NDE, RED, REX – is it all just a case of Timantics?
Apologies for the pun, but couldn’t help myself. As some of you may be aware one of the more valued members of this site, Tim, and I had a somewhat acrimonious discussion yesterday that became personal and resulted in Tim saying his goodbyes. Goodbyes, unlike death, can be reversible, so hopefully we will see him again and continue to learn from his outstanding knowledge of this subject.
So what was all the fuss about? For me it was a case of semantics – in this instance the meaning of the word death and its use in the term RED. The reason for us discussing what the word death means was due to this article:
Studying death and near-death experiences requires neuroscientific expertise
First of all, the title is ludicrous and based on a huge assumption. The study of NDEs only requires neuroscientific expertise if NDEs are the result of neurological processes. I have spent the past 4 years of my life working in neuroscience, and I can assure you that there is nothing in human understanding of neuroscience that could explain a genuine OBE. That has and always will be the issue, therefore the study of NDEs does not need an expertise in neuroscience. It might benefit from it to interpret various neurological measurements that are acquired during a CA, but it is not necessary, especially when it comes to any experiments that attempt to validate OBEs. If you have a scientifically validated OBE, then that cannot be explained by science. Moreover, neurologists and neuroscientists were a part of developing the consensus statement.
Obviously starting off with the assumption that an NDE is a natural neurological phenomenon means that the rest of the article is constrained by this materialist assumption and therefore many other things that are said are just incorrect. However, there are a couple of points they make that are very pertinent and worth highlighting, and one in particular that caused the spat between Tim and me. It was my suggestion that I agreed in part with their statement about the use of term RED that set things off. This is what they said:
Second, contrary to what Parnia et al. write, people who recall NDEs are therefore inherently people who have not been dead and have not met brain death criteria. Since the introduction of brain death criteria in 50 the 1960s, not a single patient properly diagnosed as brain dead has come back to life….Because of these scientific inaccuracies, the proposed term “recalled experience of death” is wrong and we firmly reject it. The authors confuse “death” with the process of dying
My initial response of agreeing in part was more a gut reaction given that I was not aware of there being specific definitions for death and therefore given this state of affairs, and given the potentially reversible nature of the condition people are in when their hearts and brains have stopped functioning, stating these people had experienced death seemed a bit of an over reach. This gut reaction is reinforced by having watched all these TV shows in which the ER physician announces “time of death” when they give up CPR…i.e. the person is beyond medical help and the process of dying has become irreversible.
As the discussion continued I started looking into definitions of the word death. Dictionaries and on line resources tend to use the word irreversible, but what really nailed it for me was the UDDA definition which is used in the US:
The Commission ultimately recommended a Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) which aimed to make the total brain standard into law in the states. This recommendation has been adopted by the American Bar Association and American Medical Association, and made into law in some form in all 50 states. The UDDA simply states: ’An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. Sarbey B. Definitions of death: brain death and what matters in a person. J Law Biosci. 2016 Nov 20;3(3):743-752. doi: 10.1093/jlb/lsw054. PMID: 28852554; PMCID: PMC5570697
In Canada: Death occurs when there is permanent loss of capacity for consciousness and loss of all brainstem functions . This may result from permanent cessation of circulation and/or after catastrophic brain injury. In the context of death determination, permanent refers to loss of function that cannot resume spontaneously and will not be restored through intervention.
Now while this is adopted in the US and Canada, it is by no means globally adopted, and there is still uncertainty about the exact moment that the word death is appropriate, as evidenced in this NHS presentation on the subject: http://odt.nhs.uk/pdf/Diagnosis_of_death.pdf
For me the key quote in that discussion is the following:
Dying is a process; Death is a defined point in that process
This is the point that the article by Martial is making, and while it is a semantic point, it is central to the consensus paper and Martial is right to call them out for coming up with the term RED – recalled experiences of DEATH. Basically, using the dictionary, US legal, Canadian and wider medical community’s definition of death, someone who has achieved ROSC has not experienced death. Oops.
Now I understand why Parnia et al came up with the term, and I somewhat agreed with it in principal at the time, but my view has now changed, and I think theirs should too…although that is harder as they might need to retract their paper which is a pretty hideous thing to do from a researcher perspective. NDE is actually the most accurate term, and while it has been abused by people broadening its application from the one originally intended, it would be better to apply clarifications such as authentic, or classical, rather than completely discard it. In fact their recent attempt to completely change the meaning of the term NDE to not include REDs was something that I really objected to.
But it is all just semantics. Fundamentally, while the term RED is technically wrong, we know exactly what condition they are describing: it is a condition in which the body is completely incapable of consciousness and in which the brain is incapable of producing or storing conscious recollections, and yet people report experiences occurring and have been able to “prove” these through human verification. This is why I say I partly agree with Martial et al say, because otherwise much of way they say is complete hogwash. For instance:
“There is hence no “recalled experience of death”; if anything, it should be ‘recalled experience of what might have been the start of the dying process just before consciousness was lost’.
Technically they might right in saying that it could be the start of the dying process, but by adding “just before consciousness was lost” they are betraying their materialist bias. That is an assumption, and the whole point of doing these studies. While they have a point in saying that studies have failed to empirically prove [beyond any doubt] that “people are able to report actual (real-life) events and details happening during e.g., cardiopulmonary resuscitation” neither do these studies, or any others disprove it. Moreover studies such as AWARE I and others, while not providing slam dunk proof, provide very strong evidence supporting the thousands of reports by very credible people, including Health Care Professionals, outside of the context of a clinical study.
Their third point is another tricky one and I find myself agreeing with a part of it:
“Third, the authors write that NDEs in post-cardiac arrest patients fundamentally differ from NDEs made in other life-threatening or non-life-threatening situations, and that the latter experiences are “mislabeled”. Again, the reasoning is flawed. There are no empirical data so far to indicate that the phenomenology of NDE differs in situations that are (a) associated with a threat to life and impaired brain physiology such as a cardiac arrest, (b) associated with a threat to life but unimpaired brain physiology such as a near-miss traffic accident, and (c) associated with non-life-threatening situations such as drug consumption or meditation. To the contrary, the data that do exist indicate that all these experiences are phenomenologically similar (e.g.,12-16). In other words, from the phenomenology of the experience one cannot tell if what happened was a cardiac arrest or e.g., use of a psychedelic drug. Contrary to what the authors state, this similarity suggests that the brain mechanisms behind these experiences are probably also similar, if not identical.”
I agree somewhat with their stating that some aspects of NDEs overlap with other experiences reported in different states. However, there are two ways of looking at this. The first, and one they cite, is that these experiences are the result of similar neurological processes, and the second that these experiences are possible in a variety of states and speak to the ability of the human consciousness to momentarily detach from the physical body. Both, in the absence of scientific, or empirical evidence, are possible explanations, but Martial et al only countenance one, and this is neither objective nor scientific. Moreover, the different conditions they cite are unlikely to produce similar neurological states and therefore it is unlikely they would produce similar psychological outcomes or recollections.
They make a few other statements based on their assumption that NDEs are the result of physiological process, which must be viewed in the light of this unscientific bias. However there is one statement they make that I absolutely 100% agree with, and which has troubled me enormously, and which I have commented on myself previously in this blog.
“Although Parnia et al. question the existence of distressing NDEs which they consider “related to [intensive care unit] delirium, delusions, and dreams in response to toxic metabolic states and withdrawal states (e.g., alcohol withdrawal)” (p. 17 of 127 File S2 from1), the latter claim is not empirically supported.”
The paper that Parnia cites to make this assertion actually suggests the complete opposite. I think this comes from a fundamental flaw in Parnia’s character…he is too nice! He doesn’t even want to consider the idea that people suffer after they die. I get that, but I do not believe that his position is the right one, and explain why in my book.
As for the conclusion of the article:
“Although (near-)death research certainly merits a framework directive, the paper by Parnia et al. is subject to a surprising lack of neuroscientific understanding. It reflects the fact that the field of NDE research (at least in parts) is biased by a widely held belief that there is something fundamentally special, if not supernatural, about NDEs, such as the notion that humans can have conscious experiences in the absence of a functioning brain.”
Yep, that’s the whole point isn’t it, and in the absence of scientific proof that consciousness in the absence of a functioning brain is not present, it should not be discounted as a possibility, and to do so is unscientific. The above statement displays a whopping lack of self-awareness when it comes to understanding their own lack of objectivity.
In summary, I think Parnia et al may need to rethink the use of the term RED. They also need to be aware of their own potential bias, such as on the subject of negative NDEs, and be open to outcomes that might be unappealing, but are nonetheless possible.
I’m a recent reader of this blog, and have not commented lately partly because it’s time consuming to get drawn into “debates,” such as what we see here, and partly because I don’t like engaging in conflict. But I have been reading the comments, and as a psychologist, it’s been interesting to me to see that for at least some commenters, it appears that their primary goal is to convince those stupid/evil/pick your ad hominem skeptics. It gives me a strong impression of tribalism that we humans are so vulnerable to. Even taking a skeptic’s perspective momentarily for the purpose of greater understanding in order to improve one’s counterarguments is sometimes attacked. Ben, I agree with your comments about what skeptics will say, and as I said before, I think trying to convince skeptics is a losing proposition, since as you correctly point out, nobody who is irreversibly dead has ever been revived by definition, and never will be. I would suggest that greater support for a non-physicalist basis of consciousness comes from the work of cognitive neuroscientist, Donald Hoffman (first link below as a starting point). He’s got many other publications, and also many podcasts if you like to listen (2nd link is to one of them). One of the most important points that he makes is that almost all neuroscientists are physicalists, which is predicated on space/time being fundamental. Many (most?) modern physicists disagree, saying that it’s been a useful construct, but it’s an illusion, and it’s time to move on. You likely won’t see me here again but I wish you all well.
Click to access ConsciousRealism2.pdf
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Thanks Shawn…I think! Being balanced and understanding the “other” position, especially when they are right on a specific detail, is vital to discerning what the ultimate truth on a matter is.
I agree! I hope you get a chance to explore Donald Hoffman’s ideas. Not only are they fascinating, but I think they will bear more fruit than Parnia’s work.
