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Tags pam reynolds , near death experience

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Old 18th August 2003, 07:49 AM   #281
Skeptical Greg
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Quote:
Originally posted by lekatt


Why, why, who knows, it doesn't change the study any at all.

Love
Exactly...

As opposed to:

Quote:
The study does support the fact that consciousness persists beyond bodily death.
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:00 AM   #282
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Re: Amnesia

Quote:
Originally posted by Titus Rivas
Kerberos,

In fact, I personally have never held that this was the most important conclusion reached by Van Lommel et al. And I very much doubt they consider this their main finding themselves. Though it is still important to realize that anoxia alone cannot account for the fact that some patients report NDEs and some do not. (By the way, there are other, much more important arguments against the anoxia-hypothesis.)

Titus
I don't see why it's unreasonable to invoke amnesia to defend anoxia, but not to defend a supernatural explanation. As for other arguments against anoxia I've been unable to get the full text and have thus only read the summery that somebody (Steve I think) posted a link to.

In any case the argument still seems to be the “NDE of the gaps” argument which is a classical logical fallacy.
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:06 AM   #283
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NDE of the gaps?

Quote:
In any case the argument still seems to be the “NDE of the gaps” argument which is a classical logical fallacy.
Could you be more specific about this, Kerberos? What do you mean by the "NDE of the gaps"?
Again, I don't hold that the auxiliary hypothesis of amnesia should be denied to the anoxia-hypothesis, but simply that the latter is insufficient for other reasons.

Titus
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:14 AM   #284
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Re: Re: Re: Controlled Scientific Study

Quote:
Originally posted by lekatt


If you go to the link provided and read the post, it contains the instructions to find the study.

It is on http://www.thelancet.com
then register and search for "near death"
the post contain information on the study also.

Another link at
http://ndeweb.com/wildcard

it contains a lot of info and links.

Yes, the site is mine.

Love
My search for ' near death ', turned up this article, which I found much more interesting..

" Dissociation in people who have near-death experiences: out of their bodies or out of their minds? " Bruce Greyson
Lancet Volume 355 Issue 9202 Page 460

Quote:
Findings: People who reported NDEs also reported significantly more dissociative symptoms than did the comparison group. Among those who reported NDEs, the depth of the experience was positively correlated with dissociative symptoms, although the level of symptoms was substantially lower than that of patients with pathological dissociative disorders.
There is a fee for viewing the entire article...
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:24 AM   #285
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Re: Re: Memory vs Experience

Quote:
Originally posted by Kerberos


The study excluded that NDE could be caused by anoxia (oxygen deprivation?) because then everybody should have experienced it. If you can invoke amnesia then surely we naturalist can too.
How would this not be physical. The study showed that NDEs are not caused by the dying/dead physical body. That covers everything physical does it not?
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:28 AM   #286
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Controlled Scientific Study

Quote:
Originally posted by Diogenes


My search for ' near death ', turned up this article, which I found much more interesting..

" Dissociation in people who have near-death experiences: out of their bodies or out of their minds? " Bruce Greyson
Lancet Volume 355 Issue 9202 Page 460



There is a fee for viewing the entire article...
I wouldn't pay the fee to find out about a theory.

http://ndeweb.com/FAQz17.htm
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:30 AM   #287
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Re: NDE of the gaps?

Quote:
Originally posted by Titus Rivas

Could you be more specific about this, Kerberos? What do you mean by the "NDE of the gaps"?
Again, I don't hold that the auxiliary hypothesis of amnesia should be denied to the anoxia-hypothesis, but simply that the latter is insufficient for other reasons.

Titus
I'm paraphrasing the expression "god of the gaps". It's essentially an argument that says that since science can't explain something yet that proves the existence of god or in this case the paranormal. From the summery it seemed that the study just provided evidence against some non-paranormal explanations, but no real evidence in favor of a paranormal explanation.

As for the anoxia hypothesis being insufficient for "other reasons" I'd appreciate if you'd be more specific.
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:39 AM   #288
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Re: Re: Re: Memory vs Experience

Quote:
Originally posted by lekatt


How would this not be physical. The study showed that NDEs are not caused by the dying/dead physical body. That covers everything physical does it not?
To draw the conclusion that NDE's had no physical cause would require a total knowledge of how the brain worked and what happened when you almost die. Such knowledge doesn't exist
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Old 18th August 2003, 09:56 AM   #289
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Quote:
Originally posted by Loki
lekatt,


Well, you did it again!! The two bolded statemetns above are not saying the same thing!

There are three, not two, outcomes for a study like this :

1. The study showed the effect "X' was caused by "Y".
2. The study showed the effect "X" could not be caused by "Y"
3. The study showed the effect "X" could not be concluded to be caused by "Y".

This study returned result 3, didn't it? But you are claiming it returned result 2?
I think Loki that outcome 3 should be reworded slightly like so:

3. The study showed that although "Y" could not be conclusively shown to be not wholly responsible for the effect "X", every conceivable attempt to show that it was wholly caused by "Y" was a failure. Therefore the most reasonable conclusion was that it was not wholly caused by "Y" but that the effect "X" was at least partially explained by a spiritual element.
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:03 AM   #290
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Quote:
Originally posted by reprise
Ah, it looks like lekatt tired of the Great Debates forum at the SDMB. You might find a bit more support for your theories over at the Reader's Digest forums, lekatt.

