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My thoughts:

1. The discrepancies don't look good, but they don't sound like a debunking, either. At this point, he sounds misinformed about his condition as opposed to lying about it. Who knows, perhaps fudging about it a bit.

2. It sounded before, and sounds even more now that he had one or more OBEs and not an NDE, especially if the doc says he was "conscious but delirious."

I would say, don't call it an NDE unless the heart is stopped or blood flow to the brain is otherwise cut off. (Are there exceptions, such as people who believe they're about to die? Yes. But they are pretty rare.) I would be especially hesitant to call any state resulting from anesthesia, a coma, or a sickness (fever, etc.) an NDE. That means you too, Nanci Danison!

OBEs are great experiences too! But they are not NDEs and have different features. Let's not muddy the waters.

3. Unless he was totally lying, Alexander still had a very compelling story to tell. The fact that he was an atheist and had experience in medical matters could have (did?) make for a strong appeal. But even the slightest amount of inaccuracy can destroy credibility in such matters.

4. We all knew that eventually people would see NDEs as a way to get attention and make money. That time is here. I've seen a BS book on sale at Costco about a kid who "went to heaven" and came back to tell us fundamentalist Christianity is 100% correct.

5. For this reason and for others, I think NDEs are compelling in the aggregate, merely interesting as individual cases. Sure, some well-documented cases with viridical deteails like that of Pam Reynolds can also carry weight, but those will now disappear or come close to it, as "naive NDErs" will disappear (i.e., even if not accurate, skeptics will say that they knew about NDEs and medical technology beforehand).

It is indeed a very cynical article.

But I think it is a storm in a teacup. Because, the strongest evidence that he was fully in coma, no matter whether it was induced or not, are the CT-scans of his brains, that show how it was enveloped in puss, even inbetween the windings of the brain. In addition, the supply of glucose, i.e. the fuel of the brain, was extremely low.

I think it is a matter of envy with that Potter person.

I've never read Ebans book, but for whatever reason, I could never take his promotional media claims seriously. The word of a man who wears a bow tie so poorly just shouldn't be trusted LOL.

"We all knew that eventually people would see NDEs as a way to get attention and make money. That time is here. I've seen a BS book on sale at Costco about a kid who "went to heaven" and came back to tell us fundamentalist Christianity is 100% correct."

In fairness to the kid, personal beliefs play a large role in NDEs, so perhaps his belief system simply dictated the kind of experience he had. In other words, it may not be BS, just a different mindset at work. I haven't read the book, though.

I have a feeling that that kid was pressured by his father to give an account that aligns with fundamentalist Christianity.

I agree wholeheartedly with you, Matt, that many now see NDEs as a money-making scheme, Alexander certainly became very wealthy from his.

I have a question for those interested. Can one have an NDE during a concussion? A few years ago, I hit my head very badly, and was out for about a half hour. During that time, I had an odd experience - I saw a deceased loved one behind a very short stone wall trying to get my attention. Even though the stone wall was only about a foot high, I understood somehow that this was the line between life and death. And yet I don't see that how I was close to death, although my face was hurt pretty bad and I had a woozy feeling, typical of concussions, for about a month.

An NDE, or something like an NDE, can occur in many circumstances, including cases where a person is not really close to death. Mountain climbers who suffer falls but survive by landing in snow banks sometimes report NDE-like episodes. They believed they were going to die, but typically emerged unscathed. Some people refer to these cases as "fear-death experiences."

I think the terminology of NDE, OBE, etc. probably masks the fact that all these experiences are similar and closely related. There are many reasons why the spirit (or astral body, or consciousness, etc.) might loosen its attachments with the physical body and explore other realities. I see no reason why a concussion couldn't bring about such an experience.

Nancy Evans-Bush has a great response to the whole mess on the NHNE Pulse site:
http://nhne-pulse.org/nancy-evans-bush-on-the-controversy-surrounding-dr-eben-alexander/

"An NDE, or something like an NDE, can occur in many circumstances, including cases where a person is not really close to death."

I'm gonna take that thought a step further. NDEs are so strange and rich in so many ways, that even if none of them occurred anywhere in the proximity of death, their existence would still require us to revise our opinion about what is and is not possible.

