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


Although we may hopefully be talking about an EVA in RED, it won’t be about this one:

It will be about something far more exciting than the fashion choices of glamorous women!

So I have paid $15 for 72 hours access to this article. That is a bit galling, but probably worth it…and I don’t like pinching other writers material, no matter how much of a rip off it is (click on pic for link):

The article is very important as it lays a baseline for our understanding of the subject of REDs (authentic NDEs), creates key definitions for the subject and criteria that meet those definitions, and finally sets out the direction for future research. It is a consensus statement that is authored by some of the top names in the field with Sam Parnia being the first author. It is needed to avoid the kind of nonsense we have experienced over the past few days in which a publication called something an NDE which was in fact only a period of EEG readings from a dying person who never reported an experience.

My first comments are on the two new acronyms that have been created to more precisely define the different reported experiences:

RED – recalled experience of death

EVA – external visual awareness (formally OBE)

I get the need to move away from NDE, but RED? I occasionally work with marketeers to transform medical data into user friendly visuals, and red is a color that is always associated with negativity. For example, when creating a graph, we are never allowed to put a competitor’s data in red as this could be seen as biasing perception. I understand that the words forming the acronym are precise, it is just unfortunate that the acronym itself spells something that is associated with “stop” or “danger”. I know they have been struggling with this for a while, with ADE, TED etc and now RED, but just for aesthetic reasons, it may have been worth persevering a bit longer. I guess we haven’t helped. Either way, we are now stuck with this since it is part of this consensus. So from now it will be RED.

The paper is very long and contains some great material, but the key thing is the tight criteria for an experience to be defined as a RED:

1. A relation to death.

2. A sense of transcendence.

3. Ineffability.

4. Positive transformative effects (relating to meaning and purpose of life).

5. Severity of illness that leads to loss of consciousness (LOC), together with:

6. The absence of features related to other coma related experiences.

More succinctly, a RED “is defined as a specific cognitive and emotional experience that occurs during a period of LOC in relation to a life-threatening event, including Cardiac Arrest”. They go on to state that LOC “relates to assessments from the perspective of a clinician or other external observer, even though from the perspective of the person experiencing a RED, often there was no perception of any LOC”.

They also outline a fundamental narrative for REDs. This was actually something I mentioned yesterday in the comments on the Straw Man…the life review is often at the end of the sequence of events before the sense of returning. The narrative arc is basically:

1. Perceived Death and Separation from the Body.

2. Heading to a “Destination”

3. Reliving the recording of life that is educational

4. Being “Home” again

5. Returning back to life

6. Reported effects after the experience.

This is the basic narrative, but they list a whole range of other facets of REDs that are reported such as meeting a creative source and whatnot.

They then lay out why REDs are distinguishable from other experiences such as ICU delirium, drug induced hallucinations etc and the central theme of this differentiation is in fact the clear narrative that is reported in REDs. I have concerns with that because people could easily “fake a RED” if they know this narrative and happened to have a CA and recover. That comes from my skeptical and untrusting nature!

After laying out the definitions and different facets of REDs and EVAs, they propose future directions in research on subjects such as terminal paradoxical lucidity, and trying to shed light on the underlying neurological mechanisms (if neurology alone can account for these events). They also suggest taking the positive elements of REDs, the transformative aspects and finding a way of generalizing this to helping terminally ill patients cope with end of life.

They end with this neutral statement followed by a summary and key recommendations. While neutral, it most definitely points to the possibility of “other dimensions” that were mentioned on the Instagram post yesterday:

“Finally, we suggest that although systematic studies have not been able to absolutely prove the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences and claims of awareness in relation to death, it has been impossible to disclaim them either. Clearly, the recalled experience surrounding death now merits further genuine investigation without prejudice.”

Overall this is a very useful paper, and will help us in terms of understanding and interpreting future research work published in this field. It is interesting that the “Straw man” paper came out almost exactly the same day…coincidence? The swivel-eyed in me is tempted to think not!