There are many reasons why the Netherlands study is an interesting one, and it's certainly one of the more scientifically conducted studies into NDEs, but it falls far short of establishing proof of the post-mortem survival of consciousness.



{shrugs}

Nothing in life outside maths and formal logic can be proved. If the evidence is highly suggestive, that is the most we can reasonably expect.

Quote:

I'm curious about how those who believe that NDEs offer evidence of an "afterlife" explain the fact that NDEs are experienced by a minority of people who recover from cardiac arrest. How do believers explain why some people experience NDEs and others don't?
[/quote]

We don't know that do we. We know that some people forget for example. How do you know everyone doesn't forget who do not recollect an NDE? Anyeay, this is an equal difficulty for those who deny the survival hypothesis.
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:08 AM   #291
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Quote:
Originally posted by reprise


You can't have it both ways lekatt; if you're going to use this particular study to support the hypothesis that consciousness persists beyond bodily death (a conclusion NOT reached by those conducting the study) then you do need to explain why NDEs are not universally experienced by those who undergo cardiac arrest.
Ok reprise. Let's say that I don't know. Could you be so good enough to enlighten me as to why?

I mean I presume you must have an answer as you are implying that this is a difficulty for the survival hypothesis but not so for the non-survivalist hypothesis.
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:18 AM   #292
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Re: Memory vs Experience

Quote:
Originally posted by Titus Rivas
Well put, Lekatt.

Why some people who have been clinically dead report NDEs whereas others don't, is primarily a question of memory: why do some people remember that they have had an NDE, whereas other's do not? It may well be the case that all have had an NDE, but that only a percentage remembers this. We can only ascribe lack of memories of an NDE to an absence of NDEs in some, after we have excluded the possibility of amnesia.

Titus
Ooops sorry, maybe I should read all the posts first before responding (I said this after you said it).
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:30 AM   #293
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Re: Re: NDE of the gaps?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kerberos
[b]

I'm paraphrasing the expression "god of the gaps". It's essentially an argument that says that since science can't explain something yet that proves the existence of god or in this case the paranormal.
You seem to be conflating science with materialism. At the very least you should replace the word science with the word naturalism. But since materialism cannot explain conscious states whatsoever, then how could it explain special conscious states like NDE's? When you say "explained" are you simply referring to correlations between conscious states and brain states? Within the context of any materialist based metaphysic I'm not sure how an explanation could amount to more than that.
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Old 18th August 2003, 11:45 AM   #294
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Memory vs Experience

Quote:
Originally posted by Kerberos


To draw the conclusion that NDE's had no physical cause would require a total knowledge of how the brain worked and what happened when you almost die. Such knowledge doesn't exist
Why would you need to know everything about the brain, to know it was dead and consciousness continued. We know consciousness continues after death by the information NDEers bring back with them when they return to life.

I don't think this is a point at all.

Read in the neighborhood of 200 near death experiences and most of the questions asked by skeptics will be answered. You will know why and how NDEers know they were dead and came back to life, usually because some "light being" said they must.


As for learning how the brain works, I would say forget it.

http://ndeweb.com/info02.htm
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Old 18th August 2003, 03:52 PM   #295
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lekatt/Titus/Ian,

You seem to be missing Kerberos' point entirely - the question of 'remembering NDES' cuts both ways.

Lekatt says "the study eliminated 'physical' causes for NDEs." But how did the study do this? By comparing patients with the same physical conditions, and seeing if they had similar NDE experiences. For example (invented figures follow!) if 100 patients had anoxia, but only 20 reported NDEs, then the report concludes that anoxia is not the cause of NDEs. Taking this step by step :

Premise : If a patient suffers anoxia, they will have an NDE.
Fact : 100 patients had anoxia
Fact : 20 patients reported NDE's.
Conclusion : Anoxia does not *guarantee* an NDE.

That's what this report shows - they were unable to prove that physical conditions cause NDEs. That's not the same as proving that physical conditions don't cause NDEs!!!

How can that be? Simple - add in Titus' suggestion, for example :

Premise : If a patient suffers anoxia, they will have an NDE.
Fact : 100 patients had anoxia
Fact : 20 patients reported NDE's.
Premise : Not all people who have NDE's will remember them.
Conclusion 1 : Anoxia does not *guarantee* an NDE.
Conclusion 2 : Anoxia does guarantee an NDE, but most patients will not remember it.

Now, Lekatt, do you see the problem? How do you determine which of the two conclusions is correct? Can you see now why the study says :

"We have not proven that physcial conditons cause NDEs."

Can you see why the study does not say :

"We have proven that physcial conditions do not cause NDEs."

