Why isn’t there more research on what happens after this life?

Why isn’t there more research on what happens after this life?

After all, it’s clearly an important topic. All of us will die. It has a direct bearing on what worldview we adopt as a consensus worldview in our modern society. And it is possible to study. (And some do, as outlined in – among other books – Surviving Death by Leslie Kean.)

So if there are good reasons to do this type of research, and a few already do, why isn’t there more research?

The most obvious answer is that it’s (still) taboo in our modern society. It goes against the consensus atheist view of modern science. (Which I mostly agree with apart from when it creates a taboo.) And it steps into a minefield of opinions from religions and religious people around the world. For both of those reasons, you risk upsetting people if you enter this field through research.

That’s perhaps why it has become a taboo. And why most scientists leave it alone. They see it as a field for personal opinion and not something to explore through research.

Of course, it’s also irrational to maintain this taboo. As mention earlier, it’s an important topic with great ramifications for how we see ourselves and the world and it’s well within what we can do research on. There are no good reasons to not do research in this field, apart from the taboo itself.

And yet, taboos have a way of maintaining themselves. People acculturate and adopt the taboo, sometimes without even knowing what’s happening, and then ridicule and reject those who go outside of it. In this way, scientists are not necessarily more rational than anyone else.

This goes for any research on topics outside of the current mainstream view on the world, including research on ESP and the effects of energy healing.

Will it change? Probably. I can easily imagine a world where this type of research is more widely performed and accepted, and where the findings inform our consensus worldview. After all, it is important. And we can do good research on it.


Initial notes…

  • Why isn’t there more research on what happens after this life?
    • LK book, some of the existing research
    • reasons for
      • very important, can change our whole worldview, get to support / disprove some ideas people have about it, is possible to study
    • reasons why not (yet)
      • some of the same reasons why not more research
      • ideology of atheism w/in science, would go against that ideology / worldview – may look like a cook, be a pariah, lose funding etc.
      • a minefield bc of people’s beliefs – atheism, religions etc. (will always upset someone)
    • …..

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