations.

Mega profits off the sick and needy by health insurance companies and mega bonuses for CEO’s for finding ways not to provide health benefits is not only a national tragedy but goes against every spiritual law or principle that I have discovered in my research. For this condition to occur in a country that claims to be a Christian nation tells me that Christianity died on the cross in America.

Again this is the role of experience for many need to experience what it is like not to be able to buy health insurance for various reasons such as pre existing conditions or the expense then lose all including home and retirement benefits. Until we suffer we lack understanding.

Raymond Moody & Roy Varghese appeared on Noory's coast-to-Coast AM radio show the night of Jan. 7. Here's a link to a brief summary of what they said, on the C2C site.

http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2010/01/07

Good post Michael.

I was at a bookstore last night looking at "Life After Death: The Evidence" by the conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza. I was wondering what you would think of it, considering that D'Souza is a Christian and he is quick in the book to dismiss reincarnation -- though he embraces NDEs with the caveat that there are more "hellish" or "distressing" ones than are generally reported. To back this up he cites Rawlings and Nancy Evans Bush.

Anyway, thinking of that, I checked your site to see this review -- which is very much in the same vein. Isn't it strange that two conservative Christian authors have put forward books that actually embrace NDEs in such a short span of time? Regardless of the nit-picking, I find it a refreshing change.

Great review! Interesting to see another Christian apologists tackle the NDE issue.

We've seen this before... dismiss/deny anyhting that doesn't fit my beliefs, twist/revise that which can support my position... the parallels with modern skepticism are hard to escape.

Alex at skeptiko.com

"We've seen this before... dismiss/deny anything that doesn't fit my beliefs, twist/revise that which can support my position"

I think we all do this to some extent. It's probably impossible to rid ourselves of all our biases and preconceptions. Perhaps our best hope is simply to be aware of our biases ...

" 'Life After Death: The Evidence' by the conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza."

I've bought that book and will get around to reading it at some point. I'd bet D'Souza doesn't deal with mediumship, though. Or does he?

"two conservative Christian authors have put forward books that actually embrace NDEs"

I wonder if Don Piper's book "90 Minutes in Heaven" has played a role in popularizing NDEs among Christians. Piper's NDE was almost stereotypically Christian, replete with pearly gates and choruses of angels.

Varghese does acknowledge that cultural expectations affect the details of NDEs, but he seems to forget this point when addressing other culturally-influenced phenomena, such as apparitions of the Virgin Mary.

Hear this Larry King show exchange between D'Souza, Chopra (who also has a book on afterlife) and "skeptic" Michael Shermer on life after death:

http://podcasts.cnn.net/cnn/big/podcasts/lkl/video/2009/12/22/lkl.life.death.cnn.m4v

Look carefully at Shermer's arguments. My God...

I don't know why Shermer is invited to every kind of controversial discussion (from UFOs to 9/11 to creationism), some people seems to think he's an expert in everything, when the quality of his arguments are in most cases very wanting.

Being a "skeptic" seems to be a good way to make some money, appear in TV and get famous, specially when the person clearly mediocre in his own actual profession.

“I think we all do this to some extent. It's probably impossible to rid ourselves of all our biases and preconceptions. Perhaps our best hope is simply to be aware of our biases ...”

It may be only a hope but hope can be beneficial. I think there are beliefs, which we tend to be aware of; then there are paradigms, which are hidden from our view. The other day I heard a politician explain what is occurring in Haiti and it was interesting to me that this person started every sentence with “it is a war” about something.

I realized that this person saw everything as a war about or against something. This person was a presidential candidate in the last election. Was it this person’s belief or a their paradigm that influences their thoughts to the point that even a disaster like what occurred in Haiti as a war.

“Being a "skeptic" seems to be a good way to make some money, appear in TV and get famous, specially when the person clearly mediocre in his own actual profession.”

Sounds to me he should have been a politician. Skepticism reinforces humanities materialistic beliefs even the religious often have very materialistic beliefs. I think most of us have such beliefs to different degrees.

“I've bought that book and will get around to reading it at some point. I'd bet D'Souza doesn't deal with mediumship, though. Or does he?”