Failing to establish the "positive" does not mean that the "negative" has been established.
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Old 18th August 2003, 03:55 PM   #296
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Quote:
Originally posted by Interesting Ian


I think Loki that outcome 3 should be reworded slightly like so:

3. The study showed that although "Y" could not be conclusively shown to be not wholly responsible for the effect "X", every conceivable attempt to show that it was wholly caused by "Y" was a failure. Therefore the most reasonable conclusion was that it was not wholly caused by "Y" but that the effect "X" was at least partially explained by a spiritual element.
Woah there Ian! Don't you think you're stretching this a bit?
Why not settle for "This looks interesting, but more study is required" ?

lekatt,

You haven't reponded to my last.
Do you now agree that -

"We did not show that psychological, neurophysiological, or physiological factors caused these experiences after cardiac arrest"
does NOT mean the same as
"We showed that psychological, neurophysiological, or physiological factors did not cause these experiences after cardiac arrest" ???
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Old 18th August 2003, 05:13 PM   #297
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Quote:
Originally posted by reprise
I'm curious about how those who believe that NDEs offer evidence of an "afterlife" explain the fact that NDEs are experienced by a minority of people who recover from cardiac arrest. How do believers explain why some people experience NDEs and others don't?
I thought the same thing was used in the lancet study against the materialistic explanation. That does not go against survival because it probably varies with the amount of time it takes to get out of body for each individual after the heart stops, getting out may be easier for some then others. Who says you are suppose to pop out of body right away?
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Old 18th August 2003, 06:16 PM   #298
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We need to differentiate between a physical trigger for the NDE experience and a physical process explaining the entire NDE experience. A physical trigger would simply initiate the NDE experience without necessarily invalidating a mystical experience. However if a physical process were discovered which completely explains the entire NDE expience, then the NDE could be invalidated as a mystical experience.

I think a physical trigger should not be surprising. Obviously altering the brain has an impact on the consciousness. Drink enough beer and watch the reaction of the consciousness. So we should not be astounded if a physical trigger were found for the NDE.

But on the otherhand, I would not be surprised if the trigger was based on non-physical causes either. Altering the consciousness has an impact on the body. For example, if tomorrow I know I must walk into a den of hungry lions, tonight my body and I would not sleep well due to anxiety and my probable impending doom. IMO this anxiety is a consciousness driven or non-physical reaction. Then we have examples of NDE's triggered in extreme fear conditions in perfectly normal and undamaged bodies. So the trigger could be non-physical.

Obviously there are links between the brain and cosciousness.

Lommels report and others eliminate known psychological, neurophysiological, or physiological factors for a physical origin explaining the entire NDE experience-such as the anoxia idea or any of Blackmores hypotheses. However I don't believe these studies eliminate known factors for a physical trigger. I don't beleive triggers were specifically examined. So we are back to square one when it comes to a materialist explanation for the entire NDE experience.

Regardless there still must be a trigger either physical or non-physical. Regardless of the type of trigger found, the trigger would not invalidate the NDE experience. A physical trigger could initiate a mystical experience. If the trigger is physical, I think ultimately we will find it. And if the trigger is non-physical, I doubt we will find it.

And there must be an explanation for the entire NDE experience. It could be either an authentic mystical experience or a purely physical process. Even if we find a trigger, I am not sure that we would be able to fully understand and explain the NDE experience. But artificially triggered NDE's would offer that potential.

The biggest hurdle to completely explaining the entire NDE experience as a purely materialist/physical process are accurate observed observations such as Pam Reynolds. A purely materialistic explanation for Pam Reynolds observations can't exist. It just can't be done without violating physical cause and effect. If Pam Reynolds and others are actually making accurate observations with a non-functioning brain and from a position outside their body, then the brain and consciousness must be two separate entities. Which then lends credence to the NDE as a truly mystical experience.
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Old 18th August 2003, 07:01 PM   #299
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Quote:
The first problem is that the story could have been exaggerated. Considering that Pam was apparently already involved in a study of NDE when she was operated it should have been simple to record exactly what she said when she woke up thus conclusively proving exactly what happened but for some reason or another this wasn't done and as a result the incident is useless as scientific evidence.
Kerberos, do you have a reference stating that Reynolds was involved in an NDE study with Dr Sabon prior to her NDE? I am reasonably certain that he didn't contact Reynolds until after her NDE. If so, this would explain why immediate recording were not made of her experience.

Although we have to keep in mine that most people with NDE's are in danger of losing their life. The first priority is typically their survival rather than a study.

Quote:
The second is that all of the things Pam saw in he NDE was things she could have known in advance. Even if she wasn't briefed on the procedure she could have researched it by herself. This problem could also be solved relatively easily fx by taking 3 pictures from a hundred picture sample and placing them at a spot where the patient couldn't see them unless he or she had and OBE.
I don't believe her chances of survival within this surgical procedure was very high. I think your hypothesis that she spent what was very possibly her last days on earth preparing a hoax stretches credibility. And if we assume she did research the operation to exacting detail, how was she able to recount observations independent of the procedure such as conversations, actions of specific doctors, etc without a functioning brain? To complete a hoax with the detail of Reynolds, the doctors and nurses would have to assist in the hoax by confirming observations independent of the actual procedure. You are suggesting a very elaborate hoax assisted by highly respected doctors and nurses with nothing to gain. I just don't find this hypothesis credible with human nature considering the individuals involved.

