Why near-death events are tricks of mind

November 1, 2011, University of Edinburgh

Near-death experiences are not paranormal but triggered by a change in normal brain function, according to researchers.

Psychologists who reviewed a range of such as out-of-body experiences, visions of tunnels of light or encounters with dead relatives, say they are tricks of the mind rather than a glimpse of the afterlife.

Researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge say that most of the experiences can be explained by a reaction in the brain prompted by a traumatic and sometimes harmless event.

The researchers say that many common near-death experiences could be caused by the brain’s attempt to make sense of unusual sensations and perceptions occurring during a traumatic event.

Out-of-body experiences, for example, may happen when there is a breakdown in the brain’s multi-sensory processes, and visions of tunnels and bright lights could stem from a breakdown in the brain’s visual system caused by oxygen deprivation.

The new study also points to the effects of noradrenaline, a hormone released by the mid-brain which, when triggered, may evoke positive emotions, hallucinations and other features of the near-death experience.

Approximately three per cent of the US population say they have had a near-death experience, according to a Gallup poll. Near-death experiences are reported across cultures and can be found in literature dating back to ancient Greece.

"Some of the studies we examined show that many of the people experiencing a near-death experience were not actually in danger of dying, although most thought they were. The scientific evidence suggests that all aspects of the near-death experience have a biological basis," said Caroline Watt, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

The research is published in the Journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Explore further: Out-of-body experiences linked to neural instability and biases in body representation

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100 comments

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Ojorf
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2011
Good work, but nothing really new here.
kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (23) Nov 01, 2011
So what happens if the person is certified dead and put into a morgue for a few days then gets revived? Does that also count as just a trick of the mind?
Dokudango
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2011
Not possible Kevin
Mauricio
1 / 5 (2) Nov 01, 2011
Skultch
4.5 / 5 (8) Nov 01, 2011
So what happens if the person is certified dead and put into a morgue for a few days then gets revived? Does that also count as just a trick of the mind?


No, but the certifying authority gets decertified.

Ok, that was just snarky. We don't know everything about biology, people. But you keep hanging on to those gaps if you want. No problem with that, but I'll wait for peer reviewed research.
Skultch
2.3 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2011
I'm not saying there is, but to me it is self-censorship to insist there isn't.


Or delusion, but I get your meaning. I, for one, hope there is something inexplicable going on. That just means we have exciting things to learn. Immaterial? I've thought and discussed and argued about that so many times. I just can't wrap my mind around the causality problem. (If the "supernatural" can affect the material, then it's detectable, and therefore material.) Maybe someone who reads this can help me out????
johnx
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 01, 2011
These scientists think everything can be explained by biological processes.Life therefore is no mystery and there is no place for God.
Skultch
3 / 5 (7) Nov 01, 2011
These scientists think everything can (POTENTIALLY) be explained by biological processes.Life therefore is no mystery and there is no place for God.


Fixed.

AGAIN, we don't know everything yet, and no claims that we do.

There's still a place for god, but what I don't yet see is how that place interacts with our lives. Please help me understand how that could be.
Sentient_Bear
1 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2011
Aaargh - this is Scientists getting hip and groovy with a bit of Dad-Dancing.
why do they seek to explain things way beyond their remit in their strictly mechanical terms? It's all supposition and hand-wavy arguments, trying to prove there "is nothing to see here..." - when actually there might be?
I'm not saying there is, but to me it is self-censorship to insist there isn't.


I personally think the scientists aligns themselves in such a way so that they can, at least marginally, dethrone some of the more wild arguments regarding the spiritual and metaphysical association some people seem to intuitively attach to these events. It's almost as if they're imparting meaning into something that could simply be quite random--perhaps just as they say. I do understand where the self-limitation part comes in but this is just one group, and if another group goes into studying this again and determines that there's more to it (with evidence of course) then the understanding changes.
Nerdyguy
4.5 / 5 (17) Nov 01, 2011
So what happens if the person is certified dead and put into a morgue for a few days then gets revived? Does that also count as just a trick of the mind?


Well, I know it was Halloween last night. But, those things you saw on television were just scary movies, not documentaries.
CHollman82
2.5 / 5 (13) Nov 01, 2011
(If the "supernatural" can affect the material, then it's detectable, and therefore material.) Maybe someone who reads this can help me out????


I can help you out by reinforcing your opinion in agreement... If something is real it can be interacted with physically, if it cannot be interacted with physically then it is not real, or at best it's "realness" is irrelevant because it can never affect anything that is real.
CHollman82
2.3 / 5 (12) Nov 01, 2011
These scientists think everything can be explained by [physical] processes.Life therefore is no mystery and there is no place for God.


What is your point? They are almost certainly correct...
Nerdyguy
4.5 / 5 (12) Nov 01, 2011
To the points about physical processes, "reality", and God:

Consider that, regardless of your opinion on the existence of a supernatural being, scientists are engaged in discovering and providing explanations for all kinds of processes.

Perhaps there is a God, an afterlife, etc. And maybe, just maybe, scientists working towards the understanding of every possible combination of matter and energy will stumble across it. How will you know if they don't make the attempt?
Nerdyguy
4.3 / 5 (11) Nov 01, 2011
"But that's part of the problem, that the 'supernatural' is NOT detectable, otherwise it wouldn't BE SUPERnatural. Until scientists have devised that type of technology for detecting if there is anything to a supernatural dying experience, they will explain it all away by saying there's nothing there but brainwaves going crazy. They don't really understand it, but feel they HAVE TO provide an answer for it. " - Pirouette

Much to debate here, but mostly it comes down to one's personal faith, which in my opinion isn't really "debatable" per se as it's a personally held belief.

