This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations

Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations - Comments

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 1 by Steve Zara

Isn't this a strange title for an article in Scientific American? There was always going to be a scientific explanation.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 03:16:33 UTC | #870111

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 2 by xsjadolateralus

Now found? Really?

It will become news when the obvious truth is unfounded.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 03:19:49 UTC | #870113

mmurray's Avatar Comment 3 by mmurray

Presumably it is the scientific explanations that have been now found not the fact of their existence. Even then the now is not quite right. There have been reasonable scientific explanations for NDEs for a long time,

They should have used the title for the linked article

There is nothing paranormal about near-death experiences: how neuroscience can explain seeing bright lights, meeting the dead, or being convinced you are one of them

Michael

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 03:53:52 UTC | #870116

Sci Fi's Avatar Comment 4 by Sci Fi

Reminds me of a conversation I had a few weeks ago..

Met a couple at a kids birthday party. She had leukaemia, early stage. Both were 'committed' Xtians - I laid my cards on the table as an atheist. I empathised with my own recent brush with death during a radical surgery to remove a tumour where it (as the surgeon had predicted) got complicated and required the attention of a couple of vascular surgeons to assist. Major blood and platelet loss ensued and it was touch and go for about 3 hours.

The Hubby asked me if I had had a NDE. "Y'know, a white light or a tunnel"... and was incredulous when I answered with a straight "no".

"What nothing?"

"Umm, no. I just went to sleep and woke up with 3 women rubbing my body!! More of a life affirming experience than a near death one if you ask me!"

The look of disappointment on his face was priceless.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 03:53:53 UTC | #870117

Greyman's Avatar Comment 5 by Greyman

Comment 1 by Steve Zara :

Isn't this a strange title for an article in Scientific American? There was always going to be a scientific explanation.

Nah, mate, you've focused on the wrong point.

It's the "Peace of Mind" preface that's out of place. What's that doing there?

it's got nothing to do with the body of the article; which really does not give solice for anyone who thinks near death experiences provide proof of an afterlife.

Rather misleading, isn't it?

But not really that strange for Scientific American, now that I think of it. Somewhat typical, unfortunately.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 04:30:50 UTC | #870128

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 6 by Atheist Mike

Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations

Wasn't it obvious?

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 05:13:56 UTC | #870134

Universeman's Avatar Comment 7 by Universeman

I have always been a survivor and I have every intention of existing beyond the lifespan of my body, only now instead of wishful thinking that there is an afterlife I am putting all of my hopes of relative immortality into computer science. I am extremely lucky to be as healthy as I am, thanks to genetics and a healthy lifestyle (more or less) so barring disease or a fatal accident I should live well into my 80s if not 90s (born 1968, consciousness uploaded at age 82 in 2050 and then I'll figure out the next step). I simply don't like the idea of ceasing to exist even though that is the natural order of life, not existing just doesn’t work for me. I will jump at the opportunity to upload my consciousness into a computer, I see no reason why this should not be possible in my lifetime, considering the current rate of computer and brain science advancement. My saviors name is Ray Kurzweil and the coming singularity. TED2009 Ray Kurzweil: A university for the coming singularity

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 06:21:13 UTC | #870148

Quantum Zombie's Avatar Comment 8 by Quantum Zombie

Comment 4 by Sci Fi :

The Hubby asked me if I had had a NDE. "Y'know, a white light or a tunnel"... and was incredulous when I answered with a straight "no".

"What nothing?"

"Umm, no. I just went to sleep and woke up with 3 women rubbing my body!! More of a life affirming experience than a near death one if you ask me!"

The look of disappointment on his face was priceless.

At least he didn't try to claim that it must be because you're a non-believer.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 06:31:57 UTC | #870151

Sci Fi's Avatar Comment 9 by Sci Fi

@Quantum_Zombie

True dat!

Thankfully, they were, in my presence, non-judgemental about my atheism and experience. It did, at least, allow a 'normal' conversation to happen.

On another note, I remember having a tooth out when I was a kid and the dentist had to use the old laughing gas to put me out. I can still recollect the 'dream' I had when I was under: I was in my mouth watching the drill come in over my tongue and going for the tooth. I mentioned this some years later to a friend's mum who very quickly told me I had experienced "astral projection". She was very excited!!

I was too polite to call her a crackpot.

I'm older and more curmudgeonly about these things now!

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 06:40:49 UTC | #870152

12PM's Avatar Comment 10 by 12PM

I would like to read a story that they based to study Near Dead Experience. I think two versions are popular - in a dark tunnel seeing light at the other end and Out of Body Experience. I think both are interesting and real.

I would like to know how science explains about how a patient can tell everything happening the surgery. But such patients should be thoroughly interviewed though. That is OBE.

I've read a few interesting stories but I cannot find the links anymore. One story is a bout a patient who got into a tunnel and was told to go back as it was not yet his time. And another was a woman who was welcomed but she couldn't leave and there she was told it would be very painful if she go back - I heard this story from BBC radio. Both story were from real people.