Finally, I do have one big concern with this consensus statement, and I will seek clarification on this. In the 6 criteria that they lay down that must be met to be defined as a RED, they only seem to allow for positive experiences. We know that about 25% of experiences are negative…are they discounting them despite them occurring under similar conditions and including other core elements? If this is the case, I would be very concerned, since it is precisely this kind of “only see the good” thinking that has got us into such a pickle with Putin and Xi. There are monsters. Not everyone is good. There is a heaven, but according to a significant number of RED reports, there may also be a hell, or destruction. Just a thought. Maybe given this emphasis, and their potential exclusion of negative experiences, they should call them PREDs…Positive Recalled Experiences of Death, and how about using BREDs for the others…bad recalled experiences of death. Of course I am being facetious, but the subject is very serious in reality and should be covered fully and without a preference for only the nice stuff.

Anyway, that is my first reaction. I will be reading it again over the weekend, and look forward to your comments on this “line in the sand” that these thought leaders on the subject of NDEs REDs have drawn.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we do see EVA in RED, and in the AWARE II study.

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83 thoughts on “EVA in RED

  1. Some of Ussama’s comment and post from the paper- which I (Ben) chopped most of including his comment – sorry!

    “Although science has yet to discover the nature of human consciousness, little evidence supports the notion that experiences of paradoxical lucidity with conscious awareness (with visual and auditory perception) in relation to death are hallucinatory, illusory, or delusional and occur in response to metabolic or other derangements, including hypoxia or hypercarbia. Overall, two broad mechanisms have been proposed to account for the emergence of the phenomenon of consciousness. Consciousness is thought to be the product of either a “bottom‐up” or a “top-down” phenomenon. That is, consciousness or psyche (self) is a by‐product of brain cell activity—an epiphenomenon—arising from the coordinated activities of cerebral regions, or consciousness is a separate entity that, while undiscovered by science today, is not produced by conventional brain cell activities and can itself independently modulate brain activity.91 Although further studies are needed, the finding that the human mind, consciousness, or psyche (self) may continue to function when brain function is severely disordered or has ceased raises the possibility that the latter mechanism may need to be considered in any future scientific exploration of consciousness.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ussama, and welcome. You will notice that I truncated your comment. While I really appreciate your contribution, and have included the final paragraph and the citation, I don’ generally allow for large chunks of material from publications to be dropped into the comments, sometimes for copyright reasons, but also because it can make the section unreadable and difficult to navigate.

      Regarding your comment (which I may have accidentally chopped…sorry), yes, it does appear that he does not believe that REDs are a result of these last firings.


    • Anthony on said:

      I’m pretty sure terminal lucidity is due to some kind of pathology stemming from the dying brain, in most cases. You might think the opposite, because there are people who see people who have died before, they interact with them, but sometimes they also talk to relatives or friends who are still alive and in perfect condition. What is the cause of that? one more mystery


      • I work in Alzheimer’s and terminal lucidity is not something due to pathology…pooping your pants and believing the person next to you in the nursing home is your spouse is.


      • Anthony on said:

        @Ben Williams
        I understand your point, and I don’t deny it at all. But, how can it be possible in the room of a dying person, that this person can see people who do exist and interact with them? I know relatives of people who have experienced tha

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michael on said:

      In the supplementary file they again attribute the brain surges in animals and humans to depolarization. I am confused why this latest example is any different and receiving a more robust response from Parnia Lab. Unless they are using it to drum up interest?


      • It may depend on who is writing the posts on Instagram, and whether they reflect that person’s views, the entire labs position, or Parnia. There are definitely contradictions in play.


  2. Thank you very much Ben, I appreciate your interest in sharing with us these precious information. About distressing nde, days ago I reflected on an interesting view of Kenneth Ring, who speculates on the possibility that many negative nde are correlated to the resistance to leave the “ego” and, as soon as that resistance cease, the experience become “positive”. I found it in an article written by Evelyn Elsaesser Valarino but it is in italian language. Did you know her? Have a nice weekend!


    • Thanks Matt. There are lots of potential explanations, I just don’t want them to be excluded because they make people uncomfortable. We need to understand why these occur and try to avoid them.


