Mod+ OMG! Salon Actually publishes Fair Article on NDE's

#2
I like Salon mostly, but their atheist views get a bit tiresome, so I was surprised to see this:

http://www.salon.com/2012/04/21/near_death_explained/
Actually, it appears Salon's staff didn't even write the article as it concludes with:

Excerpted with permission from “The Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives.” Courtesy of HarperOne.

But you're right, Salon is for the most part, an atheistic loving publication.

My Best,
Bertha
 
#4
Hmmm . . gotta state that when I read "actually publishes" I wasn't expecting an article from three years ago. I'd style that as "actually published".
I confess that I didn't look at the date. That never occurred to me. It appeared in the stream of articles to read today and I took it from there. I have to get used to the regurgitation of old material that is so common these days.
 
#5
I have to get used to the regurgitation of old material that is so common these days.
Yeah. The thing is that I think in the past couple years Salon, like many media outlets, has moved towards making sure most viewpoints are in agreement with the materialist canon. The campaign for that is ongoing and having significant success. Last year even the BBC publicly stated what amounts to their blind allegiance to that canon
 
#6
Yeah. The thing is that I think in the past couple years Salon, like many media outlets, has moved towards making sure most viewpoints are in agreement with the materialist canon. The campaign for that is ongoing and having significant success. Last year even the BBC publicly stated what amounts to their blind allegiance to that canon
The BBC certainly are increasingly irritating. In the past topics such as near-death experiences and other such phenomena were covered. That is pretty unlikely nowadays. And even mainstream science topics are presented with an interspersing of disparaging remarks about any alternative viewpoint. Though that is dependent on the presenter, Brian Cox in particular being unable to contain his disdain.
 
#11
It's as if someone's saying "Attention citizens! We will focus on materialism! Things that contradict materialism are not allowed! The "materialism" cops will call anything that contradicts our worldview woo, bull, fairy tales, wishful thinking, ect. Thanks for listening!"
 
#12
The BBC certainly are increasingly irritating. In the past topics such as near-death experiences and other such phenomena were covered. That is pretty unlikely nowadays.
To be fair to the BBC there is some coverage of NDEs on the BBC, but on the radio rather than TV. Though it's more likely to appear in a slot reserved for 'religion'. I don't recall any recent coverage in the science programmes (which not uncoincidentally often feature aforementioned Brian Cox*).

Edit *It's worth mentioning that Cox is a great believer in the magical powers of coincidence. For him this is the magical ingredient which can sooth all doubts, quell the questioning spirit and close all doors to the need for investigation or consideration of other possibilities..
 
Last edited:
#13
The BBC certainly are increasingly irritating. In the past topics such as near-death experiences and other such phenomena were covered. That is pretty unlikely nowadays. And even mainstream science topics are presented with an interspersing of disparaging remarks about any alternative viewpoint. Though that is dependent on the presenter, Brian Cox in particular being unable to contain his disdain.
The BBC has lost all pretence of balance on a whole range of issues. On climate change, for example, it simply doesn't report evidence that doesn't conform with its 'policy' that the science is settled!

David
 
#14
The article quotes Susan Blackmore as if she's some kind of authority on the subject. She has not been involved with NDE research for 20 years now.

My Best,
Bertha
Well it does give rather too much weight to her views, But at least some other people's ideas get some coverage too.

I feel the author hasn't fully grasped the nature of the subject area. On the one hand he states,
What’s more, as medical technology continues to improve, it’s bringing people back from ever closer to the brink of death.
then later says this, which seems inconsistent with the idea that there is such a thing as a "brink"
The boundary between life and death, which used to be thought sharp, has grown ever fuzzier.
Perhaps the author is in the middle of a rethink, and is giving out mixed messages.
 
#15
Sentences like this:

"Finally, it’s worth doing rigorous research on near-death experiences if for no other reason than to rule out at least some of the spiritual explanations."


Turned me off from what the author may have been attempting to accomplish in his article. Quoting Susan Blackmore as an authoritative source lent her the credibility she doesn't deserve in the field (as most Skeptics actually don't deserve). In fact, this is the kind of supposedly "balanced" reporting one sees these days from news sources like "Fox News" in the US. Suppose Fox News sponsors a debate on climate change. Something like 97% of all scientists believe climate change is a reality. But Fox News will put on their show for debate two people, one a climate science denier, and another some middle-of-the-road climate change "believer". And then treat the two sides as if they were equal in the debate - and that they are offering a fair and balanced venue of the facts about climate change. The audience at the end of the debate will likely come away with a feeling that "climate change" is perhaps not as much supported by known facts as it clearly is by overwhelming scientific consensus.

