Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander is No. 1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list as I write this and is in its 37th week on the list overall. This fact irks Bill Maher, who on his recent Real Time show lumped in Dr. Alexander, a neurosurgeon who had a near-death experience, with a string of politicians who have made headlines for saying factually incorrect things in the political arena.
Maher used the term “smart-stupid” to characterize people who are anti-intellectual with advanced degrees (i.e., Ted Cruz, Ron Paul, Phil Gingrey) and called it a phenomenon. He went on to call Dr. Alexander a neurosurgeon who thinks like a 6-year-old, a drooling idiot and a writer of pure fiction.
(From episode No. 290 – Real Time with Bill Maher, HBO)
My Unfettered Advice:
I like you a lot, Bill Maher. I agree with you on much and enjoy Real Time regularly. And I know you’re more than intelligent.
This is why I’m beyond baffled as to why you can’t just be an atheist. You have to mock those who aren’t. I ask you, is that intelligent? In this particular situation, how are you any different from these loon politicians you cite here when you present false equivalencies? They’re spouting ignorant beliefs as facts to push a political agenda.
Surely you see the difference between them and Eben Alexander. What did he have to gain by putting himself at odds with the science community that he’s a part of? It is this very fact, and his admission that he was never one for religion or spirituality, that lends so much credence to his story.
Did you read the book? Or did you cherry pick that passage about him being a speck on a butterfly wing to make him seem like a quack? Because you know what? I went to see Dr. Alexander speak in New York City and he still seems shellshocked by the experience. It has upended him. He understands that people like you are going to mock. But he knew he had to share what happened to him. There is no scientific explanation for it. He, more than anyone, is well aware how crazy it seems.
I am not religious. But I am spiritual and thoroughly enjoy reading about so much in that realm. I am what neuroscientist David Eagleman calls a Possibilian. You might be right that it’s all hocus pocus, but I am open to the possibilities that extend beyond that. Our human stories, our art, our history — they suggest to me that this life is but one stop in eternity. Might I be projecting somewhat because I hope it’s true? Sure. Anything is possible.
Bill, your atheism doesn’t faze me. But the constant drumbeat of objections to anything else being possible, well, that feels a little like someone protesting too much. You sound like one of those staunch Christians who can’t even read anything contrary to the Bible because it’s coming from the devil. Huh? Methinks a person confident in his beliefs doesn’t need to mock or block out opposing views.
Just give it some thought, will you?