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My problem with NDEs

Discussions about Afterlife Research, Survival Science, Near Death Experiences, Out of Body Experiences, Spirit Communication, Mediumship, Ghosts, Spirits, etc.

My problem with NDEs

Postby agnosticee » 10 Nov 2013, 18:03

Hello all, first please forgive me if this is covered beyond the first 10 or so topics in this forum, as I think you can understand when I say I don't want to spend hours searching for an answer that may not be there.


Anyways, obviously people have a ton of different opinions on NDEs. Some people like Dr. Alexander claim that his own is proof of an afterlife. Other atheists either draw from their own experiences or others' where they died on the operating table/car crash etc. and don't remember anything; they basically experienced dreamless sleep. They then use this as evidence of nothing after death.

Now I would consider myself some kind of agnostic, who is open to the supernatural and in fact believes in ghosts and other paranormal possibilities. But let me tell you about why I have a problem with NDEs, and don't think they can be used as eveidence for or against the afterlife.

First off, does everyone here agree that as of the present, nobody can be brought back from the dead? Sure, you can be clinically dead and then revived, as this is when NDEs do or don't occur, but when one is brain dead/actually considered "dead" by a medical professional/coroner etc or they've been executed/murdered (you get the idea) that they can not be revived? I'm going to assume everyone does. (Big leap I know ;) )

Sooooo, IMO when a person is revived then they weren't REALLY dead, so why would the presence of anything experienced in this "dead but not dead state" be considered evidence? Same thing if you don't experience anything, I've been put under for surgery before and didn't experience anything, but since I didn't actually die I don't think that's proof there isn't an afterlife.

Similar to drug experiences, I once smoked too much marijuana in one session and had a bad trip, where I seemed to transcend space and time. At one point in my paranoid state I had the thought I was going to die, and that God was real and started asking for forgiveness. But when I came down, I didn't count that as any kind of proof of God, as I know my brain was acting differently because I was high.
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Re: My problem with NDEs

Postby NinjaPuppy » 13 Nov 2013, 05:48

agnosticee wrote:First off, does everyone here agree that as of the present, nobody can be brought back from the dead? Sure, you can be clinically dead and then revived, as this is when NDEs do or don't occur, but when one is brain dead/actually considered "dead" by a medical professional/coroner etc or they've been executed/murdered (you get the idea) that they can not be revived? I'm going to assume everyone does. (Big leap I know ;) )

I must disagree based on the fact that there are plenty of crappy doctors out there and I'm sure there are many misdiagnosed deaths. You will have to define your idea of "dead" vs. clinically dead and presumed dead.

agnosticee wrote:Sooooo, IMO when a person is revived then they weren't REALLY dead, so why would the presence of anything experienced in this "dead but not dead state" be considered evidence? Same thing if you don't experience anything, I've been put under for surgery before and didn't experience anything, but since I didn't actually die I don't think that's proof there isn't an afterlife.

For or against, it doesn't constitute proof, just personal experience.

And.... welcome to the fourm.
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Re: My problem with NDEs

Postby agnosticee » 13 Nov 2013, 07:48

[quote="NinjaPuppy"
I must disagree based on the fact that there are plenty of crappy doctors out there and I'm sure there are many misdiagnosed deaths. You will have to define your idea of "dead" vs. clinically dead and presumed dead. [/quote]

Ok, how about if we say that currently death is permanent, that if Jesus existed and really was the son of God etc that him being resurrected was a unique miracle? Does that help us define what I mean by "death"?

[quote="NinjaPuppy"
For or against, it doesn't constitute proof, just personal experience.

And.... welcome to the fourm.[/quote]


Well I do agree that it wouldn't provide proof to anybody other than themselves. And thanks :mrgreen:
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Re: My problem with NDEs

Postby NinjaPuppy » 13 Nov 2013, 09:24

agnosticee wrote:Ok, how about if we say that currently death is permanent, that if Jesus existed and really was the son of God etc that him being resurrected was a unique miracle? Does that help us define what I mean by "death"?


Yes, for all practical purposes death is a permanent situation, that is going to consistently result in producing a smelly, decomposing corpse. However, a NDE is not death, it's near death. Not breathing or a heart ceasing to function happens often and can be remedied easily with something as simple as CPR or those electric paddles. If some sort of medical thingy isn't applied, then usually death will follow. Someone who is considered brain dead can be kept alive via artificial technology as well as someone incapable of breathing as well as a pacemaker that can jump start a consistently failing heart. Death can be an allusive little bugger.
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Re: My problem with NDEs

Postby agnosticee » 13 Nov 2013, 10:50

NinjaPuppy wrote:
agnosticee wrote:Ok, how about if we say that currently death is permanent, that if Jesus existed and really was the son of God etc that him being resurrected was a unique miracle? Does that help us define what I mean by "death"?


Yes, for all practical purposes death is a permanent situation, that is going to consistently result in producing a smelly, decomposing corpse. However, a NDE is not death, it's near death. Not breathing or a heart ceasing to function happens often and can be remedied easily with something as simple as CPR or those electric paddles. If some sort of medical thingy isn't applied, then usually death will follow. Someone who is considered brain dead can be kept alive via artificial technology as well as someone incapable of breathing as well as a pacemaker that can jump start a consistently failing heart. Death can be an allusive little bugger.