I think the tunnel experience is a bad one - purgatory or hell waiting for them. There they were told to go back or like that.

The floating one is no good either - it seems to make a person into a ghost if not able to reenter the body.

What I don't believe is when religion gets involved - like seeing God or someone from scripture or those saints. I still accept seeing the angels or alike as no specific idea but generalization. The point is there is no God.

Another experience of OBE - in the experience, people (particularly patients) can read the writing put on the shelves etc., without leaving the bed. That also happened during surgery. This is about a blind woman.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 06:51:01 UTC | #870155

snakefoot666's Avatar Comment 11 by snakefoot666

Re Comment #7: "I have every intention of existing beyond the lifespan of my body, only now instead of wishful thinking that there is an afterlife I am putting all of my hopes of relative immortality into computer science...I simply don't like the idea of ceasing to exist even though that is the natural order of life, not existing just doesn’t work for me."

Sheesh, talk about wishful thinking...

Snakefoot

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 06:58:21 UTC | #870161

alf1200's Avatar Comment 12 by alf1200

"Umm, no. I just went to sleep and woke up with 3 women rubbing my body!! More of a life affirming experience than a near death one if you ask me!"

The look of disappointment on his face was priceless"

I hope when I come close to death, I wake up with three women rubbing my body!

It will make the whole experience worthwhile!

And everybody has "heard" of a "story".

It all has to do with your brain starving for oxygen. Sorry. No afrterlife. Just fertilizer.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 07:26:20 UTC | #870168

mmurray's Avatar Comment 13 by mmurray

Comment 10 by 12PM :

Another experience of OBE - in the experience, people (particularly patients) can read the writing put on the shelves etc., without leaving the bed. That also happened during surgery.

I know this experiment is being run. Have you got information of a definite case of it happening though? I haven't.

Michael

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 07:40:43 UTC | #870172

Sci Fi's Avatar Comment 14 by Sci Fi

@alf1200

Yep - we come from (star)dust and we will once more become (star)dust.

Ashes to Ashes Funk to Funky We know god and woo's for junkies....

I want this read/sung at my funeral!

@12PM - As far as OBEs and NDEs are concerned, a lot of anecdotes and NO proof. This sort of woo rubbish has been hanging around since I was a kid and before.

As Billy Connolly said about religion:

"Y've had 2000 years to prove your point, and nothing. Now fuck off"

Something similar can be said for OBEs and NDEs.

Hell, I reckon Keith Richards has had his fair share of OBEs (and NDEs!!). No-ones quoting him!!

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 07:59:05 UTC | #870177

Sci Fi's Avatar Comment 15 by Sci Fi

oh, and @alf1200

There were actually 4 women, come to think of it.

My wife, her best friend, my wife's sister-in-law (IC Nurse) and another nurse.

It actually happened. So much for the 'promise' of 72 virgins for martyrs.

It made the next couple of months bearable (ahhh, memory is a wonderful thing)

OK - I realise I'm now sounding slightly pervy.... time to go.....

BTW - I do hope you get to experience something similar, preferably without the NDE!!!!!

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 08:06:56 UTC | #870182

Net's Avatar Comment 16 by Net

Comment 10 by 12PM :

I would like to know how science explains about how a patient can tell everything happening the surgery. But such patients should be thoroughly interviewed though. That is OBE.

Another experience of OBE - in the experience, people (particularly patients) can read the writing put on the shelves etc., without leaving the bed. That also happened during surgery. This is about a blind woman.

yes, i'd like an explanation for that, too. i do note, however, that they say "...virtually all of their common features..." and "Many of the phenomena associated with near-death experiences..."

It will be interesting to see what, if any, scientific explanations are provided for the perception stuff.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 08:13:52 UTC | #870185

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 17 by Ignorant Amos

I remember something somewhere, about an ongoing experiment where an operating theatre being used has large, 'in yer face', numbers marked on top of all the significant objects and equipment in the room. People later claiming an OBE are asked to give detailed accounts of there experience. Guess how many numbers each patient recounts seeing?

Edit: Something along the lines of this old Guardian article http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2008/sep/18/research

and this one from the beeb report....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7621608.stm

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 08:22:40 UTC | #870189

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 18 by Ignorant Amos

More on the subject can be found over here, including links to papers on the matter: Near Death Experiences

BTW, I'm glad this discussion has appeared on RD.net, there has been a number of kooks visiting this place advancing the NDE hypotheses as some sort of evidence for some sort of spiritual supernatural mumbo jumbo...it's time to put them in the feckin' sack.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 08:37:03 UTC | #870192

12PM's Avatar Comment 19 by 12PM

To everyone, particularly to mmurray, have a look at these ones:

part 4

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 5

watch with open mind. judge only after you've watched them. can start from part 4 for short and watch the rest to make the sense of the whole video.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 09:09:31 UTC | #870195

mmurray's Avatar Comment 20 by mmurray

Comment 19 by 12PM :

To everyone, particularly to mmurray, have a look at these ones:

part 4

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 5

watch with open mind. judge only after you've watched them. can start from part 4 for short and watch the rest to make the sense of the whole video.

