AwareofAware

Evolving news on the science, writing and thinking about Near Death Experiences (NDEs)

A Little More Detail

I finally received a response from Dr Parnia today to my questions. As I said previously, many of the questions had been answered in the various twitter posts he had created, specifically about numbers recruited so far, and timelines. There was a little more detail about the latter in the email.

  • The announcement next year will effectively be the launch “proper” of the study once the new sites have fully come on board and the methodologies fully nailed down
  • No analysis of the data will be undertaken until the study is complete in 2020
  • The results of the study will most likely be announced just prior to publication in 2021

There are obviously a number of aspects to the study, and aside from the area we are most interested in, there will be data that will help enhance treatment of patients during and after resuscitation.

This is all good news, apart from the fact we will have to wait so long. The reason this is good news is that the steps that are being taken will insure this is a high quality study and that the results will stand up to kind of scrutiny that can be expected.

From my end, I am going to tone down the speculation on what has or has not happened, as frankly, while we can guess, we don’t know, and I don’t want to do anything that might in any way jeopardize this important piece of research.

However, I will still be posting on NDEs, and other bits and pieces of research etc that appear from time to time.

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52 thoughts on “A Little More Detail

  1. KEVIN DEMPSEY on said:

    IT SEEMS TO ME IF EVEN ONE PERSON CAN RECALL NUMBERS ON CEILING HE SHOULD PUBLISH THIS ASAP

    VS WAITING TO WRITE A REPORT THAT TAKES YEARS SO HE CAN WRITE ANOTHER BOOK

    Liked by 1 person

    • just_man on said:

      I understand that you don’t want to wait so long (as maybe all visitors of this blog), but to get really compelling results it should be done properly and analyzed properly as well.
      We have already got a lot of stories from different people who claim to have seen something they couldn’t see without really having been out of body, but we can’t really verify them. So we don’t have a need to get more.
      So if there will be people that recall numbers, it must be analyzed very thoroughly before being published in order to be sure that it really happened and that results are interpreted correctly (and of course there should be at least several people who claim to recall that numbers).
      Also, report in the scientific journal implies that the whole experiment was conducted correctly (being confirmed by independent reviewer).

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    • Pierre Lussier on said:

      Good morning,

      It seems that Dr. Parnia is looking to “recruit” a number of subjects between 300 and 1000.
      If he is talking about individuals, how could he know in advance who will be experiencing a cardiac arrest?
      Or would it be commitments from Health Care Center?

      Please have a great day

      Like

  2. just_man on said:

    So, about three years to wait, and then we’ll probably know something interesting.

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  3. I agree, it’s frustrating, but given the very inconclusive results from AWARE I, it is better to get it right this time. Anyway, there’s nothing we can do about it either way.

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  4. Thanks for passing on the information, Ben. Parnia has told us everything he (legitimately) can and deserves thanks for that. The data (clearly) has to be kept under wraps until the completion of the study in 2021.

    Anyone that’s impatient should bear in mind the huge amount of work he and his colleagues have invested and will continue to invest to conduct this important study. I think the least we can do is let him get on with it now and wish him well.

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      • @Chad

        Chad said > “Tim, i remember before u said u talked to a person who had an OBE seeing his family members far away, and this has given u absolute confidence NDEs are real. Are you sure he was not lying,”

        LOL No, he’s not lying 🙂 My friend saw things that it was quite impossible for him to have seen as he was lying in a hospital bed in a coma. While he was in that coma “he” was actually wandering around the hospital. He would try to make eye contact with people who were there, going about their business but they just ignored him so eventually he gave up and then he realised he could go anywhere he wanted to….and he did.

        I don’t want to reveal too much but he has the witnesses. For me personally there is no doubt in my mind that we go on. My friend has said it proved to him beyond doubt that we do (carry on)

        Let me ask you a question. Are there not sufficient recorded veridical OBE’s during cardiac arrest to persuade YOU ? The sceptics explanations don’t work, period. So we’re left with 2 possibilities.

        1. Either there is some undiscovered part of the brain which for no good reason, can produce an experience (when it’s not functioning) that convinces us that death is not the end, when in fact it is. (for what reason ? a pleasant death doesn’t make you want to survive (physically) in evolutionary terms) …it doesn’t make sense.

