Dr. Bruce Greyson’s patients told him about NDEs, and he listened.

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Audio Clip:[00:00:01] Do you want to have fun with me later? Courtney Holmes, I am mildly surprised. But offer accepted. Midnight, basement, at level C. What’s going on? I would like you to stop my heart.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:15] That’s a clip from the movie Flat liners, it’s actually a remake of the 90s movie. They remade it again in 2017, which you would think with all the enormous amount of research that’s been done, a near death experience, much of it influenced or done by today’s amazing guest Dr. Bruce Greyson. Well you’d think with all that science, some of it would make it into this movie but of course it doesn’t. Again it’s movie, so they’re trying to be entertaining, I guess that’s what they’re trying to do or maybe they’re trying to influence culture a little bit, I don’t know. You know I’m hesitant, I have this great interview coming up and this guy is fantastic. Bruce Greyson, he is such an enormous, such an important figure in near death experience research science. But at the same time I can’t help but feel, and I really hammered on this in this interview, that he’s a little bit, what would you call it when a group of people are dishonest? I mean, provably dishonest over and over again, what do you call them? I know what I call them. But it turns out it’s not the same as what today’s guest Dr. Bruce Greyson calls them. Here’s a clip from the interview.

Audio Clip: [00:01:36] I just failed to believe that Dr Watt is sitting there doing any kind of real research that would compel her to respond to your paper. So her response going through all the trouble, and then having the right connections to immediately zipping it through a peer review process. It doesn’t seem genuine. Doctors and scientists are just like everybody else. I think the vast majority of these quote, debunkers are people who really believe what they’re saying, who are so locked into their prejudice that they can’t accept the reality of anything else. So I think most of these people are acting out of honesty with their own wrong beliefs.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:18] Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and today, today, we got a biggie. We have Dr. Bruce Greyson here, he has a new book titled After and we’ll get into that in a minute. But I just want to pick up on the After thing. Because I really, really love the title of that. I just think when you take a big step back you know, we’ve talked about this on the show. But if you look at not just our culture but every culture we know of throughout history, there has been this, fascination doesn’t really capture it but this deep knowing that the afterlife is key to not only understanding a deeper part of who we are but a deeper part of what we need to be or maybe what we can be in this life. So Dr. Greyson’s amazing work over his 40 year career as one of the truly pioneers and leading researchers in near death experience science, has been part of this really game changing science that has taken this deep fascination we have in the afterlife and applied science to it and kind of broken through in some ways that I think a lot of us, I wasn’t around, I could say, way back when he started. But even for the last 20 years while I’ve been aware of it you know, I don’t think we could have even imagined that the kind of cultural change that has come about around near death experience would have occurred or maybe we did expect them. Maybe we even assumed that it would happen sooner, I don’t know but these are all things that we’re going to talk about. There’s no one more central to this super important science than Dr. Bruce Greyson from the University of Virginia and I’m just really, really pleased that he’s joined us here today. Bruce, thank you for joining me.

Bruce Greyson: [00:04:30] Ah, my pleasure Alex. Thank you for inviting me.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:04:34] So Bruce as I mentioned you have a fantastic new book out, It’s titled After. A doctor explores what near death experiences reveal about life and beyond. Fantastic book, it’s good to be just kind of one of those Cornerstone books that anyone who’s interested in this field is going to want to have, but it really goes beyond that because you know we would expect this to be kind of capstone of your career and all that. And it has all that and it tells all these great stories of the experience you’ve gone through. But it also has a lot of up to date findings and research because you’d continually be so actively involved in this field so I thought it was just terrific. What has been the reception so far on the book?

Bruce Greyson: [00:05:24] Well I’ve been very pleased, I’ve gotten mostly positive reception, I’ve heard from a lot of people I haven’t heard from in decades that they’re glad to read it. So I’m very happy with the way it’s been received so far.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:05:36] Great. So I know you’ve told this story several times and you tell it in the book. And I’ve also heard interviews where you talk about your first encounter with a near death experience but it really is a terrific story, would you mind sharing that with folks?

