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Old 01-31-2012, 06:07 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
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"NDE researchers have frequently observed that on this topic, skeptics have merely indulged in debunking other’s claims and speculating about plausible biological frameworks to “explain away” the NDE, mostly out of the armchair. This is perfectly true. ... They did more than they were asked for to turn it into a shameful religious war...... Nevertheless, I believe that the NDE might become a legitimate area of research, and even benefit from the messy situation inherited from its pioneers."
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:49 AM
 
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It is already a "legitimate area of research" and many very legitimate researchers are doing just that.

What people like VS Ramachandran have learned is that the best way to work out how the brain works is to find damaged versions of it and find what is causing the damage. From this you learn what the damaged part does under normal circumstances.

Patients from Stroke patients to NDE patients to Phantom Limb patients to people with Capgras syndrome are all legitimate avenues of research and what they experience coupled with exploration of their brains can help us reverse engineer what working versions of the brain are doing.

So the area of research is already legitimate. Calling it supernatural and suggesting NDEs are contact with gods and/or the after life.... not so much.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:51 AM
 
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There are a lot of sources online which try to tackle this. I haven't invested much time in finding the answer, but I've seen some explanations that are more satisfying than just saying it's something supernatural.

Some people have a hard time realizing the capabilities of the brain. No one questions dreaming while alive, but as soon as something similar happens while dying or dead for a few minutes, it's all of a sudden miraculous?
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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Yes the problem appears to be a contextual one. When people dream in the context of sleeping they are not that interested in it (though some are all for dream interpretation and one user of these forums thinks his dreams are actually him walking on "Astral planes" while he sleeps).

When they "dream" in the context of a medical situation however suddenly it becomes magic and miraculous and can only be explained using supernatural references and all kinds of metaphysical woo.

For example these fora have a user who sounds like he basically dozed off while meditating. The dream he had is, of course, therefore not a dream to him but a "vision" all because the dream was had in a more lofty context... that of meditation rather than simply sleeping.

Rather than explain it away as a dream the user populates these fora with all kinds of mystical and metaphysical woo about how it all must have been god visiting him and that his atheism fell away and now he is converted and so on and so forth....

Context is everything to these people. A dream is a dream is a dream, but if you have one on the operating table, or while sitting cross legged humming and concentrating on your own breath... suddenly this lofty context lends a new level of credence to the most egregious and unsubstantiated nonsense expressed about the contents of the dreams.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:20 AM
 
Location: UK
121 posts, read 147,080 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
It is already a "legitimate area of research" and many very legitimate researchers are doing just that.

What people like VS Ramachandran have learned is that the best way to work out how the brain works is to find damaged versions of it and find what is causing the damage. From this you learn what the damaged part does under normal circumstances.

Patients from Stroke patients to NDE patients to Phantom Limb patients to people with Capgras syndrome are all legitimate avenues of research and what they experience coupled with exploration of their brains can help us reverse engineer what working versions of the brain are doing.

So the area of research is already legitimate. Calling it supernatural and suggesting NDEs are contact with gods and/or the after life.... not so much.
I agree with you as legitimate research is already on the way:

Jane Dreaper, Study into near-death experiences, BBC News, 18 September 2008. Accessed 2008-09-20.
In September 2008, it was announced that 25 UK and US hospitals will examine near-death studies in 1,500 heart attack patient-survivors. The three-year study, coordinated by Sam Parnia at Southampton University, hopes to determine if people without heartbeat or brain activity can have an out-of-body experience with veridical visual perceptions.

Anthony Carroll, Hospital to study near-death experiences, EDP24, 19 September 2008. Accessed 2008-09-20. (18 month pilot study)

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Old 01-31-2012, 07:26 AM
 
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That is not the kind of research I am referring to. These people are attempting to find out if there is some supernatural or otherwise strange aspect to NDEs such as leaving the body etc. While I look forward to the results of such research... and I mentioned that kind of thing already in post #8.... they are looking into something else other than what I was referring to.

What I am referring to is the study of the brain and what such experiences tell us about it. By seeing what the brain is doing in abnormal situations we learn much about what the brain does in "normal" situations. For example if we find a place in the brain that when stimulated weirdly makes people feel like they are out of their own body then that tells us a lot about what that part of the brain normally does.

And as I pointed out in post #8 we have done just that and some neuroscience practitioners are now able to stimulate out of body experiences in otherwise normal people who are not sick or dying on hospital tables.

Which all seems to suggest that not only are such experiences real, but they are likely not what people think they are. They are just the subjective result of abnormal brain states and not people floating around with a magical and mystical spirit that will then go on to meet its god and/or after life.

The Sam Parnia result is the one I am most looking forward to, but also will be the most careful with too and it is due relatively soon too. One must read the study closely when it comes out though as a) Parnia is known to be strongly biased towards a positive result I think and B) the media are going to jump all over it and interpret it all kinds of ways. Me... I look forward to eating a biscuit over the real and actual study and not some Journalist with no science educations interpretation of it for their news paper.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:46 AM
 
Location: UK
121 posts, read 147,080 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
That is not the kind of research I am referring to. These people are attempting to find out if there is some supernatural or otherwise strange aspect to NDEs such as leaving the body etc. While I look forward to the results of such research... and I mentioned that kind of thing already in post #8.... they are looking into something else other than what I was referring to.