  3. Just wondering do they state EVA directly as EVA in the paper?


  4. #The EVA in RED is dancing with us,
    Maybe I’ll have one, when I fall under a bus,
    It’s where I want to be (actually, no)
    But I hardly know this EVA, even if I almost died,
    And hopefully won’t forget it,
    When questioned by Dr. Aufderheide (NDE researcher and paper co-author above).#

    … with apols. to Chris De Burgh

    Note, EVA, external visual awareness, RED, recalled experience of death

    Sorry Orson, couldn’t resist but I blame you 🙂 And thanks for shelling out for the article.

    Isn’t “REDs are distinguishable from other experiences …” really a key point as this keeps the consistency that Sam Parnia has been saying all along. The brain ain’t functioning but people are still experiencing. Just repeating what we all know.


  5. Hi Anna, thanks, glad you enjoyed it. If you haven’t already, please post a review if you think it is worth 4 or 5 stars…anything less is considered negative unfortunately.


  6. Thanks Ben!

    As mentioned finally was able to read your updated NDE book and left a very positive review!

    Agree with you about it being odd the study criteria will exclude negative NDE (RED) reports. This does not seem very neutral for such a study.

    I previously read a book “Dancing Past the Dark” about negative NDE experiences. The book mentioned how such experiences were quite common but under-reported in the literature and by people who were often traumatized by their experience.

    Exciting to see the progress though and read about how things unfold. Thanks for keeping us updated!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If one of us asked them the question…”Do you have any data from Aware 2 which demonstrates that the brain is not the producer of consciousness ?”
    …or something on those lines, but similarly direct, I suspect (I might be wrong) they would ignore it, or say something else in reply which didn’t give a proper answer.

    I would like to know, have they got data or have they not. If they haven’t got any, ‘what the dickens’ is that paper about, because that is not the work of scientists who believe the brain produces consciousness. I don’t want to say too much more about it, because I don’t actually know >what< to say. Scratching my head feels more appropriate.

    As regards negative, hellish experiences, of course they are in the literature but it seems that Parnia and his colleagues want to attribute them to dreams, delirium, delusion and CPRIC, from a much lighter state of consciousness than the totally consciousness absent state of RED (cardiac arrest)

    It's a very emotive and difficult aspect of NDE's to try deal with. It leads to all kinds of arguments from different points of view some which sound judgemental, but they would say rightly so. Is there a hell? Of course there's a hell !! How can there be a hell? And so on and so forth etc.

    Pim Van Lommel didn't find one case (hellish) in his prospective study. Penny Sartori did but were her cases actually hell or just hellish as in delirium or delusion etc.

    I have my own thoughts about this but I'll keep them to myself. Maybe we can get some answers in March but I wouldn't bank on it. This time next year, Rodney…

    @Alan very good …the lady in red…

    BTW which Eva is that (Ben?)


    • Hi Tim, yes it is all very strange, and I agree that we won’t get anything direct from the Parnia lab until it is published…if there is something to publish. The noises they make are very encouraging, but without hard data it is just crumbs from the masters table.

      On hell, I want a response from them as their approach is not scientific, and if they start picking and choosing aspects of NDEs that don’t conform to what they want an NDE to be, then their work will lose credibility.

      I think Alan needs to post a video of him singing “Eva in Red”.

      Click on the picture, and you will go the Wikipedia of the actress.


      • Thanks , Ben, I agree ! I also clicked on the image and found out. Very nice indeed (hope that doesn’t sound chauvinist lol).

        Before that, I thought it might be the “angel” that Mr A (from Aware 1) described beckoning him up into the top corner of the room. “Get yourself up here, Rodney” …just kidding 🙂 Apologies !

        Liked by 1 person

      • If there had been some muscled dude called Eva wearing red when I googled Eva in red..he might have been there. No chauvinism here and I hope that the women who visit this forum aren’t in any way offended by pun…just couldn’t resist it as indeed the golden moment will be an EVA in an RED…or outside of the NDE NERD community, an OBE in an NDE.


      • Thankfully me in my red dress not come up haha

        Liked by 1 person

      • It would be painful to all to hear me sing, have to duck that one!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. not at all, its very funny and a good pun! : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks ! Just referring back to the paper, there are some very big hitters (authors/names) on there.