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Yes no one seems to grasp physics . To Tim UFO Twitter is much more wild this is nothing. But I also notice the trolls do have an effect on thinking kinetics Stockholm syndrome
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I avoid the UFO thing. Personally I think it is extremely likely to be real, but I prefer not to think about what the implications may be for mankind’s future as there is nothing I can do about it.
Hello, just out of curiosity, what is this UFO thing you are talking about? Is it in any other post?
Tim is very into the UFO thing, and there are other blogs that go into this. While I am not “into it”, I am very curious and suspect there is something going on…it is potentially a concern.
I no expert in the life sciences buy am I correct in not alone the definition of death and in the definition of life there is no absolute universally agreement for both terms, but are both broadly understood.
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I thought like that until yesterday, but on looking into it, at least from a medical legal perspective it is very clear…irreversible is the word. Given this, I think NDE is a better and more accurate term from a medical perspective. Moreover, we are also talking about the consciousness living on, so this adds another layer of complication.
Does that of the issue of cells living on longer.as in the pigs study etc further muddy the water even with emergency transplants etc. As in that part of the body irreversible but that other part can be saved. And can one be technically dead in one justicstion and not another. Even the numerous legal case with people on life support etc. From a medical ethics side I say it be intersecting.
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I agree it’s a dog’s breakfast, which is why I think RED may be the wrong term. It wouldn’t bother but for 2 reasons.
1. It provides ammo for the skeptics as evidenced in the article
2.Trying to completely replace the term NDE with it, and redefine what an NDE is.
But it is all just semantics.
People get access to obviously problematic information – what I will call here ‘dislocated information’ – all the time. We’ve labelled these obviously problematic dislocated informational phenomenon based on the relationship of the experiencer/s to them… for example, we given them names… if it’s an experience in the future, we might call it a premonition, in the past, we might call it an apparition, or a time slip… if it’s in the present we might call it telepathy… there are lots of others, like NDE’s OBE’s Ouija boards, prayer, etc…
These common experiences are all clues that the way we currently understand the world, is totally wrong. In cutting edge theoretical physics are they grappling with the same problem… the death of space time… to be replaced by something that generalises quantum mechanics, and spacetime…
This ‘thing’ that is going to generalise spacetime/QM… is very simple… and it’s the reason why we all experience the strange things that we do…
Our current understanding of our shared experience here is flat wrong… our scientific observations are correct… the explanations we have made up to explain how they join up is totally wrong…
They are getting there… when they approach problem issues like particle scattering with fresh thinking, and only what can be observed, we can get creative answers that shed new light on our experience.
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Cells mean nothing. The brain is dead. It being an hallucination falls on the grounds that the rain needs to be active. Clinical death is still death. And should be seen as such. If the brain is off and the heart is off there’s a word for that. It’s called dead doesn’t matter if it’s reversed or not.
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I think that you, along with others, are failing to understand that whether or not we call this state dead, from an official perspective, from a scientific perspective, from a research perspective, it is not dead.
As I keep saying, it is just a case of semantics, but when you work in scientific research, as I do, then you must use the correct terminology. The authors of this paper are technically correct to “reject” the term RED.
It doesn’t matter what you, I, Tim or probably most other people say, the official definition in the US and Canada, and the unofficially adopted definition elsewhere, is of an irreversible state. I only came to understand that we were all wrong on this on Sunday. In my book (which I will revise for the next edition) I state that medical death is when the heart has stopped and there is no detectable brain activity. This was my understanding, and is the understanding of the authors of the consensus statement, but unfortunately it is not technically correct. Parnia has been banging this drum for years with the attempt to define NDEs better with ADE (actual death experience) TED etc, but unless he can convince the scientific, medical and legal community to go along with him, he is technically, semantically, incorrect.
One of the reasons that the word death is officially only when it is deemed irreversible is because of organ harvesting. That is why it is important, because until someone is pronounced dead, their organs cannot be used, so the medical profession must be absolutely certain there is no chance of revival. Of course the issue of the pig brain experiment muddies these waters even further. Nevertheless, someone is not pronounced dead until they are considered in an irreversible state, and therefore this is the point a person is technically dead.
Ultimately, as I also keep saying, these semantic issues are irrelevant to the underlying core theoretical issues of what is going on when NDEs occur, but Parnia, because he is a scientific researcher, must use the correct scientific terminology to be seen as credible. It is like when you see spelling mistakes by an author or journalist…it doesn’t change the essence or message of the story, but it does distract the reader.
So you Ben, are saying that Sam Parnia was wrong when in public appearances he distinguished the fact that a person was considered dead from the fact that brain cells (and those of the rest of the body) initiated their own death process?
Eduardo, please don’t shoot the messenger (as Tim was doing on Sunday!). I am just saying that Martial et al are correct to reject the term RED. From a purely technical and semantic perspective, as defined by US law in the UDDA, Canadian law, and unofficially elsewhere patients who achieve ROSC were never “dead”.
How would we call one of those rare cases, where people were found without life signs, but their temperatures cooled down because of being in the water for hours? Even if they could be resuscitated, wouldn’t we say they were dead for hours? And if not, what would be the correct scientific wording for being not alive at that time?
Cobra, if we go by the absolutely technical definition, then these patients weren’t dead since they were capable of being revived.
In answer to your second question. I have no idea…until Sunday afternoon I would have called them dead, and in lay understanding they are, but we are not talking about general understanding, we are talking about technical and semantic correctness, which is vital in the arena of published research, and why Martial et al ridiculed Parnia. But they are wrong to do so, just as people would be wrong to ridicule Hemingway for spelling there as their…Parnia’s work is great, no matter the semantics of the situation.
Actually, I guess if we were to be accurate, patients who have no heart beat or brain activity but who are capable of being revived are in the process of dying. Of course, if we froze them then this process would be paused, so what would they be then?
In my book I talk about differentiating permanent death from reversible death, but this is semantically incorrect given all the official definitions that exist which state that death is an irreversible state. How can you have a reversible irreversible state!!!
Please understand, I have been wrong on this, and am holding my hands up…buy my book to check as I haven’t changed it yet, but I recognise that I was wrong, and I have been trying t explain why.
Unfortunately Parnia may be in a bit of a pickle when it comes to the consensus paper and the term RED, but he also may get away with it. However, either way, I would strongly advise him to remove that term or any discussion of it from his AWARE II manuscript and stick with NDE otherwise even if he has a hit, it will be easy for skeptics to distract everyone by saying the patients weren’t actually dead.
This definition of “death” is problematic because what is defined as “clinical death” with lack of heart and brain function when these experiences do occur could be considered as a form of death albeit a reversible one since there is no activity in the body to warrant it as being alive during that period of time.
It is all just semantics 🙂
Understood Ben, sorry, it was not my intention to shoot anything…what I do not agree with Parnia is what he calls negative NDEs. I think what he defines as such cannot be extended to all negative NDEs.
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Well I hope I haven’t shot myself in the foot by losing my patience with Tim on Sunday! I know how much he is valued by people here.
Hi Ben, You have a tremendous blog running here! What makes this one different from other NDE(RED) awareness blogs/forums is that you hold true to high scientific standards. That’s the only way forward in this debate.
And I think they have some great points in the article you reference in this post.
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Thanks for the support. I have spent my career working with clinical data, and am a medical scientist by profession. It is really important to be pedantic about these things or your data gets torn to shreds by those who wish to discredit it. Parnia needs to make sure he doesn’t use the term RED in his AWARE paper, or he does qualify it with an acknowledgement that the official meaning of death is the irreversible kind.
Orson, not being the devil’s advocate … If someone has an experience with all the classic features of an NDE (shall we call it for starters!) during cardiac arrest, is the “no blood flow” (i.e. it’s measured as such in the brain) condition sufficient (I’m contrasting sufficient with necessary) to then say it’s impossible to account for those features in any other way? Is it just hand waving to say (someone staying with materialism), “well, the person wasn’t dead completely, irreversibly [which is correct] and we can now say they got those features from deep memories, expectation etc.” Surely the onus is to show how the experience is produced, it’s qualities so different from ordinary memories (another French study showed this), it’s detailed and constant features etc. and not just hand wave it away. But, it is right to still consider something occurring in the brain.
Doesn’t Parnia call this “no blood flow” condition (for cardiac arrest) experience an ADE or RED because it *is* a sufficient condition. It is also a “necessary condition” and compare this term to a “sufficient condition”. For an event to occur (this is a general event, any event) you must have a necessary condition (if a ball is thrown it is necessary to have mass but that’s not sufficient for the event). For what we are trying to account for (the experience features) death requires no brain blood flow, it’s necessary, but no brain blood flow is also sufficient in respect of the features experienced during this (sufficient is a much stronger condition) because Parnia would argue that although the person isn’t actually dead, i.e. irreversibly, it’s impossible to account for all the features of the experience with no flow. So you can call them ADEs or REDs. At a pinch.
In the French authors paper they say of the verified case in Parnia’s 2013 paper … “Parnia and co-authors claimed that 1 of 330 cardiac arrest survivors (i.e., 0.3%) reported some elements from the surroundings during his/her cardiopulmonary resuscitation. However, the authors’ protocol did not allow to rule out the possibility that the report of that single person was a false memory, built in retrospect upon prior, unrelated memories and expectations.”
Compare this last statement with this … I looked at an abstract from Parnia’s paper and got this … “one accurately described details corresponding with a verifiable period of at least 3-5 minutes of CA.”
But also this quote from Parnia about this one person … “This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating,” says Parnia, now at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
“In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat.
“This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20-30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn’t resume again until the heart has been restarted. Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events.”
Ok, so this one verified case is just one but we all know there are many cases which only pass as outstanding anecdotes of which Parnia is aware of but cannot publish as real scientific evidence. Which is correct.
In the French paper they also talk of NDEs in non life threatening cases and ref. an author (with others) E. Facco and C. Agrillo. I looked at some papers by Facco inc. “Toward A New Eternalist Paradigm for Afterlife Studies: The Case of the Near-Death Experiences Argument” (Testoni, Facco, Perelda) and “Near-death experiences between science and prejudice” (Facco and Agrillo). I remembered this paper from 2012 and was curious they’d refd. Facco and Agrillo.