No one on that show knew much if anything about spiritualism or mediumship at least they gave no evidence if they had knowledge of spiritualism and the evidence it has obtained from mediumship.

"I've bought that book and will get around to reading it at some point. I'd bet D'Souza doesn't deal with mediumship, though. Or does he? "

I read it a few weeks ago. No mediumistic evidence presented here. He does take a thoughtful philosophical view and combines this with some mind matter interface(placebo effect and brain plasticity)to develope a rather effective presentation. He also presents the NDE as further evidence. The philosophy and neuroplasticity was a different angle for me, and added to my knowledge base. Some Christian veiwpoint also expressed but not too overbearing.
All in all a decent read.

Me thinks the author of this book wants to have his cake and eat it too.

I saw Moody 3 or 4 years ago. He was talking about the 'shared death' experience then.

I didn't realize that Gazzaniga had a similar opinion to mine re: Dawkins. How refreshing.

Christians have been dealing with life after death and communicating this reality to people for a long time. I think they have done a very good job, and although I don't necessarily agree with all of the teachings, I give them high praise for continuing to communicate on such a difficult subject.

“I give them high praise for continuing to communicate on such a difficult subject.”

I have found most traditional Christians shy away from spiritualism and label it as new age or worst. Of course there are always exceptions.

I found the bible passages from the German bible interesting from this link: http://www.tiptopwebsite.com/custommusic/xellers1.pdf

Communication with the spirit world by a priest named Johannes Greber.

This book may have been recommended on this blog.

This is translated from the German bible so it may read different from the English bible.

“This ascent and descent of God’s messengers was witnessed by the
early Christians at their gatherings, whence the exhortation of the Apostle
Paul to all Christians: “Endeavor to communicate with the spirits.”
(I Corinthians 14: 12)”

“Once this step had been taken, I could not, dared not stop. I was
compelled to go on in my search for clarity. Cautiously I advanced, keeping
in mind the words of the Apostle Paul: “Put to the test all spirit
communication; hold fast only to that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:
21)”

“So I thought about it, trying to understand, but it was
too hard for me, until I entered into communication with
the spirit world of God. (Psalm 73: 16- 17)”

This has been changed in the King James Version to read entirely different.

"I wonder if Don Piper's book "90 Minutes in Heaven" has played a role in popularizing NDEs among Christians." - Michael Prescott
--------------------------------------------

The Shack is a novel which is essentially a very thinly veiled Christian near death experience. It became very popular and quite a few of the ladies at the Church we attend have read it. Our preacher even read it. There seems to be a lot of ambivalence towards NDE's in our church. A lot of the people are very interested but they also are careful about getting too attached to NDE's. The same is true with death bed visions. There is even a guy at our church that had a NDE when he was 8 years old, and another guy who heard a voice that told him to run out from a tree that right after he ran the tree was struck by lightning. Also a little boy from our church, age 11, had cancer and died and right before he died he asked his family if they could see all the angels in the room? Oh yeah, another woman in our church said she saw her dead grandfather after he died, and one time she said that "Jesus" put his hands on hers, to comfort her, when she was lying in bed. So people who are religious, and go to church, know these things happen, but they are still very attached to their traditional Christian theology.

D'Souza appeared on C2C AM on the night of Nov. 1, 2009, discussing his book on NDEs, etc. Here's a link to a brief summary of what he said:

http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2009/11/01

D'Souza does briefly mention mediumship in his chapter on NDEs and is quick to reject them. First off, he states that mediumship took place in the 19th century, as though it doesn't not take place anymore. Then he states that "though some parapsychologists still take these claims seriously today" (my paraphrase) he does not. His reasoning about this, from what I recall, is that the messages brought through were meaningless "gibberish" and that, if the dead were really present and capable of communicating, they would communicate far more worthwhile information than what was procured through mediumship a century or more ago.

D'Souza then goes on to dismiss reincarnation as well, but states that NDEs are good evidence -- though he seems to be particularly sympathetic to NDEs on account of his wife having had one.

One interesting thing I learned from D'Souza's chapter is that the atheist and logician, A.J. Ayer had an NDE which apparently bothered Ayer for the remainder of his life, as he could not integrate his NDE into his worldview. I've read so much about NDEs -- I can't believe I didn't know about this until now.