        OR

        2. We have a “soul,” or a self that lives on. (anathema to many)

        Those are the choices but of course the sceptics will try to widen that and sow as much doubt as they can. Maybe the brain was still functioning just a little bit….you never know, maybe the nurse whispered in the patients ear, maybe someone told the patient what went on in the operating room afterwards…and then the patient forgot that he’d been told… but he used the information subconsciously when he confabulated his NDE.

        There’s no end to idiotic scepticism like that. But that’s what they will do, because they’re not true sceptics at all, rather they are ideological debunkers who will never change their minds, no matter what is presented to them and that includes the results of Aware.

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      • I’m aware of the many veridical OBEs, its not the skeptic arguments to NDEs that gives me doubt. The thing that gives me doubt are

        (1) consciousness is heavily dependent on the brain, every knows from everyday experience, and damaging parts of the brain can affect things attributed to the “soul” like intelligence/personality/speech. Problem solving is most definitely created by the brain, u know this when u get drunk.

        (2) there’s no plausible mechanism for the soul. Sayings its an immaterial invisible substance pushing neurons in the brain when there’s no evidence of it, is rather hard to believe. Of course there’s no plausible way for brain to generate consciousness either, so this point is weaker than (1)

        (3) why are we here when the beings of light could make us all perfect living in heaven? I.e. its too good to be true. This is just a personal bias.

        The most important point is (1). Just like how skeptics clutch at straws when trying to explain high profile veridical OBEs, non materialists do the same when trying to explain (1). I certainly dont feel im my brain, i feel like a programmer-computer interface, but i also know chemicals can severely alter many of my attributes i originally thought was all done by the soul.

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    • Tim, i remember before u said u talked to a person who had an OBE seeing his family members far away, and this has given u absolute confidence NDEs are real. Are you sure he was not lying, and what were the things he saw? Anything very specific and unique, and not general like eating dinner? I’m asking because I was hoping parnia would leak some stuff but he looks tighter than a vacuum seal.

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      • @Chad

        In answer to question 1.

        My take on this is (for what it’s worth) is that of course manifesting consciousness as a human being is dependent on the brain. Of course it is. If you damage the brain in certain areas, depending on which they are, the mind will be unable to continue to influence or use that area (if it’s permanently damaged). Materialists would probably add that that part of the mind has been lost as well)

        The brain is the computer that controls the systems of the body. If you damage it, the various bodily functions will be lost and that is undoubtedly a very perilous situation and one which I hope you will never find yourself in before you’ve lived a long and happy life (down here this life is important, Chad, don’t wish it away)

        But there are a great many anomalies that demonstrate that there is something else that is working BEHIND the brain, independent of it. When the brain is not functioning as in cardiac arrest, there should not be any consciousness after 10-20 seconds.

        Better still, just to confound those ever more cunning sceptics, when there is no brain at all, not even a non functioning one, how can there be consciousness THEN ?

        If you read this article here, you will see that this man’s brain was completely consumed by cancer but just before he died, he was lucid and spoke to his relatives. But he didn’t have a brain. Terminal lucidity points to something else beyond the brain, indestructible consciousness, or psyche or soul.

        http://content.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1580392,00.html

        2. The soul is the mind, the psyche, the self. There is indeed no mechanism for the mind acting beyond the brain, that’s true but it is also true that
        even materialists accept that they have a mind, a self, a soul, just that it disappears when the brain dies. We don’t need to have a mechanism for it to accept that it exists…IF when the brain (that is said to create it) has stopped functioning, and the mind is still working then it is an entity of it’s own, something which we have not discovered and cannot analyse (yet) but we know it’s there.

        3. I don’t know why we’re here but from what I’ve been able to learn and from my own experience, my guess would be that we’re in some kind of “school” to learn or maybe to “experience” everything that can be experienced so that we can perfect ourselves and make ourselves into something better, continuing for ever. Maybe.

        Materialists will of course roll around the floor laughing at such ideas and that’s okay, let them. What I do “know” is that there is a meaning and purpose to it even though it can be both sublime and bloody horrendous at the same time. We are here for a reason so if I may make a suggestion to you, forget about the next world for a bit (until 2021):) and try and concentrate a little more on this one. It’s not so bad is it ?

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  5. I dont think you should be so down about aware1 . I found the paper compelling. There is a lot to keep us talking.

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    • I have a lot admiration for Dr Parnia, and the AWARE I study was a bold, innovative, attempt to find answers, and certainly may have helped in terms of shedding a bit more light on things. However, being a first attempt, it wasn’t without its flaws, and therefore its findings were not ground breaking, or conclusive. I believe these flaws have been addressed in AWARE II, and hopefully we will one day see more meaningful results, one way or the other.