This paper has a stunning introduction … “Science exists to refute dogmas; nevertheless, dogmas may be introduced when undemonstrated scientific axioms lead us to reject facts incompatible with them. Several studies have proposed psychobiological interpretations of near-death experiences (NDEs), claiming that NDEs are a mere byproduct of brain functions gone awry; however, relevant facts incompatible with the ruling physicalist and reductionist stance have been often neglected.”
There’s also this by Facco And Tressoldi, Why Consciousness is primary: epistemological and scientific evidence (2022) where they use NDEs as an example that go against materialism.
These papers challenge the materialist paradigm.
Great questions, and I am just going to preface this with the fact that death, or dead, is a just a word. It changes nothing about our knowledge of NDEs, or the theoretical/philosophical underpinnings of what is actually happening. Nothing. However, you raise some really really important points:
“If someone has an experience with all the classic features of an NDE …. during cardiac arrest, is the “no blood flow” (i.e. it’s measured as such in the brain) condition sufficient …to then say it’s impossible to account for those features in any other way?”
It depends. If there is a confirmed OBE, then yes. If there is a timed auditory recollection combined with EEG data that rules out any possibility of conscious activity…then yes – although this will be easier for skeptics to challenge. Otherwise, any other classic NDE features could potentially be accounted for as being pre or post CA brain activity.
“Is it just hand waving to say (someone staying with materialism), “well, the person wasn’t dead completely, irreversibly [which is correct] and we can now say they got those features from deep memories, expectation etc.” Surely the onus is to show how the experience is produced, it’s qualities so different from ordinary memories (another French study showed this), it’s detailed and constant features etc. and not just hand wave it away. But, it is right to still consider something occurring in the brain.””
I think the onus is on everyone to try to account for any reports of experiences using physiological explanations first. This is where the term “dead” becomes irrelevant, although I completely get your point that skeptics will say that because they weren’t officially dead, they could have got these memories through natural means, but again it comes down to exactly what the reported memory is combined with the physiological data collected along with timings of which can all be cross matched. If someone has an OBE and sees or hears something that they couldn’t possibly have seen EVEN IF THEY WERE CONS|IOUS, then it is game over. There is no natural explanation, and the precise technical description of the patient is irrelevant. In a more nuanced situation where someone might have remembered something happening but that they could have seen or heard if they were conscious, the onus is absolutely on the NDE researchers to show beyond doubt that despite being not technically dead, they were in a physical condition that could not allow for the recollections. I would regard flatline ECG and EEG of a minimum of maybe 10 seconds before to be extremely strong evidence. In such a circumstance the onus is on the skeptics to show how someone could have a recollection under those circumstances, and to do that they would have to artificially induce this state, or an exact analogue of it and see just how good people are at remembering stuff when their heart and brain isn’t working.
I agree with what you say about Parnia’s rationale for using ADE and RED, but in my view he needs to drop it. They are not dead from the official definitions that exist…the best you could say is that they were nearly dead…anyone got any ideas of what you would call an experience in which someone was nearly dead? Mmm.
I will answer your other question in a separate post after I have had some lunch.
So what about the term „clinical death“ which means there is no heartbeat and no brain activity but the clinically dead person can still be resuscitated. But of course if no one resuscitates the person in that is clinically dead this person will stay in clinical death and finally transit into „real“ and unreversible death. So basically without intervention the person in clinical death is already „dead“. Some years ago all these people who got into clinical death were actually dead cause resuscitation wasn’t possible.
Of course it’s not 100% technically correct to call them dead. Cause there’s this definition that says you are only dead when it’s irreversible. But on the other hand that’s where even the definition is not 100% clear. Cause how can you tell if it is irreversible. How can anyone know? They actually can’t. Doctors can believe that it’s irreversible based on several criteria. But then there are these cases where people come back after everyone thought that they were finally gone.
Well theses materialistic dudes are making a mountain out of a molehill. And they obviously didn’t recognize the discoveries in physics of the last 120+ years.
Little correction: Clinical death is the cessation of blood flow and breathing. So in short it means that you are clinically dead when you are in cardiac arrest. Brain activity is usually not looked at. But we know that the brain activity ceases like 20-30 seconds after cardiac arrest.
Yes, clinical death can be reversible. It is very confusing though, and I think, while it is not so catchy, if Parnia et al are going to nIx the use of NDE, then it should be RECD…recalled experience of clinical death, because this is technically correct, whereas recalled experience of death is not.
I like RECD. If they really think they need to change the wording they should probably go with something like that. So they don’t build a molehill for our materialistic friends.
In supplement one of their consensus paper they have a long discussion on this whole topic of the definition of death, but bizarrely, even here they seem to recognise that in all the definitions it is when the patient is irreversibly dead:
“The underlying biological and pathophysiological process that accompanies the cessation of the heartbeat is medically termed “cardiac arrest” when attempts at resuscitation are actively being made by clinicians and “death by cardiopulmonary criteria” when attempts are not made (e.g., in response to a do-not-resuscitate request), or when resuscitation is deemed to have been futile or unsuccessful. Despite the semantic difference, biologically these terms represent the same underlying pathophysiological processes, albeit at different time points after the cessation of the heartbeat.”
The term death is only used in connection with patients who are either beyond benefit from CPR or who have a DNR…if they have no heartbeat but are undergoing CPR then the official term for the condition of these people is that they are in CA…they are not described as dead by the cardiopulmonary definition. Correct me if I am wrong.
Also, from my understanding, in the main consensus paper the RED (a term I must admit to never having liked as RED is always associated with danger) can include experiences that are reported from periods of coma associated with a CA.
I also notice that more often than not, and especially in the conclusions section RED is qualified as RED (or classical or authentic NDE). I suspect that this was due to a lack of “consensus” among the authors on the exclusive use of the acronym RED.
I know I seem to be banging this drum, but I do think they should drop it, or be really precise and create sub categories of NDE:
RECA – recalled experiences of cardiac arrest
REACA – “ “ around CA
Etc…nah, NDE covers it.
For me, as I have said, it is semantics, and not relevant to the central issues. however, given the lackof absolute clarity around the term death, and the widely used definition of it being irreversible, I thing the term RED is not a good one..and yes materialistic dudes will make a mountain out of molehill,so best not to give them any molehills in the first place if it can be avoided.
Alan, to comments you made about the AWARE I case:
“In the French authors paper they say of the verified case in Parnia’s 2013 paper … “Parnia and co-authors claimed that 1 of 330 cardiac arrest survivors (i.e., 0.3%) reported some elements from the surroundings during his/her cardiopulmonary resuscitation. However, the authors’ protocol did not allow to rule out the possibility that the report of that single person was a false memory, built in retrospect upon prior, unrelated memories and expectations.”
This is from the Martial paper and is possibly the most contentious statement they make since it directly questions the integrity of those who witnessed this or reported it. It goes to the very heart of the materialist mindset in that human testimony alone is not regarded as sufficient evidence, and even when, as you point out, there are literally thousands of reliable humanly “verified” OBEs. It is offensive, and they will be made it eat humble pie because of this stance one day.
On the specifics of the protocol they are right and wrong. There was a protocol in place to capture OBEs, unfortunately this location was not operating that protocol, and the protocol on AWARE I was not as advanced as AWARE II. They are correct in some ways stating that in this case there is no protocol to rule out false memories as in reality the way it was reported and further data gathered (which Tim did an excellent job of discussing) was retrospective or post hoc. This case, while it took part during a study designed partly to capture OBEs, was outside of the predefined protocol for capturing an OBE, therefore it is strictly speaking a case that cannot be used to support any hypothesis in this study. Those are the “rules” for conducting rigorous scientific studies. Generate hypothesis > create experiment to test hypothesis > get answer as to whether hypothesis is valid or not.
So both Parnia AND Martial are right. From the stand point of an objective observer the case supports the hypothesis that the soul is a separate entity from the body, but from the standpoint of whether or not this study or any other study to date proves this hypothesis using the scientific method, then I am afraid they do not.
On your last point, yes it is interesting that they cite this paper and shows that while they are adopting a skeptical stance, they are also open to well written and properly conducted studies on the topic.
Personally I think it is a good thing that Parnia’s feet are held to the fire now while he is writing his manuscript for AWARE II. Maybe it will help him to focus on tightening his language and theories so that are able to stand up to kind of scrutiny that the study will now doubt come under.
Thanks Orson, I do get all your points and I did find a degree of condescension in their paper. They are of course right that scientifically verified cases are limited but such verified cases need human testimony!
The almost passing ref. to the AWARE I “hit”, Ok, outside the protocol, seems to me they do not want to go into the details of that hit, as Parnia expanded on that I quoted in my comment. They refer to it as “claimed” … “Parnia and co-authors claimed that 1 of 330 cardiac arrest survivors 68 (i.e., 0.3%) reported some elements from the surroundings during his/her cardiopulmonary resuscitation.” That is not scientifically professional.
A scientist-team critical of this *must* go into the full detail of that hit, attending doctor interviews, the detail the patient reported, the verified timing issue, etc. They do not do this.
Just re my last point, while they are willing to cite the paper by Facco and Agrillo about a non life-threatening NDE by using it in their paper, my point was to show they are not willing to cite the other Facco and Agrillo paper of 2012 (which goes against materialism) and others by Facco and of course other scientists which challenge the materialist paradigm. For instance, the last paper by Facco and Tressoldi has a ref., Cardeña, E. (2018). The experimental evidence for parapsychological phenomena: A review. American
Psychologist. 73(5), 663–677. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000236
which I’ve been aware of for a while.
This is a peer-reviewed paper in American Psychologist. From the site … “American Psychologist, established in 1946, is the flagship peer-reviewed scholarly journal of the American Psychological Association.”
The French authors are coming at this only from the POV of neuroscience but I’m actually quite sure they know there could be other phenomena in play here. A true hit (or several) could provide a push that way.
All good points. yes, they show their materialist claws and discredit themselves by doing so. It shows they are scared!
