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Life After Death: The Evidence by Dinesh D'Souza

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Life After Death: The Evidence by Dinesh D'Souza

The cover of Life After Death: The Evidence by Dinesh D'Souza

Regnery Publishing

The Bottom Line

For those intrigued by how scientific evidence and religious beliefs can coexist, this is an intriguing and worthwhile book. It doesn't offer solid answers, but presents the physics (and other science topics) and philosophical issues in a way that attempts - to a fair degree of success - to bring into doubt the assumptions that lead to a strict materialistic view of the universe. However, read by itself, this book gives the misleading view that these arguments close the matter. It should be read along with at least some of the major atheist books to get a full view on the subject.

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Pros

  • Brings into question core philosophical assumptions about the nature of material reality
  • Great discussions about the methodologies of scientific inquiry

Cons

  • Some of the science is addressed superficially, without addressing complexities at their root. The physics discussion is so theoretical that it could well be misleading and the discussions of neuroscience is extremely at odds with the conventional interpretation of the experts in the field.
  • Book is written with an agenda. Atheist books should also be read to make a full assessment.
  • Doesn't make it clear that much of his evidence is at odds with a literal reading of Genesis.

Description

  • Published 2009 by Regnery Publishing, Inc.
  • 235 pages of text, plus 18 pages of notes and a 10-page index
  • Written by Dinesh D'Souza, conservative author of What's So Great About Christianity.

Guide Review - Life After Death: The Evidence by Dinesh D'Souza

I should begin this review by noting that I debated whether or not to even review this intriguing book, as it is not strictly a science book, and of the science covered only a small portion is physics. But there are some intriguing physics and fundamental science concepts discussed. Still, keep in mind that this review is of the physics contained in this book, not of the book as a whole.

Life After Death is written as a means of combating the arguments put forth by atheists. It makes the case that belief in an afterlife is a rational belief, and does so not by invoking revelation, but by an apply to rational philosophical strategies. In the end, he does make his case for a Christian worldview, but does so through a means different from the usual invocation of biblical authority.

The chapter most pertaining to physics is Chapter 5: The Physics of Immortality, which covers the concepts of multiple universes & extra dimensions (elements of cosmology and string theory) and dark matter/dark energy. D’Souza invokes these concepts for three basic reasons:

  1. To prove that it is rational for a scientist to believe in unseen phenomena as a means of explaining some property of the seen world.
  2. To demonstrate that there is, in theory, a physical location where heaven/hell could physically exist.
  3. To show that science itself does not firmly understand the nature of matter (75% of matter is mysterious and unseen dark matter), so a strict materialistic view of reality doesn't rest on a solid foundation.
Overall, these three conclusions from this evidence seem fairly reasonable, and I found no real manipulation of the data required to get to them. So, in that sense, the science is handled well, if briefly. (The whole physics chapter, covering relativity, quantum physics, string theory, dark matter, and dark energy, comes in at 17 pages.)

In another sense, however, D’Souza is stacking the deck in his favor. (In fairness, so do the atheists.) He does not make it clear that unseen entities are invoked only as a last resort and only in precise ways. When scientists invoke unseen entities unnecessarily, they are ridiculed for it ... or when they invoke unseen entities but cannot quantitatively describe the ways those phenomena impact the situation at hand. We don’t know much about dark matter, but we know with certainty that, whatever other properties it possesses, it must interact gravitationally with ordinary matter (assuming, of course, that it does exist and there isn’t another explanation).

Despite the superficiality on some of these topics, the book overall should be intriguing to all scientists because it brings into question our most fundamental, often unspoken assumption: that the material world is understandable in purely material terms.

Does it convince me that there is life after death? No, not in the least. There are assorted other flaws with the book, which I examine elsewhere, such as the highly skewed discussion of neuroscience, which ignores the established understanding by most experts in the field. But the discussion about physics is, surprisingly enough, actually fairly solid.

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