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Keith Augustine

Born: 1976
Title: Executive Director & Editor-in-Chief, Internet Infidels
Education:

  • M.A. Philosophy, University of Maryland, College Park, 2001
  • B.A. Philosophy, University of Maryland, College Park, 1998

Books:

Chapters:

  • "Near-Death Experiences are Not Evidence for Either Atheism or Theism" in Theism and Atheism: Opposing Arguments in Philosophy ed. Joseph W. Koterski and Graham Oppy (Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2019): 594-596.
  • "Introduction" in The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case Against Life After Death ed. Michael Martin and Keith Augustine (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015): 1-47.
  • "The Dualist's Dilemma: The High Cost of Reconciling Neuroscience with a Soul" in The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case Against Life After Death ed. Michael Martin and Keith Augustine (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015): 203-292.
  • "Near-Death Experiences are Hallucinations" in The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case Against Life After Death ed. Michael Martin and Keith Augustine (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015): 529-569.

Articles:

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Keith Augustine is Executive Director and Scholarly Paper Editor of Internet Infidels. He holds a masters degree in philosophy and has special interest in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, and history of philosophy. In addition to various articles published on the Secular Web, he has contributed to Skeptic magazine and the Journal of Near-Death Studies. He is currently coediting an anthology with Michael Martin titled The Myth of Afterlife: The Case Against Life After Death, and subsequently intends to complete a cross-cultural survey of disbelief in an afterlife throughout human history for the Secular Web.

For more, see his bio and his author page in the Secular Web Library.


Published on the Secular Web


Modern Library

Hallucinatory Near-Death Experiences

This essay has been significantly revised to reflect updates that were published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies in 2007. Several points have been streamlined for clarity and to remove unnecessary verbiage. The section on psychophysiological correlates has been rewritten to be much more accessible, and now ends on a discussion of what is implied by the influence of medical factors on NDE content. A discussion of circumstantial evidence of temporal lobe instability among NDErs has been added to the section on the role of the temporal lobe in NDEs. A few points have been incorporated into the main text from Augustine's replies to Journal commentaries where they elaborate on points in the lead essays, such as a discussion of why cross-cultural diversity undermines a survivalist interpretation of NDEs. That argument is followed up by a similar one, cut for space from the Journal discussions, about the meaning of the apparently random distribution of pleasant and distressing NDEs. Additionally, a large number of new endnotes have been added to this essay. Most of these summarize the most important points of the Journal exchanges (notes 1-6, 10, 17, 20, 23, 28, and 30-32), but a significant number also concern other issues or recent developments (notes 5, 7, 8, 11-16, and 22).

A Defense of Naturalism

The first part of this essay discusses what naturalism in the philosophy of religion should entail for one's ontology, considers various proposed criteria for categorizing something as natural, uses an analysis of these proposed criteria to develop theoretical criteria for both the natural and nonnatural, and develops a set of criteria for identifying a potentially supernatural event in practice. The second part of the essay presents a persuasive empirical case for naturalism based on the lack of uncontroversial evidence for any potential instances of supernatural causation, with particular emphasis on the lack of evidence for supernatural causation in our modern scientific account of the history of the universe and in modern parapsychological research.

Can Mystical Experience be a Perception of God? A Critique of William Alston’s Perceiving God

William Alston's Perceiving God argues that some mystical experiences should be regarded as perceptions of God analogous to the perception of physical objects in sense experience. I conclude that there are several reasons for doubting that mystical experience generally—or Christian mystical experience specifically--can be a form of perception, even given Alston's epistemic commitments.

The Case Against Immortality

An analysis of the philosophical arguments and scientific evidence against life after death, one which weighs the parapsychological evidence for survival of bodily death against the physiological evidence for the dependence of consciousness on the brain This essay is divided into four main sections: Defining the Problem; The Philosophical Case Against Immortality; The Scientific Case Against Immortality; and Postscript on Survival.
Kiosk Article

Death and the Meaning of Life

This essay considers whether life is inherently meaningless if death is the permanent end of our conscious existence and our lives are not part of a higher purpose. If a sentient God existed, Augustine argues, then the value that he would attribute to our lives would not be the same as the value that we find in living and thus would be irrelevant. Therefore, we must create our own meaning for our lives regardless of whether or not our lives serve some higher purpose.
Kiosk Video

Interview with Keith Augustine on Afterlife Research

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 45-minute interview with Keith Augustine as they canvass Augustine's recent exchange with prominent psychical researchers in the Journal of Scientific Exploration (JSE). On Thanksgiving 2021, the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies (BICS) published 29 essays that it had deemed provided "hard evidence 'beyond a reasonable doubt'" for the survival of human consciousness after death. In the Summer 2022 JSE, Augustine critiqued the best of the lot, with the selected authors defending their contest-winning essays against Augustine's critique, and Augustine in turn responding to their defense before participating in a collaboration to design a preregistered experimental design that might advance the scientific debate if implemented. In this interview, Augustine delves into scientific versus legal standards of evidence and how they amount to the same thing for the purposes of this competition, what simple historical tests of survival after death have found, how researchers have used proxy sittings to make it more difficult for mediums to read cues from sitters (séance participants), how one might test paranormal powers scientifically in general, and the neuroscientific case against life after death. Tune in for a discussion that moves these issues outside of the parapsychological echo chamber and into the wider world for everyone to contemplate!

Interview with Keith Augustine on Life after Death

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this twenty-minute return interview with Keith Augustine, Executive Director & Editor-in-Chief of Internet Infidels, as they review the five main kinds of parapsychological evidence for life after death, the most persuasive of those sources and their weaknesses, and the chiefly (but not wholly) neuroscientific evidence against life after death. The interlocutors then canvass the importance of weighing the total available evidence rather than just some particular subset of it. Check out this succinct interview with our illustrious DMCA Agent!