Bruce Greyson: [00:05:53] Sure. It took me by surprise because I had been raised in a scientific household where we just talked about the physical world. There was never any talk about anything non physical anything spiritual or religious, It just never came up in our family, there was no reason to. We thought what you see is what you get. If it couldn’t be measured then we didn’t worry about it and that means that when you die, that’s the end of everything and it was fine with me, It was just the way it was. I went through college and medical school with that materialistic mindset. I didn’t think anything was missing and then shortly after I graduated from medical school, In my first few weeks as a psychiatric trainee, I was asked to see a patient in the emergency room who had overdosed. When I went down to see her and she was quite unconscious, I could not arouse her no matter what I did. So I talked with her roommate in a different room about 50 yards down the hall to get information about what has been going on in the patient’s life, what stressors she might have had, what she might have taken for the overdose. I spent about 15 or 20 minutes talking to the roommate and then went back to see the patient and she was still out cold. So she was going to be admitted to the intensive care unit overnight and I went to see her the following morning after she woke up. When I went to see her the next day, I introduced myself she was still very groggy, barely awake at all. I told her who I was and she said, I know who you are I remember you from last night. That kind of caught me off shore because I thought she was out cold. So I said to her, I’m surprised at that I thought you were asleep I saw you. And then she opened her eyes and looked at me and said, not in my room, I saw you talking to my roommate. Well that made no sense to me, I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about. That could only happen if she had left her body and moved with me down the hall to her roommates room and as far as I can tell that made no sense at all. As far as I knew I was in my body, how can you leave it? So I kind of fumbled around and she picked up my confusion and then went on to tell me about the conversation I had with her roommate, where I was sitting, where she was sitting, what we were wearing, the questions I asked, the answers her roommate gave and she made no mistakes, I could not understand this. However, I couldn’t deal with my confusion, my job was there to work with her. So I focused on what was going on in her life and her suicidal thinking and tried to push my feelings out of my mind. In the next several days I got some distance from this, I told myself this could not have happened. I must have misheard, misinterpreted maybe they were playing a trick on me, I’m a green intern, they’re trying to embarrass me, It didn’t happen. Well, it wasn’t until several years later that Raymond Moody joined me at the University of Virginia and he had just written a book in 1975 called Life After Life, in which he gave us the name Near Death Experiences and told us what they consist of. And I read his book and talked with him about it and I realized for the first time that the story that my patient told me was not just a one time story by one psychiatric patient. It was part of a much larger phenomena that millions of people all around the world were talking about, I still couldn’t understand it. But to me as a scientist that means you need to go towards it. You don’t deny something that has happened, you try to understand it. And as a skeptic that means it checked to challenge everything I thought I understood. So I decided we need to go look at this and collect as many stories as we can and try to find the patterns and here I am 50 years later still trying to understand it.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:09:34] Yeah, that’s such an amazing story on so many levels because I love the way you say it so matter of factly as a scientist, really no, but as a scientist as well as a physician and I’ve heard this from other near death experience researchers, really the best ones. It’s almost like they were like well, I knew what I had to do and I didn’t think about the consequences you know you encountered the consequences in your career and stumbling blocks but at the time you were like, Hey this is what I’m trained to do. I have a new experience, I need to follow it.

Bruce Greyson: [00: 10:11] I was aware of the consequences. I knew that like myself very few doctors had ever heard of this thing and we think, be very skeptical of it and weren’t sure it existed. But I thought well, I need to be true to myself. I know these things happen I saw one and Raymond’s written this book about 150 other cases,so it’s there. And how can you have intellectual integrity and deny something that exists? So you need to look at it and try to understand it. I still went into this thinking, there’s got to be some physiological explanation for this and that was my mindset for the first several years trying to figure out how does this happen? How do we explain it?

