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(Newsweek)   Neurosurgeon who says he saw Heaven during near-death experience responds to critics, insists he's a "deep believer in science" despite special pleading for experience during least reliable mental state short of death   (thedailybeast.com) divider line 162
    More: Followup, Nobel Prize in Physics, cerebral cortex, imaging science, modern physics, Heisenberg, proof, bacterial meningitis, physical environment  
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2615 clicks; posted to Geek » on 25 Nov 2012 at 7:40 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-26 02:29:24 AM
I actually read the book. Basically he had zero brain function so some things mentioned here like a DMT flood he discounted since that would only work if the part of his brain that responds to that was also working. He goes through a list of possible things that could cause it and rules them out based on his knowledge as a neurosurgeon. He also goes into a coma in the first place after being infected in a 1 in ten million chance and then survives six days of being comatose which is several days longer than they would normally try to keep you alive considering the raging out of control infection and the fact that it is almost a total certainty that you will be a vegetable if you do survive the entire ordeal.

He manages to not only survive it but to not lose any functionality to the point where he resumes treating patients and performing surgeries again. The guy is a highly educated specialist doctor and surgeon who was worked at places like Harvard etc. His resume is really bulletproof. To say he is writing the book for money makes little sense when you consider he most likely earns a fortune as a brain surgeon. He also wasn't much of a believer or church goer before the experience but started up afterwards. He admits to being a kind of atheist but in the passive way a doctor would who is convinced he knows about all the biology and functioning of the human body and when you are dead your truly all done.

One of the things he does after he recovers is starts a scientific inquiry into the phenomenon and funds a kind of information collection and review operation so its not like he just runs for the ghost writer and waits for a payday. I found the book to be very interesting and thought provoking and if you are inclined to take the word of a pilot who sees a UFO from the cockpit of a jet over a drunk in a bass boat who claims to be abducted by aliens you have to admit that he makes probably the most compelling written account of NDEs ever made. He is able to tie all of it together with his medical experience in a way nobody else has ever been able to do and frankly I believe the guy.

/yeah I said it.
 
2012-11-26 02:49:12 AM

Running Wild: ecmoRandomNumbers: That bowtie, although not proof, is compelling evidence that this guy is a douche.

 
Are you sure about that?


OK, clearly I haven't thought this all the way through. I would have Bill Nye's babies if I could.
 
2012-11-26 04:10:17 AM

Schroedinger's Glory Hole: Most hallucinations of this nature occur under the conditions of hypoxia (All those religious folks some of you like to take the word of as gospel tripped balls climbing too high up a mountain) or a premature release of endogenous dimethyltryptamine or a combination of both. Nothing to see here folks.


That's completely unfair. I'm sure that some of them were tripping balls from eating ergot or something similar..
 
2012-11-26 04:14:07 AM

Son of Byrne: threeoclockrock: let me help you atheist blowhards out.

thought requires relationships between neurons built on Biochemical activity.

Biochemical activity is built from particle physics. Particles have to have a relationship with one another in order to interact.

Where do particles come from? And why should they have relationships with one another?

Our best guess is from another dimension... String theory -or the multiverse via the other side of a singularity... but they are unscientific, but creative guesses built from mathematical models without a known way to measure them.

For all we know, the source of particles is Heaven.

Ok, but aren't you just telling us what we don't know? To state it differently, "For all we know, the source of particles is Hell."

Neither statement accomplishes anything.


For all we know, the source of particles is a huge amount of time, quantum randomness, and a local peculiarity where anti particles repel normal matter when they clump together.

But of course that makes less sense than heaven to some people ....

ecmoRandomNumbers: Running Wild: ecmoRandomNumbers: That bowtie, although not proof, is compelling evidence that this guy is a douche.

 
Are you sure about that?

OK, clearly I haven't thought this all the way through. I would have Bill Nye's babies if I could.


Hey!

Bowties are cool.
 
2012-11-26 07:01:58 AM

Mjeck: What is the evolutionary advantage to believing/experiencing an afterlife/god??


None. Evolution weeds out such mistakes. See: Middle East
 
2012-11-26 09:14:11 AM
Supposedly, there is a second book coming out that is based more in the science realm of his experience that gives a lot of detail about his position and the various explanations of NDEs and how they dont fit with his experience. I believe its coming out sometime next year.

The interesting thing about NDEs and some OBEs are that for all the scientific explanations that people try to throw at them, none of them completely explain why this is happening. Most of them are best-guesses (evolutionary comfort of dying, a random shutdown of the brain) or half-explanations that don't fully explain why or explain the experience (DMT dumps, lack of oxygen, etc). They are also the most significant and life changing experiences of these peoples lives. They remember them in full detail, never forget them, and they alter people's attitudes and perceptions about pretty much everything once they have experienced it. Even materialists (atheists isn't the right word, since you can believe in spirits and consciousness after death and not believe in a god) tend to change views after having one. The only famous ones I know of that didn't were Susan Blackmore and A.J. Ayers.

There is something behind all of this, and we may find out about it soon enough. However, dismissing it because of some half-ass explanation like a DMT dump is being intellectually dumb.
 