But the fact that they generally *do* occur when the body stops functioning (or nearly stops)? Well--what a coincidence.

Interesting link rabbitdawg.

Bruce,

||I'm gonna take that thought a step further. NDEs are so strange and rich in so many ways, that even if none of them occurred anywhere in the proximity of death, their existence would still require us to revise our opinion about what is and is not possible.||

I think this is absolutely true. And I think there is a whole spectrum of connected experiences that includes dreams.

I think we should be careful about what we call an "NDE," however (not that you were saying otherwise). The fact that an experience is happening when it "shouldn't" according to materialists has value in the debate that should not be diluted.

Thanks Rabbitdawg for the link to the Nancy Evans-Bush article.

"I think we should be careful about what we call an "NDE," however (not that you were saying otherwise). The fact that an experience is happening when it "shouldn't" according to materialists has value in the debate that should not be diluted."

That's a good point. And the opposite is true, too: if these experiences *never* happened around the time of death, we might do well to wonder why.

And yes, names are important. Which is why death-independent terms like mystical and holotropic can be so useful (as you yourself have pointed out.)

It is a blessing that the soul is only loosely attached to the body. It means that we don't have to sit inside the physical body until it is good and rotten before the soul is allowed to exit the body.

NDE, OBE, are only words, names that we have given to something we don't entirely understand.

In the Tibetan book of the dead it tells the newly departed spirit to not be afraid of the demons they encounter because they are only projections from their own mind.

Thanks for your thoughts, Michael. The only thing that kept me from not thinking it was an NDE was that I didn't think I was close to dying. Strangely enough, after only a few seconds googling, I came upon an NDE of a woman who also had a concussion and said she encountered a short stone wall, representing the line between life and death, during an NDE. I know there are several people who visit this forum who are experiencing grief, I'd just like to tell them, I was astonished and gladdened to see my deceased loved one, it was very real. So maybe this will give them some hope.

I suppose the term NDE describes the circumstances in which the experience occurs and possibly the trigger for it. I guess any similar experience may have a number of potential triggers, not just being 'near to imminent death'.

In that sense I can't see why it shouldn't be possible to have an NDE-like experience whenever the mind is in the right mode.

Maybe sometimes we are 'near death' without realising it?

Kathleen,

May I ask you.. did you expect to see your
deceased love one and were you conscious or unconscious ?

I hit my head very hard when I fell backwards off a stepladder. I only saw the classic stars circling around in my vision etc however.

Nancy Evans-Bush put her post on the NHNE site first, but now she has it on her own blog. It's essentially the same thing, but in an easier to read setting, plus a few additional remarks. For instance:

(Speaking about Alexander) "The trap is that he has shared, like his ardent NDE followers, in the passionate but naïve dream that if only a person of science claims truth for NDEs, a paradigm will shift and the world will believe."

Yep. I confess to occasionally harboring that fantasy.
Ouch.
http://www.dancingpastthedark.com/hard-times-on-the-prophet-front-eben-alexander-and-his-nde/#comments

About the little boy's NDE (anybody's, really), there's no real reason to doubt that he had an experience, which he would have understood in his own terms, which are Christian.

No problem until he is awake and talking about it. At that point his excited and very fundamentalist family would begin asking leading questions--"Did you see x?" and "Were you in heaven?" and "Did the angels have wings?" kinds of questions requiring stereotypical and doctrine-based answers. And he's four and wants to make them happy. That's when contamination gets into it, and his actual NDE gets lost. One might say 'ambushed.'

"I hit my head very hard when I fell backwards off a stepladder. I only saw the classic stars circling around in my vision etc however"

LOL. I got knocked out the last time I went into the ring (almost 20 years ago, but I'll never forget it). I too saw the classic stars and little tweety birds circling my narrowed field of vision. Just like in the cartoons!

I agree that as NDEs become more well known and a part of pop culture they are losing their evidential value, as Matt Rouge says.

