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(Newsweek)   Many people have claimed near-death experiences, but few are as interesting or detailed as that of one neurosurgeon who describes seven days spent in Heaven while his brain was completely inactive   (thedailybeast.com) divider line 97
    More: Interesting, scientific explanations  
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28035 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Oct 2012 at 12:39 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-08 12:59:26 PM  
7 votes:
So observable events like polar ice caps melting and rises in global temperature can be dismissed but some christian clown having a dream is PROOF that heaven exist?

Makes sense to me.
2012-10-08 09:42:23 AM  
7 votes:

Babwa Wawa: You're not going to know jack sh*t until you are dead. Dead-dead, not "turned-off dead". Anyone claiming certainty on the matter is either delusional or a charlatan. When you've got a book deal like TFA, I'm banking on the latter.


Just the fact that he didnt "Die Die" as you'd have it doesnt mean that just him surviving alone is a miraculous outcome. (notice, I didnt use the word "miracle"). As a fellow scientist by education, I found the article to be at the very least interesting and I have no reason to attack him or others for his change of belief based on his own individual observation.

You've posted twice in this discussion already - are you so afraid of something you cannot believe or so angry that you dont want to let people find calming words about their own death, even if it is misguided? What's the harm in letting others have their own beliefs, even you must acknowledge that after death it wont matter and wont change the outcome of their beliefs they hold while alive?
2012-10-08 12:36:08 PM  
6 votes:
Technically I died four times on the table when I had my aortic aneurysm. Ascending aorta blew out like a bad seal, and it took half the valve attached with it. 26 and half hours of surgery, 267 units of blood and blood related products, and a LOT of folks worked on getting my fuzzy butt back.

I did have something of an experience. Call it hypoxia, loss of blood, or just plain near death--literally the surgeon had to massage my heart directly at one point to keep the blood flowing because the poor sucker was just beat down. My heart had to be restarted a total of four times while I was on the table.

The brain was certainly firing. I had to be put back down under a few times during this whole experience, 26 hours is a long time for anesthesia, especially when you are looking at keeping the heart continuing to roll.

Did I see a white light? Did I see vast hordes of loved ones in the Beyond? Not so much. I was faced with a choice, to give up and move on, or stay. It wasn't anything so dramatic as an angel, but then again, perhaps my view of a Divine is perhaps a lot less spectacular than most folks'. Call it an understanding of biofeedback and long practice with dualistic thought and meditation to separate bodily function and thought, call it a rationalization of parsing the many voices that were hammering at my ears, and understanding that I was jacked the Hells up, but in that place in my head, while this was all going on, I met myself, and I faced a choice to give up, or keep going. I loved my fiancee and I didn't want her to grieve, so I chose to stay. It wasn't an easy thing. There were a lot of paths to choose from, and few of them led back to her. I look on it as seeing possibilities opening, and not many of those possibilities led to a place where I was conscious. In one way, I can see it as consciousness seeking the proper path, with a myriad of possibilities and possible selves all crowding and seeking that same path, or another, that would lead to their "right" place. It was confusing, and can be easily chalked up to a LOT of drugs in my system, a lot of odd brain cells firing in the throes of the body fighting to keep going. As a Buddhist, it can be both spiritual and physical. We find meaning in things, because our brains are fantastic machines for making correlations. Even disparate and seemingly unrelated things. We create our own meaning from events.

My own experience was a near thing. Dead on the table four times, and I feel lucky to still be here. The post op experience was a long fight, and my fiancee was there, and she kept me focused--for a long while it was a fight to keep my heart rate up. I was glad to have had some training when I was younger with biofeedback, and I had to concentrate to keep going until I could heal up enough to not be so active in trying to stay alive. In some ways, I was lucky that the breathing machine was so damn uncomfortable and breathing wrong, because it kept me awake, even with the spinal block that kept me from moving too much. She was my focus though. Even while I couldn't speak, I did find enough control to move my fingers, and the stupid Squeeze Talk that we'd worked out when we were in college came through--one for Yes; two for No; three for I Love You; a long squeeze for I'm Going to Spell Now, followed by squeezes to the appropriate letter, with one for A, two for B, etc--because that let us communicate, even while I doped up and had the damn tube down my throat. 

In the end, I know I got lucky. If you put credence to the Many Worlds hypothesis, there were a LOT of Hubies out there who didn't make it. I can certainly see how my brain translated the experience into a lot of paths to choose from, and the effort to survive the mess as being as much luck of the draw, as a fight to remain and keep the damn heart going. At the same time, as a Buddhist, I see it as a choice to remain, a choice to not move on. As a Buddhist, it can be both, and in the end, I survived an event that kills 99.6% of folks within the first 20 minutes, and it was over 40 before I got to the right hospital. Aortic dissections are no joke, and I burned up a lot of luck, as well as a lot of Western Mass' blood supply 15 years ago. It is hard to not get a little contemplative after such a thing.

Whether the experience was "supernatural" doesn't really matter. It is the meaning that we attach to such things that matters. For me, I chose to stay, and I chose to stay for my wife to be. I don't regret that decision, even though the marriage didn't last, because we have a lovely daughter because of it. I don't use the experience to "prove" any afterlife, because even as a Buddhist, I'm not entirely certain there is one, but the experience did fire in me that things are a lot weirder than we might understand.
2012-10-08 11:06:47 AM  
6 votes:

Babwa Wawa: me texan: Just the fact that he didnt "Die Die" as you'd have it doesnt mean that just him surviving alone is a miraculous outcome. (notice, I didnt use the word "miracle"). As a fellow scientist by education, I found the article to be at the very least interesting and I have no reason to attack him or others for his change of belief based on his own individual observation.

You've posted twice in this discussion already - are you so afraid of something you cannot believe or so angry that you dont want to let people find calming words about their own death, even if it is misguided? What's the harm in letting others have their own beliefs, even you must acknowledge that after death it wont matter and wont change the outcome of their beliefs they hold while alive?

Don't get where you're getting "angry" and "afraid". When my mother died, she had faith in an afterlife - we had a priest at her side. I have zero issue with that. My issue with this particular instance is twofold:

1. When you have proof of something, it can be used to mandate behavior. If I have proof that fossil fuel use is linked to climate change, then I can use that knowledge to compel behavior. "Proof" of god, an afterlife, or any of that crap changes faith and belief into certainty. That is dangerous for society on a number of levels.

2. There's a very clear profit motive. This horsesh*t sells big.


Attitudes like yours are why more people don't share their experiences. If it hasn't happened to you or it's something you can't imagine or understand it isn't real, right?
2012-10-08 10:11:37 AM  
6 votes:
Although I considered myself a faithful Christian

Loses any trace of credibility at this precise point. Not arguing one way or another, but his opinion is nixed by this statement.
2012-10-08 09:33:40 AM  
6 votes:

xanadian: The jury's still out.


Well, yeah. If one has "proof" of something or another, then one no long needs "faith" in order to believe in it.

The whole "life after death" obsession strikes me as silly and indicative of perpetual juvenility.

You're not going to know jack sh*t until you are dead. Dead-dead, not "turned-off dead". Anyone claiming certainty on the matter is either delusional or a charlatan. When you've got a book deal like TFA, I'm banking on the latter.
2012-10-08 09:20:29 AM  
6 votes:
FTFA: In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated

So...PART of the brain, not the WHOLE brain.

Got it.
2012-10-08 01:38:47 PM  
5 votes:
One big thing separates the atheists from other sides in the ongoing religious debates: only atheists insist that their opponents do not think. Sometimes other sides will claim that the atheists' use of their minds is the whole problem -the Catholic Church was once infamous for that- but even in an argument like that, there's an implicit acknowledgement that the other side has functioning minds behind the faces.

There is a disturbing element of dehumanization in the argument that one's opponents do not think. It also the concept of debate useless: there is no point in a meeting of minds if one of those minds doesn't acknowledge the other. It's also one of the most fundamentally dishonest arguments a person can make about other people: we think. It's what we do. It is a pity, then, that this line of argument has become fashionable among the atheists of our time to use it, because it makes it so easy to ignore such people as the zealots they are. They damage their own side more than they realize.