Although I am curious whether you have any evidence which supports your idea that the Pam Reynolds study may be a fraud?
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Old 18th August 2003, 07:38 PM   #300
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jagger :

Kerberos, do you have a reference stating that Reynolds was involved in an NDE study with Dr Sabon prior to her NDE? I am reasonably certain that he didn't contact Reynolds until after her NDE. If so, this would explain why immediate recording were not made of her experience.
From the link given in the OP :
Quote:
Pam was participating in an Atlanta near-death study by Dr. Sabom at the time of her standstill operation. As her operation was being performed, she experienced an NDE.
Quote:
Originally posted by Jagger :

And there must be an explanation for the entire NDE experience. It could be either an authentic mystical experience or a purely physical process. Even if we find a trigger, I am not sure that we would be able to fully understand and explain the NDE experience. But artificially triggered NDE's would offer that potential.
This is somewhat akin to saying that there must be an explanation for the content of dreams, or the content of schizophrenic hallucinations, or why the thought "I want ice-cream" pops into your head".

NDEs have been artificially triggered in some people by direct stimulation of the brain. They have also been reported by people who have taken certain street drugs. And one very interesting question which needs further research is "what are the common factors between those who experience NDEs"? To my knowledge, the suggestibility of those reporting NDEs hasn't been considered in any of the credible studies into the phenomenon (and we do know that not all of the population is equally able to be hypnotised). I'm not aware of any controlled study which has taken into account the participant's history of seizures or the absence thereof. There are so many physical means of inducing altered states of consciousness which have not been adequately researched in respect of NDEs, that explaining how they occur may be decades off - especially given the lack of research funds available for studying something which has no practical application and which is not "marketable". It may be many years before another study using the Netherlands protocol is undertaken, and it would require multiple studies of that size and nature to validate the initial findings.
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:02 PM   #301
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jagger,

Quote:
Lommels report and others eliminate known psychological, neurophysiological, or physiological factors for a physical origin explaining the entire NDE experience-such as the anoxia idea or any of Blackmores hypotheses.
Doesn't the report only *at best* eliminate any single "psychological, neurophysiological, or physiological factor" as the case of NDEs? This is the inverse of the earlier methodology :

Premise : If a patient has and NDE, they will suffer anoxia.
Fact : 100 patients reported NDEs
Fact : 20 patients had anoxia.
Conclusion : NDEs cannot be caused by anoxia *alone*.

How could we extend this conclusion to become "NDEs cannot be caused by anoxia *at all*"?
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:17 PM   #302
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Quote:
From the link given in the OP
Reprise, where is this link and what is the OP?

Quote:
This is somewhat akin to saying that there must be an explanation for the content of dreams, or the content of schizophrenic hallucinations, or why the thought "I want ice-cream" pops into your head".
I do believe there is an explantion. From our limited understanding of the universe, everything follows a underlying logic of some sort. We just may not understand the logic.

Quote:
NDEs have been artificially triggered in some people by direct stimulation of the brain. They have also been reported by people who have taken certain street drugs.
Is this true? I am unaware of any artificially triggered NDE's. I have heard of artifically triggered OBE's. Is this what you are referencing? If NDE's, could you direct me to the sources?

The ketamine experiences are very interesting. I think further study may give hints of the trigger for NDE's. Also I would be curious as to whether ketamine experiences produce accurate out of body observations similiar to the NDE. Interestingly, Dr Karl Jenson, the guru of ketamine studies has shifted to a more mystical explanation for his findings:

http://mindspring.com/~scottr/nde/jansen1.html

Quote:
'I am no longer as opposed to spritual explanations of these phenomena as this article would appear to suggest. Over the past two years (it is quite some time since I wrote it) I have moved more towards the views put forward by John Lilly and Stan Grof. Namely, that drugs and psychological disciplines such as meditation and yoga may render certain 'states' more accessible. The complication then becomes in defining just what we mean by 'states' and where they are located, if indeed location is an appropriate term at all. But the apparent emphasis on matter over mind contained within this particular article no longer accurately represents my attitudes. My forthcoming book 'Ketamine' will consider mystical issues from quite a different perspective, and will give a much stronger voice to those who see drugs as just another door to a space, and not as actually producing that space'.
Quote:
And one very interesting question which needs further research is "what are the common factors between those who experience NDEs"? To my knowledge, the suggestibility of those reporting NDEs hasn't been considered in any of the credible studies into the phenomenon (and we do know that not all of the population is equally able to be hypnotised).
Common factors have been extensively studied. There are a series of accepted criteria for determining NDE's.

I am not following your point concerning suggestibility or hynotisism. What are you suggesting?

Quote:
I'm not aware of any controlled study which has taken into account the participant's history of seizures or the absence thereof. There are so many physical means of inducing altered states of consciousness which have not been adequately researched in respect of NDEs, that explaining how they occur may be decades off - especially given the lack of research funds available for studying something which has no practical application and which is not "marketable". It may be many years before another study using the Netherlands protocol is undertaken, and it would require multiple studies of that size and nature to validate the initial findings.
I agree. We have thousands of NDE's to study. Money and time is need to do the studying.
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Old 18th August 2003, 08:32 PM   #303
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Quote:
Doesn't the report only *at best* eliminate any single "psychological, neurophysiological, or physiological factor" as the case of NDEs?
I can't speak for Dr Lommel. I can only interpret the conclusion as I understand them in the report. Here is the exact wording:

"We did not show that psychological, neurophysiological, or physiological factors caused these experiences after cardiac arrest."

I am assuming this means he could not find factors which could consistently explain all aspects of an NDE.

