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FAQ: Aren't NDEs merely the products of the dying brain? : Afterlife Research / Ghosts and Spirits • SCEPCOP Forum








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FAQ: Aren't NDEs merely the products of the dying brain?

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FAQ: Aren't NDEs merely the products of the dying brain?

Postby PsiDefender » 01 Jun 2009, 00:08

http://www.near-death.com/book/nothing_ ... l#four_one

1. Aren't NDEs merely the products of the dying brain?

Even skeptics have to admit NDEs are real experiences. The question, however, is whether NDEs are real "afterlife" experiences. Many skeptics are "reductionists" who reduce everything to their most basic elements. When the NDE is reduced in this way, there can be no denying a chemical basis in the brain exists concerning the NDE.

Such reductionism, however, may only be explaining the mechanism of the NDE, but not necessarily the NDE itself. In the same way, it is possible to reduce a television set to its basic elements: circuits and wires. However, one cannot satisfactorily explain the television show being played through these circuits and wires using reductionist terms. If the brain can be thought of as a television set, then the NDE can be thought of as the television show being played on it. Science maybe able to quantify everything concerning the television components (i.e., the brain), but science is unable to satisfactorily quantify the television show being played on it (i.e., the NDE).

Science does not yet have the tools to fully explain the NDE itself. Reducing the NDE to mere brain chemicals would be like reducing experiences such as love and childbirth to mere chemicals. Reductionism cannot quantify the experience itself. There are many reasons why reducing the NDE to only brain chemicals cannot explain the whole experience itself. Scientific evidence does show that hallucinogenic drugs can induce experiences similar to the NDE. Some scientists theorize the same process occurring with drug-induced hallucinations is involved in the NDE. Dr. Peter Fenwick, a neuro-psychiatrist and the leading authority in Britain concerning the NDE, disagrees with this theory. He explains, “The difficulty with those theories is that when you create these wonderful states by taking drugs, you're conscious. In the near-death experience, you are unconscious. One of the things we know about brain function in unconsciousness, is that you cannot create images and if you do, you cannot remember them.” Dr. Fenwick says the following about what happens to the brain during an NDE: “The brain isn't functioning. It's not there. It's destroyed. It's abnormal. But, yet, it can produce these very clear experiences ... an unconscious state is when the brain ceases to function. For example, if you faint, you fall to the floor, you don't know what's happening and the brain isn't working. The memory systems are particularly sensitive to unconsciousness. So, you won't remember anything. But, yet, after one of these experiences [an NDE], you come out with clear, lucid memories ... This is a real puzzle for science. I have not yet seen any good scientific explanation which can explain that fact.” (69)

Here are some other reasons why reducing the NDE to only brain chemicals is not sufficient.

Veridical evidence. NDEs are considered to be veridical because the evidence shows it to be objectively real. Such evidence shows that some people have seen or heard things while outside of their physical bodies during an NDE that is later verified to be true by third parties. Often, such veridical evidence are observed by NDE experiencers although they occur vast distances away from their physical body. Such aspects suggest that consciousness has the ability to leave the physical body upon death.(70)

NDEs in people born blind. People who are born without eyesight see for the first time in their lives while out of their bodies during their NDE. Interestingly enough, when they return to their physical bodies, they do not retain their eyesight. Such accounts suggest that consciousness and perception survive the death of the physical body.(65)

Standstill surgical procedures. Some people experience an NDE complete with an out-of-body experience during a rare surgical procedure called a "standstill." During this procedure, surgeons bring the patient to clinical and brain death in order to correct abnormalities such as brain aneurysms. When the patient is revived, NDEs are often reported. In such a highly controlled scientific environment, it has been documented that NDEs occur during the time of clinical and brain death. This kind of surgery and the NDE resulting from it suggests that consciousness survives clinical and brain death.(51)

Childhood NDEs. Children generally have no religious or cultural biases. Therefore, they often describe their NDEs in ways without any religious or cultural slant. Children generally have no motive to falsify their NDE. They generally are not interested in book deals or publicity. For these reasons, it is very difficult to doubt a child's testimony concerning an NDE they had. Children have described NDEs that are similar to adult NDEs. Childhood NDEs suggest NDEs occur just as many adult experiencers say they occur. Because of a child's limited vocabulary and understanding, their NDEs are often described in the "rawest" of terms.(71)

