View Full Version : Doing independent research...
06-01-2011, 03:36 PM
I've been looking for some new reading materials lately, and I've seen several books and websites on afterlife and spirituality topics that don't seem to be mentioned one way or another in the Fun Of Dying study guide. Is there any quick way to tell which sources aren't trustworthy?
06-01-2011, 04:40 PM
Generally, there is no quick, 100% accurate way to tell which websites and book are going to be accurate, and which have either a scientific or religious bias. I'll give you a few tips that I often use but you have usually will have to read the material a little before you'll have a good idea of what it's like. If it's a website, then that's easy, it just takes some time to sort through the material. Books, however, are generally more reliable. If you don't want to risk wasting money on a book, look for it on Amazon.com and read reviews and the description. Amazon.com even let's you read the first pages/chapters of some books.
1. Generally avoid Religious Websites:
I don't want to offend anyone's religion here but, if you want honest, complete information that is not clouded by dogmas and doctrines, then you should probably stay away from religious books and websites. They can give a great understanding of the author's religion, but not unbiased research and results since they are limited by their principals and ideas of religion.
2. Avoid mainstream science Websites:
As with religion, scientists can be very stubborn and have refuted some of the best scientific evidence of the afterlife. That which they have not refuted, they continue to ignore. Some scientific websites are good, but you have to get a feel for the author(s). Most scientists will give you the factual results of an experiment they may twist it up in fancy speak and leave out the wonderful implications of it (a perfect example is how scientists can pretty much prove the mind is not in the brain through various methods, but don't tell you the implications of it).
3. Read up on the author(s) of what you're reading:
Before you buy a book, do a quick search on Google.com for the author of the material. See if they're associated with any religious or scientific cause that might sway their thinking. This may or may not be helpful, depending on how famous/well-known the author is, but it's always worth trying!
Have you read R. Craig Hogan's Your Eternal Self? If not I think you would immensely enjoy it. It's filled with evidence, and it's published by the same company that publishes Roberta's book. If you want to know what I think, private message me with a link to your material (or the name of a book), and I'll look into it for you and tell you if I think it's unbiased or not.
I hope this helps you find what you need to advance and grow, my friend!
06-01-2011, 11:27 PM
I concur with the gist of InAeumVita's advice, but in my experience there's no gain to be had in avoiding information, especially if it isn't strictly trustworthy. Don't stake anything important on the info you get from religious or pop-science sources, but reading what they have to say can provide useful insights into the perspectives they represent.
I find that a good indication of someone worth listening to is the willingness to admit that they might be wrong about something, or everything.
06-02-2011, 10:01 AM
Firebird makes a good point. Even though I like to steep myself in books and websites that really resonate with me (or my Inner Guide), I will occasionally read other material from fundamental religion to angry atheists to try to understand their worldview. If we are going to love our neighbors, we must first try to understand them if their views differ from ours.
06-02-2011, 12:49 PM
Firebird, I think you misunderstood me a bit. I am not saying not to read mainstream religious or scientific articles, rather I am saying to be careful with them because they have a tendancy to be misguided. The question that was asked was how to look for unbiased research and literature, so I responded to that. Of course it is always great to try to understand others' points of view, dear Firebird, but you should be careful not to take everything you read as truth.
I'm sorry if I was unclear!
06-02-2011, 05:02 PM
Great discussion, dear friends! All I can add is that it seems to me to be important to avoid wasting time on anything which is based in a belief-system. Read only the source materials on which those advocating their own belief-systems are based! I learned this rule decades ago, early in my research process, when I eagerly read debunker material and also some religious material, and in both cases I soon realized that anyone who has a belief-based agenda is not open-minded enough to assist someone who is seeking to find objective truths. (There were no websites forty years ago, of course, but this principle applies to them as well.) Speaking specifically about religious and scientific websites, these would be my personal rules of thumb:
1) Religious websites. Religions are belief-systems by definition, which means that no religious website can be counted on to deliver objective research. I agree with InAevumVita - if you are interested in better understanding what reality is and what the afterlife is like, you should avoid any website which seems to advocate any religious point of view. By contrast, original religious source materials - from the Tibetan and Egyptian Books of the Dead to the red letters of the Bible's four Gospels - can be useful research materials, especially if they are used as independent corroboration of facts which are obtained in other ways.
2) Scientific websites. Here is where we have to exercise discretion! The objectively-reported results of scientific research can be fabulously useful to afterlife researchers, while efforts by scientists to interpret those result often distort and destroy the very aspects of that research which would make it useful to us. Sadly, twenty-first-century mainstream science has largely devolved into one more belief-system (which can be summarized as a belief that reality is matter-based and entirely discoverable scientifically, and which often includes an atheistic bias). Avoid in particular any attempt by a mainstream scientist to scientifically explain one particular feature of any kind of afterlife evidence - I have never seen a single such attempt which was not belief-based and was in any way useful.
Thanks again, all of you, for helping so many. Afterlife research is the most addictive possible hobby (believe it or not!); and the better we can zero in on the most useful kinds of evidence, the more fun it is going to be!
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