Meta-Science: Scientists Confront Life After Death
Life After Death: the Scientific Evidence By Victor Zammit
“Seek and you will find, for you have aids from nature for the discovery of Truth. But if you are not able yourself, by going along those ways, to discover that which follows, listen to those who have made the enquiry.”
‘Epictetus’ cited in Arthur Findlay's Rock of Truth
From the late nineteenth century until to-day there have been groups of prominent, well-respected scientists - many of them the best-known names in science - who have worked to prove that immortality is a natural physical phenomenon and its study is a branch of physics. Many of these scientists were highly practical people whose discoveries in other areas fundamentally changed the way people work and live. Many considered themselves to be Rationalists and Humanists and have had to face intense opposition from both traditional Christian clergy and from materialist scientists who joined together to try to suppress their findings.
One of the pioneers in this tradition was Emmanuel Swedenborg; who was born in Sweden in 1688. One of the leading scientists of his day, he wrote 150 works in seventeen sciences. At the University of Uppsala he studied Greek, Latin, several European and Oriental languages, geology, metallurgy, astronomy, mathematics, economics. He was an intensely practical man who invented the glider, the submarine and an ear trumpet for the deaf. He was held in high esteem by all, was a Member of parliament and held important Government posts in mining. He always showed he had enormously high intelligence and maintained a keen practical mind until his death. Swedenborg was also a very highly gifted clairvoyant who spent more than twenty years investigating other dimensions. As he himself said:
“I have been allowed to talk with practically everyone I have ever known during this physical life- with some for hours, with some for weeks or months, with some for years - all for the overriding purpose that I might be assured of this fact, (that life continues after death) and might bear witness to it.”
Interestingly he put forward a view of the universe which is remarkably similar to twentieth century quantum physics. At a time when Newton was arguing that matter was composed of impenetrable atoms which were given motion by outside forces, Swendenborg taught that it was made up of a series of particles in ascending order of size, each of which was composed of a closed vortex of energy which spiralled at infinite speeds to give the appearance of solidity.
In England one of the founders of the Society for Psychic Research (SPR) was Sir William Crookes, a Fellow of the Royal Society and later its President. The discoverer of six chemical elements including Thallium, he was considered to be the greatest scientist of his time. He worked extensively investigating levitation phenomena which was associated with the medium D.D. Home. Conclusive photographs were a part of this record and the authenticity of the appearances, as well as the total absence of fraud and trickery were verified by a number of other leading scientists of the day including Cromwell F. Varley, an early researcher into ionisation and supervisor of the initial laying of the Atlantic Cable. He was finally convinced of the reality of the afterlife by a series of remarkable full materialisations of his wife.
Also in his group were scientists Lord Balfour, Sir William Barrett, Sir Oliver Lodge and Lord Raleigh J Thompson who discovered the electron and Alfred Russell Wallace who propounded the theory of evolution at the same time as and independently of Charles Darwin.
Thomas Alva Edison, the American inventor of the phonograph and the first electric light bulb was a spiritualist who experimented with mechanical means of contacting the 'dead' (Scientific American, 30/10/1920).
John Logie Baird, television pioneer and inventor of the infra-red camera, contacted the 'deceased' Thomas A. Edison through a medium and later stated: ‘I have witnessed some very startling phenomena under circumstances which make trickery out of the question’ ( Logie Baird 1988: 68-69).
Another twentieth century investigator was Dr Glen Hamilton, a physician and member of the Canadian Parliament. In his laboratory under strictly controlled conditions he had a battery of fourteen electronically controlled flash cameras which photographed apparitions simultaneously from all angles. Observers present at his experiments included four other medical doctors, two lawyers, and both an electrical and civil engineer. Each of the witnesses stated strongly and unequivocally that ‘time after time, I saw dead persons materialise.’ (Hamilton 1977).
