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Tags spirituality , near death experience , consciousness

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Old 21st May 2007, 06:48 AM   #1
idunno
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nde--read the interview with fenwick

http://www.iands.org/research/import...ituality_6.htm

what do you think about this? l
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Old 21st May 2007, 06:50 AM   #2
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http://www.iands.org/research/import...rituality.html

more
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Old 21st May 2007, 07:04 AM   #3
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Itneresting.
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Old 21st May 2007, 07:20 AM   #4
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its obvious that for science any evidence that consciousness is independent from the brain would lead to major changes in the way they see the universe
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Old 21st May 2007, 10:50 AM   #5
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I seemed to have trouble finding science in the article
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Old 21st May 2007, 01:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Miss Anthrope View Post
I seemed to have trouble finding science in the article
then learn to read
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Old 21st May 2007, 01:30 PM   #7
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since you seem to be a bit lazy to read things you dont like i post here the most important

Edited by Darat:  Breach of Rule 4.


Quote:
...snip...

And then, of course, there is transformation. Particularly notable was the finding that 72 percent of our respondents reported being more spiritual and having less fear of dying. Some findings from other studies provide some very interesting things to think about. For example, in Bruce Greyson’s (2003b) study of 272 patients who had a brush with death, 22 percent had NDEs, and they were found to be less psychologically disturbed than those who did not have NDEs. So that is extremely good news in that it goes against the idea that those who have NDEs have some mental pathology.
Willoughby Britton and Richard Bootzin’s 2004 study

Last edited by Darat; 21st May 2007 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 21st May 2007, 02:25 PM   #8
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I dunno, idunno. There may be some science here, but a few things set off my BS meter
Originally Posted by idunno View Post
And then, of course, there is transformation. Particularly notable was the finding that 72 percent of our respondents reported being more spiritual and having less fear of dying.
I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. Is there a quantitative way to measure "spirituality"? I can see that these responses may well have occurred, but they could just as easily be psychological as physical.

Originally Posted by idunno View Post
Now, that raises interesting and difficult questions for us, because the NDErs say that their experiences occur during unconsciousness, and science maintains that this is not possible.
I am also wary of anything that is offered with the authoritative, "Science says". Quite often, science says no such thing, or science may have a wide range of opinions on the subject. More warning buzzers go off.

Originally Posted by idunno View Post
So there are real difficulties in accepting that the NDE happens when the NDErs say it happens: during unconsciousness. So are you beginning to feel the significance of the timing of the NDE both for neuroscience as well as for our understanding of the NDE?
I'm having problems accepting that a person undergoing a NDE is capable of assessing what their "consciousness" level is. The term "consciousness" is layered with many meanings. Are you truly unconscious when you dream? My experience says no.

Originally Posted by idunno View Post
The nonreductionist view is that there is a process to dying. There is apparent separation of mind and brain. Love and light are fundamental to the dying experience.
Okay, big ol' buzzers going off here. "Love and light are fundamental"? "Separation of mind and brain"? This is drifting into the realm of serious woo. I have never seen a shred of evidence for any sort of "mind" that is unconnected to a brain. Also, the term "love" is so nebulous as to be almost meaningless in this context. This is sounding less and less like science.

Originally Posted by idunno View Post
So perhaps the near-death experience will help us to change science and to change our culture and bring back personal responsibility for our actions, if there is, indeed, continuing consciousness after death.
Will we ever really know? Perhaps, but let me end with a Zen parable.
Nope that tears it. It concludes with a presumption that science needs to be changed. It throws in some drivel about "personal responsibility". It becomes quite clear that this is an article written by someone with some understanding of science, but who has an agenda to support their "spiritual" conclusions. I call BS.
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Old 21st May 2007, 02:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tricky View Post
I dunno, idunno. There may be some science here, but a few things set off my BS meter

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. Is there a quantitative way to measure "spirituality"? I can see that these responses may well have occurred, but they could just as easily be psychological as physical.


I am also wary of anything that is offered with the authoritative, "Science says". Quite often, science says no such thing, or science may have a wide range of opinions on the subject. More warning buzzers go off.


