July 8, 2013
Last October, I took Newsweek to task for its cover story "Heaven is Real," which purported to be a work of journalism. This was an excerpt from a book called Proof of Heaven, which, I predicted, would sell an enormous number of copies and make a lot of money for its author, a neurosurgeon named Eben Alexander, and for Simon & Schuster, which shamelessly bought and promoted the thing. Less than a year after its publication, it has sold nearly two million copies.
November 28, 2012
Only a few weeks after Newsweek and Simon & Schuster gave us proof of heaven, The New York Times now offers us immortality in the form of an article entitled "Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?" It is now online and will appear as the cover story in the Dec. 2 New York Times Magazine.
October 19, 2012
This week's On Science Blogs by Tabitha M. Powledge begins with a wrap-up of blogs addressing the current meningitis epidemic, including the news that many medications given in hospitals are the product of compounding pharmacies, which are only lightly regulated by the FDA.
And she notes a dark, conspiratorial link between meningitis and heaven that even the most astute commentators have missed. Last week's Newsweek cover story arguing that heaven is real was written by a neurosurgeon who saw heaven when in a coma induced by meninigitis! The meaning of this astounding coincidence is: nothing. But the scoop still goes to Powledge.
She also notes that the annual convention of science writers is coming up next weekend in Research Triangle Park, N.C., where some 500 practitioners of the trade will have the year's best excuse not to be sweating blood over their computers.
October 10, 2012
If you've been wondering, you can now put yourself at ease: Heaven is real.
That comforting end to a discussion lasting thousands of years comes not from an evangelical group, not from a pastor, not from a mystic or a saint--but from the cover of this week's Newsweek and its online counterpart The Daily Beast.
The story wastes no time telling us the author of the story, Eben Alexander, is a neurosurgeon at Harvard, and the son of a neurosurgeon. "I grew up in a scientific world... and had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death." Their "strange stories...didn't mean they had journeyed anywhere real." No religion or mysticism for him, in other words: He's a scientist.