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

Data from Parnia Lab at AHA Nov 2020

Last year Sam Parnia presented the first data to come out of AWARE II with the suggestion that validated auditory OBEs had been recorded. I was hoping that we would see something that expanded on that initial report this year, but so far the only data that has been registered from NYU with his name on it is abstract 314 “Cardiac Arrest Related Cognitive Activity” By Tara Shirazi and Sam Parnia, which will be presented this Friday.

I found it through downloading the AHA conference app and searching for him, and the link the app spits out doesn’t work, when I find one that does work I will add it here (now below). The abstract is interesting though nothing groundbreaking. It is a retrospective analysis of patient reports of consciousness after Cardiac Arrest. These were held in a registry of CA survivors. There were 118 reports of consciousness (out of how many we are not told although the numbers 10-20% are mentioned at the beginning), and the reports were analyzed and various themes identified. The usual NDE motifs cropped up – like tunnel and life-review. OBEs were reported in 40% of the cases, which is higher than the previous reports of 25% of NDEs having OBEs. Maybe because this was a situation of patients self-reporting outside of an observational study, they only felt the need to do this if the experience was particularly notable, and having an OBE would definitely make it notable.

It is possible that there will be a late breaking presentation by Sam Parnia, but at the moment it doesn’t look as though AHA 2020 is going to give us anything new on the NDE front.

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65 thoughts on “Data from Parnia Lab at AHA Nov 2020

  1. Hi Eduardo, I’ve already sent requests for information through that link. Never got a response. Dr Parnia has not replied to anything for a long while now…not since his request for us to be patient last year.


    • Eduardo on said:

      ok Ben


      • Francisco Rodriguez on said:

        Thanks for the updates. I regularly try to find in the internet (youtube, etc…) any new video by Sam Parnia. I keep high hopes out of the AWARE II …
        Do you know if there is any other institution conducting large research like AWARE II? (like Pim van der Lommel in the Netherlands)


      • That’s a really good question, and my honest answer is that I am not aware of any other prospective study that is currently ongoing that has the capacity to verify OBEs using scientific methodology. It requires a lot of co-operation, a lot of funding, dedicated staff etc. The budget for this kind of thing could run to seven figures or more.


  2. Pure luck on my side haha

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read on a forum somewhere recently that Parnia has “gone back to believing it’s all physiological” and is not convinced of the afterlife hypothesis. Has anyone seen evidence supporting this or is it another hot air statement?


    • Eduardo on said:

      Where and when Dr. Sam Parnia said it??


    • omnihilon on said:

      Considering his recent review of Greyson’s book I doubt that. There are a lot of people out there who misquote Parnia or jump to conclusions. If by any chance it’s the ‘unexplained-mysteries’ forum, I’d ignore them since the pseudo-skepticism, laziness and dishonesty on there is ridiculous.


    • matthew on said:

      Was that forum skeptiko or some other forum?

      NDE’s are very weird.

      They occur upon physiological “death” aka no heart beat. But they occur when persons are clearly not dead, aka ‘psychological NDE’s’.

      The NDE experience includes seeing dead people. But they also see presently living people, sometimes in very surprising ways, like the link that was shared here:

      Who was that person in the tunnel? A real being, an imposter being, a brain generated experience? There are no good explanations.

      Dr. Gregory Shushan studied cross cultural NDE’s. Its clear to me from his research the NDE is influenced by culture. There is a coherent experience common to all NDE’s, but each NDE is unique and influenced by culture.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eduardo on said:

    How was Sam Parnia’s exhibition today?


  5. Grzegorz from Poland on said:

    Hello all,

    I’m new here. I’m searching in internet information and I get know this webstie with many peaople interested in the placement death.

    I want to ask about experience old people.

    In my family we have been close with people who die (due to the fact of old age, cancer ) at home.

    And one thing that doesn’t leave me calm.

    Members of my family who were dying they see people who dies a lot of years ago for example their parents, grandfathers, uncels… etc.
    Why always peapole when comes to die they see dead people ? Why they also don’t see their children/wife etc. which still living? I understand they/we love parents but, always it is the people whose die a some times ago…

    Maybe some can expalin to me it ?

    Many thanks for any feedback.


    • My feeling is that the brain has a number of mechanisms to deal with death in the best possible way. Most likely, during clinical death there is still some brain activity, which progressively diminishes until the biological death of the body occurs. Unfortunately, I also believe that this is when the final blackout occurs


      • Hi JJ. Feelings are one thing, what evidence do you have to support that?


