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Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences Paperback – January 4, 2011
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“This important book about near-death experiences provides compelling evidence that mind and consciousness cannot be reduced to brain activity.” (Mario Beauregard, Ph.D., Neuroscientist at the University of Montreal and co-author of The Spiritual Brain)
“If someone asked for proof that life after death exists, refer them to this book. Dr. Long and Paul Perry have gone way beyond faith and into science, providing us with well-documented proof of what we have known absolutely for 35 years - there is life after death.” (Dannion and Kathryn Brinkley, authors of Saved by the Light and Secrets of the Light)
“Is there life after death? ...Radiation oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Long argues that if you look at the scientific evidence, the answer is unequivocally yes. Drawing on a decade’s worth of research on near-death experiences... he makes the case for that controversial conclusion.” (Time.com)
“Long answers skeptics . . . does a fine job of summarizing some of the transformative changes from NDEs.... The end result of all this testimony, according to Long, is ‘there is life after death.’” (Spirituality and Practice)
From the Back Cover
The Most Compelling Scientific Evidence for Life Beyond Death Ever Compiled
Evidence of the Afterlife shares the firsthand accounts of people who have died and lived to tell about it. Through their work at the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, radiation oncologist Jeffrey Long and his wife, Jody, have gathered thousands of accounts of near-death experiences (NDEs) from all over the world. In addition to sharing the personal narrative of their experiences, visitors to the website are asked to fill out a one hundred–item questionnaire designed to isolate specific elements of the experience and to flag counterfeit accounts.
The website has become the largest NDE research database in the world, containing over 1,600 NDE accounts. The people whose stories are captured in the database span all age groups, races, and religious affiliations and come from all over the world, yet the similarities in their stories are as awe-inspiring as they are revealing. Using this treasure trove of data, Dr. Long explains how medical evidence fails to explain these reports and why there is only one plausible explanation—that people have survived death and traveled to another dimension.
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I've been reading the experiences of NDErs on websites like Jeffrey Long's for years now. NDE's fascinated me from a pretty young age (I believe I started looking into them at age 14-15). Over the years I became more and more agnostic in my beliefs - I wanted to believe, but I had my doubts.
This book reminded me of why I believed in my younger years. The stories you find on www.nderf.org and in this book are fascinating to say the least. And reading it helped me feel better about the end of life. NDE stories have that affect on me - I view them as a positive sign that we will all receive a positive end to our physical lives. Either they prove the afterlife as a very real and wonderfully beautiful place, or it proves that our brains give us a beautiful way to end our existence. Obviously Jeffrey Long believes the former. I'm still a bit agnostic myself, but lean towards the former as well. Either scenario gives me some hope - which is the beauty of NDE stories, in my opinion.
As for the book: I do like that Dr. Long addressed common skeptical responses. I wish that he addressed more, or maybe even had a chapter dedicated to responses to skeptics.
I found his 9 points to be rather compelling. Especially the fact that people have had verified OBE, and that those born blind have a concept of "seeing" in their NDE's - something they cannot do in dreams. But I do wish he had more of a sample size for certain points: like the chapters about children and non-western NDE's. Dr. Long could only deal with what information he had, but I still did raise a few eyebrows on some of the conclusions he jumped to given such a small sample size, especially for the children and Non-Western NDE chapters. I do wonder if a larger amount of stories to include in the study could have altered any corresponding similarities or add to statistically significant differences between groups (i.e.: Comparing adult NDEs to child NDEs)
Otherwise I think this is a must read for anyone who is interested in NDE stories and research. I'm definitely glad I gave this book a chance. It renewed my interest in NDE stories.
Top international reviews
It may seem a strange form of research that relies for its data on self-reported descriptions of the near death experience but the author insists that the structure of the questionnaires used and the methods of analysis of the data gleaned are able to weed out false reporting. In any case, the only way we have of knowing about the near death experience is to listen to the stories of those who have undergone that experience. There are, of course, scientists who claim that the whole experience takes place entirely in the brain of the dying person and no "supernatural" event actually takes place. Jeffrey Long questions the research supporting these, frankly rather lazy, claims.
If we are prepared to give the near death experience the benefit of the doubt it does pose some intriguing questions:
IF consciousness is able to exist independently of the body and brain then what is its true nature?
IF, as many who have undergone NDE report, there is another (higher?) world this consciousness passes to on death what is the purpose of life as we know it? It is worth considering that some NDErs have reported that they were given the choice of returning to this life. Who or what gives them that choice and why?
If I have a criticism of this book it is that all the subjects seem to be essentially good people many of whom return to life transformed and with a renewed determination to "do good". Have no near death experiences been reported by truly bad people – violent criminals for example? Surely the dangers of the criminal's way of life must likely lead to many a brush with death. What kind of afterlife would they encounter I wonder.
Simply the best book I've read in 40 years. Buy it, you'll never know if you never know
Being a philosophy student, I always turn to logic and evidence and dismiss subjective experiences. This book does a great job of laying out the evidence in a way that makes the reality of NDE impossible to deny, and even does a good job of suggesting ot may well be what its experiencers believe...a glimpse into the afterlife.
Get it read it.