      Will we see some push back/strong criticism from the usual suspects (the well known sceptical mouths?). It’s odd how things work like that…nothing less than scientific heresy (that paper) officially endorsed by some very eminent physicians/scientists/psychiatrists/psychologists etc etc.

      I imagine it literally enraging some of them (the sceptics). Is that just my imagination ? The word transcendence (in the paper) for instance!! This is not science lol 🙂 I guess we’ll see in the next year.


  9. Michael on said:

    I tried to go to the Brain Awareness Panel link to check it out but it says page not found. Do you know if there is another link? Thanks!


  10. This has just appeared on their Instagram site :

    Webinar Registration
    Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Microsoft (Outlook)
    Lucid Dying: Exploring Brain and Consciousness at the End of Life
    What happens to our brain, mind, and consciousness as we die?

    This panel discussion will bring together leading physicians and researchers to explore the current scientific discoveries regarding our understanding of death. In particular, they will review the impact of recent discoveries related to the brain and consciousness that have wide ranging implications for society.

    Dr. Sam Parnia, associate professor of medicine and director of Critical Care and Resuscitation Research at NYU Langone Health
    Dr. Lindsey Gurin, assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine
    Dr. Megan Craig, associate professor of philosophy and art at Stony Brook University, with an interest in the mind-body problem
    Dr. Anthony Bossis, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, conducting psychedelic research at NYU Grossman School of Medicine
    Dr. Donald Hoffman, professor of cognitive science, studying consciousness at University of California, Irvine


    • Excellent, thanks Tim. I will be attending!


      • I’ll be tuned in to this blog, Ben (unless something big gets in the way) but I won’t be (or I don’t think I will be) registering.

        The reason is, I’ll want to ask questions that they won’t answer (I know they won’t) and I don’t want to put them on the spot.

        Having said that, what’s the point of it anyway, if you can’t ask them questions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You make a good point…and I know you’re right. I probably won’t ask any questions, but will see.


      • Ben said >” You make a good point”

        Thanks, Ben. It’s paragraphs like this (2nd) below that you would think are clearly telling us something, but are they? Maybe someone else composed this who is making unwarranted assumptions? Don’t get me wrong, they must have some interesting data.

        In Aware 1, nobody described seeing deceased relatives, unless I’m mistaken, nor having a life review, or if they did, they didn’t tell us. Does this mean they’ve got some of these experiences from Aware 2 ?

        “Over the past two decades, Dr. Parnia has led pioneering research into the recalled experiences of death, particularly among survivors of cardiac arrest. The groundbreaking AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation) I and AWARE II studies from the Parnia Lab closely examined the experiences of hundreds of patients with cardiac arrest who had biologically crossed over the threshold of death before being resuscitated.

        Among the many intriguing findings, many survivors reported lucid and well-structured thought processes. They described seeing deceased relatives and reviewing their actions and intentions toward others throughout their lives, and afterward, many recalled details of their resuscitation.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Tim, they may not have explicitly told us, but given that they used the Greyson scale to score NDEs, and that just under 10% had NDEs in AWARE I, and from AHA elements of NDEs were reported in a few of the interviews from AWARE II, it is implied that these different experiences were reported in both studies.


      • @Ben

        Based on this previous (2 — 3 weeks ago) Instagram message, Ben, do you have any thoughts on when we might see some of them (study findings) ? I wonder what coming soon means. Maybe they mean in the fall.


        Since the second phase of AWARE began, we have enrolled 570 cardiac arrest patients across 26 different hospitals worldwide.

        Through in-hospital interviews, we have identified that memories people report during and after cardiac arrest often fall into 3 major categories:

        1. Recalled experiences of death (REDs)
        2. Memories related to emergence out of coma/unconsciousness
        3. Dreams & dream-like experiences

        Study findings related to common themes of REDs & physiological data taken during & after cardiac arrest coming soon 🙂


      • They said the paper would be in the fall, which in Parnia-lab time is soon! Maybe we will get a teaser before then…I certainly hope so.


  11. Anna on said:

    My apologies if this has already been discussed.

