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Martin, M. and K. Augustine. 2015. The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Rowland & Littlefield Publishers.

Notes and Contents by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida

Political Issues Main

Foreword: On the Origin of Afterlife Beliefs by Means of Memetic Selection - Steve Stewart-Williams

Where did the idea of the afterlife come from?

A plethora of theories:

Wishful Thinking - Religious beliefs are molly-coddling illusions.

Social Glue - Religious beliefs hold societies together.

Social Control - Religious beliefs are tools of social manipulation.

Primitive Science - Religious beliefs are a failed attempt by primitive people to understand the world.

Preface. xxvii

1. Introduction. 1. Keith Augustine

Part I: Empirical Arguments for Annihilation. 49.

2. Dead as a Doornail: Souls, Brains, and Survival. 49. Matt McCormick

3. Explaining Personality: Soul Theory versus Behavior Genetics 69. Jean Mercer.

4. Dissolution into Death: The Mind's Last Symptoms Indicate Annihilation. 83. David Weisman.

5. The Argument from Brain Damage Vindicated. 105. Rocco J. Gennaro and Yonatan I. Fishman.

6. No Mental Life After Brain Death: The Argument from the Neural Localization of Mental Functions. 135. Gualtiero Piccinini and Sonya Bahar.

7. The Neural Substrate of Emotions and Emotional Processing. 171. Calos J. Alvarez.

8. Brain, Language, and Survival after Death. 183. Terence Hines.

9. The Brain that Doesn't Know Itself: Persons Oblivious to their Neurological Deficits. 195. Jamie Horder.

10. The Dualist's Dilemma: The High Cost of Reconciling Neuroscience with a Soul. 203. Keith Augustine and Yonatan I. Fishman.

Part II: Conceptual and Empirical Difficulties for Survival. 293.

11. Why Survival is Metaphysically Impossible. 297. Raymond D. Bradley.

12. Conceptual Problems Confronting a Totally Disembodied Afterlife. 329. Theodore M. Drange.

13. What Could Pair a Nonphysical Soul to a Physical Body? 335. Jaegwon Kim.

14. Nonphysical Souls Would Violate Physical Laws. 349. David L. Wilson.

15. There is No Trace of Any Soul Linked to the Body. 369. David Papineau.

16. Since Physical Formulas are not Violated, No Soul Controls the Body. 377. Leonard Angel.

17. The Implausibility of Astral Bodies and Astral Worlds. 393. Susan Blackmore.

18. The Pluralizability Objection to a New-body Afterlife. 405. Theodore M. Drange.

19. Life After Death and the Devastation of the Grave. 409. Eric T. Olson.

Part III. Problematic Models of the Afterlife. 425.

20. Problems with Heaven. 427. Michael Martin.

21. Can God Condemn One for an Afterlife in Hell? 441. Raymond D. Bradley.

22. Objections to Karma and Rebirth: An Introduction. 473. Ingrid Hansen Smythe.

Part IV: Dubious Evidence for Survival. 499.

23. Giving Up the Ghost to Psychology. 503. Rense Lange and James Houran.

24. Out-of-Body Experiences are not Evidence for Survival. 519. Susan Blackmore.

25. Near-Death Experiences are Hallucinations. 529. Keith Augustine.

26. A Critique of Ian Stevenson's Rebirth Research. 571. Champe Ransom.

27. Is There Adequate Empirical Evidence for Reincarnation?: An Analysis of Ian Stevenson's Work. 575. Leonard Angel.

28. Conjecturing Up Spirits in the Improvisations of Mediums. 585. Claus Flodin Larsen.

29. Madness in the Method: Fatal Flaws in Recent Mediumship Experiments. 615. Christian Battista, Nicolas Gauvrit, and Etienne Lebel.

30. Is There Life After Death?: A Review of the Supporting Evidence. 631. David Lester.

Index. 651

About the Contributors. 669.


For an article about this book see Dieguez, S. Heaven is Not for Real. Skeptic.

Related summaries:

Dawkins, R. 2008. The God Delusion. A Mariner Book, Houghton Mifflin Company. (Summary).