The after-effects of NDEs. Often, a person having an NDE will have after-effects from it. These can include personality changes, psychic abilities and anomalies such as not being able to wear watches because they fail to work when worn. Profound personality changes often occur that suggests the NDE is a life-changing event profoundly affecting those who have them. Hallucinations and dreams do not have the magnitude of life-changing capabilities as NDEs have. This strongly suggests NDEs are neither hallucinations nor dreams. Experiencers, such as Dannion Brinkley, are even documented to have successfully described future events observed during their NDEs.(72)

Experiencers have been documented to successfully diagnose and heal other people due to the after-effects attributed to their NDE. One experiencer, Yvonne Kason, who was a physician at the time of her NDE, upon return, successfully diagnosed her friend as having meningitis. Dr. Kason realized her friend had meningitis after receiving a vision of a "brain covered with pus" when thinking of her friend. Her friend did not exhibit any symptoms of meningitis at that time and there was no reason to suspect she had it. Dr. Kason insisted her friend get tested for meningitis. The test proved positive for meningitis. Her friend's meningitis was caught just before it became deadly.(73) Psychic abilities such as this can be directly attributed to their NDE. It demonstrates that something more than just brain chemicals are going on here.

Similarities among NDEs. While every NDE is unique in their own way, the similarities between them cannot be denied. Similar aspects such as the out-of-body experience, the tunnel, the light, deceased relatives, being told they are not ready, are frequently found in a great many NDEs.(74)

These similarities are strong circumstantial evidence something more than just brain chemicals are going on. In a court of law, the testimony of two people witnessing the same thing and giving similar testimonies is very strong. The NDE involves millions of witnesses hearing and seeing similar things. It is equivalent to having a large number of people be given a cryptic message such as, "Where's the beef?" when they die. Instead, the strange message a vast number of experiencers hear is "it is not yet your time" or "you are not ready" or some variation of this. Brain chemicals alone cannot explain such similarities. Circumstantial evidence such as this is upheld in courts of law all over the country every day.

Experiencers bring back facts. Some experiencers have brought back from their NDE, information they could not have possibly known unless they were actually dead. One case in point is the NDE of Vi Horton, a woman who met a deceased brother she didn't know she had during her NDE. Afterwards, she told her father about the brother she met during her NDE. Her father was her only surviving family member. Her father told her, "My God, you must have died and gone to heaven because no one living knew about it but me."(75) I have personally come across several NDEs where the experiencer meets a deceased relative they have never known, only to later identify them from old photographs or the testimony of family members. Brain chemicals alone cannot explain such phenomena. Many experiencers such as Mellen-Thomas Benedict and Lynnclaire Dennis have brought back scientific discoveries from their NDE. Mellen-Thomas Benedict participated in a number of medical research projects, and due to the information he gave the researchers, their work was advanced in a significant way. He now does DNA research and works on instruments that can help doctors use certain frequencies of light in healing patients.(14) Lynnclaire Dennis was shown a geometric pattern which top quantum physicists are studying.(24) Another experiencer who lives in Sweden has copyrights on over a hundred inventions making a significant difference in society.(10)

The testimony of experiencers themselves. One of the universal aspects of the NDE is that those who have them know it was an afterlife experience. They know they saw God. They know it was a reality vastly greater than conscious reality. One can view the millions of NDEs occurring in the world as millions of testimonials that life does indeed continue after death. They are like millions of love letters from God. If the NDE involved only a handful of people, then the NDE would be merely an aberration. However, millions of people have had NDEs throughout all of recorded history. These testimonies cannot be easily dismissed as mass hallucinations due to brain chemistry.

The proverbial ball is in the court of the skeptics, not the experiencers. Experiencers do not have to explain anything. For them, the NDE is an afterlife experience. On the other hand, skeptics have much to explain. Because skeptics and reductionists cannot satisfactorily explain the NDE by brain chemicals alone, they are the ones who are inconsistent in their facts, not the experiencer. Before the 1900's, many people thought space travel would always be impossible. Many skeptics today believe the survival of consciousness after death is impossible as well. They take this position without a shred of scientific evidence. There currently exists a mountain of circumstantial evidence pointing to the survival of consciousness after death. To say there is no evidence is equivalent to standing before Mt. Everest and saying you cannot see a mountain.

An excellent critique of the Dying Brain Theory was written by Greg Stone. I am currently promoting research on my website into proving scientifically that consciousness survives physical death. (77)
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Re: NDE FAQ: Aren't NDEs merely the products of the dying brain?

Postby leo100 » 01 Jun 2009, 01:28

Well written post there, thanks for sharing :D
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Re: FAQ: Aren't NDEs merely the products of the dying brain?

Postby Scepcop » 10 Jun 2009, 12:31

“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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