      • Hi Ben, nice to participate in your blog. Evidence as such I do not have, it is only an opinion due to the fact that near-death experiences are so influenced, for example, by people’s religious beliefs, or as they say, even people who have not yet died see. I once met a neurosurgeon interested in these issues, he finally gave up because the cases for many years were very few in number and without any indication that demonstrated a possible future life beyond anecdotes. I am hopeful that there may be something more, and that I can be reunited with my deceased loved ones, but as the years go by and each time I learn more about all these matters, I less truly believe it


      • omnihilon on said:

        I understand that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but there are many examples of NDEs with little religious content or little influence from previous beliefs, especially when you look at atheist NDEs. The cases of veridical NDEs are mounting but likely under reported. Additionally, your proposed hypothesis doesn’t make sense when you consider hellish NDEs or void NDEs.


  6. Hi

    Grzegorz from Poland and welcome to the blog.

    As for your question its not true that they only see dead people. They see also living people.

    Take for example Amanda Cable and her NDE. She was with her living daughter in her NDE:

    But I also became aware of somebody standing a few feet away from me. I turned, expecting to see my grandmother, who had passed away some years earlier. Instead, it was Ruby — wearing her new school uniform and with her hair tied neatly in bunches.


    There are more of these NDEs if you look on the internet. Hope this answers you question.


    • @Lukas

      Lukas, the important point about these experiences is not that people may occasionally see living relatives (during their NDE). It is…why does anyone have any cognitive mental activity AT ALL when their heart has stopped ? There shouldn’t be anything cognitive and ultra real going on, period !

      You perennial sceptics just love to pick at details that sometimes don’t appear to make sense. And then broadcast them triumphantly, as if you’ve effectively debunked the whole NDE phenomenon.

      I don’t know why Amanda Cable saw her living daughter beckoning her during the time her brain wasn’t working but I could hazard a guess. If you actually read what she said, instead of just jumping to conclusions, her daughter Ruby’s hair was arranged in a way that she had never previously had it (arranged )and her mother had never seen her in a school uniform.

      From the Daily Mail > “Instead, it was Ruby — wearing her new school uniform and with her hair tied neatly in bunches”.

      “I was pleased but mildly surprised. I’d never seen her in her uniform, and she’d never allowed me to put her hair in bunches. She smiled and took my hand. ‘Come with me, Mummy,’ she implored.”

      Obviously if her mother had never seen her in a uniform and never seen her hair arranged like that, then she can’t be drawing on a memory from her brain, at least ?

      If there’s any evidence that dying brains alone can produce all these ultra baffling and complex phenomena, I’ll be quite willing to revise my thoughts on all this, but it doesn’t look much like it’s ever going to come.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tim you missed the point completely. I was referring to the fact that there are NDEs where are even living people in NDEs that was all.

        Also Tim you would not change your mind even if we had that kind of evidence and there is evidence that we know beep about the brain like this study shows where there was a flat EEG with living sheep who were given ketamine I posted here before:

        Something we thought was impossible in the past.

        As for the rest I am not going to debate you further because you will not convince me and I will not convince you therefore it is a futile attempt of both parties with no results in the end. I am also surprised you replied to my post that I wrote to someone else when you said before you are going to ignore me.


      • omnihilon on said:

        If you’re implicitly referring to the Ketamine theory as the cause for NDEs tied to this apparent ‘brain activity’, that has several problems of its own that have probably been discussed on here and elsewhere. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s the least plausible of the drug/chemical explanations.

        The higher dosage is what some have tried to compare to an NDE, but the issue is that most of these K-Hole experiences lack several aspects of NDEs and have ‘often been reported as terrifying’, whereas hellish NDEs are a less common type.

        Irreducible Mind also had this to say: ‘Unlike the vast majority of NDEs, ketamine experiences are often frightening and involve bizarre imagery, and patients usually express the wish not to repeat the experience. Most ketamine users also recognize the illusory character of their experience…Many important features of NDEs, such as seeing deceased people or a revival of memories, have not been reported with ketamine. Furthermore, ketamine typically causes its effects in an otherwise more or less normal brain, while many NDEs occur under conditions in which brain function is severely compromised…’

        Here’s another example:

        Side-effects listed there include: confusion, clumsiness, anxiety, panic, vomiting etc.
        Also, the after-effects after intake of ketamine include: memory loss, disorientation, clumsiness, aches/pains and even depression.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, Lucas, you missed the point (again). I’m well aware of what your post was about and my post addressed it within reason.

        Secondly, I have no idea what you are assuming is so important about (the link) Ketamine and sheep. Ketamine is a very strong anaesthetic drug, which vets use on horses and it also has other affects, disassociation in humans being one that is well known (side effect). There is nothing there for sceptics to feast on. It’s a nothing story.

