on January 21, 2010
This is my first experience with reading a book on near death experiences and the science behind it. I've read books before on personal accounts of the afterlife but these books mainly came from a New Age/Metaphysical perspective. Never before had I read anything coming from a scientific view. Dr. Long, a radiation oncologist, over the period of ten or more years had complied and studied hundreds of personal accounts of near-death-experiences and found some consistent similarities over the stories, regardless of nationality, religion, race, culture, and other demographics. I tend to be skeptical of a lot of different things, but Dr. Long, with his medical background lends credibility to this work. And the results of the research provide some convincing arguments.
Dr. Long asserts that there are 9 arguments that prove the existence of life after death. These arguments have been generated through the study of consistencies from the hundreds of NDE accounts that he's complied over the years. Some of these arguments include how: it can't be medically explained how people experience consciousness when they are clinically dead; blind people experiencing visual perceptions during their NDE (even though, blind people do not dream in visuals); children giving NDE details similar to adults, though they may have never been exposed to this concept; the "life review" experience tend to reflect real events. These arguments, along with the others, are the primary basis for Long's proof assertion.
Throughout the book, Long discusses each of these arguments, cites previous research from other scientists on this phenomenon that either compliments or refutes his claims, and justifies his arguments (including discussing some of the various scientific research methods). For me, the most convincing argument was from the visually impaired (blind) accounts, who for the most part had visually perceptive type of experiences. Stories from people who had never had an experience with sight, no perception of sight whatsoever and could account for some of the visuals that they perceived were remarkable. Another strong argument was how it could not be medically explained that people who were clinically dead, could have such a lucid consciousness, a consciousness which were described as more vivid than our normal day-to-day consciousness. Arguments against NDE have been that at death or near death, our subconscious mind takes over to put us into a dream-like state. But nonetheless, Long's argument here was very compelling. I considered all of the arguments to be definitely food-for-thought.
Most importantly, throughout the 9 arguments, Long discusses some of the personal stories of people who experienced the NDE phenomenon. To read these accounts was enlightening and inspirational. Whether individuals perceived themselves to be a "moral" or "immoral" person, the accounts mostly expressed peace, overwhelming love, and joy. Many expressed how these events changed their lives, in particular those who experienced scenes of their life unfold in front of them. These experiences seemed to give people a purpose.
This book was definitely an interesting and convincing read. I like how Dr. Long outlined the science behind his studies but also intertwined personal narratives from many of those who experienced these life-changing events. Like Long discusses, NDE happen to people of various backgrounds, belief systems, cultures and the like. What we can all gain from this book is a sense of purpose and appreciation for life--both for the life we are living and the life beyond. I highly recommend this book.
on February 16, 2010
As a Registered Nurse for 24 years, and in having cared for many critically ill and dying patients, and in also caring for my father whom I lost to cancer in 1998, I found comfort in Dr. Long's research that there is an event that occurs at the time of dying and/ or into clinical death. I find it inspiring and hopeful that a member of the medical community, with belief in his mission and determination to fulfill it, has listened to his patients, widened his data collection research to a global level, and taken on the task of analyzing these profound experiences to share with the world. Although it is a huge leap for Dr. Long, or anyone, to pronounce that he has uncovered actual evidence of the afterlife, it is quite difficult to deny consistency of the experiences across age, culture, geographic location, sensory limitations, etc. The consistency is amazing, and if the reader is paying attention, the experiences and data presented moves one to contemplate that our consciousness, even though our physical senses and/or beliefs may tell us otherwise, does not end at the time of death. Thank you Dr. Long.
I have read nearly every book published on the near-death experience since Dr. Raymond Moody's "Life After Life" broke ground 35 years ago. I really don't expect to find much new in the way of evidence, although new stories by experiencers add to the evidence already established. I think we are well past the point of diminishing returns in terms of research of the NDE, although there is always the possibility of some case surfacing that goes beyond the famous "Pam Reynolds" case. Of course, when such a case surfaces, the pseudoskeptics, i.e., the scientific fundamentalists, will attempt to pick holes in it, just as they have done with the Pam Reynolds case. And we will hear the same old argument that it is nothing but "anecdotal."
Even though I don't expect to find anything new in the way of evidence, I keep reading, though, because in my eighth decade of life I find a certain comfort and reinforcement in reading new experiences and new perspectives on the evidence. I have become a "vicarious experiencer" and like many of the experiencers discussed by Dr. Long in this book I no longer fear that I am marching toward an abyss of nothingness. It is like a person listening to his or her favorite music over and over again or reading the Bible every day. It is for the most part redundant, but it soothing and reinforcing. I haven't quite figured out what better things I might be doing with my time in my old age. Perhaps I should be hitting little white balls into holes, escaping life into novels or movies, or watching Oprah.
I found this book well written and believe it ranks up there with the best books on the NDE. I especially liked Dr. Long's approach of giving the skeptics view in each of the nine lines of evidence and then explaining why the skeptical arguments fall far well short of discrediting the evidence.