I'm having problems accepting that a person undergoing a NDE is capable of assessing what their "consciousness" level is. The term "consciousness" is layered with many meanings. Are you truly unconscious when you dream? My experience says no.


Okay, big ol' buzzers going off here. "Love and light are fundamental"? "Separation of mind and brain"? This is drifting into the realm of serious woo. I have never seen a shred of evidence for any sort of "mind" that is unconnected to a brain. Also, the term "love" is so nebulous as to be almost meaningless in this context. This is sounding less and less like science.


Nope that tears it. It concludes with a presumption that science needs to be changed. It throws in some drivel about "personal responsibility". It becomes quite clear that this is an article written by someone with some understanding of science, but who has an agenda to support their "spiritual" conclusions. I call BS.
i think you deliberately ignired the strong points he had made and focussed on the more woo woo stuff
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Old 21st May 2007, 02:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tricky View Post
I dunno, idunno. There may be some science here, but a few things set off my BS meter

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. Is there a quantitative way to measure "spirituality"? I can see that these responses may well have occurred, but they could just as easily be psychological as physical.


I am also wary of anything that is offered with the authoritative, "Science says". Quite often, science says no such thing, or science may have a wide range of opinions on the subject. More warning buzzers go off.


I'm having problems accepting that a person undergoing a NDE is capable of assessing what their "consciousness" level is. The term "consciousness" is layered with many meanings. Are you truly unconscious when you dream? My experience says no.


Okay, big ol' buzzers going off here. "Love and light are fundamental"? "Separation of mind and brain"? This is drifting into the realm of serious woo. I have never seen a shred of evidence for any sort of "mind" that is unconnected to a brain. Also, the term "love" is so nebulous as to be almost meaningless in this context. This is sounding less and less like science.


Nope that tears it. It concludes with a presumption that science needs to be changed. It throws in some drivel about "personal responsibility". It becomes quite clear that this is an article written by someone with some understanding of science, but who has an agenda to support their "spiritual" conclusions. I call BS.
read again

The flat electroencephalogram (EEG), indicating no brain activity during cardiac arrest, and the high incidence of brain damage afterwards both point to the conclusion that the unconsciousness in cardiac arrest is total. You cannot argue that there are ‘‘bits’’ of the brain that are functioning; there are not. There is a confusional onset and offset, and there is no brain-based memory functioning. Everything that constructs our world for us is, in fact, ‘‘down.’’ There is no possibility of the brain creating any images. Memory is not functioning during this time, so it should be impossible to have clearly structured and lucid experiences, and because of brain damage, memory should be significantly impaired, and you should not be able to remember any experiences which occurred during that time. Now, that raises interesting and difficult questions for us, because the NDErs say that their experiences occur during unconsciousness, and science maintains that this is not possible.
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Old 21st May 2007, 02:45 PM   #11
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Edited by Darat:  Breach of Rule 4.

Last edited by Darat; 21st May 2007 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 21st May 2007, 02:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
...snip

Because the theory also presupposes that consciousness does not survive death, and the evidence is beginning to be against that, too.
The nonreductionist view is that there is a process to dying. There is apparent separation of mind and brain. Love and light are fundamental to the dying experience. And the suggestions are that, in fact, love and consciousness are the fundamental ground structure of the universe and that consciousness may survive death of the body. So perhaps the near-death experience will help us to change science and to change our culture and bring back personal responsibility for our actions, if there is, indeed, continuing consciousness after death.
...snip
If this is science, where is the evidence that consciousness does survive death?

