AwareofAware

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

Burning a Straw Man

I have been hearing a lot of noise about a paper which appeared this week:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2022.813531/full

Let’s not waste too much time on discussing the argument it sets up, since we would be “attacking a straw man”. My intent in this post is to show why it precisely fits the definition of a straw man:

A straw man is a form of  argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the real subject of the argument was not addressed or refuted, but instead replaced with a false one.[1] One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”. (wikepedia)

Firstly, is this paper trying to refute the argument that NDEs are evidence that the consciousness is able to persist beyond brain death – i.e. independent of brain activity? Yes, absolutely, the fact they are talking about NDEs is obvious in the opening sentence:

“The neurophysiological footprint of brain activity after cardiac arrest and during near-death experience (NDE) is not well understood.”

Here we have a clue as to the straw man nature of this research. They are blurring the definition of NDE to suit their desired attempt to refute what NDEs represent. This is where Parnia may be on to something by moving away from the term NDE and creating a number of different terms to describe the different and unique types of experience that are associated with having a CA and being revived after CPR (or spontaneously).  I will create a separate post on that this weekend. I was a bit skeptical of why he was doing this, but having seen this paper under discussion here, I now “get it”. This straw man research has crystallized the need for clarity in distinguishing what we understand NDEs are from what sceptics would try to define NDEs as. By defining what we understand NDEs to be- remembered experiences that happened while a patient was clinically dead as defined by no ECG or EEG signal, as REDs – or recalled experiences of death, it is moving them away from this potential grey zone. More on that in my next post, and other implications from the joint statement paper.

Back to the paper at hand. The authors are playing a sleight of hand here by using the term NDE. They are basically inferring that any conscious activity, indeed, any measurable brain activity close to the time of death is now an NDE. These are the legs of the straw man against which we may be tempted to argue, and get caught up in discussions on alpha gamma and theta waves etc. That is the goal of a straw man…to get us distracted in detail that is irrelevant.

The body of the straw man is that the brain activity described in enormous detail in this paper only occurred for 30 seconds after the heart stopped. However, as we know from our years of discussing various NDEs, and from the AWARE I NDE, these experiences occur for periods of time long after the 30s. Yes, while it is theoretically possible to believe that the life review and tunnel are a result of these final firings of the brain, the verified recollections reported from thousands, if not tens of thousands of documented experiences where patients witnessed observable events that occurred many minutes after their heart had stopped, cannot be accounted for by this research. This is the heart of the straw man…it does not address the NDEs that we talk about…which Parnia now refers to as REDs.

The head of the straw man is that the patient under discussion never recovered to describe any experience. There was no reported NDE RED with which the EEG data could be correlated, so the whole paper is really just a moot point and most definitely does not address the central argument that “believers” make – NDEs – REDs are a result of the consciousness persisting after the brain has become inactive/dead and incapable of physically “producing” consciousness which provides strong evidence for the philosophy of metaphysical dualism, out of which most religious/spiritual belief systems come.

It is a Straw Man…burn baby, burn!

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125 thoughts on “Burning a Straw Man

  1. Ben said >”I have been hearing a lot of noise about a paper which appeared this week”

    Me too. It’s more or less identical to the Lakhmir Chawla paper and Jimo Borjigin’s rat study. Both of those caused great excitement amongst materialist sceptics.

    Champagne parties with fireworks and dancing into the early hours were reported in some institutions… not really, but one could be forgiven for thinking that, the way they respond to this kind of stuff. Just shows how desperate they are.

    Just as an aside, I actually saw Jimo Borjigin state that she was (in effect) open to the possibility of consciousness outside the brain, believe it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matthew on said:

      Can you find the source of Borjigins opinion?

      I am a fan of 8dealism that is non dualistic. But I dunno, it’s hard to know which philosophical views to adopt. I’m not a Christian either and really dislike the idea of someone sacrificing themselves in exchange for imperfections I did not create on this earth.

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    • @Z Hi ! (Z said, Where did you see that?)

      Here (at 2.01) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcDoNM-_75g&t=127s

      As regards shared death experiences, I agree with you, they “refute” the dying brain argument, completely. The problem is though that they (sceptics) just ignore them as anecdotes or tall tales or wishful thinking, whatever, you know what they say, just as well as I do.

      Parnia is studying the experiences of patients who have actually died, because that is the only way to separate mind from brain (and falsify the materialist physiological explanation for NDE’s) basically, although he can’t say that of course.

      That is why there has been all this controversy. Hopefully, he can clear the field with his ADE’s or RED’s which are actually impossible according to neuroscience.

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  2. Hi Tim,

    Where did you see that?

    To be fair to the like of Chalwa Boirgin and the authors of the new case study they are simply infering a possibility. I don’t think that ever came across as out and out skeptics but anyhow.

    One thing I don’t think I ever seen mentioned is that 9f shared death experiences. I suppose it the point (and maybe mentioned by Moody in his book on the topic) that these experiences occur in non dying people close to dying people. In other words there brains are normal and this infers alongside thatbof NDEs that these experiences occur in all brain states abd that the mind therefore transcends the brain. Unsure if I mentioned that previous bit something I thought of since moody realised the SDE book but that just my two euro thought.

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    • @Z Maybe I’m a bit sensitive about these things! 🙂 I have seen so much effort by genuinely respected scientists to show just how easy it would be for life to appear spontaneously using extremely dodgy theories that have no basis in scientific reality, that I view studies like this in the same vein. If they hadn’t inferred this was about NDEs at the start of the paper, but made a more general statement later on along the lines of “this data may provide insights into aspects of NDEs” I would be less critical…but they didn’t. It is the misleading nature of statements like this that really get my goat, and “inspired” me to write this post:

      “To investigate oscillatory changes during NDE, we analyzed…”

      That is extremely misleading, and in my view a deliberate attempt to link their data about EEG readouts in a patient around death with what the rest of the world regards as reports by the patient of conscious activity after CA, and imply that this data was collected during what we regard as an NDE. From the paper it is clear that there was no NDE. I am not so naïve or trusting to believe that their use of the words “during NDE” is by accident and it undoubtedly betrays their intention to discredit the duality explanation.

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      • That very true. Maybe I too optimistic at times on individuals haha. I perhaps confusing individuals human decency with their metaphysical perspective

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      • Call me a cynic, but I do not assume individual humans are decent…my views on this have been formed partly after reading about the Milgrim and Stanford prison experiments which provided incredible insights into the human condition. Both studies showed that most people can easily be pushed into behaving badly towards their fellow man, and that a significant minority are happy, even eager to behave badly.

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    • @Ben

      Ben said >”It is the misleading nature of statements like this that really get my goat, and “inspired” me to write this post”

      “To investigate oscillatory changes during NDE, we analyzed…”

      It’s typical of them, doesn’t surprise me at all. Many of them are not only mischievous (as above) but downright dishonest. The ‘net’ is awash with their misinformation and many people accept what they say, because after all they are scientists.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @Tim…which is why this article got my knickers in a twist. It is very subtle, but insidious.

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      • To be fair to them they may not use the term the same way you do.

        If there goal was to look at a NDE, by their definition they could simply mean studying the brain near death which is exactly what they did.

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      • Hi Jz, thanks for popping in. You are being very gracious to these guys. NDE to everyone else on the planet =Near Death EXPERIENCE…i.e. something that is experienced by the person who (nearly) died, it does not = Near Death EEG, which is what this paper describes. Using the term NDE is a definite attempt to muddy the waters, of that I have no doubt.

