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Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death Paperback – August 23, 2010


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Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death + Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness + Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions (August 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594773564
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594773563
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book is essential for anyone interested in survival after death. There is material in it for everyone, it’s a good introduction to those new to the subject, it’s a reasoned argument for those familiar with the ideas and it’s packed with enough references to keep the most enthusiastic researcher busy for a time.” (Gordon Rutter, Fortean Times, November 2012)

". . . a cogent and lucid discourse asserting that, according to the evidence, consciousness not only survives death but exists independent of the brain through which it operates . .  A fascinating read for anyone interested in life after death, science, and the intersection of the two." (Marlene Y. Satter, ForeWord Reviews,  September 2010)

“Chris Carter’s tightly reasoned approach and his encyclopedic grasp of the research make Science and the Near-Death Experience the best book on NDEs in years. The clarity of Carter’s writing and the breadth of his scholarship make this an ideal resource for both experts and those new to the field. This book brings much-needed insight and common sense to our understanding of NDEs.” (Bruce Greyson, M.D., Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Vir)

“As a physicist and neurosurgeon, I find Chris Carter’s Science and the Near-Death Experience to be a comprehensive analysis of NDEs,and a book that allows one to understand that consciousness persists beyond the death of the physical body. It is beautifully written!” (John L. Turner, M.D., author of Medicine, Miracles, and Manifestations)

“In this important book, author Chris Carter does a masterful job at demonstrating how the evidence does not support the mainstream scientific view that consciousness and mind are produced by the brain. In addition, Carter objectively reviews the empirical data on near-death experiences and rightly concludes that these data fully support the notion that mind and consciousness can continue to operate after the cessation of brain activity.” (Mario Beauregard, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience, University of Montreal, and coauthor of The Spir)

“There has been a spate of books on the afterlife and the immortality of consciousness lately, indicating a resurgence of interest in what is surely one of the most important--and I would argue THE most important--question a conscious human being can pose in his or her life. Carter’s book is not only an important contribution to this literature; it is its current crowning achievement. For he masters both the theoretical and the evidential approach, showing that belief to the contrary of the survival of consciousness is mere, and now entirely obsolete, dogma, and that the evidence for survival is clear and rationally convincing. A book to read and to remember for the rest of one’s life--and perhaps beyond. . . .” (Ervin Laszlo, author of Science and the Akashic Field and founder of the Club of Budapest)

"Carter has joined the debate, scientifically demonstrating the possibility of previewing the afterlife upon surviving near-death experiences (NEDs).  Studies, research and theory guide Carter's argument, which states that the existence of one's consciousness is not based upon whether or not one is still living." (ForeWord Magazine, August 2010)

"If materialism is the school-yard bully who has been terrorizing all your friends for years, then Chris Carter is the new kid in school who stands up to him.  In Science and the Near-Death Experience, Carter systematically takes apart the standard materialistic arguments one-by-one, providing a lucid overview of the history of the key theorists and studies on both sides." (Gold Thread, September 2010)

“The belief that consciousness itself is somehow produced within the brain will topple under the momentum of observations this theory simply cannot explain. Chris Carter’s second book, as well organized and accessible as his first, details the history, physics, and observed phenomena that will forever change how we look at the brain. A readable, informative, and devastating critique of materialism.” (Robert Bobrow, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Stony Brook University and a)

“. . . a useful volume to have at hand.” (John Poynton, Journal of the Society of Psychical Research (Volume 75.1, No. 902), March 2011)

Science and the Near-Death Experience builds a powerful and compelling case that the mind is not dependent on the brain and can exist independently of the brain. . . I am simply glad that Carter is out there writing. His book shows that those who believe in survival do not have to apologize, be timid, or take refuge in the mystery of “faith”. On strictly scientific grounds, they are in the stronger position. With more books like this one, our society may start slowly waking up to this fact, with all its immense implications.” (New Heaven New Earth, August 2011)

“This is a book that demands the serious attention of everyone who is interested in the question of consciousness. Furthermore, it is the second in a trilogy by Chris Carter discussing scientific evidence bearing on the question of consciousness, following the first book in the series entitled Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics (which is discussed in this previous post). The third book in this trilogy is due out at the end of this month. It will be called Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness. While it appears that it will spend quite a bit of time discussing apparitions (which I find somewhat scary to read about, as I mentioned in this previous post), I’m sure I will be sitting down to see what Chris Carter has to say in the third book of this outstanding series soon after it hits the market.” (David Warner Mathisen, Mathisen Corollary, August 2012)

From the Back Cover

NEW AGE / SCIENCE

“Carter details the history, physics, and observed phenomena that will forever change how we look at the brain.”
--Robert Bobrow, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Stony Brook University and author of The Witch in the Waiting Room

“. . . the best book on NDEs in years. This book brings much-needed insight and common sense to our understanding of NDEs.”
--Bruce Greyson, M.D., Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia

Predating all organized religion, the belief in an afterlife is fundamental to the human experience and dates back at least to the Neanderthals. By the mid-19th century, however, spurred by the progress of science, many people began to question the existence of an afterlife, and the doctrine of materialism--which dictates that consciousness is a creation of the brain--began to spread. Now, using scientific evidence, Chris Carter challenges materialist arguments against consciousness surviving death and shows how near-death experiences (NDEs) may truly provide a glimpse of an awaiting afterlife.

