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Scientist Says Mind Continues After Brain Dies


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Scientist Says Mind Continues After Brain Dies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2001 (early)

 

 

By Sarah Tippit

 

 

 

 

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A British scientist studying heart attack patients

says he is finding evidence that suggests that consciousness may continue

after the brain has stopped functioning and a patient is clinically dead.

 

 

The research, presented to scientists last week at the California Institute

of Technology (Caltech), resurrects the debate over whether there is life

after death and whether there is such a thing as the human soul.

 

 

``The studies are very significant in that we have a group of people with no

brain function ... who have well-structured, lucid thought processes with

reasoning and memory formation at a time when their brains are shown not to

function,'' Sam Parnia, one of two doctors from Southampton General Hospital

in England who have been studying so-called near-death experiences (NDEs),

told Reuters in

an interview.

 

 

``We need to do much larger-scale studies, but the possibility is certainly

there'' to suggest that consciousness, or the soul, keeps thinking and

reasoning even if a person's heart has stopped, he is not breathing and his

brain activity is nil, Parnia said.

 

 

He said he and colleagues conducted an initial yearlong study, the results

of which appeared in the February issue of the journal Resuscitation. The

study was so promising the doctors formed a foundation to fund further

research and continue collecting data.

 

 

During the initial study, Parnia said, 63 heart attack patients who were

deemed clinically dead but were later revived were interviewed within a week

of their experiences.

 

 

Of those, 56 said they had no recollection of the time they were unconscious

and seven reported having memories. Of those, four were labeled NDEs in that

they reported lucid memories of thinking, reasoning, moving about and

communicating with others after doctors determined their brains were not

functioning.

 

 

FEELINGS OF PEACE

 

 

Among other things, the patients reported remembering feelings of peace, joy

and harmony. For some, time sped up, senses heightened and they lost

awareness of their bodies.

 

 

The patients also reported seeing a bright light, entering another realm and

communicating with dead relatives. One, who called himself a lapsed Catholic

and Pagan, reported a close encounter with a mystical being.

 

 

Near-death experiences have been reported for centuries but in Parnia's

study none of the patients were found to have received low oxygen levels,

which some skeptics believe may contribute to the phenomenon.

 

 

When the brain is deprived of oxygen people become totally confused, thrash

around and usually have no memories at all, Parnia said. ``Here you have a

severe insult to the brain but perfect memory.''

 

 

Skeptics have also suggested that patients' memories occurred in the moments

they were leaving or returning to consciousness. But Parnia said when a

brain is traumatized by a seizure or car wreck a patient generally does not

remember moments just before or after losing consciousness.

 

 

Rather, there is usually a memory lapse of hours or days. ''Talk to them.

They'll tell you something like: 'I just remember seeing the car and the

next thing I knew I was in the hospital,''' he said.

 

 

``With cardiac arrest, the insult to the brain is so severe it stops the

brain completely. Therefore, I would expect profound memory loss before and

after the incident,'' he added.

 

 

Since the initial experiment, Parnia and his colleagues have found more than

3,500 people with lucid memories that apparently occurred at times they were

thought to be clinically dead. Many of the patients, he said, were reluctant

to share their experiences fearing they would be thought crazy.

 

 

A TODDLER'S TALE

 

 

One patient was 2-1/2 years old when he had a seizure and his heart stopped.

His parents contacted Parnia after the boy ''drew a picture of himself as if

out of his body looking down at himself. It was drawn like there was a

balloon stuck to him. When they asked what the balloon was he said, 'When

you die you see a bright light and you are connected to a cord.' He wasn't

even 3 when had the experience,'' Parnia said.

 

 

``What his parents noticed was that after he had been discharged from

hospital, six months after the incident, he kept drawing the same scene.''

 

 

The brain function these patients were found to have while unconscious is

commonly believed to be incapable of sustaining lucid thought processes or

allowing lasting memories to form, Parnia said -- pointing to the fact that

nobody fully grasps how the brain generates thoughts.

 

 

The brain itself is made up of cells, like all the body's organs, and is not

really capable of producing the subjective phenomenon of thought that people

have, he said.

 

 

He speculated that human consciousness may work independently of the brain,

using the gray matter as a mechanism to manifest the thoughts, just as a

television set translates waves in the air into picture and sound.

