No, there’s not. In order to believe otherwise, you would have to be willing to radically alter our fundamental understanding of physics on the basis of almost no evidence. Which I’m not willing to do. But others feel differently! So we’re going to have a debate about it tonight — to be live-streamed, see below.
This is an Intelligence Squared debate, which is a series of Oxford-style formal debates that are held around the world, often with quite impressive participants. Four people, two on each side of a resolution. Seven-minute opening statements, round-table discussion, then two-minute closing statements. No slides or other visual aids; just bare-knuckle combat in the gladiatorial arena of ideas.
The resolution simply reads “Death Is Not Final,” and it will be affirmed by Eben Alexander and Raymond Moody, both of whom have written best-selling books along these lines. Alexander, in particular, is a neurosurgeon who had a near-death experience and now claims to have proof of the existence of Heaven. (For a skeptical take on Alexander, see this Esquire profile.) I’ll be negating the resolution, along with my partner Steven Novella. Steve is a practicing neuroscientist who is also active in the skeptic movement, blogging at Neurologica and leading the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast.
Festivities begin at 6:45pm Eastern Time. It will be broadcast on various NPR stations around the US, but you should also be able to see it live-streamed right here:
If you can’t catch the live-stream but still want to watch, I presume it will go on YouTube eventually, but I don’t know for sure.
To get a feeling for how an Intelligence Squared debate goes, you might check out Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens persuading a large group of people that the Catholic Church has harmed the world.