On television you can't escape it.  The National Geographic Channel, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, even the Science Channel lower their standards to cater to the undeniable human 'need' to believe in the supernatural.  Ghosts, spirits, haunted houses, communicating with the dead, command such big audiences that these supposed educational channels feed this BS to the public to attract higher ratings.  There should be one 'Woo-Woo' channel where all the nut jobs go to get their fix of supernatural lies, but everyone wants to get in and grab some of the action, so reputable science channels delve into this arena of make-believe.... 

Is There Such A Thing As Life After Death?

By Laura Fitzpatrick Friday, Jan. 22, 2010

Is there life after death? Theologians can debate all they want, but radiation oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Long says if you look at the scientific evidence, the answer is unequivocally yes. Drawing on a
decade's worth of research on near-death experiences — work that
includes cataloguing the stories of some 1,600 people who have gone
through them — he makes the case for that controversial conclusion in a
new book, Evidence of the Afterlife. Medicine, Long says,
cannot account for the consistencies in the accounts reported by people
all over the world. He talked to TIME about the nature of near-death
experience, the intersection between religion and science and the Oprah
Medically speaking, what is a near-death experience?

A near-death experience has two components. The person has to be near death, which means physically compromised so severely that permanent death would occur if they did not improve: they're unconscious, or often clinically dead, with an absence of heartbeat and breathing. The second component [is that] at the time they're having a close brush
with death, they have an experience. [It is] generally lucid [and]
highly organized.

How do you respond to skeptics who say there must be some biological or physiological basis for that kind of experience, which you say in the book is medically inexplicable?

There have been over 20 alternative, skeptical "explanations" for near-death experience. The reason is very clear: no one or several skeptical explanations make sense, even to the skeptics themselves. Or [else ]there wouldn't be so many.

You say there's less skepticism about near-death experiences than there used to be, as well as more awareness. Why is that? 

Literally hundreds of scholarly articles have been written over the last 35 years about near-death experience. In addition to that, the media continues to present [evidence of] near-death experience. Hundreds of thousands of pages a month are read on our website, NDERF.org.

In the book you say that some critics argue that there's an "Oprah effect": that a lot of people who have had near-death experiences have heard about them elsewhere first. How do you account for that in your research? 

We post to the website the near-death experience exactly as it was shared with us. Given the fact that every month 300,000 pages are read [by] over 40,000 unique visitors from all around the world, the chances of a copycat account from any media source not being picked up by any one of those people is exceedingly remote. Our quality-assurance check
is the enormous visibility and the enormous number of visitors. (See what happens when we die.)

You say this research has affected you a lot on a personal level. How?

I'm a physician who fights cancer. In spite of our best efforts, not everybody is going to be cured. My absolute understanding that there is an afterlife for all of us — and a wonderful afterlife — helps me face cancer, this terribly frightening and threatening disease, with more courage than I've ever faced it with before. I can be a better
physician for my patients.

You say we can draw on near-death experiences to reach conclusions about life after actual death. But is that comparing apples and oranges?

Scientifically speaking, interviewing people that have permanently died is challenging. Obviously, given that impossibility, we have to do the next best thing. If these people have no brain function, like you have in a cardiac arrest, I think that is the best, closest model we're going to have to study whether or not conscious experience can occur
apart from the physical brain. The research shows the overwhelming
answer is absolutely yes.

You raise the idea that your work could have profound implications for religion. But is whether there is life after death really a scientific question, or a theological one?

I think we have an interesting blend. [This research] directly addresses what religions have been telling us for millenniums to accept on faith: that there is an afterlife, that there is some order and purpose to this universe, that there's some reason and purpose for us being here in earthly life. We're finding verification, if you will,
for what so many religions have been saying. It's an important step
toward bringing science and religion together.

Is there any aspect of human experience that you don't think science can touch?

Oh, absolutely. What happens after permanent death — after we're no longer able to interview people — is an absolute. To that extent, the work I do may always require some element of faith. But by the time you look at [the] evidence, the amount of faith you need to have [to believe in] life after death is substantially reduced.