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      • @Ben

        Yep, there can be no excuse for the use of the term NDE in that paper. They knew exactly what it means and they know exactly why they they used it.

        Also very good point about human nature.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Constiproute on said:

    I don’t see the problem even if it comes from the brain. According to experiencers time does not exist during the experience. It might be possible that NDEs correspond to a short activity of the brain that could last for a fraction of a second in our world but can last forever for the dying person. There are many stories where the where the person is surprised to learn that he remained unconscious for a few seconds while from his point of view, the experience may have lasted for years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome Constiproute…I agree that NDEs can and do stretch our understanding of time, however when it comes to verified reports of observations of other events that occurred during an OBE, that were time stamped…unless the conscious can be in two places at the same time while in this universe, then that 30 second period cannot account for this.

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  4. Katie C on said:

    Thank you so much for responding to this. You’re 100% right that NDEs have been verified over than 30 seconds. This brain activity could be from his epilepsy but it doesn’t disprove NDEs

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This gave me a reflection on how I view the whole debate on NDE/RED.

    A part of me find NDEs extremely difficult to believe in the age of reason and rationality. But I am equally skeptically towards the theories and so-called evidence presented by the sceptic camps.

    Because well-known sceptics such as Susan Blackmore, Keith Augustine, Chris French are basically citing works from more open-minded researchers and cherry picking flaws from their publishes. They have never really spent the time to investigate the first-hand accounts of the experiencers and they tend to omit a lot of facts in order to present a story favourable to their view. Except for Steven Laureys who actually does his own researches though I find his theories very dubious. Basically, minimal work with maximum attention since they are the ones that align with the classic scientific framework. Their lucrative career is basically built on nitpicking, and they see themselves as the modern day Harry Houdini.

    On the other hand, those who are truly convinced that there lies a deeper explanation behind these transcendental experiences are the ones who work extensively with NDEers. Names such as Bruce Greyson, Pim van Lommel, Kenneth Ring and etc. have spent decades collecting accounts and finding ways to rationalise these experiences to no avail.

    If you look at the testimonies from the hospice doctors, they make NDE sound pretty convincing:

    Irrelevant but another Bigelow essay contenter: Dr. Christopher Kerr who is also a hospice director who over time became more convinced of a possible reality beyond our physical world:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi AW. I wonder how NDEs would have been interpreted in a vacuum where there had been no history of religious or spiritual belief. Almost certainly they would have been dismissed and further investigation unlikely, but because NDEs align with dualism, and provide support for that worldview, they have become much more contentious. Materialists had thought the argument was all but over, but no…along come NDEs and turn everything upside down.

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      • Michael on said:

        What is truly spectacular to me about the NDE, and especially the studies of Dr. Greyson, is just how many physiological explanations have been proposed only to not hold up.

        I can’t think of any area of science that has had the same result. The only area that repeatedly fails scientific testing with our current paradigm (at least anatomically) are those that surround consciousness.

        SO MANY materialistic hypotheses have been proposed to explain these and then wind up not holding up.

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      • I agree except when it comes to the area of origins of life research. All attempts at scientific explanation have failed miserably.

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      • Let’s say, for a moment, that REDs aren’t real — at least not in the spiritual sense. When someone died (and had that false experience), they — understandably — confused it with reality and hence, spirituality was born — just one of many parents.

        I don’t think it would be dismissed in such a hypothetical universe, I do think it’d start said world on the path of spiritualism.

        Lastly, and totally off topic as per this comment, but I’d imagine that most scientists (most) aren’t sitting somewhere trying to cook up the next big theory to crush spirituality, no?

        Hence, this paper still possibly being “the road to heck paved with good intentions.”

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      • Hi Yitz, that is certainly a good theory, and no most scientists aren’t sitting somewhere scheming their next attack on spirituality, but there are number of ardent Atheists who believe that religious faith is evil so do put effort into creating material that attempts to debunk any potential evidence for a non-material explanation.

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  6. I skimmed through the article because I couldn’t stop too long, and I don’t speak English either, but I was able to learn the basics. I find it very interesting that they have managed to record the encephalogram of a patient after a cardiac arrest, but the issue of the explosion of brain activity in the moments after death is something that has already been commented on previously if I do not remember correctly in other studies. And not only that, certain substances are also released in the brain, which I am sure also have an impact on near-death experiences.
    I am sure that sooner or later all this will be explained from a physiological and materialistic point of view, I even do not rule out that something relevant will come out in this regard in the studies of Sam Parnia in the future. Perhaps consciousness is a force in the universe that we still cannot understand, but I am also sure that the existence of a brain is essential.

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    • The existence of the brain is essential, but for what purpose?To produce or to host consciousness? When will we know the answer?

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      • My opinion is that the brain is essential to channel that field, or that force. I commented on it in another post a few days ago, without a computer, an iPhone or other technology you cannot access internet content, that for me would be a good metaphor for what I think about all this
        When will we know the answer? I wish I know!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It appears that this is just another one of those neurological correlates of NDE studies. But as always, correlation does not imply causation. And we have good reasons to doubt that the neural correlates have are the causative effects.

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    • Hi Nic, but it’s not even a correlate since they did not correlate these signals with a reported experience.

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      • Yes that is right. I guess neural correlates of a dying brain.

        If you remember that angry professor in Michigan who killed a bunch of rats and saw the brains light up at the end and concluded that that was the NDE, is this just the same thing except in a human?

        Then again, the brain lighting up is called a seizure, not a coherent, peaceful, Greyson-scale experience

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am surprised by what he says since he has always been so insistent on the recollections occurring when there is no EEG signal. Please correct me if I’m misunderstanding, but particularly in the second paragraph he seems to contradict what he has said on numerous occasions, including in the Bigelow essay:

      “Dr. Sam Parnia, an associate professor at NYU Langone Health and author of “What Happens When We Die?,” told Insider other studies have shown that when people start to die, “they have paradoxical lucidity with heightened consciousness. This includes a meaningful, purposeful review of their entire lives, which encompasses all their actions, intentions and thoughts — in essence their humanity — towards others.”

      “This study appears to confirm this by identifying a potential brain marker of lucidity at the end of life,” Parnia, who was not involved in Zemmar’s study, added. “It may be that as multiple parts of the brain are shutting down with death, this leads to disinhibition of other areas that help humans gain insights into other dimensions of reality, that are otherwise less accessible.”

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      • Orson, seems like Sam is still “on track” with his previous consistent views.
        The last para by him, “It may be that as multiple parts of the brain are shutting down with death, this leads to disinhibition of other areas that help humans gain insights into other dimensions of reality, that are otherwise less accessible.”

        This reminds of a paper from 2012 (that people here are familiar with) – “Neural correlates of the psychedelic state as determined by fMRI studies with psilocybin about less activity.” I believe this is still a materialistic view in this paper but they do say at the end … “These results strongly imply that the subjective effects of psychedelic drugs are caused by decreased activity and connectivity in the brain’s key connector hubs, enabling a state of unconstrained cognition.” I’d be interested how people here can connect the two statements.

        Sam’s statement is surely not materialistic if he’s saying “other dimensions of reality” can be found but the one just above is enigmatic to say the least.

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      • Parnia is the Mona Lisa of NDE research. A good thing I believe.