But, one specific point: the word "supernatural" must be considered as to its origins. It exists as a word only because it refers to things we don't understand. This lack of understanding is, in no way, a proof for the existence of something beyond our understanding. Which, in my mind, would argue for the attempt of a curious human mind to probe its depths in an attempt at understanding.
Skultch
3 / 5 (2) Nov 01, 2011
Piro, why do you act like I didn't already understand your first sentence? That's precisely the issue I'm bringing up. It's kinda funny that you can show that you understand the concept, but not that I also do.

If they CAN come up with an evidence-based theory, why should using supernatural explanation be preferred? How is merely saying "we don't understand" a.k.a. "this is supernatural" adding any value?

They don't really understand it, but feel they HAVE TO provide an answer for it.


I think we're getting to the bottom of your misunderstanding of the goal and communication methods of science. It's their job to try to find an answer, and it's a team effort, hence the publishing of results. Why do you look at this as a negative? Is it because you do not like their conclusions? Conclusions that are clearly portrayed as theories, not statements of fact, I might add.
Skultch
5 / 5 (2) Nov 01, 2011
The only way to really know, is to go through the experience yourself.


This is simply wrong. It's the best way to convince yourself of anything, regardless of its objective truth. We have long ago past the point where individual subjective experiences can teach us previously unknown truths about objective reality. If something can't be predicted and repeated, how can we know anything about it for sure?
CHollman82
2.3 / 5 (12) Nov 01, 2011
But that's part of the problem, that the 'supernatural' is NOT detectable, otherwise it wouldn't BE SUPERnatural. Until scientists have devised that type of technology for detecting it...


Whoa whoa whoa... if something is NOT detectable then no one will ever devise a way to detect it... The problem with talking to people about stuff like this is that most are not careful and literal with their words. When I say not detectable I mean fundamentally not detectable, ever, regardless of anything else. Something that is not detectable is irrelevant and the existence or non-existence of that thing is equivalent.
Skultch
5 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2011
The scientists are probably correct.


What tests have you done to come to that conclusion?

See, we aren't trying to make you agree with us all the time. We are trying to get you to see HOW we think about and discuss things, so we can operate on a common language, and then a common understanding of what we know and what we don't. Simply spouting off half-baked ideas that are scientifically unsupported or unsupportable is of very little value here.
CHollman82
2.3 / 5 (12) Nov 01, 2011
The neat thing about logic is that you can use it to know certain things without doing all the hard (if not impossible) experimentation and testing.

For example, I can know with 100% certainty that if something is inherently not detectable then it does not interact with our reality. I can know that because that is the definition of "detectable"... and I can also know that if something does not interact with our reality it is irrelevant to us, it's existence or non-existence does not matter in any way.

I can also know that if something can affect us it is physical (and therefore natural)... because again, that is the definition of the word.

Supernatural is an anti-concept in that does not and cannot have a referent in reality.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (7) Nov 01, 2011
A mathematician will challenge you to find a point on a line.
Let's pretend the point he picks is on an infinite line.

The mathematician is barely sympathetic to your cause (of finding the point he picked on the infinite line.)

In an overwhelming show of generosity he grants you a "yes" or "no" to the question of if the point you picked is left or right to the point he picked. You get to pick endlessly.

To make a long story line short, the point he picked is "fundamentally not detectable, ever, regardless of anything else."

The point "that is not detectable is irrelevant. And the existence or non-existence of that point is equivalent."
Q.Is above statement true?
A.No


Do not invoke concepts like infinity, which also have no referent in reality, to try to undermine my point.
runrig
1 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2011
How to explain those subjects that have undergone deep brain surgery where all the blood has bee drained away and their bodies radically cooled- yet still give vivid recollections of what went on around them in the operating room. No brain activity right? .....

http://en.wikiped...(singer)

Also the cases of people blind from birth who have "seen" events in the operating room whilst under anesthesia .....

http://www.youtub...toX3Q5OI
Nerdyguy
5 / 5 (9) Nov 01, 2011
How to explain those subjects that have undergone deep brain surgery where all the blood has bee drained away and their bodies radically cooled- yet still give vivid recollections of what went on around them in the operating room. No brain activity right? .....

http://en.wikiped...(singer)


I'll make no attempt to answer the "how to explain" part, as I don't know the answer. I think this is a perfect example of why, in a world full of curious humans, we must strive to find the answers. Notice, I made no reference to the "supernatural". The answer may, indeed, vary from: outright fakery to something that we have yet to detect. Which is why I find value in research like that mentioned in this article.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2011
Do not invoke concepts like infinity, which also have no referent in reality, to try to undermine my point.


Is no one to invoke the concept of a circle? A circle with no reference in reality, to try to support my point?


There is no such thing as a perfect circle...
redheadblueheel
1 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2011
Who's to say it isn't a Higher Power who gave us these brains and capacities for thought, while either conscious or unconscious, in the first place? Religion and science can (and do) co-exist if we can find the willingness to step back from the snarky specifics and look at our very existence in a rounded light.

Quoting Albus Dumbledore, "Of course it's all in your head...but why on earth should that mean that it isn't real?"
CHollman82
1.8 / 5 (10) Nov 01, 2011
If you take away the point, then you have two infinite lines, not one infinite line.

The existence or non-existence is paramount to the outcome.
You can not prove or disprove the existence, nor can you prove or disprove the non-existence of the point. (The point is undetectable, fundamentally).

