Dr. Gregory Shushan, Making the Case For Cross-Cultural NDEs |422|

08.06.2019 - By Skeptiko – Science at the Tipping Point

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Dr. Gregory Shushan’s research into near-death experience across cultures rankles skeptics and believers.

 

photo by: Skeptiko

Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. Now, most of us at this point accept that near-death experience science provides a unique way for serious researchers to look at some of these deep mysteries of the afterlife, but we also know that that road to discovery is filled with a lot of potholes. There are stuck in the mud academics who can’t bear the thought of having been wrong for all of those years, there are well-meaning Christians, new-agers and spiritual seekers, and I’d have to throw myself in that category, who want to claim NDEs as their exclusive domain.
The barriers to really understanding the deeper implications of NDE science are many and that’s what makes it so exciting when someone like today’s guest, Dr. Gregory Shushan comes along. He’s got a new book, Near-Death Experience in Indigenous Religions, and it looks to me to be one of those books that really delves so deeply into one of the questions that has really been central to the ongoing discussion about NDE science. It’s a question that’s interested both skeptics, they’ve picked it up as their cause, and proponents, they’ve picked it up as their cause, and that is, what are we to make of NDE accounts across cultures? And a follow-on question to that is, how might those experiences have impacted those religious traditions that we see and the spiritual beliefs, which we’re going to have to deconstruct a little bit?
So, the basic question usually kind of falls into, does the lack of consistency within the NDE accounts across cultures, do those mean that, as the skeptics would have us believe, and skeptics I’m just using to fill in those people in one camp who then use that to bolster their claim, that maybe this is more of a delusional kind of thing that people are creating in their head.
Or another way of looking at it is, do the patterns, the deeper patterns within these accounts suggest that maybe NDEs have an even more richer, deeper influence on these cultures, all the way to maybe even being the source of the religions we see?
So this is an awesome interview we have coming up, a deep dive. Anthropology, religious history, NDE science, a world-class scholar, a recognized expert in his field, it’s really, really great to welcome you Dr Shushan to Skeptiko. Thanks so much for joining me.

 

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Click here for Dr. Shushan’s Website
 Dr. Gregory Shushan: [00:03:05] Thanks Alex, and thanks for that great introduction. That was a really good summary of some of the thorny problems that this kind of research has to deal with.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:14] Well, it’s just the beginning and I guess that’s what I appreciated about reading your book. I just mentioned off air that I feel like I missed the point in a lot of ways when we talked a few years ago, and I don’t want to beat myself up too bad because I got one point. But I kind of missed the larger point of your approach, your methodology as an academic who is looking at this in a very serious way and there are a lot of issue...

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