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  6. Right Ben. He hasvallready adressed on of the biggest issues .brain function. The best sceptic argument was the experience occuredvwhen the brain was functioning. Parnia has shut that down.
    i do want to make a point on coma. I was in one as a child in pneumonnia. I spent my life arguing I was not …because I knew what was going on. I would call that an altered state but not a dead one. Parnia has taken that conflation away. That is why his one home run hit of an ADE was good enough for me . His studies are just that good. So many medical studies are just horfibke these days. I just heard one on Dr. Oz. Pop will ruin your brain. Maybe but not in me just had a brain scan all well great circulation…..and a pop a day.

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    • just_man on said:

      “The best sceptic argument was the experience occuredvwhen the brain was functioning. Parnia has shut that down.” — this is definitely premature statement. One single ‘hit’ doesn’t mean all previous previous knowledge should be thrown away. That’s why second part has started.
      And of course there must be some explanation for the fact that a lot of people don’t experience any NDE – maybe only some superior people have souls and consciousness not conrtolled by brain?:)

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  7. Oh and to Chad. ADEs are consistant with Orch OR and tgat us a form of monism not dualism.

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  8. just_man on said:

    @tim do you really understand what ‘skepticism’ actually mean? It surely means that any argument without solid evidence should be doubted.
    Why this story about your friend is on the website, not in the scientific journal?
    It persuades you – no problem, but why other people should believe without evidence?
    Or where is veracity of your friend’s experience: did he told correctly about something he didn’t have any relation (e.g. football match score in Bolivia)?
    There are a lot of stories about such NDEs and OBEs, no real proof, along with cases, when ‘flatliner’ confesses that he invented the whole story and a lot of people not experiencing any NDE!
    It’s OK considering all this not to take your word.
    But instead of evidence you provide something like ‘naive cynicism’: I believe this, and you should believe, otherwise you’re biased, and nothing can convince you.
    And, of course, if everything is so clear, and only these ‘stupid skeptics’ don’t want to believe, what is AWARE II is being conducted now?
    So there isn’t enough evidence for the scientific community to say definitely that souls exists, consciousness is independent of mind, that life after death exists.
    Otherwise, it would be already done (and hence no need for AWARE II study). Maybe AWARE II study will lead to this.
    But as of now telling that NDEs/OBEs are 100% real (without clear explanations and based on someone’s personal experience) and skeptics’ don’t work (because all they are ‘ideological debunkers’) is no more than confirmation bias.

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    • Just man said >@tim “do you really understand what ‘skepticism’ actually mean? It surely means that any argument without solid evidence should be doubted.”

      Scepticism or true scepticism is the position of not drawing a conclusion until sufficient evidence has been gathered to confirm a certain hypotheses. I’ve studied
      NDE’s for 40 years and personally I am satisfied, so I’m no longer a sceptic but originally I was. What’s your problem with that ? If you don’t like my posts, feel free not to read them.

      Just man said >”Why this story about your friend is on the website, not in the scientific journal?”

      Since when did a patient’s individual near death experience automatically get written up in a science journal ? What a naive statement that is ! What my friend experienced wouldn’t be believed or accepted by “science,” it would be waved away with titters of laughter as a confabulation or hallucination !

      Just man said > “There are a lot of stories about such NDEs and OBEs, no real proof, along with cases, when ‘flatliner’ confesses that he invented the whole story and a lot of people not experiencing any NDE!

      Would that “flat-liner” be the young American boy, Alex Malarkey ? So because one person makes up a story, we have to discount all the other thousands of testimonies ? And just because not everyone experiences an NDE doesn’t negate the ones that do.

      Just man said > “But instead of evidence you provide something like ‘naive cynicism’: I believe this, and you should believe, otherwise you’re biased, and nothing can convince you.”

      I think you’ll find that it’s the so called sceptics that are the cynical ones. NDE’s have been researched for nearly 50 years now (Kubler Ross before Moody although Moody coined the term) . Every explanation under the sun has been advanced to try to explain them away scientifically (well over twenty explanations which ought to give you a clue that there isn’t one).

      There are over 100 well documented accounts of veridical of body experiences during cardiac arrest demonstrating that patients can observe their surroundings and gather unusual information when their brains are not functioning, but there are literally thousands of such testimonies out there.