Is there a specific theory you are considering which covers all factors of an NDE?

Quote:
How could we extend this conclusion to become "NDEs cannot be caused by anoxia *at all*"?
We can say that we have NDE's without anoxia. The inconsistency suggests that anoxia is not the origin of NDE's. Of course, there may be many triggers that can cause NDE's on an irratic basis. But then we can't be certain they are triggers. What we want to find is some factor or combination of factors which consistently trigger NDE's. Then we know we have a definite trigger.

Looking for the trigger is important. But we can't lose track of accurate observations impossible from the position of the body with a non-functioning brain such as Pam Reynolds case. To me, this is the key piece of evidence which needs to be explained and understood.
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Old 18th August 2003, 09:08 PM   #304
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To me, this is the key piece of evidence which needs to be explained and understood.
And to many of us, this is the key piece of evidence which needs to be proven. There are a great many anecdotes about "exterior observation", but many of them turn out to have extremely mundane explanations when examined in depth.

My personal pet theory? NDEs will ultimately be proven to be just another disassociative state caused by either chemical or electrical disorder in the body or a combination of both. When we understand the chemical/electrical mechanism which is at work during NDEs, we will be better able to explain why they are experienced by some people but not by others.
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Old 18th August 2003, 09:25 PM   #305
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And to many of us, this is the key piece of evidence which needs to be proven. There are a great many anecdotes about "exterior observation", but many of them turn out to have extremely mundane explanations when examined in depth.
Do you consider the Reynolds case to be anecdotal? Documentation consists of Renold's testimony in conjunction with the testimony of the surgery team. Where is the weak link in all of this highly documented testimony?

I am curious what sort of mundane explanation exists in the Reynolds case considering the documentation.

Quote:
NDEs will ultimately be proven to be just another disassociative state caused by either chemical or electrical disorder in the body or a combination of both.
Is there any sort of disassociative state that allows for accurate observations impossible from the position of a body with a non-functional brain?

I am curious what you would expect the consciousness to experience as the brain ceases functioning assuming the consciousness is emergent from the brain? Would you describe an expected physical cause and effect result on the consciousness as portions of the brain shuts down to a non-functioning state.
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Old 18th August 2003, 09:31 PM   #306
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From Lummels study, here is another example of a confirmed observation by a nurse working with an individual which experienced an NDE. When you read it, note the striking similiarity to Reynolds experience. From above his body, he is observing the actions of those attempting to revive him while cyanotic and comatose. And like Reynolds, his observations are independently confirmed as accurate.

The accurate observations from a position impossible to observe from the body and with a non-functioning brain is what makes the NDE such a challenge to the purely materialist universe of science.

Quote:
"During a night shift an ambulance brings in a 44-year-old cyanotic, comatose man into the coronary care unit. He had been found about an hour before in a meadow by passers-by. After admission, he receives artificial respiration without intubation, while heart massage and defibrillation are also applied. When we want to intubate the patient, he turns out to have dentures in his mouth. I remove these upper dentures and put them onto the 'crash car'. Meanwhile, we continue extensive CPR. After about an hour and a half the patient has sufficient heart rhythm and blood pressure, but he is still ventilated and intubated, and he is still comatose. He is transferred to the intensive care unit to continue the necessary artificial respiration. Only after more than a week do I meet again with the patient, who is by now back on the cardiac ward. I distribute his medication. The moment he sees me he says: 'Oh, that nurse knows where my dentures are'. I am very surprised. Then he elucidates: 'Yes, you were there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that car, it had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer underneath and there you put my teeth.' I was especially amazed because I remembered this happening while the man was in deep coma and in the process of CPR. When I asked further, it appeared the man had seen himself lying in bed, that he had perceived from above how nurses and doctors had been busy with CPR. He was also able to describe correctly and in detail the small room in which he had been resuscitated as well as the appearance of those present like myself. At the time that he observed the situation he had been very much afraid that we would stop CPR and that he would die. And it is true that we had been very negative about the patient's prognosis due to his very poor medical condition when admitted. The patient tells me that he desperately and unsuccessfully tried to make it clear to us that he was still alive and that we should continue CPR. He is deeply impressed by his experience and says he is no longer afraid of death. 4 weeks later he left hospital as a healthy man."
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Old 18th August 2003, 09:32 PM   #307
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Visions and memories occur while brain dead

OP = original post

There are indeed standard criteria for "assessing" an NDE, based on the subjective experiences of the subject. There does not seem to be a standard assessment of medical and psychological history, though, and it's possible that there are physical or psychological (or both) common denominators between those who experience NDEs.

It might be a psychological state similar to post-traumatic stress syndrome, or it might be an organic condition which produces a predisposition towards hallucination. Or these people might already have a predisposition towards dissociative states. If these people are more highly hypnotisable than those who do not experience NDEs, then we need to explore the issue of confabulation (which is not deliberate deception, but rather the rational mind trying to fill in missing data). If these people are more suggestible than those who don't experience NDEs, then we need to look at what parts of their experience can be explained by suggestion alone.

