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Showing 1-10 of 46 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 67 reviews
on September 11, 2012
One of the go-to talking points of materialists -- those who believe that consciousness is produced by the brain, like the liver makes bile, and will cease to exist with physical death -- has been that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This argument is routinely used to dismiss any claim of the survival of consciousness without a hearing. Unless someone who has died re-appears and holds a press conference on the lawn of the White House, any evidence pointing to survival is summarily disregarded. But with the publication of Chris Carter's Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness, this bolthole of skeptics has been considerably closed.

Carter has emerged as one of the most careful analysts of a body of data that has gradually accumulated for most of the twentieth century. His previous books Parapsychology and the Skeptics and Science and the Near-Death Experience are nightmares for those who believe that the Great Questions -- the origin, nature, and fate of consciousness -- have long been answered. Carter has an intellectual embouchure that is elegant and precise. He has something else as well: a confidence based on an encyclopedic knowledge of the field, filtered through trenchant logic. Carter commands the philosophico-analytical high ground, with undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Oxford.

Carter's book is divided into four parts: Reincarnation, Apparitions, Messages from the Dead, and Conclusions. After providing provocative observational material, including the key characteristics of reincarnation and apparition-type experiences and messages from the dead, he provides alternative explanations for these ostensible phenomena. He meets head-on the criticisms of skeptics. His summary sections, "How the Case for Survival Stands Today" and "Is Survival a Fact," is not a winner-take-all conclusion. He proposes three categories for possible conclusions: (1) proof beyond all doubt, (2) proof beyond all reasonable doubt, and (3) preponderance of evidence. His final chapter, "What the Dead Say," offers the conclusion to those who, if survival is a fact, are most qualified to weigh in with an opinion. They've been there. We haven't. These sections are a tutorial on how the evidence in a controversial domain should be handled.

Anyone who has followed the debates about the origin and fate of consciousness in recent decades realizes our appalling ignorance about these great issues. The nature of consciousness remains a mystery -- not just its origin, but also its fate. As cognitive scientist Donald D. Hoffman of the University of California-Irvine, says, "The scientific study of consciousness is in the embarrassing position of having no scientific theory of consciousness" ["Consciousness and the Mind-body Problem." Mind & Matter. 2008; 6(1): 87-121]. As to how consciousness might arise from a physical system such as the brain, if indeed it does and for which there is no convincing evidence, Harvard University experimental psychologist Steven Pinker confesses, "Beats the heck out of me. I have some prejudices, but no idea of how to begin to look for a defensible answer. And neither does anyone else" [How the Mind Works. New York, NY: W. W. Norton; 1997: 146].
Recognizing our ignorance about the origin of consciousness, we might muster a bit of humility about its fate.
This is the gap Chris Carter is attempting to fill with Science and the Afterlife Experience. Those who think they already know the answers don't need to waste their time with this book. For the rest of us, it is a gem.
We should drop the pretense that the question of survival is not worthy of the attention of really smart people. It is and always has been the key question of humans throughout history. Thank you, Chris Carter, for shedding light on this, the Greatest Question.

Larry Dossey, MD
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on June 27, 2013
Meet Chris Carter, who in another life was perhaps schooled by Sherlock Holmes to logically reason through all things post-mortem: "...eliminate all things impossible, whatever remains...must be the truth."

Carter expended a lot of energy arguing, and counter-arguing, a variety of opposing theories held against afterlife experiences. He certainly proofed his rock solid position with sound reasoning and with known testimonial data, practically shredding every dead-end opposing theorem into pieces. However, therein may lay the burden on the readership; that is to say Carter beat the same horse to death too many times over.

Overall, Carter made use of well known cases and referred to them quite repeatedly for argument's sake, which at times became a bit strenuous when one is looking for fresh material throughout the pages.

It is a necessary work, certainly for the more prolific readers of the afterlife genre. Newcomers may become tired of Carter's studious style and the lack of angelic butterflies healing one's broken heart, but attentive minds will find it a satisfying and complimentary work to settle some of their questions.

