Author Topic: After quite a bit of sleepless nights researching, this is my true opinion:  (Read 617 times)

manga

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As many of you know, I have asked many questions about NDEs. I am obsessed with this topic. Contrary to most, if I could choose, I would rather they are not true, because quite a few NDErs report seeing hell. Although I am somewhat biased at times and hope to weed out all possibility of them being true, I will share what I have found so far. I am not super scientific, so please, anyone who has greater knowledge on sciences in general, please correct me.

I have looked at many NDE cases which include the typical OBEs, a tunnel with a bright light at the end, meeting religious figures, family members, having a life review, potentially seeing future events, and healing. Most of the time, people come back with a different mentality and outlook on life than they had in the past. It is no doubt that these experiences are often absolutely vivid, and feel just as real as real life events if not more real. Surprisingly, there tend to be many more Pro NDE sites than there are skeptic sites. I believe this could be due to the fact that I am browsing North American sites predominantly, and we know that most Americans, and many Canadians believe in afterlife, or want to believe in it. There are even those online which say that they would rather live a hellish afterlife than completely cease to exist. Anyways, I will start with the best arguments pro NDErs have come up with first, and then some skeptical responses, and ideas to consider.

I think that without a doubt, the most compelling piece of potential evidence for NDEs being the result of a soul leaving the body is the Out of Body phenomenon. Although somewhat anecdotal, there are thousands of reports, reported by doctors such as Van Lommel and Long which sound absolutely amazing. I am referring to verdical OBEs, where the patients claim to have left their bodies, and are then able to verify exactly what happened in the operating room whilst they were supposedly "brain dead". There are even cases of patients "floating" to other locations, such as the homes of relatives in different countries, and later verifying with a high level of accuracy what transpired. They say that they could not have known what was going on had they not actually been there. There are a few very interesting cases which would even cause skeptics to scratch their heads: In one case, a man is in the hospital after having had way too much alcohol to drink. Whist in his bed, he has an OBE, where he is able to describe what the doctors said after his brain activity apparently "flat-lined". Then, he claims that he floated up into a room with computers in the middle of the room, and beds in the corners, with fake patients dressed up (life sized dolls for training). The way he described the room was spot on, and it is asserted that he was never in that hospital before. Another case, a man is apparently totally out, no blood flow to the brain, and he recalls details such as what his wife said about him in another room, (later verified). Then, he is able to describe which make of tools they use, and the colour of a brush they use to clean his mouth. Again, these are just two of thousands of similar cases, which sound amazing. Dr. Long reports a 97.5% rate of accuracy when reviewing OBEs. He asserts that under anesthesia, only 1 in 1000 people should have awareness, and even those that do should have a puzzling, uncomfortable experience. He says OBEs are always vivid, clear, and painless, even when a team have to break a person's bones, the patient doesn't feel it. He has 20 cases of OBEs during anesthesia out of 200, which is a good statistic. Long as well as Sartori, and others claim that a lack of oxygen would only cause weird hallucinations that are memory fragments. A loss of blood to the brain would not allow for hallucinations. Any possible experience would not make sense. Then, these doctors cite studies where some NDErs had been tested during their "clinical death", and that oxygen levels were normal, so therefore, lack of oxygen can't be an answer. Dr. Long claims he has many scholarly sources where it is "proven" that a brain under that much stress, deprived of oxygen, hypoxia, and everything going on simply cannot create a vivid NDE, with lucid awareness.
I think in a nutshell, the OBE is the most compelling argument for the validity of NDEs. It is the only thing that can really be tested.