        More importantly, you seem to have little idea how to formulate a coherent argument. I don’t mind you being a sceptic. True sceptics are great and always welcome. You however just keep lobbing red herrings into the debate, which helps no one.

        Come up with something that explains how patients can see what is going on around them in hospital intensive care units when their brains are not working. Then you will have something worthwhile to crow about.

        Lastly, I don’t believe I ever said that I was going to ignore you but If I did, clearly then I must have forgotten. Sorry about that.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. To add to your question Grzegorz there are NDEs that feature dead people but there are also NDEs that feature only living people as a guide during the experience. There are also NDEs out there that feature other things – animals, otherworldly beings of many kinds. It depends on the source. If you take NDERF as a source you find many different things in those experiences that were published by people there who claim they had a NDE.


  8. matthew on said:

    This guy has data from his apple watch and is a physician who had an NDE:

    I wonder what we can gleam from that? I didn’t pay the fee but its free if you register early, which I did not do.

    Did anybody here watch it?


  9. His NDE can be found here:


  10. @omnihilon:

    Nope. I was not referring to that. I was referring now to the myth that beyond a flat EEG is no way a brain can function. Which was shown now that is a myth thanks to the study I posted. That was all I was referring to.

    As for the drug theory. Even Dr. Bruce Greyson agrees that drugs can cause something similar to NDEs:

    In conclusion, we have systematically compared the semantic similarity of reports associated with the use of psychoactive compounds and NDE narratives, and found evidence that ketamine (and to a lesser extent different serotonergic psychedelics and deliriant alkaloids) can produce an altered state of consciousness resembling near-death. With the available experimental data, it is neither possible to corroborate nor refute the hypothesis that the release of an endogenous ketamine-like neuroprotective agent underlies NDE phenomenology. However, our results do provide evidence that ketamine, as well as other psychoactive substances, result in a state phenomenologically similar to that of “dying“ (understood as the content of NDE narratives). This could have important implications for the pharmacological induction of NDE-like states for scientific purposes, as well as for therapeutic uses in the terminally ill as means to alleviate death anxiety. We believe that the development of evidence-based treatments for such anxiety is a cornerstone of a more compassionate approach towards the universal experience of transitioning between life and death.


    However this all was discussed here so its nothing new.


    Tim you said during our conversations about Pam Reynolds case that a flat EEG there is no way she could have been alive. Yet I demonstrated to you here with that study that there is a brain state where you have a flat EEG and you are alive and well. That was all.

    As for you explanation how patients can know what has happened during a operation there are countless other ways they could have learned these facts before or after it but you will not accept any of them. As I said I will wait if Dr. Parnia will have some results that can change my mind but so far nothing of that kind was produced.

    As for my language English is not my first language you know. Second when I post a study like the sheep study before Max_B found it quite fascinating and it showed that we again know nothing about the brain but you keep coming to the same conclusion that NDEs must be a proof of a afterlife even when the year 2019 showed that there is a lot going on and that the evidence is far from clear – people here were shocked that Dr. Sam Parnia found seizure like activity.

    However this all was discussed here so its nothing new.


    • omnihilon on said:

      Indeed, it is nothing new, especially given Greyson is notably NOT convinced by this, with his upcoming book clarifying such. I have spoken to Greyson via email and he has not changed his mind on such matters. And my criticisms of the Ketamine theory still stand, as do those of the authors of Irreducible Mind and the Journal of Near-Death Studies. Additionally, they say the effects are similar, not identical. There are still several differences that have to be taken into account and the effects can’t just be cherry-picked or ignored. You can find several other criticisms of the drug theories on Psychology Today by Steve Taylor. Also, my initial point was that this ‘brain activity’ required the ketamine to take effect, not the brain by itself. That’s what they emphasise in the article-it was caused by the doses of ketamine given to the sheep. Therefore, you seemed to be implying that this brain activity phenomena, caused by the ketamine doses, could be an explanation for NDEs. So correct me if I’m wrong, but my rebuttal is still relevant.


    • @Lukas

      Lukas said >” Tim you said during our conversations about Pam Reynolds case that a flat EEG there is no way she could have been alive. Yet I demonstrated to you here with that study that there is a brain state where you have a flat EEG and you are alive and well. That was all.”

      For the love of Jehovah, how many times do I have to try to explain this to you. With a flat EEG, your brain is not functioning so you cannot have any experience or consciousness in that state. The rest of your your body MAY be alive and well if it is connected up to the appropriate machines, but your brain is not working, so you cannot have any experience according to mainstream medical science.

