Do We Survive Death? Evidence.

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Jun 072018
 

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In April, 2018, I gave a talk on the evidence for some kind of postmortem survival of consciousness for Ashby Village, an East Bay organization that is part of a nationwide trend to help elders live out their lives in their homes.  It’s rewarding to meet regularly with people who may be classified as “elders,” but who are sharing and helping one another, not sitting around complaining about this that and the other…

Pine Needle World
-John Bamberger-

I became aware of the evidence for some sort of survival of mind while I was still a teenager, part of my extensive reading trying to reconcile the best of science and the best of religion, but it was largely a theoretical and intellectual interest.  I intellectually knew that it would become a more interesting subject to me when I got a lot older, and that came true.  So I figured the members of Ashby Village would be interested in what I’d learned…and they were.

The lighting wasn’t as good on the video as I would have liked, and keeping it down to an hour kept me from going into the kind of detail about evidence that I like to think about, but it’s a useful introduction.  I don’t know one way or the other if we survive, but there’s certainly some interesting evidence pointing toward some kind of survival.  In a rational world, I think there would be a lot of research on it, instead of people just believing or disbelieving, but, as we all know, the world isn’t too rational.  And there’s lots of room for intelligent faith and hope…

You can see the video at https://youtu.be/xuQiWv-a2L0 .

Out-of-the-Body Experiences: What I Did and Didn’t Claim

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Oct 152017
 

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Back in 1968, I published a pioneering study of out-of-the-body experiences (OBEs) with a young woman who had experienced them since she was a child.

Tart, C. T. (1968).  A psychophysiological study of out-of-the-body experiences in a selected subject.  Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 62, 3-27.

 

I hoped my findings would demonstrate that it was feasible to study OBEs under laboratory conditions where we might learn a lot about their nature, and stimulate others to do so.  In the almost 50 years since publication – it was in a specialty journal where few people would see it – but hardly anyone has done studies like it, and the few done in the last decade or so strike me as misguided, taking some minor aspect of an OBE as if it were the whole experience when the studies are clearly not studying actual OBEs.  That’s a shame, as OBEs convince people, rightly or wrongly, that they will survive death so it’s really important to study them.

I constantly get people writing me or talking to me after lectures about that initial study (I’ve done others), often believing that I claimed something spectacular, something like “This proves that the soul actually leaves the body.”  They don’t like that apparent conclusion.  But either they heard about the study from some secondary source that left out information about it, or they are so strongly motivated to explain OBEs “away” as merely some sort of hallucination, that they pay no attention to what I write and claimed.  I’ve had to correct people so many times that I’ll do it once and for all here.

Here is the actual final paragraph of the published study.  Note it uses OOBE, an acronym I originally coined, rather than OBE, which I now use.  A proper British colleague chastised me, you don’t capitalize the “of” in an acronym – or at least it wasn’t proper back then.

“In summary, this brief study found a fairly clear-cut correlation between several of Miss Z’s reported 000B experiences and a physiological pattern characterized by a flattened EEG with prominent alphoid activity, no REM [rapid eye movement, characteristic of ordinary dreaming] or skin resistance activity, and normal heart rate.  Much more work remains to be done before we can begin to understand the psychophysiological and  parapsychological aspects of OOB experiences, and it is hoped that the present study, insofar as it has shown that these experiences can be studied by the techniques of modern science, will encourage other investigators to carry out further experiments.”

It’s normal human behavior to pay more attention to things you don’t like than to things you like, I do it all the time.  But if you’re going to criticize someone, it really helps your case to be accurate about what you’re accusing them of…

I’m happy to stick with my claim that we could study OBEs in greater depth with modern scientific methods, and grateful that I was lucky enough to “accidentally” find a person who could have OBEs almost at will so they could be studied in the lab.

 

The Secret Science of the Soul and Coast-to-Coast AM Interview

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Jul 022017
 

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Finally, with the hardback edition of The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together out of print, I’ve arranged for a somewhat revised paperback second edition, The Secret Science of the Soul: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together.  It can be pre-ordered now on the Fearless Books website, soon direct from Amazon.

Some of my more uptight scientist colleagues may try to take my white lab coat away for daring to use the word “soul” along side of “science,” but what the heck…    😉

I’m also going to be interviewed on altered states, science, spirituality, parapsychology, all that good stuff on Thursday night, 10pm to midnight July 6, 2071, on the Coast-to-Coast AM radio program.  Should be fun!  I know, it’s after my bedtime and maybe yours, but I think they make a recording of the program available for a while after – check their website