Worse still is that the meme spread from there to political debate, where the consequences of halted dialogue are all too real. People suffer for this, all because one side insists on clinging to the notion that it is the only side that thinks, making debate pointless and resolution impossible.
2012-10-08 10:48:25 AM  
5 votes:
My experience was nothing like what he describes. For me it happened in a flash of awareness. No voices, no bright lights, no people, no clouds. Just an awareness that there was a very, VERY inviting and peaceful "place" I could've gone. In that instant (thinking of my children) my brain went - "No, they don't know how much I love them" and it was over.

I awoke 21 days later. During that time I had what I guess I'd now describe as dreams and/or hallucinations. There was/is a great difference between them and that moment of "awareness."

Yes, I was dead-dead. Resuscitated from flat-line six times in the first 26 hours.

Was it hypoxia? Maybe. Was it an afterlife? Dunno. Was it real? Yup. Do I hope that's what's waiting the next time my number is up? You betcha.

* - (Raised in the church, went occasionally as an adult, but wasn't necessarily a religious man. )

/not proselytizing
//just sayin'
2012-10-08 09:44:54 AM  
5 votes:
i1.kym-cdn.com

Jesus, Aliens, whatever. A lack of evidence or understanding is not evidence of magic.
2012-10-08 01:33:25 PM  
4 votes:

Millennium: xanadian: FTFA: In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated

So...PART of the brain, not the WHOLE brain.

Got it.

There is some scientific interest here: the part of his brain that shut down is the part that, according to our current understanding, should have been responsible for experiences like this. That doesn't necessarily mean his interpretation of what happened is correct, of course. But it does mean that we've missed something: if what he saw was a dream (which I think it was), then something can give rise to dreams which we hadn't considered. That has implications for neuroscience.


It could also be that this experience happened as the "human" part of his brain woke back up, As in dreams they seem to take a long period of time but are really just very short. As blood was re-flowing and the brain was "rebooting" all kinds of strange things could have been happening to it.
2012-10-08 12:56:45 PM  
4 votes:
RAAAARGH SHUT UP ALL YOU WEAK, SNIVELING BABIES WHO THINK LIFE HAS MEANING OR SOME GAY SHIAT LIKE THAT. WE ARE ANIMAL-MACHINES THAT SPRANG INEXPLICABLY FROM NOTHING AND WE EAT AND FARK AND DIE AND THAT IS ALL. NOTHING ELSE EXISTS AND ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHER WISE IS A LAME DICK WHO CANT DEAL WITH REALITY.

WHY DONT YOU FAIRIES GO BECOME REPUBLICANS AND VOTE FOR MITT ROMENY IF YOU BELIEVE THIS NANCY QUEER AND HIS HALLUCINATROY BULLSHIAT.
2012-10-08 10:26:21 AM  
4 votes:

logistic: Although I considered myself a faithful Christian

Loses any trace of credibility at this precise point. Not arguing one way or another, but his opinion is nixed by this statement.


You didn't finish the sentence. I was so more in name than in actual belief. So according to the Bible, he wouldn't be in heaven, he'd be in Hell!

/how come no one has near death experiences of Hell, anyway?
2012-10-08 09:27:04 AM  
4 votes:
Ya know, I had always thought of the brain as little more than our own personal radio. It picks up transmissions from what we call "our soul" and interprets them in such a way that it manifests as what we think of as reality. Just because the radio's switched off (or run over because you left it out on the driveway while washing your car, then never bothered to pick it up before running it over) doesn't mean the transmissions aren't still there, nor that the signal isn't stored in some other way for future retrieval.

However, one doctor's anecdote does not constitute proof of anything, really, either my POV or anyone else's. We also may find that the "human" part of our brain is NOT the seat of consciousness, but it rests elsewhere, or it's a synergistic effect of many different parts of the brain.

The jury's still out.
2012-10-08 09:22:52 AM  
4 votes:

xanadian: So...PART of the brain, not the WHOLE brain.


Indeed. A fascinating crock of self-affirming sh*te.
2012-10-08 01:50:04 PM  
3 votes:

grokca: Millennium: xanadian: FTFA: In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated

So...PART of the brain, not the WHOLE brain.

Got it.

There is some scientific interest here: the part of his brain that shut down is the part that, according to our current understanding, should have been responsible for experiences like this. That doesn't necessarily mean his interpretation of what happened is correct, of course. But it does mean that we've missed something: if what he saw was a dream (which I think it was), then something can give rise to dreams which we hadn't considered. That has implications for neuroscience.

It could also be that this experience happened as the "human" part of his brain woke back up, As in dreams they seem to take a long period of time but are really just very short. As blood was re-flowing and the brain was "rebooting" all kinds of strange things could have been happening to it.


O.K., someone else has that theory, so it's not completely out of left field. It may or may not be true, but it surprises me that the Doctor didn't even seem to consider it. Also, I wonder if his neocortex was truly "off," for very long. His evidence seems to be the CT scan, but a) a CT scan is a snapshot, doesn't tell you what was going on the entire 7 days, and b) IIRC, CT doesn't tell you about functioning, only about structure, you need a PET scan or fMRI to determine functioning. The fact that a neuroscientist didn't consider these possibilities tells me that they are incorrect, or that he has a severe case of "I want to believe."
2012-10-08 01:35:38 PM  
3 votes:
I died once. Hard death, during a heart attack. Was clinically dead for 15 minutes.

My consciousness continued during my "death".

I don't share details, because doing so would be pointless. If my experience was simply under-the-radar brain activity, the experience is moot. If it was an experience of existence beyond death, my observations are hearsay, and will convince no one of any "truths" I learned.

What did I see? Well... it certainly wouldn't classify as Christian, that's for sure. Not "hell" either. Very interesting, for certain.

Personally, I now believe my existence continues beyond death. Your mileage and experience may vary.

/ Glad to be alive
// Happy to know more about myself
2012-10-08 12:58:53 PM  
3 votes:
Toward the beginning of my adventure, I was in a place of clouds. Big, puffy, pink-white ones that showed up sharply against the deep blue-black skHigher than the clouds-immeasurably higher-flocks of transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long, streamerlike lines behind them.

This is the most concerning part to me. Not only did he experience heaven, in his estimation, but he experienced the traditional description of heaven. He admits he was born and raised Christian, and remarkably his near-death experience happens to be exactly like everything he was (probably) told it would be like since he was a child. Angels? Check. Choirs? Check.

It makes me think about the rare times I actually take naps during the day. I'll sleep for maybe an hour or two, but I'll sometimes dream like I've been in school all day (high-school, sometimes, which is amusing since that's long-past), or at work all day. I know I couldn't possibly have dreamt a full 8-hour workday in the 90 minutes I was a sleep, but it sure feels like it. Why couldn't the same thing happened to him? 

Neat story regardless, just seems way too convenient.
2012-10-08 10:06:33 AM  
3 votes:
the theory that the brain, and in particular the cortex, generates consciousness [...] now lies broken at our feet. What happened to me destroyed it. [...] When the castle of an old scientific theory begins to show fault lines, no one wants to pay attention at first.

So a whole theory is layed to waste by one persons anecdote? Does an anectdote undergo some alchemical transformation into objective data when it is experienced by a DOCTOR?

The enormity of the universe he describes is surpassed only by the enormity of the ego of a doctor.

And saying that no one wants to pay attention "at first"? As if the claim that there is an afterlife is brand new cutting edge fringe stuff?
2012-10-08 05:03:57 PM  
2 votes:
After reading this guy's resume I seriously doubt he's doing this to sell books or make money. He's already well paid and professionally respected. Opening himself up to ridicule by his peers for a few bucks makes no sense. I have no idea what happened to this guy but I have no problem believing he is sincere.
2012-10-08 03:56:48 PM  
2 votes:
And I'd like to say the reason this angers me and why I bothered logging in is because this is being spun as PROOF. It is not proof and it is disingenuous, manipulative and outright dangerous to claim it is. 20 years ago this guy would have been flagged as a nutball for making such a wild claim but in today's political and social climate this kind of outright lying is considered an acceptable argument and is becoming more and more common to the detriment of logic and reason. If the guy had just told his story and said he now believes in a higher power or an afterlife I would have no problem. I wouldn't even doubt him. But for him to flaunt his scientific credentials (and remember he is a SURGEON... not a researcher) and use them to manipulate people is atrocious. To add to that the press, and not even fringe press (WTF Newsweek) to boldly back up his claim that this is PROOF is a very frightening state of affairs. To allow this kind of sh*t to go on and not say anything is a disservice to the advancement of mankind and threatens to plunge us into the next Dark Ages.

