Gretchen Carlson Asks Doctor (Who Is Selling A Book) If Newtown Victims Remember Attack Up In Heaven


Even in the midst of a crisis, Americans can come together and find spiritual comfort buying a line of bullshit from a nice man who sincerely believes his bullshit to be true. That's apparently why Fox & Friends had neurosurgeon Eben Alexander on their program yesterday, where he described his own "experiences" of Heaven while in a coma caused by meningitis. Alexander, who happens to be hawking a best-selling book confidently titled Proof of Heaven, had the "hopeful" message that the murdered children's families "can know that those precious souls are cherished and cared for right now.” Comfort is a good product to be peddling at a time like this, and there's a succor born every minute.

After Alexander confidently asserted that the murdered children would have experienced "being welcomed into comfort and love beyond our human understanding," Gretchen Carlson blithely reminded viewers that Alexander had "left this Earth for a week" and gone to heaven, then asked, beginning to cry, ”Will these children forget, when they’re in heaven, what happened to them?”

Alexander replied, "They will know what happened, but they will not feel the pain. They will feel the love and cherishing of being back there. And they will know that they changed this world.”

Just to make sure that Alexander could be detested both by skeptics and by theists, Brian Kilmeade then asked him “Where is the shooter?” While the obvious answer is Hell, Alexander suggested that the killer is now undergoing something like a lengthy afterlife IRS audit, like in that one Albert Brooks movie, only without Meryl Streep:

"The shooter is in a place of reviewing his own life…it’s what’s called a life review in the whole near-death literature; it’s a very real phenomenon of reliving all the events of one’s life and reliving the pain and suffering that we’ve handed out to others, but from their point of view. And in that realm that pain is felt much more intensely by the perpetrator than it was ever felt by victims here on Earth."

So sort of like Hell, but also like a combination of sensitivity training and forced empathy, so that the shooter will know what he did and feel bad about it. Dr. Alexander did not explain how he came by this knowledge during his week in the afterlife, as he presumably has not killed anyone.

We actually are torn between empathy for Ms. Carlson, who is obviously horrified at the possibility that children in Heaven might remember their final agonies, and disgust that she so unquestioningly accepted that there is any validity to this guy's supposed "expertise." We'll go with disgusted empathy for Carlson, and just plain disgust for Dr. Alexander, who, as a neurosurgeon, really should know better.

As famous-guy neurologist Oliver Sacks pointed out in the Atlantic last week, Alexander's "near death experience" is pretty much a classic hallucination of the sort that many patients experience coming out of a coma. Instead of putting his scientific training to use and using his hallucination as a jumping-off-point to advance public understanding of the brain, Alexander is trading off of his credibility as a neurosurgeon and cashing in on some comforting bullshit, simply because his hallucinations felt so very real to him. As Sacks (who is, OK, also selling a book, but it's a real book) says, Alexander's claim is "more than unscientific -- it is antiscientific. It precludes the scientific investigation of such states."

The whole sorry episode can be viewed below; depending on the dynamics of your family, you may want to brace yourselves for a wave of emails calling it either inspirational or heretical. So far, at least, we have been spared any proclamations that dead six-year-olds are now in Hell for not accepting Jesus. Then again, it's only been five days.

[Mediaite via alert Wonketteer Chascates / Atlantic / Salon]

Check out Wonkette on Facebook and Twitter and even on Tumblr. And if your idea of a near-death experience is reading The Blaze, Doktor Zoom is on Twitter, also, too.

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Fellow Wonkers, this last week of horror has been wearing on us all, because here we are in a world where the "president" of the United States has ordered that migrant children be taken away from their parents at the border, and is simultaneously proud of it (for his base) and cravenly blaming it on Democrats because even he knows it's morally reprehensible. But what the hell can we do about it beyond calling our senators and representatives and posting sadness on Twitter, the latter of which is of dubious utility to anyone, and mostly depressing?

Resist the urge to disappear into a bottle. The kids and the families need you.

Slate has compiled a great list of places to start, which we will liberally summarize for you right now:

The thing these folks need most is LAWYERS. If you're an immigration lawyer, you're probably already swamped. But on the off chance you have time and expertise to spare, the American Immigration Lawyers Association is building a list of volunteers.

Yr Dok Zoom has given money to the fine folks at RAICES, a San Antonio-based group that has two major projects. They're getting lawyers for migrant families (and for the kids when possible) and raising money to pay migrant parents' bond so they can be out of jail and with their families. If you're in Texas, then click here to volunteer!

Update: RAICES is also holding a "what you can do" webinar this Thursday:

Also for folks who are in Texas:

The Texas Civil Rights Project is seeking "volunteers who speak Spanish, Mam, Q'eqchi' or K'iche' and have paralegal or legal assistant experience."

There's also CARA -- an umbrella organization for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Together, they provide legal services at immigration detention centers.

To help kids who are already in immigration detention, there's Kids in Need of Defense, which provides children with representation in immigration court and also lobbies for children's legal interests. Donate here.

If you're not quite sure where to give, ActBlue has bundled several immigrant rights groups into a single donation button -- see the list and donate here.

Remember, there's always the ACLU, which is fighting family separation with a federal class action lawsuit.

You want to march? Former top government ethics lawyer Walter Shaub, who gave up trying to tell the Trump administration what ethics even are, will be announcing the details of a national march (think DC and local affiliated marches) tonight on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes." We'll make noise here, too.

Good people are coming together to put an end to this cruelty. EVERY Democrat in the Senate is now co-sponsoring Dianne Feinstein's bill to stop family separation.

And hell, we'll even give the last word to Jennifer Rubin, who seems to have reassessed some of her previous political views. She has a reminder for all of us:

Damn straight. Remember it every damn day between now and then.

It's your open thread. Don't boo -- organize. Time to RESIST.

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Don't take for granted that the institutions you love will always be there, like democracy, and Wonkette. Click to save at least one of them!


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There are perks to being the only Harvard professor willing to shill for the Bush League Mussolini. Everyone else has to haul ass to the Fox studio and sit for hair and makeup. Not Alan Dershowitz! He just parks his laptop in Pee Wee's playhouse and Skypes in that rant. Is he even wearing pants? We hope never to find out!

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