NDE Podcast and more

Apparently new blog posts are now dependent on me appearing on Dale’s “Real Seeker” podcast. I joined Dale this morning to interview Dr. Bruce Greyson about his Near-Death Experience (NDE) research and his upcoming book. I thought it went well and appreciated the tone of the show and content that Dr. Greyson shared. There is no doubt that people are having these experiences and are genuinely transformed by them, but this hasn’t yet convinced me that there’s an afterlife – though I’m certainly interested in learning more and will probably read the book when it comes out. I did have one unasked question that I left as a comment on Dale’s post, so hopefully Dr. Greyson will be kind enough to share his thoughts on that.

I’ll also take advantage of this rare blog post to pitch a relatively new genre of podcasts that I have discovered. When one dives into the God debate online, it doesn’t take long to discover all the ridicule, distrust, and derogatory memes coming from both sides of the fence. So it has been refreshing to see what appears to be a rise of content that espouses a more reconciliatory perspective on the loss of faith and which embraces the positive aspects of the religious life. If that sounds appealing to you, I recommend you check out the following podcasts:

  • The Graceful Atheist – David usually interviews somebody about their deconversion experience, or about the loss of faith in general. He is always very respectful toward believers and maintains a high degree of epistemic humility.
  • Humanize Me – Bart Campolo – exvangelical and son of Tony Campolo – hosts a podcast about “building great relationships, cultivating wonder, and making things better for other people”.
  • When Belief Dies – Explores doubt and deconversion from a real-time, personal perspective.
  • Reenchantment “Daniel Lev Shkolnik is a Humanist looking for deeper, more meaningful ways to live as an atheist. Each week, he dives into ancient wisdom traditions and modern psychology to find fresh ways of making sense of our place in the universe.”

As much as I would like to publish content here more frequently I don’t see that ramping up any time soon. There is a lot of competition for my time in the foreseeable future, but I’ll try to put up something every once in a while to keep things from getting too stale. Let me know what you thought of the NDE show, and if you have any other suggestions that would fit into the podcast genre noted above.

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6 thoughts on “NDE Podcast and more

  1. Hey Travis, good to hear from you again. I haven’t watched the video yet, but I have done my own research into NDEs, and written it up here. My conclusion was that the mind living on at least a short time after the brain has apparently died seems at least possible, if not likely, from the evidence, but the reality of the out of body experiences is much more doubtful. I’ll be interested to watch the video and see where you go with this.

    • Thanks for the link Eric. I think your conclusion is reasonable, but I don’t see a solid case either way. It’s too bad it’s such a difficult topic to research given the potentially profound implications.

  2. Just leaving my own comment on your blog post- yeah it was great to have Travis back after almost a year now since the show on Consciousness.

    I tend to think NDE’s do provide us weak yet sufficient evidence of Dualism and implies an Afterlife, but I do admit there is room for reasonable doubt and I really wish those 5 controlled studies had provided some successes but I think Bruce’s explanation on the failures does make sense 🙂

    • Thanks Dale. As I told Eric, I don’t think the dualistic interpretation is unreasonable even though I disagree. It would be interesting to see further attempts at studies that find creative ways to overcome the shortcomings of the previous attempts.

  3. I guess I’m too much of a realist because IMO, any NDEs that entertain an “afterlife” or “seeing God” are bunk. I can agree that some kind of experience may be valid; e.g., feelings of peace, a sensation of floating, etc. However, when it comes to reports that include religious images and visions, I think that’s entirely related to the individual’s life-while-living experiences.

    It was nice to see a post from you.

    • The “afterlife” and “seeing God” claims are interpretations of an experience, and the prior life experiences which feed into those interpretations would also influence any constructive and reconstructive elements of the experience. But there is enough similarity across reports to infer some rudimentary common factor(s). From what I’ve seen, those commonalities do not favor any particular religious tradition. So I would agree that when reports assign labels associated with one particular tradition, that is almost certainly coming from the reporter’s background.

What do you think?

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