    “The brainwaves of a dying human brain were captured for the first time in a Vancouver patient

    A neuroscience discovery in B.C. could challenge our understanding of what happens during the final moments of life.

    In a recently published study, a team of doctors said it managed to capture a recording of a dying human brain for the first time.”

    The scan of an 87 year-old epilepsy patient who died in Vancouver General Hospital in 2016 revealed a surge of brain activity 30 seconds after his heart stopped beating, with brainwave patterns similar to higher cognitive functions like dreaming and memory recollection”


  12. Anna on said:

    The article is based on the following study:

    The article notes the results duplicate the findings of the 2013 rat study:

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anna on said:

    Thanks Ben, that’s good to know. I clearly have some catching up to do! Looking forward to reading the “burning a straw man” post and comments! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Anna on said:

    p.s. not sure how I missed that…but thanks again for letting me know 🙂


  15. RED criteria sounds like an updated Greyson scale which has lasted the test of time very well. I can see the want to move away from OBE to EVA – OBEs are notoriously unreliable, and badly defined, people think it only requires the sensation of leaving the body, which can be sometimes attributed to the temporal lobe, and you get things like the “God” helmet, DMT being the OBE in the NDE. The shift from that to focusing on veridical evidence is key here in EVAs

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oops…used to a 5 hour time difference with NYC, but daylight savings changes are a week or so apart. Missed the Zoom meeting! Anything exciting?


    • Still ongoing


    • Michael on said:

      Hmm. I’m confused about Parnia’s explanation on the recent EEG debacle in the Zoom conference…


      • Yeah he threw that grenade in there at the end didn’t he! I need to look at the Youtube recording to listen to precisely what he said, but he seemed to suggest that data they will publish soon will confirm the EEG study “straw man” study!


      • Michael on said:

        Yeah that was very disappointing !


      • @Ben and Michael and all

        Ben said >” Am I correct in saying that they have data they will publish soon that confirms that people have EEG activity just after death and may be associated with life review?”

        I didn’t hear him say that. From what I could gather, he is very much of the opinion that consciousness is an independent, so far undiscovered entity. I thought it was a good webinar but there wasn’t the chance to address them. Does anyone know where it is on you tube ? (link wise) Thanks !


      • Hi Tim, I agree that he was very insistent on his position that the sense of “self”, and individual, persists beyond death. This is what is supported by the evidence of the accounts from NDEs. The self may change slightly once released, and become the true self, but it is nonetheless a distinct and individual entity.

        I also believe that nothing has changed with regard to his fundamental understanding of the soul persisting beyond death, but he specifically said something along the lines of soon publishing data similar to that which was published recently on EEG signals immediately around the time of death, and that he inferred that this supported the conclusions of that study, namely that this could explain the life review. His sound wasn’t all that good, and he said it quickly right at the end (and I had been out with a friend for a curry before and it was late here in the UK), but I am pretty sure that was the gist of it. Once the video has been posted I will look through it properly and get more detail.


      • Michael on said:


        He said it at the very end of the conference. It was literally in the last two minutes.

        One of the audience members asked a question about Parnia’s position on that EEG case. Parnia said that he thought that as higher functioning areas of the brain shit down it disinhibits other deeper brain regions to experience other levels of consciousness and that the gamma waves may be a brain marker for the heightened lucidity people report near death. He then said that they also had some findings from his own study that pointed in that direction as well that he would be releasing soon.

        It really threw me off because for the whole two hours of the conference he was really driving home how he agreed with other panelists that the brain did not produce consciousness but then at the end he said that. I’m not sure if I’m interpreting what he said wrong I hope I am though.


      • Michael, I felt exactly the same as you, and you captured what he said accurately. It also threw me, as shown in my first reaction to this in this thread. After sleeping on it, it does not trouble too much. He is a scientist and treats all data objectively, and the truth is that EEG activity around death could signal any number of potential events, including wha we know as the life review. To not consider this as a possibility is not objective. I will discuss this more in a new post once the YouTube video has been posted.


  17. I would have to agree with Tim myself on my reading of it. Just the entire tone of it.


    • Thanks Ben, Michael, Z !