Using evidence from scientific studies, quantum mechanics, and consciousness research, Carter reveals how consciousness does not depend on the brain and may, in fact, survive the death of our bodies. Examining ancient and modern accounts of NDEs from around the world, including China, India, and tribal societies such as the Native American and the Maori, he explains how NDEs provide evidence of consciousness surviving the death of our bodies. He looks at the many psychological and physiological explanations for NDEs raised by skeptics--such as stress, birth memories, or oxygen starvation--and clearly shows why each of them fails to truly explain the NDE. Exploring the similarities between NDEs and visions experienced during actual death and the intersection of physics and consciousness, Carter uncovers the truth about mind, matter, and life after death.

CHRIS CARTER received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Oxford. The author of Parapsychology and the Skeptics, Carter is originally from Canada and currently teaches internationally.

More About the Author

Chris Carter was educated at Oxford University in Economics and Philosophy. He is the author of three highly acclaimed books that explore controversial areas of science and philosophy, and currently teaches internationally.

Customer Reviews

In my opinion, this is by far the best book I have read on the subject.
Weedar
In fact, if one examines the full breadth of the evidence and arguments presented in this book, I would think one could hardly avoid such considerations.
jason f.
One section I really liked was the descriptions of blind people and how they can see during a NDE.
Rebecca of Amazon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Robert Perry on September 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
After reading Carter's masterful Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics, I eagerly awaited the second book in his three-book series. Science and the Near-Death Experience builds a powerful and compelling case that the mind is not dependent on the brain and can exist independently of the brain.

To build this case, Carter postpones discussion of near-death experiences (NDEs) and survival of death until after he has spent the first 100 pages discussing the fundamental question underlying these issues: Does consciousness exist independently of the brain? After an eye-opening, extremely lucid tour of neuroscience, quantum physics, memory storage, and theories of life (what animates and organizes living organisms), he concludes that empirical evidence and the known laws of science fully permit the filter theory. This says that the brain doesn't produce consciousness, but rather acts as a filter that allows through, as Aldous Huxley put it, only "a measly trickle" of consciousness.

He then moves on to Part II: The Near-Death Experience. In my view, the strongest part of the book consists of several chapters in this part that explore and refute the proposed psychological, physiological, and pharmacological explanations of NDEs. These chapters are a real tour de force. He examines each of a dozen proposed explanations in detail, finding in each case that the phenomenon that supposedly explains NDEs (e.g., dissociated states, oxygen starvation, ketamine) is simply not a good match for the actual characteristics of NDEs.
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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Larry Dossey on October 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
CARTER HITS (ANOTHER) HOME RUN!

Chris Carter is a man with a mission. An Oxford-trained philosopher who is firmly grounded in the physical sciences, he is well equipped for the task he has set himself -- to examine, in the course of three books, the evidence surrounding parapsychology and related subjects. This field, also called psi, rests on the premise that information may be acquired from, and may be inserted into, the environment without mediation by the physical senses.

Many individuals have risen to the defense of parapsychology, but few have done so with the meticulous, full-throated enthusiasm that is Carter's métier. The first book in his trilogy, Science and Psychic Phenomena: the Fall of the House of Skeptics, established his credentials as a Rambo-like, one-man wrecking crew for the wearisome, perennial, often flimsy arguments of so-called skeptics -- "so-called" because their tactics often depart from healthy, open-minded skepticism, which is an invaluable factor in science; and because their objections frequently embody not skepticism but distortion, dissembling, bigotry, prejudice, and pseudoscientific dogmatism. As one such scientist sneered, "This [psi] is the sort of thing I would not believe in even if it existed." And as psi denouncer Ray Hyman, a psychologist, concedes, "The level of the debate [about psi] during the past 130 years has been an embarrassment for anyone who would like to believe that scholars and scientists adhere to standards of rationality and fair play."

Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death, the second book in Carter's trilogy, examines evidence suggesting that some aspect of human consciousness may survive the death of the physical body.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Trond Skaftnesmo on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
William James has a well-known aphorism: It takes but a single white crow to demonstrate the non-universality of the contention that "all crows are black."

Such bold contentions are not difficult to find in biology. A classical example is Francis Crick, in his famous statement, from The Astonishing Hypothesis:

- The Astonishing Hypothesis is that "You," your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll's Alice might have phrased it: "You're nothing but a pack of neurons."

Now, this hypothesis should in principle be easy to falsify. It should, according to James, take but a single case of "mind without brain (-activity)" to demonstrate the non-universality of the contention that "you're nothing but a pack of neurons."
In principle, this is so. In practice, however, it will take a whole flock of white crows to make such a provoking falsification.

I don't know how big the flock must be, but there is surely a critical mass where the cases of white crows have become so numerous that they can no longer be ignored. The flock of NDE/OBE-cases, many of them including verifiable out-of-body observations, seems to be approaching that level with an accelerating pace.

In his latest book, "Science and the Near-Death Experience", Chris Carter reviews the latest research on NDE/OBE in an excellent way. This is certainly, as Bruce Greyson has put it, "the best book on NDEs in years." Its strength is (among others) that it takes all "sceptical" explanations seriously, examines them thoroughly and demonstrates why they all fail.
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