So you chose a world without this point - and live with two infinite lines.
Or you chose a world with this point - and live with one infinite line.

And we are clever. We chose both worlds and apply both worlds to the world we long to understand. And hope one of both worlds will describe what we want to understand.

And when neither world describe what we want to understand?
lol



It doesn't matter, you're using an anti-concept (infinity) to try to validate another anti-concept (supernatural)... Infinity doesn't exist in reality as far as anyone can demonstrate... In fact, it is fundamental impossibility to do so.
CHollman82
2.3 / 5 (12) Nov 01, 2011
Who's to say it isn't a Higher Power who gave us these brains and capacities for thought, while either conscious or unconscious, in the first place?


Who's to say? No one... but give me evidence in favor of it... give me one good reason to believe that that is the case. "We don't know so it must be magic" is not a good reason.
Nerdyguy
4.8 / 5 (11) Nov 01, 2011
Who's to say it isn't a Higher Power who gave us these brains and capacities for thought, while either conscious or unconscious, in the first place? Religion and science can (and do) co-exist if we can find the willingness to step back from the snarky specifics and look at our very existence in a rounded light.

Quoting Albus Dumbledore, "Of course it's all in your head...but why on earth should that mean that it isn't real?"


Well, no one can prove a negative. Who is to say that you are not a space alien, sent here to confuse the lowly human race with meaningless rhetoric? Just as one example.

The point of this site and indeed, this article, would be to focus only on that which is measurable and can help us to further the ability of humans to understand the universe. Through this mechanism, if we run into the Higher Power you mention, so be it.

But, to suggest "stepping back" from the specifics is anathema to that end.
Skultch
5 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2011
Not sure where I'm going with this, but:

I've had and out-of-body NDE. I wasn't actually ND, but as this article says, I "thought" I was. I was 14 and driving a pickup that was fish-tailing out of control. I overcompensated and went off the dirt road. I then experienced leaving my body and viewing it from above and behind. I watched as my body turned the steering wheel and worked the pedals. Just as the truck hit a stump, I got "sucked back in" to my body, the car rolled and flipped, and the rest of the day was normal.

Now, I'm sure other people had more happen during their NDE, but I wonder why I NEVER attributed anything supernatural to the experience. My best guess is that I was never brought up to believe in the supernatural, religion was never encouraged in my immediate family, and I considered materialistic neural causes to clearly be the most likely.

How do we go about scientifically comparing experiences like these?
CHollman82
1 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2011
We aren't talking about words, words exist to describe that which does not... I am not arguing that.
_ekatt
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2011
Near death experiences are real spiritual experiences. Over 35 years of scientific studies have proven consciousness does continue to live after the death of the brain and body. This current study is only opinion and nothing more. It is time to face the truth and stop the denial.

Paljor
3 / 5 (2) Nov 01, 2011
Does it matter? we will all find out eventually...
Skultch
5 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2011
Near death experiences are real spiritual experiences. Over 35 years of scientific studies have proven consciousness does continue to live after the death of the brain and body.


Links or it didn't happen.

Does it matter? we will all find out eventually...


...or not.
CHollman82
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 01, 2011
Near death experiences are real spiritual experiences. Over 35 years of scientific studies have proven consciousness does continue to live after the death of the brain and body. This current study is only opinion and nothing more. It is time to face the truth and stop the denial.


You speak too much and say too little.
Isaacsname
2.7 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2011
Mmm. NDE's I can't speak of with regards to experience, OBE's, yes. Several times. Very vivid. Also dissociation from my head, but still in my body, in a friend's sensory dep. tank. I certainly believe in the possibility of consciousness after physical death, but would it be certain ? Maybe we unknowingly make that choice while still here, there might be a choice whether or not to remain conscious, NDE's may merely be a way for us to have a gentle letdown in death as our perceptions fade to nothing, etc,etc.

Mr Job's recent last words really gave me pause for thought, I'm coming up on 40 myself.

Two things I know are for sure.

We die, and we don't know if we really die.

I'm ok with that, it was great just to be here.
CHollman82
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 01, 2011
You can start with naive realism. That theory is hopelessly inadequate because there is life in the womb. There is experience in the womb.


What is that supposed to mean? Are you suggesting that experience in the womb is non-physical?

I don't think you have a damn clue what you're talking about. Before addressing some of your incorrect assumptions perhaps we should define terms, because experience in the womb is 100% physical.
Gawad
5 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2011
The point "that is not detectable is irrelevant. And the existence or non-existence of that point is equivalent."
Q.Is above statement true?
A.No

Be plane with us: What's your point?
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2011
The point "that is not detectable is irrelevant. And the existence or non-existence of that point is equivalent."
Q.Is above statement true?
A.No

Be plane with us: What's your point?


He's almost like the Riddler...
CHollman82
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 01, 2011
In a single sentence you are more than four inconsistencies.

"Words exist to describe that which does not."
Nonsense. Gibberish. Non sequitur. Garbage.

"That which does not exist" we do not know about. Can not know about. Will not know about. Never know about.

Where are you getting words for the non-existent? Have you been there? Is "it" on a weekend, a surfboard, a tree?
Where, where, where, where. Tell me where. Where is non existent. How do words make the trip to us from the unknown. Where, where, where. Show me the map. Point you finger to non-existent. Stop using the word. The word makes no sense.
Now try to explain existence without duality.


Jesus Christ you are confusing ideas and concepts for physical reality, you ramble on and on without any idea that what you're saying has nothing to do with what is being discussed. I feel like I'm talking to a mental patient.
Skultch
4.4 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2011
I feel like I'm talking to a mental patient.