        I make the point in my book that just because drugs may be able to produce some facets of NDEs, does not necessarily support the materialist position. It is just as possible these drugs cause the conscious to briefly “untether” from the host brain. In fact that is precisely the premise underlying a novel I have been working on for about 12 years! In fact I wrote a different book based on this idea back in 1996, before I had seen Jacob’s ladder or the Matrix.

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      • Hi Ben.

        I don’t see very much difference in what Dr. Parnia say compared to his past interviews. In my opinion, he’s still keeping a non materialistic view. First because he is speaking about paradoxycal lucidity that we (and he) already know occurs when the subject is still alive. Second, because Parnia, in this interview, asserts a strong idea, that it could be a connection with other dimensions. This is an important assertion and i don’t think he said that without think to the implications, specially knowing the mainstream science idea… To me he looks still thinking that RED is not just a product of the brain even if there are (and off course there are) some EGG pattern correlate. And if you think to your own experience (I read it somewhere in this blog), you had it alive so there where necessarily some brain activities. Finally, i think and reflect on that: how it is possible that people of many different cultures and age have the same experience? I am not referrying just to life review but also to the light, the warm, the love and the “light being”. If is a trick of the mind to “help us to not suffer death”, why the evolution simply didn’t gave us a “brain shutdown”? No pain, no things, no review, no light being…just switch off and oblivion?
        One of the strongest cases for me is one of Parnia reports, the three old child who reported a OBE in ambulance and after has drawn a light and the entire experience. And I think we must remember that this EGG recorded pattern until 30 second after CA.

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      • I agree, and my initial reaction was perhaps coloured by my overall reaction to the study, and I hoped he might be a bit more negative, but he is very wise! I think Parnia is acknowledging the potential for the study to shed light on physiological processes that occur in the brain around the time of CA, without saying specifically what those processes result in. At the same time, you are right…paradoxical lucidity is something that occurs when alive, and the idea of interacting with other dimensions is very much not something aligned with the materialist worldview.

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      • I have wondered about these substances to at least allow mind abilities to be enhanced to experience different realities. It’s fundamentally different than “imagination”. That’s it really for me in that once you open *that* door much more can occur.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Just another thought on this, as I mentioned in a reply to AW, it could be that Parnia is suggesting that these signals could be a sign of the beginning of an interaction with the spiritual world…other dimensions. The consciousness is packing up its bags and getting ready to leave. I understand that he needs to tread a careful path and retain scientific credibility, so maybe this is his way of conceding the possibility that this activity is related to NDEs. Not sure, as usual he is enigmatic.

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  8. Actually I was reading the BBC news this morning and it seems that one of the researchers in this paper holds a view more akin to dualism, it is not something they can openly state on the paper of course.

    Quote “I think there’s something mystical and spiritual about this whole near-death experience,” Dr Zemmar said. “And findings like this – it’s a moment that scientists lives for.”

    I think it is possible that the researches are only trying to prove the reality of the “life review” stage of the NDE and nothing more.
    I remember a video interview of Dr. Stuart Hameroff has attributed a similar 2013 research on the dying brain EEG surge to “the soul leaving the body”.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-60495730

    It was also mentioned on the paper that it is challenging to correlate quantitative neurological data to subjective experience. The fact that the EEG surge had occurred prior to cardiac arrest does present some interesting evidence to support Dr. Start Hameroff’s view and death can be more than just a simple biological process of the heart switching the brain off.

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    • AW, if they hadn’t used the words they had implying that this is recording an NDE, which has a very clear meaning, I would be happy with their paper. But they don’t. I would also be happy for them to state that this could explain the life review, because it could. But the life review is but one element of an “NDE”. Moreover, from my understanding, NDEs that include a life review tend to follow a sequence of events…understanding of dying, sometimes an OBE seeing their dead selves, then movement to a different realm, then possibly the life review. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I am not aware of ant examples which started with a life review.

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      • @Ben

        Honestly, there is nothing in that paper that is any different from the two previous similar observations of brain surges (one in rats) after the heart had stopped.

        Also, coming from (as they are of course) a completely non-spiritual and an entirely 100% physiological perspective, the 87 year old man could not have experienced anything at all, as both hemispheres of his brain were in burst suppression before his heart stopped. They told us that. Burst suppression 100% eliminates all experience, period.

        So from a materialist, physiological perspective there could have been >nothing< experienced. Doesn't matter if the EEG picked up some gamma waves, there can be multiple reasons for that, it could be the festering of his catastrophic brain injury and all it's chemical reactions. That could make noise on the EEG (as they say).

        I tried to point this out before, not as an expert (I'm certainly not) it's just a simple fact that anyone on here can extrapolate themselves by looking at the paper which they now tell us is from 2016 . They've been sitting on this "dynamite" for nearly six years, LOL !

        As for that current article referring to it and linking it to life reviews etc, it's absolutely laughable. Life reviews (how are they defining that BTW?) can occur in many brain states, wide awake, dreaming, bit of both, unconscious but not comatose.

        And the quote from Parnia…

        "This study appears to confirm this by identifying a potential brain marker of lucidity at the end of life," Parnia, who was not involved in Zemmar's study, added. "It may be that as multiple parts of the brain are shutting down with death, this leads to disinhibition of other areas that help humans gain insights into other dimensions of reality, that are otherwise less accessible."

        … is I'm pretty sure (not certain) linked to his new end of life study, paradoxical lucidity and not Aware 2.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Tim, thanks for clarifying…your thoughts are always highly regarded by all members, including myself and pretty much should draw a line under our feelings on this piece of”dynamite”.

        I am not absolutely convinced Parnia is referring solely to his dementia research, if that’s what you are saying. Terminal paradoxical lucidity is more a case of people showing cognitive abilities that may have not been present for many years, and usually in their last weeks of life. Here Parnia is referring to accessing different dimensions in the final moments of life.

        Ultimately I suspect that Parnia shares our views on this paper, but has found a polite way of providing a fudged response that pleases everyone and no one!

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    • Just to add, I think that another potential explanation for the brain activity could be that the conscious is packing it bags and leaving…it is breaking the electromagnetic forces that have bound it to the body all its life. Given we have no actual report of an NDE, in a world that had a balanced view on this subject, then that could be an equally plausible explanation.

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  9. I just want to be very clear to everyone why I am attacking this publication. It is not because I disagree with the theory that brain activity just before and just after CA could be the cause of certain aspects of an NDE, such as the life review. I fully accept, as a scientist, that this is a plausible explanation. I don’t believe it is the explanation, but until we are able to directly correlate a documented NDE with EEG at the time of CA, whatever your view on the underlying cause of an NDE remains just a theory or belief without validating evidence.

    My issue with this paper lies with the language used, and specifically the term NDE in the context in which it is placed. We have just had two years of psychological manipulation from governments and media. In the UK we have what is called a “nudge unit” that is an actual group of civil servants who try to create language and memes that nudge the public towards certain behaviours that the government is seeking to promote. It can be used for good or bad, and I am not going to get into whether it was appropriate in the context of the pandemic, but my point is that anyone who has an agenda, and is committed to that agenda, will use whatever technique is at their disposal to promote that agenda.

    On two occasions in this article the authors use the term NDE in the context that the EEG is recording brainwaves during an NDE. That is my issue. It may seem trivial, but it is not since it is using language deliberately to manipulate perception. The perception created for the undecided and less informed reader is that this piece of research goes towards proving that NDEs are the result of brain activity. It does not. There was no Near Death Experience reported, just Near Death EEG.