Love and light are fundamental? Have they looked at the supposed NDEs that involved fear and darkness?
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Old 21st May 2007, 02:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
i think you deliberately ignired the strong points he had made and focussed on the more woo woo stuff
As I say, the author obviously has some experience with science, but I focused entirely on the passage you cited as the "scientific part", and it is markedly different from any scientific papers I have read.
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Old 21st May 2007, 02:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
read again

The flat electroencephalogram (EEG), indicating no brain activity during cardiac arrest, and the high incidence of brain damage afterwards both point to the conclusion that the unconsciousness in cardiac arrest is total. You cannot argue that there are ‘‘bits’’ of the brain that are functioning; there are not. There is a confusional onset and offset, and there is no brain-based memory functioning. Everything that constructs our world for us is, in fact, ‘‘down.’’ There is no possibility of the brain creating any images. Memory is not functioning during this time, so it should be impossible to have clearly structured and lucid experiences, and because of brain damage, memory should be significantly impaired, and you should not be able to remember any experiences which occurred during that time. Now, that raises interesting and difficult questions for us, because the NDErs say that their experiences occur during unconsciousness, and science maintains that this is not possible.
Yes, I read it. I did a brief search to see if the EEG did indeed go flat at the onset of cardiac arrest, and I could find nothing that said it did. There is no citation for this declaration either. As I say, I am not an expert, but this seems unlikely to me. Yet it is exactly this point upon which the author hangs his "difficult question".
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Old 21st May 2007, 02:56 PM   #15
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how about this?

Edited by Darat:  Breach of Rule 4

Last edited by Darat; 21st May 2007 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 21st May 2007, 02:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
Several theories have been proposed to explain NDE.
Paragraph breaks are your friend...
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Old 21st May 2007, 03:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
how about this?

Some researchers try to create artificial intelligence by computer technology, hoping to simulate programs evoking consciousness. But Roger Penrose, a quantum physicist, argues that “Algorithmic computations cannot simulate mathematical reasoning. The brain, as a closed system capable of internal and consistent computations, is insufficient to elicit human consciousness.”36 Penrose offers a quantum mechanical hypothesis to explain the relation between consciousness and the brain. And Simon Berkovitch, a professor in Computer Science of the George Washington University, has calculated that the brain has an absolutely inadequate capacity to produce and store all the informational processes of all our memories with associative thoughts. We would need 1024 operations per second, which is absolutely impossible for our neurons.37 Herms Romijn, a Dutch neurobiologist, comes to the same conclusion.30 One should conclude that the brain has not enough computing capacity to store all the memories with associative thoughts from one’s life, has not enough retrieval abilities, and seems not to be able to elicit consciousness.
One of the problems is that these guys are thinking of the brain as a computer. They make assumptions based on computer models, and assume our brain works in a similar fashion. What if it doesn't? The same argument can apply to many fields where apparent complexity arises from simple instructions. Is the human genome long enough to code for our development?

It appears to me that we don't understand enough about the brain or consciousness to draw conclusions, especially those that posit that the mind is separate from the brain.

ETA: Thanks to brodski for reminding us of the need for paragraph breaks!
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Old 21st May 2007, 04:15 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
how about this?

Some researchers try to create artificial intelligence by computer technology, hoping to simulate programs evoking consciousness. But Roger Penrose, a quantum physicist, argues that “Algorithmic computations cannot simulate mathematical reasoning. The brain, as a closed system capable of internal and consistent computations, is insufficient to elicit human consciousness.”36 Penrose offers a quantum mechanical hypothesis to explain the relation between consciousness and the brain.
It is possible to be brilliant at quantum mechanics (and I have way of knowing if 36 Penrose is or isn't) and yet know little about neurology. Beware of people who speak authoritatively of knowledge outside their fields, or as I call it, Pascalism.
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Old 21st May 2007, 04:21 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
i think you deliberately ignired the strong points he had made and focussed on the more woo woo stuff
I think if there were any strong points to be made, there wouldn't be woo woo stuff in the article, and it would be much more recognizable as a peer reviewed paper published in...say...JAMA.
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Old 21st May 2007, 05:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by fowlsound View Post
I think if there were any strong points to be made, there wouldn't be woo woo stuff in the article, and it would be much more recognizable as a peer reviewed paper published in...say...JAMA.
Yes, thank you.
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Old 21st May 2007, 10:02 PM   #21
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Sorry, idunno. This is complete woo. I've bolded some of the suspect claims in the story.

