Still another take on Dr. Eben Alexander's book, PROOF OF HEAVEN

In this blog, I earlier mentioned one writer's take on Dr. Alexander's book.

Here's  another, this by John Horgan, that appeared in a Scientific American blog. His post,  What Should We Do With Our Visions of Heaven—and Hell?     raises some technical criticisms of Dr. Alexander's report on his experience (of near-death).  But Horgan then adds some more experience to the discussion with a report of his own "travel" (or NDE or OBE or whatever) during an experiment in his college years.

I get the sense he still doesn't know what to make of what he encountered.  It's worth reading, I think, so I won't try to summarize, or even introduce my take on it.

What I do find puzzling are the reader comments to Horgan's article: many, maybe most, are hostile to the idea of even considering these possibilities.  That mindset reminds me of the mindset of the medieval church (even until not-so-long ago) pronouncing ANATHEMA!  (Meaning, thanks Wikipedia,  "either set apart, banished or denounced".

At least nowadays we don't burn at the stake "heretical thinkers" -- those who explore questions that the Establishment had decreed settled.

One  put-down of  Harvard Med trained neurosurgeon Dr. Alexander was to the effect, What kind of real scientist can he be given that he wears bow-ties? (Sorry, in a hurry and can't put my finger on the exact quote, but it's in the response to Horgan's article.)  In other words, Dr. A doesn't dress like us, so therefore he's not to be credited.  Anathema! Ban bow-ties! Block off your ears to those who experience what is not to be believed!





Near-death experience: Dr Eben Alexander and his book, Proof of Heaven

PROOF OF HEAVEN, Dr. Eben Alexander's book on what he describes as his journey to the afterlife came out a month or so ago, accompanied by features in Newsweek and ABC. (Links below).  Dr Alexander is a Harvard Med school trained neurosurgeon.

I haven't gotten to read it yet, but from what I've heard it's another in a long list of accounts of NDEs, Near-death experiences. I've made a study of those accounts over the years as I was researching my technothriller A REMEDY FOR DEATH.

Among them: HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, by Todd Burpo, an account of a four-year old's NDE.

Others by Raymond Moody, Kenneth Ring, Melvin Morse, and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, all physicians. Also P.M.H. Atwater

Also another first person account by a doctor of his NDE from illness during World War II.

Alas, his name escapes me at the moment, and I''m away from my books, so will have to add it when the name comes to me. Note that this happened a good many years back, long before there had been much written on Near-death experiences, or Out-of-body (OBEs--closely related), so the skeptics can't accuse him of jumping on a bandwagon.

Update: that was Dr George Ritchie, and it seems it was his experience that intrigued Dr Raymond Moody.  Dr Ritchie was a physician and psychiatrist.

I won't list titles here, as all of these people  have books still on Amazon, BN and maybe even your local bookstore.

 Newsweek article: "Heaven is real: A doctor's experience with the afterlife"

ABC link: "Neurosurgeon describes . . . " 

ABC carried the story on both the evening news and Nightline

More on "when is death": now "organ donors who are 'pretty dead."

In the previous post, we looked at a couple of intriguing--maybe disturbing-- articles on the issue of harvesting organs from "recently dead" humans. (That post was "A REMEDY FOR DEATH. Ah, but what IS death? Two interesting articles.")

But that got into the emerging hot-button related issues of "what is death--how should it be gauged?" and "how dead does one really need to be an organ donor?"

In another take on the question, Dick Teresi in Discover Magazine, May 2012, wrote an article,   "The Beating Heart Donors"   Donors," --- that is, in some cases, those are "pretty dead." But how dead do you have to be to be an organ donor?  A couple of intriguing excerpts from that article:

  • "The only people who do not get a share of the transplant wealth are the most essential: the donors and their families. By law, they are the only ones who cannot be compensated. Joseph Murray, the surgeon who performed the first solid-organ transplant, maintains that donors must not be paid, in order to maintain the integrity of the field.
  • "The organ trade claims transplants are the neat extraction of body parts from totally dead, unfeeling corpses. But it's more complicated and messier than that."
  • "Organ transplants would be peripheral to the story of death if they were what the organ trade claimed them to be: the neat extraction of body parts from totally dead, unfeeling corpses. But it is more complicated and messier than that. The grisly facts compiled in this article are not an attempt to derail organ transplantation—an impossible task, given how entrenched the industry is—but knowledge that has been gained from the medical establishment’s obsession with recycling the bodies of people who are, in the words of Dr. Michael DeVita of the University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center, only “pretty dead.”"

Just to be clear, these are Dick Teresi's words and thoughts.

In another of those little strokes of synchronicity that make my life so interesting, literally as I was writing this entry, I got a call from a friend, a retired Army Colonel, who told me he'd had a transplanted eye for 25 years now, still working well.

Transplants, good.  But still up in the air is the issue of donation.

Best yet, still to come, is the whole field of bio-artificial organs, organ fabrication, organ regeneration and the like .  It's happening, bio-artificial organs are being --what's the word? Created? Generated? Grown?  (On this, I recently did several posts noting current research in these fields. You'll find these mostly in the September 2012 archives of this blog.)

A couple of words more about Dick Teresi.  That Discover article is based on his newest book, THE UNDEAD: ORGAN HARVESTING, THE ICE-WATER TEST, BEATING HEART CADAVERS--HOW MEDICINE IS BLURRING THE LINE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH (available in both e-book and p-book version via Amazon  and other booksellers.)

And this: way back, when I was first beginning the research for my technothriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH: Playing God with Body, Soul & Bio-tech, one of my earlist and most helpful resources with the book  THE THREE-POUND UNIVERSE  by Judith Harper and --you guessed!--Dick Teresi.  (Without giving away the plot of Remedy, suffice it to say that the three-pound universe is that thingee up inside your head, also known as "the brain."  And that one of the lead characters in Remedy just happens to be a experimental neurosurgeon with some ideas that are definitely outside the experimental mainstream.)