Sorry but that looks like a TV documentary not a scientific study. Can you summarise what it says ?

I thought a lot about NDEs as a teenager when I was in my post Catholic stage but still hankering after a shield against mortality. But I've never seen anything that challenges the hypothesis that these experiences are entirely in the mind of the person having the experience. The case of a blind person is interesting but I'm not convinced it can't be explained away. Patients recalling parts of operations or people they don't know doesn't do it for me either. I want them to remember a randomized number written on a piece of equipment that no-one else knew about and which they could not have seen. Something like the experiments being done by Dr Sam Parnia.

Michael

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 09:59:54 UTC | #870207

mmurray's Avatar Comment 21 by mmurray

Comment 17 by Ignorant Amos :

I remember something somewhere, about an ongoing experiment where an operating theatre being used has large, 'in yer face', numbers marked on top of all the significant objects and equipment in the room. People later claiming an OBE are asked to give detailed accounts of there experience. Guess how many numbers each patient recounts seeing?

Thanks for the links Amos. I think that the numbers thing is an experiment being run by Sam Parnia.

Michael

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 10:03:07 UTC | #870208

NickD's Avatar Comment 22 by NickD

I had a near-death experience recently. A real one, with a severe asthma attack. Things were touch and go and I ended up in ICU for several days. At the time, my life did not flash before my eyes, and there were no lights at the end of tunnels, or feelings of calm or of floating outside my body. No, I just remember thinking "oh fuck" and focusing on getting into the ambulance ASAP. No recollection after that till I woke up in hospital.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:44:02 UTC | #870235

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 23 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 22 by NickD

Glad to see yer well enough to visit RD.net...take care.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:54:32 UTC | #870239

NickD's Avatar Comment 24 by NickD

Thanks, Amos. Fit as a fiddle now. And still as atheistic as ever!

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:57:48 UTC | #870243

12PM's Avatar Comment 25 by 12PM

@Comment 21 by mmurray

I don't know. I have no such experience either as I never had such severe health problem or accident.

What convince me is the likeness of cross-culture experiences. Let it be religious influences or other supernatural ideology. But they expressed closeness.

For the videos, you have to watch them yourself and listen to what the medical doctors had to say. They did not include religious view. The significance of part 4 is a kid's experience.

That series of videos have the records of some researchers. You have to listen to them and judge for yourself. I can't write them down for detail. That's lots of work.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:04:43 UTC | #870245

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 26 by Zeuglodon

Comment 5 by Greyman

Comment 1 by Steve Zara

Isn't this a strange title for an article in Scientific American? There was always going to be a scientific explanation.

It's the "Peace of Mind" preface that's out of place. What's that doing there?

Perhaps it's tongue-in-cheek. You can imagine the writers when they put that bit in: "Peace of Mind (wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean?)". The other bit is less clear. "Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations" suggests that they had been unexplained before, but I found out about these explanations years ago. Perhaps they're aimed at an audience that wasn't even aware they had scientific explanations.

There was always going to be a scientific explanation.

You should know by now that there are some people who wouldn't believe this.

I wonder: Do babies have near-birth experiences?

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:05:32 UTC | #870246

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 27 by Ignorant Amos

Michael, there is a very interesting interview with Sam Parnia where he explains the whole she-bang at.....

Sam Parnia on coast to coast jan 03 2011

It will be interesting to see the results of the extensive survey he has undertaken in 2008...he is due to publish in about 18 months.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:14:07 UTC | #870250

12PM's Avatar Comment 28 by 12PM

Comment 24 by NickD Thanks, Amos. Fit as a fiddle now. And still as atheistic as ever!

So it confirms not everyone experienced NDE. But did you get cardiac arrest at all?

It is a process that begins when the heart stops beating, the lungs stop working and the brain ceases functioning - a medical condition termed cardiac arrest. During a cardiac arrest, all three criteria of death are present. (from the link provided by mmurray).

The whole point is that. Why would those severely exhausted patients, through pain and agony, make up such and such stories? Don't they have anything else to say - such as 'how am I now?'?

I don't believe every story or everyone who talked about their stories. Worst when it comes to religions - but I let some to pass that gate on the ground of remembering some good things in their lives - like "my mummy would be sad if I don't go back". I can't give the link anymore - I use google crome - it doesn't record the history of the sites I have visited. I should use safari.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:16:27 UTC | #870252

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 29 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 25 by 12PM

You need to listen to DOCTOR Parnia at comment 27.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:16:36 UTC | #870253

12PM's Avatar Comment 30 by 12PM

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:30:51 UTC | #870259