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The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death Paperback – March 18, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Schwartz (The Living Energy Universe), director of the Human Energy Systems Laboratory at the University of Arizona, proposes "working with a group of top mediums who have consistently received messages, supposedly from the dead," to investigate whether or not there is indeed life after death. Armed with consummate authority (e.g., logic, scientific research and the focus of a recent HBO documentary), the book progresses through the lab's findings. Of particular fun are the session transcripts, which include running commentary provided by lead investigators. (One sitter describes a medium's performance as "dead on.") That their data will convince readers, the authors believe, is a foregone conclusion: "[E]ven skeptics will begin to evolve as a result of these findings." Yet the story comes off like high-grade magic or a splendid infomercial. Despite the reliance on experts (such as magicians, scientists and videographers), the narrative has the suspect tone of a sideshow barker. All the same, Schwartz embraces an admirable passion for curious knowledge and adamantly resolves to uphold his survival-of-consciousness hypothesis until research proves otherwise.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Schwartz has long been interested in the possible survival of consciousness after death. With Simon's assistance, he reports on his and fellow psychologist Linda Russek's increasingly scientific experiments to determine whether consciousness survives death--experiments that HBO publicized in a program that unfortunately downplayed the science in them. The second and third experiments involved some silent-sitter time, when the spirit mediums involved had to make observations without being able to ask questions, and also wholly quiet times. The results, particularly of the second and third experiments, showed definite examples of precognition and surprisingly accurate observations by the mediums. Lengthy presentation of some of the sessions with the mediums figure in the text, and 90 pages of scientific reports demonstrate the scientific foundation for Schwartz and Russek's work, as does their earlier book The Living Energy Universe (1999). The Afterlife Experiments should provoke considerable discussion, which, once the reactions of those who refuse to look at the data are discarded, should be of value for further investigation in this controversial field. William Beatty
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I found this book to be entertaining and worth reading, but it has its problems. The author's enthusiasm is infectious, and some of the readings given by the mediums involved in the studies were very absorbing. However, towards the end of the book the numerous problems with the science side of things started to really frustrate me. For example, a control group for one series of experiments was asked to perform a completely different task from the task the mediums themselves were asked to perform. The results are therefore not able to be validly compared. There also doesn't seem to be much to show that Schwartz independently corroborated any of the statements made by the mediums (or the confirmations given by the sitters). I would also question the statistical calculations Schwartz gives in a number of chapters.
I would recommend this to people who want to approach the topic with an open mind, who have their critical thinking caps on, and are willing to place the onus of proof onto the author and his colleagues. I was intrigued, and entertained, but not convinced.
I've funded a lot of scientists and Dr. Schwartz seems honest. He also has the courage to tackle a subject verboten amongst academics. Though his protocols for experiments may not be perfect, they make a great deal of sense and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about his sessions.
He tapped into something BIG. I'm glad he did.
In the Afterlife Experiments, scientist Gary Schwartz takes great pains to perfect the experiments to such a degree that would rule out fraud unless there were a conspiracy among five mediums to tap the phones, find out who the sitters were, and then hire detectives to dig up all their personal info. Even then it couldn't explain the fact the many times the mediums would tell the sitter details that the sitter didn't know until he or she could call family. (This also ruled out telepathy.)
On top of that, as the experiments progressed, the mediums had to give the readings with the sitter behind a screen and the sitter unable to talk. This ruled out obtaining cues from the sitters.
The information in the readings was so specific, giving exact names of loved ones, and details such as "You are interested in taking up cattle raising" that guesses would have accounted for all the data only in a one in several trillion chance! The probability of all this happening by chance or guesses is for all practical purposes nil.
These experiments were done so scientifically that the information was published in 3 different articles, published in a scientific journal.
In spite of all this, the author notes, some skeptics seem addicted to their skepticism. Some even make a living off of it! Schwartz points out Occam's Razor which suggests that the simplest explanation is the one usually correct. After all is said and done, the explanation is that we are eternal beings with memories that go on after death.
Finally, Schwartz speculates on the future, as more people come to acknowledge the scientific evidence. Will deceased people be able to testify in court? Will they have legal rights such as partaking in decisions regarding their estate after they die? This, of course, would depend on our perfection of communicating with them. Now we have to rely on mediums. In the future, perhaps we'll have some electronic gadgets that enable ALL of us to do so. (Read "Conversations Beyond the Light" by Kubis & Marcy for more on that!)