What the two or three negative reviewers don't seem to understand is that science is not limited to laboratories and test tubes. There is pure science or exact science and there is inexact science or courtroom science. One or two anecdotal stories may not make for science, but when you get scores or hundreds of them that can be examined and studied they do make for science, even if inexact science. Anecdotes are to courtroom science what individual elements are to laboratory science. Moreover, those negative reviewers don't seem to grasp the difference between evidence and proof, nor do they apparently recognize that proof is not necessarily absolute. They appear to be stuck in the muck and mire of scientism - which is to science what fundamentalism is to religion.
This book is worth every penny. Thanks, Dr. Long, for your dedicated research and for writing the book.
on February 3, 2010
This is an excellent book, written by a medical doctor which offers new insights and conclusions about the Near Death Experience. The author has access to new and fresh accounts from experiencers, and he makes good use of earlier compilations and studies in the field. The book is well documented throughout. The author's conclusions are well worth reading and should point the way for even more detailed studies in the future. I recommend this to anyone familiar with the Near Death Experience and interested in its implications. Though there have been many popular books on the phenomenon, this is still a neglected field. Misunderstandings about the experience are rampant. And in my opinion, skeptical critics have done a very poor job of responding to the material that doctors have been accumulating on this for decades. Indeed skeptics who continue to maintain that the phenomenon involves delusions do not seem to have read the material on this that is available to all. The fact is, patterns emerge in the countless reports of these experiences and these patterns have certain clear implications. This book seeks to define and evaluate those patterns, and to draw conclusions about them, in a responsible, and credible way. Highly recommended.
on July 30, 2012
I have read this book, twice now. At first reading was a year or so ago. After taking a research methods class, I now fully understand Dr. Long and Paul Perry's scientific method on handing out a survey to people. I have read the reviews on amazon and I have to finally speak up! For the low reviews, I completely disagree that this book is not presenting evidence. In any clinical study, the researcher hands out surveys to study inidvidual reactions to whatever is being tested. In this case, the book Evidence of the Afterlife, "Near Death Experiences" are what is being tested by handing out surveys. Anyone that is saying it takes faith to believe in this book, has clearly not evaluated the evidence that is presented. It's not grey evidence, its black and white. Either you believe 613 people following the scientific method of research and analyzing the data recieved by the surveys or you don't. Its really that simple. It's not a matter of faith, it's a matter that this book is a game changer for an athiest. While this is far from a religious convert book, it does give hope in a seemingly "hopeless" afterlife world we live in. One key point that I think all readers of this book should be aware of is that no one has ever, to my knowledge or "Google's" knowledge had a near death experience in their physical bodies and came back to report that they die and die in their physical bodies. They all report an Out of Body experience. That is the evidence, like it or not you either believe in the science of the book and of all the data collected or not. I typically do not get into debates over matters and nor am I trying to present a debate here, but I would hope that some of these negative reviews can have a glimmer of light shed on to them. I know from being an athiest that this book is a game changer and the evidence presented for someone like me was infallible!
on February 15, 2010
I had a near death experience which was written in this book. Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of what others experienced during an NDE, yet when reading this book, I was amazed to read how others described what I had felt, what I had come to know, and I know through their words that they had been there, too. How does one quantify such an experience? I cannot imagine. We do not have words that describe an experience such as this. All we can do is to report what we know in our hearts is true. It is not important whether or not my experience is accepted by others, although, I do feel it is important to share, to the best of my ability. Now that I have read this book, and read how others who have experienced what I experienced, I have no doubts that they have been there, too.
on May 7, 2011
This book is full of sound reasoning and strict quality control, in my opinion. This is a study based on statistics, where minor inconsistencies in a testimony would lead to its exclusion from the study. From that perspective, it is thought provoking and quite effective in dismissing the skeptical arguments against the veracity of near death experiences.
However, reading this book is very frustrating. The author repeats himself unbearably, very often beginning a paragraph with the last sentence of the paragraph before it. Maddening and inexplicable, this gave me the impression of defensiveness and an unimaginative approach to writing the book. It would have been much more readable if it was half its length, and Im shocked the editors didn't notice this.
One of the best part of the book is reading the actual testimonies of people who went through the near death experience. They are almost always short excerpts, so I would recommend reading the whole testimonies on the website.
I wish there wasn't such a dense conglomeration of New Age baggage on the website, but look past that and read the actual testimonies. Good stuff.
on September 3, 2013
In Evidence of the Afterlife, Jeffrey Long, founder of the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) website, puts forth nine categories of evidence for the survival of consciousness after death, from the numerous NDEs reported by visitors to his website and from other researchers in the field. While he says that each category of evidence, taken by itself, is evidence for the afterlife, I would say that only the first four of the categories provide real evidence for the survival of consciousness after death, while the remaining five are rebuttals of skeptics' claims that NDEs are merely hallucinations/dreams or that they are a product of Western cultural conditioning.