Alex Tsakiris: [00:10:51] I recently had Leslie Kane on talking about her excellent new Netflix series Surviving Death, which you are featured quite prominently in the first episode, do a fantastic job, you really come across great. But one of the things that kind of struck me and I guess I should have known this all along, but I always think of you as this indie researcher, which you are. But you’re also a people helper. I mean, you got in doubt, you got into psychiatry and you can maybe tell us about that. But like the scene that I brought up or the slide that I brought up, is you sitting in a consultation with a near death experience and I get the feeling from reading the book that you’ve had many of these and people have sought you out as a people helper. Tell us about that part of this whole experience for you during your career?

Bruce Greyson: [00:11:47] Well, I was interested in pursuing research in near death experiences. But nobody pays you to do that for a living. So I made my living as a psychiatrist, treating psychiatric patients, teaching medical students and residents about psychiatry and doing research on the side. And I loved that I liked being a doctor being a psychiatrist. And that was how I made my living for the next 40 50 years.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:12:13] Just gonna say you know, I kind of cut the bio short because I hate when people go on and on about your credentials at the beginning. But I did want to read a little clip from the book and I don’t know if this will embarrass you, you’re pretty humble guy, you don’t want to charm too much. But in the book you do, you just kind of lay out who you are in reading from after here. I’ve been fortunate enough to serve on the full time medical school faculty at the University of Michigan where I ran the emergency psychiatry service at the University of Connecticut, where I was clinical chief of psychiatry and at the University of Virginia, where I held the endowed Chester Carlson professorship in psychiatry, in neuro Behavioral Sciences. I received research grants from government agencies, pharmaceutical companies and from private and non private research foundations, I have been privileged to have addressed a symposium on consciousness at the United Nations and have earned awards for my medical research, and have been elected as a distinguished life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Okay, so that’s just all true, that a bragging if it’s true, but here’s what you say. But through all these in the back of my mind or the nagging questions about the mind and body relationship that Holly raised with her knowledge of that stain on my tie, which relates back to the first story you told us, my personal need as a skeptic to follow the evidence kept me from closing my eyes to events like that, events that seemed impossible and lead me on a journey to study them scientifically. Very beautifully written, do you have anything to add? I mean, this is a very distinguished career and I know from the book that at times you felt that that career might be threatened by your passionate drive as a scientist to investigate this. What was that like?

Bruce Greyson: [00:14:20] Well, it was. But as you said before, there’s been a remarkable shift in public attitudes towards near death experiences in the last half century. When I started out in this field, no doctors ever heard of it and most who did hear of it were quite disbelieving. When we first started talking in medical conferences in the early 1980s about near death experiences. We would get a lot of people coming to our presentations, but they’ll be a very silent in the audience when we finished and nobody quite want knew what to make of these things. And now when we talk about these NDE’s in medical conferences. It’s rare that a doctor doesn’t get up from the audience and say, let me tell you about my experience. So I think you know, one of the things I like about working with doctors is that they’re very practical group. If it’s something that will help their patients, they want to know about it. And clearly, a lot of their patients are having near death experiences. And that affects their attitudes and beliefs and values in their health care. So doctors want to know about it, they still have, I think a healthy skepticism about what causes NDE what their ultimate meaning is. But there’s no doubt in their minds that they do exist and they’re fairly common.

Alex Tsakiris: [00: 15:35] You know what about the personal aspect of this because I did mention that there’s some great interviews that you’ve done, one of my favorites is with my friend Rick Archer from Buddha At The Gas Pump, one of the things I really appreciate about your interview with him is you guys kind of separated out the spiritually transformative experience aspect of near death experiences, which is super important. On one level, that’s really where the beef is because people come through transformed and their lives show it. But because you’re a scientist and because you’re a professional academic and medical professional, you’ve had to pursue this kind of scientifically from a physiological standpoint, from a research publishing standpoint, like you just mentioned at conferences. So it’s great to kind of bifurcate those in a way because they’re two interesting discussions. I wonder personally as a man, as a son of your parents who were you know, your dad was chemistry guy, very kind of nuts and bolts but then as a father yourself as a husband, but what is this been like for you because I know anyone who studies this for as long as you have, there’s a personal spiritual transformation just for hearing these accounts, right?