Now I will talk about some of my other research, and some of the problems I have with the whole NDE phenomenon.
First, NEAR DEATH is not DEAD. Therefore, the person never actually died. They may have been close to it, but had they died, they would not have come back. Clinical death is only one measure, and it does not in any means translate to irreversible death.
Second, take out of body experiences. We know that researchers such as Blanke have been able to recreate partial NDEs by applying current to the right temporal lobe. This causes the "floating" sensation, and although the patient tested could only see the lower half of her body, she did have an OBE. I think the most compelling argument against OBEs and NDEs in general are the G force pilots. James Whiney was responsible for creating flight simulators which would totally replicate the air pressure of real fighter jet flights. They found that the majority of people who were in these simulators blacked out due to insufficient blood supply to the brain. In turn, many would have vivid dreamlets, and a handful had OBEs. Experts say that this is because when the brain loses supply of blood to the brain, the brain is confused, and so it loses track of where it is actually located, resulting in this "viewing" of the world from above. Drugs can cause this, and it is also possible to train oneself to have OBEs. I would say that facts like these prove that the brain is completely capable of creating an OBE. The only blank we have now is how a person who is "brain dead" can pick up information, and then show it in an OBE. It is possible of course, that they do have some level of consciousness during their OBEs, and that we can't detect it. It is also possible that sometimes, people can partially wake up, and that contrary to popular belief, not all of these experiences have to be painful and disorganized. For now, I don't know exactly how that occurs will have to do.
When doctors say that hallucinations cannot be vivid, and that lack of blood supply to the brain cannot create these experiences, I wonder what they would say about these fighter pilots, who clearly experience many vivid visions, some even see bright lights, family members, but that is more rare.
Third, I would like to address the whole "oxygen can't be it" and "oxygen deprivation has been debunked many moons ago, only stubborn skeptics would buy into it, and they are running out of excuses" remark from pro NDE researchers. To begin, how the hell can they be so ignorant as to say that the oxygen/hypoxia  theories are incorrect? Do they not know that there could be more than one factor causing these experiences? Heck, it is even possible for people to have NDEs and OBEs when they are not close to death, but they anticipate that they will die. It could be that lack of oxygen applies to some patients, but not to others. Another question I have is, do they actually measure the oxygen levels in the person's head, or do they measure it somewhere else, and when do they measure it? Measuring it in someone's arm during or even after will yield different results than measuring oxygen levels in their heads during their "dead brain" state. I don't know if they would bother to do that, as any mistake could be fatal. I think it is incorrect to write off the whole oxygen theory, and even if we did, it still wouldn't explain why these fighter pilots I keep mentioning have such vivid experiences, and why in general these experiences occur.
What some of these researchers have tried to do is for example: at a hospital, record results of a person on drugs, and compare it to an NDEr. They will say the results differ, and that the person on drugs hallucinates rubbish, while the NDEr sees something real. Then, they will look at someone deprived of oxygen (not near death) and note that the person who is deprived of oxygen is hallucinating rubbish, while the NDEr is not. They will do this for many of these so called theories against NDEs. Although this may sound like I am somewhat contradicting myself, as I compared healthy pilots to people near death, I would argue that a person on drugs who is not near death or deprived of oxygen but not near death is not comparable to a person who is close to their demise.

One interesting thing I thought of, and looked up has already been theorized by many... rats!
This is the idea that a soul is supposed to be immaterial. If it in fact exists and is immaterial, then it should be able to float through walls, which many people claim to be able to do during their OBEs. Great, so far so good. However, what about the fact that this same immaterial soul can see, perceive light, and pick up sound waves? Does this mean that for some aspects it is physical, while for others it is not? Why would we need ears and eyes then, if a soul can already see and hear (even better than real life according to some people!)

Another issue here is some inconsistencies with NDEs. Although Dr. Long likes to assert that all NDEs are the same, and we as people interpret them based on our religion, I need to ask, in one NDE database is a case of a woman describing Jesus as being around 5'7. Another NDEr who was part of Long's database, describes Jesus as being 7'0 tall. Some people describe hell as seeing fire, others describe it as cold, and not seeing anything, but hearing demons. What we have here, is now something worth questioning: is it the case that we have souls, which can travel to other dimensions, go through walls, hear and see, and see different versions of afterlife?

In conclusion, this was a quick write up. I think that science can explain quite a few things that may be a partial cause for NDEs. I know that more research should be done, (hopefully more OBE tests with target identification). That is the only way in my mind that they could ever prove it. If 300 people are in rooms with target identification set up, and even 50 or 60 are able to exactly describe the targets, then we have something to think about. Until then, the best evidence we have is the verdical OBEs. I think at this point, I don't know how these people obtain some of the information they have obtained, but I feel that the knowledge we do have is too great to dismiss and suddenly assume NDEs are real because we can't figure everything out quite yet. More testing is needed. I would say we are 70% there with an explanation, and the last 30% is uncertain. If somehow proven, this last little bit could give more credence to NDEs. If not proven, then the whole concept will come crashing down.