    For those who say this is not deliberate, or that there aren’t scientists who have an agenda to “crush” spiritual belief, I say that you do not understand the human condition and traits such as pride, arrogance, narcissism or even psychopathy (about 2-5% of the population have psychopathic or sociopathic personality disorders). Just because you are reasonable and want open and fair discussion, does not mean that everyone else is of the same disposition. A very quick glance at any century of human history should disavow you of the opinion that all is good with humanity. The last century was dominated by two atheist worldviews, Fascism and communism, murdering vast swathes of humanity in Europe, Asia and Africa who didn’t conform to their worldview. In comparison, the misuse of the phrase NDE is small beer, but given the ruthless nature of some men, to deny that it might be deliberate is naive in extremis.

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    • Ben: “The last century was dominated by two atheist worldviews, Fascism and communism, murdering vast swathes of humanity in Europe, Asia, and Africa who didn’t conform to their worldview.”

      True in the second part of the sentence but sort of half-true in the first. While Communism was an atheistic system, Stalin himself did have second thoughts when he first learned of the Nazi invasion. He actually had ‘The Icon of Our Lady of Kazan’ flown over Moscow. . . just in case!

      Yep, a little-known tidbit of history.

      As for Hitler, it is a common misconception that the man was either Christian or atheist. He was neither. He was more leaning towards blatant paganism, at least as the ‘official religion’ of the Nazi Reich. I’m not sure how mystically bent he was, but he did speak out against atheism there and again (as he did Christianity, by the way).

      Why is it important? Because some (not you, I think you were genuine) try to make atheists or religious people look bad by citing the “fact” that “Hitler was an atheist/Christian.” We ought to learn history, not have an agenda to make the other side look bad. Reductio ad Hitlerum at its finest.

      Again, just so I clear away all confusion: I am NOT accusing you, Ben, of doing this. Just that others have and continue to do so in the past.

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      • Hi Yitz, point taken. I guess I have been on the end of quite a bit of atheist prejudice in my career in science, and it has made me a little wary. On the other hand I have met some wonderful atheists. So you are right, I shouldn’t in any way focus antipathy toward any specific group.

        However, while Hitler and Stalin would have weaved a bit of mysticism into their brands of the ideologies they were promoting, fundamentally at heart both political systems deny the existence and authority of an external supreme being.

        There either is a God or there isn’t…as I suggest in my book(s), evidence from NDEs (and from the origin of DNA) provide very strong evidence for the existence of such a being.

        As a Christian, I am told that God loves the atheist every bit as much as he loves the perfect church going Christian (a person who doesn’t actually exist!). Howard Storm’s NDE provides a perfect example of this.

        Anyhoo…I will try to avoid the pejorative when discussing atheists. I do miss Chad, although Anthony is doing a splendid of job of taking over the role of being the forum’s resident materialist 🙂

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  10. Yes Ben I understand.

    What I am saying is simply that, to me, saying that “it could be a link with another dimension of reality” is a “proof” that Parnia hasn’t change, at the moment, his non-materialistic view.

    And this in very important considering that is said at the “dawn” of Aware2 results presentation. I mean, in the last days reading the instagram updstes of his lab, we all struggle with the idea that Parnia, somehow, changes his position. But this looks to me the answer to our dubts. I am curious to read Tim’s opinion, he always looks to me a balanced person exposing his idea and analysis 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, and as I say in reply to my own initial reaction, his mentioning another dimension is evidence that he has retained his non-materialistic worldview. I think my concerns arise from the fact that he doesn’t say anything about experiences after death in reference to this study. He (or Insider) use the words “when people start to die”…this circles back to the reason for my posting this, which I won’t go over again.

      “[He] told Insider other studies have shown that when people start to die, “they have paradoxical lucidity with heightened consciousness. This includes a meaningful, purposeful review of their entire lives, which encompasses all their actions, intentions and thoughts — in essence their humanity — towards others.”

      Ultimately though, yes, I don’t think his position has changed.

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    • Matt – for Tim’s balanced position, scroll up.

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  11. Michael on said:

    I am confused why Parnia seems to give credit to this study providing a possible brain marker but dismisses the rat study and 2009 human study as being more than likely depolarization. I wasn’t really seeing too many differences between this instance and those studies.

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    • Agreed. This paper is creating confusion, as Straw man arguments do, if nothing else. As I said in another comment, I think Parnia is trying to please everyone and no one. He was asked to comment, and needs to maintain the appearance of objectivity.

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      • Michael on said:

        His comment in the article doesn’t really bother me to be honest.

        A “brain marker” for lucidity at the end of life just means that in this case they saw readings on this EEG that look like lucid moments when there shouldn’t be the ability to have lucid moments.

        Then he goes on to state that this shutting down of brain can lead to disinhibition of different brain regions that can allow the human to experience higher dimensions of consciousness.

        As Tim said this is similar to psychedelic studies that show reductions in brain activity leading to higher states of consciousness.

        And this is also similar to research on paradoxical lucidity showing improvement in cognition when there has been no healing of damaged brain tissues.

        It sounds like all Parnia is saying is it is a paradox that this lucid pattern of activity is seen. And that it’s a paradox that it’s happening because the materialistic brain models can’t account for it.

        I think it’s a safe suggestion at a non-materialistic position.

        My confusion came from why this study?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Katie C on said:

      Maybe it is because it proves what we already knew, that the brain can continue to have EEG activity for 30 seconds. But likely not beyond that. Making NDE accounts which are longer than 30 seconds, and verifiable in content, more likely to real; and not occurring within the brain? Though I’m not sure why he would have dismissed the study with the rats. Sam also has a history of ‘playing both sides’, as a means to not be entirely in one camp (materialist vs dualist), but rather he’s considering all options. Which is what scientists/skeptics really should do.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. michael on said:

    Hi friends!

    I wanted to understand this issue more in depth so I reached out. Here is the response I got from Dr. Bruce Greyson. I think we can really put this to bed.

    Michael,

    Thank you for forwarding this new article to me. The mainstream media has gone wild the past couple of days with claims that that this single case report definitively proves NDEs are explained entirely by persistent brain electrical activity, but the authors of the article themselves are (justifiably) much more circumspect, writing only that “it is intriguing to speculate that such activity could support a last ‘recall of life’ that may take place in the near-death state.”

    In fact, the data from this paper show NOT an increase in gamma activity that is claimed to be responsible for (at least) the life review, but actually show a reduction in absolute gamma waves after cardiac arrest. It is only the relative amount of gamma that is increased compared to alpha, beta, and delta. That is, all brain activity falls off after cardiac arrest, but because alpha, beta, and delta decrease faster than gamma, the percent of residual activity that is in the gamma range is increased relative to the other frequencies. This hardly seems like an explanation of anything meaningful.

    To further complicate the interpretation of these findings, the peak power of the gamma waves is in the upper gamma range, between 60 – 120 Hz, which is most typical of muscle activity, and it occurs primarily on the frontal and temporal electrodes, where muscle artifact is most often found. So this purported gamma activity may not be coming from the brain after all.

    Furthermore, the EKG tracing in this paper clearly shows continued heart electrical activity past the point that they said the patient experienced cardiac arrest. The EKG tracing shows ventricular tachycardia, but not ventricular fibrillation or asystole, which are required to diagnose cardiac arrest. So at the time of the changes in brain electrical activity, the patient had no inf act experienced cardiac arrest but was still having some cardiac activity as well.