Bruce Greyson: [00:16:54] There is, there is you know, I was raised as a scientist and I firmly believe that science is a great way to learn about the world around us. And so I still turn to that as my primary way of knowing what’s going on. So I tend to apply scientific methods to everything in my life, including my research, I have pursued all the physiological hypotheses that have been proposed to explain end ease. And rather than accepting or denying them, I’ve sought out data to test them and all the ones I’ve been able to test so far have been contradicted by the data. Now there are some that we have not been able to test yet so they’re still remained plausible but untested. And a part of me thinks that we may someday find a physiological answer for these things but I’m getting less and less convinced we ever will as time goes on and we don’t find anything that’s coming close to it. So I also am very aware that the major effect of this experience on people who have them is not what it tells them about the afterlife, but what it tells them about this life and how to lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life and it is spiritual transformation. It involves their relationship to other people to something greater than themselves, to the universe as a whole, to the divine. And that affects everything they do. And when you talk to people about this again and again, over decades, you can’t help but be affected by it yourself. And think more and more about what is the meaning of life? Why are we here? How should we be spending our time?

Alex Tsakiris: [00:18:29] You wrote a book with Dr. Jan Holden from the University of North Texas colleague, I know you have a lot of respect for it, I did too. Together you both wrote the Handbook of Near Death Experiences which is really, really an important book on a number of levels. But mainly because it’s almost like a reference guide for healthcare professionals who encounter this you know, nurses who have a patient come back and are dying to tell somebody I saw this, I saw that and it’s a shame to think that someone, because of their own you know, lack of knowledge would be dismissive towards that person or make that person feel less than welcome. So that was a really important book and you’ve done a revision of it that is super important. But the push back against near death experience science has been really hard to explain, like the Skeptiko’s that I’ve brought up here, I did an interview with Jan Holland and we were really, I asked her to respond to an interview I did with Carolyn Lott who published a peer reviewed paper. There’s nothing paranormal about near death experiences, how neuroscience can explain seeing bright lights, meeting the dead or being convinced you are one of them. And I love Jan’s quote, she’s actually quoting you in the interview that I did with her, but I’m saying how can such schlocky, just unprofessional research which it is I don’t care, I’ve interviewed Miss Watt and confronted her with it directly her misquotes, her complete rigging of any kind of normal interpretation of the data, you would have failed this paper. Dr. Holden would have failed this paper, would have suggested somebody seek a different profession if you’re in one of your classes. But here’s the quote. I said you know, what do you make Chan of this, there’s nothing paranormal about near death experiences. And she says, well she’s from Texas she’s you know, she lives in Texas, she’s nice you know, she’s not gonna, I don’t know, the material that’s out there actually supports a different conclusion. To quote my colleague, Bruce Greyson if you ignore everything paranormal about NDE’s then it’s easy to conclude there’s nothing paranormal about them. So maybe you want to speak for a minute to this kind of over the top debunking that NDE sciences faced over the years.

