Life has a case fatality rate of 100%
I received an email from Eduardo last week in which he echoed something that I had been thinking during this coronavirus nightmare which everyone has suddenly been engulfed by. He said that if Sam Parnia has any “informative” data beyond what he presented at AHA last fall, then now would be the morally right time to share it. The rationale for this is that many people are scared to death of this virus, and in fear of their, or their loved ones, lives, and that having more evidence that our souls, or consciousness, survive death would provide enormous comfort for millions.
I completely agree. My own personal faith, which arises from a number of things including a certainty that life was not due to a spontaneous natural process (as discussed in my book, DNA: The Elephant In The Lab), and my knowledge of NDEs, helps me put the 0.5-4% risk of dying from this bug in perspective. So too does the simple fact stated in the title of this topic. Whether you die a lonely “premature” death gasping for breath in a crowded field hospital in the next 2 months, or whether it is in your 90s gently slipping away surrounded by your children and grandchildren…you will die…and if there’s something “eternal” beyond, then that puts death at any time in its place.
In my book, Aware of Aware which I self-published in 2013, and which this blog is named after, I discuss this in detail and how knowledge of NDEs can help us in many ways in this life. (By the way, don’t buy the book, it is terrible, I am in the process of writing a new one). Here is an excerpt from very near the end:
“I know other scary things much closer to home. I work on treatments for HIV. I know that there is the potential for a virus to appear that could eliminate mankind. I haven’t even mentioned nuclear weapons or asteroids. Anyway, you see where I’m going. The human race could end tomorrow. For many people, and it could be you, life will end tomorrow anyway. Maybe the Being Of Light wants to give those of us left, a last ditch chance to get our spiritual house in order.”
I was going to delay the publication of my revised and hopefully much improved book on the evidence around NDEs until the AWARE study had indisputable proof of verified OBEs, but I have decided to go full steam ahead now. My reasoning for this change of plan is partly due to what I just said, namely that I believe it is important that people should be thinking about these things today. I hope that the perspective I have gained from following this subject for years provides insights that may benefit the lives of others now…and for some that may be important. The other reason is related to the whole chloroquine issue.
Now, I am not going to get into too much detail here, and definitely don’t want to enter a debate or discussion about it. The reason I bring it up is due to the reasoning process which is related to the NDE subject, as you will see.
Given there a number of different studies, albeit small non-randomized single cohort studies, combined with very positive in vitro data, and an announcement that the Chinese found Chloroquine to be significantly better in reducing symptoms and presence of virus than standard of care in 100 patients vs controls, and that as a result they would include it in their COVID-19 treatment guidelines, I am inclined to be more optimistic than pessimistic about the prospects that this drug holds. For those who don’t know, I have a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the 1990s in which I designed anti-viral drugs. I also spent a significant chunk of my career in virology and anti-infectives, so I have seen new treatments emerge over the years for various conditions, and sometimes the early signals showing promise for new indications of existing medications take a similar path to the one we are witnessing with chloroquine. Also, in such circumstances, as you do now, you see the research and medical community divided equally.
Some are early adopters and see the potential and run with it, especially when there are no other options. They would even feel that they would be negligent if they didn’t. Others need data from large randomized double blinded multi-center studies before they will risk a new treatment on their patients. There is no absolute right or wrong in this until we know for sure. It may well be that chloroquine doesn’t work, but if I was a doctor, I would be prescribing this for my patients given what data we have, the lack of alternatives, and the good understanding we have of its safety profile. What is there to lose by doing it, provided the side effects are understood? (I strongly advise against self-medicating chloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 – used at the wrong dose can result in serious, and even fatal side effects. All use should be under the guidance of a qualified health care professional)
With NDEs we are now in a similar situation I believe. We have thousands of accounts of NDEs and OBEs from credible people, many of which have been verified by equally credible health care professionals. We also have a number of peer reviewed studies looking at retrospective accounts. We also have a small number of prospective studies (3 now I believe) in which OBEs were verified by health care professionals in the study. For the “early adopters”, like myself, this is enough. What have you got to lose by believing this stuff? You will live life without fear etc and actually be excited at the prospect of what lies ahead. Refusal to believe may have negative impacts on your spirituality though.
AWARE II has always promised to be the study that tips the balance of evidence. If it had any scientifically verified OBEs, either auditory or visual, then it really becomes irrational to remain skeptical when combined with all the other evidence, just like if another respected doctor comes forward with even better cohort data in the next week or two about chloroquine. This would be important for many people.
I believe that the AHA data does contain scientifically verified auditory OBEs in which patients who couldn’t possibly have heard what was going on in the room because they had headphones playing music AND had no EEG/oximetry data to support the presence of consciousness, did hear documented discussions. However, despite multiple requests from myself and others for clarification on this issue, Dr Parnia had not responded with answers that he surely must have.
I have enormous respect for Dr Parnia…huge huge respect. I have sent him yet another message, via the research portal this time, asking for some clarification on this, and whether there are any other cases of interest. I know that at this time he will be overwhelmed with work in New York City, very very important work, but I believe that it is actually more important for humanity that if he is sitting on any significant data that he shares it sooner rather than later. I know he asked us to be patient, but there are limits.
Anyway, whether or not he responds to my plea for clarification on the AHA data, I will be pushing ahead with my book, and my next post will contain a link to a chapter that I would love people here to read and help me refine. Probably late April or early May