2012-11-26 09:35:09 AM

dready zim: Son of Byrne: threeoclockrock: let me help you atheist blowhards out.

thought requires relationships between neurons built on Biochemical activity.

Biochemical activity is built from particle physics. Particles have to have a relationship with one another in order to interact.

Where do particles come from? And why should they have relationships with one another?

Our best guess is from another dimension... String theory -or the multiverse via the other side of a singularity... but they are unscientific, but creative guesses built from mathematical models without a known way to measure them.

For all we know, the source of particles is Heaven.

Ok, but aren't you just telling us what we don't know? To state it differently, "For all we know, the source of particles is Hell."

Neither statement accomplishes anything.

For all we know, the source of particles is a huge amount of time, quantum randomness, and a local peculiarity where anti particles repel normal matter when they clump together.

But of course that makes less sense than heaven to some people ....



you still are not dealing with the question. Where does it all come from? Why should there be anything at all?

I'm not trying to make a case for Heaven.. I'm just saying we don't know enough to rule anything out.
 
2012-11-26 12:36:48 PM

threeoclockrock: dready zim: Son of Byrne: threeoclockrock: let me help you atheist blowhards out.

thought requires relationships between neurons built on Biochemical activity.

Biochemical activity is built from particle physics. Particles have to have a relationship with one another in order to interact.

Where do particles come from? And why should they have relationships with one another?

Our best guess is from another dimension... String theory -or the multiverse via the other side of a singularity... but they are unscientific, but creative guesses built from mathematical models without a known way to measure them.

For all we know, the source of particles is Heaven.

Ok, but aren't you just telling us what we don't know? To state it differently, "For all we know, the source of particles is Hell."

Neither statement accomplishes anything.

For all we know, the source of particles is a huge amount of time, quantum randomness, and a local peculiarity where anti particles repel normal matter when they clump together.

But of course that makes less sense than heaven to some people ....



you still are not dealing with the question. Where does it all come from? Why should there be anything at all?

I'm not trying to make a case for Heaven.. I'm just saying we don't know enough to rule anything out.


Not ruling things out is all fine and dandy. The problem arises when "not ruling it out" becomes "my religion is the only correct one and we need to base public policy one it; therefore, no gays, no abortions, no women's health care, religious wars need to be started, we need to mandate prayer in public schools, evolution can't be taught and creationism must be taught in high school, global warming isn't real, and we need to back Israel no matter what."

/I may have forgotten some.
//For select brands of religion only.
 
2012-11-26 12:44:30 PM

deanayer: To say he is writing the book for money makes little sense when you consider he most likely earns a fortune as a brain surgeon.


Then why sell it?

To understand this followup article and the original excerpt in Newsweek, you must understand that they are basically advertisements. Publisher gets free space and Newsweek gets filler it does not have to pay for that seems timely as they are promoting the book all over the place. The followup is his "defense" of his experience and everybody saying that this is not proof of anything like "heaven."

He will need the money as he may have sold out his credibility as a specialist.
 
2012-11-27 11:50:31 AM
Maybe it's merely the product of a electrochemical reaction, or maybe he in fact did "remain fully conscious but journeyed to a stunning world of beauty and peace and unconditional love".

You can't rule anything out unless you know. And you can never know until you pass from the world of the living to either something, or nothing. You can argue, fight and kill each other over it, but that fact remains a constant. The only way you'll ever really know is to die, and that's assuming there's an afterlife. And if there is no afterlife, you won't know, 'cuz you'll be dead.

So really, it's pointless to argue. It is what it is. (or isn't, as the case may be.)
 
2012-11-27 01:23:15 PM

GibbyTheMole: Maybe it's merely the product of a electrochemical reaction, or maybe he in fact did "remain fully conscious but journeyed to a stunning world of beauty and peace and unconditional love".

You can't rule anything out unless you know. And you can never know until you pass from the world of the living to either something, or nothing. You can argue, fight and kill each other over it, but that fact remains a constant. The only way you'll ever really know is to die, and that's assuming there's an afterlife. And if there is no afterlife, you won't know, 'cuz you'll be dead.

So really, it's pointless to argue. It is what it is. (or isn't, as the case may be.)

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

― Isaac Asimov

"you don't get to put your unreason on the same shelf as my reason"
― Bill Maher

Not trying to go all Bevets here with the quotes (at least these are as the authors intended them) but they both are reaching for the same point. Just because we cannot say our current knowledge is 100% for sure ... this does not mean that your can throw in completely unsupported theories into the hat and say "these are just as good as yours".

So ... can we know for sure? No. Can we look at all the evidence and see what is likely and what is not likely? Yes. Most definitely. And what is not likely is the idea that his brain was is reliable source of evidence for the period when it was 'dead'.
 
2012-11-27 06:24:23 PM
Farking Canuck

"So ... can we know for sure? No. Can we look at all the evidence and see what is likely and what is not likely? Yes. Most definitely. And what is not likely is the idea that his brain was is reliable source of evidence for the period when it was 'dead'."

You & I pretty much agree. I'm just more neutral about it. As an agnostic, I shrug my shoulders & say "eh". And I don't worry about it. I'm not a fan of organized religion, though.
 
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