 

 

``When you damage the brain or lose some of the aspects of mind or

personality, that doesn't necessarily mean the mind is being produced by the

brain. All it shows is that the apparatus is damaged,'' Parnia said, adding

that further research might reveal the existence of a soul.

 

 

``When these people are having experiences they say, 'I had this intense

pain in my chest and suddenly I was drifting in the corner of my room and I

was so happy, so comfortable. I looked down and realized I was seeing my

body and doctors all around me trying to save me and I didn't want to go

back.

 

 

``The point is they are describing seeing this thing in the room, which is

their body. Nobody ever says, 'I had this pain and the next thing I knew my

soul left me.'''

 

I would like to add that I myself suffered severe trauma to the brain and was in a coma for a lengthy period. I did not see any white lights, or have any out of body experiences. I felt............ nothing. I have no recollection of anything at all. I just woke up and found that I'd been in hospital in a coma. To this day I still don't remember any of the event that nearly ended it all for me - and in a way I'm thankful that I can't recollect any of it.

 

I DO NOT believe in a "soul" either. Anyone care to comment?

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Well, a long time ago, I knew a 5 year old who almost drowned and had a near-death experience. It's harder for 5 year olds to interject social conditioning into these things - for that reason I find her experience interesting. Her family is devout Christian - one would expect her to see Jesus the way she'd been taught to think of him.

 

But, since she was only 5 her experience was less a social conditioning. She told us (I was there - it happened at a pool birthday party my daughter had been invited to - I was there to help the Mom of this little girl. The girl's father was/is a police officer and I was there as he performed CPR. Actually I called 911. I was also there as she came to and I listened as she talked to her parents about the experience).

 

1. I do not fear death after listening to her - something let's go when a person comes that close. I don't know what it is and I can't define it. But every adult in that situation was terribly upset, not her - she truly was peaceful and not upset in the least. She was 5 at the time (it was her 5th birthday) so she had no comprehension of what almost happened. Maybe it's different for adults - I don't know.

 

2. She did have a near death experience - but she did not experience Jesus - the way you and I would think. (although she'd been in church every Sunday since the week she was born).

 

3. She did experience her grandmother - who died when she was only a few months old. At the time - right after she came to - when she was telling her mom that she'd met grandma - I didn't think much about it. It was only later when the mother was telling me that the child's grandmother had died when the little girl was only a few months old - that I was struck by the experience. They have pictures of the girl's grandmother in their home - so any visions this girl had could be attributed to that. But, the girl had communications with her grandmother.

 

According to this child's mother -some of the things this child said her grandmother talked to her about were things a 5 year old would have no way of knowing. They were things that predated this child's birth and they were things of the adult world. I don't know - there is always the chance the subconsciously this child absorbed conversations her parents had about family and such. But, personally I don't think that explains it all.

 

I know what I saw. What I saw was a very peaceful child - who had just come back from a near death experience. What I saw was a very innocent and honest relaying of a meeting this child had with a grandmother she never knew. The meeting she had was not physical in the sense that we think of meeting. She didn't talk about her grandmother's physical attributes. She talked about her grandmother's love, about being safe with grandma. She told her father (the grandmother's son) some things that she would have no way of knowing as these family events preceded her own birth. Her father had lost a brother when he was a little boy, the grandmother wanted the little girl to tell her father that his brother was there too. The parents truly don't remember ever mentioning this brother to the child. He died when he was a baby. But, somehow she knew.

 

___________________________

 

Also - my mother was a nurse on the surgery floor for most of her career. She's retired now. She taught us children to be very careful what we say around people who are in a coma. She has reminded us as adults that she's seen people come out of comas and be able to tell about out-of-body experiences where they saw and heard things in the hospital - that they physically would have no way of knowing. She's convinced there is some awareness level there.

 

_____________________________

 

Yes ... I do believe there is something. Call it heaven if you will, I believe there is awareness beyond this life.

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So what? "One scientist" can claim anything they want. "One scientist" claims the Earth is only 6000 years old. The one scientist mentioned above also likes to lie. He claims to have "evidence" of continuation after brain death. He got that idea by interviewing people that had been NEAR death. Once you're "clinically dead" you don't come back for interviews. And about all that stuff the people saw? Nothing new there. Same old stuff. Here is a good article that explains it all.

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I agree with Dave.