Cheerio!
Kevin

Thanks to Kevin, Roger, and GregL for the info on D'Souza. Sounds like his book is similar to Varghese's in many respects, but I suspect I will like D'Souza's effort more, just because I enjoy him as a writer.

I suppose each of us has our "boggle threshold," and for some people, NDEs are believable but mediums are not.

My own boggle threshold is challenged by materialization mediumship and some of the more exotic EVP/ITC claims. I'm not saying these things aren't real, just that they are hard for me to accept at second hand.

If I were in a conversation with someone who wanted to know if there was evidence for life after death, I would probably bring up NDEs and Ian Stevenson's research first. I would ease into the subject of mediumship by saying that there is a lot of fraud and delusion in the field, but that some mediums have been carefully tested.

I would approach it this way even though, to my mind, the best mediumistic evidence trumps all the other evidence. The thing is, what seems persuasive to me may not look that way to people who know of mediums only from sensationalized TV dramas and (shudder) Sylvia Browne.

Very few people know anything about the best cases of mediumship. In that category I would include:

- the R-101 case
- the Bobby Newlove case
- the cross correspondences
- Geraldine Cummins' "Swan on a Black Sea"
- the Patience Worth case
- the book and newspaper tests
- the George Pelham case

There are others. A good list of various kinds of cases (not just mediumship) is found in this article by Montague Keen (scroll down to the section heading, "And here are the cases ..."):

http://tiny.cc/WSTAS


MP wrote: My own boggle threshold is challenged by materialization mediumship... I'm not saying these things aren't real, just that they are hard for me to accept at second hand.

I can completely understand that feeling. My boggle threshold was similarly challenged until I experienced materialisation mediumship at first hand. Then the boggle element disappeared.

Personal experience and the evidence of all one's senses outweighs all the research, theories etc.


In addition to the above I would add that my boggle threshold is frequently challenged by claims of materialisation mediumship that is trumpeted by a certain lawyer (shudder) and his acolytes when it is nothing of the sort.

"In addition to the above I would add that my boggle threshold is frequently challenged by claims of materialisation mediumship that is trumpeted by a certain lawyer (shudder) and his acolytes when it is nothing of the sort."

Amen.

And my boggle threshold is surpassed every time I hear 'another politician' promising that everything's going to be great.

Michael: "Varghese maintains that actual bodily resurrection will eventually follow a period of existence in the spirit world...My own impression is that bodily resurrection is a feature of the Abrahamic religions (Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), but not of most other faiths."

...all depends on what you mean by body.

Remember, our supposedly solid bodies're mostly voids of empty space threaded through with 'necklaces' of energy we variously style electrons, etc. In fact the absence of any real explanation for our seeming solidness is what the hunt for the Higgs Boson's all about, its discovery SUPPOSEDLY finally explaining the matter away.

Also, there's a school of thought which goes it isn't the human body which produces the aura - it's the aura which produces the human body, (at which point the hardcore esoteric symbolism in all the religions goes into overdrive...).

So, you see, this matter of resurrectional bodies ain't as straightforward as some suppose...

Off topic. In reading a Yahoo news story about UFC fighter Brock Lesnar's illness, he makes some by-the-way comments on his experience with Canada's health care system:

This was a long way from the fall, when illness and weakness caused Lesnar to sit out almost three weeks of training camp as he prepared to fight Carwin in a bout scheduled for November in Las Vegas. When I visited his training camp in October, he complained of being “dead in the ass.” Within weeks he couldn’t work out at all and when doctors couldn’t figure out the medical issue, Lesnar dropped out of the fight.

In an effort to fight depression, he went hunting in Canada where he had a painful diverticulitis attack.

“I felt like I got shot in the gut,” he said.

He wasn’t excited about his Canadian medical care, comparing it to “a third world country” where he couldn’t get any treatment. Finally Lesnar’s wife, Rena (better known as former pro wrestling star Sable), sprung him from the hospital, loaded him into a car and while Lesnar writhed in pain, drove “100 miles an hour” across the border and into North Dakota. He wound up MedCenter One, a hospital in Bismarck, N.D. There doctors were patient, didn’t immediately perform surgery and slowly nursed him back to some form of health.