      The study you have linked to actually supports the view of proponents, not sceptics.
      What they have done there is given the sheep enough anaesthetic to deeply anaesthetise them. So much so that their brains lost all electrical activity (flat EEG)

      But they then stopped giving the sheep the drug and the anaesthetic wore off so that the sheep’s brain regained electrical activity. That’s it. So what ? That’s exactly what happens when anaesthesia is administered to humans. Can’t you understand that ?

      Pam Reynolds was given massive amounts of anaesthetic, sufficient to flatten her EEG (burst suppression). But her anaesthetic was MAINTAINED throughout the operation so that her EEG REMAINED flat. That’s why she should not have been able to be aware of anything, but somehow, she was.

      You really need to spend a bit more time on trying to understand this properly, Lukas, because it’s getting boring now. And once again, you can’t even get my existential position right on whether or not there is an afterlife.

      Let me explain again, not that it matters what I think, it really doesn’t matter a damn. But I have never said that NDE’s PROVE that there is an afterlife.

      I’ve tried to explain that they (only) point to a continuation of consciousness when the brain has stopped functioning which brings in the possibility of an afterlife, but it doesn’t prove there is an afterlife. Is that okay ? I doubt it somehow…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. @omnihilon:

    I never said that ketamine is the explanation for NDEs.

    I agree that there are differences and similarities when it comes to NDEs like the article I quoted with Dr. Greyson.

    As for the sheep study I am saying that it showed a new brain state that is all a brain state that was claimed is not possible and that when you have a flat EEG you are dead which the sheep study contradicted because those sheep were not dead but alive. Also there is another study I posted before with cats that showed there is brain activity beyond a flat EEG. That is all I wanted to point out nothing more and that we need more studies because for me the NDE research is not over if we do not get a real hit that was in a controlled environment.

    Also thanks for the polite discussion.


  12. matthew on said:

    I totally agree with the sentiment of doubt portrayed by commenter Lukas. Without a theory, why conclude so swiftly we all survive death? That is the problem with believers. They only believe in their ignorance in the hope that we are not anihilated.

    NDE’s point to the possibility of survival, some unquantifiable chance. That is it.

    Can anyone debate this conclusion of mine?

    1) we cannot quantify the odds of survival objectively
    2) we have not even a single hypothesis that can be tested as to why survival might occur


    1) no peer reviewed studies
    2) everyone thought the brain did it — produced consciousness. Maybe its a filter, etc. But lets just admit we don’t know.

    Most of the evidence is currently on the side of non-existence.

    Finally, what survives? No one knows that either. No one knows what it means to survive. No one.

    But, I still think its possible. I wish more people didn’t just conclude there is no life after death based upon current assumptions. The evidence for it is very real and quite good compared to what most skeptics think. I mean, I am very intrigued.


    • omnihilon on said:

      If you’re going to try and argue like that, do not accuse believers/proponents of ‘ignorance’ when both sides can be guilty of such ‘ignorance’. Nobody truly claims to be omniscient and all-knowing. There are plenty of non-believers who will assert things that are nothing more than speculation and often lack evidence. I know because they’re all over the Internet. I am not going to debate with someone who opens their argument by labelling the opponent as ignorant, which when it comes to this subject, is hypocritical.

      You claim ‘most of the evidence is on the side of nonexistence’ which is just an opinion/ assertion, but you then also admit that we don’t know much about the brain’s relation to consciousness and that there is ‘very real and quite good’ evidence. I really don’t understand your position because I’m reading contradictory statements. Peer-review can also depend on who reviews it; after all, what’s the use of presenting evidence if the peers are all biased against it or are all in favour of it?

      Why does survival occur? Well that’s down to answering questions down the road is it not? And wouldn’t those be rooted in the research Parnia has already conducted showing consciousness survives AT LEAST for some time after death? That’s what the argument tends to be. In the case of reincarnation, it also perhaps includes some intrinsic memories and experiences as well. One can be humble enough in saying that we aren’t certain.

      I suggest perhaps emailing Jan Holden or Bruce Greyson about your thoughts. Greyson has his own website now: , but I’d recommend contacting him or other members of the UVA via their University emails.

      I do appreciate a neutral perspective though.


      • Lukas: why believe abnormal EEG activity corresponds to lucid / normal (sometimes enhanced) experience? It’s not that no one predicted that outcome, its that no one COULD predict that outcome.

        Find me a single study that tried to predict such an outcome? Find a single expert who knew it all along. Not that such an expert should be believed. But instead he or she should be highly scrutinized.

        And you cannot tell me it was such an obvious conclusion no one bothered to study it. No one studied it because no one believed it. Find someone who did over roughly 1950-1990 when very few knew about NDE’s. I use 1990 because that was close to the beginning of the internet on campuses.

