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Panel - Dealing With Skepticism About NDEs


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Dealing With Skepticism About NDEs - Alexander, Schwartz, Grossman, & Woollacott

Near-death and other transpersonal experiencers, health professionals, and scholars have all encountered dogmatic materialists: people who maintain staunch commitment to philosophical materialism– the belief that all phenomena arise from and can be explained in terms of physical phenomena, including that the human brain is responsible for human consciousness such that, when the brain dies, consciousness dies–without having examined the evidence for idealism–the belief that consciousness is primary, including that although the brain and consciousness are closely associated during human life, consciousness preexists the brain and survives brain death. Participants on this panel have all experienced—and research has shown that NDErs have sometimes felt harmed by—such encounters. One challenge of such encounters is to reconcile a fundamental message of NDEs—to treat others lovingly—with the frustration of being “dissed”—dismissed, discredited, etc.—by dogmatic materialists. Panelists will each address these topics and will then engage in discussion between themselves and with the audience, including panelists’ favorite publications pertinent to the topic.

Eben Alexander: Eben Alexander III, MD, FACS, BCNS, former associate professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School, has delved deeply into investigation of the mind-body problem and the fundamental nature of consciousness ever since his life-changing near-death experience due to gram-negative bacterial meningitis in 2008, resulting in the books Proof of Heaven, The Map of Heaven, and, most recently, Living in a Mindful Universe (co-authored with partner Karen Newell), which is all about the emerging scientific view of consciousness.

Neal Grossman: Since retiring a few years ago after over 40 years on faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Neal Grossman, PhD, associate professor emeritus of philosophy, no longer has anything to profess but has published a 2014 book, The Spirit of Spinoza: Healing the Mind, a readable presentation of Spinoza’s remarkable system of spiritual psychotherapy.


Stephan Schwartz: Stephan A. Schwartz, Distinguished Consulting Faculty of Saybrook University, Fellow of the William James Center for Consciousness Studies at Sofia University, and Research Associate of the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory of the Laboratories for Fundamental Research; columnist for the journal Explore and editor of the daily web publication Schwartzreport.net; is an experimentalist who for half a century has studied the nature of consciousness, is one of the small group that founded modern Remote Viewing research, and is the principal researcher studying the use of Remote Viewing in archaeology as well as a researcher of creativity, meditation, and Therapeutic Intent/Healing.

Marjorie Woollacott: Marjorie Woollacott, PhD, professor emerita of Neuroscience and Human Physiology at the University of Oregon, has been a neuroscientist for more than three decades and a meditator for almost four; having had research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, she has coauthored a popular textbook for health professionals and has written more than 180 peer-reviewed research articles, several of which were on meditation, the topic that motivated her to write her most recent book, Infinite Awareness: The Awakening of a Scientific Mind, in which she explores scientific studies supporting the premise that consciousness functions beyond the mind.

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