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Eben Alexander - What Do You Think?
#1
Following on the hee(a)ls of the ever popular Geller thread, I am interested to hear the board's opinion on Dr Alexander. 

Having been introduced to him via Alex's podcast (i think?) pre publication of the unfortunately titled Proof of Heaven, I was deeply impressed. Post publication, not so much. 

Being the rather shallow chap that I am, I found the challenges against his account disturbing. Sure, skeptics will be skeptics, but given the level of calculated fraud infesting so much of what is good and grand, I admit to being swayed towards the negative.
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#2
(09-09-2017, 10:03 AM)laborde Wrote: Following on the hee(a)ls of the ever popular Geller thread, I am interested to hear the board's opinion on Dr Alexander. 

Having been introduced to him via Alex's podcast (i think?) pre publication of the unfortunately titled Proof of Heaven, I was deeply impressed. Post publication, not so much. 

Being the rather shallow chap that I am, I found the challenges against his account disturbing. Sure, skeptics will be skeptics, but given the level of calculated fraud infesting so much of what is good and grand, I admit to being swayed towards the negative.

Could you be more specific, Laborde as to what your concerns are ?
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#3
(09-09-2017, 10:30 AM)tim Wrote: Could you be more specific, Laborde as to what your concerns are ?

Sure! Principally the conflicting statements as to the severity of his condition, together with odd little details like the rainbow and the doubt raised as to the lost sister. 

On a much lesser scale, I found the whole feel of the NDE psychedelic in extremis and rather too overblown, but this point should be considered of little worth as it is impossible to file in anything other than the folder marked aesthetic preference. Wink

I tend to find myself gently skeptical of all claims and conscious of the underlying credibility of first person accounts. I say gentle, as I am by no means hard to convince .... just wary of self serving/aggrandizing claims.
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#4
I thing it's relevant that NDE accounts do vary enormously. Personally I'd rather read twenty different accounts, each from a different person, or watch half a dozen NDE videos  from different people, than spend time dwelling on one single account.

This is where the backwards reference to Geller fails to make sense. Geller made the news because his abilities were unusual. NDEs on the other hand are commonplace.
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#5
(09-09-2017, 10:39 AM)laborde Wrote: Sure! Principally the conflicting statements as to the severity of his condition, together with odd little details like the rainbow and the doubt raised as to the lost sister. 

On a much lesser scale, I found the whole feel of the NDE psychedelic in extremis and rather too overblown, but this point should be considered of little worth as it is impossible to file in anything other than the folder marked aesthetic preference. Wink

I tend to find myself gently skeptical of all claims and conscious of the underlying credibility of first person accounts. I say gentle, as I am by no means hard to convince .... just wary of self serving/aggrandizing claims.

"Sure! Principally the conflicting statements as to the severity of his condition, together with odd little details like the rainbow and the doubt raised as to the lost sister. "

Smithy deals very nicely with all this in his and Titus Rivas's book (and Dirven) "The self does not die."  If you look up gram negative bacterial meningitis you'll see what a devastating prognosis it has. I don't think anyone is really arguing about how ill he was, just when.

Personally, I accept Alexander's word, he wrote me a long letter (email) years ago detailing everything with regard to his illness. That he would take the time to respond in such a way to me (a complete stranger/layperson) I thought was fantastic and very kind. That was well before any of the massive publicity which I personally didn't like but he was determined to get the message out.

"On a much lesser scale, I found the whole feel of the NDE psychedelic in extremis and rather too overblown,"

Would that be the trip on the butterfly wing ? He could have left it out, couldn't he. One either accepts his testimony the way he experienced it or not. And that's what he experienced and I can't for the life of me imagine how something as incredible as that journey can emerge from a deathly sick brain coming back on line (as the sceptics like Novella would have it). Novella's a neurologist of course but one doesn't need to be an academic to put two and two together.

What is it about brain cells recovering that would or could create such a, lets face it,  cinematic interactive experience beyond imagination that changed his life completely. Sceptics have no answer to that other than, it must be because the other alternative can't happen. But that's not science, it's just ideology.

https://iands.org/ndes/more-info/ndes-in...facts.html
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#6
(09-09-2017, 11:21 AM)tim Wrote: Personally, I accept Alexander's word, he wrote me a long letter (email) years ago detailing everything with regard to his illness. That he would take the time to respond in such a way to me (a complete stranger/layperson) I thought was fantastic and very kind. That was well before any of the massive publicity which I personally didn't like but he was determined to get the message out.
Thanks Tim. It's nuggets like the above that I find compelling in reading and sensing credibility. That is not the sort of action that strikes me as calculated and fanbase building.  