I agree that NDEs need further study, Jagger - it's a pity that those who believe that NDEs offer evidence of "life after death" aren't willing to put up substantial funds to prove their hypothesis.
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Old 18th August 2003, 09:43 PM   #308
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The Near-Death Experience

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What makes the amygdala a central candidate for explaining the NDE is its powerful role in the memory process, as it can make the re-experiences extremely vivid, including visual images and auditory fragments. This is what makes dreams so ‘real’. An enormous variety of (re)experiences can be ‘brought to life’ from the pool of memories by the amygdala in conjunction with the hippocampus. These experiences include, amongst others, feelings of depersonalization, hallucinative and dreamlike recollections involving religion and the experience of god, as well as demons and ghosts. This has been demonstrated in numerous studies (see Joseph, 1994, 1996 for summaries). Mac Lean (1990) reports individuals, that claim to communicate with spirits, or receive information about the hereafter following stimulation of the amygdala and the hippocampal-temporal lobe.
Quote:
In the situations I described above, which create a hyperactivation of the amygdala, the hippocampus, being part of the same system, may be hyperactivated as well. This can create an image of the surroundings and the person himself. This hallucination can be so vivid that the person is convinced of having a ‘real’ experience. It has, in point of fact, been repeatedly demonstrated (e.g. Penfield and Perot, 1963) that the amygdala-hippocampus-temporal lobe complex can provoke some people to say that they have left their bodies when the complex is hyperactivated or directly stimulated. As noted above, people often report seeing a bright light often at the end of a tunnel. This could be due to hyperstimulation of the same complex, as it receives direct and indirect visual input and contains neurons that are sensitive to the fovea and the upper visual fields (Joseph, 1996). The hallucination of seeing a deceased relative or friend can be due to hyperactivation of the same complex as these images are accessible via the same memory process I described above. Again, it has been reported that the hallucinations just described can be induced via electrical stimulation of the amygdala-hippocampal complex and the temporal lobe (Joseph, 1996).
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Old 18th August 2003, 09:50 PM   #309
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Visions and memories occur while brain dead

OP = original post
Wow. I am surprised. I am going to have to dig a little further. It is highly unusual for someone to be involved in an NDE study prior to their NDE since the experience of NDE's are so unpredictable. I will send an email to the website author who wrote the piece and see if he is absolutely certain on this point.

Quote:
It might be a psychological state similar to post-traumatic stress syndrome, or it might be an organic condition which produces a predisposition towards hallucination. Or these people might already have a predisposition towards dissociative states. If these people are more highly hypnotisable than those who do not experience NDEs, then we need to explore the issue of confabulation (which is not deliberate deception, but rather the rational mind trying to fill in missing data). If these people are more suggestible than those who don't experience NDEs, then we need to look at what parts of their experience can be explained by suggestion alone.
Physical triggers or explantions are interesting but not crucial. To me, the key point is confirmed observations. If they are accurate, then the consciousness and mind are two separate entities. No matter how difficult to obtain, unquestionable confirmation would be revolutionary in our view of existence.

Quote:
I agree that NDEs need further study, Jagger - it's a pity that those who believe that NDEs offer evidence of "life after death" aren't willing to put up substantial funds to prove their hypothesis.
It is amazing how expensive it is to conduct a study. And naturally, it is more logical to spend the funds on research that may extend life than what happens when someone dies. Although who knows, Bill Gates may step forward.
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:02 PM   #310
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Jagger, Titus has posted that Sabom is following this thread and will post when he has time, so perhaps we'll all be able to find out more when that happens.

It's frustrating that the "Atlanta near death study" link on the website leads only to a sales pitch for Sabom's book.
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:06 PM   #311
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Quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What makes the amygdala a central candidate for explaining the NDE is its powerful role in the memory process, as it can make the re-experiences extremely vivid, including visual images and auditory fragments. This is what makes dreams so ‘real’. An enormous variety of (re)experiences can be ‘brought to life’ from the pool of memories by the amygdala in conjunction with the hippocampus. These experiences include, amongst others, feelings of depersonalization, hallucinative and dreamlike recollections involving religion and the experience of god, as well as demons and ghosts. This has been demonstrated in numerous studies (see Joseph, 1994, 1996 for summaries). Mac Lean (1990) reports individuals, that claim to communicate with spirits, or receive information about the hereafter following stimulation of the amygdala and the hippocampal-temporal lobe.
Reprise, not to rule out the amygdala as a trigger, but will it produce experiences that are not dream like. Few NDE's are expressed as dreamlike. Most describe the experience as more real than life itself.

Quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the situations I described above, which create a hyperactivation of the amygdala, the hippocampus, being part of the same system, may be hyperactivated as well. This can create an image of the surroundings and the person himself. This hallucination can be so vivid that the person is convinced of having a ‘real’ experience. It has, in point of fact, been repeatedly demonstrated (e.g. Penfield and Perot, 1963) that the amygdala-hippocampus-temporal lobe complex can provoke some people to say that they have left their bodies when the complex is hyperactivated or directly stimulated. As noted above, people often report seeing a bright light often at the end of a tunnel. This could be due to hyperstimulation of the same complex, as it receives direct and indirect visual input and contains neurons that are sensitive to the fovea and the upper visual fields (Joseph, 1996). The hallucination of seeing a deceased relative or friend can be due to hyperactivation of the same complex as these images are accessible via the same memory process I described above. Again, it has been reported that the hallucinations just described can be induced via electrical stimulation of the amygdala-hippocampal complex and the temporal lobe (Joseph, 1996).
I am curious whether the author has any studies supporting his hypotheses. I noticed a lot of "may happen" and "can be" and "can creates" which sounds more like hypotheses than supported theories.