Bruce Greyson: [00:21:22] I’m somewhat sympathetic with these debunkers because I started out there and I understand where they’re coming from. And it really requires you to give up some of your cherished beliefs about how the world is constructed, if you really want to take these things seriously and understand them and that is very unnerving to do. I was tremendously under when I first got into this field. But I was confident that they were really a real phenomenon and it was important to understand them. If my cherished beliefs about the world were wrong, I wanted to know that, I didn’t want to continue with my wrong beliefs. So I thought it was worthwhile risking that to pursue them and I could understand how people would not be willing to do that.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:22:10] I get that on one level and I want to talk about that from your personal level of being a skeptic and being comfortable that the life, your life is meaningless as you were told and all that, I want to talk about that in just a minute. But I want to throw this on the table because I wonder if you’re willing to at least consider the possibility that this is a manufactured dissent. This isn’t genuine in the way that we think about it. I have a hard hat and I’ve done this for years, so many of these people and pursued them, peer reviewed you know, it always has to be peer reviewed, posing as science kind of stuff. I just fail to believe that Dr Watt is sitting there doing any kind of real research that would compel her to respond to your paper. So her response going through all the trouble and then having the right connections to immediately zipping it through a peer review process. It doesn’t seem genuine and it doesn’t seem genuine when you stack it up with all the other papers that as soon as into significant near death experience research efforts comes out whether it’s Sam Parney or with its Pim Van Lommel or whether it’s you or whether it’s Eben Alexander you know, it’s like it is organized, it is immediate and the response is, it seems to me that it’s hitting a different tone. It’s hitting a tone of I’m not sure that we want to go and leave that out there without a response. Are you at all open to that or are you totally convinced that it is all just kind of organic gosh dolly g, those guys are so wrong, let me go tell them?

Bruce Greyson: [00:23:58] Well you know, doctors and scientists are just like everybody else. They have the same motives, the same biases. They certainly are, I’m sure some people will just playing an academic game and trying to give their supervisors what they think they want to hear and trying to give the journal publishers editors what they think they want to hear. But that’s a small number if they do exist, I think the vast majority of these quote debunkers are people who really believe what they’re saying, who are so locked into their prejudice that they can’t accept the reality of anything else. In that sense, that type of unshaped unshakable belief in materialism is very much like any fundamentalist religion. You cannot accept any evidence that contradicts your beliefs. So you don’t, you honestly don’t believe it. So I think most of these people are acting out of honesty with their own wrong beliefs. They’re just not willing to accept.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:24:58 ] I’m down with the most people part of that and I don’t want to pursue this too much further, but I’m going to pursue it a tiny bit further because, what really, it’s only, I started out really first of all, I started out interested in parapsychology because I was a business guy and then I got done with that. And I said, I want to know the big picture questions, who are we, why are we here? And I thought these guys you know, Dean Reagan and Rupert Sheldrake and those guys were doing interesting, real science. Well, when I found the opposition to that was just despicable as a shelter comes out and says deceptive, that they’re being deceptive. Sheldrick’s a Cambridge biologist and he’s a pretty buttoned up British guy, he I don’t think he throws around a deceptive scientists title very easily. It started opening me up to the possibility that this science may have drawn the attention of folks who are interested in controlling messages controlling culture and anyone who wasn’t comfortable with that just has to wake up to you know, the example I always use is Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem was in the CIA, she admits she was in the CIA, she was outed for being in the CIA, but she was in the CIA before she joined the women’s movement. It’s not like she started the women’s movement and then was recruited by the CIA, she was in the CIA working on other women, on other projects and then got recruited to join the women’s movement. This is our history, it is undeniable, they are out of her mouth out of the words of the people who control her. I’m not suggesting that there’s a parallel here with near death experience research. But I’m not totally convinced that there isn’t a trail of breadcrumbs that are left for people to pursue a certain line of attack against this research there shouldn’t be that kind of dissent. Like you just mentioned you know, the kind of research that you and your colleagues have done has been like, what we would expect to see, Oh is this the last gasp of a dying brain? Well let’s check oxygen levels, let’s check if there’s other chemicals in the system, let’s check all these things. And all this kind of debunking research there’s none of that, there is virtually no research. Most of the time, they’ve never even talked to anyone who’s experienced this near death encounter kind of thing. So I’ll let it go after this but maybe I’ll let it go now. I won’t require that you comment on that but that is my inevitable conclusion to it.