I find that cannabis sometimes helps with translating/interpreting hush1's more esoteric posts. I recommend an Indica-heavy blend for this purpose. It enhances the ability to focus on abstract concepts.
Skultch
5 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2011
He can't be *plane*, he's drawing a 1 dimensional line. haha get it?

Maybe that speaks to the point. How does a 1, 2, or 3 dimensional hypothetical help us here?
Gawad
5 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2011
He can't be *plane*, he's drawing a 1 dimensional line. haha get it?

Of course. Plainly I was making a horrible pun. That was the POINT!
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (9) Nov 01, 2011
explain those: (2 youtube vids)
First off, Dr. Lloyd Rudy appears impaired (loaded.) Irrespective of that, some sensation is obviously operative during comas which HAS been documented. What the guy experienced was formed in his mind into a construct of the scene with him observing from a universal vantage point.

In the 2nd vid Dr alexander was hallucinating creatively. This often occurs, as in when people think they see ufos when it is actually something else or nothing at all.

These vids are obviously religionist propaganda. They state their life after death conclusion at the beginning.

The human brain is very fragile and damage-prone. It begins to deteriorate during adolescence. It inherits flaws and is often improperly formed.

Very few humans have optimal brains for very long. This damage can express itself in unexpected and elaborate ways, in bizarre behavior based on misinterpretation of sensory input or from stimulus the brain creates entirely on its own.
cont
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.2 / 5 (9) Nov 01, 2011
Religions have developed in the context of this impairment. They have learned to exploit this sad human condition for their own ends. These ends have often been beneficial, as in creating order out of chaos, but of late they can only threaten order WITH chaos.

Their most effective concept is the idea of the afterlife and the thing called the soul which can exist after death. The possibility of these being true is so compelling that people will do almost anything to achieve it for themselves and their loved ones.

Religions dont even have to offer any evidence that the soul and heaven exist; they only have to promise it with sufficient authority.

For this reason alone we may suspect that it is a sham, an incredibly powerful meme discovered long time ago. But as we add to this increasing scientific evidence to the contrary, and we analyze the content of all the many religions and their books and find only deception, we may conclude that neither soul nor heaven exist. We just END.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (8) Nov 01, 2011
The Valley of the Shadow of Death is truly a fearsome place. Many brains cannot handle the weight of the images of decline and death that our memories and imaginations can construct for us.

No animal has to suffer with this. This is a uniquely human affliction. 'God puts eternity in the hearts of men.' It is no wonder we try so hard to escape it. It is confinement; it is the cage. Like any animal we must escape it.

But the horror of death does not make what religions promise any more REAL. And the horror that religions cause in the world is certainly NOT worth any sort of relief they may have to offer.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2011
"with him observing from a universal vantage point". Exactly WHAT and WHERE is this 'universal vantage point'?
Did you watch the vid? The patient describes hovering above everything, a typical cognitive manifestation. How else does the brain process what it senses but cannot see and yet desperately wishes to see?
Also, if a person sees a UFO or an IFO, how does another person determine FOR CERTAIN, that it was not a genuine UFO or IFO? Is that other person enabled somehow to share his mind?
I thought you said you had proof. WHERE is your proof?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.2 / 5 (9) Nov 01, 2011
As I already said in the other thread, I had no camera with me, otherwise you would have seen the pictures.
So WHY did you SAY you had PROOF, and why not acknowledge that you misspoke when you SAID you DID?

Is this possibly an indication of some deeper dysfunction in that defect-riddled thinking machine of yours? Maybe??
phfaty
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 02, 2011
How do you explain NDEs involving children who experienced clinical death, and met their grandparents who passed before they were born? These children came back and when shown pics of these people they previously did not know, were able to point to pictures and say "that's grandma or grandpa!". These scientists were most likely trying to prove a hypothesis that tries to debunk Near Death Experiences rather than looking for evidence to prove it is real.

I have experienced NDEs twice and have since learned how to astral travel and have OBEs or Out Of Body experiences. Rather than taking my word for it that it is real or the scientists word that it isnt real, do your own research.

Books by Dr. Raymond Moody and Dr. Pim Van Lommel will enough to whet your appetite.
Cynical1
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 02, 2011
They can't actually detect dark energy, either. Just the effects of it...
Sounds like pretty similar scenario...
Grizzled
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 02, 2011
And the obvious question is: have any of those researches actually been through the clinical death for instance?

Not saying anything about their research but, unless you've been there, and brought back some recordings, I'm afraid it's not too convincing.

Moreover, I very much doubt they have convinced anyone who has a first-hand experience of that... expetience :-)
PresstoDigitate
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 02, 2011
Attempts to pass off NDEs as merely dysfunctional failing brain chemistry uniformly fail to account for any of the empirical evidence on the subject, compiled by relevant clinicians, and are merely expressions of fundamentalist scientific dogma.

NDE experients frequently report information that their corpse - or even their fully awake and conscious body - could not possibly have perceived with conventional senses. Not merely the presence of objects and people, and things said and done simultaneously, in the ER/OR where the death had occurred, but people, things, conversations, etc. out in the waiting room, down the hall, on other floors of the building, across town, around the country, and on other continents, with perfect clarity and accuracy. There are also many documented "veridical" NDEs, where the presence of the roving consciousness was seen or perceived by others at the remote location - others who had no idea of the victim's trauma at the time.

These Falsify Materialism.
CHollman82
1.7 / 5 (11) Nov 02, 2011
The mystics, snake charmers, tarot card readers, and astrologers posting here make me want to vomit.