Hi Zerdini,
I'm a regular reader of both Michael's Blog and VZ's weekly newsletter.
You said - “In addition to the above I would add that my boggle threshold is frequently challenged by claims of materialisation mediumship that is trumpeted by a certain lawyer (shudder) and his acolytes when it is nothing of the sort.”
I've never been to a séance let alone “a materialisation seance”
( So I'm fairly inexperienced. )
Could you explain the difference?
Rod McKenzie

I hate to hijack the comments, but it is afterlife related. Dr. Jefferey Long who runs NDERF was on TV today promoting a new book about NDEs. Interestingly, I checked out the polls on NBC's website and it indicated that over 81% polled didn't believe in the afterlife.

As I predicted, much like when CNN did their afterlife thing on Larry King back in December PZ Myers blogged about Long's appearance, and pretty much said NDERF was unreliable because it's just a collection of anecdotes. I think there is some truth in that statement, but I don't think all NDE accounts can be dismissed like Myers is implying. The 81% is kind of interesting, considering that most professionally done polls indicate a majority of people believe in the afterlife. I still can't help but think if Myers managed to get his readers to hijack this poll.

I just have to comment again because I'm still amazed at how rude Myer's readers are towards people with different opinions than them, these guys seriously make the JREF boards look nice.

I think I speak for quite a few people when I say it's the snarkiness (and in the case of Myers crowd, being a jerk) of the pseudo-skeptics that gets on the nerves of people more than the fact they hold a different view than them. I've personally noticed it's really only the case with people that take skepticism really seriously or are active in debunking, I've ran into people that don't believe in paranormal phenomenon but yet still show respect.

Myer's crowd just makes me shake my head, someone correctly pointed out how they were full of hatred in the comments and they responded with denial and the hatred that person pointed out, talk about a big face palm to the forehead.

“As I predicted, much like when CNN did their afterlife thing on Larry King back in December PZ Myers blogged about Long's appearance, and pretty much said NDERF was unreliable because it's just a collection of anecdotes”

It appears that few in the world really understand the scientific method and the different methods of collecting and analyzing date to calculate probabilities. Those attacks by PZ are not based in certainty but doubt. I suspect he lives in daily fear that his beloved religion materialism will come tumbling down and put him is some level of self disgrace.

Think for a moment how that would impact his very idea of himself as a respected expert in his field. His defensive behavior gives him away. His whole system of beliefs and career and avoiding possible future embarrassment depends on his ability to counter any evidence that makes his religion (materialism) a failed paradigm (religion).

His responses are very much in line with the fundamentalist religious and their attacks when someone challenges their system of beliefs. Like many religious beliefs materialism does not pass the simplest of logic tests. Theory is taught as fact it even gets worst beliefs are taught as fact.

As long as we confuse intellect that is often intellectualism with intelligence the PZ’s of the world will be considered expert authorities on reality. I taught at three universities including now the largest university in America and in my view intellectualism was alive and well at all three universities. Of course there were always exceptions at each university.

Many scientists and researchers that have done the research have stated in their minds the afterlife has been proven with as much probability most other facts in life. I personally agree with those scientists and researchers.

Comment on P.Z's Blog:-

“...if we get a majority saying "No" it will mean that there is no life after death.
Then the Pharyngulite Ilk can boast that it destroyed heaven and hell!
Godlike power!”
???

Rod McKenzie

I've never been to a séance let alone “a materialisation seance”
( So I'm fairly inexperienced. )
Could you explain the difference?
Rod McKenzie

Hi Rod

It would probably take more space than I have available on this blog but I will try and condense it for you.

The word séance comes from French, literally: a sitting, from Old French seoir to sit, from Latin sedēre.

Generally it refers to a group of people sitting together to attempt communication with the ‘dead’.

In fact there are no ‘dead’ only people who once lived on earth but are now living in a different dimension which Spiritualists call, for want of a better name, the Spirit World.

Within Spiritualism there are two main forms namely mental mediumship and physical mediumship.

Mental mediumship is usually demonstrated by mediums in public, or privately, through their ability to see (clairvoyance) hear (clairaudience) or sense (clairsentience) spirit people and to relay their messages.