Hello, guys. I have been following this topic for a while. Fascinating asides, I have worries about this subject. I’m a CS major, so please point out my errors regarding my questions.
1. It seems from the ethical perspective we can’t obtain more precise and essential data from the patient’s brain when they are dying, but that is the crucial evidence required to prove or disprove all kinds of hypotheses. Without it, I don’t see how these experiments would lead us further.
2. Some scientists(Sorry, I’m too lazy to find the source) suggest that EEG is affected by equipment and how deep it probes, which means the EEG equipment might not be able to capture some miniature brain activities. So my question is, what’s the minimum brain activity required to have NDEs, hallucinations, or dreams? What’s the threshold here?
I wish we could get to the bottom of this phenomenon before we have our own NEDs. Still, I feel it attracts too many theists rather than researchers, and to be honest, I’m not very convinced about stories. Yes, these stories are intriguing and inspiring. Still, they are stories in the end if there are no reliable data.
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so to your first question: I don’t think that it’s crucial to know what’s going on in the brain while you’re dying. Even if there was some activity or some correlation with whatever experience…what would that prove? Nothing after all. Could be that the brain „produces“ some experience but it is as likely that some real spiritual experience leaves a trace in the physical world. And since we can’t really ask that person who died irreversibly what they experienced during crossing over we can’t even tell if this hypothetical brain activity has to do with any conscious experience at all. So I think what actually leads us further are verifiable OBEs. And there are already a lot of these. And they are not only from near-death research. They are not accepted cause they’re not repeatable but that is obviously scientistic bullshit. I guess most scientists accept the fact that they were born. Though that is not actually repeatable under laboratory conditions.
To your second question: So most neurologists will tell you that there has to be coordinated activity all over the cortex to have a conscious experience. Deeper brain areas are not capable of „producing“ consciousness. EEGs are easily able to measure activity in the cortex though. So we know that the cortex is offline. And we also know that the brainstem is offline. Because there is no breathing and no reflexes. So these „scientists“ actually want to tell us that there is a little bit of activity right between the cortex and the brainstem. „In the middle
If the brain“? And this minimal activity is responsible for the most profound and „realer than real“ experience all these people ever had? Sounds like bullshit to me.
To your last points: Almost all NDE-researchers were materialists themselves. So not really sure about this theist stuff. There’s really no data to back this claim up. And if you think that human testimony can’t be reliable „data“ then you can’t really believe anything. In the end everything you learned about science was brought to you by human testimony. Not sure if this kind of scientism leads us anywhere. If you only believe what’s verified by scientific data you should never ask someone if he/she loves you 😉
And of course science doesn’t tell you what’s true and what is not. Scientists are building theories based on observations. Could be correct if course. Or it could be falsified by later observations.
Great response Marco, thank you.
I hope my reply doesn’t sound rude. It’s not meant to be.
Just wanted to add that of course you should not just believe in every NDE-story you come accross. Of course a certain scepticism is appropriate. But there are a lot of NDEers out there that i rate as trustworthy. There are actually two of them in my family. And there are a lot of NDEs that are corroborated (at least the OBE part) by respected people like the attending doctors. So i guess it’s not just anecdotes.
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Hi, Marco, I was going to reply to your comments, but after a bunch of typing, I pressed F5 by accident… Anyway, your response is totally appropriate for me. No offense taken. I’m trained to think scientifically; In mathematics, you construct axioms, then prove your statements based on these axioms. If nothing goes wrong, we will have rigorous, undisputed theorems accepted by everybody. In physics, we could have experimental results that fit the physic model perfectly(almost). Hence the theories are also widely accepted. After a few readings on Wikipedia, I can now understand why this scientific method does not apply to research on consciousness(for now), but If researchers want to convince people like me with such bold statements, words are simply not enough; after all, as an ordinary person, I have never seen such cases in real life. But I’ll keep following this topic and hope the next phase of AWARE II can give us better information. Thank you.
Hi Elliot, we love curious skeptics here. People who are dubious of the phenomenon but open to being challenged by scientific developments are great to engage with and help us develop our understanding better.
The scientific method does apply in NDE research. In my book (on the front page of this site- Orson Wedgwood is my real name) I discuss this point in detail. Being a scientist myself (Ph.D. organic medicinal chemistry and now a medical scientist/medical advisor), I agree that the scientific method is vital in this subject.
Ultimately while Parnia has never stated a specific hypothesis relating to NDEs in his studies, it is possible to generate one as an observer. The hypothesis goes something like this: if OBEs during CA are scientifically validated as a “real” phenomenon then the consciousness is able to exist as a separate entity independent of the brain or other physiological parameters for at least a short time during clinical death. The AWARE II study has the potential to validate this hypothesis as one of the “experiments” within it is capable of providing scientific validation of OBEs…it will provide us with more than just information, it will provide indisputable support for this hypothesis.
In supplement 2 it says:
“Those experiences that retain the same overall phenomenology and arc of the classical experiences described by Moody in 1975 in people who have been in a coma after life-threatening illnesses and cardiac arrest [summarized in Figure 1, online only], but may also include additional subthemes that have been discovered in the years since, are being referred to as recalled experiences of death (RED).”
So even REDs, which were supposed to specific to death, are not by their own definition. I really think that he AWARE II manuscript should not use this new acronym.
Firstly, I am sorry to hear about the falling out between you and Tim. I hope that you both can mend this together to the best of your abilities.
As for the paper that was published above.
(I am not shooting the messenger but the message).
There are some problems that I want to address:
1. The assumption that the writers make about consciousness surviving bodily death does not necessarily entail “supernatural”. There are several metaphysical positions that
could allow for consciousness to survive in a natural world such as; Idealism, Cosmopsychism, some forms of Panpsychism and some forms of Dualism.
Furthermore, Dr. Parnia has gone on record in several discussions and even TV shows (Closer to Truth) where he has mentioned that consciousness doesn’t have to be classified as
something “magical” or “supernatural” it could be a separate entity to the brain, etc. (Among other metaphysical interpretations as stated above).
2. For sematic issues of death, at this point in time, there seems to be no difference between a freshly “deceased” person and a
body that has been dead for sometime (in regards to consciousness under the materialist narrative).
If the heart stops, brain activity stops shortly after and there can be no consciousness, unless revived.
Okay, let us imagine if I had a deceased person frozen for 300 years and that the deceased person was revived at a later date in the future,
yet they were completely identical to any other truly “dead” person. But because they were able to be revived in the future does that mean that they were never actually truly dead? This seems like moving the goalposts…
I may have made some errors so any insight is greatly appreciated.
Can you imagine the kind of NDE someone who had been “dead”for 300 years would have? Holy cow, they would not be happy about being revived!
It is all semantics, but as a scientist, I know how important these things are and how if the wrong narrative is allowed to take hold it can undermine the truth behind the results. Imagine the BBC or CNN saying “but they weren’t actually dead even though they say recorded experiences of death” that’s all people would hear. Much better to be up front and say that these people were in CA and they were physiologically incapable of experiencing anything. Had they not had CPR they would have been declared dead.
Precision and total up front honesty (I am not questioning Parnia’s honesty at all…he is a man of integrity). No grey lines,precise descriptions of the state…as you say.
I see now, thank you. So, if I understand correctly.
If we call it NDE (or whatever) it may be labelling it something that another would misinterpret. But the result is still the same, brain off in an NDE or brain off in brain death is the same. Experiences are being recorded and verified where they supposedly shouldn’t. Hence your point on semantics.
Yet, wouldn’t the materialist be moving the goalpost to a non-falsifiable claim? (In reference to not being “dead” dead, even thought the markers are present?).
Thank you again for your time 🙂
If someone is able to correctly recall events that occurred in the ER when there is time stamped data that proves that they were incapable of consciousness then it doesn’t matter what exact state they were in.
yes, they are actually moving the goalpost to make the claim non-falsifiable. If that was to be a scientific hypothesis it couldn’t be considered one. Since a hypothesis that can’t be falsified is not scientific by definition.
But since the man-made definition of “beeing dead” says you have to be irreversibly dead to be dead (!) they’re not actually wrong. Of course there are some problems with this definition. How can we say if it is irreversible? You can not actually know. How long do we have to wait until we declare someone really and irreversible dead? 5 minutes? An hour? 4 weeks? Until the whole body has dissolved to earth?
These “sceptics” make an argument out of the “they were never actually dead”-story. They don’t even get that that is no argument at all. When there are verifiable experiences where they should not be it doesn’t matter if you were irreversibly dead at the time.
Maybe we (and Parnia et al.) should stick to the term “clinical death”. That’s correct even by definition and doesn’t give our fellow “sceptics” a bogus argument.
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I do wonder myself what a cyronics patient sees when asleep but given what I’m hearing from here it is likely they are in a perpetual state of an afterlife or an unending dream like state. If it’s a peaceful one it would be quite jarring if/when they wake up once the technology is made to revive them.
Just to add to this one, Tim and I have emailed. I have (sort of) apologised for going over the top in my response. Hopefully he will come back.
I really hope tim will join us again. His contribution is really valuable.
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Addendum to my last point about death above is; that if either party labels said “state” as whatever “state” they choose to label it as.
Would it simply not matter as to what the label was, as the absence of brain activity and the presence of experience to the person having it be problematic to a materialistic paradigm?
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That’s correct. The wording „problem“ doesn’t touch the central question and the challenge to materialism. I guess they are just not able to really deal with the challenge so they‘re trying to distract from the findings by going full ham on the tiny semantic problem.
Oh and you got some good points in your previous post. Thank you!
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If only we had proper findings. AWARE I is not enough!
The big question is: What is enough? If people are not convinced by coronating testimony of respected people (like attending doctors) why would they be convinced when the same respected people tell them that someone saw a screen and the displayed symbol from an out of body perspective? Imho that’s not more or less trustworthy.
Let’s face the truth….nothing will ever convince diehard sceptics. They’re so stubborn and trapped in a 19th century worldview.