Hi Kathleen.Thank you for your compassion towards those of us who are experiencing grief. I am happy for you that you had that experience.After joining a couple of Spiritualist churches I've had several completely unsatisfactory personal readings from recommended mediums and To my utter disillusionment I've had absolutely no contact or paranormal experience in the 14 months since my wife suicided and I am gradually becoming a complete materialist disbeliever.
Offline and in private I admit to being a complete looney tunes fruit loop. So with respect, because I don't personally know anyone on this or other similar forums, I can't be certain that anyone claiming Paranormal experiences aren't also fruit loops. Therefore and with respect, I take your claim and those of others as just unproven anecdotes as opposed to additional evidence of post mortem survival.

Only consciousness is real. Consciousness is primary and matter is secondary, or as A.J. Ayer, a famous atheist, said to someone after his NDE, "you know it was strange, my thoughts became people."

Duck soup, no, I certainly WASN't expecting to see my deceased love one.

Snorkler, I certainly respect what you're saying and don't expect anyone to believe me. I have a hard time believing other people's claims myself. I don't gain anything at all by relating this experience (no best-selling book in the works, unfortunately), but I did experience it, that I know. You do have my sincere condolences and compassion.

"Only consciousness is real."

But I bet you can't define it. Don't forget that instincts and muscle memory know more about you than your frontal cortex.

"Don't forget that instincts and muscle memory know more about you than your frontal cortex."

Barbara, that depends on what is meant by "you." It's a question of whether you *have* a body, or you *are* a body.

"I am gradually becoming a complete materialist disbeliever."

Maybe that's the path you're supposed rot be on, Snorkler - at least for now. It would be a dull world if everyone agreed on everything. And from my perspective, we choose to incarnate in other to explore various options, including the option of being a complete materialist disbeliever.

"I've had absolutely no contact or paranormal experience in the 14 months"

I seem to recall you had a personally meaningful experience involving (I think) a rare flower. I don't remember the details.

"I don't expect anyone to believe me."

I have no reason to doubt your story, Kathleen. It matches many other reports. Robert Crookall's books (published before NDEs became well known) contain many NDEs and OBEs with features similar to yours. The imagery of a wall or other barrier recurs often. I sometimes wonder if ideas like the River Styx and the Pearly Gates developed as a result of experiences like these.

PMS Atwater has suggested that the aftereffects are what should be used to classify an NDE as an NDE, not the actual closeness to dying or severity of one's medical condition.

I wish more effort would be put into studying the aftereffects of NDEs. I was told by a researcher that 19% of NDErs have reported PK occurrences, roughly 2 in every 10. That same researcher told me that he has never had an NDEr into his lab for PK testing.

Snorkler,

Compassion from me, too. I know you've been through a horrible thing.

It's OK to be a materialist if that's where the evidence leads you. I don't think people here are going to twist your arm on matters, as we are not trying to get people to join a religion or belief system.

One other option is simply to reserve judgment for a bit longer. What I think you would want to avoid happening is not being open to evidence when it finally comes to you (i.e., buying into a materialist worldview and then feeling you have to defend *that*).

Good luck!

Nice to hear from you Snorkler, I think all of us here have been hoping thing are ok your way. x.

We as humans have the habit of lumping ideas like terrorisom, and attributing them to a whole race rather than individuals therein. Much like a concept, which is not an entire philosophy, and therefore not fully, or necessarily wrong.

Like Matt said, reserving judgement is helpful, as aspects of materialism and spiritualism could possibly explain how our universe works, and just the act of keeping an open mind I think is helpful, and a positive way of looking at life and being.

I notice "Seth" suggests that in a dream state the unconscious is free to access that of the spirit who passes, or the universe of non space and time. He suggests we travel, and meet others in this state, free from ego used daily in the static world. And suggests when rested before sleep, to see yourself in the room, and then moving out the door (to travel), or ask for answers you want whilst asleep. Who knows Snorkler, as research suggests many inventions and the knowledge of those have come to inventors whilst asleep. Students are also shown to solidify memory or learn at night and retain it in the brain for exams the next day.

So whilst "Seths" writings may seem gobble de-gook. Such concepts may yet offer up some future 'truth' in meaning.