      I was trying my best to follow every word that was said, not just by Parnia; it was all just so interesting to me (as it I’m sure it was to you guys, likewise)

      I’m not a neuroscientist, but as an educated layperson (and I’m careful not to overstep the mark) even “I” know that neuroscientific principles don’t allow for higher levels of thinking, consciousness etc to suddenly arise autonomously in deeper, disinhibited parts of the brain, as is/was being proposed by Parnia? (I don’t think he was actually, I think he was just trying to remain objective)

      The brain is supposed to work as a whole to create our sense of self. Neuroscientists have to adhere to this principle, although there are obviously anomalies, but that’s another story.

      The man in the study had a massive head injury which means that parts of his brain were gone beyond recovery. The life review contains reasoning and judgement etc so as a product of brain function (as sceptics assert) it must be derived from the higher structures of the brain (the neo cortex and the cerebrum).

      That part of the man’s brain was gone. He had EEG on his scalp and he was noted to be in burst suppression (no brainwaves). So he couldn’t have had a life review by neuroscientific principles, it’s impossible.

      Furthermore, what on earth would be the point of a brain producing a life review just before it was annihilated ? It’s absurd by anyone’s reasoning, surely. The life review suggests continuity; I would say it demands it, or else don’t bother, what’s the point.

      Remember, during the life review, you are given insights into other people’s thoughts/reasons. How can this happen according to reductionist neuroscience ? You can’t know the true motives of someone else and literally feel how what you inflicted on them, hurt them.

      As Parnia said in the video, it’s not just your life flashing before your eyes, as it is often presented in the media (nothing special, happens all the time etc). It’s a detailed profound and moral review from all angles and perspectives.

      We just have to wait (we’re good at that) until they give us more information but that paper, unless I’m completely wrong, is irrelevant.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Cobra on said:

    I might not understand correctly, but wasn’t it always said, that after CA the brain shuts down after 20 seconds? Now it’s after 30 seconds. But that is just 10 seconds more than suggested before. The life review could be from the brain, maybe, but if the person has an OBE after those 30 seconds, that’s still possible, no? And that would be without the brain activity.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hello, this is the first time I write here. Sorry if I express myself badly, English is not my main language and although I have no problem reading it, writing it is more complicated, so I use a translator.

    I have been reading you all for some time now. And, well, from my “ignorant” position of all this, I get the impression that many of you are immediately alarmed (no disrespect intended).

    I think that this revision, if it were to happen, would not suppose any obstacle to the survival beliefs, don’t you think? That is to say, if that person is still “there”, it is normal that those last remnants show up in the brain. It’s like if I, for example, think about eating a yogurt, there are parts of the brain that are activated by that. It is a process that can be as normal as that.

    On the other hand, I really liked the metaphor someone used (I don’t know if in this blog post or another) in which he said that that last activity may be due to the soul “packing things up and leaving”. Many may argue that this last suppression is simply a last cry of neurons and so on to survive before being annihilated, in an effort to replicate to others and try to survive, as cancer cells do to get rid of themselves during chemotherapy. But it would not make sense, as has been said, because of the psychological repercussions they leave in those who survive and because this information is then kept, together with the rest of the memories, intact, and the level of neurons is recovered. I do not know what you think about it, but I think it is plausible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment Ray and welcome. I won up to the expression “the soul is packing up its bags and leaving”.

      Yes, we are prone to being alarmed here at times, but we eventually settle down to a sensible discussion and I agree, your suggestion is plausible.


      • One objection I have heard to the “soul packing up and leaving” is that this does not happen in all cases, maybe 50-60% or so? This can also be dampened by medications. What about the people who don’t have that? Has the soul already left or are they soulless zombies? Also this phenomena is not unique to humans, we’d also have to grant souls to other creatures (which is ok from my point)


  20. Davide on said:

    hello everyone … sorry for my english!, but what did the other speakers say? are they in favour of a consciousness that survives outside the brain?


    • @Davide

      Davide said >”but what did the other speakers say? are they in favour of a consciousness that survives outside the brain?”

      Donald Hoffman has moved to something like panpsychism (everything is conscious) but not quite (is his position conscious realism? whatever that is..). He did, however, state (his opinion that) “spacetime” is at an end and reductionist materialism is dead…but would not endorse dualism.