It is about as infuriating of debating issues like homosexuality or the age of the Earth with someone who's only science is the bible.

THE BIBLE ISN'T FREAKING SCIENCE AND NEITHER IS THIS GUY'S DREAM!
2012-10-08 02:48:02 PM  
2 votes:

nmemkha: miscreant: nmemkha: nmemkha: I find Atheists interesting. They dismiss anything that does not fit their narrow worldview out-of-hand and are generally mocking and condescending to the views of others.

This is my original statement. Please explain how I am acting as I described. I do not discount science one bit. Nor am I mocking for science. Nor do I mock Atheists for their views as they are completely rational. I believe they are missing the "big picture", but I don't bash anyone with my Bible here or anywhere else.

Besides painting with a nice broad brush, you're statement claims that atheists have dismissed religion "out of hand", or without much thought. So you're dismissing their soul searching on the topic and acting as if everyone who rejects religion does so without consideration. I guarantee you that most atheists have given more thought to religion than the majority of religious people out there, especially considering the number of places in the world where being atheist can get you ostracized, if not killed. The comment is both bullshiat and patronizing. But you already knew that.

You miss my point. They dismiss anything that does not meet the current scientific definition of "truth". None I have met are willing to consider anything spiritual. Further, this very thread started off with comment mocking religion.


You haven't met many atheists then, or more likely you're letting your biases get in the way of your view of them.

I've yet to meet one that outright dismisses the spiritual cannot exist. Not one is 100% certain of it. It's just that the evidence for the literal Biblical interpretation of God (which in my experience is typically what is being advocated by fundamentalists these days, you may or may not be one of them) is quite lacking in the face of the current level of scientific understanding. Fit him in the gaps if you must, but don't try to legislate him into those gaps or reopen ones long since closed.

I think we're potentially on the verge of another age of enlightenment and scientific renaissance, and that religious fundamentalists of multiple religions, in this country and others, are trying their hardest to make sure people stay in the dark.

I don't know with any certainty if there is anything after death besides my body being broken down by natural processes. It'd be nice if there is something better after this life, but which religion (and the innumerable permutations of those religions) is right? I'll continue to try to not be a jackass to people, I will try to treat them as I wish to be treated, and I will try to alleviate some of the suffering in my community.
2012-10-08 02:36:17 PM  
2 votes:

nmemkha: Now who is the one being pedantic?


No one. They're generally meaningless words. You could've said "blompablump" instead and made yourself approximately as clear. "Spirituality" seems to encompass everything from feeling good on a sunny day to communing with alien mind energy crystals.

It's becoming rather clear that you're just a moron. I'm sorry about this, but everything you write seems to have a slick layer of "not quite up to the level of discussion" smeared all over it, which considering the level of discussion is rather sad. Maybe you'll be reincarnated as something smarter in the future.
2012-10-08 02:09:19 PM  
2 votes:
Here comes my completely unsolicited opinion,

Most religious people believe in spirituality because they have been taught it or claim to have experienced it. Most atheist/skeptics/agnostics/etc disbelieve in spirituality because they either haven't experienced it or they don't trust the motives of those who teach it. So it's either you lack the critical thinking ability to see through someone trying to get money out of you OR you think you're so smart that anything that exists outside the scope of your monkey brain can't possibly exist.

It's like we all live in a box without windows or doors or any significant evidence that there is anything outside the box. There are people in the box who make a nice living telling the other people about the wondrous things outside the box and there are other people who adamantly claim there is nothing outside the box because they personally can't see anything. Neither one has any effect over the true nature of whether there is anything outside the box or not.

In this particular case, I'm pretty skeptical. The author's view of the afterlife comes straight from culture and may as well have been painted in watercolor by someone's religious aunt in the Midwest. However, our understanding of the Universe and the way we perceive it is very limited. There is no reason to shut off any possibility of spirituality (which may be discovered as advanced science, or may be actual supernatural existence) just because we can't quantify it now.

Personally, I hope there is more to existence than the cold physical laws of the Universe. I'm not willing to kill anyone over it, but I try to keep an open mind.

Thus ends my completely unsolicited opinion.
2012-10-08 01:41:03 PM  
2 votes:
Here's a theory for you to disregard: We know that his neocortex was shut down for part of the period of his coma, based on the CT scan. He obviously wasn't being that carefully studied during the entire time, though, you can't do that. You also wouldn't be aware of an interruption of your stream of consciousness. I also find it highly doubtful that his neocortex went from completely on to completely off instantaneously, completely off for seven days, and then completely off to completely back on instantaneously. Could it be that his NDE occurred during the period his neocortex turning off or turning back on? I don't know enough about neuroscience to comment, but maybe someone with a better background could shed some light on this.
2012-10-08 01:37:22 PM  
2 votes:

BraveNewCheneyWorld: Let's see, we have a bunch of atheists who cannot even consider the possibility that they might be wrong, and therefore dismiss every confirmed fact known about the neocortex, saying "we just don't know how the brain works", even though that's been a well established fact for some time now. The hilarious thing is that you people are so quick to throw out science and say "the jury's still out" when your world view is challenged.. You know who else throws out well established science when their world view is challenged? Yep, you people aren't any better than a young earth creationist. I'm not saying his testimony is irrefutable proof that there is an afterlife, but anyone who dismisses it based on this reasoning doesn't occupy higher ground than a creationist.


This is the problem with people like you ... you really have no concept of how science works.

"cannot even consider the possibility that they might be wrong" - From a scientific point of view the only thing we know is that we are always wrong to some degree or another.

"dismiss every confirmed fact known about the neocortex" - There is no such thing as "confirmed facts" when it comes to subjects of scientific research. There are things that we have extremely high confidence in that we treat as if they are facts - a necessary evil in science or we could never make any progress. When it comes to how the brain works our confidence isn't actually that high for most of it.

"say "the jury's still out" when your world view is challenged" - We are not a group. We do not have a collective "world view". An anecdote is not challenging anything because it is not real evidence of anything.

You desperately want this to be real so it justifies all the time and money you've wasted believing magic is real. Sadly this is not evidence ... so it cannot be the evidence you are desperately looking for. Have some faith it is real ... so far there is no evidence.

S
2012-10-08 01:33:55 PM  
2 votes:

xanadian: Ya know, I had always thought of the brain as little more than our own personal radio. It picks up transmissions from what we call "our soul" and interprets them in such a way that it manifests as what we think of as reality. Just because the radio's switched off (or run over because you left it out on the driveway while washing your car, then never bothered to pick it up before running it over) doesn't mean the transmissions aren't still there, nor that the signal isn't stored in some other way for future retrieval.

However, one doctor's anecdote does not constitute proof of anything, really, either my POV or anyone else's. We also may find that the "human" part of our brain is NOT the seat of consciousness, but it rests elsewhere, or it's a synergistic effect of many different parts of the brain.

The jury's still out.


I've played with that idea before as well. I read a supposed quote by Tesla that suggested the same, but now I 'm wondering if it was an actual quote of his since I can't seem to find it anywhere else. Either way, if there is the possibility for the existence of a part of our makeup that comes from without the body, then it only stands to reason that there has to be some sort of communication between these parts. I get sillier still thinking that other part's separation from myself could possibly extend past space or even time.