 

Not discounting NDE's, because I do want to believe that there--maybe--something more(but I'm fine with the possibility of oblivion). However, where is the definitive proof of this?

Why doesn't everyone visualize the samething?

 

Lastly, where is the clinically dead person who came back(I'm not talking a few hours or a coma)and gave us the details?

 

It is still ALL speculation...totally, even if it is a little kid who has an NDE.

 

I'm not trying to be ultra cynical, but this scientist is still basing a hypothesis on blind faith.

 

No one knows what happens after death...Including those people who could have been hallucinating. Yeah, you might--technically--be way under when you goto the hospital operating room. But there is a difference between those who go into recovery and those that go into the ground. I want the opinions of people who've been buried, please.

 

Look, I am not ruling it out. Because I happen to believe we go on after death. However, my opinion is based on the modicrum of faith that I still have left...Again, I don't know either way.

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I'm perfectly fine with there being no afterlife. I almost prefer it actually. Thus far, everything I've found on the subject has been proven to have less spectacular explanations, and I'm sure this will either turn out the same or be shown as a hoax.

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Just because one or two scientists or even "experts" say something doesn't necessarily make it true. That is why scientific research needs to be peer-reviewed. I really wish the news media wouldn't report things like that until the research has been peer-reviewed.

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Agreed.

 

For myself, while I think it would be nice to have a way to keep on growing, learning and exploring after my short time on this tiny little rock in space is done, Mark Twain sums my thoughts up rather nicely.

 

Samuel Clemens was one asked whether he feared death. He answered that he did not, in view of the fact that he had been dead for billions and billions of years before he was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.
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Yes the big misnomer and what the public tends to believe is that when the heart stops and the monitor is flat lined, the preson is dead, and therefore when he is jumpstarted back into rythym, he was once clinically dead and is now alive to tell about it.

 

As Mythra said, no one who has ever been revived has had a dead brain. We will never have an interview with someone who came back from brain death.

 

 

Ever since I saw a lecture by Kent Havlind who claims to be a scientist and stated the earth is 6000 years old, I now believe any one scientist with an agenda can say anything, and most of the gullible public will believe anything said by a so called scientist. That is why fine folks like us must educate those we know and love.

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That quoted article stinks in at least one way.

 

It claims that in the cases examined there was no lack of oxygen to those brains.

 

What the fuck?! When the heart stops or circulation in any other way gets interrupted, the first thing those brain cells do is use up any remaining oxygen (and nutrients) in the blood that happens to be at their location! Of course there is lack of oxygen!

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Hmmm seems an unwarranted attack on Dr. Parnia and his initial research from most on this topic.

I personally think there may be more to all of this. Dr.Parnia even says that alot more research is needed, with a much larger sample of people.

 

How do some people, who have suffered a trauma such as cardiac arrest, with flat line EEG readings report well structured thought processes with reasoning and memory?

 

He reports on the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other substances present in the blood during the episode. And also what drugs were administered. If anything, in this initial study, he found oxygen levels slightly higher in the NDE group.

 

He in no way says that this is the end of the matter, and alot more research is needed. So I don,t understand the strength of the attack against him and his initial reasearch.

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Indeed. The fact that the people who experienced these things are still alive says that they really didn't die. Close to death, even immeasurably close to death. But not dead.

 

Before the religious nuts get a hold of this as proof of their religion, I'd like to know the 'faith' or otherwise of these "3,500 people with lucid memories" obviously before their 'experience'. I'd also like to know about such events happening in other cultures, to compare + contrast, etc...

 

Then, of course, there's the myriad of people who have had been clinically dead and survived yet had no "near death experience" (Like Jun, Kerry Packer, and others). But news sellers + fundy nuts aren't interested in those

 

I'm agnostic about these things. I'm also ambivalent. If some form of conciousness continues after physical death, so be it. If not, so be it. As long as I don't have to share such a post-corporeal state with raving looney fundies.

 

That would be hell.

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Any scientist that cites NDE's as proof of a disembodied consciousness, a mind which is separate from brain function, should not be called a scientist.