Here are his nine categories of evidence:
1. The first category is divided into two parts: A. NDEs occur when, from a medical perspective, the brain should be unconscious, such as when a patient is clinically dead with no detectable EEG brain activity. This implies that consciousness can exist without the brain. B. To add to this argument, NDEs are lucid experiences, with a heightened sense of awareness, more than the normal awake state. This implies that NDEs are not products of brain activity, which is shutting down at the time of death.
2. NDEs often involve an OBE (out-of-body experience) in which the NDEr perceives accurately what is going on in the room around them, sometimes even seeing what's going on elsewhere, outside of their body's perceptual field. These perceptions are evidence that the mind, at the time of the OBE, is functioning outside of the body.
3. NDEs of blind people include seeing (with vision) what is going on in the room around them. This occurs even to those who are blind from birth, for whom visual perception is an impossibility because their visual cortex has not been developed. This is strong evidence that mind can operate apart from the body.
4. NDEs occur in patients who have been put under general anesthesia, which, from a medical perspective, renders their brains unconscious. The conscious NDEs of these patients are strong evidence that the mind can exist independently of the brain.
5. Many NDErs experience a "life review" in which they re-experience events of their lives with lucid clarity and in chronological order. This is evidence that the NDE is not a hallucination or dream, because hallucinations and dreams are generally vague, have fictitious parts in them, and probably would not evoke long-forgotten memories in their correct order with accuracy.
6. During the NDE, many NDErs meet spirits of deceased relatives from the distant past, but hardly ever do they meet the spirits of live people. This is evidence that the NDE is not merely a hallucination, for a hallucination would probably evoke apparitions of live people with whom the NDEr interacted recently, who are imprinted on the NDEr's most recent memories.
7. Young children (under the age of five) have NDEs with the same essential content as adults. This is evidence that the NDE is not merely a product of cultural beliefs, because, generally, young children have not absorbed their culture's beliefs about the afterlife.
8. The essential characteristics of NDEs are the same across cultures, implying that NDEs are not merely a product of Western cultural beliefs.
9. The after-effects of NDEs on NDErs are far reaching, often transforming their beliefs and lifestyles, and sometimes endowing them with psychic capabilities. This is evidence that the NDE is not merely a hallucination, for a hallucination probably could not affect the NDEr so profoundly. (The author does not explain why he feels this way.)
In the course of the discussion the author provides many examples of NDEs to illustrate the evidence. He also touches upon many interesting aspects of the NDE, like the 360-degree panoramic perception during the OBE, and how, when NDErs encounter other spiritual beings, the method of communication is often telepathy.
While this book has valuable content, it's arguments were not always put forth clearly. (For this reason, I have summarized them for you :) ) Paragraphs do not always flow coherently, and there are some structural oversights, implying that the publication was rushed, without sufficient editing. For this, I have taken off a star.
on July 17, 2010
Dr. Jeffrey Long does what has long been overdue, presenting the evidence that points to one astounding conclusion, that the "I" in us does not die when the body dies. Anybody familiar with the Near-Death literature will already know that the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of life after death. All the old theories, trying to brush the phenomenon aside, crumble and fall to pieces in light of the evidence presented in this book. Dr. Long takes you on an incredible journey of people who remember their life after death.
You think that NDE's are just the whimsical neural firing of a dying brain? Far from it, as people who have died while under anesthesia have reported NDE's, as well as those who have had a cardiac arrest and had a flat EEG. You think NDE's are just dream like psychological projections to cope with a frightening physical experience? Again, you better hold the phone because Dr. Long points out that people report accurate details when out of body time and time again. They report details that they could not possibly have known unless they were indeed operating consciously outside of their body. And holy smokes! That's just two of the nine lines of evidence for the existence of life after death.
If you would like to expand your vision of life and the universe, start with this book. It just may change the way you view the world and hopefully give you a deeper sense of the profound mystery of consciousness.
on September 20, 2011
I had first heard of this book while listening to Dr. Long on Coast2Coast radio.I was lucky enough to get through on the open line portion of the show,in which I explained my Near Death Experience. Dr. Long advised me that I had a transcendental NDE in which you see relatives who have passed on, or religious fiqures. As a retired NYC Police Sergeant who suffered a massive heart attack after the attacks on the World Trade Center, I became super sensitive to the spirit world. This is common, after experiencing a traumatic injury or illness and subsequent NDE. In my opinion Dr. Long leaves no doubt that there is an afterlife. There will always be skeptics regarding this matter. But I can assure you from someone that has lived through one, that they are very real. And you are given a glimpse of the other side. My book "Running with the Bulls,The Road to Fresh Kills, A Journey into the Paranormal", is an example of what happens after experiencing a NDE. I highly recommend Dr Longs book to all,because we will all be on the other side sooner or later.