Robert Traer: 2014-2018
Most of these essays were written for discussion with residents at Pilgrim Place, a retirement community located in Claremont, CA. My wife, Nancy, and I resided there from 2010 to 2020.
Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) are too numerous, life-changing, and verifiable to be dismissed as fantasy. Also, NDEs offer evidence for rejecting two basic assumptions of scientific materialism: 1) that the mind is a product of the brain, and 2) that consciousness ends with death.
Consciousness is obvious. Only the science of consciousness is unclear. Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman writes: “The scientific study of consciousness is in the embarrassing position of having no scientific theory of consciousness.” And Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker agrees: “I have some prejudices but no idea of how to begin to look for a defensible answer.”
“Given that consciousness exists,” Thomas Campbell explains, “it must be enabled by memory, information processing capability (intelligence), the interactive sharing of data, and free-will choice-making” that moves evolution forward. “Thus, the question of free will reduces to the question of are you conscious, and, if so, is your consciousness part of a complex interactive system of consciousness?”
It took billions of years for our species to evolve on earth, and Darwin’s theory of random change through natural selection affirms that this lengthy period of trial and error was necessary to explain the fossil record and the diversity of known species. Therefore, the evolution of consciousness in homo sapiens in about 200,000 years cannot be explained in the same way as the origin of species.
“The neo-Darwinian theory of evolution,” philosopher Hans Jonas writes, “fails to explain the . . . moral, aesthetic, and spiritual characteristics that have emerged” in human life “beyond what is needed for purposes of survival.”
Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman writes, “The scientific study of consciousness is in the embarrassing position of having no scientific theory of consciousness.”
Oncologist Jeffrey Long writes: “It is important to note that near-death experiencers in the God Study come from every walk of life, including physicians, scientists, nurses, teachers, business executives, homemakers, children, pastors, and others. From these varied backgrounds comes a collection of similar experiences of God and the divine. As a scientist, I find this not only statistically remarkable but also hopeful.”
Research on the “knowing” involved in ESP/PSI and NDEs (near-death experiences).