How about giving us some references to SPECIFIC examples, rather than generalities and unfounded claims.
ROBTHEGOB
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 02, 2011
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Mindminer
not rated yet Nov 02, 2011
Pretty weak article for such a big topic - and certainly nothing new.
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (11) Nov 02, 2011
Psychologists who reviewed a range of phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, visions of tunnels of light or encounters with dead relatives, say they are tricks of the mind rather than a glimpse of the afterlife.


I'm sure these psychologists feel good about themselves to declare that they have discovered something no one else knows simply by reviewing the literature on near death experiences.

If you are not a scientist, we call that your opinion. If you claim to be a scientist, you can call your opinion factual and publish it.
roboferret
5 / 5 (7) Nov 02, 2011
Pirouette:

By that same token, Ghost, how can you tell that the researchers THEMSELVES are not brain damaged?


Your enthusiasm is admirable, but please, please find out about the scientific method, how it works and why we use it. Particularly the peer review process and burden of proof. Scientists are required to report their findings AND their methods so that the results can be verified by other scientists if there is doubt. Science is not dogmatic, if you doubt the findings, get the paper, examine the methods, repeat the experiment, or devise your own to falsify/verify the results. This is how science works, it is not a matter of devising an hypothesis, however compelling, then announcing it as the truth. Science is hard, a lot of the process is dull and repetitive, the chance of rejection is high, and the review process can be hostile and combative. Please look into it, take it in and show science a little respect.You may find your comments get voted higher.
Fionn_MacTool
1 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2011
I am having an NDE right now.
CHollman82
1.4 / 5 (11) Nov 02, 2011
Natural vs supernatural
Science defines "supernatural" things such as the probability density, such as superposition of states, and these are manifest as real measurable quantities through collapse of the wavefunction - with an inherent loss of complexity, the measurable does not have the information carrying capability of its precursor. This is how an intangible generates a measurable, it influences it, the lesser cannot begat the greater. This is a principle well understood by Science, which posits theories of inherently unmeasurable precursors that define real world measurables, with a necessary loss of information.


You need to brush up on your understanding of quantum mechanics and the various interpretations thereof.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Nov 02, 2011
I am having an NDE right now.

It's called "life".

But seriously: Why do so many people have no problem understanding that when they are drunk that the warped perception is an effect of alcohol - but then go around and fail to acknowledge even the possibility that NDE might be an effect of altered brain chemistry?

The effects of oxygen deprivation and hallucinogenics are well documnted. Just because some may want NDEs to be something else isn't enough to claim that they are.

Nerdyguy
4.2 / 5 (10) Nov 02, 2011
"It is not so much that supernatural cannot be real without losing its "super-" prefix, it is that it cannot be contained within the real, it would blow "real"s mind. " - bonkers

Up until you made this statement, I was in agreement with the basis of your post. But, I would argue that you jumped right onto the "supernatural" bandwagon with that last statement. Maybe I've misunderstood, but it sounds like you are postulating the existence of something that is currently undetected and then referring to it as "supernatural" as it is outside of "real(ity)".

Would it not be more accurate to simply say that there may be physical phenomena that we have not yet observed, without having to bring "supernatural" into it at all? We may indeed observe and understand said phenomena at some future point. But, whether it is currently observed, or remains to be observed in the future, it is still part of what we should consider "reality".
Nerdyguy
4.2 / 5 (9) Nov 02, 2011
. . . .which is the reason why an actual, currently occurring experience of an NDE is essential for EACH person to go though in order to determine unequivocally whether or not there really IS an afterlife. All the machinations in the world will never truly give up the secrets of that crossing over experience, no matter how scientific. That is the nature of the beast. Life/death


You could be right. I'm always optimistic, though, that we will reach a point where we can probe those depths scientifically and come to some conclusions. I admit, this is as much "hope" on my part as is others' "faith" in God or what have you. But, I've always held to the belief that we may eventually know enough to de-mystify this process, just as any other. Probably because I read too much science fiction.
CHollman82
2.2 / 5 (13) Nov 02, 2011
Perhaps, and this is just conjecture, there is a possibility that, at the moment of death, a combination of chemicals in the brain are able to open up a "portal", a doorway of sorts, that the mind of the dead person can come through before the portal shuts forever and the brain and all of its chemical activity starts to putrefy. There is no turning back at the moment of the brain's death. What is on the other side? Scientists will have to invent the right probes to "see" what is going on.


You can play the "what if" game all goddamn day but until there is evidence to suggest any of it it will remain a game.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 02, 2011
Psychologists who reviewed a range of phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, visions of tunnels of light or encounters with dead relatives, say they are tricks of the mind rather than a glimpse of the afterlife.


I'm sure these psychologists feel good about themselves to declare that they have discovered something no one else knows simply by reviewing the literature on near death experiences.

If you are not a scientist, we call that your opinion. If you claim to be a scientist, you can call your opinion factual and publish it.
In other words if you want to know about what happens after death, ask a religionist.

Sorry but you guys are only experts on self-delusion.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 02, 2011
I am having an NDE right now.
Hopefully it is not something along these lines?
http://abcnews.go...p;page=1

-This can be very dangerous.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (6) Nov 02, 2011
CH. . . .the only time you will find out the truth is at your own death. Maybe you can "send us" a message, pro or con. How is it possible for you to misinterpret my "conjecture"? OF COURSE, there is no evidence, that is why it's called conjecture.