Originally Posted by idunno View Post
For example, in Bruce Greyson’s (2003b) study of 272 patients who had a brush with death, 22 percent had NDEs, and they were found to be less psychologically disturbed than those who did not have NDEs. So that is extremely good news in that it goes against the idea that those who have NDEs have some mental pathology.
Willoughby Britton and Richard Bootzin’s 2004 study

Our conclusions from the study were that cardiac arrest NDEs were classical; rates were similar to previous estimates; and patients said that the experiences occurred during unconsciousness. Now, that is important because neuroscience maintains that conscious experience is not possible during physical unconsciousness. We also found that NDEs were not due to medication, electrolytes, or blood gases. So something interesting is going on.
The flat electroencephalogram (EEG), indicating no brain activity during cardiac arrest, and the high incidence of brain damage afterwards both point to the conclusion that the unconsciousness in cardiac arrest is total. You cannot argue that there are ‘‘bits’’ of the brain that are functioning; there are not. There is a confusional onset and offset, and there is no brain-based memory functioning. Everything that constructs our world for us is, in fact, ‘‘down.’’ There is no possibility of the brain creating any images. Memory is not functioning during this time, so it should be impossible to have clearly structured and lucid experiences, and because of brain damage, memory should be significantly impaired, and you should not be able to remember any experiences which occurred during that time. Now, that raises interesting and difficult questions for us, because the NDErs say that their experiences occur during unconsciousness, and science maintains that this is not possible.
So then, as far as science is concerned, the NDE cannot occur at the point the heart stops, it cannot occur at any point during the period of unconsciousness, and it is unlikely to occur at the point of confusional arousal, because it is not typical of that level of consciousness; and if it occurred after recovery, the NDErs would say it occurred after recovery, because they know they have recovered. So there are real difficulties in accepting that the NDE happens when the NDErs say it happens: during unconsciousness. So are you beginning to feel the significance of the timing of the NDE both for neuroscience as well as for our understanding of the NDE?
Could approaching-deathexperiences and the NDE be a model for the dying process? If so, it would point towards consciousness beyond death. The brain identity theory says that consciousness ends with brain death. But if it can be shown in the cardiac arrest model that people can acquire information when they are unconscious and out of their body, if deathbed coincidences are real, it would be indisputable evidence that consciousness is separate from the brain. The brain identity theory – the reductionist view that consciousness is entirely dependent on brain function – then must fail, and this would have a heavy cost for science. Do not underestimate this cost. Science would have to change in a fundamental way, and so, interestingly, would our social structures. Because the theory also presupposes that consciousness does not survive death, and the evidence is beginning to be against that, too.
The nonreductionist view is that there is a process to dying. There is apparent separation of mind and brain. Love and light are fundamental to the dying experience. And the suggestions are that, in fact, love and consciousness are the fundamental ground structure of the universe and that consciousness may survive death of the body. So perhaps the near-death experience will help us to change science and to change our culture and bring back personal responsibility for our actions, if there is, indeed, continuing consciousness after death.
Will we ever really know? Perhaps, but let me end with a Zen parable
I call shenanigans on the bolded parts. It's nothing but a mishmash of speculation, impossible findings and just plain wrong science. The brain does NOT turn off during ischemic attacks. I sincerely doubt that there is much, if any, data on blood gas levels for NDE patients at the time of the event. The authors don't know what is going on inside the brain during an NDE so their speculation about memory and consciousness is questionable. Taking a patient's word that they knew that they were not conscious during an NDE is ludicrous.

The journal put out by these quacks is non-refereed and even has articles about Jesus in it. C'mon. Get with the program.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 11:54 AM   #22
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http://www.skepticalinvestigations.o...on_skeptic.htm

http://dailygrail.com/node/750

http://www.victorzammit.com/articles/ndestitus.html

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/articles002.html

you will find these very clarifying.By the way, Shermer is an idiot
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Old 22nd May 2007, 12:37 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
You don't respond in substance to any of the comments on the articles you linked, then you link Victor Zammit and call Michael Shermer an idiot? Okay, I believe I can see how this is going to go down.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 12:51 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
idunno is the greatest username ever.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 01:11 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Miss Anthrope View Post
idunno is the greatest username ever.
But Miss Anthrope has the best avatars ever.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 01:13 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
Hmmm... Shermer ain't the brightest knife in the shed, but he has the ability to invite some of the leaders in the field to a conference. Shermer, IMO, is a hot dog, but I have been to a number of conferences where he was an organizer, because the people who *did* know were invited.

