This excellent article on facts about near death experience
comes from our friend, Dr. Piero Parisetti.
It provides solid materialist arguments against medical explanations for NDEs (such as hallucinations, fantasy, oxygen deprivation, etc).
Research has shown us real facts
about near death experience. It is not a fantasy.
Critics say that the life after life experience is an invention. That people just fantasize. That they imagine such things because everyone has heard of these experiences. That there are tons of books on the subject and even a couple of Hollywood movies. Data say otherwise: NDE reports are not limited to the modern world. In fact, descriptions of the life after life experience – often using exactly the same words as we hear today – can be found in the literature of ancient Greece and Mesopotamia, some 25 centuries ago. Furthermore, children as young as three or four report experiences which are essentially identical to the ones reported by adults. That in itself invalidates the “fantasy” explanation.
But how can people fantasize anything at all when their brains are out?
Ignoring the key question, the skeptics march on and claim that NDEs are projections of what people expect to see in a hypothetical afterlife, or what they want to see. Here again, research shows that NDEs are not correlated with age, race, sexual orientation or economic status. The likelihood, depth and content of the NDE are not correlated with pre-existing religious beliefs. Religious beliefs only appear to influence how one component of the experience (meeting superior/spiritual beings) is described. Although there certainly are individual differences amongst experiencers, globally NDEs truly appear as a universal experience.
The point remains, however, again: how would people project anything at all when their brains are out?
More ignoring of the bottom line question, and more “explanations” by the skeptics: NDEs are just hallucinations produced by a dying brain.
Looking at the evidence, we discover these facts about near death experience:
. Hallucinations are usually illogical, fleeting, bizarre, and/or distorted, whereas the vast majority of NDEs are logical, orderly, clear, and comprehensible.
. People tend to forget their hallucinations, whereas most NDEs remain vivid for decades.
. NDEs often lead to profound and permanent transformations in personality, attitudes, beliefs and values, something that is never seen following hallucinations.
. People looking back on hallucinations typically recognize them as unreal, as fantasies, whereas, people often describe their NDEs as “more real than real.”
. Finally, people who have experienced both hallucinations and an NDE describe them as being quite different.
. Finally… how could people hallucinate anything at all when their brains are out?
The next most popular skeptic explanation for the life after life experience is that the phenomenon is caused by falling levels of oxygen in the brain - what is technically known as hypoxia. In reality, this is a daft explanation, as the symptoms of hypoxia have nothing to do with the content of a near death experience. Secondly, and most importantly, physicians have compared oxygen levels of cardiac arrest survivors who did and did not have NDEs and their findings discredit the anoxia hypothesis. In fact, in one study, the NDErs had higher oxygen levels than non-NDErs.
The key question remains... how can people experience symptoms of hypoxia when their brains are out?
Another explanation looks at the blood levels of another gas, carbon dioxide. As breathing stops and oxygen levels go down, carbon dioxide levels go up. This is called hypercarbia. There are several problems with this hypothesis:
1) Some symptoms of hypercarbia are very similar to a near-death experience, but others are absolutely not.
2) Carbon dioxide levels in the blood of patients under resuscitation are closely monitored. No ICU team would allow a significant build-up. In one study, whilst having an NDE, a patient had even a lower than normal concentration of CO2 in his blood.
The eternal question remains: how would people experience hypercarbia symptoms when they have no functioning brain?
A more sophisticated tentative explanation says that the NDE is similar to a seizure – an epileptic fit – particularly of the temporal lobe. In this respect, let’s see what Ernst Rodin, professor of neurology at Wayne State University in the US had to say: “The hallmarks and nuclear components of NDEs are a sensation of peace and even bliss, the knowledge of having died and, as a result, being no longer limited to the physical body. In spite of having seen hundreds of patients with temporal lobe seizures during three decades of professional life, I have never come across that symptomology as part of seizure.”
I am not asking the key question again…
Let me then draw conclusions from this brief review of the attempts to provide a materialist explanation of the NDE, and formulate the third key statement of my logical argument.
- Each and every one of the mechanisms proposed so far to explain Near-Death Experiences (fantasy, projections, hallucinations, hypoxia, hypercarbia and temporal lobe seizures) is incompatible with empirical data. More fundamentally, all of them would require a functioning brain in order to produce the experience.