Subjective experience is a poor standard for truth.
Cynical1
2 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2011
In my interpretation - it's all fractal...:-)
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
MRI of dying brain, it could be a fake http://28.media.t..._500.gif
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Nov 04, 2011
Fake.

1) MRI does not give you pictures of activity - only hydrogen atom density (activity you can only get from functional MRI (fMRI) images)
2) fMRI gives you pictures of changes in blood flow - not neural/electrical activity
3) fMRI pictures take as long or longer than MRI pictures. Only today - with highly specialized setups - can you take an MRI image in about one second (the gif shows a much faster progression). usually you get at most one picture every 20 seconds or so. The MRI movies of beating hearts are done using EKG triggered images taken over many heart beats.
4) MRI (and fMRI) require that the patient lie almost perfectly motionless (holding breath, etc.). If a patient had moved like in the image then you would just get a blur.
CHollman82
2.2 / 5 (13) Nov 04, 2011
Hush1 says:
"""Human language is young. I'm sure Nature has more in store for us. Words are still a challenge. You can never write, read or speak enough of them in any language."""

Where, when and why did language come into existence and for what reason?
Since we are merely glorified pieces of protoplasm crawling about on a rock, why did Nature (chemistry) provide us with the capacity of language and communication and then take that chemistry back to itself? Nature goes on forever, changing its chemistry until another race of protoplasm emerges from the goo and requires yet another language. Why then communicate when the end is always the same? Nature does whatever she wants with our chemistry and we return the favor. Is this some love-hate relationship from one chemistry to another? Do we also go on forever but with a different chemistry, and is there language when we go back?


Why are you anthropomorphizing anything and everything you can think of?
DarkHorse66
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
Sock puppet Alert!!!

There is an unusual amount of downranking going on. I was checking who might be thus inclined and found some suspect names cropping up, especially towards the start of the thread. It would seem that there is a new set of sockpuppets, called johnnyb72, johnnyb73, johnnyb74, johnnyb75 (possibly more) that somebody is using for the sake of trolling. Be aware...!
Regards, DH66
Vienna
3 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2011
A couple of things are really WRONG with this explanation of the research:

"Some of the studies we examined show that many of the people experiencing a near-death experience were not actually in danger of dying, although most thought they were. "

What, pray tell, is the actual difference between THINKING you are in danger of dying and "not actually in danger of dying"? And isn't this already flawed since if a person SURVIVED to relate the story would they simply be put into the category of "not actually in danger of dying"?

This article is POORLY written in that it tells nothing about what the "review" of "studies" actually entailed. No actual SCIENCE seems to have been done to PROVE anything. People with prejudices against supernatural explanations "reviewed" STUDIES. Whatever "studies" really means and whatever "reviewed" means.

What was submitted to examination by actual scientific analysis in individual cases where a near-death experience was currently in progress?
Nerdyguy
4.6 / 5 (9) Nov 05, 2011
Sock puppet Alert!!!

There is an unusual amount of downranking going on. I was checking who might be thus inclined and found some suspect names cropping up, especially towards the start of the thread. It would seem that there is a new set of sockpuppets, called johnnyb72, johnnyb73, johnnyb74, johnnyb75 (possibly more) that somebody is using for the sake of trolling. Be aware...!
Regards, DH66


Someone recently pointed this out and mentioned who it was, but it escapes me at the moment. Hope they're having fun - what a waste of time!
CHollman82
1.4 / 5 (10) Nov 05, 2011
Because everything is Nature and Nature is everything. WE are Nature and Nature is us and IN us. This is an inescapable truth, and giving Nature a "personality" and "life" of her own, only serves to increase understanding in whichever language is designed, again by Nature, to receive this most basic of concepts. The language of Math, sign language as with Koko, human communications, the signs from the cosmos. ALL of it is Nature and Nature is ALL of it. Nature is our God, and WE and everything else is a part of that God. Nature can be healing and Nature can be cruel. These have been said all through human existence.
To anthropomorphize Nature puts her in the role of friend or foe. But, in the end of our lives, she is a friend, offering relief from pain and suffering, taking us back to her "bosom". Nature IS chemistry and WE are chemistry. Thus, we are Nature also. Effectively, the Trinity.


Nonsense, presenting nature as a human like entity is only a source of confusion.
eachus
not rated yet Nov 05, 2011
I've thought and discussed and argued about that so many times. I just can't wrap my mind around the causality problem. (If the "supernatural" can affect the material, then it's detectable, and therefore material.) Maybe someone who reads this can help me out????


Easy. Well so easy that the human race has only known the answer for about a century. If there is a God, and he wanted to be able to dabble in everyday affairs without proving that He existed, he did an excellent job of universe design.

First, quantum mechanics mean that nothing ever happens with 100% certainty. Normally this only affects things at the atomic scale--but it also applies to people and planets. (And anyway those voices in your head only take a few electrons or ions in the right place.)

For the really showy stuff, causality and general relativity don't mix. Did the Big Bang occur due to a small fluctuation in the vacuum 13.7 billion years ago? Looks that way.
Cynical1
2 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2011
My "fractal-like" sensibilities have to go with Pir on this one...
eachus
not rated yet Nov 05, 2011
I've thought and discussed and argued about that so many times. I just can't wrap my mind around the causality problem. (If the "supernatural" can affect the material, then it's detectable, and therefore material.) Maybe someone who reads this can help me out????


Easy. Well so easy that the human race has only known the answer for about a century. If there is a God, and he wanted to be able to dabble in everyday affairs without proving that He existed, he did an excellent job of universe design.

First, quantum mechanics mean that nothing ever happens with 100% certainty. Normally this only affects things at the atomic scale--but it also applies to people and planets. (And anyway those voices in your head only take a few electrons or ions in the right place.)