It's all a load of unprovable wishful thinking and I accept it as it is. It doesn't help that I have had 1 NDEs and a couple OBEs in which I experienced a clear separation between what I felt was my body and myself. I don't recall anything of the first experience since I was 2. Apparently my mom found me collapsed on the kitchen floor. I wasn't breathing and she couldn't find my heartbeat. Apparently she was able to resuscitate me with CPR which means either I did have a very faint heartbeat or I was one of those rare cases where the chestpumps actually restarted a heart. As for the OBEs, those are very personal experiences of mine that no one here would gain from them. All I'll share about them is that this seems to be one of those things in which only your personal experiences will answer the questions you have and even then if you do find an answer even more questions will pop up.
2012-10-08 12:59:08 PM  
2 votes:
I had a similar experience. I saw a soft light, and a beautiful blue sky, and swirling entities. I heard wonderful chimes, and then i seemed to see words that gave me great comfort:

blog.politekniktelkom.ac.id
2012-10-08 12:48:24 PM  
2 votes:
Sorry, folks. The afterlife is an eternity waiting on a Cinnabon line at O'Hare during a snowstorm on the day before Thanksgiving.
2012-10-08 12:44:01 PM  
2 votes:
Spent time in heaven....

encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com


Spent time in hell...

encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com


Didn't need a coma to see either.
2012-10-08 12:43:30 PM  
2 votes:
Pics or it didn't happen
2012-10-08 11:24:28 AM  
2 votes:

AbbeySomeone: Attitudes like yours are why more people don't share their experiences. If it hasn't happened to you or it's something you can't imagine or understand it isn't real, right?



And by "share" you mean charging $10 on Amazon, correct?
2012-10-08 11:20:22 AM  
2 votes:

AbbeySomeone: Babwa Wawa: me texan: Just the fact that he didnt "Die Die" as you'd have it doesnt mean that just him surviving alone is a miraculous outcome. (notice, I didnt use the word "miracle"). As a fellow scientist by education, I found the article to be at the very least interesting and I have no reason to attack him or others for his change of belief based on his own individual observation.

You've posted twice in this discussion already - are you so afraid of something you cannot believe or so angry that you dont want to let people find calming words about their own death, even if it is misguided? What's the harm in letting others have their own beliefs, even you must acknowledge that after death it wont matter and wont change the outcome of their beliefs they hold while alive?

Don't get where you're getting "angry" and "afraid". When my mother died, she had faith in an afterlife - we had a priest at her side. I have zero issue with that. My issue with this particular instance is twofold:

1. When you have proof of something, it can be used to mandate behavior. If I have proof that fossil fuel use is linked to climate change, then I can use that knowledge to compel behavior. "Proof" of god, an afterlife, or any of that crap changes faith and belief into certainty. That is dangerous for society on a number of levels.

2. There's a very clear profit motive. This horsesh*t sells big.

Attitudes like yours are why more people don't share their experiences. If it hasn't happened to you or it's something you can't imagine or understand it isn't real, right?


Actually even if it has happened to me it doesn't mean it's real. The brain does weird things when it's shutting down. My personal experiences count for nothing in science.
2012-10-08 10:28:15 AM  
2 votes:
CSB: I had a non-religious friend who I respected to the utmost and had a "life after death" experience in Vietnam when for a few minutes he was critically brain dead. He would be driven to tears trying to explain it because a lot of it he didn't understand, but there were strange details like how he thought he smelled bread baking and there were relatives who died years ago there, but when he was given the chance to return he took it then woke up in the hospital again (though he wondered for years afterwards if it was worth it considering how much rehabilitating pain he had from his injuries).

Guy was, as I said earlier, not religious so he willingly acknowledged it could all just be his brain shutting down... but he could never quite believe it because then why would he be given the choice to return? Weird thing to put in a shut-down mode.

Friend died a few years ago in a heart attack, so I've always wondered a bit about that since as he's the only person I've known personally to have such an experience- and then not cloud it with Judeo-Christian overtones to boot. If nothing else though it's consolation to me to know that when it hit he recognized what was happening and wasn't afraid.
2012-10-08 10:13:48 AM  
2 votes:

Babwa Wawa: That is dangerous for society on a number of levels.


Bingo.

HakunaMatata: Does an anectdote undergo some alchemical transformation into objective data when it is experienced by a DOCTOR?


What the doctor's experience tells me is this: the doctor, being very knowledgeable about neuroscience, has found that his understanding about the brain and consciousness is incomplete.

Quick! Someone call Ric Romero!

I'm not saying what he experienced (if it's "real") isn't impossible. But, at the very least, it serves to underscore how little we know about our own freakin' brains.
2012-10-08 10:00:14 AM  
2 votes:

me texan: Just the fact that he didnt "Die Die" as you'd have it doesnt mean that just him surviving alone is a miraculous outcome. (notice, I didnt use the word "miracle"). As a fellow scientist by education, I found the article to be at the very least interesting and I have no reason to attack him or others for his change of belief based on his own individual observation.

You've posted twice in this discussion already - are you so afraid of something you cannot believe or so angry that you dont want to let people find calming words about their own death, even if it is misguided? What's the harm in letting others have their own beliefs, even you must acknowledge that after death it wont matter and wont change the outcome of their beliefs they hold while alive?


Don't get where you're getting "angry" and "afraid". When my mother died, she had faith in an afterlife - we had a priest at her side. I have zero issue with that. My issue with this particular instance is twofold:

1. When you have proof of something, it can be used to mandate behavior. If I have proof that fossil fuel use is linked to climate change, then I can use that knowledge to compel behavior. "Proof" of god, an afterlife, or any of that crap changes faith and belief into certainty. That is dangerous for society on a number of levels.

2. There's a very clear profit motive. This horsesh*t sells big.
2012-10-08 09:05:14 AM  
2 votes:
Interesting article. Good find, subby
2012-10-09 01:37:55 AM  
1 votes:
In a nutshell, the problem with trying to discuss this sort of thing, is this:

McCoy: Perhaps, we could cover a little philosophical ground. Life
[pause]
McCoy: Death
[pause]
McCoy: Life.
[pause]
McCoy: Things of that nature.
Spock: I did not have time on Vulcan to review the philosophical disciplines.
McCoy: C'mon, Spock, it's me, McCoy. You really have gone where no man's gone before. Can't you tell me what it felt like?
Spock: It would be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame-of-reference.
McCoy: You're joking!
Spock: A joke
[pause]
Spock: is a story with a humorous climax.
McCoy: You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death?
Spock: Forgive me, Doctor. I am receiving a number of distress calls.
McCoy: I don't doubt it.
2012-10-08 06:34:58 PM  
1 votes:

BraveNewCheneyWorld: Farking Canuck: //Sorry. The god-of-the-gaps is near death himself and I say good riddance

Kinda like the people who doubt say consciousness and higher logic must reside in a different part of the brain, despite all previous evidence to the contrary, and no confirming evidence since? It's the fingernails! Gotta be!


I do not make any claims about the human brain. My degree is not in any field remotely related to biology.

I do, however, know that accurate perception of reality is not the brain's strong suit on a good day ... much less when it is deprived of O2. I do know that we have massive evidence to show that the human mind is deceived so easily that it is amazing we are able to function. Most of what we think we see, hear, or know is what our brains have stitched together from sensory inputs combined with all the information that has been stored in our heads. Speaking of which, how many years has this author (of a new book ... please buy it now!!) been going to church?

How the brain works is completely irrelevant to the conclusion that this author's 'evidence' is worthless. Note, that is not saying that it is possible that his story is not 100% accurate ... it is saying that it is worthless as evidence supporting the claim that magic is real.
2012-10-08 06:06:43 PM  
1 votes:

hubiestubert: Technically I died four times on the table when I had my aortic aneurysm. Ascending aorta blew out like a bad seal, and it took half the valve attached with it. 26 and half hours of surgery, 267 units of blood and blood related products, and a LOT of folks worked on getting my fuzzy butt back.

I did have something of an experience. Call it hypoxia, loss of blood, or just plain near death--literally the surgeon had to massage my heart directly at one point to keep the blood flowing because the poor sucker was just beat down. My heart had to be restarted a total of four times while I was on the table.

The brain was certainly firing. I had to be put back down under a few times during this whole experience, 26 hours is a long time for anesthesia, especially when you are looking at keeping the heart continuing to roll.