There is usually a wide range of ability to accurately transmit these messages but, in my view and from personal experience, clairaudience is the most accurate and evidential. MP has given examples of this form of mediumship. In more recent times Gordon Higginson, Estelle Roberts and Helen Hughes were excellent exponents.

Physical mediumship is what its name implies – the phenomenal aspect. It covers a wide range of abilities but the main evidential ones are Direct Voice (Independent or through the use of a trumpet to amplify the voices).

In Direct Voice the voices come from mid-air or move around and one can freely converse as you would do on earth. Probably the best exponents of this form of mediumship, which have been documented, are Leslie Flint (UK), Estelle Roberts (UK) and Etta Wriedt (USA) and many others, perhaps not so well-known.

In my view this is the most evidential form of mediumship. There are many books dealing with Direct Voice one of the best being “On the Edge of the Etheric” by Arthur Findlay.

The other aspect of physical mediumship, and perhaps the most controversial, is materialisation.

The reason is because so few people have ever experienced it or do not understand that materialisations have to be SEEN in good light by all present at the séance. By materialisation I mean living, walking, talking spirit people seen by all present with whom one can have an intelligent conversation.

It is NOT sitting in pitch darkness and claiming one was touched and/or spoken to. That is NOT materialisation it is simply a form of physical phenomena and is often derided (with good reason) by the sceptical community.

I have put it as concisely as I can but feel free to ask any further questions if you wish and I will try and answer them.

It figures, Myers crowd did hijack the poll, found a couple of comments:

"Either there's a website much more popular than Pharyngula and just as dedicated to wrecking stupid online polls, or this thing got hacked."

"I've never seen Pharyngula mobilize more than 40,000 voters for this stuff, and just a few hours ago, there were less than 10,000 'No' votes (#315)."

Sorry for the OT, but i have found an interesting recent article on Scole Experiment by one of the sitters, he seems to have resolved after 16 years a riddle about one of the phenomena:

http://felixcircle.blogspot.com/2010/01/riddle-of-mystery-glyphs-after-16-years.html

Roy Abraham Varghese is a Christian writer perhaps best known for having helped persuade philosopher Antony Flew to discard atheism in favor of theism. In cooperation with Flew, Varghese then wrote a book called There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.

Not surprisingly, his book caused quite a stir – as can be seen from the miscellaneous customer reviews on Amazon. Some of those comments (and those elsewhere) implied that Flew was used by his co-author, Roy Varghese, and did not in fact know what was in the book.

This is a serious charge to which Professor Flew responded - I have rebutted these criticisms in the following statement: “My name is on the book and it represents exactly my opinions. I would not have a book issued in my name that I do not 100 per cent agree with. I needed someone to do the actual writing because I’m 84 and that was Roy Varghese’s role. The idea that someone manipulated me because I’m old is exactly wrong. I may be old but it is hard to manipulate me. That is my book and it represents my thinking.”

Life long atheist and philosopher Antony Flew has evolved into a Deist! Professor Flew is a man of profound integrity who is more concerned with the truth than he is with orthodoxy of any kind, whether religious or secular.

Professor Flew wanted to be certain that his acceptance of a belief in God was not misunderstood to a belief in the Bible god or any god of the various "revealed" religions.

Professor Flew said, "I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots,. . ."

Internet polls are not scientific and are just meant for entertainment.

Ron Paul used to do astonishingly well in Internet polls because his supporters would rush to any poll and overwhelm it. In more scientific surveys he never did well at all. The scientific surveys turned out to be accurate; he never got anywhere in the primaries.

"Then the Pharyngulite Ilk can boast that it destroyed heaven and hell! Godlike power!"

That's pretty funny. I'm sure it was a joke.

Well ... almost sure.

"Those attacks by PZ are not based in certainty but doubt. I suspect he lives in daily fear that his beloved religion materialism will come tumbling down..."

Maybe, maybe not. I was a confirmed skeptic and materialist from roughly age 12 to age 36. I don't think I lived in fear that my worldview would collapse. Actually, I used to find it hard to understand how any intelligent, educated person could believe in what seemed, to me, to be an obvious superstition.

