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The Self Does Not Die: Verified Paranormal Phenomena from Near-Death Experiences Paperback – July 6, 2016
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Are near-death experiences (NDEs) just elaborate hallucinations produced by a dying brain? Or the exuberant fantasies of attention-seeking narcissists? As the accounts in this book abundantly demonstrate: Neither!
This book contains over 100 reliable, often firsthand accounts of perceptions during NDEs that were later verified as accurate by independent sources. These near-death experiencers were everyday people from all over the world—many of whom were clinically dead, unable to see or hear, and yet able to perceive new vistas of a world beyond the senses and even beyond death.
The Self Does Not Die is a trailblazing effort to present the most confirmed cases of consciousness beyond death ever compiled. In these cases, the authors have gone back to the original sources, the people involved in each case, whenever possible, rather than relying on secondhand sources. In so doing, they have assembled a unique collection of empirical data that any scholar worthy of the name must take into account.
By carefully studying and describing many convincing and corroborated cases, during cardiac arrest and other cases, the authors conclude that there are good reasons to assume that our consciousness does not always coincide with the functioning of our brain: Enhanced consciousness can sometimes be experienced separately from the body.
This book is a must read for anyone wanting to know more about this fascinating subject with its implications about the very nature of human consciousness and its survival of physical death. It has the potential to radically change the currently still widely accepted materialist paradigm in science.
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About the Author
- Publisher : International Association for Near-Death Studies; 1st edition (July 6, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 410 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0997560800
- ISBN-13 : 978-0997560800
- Item Weight : 1.43 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.69 x 0.93 x 9.61 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #400,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Fast forward to 2002 when I began questioning my childhood religious beliefs. I read Raymond Moody’s book Life After Life where he coined the phrase “near-death experience”. I thought back to that technician’s experience and considered maybe NDEs would be a good place to start finding contemporary evidence (not proof) that might help me reshape my spiritual (not religious) beliefs. Since reading that book, I’ve spent the intervening years studying the breadth of reality through reading books, talking with individuals and curating my own transformative experiences.
Every individual has his or her own unique perspective on the big questions of who we really are and whether there is a God (or whatever name you care to use). This perspective is shaped by a variety of influences from our culture, religion and personal experience. The weighting of these influences in shaping individual beliefs varies considerably.
If you have a curiosity about the big questions in life and are willing to expose yourself to contemporary information that might help reshape your thinking, this book provides some information that might be a good starting point. The anecdotes indicate we are more than physical beings and that something may await our consciousness after death. If one comes to that conclusion, a plethora of investigative options become interesting opportunities to build a broader awareness.
The sheer number of cases and the obvious efforts that have been made to substantiate the patients' stories add up to a powerful argument for the significance of NDEs – not as the hallucinations of a traumatized brain, but as ontologically real events. Readers who are serious about the scientific study, analysis, and interpretation of near-death experiences can't go wrong by reading this important book.
My only complaint is that there's no ebook edition. Soon, I hope!
Top reviews from other countries
Several of the very best cases are described in detail in this excellent book.
There is no self-contradiction in the statement that the mind can exist without a functioning brain: hence, it is at least a logical possibility, and the only way to decide if it is actually true is by a careful examination of the data. This book provides that careful examination.
The authors, as well as many respected physicians, brain surgeons, neuroscientists, and philosophers have concluded that these experiences provide solid evidence that normal, even enhanced consciousness can exist in the absence of a properly functioning brain. Their conclusion is the NDE is exactly what it appears to be: a genuine separation of mind from body during the early stages of biological death.
However, a small yet vocal minority of scientists and physicians deny this conclusion.
If this were almost any other field of inquiry, the controversy would have been settled by the data decades ago.
However, the study of near-death experiences (NDEs) is not like any other field of inquiry. The data of NDEs challenge deeply held worldviews, worldviews that are concerned not only with science, but also with religious and philosophical issues. As such, the evidence arouses strong passions, and for many, a strong desire to dismiss it.
It is impossible to fully understand this controversy without realizing that it has a strong ideological component. Most of the so-called “skeptics” are militant atheists, with a strong hidden agenda of promoting the ideology of materialism: the doctrine that everything, including life and mind, can be explained by the interaction of particles of matter and force fields. The data of NDEs indicate that the mind can exist without a functioning brain, which strongly refutes materialism.
