Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Be reasonable about near-death experiences

When I heard that the latest episode of Michael Marshall's podcast Be Reasonable would feature Eben Alexander I wasn't sure I actually wanted to listen to it. But it came up on my iPod while I was cooking dinner this evening, so out of simple inertia I listened. And it confirmed my previous opinion of the neurosurgeon who claims to have been taken on a tour of Heaven while in a coma:
  1. Neurosurgery is to neuroscience as gardening is to botany, or as plumbing is to fluid dynamics.
  2. Despite being a neurosurgeon Eben Alexander doesn't understand the scientific method.
  3. Near-death experiences (NDEs) are evidence of being near death, but not much else.
  4. Presumably writing books that pander to spiritual yearnings is more profitable than neurosurgery.
Alexander's claim that consciousness is independent of the brain is an idea also propounded by Rupert Sheldrake, with a similar lack of actual evidence for it (and a whole lot of evidence to suggest the opposite).

I've blogged about NDEs, and Eben Alexander, and Rupert Sheldrake before:

http://www.evilburnee.co.uk/2011/02/near-death-experiences-are-evidence-of.html
http://www.evilburnee.co.uk/2013/09/chris-french-bites-his-tongue.html
http://www.evilburnee.co.uk/2014/06/heavenly-confirmation-bias.html
http://www.evilburnee.co.uk/2012/01/woo-or-no-rupert-sheldrake-on-bbc-radio.html

Incidentally NDEs featured on this morning's Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4, unsurprisingly as if they are good evidence of an afterlife.
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