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Replies to This Discussion

Certain Yoga meditation techniques give conscious 'experience' of 'leaving the physical body'.. The practitioner consciously leaves all thought of their physical body behind and rise 'up'/'within' the inner 'spiritual' /heaven worlds..

The goal is to learn to 'die while living' so that the soul already knows where it is going after it leaves the physical body for good. All fear of death is left behind.

Neuroscientists have explanations for these 'feelings' and perceptions..because of what parts of the brain are active and which parts are inactive during these 'states'.

It’s sad isn’t it?
People still seem to feel the need to believe in an afterlife.
If there was such a thing, it would indeed be hell. Just imagine living for eternity. Maybe for 100 or so years it may be interesting (though I seriously doubt it) and then one would spend the rest of eternity immersed in boredom. Okay, if you could flit through the Cosmos, no doubt you would be awestruck by its wonders but after awhile it would be like the innumerable TV reruns and one quasar will look like any other to you.
I want to live a long life, but certainly not forever. People should be thankful for the privilege of life that they already have.
On another sceptical note; I also don’t believe in time travel.
Think about it – humans have the propensity to make their presence known to all who they visit.
It doesn’t matter at what point in time such a machine would be invented, if it were possible we would already know about it.
It doesn’t matter at what point in time such a machine would be invented, if it were possible we would already know about it.

A novel I read once had an interesting method of getting around this. Before the invention of the first time machine, scientists had discovered how to generate a brief temporal disruption. (It's easier to mess something up than to reliably manipulate it, after all). The instant that the first disruption was generated, hundreds of time travelers appeared around the world. The disruption had prevented anyone from traveling to a point earlier than its generation, which explained why no one had met a time traveler before that point.
Not offhand, but I'll see if I can track it down. I think I still have the story somewhere amongst my bookshelves.
That's an interesting concept Dave.
It would sort of defeat the whole object of it in one way wouldn't it?
Using Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and if we could construct a spaceship fast enough (or use a theoretical wormhole), it might be possible to observe the past from a distance but not be able to interact with it.
A shame really because if we could go back about 2,000 years, we could really ruin a ‘bible basher’s’ day by showing them some home truths.
The evidence concerning life after death is too strong to ignore, and it does not just involve NDEs. I have outlined some of it on my website at http://www.roseandlotus.net/, and included links to other websites that take the arguments further.

Anybody who says that there is no evidence, or that the whole subject is just wishful thinking, or "woo woo", is simply being ignorant. They can argue (if they like) that the evidence is not absolutely convincing, but they certainly cannot argue that there is none.
Funny! I thought this was an Atheist’s website?

To be a true atheist means that you cannot believe in an afterlife.
Those that are hoping there is, well, I’m sorry, but there just isn’t.
Don’t be despondent though because there is nothing to fear about nothingness.
Let’s take an example.
You are watching TV at, say, 7.30pm and you inadvertently drop off to sleep and when you awaken, you look at the clock and realise that it is 11.30pm. You have slept for 4hours.
You have experienced a dreamless sleep.
Did it hurt you?
Did you fear it?
Of course you didn’t.
Well that dreamless sleep is what death is all about.
No pain, no fear, no remorse and no responsibilities.
I can think of no greater hell than an afterlife. Just imagine an eternity of consciousness. Sooner or later you will learn everything there is to know and then what? Boredom; an eternity of it.
Give me nothingness anyday.

We have but one life, use it to your best advantage, live peacefully and make the best of what you have in life because it’s the only one you’ve got.

People who waste their lives on puny superstitions like Christianity, Judaism or Islam have suffered and sacrificed their lives in vain and made others suffer into the bargain.

No point wasting your lives on what ‘might’ happen afterwards. Live for now.
How do you know that "there just isn't" an afterlife? Do you have any evidence to support your assertion, or to counter the existence that exists to say that there is? The fact that you are personally unable to imagine the point of any afterlife is by itself no argument as to whether or not there is any reality to it.

And for people who do look at the evidence for the afterlife, and accept its validity, there is still no requirement to adopt any particular religious dogma, or any particular idea about whether or not there is a God. It does not detract from the need to live now in what we have now. But it does stop you having to waste time trying to argue, on the basis of theory alone, that the afterlife does not exist. :-)


It’s quite obvious that you are not an atheist as this discussion would not have been broached in the first place.

