There are many independent forms of empirical evidence for the afterlife and ESP. Unfortuantely, there are also many cases of pseudoskeptics misleading the public about this evidence for the afterlife and ESP as I have documented on my web page on Skeptical Misdirection. The evidence for the afterlife and ESP is so strong that pseudoskeptics have to resort to misleading tactics in their efforts to discredit it. Recently there were two more stories in the news about the evidence for the afterlife that were misleading. One was a flawed article in Esquire that tried to discredit Dr. Eben Alexander's book, Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife which is about Dr. Alexander's near-death experience. Another news story was about a result from research in rats that was incorrectly said to demonstrate a physiological cause of near-death experiences. In this post, Part I, I will describe the facts of Dr. Eben Alexander's near-death experience that refute the incorrect assertions of the flawed Esquire article. In Part II, I will discuss the misrepresented research on rats.
Iands.org has a detailed rebuttal to the criticisms of Dr. Eben Alexander's book made in the flawed Esquire article. The flawed Esquire article incorrectly claims that Dr. Laura Potter said Alexander was not in a coma during his near-death experience but just delirious. If Alexander was only delirious and not in a coma, it would bring into doubt whether his near-death experience occurred when his brain was inactive. Only if Alexander's near-death experience occurred when his brain was inactive, can his near-death experience be construed as evidence that consciousness is not produced by the brain and makes his reports of visiting the afterlife credible. In fact, Dr. Laura Potter says she never said Alexander was delirious and not in a coma. She says this about the flawed Esquire article:
I am saddened by and gravely disappointed by the article recently published in Esquire. The content attributed to me is both out of context and does not accurately portray the events around Dr. Eben Alexander’s hospitalization. I felt my side of the story was misrepresented by the reporter. I believe Dr. Alexander has made every attempt to be factual in his accounting of events. —Dr. Laura Potter
Another invalid criticism of Alexander's book made in the flawed Esquire article involved Alexander's assertion that a rainbow was seen on the day he was coming out of his coma. The flawed Esquire article incorrectly claimed that a rainbow could not possibly occur on a clear day. However the IANDS article explains that when witnesses were contacted, they confirmed they did see a rainbow, and it explains there are various atmospheric phenomena that could cause a rainbow on that day.
A third invalid criticism of Alexander's book in the flawed Esquire article is that a shout for help by Alexander described in the book could not have occurred. However, again, when witnesses were contacted, they confirmed Alexander did shout as described in his book.
The flawed Esquire article also misconstrued a quote by the Dalai Lama incorrectly saying the Dalai Lama was critical of Alexander.
Eben Alexander's description of the circumstances of his near-death experience is supported by the testimony of witnesses. The fact that pseudoskeptics have to make incorrect statements in their attempts to discredit evidence of the afterlife attests to the strength of this evidence and the confidence which one may interpret that evidence to demonstrate the truth that the afterlife is real.
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