For the really showy stuff, causality and general relativity don't mix. Did the Big Bang occur due to a small fluctuation in the vacuum 13.7 billion years ago? Looks that way.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (6) Nov 05, 2011
LOL. . .if I referred to Nature as "her", I apologize for damaging your sensibilities, ruffling your feathers, etc.


No, what you and others do goes far beyond that...

We refer to inanimate objects sometimes as her or she, as in a battleship, destroyer and other naval warships, rather than use the neutral "it". Some people are confused by that also. It depends on which language one is used to hearing and speaking.
Personally, I LIKE the idea of being a part of Nature, and her being a part of me. It means that I'm one with the Universe. We ALL are. The cotton shirt I'm wearing is also a part of Nature as well as the rubber soles on my shoes. I am not too proud to admit these things even though I do have my own uniqueness, just as everyone does. I am connected to all of you and you to me. That's just the way it is, and I am proud of that too, unless one of you is another Hitler or Jeffrey Dahmer. That, I have no use for.


You mistake the nature of my objection.
CHollman82
1.4 / 5 (10) Nov 05, 2011
Easy. Well so easy that the human race has only known the answer for about a century. If there is a God, and he wanted to be able to dabble in everyday affairs without proving that He existed, he did an excellent job of universe design.


You didn't even scratch the surface of the question, I doubt you even understand it.

If god is real then god is a part of (read: interacts with) reality. The reality of a hypothetical entity that does not interact with reality is indeterminate, that is, there is no difference between the existence of such a thing and the non-existence of that same thing. If god is real then god is physical and interacts with physical reality. If that is the case then god is part of physical reality. If you assert that everything has an origin then you necessarily assert that god has an origin, as god qualifies as a thing that physically exists. If god does not interact with reality then the existence or non-existence of that entity are equivalent.
CHollman82
1.2 / 5 (9) Nov 05, 2011
First, quantum mechanics mean that nothing ever happens with 100% certainty. Normally this only affects things at the atomic scale--but it also applies to people and planets. (And anyway those voices in your head only take a few electrons or ions in the right place.)


No...

Do you know all of the different interpretations of quantum mechanics? Do you know why there are so many different interpretations? Because we don't really know what is going on. My money is on a misunderstanding due to a either a temporary limitation of our abilities or a fundamental limitation in acquiring information. Do note however that a even fundamental limitation in gathering information (I am talking about HUP here) DOES NOT mean that that information does not exist. It MAY be impossible to determine both the position and momentum of a fundamental particle, but that DOES NOT mean that the particle does not HAVE both an accurate position and momentum at any given time.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (6) Nov 05, 2011
For the really showy stuff, causality and general relativity don't mix.


Expand on that... Keep in mind that in an given reference frame there still exists an ordered sequence of events...
Cynical1
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
The definiton of God is as Creator of everything. Since observation shows that the Universe is originator of everything we have (so far) observed, we could call it God.
Since we live in a quantum universe, aberrations in the predicted(which is really just a guess based on repetitive observation) "flow" occur. Some might define that as proof of "interaction".
Taken as a metaphor, it's a simple interpretation.
IMO, all people have their own uniquely defined limit as to where they can no longer do the "and so on and so on..." observation paradigm OF this Universe.
The funny thing about "the big picture" is that there always turns out to be a bigger picture...
Cynical1
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 05, 2011
First, quantum mechanics mean that nothing ever happens with 100% certainty. Normally this only affects things at the atomic scale--but it also applies to people and planets

Given that, we must remember that our INTERPRETATIONS of observation are subject to that same quantum nature.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (6) Nov 05, 2011
First, quantum mechanics mean that nothing ever happens with 100% certainty.


This is simply not true, this is an indication of a Time magazine or Discovery Channel understanding of QM...
Cynical1
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
Ch - was quoting Eachus
Cynical1
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
Hush - maybe he means all is "representational" of the one. and what we see is all the various representations.
Cynical1
not rated yet Nov 05, 2011
the eternal conundrum of quantumness
Gaberax
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
Isn't every perception a trick of the mind? Aren't all human perceptions synthesised by into a cogent whole in the mind. Faulty organs, faulty perceptions. Who's to say that the thoughts, emotions and perceptions experienced by the dying/stressed brain are any less real than any other perception? How are they any less real to the person experiencing them?

Whether or not there is a God, a heaven or an afterlife it remains beyond this world and its science to prove. It is to be taken on faith or abandoned. Your choice.

No one will be thinking "Oh, this is all a thick of my mind" when they pass from this life. No one.

For that matter, where is the proof for dark matter and dark energy? 75% of reality but we've never seen it yet we are told to take it on faith.
f33dback
not rated yet Nov 06, 2011
I suppose I would have to pay for the actual research paper to get some details, this article is vague at best.

dogbert
1 / 5 (7) Nov 06, 2011
I find it instructive that Pirouette can obsess about his god Nature with very little adverse commentary, but if someone talks favorably about the God of Abraham or Jesus, he is invariably attacked by multiple people.

It is really not a hatred of religion which prompts the attacks, it is a hatred of God versus adoration of Nature.
Nerdyguy
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 06, 2011
I find it instructive that Pirouette can obsess about his god Nature with very little adverse commentary, but if someone talks favorably about the God of Abraham or Jesus, he is invariably attacked by multiple people.

It is really not a hatred of religion which prompts the attacks, it is a hatred of God versus adoration of Nature.