      Dr Anthony Bossis seemed to me to be a survivalist but not sure how he thinks this is achieved.

      The two women doctors, Lindsey Gurin and Megan Craig were less specific, I think, but both had interesting input which I need to see again.

      I thought Sam Parnia was the most impressive (maybe I would say that) and that’s not at all meant to take anything away from the others.

      I think he has a fine intellect/perception, allied with the practicality of actually dealing with issues of consciousness (and the brain) and potentially giving us the answers; some of them, anyway.


      • Dario on said:

        then the immaterial soul would exist?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dario on said:

        no intangible monism?


      • @Dario

        Not sure what intangible monism is. As to the soul (self) existing, no serious scientist doubts that, or should doubt that, if they do they are basically saying they don’t exist, which is ridiculous.

        The only question is, does the soul (self) continue after the brain has stopped functioning.


      • Dario on said:

        because the only question is if the soul continues after death if you have stated that the constituents do not doubt the existence of the soul?


      • Tim, I know this thread was back in the beginning of March but I wasn’t reading this blog yet, so do you have any idea what Hoffman was meaning when he said an end to Spacetime?


  21. Charlie on said:

    I did not watch the conference but I will assume what was said about Dr. Parnia’s stance is accurate. If so, this does nothing to suggest he is in a firm materialist camp.
    He has the study results. He even alluded to them. But he spent 2 hours agreeing the brain is not the source of consciousness. If his study indicated otherwise he either would not have agreed as heartily as he did or he simply would not have participated in the conference in favor of waiting for the release of the study. He does not want to lose any credibility by taking any stances wildly inconsistent with themselves only months apart when he has data suggesting otherwise (as evidenced by the Bigelow essay). You can’t throw out his two hours of “testimony” in favor of a brief vague statement at the end.
    To that end, it seems his statement on the EEG study is the same as the Instagram post response. He knew this question was coming. I’m sure it’s all he’s been asked about for weeks. So his lab picked a stance and he cannot deviate. Of course his results also had EEG findings similar to the straw man study, so he can’t outright dispute it. But it’s interesting how his interpretation is that it is indicating higher levels of consciousness as the brain shuts down. He surely has more than one isolated incident and is developing a theory based on more data than the straw man. If he really thought the EEG was an “explanation” he would not spend two hours supporting immaterial consciousness, only to rescind everything he said later.
    I am sure he found EEG activity, then a patient woke up saying “wow my life flashed before my eyes!” Then ok, that could be consistent. But what about everything else that makes up an RED? This is why Dr. Parnia pushed for the reclassification of these experiences. He can say the EEG in the straw man mirrors some of his findings, but everything else about his extensive study has not changed his opinion on consciousness.
    At least that’s my takeaway based on what you all are saying

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good points Charlie


    • I think Charlie made very good points, and reproduces my impression after the interview. Although I had to disconnect after 1h30 and missed the comment on the EEG findings (now I am waiting for the recorded version).

      My first impression was disappointment mixed with “wow I am really enjoying this talk”. By disappointment I mean that the presenting text for the talk in the Dana foundation web (and Parnia Lab I believe) stated that they would be discussing new discoveries in this field important for society etc…thus I thought that they would be presenting some new data, or results from psychedelic studies…I was surprised when after more than 1h they were leaning towards consciousness being something else, not produced by the brain, etc and my impression was “ok, this has become a philosophy room against materialism”.
      I thought that by including a researcher in the psychedelic field they had turned into materialism and that didn’t make sense since few months ago Parnia denied the drug-psychedelic states as something similar to NDEs (his Essay, the new classification of REDs…). Then it turned out that this researcher sounded more into dualism (or whatever) and he even said that the neurotransmitters involved didn’t matter (I was like what…?).
      Since Donald Hoffman was invited I thought that he would be defending consciousness being fundamental, but then a neurologist was there…and she didn’t position herself, and was respectful on the view of dualism of others… somebody in the talk (I can’t remember who It was) even stated that the brain might be a transmitter, and what I perceived is that all of them agreed.
      I was expecting a debate at least. Or a presentation of new findings and a dissertation over them…so a bit disappointed in that way, BUT I really enjoyed their insights and was a beautiful talk.
      So, and I haven’t seen the part of the EEG comment on the straw man article, I agree with Charlie, one respected researcher doesn’t write an Essay defending survival, doesn’t spend 2 hours publicly defending the brain as a transmitter, and consciousness being fundamental/not produced by the brain whatever… And then rescinding everything he said with a very vague comment.
      Parnia Lab has so far only spoke of the famous alpha rithms, and I am sure as Charlie said he has been asked for weeks about his opinion and of course he has to provide an answer.
      So I think we are just where we were a week ago: he seems to be more prone to the immaterial consciousness (like the idea defended in his Essay) but then a wild strange comment appears!