Here's another little thing I occasionally do. When stuck, I have my little chats and ask for some help from "God". Be careful what you ask for though, it might come in ways you didn't expect.

Recently I went in for a small operation, and not particularly fond of injections, I asked the "consciousness" to just make taking the blood go a bit easier. So here's what happened.

The girl couldn't put the needle in the vein, so she sent me upstairs for another nurse to have a go. She came in and set up the drip tube, so second lot of needles. Then the doctors arrives. "By the way he says, the nurse has just dropped your blood vial, so they will have to come and take another sample". "Great", I thought, so needle number three. What are the chances. I didn't even ask "god' for an explanation, I just knew, having had him/her aggravate situations before when I have asked for help before, I just know it is showing me that I am more than "capable". I think next time, I may go it alone.

Cheers Lyn.

Thankyou Kathleen, Matt and Michael.
I have always appreciated that you all have nothing to gain materially by sharing your experiences. I guess I was reporting the 'state of play' in my spiritual quest.
Yes, unfortunately the flower incidents didn't stand up to closer scrutiny with a more objective attitude. A few weeks later I discovered hundreds of the damn things.They are known as Agopanthas. It turns out they are regarded as a pest here in rural Australia, and the examples that gave me that 'meaningful experience' were just early bloomers.

I'd forget labels. I'd try to remain open minded and gathering evidence from different sources. My own mindset varies a lot depending on mood and how much research I have done recently :)

The advice from Matt to reserve judgement is good IMHO.

Hi Snorkler. Did you attempt to have a reading with a recommended medium that was discussed on this blog? In my experience, Spiritualist church mediums are well meaning but aren't exactly the most viable options for a strong reading.

Is that the irish medium? I've read enough positive results from people on this blog to convince me that she has genuine ability, but I held off from getting a reading myself as I heard that she is, or was, going through a bit of a rough patch in her life and this has had quite an impact on the quality of her readings, with a much higher rate of misses being reported, and a slightly harassed demeanour.

I reckon I'll hold off just now until I hear that normal service has been resumed.

snorkeler, I had no success with spiritualist church mediums. My wife and I investigated some local chapters and were very disappointed.

OTOH, we still feel strongly positive about that particular medium we discussed here a while back.

I suspect a number of us, but I am referring to myself specifically here, the value of this site is sharing ideas and experiences with like minded people. Like others I suspect, I have found that generally people get pretty upset over spiritual ideology and its easier not to go there - even with my closest friends. Which is precisely why the status quo is perpetuated.

Whilst it seems that with experiences like 'a blood vial' being dropped is not out of the normal. Having being pulled out of a chair by an unknown force, had spirits turn up in full form etc, I am more likely to err on the spiritual side than others.

Having said that, I also think "well people do drop vials", "have trouble taking blood". Although last time I asked for help in a line at a store, the doll I brought had no product number on the stores computer, then she lost my credit card etc, etc. I actually had four injections that day after the drip, and by that stage I couldn't care if they stuck me six times.

So if there was a point, I guess I got it and it was helpful anyway. Lyn.x.

Thanks again to all including Lyne ,Paul, Ray.Douglas No One.
No, I hadn't booked a reading with the medium that was previously discussed and recommended, for the same reasons Douglas alluded to. I thought that at least with face to face readings, a competent medium could better tune in to any possible entities that desired to make contact.The spirit communicators that allegedly came through the three individual mediums I booked readings with were not individuals who played any part what so ever in my or my wifes life, but the waffle the mediums spoke were of a similar generalised trivial nature that could apply to many sitters but certainly not me.
The mediums I sought out were recommended to me by various patrons of the three individual Spiritualist Churches I attended, rather than the guest mediums at each service, whose roles were to demonstrate evidence of survival.
I'll give the Spiritualist/ medium stuff a rest for a while as every day life has recently become quite hectic and time consuming for me to devote as much time to the subject.