I also am familiar with the sites you link. I have used some of their materials in classes. Mostly as an exercise for my students to pick apart, but hey, it's a start.

The big problem with NDE's is consistency. Reports of NDE range from very very few in adequate circumstances to take physiological measures, to scads and scads in circumstances that either do not have such measures available, to many where the NDE is actually precluding the measurements required for such a study (if my heart stops in an emergency room, the last thing I want is for medics to wait while they properly apply electrodes and insert catheters for in vivo blood chemistry measures--well, if I do want that, it will very likely be the last thing I want).

When researchers presuppose there is a single NDE entity, they then throw together data collected from each of these types of experience. They then can (quite correctly) claim that science has no explanation for "the NDE". It's a bit like looking for one single cause of automobile accidents; since some happen in summer, snow and ice cannot be factors...since some happen to sober people, alcohol cannot be the explanation...

There is a built-in bench chair at my in-law's house, where generations have kept games, puzzles, crossword books, etc. The NDE researchers have found several handfuls of puzzle pieces in it, and are trying to see what sort of picture has kittens, giant squid, balloons, Van Gogh's eye, and Norman Rockwell's signature. They can claim that science cannot conceive of one picture that contains all those elements, but they cannot reasonably claim that they have a better grasp of the situation.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 01:29 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Tricky View Post
But Miss Anthrope has the best avatars ever.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 07:58 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
Yes, thank you. I did find them clarifying. There is an idiot now in this conversation but I don't think it's Shermer and I'm certainly not the one pushing unproven "facts". So, who does that leave?
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Old 23rd May 2007, 02:28 AM   #29
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How do researchers test people with heart arrests?
Only afterwards! There is no other way!
Read Van Lommel's story in The Lancet, and see what they have done. It is what they call prospective research.

As for the point that there is no consistency in NDE's, in one way he is right, in the other he is not. Because, taken all the hundreds of thousands of NDE's together, then you will find that to some extent there IS consistency. Such consistency is enough for the time being. Moreover, this consistency does not depend on culture, intellectual background etc.

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Old 23rd May 2007, 07:03 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
How do researchers test people with heart arrests?
Only afterwards! There is no other way!
Actually, there is not even that way. In terms of the required sensitivity of the eeg and invasiveness of the blood gas readings, trying to use these cases to examine NDE is like trying to take someone's pulse from a mile away. Sorry, those data are contaminated; they cannot be used.
Quote:
Read Van Lommel's story in The Lancet, and see what they have done. It is what they call prospective research.
I read it some time ago (probably during a debate here with Titus Rivas, the author of one of your links--he used to post on this forum; you might want to search for some of his threads), and skimmed over it again just now; it illustrates beautifully the problem of thinking there is one sort of thing called an NDE, that has one physiological explanation. When the researchers found the classic NDE symptoms in only some people, they (quite rightly) concluded that hypoxia could not be the sole cause. Great--but it might be the cause of one set of symptoms, while other causes account for other symptoms. It is only problematic if we assume that NDE is a unitary syndrome with a singular cause. This is an utterly foolish assumption, given the paucity of data.

Oh, and correct me if I am wrong--this study defined "clinical death" by EKG, and the vast majority of patients were dead less than 2 minutes. How does this study address brain death? (Hint: it cannot.)
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As for the point that there is no consistency in NDE's, in one way he is right, in the other he is not. Because, taken all the hundreds of thousands of NDE's together, then you will find that to some extent there IS consistency. Such consistency is enough for the time being. Moreover, this consistency does not depend on culture, intellectual background etc.
Which hundreds of thousands? Is there consistency in the NDE's where people never even lose consciousness? (and yes, I have read reports labeled as NDE's which included car accidents in which the subject believed himself about to die, but from which he escaped unharmed.) Does it include heart-stoppages for which we have absolutely no information about brain function? Does it include self-reports of dreams that appear similar to the prototypical NDE, from which the subjects inferred that they must have died in their sleep and then come back? Those who have suffered life-threatening illnesses, but who might never have suffered brain damage at all? There simply are not "hundreds of thousands of NDE's" for which we have brain activity data, or blood gas data, or anywhere close to adequate control to draw such conclusions.