 

Here is a brief passage from the very good article MIND-BRAIN DEPENDENCE AS TWO-FOLD SUPPORT FOR ATHEISM

 

In his 1997 book Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time, Michael Shermer proffers the following account of various drugs and the striking similarity between their usual effects and some of the most common elements of NDEs:

 

A... likely [naturalistic] explanation [for NDEs] looks to biochemical and neurophysiological causes. We know... that the hallucination of flying is triggered by atropine and other belladonna alkaloids... DMT (dimethyltryptamine) causes the perception that the world is enlarging or shrinking. MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine) stimulates the feeling of age regression so that things we have long forgotten are brought back into memory. And, of course, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) triggers visual and auditory hallucinations and creates a feeling of oneness with the cosmos... The fact that there are receptor sites in the brain for such artificially processed chemicals means that there are naturally produced chemicals in the brain that, under certain conditions (the stress of trauma or an accident, for example), can induce any or all of the experiences typically associated with an NDE.

 

 

 

 

Another very good internet article on this subject is THE CASE AGAINST IMMORTALITY by Keith Augustine. It says this about NDE's:

 

Some findings of NDE research are more consistent with physiological and psychological models. None of the patients who report NDEs are brain dead because brain death is irreversible (Beyerstein 46). First, NDEs only occur in one-third of all cases where there is a near-death crisis (Ring 194). Second, the details of NDEs depend on the individual's personal and cultural background (Ring 195). Third, physiological and psychological factors affect the content of the NDE. Noises, tunnels, bright lights, and other beings are more common in physiological conditions directly affecting the brain state, such as cardiac arrest and anesthesia, whereas euphoria, mystical feelings, life review, and positive transformation can occur when people simply believe they are going to die (Blackmore, "Dying" 44-45). Fourth, the core features of NDEs are found in drug-induced and naturally occurring hallucinations (Siegel 174). The OBE can be induced by the anesthetic ketamine (Blackmore, "Dying" 170). A tunnel experience is a common form of psychedelic hallucination (Siegel 175-6). All NDE stages have occurred in sequence under the influence of hashish (Blackmore, "Dying" 42-3). Fifth, a build-up of carbon dioxide in the brain will induce NDEs (Blackmore, "Dying" 53-4). Sixth, the panoramic life review closely resembles a form of temporal lobe epilepsy (206). There are even cases where epileptics have had OBEs or seen apparitions of dead friends and relatives during their seizures (206). Seventh, computer simulations of random neural firing based on eye-brain mapping of the visual cortex have produced the tunnel and light characteristic of NDEs (84). Eighth, the fact that naloxone--an opiate antagonist that inhibits the effects of endorphins on the brain--terminates near-death experiences provides some confirmation for the endorphin theory of NDEs:

 

Within a minute [after being injected with naloxone] he awoke in an agitated state, and later reported an NDE-like experience that apparently was interrupted by the naloxone, suggesting that the experience may have been mediated by opioid peptides (Saavedra-Aguilar and Gomez-Jeria 210-211).

Finally, NDEs can be induced by direct electrical stimulation of brain areas surrounding the Sylvian fissure in the right temporal lobe (Morse 104).

 

Now, if a religionist wants to believe in an afterlife, because his deity can do magic - that's his right I suppose. Faith allows for any combination of fantasies.

 

But, a scientist ought to know better.

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I'll say this one last time. Scientists are not prophets, nor are they revered clergymen. They are educated human beings whose work stands or falls on its ability to withstand the criticism of peer review. I'd love to see the peer review of this claim.

 

Edit: Oops... looks like someone beat me to it.

 

Just because one or two scientists or even "experts" say something doesn't necessarily make it true. That is why scientific research needs to be peer-reviewed. I really wish the news media wouldn't report things like that until the research has been peer-reviewed.

Yes, exactly. The problem is that I don't think the news media, nor the public at large, really understands science. They assume, as I said, that scientists are the secular version of prophets, and that once a scientist says something, it should be taken as the gospel. So when science changes its mind (as if science was a single entity), they take it as a sign of science's weakness.

 

The public and the news media has it wrong. Scientists are not people who are simply at liberty to make bold claims. They are actually responsible for demonstrating and substantiating their claims.

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I'm with Mr. Neil. Let the science be peer reviewed before rushing to judgment. The scientist in no way appears to be endorsing any one religion, nor is he even saying that anything conclusive has been found. I think this is an area of science that should be explored with absolutely no preconceived notions, religious or skeptical, and I find it interesting that people who are pro-science and scientific inquiry in other cases will readily attack science when it doesn't match with their beliefs. Let's be skeptical and keep an open mind, questioning all the evidence as it's presented. Not pseudo-skeptical cynics who disbelieve all evidence no matter how strong it is.