    To their credit, the authors of this article appropriately ends with six reasons not to place too much importance on this one idiosyncratic case: the patient’s traumatic brain injury and subdural hematoma, the anesthesia-induced loss of consciousness, the dissociative drugs given to the patient, the anticonvulsant drugs given to control his seizures, and the patient’s asphyxia and hypercapnia – all of which are known to influence brain electrical activity, including gamma waves – and the lack of any normal brain electrical activity recorded from the patient that can serve as a baseline for comparison.

    In summary, this paper, as the authors wrote, is intriguing enough to stimulate speculation, but hardly anything to write home about.

    Best wishes,
    Bruce

    Like

    • Hi Michael, excellent, well done getting a response from one of the field’s true greats, and yes his detailed analysis of the paper does indeed put it to bed. My only beef would be that like Parnia, he is very gracious towards the authors…I won’t go there anymore, but the reason the media has got itself worked up is the deliberate and completely inappropriate use of the word NDE. I can guarantee that for years to come people will be citing this paper as proof that NDEs are a result of the last firings of the brain. There was no NDE!

      Like

      • Michael on said:

        I think the generosity stems from the knowledge that, for many, acknowledging that there are realms of reality that our current science can’t answer, and these realms intertwine directly with the human beings most treasured commodity (life and death) can mean profound worldview changes. Especially for many young scientists who have dedicated their lives to an understanding of the material world.

        So for many of these scientists, interpreting data in a confirmation bias’d way leaning toward the materialistic can provide a literal sense of relief.

        But I think we are getting there. Studies of scientists over the last two decades in the US, UK, the Netherlands, and Brazil show a stark increase in the number of scientists who now agree that the mind and brain are different things.

        We can also see this by the resurgence of theories of consciousness that are akin to modern day interpretations of pansychism advocated by neuroscience heavy hitter Kristof Koch, and Nobel prize winner Sir Roger Penrose (who’s consciousness theory ORCH Or received validating finds in microtubules just last month)

        I’ll cut these last straws some slack I guess lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Michael

        Well done, indeed ! Dr Greyson is always generous with his time and gracious enough to respond and that reply from an expert, puts it all to bed…

        …or rather it should do, but as Ben correctly states above, you can’t put papers like this “to bed”.

        It will continue to be quoted for years by sceptics who will simply ignore Greyson’s comments, because that’s how it works.

        You just have to say something that sounds about right (if you’re a sceptic) and you’ve cracked it.

        If you’re a proponent, however, they will pick you up on the tiniest detail.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Katie C on said:

      Thank you so much Michael for reaching out to Dr. Greyson

      Like

  13. Parnia lab giving special treatment for this on Instagram. They are maintaining a certain duality- excuse the pun – in their commentary though…this is what he thinks, this is what we think. Repeating what Dr Parnia said in the interview.

    Like

    • And there you go, NDE’s explained LOL ! To be fair to Parnia’s group, they have to be completely impartial even though it makes no sense at all.

      Like

      • They have much better self control than I do! Seriously look at Zemmar’s tweet “Imagine reliving your entire life in the space of seconds. That is what our research shows that was published today!” Er…no it doesn’t, not even close. Parnia knows that, Greyson knows that, we know that, but the press lap it up.

        Like

      • “To be fair to Parnia’s group, they have to be completely impartial even though it makes no sense at all.”

        That’s very likely what this is

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Katie C

        Hi, Katie, the case from Dr Zemmar and his subsequent comments that it could be corelated with the classic NDE life review, is bizarre. Scientists are not supposed to make assumptions, and apart from that it makes no sense from a purely logical and non spiritual, reductionist materialist perspective.

        If death is the end of us, there would be no reason whatsoever or evolutionary benefit from a constructive review of one’s life (morally and ethically) before we check out in nothingness. It makes no sense at all.

        Dr Zemmar must be a very intelligent individual, one would have thought, to achieve his status. Would he not consider this very basic point. I do wonder sometimes.

        Like

    • The instragram post seems to be applied in a socrates methodology.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Parnia Lab in the last instagram update talk about this paper and confirms what is said in the interview: “We think that as multiple parts of the brain are shutting down with death, there is disinhibition of certain areas that help humans gain insights into other dimensions of reality, which would be less accessible otherwise”.

    In other words, posting with the Instagram account, they officially asserts that they think there are “other dimension of reality”. I think is a non-materialistic position.

    Like

  15. They did respond to a comment on that Instagram post and say this though, which is a little disheartening.

    “ I am one of the researchers working in
    the Parnia Lab. Unfortunately, this
    man did not survive, so you are
    correct in stating that we cannot
    definitively say what he was
    experiencing during and after death.
    However, it is possible to infer that
    given the patterns of the EEG brain
    oscillation data, and what we already
    know about recalled experiences of
    death from cardiac arrest survivors,
    the presence of gamma waves post-
    death may in fact be a
    neurophysiological contribution to this
    phenomenon. Scientific research is
    only scratching the surface in this
    field and as researchers we strive to
    leave our pre-concieved notions at the
    door while also building upon what we
    have already discovered.”

    Like

    • They were responding to my comment…my real name is Orson. Yes I found this interesting.

      Like

      • @Ben

        I noted that Parnia lab edited their first post on this but I can’t see what they’ve changed particularly. My post didn’t receive a reply as I suspected it wouldn’t, but he/she will have seen it, no doubt (I hope so anyway)

        I personally find it rather odd that they’ve quoted Dr Zemmar’s single case study from 2016, in there, amongst the 7 – 8 years of findings from Aware 2.

        It’s not that I don’t want to see data that may support a physiological explanation; I DO want to see all relevant data. But what Dr Zemmar has provided there is just the potential for unwarranted assumptions and giant leaps, which is not very scientific and rather unhelpful IMHO. Others on here may disagree, of course.

        Like

      • I guess this is the only example of a case the in literature where someone had a CA while attached to an EEG and they captured the data…although I find that very odd. Zemmar certainly achieved his objective though and has got everyone, including Greyson, talking about Gamma waves in 30s after CA causing an NDE in a patient who died and was unable to report an NDE. Everyone is fighting over the straw man. I think that Parnia’s lab obviously contains a range of people on the dualist to materialist spectrum…a good thing provided they do indeed check their pre-conceived notions at the door and don’t allow their beliefs to affect how they conduct the study or interpret the results…unlike Zemmar who is blatantly and deceptively inferring that the study results somehow prove that aspects of an NDE are the result of these brain activities.

        Like

      • Update from Instagram:

        “Hi Sean, I realize it’s a bit of a loaded phrase, and one that we could spend hours discussing! We do have a virtual panel coming up in March that will address some of the questions that are coming up, and it will be open to the public. We’ll be keep everyone updated on our social media with the dates!”

        That’s exciting they are having a virtual panel!

        Like

      • Sounds like they may be much more materialistic now after all. It concerns me

        Like

      • What do you think they meant by “neurophysiological contribution?”

        Especially right after saying “gain access to other dimensions of reality” in the actual post?

        Like

  16. This paper gives us a bit more information, and offers a modicum of support for the idea that Borjigin’s results in rodents, might carry over to humans. Which they almost certainly do. Not that we’re going to get very far with this area of research in hospitals, at least not with our current technology.