Yet another brilliant scientist and inventor who after investigating became totally convinced of the existence of the afterlife was George Meek. At the age of 60 George Meek retired from his career as an inventor, designer and manufacturer of devices for air conditioning and treatment of waste water. He held scores of industrial patents which enabled him to live comfortably and devote the next twenty five years of his life to self-funded full-time research into life after death. Meek undertook an extensive library and literature research program and travelled the world to locate and establish research projects with the top medical doctors, psychiatrists, physicists, biochemists, psychics, healers, parapsychologists, hypnotherapists, ministers, priests and rabbis. He established the Metascience Foundation in Franklin North Carolina which sponsored the famous Spiricom research which succeeded in establishing extended two-way instrumental contact between people alive and people living in the afterlife. His most recent book: After We Die What Then(1987)outlines the conclusions of his years of full-time research- that we do all survive and that in the last twenty-five years mankind has learned more about what happens when we die than was learned in all earlier periods of recorded history (Meek 1987:4).
Some of the leaders in the scientific research of life after death are extremely intelligent and astute medical doctors who began their investigation as sceptics. Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross who has had global impact on the way that dying people are treated came to be totally convinced of life after death from her close association with thousands of dying patients. As she put it: “Up until then I had absolutely no belief in an afterlife, but the data convinced me that these were not coincidences or hallucinations” (Kubler-Ross 1997:188).
Dr Melvin Morse, a paediatrician and a recognised world leading authority on dying children was, as he put it, ‘an arrogant critical-care physician’ with ‘an emotional bias against anything spiritual’ before his scientifically based studies of dying children and his extensive study of the literature led him to 'the inescapable conclusion that ‘there is a divine ‘something’ which serves as a glue for the universe’.
He writes: “When I review the medical literature, I think it points directly to evidence that some aspect of human consciousness survives death. Other researchers agree with me. Physician Michael Schroter-Kunhardt, for instance, conducted a comprehensive review of the scientific literature and concluded that the paranormal capacities of the dying person suggest the existence of a time-and-space transcending immortal soul. Other researchers have reached the same conclusion. Be it through case studies of their own or research they have reviewed, there is in the scientific community a growing belief in the human spirit.” (Morse 1984:190).
In England today a group of scientists, mathematicians and university professors are working to make known the results of experiments on sub-atomic particles and mathematical calculations which provide a scientific explanation for so-called psychic phenomena. Professor Abdus Salam, a Nobel Laureate and director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, has given financial backing and grants to this group. Central to its claims is the work of Ron Pearson, a former university lecturer in Intelligence Behind the Universe (1990) mathematically confirms the experiments of Crookes, Hamilton and other researchers. Sam Nichols, an astrophysicist from Leeds University, supports Pearson's calculations and claims that so-called 'deceased' entities although composed of slightly different atomic components, exist in and share the same space with the material world.
This is possible because most of what we consider to be solid matter is in fact empty space. Modern physics now teaches that atoms are 99.99999% empty space- the distance between an electron and its nucleus being as great proportionally as the distance from the earth to the sun. And even electrons, protons and neutrons, the particles which make up atoms, are now thought to be energy rather than matter.
Astrophysicist Michael Scott of Edinburgh University argues that: ‘the advancement of quantum physics has produced a description of reality which allows the existence of parallel universes. Composed of real substances they could would not interact with matter from our own universe.’
Professor Fred Alan Wolf seems to concur with these findings in his book Mind and the New Physician which he states: ‘as fantastic as it sounds, the new physics called quantum mechanics posits that there exists, side by side with this world, another world, a parallel universe, a duplicate copy that is somehow slightly different yet the same. And not just two parallel worlds, but three, four or even more…! In each of these universes, you, I and all the others who live, have lived, will live, and will ever have lived, are alive!’
Michael Roll has taken these findings and published them in a booklet, ‘The Physicists’ and Rationalists' case for Survival After the Death of our Physical Bodies’ in which he argues that dying is as natural as being born and that we all pass on to the next world where there are no special places reserved for any special religious group (Roll 1996).
The evidence from many scientists that the afterlife exists is overwhelming. But as stated above, there is NOT one scientist who has proved that the afterlife does not exist.
Victor Zammit BA (Psych) MA (Hist) LLB. PhD, former Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the High Court of Australia.
Last updated 22/01/2003