- Published on Friday, 11 December 2009 00:45
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2619
When a Christian wants to prove life after death using science, it has to be positive. Christians and other religious people typically believe that there is life after death on the basis of faith so getting them to look at evidence is a step forward towards fully rational thinking . Dinesh D'Souza has written a book about this (Life after Death: The Evidence) and although he says it's about science, it also has a lot of philosophy and other non-scientific arguments to support his thesis.
He admits he has not talked to any dead people; his main scientific argument is that "near death experiences" are evidence of "life after death" whereas in fact it's only evidence of something not yet understood. He goes on to argue that there are three separate parts of a human:
- The Soul - the moral faculty that allows us to tell right from wrong
- The Mind - that part of a person that includes our thoughts, feelings and ideas
- The body and brain - which dies with death.
For the sake of discussion, let's ignore the "resurrection of the body" concept which is part of the beliefs of most Christians and focus on the "Mind" which he says survives after death - presumably along with the soul.
If the Mind includes thoughts, feelings, ideas - then it must include our feeling of identity, all our reasoning about cause and effect, knowledge and our memories. But from what we know from scientific research into the brain, these functions are all provided by the brain. And we know that all animals have the same ability to remember, learn from experience, do limited reasoning, have feelings etc. So is heaven full of the minds of all the animals with brains?
We also know that the ability of the mind varies tremendously with our health - with the condition of our bodies. Brains can be damaged and the person's mind changes with it. Alzheimer's disease debilitates the brain and the mind with it. So the Evidence points to the Mind being connected to the brain - with no brain or a dead brain, there is no Mind. So, sorry, the evidence does not support the Mind living after death so our identity does not live after death - at least the scientific evidence points that way.
D'Souza admits that "near-death experiences" are not sufficient evidence but he claims that taken with other pointers it makes a compelling case. He is a good salesman for his book - he no doubt has convinced himself - but it's not really science and certainly not rigorous science that uses the scientific method. (More on the scientific method here)
Have a look at his video below - you can't say I only give one side of an argument!
(Originally on You-Tube but removed - now hosted on Cobourg Atheist)
Oh, and atheists are NOT worried about near death experiences proving anything. I don't know where he got that from!