Did I see a white light? Did I see vast hordes of loved ones in the Beyond? Not so much. I was faced with a choice, to give up and move on, or stay. It wasn't anything so dramatic as an angel, but then again, perhaps my view of a Divine is perhaps a lot less spectacular than most folks'. Call it an understanding of biofeedback and long practice with dualistic thought and meditation to separate bodily function and thought, call it a rationalization of parsing the many voices that were hammering at my ears, and understanding that I was jacked the Hells up, but in that place in my head, while this was all going on, I met myself, and I faced a choice to give up, or keep going. I loved my fiancee and I didn't want her to grieve, so I chose to stay. It wasn't an easy thing. There were a lot of paths to choose from, and few of them led back to her. I look on it as seeing possibilities opening, and not many of those possibilities led to a place where I was conscious. In one way, I can see it as consciousness seeking the proper path, with a myriad of possibilities and possible selves all crowding and seeking that same path, or another, that would lead to their ...


I'm sure someone downthread is biatching about your wall o' text; allow me to counteract them.

Thank you, sincerely, for taking the time to detail your experience. I'm one of your boring raised Catholic grew out of believing any religion is real but don't pretend to know the truth about anything divine except it's not what Abrahamic religions tell us kind of guys (yes, runon). Faith is, by its very nature, foolish. Hope, however, is most certainly not. Stories like yours, told in a personal and unauthoritative manner, give me a sliver of hope that there's something after the corporeal. And that hope is deeply meaningful to me. So, again, thank you.
2012-10-08 05:51:40 PM  
1 votes:
To return for a moment to TFA...

"the theory that the brain, and in particular the cortex, generates consciousness... now lies broken at our feet. What happened to me destroyed it."

If that kind of language doesn't get your skeptical eyebrow a-twitching, then maybe you're a tad susceptible to wish-thinking. It's one anecdotal and 100% subjective experience, oddly remembered and weirdly told. By a guy with a book to sell.

Not saying he's a liar. Just saying that the fundamental bedrock of reality is rarely found to be like a magic-carpet ride on the wings of butterflies.
2012-10-08 05:18:09 PM  
1 votes:

Poppa Boner:
The only people who know what happens after you die are dead. This guy wasn't dead. I also don't count folks whose systems completely shut down but turned back on as people who have been dead. If they were dead they'd be dead... now and forever. So unless ya'll have an inter-dimensional long distance plan to chat with those who have passed just accept that there are things in the universe that we will never know as long as we are stuck in these bags of meat we call bodies. Just tried to find a nice slice of the world where you can be content, be nice to each other and STFU.

Peace out.


Well said.
2012-10-08 05:17:27 PM  
1 votes:

bogey: After reading this guy's resume I seriously doubt he's doing this to sell books or make money. He's already well paid and professionally respected. Opening himself up to ridicule by his peers for a few bucks makes no sense. I have no idea what happened to this guy but I have no problem believing he is sincere.


I do not question the man's sincerity. I've seen some freaky assed sh*t in my days plodding this earth. However to say that what he saw is evidence of the afterlife is unscrupulous and I think he may have been persuaded by folks who heard his story and saw it as an opportunity to further their own agendas.

The only people who know what happens after you die are dead. This guy wasn't dead. I also don't count folks whose systems completely shut down but turned back on as people who have been dead. If they were dead they'd be dead... now and forever. So unless ya'll have an inter-dimensional long distance plan to chat with those who have passed just accept that there are things in the universe that we will never know as long as we are stuck in these bags of meat we call bodies. Just tried to find a nice slice of the world where you can be content, be nice to each other and STFU.

Peace out.
2012-10-08 04:54:06 PM  
1 votes:
My opinion:

I once had a motorcycle accident that left me comatose for about a week. I don't remember a thing about it; my last memory was playing pool in a bar with a girl from Connecticut who had an awesome rack and I was winning. The next thing I knew, a week was gone and I was badly injured. There were no visions, fairies, butterflies or Jesus...nothing. (The loss of time was a bit frightening at first, but I got over it.) When I awoke, I thought, briefly, that I was in Hell, as my ex wife was there, hovering over me. She said the doctors didn't fix my broken stuff for about 8 hours after I came in due to a severe closed head injury and it was unclear if I was going to survive. I guess that gives me a near death experience.

The article guy says he had a near death experience. I can understand that. I can also understand that his credibility was shot as soon as he said he was a Christian (practicing or otherwise). What I can't understand are those who claim to have been "dead dead", as if they actually died and came back. I want to go on record as saying that doesn't happen. We may think that our machines can tell if something is dead or not, but we're wrong. Know how I know that? Because dead things don't come back to life. They just don't. That's what "dead" means. So anyone who says "I was dead and came back!" wasn't dead. Somewhere in their body the spark of life (for lack of a better term) was not extinguished. If it were, they would still be dead.

I remember reading an article once (probably here on Fark) that likened our brains to a computer. We can store vast amounts of data, both tangible and dreamy, but when the plug is pulled, it's all gone. When we die, our hard drive doesn't magically join a LAN of another consciousness.

Would life after death be awesome? Of course it would! It would make this terrestrial life seem not so...final. And it goes without saying that I could be wrong, and I kind of hope I am. But, it does present a strong case for living each day as if it were your last.
2012-10-08 04:51:45 PM  
1 votes:

poonesfarm: craig328: poonesfarm: Although I considered myself a faithful Christian... I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.

Uh...what?

It's a common misconception by those who cannot think in anything but binary concepts. Being a scientist and believing in God aren't and never have been mutually exclusive conditions. They only seem so to those lacking in experience in either but who like to believe they're enlightened, intelligent and educated.

Sure, but what is a "faithful Christian" who doesn't believe in God? I know plenty of scientists and scientific types who are theists of one sort or another, but the way his is written makes it seems oxymoronic unless, as Callous pointed out, he means he was just going through the motions without actually believing.


My take on it is that he's someone who believes in God and probably Jesus but is maybe not so big on going to church. I'm much the same way. For personal experiences, I've come to believe there is something outside our possible realm of experience that we, as human beings, are ill equipped to describe and relate to. My personal belief is that there is something like God but I'm not into the once a week "go demonstrate my beliefs in front of my neighbors in church" routine.

One can be a believer in a spiritual situation without wishing to be identified with those who want to make that belief into an organized fan club.
2012-10-08 04:46:29 PM  
1 votes:
groceries4u.fit.edu

For all the crybabies in this thread.
2012-10-08 04:25:10 PM  
1 votes:

The Billdozer: I don't know you whatsoever, but this seems to be bothering you. Why not just write to a letter to the editor of find a journal to publish your dissatisfaction with this book or idea? People who have argued cases against the paranormal aspect of NDEs before on a site or amazon review (Worlee in the case of Pam Reynolds) have been published before or asked to speculate.


There is no changing the minds of the willfully ignorant as has been demonstrated here. It's like trying to put out a forest fire by taking a piss on it. Perhaps when I have some credentials behind me I'd be able to make at least a small dent in the stupidity society is currently descending in to. However I do not even dispute the man's claims nor the claims of those who have faith. I dispute that it is solid fact. NOBODY can know the full extent the mysteries of the human mind and the universe hold. Anyone who claims to should not be trusted.

And I dare anyone to find a statement I've made here claiming I do.
2012-10-08 04:13:04 PM  
1 votes:
I passed out once and spent a whole day doing all kinds of crazy shiat with intense colors all around me like I was on acid. I was apparently out for about 10 seconds. As far as I know the whole thing played out in the seconds before he opened his eyes.
2012-10-08 04:09:17 PM  
1 votes:

OscarTamerz: I have a very simple rule of life, never believe anything said by anybody wearing a bow tie or a vest.


Ok, then. I'll just mark you down as "ignores science"
i141.photobucket.com
2012-10-08 04:06:08 PM  
1 votes:

poonesfarm: Although I considered myself a faithful Christian... I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.

Uh...what?


It's a common misconception by those who cannot think in anything but binary concepts. Being a scientist and believing in God aren't and never have been mutually exclusive conditions. They only seem so to those lacking in experience in either but who like to believe they're enlightened, intelligent and educated.
2012-10-08 04:05:10 PM  
1 votes:
"Somebody is pimping a book" would have sufficed, submitter.

Really all we need to know.
2012-10-08 03:34:10 PM  
1 votes:

nmemkha: Fair enough. But, look at this thread. How many posts are snarky statement belittling religion and religious people. How many are theists doing the same?