Perhaps. However, I tend to think that there's just a limit for most people in terms of their patience in reading (let alone responding to) the ravings of a lunatic.
chardo137
5 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2011
Some of the areas where science and religion have disagreed in the past have been settled to the satisfaction of all parties. Which side was correct? Is the earth flat? Is the earth the center of the universe? Religion has never come out on top of any of the issues that it has taken up against science. A trend seems to be forming. Does anyone know of an instance where religion triumphed?
CHollman82
1 / 5 (6) Nov 07, 2011
CHollman insists on foolproof evidence of your God's existence


If by foolproof you mean credible, then sure...

and most everyone else feels the same way. YOU are free to believe whichever way you desire. However, "The New Atheists" wish to "reeducate" you and others who are believers. I couldn't care less what you believe, it's none of my concern and I have said that to others.


You should reconsider. The powerful people that shape our civilization should not be influenced by bronze age myth. Make no mistake, it affects ALL of us.
Cynical1
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 07, 2011
Had an NDE in 1980 - or was it '81?
Anyway, in a coma for a week afterward.
Honestly have to say, if I DID have a crossover experience, I don't remember it. But I did have some bodacious wet dreams in the coma(probly catheter induced...).
But seriously. During the days, weeks, months, years that followed I noticed a very different attitude within me. Much less money oriented, lost my superiority complex and more societally engaged. I feel like I became more - human...
Cynical1
1 / 5 (1) Nov 07, 2011
Pir, isn't Communism (in theory) an homogenization of the elements(us humans) of a society? Isn't that what the Universe seems to be eventually headed toward (via expansion)?
So - why is it a concern for us all?
eachus
not rated yet Nov 07, 2011
No...

Do you know all of the different interpretations of quantum mechanics?
Yes, and I also know that some of them have been shown to be false.

Do you know why there are so many different interpretations? Because we don't really know what is going on.
You seem to know some things that are not true.

It MAY be impossible to determine both the position and momentum of a fundamental particle, but that DOES NOT mean that the particle does not HAVE both an accurate position and momentum at any given time.
Sorry, very much not true. It is possible to have an atom in two places at once, and through clever experimental design, see it without observing it in the QM sense. It is even possible to make the distance between the two locations large enough (say a mm), and to have it emitting enough photons to be visible to the naked eye. There should be photographs on the web.

Case closed, and a lot of QM interpretations killed.
Skultch
not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
The Creationists' visits to the White House are long gone.


Not if a Republican wins in 2012 or 2016, sadly. Who knows, though? Maybe in 5 years the US will intellectually join the 21st century. I wouldn't put real money on that, though. There is still much to be gained from others' ignorance and denial.

Creationists, probably at least 95% of them, would also halt embryonic stem cell research. That hindrance of progress certainly hurts us all. How about "an eye for an eye" that lets Texans feel good about murdering the mentally disabled? How about homophobic bigotry that seeks public policy that is clearly against civil rights?

Creationist affect far more than the YEC hypothesis they cling to.
Skultch
not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
Skultch. . . .YOU are going on the premise that ALL Republicans are Creationists. That is so far from the truth that it borders on a lie.


No, YOU are going on the assumption that that is what I meant. You could have just asked. To elaborate on my obviously vague statement, I know that the Repub. party /listens/ to creationists when establishing political strategy. I meant that, and nothing more, with that statement. This is a simple case of you not knowing me well enough to make confident assumptions. Many more long-term posters here already know where I'm coming from. I don't have the time or character count to disclaim every opinion.

Your subsequent rant is merely based on my lack of detail and clarity and your assumptions of my stance, which is a mistake.

That said, are you really unaware of the gay marriage issue? Why did you assume I would defend child abuse? Do you think all male homosexuals are attracted to boys? Do you jump to conclusions like this all the time?
Skultch
not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
http://imgur.
com/r/atheism/mdB3h
DarkHorse66
1 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2011
Hey Skulch, you missed a key bit of bigotry (subconscious?) in that diatribe against you. While s/he was going on about child protection, she focused only on the homosexually oriented population - as if they were the ones responsible for abusing children. S/he said nothing about the fact that paedophilia or pederasty doesn't actually have anything to do with ANY sexual orientation. Especially as one's 'regular' orientation can be completely heterosexual, but the same person can be getting their kicks from 'pederasting' (is that actually a verb?)little boys. And if that is not what Piroutte meant, why the focus on that sub-population? And, Piroutte, you have gone so far off topic, it might be an idea to re-read the article, in order to remind yourself about what we ar SUPPOSED to be venting our feelings about. You have been kind of going overboard in letting your feelings be known, but they have nothing to do with anything in the article. At all. Regards, DH66
Skultch
not rated yet Nov 09, 2011
I take back what I said earlier about Piro in another thread.

Piro. You. Are. A. Fucking. Lunatic. Get. Help. I gave you the chance to accept mine in the Martian thread, and you wont, so I'm done reading your posts; any of them. I hope the path through the denial of your psychosis is quick and painless. I really mean that, and I really don't care that you think it's condescending.
jimsecor
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 30, 2011
Uhmm. . .not detectable. So, love is a delusion, right? These scientist are still classical physics purveyors and probably are a little shy on imagination. Many sceptics--I love the Brit spelling, lends itself to double entendre so easily--just have no imagination. I also love the idea of those who have not had a near-death experience making judgments based solely on those who have reported near-death experiences (which seems to be when these events explanable here happen) and do not take into consideration those who have had such experiences but have not sought, as it were, publicity. What of those who veer from the reported sightings/hearings? AND there is no control group, whatever that would consist of.

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