My wife's a Trekkie and a Star Wars fan (She caused me to get sucked into Game of Thrones on HBO but I digress. :-)
Anyway, I have always thought of how humanistic the sci fi shows are. Star Trek, Stargate, ect. But, I always think if there really "was" a transporter and we really could break down and build back a person how it would really work. I think some would come back after being "beamed up" with some really cool O.B.E's. But, that doesn't fit the humanistic mythology so it will never happen. Sorry, too much coffee. I think I'm off topic. :-)

Hello Michael. This question has already been raised in this blog, but you think about the apparent incompatibility between the near death experiences and the mediumship which appears in this thread?

http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/5343-two-fundamental-problems-afterlife-16.html

What a kindness that the soul doesn't have to stay in the body till it is completely rotten and putrid. What a blessing that it so loosely attached and easily exits the body and is able to view what is happening in a dispossessed non-emotional way.

And as far as how one analyzes their NDE and tries to make sense of what happened to them? We all do that in everyday life trying to make sense of our lives. Those of us who are born into Christian cultures believe and think that Christianity is the best religion, and I'm fairly certain that if I were born into a Muslim family in the middle east I'd feel the same way about Islam.

It is all just so much more duality and separation under the bridge. More little lessons about what it's like to live and exist in this place of separation.

Hi Stephen,

The beauty of star trek (and other sci fi shows) is that its always been more about humanity turning a mirror on itself, rather than being about aliens.

The various aliens represent positive, negative, or differing traits of human beings and cultures.

And I say that as a long time fan.

Deep Space 9 is my favourite trek show, maybe because it had a harder edge to it.

Hello Douglas, thanks for the comment. It's kind of ironic you mention DS9. I admit I didn't watch it all that closely. But, it seemed to have a more spiritual view in some ways than the original. Voyager also had a couple of episodes that made me go hmmm. But, I still wonder about that obe transporter thing. :-)

Michael and folks. What I'm posting here may be a little bit off top, but it is related to NDE. just in case I found that former troll Darryl/Forests posted on Randi the post,where making a point that "NDE are not evidence for life after death", citing book by Robert Kastenbaum(1984). I don't know what to think about his point.He appear die-hard skeptic regarding afterlife ,here are his point:

Quote:
The case for the NDE experience of survival is weakened by a fact readily acknowledged by investigators and scholars. The mental state characteristic of the core NDE also occurs under other circumstances. One does not have to be on the verge of physical death to witness the blinding light, encounter spirit beings or have the sense of wandering away from one’s body. Such a state often occurs in the sacred literature of the both the East and the West and among individuals who have attained ‘mystical’ experiences independent of any religious belief. Furthermore, people have often sought and attained such a state through hallucinogenic drugs (as well as through fasting, withdrawing into the wilderness and other actions). Medical psychologist Ronald Siegal has shown that imagery similar if not identical to the NDE can be produced by commonly used anaesthetics in the operating room as well as by peyote and other established hallucinogens.
Quote:
Who should be more likely to have an NDE the person who objectively is very close to death, or the person who is in less extreme jeopardy of his life? By definition and usage, the closer to death, the more impressive the NDE. A study has addressed this question specifically and found that survivors subjective sense of being close to death was not related to the depth of completeness of their NDEs. Furthermore people who objectively had been in less perilous situation were more likely to report NDEs in the first place! In effect this study distinguished between near and very near death experiences - and the results indicate that fewer memories are reported the closer the individual actually has been to death. The survival hypothesis of the NDE is certainly not strengthened by results which show that people who are very close to death have fewer experiences to report.
Quote:
Ten thousand cases of vivid NDEs tell us nothing dependable about what experience, if any, a person has when death ‘lives up’ to its reputation for finality. Nowhere in all the available statistics on NDEs is there one scrap of evidence for similarity or identity between the experiences of those who return and those who do not. One cannot advise researchers to continue to waste their time in the hope that more cases; more numbers will change this situation. This is a fundamental flaw in NDE research – namely that we learn only from the returnees – and no viable alternative has been suggested.