In fact, I mainly assumed that educated people did not believe in an afterlife, and that if they paid lip service to such a belief, it was only because they thought it was a useful fiction (perhaps for preserving social order, as Allan Bloom's writings seemed to suggest).

I remember reading an essay by Joseph Sobran in which he argued that the political controversies of the day were unimportant compared with the fate of one's immortal soul. At the time I was genuinely perplexed. Sobran was endorsing an idea that had no reality to me whatsoever. I didn't feel threatened, just mystified.


Michael, I could really relate to your last post. I felt exactly the same way. "Mystified" is a good word to describe how I felt. For me it wasn't till I was about 47 years old (around the year 2000) when I started reading on the internet about near death experiences. I found a site "survivalscience.org" that had a link to the holographic universe and I could immediately see the connection between NDE's and what Michael Talbot wrote about in The Holographic Universe. I think without seeing those parallels or corroboration or whatever you want to call it I would never have believed. Now I am mystified that other people either can't see the connection or aren't flabbergasted by it! How is it possible that a housewife from Kansas or a Policeman from Atlanta, Georgia can come back from their experience and describe it in terms that can only be called "holographic?" I find that very evidential. I'm curious if Dr. Jeffrey Long mentions it in her new book about NDE's? Dr. Long was on the Today show yesterday morning.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/34953759/ns/today-today_people/

Whoops! meant to say, "I wonder if Dr. Jeffrey Long mentions it in HIS new book!"

Interesting that Sobran endorses the Oxfordian theory that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the plays usually attributed to William Shakespeare.

Art, here's a book that might (or might not) interest you: "The Big Book of the Soul," by Ian Lawton.

http://www.ianlawton.com/bbosindex.htm

Lawton explores the idea of "our many lives as holographic aspects of the Source." The book can be previewed on Google Books.

On the one hand, you might be turned off by the "many lives" part. On the other hand, it's holographic! Lawton relies heavily on NDEs and reincarnation evidence, but apparently doesn't cover mediumship.

I've ordered the book, partly because it looks interesting, and partly out of vanity. You see, in his discussion of the "Maria's shoe" case, Lawton briefly mentions a post of mine. (This fact was kindly brought to my attention by Keith Augustine in an email.) I figure I can't afford not to own a book that quotes me!

Anthony Flew is an interesting case. After dedicating his entire philosophical life to debunking parapsychology and afterlife, and being a champion of secularism and atheism, he's converted to deism and has received the attacks of dogmatic atheists, particularlly internet atheists.

There are a couple of internet atheists out there, who has assumed the "humanist" job of checking any blog that reviews or comment in Flew's lastest book on his conversion, to left a comment in the blog with a link to Richard Carrier's (an online atheist of infidels.org) criticisms of Flew's book, where Carrier tries to make Flew appear like an old person with unreliable and declining mental faculties.

The atheists who are dedicated to debunking Flew uses "Google Alert", to know that blog posts some positive review of Flew's book.

I think these kind of obviously irrational atheist attitudes are caused by the Flew's stature as a philosophical chamption of atheism (he is also a philosopher of world class), the emotional insecurities of some internet atheists and their consequent bigotry. Mostly the younger atheists are prone to these absurd attitudes.

Just think that would happen if, tomorrow, James Radin appears saying that he was wrong, that telepathy or afterlife exist, and he writes a book explaining the evidence that caused his "convertion".

He would be considered an old deluded man, and the "skeptical community" would try to debunk him.

It would be a fatal emotional blow to the anti-paranormal faith of many pseudoskeptics, particularlly the younger ones. A similar case has ocurred with Flew and atheism.

As part of their propaganda, pseudoskeptics and ideological atheists try to appear as free thinkers, open mind rationalists, true seekers after the truth, unprejudiced inquirers and similar. But actually they're bigoted dogmatists.

As Anthony Flew himself wrote in his review of Dawkins' book The God Delusion: "The God Delusion by the atheist writer Richard Dawkins, is remarkable in the first place
for having achieved some sort of record by selling over a million copies. But what is much more remarkable than that economic achievement is that the contents – or rather lack of contents – of this book show Dawkins himself to have become what he and his fellow secularists typically believe to be an impossibility: namely, a secularist bigot. (Helpfully, my copy of The Oxford Dictionary defines a bigot as ‘an obstinate or intolerant"
adherent of a point of view’).
"

http://www.bethinking.org/science-christianity/flew-speaks-out-professor-antony-flew-reviews-the-god-delusion.pdf

I agree ZC.