I am also interested in how accurate are the recreations. Does the amygdala produce accurate recreations of the individuals surroundings as in NDE's?

Ideally we would have studies showing structured lucid thought with a non-functioning brain producing accurate, confirmed observations which are impossible from the position of the body. Kind of hard to do unfortunately.
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:11 PM   #312
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It's frustrating that the "Atlanta near death study" link on the website leads only to a sales pitch for Sabom's book.

Reprise, actually I read the book. I assume that is his first book. It is very good. He has a number of statistically studies that are interesting and IIRC, it includes the Pam Reynolds case. Unfortunately, I loaned it out and don't have it available to source.

If he is following, maybe he can clarify when he first contacted Pam Reynolds.
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:26 PM   #313
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Originally posted by Jagger


Reprise, not to rule out the amygdala as a trigger, but will it produce experiences that are not dream like. Few NDE's are expressed as dreamlike. Most describe the experience as more real than life itself.



I am curious whether the author has any studies supporting his hypotheses. I noticed a lot of "may happen" and "can be" and "can creates" which sounds more like hypotheses than supported theories.

I am also interested in how accurate are the recreations. Does the amygdala produce accurate recreations of the individuals surroundings as in NDE's?

Ideally we would have studies showing structured lucid thought with a non-functioning brain producing accurate, confirmed observations which are impossible from the position of the body. However it would be a bit unethical.
The references are quoted on the website I linked to. The more recent studies, at least, should still be available.

Joseph's conclusions are interesting because his theory is that "spirituality" is self-protective evolutionary trait.

When most scientists use the term "hallucination" they use it correctly, ie to describe something which the subject experiences as real. Pseudohallucinations are generally recognised by the subject as having no objective reality. Hyper-reality - "more real than life itself" - is a documented feature of hypnagogic hallucinations.

I'm curious Jagger. Assuming that I was prepared to accept that consciousness persists beyond death - ie, that consciousness is not created and destroyed physically - where do you believe that consciousness exists prior to physical existence. Where was my or your consciousness prior to you or I having a physical existence and by what mechanism did it connect with my body?
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:36 PM   #314
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jagger,

Quote:
Do you consider the Reynolds case to be anecdotal? Documentation consists of Renold's testimony in conjunction with the testimony of the surgery team. Where is the weak link in all of this highly documented testimony?
The "weak link" is that the documented testimony is the memories and opinons of Reynolds and the surgery team. This is not (necessarily) what actually happened.

Quote:
No matter how difficult to obtain, unquestionable confirmation would be revolutionary in our view of existence.
I agree completely.

Quote:
From Lummels study, here is another example of a confirmed observation by a nurse working with an individual which experienced an NDE. ... And like Reynolds, his observations are independently confirmed as accurate.
There are two issues here :

(a) "accurate observations" doesn't automatically mean "NDE is the mechanism by which the observations were made".

Using the example you have quoted, the patient identified where the false teeth were located, and said he "saw" them put there. Perhaps what really happened is that after he was resusitated, but still only semi-conscious, the nurses/orderlies wheeling him to a ward were talking and discussing how they couldn't believe how ugly his false teeth were, and how they were glad the teeth were safely stored in the trolley. He hears this information, and later (mistakenly) repeats it as part of his NDE. Do I think this happened? Probably not! But if we haven't eliminated this kind of "information leakage", then the patients opinion of where the observations were made (ie, during CPR) is anecdotal!

(b) just how "accurate" are the observations?

Again from the example you have quoted, how accurate really was the patient in describing the events? The nurse is recalling and retelling the story to the people conducting the study - perhaps she (inadventantly) adds a few details that were never there in the original conversation? The occasional "maybe" becomes "is"; "he asked" becomes "he said". Perhaps the patient also said some wildly inaccurate things, but these are forgotten or passed over becuase they don't match?
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:36 PM   #315
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Hi Reprise, you are asking some interesting questions. However I have been tired for the last hour, it is late here and I have to get up early tomorrow morning.

Soooooo....I will get back tomorrow.
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Old 18th August 2003, 10:49 PM   #316
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One thing I think I've mentioned before is that I come out of general anaesthesia extremely quickly - I usually manage to startle the nurses in the recovery ward by being fully conscious in their area. Many people have no recollection of even being in recovery - they don't remember anything between anaesthesia induction and waking up in their hospital room - but there's an awful lot of conversation in the recovery room about how a procedure went and any special attention that should be paid to the patient in the recovery room.

I would not be surprised to learn that there are people who fall part way between myself and those who have no recollection at all of being in recovery - people who have fragmented memories of things which have occured between the time anaesthesia ceases and being returned to the general ward.
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Old 19th August 2003, 12:18 AM   #317
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Anoxia

Some members of this forum asked me why I don't consider the anoxia hypothesis a good, exhaustive interpretation of NDEs.

I've already said that Pim van Lommel et al are right that if all the patients in their study underwent anoxia, the latter cannot account for the fact that some patients recalled an NDE and others did not.