    But it all seems a bit pointless to me now… all this research in the end… just leads back to us. It’s a dead end. There is no way out that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Ben

      Ben said >” I guess this is the only example of a case the in literature where someone had a CA while attached to an EEG and they captured the data”

      There are other examples but the most impressive case is that of Pam Reynolds, who was treated by hypothermic cardiac standstill (it was a new procedure then) in 1991, for a massive brain aneurysm in the base of her skull.

      She was monitored and documented all the way through her operation and had the most remarkable NDE in the whole literature, while her EEG was flat– as witnessed and attested to by the surgeons there who have gone on record to confirm there was no ordinary explanation.

      Sceptics refused to accept it and to this day they deny it could have happened and still attribute it to anaesthesia awareness and retrospective confabulation, even though those proposals are completely implausible and have no basis in fact.

      A very important verified veridical case under the most extreme and certifiable conditions but because it favours a proponent perspective, sceptics disregard it.

      Yet take note of how they will (I don’t mean here) receive this “NDE” (which is absolutely not an NDE, at all).

      There’ll be no end of erroneous conclusions about what it means and what it shows about NDE’s, even though one was never even reported.

      The plonkers !

      Like

  17. People seem to keep honing in on the vague words of Parnia and CO to see if the new single case study indicates a materialist or non-materialist interpretation of NDEs. The case study authors seem to think it’s a possibility, but high light the limits of this single case report (as Greyson reply posted above also points out these and expands upon them even further). Parnia is somewhat ambiguous but when he starts talking about seeing different dimensions of reality otherwise in inaccessible… this sounds extremely non-materialist. This is Bernardo Kastrup/Donald Hoffman territory. I think people should step back and look at this holistically, And not overthink somewhat ambiguous statements.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Eric, I would agree with you if wasn’t for the language used by the authors in the paper, and in subsequent social media which is extremely misleading, if not outright lies. Yes, Parnia is ambiguous…as he is often is.

      Like

      • Yeah I agree that the case study authors are being ambiguous. I wonder if they made an honest mistake, deliberate lie or just a Freudian slip. Either way not good.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. As per that instragram there a virtual panel in march

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Katie C on said:

    Update from Instagram:

    “Hi Sean, I realize it’s a bit of a loaded phrase, and one that we could spend hours discussing! We do have a virtual panel coming up in March that will address some of the questions that are coming up, and it will be open to the public. We’ll be keep everyone updated on our social media with the dates!”

    That’s exciting they are having a virtual panel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not sure how everyone will react to this, but, here goes.

      “That’s exciting they are having a virtual panel [on March 17th]!”

      If we make it that far! Putin’s invasion of Ukraine might spark WWIII and a nuclear holocaust.

      Well, in that case (if it indeed happens), I’ll guess we’ll all know the truth regarding potential REDs soon enough!

      Like

  20. Charlie on said:

    New to here and stumbled to this blog after reading the media coverage of this study. I am by no means an expert but a few thoughts – first regarding the study, I think something that is not being discussed enough is the circumstances of the unfortunate subject of the study. He suffered from epilepsy and had severe trauma and recent multiple seizures prior to passing. A simple Google search will show the correlation between cardiac events and the onset of a seizure. I am sure the authors considered this but it stands to reason the individual’s epileptic brain attempted to seize in response to the cardiac arrest and cessation of blood/oxygen, consistent Dr. Greyson’s interpretation the gamma waves were associated with muscle movement. Such activity for only 30 seconds after cessation of oxygen to an epileptic brain does not seem unreasonable (but again I am no doctor at all). I just wish this had been discussed.
    As for the material vs non-materialist interpretation I am on the fence and think it is important to note the results of Aware 2 have implications for both – especially as to the practical materialist implications of resuscitation and life saving measures and the cognitive effects on those who are resuscitated (if it shows EEG for longer maybe the resuscitation window is longer than thought). I think the move to reclassify some experiences to RED, however, suggests the Parnia lab has encountered some results where subjects recalled experiences while dead (no EEG) not near dead (normal/some EEG). Like everything in this subject, I expect the results to be in the grey, with some physiological explanations yet some instances Parnia could not explain (hence RED)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Welcome, great comments Charlie, and really useful insight into the issue of epilepsy. I will repeat though, everyone is fighting a straw man. There was No Experience. It is a straw man. I understand why some think it is an argument, but it isn’t. Most people who became interested in NDEs did not do so because of stories of a life reviews, it was due to the stories of people seeing things outside of their bodies that were verified by credible HCPs.

      Personally I have absolutely no beef with scientists theorising that the life review might due to the last firings of the brain, however if you see Tweets by Zemmar he is declaring this “study” as proof that is what happening. There was no report of a life review. The guy is extremely unprofessional and that is being polite.

      Like

    • Katie C on said:

      I hate that this is behind a paywall

      Like

      • One of the forum members has copy and will share the key findings with me. If he doesn’t have the chance, I will stump up the fifteen bucks and do a write up here. Buy my book if I do 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have the article (one of the good things of working in a Hospital, the library provides with all articles cause the Hospital has subscriptions to most anything). I would love to share it but beside copy-pasting don’t know how to pass it to anyone.

        I will try to copy the summary of the conclusions nonetheless. Hope the Parnia team doesn’t sue me for copyright issues…

        The artícle is very very neutral. It seems they are trying to be very professional and scientific and correct. It is neither materialistic nor pro survival. It is a very neat and correct summary of some parts of the Bigelow essay, without any statements on EEG and CA at all. Just focusing on the features of RED and the rest of things that are not RED.

        Like

      • Thanks Mery, I was hoping my company might have access to this journal, but it is not one they pay for. Since it is a consensus statement it was always unlikely to contain anything ground breaking or controversial. However, I think for those who come here, being familiar with the new terminology will help keep our discussions accurate and focused.

        Like

    • Yep, I will be writing a post on in the few days.

      Like

  21. “Summary and key recommendations

    This has been deleted to avoid any potential copyright infringement and to respect the ownership of the authors who worked hard to create their material and retain the right to determine how that material is disseminated, and to be rewarded appropriately.

    Like

    • Hi Mery, thank you for posting this, I appreciate the sentiment, however, given that this is such a large chunk of a copyrighted and paid for article, I am a bit nervous about hosting so much. Also, as an author, I am very respectful of the rights authors have over reproducing material without consent. I have made some notes, and am guessing that this is the essence of the paper, so will base my post on that, but would ask if you could remove the bulk of it and instead post a few selected quotes. Hope you understand.

      Like

  22. This is the summary and recommendations of the new article.
    This article was conceived and prepared like a year ago, as I was informed by Dr Long, one of the authors.
    It seems to me that with the Essay they were able to expand in the differences, examples, and express their own ideas more freely than they do for the academia. That may include their press/Instagram statements, they need to remain very very neutral.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is indeed very neutral. It also grounds the field in scientific terms and creates a baseline of understanding from which we can progress research and enquiry. I will expand on this and my thoughts on it in a fresh post. I will also buy the article as I feel guilty pinching it.

      Like

  23. Well at least we can set CPRIC aside as a probable cause of RED since it was already stated in the article where

    “The accumulating reports of conscious
    awareness, which are phenomenologically
    different to CPRIC, have raised several interesting and perplexing questions regarding
    the nature of human consciousness and its
    relationship with the brain.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael on said:

      Who’s post is that?

      Like

    • Hi Mary, I can’t see anything,could you summarise it please.