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Marco, I sort of agree, but there are ways of designing an experiment to insure that there is some sort of “blinding”. I seem to remember that you are physician, so you will be familiar with blinded studies. Obviously this is a very different kind of study from those designed to test medical interventions, however there are steps that can be taken that would insure the internal integrity of the results is above question. I have mentioned it on here and emailed the Parnia lab to suggest that they include these kinds of measures.
The first is obviously blinding the patient.that is already covered in the design by having an image on iPad facing the ceiling. The patient could not see it, and if it is high enough, neither could the attending HCPs. This would negate any accusations of a doctor or nurse tipping off the patient.
The next level of blinding is the interviewer. So when the patient is interviewed if they survive long enough (the single biggest barrier to recruitment), it is imperative that the the study is designed to show that there is no way the interviewer can know what images were projected. This way the recording of the interview is protected from possible corruption. The only person who should know the images projected is the data analyst who would compare the interview notes with the data from the iPad.
Any sceptic who refuted a hit that was blinded in this way would deserve nothing but ridicule.
not a physician unfortunatly. Just an engineer. Maybe there’s someone else here with my name. Just started writing here some days ago. First post was a response to your fictional book.
Of course i am familiar with blinded studies and i get your point.
But on the other hand there are studies of mediumship that are blinded up to five times and thats still not actually accepted.
So i am not sure if there is any way to convice a “sceptic”. Most of them are diehard dogmatic believers. Or disbelievers.
Imho theres enough evidence already. And if it wouldn’t falsify the dominating dogma (“paradigm”) it would have been widely accepted.
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I agree, there is enough evidence already, but we are still missing what I would describe as scientifically verified evidence. The hardened sceptics will find a way of denying this is “proof”, but reasonable people will see things differently I hope.
Correct, but accuracy in describing the state, albeit semantics, is vital to keeping the focus on whatever results are produced.
Guys, i am really pesymistic, skeptical etc. it would be marvelous if we knew that there is afterlife. Sorry for this post, from the beggining, but i need help. Is there strong evidence for nonmaterial consciousness. Can Upcoming Aware II say that ndes are false or that ndes are created by brain or halucinations or any other thing than a glimpse of afterlife. When we will have results? Last question is about Richard Martini, what do you think about him and what do you think about Michael Newton. Also i have a theory of reincarnation which is(in my opinion) consistent with materialistic understanding of world. I am really sorry, but today i feel really bad. I apologize you, and love all of you <3. cheers.
PS. Have a nice Thursday/Friday or any other day you are reading this.
i’ll try to make this short.
So, imho there is definitly strong evidence for nonmaterial consciousness. I would definitly recommend not to focus solely on the aware studys. I would not even limit the “exploration” of the topic to NDEs.
NDEs are no isolated phenomenon. Materialists always believe that they got all the work done if they find any explanation for NDEs. So far there is no materialistic explanation although some of these guys might pretend there is. That’s not true. And to be honest it’s probably not even possible to prove that NDEs are made up by the brain. NDEs or similar experiences like STEs can happen in so many circumstances. Kinda hard to bind all of that to some simple physiological or psychological processes. An explanation would have to account for all these experiences. I don’t think that any materialistic explanation could do that. On top of that it would not be enough to provide a possible explanation for NDEs. There is so much more. Like Shared Death Experiences, Terminal Lucidity, Studies on mediumship, Studies on PSI-phenomena, smart people with severe hydrocephalus….
To be honest i think that materialism has failed. Quite a long time ago. People are kinda resistant to recognize that though. Scientists are slowly moving to a quite different view of our universe. (Quantum-)Phisicists leading the pack. The “cosmic hologram” theory that gets more and more support (including the late Steven Hawking) for example is absolutely compatible with a non-material consciousness. It becomes more and more clear that space and time are not as fundamental as materialism assumes. Physics is definitly moving away from materialism. Kinda fast actually.
And it’s not just in physics. In 2018 for example there was a positibe peer-reviewed study of PSI-phenomena published in the “American Psychologist” which is the official journal of the American Psychological Association and highly renowned.
PSI-phenomena can’t prove an afterlife. But they can definitly prove materialism to be wrong.
Or just look at the work of Wilder Penfield who was a pioneer in neurosurgery. He started as a hardcore materialist but after 30+ years of research he came to quite different conclusions. There is an article called “WHY PIONEER NEUROSURGEON WILDER PENFIELD SAID THE MIND IS MORE THAN THE BRAIN” that explains the basics in short.
There are actually quite a lot of neurologic pioneers who came to conclusions that the brain is not all there is.
So…to your questions about aware II: I am quite sure that they will not say that NDEs are generated by the brain. I am quite sure that there will never be actual evidence for that position. It’s just not true. Parnia was always some kind of a fence-sitter wanting to please almost everyone. But he and his team definitly lean towards a non-materialistic explanation due to their findings. And that’s definitly justified if you ask me. I guess they still won’t have a hit on this randomly generated targets on these monitors. But that’s just a guess based on numbers. It’s just so highly unlikely to get such a hit. Statistics. But imho it doesn’t really matter if they get this hit. There are so many verified accurate perceptions from NDErs that were corrobated by so many respected people. I think that’s already enough to conclude that there is something going on. It should definitly be enough if you combine it with all the evidence out of the other fields i mentioned above.
Ok…so i could probably go on for quite a while. But i guess i’ll come to an end now.
I am not so sure when aware II will be published. But i guess it shouldn’t be too long. But as i said…don’t limit your search for truth on the aware study. There’s so much more.
I don’t feel like i can judge the work of Michael Newton. Not so sure about that regression stuff. But i think there is definitly something to it. Do you know Brian Weiss? Or the work of Ian Stevenson or his successor Jim Tucker?
Well…a last question from my side: Could you explain your reincarnation theory?
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My theory of reincarnation.
Lets settle few assumptions
1. Our universe is only made out of matter.
2. Our universe is infinite or as close to infinity as possible.
3. Our universe is eternal or as close to eternity as possible.
4. Our Consciousness is only caused by brain and depends on brain.
With these assumptions we can move on to my theory. In infinite eternal universe, any event, even the most unlike one will happen infinite times. So in theory, somewhere in this universe, there will be identical copy of mine, it will be perfect. I can easily say that it will be me, but in different place. These Me will finally happen so i will wake up in another body, becouse it is the same as mine(brain). Simple
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I suggest that your 4th assumption will not be accepted by many here 🙂
Your theory is like the multiverse theory. It is theoretically possible, but not supported by evidence. If it helps you support your lack of belief in dualism, then so be it, but your theory is less supported by evidence then dualism.
@Ben i suppose that this is the worst case scenario. He wrote that this theory is consistent with matherialistic point of view.
Hey Wiktor, Hey Ben,
Wiktor, i get your theory. I heard it before. But i feel like there is a problem. I always had that felt “problem” too with “Beaming” like when they say its theoretically possible to dissolve “you” completely into atoms and then build an exact copy of you out of atoms at the target position. Theoretically possible. But i never felt like that new build exact copy of my physical body would be actually “me”. I always felt like there would be something missing. It’s an exact copy of my physical part, sure. But there would be something missing. That’s just a feeling though. Can’t really prove that or directly point at something though.
I actually think that materialism is wrong. I mean just look at the basic assumptions. What is the most important thing about us humans? What does us make a human beeing? It is our consciousness. And they say:” Oh well, that thing that makes you a human beeing. The most important thing you have….that’s just an illusion. YOU dont exists. That’s just electrons running up and down doing all the things you think “you” do. The “you” is just an accidental byproduct of the physical processes.” I don’t think that this assumption is justified in any way. There’s no evidence that really supports it (the evidence theys use is easily explained by other theories). And i think there is a contradiction in the materialistic worldview.
The darwinian evolution is one of the foundations of atheism and materialism. And the theory of darwinian evolition basically tells us that over long periods of time there are random mutations. The random mutations that are helpful for survival will prevail.
So what about consciousness? Materialists say it’s just a mere and useless byproduct of the physical processes in the brain. We believe we can make choices and all that but that’s just an illusion. Everything is determined by the movement of electrons. So, if materialism is true it has to be like that. Consciousness is a useless byproduct. It’s “waste”.
Considering what darwinian evolution tells us there has to be a mistake somewhere. Because if Consciousness was just a useless byproduct it would not have “survived” evolution. And i have to mention here that Charles Darwin himself recognized that. He actually disagreed with the materialistic assumption that our Consciousness is just a “waste product” of our brain. Since if it was it would not be there if Darwins theory is correct.
So materialism is illogical and contradicts with its foundations. Isn’t that weird?
Oh and another thing that i wan’t to mention (although it doesn’t really fit here): What about our memories?
They tried to locate them in the brain for over 150 years. And they found nothing. They didn’t find a “storage”. So now they say: “Oh well, the memories are probably distributed all over the brain so we can’t find a specific area”. Considering that theres the general assumption that specific areas of the brain are responsible for specific tasks thats a weird assumption on it’s own.
What is even more weird is that in case of a hemispherectomy there is usually no defineable loss of memories. How can this be? If memories are stored all over the brain? About 50% should be gone, right? But that’s not the case. So…where are these memories stored? Obviously not or not exclusively in the brain.
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I am following your page with unprecedented dedication for about five years, since my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and I started to search for answers about life and beyond. By the way, she is no longer with us since July, 2022.
Nevertheless, I feel that I collected knowledge and confidence about the afterlife. I got the chance to continuously delve into the opinions of Parnia, Moody, Fenwick, Greyson, van Lommel and so on through your blog. I also bought your latest book.
I feel that your blog is really huge in significance. I also feel that it is getting too big to handle, but unfortunately too commercialized by your ambitions. You mentioned in your conflict with Tim that „you also have to sell books“. I think that you don‘t realize the contribution of your blog to the commons. I suggest that since your current title refers to „Timantics“, you openly apologize to Tim. You have created a really great platform for discussion and you, as the moderator, should not let yourself get into conflict with ANY member. Your personal views will be challenged many times. You are the gatekeeper though. I will not pick sides and, as a gatekeeper, so should you. Whether you like it or not, this blog is not about your books anymore. Our need for research is greater than any ego, mine or yours included.
I would like to financially contribute to your blog, as I believe that many of your followers would think alike.
