Happy New Year! Will it be more of the same, or will this be the year the scales tip.
I hope you all had a nice Christmas, and I wish you a Happy New Year.
Last year finished with the tantalising presentation of data by Dr Parnia at the American Heart Association. It was the ultimate tease in my view and gave food for believers and sceptics alike. I don’t wish to reopen the discussion again after over 200 comments in the previous post, but its fair to say that that Parnia Giveth and Parnia Taketh away. On the one hand we had 4 instances of patients hearing things while they were being resuscitated, offering the potential for scientifically verified NDEs (or TEDs…more on that in a minute), and on the other we had data showing that there may have been sufficient brain activity in an undisclosed number of patients that could support consciousness.
I have tried to contact Dr Parnia and other authors on the abstracts, but have not received any answers to my questions on how the auditory experiments were conducted or whether there is any correlation between the reports of subjects hearing real world events and these signs of brain activity. We are therefore none the wiser on the implications of the findings the Parnia team presented. They know, but are choosing to sit on this.
We can speculate, as we have done for many years. We can say that he must have hits because of the way that he commits to the position of the consciousness surviving physical death. However, this is just speculation, and while those who believe have nothing to undermine those beliefs, neither do we have anything new from a meaningful scientific standpoint with which to challenge materialistic orthodoxy. The one thing I hope from this year regarding this subject, is that this state of affairs will end. I hope that Dr Parnia either presents further analysis from the two abstracts shedding light on whether there is overlap between the two subsets of patients (or hopefully that there is no overlap), or that we finally have a verified visual iPad hit.
In the meantime we have a new piece of research presented by Dr Parnia that says more about how he may be trying to reframe the whole subject, than it does about anything else (thanks Eduardo).
The findings are not in themselves earth shattering. They describe various NDE like experiences of patients who have been in the ICU, and the potential benefits on the mental well being of these patients. Like I said, nothing new there. What is of note though is the attempt by Parnia to once again change the core terminology of the field. Instead of NDE he uses the term Transformative Experience of Death (TED). As Eduardo asked me in his email…what is he playing at? Why is he doing this? My gut feeling is that he is trying to move the field out of the UFO/paranormal/kook category, which NDEs are unfairly lumped in with, into an area of genuine clinical research in which these experiences that people have at the time of death are examined from a medical perspective, rather than a philosophical one. This may or may not work in terms of allowing the subject matter to become more acceptable to mainstream clinical researchers. Time will tell.
Another shift in terminology is that rather than describing OBEs as OBEs, the language used is subtly different…although the same thing. The percentages in this sample of subjects experiencing an OBE were very high (83%). If only the AWARE study had similar results!
Let’s hope 2020 will be less frustrating than 2019, 2018, 2017, 20…