I suggest that the "consistency" is a confirmation bias; the "real NDE cases" are those which fit the pattern that has come to be the stereotypical NDE, while atypical cases are dismissed. Didn't see a white light? You must not have been near death. Did see one? Ah, you were near death. No physiological readings on either of you, so you'll just have to take our word for it.
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Old 23rd May 2007, 12:24 PM   #31
davidsmith73
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Originally Posted by Mercutio View Post
The big problem with NDE's is consistency. Reports of NDE range from very very few in adequate circumstances to take physiological measures, to scads and scads in circumstances that either do not have such measures available, to many where the NDE is actually precluding the measurements required for such a study (if my heart stops in an emergency room, the last thing I want is for medics to wait while they properly apply electrodes and insert catheters for in vivo blood chemistry measures--well, if I do want that, it will very likely be the last thing I want).
What you have described is not an inconsistency in the NDE but an inconsistency in the circumstances surrounding the experience. Perhaps there is a large variation in reported experiences too, I'm not an expert. So I am unsure what you are trying to say here. Surely we can identify certain criteria that identify a typical NDE as an experience, in the same way that we identifed reports of OBE's before a neurological explanation was discovered?

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When researchers presuppose there is a single NDE entity,...
Do you mean "single NDE entity" to mean a single neurological mechanism? If so, I don't find that an unreasonable assumption. Again, look at OBE's. These experiences were found to have their physical loci in a very specfic area of the brain. So going on past findings, I would say that this presupposition is quite justified, as a starting assumption at least.

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...they then throw together data collected from each of these types of experience. They then can (quite correctly) claim that science has no explanation for "the NDE".
Not sure what you mean here. Can you give us examples of this?
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Old 23rd May 2007, 03:55 PM   #32
idunno
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Originally Posted by davidsmith73 View Post
What you have described is not an inconsistency in the NDE but an inconsistency in the circumstances surrounding the experience. Perhaps there is a large variation in reported experiences too, I'm not an expert. So I am unsure what you are trying to say here. Surely we can identify certain criteria that identify a typical NDE as an experience, in the same way that we identifed reports of OBE's before a neurological explanation was discovered?



Do you mean "single NDE entity" to mean a single neurological mechanism? If so, I don't find that an unreasonable assumption. Again, look at OBE's. These experiences were found to have their physical loci in a very specfic area of the brain. So going on past findings, I would say that this presupposition is quite justified, as a starting assumption at least.



Not sure what you mean here. Can you give us examples of this?
good point
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Old 23rd May 2007, 07:02 PM   #33
strathmeyer
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
I read the second one and it was retarded. Did any of the other links have anything of sustenance?
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Old 23rd May 2007, 08:57 PM   #34
Mercutio
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Originally Posted by davidsmith73 View Post
What you have described is not an inconsistency in the NDE but an inconsistency in the circumstances surrounding the experience. Perhaps there is a large variation in reported experiences too, I'm not an expert. So I am unsure what you are trying to say here. Surely we can identify certain criteria that identify a typical NDE as an experience, in the same way that we identifed reports of OBE's before a neurological explanation was discovered?
There are inconsistencies (or rather, there is variability) in both the circumstances and the experiences. Did you read Van Lommel's paper? In the literature review is precisely what I mean. You are asking for common features among vastly different experiences, let alone different circumstances.
Quote:
Do you mean "single NDE entity" to mean a single neurological mechanism? If so, I don't find that an unreasonable assumption. Again, look at OBE's. These experiences were found to have their physical loci in a very specfic area of the brain. So going on past findings, I would say that this presupposition is quite justified, as a starting assumption at least.
The angular gyrus was associated, in a handful of experiments, with a particular type of OBE. Suppose we add to that the sort of OBE's that Iacchus used to speak of on this forum...OBE's that the vast majority of people would probably label "dreams", given that they happened while he was asleep, and not while his angular gyrus was being artificially stimulated. There is absolutely no reason to suspect that both of these are the same, without additional evidence. In Olaf Blanke's OBE research with the angular gyrus, people reported feeling like they were looking down on their bodies; they did not report that they felt they were flying around the room, or down the street, or whatever. Should we assume that people who claim that sort of OBE are responding to the same mechanism? Not without additional evidence.