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First of all, my condolences to you and your family for the recent loss of your mother…losing a parent is never easy, as I know, and cancer is particularly nasty. My mother had lung cancer a few years back, but survived despite her age.
Secondly, thank you for your encouraging comments. I am very happy to learn that this blog has been a source of comfort and knowledge to you. I know it has to many.
Thirdly, I agree that as a moderator, I should not get personal with anyone, and in general I don’t. The incident with Tim was unfortunate and regrettable. I will try again to apologise to him and invite him to rejoin us as you are right, the subject we are discussing is too important to allow our egos to get in the way, and I possibly did on that occasion.
Thank you for buying the book. This blog is not about my books, although on occasions when I release or update a book, I will make a post…that will not change. I am sorry if it came across as being about my books. I do not make a penny our of this blog, and believe me when I say that the proceeds of sales of my book have not even covered a fraction of the cost of paying for the site. Of course, that is disappointing for me, but it is what it is and I am still here, and so is the blog. I don’t need financial contributions, but thank you for the offer.
In terms of it getting too big to handle, it is not actually that big. There are only about 3,000 unique visitors each month and it has been that way for a number of years now. This is tiny in reality.
Look forward to hearing from you again, and I will reach out to Tim again as I understand how important his contributions are.
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I have no account to log in so far here. So i just write this answer to let you guys know that i would have liked both comments if i could.
Ben, please reach out to Tim again. His contributions are actually highly important to your blog.
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I have. The ball is in his court.
Hey Alexander, I’ve never thought Orson has books in mind (“too commercialized” – what??!!) on this site, but in mentioning them has allowed us all a window into his thinking. He lets you know what he’s about. First time I’ve heard this raised as well. Sorry about your mum truly, take it easy.
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have you read that? https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0732118X15300039
Interesting and also not quite compatible with materialism. They write about volition and a free will that is non-deterministic and not random choice. There can‘t be something like that if materialism is true.
Look at this part of their hypothesis:
„4) Conscious organisms can volitionally override some of their neural processes.“
This absolutely contradicts materialism. How should the will override the neural processes if it „emerges“ from them?
Ok, so I just skimmed over the text but they obviously don‘t even try to stay in the materialistic view. They obviously assume some kind of dualism or even idealism. Really interesting.
I‘ll read it later in detail.
i did not read that, i am not educated enough to understand this, but i thought that it is from materialistic point of view.
Thank you Marco
Well I read that they still assume that the brain produces consciousness. They don’t tell us why they do though. But on the other hand they say that consciousness can affect the processes in the brain. So that means consciousness has to be something seperate. This is at least dualistic.
Not so sure why they still assume that consciousness is a product of the brain. There’s no evidence for that position. And that assumption kinda contradicts the rest of their paper imho.
Still interesting. And I really like that they quoted William James. Great dude.
There was live performance made by UVA with Dr Bruce.
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What do you think about these?
Imho it’s always a good idea to listen to Dr. Greyson. He has done this research for quite a while. One of the pioneers. For me he is easily Top 3 in the field of Near-Death-research. Maybe even Nr. 1.
IANDS is also a good source. Dr. Greyson was cofounder and president there a while ago.
Video from UVA with briliant Bruce Greyson .
Here is why we can have some dmt in our body. It is only a theory. okay so i have a theory why our body synthesize dmt. It is only a theory. So we all know that we need tryptophan. it is important to synthetise some important hormones and build our muscles. Adult person need 5 mg/kg of body mass. so i for example need about 0.375g of tryptophane. With this knowledge lets move to the dmt point. Some of you could know this. Dmt is being synthesised from tryptophane like many other chemicals(melatonin, serotonin n methylotryptoamin) which are syntesised in our body. Another thing is that we are getting rid of some chemicals when we are urinating. We have found in urine of some individuals trace amounts of dmt. To induce psychodelic experience we need 25 mg of dmt. I will drop an image describin synthesis of dmt. I have mentioned above that from tryptophane we synthesise methylotryptoamine. It is used to synthesise dmt. So i have an idea to check when people have their ndees i would like to check corelation between tryptophane in their bodies and their nde, becouse as i have mentioned above we can synthesize it from this protein. What do you think about this
I wonder why DMT is everybody’s darling these days. Most DMT experiences are not like NDEs. There is a small amount but I am not sure about bias there. A „near-death-like-DMT-Trip“ just sells a lot better than the usual weird stuff.
Not sure though it there is actually something going on with this molecule. Rick Strassman did some interesting work.
But how can DMT do whatever it does on a brain that is inactive/flatlined or under general anesthesia? Even if there was an interaction it should not lead to a conscious experience.
In the end it would just be another correlation without proving this or that. But yeah it could be interesting to check that.
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Agree but i only want tto show how we can produce it and how it do not influence nde. Brain activities in dying brain are different. Duh
Ok, I see. I agree with you. Could be useful to check that.
Have you read the book by Strassman? I have it here but I have not read it so far. I will read it eventually. But there’s quite a lot on my list…
I have found quite old article about how our brain may connect mwmories and our past self. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-our-brain-preserves-our-sense-of-self/%3famp=true
So…theres a lot of speculation based on correlation and the materialistic assumption that „brain produces all we feel we are“. But of course it’s packed as if they got prove and know what’s going on. Not particularly impressive. And not actually linked to NDE research. Not sure if this belongs here.
What do you think about the article?
well Dr. Reincarnation is my phone account, becouse this one do not work on mobile. so i put this here becouse reddit would not help me. anyway i am concerned that their arguments are not consistant with these information we already know.
Ah, i see.
I agree. The materialistic paradigm can’t explain a lot of phenomena we know exist. This paradigm or let’s say dogma is still strong in the so called „scientific community“. Well scientific progress is obviously made one funeral at a time.
i can’t see it, i am blind for this. is there more and more people who leave materialism. for me amazing is influence of consciousness on brain. like product of brain should not influence on its producer becouse it would transform the product which is quite good right now.
We are on our journey away from materialism. Physicists are probably „driving the train“. It’s moving slowly but it’s rolling. Materialism probably died back then when they discovered quantum physics and all this phenomena of consciousness are adding to that.
The impact of consciousness on the brain or physical things at all should not be there if materialism was correct. Materialism does not allow that. So it’s kinda weird that there are phenomena like the placebo-effect. But it is there without a doubt.
It’s great to help you dude! I am also still on my search for truth. But what I discovered so far has actually changed me by quite a bit. Usually i am not actually an optimist either. But there is so much evidence from so many different fields of research. And for me all of it builds a picture of the universe that is kinda consistent.
Great conversation! I was somewhat absorbed with the funeral yesterday…quite incredible actually.
For those with eyes to see the evidence has always been there, but it is good to see others on different stages in the journey. As a scientist, I have long understood that life was result of intelligent will…there is no other plausible explanation, and when you start from that point everything falls into place.
Hopefully it won’t be long before the publication of the AWARE II results occur. I have absolutely no idea what they will contain. If they have not creased the number of recruits into the study much from the 2019 AGA presentation, then I suspect there not be any proven visual OBEs, but there should be some useful supporting evidence for NDEs. We will see.
Marco, i must say that. Love u man, no homo. you are helping me a lot, like eyes or something. You work as a balance to my pesymism.
With all respect Ben, are you creationist?
Or you believe that seed of life was planted, and it evolved naturaly?
It’s not a matter of belief. I have a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, and spent my research looking at the chemistry and biochemistry of DNA and proteins to develop potential drug candidates. I can say with absolute certainty that to believe life emerged through natural processes is absurd. My book on DNA looks at that subject in detail. There are other excellent books that say similar things.
I am not an expert on Biology, or on evolution, despite my family connection to Charles Darwin, however, if you start with the understanding that the first cell could only be the result of intelligence, then it is entirely plausible that “interference” occurred at other points in the journey of life.
I spent 13 years working in virology on HIV, so I know with absolute certainty that evolution does occur. When you apply selective pressure to a virus through a drug, it will adapt and become resistant to that drug. If you use 3 drugs sequentially against HIV, the virus will become resistant to all 3 as the virus is able adapt to each in turn. However, when you use 3 drugs in combination, the virus is unable to make all the changes required in one step to become resistant to all 3. Resistance never occurs if the patient takes their drugs properly. This simple example lies at the heart of the evolution conundrum. It is easy to see how small changes can occur, but large leaps are less easy to explain. This topic has become more openly discussed in the Royal Society meetings.
Personally I do not get involved in arguments about evolution though since it is enough to know without doubt that at the very least, the first form of life was the result of intelligent initiation.
So we have similar point of view. So.ething created life and left the chat. Maybe interfere maybe not, dunno. You have family connection to Darwin? Interwsting. And all condolences.
My forefathers were cousins of Darwin. His wife was a Wedgwood, and rather oddly, so was his mother!
Yes, been a strange 10 days. Growing up with this constant of the Queen, and suddenly having her gone, has been very sad for our nation. She was much loved, and universally respected, and despite most people never having met her, they had real affection for her.
Yesterday was Britain at its absolute finest. Quite emotional!
Of course, in the grand scheme of things nationhood and royalty are all irrelevant, but in this life, in this country, it is a part of our collective psyche that is hard to ignore or avoid.
She was also a true believer in God, and in Jesus. She knew that when dead she would just be another citizen in a different realm, one glimpsed at by the many who have had NDEs.
Rest in Peace queen.
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Oh and what’s definitely missing is an explanation of how this brain region does all the things it allegedly does. Not even a little bit of explanation. Well that’s what we always get. They find a correlation of activity and some task and that obviously means that this brain region produces this or that in some miraculous way that no one can explain. Something material produces something immaterial. That’s definitely a miracle. And all it needs is to switch neurons on and off. And this is what they call science. Based solely on a dogma.
Ok, I see. I agree…it could be useful to check that.
Have you read the book by Rick Strassman? I haven’t read it so far. But I have it here and one day I will eventually read it. Quite a lot on my list though.
I was looming for some articles about influence of ndes on braincells and i found this old article, is this again materialistic biased talking
Ah…it’s Kevin. I know this essay of him. The best I can say about it is that this text clearly shows that he has not the slightest clue of how it is to have an NDE. Just an example: Of course it’s possible that hypoxia gives you a sort of „tunnel vision“. Bright dots of „light“ in the center of the field of view. Darkness around it. Could be interpreted as a tunnel.