I guess I just meant in general that I tend to believe the people who say that NDEs are most likely your brain releasing a whole bunch of trippy chemicals.

I also tend to associate actually dying/dead (the permanent dead) as being like an on/off switch, so I guess that's also why I tend to think of NDEs as being unreliable. In my estimation they are still alive and I can't imagine that any kind of soul transferring etc would occur until you are permanently dead.
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Re: My problem with NDEs

Postby NinjaPuppy » 14 Nov 2013, 02:30

agnosticee wrote:I guess I just meant in general that I tend to believe the people who say that NDEs are most likely your brain releasing a whole bunch of trippy chemicals.

That's possible. It can also seem like an OBE as well, without the 'dead' part or for that fact, like remote viewing.

agnosticee wrote:I also tend to associate actually dying/dead (the permanent dead) as being like an on/off switch, so I guess that's also why I tend to think of NDEs as being unreliable. In my estimation they are still alive and I can't imagine that any kind of soul transferring etc would occur until you are permanently dead.

I came across this quote while looking for an example to my above statement: "Death is a process and not an event."

I'm guessing that you are talking about a religion based experience, like heaven, rather than being aware of your surroundings etc as in a NDE.
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Re: My problem with NDEs

Postby gorich761 » 21 Nov 2013, 04:24

I also tend to associate actually dying/dead (the permanent dead) as being like an on/off switch, so I guess that's also why I tend to think of NDEs as being unreliable. In my estimation they are still alive and I can't imagine that any kind of soul transferring etc would occur until you are permanently dead.
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Re: My problem with NDEs

Postby NinjaPuppy » 21 Nov 2013, 23:22

gorich761 wrote:I also tend to associate actually dying/dead (the permanent dead) as being like an on/off switch, so I guess that's also why I tend to think of NDEs as being unreliable. In my estimation they are still alive and I can't imagine that any kind of soul transferring etc would occur until you are permanently dead.

That's the problem. Basically summed up as "Dead Men Tell No Tales". In order to have the opportunity to relay a personal experience of this sort the person can't be permanently dead.

I found this Wikipedia entry rather interesting about NDE's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_experience

I particularly like this paragraph in connection with this topic (bold is mine):
In September 2008, it was announced that 25 U.K. and U.S. hospitals would examine near-death studies in 1,500 heart attack patient-survivors. The three-year study, coordinated by Sam Parnia at Southampton University, hopes to determine if people without heartbeat or brain activity can have an out-of-body experience with veridical visual perceptions.[50] This study follows on from an earlier 18-month pilot project.[51] On a July 28, 2010 interview about a recent lecture at Goldsmiths,[52] Parnia (internal medicine physician by training with specialty in pulmonology, critical care, and sleep medicine) asserts that "evidence is now suggesting that mental and cognitive processes may continue for a period of time after a death has started" and describes the process of death as "essentially a global stroke of the brain. Therefore like any stroke process one would not expect the entity of mind / consciousness to be lost immediately". He also expresses his disagreement with the term 'near death experiences' because "the patients that we study are not near death, they have actually died and moreover it conjures up a lot of imprecise scientific notions, due to the fact that [death] itself is a very imprecise term".[53]
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Re: My problem with NDEs

Postby Brian Rush » 05 May 2014, 02:46

Hi, everyone. This is my first post on this forum. Curiously, I was involved recently in a discussion on this very topic on another forum (one not dedicated to either paranormal topics or skepticism), so I thought I'd weigh in here as a first post.

Just to correct a misconception I saw above, in many (but not all) cases, the NDE occurs where there is medically reversed brain death. This is not just a stopped heart or stopped breathing, but actual cessation of brain activity, reversed by medical treatment before decay could set in and make death irreversible. So by any reasonable medical standard, some of these people actually were dead, and death isn't necessarily permanent, except that eventually, of course, it always is. However, NDEs also occur sometimes when people don't die but just come close to dying. This is pretty important to know, as I'll explain in a moment.

If we could somehow show that the NDE occurs during the time the brain is dead, rather than the time leading up to it, this would go a long way towards demonstrating the existence of a vehicle of consciousness that can operate in the absence of brain activity, and that in turn, while it wouldn't establish that life after death actually happens, would show that it was theoretically possible. Unfortunately, it's impossible to do that, or at least I can see no way. The experience itself gives no information on the question. Medical instruments show only that the brain has ceased all activity, and so provide no indication of any experience happening during the brain-dead period. What's more, as noted above, the NDE happens sometimes when the brain never actually dies, so in at least some of the cases, the NDE occurs in conjunction with a living, active brain. It might be worth examining reports of NDEs in cases of actual brain death to see whether they show consistent differences from the NDEs of those whose brains never quite die. Does anyone know whether this has been done? Regardless, it would be tenuous evidence at best, but it's the only thing that comes to mind at present.

Completely distinct from the question of the NDE as evidence of post-mortem survival is the significance and meaning of the experience and its capacity to change behavior and outlook, which is well documented. If we could figure out what causes it physiologically or psychologically or both, deliberate induction of NDE might become a very useful spiritual technique or means of personal development.
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Re: My problem with NDEs

Postby NinjaPuppy » 05 May 2014, 03:59

Welcome!
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