When I speak of a single NDE entity, I mean both an experiential phenomenon and a neurological mechanism. I think the burden of proof should be on someone who claims that such varied circumstances give rise to the same phenomenon. (The same argument, of course, can be made for any number of clinical diagnoses--is there one entity called "depression"? If so, why do some people respond to one drug, and other people do not, but may respond to another? Mightn't there be more than one physiological underpinning to something with such a wide variety of presenting symptoms as depression? Mightn't this be a number of different problems, that happen to be collected together because of similarity of symptoms? This applies to "normal" function as well--for instance, there is evidence for at least 4 separate neurological pathways processing depth perception information.)
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Not sure what you mean here. Can you give us examples of this?
Not tonight I can't. Perhaps the next time I am at my office.
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Old 24th May 2007, 01:26 AM   #35
idunno
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Originally Posted by Mercutio View Post
Actually, there is not even that way. In terms of the required sensitivity of the eeg and invasiveness of the blood gas readings, trying to use these cases to examine NDE is like trying to take someone's pulse from a mile away. Sorry, those data are contaminated; they cannot be used.
I read it some time ago (probably during a debate here with Titus Rivas, the author of one of your links--he used to post on this forum; you might want to search for some of his threads), and skimmed over it again just now; it illustrates beautifully the problem of thinking there is one sort of thing called an NDE, that has one physiological explanation. When the researchers found the classic NDE symptoms in only some people, they (quite rightly) concluded that hypoxia could not be the sole cause. Great--but it might be the cause of one set of symptoms, while other causes account for other symptoms. It is only problematic if we assume that NDE is a unitary syndrome with a singular cause. This is an utterly foolish assumption, given the paucity of data.

Oh, and correct me if I am wrong--this study defined "clinical death" by EKG, and the vast majority of patients were dead less than 2 minutes. How does this study address brain death? (Hint: it cannot.)
Which hundreds of thousands? Is there consistency in the NDE's where people never even lose consciousness? (and yes, I have read reports labeled as NDE's which included car accidents in which the subject believed himself about to die, but from which he escaped unharmed.) Does it include heart-stoppages for which we have absolutely no information about brain function? Does it include self-reports of dreams that appear similar to the prototypical NDE, from which the subjects inferred that they must have died in their sleep and then come back? Those who have suffered life-threatening illnesses, but who might never have suffered brain damage at all? There simply are not "hundreds of thousands of NDE's" for which we have brain activity data, or blood gas data, or anywhere close to adequate control to draw such conclusions.

I suggest that the "consistency" is a confirmation bias; the "real NDE cases" are those which fit the pattern that has come to be the stereotypical NDE, while atypical cases are dismissed. Didn't see a white light? You must not have been near death. Did see one? Ah, you were near death. No physiological readings on either of you, so you'll just have to take our word for it.

It is all wrong what this correspondent just said.
There is no stereotypical NDE. And atypical cases are NOT dismissed, on the contrary. (We even include the so-called hell-experiences. In contrast to what skeptics usually seem to think, NDE-researchers are not morons.)
The white light is not typical, it is only of the possible elements. The tunnel is not typical, it is only one of the possible elements -- as a matter of fact, the tunnel and the light occur in only about 20% of all cases. The life review is not typical, it is only one of the possible elements. And so on.
NDE's are not necessarily linked to clinical death. They can also happen during a period of deep stress, or deep meditation, or even spontaneously (in which one spoke, in days gone by, of a mystical experience).
But they all have thing in common: transformation. People having experienced an NDE undergo a character change. For example, formerly agressive people become meeker, more willing to devote themselves to the wellbeing of others, etc. But, it is all in the literature.
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Old 24th May 2007, 04:32 AM   #36
davidsmith73
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Originally Posted by Mercutio View Post
There are inconsistencies (or rather, there is variability) in both the circumstances and the experiences. Did you read Van Lommel's paper? In the literature review is precisely what I mean. You are asking for common features among vastly different experiences, let alone different circumstances.
I didn't read the Van Lommel paper before posting and I do now see the variation in reported experience. I assumed that almost all NDE's involved the tunnel. That will teach me to jump in before doing my homework.