The internet is a safe forum for atheists to express the frustration that they don't get to express in everyday life. I've yet to hear an atheist be intentionally rude to a theist in real life. I don't doubt it happens, but I do seriously doubt it happens half as often as religious people telling unbelievers that they're going to burn in a lake of fire or something similar.

How many atheists have come to your door to tell you your worldview is completely wrong and you're going to be tortured for eternity if you don't change it? What's that? None? Shocking.

In our society, religion gets protection from criticism that few if any other topics get. Claiming religion allows people to express hate and bigotry that wouldn't be tolerated in pretty much any other form these days. So when you come to a place like fark, you get to see the frustration. Theists on the other hand have in the past and/or are now trying to pass legislation to do the following: prevent gay people from getting married, tell a woman what she can or can't do with her body, teach mythology as science, force their religion on others in the form of school prayer, and prevent the criticism of religion through blasphemy laws. I'd much rather if all I had to deal with was a couple rude or mocking theists on some internet message boards than have to worry about them trying to restrict my rights and force their religion on my hypothetical children.
2012-10-08 03:26:55 PM  
1 votes:

BraveNewCheneyWorld: Btw, go look into the link I just posted, from there it can take you to hundreds of other doctor verified "anecdotes" for you to dismiss as such.


Yay! More anecdotes!!!

Just after I posted my last response I figured out why you are so upset. It is because we are "attacking" this evidence.

This is standard practice in science. When evidence is presented (for anything) it is attacked, criticized, and judged to determine its worth. Theories are evaluated based on the "weight of evidence" that support them. So when any evidence is presented we must determine its weight ... how much does it contribute to supporting the theory.

This is the irony ... what you claim is us being dismissive is actually us considering what is presented. I am sorry that anecdotes traditionally carry very, very little weight ... especially when other explanations are present (like the near-death brain being flooded with chemicals).

Do you think that the recently presented evidence for the discovery of the Higgs Bosun isn't being attacked?? It is and many of the attackers are physicists who would love for the results to be true. But, in science, you do not accept evidence because it says what you want ... you accept it after it has survived attacks from anyone and everyone.

When the researchers claimed they found neutrinos traveling faster than light their evidence was immediately "attacked" (i.e. questioned, analysed, etc.) by others and themselves to see if it held up. And guess what ... last I heard, they had discovered other possible causes and a are planning new experiments to confirm which causes for the measurement are correct.

TLDR: You are upset that we are not considering your evidence because we are attacking it. But, if you understood science, you would realize that we actually are considering your evidence by attacking it. Sadly it does not hold up well because, in the end, it is still just an anecdote.
2012-10-08 03:24:02 PM  
1 votes:

Hale-Bopp: Sounds like he may have likely experienced a large dose of DMT released by his brain in order to help him cope with the process of dying.


I don't get that. If we evolved all of our traits as advantages to increase our odds of procreation, what evolutionary advantage does ease of dying provide? How could we evolve a trait that almost always immediately precedes the death of the person exhibiting it?
2012-10-08 03:20:58 PM  
1 votes:

nmemkha: You miss my point. They dismiss anything that does not meet the current scientific definition of "truth". None I have met are willing to consider anything spiritual. Further, this very thread started off with comment mocking religion.


Finally a statement I would like to address.

"Spiritual"

I'm a non-theist. I believe in no "greater power" and that anything unexplainable has an explanation...just not yet. I also believe that if someone is helped by their "beliefs" then why stop that? Sure, help correct behavior, but belief? That's personal and is like telling a gay person to stop being gay. No argument will change what it is.

That being said, let's talk about "spiritual". We have recently been shown (well, to me) that there are 12 particles which exist. There is no denying it, it exists. They say also, that we know only three are required to create matter; the stuff we see, breathe, smell, taste, etc. on a daily basis.

My question is this: What do the other 9 do?

Maybe what we need to do is stop fighting over words that are not defined. Perhaps "god" exists as part of life; not a sentient being but more of a "fact of life"; an undefined set of scientific parameters which cause the triggering of specific actions in life.

And, when we can't define why we do something, we chalk it up to a "god" or "higher power" when, in fact, we are doing exactly what nature has set us to do.

I don't know. It's not even a good theory, but it's just as viable as there being a "god". Are you willing to admit that "god" could simply be the same thing scientists are looking for but may turn out to be a completely different ideal than the traditional religious person believes?

Every day we learn more and more. Spiritualists keep saying we're moving further and further away from god but what if we're not? What if we're finally starting to prove that god actually exists...just not in the way the religious think?

But my questions are rhetorical, of course. I would never want to take away your belief system as that is a part of makes you who you are.

But I'm willing to consider there is a "god" as long as we can agree on the definition together.
2012-10-08 03:19:05 PM  
1 votes:
From following this for the past few years, I'm actually surprised to see it in Newsweek. The next post may be a bit long but oh well.

1) Why would you even begin to lie about this? A profit motive for a book from a guy who has been published in neuroscience journals and has a respected career in his field? What's the point? Most of your peers would scoff at you if not outright think you are insane. You would also be taking a gamble of being considered a lunatic or a liar, considering how easy it is to gather information on individuals and everything else on the 'net. Besides, the guy has been working on the book for a couple of years and if he is of scientific worth, I would naturally assume he would wanting to do this for his own personal investigation on why this actually happened.

2) He his situation was unique since most NDEs seem to occur during cardiac arrest, drowning, or severe physical trauma. This is one of the first times it appears to have happened meningitis, which specifically attacks the spine and brain. And apparently it was a pretty rare form of it too. Of anything having to do with neuroscience, consciousness and the afterlife, this is an important incident.

3) NDEs are still one of the front-lines of filter/transmission theory of the mind (and in contract with the generally accepted materialistic reductionist view of mind = brain) and of survival after bodily death. For every explanation that comes, must are shot down pretty decidedly (but always leave room for debate/error) and the only one that has ever come remotely close is DMT, but even then there are vast differences (DMT experiences are usually perceived as being an experience that was caused by the DMT and an "illusion"/distorted reality, where NDEs are usually described as being "realer than real"/hyper-reality and stick with the one who experiences it as something that is more real than anything they ever have or will experience in their lives). They usually experience a higher quality of life, a universal acceptance of everyone, a sharply-reduced fear of death, and a increased curiosity of knowledge (The only main person I can think that experienced one who didn't think of it as a spiritual experience was Susan Blackmore).

4) In two of the interviews Alexander did with Skeptiko.com, he goes into detail about everything that happened. He also had some information on his site (that may be in the book, and you have to dig for it since it was on a Q/A) where he basically indicates that based on his condition and his + his colleges understanding of neuroscience, this absolutely shouldn't have happened. At all. And he goes how/where he was spiritually during that time (basically Christian in name only, but didn't really believe or care about it at all). What amazes me about the arguments on here are based because the guy said he was Christian-ish but barely but his NDE didn't include Jesus/Judeo-Christian God so why would that have anything to do with his experience? Howard Storm was pretty much a pre-Fark/Reddit atheist who had a negative NDE where he went to Hell. Was his invalidated as well? This negative banter is coming from people who if Pat Robertson took over for Hitchens as the fourth horsemen of Atheism, they would be dancing in the streets and who post pictures of Carl Sagan talking about anything and everything like the dude willed reality into existence himself.

5) If people are going to spout off about this stuff, please learn about it. I would suggest Skeptiko.com (a bit preachy and out in left field sometimes, but the forums are good sources of information) as a decent starting point. I don't believe everything about mediums and past lives and all of that, but this stuff is actually extremely interesting. I'll go on record about believing NDEs are real experiences as science hasn't shown me convincing, indisputable evidence on why they are just made up by the brain.
2012-10-08 03:13:30 PM  
1 votes:
Sounds like he may have likely experienced a large dose of DMT released by his brain in order to help him cope with the process of dying.
2012-10-08 03:12:34 PM  
1 votes:
"You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever."

"You have nothing to fear."

"There is nothing you can do wrong."


Clearly no need to ask for her FARK handle; she's never posted here.

/CSB

I had a brief near-death experience after my heart stopped during a heart attack. Very cool. Nothing to far about death; it's the getting there that can be a terror.
2012-10-08 02:57:18 PM  
1 votes:

BraveNewCheneyWorld: Farking Canuck: From a scientific point of view the only thing we know is that we are always wrong to some degree or another.

