Month: May 2010

104. Dr. Steven Novella Dead Wrong on Near-Death Experience Research

Skeptiko show considers claims of Yale University Neurologist regarding near-death experience research. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for the first in a two-part series with Yale University Neurologist, Dr. Steven Novella.  The shows examine whether near-death experiences are best explained by conventional medical science.  Novella, host of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, recently stated that research into the near-death experience phenomena is, "triangulating on the fact that this is probably a brain experience". But, according to Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris, "Dr. Novella isn't just a little bit wrong, he's completely at odds with the large body of published research on near-death experience... the science of researchers we've interviewed like, Dr. Jeffrey Long, Dr. Peter Fenwick, Dr. Penny Sartori and others like Dr. Bruce Greyson and Dr. Sam Parnia and Dr. Michael Sabom, Dr. Pim Van Lommel, and many, many others all point in the opposite direction." The show also examines Dr. Novella's recent analysis of research linking the CO2 blood levels in cardiac arrest patients with the near-death experience.   According to Tsakiris, "Dr. Novella's statements seem to contradict the very research he's reporting on... his conclusions are also significantly different from the authors of the study." The second part of this broadcast, including an interview with Dr. Novella's, is scheduled for June 2010. Read Keith Wood's analysis of Steve's comments Play it: Download MP3 (24:32 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I'm your host, Alex Tsakiris, and on this episode of Skeptiko I was planning on interviewing Dr. Steven Novella, who is the host of the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, as well as being an academic neurologist at the Yale School of Medicine. We were going to talk about near-death experience and Steve's public statements about that recently. We're still going to do that, but Steve had a scheduling conflict and we needed to reschedule that for a couple of weeks.


103. Near-Death Experience Research — Do Science Journalists Get it Wrong?

Interview with science journalist Jeff Wise examines the accuracy of news reports on near-death experience research. Recent headlines on,, and trumpeted a recent scientific study suggesting near-death experiences are caused by carbon dioxide in the blood. This stands in contrast to the opinion of near-death experience experts, and even the study's authors, but they news reports persist. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with science journalist and author of 'Extreme Fear', Jeff Wise. During the 30-minute interview Mr. Wise explains why and how he and other science journalists reported on this recent near-death experience study. And whether science journalism, according to Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris, "is driven by a code… an invisible hand that drives them away from anything that might be labeled 'spiritual', and simultaneously lowers their guard against weak research that confirms their pre-existing beliefs." Mr Wise replied, "That's not what it feels like from my perspective… we're interested in things that make sense in the context of everything else that we know, but that's novel. So things that are boring, that we see every day we're not interested in. Things that completely don't make any sense or we have to completely deconstruct our entire worldview in order to incorporate them, those things also aren't interesting… I think that's really the problem. If you're trying to propose a theory or a view of a phenomenon that is radically at odds with how, let's say mainstream science views the operation of the world…" Jeff Wise's Blog Dr. Joni Johnston -- The Human Equation Dr. Bruce Greyson's email regarding CO2/NDE study Play it: Download MP3 (34:15 min.) Read it: Alex Tsakiris: We're joined today by Jeff Wise, a journalist, science writer for such publications as Popular Mechanics, the New York Times Magazine, Popular Science, and many others. He's also the author of Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger. Jeff, thank you for joining me today on Skeptiko. Jeff Wise: My pleasure.