Skip to comments.Review of Life After Death: The Evidence
Posted on 04/03/2010 9:50:37 AM PDT by betty boop
Review of Life After Death: The Evidence
by Stephen M. Barr
Life After Death: The Evidence
by Dinesh DSouza
Regnery, 256 pages, $27.95
While much apologetic effort has been spent arguing for the existence of God, relatively little has been spent defending the reasonableness of belief in an afterlife and the resurrection of the body, despite the fact that these are among the hardest doctrines of biblical religion for many modern people to accept. DSouza brings to the task his renowned forensic skills. (By all accounts, he has bested several of the top New Atheists in public debate.) He understands that persuasion is less a matter of proof and rigorous argument than of rendering ideas plausible and overcoming obstacles to belief.
One obstacle to belief in bodily resurrection is the difficulty of grasping that there could be places that are not located in the three-dimensional space we presently inhabit, or that there could be realms where our intuitions about time, space, and matter simply do not apply. DSouza rightly points out that modern physics has broken the bounds of human imagination with ideas of other dimensionsand even other universesand has required us to accept features of our own universe (at the subatomic level, for example.) that are entirely counterintuitive. He shows how blinkered, by contrast, is the thought of many who think themselves boldly modern, such as Bertrand Russell, who asserted that all experience is likely to resemble the experience we know. Another impediment to belief in life after death is our experience of the disorganization of thought as sleep approaches and the mental decline that often precedes death. While near-death experiences do not prove as much as DSouza suggests in his interesting chapter on the subject, the discovery that many have a surge of intense and coherent experience near the very point of death does counteract to some extent the impression of death as mere dissolution.
DSouza approaches his subject from many directions. In two chapters, he gives a very accessible account of recent thought on the mind-body problem and the reasons to reject materialism. In the chapter Eternity and Cosmic Justice, he bases an argument for an afterlife on our moral sense. Our recognition that this world is not what it objectively ought to be suggests not only that there is a cosmic purpose, but that this purpose is unfulfilled and unfulfillable within the confines of this world. Some of his philosophical arguments, however, are less happy. In particular, his use of Hume and Kant to undermine what he regards as the pretensions of science will provoke not only scientists, but all those who have a strongly realist epistemology. DSouza can also be faulted for sometimes claiming to demonstrate what cannot be demonstrated. Nevertheless, even those who find loose ends in his arguments will be rewarded with many fresh perspectives on the only question that really is of ultimate importance.
And then you get a Bertrand Russell: "...all experience is likely to resemble the experience we know.
And so "Plan A" the above italics is rarely effective. LOL!!!
Have a blessed Easter, dear friends!
NDE is a red-flag, because people of other faiths who undergo this, report “events” and “sightings” in congruence with the intricacies of those particular faiths.
You are wrong. There was a very good case on the history channel not to long ago.
Anti-NDE’s ignore the truth.
Looks like a good book.
If we die with Christ in baptism, aren’t we also reaised with him?
A question that St. Paul addresses next week in the Sunday’s readings!
Read what I wrote earlier, again.
I beg to differ, James C. Bennett. NDEs are not falsified on this basis. For what they all seem to exemplify is an experience that is deeper than any particular human doctrine or particular cultural tradition can explain. [E.g., why the ubiquitous "tunnel?" Why the "light at the end of the tunnel?" Why the sightings of departed dear ones? Why meeting/seeing angels?] The reports seem to indicate a fairly restricted range of phenomena. The fact that such more-or-less uniform reports come from across cultures may constitute evidence of their universality.
Then again, you can't falsify NDEs by simply claiming that they have no real effect on the persons experiencing them. Often, NDEs have proved to be life-changing events for the persons undergoing them. If there is an effect of this nature, in nature, can its cause be fictitious?
Thanks for the ping BB!
Yes. Absolutely. To me, this is THE central message of Easter.
PAX CHRISTI, dear sister!
May you and your dear ones have a blessed Easter!
May you and your dear ones have a blessed Easter, dear valkyry1!
DSouza rightly points out that modern physics has broken the bounds of human imagination with ideas of other dimensionsand even other universesand has required us to accept features of our own universe (at the subatomic level, for example.) that are entirely counterintuitive.
Our models of the universe are based on our understanding of what we can detect and measure. The perspective we are stuck with is defined by our bodily presence on this particular planet at this particular time, and is necessarily limited by that fact. Which gets me to thinking about Korzybsi's postulate, via (the great) S.I. Hayakawa:
"The map is not the territory."
And its corollary:
"The map is not the whole territory".
We've been discussing dark matter for a while, the topic not being one that can be reinforced much by most of the observed phenomena. A lot of the conjecture is off the map. But it's definitely worth pursuing since all that unexplained gravity out there must be coming from somewhere. Since I'm not particularly well educated, I need some help getting ahold of issues bigger than my pea brain can handle. So I ordered D' Souza's book, (one click ordering on Amazon can be dangerous) and await a fascinating read. Thanks for the post, and have a wonderful Easter.
The case on the history channel involved a woman who was getting a brain tumor removed. The doctors needed to stop her heart and brain function and pack her in ice.
They could only start the operation after brain waves stopped.
She was dead.
She completely describes the operation, who was in the room, what was being said, the tools used and what they looked like.
She said whe watched from outside of her body.
That is to say, a supposition of this type depends on man's experience being the measure of what can happen in the Universe. If Darwin was right, this to some degree depends on fitness that accrues by way of natural selection over very long periods of time. I gather the theory holds that man gets "smarter" over time. And thus the things man articulates today are "truer" than articulations of experience from the human past.
Notwithstanding, I gather you are not persuaded by the way this argument has been laid out for us, by the self-proclaimed experts of our age. [Me either, FWIW]
Also well and truly said was your observation:
We've been discussing dark matter for a while, the topic not being one that can be reinforced much by most of the observed phenomena. A lot of the conjecture is off the map. But it's definitely worth pursuing since all that unexplained gravity out there must be coming from somewhere.It seems nowadays all kinds of conjectural questions arise for which there is no immediate practical test by which they might be falsified/validated.
And so it seems to me best to keep an open mind, to follow the trail where it leads using one's own direct knowledge and experience as the test, not of reality directly, but of any purported theory of reality.
It's the "theories" that are "killing us."
Can we pull-eeze get back to reality, sometime soon?
Thank you so much for writing, Seven plus One! May God bless you and all of yours at this Eastertime!
Oh, DEAR ME!
Now someone will CLAIM
to want to know
When everyone knows . . . it depends on what the
Have a very blessed Easter, too, Betty, and thanks for the ping. :)
Thank you for sharing your insights, dearest sister in Christ!
Thank you for your beautiful essay-post, dearest sister in Christ!