I guess the only thing science knows for certain is what beliefs you yourself cherish most deeply.


I'll ignore the rest as it all boiled down to "Nuh uh ... you're a poopy pants".

Here you explicitly take my statement that a core concept in science is that we do not know anything for sure and twist it to suggest that we have beliefs that we "cherish most deeply".

Do you have a whole construction crew to help you build strawmen that big??

I will type real slowly for you here:

Nobody is claiming that your magic place isn't real. We are trying to explain that there is no evidence, including this man's anecdote, to support your claim that it is real.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim that there is a magic, invisible world in the sky we go to when we die is extraordinary. The evidence is not only "not extraordinary" it is, for all intents and purposes, non-existent.

Refusing to accept an unsupported claim is reasonable and logical no matter what that claim is. If you want to have blind faith then go ahead ... just don't pretend it is anything else or you will get called on it.
2012-10-08 02:41:44 PM  
1 votes:
mynamebackwards: "It could've happened just before he slipped into a coma,"

That'd be my guess. Anyone who's had a dream knows that dream-time doesn't conform to real time, so there's no reason he'd need 7 days of coma to experience 7 days of 'heaven'.
Similarly, anyone who's had a dream knows how difficult it is to recall them clearly (without using your conscious mind to fill gaps) as time passes. If this guy dictated seven days-worth of detailed diary entries immediately upon waking, he'd have a better claim. But by his own admission he took days and weeks to 'recall' what he experienced. Whereupon his conscious mind has plenty of time to 'come to terms with' (i.e. invent a narrative for) his descriptions of phenomena that sound to me like a supercut of drug trip descriptions.
2012-10-08 02:30:49 PM  
1 votes:

nmemkha: None I have met are willing to consider anything spiritual.


Maybe you shouldn't expect them to consider nonsense terms. "Spirituality" and "spiritual" are weasel-words that aren't consistently defined. They fit whatever container the speaker wants to put them in.
2012-10-08 02:30:11 PM  
1 votes:

nmemkha: It was a question. All of the Atheists I have met act the way I describe (including you btw) and he countered those are "assholes". I have yet personally meet an Atheist who doesn't act in this manner so described so I asked if their was a difference. My question was snarky but also legitimate.

I guess you answered question.


i think there's a bit of confirmation bias at play here mate.
2012-10-08 02:19:09 PM  
1 votes:

nmemkha: This is my original statement. Please explain how I am acting as I described.


You're making a blanket statement painting a sector of the population that you know is part of your audience as assholes. You're presenting it bluntly as if it's factual, and you're probably doing it explicitly to get a rise out of people. This pretty much makes you an asshole, on the same part of the spectrum as concern trolls.
2012-10-08 02:12:04 PM  
1 votes:

nmemkha: It was a question. All of the Atheists I have met act the way I describe (including you btw) and he countered those are "assholes". I have yet personally meet an Atheist who doesn't act in this manner so described so I asked if their was a difference. My question was snarky but also legitimate.


You know what the other constant in all of those situations is? It's entirely possible that you bring up religion in such a confrontational manner that you get the reaction you seem to be expecting, and are probably aiming for.
2012-10-08 02:08:51 PM  
1 votes:

me texan: ...are you so afraid of something you cannot believe or so angry that you don't want to let people find calming words about their own death, even if it is misguided? What's the harm in letting others have their own beliefs, even you must acknowledge that after death it wont matter and wont change the outcome of their beliefs they hold while alive?


Simply put, because they expect to be able to legislate MY life according to their superstition. In extreme cases, they (Arab Muslims, Repub-wiccans) expect to be able to subjugate entire genders of individuals (women) according to their superstitions.

Now let me ask you a question: If your "ghod" is real, why would "he" hide "his" existence? Faith? Seems to me that having faith in "his" goodness and omnipotence would be even more of a test, were the question of "his" existence answered in the positive. According to the book that's bandied about here in the U.S, "he" is the penultimate negligent parent, leaving Adam and Eve alone with Satan (or one of his agents, according to which sub-set of christian you are,) and then blaming them for the results of their ignorance, coupled with the subterfuge of "his" enemy, and his own neglect. Not only punishing them, but all of humanity.

Some "ghod". Why worship a "deity" with such a problem with personal responsibility? What sentence in any gospel begins, "When Jesus' workday was ended..."?

If you god claims to be "The Truth", why hide? Do you not know what hiding the truth is called?

"Lying".

And there went your whole house of cards...
2012-10-08 01:50:06 PM  
1 votes:
In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.

Temporarily leaving aside the discussions of "narrow-minded skepticism" and "profit motive," I'm kind of surprised that nobody has taken issue with this statement in and of itself. This neurosurgeon is claiming that his "experience" took place while his neocortex was "inactive," which is a claim that I see no reason to take at face value. The fact that he's alive and functional now means that his neocortex eventually "reactivated," and I can't imagine that the swelling in his brain dissipated instantaneously, or that his brain function actually came online all at once, (regardless of the way he describes simply "opening his eyes.")

The fact that his neocortex was "turned off" for some period during his hospital stay does not prove that his out-of-body experience occurred during the same time period. I did not see that addressed anywhere in the article. Details are important, people.
2012-10-08 01:45:10 PM  
1 votes:
www.thedailybeast.comimg245.imageshack.us
The doctor in question and his companion.

FTFA: For most of my journey, someone else was with me. A woman. She was young, and I remember what she looked like in complete detail. She had high cheekbones and deep-blue eyes. Golden brown tresses framed her lovely face.  

I'm sorry, doctor, slashie fan-fiction doesn't really cut it as science. Unless it's C3P0/Chewie
2012-10-08 01:41:59 PM  
1 votes:
For those crowing about how atheists are close minded and lash out when their world views are in question because of "proof" such as this... there is NO proof here. None. Dude wants to tell his story fine. It is indeed interesting but don't claim it as proof of anything. You cannot change the definition of a word to suit your own selfish agenda.

Go be oppressed somewhere else.
2012-10-08 01:41:46 PM  
1 votes:
How does he know that any of these thoughts/experiences occurred during the time he was mostly braindead? Haven't you ever had a dream that seemed to last all night only to discover you've woken up just an hour or two after falling asleep? Who's to say a huge jumble of thoughts weren't released when he was going into the coma or coming out of it and he just thought he was having experiences?

Stories like these make me more intrigued to understand our brains better rather than make me more likely to believe in any kind of religious afterlife.
2012-10-08 01:38:27 PM  
1 votes:
I look forward to a multi-locational, double-blind experiment, with a significant number of subjects, to replicate these findings.
2012-10-08 01:28:52 PM  
1 votes:
webspace.ship.edu
2012-10-08 01:26:05 PM  
1 votes:
Let's see, we have a bunch of atheists who cannot even consider the possibility that they might be wrong, and therefore dismiss every confirmed fact known about the neocortex, saying "we just don't know how the brain works", even though that's been a well established fact for some time now. The hilarious thing is that you people are so quick to throw out science and say "the jury's still out" when your world view is challenged.. You know who else throws out well established science when their world view is challenged? Yep, you people aren't any better than a young earth creationist. I'm not saying his testimony is irrefutable proof that there is an afterlife, but anyone who dismisses it based on this reasoning doesn't occupy higher ground than a creationist.
2012-10-08 01:24:29 PM  
1 votes:

ELF Radio: RAAAARGH SHUT UP ALL YOU WEAK, SNIVELING BABIES WHO THINK LIFE HAS MEANING OR SOME GAY SHIAT LIKE THAT. WE ARE ANIMAL-MACHINES THAT SPRANG INEXPLICABLY FROM NOTHING AND WE EAT AND FARK AND DIE AND THAT IS ALL. NOTHING ELSE EXISTS AND ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHER WISE IS A LAME DICK WHO CANT DEAL WITH REALITY.

WHY DONT YOU FAIRIES GO BECOME REPUBLICANS AND VOTE FOR MITT ROMENY IF YOU BELIEVE THIS NANCY QUEER AND HIS HALLUCINATROY BULLSHIAT.