Bruce Greyson: [00: 52:28] Well, near death experiences share a lot in common with other spiritually transformative events that occur in other situations, you can have this through spiritual traditions like meditation, you can have a through sensory deprivation, you can have a through lots of different ways. But the near death experience coming close to death seems to be now one of the most reliable ways of getting it. But why is that approach to death a way of reaching this spiritual transformative event. You know most people will have one through meditation or some other spiritual tradition or trying to get it, they’ve been prepared for it, they know what to expect, they have a guru or someone who’s going to help them integrate it. People who have NDE’s aren’t looking for it. They don’t want it, it sort of comes upon them so what makes them have it? And it appears that in the near death situation something about dying or about approaching death, triggers or allows this to happen. And I’m fairly convinced now that something about us that’s non physical can leave the body in these extreme circumstances. But it may be that something that happens in the brain, whether it’s electrical or chemical or both allows that to happen. Now certainly you can have out of body experiences in other circumstances. But something about the brain decaying, deteriorating makes that easy to happen and permits it. So I think it’s worth looking at the physiological correlates of a near death experience, to see what’s going on in the brain to permit the non physical part of us to separate from the physical part of us, two parts that are normally working together in perfect harmony.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:54:20] Yeah, it’s just kind of interesting because now we’re bringing the brain back in you know, we started by kind of setting it aside and saying, well it looks like the brain doesn’t play the role that we thought it did. The brain is shut down after cardiac arrest which…

Bruce Greyson: [00: 54:36] Right, right.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:54:37] I always mentioned people you know, Dr. Greyson and his colleagues have focused on NDE’s that are occurring in a medical situation, not because that’s their pet interest but because it’s the closest they can get to kind of controlling the physiology and building on this database we have of what happens to the body so, but anyways, what we’re saying okay, the brain set that aside, this seems to be Max Planck you know, we can’t get behind consciousness or something greater. And now it’s just kind of strange that we’re bringing the brain back and say, well it does seem like maybe the brain is triggering these and as we get better with resuscitation technology, there seems to be this link that is unexplainable from a spiritual perspective when people are saying, well I knew I was going to have the NDE or they told me this or that, life is planned, this is part of the plan kind of, there’s gaps in the story you know, a couple of different ways.

Bruce Greyson: [00:55:37] Let me let me turn your thinking about the brain and these experiences around a little bit. We’re thinking about the brain triggering this event when we propose that under normal circumstances, the brain sort of imprisons the non physical part of us so that a can’t leave, so that you can’t experience these other types of consciousness. And they have to get the brain out of the way to let this happen. So it’s not that the brain is tricking it but the brain is being taken away from whatever it does that prohibits us from doing this. It’s like the brain has a filter in it to stop this other consciousness from coming to us. And that makes sense, in terms of evolution, all our senses evolved to help us survive in the physical world, you don’t hear every possible sound that’s out there, that would overwhelm, you won’t be able to understand anything. So your ears filter out those irrelevant sounds and just lets in the small frequencies that are relevant to your survival. Your eyes don’t see everything, every wavelength in the spectrum, it just lets in those few wavelengths the small range that’s relevant to our survival and filters out the rest. So thoughts are out there, if our mind is out there somewhere, it makes sense that your brain would have evolved to filter out the irrelevant stuff like God, like deceased loved ones and just let in those thoughts and perceptions that relate to our physical survivals. How to find food, mate, a shelter. You don’t need to talk about God to do those things. So it makes sense that the brain evolved to filter out the higher consciousness and only when the brain’s filter is shut down somehow does he allow you to experience those higher forms of consciousness.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:57:22] But don’t we still have a little bit of a wrinkle in the story when we introduce this resuscitation technology? And what is going on there with technology, the link between technology, medical technology resuscitation and the spiritual? Do you have any thoughts?