      There have been six prospective studies (highest standard) and many more retrospective studies. There are accounts from the blind (from birth) children (who are too young to know what death is), medical professionals, including nurses, doctors and surgeons of the highest credentials.

      And how has “science” reacted in general ? Precisely in this way. What it can’t explain, it simply ignores and the rest of it is bracketed as a trick of the brain or a confabulation. That’s cynicism.

      Just man said >”And, of course, if everything is so clear, and only these ‘stupid skeptics’ don’t want to believe, what is AWARE II is being conducted now?”

      Parnia is one of the few open minded scientists who have been prepared to put their “neck on the line” to study this phenomenon and attempt to get the answers.

      Like Pim Van Lommel in the Netherlands, he (Parnia) has dared to study something that many other scientists consider un-scientific and complete nonsense. That’s why the first Aware study was undertaken why Aware 2 is being conducted.

      If you think that “science” in general is receptive to what this phenomenon appears to show, you need to get out more. On the publication of Aware 1, there was a frenzied mass of cynical and sometimes nasty comments from a baying band of pseudo sceptics debunkers and ideological materialists outraged at any suggestion that the mind might be able to function without a brain. The next time will be different.

      Just man said >”But as of now telling that NDEs/OBEs are 100% real (without clear explanations and based on someone’s personal experience) and skeptics’ don’t work (because all they are ‘ideological debunkers’) is no more than confirmation bias.”

      I accept the view of the experts who’ve actually studied the phenomenon (unlike the vast majority of scientists who profess to know and haven’t even read the literature) and my own opinion. I’m not an expert, I’ve never claimed to be. If you don’t like my posts, don’t read them.

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      • The next time will be different * meant to say the next time will be *NO different

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      • just_man on said:

        – Yes, so why do you call those skeptics who don’t accept reality of NDEs without clear evidence for them ‘ideological debunkers’?
        If you are satisfied with that evidence, it’s OK, but a lot of other people don’t. That’s why these studies like aware have been conducting. Of course, I am a stranger here, and I see this website as open for discussions about such things from different points of view. But if this blog is for people who firmly believe in life after death and encourage each other with that belief, I won’t disturb you all.
        – Expected response. Yes, personal experience is personal, but how can it be attested? And no need to emphasize the scientific conspiracy: when all these cases will be properly verified, scientific opinion will change.
        – Of course, no. But as these stories happen, we should be careful and not to believe just anybody. And explanation for cases when no NDEs are experienced is needed if you say that everyone has a soul that is able to roam during such NDEs (stating that this is proof).
        – At first, I’m sorry for my mistake, I meant ‘naive realism’ (I hope you understood this from the explanation).
        So if the condition of this theory is so great, why there isn’t scientific consensus about the reality of all NDEs (if I’m wrong, give me link to prove this)? You can’t just say all scientists who don’t accept it are biased.
        But also a lot of such testimonies are coming from religiously affiliated people (speaking about the things experienced either by themselves, or by another people) who just believe that (because have lower threshold of verifiability for the information to accept it as truth) or (as you mentioned above) tell from the outset that the science won’t accept their explanations and that’s the reason they won’t even try to prove it.
        And of course, objective and unbiased person will read arguments from both sides. If scientific explanation is reasonable enough, why not to accept it?
        Personal experience and perception can be VERY deceptive.
        – Yes, and that’s great, because this study is (appears to be) based on the scientific method, not just personal experiences. That’s why it takes so long time.
        I understand that science in general doesn’t accept it, but I think it is a normal reaction to something that breaks the previous view of the world, especially in the modern era with a lot of pseudoscience. And also I understand that there will be real ideological materialists who will not accept anything (the same way that “flat-Earthers”). But I believe if enough proof will be introduced, reasonable people will change their mind.
        The problem with ‘outrage materialists’ is that even if some evidence for ‘mind that is independent of the brain’, a lot of questions are still need explanations (as I mentioned already, many people who don’t experience NDE, then general ability to hallucinate and so on). So the results of AWARE I can’t be interpreted as the evidence for life after death, as a lot of proponents did. It just presents that there is something we don’t know yet. Along with some studies that show that sometimes there is brain activity during 10 minutes after cardiac arrest, there isn’t threat for materialists as of now. Maybe there will be in the future. But there is also possibility that all NDEs will once be explained purely by the brain activity (just like those things about which people who lived 500-1000 years ago though that was something supernatural in it, but now we see there are absolutely natural explanations). We don’t know it 100% now.
        So when some person doesn’t accept reality of NDEs and waits for solid scientific evidence, it doesn’t make this person ‘pseudoskeptic’ or ‘ideological materialist’. Yes, I’ll repeat, there are real ‘denialists’, but it is the minority. People in general want life after death to be real.:)
        – You have your own opinion. That’s great. You don’t accept ‘vast majority of scientists’. That’t not great. However, it’s your right.
        And about the last. I think it’s OK that we have different points of view and it’s OK to disagree and argue (as long as it is done correctly). So there isn’t problem that I ‘like’ or ‘don’t like’ your posts.
        But as I told in the beginning, if your community isn’t intended for such debates, I won’t continue.