        But, it might be and indeed probably is the best explanation. But it cannot be. So there is no solution here.

        So why did you type that? Because there are no good explanations. I don;t know what to say. I am sorry for you.


    • I quite agree with your opinion. There is a lot of fraud in all these near-death issues, because it’s a business and it sounds very exotic for a doctor of a certain renown to publish a study on a possible afterlife. But currently (and unfortunately) as you say all the evidence is in favor of non-existence


      • omnihilon on said:

        There is some fraud, not a ‘lot’ I’d argue. And on the contrary, it’s quite controversial for doctors and scientists to argue in favour of something against the materialist paradigm. Dr Greyson himself has said that it can put your career at risk sometimes because of the spritual and religious connotations. If you’re going to generalise like that, are you seriously implying that folks like Long, Parnia, Greyson, Lommel, Sartori etc. are just attention-seekers and possible frauds? The ‘they’re just trying to make money’ argument can work both ways. Just look at all the sensationalised studies trying to push materialist theories that then have to get corrected, or ones that rely on assumptions themselves. You can even find a case on of a militant pseudo-skeptic atheist who not only spread misinformation about NDES, but faked his own and profited of it. NDEs aren’t the only evidence either.

        And like I said, claiming that there’s ‘evidence for nonexistence’ is still more of an assertion/opinion in itself than an objective statement. Every time I read about someone claiming there’s evidence against the afterlife, it’s always rooted more in their interpretation of something, their own philosophies and their own opinion than it is science.


  13. Eduardo on said:

    Lukas said: Also there is another study I posted before with cats that showed there is brain activity beyond a flat EEG. …Wich? What?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Eduardo:

    This one in the past but not in this debate:

    As for Tim:

    You said and it is a consensus is that beyond a flat EEG there is no life even the study that I now posting here is claiming the same. Yet you can have a flat EEG and be alive and the brain can still work:

    Scientists have discovered evidence of brain activity beyond a flat line EEG, opposing existing data that suggests there is no brain activity or possibility of life once a person enters the flat line stage.

    Also here:

    Death is commonly declared with the observation of a flat line or isoelectric EEG that is irreversible.


    That is all I will no longer debate it here because its useless and nothing new is produced from it.


  15. Eduardo:

    This one in the past but not in this debate:

    As for Tim:

    You said and it is a consensus is that beyond a flat EEG there is no life even the study that I now posting here is claiming the same. Yet you can have a flat EEG and be alive and the brain can still work:

    Scientists have discovered evidence of brain activity beyond a flat line EEG, opposing existing data that suggests there is no brain activity or possibility of life once a person enters the flat line stage.

    Also here:

    Death is commonly declared with the observation of a flat line or isoelectric EEG that is irreversible.


    That is all I will no longer debate it here because its useless and nothing new is produced from it.


  16. lol typical.


    • Lukas, as far as brain activity after flatlining is concerned, similar effects are seen in psilocybin, in other words, membranes are silent but consciousness goes to a deeper, more quantum level in microtubules. Think of it as low energy.

      So yes, cognition is impaired but consciousness goes sky high.

      This link by Dr. Stuart Hameroff should help explain it further.

      In case you’re never heard of him, he’s an anesthesiologist from America who’s partnered with British Nobel Prize laureate, Sir Roger Penrose, in conducting research into quantum consciousness. Basically, cells have an onboard quantum computer called microtubules (the cytoskeleton) — and this stuff in entangled not just with itself, but with the entire universe.

      In my opinion, his theory is better than Dr. Parnia’s. In his 2013 book, Dr. Parnia ran down the microtubule theory, saying that certain drugs can deactivate it and the person remains conscious, hence, disproving that consciousness is happening at that deep a level. This is wrong because he’s referring to the drug colchicine, which is used in gout to inactivate microtubules in immune cells so that they can move into small joint spaces, thus causing swelling and pain. Patients on colchicine DON’T lose consciousness.

      Here’s what the drug doesn’t do…

      a) it doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier, so it never enters the brain
      b) it only affects microtubules which are assembling and disassembling (brain microtubules are stabilized, so they’re a candidate for memory storage)
      c) when injected into the brain of animals, colchicine causes severe brain damage and loss of consciousness.

      On the other hand, anesthetic gases dampen microtubule vibrations to BLOCK consciousness in the brain.

      So yes, Sam should know better than to have light-handedly dismissed the theory of a Nobel Prize winner.

      But no offense to him, I deeply respect him as a man and researcher, but on the theory of microtubules, he’s mistaken.