What I am referring to is the study of the brain and what such experiences tell us about it. By seeing what the brain is doing in abnormal situations we learn much about what the brain does in "normal" situations. For example if we find a place in the brain that when stimulated weirdly makes people feel like they are out of their own body then that tells us a lot about what that part of the brain normally does.

And as I pointed out in post #8 we have done just that and some neuroscience practitioners are now able to stimulate out of body experiences in otherwise normal people who are not sick or dying on hospital tables.

Which all seems to suggest that not only are such experiences real, but they are likely not what people think they are. They are just the subjective result of abnormal brain states and not people floating around with a magical and mystical spirit that will then go on to meet its god and/or after life.

The Sam Parnia result is the one I am most looking forward to, but also will be the most careful with too and it is due relatively soon too. One must read the study closely when it comes out though as a) Parnia is known to be strongly biased towards a positive result I think and B) the media are going to jump all over it and interpret it all kinds of ways. Me... I look forward to eating a biscuit over the real and actual study and not some Journalist with no science educations interpretation of it for their news paper.
Neurobiological studies on NDE may be partly true, but it is not just imaginary or hallucinating experiences as some suggested. Have a read on the book by Melvin Morse 'Closer to the Light': Learning from the NDEs of Children. New York, Villard books 1990. You will come across an experience told by a child who found a tennis shoe on the ledge of a hospital wall while she had the NDE while floating outside the hospital. A theatre nurse found that shoe which was hidden from the view that clearly indicated it was not a hallucination. You can neglect other contents of the NDE if they do not suit you but you can't ignore the fact which has been verified.

I myself do not believe in God but I keep my mind open.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:49 AM
 
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I would prefer citations to science studies rather than books as there is no peer review of books and people can write a book about anything claiming just about anything. I have read books by people abducted by aliens and books by people who espouse the medical applications of homeopathy... to name but a few.

However if you have read the book you name then by all means adumbrate the evidence within it and what the actual claim of the book is. You just mentioned what the book says NDE is not. You did not mentioned what it is. Which is hardly useful. Nor did you mention the evidence in the book you found so compelling.

Certainly finding a shoe is hardly impressive and I am unclear on what makes you think it is, even though I have heard mention of this story before in a few places.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:27 AM
 
Location: UK
121 posts, read 147,080 times
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Check in these journals for accounts on the details of those who were involved in the resuscitation and what they wore when the patients were having near death experience and did not know what was going on but was able to relate the whole procedure while observing them from above, floating.
It is easy for a skeptic to deny but very difficult for those who are looking for proofs. Findings from neurobiological research are partly true but just like those blind wise men from East describing an elephant just by using their perceptions could hardly be accurate, I imagine.

Ignoring those who have NDE and all the dramatic descriptions totally may be unjust if you accept that they do have some sensations which may be expalined scientifically. Neverthe less, the experience has changed their life totally and moreover, they still can't duplicate the NDE experimentally apart from out of body sensation and never in such a dramatic way as described in NDEs; Because they could not replicate the near death condition!

We need to be open minded and carefully do the jigsaws, peice by peice as they unfold, to make a sensible picture rather then hastedly drawing conclusions.

[SIZE=3]Journal of Near-Death Studies[/SIZE][SIZE=3], Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]British Journal of Psychology, American Journal of Disease of Children, Resuscitation, The Lancet, Death Studies, and the Journal of Advanced Nursing.[/SIZE]
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:11 AM
 
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Again I find myself unimpressed by the stories of what patients have seen or heard when "under" in medical procedures. The reason for this is that it holds at its very core an assumption I see no reason to think valid which is that the brain ceases receiving any input at all from the senses when the patient is "under".

Why are we assuming that conversations had around an "under" patient are not being processed on some level by the patient? The sound waves are still being emitted. The constructs of the human ear are still receiving these sound waves. The facilities afforded us by the ear are still converting those inputs into signals which then travel to the brain.

Coupled with this we have many reports of people who appear to be "under" but actually report having been awake and in massive amounts of discomfort and pain and awareness during the entire medical procedure that was practiced upon them. A horrific position for anyone to find themselves in but real none the less.

I find therefore the assumption at the core of these "Patients heard conversations while under or clinically dead" stories to be wholly not compelling. The assumption appears to be that the brain has two states, on and off, and nothing in between and a patient who is under or under going near death states while being resuscitated is simply "off" and that therefore anything they later show awareness of has to be explained by wholly mystical and supernatural means.

Coupling this with the stories that the awareness was parallel to the feeling of being outside ones body at the same time is equally uninteresting. I have already mentioned that we know quite well now how to stress and stimulate the brain in such ways as to create that very sensation, so the idea that some patients out of the 1000s under going medical procedures daily should achieve the same states by chance and accident is... as I said.... not in the slightest bit surprising or compelling.

A conversation about how these experiences have, as you put it "changed their life totally" is out of the scope of the conversation so I will not address it. I am talking about whether the reality of the situation really is that they have some kind of "spirit" and it "left their body". Whether that turns out to be 100% true or 100% false is irrelevant to how transformative having such experience is. Many people have all kinds of experiences which transform them. Such transformation does not allow us to append mystical, magical or supernatural explanations to the experience.
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