      I am still giving some thoughts to the EEG straw man article, and my impression is this: it actually is build on smoke or the press went wild with it and the interpretation is not so straight forward. The increase in absolute power of gamma was seen in burst suppression, and it decreased after CA. Burst suppression is not isoelectricity, it is known that the bursts contain different oscillation types, and the periods of silence between bursts was not even described (there could have been a lot of bursts or few bursts). Coherence both in beta and gamma didn’t change much after CA as they decreased in power but they didn’t really discuss on that and we don’t even know what that means. So what we really know is that this patient showed gamma activity during a burst suppression time. That is all. And as explained in limitations, there were a lot of issues with this patient (epilepsy, drugs, brain injury, etc) that could produce gamma oscillations.

      Anyway, just sharing my thoughts, my impression is similar to Charlie’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @Mery

        Hi, Mery, interesting thoughts ! With regard to the state of burst suppression, anaesthesiologist and arch NDE sceptic Dr Gerry Woerlee told me personally that burst suppression eliminates any possibility of consciousness/experience, period.

        As a layperson, obviously I don’t claim any expertise on this, just presenting the facts.

        Therapy (barbiturate, propofol, or halogenated anesthetic) is titrated to an electroencephalographic (cEEG) endpoint. Complete pharmacologic suppression results in a flat-line EEG. Typically, a 1:10 burst to suppression ratio is chosen as an arbitrary endpoint, but this is neither evidence based nor a universal practice. In other words, a 10 second screen of EEG would have 1 second of burst activity and 9 seconds of flat-line EEG. Optimal dosing is unknown and there is no evidence base to guide therapy (6).

        More than a one second burst (so a slightly lighter state than a 10 : 1 ratio would still not allow for consciousness). I’ve sought the opinion of many medical experts on this and burst suppression eliminates all possibility of consciousness.

        So the point I’m making is that this patient could not have had any experience, it’s impossible according to neuroscientific principles.


      • Michael on said:

        Hi Mery!

        I knew before going into the talk that Dr. Bossis, the psychedelic researcher, is of the dualist camp. He works with Dr. Sartori on many things and has maintained for a few years the stance that the psychedelic research he has conducted gives credence to dualist theories of consciousness. I also agree about Parnia’s stance but was disappointed that this EEG case was discussed so briefly when they were also rushing to end the discussion on time.


      • Hi Mery, thank you for this excellent summary. Would you mind if I used it as the basis for my next post, citing you of obviously? The video still isn’t up and rather than me spending an hour watching the first part, which clearly does not contain any significant revelations on a research front, I could post this and discuss further.

        On the subject of psychedelics, I state in my book that drugs, or pathologies such as epilepsy may indeed induce NDE like phenomenon that are genuine, and that this just shows that it is possible for the conscious to detach from the brain while the person is still alive. This would only provide further evidence that dualism is the reality, and would be complementary to NDEs/REDs.


      • Hi Ben, I don’t mind you using my comment.

        If you find the video available on the internet, could you share a link to it? I would love to watch the complete talk.


      • Thanks Mery. Looks like towards the end of this week, so i will post your overview now, prefaced with some of my comments. Thank you.


  22. Just saw a 21 March tweet folks 2 hours ago from Parnia Lab. New YouTube being set up where the recent talk will be featured.


  23. Is there a way for me to see this Zoom talk? Did they record it?


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