      I wish him luck in the results of AWARE II.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Whatever Tim says


  18. I heard of Hameroff and he was criticized for his work in the past. As for the Orch-OR model it has its flaws even with the newest data and even Hameroff and Penrose admit that their work is speculative:

    Hameroff and Penrose admit that their brain’s microtubules at the interface between neurophysiology and quantum gravity are very speculative. They explicitly write that “the actual mechanisms underlying the production of consciousness in a human brain will be very much more sophisticated than any that we can put forward at the present time, and would be likely to differ in many important respects from any that we would be in a position to anticipate in our current proposals” [1].

    Taken from:

    Its even in their own paper. This is why I believe Dr. Sam Parnia does not take him seriously.

    As for Penrose he is a Nobel Prize winner he won the Nobel Prize in 2020 for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.

    Therefore lets see how this theory will go there are many theories of Quantum mind.


    • Personally I am of the view that quantum processes are involved in consciousness but may not provide a natural explanation for how it is generated. I do not understand quantum mechanics, but I do understand how they provide explanations for the possibility of things existing in two states…the whole wave particle duality, and then Shrodingers cat etc. For me therefore, the idea that quantum mechanics are central to the processes that govern the interface between the physical world and the “spiritual” world, is completely sensible and consistent with my belief that there are two realms, and that NDEs are strong evidence of that…among other things.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think consciousness explains quantum or the other way around, people often try to use one mystery to explain another. I think they are both symptoms of the same problem, namely our universe is not a mechanical billiard universe, they are only “mysteries” because we intuitively understand things using everyday experiences, and our everyday experience is that of a mechanical universe. Something deeper would explain both.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. The soul is quantum, t’s immaterial — consciousness happens at the collapse of the wave function, so spiritual, if you want to call it that.


  19. I personally do not deny that Quantum mechanics are involved in consciousness as all our reality has Quantum Mechanics in it as it is a part of physics.

    I just want to wait and do not get into big claims and taking this concept too far. It happened too many times in history and it is a typical human behaviour.

    For example we thought that reality is a dream of a god. At one time Newtonian mechanics seemed to make the universe a clockwork mechanism and when we found computers we are now living in a Matrix. The same applies to everything we do not know for example consciousness or reality.

    I am therefore waiting for Dr. Sam Parnias results along with other experiments in the Quantum Mind to see how it happens and if we get a true answer.


    • Agreed Rudolf. There is no rational scientific explanation how random natural material processes, whether they be quantum mechanical or something else, can produce the construct of the consciousness. None. Just like there is no rational scientific explanation of how the cell, and in particular DNA and its translation system, could be the result of a random natural process (the subject of my book DNA: The elephant in the lab). These two big things, combined with reports from those who have experienced NDEs, point to the understanding that life, and conscious existence is not a product of nature, and therefore there is something outside nature (supernatural) that did give rise to these things. It is the only logical conclusion to draw.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, but, to play devil’s advocate: just because we can’t explain it now doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer. For example, a million years ago, our earliest ancestors might have thought we lived in a dome, and they’d have no clue that the earth turns, or how big the universe is.

        But the answer was always there. It just took us time to discover it.

        Could the same approach apply to consciousness, if it’s not spiritual?

        I don’t know, possibly. But I do hope it’s spiritual.

        But only time will tell… 🙂


  20. Yitz, I understand what you are saying, and glad you have an open mind to different explanations. The choice between a materialist explanation and non-materialist explanation exists, and the correct choice must be based on evidence. In our modern era we have a very good understanding of many aspects of physical science.

    We can explain many things, and using this vast amount of knowledge and centuries of applied thought, we have attempted, but failed miserably, to explain the origin of the Universe, the Origin of Life and the Origin and nature of consciousness.

    With regard to the Universe, that is one that we cannot solve with physical evidence, and theoretical physics relies far too much on speculative mathematics. With regard to the origin of life, the balance of physical and theoretical evidence points overwhelmingly to life needing intelligent input to get going. As time goes by, this understanding only becomes more obvious. With regard to the consciousness, there is very little evidence pointing towards a materialist explanation, and some evidence pointing towards a non-materialist explanation, and if you take human testimony as strong evidence, then I would argue overwhelming evidence, but the latter is a subjective position.

    The belief that science will come up with an answer is nothing more than faith in a subjective philosophical worldview, and from that respect is no different from faith in other unseen and unproven things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hopefully at some point it will be shown that consciousness does not reside solely in our brain, and not everything ends with our physical deaths. But my feeling, also speaking with colleagues who work on the brain and who are open to other possibilities, is that much has yet to be discovered about the nature of the brain, and that the brain remains the key to almost everything. Some also believe that consciousness temporarily survives outside the brain at the time of death, in a very subtle way, yes. No paradises or most of the things that happen during near-death experiences. We’ll see what the next few years and decades of research hold


    • Granted, we’ve much to learn, and that’s the magnificent achievement of science.