What do you guys think of my opinion?

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Sorry, manga, I only read your "conclusion", which should be enough to explain your final stance - at this stage.

From it I can only conclude that you are still unable to come to a decision about this subject. As you say, it has befome an obsession - an unhealthy one, IMHO, unless you can take several steps back and look at it whilst applying logic and objectivity, as we have been suggesting.

Even though you say that science can answer some of the questions you seem to feel that enough is left to offer evidence that these phenomena are possibly real - a "get out clause". I suppose that I could be accused of being overly sceptical when I say any "unknown" portion is only unknown because the rational explanation - and there will be one - is yet to be found. There is no mystery, just ignorance.

No more to say, it has all been said before.
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[. . .]

What do you guys think of my opinion?

Thank you for taking the time to write up your findings and current thoughts on this topic, manga. I read all of what you wrote, and I can see that your understanding of this area has grown since you first joined this site. Though it may be due to a sort of obsession, as you admit, I can understand why you find this subject fascinating and worthwhile, given the background you've described to us.

What you call veridical OBEs are, as far as I'm aware, anecdotal rather than properly verified in a scientific setting. So while they're interesting, they're not actually sound evidence.

I think your conclusion is sensible, and I agree that further research would be worthwhile. I hope that you can eventually get to a place where you can accept that certainty regarding the existence of the soul is something that science may never be able to supply.

Even if there is such a thing as a soul, no religion can provide strong evidence that its particular doctrines are the 'correct' ones that need to be followed in order to assure that the soul doesn't end up in the 'bad place.' It's the same problem that presents itself in accepting Pascal's Wager. You're not really ensuring yourself a place in heaven when you live by a particular doctrine if the supposed actual heaven belongs to a different religion with a different doctrine.

People can try to close their minds to doubt, but we all must live with some level of uncertainty in regard to topics like this. I think that at some point the most practical thing to do is accept that uncertainty and carry on, trying to live a good life that will hopefully be satisfactory to you and whatever supernatural judge you might meet in a possible afterlife.
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What do you guys think of my opinion?

I think it is completely incorrect, there is no scientific evidence at all that would support NDE's or OBE's, so the percentage of uncertainty at this point is 0%. Zero. Nada. Nothing.

Again you almost desperately fall back on subjective accounts of what people remember. This type of information is nothing new, and can't objectively resolve the debate. The results are also completely unimpressive, and perfectly consistent with what we would expect given what is already well documented about human memory, and it's ability to make shit up under duress.

My suggestion for you is to drop it, and get on with your life and stop worrying about it, that is Manga if you can, but I doubt it...as I feel you are still fishing for someone here to support or agree with your 30% chance of uncertainty on this issue.

Nothing at all in your opinion has seemed to have changed or wavered since you first started posting here, despite all of the contrary opinions and discussions members here have offered up on this subject.

So we are still left with your 30% chance that there is a life after-death, and at this point some would say (Evangelical types) that 30% is simply to high to leave to fate, your soul is in desperate peril at this time denying the existence of god, so maybe it is best to embrace Jesus as your Lord and Savior and not take a chance on being "wrong" and doom your soul to eternal torture and torment.

I think this is the path you should take, embrace Jesus, NDE's, OBE's, ghosts, goblins, angels, cherubs, satan, witches,etc...possibly this will give you peace.

Good luck.

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Sorry, manga, I didn't read your post, I might later.

All I want to say at this point is such an obsession with death and the afterlife can't be healthy. I still don't know what it is you're looking for, but if it's peace of mind regarding what happens after we die, you might never find it if you carry on with this type of pursuit and intensity. You'll find some answer here and there but they might never satisfy you because doubt will always creep in. Just learn to overcome the brainwashing and put your fears aside. Relax and live while you're alive! Live with uncertainty, both what you know you don't know and the things that never crossed your mind and you have no idea you don't know. What comes after, comes after.