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      • I emailed Greyson if he believes in afterlife and he said he doesn’t know, although given the evidence its much more likely than not. But u seem to be 100% sure they are real when even he isn’t. Just man has a very good point with “skepticism”, any true skeptic would be agnostic on NDEs. I think most skeptics arent staunch materialists who are 100% certain everything is inside the brain, its just those ones who make blog/forum posts and maybe u get the impression every skeptic is like that.

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  9. You said>”But as these stories happen, we should be careful and not to believe just anybody”

    Who said that I just believe anyone ? That’s insulting, frankly, I’m not a credulous fool, I don’t just believe anyone. I only accept testimony from people that have actually died and been resuscitated and where the report can be corroborated.

    You said >” And explanation for cases when no NDEs are experienced is needed if you say that everyone has a soul that is able to roam during such NDEs (stating that this is proof).

    No it isn’t ! If just ONE reported case of an out of body experience during cardiac arrest happened the way the patient said it did, then materialism is falsified. “One white crow” disproves the hypotheses that “all crows are black”‘

    We have hundreds of these cases already and yet most scientists pretend that they don’t exist.

    You said > “But there is also possibility that all NDEs will once be explained purely by the brain activity (just like those things about which people who lived 500-1000 years ago though that was something supernatural in it, but now we see there are absolutely natural explanations). We don’t know it 100% now.”

    You don’t seem to be able to follow logically the steps that researchers have carefully taken to even get us to where we are now.

    After 10–20 seconds of heart stoppage there is no more electrical activity in the brain and yet there are scores of cases where the mind appears to be still working.

    I don’t have the time, or moreover the inclination, to argue further with you about this. I can tell you are not familiar with the research by some of the statements that you make.

    You said > ” But as I told in the beginning, if your community isn’t intended for such debates, I won’t continue.”

    This isn’t my community. It’s Ben’s blog Aware of Aware. You’re welcome as far as I’m concerned but some of the things you’re saying are not true and you’re also misrepresenting the facts about NDE research.

    Aware 2 will not necessarily settle the debate even if they get several hits.
    Many scientists will go after the methodology or any perceived weakness they can invent to discredit it. Steven Novella has already said he doesn’t believe that out of body experiences are possible. His friend the astrophysicist Sean Carroll has stated that life after death is impossible and he also said he doesn’t even need to look at NDE research to know that it is flawed !

    How’s that for good science ?? These people will never change their minds, that’s why real science advances one funeral at a time.

    I’ve spoken to people that have had cardiac arrests and died. There was no doubt in their minds whatsoever that what they experienced was absolutely real. A chap I spoke to was dead for 4 minutes and when the paramedics shocked him back to life
    he actually wanted to go back (to die), he wasn’t worried at all in fact he was euphoric. Before that he had never heard of near death experiences, wasn’t at all religious and said that he would have called someone else crazy if they had told him such a story.
    That’s some “hallucination” isn’t it ? That “hallucination” was just sitting there in his brain waiting to go off for 47 years….give me a break.

    My friend’s NDE is one of the most remarkable I’ve ever read. That’s why I’m writing a book documenting it and the proceeds are going to a wildlife sanctuary that he’s creating in the Philippines.

