[Excerpts from my guest post at The Friendly Atheist.]
From the 2014 film Heaven is Real, based on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent about their 3-year-old son Colton’s NDE tale.
The University of Michigan made the stunning announcement this past week that the “near-death” experiences so many people have isn’t really Jesus calling us home. It’s our brain trying to kill us:
We all know the famous goosebump-raising, tear-eliciting passage beginning “Look again at that dot…” But there’s much more here to savor. While much of Pale Blue Dot is devoted to summarizing the state of planetary exploration as of 1997, when the book was published, there remain many fascinating observations that are still relevant. I’ve tried to digest these here.
A rather poetic summary of space exploration so far
Since the advent of successful interplanetary flight in 1962, our machines have flown by, orbited, or landed on more than seventy new worlds. We have wandered among the wanderers. We have found vast volcanic eminences that dwarf the highest mountain on Earth; ancient river valleys on two planets enigmatically one too cold and the other too hot for running water; a giant planet with an interior of liquid metallic hydrogen into which a thousand Earths would fit; whole moons that have melted; a cloud-covered place with an atmosphere of corrosive raids, where even the high plateaus are above the melting point of lead ancient surfaces on which a faithful record of the violent formation of the Solar System is engraved; refugee ice worlds from the transplutonian depths; exquisitely patterned ring systems, marking the subtle harmonies of gravity; and a world surrounded by clouds of complex organic molecules like those that in the earliest history of our planet led to the origin of life.
Ah yes, the famous bit, from the chapter “You Are Here”
The spacecraft was a long way from home,
[Excerpt from: Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things, Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., 2007]
Hans Eysenck was arguably one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, and at the time of his death in 1997 he was the living psychologist most frequently cited in scientific journals and magazines… He is… perhaps best known for his work on the analysis of human personality, and he developed some of the most widely used personality questionnaires in modern-day psychology…
Eysenck teamed up with a respected British astrologer named Jeff Mayo. A few years before, Mayo had founded the Mayo School of Astrology and rapidly gained a large international following of students. About 2,000 of Mayo’s clients and students were asked to report their birth dates and to complete the Eysenck Personality Inventory… Continue reading
Murray Gell-Mann, CalTech physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for introducing quarks.
Quantum Mechanics and Flapdoodle: [C]ertain writers have claimed acceptability in quantum mechanics for alleged “paranormal” phenomena like precognition, in which the results of chance processes are supposed to be known in advance to “psychic” individuals. Continue reading