Refusing to accept data that falsifies a scientific theory turns it into an ideology, a belief held as an article of faith, held despite evidence that it is not correct. And there seems to be a growing realization that ideological factors play a crucial role in several scientific controversies. Philosopher Tyler Burge (1993) has argued that the naturalistic view of the world is more like a political or religious ideology than like a position supported by evidence, and that materialism is an article of faith. More to the current point, neuroscientist Mario Beauregard in his book The Spiritual Brain has written:
“Materialists have conducted a running war against psi [and NDE] research for decades, because any evidence of psi’s validity, no matter how minor, is fatal to their ideological system. Recently, for example, self-professed skeptics have attacked atheist neuroscience grad student Sam Harris for having proposed, in his book titled The End of Faith (2004), that psi research has validity. Harris is only following the evidence. But in doing so, he is clearly violating an important tenet of materialism: materialist ideology trumps evidence.”
The thinking of militant atheists is, for the most part, based on the materialism implied by classical physics, which has been known to be fundamentally incorrect for over a century. And materialism simply cannot accommodate the reality of NDE and psi phenomena. If materialism is proven false by the data for the NDE and for psi, then one of the foundations of their opposition to religion is thereby removed.
In short, the deniers and debunkers tend to be militant atheists who are motivated by allegiance to an obsolete worldview, by ignorance of the implications of the new physics, and by a hatred of religion. If they admitted to the reality of psychic abilities such as telepathy, and of near death experiences as involving a genuine separation of mind from body, then the materialistic foundation of their worldview would crumble. Hence, their vehement denial of any evidence for the existence of the NDE as involving a genuine separation of mind from body.
Many “skeptics” are fond of pointing out various atrocities which have made a mockery of religious belief, such as the occasional persecution of witches and heretics in medieval times.
But we can just as easily find examples of atrocities committed in the name of ideology, which I define as a faith-based belief system that motivates a social agenda. Consider the misery inflected upon millions in the twentieth century by the ideologies of fascism and communism. Turning from one faith-based belief system to another is unlikely to solve the problem of fanaticism.
The “NDE debunker” who figures most prominently in this book is militant atheist Gerald Woerlee, an anesthesiologist currently practicing in the Netherlands. He is the most vocal and the most medically knowledgeable of the NDE “skeptics”. Woerlee has made it his personal crusade to debunk NDEs, as he realizes – correctly – that any evidence for the validity of NDEs is fatal to his ideological system. Rivas, Dirven, and Smit take on Woerlee’s arguments directly and convincingly refute them with logic, evidence, and the testimony of neurosurgeons and cardiologists directly involved with NDE cases and research.
A Little History
In 2001 Worelee published an article in the Journal of Near-Death Studies (JNDS, vol. 30, Number 1, Fall 2011), which attempted to debunk the famous Pam Reynolds case. I responded to Woerlee’s article in the same journal, which can be read online at the IANDS website.
In response to this “outrage”, Worelee posted a sarcastic two-star review of my own book on NDEs. I replied once, and let the matter drop. However, this review led to a phenomenal online debate on Amazon.com, between Woerlee and the authors of this book: Rivas, Smit, and others. Currently there over 1000 posts! It can be found here:
One of the authors of this book has told me that The Self Does not Die grew, in part, directly out of these exchanges with Woerlee. Some of these exchanges are mentioned in the book, and here is one from Woerlee in which he makes his motives crystal clear:
“As regards my attitude toward religion, my opinions are very simple. Some might criticize this, but this website and the book reveal that the basis of most religious beliefs is NDEs, OBEs, and other apparently paranormal phenomena. Combine this with interpretations from these illogical and very evil holy books, and you have religions.” (January 26, 2011)
In response, Rudolf Smit commented on the same Amazon blog:
“From these statements above one can deduce that Woerlee is not primarily motivated by science – ie: the unbiased desire to know – but at least equally so by his revulsion against religions which, as he sees it, are the source of all evil in this world. And then, quite logically, it follows that NDEs are the cause of these evils. Consequently, Worelee is not interested in the real nature of the NDE; no, he uses his own brand of science to explain the NDE away, even if he has to twist the facts to achieve that goal. (page 294 of The Self does Not Die)
Author of Science and the Near-Death Experience
Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death
This book is an important step in helping to resolve these issues in two ways:
firstly, the cases it presents (including the most familiar ones) are re-examined by going to the original sources and their corroborative evidence;
secondly, the authors ask – and get comprehensible answers to! – the probing medical questions that, if not answered, leave the layperson unequipped to deal with contradictory claims.
All this information is presented in terms that are accessible to a non-specialist. What then emerges points to individual consciousness being active in places and at times when (according to the current mainstream model) it should not exist at all. I hope the authors go on to provide more high quality material for thinking about one of life’s “big” questions.