A critical look at an academic near-death experience book by Dr. Ben Mitchell-Yellin and Dr. John Martin Fischer.
photo by: Iwan Gabovitch
It’s hard to be surprised by the lengths some academics will go to trash near-death experience research, but the recent non-research-research of today’s guest surprised even me. But the real story may be that Dr. John Martin Fischer and Dr. Ben Mitchell-Yellin managed to wrangle more than $4 million dollars from the very “spiritual friendly” John Templeton Foundation to promote this “secular” hit piece of a book titled Near-Death Experiences: Understanding Visions of the Afterlife
Alex Tsakiris: I’m challenging you on a couple of those [arguments]… there isn’t a single, credible near-death experience researcher I can think of that’s come to the conclusion that you do. It always amazes me. I mean, who are you going to cite? Dr. Greyson doesn’t believe that. Pim van Lommel doesn’t believe that. Sam Parnia doesn’t believe that. Janice Holden doesn’t believe that. Dr. Jeffrey Long doesn’t believe that … you could go down the list. There isn’t a single, credible near-death experience researcher — and there are hundreds of peer reviewed scientific journal articles on this — where they’ve concluded the same thing that you’ve concluded. They’ve all concluded that near-death experiences seem to suggest that consciousness survives bodily death in a way that we don’t understand.
Dr. Ben Mitchell–Yellin: That’s not actually what we conclude. I just want to make it clear I don’t think that we agree with all of the people you listed. For example, we don’t have the same position as Pim van Lommel because he doesn’t think that they’re consistent. As far as I understand his position, he thinks that near-death experience suggests that we should give up the physicalist view.
Alex Tsakiris: Exactly. So I guess I’m saying on what basis do you go against all of this published data by all of the top near-death experience researchers who suggest otherwise?
Click here for forum discussion
Click here for Dr. Ben Mitchell-Yellin website
Read Excerpts From Interview:
Alex Tsakiris: What [Dr. Mitchell-Yellin] was getting pulled into is a much more interesting story… So why is this important? Well, it turns out that the funding for this research–and I’m using air quotes there because these people didn’t really do any original research other than reviewing the literature and criticizing near-death experience scientists who had done actual research. That plays out clearly in the interview. He doesn’t have any response to that. But I digress again because the way they did the book was they received a grant of $5 million from the Templeton Foundation (NOTE/CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: The Immortality Project was a 3-year,