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    • just_man on said:

      – Certainly, I didn’t say that you will believe anybody. I wanted to explain why other people will be in doubts concerning this case (regardless of their belief). It is close to you, but it is ‘just another story’ for someone else.
      – Not so fast. One VERIFIED case of OBE means that they CAN be real (if it is really confirmed). So it can be serious threat for materialistic explanations. But (following your example) “there is white crow” doesn’t mean “there aren’t black crows”. And if one case of experiencing OBE is enough to say ‘there is something more’, than one case of NOT experiencing OBE may be also enough to say ‘there isn’t something more’. So if some people experience it and some don’t, does it mean some people have independent consciousness and the other don’t have?
      And of course scientists don’t pretend anything (that’s enough conspiracy), because
      all these stories are ‘anecdotal evidence’, and yet I don’t know any scientific proof for them. If you know, please give a link.
      – Did you read the sentences that precede the sentence you quoted or you just tried to pick the most easier (as it seemed to you) to refute? Or do you know everything about brain actitivty?
      There are some studies that show brain activity for more than ’10-20 seconds’. And also I read some scientists who say there may be some activity in the brain that can’t be found out by the means we have now. But if you see reality of NDEs and working-without-brain mind as the only explanation, I won’t mind it. But in such a case it is really a question who is ‘ideological’.
      – I already know Ben is the author of this blog. But as I saw in general people in the comments are the same, that’s why I asked that.
      You are constantly saying about some conspiracy or some personal motives scientists have not to accept possible AWARE II results. It’s a bad sign. If it’s OK with methodology, any reasonable scientist should accept it. If there are real problems, you (pl.) must accept the criticism and not to seek some ideology behind that.
      And even if it won’t be accepted immediately, if it is truth, it will be necessarily accepted in the future. But in no way the fact that some scientists don’t want to change their minds means we should put science away and dismiss reasonable objections.
      So I understand that you have enough stories that persuaded you. But do you try to convince someone else with that? Hardly. Just to encourage another believer in afterlife.

      SO my main objection was about general attitude: there isn’t 100% scientific evidence as of now for reality of near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, independent consciousness and afterlife as I see. So you can’t blame those who don’t believe in all this and say that they’re ‘idiotic ideological debunkers’. Majority of these people just want to get the whole picture of this phenomenon that is confirmed by science and leaves no uncomfortable questions unanswered. The same quality of proof that is enough to sentence accused of murder to death penalty in good conscience.

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  10. @Chad

    You emailed Bruce Greyson and asked him if he believes in an afterlife ?

    Really ? Oh dear…. You really think a professor of psychiatry is going to respond to a question like that with a positive…”Yes, young Chad, there definitely is an afterlife so go ahead and get there as soon as you can”

    Chad, best of luck with your search for whatever it is you’re after, this is my final response to you and your pal.

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  11. Good job Tim . I am a fan of wildlife sanctuaries as well. Asvfor 100 percent scientific…what is that? There is really nothing 100 percent proved but very close like the Earth is round and orbits the Sun. Yet 500 years ago all learned opinion was convinced the Earth was round and tge Sun orbited us. In fact Ptolemys equations fit better than Coperinicus did……initially. Science is an ongoing process of collecting more and more obervations and tightening the paramters….just like Parnia has done. Also if you google some of the self annointed skepics you can find some global warming denialism.

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  12. There are some fascinating issues in “fine tuning” of the physical constants to get a universe tuned for life that I think are important. I’ve been following these two astrophysicists (my background) who are looking at this issue deeply and suggest we live in a “fortunate universe”. An awe inspiring video

    We have a physical nature at least whose ultimate origins (origin of elementary particles, space etc.) that needs explaining.

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    • It’s funny you should post that video today as just last night I was reading the section on this subject in the book “language of God” by Francis Collins, who was head of the human genome project. I will be honest and say that most of the maths etc goes over my head, but I understand that the universe had a beginning and this points to a creator.

      I am actually working on a book at the moment that focuses entirely on the origin of the DNA code, and that this is actually the only measurable evidence of intelligence that we have. My Ph.D. was very much focused on the chemistry and biochemistry of nucleosides, so I feel on solid ground.

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      • That is a coincidence! I had thought to post before but waited a bit. And one of the authors, Dr. Barnes, is a Christian (I’m very interested myself BTW). There’s a lot going on in this fine tuning area currently, which seems to be spurred by these guys.
        I had a look at that section you mentioned (his six points) where Dr. Collins says “the properties of the universe appear to have been precisely tuned for life” but I do think other kinds of intelligent land-based (necessarily) creatures on other planets kind of form a “set” of, I guess, beings that just have to form once the universe started off (and they must have these other experiences too and wonder at their origin). He does talk of humans – maybe he also is open to this too?

        Just a question – do you think DNA is kind of inevitable, almost forced? With the properties of carbon only to be able to form so many compounds for life?

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  13. I’m not completely sure what you mean by “Just a question – do you think DNA is kind of inevitable, almost forced? With the properties of carbon only to be able to form so many compounds for life?”