We must remind ourselves that all the nearly-dead did, in fact, have viable physical bodies remaining to them. No authenticated reports have come from people whose bodies were absolutely destroyed by say, explosion, avalanche or fire. The expression of mind has invariably depended on a relatively intact, if jeopardized, body. Were the ‘spiritual body’ really as free as some believe, then this strict dependence on an intact physical body should not be necessary.
Quote:
There is a problem which seems to have escaped all the researchers and advocates of NDEs as evidence of survival. No NDE study has pinned down precisely when the experience actually occurred. Most studies think they have – when what they have settled for is really only the period of time when the person’s life was in greatest jeopardy. This will not do. While what we actually know about the NDE is limited, it comes to us as a form of memory – and much is known about memory in its psychological and even its biological aspects.

Any thoughts?

Lyn said: "Recently I went in for a small operation, and not particularly fond of injections, I asked the "consciousness" to just make taking the blood go a bit easier."
I used to have trouble when blood samples were taken from inside the bend of my arm. Then I learned that they could be taken from the back of my hand. No more problems.

I think it's probably more a matter of *remembering* NDEs, as opposed to actually *having* them. People who undergo severe medical crises may simply not have a complete memory of what happened when they were flatlining. This is Sam Parnia's view, I believe.

With regard to reports from those who have actually died and not come back, I think mediumship fills the bill. The similarity between mediumistic reports of the dying process and NDEs is quite interesting. Greg Taylor's forthcoming book "Stop Worrying, There Probably Is an Afterlife" makes this point very well.

With regard to pinning down the time when the NDE occurred, it can be done in cases where veridical OBEs are reported - the Pam Reynolds case, for instance. Of course the time frame of non-verifiable parts of an NDE cannot be determined, but this isn't news; investigators have always acknowledged this.

Hi Michael,

Yes, Sam Parnia says that he has enough evidence so far to suggest that these experiences are far more common, and it is recall which is the issue.

He predicts that as resuscitation techniques improve then we should begin to record many more of these events. Parnia is of course hoping that he will be at the forefront of this research.

Douglas

Thanks for that Roger, funally enough much like you, I actually don't mind the bung for drips at all (in the hand). I have a pretty good grip on the 'worry' now, mainly carried over from childhood as going to the doctor was a rare event. And that I rarely get injections. My eldest child is a little the same - we tend to be a pretty healthy bunch, so going to the doctor is an unusual event. Having given injections myself, I some times worry about the staff, and that's some of the concern.I think "god she doesn't look capable" Ha ha. Lyn x.

Thanks Michael.Perhaps my post was premature. First,I by myself saw contradiction between what he wrote(1984) and what more up-to-date data indicates.Second,I email this to few well-known NDE researchers,they all pointed to the same issues,and how recent mainly researchs contradict most of his points.

Well I think it's worth watching this thread, especially at the end when arises a discursion between afterlife vs. super-psi:

http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/5343-two-fundamental-problems-afterlife-16.html

Do you know any case of mediumship which has contributed a new scientific/technical knowledge?

People who are in hospice see their dead relatives come for them at the end of their life, they say they are going on a trip, and sometimes catch glimpses of heaven.

People who "die" on the operating table and then come back to life tell us they went to Heaven.

Mediums say they are talking to the dead when they come up with verifiable information.

There isn't just one piece to the puzzle. There are a whole lot of pieces and they all point in one direction, that there really is life after death.

If it looks like a dog, barks like a dog, and smells like a dog it probably is a dog.

"Do you know any case of mediumship which has contributed a new scientific/technical knowledge?" - Juan
-------------------

It would be nice if we were the ones in control and could manipulate the spirits on the other side into giving us the information we want. Unfortunately that isn't the way it works. In a hologram you got the original holographic film and you got the hologram that is projected from that film. We unfortunately are the film and not the ones who are calling the shots.

We are more like puppets on a string and the other side are the puppeteers. We dance to their tune and they are setting the pace. Perhaps the education of the soul is too important to leave up to chance?

"We unfortunately are the film and not the ones who are calling the shots."

Whoops! Should read, "we unfortunately are the hologram (holographic projection) and not the holographic film."

Folks,You will be laughing but our well-know friend-troll Darryl emailed me personally(I don't know where he found my e-mail),he found my negative post about Kastenbaum ,and e-mailed me personally how I am mistaken about this excellent book :).
Anyway,I want to share with You one amazing story of visual After-Death Communication,please see here:

http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/5386-incredible-story-could-you-believe.html

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