All CAPS strawman == weapon's grade stupidity == welcome to ignore
2012-10-08 01:22:32 PM  
1 votes:

xanadian: FTFA: In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated

So...PART of the brain, not the WHOLE brain.

Got it.


There is some scientific interest here: the part of his brain that shut down is the part that, according to our current understanding, should have been responsible for experiences like this. That doesn't necessarily mean his interpretation of what happened is correct, of course. But it does mean that we've missed something: if what he saw was a dream (which I think it was), then something can give rise to dreams which we hadn't considered. That has implications for neuroscience.
2012-10-08 01:20:36 PM  
1 votes:

nmemkha: I find Atheists interesting. They dismiss anything that does not fit their narrow worldview out-of-hand and are generally mocking and condescending to the views of others.


If the faithful just kept their moronic beliefs to themselves and didn't try to control every facet of other people's lives maybe we wouldn't need to shout you down so much.
2012-10-08 01:19:26 PM  
1 votes:
So your "higher" brain was "dead" but you make no mention of the hindbrain or the limbic system and those seem to be unaffected by your infection so one wonders if you left those facts out of your story on purpose because, politician jokes aside, they are billions of life forms on this planet that live very active lives with those primitive brains, so this story really seems to proves is that humans knowledge of how the brain really function is limited.

Still a neat story, religious fanatics can take this as proof there is heaven, and those in the neuroscience should not dismiss since clearly the seeds of human consciousness lie in places beyond the cortex.
2012-10-08 01:11:05 PM  
1 votes:
blah blah blah...

new book
cdn.thedailybeast.com
blah blah blah..
2012-10-08 01:09:40 PM  
1 votes:

nmemkha: I find Atheists interesting. They dismiss anything that does not fit their narrow worldview out-of-hand and are generally mocking and condescending to the views of others.


uh - no, those people are called assholes.
2012-10-08 01:09:08 PM  
1 votes:
This guys opinion is that a certain part of my brain was inoperable thus consciousness was impossible. Its probably not quite that black and white. Current scientific knowledge of the brain just isn't quite there yet.
2012-10-08 01:07:42 PM  
1 votes:
I remember my experience perfectly. I knew that I was in a calm, peaceful place, but nothing quite like what we think of calm and peaceful on Earth. I knew I was happy, but again, it wasn't like any happiness I had felt before. This happiness was on another level, a level that is indescribable until you feel it. I wandered around for what seemed like days taking in the beauty that surrounded me. Angelic beings carried me to these vast, gorgeous gardens. I could see music in the air. The greatest pieces ever composed were nothing compared to the richness of the melodies of the afterlife. And then a being came to me, instantly recognizable as "God" or whomever one chooses as their God. He looked at me with the most caring eyes, and spoke in a voice more soothing than anything I could humanly comprehend. He asked me if I was scared, and I said I wasn't. He asked me why I was here, and I could not answer. Then he asked me if I wanted to go back. How could anyone truthfully say yes? This place was more perfect than perfect could be. And yet, I had this inner turmoil inside me. Just one little fight inside myself, and my mind got scared, and I said, "I'll move in with my auntie and uncle in Bel Air."
2012-10-08 01:04:41 PM  
1 votes:
I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.

You know how I know he isn't a scientist?


Hint: One personal subjective experience is NEVER a basis for science.
2012-10-08 01:02:21 PM  
1 votes:
i can only hope that my brother went to that place a year and a month ago.
i can only hope i get to see him there when i am done.
Slu
2012-10-08 01:01:56 PM  
1 votes:
*cough*bullshiat*cough*
2012-10-08 01:01:28 PM  
1 votes:
I wonder if he would have seen something different during that time if he was not a Christian.
2012-10-08 12:58:46 PM  
1 votes:
The brain tries to make sense of the data it receives. The result is always a subjective experience even while awake.
We are not souls observing a single universe through the windows of our eyes.
We are billions of brains developing billions of imperfect models from the incomplete reports of our senses.
2012-10-08 12:57:23 PM  
1 votes:
There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind-my conscious, inner self-was alive and well.

Obviously, then, it must be magic.
2012-10-08 12:57:05 PM  
1 votes:
I know how pronouncements like mine sound to skeptics, so I will tell my story with the logic and language of the scientist I am.
[...]
According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent.
[...]
Higher than the clouds-immeasurably higher-flocks of transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long, streamerlike lines behind them.
[...]
Everything was distinct, yet everything was also a part of everything else, like the rich and intermingled designs on a Persian carpet ... or a butterfly's wing.


Yeah...thanks for that coherent and scientific account, doc.
2012-10-08 12:54:56 PM  
1 votes:
I remember heaven. She was a petite blonde with eyes the color of a spring morning. She had freckles on her nose and an infectious smile. She is the one I will always regret losing, the one that haunts my dreams and makes me melancholy even on the brightest day. I remember heaven.
2012-10-08 12:54:54 PM  
1 votes:
Has there ever been a neurosurgeon who said "We know absolutely everything about the brain"? Nice story and all but we don't know enough about the brain to know that you couldn't possibly have been dreaming of some sort.
2012-10-08 12:50:42 PM  
1 votes:
I had the exact same experience where i realized that the whole universe was less than a speck. It happened in a second. I was tripping balls
2012-10-08 12:48:25 PM  
1 votes:
Newsweek: Just Throwing Some Shiat on a Wall and Seeing What Will Stick.
2012-10-08 12:46:54 PM  
1 votes:

xanadian: Ya know, I had always thought of the brain as little more than our own personal radio. It picks up transmissions from what we call "our soul" and interprets them in such a way that it manifests as what we think of as reality. Just because the radio's switched off (or run over because you left it out on the driveway while washing your car, then never bothered to pick it up before running it over) doesn't mean the transmissions aren't still there, nor that the signal isn't stored in some other way for future retrieval.

However, one doctor's anecdote does not constitute proof of anything, really, either my POV or anyone else's. We also may find that the "human" part of our brain is NOT the seat of consciousness, but it rests elsewhere, or it's a synergistic effect of many different parts of the brain.

The jury's still out.


Where are the new souls coming from?
2012-10-08 10:51:53 AM  
1 votes:

xanadian: The thing that grabbed me was how everything in this "heaven" could be easily related to how we perceive things here (minus the whole insta-thought thing). Not until he described the void with nothing human or Earthly or "heaven-like" did it start to sound plausible. I can't believe that if there is an afterlife, that it would be ANYTHING like what we perceive now.


Well fwiw the Buddhists explain this by saying it is our emotional attachment to terrestrial experience that shapes the way we perceive these phenomena. They call this illusion "Samsara" and it is one of the goals of Buddhism to break our attachment to Samsara so that when we die we can move beyond our limited human vision and evolve into the multi-dimensional beings we truly are.
2012-10-08 10:32:15 AM  
1 votes:

Mugato: /how come no one has near death experiences of Hell, anyway?


Because *that* is truly an invention of man, meant to keep us under the thumbs of the ruling elite.
2012-10-08 10:10:46 AM  
1 votes:

Kyro: [i1.kym-cdn.com image 200x200]

Jesus, Aliens, whatever. A lack of evidence or understanding is not evidence of magic.


It's an appeal to his own authority.

Personally, an answer to this, the greatest mystery, would just end up being something that diminishes what it means to be human.
2012-10-08 09:42:02 AM  
1 votes:

xanadian: one doctor's anecdote does not constitute proof of anything

2012-10-08 09:36:21 AM  
1 votes:

Babwa Wawa: xanadian: The jury's still out.

Well, yeah. If one has "proof" of something or another, then one no long needs "faith" in order to believe in it.

The whole "life after death" obsession strikes me as silly and indicative of perpetual juvenility.

You're not going to know jack sh*t until you are dead. Dead-dead, not "turned-off dead". Anyone claiming certainty on the matter is either delusional or a charlatan. When you've got a book deal like TFA, I'm banking on the latter.


The thing that grabbed me was how everything in this "heaven" could be easily related to how we perceive things here (minus the whole insta-thought thing). Not until he described the void with nothing human or Earthly or "heaven-like" did it start to sound plausible. I can't believe that if there is an afterlife, that it would be ANYTHING like what we perceive now.
 
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