I just know the mind abhors a vacuum. It's probably our curse as a species that we know that one day our lives will end and we will cease to exist. Some people have real trouble accepting that.

The science of consciousness is frontier stuff, so a lot of philosophy still surrounds the topic. There's a lot of crap on the web, which is what you have to look out for. Be critical of the information you internalise. Anecdotes alone are not a good way of verifying scientific phenomena.

One thing that there is ample evidence for is that consciousness requires a physical substrate (the brain), functioning well. Have you ever thought, what about brain lesions to certain areas where a person's consciousness is affected? What happens to their consciousness? Does a parcel of it go into the afterlife or something?  :scratch: Is it erm...floating around there somewhere?   
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manga

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that sort of goes hand in hand with one of my points I made in my write up:

"the idea that a soul is supposed to be immaterial. If it in fact exists and is immaterial, then it should be able to float through walls, which many people claim to be able to do during their OBEs. Great, so far so good. However, what about the fact that this same immaterial soul can see, perceive light, and pick up sound waves? Does this mean that for some aspects it is physical, while for others it is not? Why would we need ears and eyes then, if a soul can already see and hear (even better than real life according to some people!)"

hermes2015

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that sort of goes hand in hand with one of my points I made in my write up:

"the idea that a soul is supposed to be immaterial. If it in fact exists and is immaterial, then it should be able to float through walls, which many people claim to be able to do during their OBEs. Great, so far so good. However, what about the fact that this same immaterial soul can see, perceive light, and pick up sound waves? Does this mean that for some aspects it is physical, while for others it is not? Why would we need ears and eyes then, if a soul can already see and hear (even better than real life according to some people!)"

Oy vey!

manga

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What do you guys think of my opinion?

I think it is completely incorrect, there is no scientific evidence at all that would support NDE's or OBE's, so the percentage of uncertainty at this point is 0%. Zero. Nada. Nothing.

Again you almost desperately fall back on subjective accounts of what people remember. This type of information is nothing new, and can't objectively resolve the debate. The results are also completely unimpressive, and perfectly consistent with what we would expect given what is already well documented about human memory, and it's ability to make shit up under duress.

My suggestion for you is to drop it, and get on with your life and stop worrying about it, that is Manga if you can, but I doubt it...as I feel you are still fishing for someone here to support or agree with your 30% chance of uncertainty on this issue.

Nothing at all in your opinion has seemed to have changed or wavered since you first started posting here, despite all of the contrary opinions and discussions members here have offered up on this subject.

So we are still left with your 30% chance that there is a life after-death, and at this point some would say (Evangelical types) that 30% is simply to high to leave to fate, your soul is in desperate peril at this time denying the existence of god, so maybe it is best to embrace Jesus as your Lord and Savior and not take a chance on being "wrong" and doom your soul to eternal torture and torment.

I think this is the path you should take, embrace Jesus, NDE's, OBE's, ghosts, goblins, angels, cherubs, satan, witches,etc...possibly this will give you peace.

Good luck.

I think I wasn't 100% clear with what I meant. I didn't intend to say that there is a 30% chance of NDEs being true. I said that our current understanding on the topic is about 70%. We still don't fully know how the brain works under all circumstances, and there haven't been many scientific experiments conducted. I would say some of the experiences have certain aspects that are difficult to explain now, such as, how a person can recall things while they were supposed to have no conscious. Of course it is more likely that they were in fact at least somewhat aware of what was going on, and that their brain being confused didn't exactly know where it was, so it created the OBE. I would never say it has a 0% chance of being true, but I would never say 30. I am just asserting that while most things here can be at least somewhat explained, there are a few areas that we still need to investigate more, and until we do, we can only shrug our shoulders and say "I don't know" about some aspects of some of these experiences, not NDEs in general.

manga

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[. . .]

What do you guys think of my opinion?

Thank you for taking the time to write up your findings and current thoughts on this topic, manga. I read all of what you wrote, and I can see that your understanding of this area has grown since you first joined this site. Though it may be due to a sort of obsession, as you admit, I can understand why you find this subject fascinating and worthwhile, given the background you've described to us.