But if Kevin actually took the time to speak to Experiencers or at least would read some reports he would recognize that this tunnel that people move through in NDEs is not just an illusion of light and darkness. It’s so much more.
Well the rest of his great explanations are almost universally refuted by evidence from NDE-research. Kinda hard after all to find neurological explanations for experiences that can happen in so many different circumstances. A real explanation has to account for every single NDE out there. That’s impossible to accomplish with materialistic explanations of you ask me.
If I remember correctly I read a really good response to this article or to the whole book of Kevin a while ago. I’ll see if I can find that again.
You can google for „book review the spiritual doorway smit“. You should then find the review in the UNT digital library.
Hey you all. Have you heard about cottard syndrome. Your brain thinks that you are dead. That you are zombie. So, we have mental disorder which makes your brain aware of its dead. Okay so we know that our brain knows when it is dead. Many materialistic scientist think that the brain knows when it is dead and when it does it realeases dmt. if that was true, people with this disorder would always been on trip with seeing their relatives and many other NDE like visions. But they don’t. of course i could be mistaken. Our brain could not know that we are dead. Who knows. What do you think about this?
correct me if i am wrong.
of course i could be wrong with this cotard syndrome. it either could mean that or not.
This is not something I have heard of before, but if that is true, then you are right, this is evidence that DMT has no effect on NDEs…something we knew already.
I tried to debunk dmt explanations. In my opinion. I have failed.
I have found two less optimistic articles. I can’t read one but description is quite pesymistic. Second one is… just. Well, the second one makes sense. Also it gives me anxiety.
It just makes sense, and it is exactly how i was thinking about it.
i am trying to send these links but it fails to do that.
Well…if NDEs were an isolated phenomena DMT could maybe be an explanation. But (and this is a big but) NDEs are not isolated phenomena. What about Shared Death Experiences for example? Why do they resemble classic NDEs so closely? Bystanders are not near death. What about „near-death-like“ spritual transformative experiences. The experience is not near death then. So no DMT dump. And there are so many cases of NDEs that happened quite a while after the heart stopped. So definitely no more brain function. There is a really interesting case described by a doctor called Owen. He is not working in the Near-Death-research usually. He specialized on scanning the whole brain of coma patients to see if „someone is still there“. He had a patient without any activity in the brain. And they scanned the whole clump of fat and water (some call it brain) and there was nothing. Deepest state of coma and as close as you get to actual death as you can get. But guess what…when this dude eventually recovered he could report a lot of details about what happened during these examinations. He had a full blown OBE while being absolutely offline.
And there’s of course the case of Pamela Reynolds. And the patient of Dr. Lloyd Rudy. Just to Name some examples. Not to mention the hundred of verified OBEs that happened while people were near death.
So let’s assume for a second that DMT actually has to do something with NDEs. Maybe DMT helps splitting your consciousness from your body (that’s btw about the conclusion of Rick Strassman who did a lot of research on DMT). So that would be fine, wouldn’t it? Maybe it’s just part of the mechanism that releases the „soul“. DMT playing a role in NDEs doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all a brain produced hallucination.
DMT is everybody’s darling these days. I know that of course. Doesn’t make any sense though. But as far as I know no actual researcher of NDEs (not even the materialistic ones like Blackmoore or Nelson) jumped on the DMT train. As far as I see that it’s just a kinda bad „explanation“ brought up by people who don’t even know what they’re talking about.
Who were the authors of the texts you found?
I will paste here titles of these articles so you could see all of this stuff and tell if my worries have any reason to be here.
Does The Human Brain Make DMT? -title of the first article. I found it on benzinga. Second one is more serious it is on pubmed and other scientific portals.
Significance of mammalian N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT): A 60-year-old debate. That is the second one. Unfortunately i do not have acces to this one.
@Marco. The one thing that keeps hope inside me is brain activity. Dying brain reaches gamma waves and dmt brain is in delta/theta waves, like it was dreaming.
Why are you so focussed to NDEs and DMT and kinda blind to everything else? BTW we know that NDEs occur while there is no brain activity. No alpha, beta, gamma, delta. Nothing.
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@Marco, i just think that i am ill. Mental ill due to some things in my life.
Life is full of challenges, and this forum is a place where we love others. We love you and value your contributions. Logic is vital, but more so compassion. Be easy on yourself, explore the ideas with an open mind, and don’t be worried where the truth leaves you.
@Ben, is there reason to worry about these?
What do you mean by worry? Do I worry that articles that suggest NDEs are a result of various chemical or electrical artefacts? No. As I have said so many times here, and what is ultimately the central issue…even if there were sufficient organised brain activity to generate consciousness, they cannot account for verified OBEs.
these articles i have sent?
basically every article about NDEs has to account for verified OBEs (the ones you send included). So whatever they claim to have found…as long as they can’t explain how you can have real perception from outside your body they failed. Materialists always focus on only little parts of NDEs and try to find a materialistic explanation. That’s just what they do. Cause western Science is all about reductionism. They obviously think that they can explain everything by reducing it to small parts that are maybe somehow explainable and than adding up. But it seems like that does not work for phenomena of consciousness. Thats why we have that “hard problem of consciousness”. Though i am not so sure if this problem is actually so hard. It’s only hard when youre limited by a reductive materialism. Sometimes materialists find something that could possibly explain some aspects of some NDEs. But on the next NDE the explanation fails miserably. And theres really no explanation for the experience as a whole. For the complex, organised and hyperlucid experience NDErs report while there should be no experience at all. Or at best a seriously impaired experience that is probably frightening and confused. Cause this is what happens when the work of the brain is impeded by something.
I wish you all the best for your mental problems dude!
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Well put Marco. I must admit as to being a little jaded with having to repeat the same old arguments over and over, so nice that you did it so eloquently.
Ultimately, we have been in a stalemate on this subject for this about 30 years. Materialists will always find something to hang their hat on that provides comfort, but ultimately this always relies on dismissing the testimony of tens of thousands credible people, including Health Care Professionals, as either lies, delusions or hallucinations.
While, as you correctly point out, science is unable to explain the lucid memories and structured sequences common to many experiencers, it is impossible to prove beyond all certainty that these experiences weren’t the result of a physiological process. When it comes to none OBE elements, dualists like us are being told that we need to prove a negative, which always extremely difficult. However, the boot is entirely on the other foo when it comes to OBEs, and once that scientifically validated OBE is presented in the literature, then it is game over.
sorry i misunderstood, ben can you delete these comment about dmt which i used here?
Thank you boss <33
First time anyone has called me boss! I avoid leadership wherever possible.
but you are the boss here. You are the main voice of this blog. You made it.
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The many people who come here to comment make the blog 🙂
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@Z that is really interesting and i can agree with that.
Really interesting. Thanks for providing the link.
I have heard of this hypothesis before. The other hypothesis that the wave of death could be the reason for NDEs is not actually plausible. As far as I know this surge has only been found in people or animals who actually died finally.
Considering there are verified accurate perceptions from an out of body perspective during NDEs that covered several minutes of our normal time it’s also not really possible that this surge that lasts for some seconds (about 30 iirc) is responsible for the experience. And of course there’s the „problem“ we always have … how should any activity in the brain account for accurate perception from outside the body. Accurate perception of events or things that could not have been perceived by the physical senses. There’s no plausible materialistic explanation for this phenomena.
As I have said on a number of occasions, these EEG signals are just the soul packing its bags and saying adios. To be honest though, while I actually think they might be right, I am not sensing any serious scientific support for what they are saying…just like me, they are speculating, but using language that sounds more scientific….sort of.
So I’ve heard 2 possible objections/questions about this being the soul packing up and leaving.
1) This is not unique to humans, this can also happen with most mammals that have been tested. Are we also saying that these creatures have minds and an afterlife?
2) There is a small subset of the population (I heard around 10-20%) that this not happen during death. What would account for that (soul’s already long departed before this, they are zombies, they got the dementor’s kiss, etc?)
Wonder what you’d attribute those to
The truth is we have absolutely no idea what this activity is due to. It is pure speculation to say it is anything…that really is all that can be said on the subject. On the issue of mammalian consciousness…why not?
1) I believe we are all parts of a giant field of consciousness and informations (you can call that source god if you want). At least our consciousness is. And when our bodys die we just reunite with that field. That would fitthe description of so many NDErs who report that feeling of becoming one with the universe. We are here to experience and explore the universe from within (see f.e. Alan Watts). And I think animals are of the same source. Their part of the consciousness is maybe not as evolved as ours. Or evolved in a different direction. But why wouldn’t their consciousness reunite with the source when their body dies?
Of course thats just my view. And i really think that we can’t possibly understand what the hereafter will be.
Kinda sure though that rats don’t have a full blown live review. So i guess that kinda contradicts the assumption that this surge is responsible for people having NDEs.
2) Well maybe the soul had already departed when they started measuring. Or maybe the soul just sits in that body a while longer in this cases. Maybe they stopped measuring “too early”.
How do they explain that in a materialistic way? If that was some kind of a purely physical process it should happen to everyone, no?
Hey folks, I’ve recently stumbled across an article referencing statements from Dr Parnia, and it is clear that his view on RED has not changed. (Non-materialists) But the author is clearly trying to discredit and devalue NDE by stating scientific theories prove the contrary without actually stating what those pieces of evidence were. https://nautil.us/the-afterlife-is-in-our-heads-240441/
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Good find AW
I just have wanted to post this here. Thanks AW ❤
Hi Ben, what do You think about it? How we can refer to it?
Just the link please. Can quote small bits referring to the article, but not large sections.
i have read this article, and in some things it makes me anxious. Is there any reasons to worry, are some of this things debunked?
No reason to worry…same old same old.
Rubbish. Complete and utter garbage. It’s just the materialists I think trying to find another excuse. First DMT and now Ketamine. Makes me wonder what next they will come up with.