In a published interview with another philosopher, Flew said, "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads." - which could be equally applied to the Afterlife!

After chewing on his scientific worldview for more than five decades, Flew concluded, "A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature."

"Lawton explores the idea of "our many lives as holographic aspects of the Source." The book can be previewed on Google Books. On the one hand, you might be turned off by the "many lives" part. On the other hand, it's holographic!" - Michael Prescott
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In a truely holographic universe everthing interpenetrates everything and everything is infinitely connected to everything else. So in essence I am you and you are me and our separation is an illusion, and so instead of having just a few "past lives" in essence each one of us has had billions and billions of past lives. When we get to Heaven I will know what it was like to be you and you will know what it was like to be me. But I still have a high degree of confidence that the main purpose of this life is to become a separate unique individual and the way we do that is by experiencing separation. In essence we come here to this physical universe, or holographic projection, to become unassimilated and resistance is futile. The day our physical body dies is graduation day.

Art, your summary may come close to what Lawton himself is arguing. (I can't be sure, as I've only previewed the book.)

"Just think that would happen if, tomorrow, James Randi appears saying that he was wrong, that telepathy or afterlife exist, and he writes a book explaining the evidence that caused his 'conversion'."

I think this is a major flaw in the whole idea of the Million Dollar Challenge. If anyone ever did win the Challenge, most skeptics would probably say Randi had been fooled. They would not change their minds at all.

(Of course, I think the Challenge was set up as a PR stunt, and there was never any chance that anyone would actually win it. But that's another story.)

Is it my imagination is the situation with Flew reminiscent of the reaction to Sir William Crookes?

Thanks for the reference to his review of Dawkins ZC - I have to say I was similarly puzzled by its (lack of relevant) content.

I don't believe that we lose our sense of "self" or individuality after we die. I believe NDE's lead me in this direction. Mark Horton says in his NDE description, "I was unique yet I was the tiniest part of the whole." Pam Reynold's said she saw her deceased relatives and she recognized them for who they were. My dad came to me in a dream and said "Guess what Artie? I'm 28!" My niece, a Science Education major from the University of Georgia told me she had a dream about her deceased father after he died and in the dream he told her "The body you found wasn't my real body. The body I have now is my real body." I found this interesting because my niece had never really studied or taken an interest in life after death before so the idea that her deceased father would come to her in a dream and tell her something so profound was very interesting to me.

This is exactly what spirit communicators tell us, Art. NDE's confirm what spirit communicators tell us and vice versa.

Following what ZC said, I now have this image in my head of sceptics bunkered up in some online fortress of rationality, getting a call over a buzzing red telephone that someone, somewhere, has posted something on the internet that might be considered supportive of potential paranormalty and rushing to debunk it to all shit in classic 1960s Batman intro style.

I found this hilarious in a way, this "Dr. Tom" from Planet Atheism says NDERF is a joke but seems to put so much faith in the NBC poll, which has been revealed to be hijacked by the Myers crowd. Even if it wasn't, as Michael pointed out these polls aren't scientific, and if you dig up professionally done polls it'll show a majority of people believe in the afterlife.

http://planetatheism.com/author/dr-tom/

"Interesting that Sobran endorses the Oxfordian theory" - Zerdini

Yes, that's another position of his that I used to find bizarre, and which I now agree with. I eventually read his book on the authorship question, which is quite good, but the book that convinced me was Mark Anderson's "'Shakespeare' By Another Name."

http://shakespearebyanothername.com/

It would be interesting to see Randi losing his challenge, but I won't happen.

I agree the challenge is designed both as a PR stunt for pseudoskepticism and to promote Randi.

I'll comment more things later, right now I'm watching the NBA game Lakers vs. Cavs (Lebron vs. Kobe) on TNT!

:)

Breanainn you're simply hilarious dude, The reference to the 60's Batman Intro just cracked me up.

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