Syllabus: Human Consciousness & Survival Studies

Instructor: Loyd Auerbach, MS


This unique eight week course will be broadcast live on Monday evenings, but many students choose to watch the recordings of the classes if they cannot attend them live. The first broadcast will be on Monday, September 28, 2015 at 7:00pm, and the course continues through Monday, November 16, 2015. Besides the weekly class broadcasts, there is an online discussion forum for students to share their ideas, answer questions about the lectures, and communicate with the instructors.


About the Course

This 8 week academic course will examine the phenomena, experiences, and research related to the survival of human consciousness outside of the physical body. The course reviews the characteristics of Near Death Experiences (NDEs), Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), and after death communication (Mediumship) and examines the current research that is occurring in this area. Additional topics related to the survival of consciousness, including apparitions and hauntings, will also be explored.

Besides a discussion of the description of the phenomena and the evidence supporting the survival hypothesis, the course will also discuss qualitative investigations and laboratory studies into the effects of these experiences on individuals, and counseling efforts that have been used to help people with these experiences.

Required Text: Articles will be assigned and provided in the classroom, or linked from the classroom.


Course Outline



WEEK 1: OVERVIEW AND INTRODUCTION

            Overview of the course topics, assignments and grading

            Concepts and Definitions

            What is Consciousness?

            Philosophy & Consciousness: Materialism, Dualism, and Pluralism

            Physics, Neuroscience and Consciousness

            The Question of “What Survives?”

 

WEEK 2: A) EVIDENCE FOR SURVIVAL OF BODILY DEATH?

Looking at Survival-related phenomena/experiences in general as potential evidence for Survival of Consciousness

Out of Body Experiences

Near Death Experiences

Apparitions & Hauntings

Mediumship and Channeling

Reincarnation

 

B) OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCES

            Characteristics of the OBE

            OBEs and Dreams, Apparitions, and Bilocation

            OBEs and Near Death Experiences

            The Skeptical Viewpoint

Veridical OBEs vs. Non-Veridical

Are OBEs in and of themselves Evidence of Survival?

 

 

WEEK 3: NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES

NDEs, further defined

            Characteristics of Near Death Experiences

            History of NDEs

            NDEs and the Afterlife

            NDEs and Cross Cultural Issues

            After-Effects of the NDE

            Research on NDEs: Past and Present

            Neuroscience Research and Explanations

            Psychological Research and Explanations

            Debating the Explanations

            Are NDEs in and of themselves Evidence of Survival?

            Counseling Issues

 

WEEK 4: APPARITIONS & HAUNTINGS

            Apparitions and Hauntings, further defined and examined

            Apparitions of the Living

            Crisis Apparitions

Apparitions of the Dead

            Deathbed Apparitions

            Investigative Questions     

The Skeptical Viewpoint & Alternative Explanations

Place Memory vs. Consciousness

            Are Apparitions Evidence of Survival?   

Mid-Term Quiz

 

WEEK 5: REINCARNATION

Cross Cultural/Religious Belief in Reincarnation

Signs of Reincarnation

Spontaneous Past Life Recall by Adults

Children Who Remember Previous Lives

Past Life Regression: Evidence of Reincarnation?

Investigative Questions

The Skeptical Viewpoint & Alternative Explanations: Past Lives or Something Else?

Is Reincarnation Evidence of Survival?

 

WEEK 6: AFTER-DEATH COMMUNICATION: MEDIUMSHIP AND MORE

Forms of After-Death Communication

Field Investigations/Research of Spiritualist Mediums: 19th – early 20th centuries

Mediumship Around the World

Evidential Mediums and the Evidence

           

 

WEEK 7: AFTER-DEATH COMMUNICATION: MEDIUMSHIP AND MORE, CONTINUED

            Recent Field Research & Investigation with Mediums

            Mediums, Apparitions and Hauntings

Laboratory Research with Mediums: Historically and Today

Skeptical Arguments/Explanations

The Place of Mediums in the Grief Process/Therapy

After-Death Communication Research (other than mediumship)

Is Mediumship/After-Death Communication Evidence of Survival?

 

WEEK 8: A) SURVIVAL OF CONSCIOUSNESS, SUPER PSI, OR SOMETHING ELSE?

The Super-Psi hypothesis, Especially as Applied to OBEs, NDEs, Mediumship and Survival in General

Arguments Against Survival from the Perspective of Materialism

 

            B) COURSE WRAP UP:

Summary of Points

Is there Evidence for Survival of Human Consciousness, or is it Wishful Thinking?

           

Final Quiz

 



Grading for this course

All students are considered to be auditing the courses, but students may choose to take this course for a letter grade. Whether being graded or not, all students are encouraged to participate fully in this class and join in the online discussions. This provides an opportunity to get the full experience of the online class and learn the most about the topics that are presented.

Students taking this course for a letter grade will be evaluated using the following information.

Grading and Assessments
Discussion Participation (40% of your grade)

Engagement with discussion forums throughout the course

  • 5% for each discussion question for the 8 weeks of the course  (total 40%)
  • Besides answering the discussion questions, students should participat in the discussions by posting responses to the posts of other students.
Assessment I (30% of your grade)
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online).
Assessment II (30% of your grade)
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online).

All information contained on this page is the sole property of the Rhine Education Center and the Rhine Research Center. This information cannot be reproduced or reused without the expressed written permission of the Rhine Research Center.