      Like

      • Its difficult to summarise, because it has many info and links. I don’t know who the author is, it is a user of Reddit – SUBreddit “NDE”.
        But here it is the second half of the post:

        VERIDICAL PERCEPTIONS MINUTES AFTER CARDIAC ARREST AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES

        This study confirms what we knew all along, brain activity shuts down a very short while after cardiac arrest. This has been confirmed over and over again, by many previous papers studying the same issue.

        The development of spectral EEG changes during short periods of circulatory arrest

        The impact of repeated short episodes of circulatory arrest on cerebral function.

        Changes in cerebral oxygen uptake and cerebral electrical activity during defibrillation threshold testing

        As one can see from these papers and the paper in question, brain activity becomes isoelectric seconds after cardiac arrest.

        If one is hypothesizing that NDEs are generated by brain activity, then the NDE would have to occur moments before cardiac arrest, so as to exist electrical activity that can generate the near-death experience.

        However, there are two problems with this:

        1. By saying that the NDE is generated prior to the cardiac arrest or after recovery, one implies that the NDE is a false memory. In other words, it is an internally reconstructed sequence of events that has no direct temporal correspondence to the events taking place in reality.

        The false memory hypothesis has been directly contradicted not only by psychological measurements, but by EEG data.

        Characteristics of Near-Death Experiences Memories as Compared to Real and Imagined Events Memories

        2. The NDE was supposedly generated prior to or after recovery from cardiac arrest. Therefore, the NDEr should not have knowledge of what occurs minutes after cardiac arrest.

        The issue is that we do have clear-cut, empirically documented cases where the opposite is going on. The NDEr has salient knowledge of the events that transpire during cardiac arrest.

        Can Experiences Near Death Furnish Evidence Of Life After Death?

        Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands

        These two accounts are thus seriously flawed, both logically & empirically speaking.

        METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES

        I won’t be going too deep into this. The authors have already done the work of spelling out the issues with their methodology.

        “First, an important consideration is the patient’s post-traumatic brain that suffered hemorrhage, swelling and seizures. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and white matter damage can influence rhythmic brain activity (Sanchez et al., 2019). Post-injury, network activity is acutely decreased, which initiates upregulatory mechanisms to enhance cortical excitability (Avramescu and Timofeev, 2008). When deprived of oxygen, cells go through a brief phase of enhanced excitability, and the brain generates the activity patterns that are dictated by its connectome (Fields et al., 2015). These changes in network excitability can increase synchronization after partial deafferentation or trauma-induced epilepsy (Avramescu and Timofeev, 2008; Timofeev et al., 2013). It has been argued that the default emergent activity patterns of the cortical network are highly synchronous slow-waves, arising after the cortex is physically or functionally disconnected from external stimulation, e.g., during deep sleep, anesthesia or in in vitro slice preparations (Sanchez-Vives and McCormick, 2000; Steriade et al., 2001; Chauvette et al., 2011). Second, anesthesia-induced loss of consciousness can alter neuronal oscillations, including alpha waves (Ching et al., 2010) and an increase phase synchronization of gamma oscillations (Murphy et al., 2011). Third, dissociative drugs (Lee et al., 2017; Li et al., 2019) and psychosis are linked to a surge in gamma synchronization as observed in schizophrenia (Hirano et al., 2015), opening the possibility that dissociative events and drugs can cause an increase in gamma activity. Fourth, the patient had been placed on significant doses of anticonvulsant medication, which could directly affect the neuronal network activity (Lanzone et al., 2020). Fifth, asphyxia and hypercapnia can enhance cortical connectivity. Especially the pre-arrest surge in gamma synchronization observed in rodents (Li et al., 2015; Zhang et al., 2019) and in humans as seen in this study could be caused by hypercapnia and resulting acidosis, which may stimulate gap-junction activity, that is critical for gamma oscillations. Sixth, no normal activity was recorded with the EEG that can serve as a true baseline for comparison. Finally, while stereotyped neuronal activity patterns are conserved during daily behavioral tasks, it is not researched whether a similar evolutionary constraint demanding a proscribed process is present during the transition phase to death.”

        IMPLICIT METAPHYSICAL LEANINGS

        The idea that conscious states are generated by, or are somehow identical to brain states is an idea that I think has been thoroughly empirically refuted.

        This is a notion called physicalism, the hypothesis that abstract physical entities like mass, spin, charge, momentum and other physical stuff have standalone existence, and somehow generate experience.

        This may sound like an unfalsifiable hypothesis, but it turns out, it can be experimentally falsified.

        Indeed, dozens of experiments have been carried out since the 70s testing the notion of whether physical entities have standalone existence, each getting progressively more sophisticated.

        The answer is no. No, they don’t. The experiments that have tested local and non-local realism of physical entities consistently show that physical entities have no standalone existence. Instead, they are a product of measurement, not something that existed beforehand. This is called ‘quantum contextuality’, and it’s an experimentally verified prediction of quantum mechanics.

        Two different observers can give true, but different accounts of objective reality, and they’d both be right. Physical entities are not something that exist out there, they exist only insofar of the observer.

        An experimental test of non-local realism

        Violation of Leggett inequalities in orbital angular momentum subspaces

        Challenging local realism with human choices

        There are countless papers on this, but these are just some of the few that experimentally test the hypothesis of physical entities having standalone existence.

        I would also like to add that physicalism is built on a perceptual realism, which is an unquestioned culturally inherited assumption.

        Namely, the forms of our perception are identical to the structure of reality as it is.

        I perceive a brain because in objective reality, there really is an abstract object that is a brain. Perceptual realism is the only way for physicalism to make sense, for you cannot speak of physical entities having standalone existence if you deny your perceptions of physical entities.

        Can perceptual realism be falsified? Well, I would argue that the experiments in physics above have already contributed some part to falsifying it, but there are very strong lines of argument coming out from neuroscience & evolution by natural selection showing that perceptual realism cannot be true, according to our best scientific theories.

        According to the free energy principle, perceptions can only be encoded representations of the world out there. They cannot mirror the states of the world out there. If they did, our internal states would become extremely varied and we would dissolve into an entropic soup. That is because external states are infinitely more varied than our internal states, and mirroring said external states would make our internal states equally as varied, destroying our capacity to resist entropy and maintain homeostasis.

        According to evolution by natural selection, the chances that perceptual realism is true are precisely zero.

        Interface Theory of Perception, which expands on this.

        For a summary of the technical data better than I could ever provide, I recommend Bernardo Kastrup’s video on the mainstream empirical evidence that directly refutes physicalism.

        In conclusion, the NDE is not generated by brain activity, and that case study even when taken at face value (which the authors tell you not to do!) does nothing to add to that hypothesis.

        Like

  24. Michael on said:

    I don’t know if anyone else here is like me but I fell into this near death experience world totally negatively. I lost my sister years back and then multiple friends on military deployments and to suicide and was just incredibly depressed about that. Then my dad had a near death experience where he saw my sister and it filled me with so much hope I can’t even describe.

    Then I found doctors and scientists who were really taking these experiences seriously and that made me excited too.

    These last few weeks with the vague wordings coming out on Parnia’s Instagram page and then this case report that came out about the gamma wave eeg reads are just really getting to me. Sometimes it seems like this “security” I was getting about my sister and friends is falling apart.

    I keep hoping that the use of words from Parnia like “disinhibition of certain areas that help humans gain insights into other dimensions of reality,” or the response that came in from Dr. Greyson are the truth here but it feels really unknown right now.

    This research isn’t exciting for me. It feels very personal.