Another, even more important reason is also given by Pim van Lommel in a response to a skeptical interpretation by Michael Shermer:
Quote:
Michael Shermer states that, in reality, all experience is mediated and produced by the brain, and that so-called paranormal phenomena like out-of body experiences are nothing more than neuronal events. The study of patients with NDE, however, clearly shows us that consciousness with memories, cognition, with emotion, self-identity, and perception out and above a life-less body is experienced during a period of a non-functioning brain (transient pancerebral anoxia). And focal functional loss by inhibition of local cortical regions happens by “stimulation” of those regions with electricity (photons) or with magnetic fields (photons), resulting sometimes in out-of-body states.
Bruce Greyson even thinks that anoxia would itself cause amnesia of NDEs:
Quote:
My medical colleagues are quick to point out the biological effect of cerebral anoxia, or the effect of general anesthetics and narcotics used in a hospital. In order for this strictly neurophysiological explanation to carry weight, it would have to account for the entire core experience, but it most certainly does not. In addition, amnesia is a result of cerebral anoxia. NDE reports would not exist if cerebral anoxia were in effect.
On another site, Lack of Oxygen Theory, (I seem to have lost the url and can't find it anymore ) we read:

Quote:
PRO: Neurologist Ernst Rodin offers cerebral anoxia as a possible cause of NDEs of the dying brain. Such anoxia produces a confusing dream-like state of delusions and hallucinations.
CON: Cardiologist Michael Sabom responded that the NDE involves a clear awareness and a more mystical content, and NDEs have also occurred in people without anoxia. Pim van Lommel led a study concerning NDEs during cardiac arrest. In our study all patients had a cardiac arrest, they were clinically dead, unconsciousness that was caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain, and the EEG has become flat. In patients cardiac arrest (ventricular fibrillation) is sometimes induced for testing internal defibrillators. In these patients the EEG becomes usually flat within 10-15 seconds from the onset of syncope due to the (reversible) total loss of function of the brain. According to the physiologic theory, all patients in our study should have had NDE, but only 18% reported NDE.
Even one of the main skeptical authors about NDEs, Susan Blackmore, has acknowledged by now that anoxia cannot account for all aspects of NDEs:

Quote:
The argument over the role of anoxia has been complex. Some blame anoxia for all the features of the NDE, though this reasoning is implausible, since so many NDEs clearly occur in the absence of anoxia (e.g., when the person only thinks he or she is going to die).
Greg Stone has written a more general critique of Blackmore's theories.

Michael Sabom would have found patients in which there was no anoxia during the NDE.

My own major reason to discard the anoxia-hypothesis is that it cannot account for paranormal, veridical perceptions during a practically flat EEG. Skeptics can only ignore such experiences or try to explain them away in normal terms. If one accepts there really are such experiences, no physical explanation could ever account for them.

Titus
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Old 19th August 2003, 12:27 AM   #318
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We know enough about the brain as a physical system

Kerberos said:
Quote:
To draw the conclusion that NDE's had no physical cause would require a total knowledge of how the brain worked and what happened when you almost die. Such knowledge doesn't exist
You're wrong about this, at least to the extent that we would know what the brain's limitations are if we consider it (as we should) as as strictly physical system. As soon as we may be confident that no explanation of the NDE (and especially veridical perceptions during practically flat EEG) can be given in terms of brain physiology, we may be confident that something else, which involves human consciousness, is the cause of this type of experience. And that this entity continues to function after the brain has largely shut down and to an extent that cannot be caused by the body.

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Old 19th August 2003, 12:32 AM   #319
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Titus Rivas,

Quote:
Even one of the main skeptical authors about NDEs, Susan Blackmore, has acknowledged by now that anoxia cannot account for all aspects of NDEs.
But again, this doesn't mean that it cannot account for some does it?

Quote:
(quoted from the Lommel study) : According to the physiologic theory, all patients in our study should have had NDE, but only 18% reported NDE.
Alternatively, 82% experienced an NDE, but failed to recall it? How was this possibility eliminated?

Quote:
Michael Sabom would have found patients in which there was no anoxia during the NDE.
Which means that anoxia *alone* cannot be the full explanation.

Quote:
My own major reason to discard the anoxia-hypothesis is that it cannot account for paranormal, veridical perceptions during a practically flat EEG. Skeptics can only ignore such experiences or try to explain them away in normal terms. If one accepts there really are such experiences, no physical explanation could ever account for them.
I'd agree with this - if scientifically verified "veridical perceptions" can be reproduced then NDEs are beyond physical explanation. But surely it's necessary to eliminate any possible explanation using "normal terms" *before* concluding that these preceptions have been verified?
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Old 19th August 2003, 12:35 AM   #320
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Titus, it is NDE believers themselves who earlier in this thread offered amnesia as an explanation for why only some people experience NDEs (in effect postulating that ALL people experience them but only some recall the experience).

There are plenty of skeptics - myself included - who do not believe that anoxia alone causes NDEs, or even that anoxia is an essential factor at all.

I repeat my earlier question. If consciousness exists independently of the body, then where was my consciousness prior to my body being created and by what mechanism did it become connected with my body?

While declaring that no current physical theory wholly explains NDEs, I don't see those who believe that NDEs prove that consciousness survives post-mortem offering any theories which adequately address all the issues raised by that hypothesis.
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