Bruce Greyson: [00:57:41] Well, I think the spiritually, this resuscitation stuff is just one way of making it more possible and more common. first they come back from this death state and talk about these things. Used to be that people would die and if you were lucky enough to hear them talk as they were dying, you may hear about deathbed visions that have like NDE’s. But usually it just died and never told anybody, was just a substation techniques, we can bring them back and then hear what they experienced. You know we’re struggling with, how can this mind that’s, if it’s not part of the brain how does it relate to the brain, we have no idea how that could happen. And materialists say, well that means you can’t have a mindset from the brain. We don’t understand how it could work. But the dirty secret of neuroscience is, we can’t explain consciousness inside the brain either. No one’s ever come up with idea about how an electrical or chemical process in the brain can create thought. That’s just as much mystery as consciousness outside the brain. So we’re stuck. Both ways of looking at things have huge holes in them, that make us not understand what’s going on. I think when you have that much trouble understanding the basics of mind and conscious and brain, then we’re not asking the right questions. That doesn’t seem to be an answer to the questions we’re asking.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:58:58] Yeah, well said I like when people always go the hard problem of consciousness. Let’s start with the easy problem of consciousness, which we don’t understand at all.

Bruce Greyson: [00: 59:08] Right.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:59:08] Hey, Dr. Greyson what do you see coming up in the future of near death experience research? What are you most excited about? What are you looking forward to seeing come about?

Bruce Greyson: [00:59:24] Well, there are two answers to that. One is me personally and the others where the field is going. And me personally I’m still a psychiatrist, a healer and that’s what I’m interested in. And my colleague, Marietta Pil, Ivanova and I are now looking at people who have difficulties after a near death experience and we feel like they need help integrating that into their lives. And we’re looking at what types of things make them come for help, what types of help they’re seeking, what type of helpers they’re seeking and what they find helpful and not helpful and hopefully come up with some virtual guidelines for how to help people like this. But I’m limited because of my interest and background and what I can study. Fortunately, there’s a new generation of researchers coming up behind me who have vastly different areas of expertise who are interested in NDE’s and their brain to the study of NDE’s, areas that I couldn’t hope to understand whether it’s cross cultural and sociological evaluations or physiological electrochemical evaluations. I think in the next 20 30 40 years we’re going to see a lot more about MDE’s that we can’t even imagine now.

Alex Tsakiris: [01:00:33] Well, I’m sure it’s incredibly gratifying to you to see that research and know that you are directly responsible for spawning so much of it inspiring so much of it and then being directly a part of so much of it. It’s really an amazing body of work. So this book again, folks check it out. After a doctor explores what near death experiences reveal about life and beyond, I kind of pushed him a little bit. He didn’t reveal a lot of personal stuff about his personal spiritual experience and that’s okay he doesn’t have to. It’s been absolutely fantastic having gone and congratulations on a fantastic book.

Bruce Greyson: [01:01:20] It’s been fun talking to you.

Alex Tsakiris: [01:01:22] Thanks again to Dr. Bruce Greyson for joining me today on Skeptiko and thanks also to Dr. Suzanne Gordon, another terrific indie researcher who I’ve talked to in the past on Skeptiko. But she was nice enough to connect me with Dr. Greyson and help make this interview happen so thanks for that. The one question I can’t resist teeing up from this interview are the dishonesty bunkers that have stood in the way of near death experience science by following what could only be characterized as dishonest practices you know, I mean dishonestly spinning the data, dishonestly publishing peer reviewed work that doesn’t meet their normal standards. Are they really dishonest? Would we really call them dishonest or are they just oh, kind of stuck in their belief systems? And what about this idea that I keep hammering on of social engineering? I mean, could there possibly be any social engineering element to near death experience science? Well, I guess I can’t really resist injecting my opinion into the tone of that question. But I would like to hear your thoughts on it. Let me know, jump on over to the Skeptiko forum or track me down any way you like. I got some really good shows coming up. Stick with me for all of that. Until next time, take care and bye for now.


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