The article begins right away with this kind of spiritual vs. science debate, which is often at the heart of the Skeptical militancy toward anything smacking of "woo" or psi etc. It immediately brings into question all sorts of baloney that Skeptics use to lump everything into their accusations toward psi research such as Bigfoot and UFO investigations (just look at the Wikipedia page for the "Paranormal" and you can see this kind of Skeptical lumping together).

The article also brings up the well-worn Skeptical talking point that retrospective studies in science have little or no credibility. Well fuck, if that is true we might as well throw out the sciences of anthropology, archeology, biological evolution, or even some psychological research - since guess what, a great deal of those sciences depend on events that happened in the past as well. So once again, the article brings forward a Skeptical talking point - brings out all the arguments you usually hear from Skeptics - but does not offer the very valuable scientific rebuttals that have been made by the actual NDE researching scientists in the field. Then the article immediately moves on to prospective studies - which a normal reader might immediately assume is the only credible way to perform NDE scientific research. Which is just more Skeptical nonsense.

The article goes on to state that veridical NDEs are thin in evidentiary data. Actually this is not true. There are quite a number of veridical NDE cases now on record that the Skeptics have not been able to refute in any kind of reasonable or scientific manner. And as William James once wrote, all it takes is one white crow to prove that not all crows are black. Again, the article, much like a Fox News show - seems to imply there have been maybe just one or two veridical NDE accounts on record, which is simply misleading. But again, this argument is right out of the Skeptic's playbook.

I could go and on and on here. Overall, I came away from the article being a soft-pedal for materialism, and treats the Skeptic's side of the debate as if it is on par with the actual scientists doing the research. The article gave the misleading impression that it was being balanced, but presenting the Skeptical side (and rhetoric) far more than the actual scientific side: i.e., again the scientists doing the science right now. Not Susan Blackmore - who hasn't conducted NDE research in over 20 years.

My Best,
Bertha
 
Last edited:
#16
I could go and on and on here. Overall, I came away from the article being a soft-pedal for materialism, and treats the Skeptic's side of the debate as if it is on par with the actual scientists doing the research. The article gave the misleading impression that it was being balanced, but presenting the Skeptical side far more than the actual scientific side: i.e., again the scientists doing the science right now. Not Susan Blackmore who has not conducted NDE research in over 20 years.
Yes. I was going to write a longer reply with lots of quotes but became bored by it. There was the phrase "real, solid science" which in the next sentence was translated into "the materialist position". Hardly inspires confidence in neutrality.
 
#17
Yes. I was going to write a longer reply with lots of quotes but became bored by it. There was the phrase "real, solid science" which in the next sentence was translated into "the materialist position". Hardly inspires confidence in neutrality.
Yes. What is frustrating is Skeptics are put on the same level as the scientists (very credible scientists) who are doing the research and have been doing the research for 30+ years now. PSICOP (or whatever these people call themselves now) is not even a scientific organization - has in its charter that its members are not too perform any scientific research into psi phenomena.

And yet you regularly read articles like this in mainstream media (or hear on the BBC) Skeptical talking points as if they are on par with the scientists doing the research itself. PSICOP has proven to be more interested in this kind of media campaign (including Wikipedia) than it has been with engaging the science itself. The SPR put out a really good article on this a number of years ago by Hansen - demonstrating just how much PSICOP (or now known as the Skeptic's Society) was more a propaganda/media organization than one that really was concerned about science. I find this to be particularly true regarding, what to me, is a radical fundamentalist group of materialist atheists, pushing their nihilistic view of life as if it were the gospel truth.

My Best,
Bertha
 
Last edited:
#18
Yes. I was going to write a longer reply with lots of quotes but became bored by it. There was the phrase "real, solid science" which in the next sentence was translated into "the materialist position". Hardly inspires confidence in neutrality.
Literal bible Fundamentalism and its counter-part Fundamaterialism, approach language and belief in closely corresponding ways. "Real, solid science" = "Old time religion" as to linguistic expression and the requirement to be "the true believer". Am I too old - if I point to Eric Hoffer's brilliant book.
 
#19
Literal bible Fundamentalism and its counter-part Fundamaterialism, approach language and belief in closely corresponding ways. "Real, solid science" = "Old time religion" as to linguistic expression and the requirement to be "the true believer". Am I too old - if I point to Eric Hoffer's brilliant book.
I rather suspect that disappointed Christians who switch and become rabid atheists are exhibiting the same brain activity before and after their conversion... like the neurological structure hasn't changed at all, but one set of beliefs (god did it) has been replaced with another (the universe is just a bunch of molecules). Still executing the same program. That's what makes it so funny when the two groups butt heads over evolution or bioethics or whatever the topic du jour is.
 
Top