Quote:
The angular gyrus was associated, in a handful of experiments, with a particular type of OBE. Suppose we add to that the sort of OBE's that Iacchus used to speak of on this forum...OBE's that the vast majority of people would probably label "dreams", given that they happened while he was asleep, and not while his angular gyrus was being artificially stimulated. There is absolutely no reason to suspect that both of these are the same, without additional evidence.
Surely its not out of the question that a specific area of the brain is responsible for the perceptual distortion that primarily characterises most out of body experiences (namely the change in perceived body position relative to the perceived "self") based on experimental data? With regards to Iacchus's dreams, I am not familiar with his reports. But if he reported a similar shift in perceived body position relative to perceived "self" then I don't see why common neural mechanisms shouldn't be considered as a possibility.

Quote:
In Olaf Blanke's OBE research with the angular gyrus, people reported feeling like they were looking down on their bodies; they did not report that they felt they were flying around the room, or down the street, or whatever. Should we assume that people who claim that sort of OBE are responding to the same mechanism? Not without additional evidence.
I don't understand your reluctance here. I agree that we shouldn't assume it to be true but surely its possible that both share a common mechanism that accounts for a common aspect of both reports - a change in perceived body position.
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Old 24th May 2007, 09:26 AM   #37
Mercutio
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Of course it is a possibility. I did not dismiss it, merely call for more evidence. There are too many cases where an apparently unitary percept turns out to be multiple parallel processing of many different aspects (cf Sacks or Ramachandran) for me to trust an introspective account as evidence of identical neurological events. And there are enough differences between Blanke's patient's description of OBE and, say dreams of flying (I'll save you the time--Iacchus interpreted what most of us would call "flying dreams" as mystical events, literally transporting him to a heavenly dimension), for me to not merely suspend judgment but actively doubt that the same neurology is active in each.
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Old 24th May 2007, 09:34 AM   #38
Mercutio
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
It is all wrong what this correspondent just said.
Please present, then, evidence of your "hundreds of thousands of NDE's" for which the relevant EEG and blood gas readings are available. They are most certainly not present in the links you gave. Even the "prospective research" did not do this, and it was the most controlled of what was available.
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Old 24th May 2007, 09:46 AM   #39
Mashuna
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Originally Posted by idunno View Post
NDE's are not necessarily linked to clinical death. They can also happen during a period of deep stress, or deep meditation, or even spontaneously (in which one spoke, in days gone by, of a mystical experience).
But they all have thing in common: transformation. People having experienced an NDE undergo a character change. For example, formerly agressive people become meeker, more willing to devote themselves to the wellbeing of others, etc. But, it is all in the literature.
How is this an NDE? Surely you've just now picked an event, namely character transformation, and called anything that causes this transformation an NDE.

You've taken the ND out of NDE, and made the outcome 'being a bit nicer to people'.
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Old 24th May 2007, 11:48 AM   #40
idunno
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Originally Posted by Mercutio View Post
Please present, then, evidence of your "hundreds of thousands of NDE's" for which the relevant EEG and blood gas readings are available. They are most certainly not present in the links you gave. Even the "prospective research" did not do this, and it was the most controlled of what was available.
I don't talk to this gentleman any longer. He is asking the impossible AND unethical.
How can he expect a team of life savers to quietly take blood samples and all that, while someone is on the brink of dying?

If he wants a controlled study as he proposes we have to resort to NAZI-methods:
bringing thousands on the brink of death, make sure that they lose consciousness, do not breathe, have cardiac arrest, so no blood pressure, and a flat ECG. Then take blood samples to find those gases, and next hope they will recover, which most of them don't (because not all reanimation attempts succeed). Hence, plain murder on a massive scale.
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