The notion brought forward by those about the possibility of an afterlife is brought about by one main factor. Fear!

I can understand that many fear death and I can also understand why such people hope that an afterlife is possible, but sometimes you need to be brave and face the fact that there is no afterlife.

Many believe in spirits; I do too! But only the type that comes in a bottle (a nice brandy after a good meal is very agreeable on some occasions).

You ask for evidence, but the burden of proof really relies on those who believe - and there is none. There are plenty of stories, but none of them are backed up by cold, hard, documented and scientifically tested proof.

If the belief in an afterlife makes you feel more comfortable, then by all means, believe in it if you wish, you might as well throw in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy while you’re at it, but don’t let me stop you. Just as long as you don’t try to force your opinion down our throats like all religions do.

I very much doubt that any harm will come to you from a genuine atheist, but if you do fear death, I’d definitely advise you to look over your shoulder when a Christian, Hindu or Muslim is behind you; I’m afraid their track record in peaceful dialogue is very poor indeed.



Have you looked at the evidence? I have no fear about life after death, its reality or not. But I have looked at the evidence, and the only honest answer is that there must be more than these three dimensions of space, and that consciousness does indeed continue after death.

If you can show, by pointing to evidence, that this is wrong, I will pay attention, but if you merely repeat the old unfounded myth that it is fear that causes people to believe in Life After Death, then I can only think that it is Faith alone that can support your myth-based belief. I am here to stand for rational belief, not Faith or Myth.

This website is for thinking, not for faith-based belief such as yours.

As for your continuing to mention atheism the way that you do, did you realise that there is an entire major Religion, Buddhism, that believes in an afterlife, and does not believe in God? I am not a Buddhist, but I still see no need to confuse disbelief in the afterlife and disbelief in God as being the same disbelief. I am happy to disbelieve what there is no evidence for, but when there is actual evidence, I will base my belief, or lack of it, on my appraisal of that evidence, not on a myth (however popular that muth might be).

Actually I have looked at the evidence Kumera,

From personal experience.

I was helping someone bleed his brakes on his car and I was in the car up on a hoist.


He had gone to get some tools and I decided (rather stupidly I must confess) to jump out of the car rather than wait for him to lower the hoist.

I managed to get myself caught in the seatbelt as I came down and before long, I was getting strangled and lost consciousness.

By the time he returned, I was completely out of it and he quickly lowered the hoist and tried to resuscitate me, but to no avail.

When the ambulance arrived, they were more successful but I was clinically dead for an unknown period of time.

I was one of the very lucky ones obviously and managed to escape any brain damage.


What I can tell you is this.

There was no bright light, no angels waiting for me; in fact no sensation at all. Complete nothingness in fact.

What I do recall was the intense pain of revival and that was indeed extremely unpleasant.


I do not have a ‘faith-based’ belief in no afterlife. The point is, I have no faith at all.


Human beings on the cosmic scheme of things are not particularly special and it would be chauvinistic to believe it is so.


We are merely electro-mechanical machines. More complex than computers perhaps, but the Universe has about 15 to 20 billion years head start on us, but like any machine, when you turn off the switch, we turn off completely.

I am sorry to hear of your accident, and hope there are no ongoing medical issues as a result of it.


However, I am not surprised that you have no recollection of consciousness during your clinical death. Only 30% of such physical traumas produce reports of out-of-body consciousness, and less than 5% of those are veridical (which means that the subject reports information gleaned while "out of the body" that he could not be expected to have obtained by any physical means). So, you are simply one of the majority.


Accordingly, while you have indeed experienced a small piece of evidence, it was too small a sample to be statistically valid.


And, NDEs are only one of the approximately thirty different types of evidence that are available that point to the reality of the afterlife.


 You say that you have no faith at all, and yet you had enough faith in your belief to be able to say to me in your first post that there just isn't an afterlife. It definitely takes faith to be able to say that with such certainty, without solid supporting evidence.


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