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Hmmm seems an unwarranted attack on Dr. Parnia and his initial research from most on this topic.

I personally think there may be more to all of this. Dr.Parnia even says that alot more research is needed, with a much larger sample of people.

 

How do some people, who have suffered a trauma such as cardiac arrest, with flat line EEG readings report well structured thought processes with reasoning and memory?

 

He reports on the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other substances present in the blood during the episode. And also what drugs were administered. If anything, in this initial study, he found oxygen levels slightly higher in the NDE group.

 

He in no way says that this is the end of the matter, and alot more research is needed. So I don,t understand the strength of the attack against him and his initial reasearch.

 

I don't know that anyone's necessarily "attacking" Dr. Parnia here, we're just exercising skepticism in the face of what is a very bold claim. The burden of proof on him for this one is HUGE.

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I'm perfectly fine with there being no afterlife. I almost prefer it actually. Thus far, everything I've found on the subject has been proven to have less spectacular explanations, and I'm sure this will either turn out the same or be shown as a hoax.

 

Same here. The prospect of no afterlife is far more appealing than the notion that there is one, but it will consist of great rewards for a few and eternal agony for the rest, just because they didn't believe the unproven.

 

Like many of you, I don't believe that such a thing as a "soul" exists. The notion of an afterlife is a psychological device that helps people align their survival instinct with their intellectual knowledge that they will die. In terms of evolution, if a soul exists, it must have come to exist at some point. If you accept the typical xtian notion that a soul is what differentiates humans from other species, then how did it evolve, and when? The more we study animal intelligence, the more eerily like us we find other creatures to be. Dolphins have been shown to have self awareness, chimpanzees have a notion of fairness, gorillas can think symbolically. (Discovery Channel!) It's just hard to develop an understanding because we can't communicate with them.

 

What we call the "soul", in my notion, is an amazing product of chemistry and physics, working through biology so effectively it's nearly impossible to tell that it's happening.

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Actually, Dr. Parnia says very little of any substance himself. The real spin to the article is being put in by its author. The initial study of only 63 cases is too small to be statistically meaningful, and the larger follow-up of a cohort of 3500 apparently was based on purely subjective reports that may or may not have any real significance. Anyone who reads this article should assume nothing, not only based on the way it's written but also that it contains some statements that are doubtful.

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Actually, Dr. Parnia says very little of any substance himself. The real spin to the article is being put in by its author...

 

Good point. The popular media does a crappy job of covering science stories.

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Hmmm seems an unwarranted attack on Dr. Parnia and his initial research from most on this topic.

I personally think there may be more to all of this. Dr.Parnia even says that alot more research is needed, with a much larger sample of people.

Yes, we do need to study why a large number of people absolutely refuse to accept death. The Dr. in question here has a glaringly obvious bias and cannot see that his own observer bias has created a huge flaw in his "research." And there has been a lot of research on NDE's. Not one of them has found any evidence there there might be a hint of evidence that anything survives after the death of the brain except the physical brain itself. We don't need to waste any more money on this when that money could be used for better purposes like finding a cure for cancer.
How do some people, who have suffered a trauma such as cardiac arrest, with flat line EEG readings report well structured thought processes with reasoning and memory?
Because no one with a flat line EEG has any thought processes. Someone has been feeding you mythinformation. People suffing from heart attacks are not put on an EEG, they get an EKG. If you have a flat line EEG, you aren't going to be coming back to tell about it.
He reports on the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other substances present in the blood during the episode. And also what drugs were administered. If anything, in this initial study, he found oxygen levels slightly higher in the NDE group.
Such would go against what is already known. It takes quite a bit of proof to change what is already known. One doctor researching out of his field is not going to change anything. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. He has provided no proofs.
He in no way says that this is the end of the matter, and alot more research is needed. So I don,t understand the strength of the attack against him and his initial reasearch.
Because he is wrong. :shrug:
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If you have a flat line EEG, you aren't going to be coming back to tell about it.

That's actually untrue. Doctors will sometimes flatline a person's brain so that they can perform surgery on it. And there have been cases of alleged NDEs during an EEG flatlining.