      Unlike so-called “holy texts,” we don’t have answers from On High. We must search it out for ourselves.

      Flawed it may be, but that shouldn’t stop us.

      Someday, with even more science, even more knowledge, we may yet discover to answers to our origins, as well as our own conscious thought.

      It isn’t to hard to imagine it, after all, look how far we’ve come in about 6,000 years.

      I think there’s good, very strong evidence for evolution. I’m not exactly sure about life from non-life, but neither am I sure of some Divine Creator, either.

      It is very well possible that G-d doesn’t exist. That ancient man had no knowledge of pre-historic beasts, and invented G-d to suit his own world, in his own time. To make sense of it. To imagine himself at the center of everything.

      I personally find the concept of G-d harder and harder to buy as I get older, but I’m still opened to it. The emotional part of me wants it to be true. In short, I try to believe in Him.

      But I believe it would take a great amount of trust and faith to believe, to go over the edge, to turn into one of those s–called “fundamentalists.”

      I don’t think I can make that sacrifice. My peers would reject me. My intellect would reject me.

      Does this mean the soul doesn’t exist? Again, who can tell?

      And so I end up rooting for Sam, and for Stuart. These guys can open so many doors if they’re right. It’ll be a revolution if they’re right. Nothing would ever be the same again.


      • Luke Wilson on said:

        Don’t kid yourself Yitz, many scientists preach as if their viewpoint is on high and gospel. Science is not immune to biases of certain viewpoints regardless of what the truth could be.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Yitz. Firstly I am NOT talking about the theory of evolution, I am talking specifically about the origin of life. That precedes genetic evolution, and requires the formation of DNA and its translation machinery from simple inorganic compounds. I show in my book, DNA: The Elephant in the Lab, that is conceptually, statistically and chemically impossible by a random natural process.

        Secondly, I have a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and worked on the very molecules central to the origin of life, so I have a very good grasp of the subject matter. I understand why you would be wary of discussing this with other scientists, but I can assure you there are many more than people realise who either have faith, or at the very least recognize the intractable nature of the origin of life problem.

        There either is a God or there isn’t. It is a binary situation. In my expert opinion, and I am an expert on this subject matter, the scientific evidence about the origin of DNA and cellular life provides supportive evidence for the existence of a being of immense intelligence who at the very least created the first living cell. The evidence against such a thesis is non-existent, and the evidence against a natural origin of life is immense. Please note again, I am not talking about evolution, they are two completely separate subjects.

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Ben Williams…

    So what if Sam Parnia disproves the afterlife? Is there a G-d but no afterlife? Would Deism be true?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would not worry, Sam will not be able prove, disprove or more over approve after-life, it is above “anybody’s grade” question.

      I suggest to start from basics – what IS life… – before we get to what is after 🙂


      Liked by 2 people

      • Right, that’s very philosophical.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not at all.

        If you take one single cell and then try to define borderline between alive and dead cell you may get 15 different explanations – biochemically.

        Most of the people don’t just realize that but borderline or what is actually make cell alive is not that clear. Otherwise people would already made artificial cell.

        This is one of the cornerstone of origin of life questions. Just think carefully what is making combination of those inner structures and molecules alive? There is no one simple answers, thus no sharp borderline.

        You think this is philosophical just probably because you never asked yourselves what it means biochemically, but biochemically there is no one simple answer.

        This is very similar to conciseness – no one really knows what it is but in general public it is perceived simplistically and very few people really cares…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Oleg, actually biochemically there is a very simple answer. All life is based on the current DNA/protein replication system, and has done since very soon after planet earth was able to support life. Aside from a few very minor variations in the DNA code, the same code has persisted throughout all known life forms that ever existed (obviously each life form has a different genome, but the code itself is universal). There are only two ways in which this system and the code could have appeared.

        1. The DNA code and translation system appeared through an undirected natural process.

        2. The DNA code and translation system appeared as a result of intelligent initiation.

        There are no other options. In my Ph.D. I worked on the synthesis of nucleotide pro drugs that contained amino acid motifs. I had a knowledge of the chemistry and biochemistry of these molecules and the translation system that is equal to any other expert. That is what you do as a Ph.D. student. From this knowledge I came to the understanding that this system could not have appeared by a natural process.