As a latecomer to his third in the series, I highly recommend THE AFTERLIFE EXPERIENCES and will certainly look forward to his preceding works which are said to be even more insightful and rewarding.
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on July 20, 2015
The majority of "case studies" in this book are from the 1700's, 1800's and early 1920's. It may be well thought out but the basis for the arguments are of a yesteryear/historical evolution. There are other more recent books on the NDE experience which are more relevant. Choose wisely, apparently I didn't.
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on August 6, 2016
Touches on some aspects of the eternal question but over elaborates on others. In effect too much questionable information which seems to come from the authors imagination.
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on June 8, 2016
It is a challenging and thought provoking book
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on September 18, 2015
A deeply disappointing, if well written compilation of old research data. All anecdotal stories meant for titillation certainly not "Scientific" by any means. My Dad would have said: "old wives tales". Very old data from as far back as the 1500's to the mid 1900"s. I was expecting some new data, if these experiences are so common so to speak, where are the recent events? Absolutely no new data, most recent was a chess match played ostensibly by a chess master from the "other side" in 1985 and that could easily been faked. No serious scientific effort made there for sure/
Bottom line all old data, if you need titillation go for it! If you are a person of Scientific interest looking for new data...Pass.
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on March 24, 2016
Excellent review. I wish the author discussed more recent research evidence, as well as published peer reviewed articles, in addition to his excellent review of case studies. This would make his argument even more compelling
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on June 21, 2013
When it comes to these subjects (ghosts, mediumship, near death experiences, etc), it seems you can go back and forth forever like a tennis ball being thwacked by the Chris Carters on one side of the court and the ideological skeptics on the other.

And you'll probably never know if you can trust what either of them say. That's because they will each look at the same evidence and interpret it in completely opposite ways. To one, the collective evidence is clearly indicative of survival ("life after death") almost to the point of being proof. To the other, it's clearly indicative of wishful thinking, credulousness, and mere hallucination.

So, unless you are going to go to the primary sources of this evidence and do all the critical analysis yourself, or unless you are going to do your own field research with mediums and children who claim to have lived past lives and people who have had NDE's, you will only come to a definitive conclusion on these subjects if you are willing to take a leap of faith and join one team or the other--by accepting the secondhand reports by people like Chris Carter or Susan Blackmore (on the opposite end of the debate), who pick and choose what they want to present in order to further their particular argument.

It's not that Chris Carter didn't do a good job of presenting his argument or writing this book. He did quite well at that. The problem is that, despite how the author and publisher frame the book, it's arguments and information are still inconclusive for anyone who is really a critical thinker and listens closely to both sides of the debate on these important subjects.
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on December 16, 2012
The third book in Chris Carter's trilogy exploring both the evidence for the afterlife and the dogmatic skepticism facing parapsychology today. The first two books are five star efforts. This, the third, was, for me, a minor disappointment, hence the four star rating. Coming after the first two, I expected the evidence presented in this book would slam the door shut on disbelief, but it did not. Instead it both illuminated the strength of the evidence and at the same time, unintentionally, the weakness.

In this effort Carter takes us on a tour of the reincarnational, apparitional and mediumistic evidence for life after death. He spends most of his time on mediumistic evidence, and it is here that both strength and weakness are revealed. As to the strengths, there are many. Carter has essentially demolished the "super ESP" hypothesis, and put a big dent in the fraud theory as well, but we are left with a few questions. He puts forth a wonderful explanation of the "cross correspondences" the most cogent I have seen. However, most of these powerful communications date to the turn of the century, the twentieth century, and average one hundred years old. Where, one must ask, are the "cross correspondence" cases of today? Why no such cipher like coded messages today? Are the spirits not still out there?

Later towards the end of the book Carter presents a series of message purporting to come from F. Meyers, the brilliant deceased mind who was behind the intricate "cross correspondence" cases. I mention his brilliance because it is well deserved. Yet in these later communications, via the medium Geraldine Cummins, the brilliant Meyers explains dementia as a withdrawing of the "silver cord" from the brain. How quaint. In his previous book Carter gives a sound scientific explanation of mind/ brain interaction via the quantum based theories of von Neumann and Stapp. No silver cord here. One would think that, even though his communications were predating von Neumann, a discarnate mind like Meyers, possibly able to communicate with many wise spirits, would be able to advance a better theory than the one believed in by mediums of the day.

Enough negativity. Why do I still rate this book four stars? Because there is much more to recommend. Carter shows how and explains, the skeptical use of logical possibility versus the more correct use of empirical possibility. This alone is worth the price of admission. Then there is the chess match between a Grandmaster of today versus a Grandmaster from the past. I hope Carter has another effort in him. I will read it.
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on August 10, 2013
I love Chris Carter. I first read his book on NDE's, which was the first to convince me that life after death was a likely phenomenon. This book, which I had anticipated for two years, builds upon that evidence. Certainly some of the data, in my opinion, is not as strong as others (e.g. the reincarnation data is certainly interesting and may very well be true, it's seems a bit more difficult to test than after death communication), but the overall picture that Carter paints is that there really is something going on that is beyond what the standard scientific paradigm is teaching. He's a great writer and this was a great book.
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