    If you mean is it inevitable as a result of natural laws…then the answer is absolutely not, not ever in this universe.

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    • Ok, I just thought you’d at least need some double-stranded molecule for carbon based life (for our universe and it’s properties) and wondered of the constraints on it’s structure.

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  14. Alan may be thinking of Urey Miller when it looked like easy amino acid formation meant life was easy. But it is not…..we had a seminar every year on this some 20 years ago. We are no closer. The rest of evolution we gave made progress. We have just seen a new finch species form overnight. Not a neo Darwinian prediction though I am sure Dawkins would say it was. And consciousness remains a mystery. I have never figured out its advantage over being a robot.

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  15. Schrodinger and other physicists did think there would have to be some contraints on the molecule but that is somewhat differenr from its inevitability. I see what you mean now Alan. That helped lead to Rosyln Franklins discovery of the double helix.

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  16. Been away travelling, and writing, so not had much chance to join in.

    Watson and Crick actually determined the structure of DNA, Franklin had produced an X-ray crystalograph that needed interpreting. It was a joint effort, and all deserved credit, and Franklin is often forgotten, but Watson and Crick rightly deserve the status they have.

    The origin of the DNA code, which was first fully cracked in 1966, is one of the 3 great questions (origin of Universe, life and consciousness) as it is the question that lies at the heart of the origin of life question. I have spent a lot more time thinking about this than NDEs even. I give talks on it, and I am writing a book.

    There are no plausible theories as to how the code and its translation machinery came into existence…none. The RNA world is a red herring. Moreover, given that code is only ever the result of intelligence, it provides direct evidence for an intelligent creator, arguably the only real measurable evidence. Everything after that is up for grabs, except the origin of consciousness, which of course is directly related to our discussions here.

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  17. Even if RNA world is correct we could really never tie ii to the ATP cycle. How in the world did rna know how to make a mitochondria for itself? That in turn gets us back to how RNA world got its energy. We have the mitochondria because transcrpition is not only complex but it needs energy. What would have come first? We have no theortical biology. Watson and Crick did that based on Franklins x ray chrsytalgraphy. Today we still have tons of theory in physics but we are running into experimental limits in biology its the opposite

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    • Thanks. Yes, the main focus of their research is effect on the brain of cardiac arrest, minimizing damage and duration of consciousness. NDEs are just one aspect.

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      • His confirmation of the ADE ranksvas one of the great side discoveries. His research also helped a couple if people I know to confirm their DNRs were the right way to go.
        There was another brain study out on carnivores One article pointed out neurons work by electrochemical communication…..well those Parnia tweets show that is not going on. This study really just went to brain size and neuron counting and equated to intellegence. I know of farm cats that lived 20 years 90 percent outdoors with a vet trip or 2 …know any dogs or humans pull that off? Ben is right we really know nothing about the brain. We cant even define our terms like intelligence.

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  18. Colin Cooper on said:

    Guys, I noticed a very recent article that was published on the website of the John Templeton Foundation, just last week (on 29th November), that mentions Sam Parnia’s name as “project leader” in a study with a grant running from December 2017 – September 2020.

    https://www.templeton.org/grant/exploring-human-mind-brain-and-consciousness-during-death-a-combined-prospective-and-retrospective-study

    “DECEMBER 2017 – SEPTEMBER 2020

    EXPLORING HUMAN MIND, BRAIN AND CONSCIOUSNESS DURING DEATH: A COMBINED PROSPECTIVE AND RETROSPECTIVE STUDY

    PROJECT LEADER(S)
    SAM PARNIA,
    GRANTEE(S)
    NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
    GRANT AMOUNT
    $1,820,606

    The question of how the mind relates to the brain has fascinated humankind for millennia. While some philosophers have proposed the mind to be “physical” in nature, others have argued the mind is “non-physical” and interacts with the body. Following the advent of modern
    cardiopulmonary resuscitation for cardiac arrest (CA), millions of people have provided anecdotal reports of lucid well-structured thought processes with memory formation from a period during CA. In recent years, the accuracy of these reports, have been further supported by evidence from case studies, and more recently large scale prospective CA studies. The occurrence of consciousness at the time CA is highly significant, as data from independent studies indicate that brain function ceases during CA. Thus, the scientific demonstration that
    consciousness and awareness may occur during CA, represents tangible evidence that the mind or consciousness may be a separate undiscovered entity to the brain. We are one of the few centers with an established track record of research into real-time non-invasive
    monitoring of brain resuscitation during CA, as well as the study of consciousness/awareness and the cognitive and mental experience of CA.