        Firstly it is not chemically possible for sufficient amounts of pure starting material to form in any natural environment for the molecules at the heart of life to form.

        Secondly, it is statistically impossible for even one simple functional protein to form even if the chemistry were possible, even if you took account the size of the universe and the entire length of time the universe existed for these molecules (DNA and protein) to form in a way that they were effective. At some point a protein had to form…big problem.

        Thirdly a natural explanation is conceptually impossible. Despite the fact that we know exactly how the translation process works, no one has even been able to conceive of how the system evolved from a similar but slightly simpler system, let alone how it would have developed all the way from the inorganic chemicals that would have been the only available starting materials.

        The evidence against a natural origin is overwhelming.

        DNA is a code. That is an accurate and precise description. Every other code we know of, and there are millions, is the result of intelligence. This is indirect evidence that the DNA code was the result of intelligent initiation.

        When you combine these two facts, namely that the evidence against a natural origin is overwhelming, and that there is one small but powerful piece evidence for an intelligent initiation, then the only rational conclusion is that life was most likely the result of intelligence. Anything else is blind faith in materialism.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ben, thanks, you have described very well what life is based on and how it is functioning and main origin of life issues. Thanks, I am not phd at biochemistry but I do have more or less general understanding of its basis.

        Trick is though it doesn’t address “what life is” (or what ignites it) I just outlined that this is not trivial or philosophical question. It is excessively difficult to quantify and qualify what you need to do to make cell alive. Even if you have all the biochemical parts of it in one place.

        If anyone would be able to answer that or suggest a pathway, we would be able to start life in one separately taken artificial cell. But so far, no one was able to do that and no one even can tell what will trigger it to become alive. And reason to that is exactly in the title of thread – what life is? Not how it is functioning since then.

        I sympathetic to ID, but don’t understand natural/supernatural borderline. I suggest (now actually philosophically lol) there is no such a border, thus this is just our poor definitions that make us comfortable. We made them and now we stuck with them labeling things… haha.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Oleg, the problem of “what is life” is indeed very philosophical! Think of it, what came first: science or philosophy?

    Clearly, philosophy. It’s been around longer. Well then, how on earth did philosophy define life?

    If it can move, is birthed, and ultimately dies, it’s alive.

    So according to the philosophical perspective, stars are living organisms. After all, they’re birthed, orbit (move), and eventually die.

    We’ve no idea what “life” is. Sea squirts will digest their brains for the remainder of their lives, so are sea squirts “alive” or “dead”?

    Yes, the line is very “subtle” from a scientific outlook, but from a philosophical one, anything which checks the three boxes above is clearly alive.

    Happy living 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nahhh, this is derailing the whole point. If you want to discuss afterlife and what it possibly means, you apparently need to start from life, otherwise it makes very little sense. Yet it is just one step toward this, one little step.

      And this is absolutely scientific issue, you cannot just vaguely define life as “birth, moves, dies”, you have to break it down to the very foundation level of it and define it in biochemical terms, similar to what Ben did except he was describing how it is functioning, not what actually it is. It is not the same.

      It is not philosophical in its core, not even a bit, there is a process or quantum event or something else that brings those molecules together in a form described by Ben above, and since that point it is able to carry on in some evolutionary form though again, it doesn’t look like completely undirected processes are bringing us where we are right now (see Bens notes above). No one knows what is this process, no one was able to replicate it even with our quite a knowledge (those are well learned molecules and every protein made of them in the cell is quite investigated by now), we are clueless how did this happen. But that means very simple thing, we don’t really understand what it is. We absolutely cannot define it.

      This is unfortunately just half of the issue. Another half – your conciseness, apparently somehow through this undefined process we acquired self-awareness, abstract thinking, sensations and feelings… this must be defined in scientific terms, but again no one knows what conciseness is. Biochemistry of the brain is a fair science together with neuroscience yet weak electrochemical waves in your brain best are correlation but not causation, and there is no clear definition what is your conciseness… let’s drop the whole conciseness – no one really knows what is even one little thought, scientifically it is not defined, cannot be registered or even explain.

      Both items are crucial to discussion any form of afterlife. Especially if you want to do it scientifically. With out them there will not be any sufficient description or understanding or even little inside.

      Because of above, I mentioned that I would not worry, Sam Parnia is one of the top and charismatic and warm scientists of modern world, yet even he would not be able to prove, disprove etc afterlife, it is simply impossible unless you define what are we talking about. And I have a feeling he understands this, his research is an ambition of the field to explore something that we have very little understanding what it is (conciseness and life) – remember, he is learning what happens after we die 🙂

      But everything starts from one little step, so lots of kudos to him!

      Liked by 1 person

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