    Like

    • Michael, I am very careful how I share my deeper thoughts on this subject, but for me NDEs are just one more piece of evidence for what I already believed. I do believe that there is a being that many call God, who is infinitely loving, infinitely just, and that our passage to his “kingdom” is not a random act, or dependent on what side of the bed you got out of. Evidence from many NDEs support my understanding of who this being is. In my experience, He is worthy of trust, and if you seek him, you will find him and find peace on this matter.

      Parnia and other doctors may be excellent researchers, but that does not give them any more authority on the philosophical or religious aspects than the next person.

      Like

    • @Michael

      Sorry to hear about your sister. With reference to Parnia and what he believes the research is showing (which way it’s going), he simply has to remain neutral and let the data speak for itself , whatever it shows.

      If I was a betting man and a materialist/sceptic, I wouldn’t be feeling too great at the moment.

      Like

  25. Mary on said:

    @Michael, I can imagine how you feel. When I became “aware” of Parnia’s Aware study, I felt like: well well well finally science is getting evidence that we are not only flesh and bone. I know that time is passing and we are not getting straight answers from Parnia, but l try never forget a sentence he said some years ago I a interview: We know that consciousness continues at least some minutes after death. How long , we don’t know.
    I try to keep those words with me always. It’s a starting point.

    Like

    • @Mary

      Mary said >” I know that time is passing and we are not getting straight answers from Parnia”

      Hi, Mary, as frustrating as it might seem, that’s not actually a bad thing. With something as important and consequential as this research (and it is, though you wouldn’t think so in some people’s estimation) he has to proceed with great caution and not exceed the scope of the data/evidence he has.

      We can, however make some logical deductions based on what he’s said already. And he’s stated that in the first period after death, that thing that makes us into who we are, the psyche, the self, the soul, whatever we want to call it, doesn’t become annihilated, it continues to exist when the brain is not functioning.

      If you think about that, it already tells us enough to get an idea which way this is going. If the interaction (the bump and grind) of neurons creates the mind, then the mind should disappear within seconds of those neurons losing their power supply, but it doesn’t.

      Secondly, I would argue that the mind shouldn’t come back exactly as it was when the neurons get their power supply back ( when people are resuscitated). If you believe that the brain creates the mind by “generating it” somehow, shouldn’t a completely >new< mind then be generated (with a different personality) when the neurons start bumping and grinding again as they are brought back to consciousness and life ?

      I suppose one could argue that there is some indestructible pattern (to remake the exact model) in the fabric of the brain, but there doesn't appear to be, when examined under the microscope, all you see is cells and their connections (synapses)

      Remember, some people have been dead for hours but they still come back the same with their unique personality. Why ? It seems to indicate that the psyche is something (?) which is in effect, indestructible in itself, but I realise that is a very controversial thing to say and of course there is no proof of that. Not yet, anyway.

      Like

  26. anna on said:

    Hello, a little late but I came across an article about this in the CBC and my first impression was that what they saw on the EEG was the person’s brain reacting to the NDE experience and it was captured for a moment on the recording.

    I also thought it was amazing that rats have the same experience too…perhaps showing even the most humble of God’s creations could have similar experiences to us when freed from the body. Just a thought.

    Like

    • Hi, anna !

      No offence intended, (you might be new to all this) but I think what it actually demonstrates is how effective the media is at turning that doctor’s unwarranted assumption and giant leaps into “facts” and spreading that misinformation around.

      Of course, it doesn’t surprise me at all, it happens every time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • anna on said:

        Hi Tim,

        Thanks for your reply and no offence taken at all. I do still have a lot to learn about all this and don’t have the scientific background many of the brilliant people on this blog have, but I am always interested in learning.

        I guess I was just pondering that the EEG could easily be the reaction to a real spiritual experience rather than it necessarily being proof the brain created an imagined experience. And if that were the case and it was shown in both humans and other animals that this would raise some interesting possibilities.

        Of course these are just thoughts and we’ll have to wait until Parnia gives us proof.

        Like

    • No experience reported, which is why the whole thing is a straw man. As for rats, who knows, but that study has been discussed and dismissed here.

      Like

      • @Ben

        Yes, you’re right ! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s also the double standards that really wind me up. The verified OBE/NDE cases (now RED’s I suppose) during cardiac arrest (and there are a great many of them) that strongly point to the possibility of a separate mind, are ignored by science. Ignored or rejected and some of them are extremely well monitored and documented.

        One case of a patient who did not (and obviously could not) report anything, but had some kind of brain activity (whatever it was and it could have been many things) after heart stoppage, well that’s immediately seized upon as being immensely evidential and significant. It never fails to amaze me how biased they are.

        Like

      • anna on said:

        Okay, thanks for explaining.

        Like

      • Hi Anna, sorry if my response seemed a bit short, but I have explained it very clearly in the original post. The point of a straw man is to get people arguing over and discussing what is basically a distraction from the central argument. That is what this paper has done. The data they presented says absolutely nothing that we didn’t already suspect was true after the rat experiments, namely that EEG signals may continue for up to30 seconds after death. But this is not correlated with any reported NDEs, so it is relatively meaningless. Yet the press have reported it to be evidence that NDEs are a result of brain activity immediately post death…it is not.

        Like

  27. anna on said:

    Thanks Ben and no worries. I can see why you would feel frustrated. Its hard to see people being purposely misled about something so important. Its too bad there is so much misrepresentation and distraction on this topic. Hopefully in time the truth will become more widely known.

    Like

    • It is frustrating, but also it makes me angry as you are absolutely right in saying…the misleading is purposeful.

      These are highly competent and qualified academics and scientists. They would know full well that the data that they have does not show the EEG of an actual NDE, and yet that is what they inferred in the paper and overtly stated in the media…both social and mainstream. It shows that these scientists are working towards an ideological agenda of trying to suppress the idea that dualism has any scientific support, and that the materialist agenda has science on its side.

      I discuss this agenda a bit in my NDE book, but I have a whole section on it in my DNA book (which admittedly is more technical). I have a Ph.D. in designing anti-viral drugs in the lab in which I had to manipulate the components of DNA and proteins, and so I am able to understand the papers produced on the origins of life, and I can say with absolute certainty that there is no viable theory that shows it might have happened by natural means, and yet the impression that popular science magazines and the media give is that this issue has been all but solved.

      I am not being a conspiracy theorist, but instead am stating fact when I say that in general the population is being lied to about the science regarding our origins and our nature, and that these lies are deliberate and intended to stop people seeking spirituality.

      Like

      • @Ben

        Very fair points !

        @Anna

        No worries!

        Like

      • anna on said:

        Thanks for this very insightful post Ben.

        It is unfortunate that information is being suppressed and people are being deceived because of ideological bias. Its sad to think of how much more research we would have if not for this bias. Unfortunately the general public are not aware as it is represented in media as if materialism is the official conclusion in science.

        Hopefully things are changing though. I believe I read here that many more scientists are open to other possibilities than in the past.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ben, any idea if the event tomorrow will be recorded for future viewing? I won’t be able to watch it live tmr via Zoom: https://www.brainawareness.org/event/lucid-dying-exploring-brain-and-consciousness-at-the-end-of-life/

        Like

      • I have no idea, but will be dialling in. I will provide a summary over the weekend…I am attending another convention at the moment and having to write reports for that, but that one is on Alzheimer’s.

        Like

  28. anna on said:

    Thanks Tim!

    Like

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