    We hypothesize that while there is a broad human experience of death, conscious awareness and/or mental and cognitive activity occurs during CA and relates to the recollections of real events. We plan to test our hypotheses through the following specific aims:1) Establish the
    spectrum of consciousness and awareness during CA and circulatory standstill as a model for death by cardiopulmonary criteria. 2)Determine the relationship between conscious awareness and/or mental and cognitive states during CA/circulatory standstill with the quality
    of brain resuscitation and underlying physiological and pathophysiological processes. This study, will provide data that may lead to a major shift in our understanding of the relationship between the mind and brain.”

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  19. Colin Cooper on said:

    You’ve probably seen this before but I just wanted to flag it up, since the description is rather interesting. I presume it is about an element of the broader Aware II?

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  20. Great spot Colin. There is always a lag with new posters on the forum due to a necessary spam filter.

    This looks like it is more than AWARE II as that is purely prospective. I sucpect that this will encorporate results from AWARE I, II and other work that is either ongoing or planned. The retrospective element probably refers to AWARE I.

    We know where the money is coming from. $1.8 million is a very significant sum of money for a non-interventional study.

    I am currently at a Hematology conference in Atlanta, so very busy, but may write a new post on my thoughts on this, and what it means.

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    • Colin Cooper on said:

      Ben,

      That would be great, I look forward to any post that you put up when time permits!

      You’re right, Aware II is currently in process and won’t be completed for a while so this study does appear to be going beyond this to formulate a broader “case”.

      What I find surprising is the boldness of language that Dr. Parnia is now employing. I mean, consider how he writes: “the scientific demonstration that
      consciousness and awareness may occur during CA, represents tangible evidence that the mind or consciousness may be a separate undiscovered entity to the brain.”

      This is a paradigm shift in tone from his earlier statements.

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    • I’m really surprised and pleased he’s actually been awarded that amount of money (to do this research) ! For Aware 1, it was nothing like that; was it a few hundred thousand or even less ? don’t know but as you say that is a substantial amount.

      Good luck to him ! This is (from my point of view anyway) arguably the most important frontier that any of us can conceive of, so I’ll be raising a glass to Dr Parnia and his colleagues. Best regards to all on this blog and I hope you all have a peaceful and happy Christmas.

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  21. I agree with Colin. Templeton has a good reputation has supported many viewson science and religion and expands on his previoys breakthrough research. Anything new at the hematology? I am surtounded by auto immune issues

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  22. My university background is physics and there’s something one can say in relation to space within general relativity (I’m interested in it’s foundations) which shows it’s limitations in respect of these above studies.
    So in GR a mass produces “accelerating” points in space and each point is kind of bent so that if you could go around the tiniest loop around the point, it would be different for you if you circulated the point if the mass wasn’t there (a flat space). Such is how physics sees space (really space-time) wrt to gravity.
    Any communication between separate points (say if a little region is wobbled) gives an effect somewhere else that goes at the speed of light. It’s not light moving just the wobble of space-time, a gravitational wave (sorry if this is obvious to some reading!).
    Obviously *we* are masses in ST and each time we move around we generate wobbles in ST around us.
    But if some aspect of consciousness is distinct from the physical, massive nature of us – giving these experiences – it seems to me the nature of this other property of space that allows this to happen must be different. No wobble effect can then occur in ST when this consciousness aspect is changing or observing. Overall, whatever space is in it’s truest ultimate sense, it is so much more than as pictured in GR.
    That’s kinda my point, the key is the true nature of space that surrounds us, supports us etc.

    And then there’s quantum theory and it’s spaces! Even more complex. I don’t doubt this also is limited to describe these experiences.

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  23. The big breakthrough in hematology came earlier this year with CAR-T cell therapy which cures childhood ALL and some relapsed refractory DLBCL. It’s a very interesting area, I was bored in HIV, until there’s a cure there’s little progress to be made now.

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  24. Samwise on said:

    In the study below, isolated plants seem to be “conscious” of and react to other plants, without any ways of interacting and without a brain or a CNS. If plant awareness can occur without a brain maybe human awareness can as well. Or is there another explanation?

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225061054_Out_of_Sight_but_Not_out_of_Mind_Alternative_Means_of_Communication_in_Plants

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