The butterfly, haha ... yes! Thanks too for the IANDS link. I read the response some time back and thought it very balancing. I MUST read the Titus/Smithy book. It seems to be a damned good, up to date compilation of cases. 

Just referencing Typoz's response, which is a good and shared perspective. My reason for isolating an individual case is simply to consider its enormous public profile and to gather some data from the collective mind as to how to consider the signal to noise ratio.
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#7
(09-09-2017, 11:32 AM)laborde Wrote: Just referencing Typoz's response, which is a good and shared perspective. My reason for isolating an individual case is simply to consider its enormous public profile and to gather some data from the collective mind as to how to consider the signal to noise ratio.

The enormous public profile is itself both a positive and a negative thing. On the one hand, anything which generates interest in the NDE phenomenon as a whole is a good thing. On the other hand, detractors would like for a single case to be elevated in the public mind. Then it is easy, through fair means or foul, to launch attacks against that prominent case - not with the aim of removing it from the public consciousness, but with the aim of keeping it there. Then the detractors ideas, whether justified or not, also become elevated in the public consciousness. It's a great game.

In that sense, it doesn't matter whether it was Eben Alexander or Mother Teresa or anyone else. The point is to vilify the most high-profile case, and make sure it remains the most high-profile case. From that perspective, the facts play almost no role in any of this.
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#8
(09-09-2017, 11:12 AM)Typoz Wrote: I thing it's relevant that NDE accounts do vary enormously. Personally I'd rather read twenty different accounts, each from a different person, or watch half a dozen NDE videos  from different people, than spend time dwelling on one single account.

This is where the backwards reference to Geller fails to make sense. Geller made the news because his abilities were unusual. NDEs on the other hand are commonplace.
I think this is a hugely important point: that the totality of the evidence, and its general consistency, is much more important to me than the details of one particular NDE account. 

And in the case of Dr Alexander, the fact that he is coming from a science perspective, with particular expertise in the brain, that makes his account so important. He knows all the counter arguments, and was able to compare his account with all those counterpoints and draw a conclusion.

Again- one account is really nothing, as compared to the totality of evidence, but this particular account is particularly compelling.

When I talk about "totality of evidence", I especially refer to the wide span of differing TYPES of phenomenon, which seem to confirm each other in various ways, as to the existence of a non-physical aspect of reality. The list is long so I wont bother try and create one.
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#9
To anyone who is ignorant enough to suggest that Dr Alexander is just one more nutbag with a crazy story, I would point you to the reading list on his web site. 

http://ebenalexander.com/resources/reading-list/

I don't know about others, but I have read literally hundreds of books on this topic (not exaggerating), and I have just scratched the surface of his list of papers and books. The guy has endeavored to learn everything he can in order to make sense of what he knows happened to him. I would challenge anybody to look at this list of references and suggest that this is a person who doesn't take this stuff VERY seriously.

And consider that this man went through something like 10 years of higher ed and then years as an intern and then worked cutting into people's brains at some of the most prestigious hospitals. Would you say that he is intellectually capable? A serious person? I would.  

Go ahead, ignore what he is saying, if you are foolish enough to do so.
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#10
(09-09-2017, 10:32 PM)jkmac Wrote: I think this is a hugely important point: that the totality of the evidence, and its general consistency, is much more important to me than the details of one particular NDE account. 

And in the case of Dr Alexander, the fact that he is coming from a science perspective, with particular expertise in the brain, that makes his account so important. He knows all the counter arguments, and was able to compare his account with all those counterpoints and draw a conclusion.

Again- one account is really nothing, as compared to the totality of evidence, but this particular account is particularly compelling.

When I talk about "totality of evidence", I especially refer to the wide span of differing TYPES of phenomenon, which seem to confirm each other in various ways, as to the existence of a non-physical aspect of reality. The list is long so I wont bother try and create one.

If you have a look at this performance from Sue Blackmore, it will give you an idea what "heretics" like Alexander have to face.

She's saying things that aren't true here. She also states it's not good to spread 'tickle tackle' but does it anyway, making fanciful suggestions about Alex Malarkey the young paraplegic who for some reason retracted his NDE story.   

The crux of the matter seems to be in her view, books by people who have had NDE's are always justifiably suspect and clearly motivated by material gain, whilst books by her and other NDE critics (which also make lots of money) are motivated only by the noble principle of standing up for science and exposing fraud etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ls3aSTY7Wlc

She did "promise" that she wouldn't get involved in the NDE debate again but her new book seems to indicate otherwise.
I wonder if she will donate her royalties to a good cause, maybe the James Randi foundation Wink
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