He reports on the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other substances present in the blood during the episode. And also what drugs were administered. If anything, in this initial study, he found oxygen levels slightly higher in the NDE group.
Such would go against what is already known. It takes quite a bit of proof to change what is already known. One doctor researching out of his field is not going to change anything. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. He has provided no proofs.

No one has "proved" the Theory of Evolution, either. That doesn't mean it's wrong. And his only claim that I saw was that some people said they had NDEs, that there was evidence something happened and that more research is needed in order to draw any conclusions.

He in no way says that this is the end of the matter, and alot more research is needed. So I don,t understand the strength of the attack against him and his initial reasearch.
Because he is wrong. :shrug:

That's rather close-minded. No one has ever proved that there is or is not any such thing as NDEs. For you to say he is wrong, you must know everything there is to know and be able to prove it. Otherwise, there is always the possibility that you are wrong.

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If you have a flat line EEG, you aren't going to be coming back to tell about it.
That's actually untrue. Doctors will sometimes flatline a person's brain so that they can perform surgery on it. And there have been cases of alleged NDEs during an EEG flatlining.
From what a doctor explained to me is that it's not a complete flat line. You don't come back from a flat line.
....No one has "proved" the Theory of Evolution, either......
:shrug: Semantics. I'm anti semantic.
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He reports on the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other substances present in the blood during the episode. And also what drugs were administered. If anything, in this initial study, he found oxygen levels slightly higher in the NDE group.
Such would go against what is already known. It takes quite a bit of proof to change what is already known. One doctor researching out of his field is not going to change anything. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. He has provided no proofs.
No one has "proved" the Theory of Evolution, either. That doesn't mean it's wrong. And his only claim that I saw was that some people said they had NDEs, that there was evidence something happened and that more research is needed in order to draw any conclusions.
I wouldn't hang someone on a single word. Actually the phrase is that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". From what I see here, the kind of "evidence" we have here is the very kind of evidence that we've learned not to trust: anecdotal.

 

The funny thing about NDE's is that they almost always occur within the context of a person's personal beliefs. They'll see exactly what they think they should be seeing. Christians will see Christian imagery. Muslims will see whatever it is they think they should be seeing, and so on. I would submit that as evidence against NDE as genuine experiences and rather just the brain acting goofy when traumatized.

 

While I know that dreaming is not entirely analogous to being in a coma, I do know from personal experience (and you can try this too) that if I can hear things while I'm asleep, I tend to contextualize them in my dreams. My dream attempts to make sense of what I'm hearing. One of the things that I've learned over the years about people who are in comas and near death is that hearing is the last of all the sensory functions to go. I'm not going to state this for certain, but I think it's likely that if you can hear what sounds like a doctor trying to revive you, that your brain is probably going to try to contextualize what it hears.

 

That is to say, that you see a third-person perspective of a doctor leaning over a body, attempting to revive it. Whether the person in the situation actually sees himself or simply assumes so upon later recollection is something that I submit for speculation.

 

Again, I would love to see this doctor's claims put through the wringer of peer review and see what survives.

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I wouldn't hang someone on a single word. Actually the phrase is that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". From what I see here, the kind of "evidence" we have here is the very kind of evidence that we've learned not to trust: anecdotal.
I was relying upon my memory, which is something I forget not to do.. :lmao: Thanks for the correction. And another thing you got right was the anecdote; they are unreliable.

 

Now would be a good time for some to review "A Field Guide to Critical Thinking" and bookmark it.

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From what I see here, the kind of "evidence" we have here is the very kind of evidence that we've learned not to trust: anecdotal.

But sometimes that's the only evidence we have to go on. I'm not saying that you should always trust anecdotal evidence, but there are times when it is appropriate to trust it. For example, eBay. The reviews there are completely anecdotal, yet people trust sellers with higher ratings that are based completely on anecdotal evidence.

 

Here's another example. When I was in college I happened to be flipping through the channels one night and on the university's public access channel there was a porno showing. No one else was in my room to witness it and there's no one I know of that could verify it. It wasn't HBO or any other pay channel because I didn't get those channels. Now given the fact that there is nothing I can provide you in the way of evidence other than anecdotal that this happened, does that mean it didn't happen? Of course not.

 

Now would be a good time for some to review "A Field Guide to Critical Thinking" and bookmark it.

Absolutely. A lack of critical thinking makes people gullible and willing to believe anything. For example, believing that we found WMDs in Iraq. :)

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