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I am not a scientist but from my understanding of evolution, describing NDEs as a product of evolutionary changes in the brain makes no sense. Evolution calls for passing genetic traits to aid survival of the species. Such a trait that emerges only when the brain dies does nothing to advance survival. Nor does it make sense how a trait could be passed when it only emerges at death. Chalking it all up to the brain comforting itself thanks to evolution does make sense. It also does not answer what the brain is then. The “brain” is just doing all this thanks to a random process to help “you” cope. Sure there are possible biomarkers. But why? Dr. Parnia’s quote on the article is almost his strongest non-materialist statement yet. Scientific evidence shows consciousness persists. Whether aware 2 has any evidence or is just more of the same, it seems Parnia is not on board with the materialist evolutionary hypothesis.
Excellent comment. The evolutionary argument for NDEs is total nonsense. Prior to CPR virtually no one survived clinical death, so even if there were some sort of survival advantage, which as you point out there isn’t, the chances of it being passed on are zero.
Parnia has been saying this for along time and If he is sitting on scientifically validated evidence to support this statement, then he has an ethical duty to publish or present it in the most credible format possible as soon as possible. He has been citing the case in AWARE I as scientific evidence, but it relies on non-scientifically validated human testimony. We need something from AWARE II using he techniques in the study.
I suppose a counterargument could be that we all have genes that do not aid survival (such as hereditary diseases) and maybe those 10-20% of people with NDEs have some genetic predisposition to have such a transcendent experience at or near death. This would be a remarkable unique trait that spontaneously emerges under very specific and isolated circumstances. Again, in no scientist but I am pretty dubious of that explanation
@Charlie, I talk about the possible relationship between NDEs and genetics in my book shown on the front page of this blog. I argue that if anything, the kind of traits that might cause someone to remember, or indeed have an NDE, may have proved to have been negative from an evolutionary perspective. I argue that people who are more spiritual are less likely to be materialistic and therefore less likely to thrive and find the best mate etc in this material life. I also argue that various regimes through history have targeted people with a spiritual disposition and imprisoned or killed them, and if having or recalling NDEs are related to some innate spirituality then it is possible this trait has been weeded out over the centuries. This line of thinking is one of a number I explore to try to understand why it is that only 10% of adults can remember NDEs.
That makes sense. Sounds similar to research I have heard that cannot identify a gene or neural correlate for spiritual or religious experience/predilection. Scientists have looked and it’s just not really there. As a profound spiritual experience, I suspect NDEs are similarly lacking a clear genetic or neural correlate
Imho it doesn’t make any sense to say that NDEs are coded in the genes. What about all the people who had several cardiac arrests but only had one NDE? Shouldn’t they have it every time? If it was coded in their genes?
There are of course these people that got more than one NDE. But that’s not usual as far as i know.
And to that hereditary diseases…i don’t think that actually fits as a comparison. NDEs are around for thousands of years (that we know for sure. probably way longer). They are not bound to special families. And why would there be this special experience which is so unique to every experiencer but with an underlying pattern for everyone around the globe.
I am not even sure if there is a mechanism that explains how an “experience you have when youre close to or actually clinically dead” could be coded into a gene.
Marco, I suspect you may right…at the very least if their is a genetic relationship then it is hard to see how it provides a survival advantage…there is no logical connection underpinning such a line of thinking.
I think what is being discussed here shows what think is the main problem. What we define as death is complete and total absence of function to vital organs like the heart and the brain. If the brain dies basically everything else goes off with it as it’s the primary organ that promotes a state of being alive. Think of it like if you took a control system and you basically unplugged it. The brain is the central control. Every nerve that operates and feeds commands both voluntary and involuntary are connected to the nerve cluster in the spine that goes to the brain. Main controls go the entire thing crashes. So what’s the difference between death and clinical death going by this definition? The answer? Absolutely nothing. The criteria of clinical death going by the research given to us is the same as being dead. It’s just a state of death that one can come back from since the death process hasn’t advanced to a stage where it’s irreversible. This is why regenerative medicine enthusiasts like those at Alcor prefer to preserve those clinically dead rather then completely dead since revitalization technologies in the near future can resuscitate and revive clinically dead patients.
It is just semantics, but there are official definitions and for the sake of scientific accuracy it is better to use those. However, as you allude to, people can be kept in a state of clinical death for a potentially indefinite period and possibly revived and repaired when new technology becomes available, so the definition of clinical death is expanding. However, true death is not something we can return from without supernatural intervention.
Hi folks, I have recently found a publication which documents the practical application of in-vitro neurons learning. It may be a little bit irrelevant, but I believe it is still a good discussion since our aim is towards a better understanding on the fundamentals of consciousness.
The word “sentience” has become such a buzz word that it is being abused by thousands of researchers who are specialized in AI or bio-engineering, and I believe this article is no exception. But what got my attention is the learning ability demonstrated by these neurons cells, and the fact that we may not be too far off from commercializing them. Imagine that it can be applied on practical applications such as autonomous driving or even possibly on artificial general intelligence.
The way it works in a layman’s term is that unlike micro-transistors which are normally found on computer chips, they are basically putting neurons on a plate in x and y axis, and the learning tendency of neurons will be rewarded when they hit the “ping pong”, which is being fired randomly at the neurons across the plate.
Neuron offers a three-state variable, the computational power is infinitely stronger than that of the two-state variable of transistors. This then begs the questions on the nature of consciousness, is it simply arising due to the complex firing of neurons, and whether lab created brains can ever become conscious? Although I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that some of the evidence presented by the proponents of NDE is very strong, I still want to gather some of your opinion on this and see whether or not I can be enlightened by some of you folks.
I feel like AI is such a buzzword too. There is no real AI and there probably never will be. Roger Penrose et al. argumented correctly (in my opinion at last) that a computer can never think like a human being. Computers process symbols. And only symbols. Computers can’t process meaning. And that’s not a problem of calculation speed. Humans can process meaning though. So, if we assume that the brain is a computer (that’s what everyone does); how can humans process meaning? Where is it processed if not in the computer brain? Well I guess this is another topic but interesting imho.
To the topic: So let’s assume that we could actually make an infinitely complex neuron network and it would actually become conscious. And let’s also assume that we would somehow be able to measure or recognize this consciousness. What would that prove? Would that prove that the network that was unconscious with 1000000000 just started producing consciousness when we added another neuron? Or would that prove that we actually produced a machine that can tune into the fundamental consciousness that is everywhere?
My answer: Just like activity in the brain does not prove that consciousness is produced there an artificial neuronal network that suddenly becomes conscious does not prove that these neurons produce anything. Could as well be that we just tuned in the correct sender with our „consciousness radio“.
well, i am reading about all consciousness theories and philosophical explanations. I have come to the conclusion. We have two ways to explain consciousness. 1. we deny existence of consciousness, and say that there is only a brain hallucinating that something is in control.
2. we will claim some form of idealism/panpsychism or dualism(something in between). I don’t know why some people deny existence of qualia, i am 90% sure that they exist. Also i have noticed that i lack some of them which i had few years ago(i cannot explain how, but i can’t experience some things) and other thing is: why do we have near death experiences which are consistent with objective reality?
What do You all think about Anil Seth’s job?
What do you mean Wiktor? In terms of job is a very successful academic and highly published author. His position appears to be that of a materialist basis for the consciousness, hence the support he receives from the likes of the Guardian.someone correct me if I am wrong here.
Ye i know that. But does he really explain consciousness? i have not seen any critique of his theories.
If he explains how consciousness arises he would have a Nobel prize. Having said that, I am not familiar enough with his theories to critique them myself.
okay, i understand.
On his website he says:
“For many years I’ve been developing a theory of consciousness and self which argues that all conscious experiences – of the world and of the self – are rooted in predictive models in the brain that are geared towards keeping the body alive.”
Also on his website he states that he has received a grant from the EU that will explore neural mechanisms regarding consciousness.
Fair play to him. He believes it is a biological phenomenon, has the rudiments of a theory related to survival, and is seeking to generate empirical evidence to support that theory. He is clearly very talented, highly energetic, and a great self-publicist. Good luck to him. However, like Nick Lane in the field of origins of life research, I believe he is doomed to disappointment.
I agree with Ben. This is the guys take on consciousness – I feel he is clutching at straws.
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everything would be okay with his theory, but there is one thing which is weird for me. If our brain creates hallucination of reality based on guesses, to make us more efficent and likely to survive, i do not think that evolving ndes in the most criticall moment of one’s life is really weird, but evolution is weird in some moments. If our brain hallucinates consciousness according to Anil Seth, why do we have NDE’s. Our brain is saying thank you for cooperation my imaginated construct? Why should it?
Well said! @ Wiktor fiegler
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it should be: “i do think that evolving NDE’s is really weird” and “Why our brain is saying: thank you for cooperation my hallucination”
“When people experience a near-death or life-threatening incident, they sometimes report an altered state of consciousness in which they have the perception of being out of or away from their physical body. During such an experience these individuals at times have the impression of encountering a spiritual personage who offers them a choice to stay or return to their physical life and/or attempts to motivate them to willingly do so, sometimes conflicting with a simultaneous desire to stay in that altered state of consciousness they perceive as the afterlife. This paper discusses how self-determination theory (SDT) is relevant to this process by meeting the experient’s three basic psychological needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy, resulting in various degrees of effectiveness. It concludes with a postulation that by doing so it may foster a continuing intrinsic motivation to live life well, resulting in a greater overall condition of psychological wellbeing.”
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In Donald’s Hoffman theory brains have no causal power, they don’t even exist when not percived. Consciousness is fundamental and non produced by the brain. Donald was on one pannel with Sam Parnia. I find his theory very convincing and fascinating.
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Found this new study. Thoughts?
Thanks for posting this as it is very interesting. I suspect Sam Parnia would have read this when he designed the AWARE study. This was first published in 1988 by the looks, but is still interesting. I may base a post around it as I am struggling for new ideas for posts at the moment…sick of rehashing the same arguments that keep going round in circles…it’s the brain…no it’s not….yes it…etc. We need something to break that impasse, although I am not wildly hopeful given the difficulty of capturing a visual OBE in a scientific manner, something this paper attempts to address.