What you call veridical OBEs are, as far as I'm aware, anecdotal rather than properly verified in a scientific setting. So while they're interesting, they're not actually sound evidence.

I think your conclusion is sensible, and I agree that further research would be worthwhile. I hope that you can eventually get to a place where you can accept that certainty regarding the existence of the soul is something that science may never be able to supply.

Even if there is such a thing as a soul, no religion can provide strong evidence that its particular doctrines are the 'correct' ones that need to be followed in order to assure that the soul doesn't end up in the 'bad place.' It's the same problem that presents itself in accepting Pascal's Wager. You're not really ensuring yourself a place in heaven when you live by a particular doctrine if the supposed actual heaven belongs to a different religion with a different doctrine.

People can try to close their minds to doubt, but we all must live with some level of uncertainty in regard to topics like this. I think that at some point the most practical thing to do is accept that uncertainty and carry on, trying to live a good life that will hopefully be satisfactory to you and whatever supernatural judge you might meet in a possible afterlife.

thanks for your reply, and I think you brought up some very good points. I think the only reason I fear afterlife and NDEs is because I have seen a few too many Christian NDEs where a person will seem to have lived a normal Western life (drinking beer from time to time, sometimes not going to church, even questioning or slightly mocking their faith) and then they have these experiences where they end up in supposed hell, and only calling out to Jesus saves them. I guess in a country like USA the population of Christians is so huge that finding at least 20 or 30 people with those supposed experiences wouldn't be too hard. I was an atheist until I saw these videos, and surely, I am being irrational because that deep fear I had since I was a child has been permanently tattooed to my brain, and I'm guessing these videos are created because there are many Christians who are starting to question their faith, so these Christian youtube channels believe the only way to keep them from leaving is to scare them. I guess fear is one of the harshest yet efficient ways to keep control and to stop people from using logic they could potentially have. Even as I am admitting this, that fear is still creeping in. I guess I am living proof that brainwashing works wonders for the people who brainwash. 

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Manga, you are indeed obsessed. But that obsessive tendency could be hugely successful, if corralled and focused on something worth obsessing over.
I'm not even saying that this whole subject of NDEs and OBEs isn't worthy, but what I do want to say, is that right now, nobody really has concrete answers.
Quote
. I said that our current understanding on the topic is about 70%.
.... I don't think so. It's really probably more like 5%. There are vast areas of the brain and consciousness that we don't understand yet. But we are getting there through science and research.
I really do encourage you to do well in school, as you are so obviously capable of doing, and perhaps pursue a career in science. You seriously have the right mindset, you just need to approach your research with curiosity and no fear.
So what do I think of your opinion? Wellllll, it pretty much sounds like everything else you've mentioned before, in a nutshell. (A very big nutshell) I think you have exhausted your mental resources in this area, and you've probably read the highlights of what "research" there is available. So now, I think you should expand your curiosity to other things. How about chemistry? Faith healings? The Old Testament? Astronomy...our universe is unfathomably fascinating! Global water crisis?
Your mind is made for big concepts, and I encourage you to stay curious and keep learning. I think the more you learn about lots of things, the less fearful you will be.
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What do you guys think of my opinion?

I think it is completely incorrect, there is no scientific evidence at all that would support NDE's or OBE's, so the percentage of uncertainty at this point is 0%. Zero. Nada. Nothing.

Again you almost desperately fall back on subjective accounts of what people remember. This type of information is nothing new, and can't objectively resolve the debate. The results are also completely unimpressive, and perfectly consistent with what we would expect given what is already well documented about human memory, and it's ability to make shit up under duress.

My suggestion for you is to drop it, and get on with your life and stop worrying about it, that is Manga if you can, but I doubt it...as I feel you are still fishing for someone here to support or agree with your 30% chance of uncertainty on this issue.

Nothing at all in your opinion has seemed to have changed or wavered since you first started posting here, despite all of the contrary opinions and discussions members here have offered up on this subject.

So we are still left with your 30% chance that there is a life after-death, and at this point some would say (Evangelical types) that 30% is simply to high to leave to fate, your soul is in desperate peril at this time denying the existence of god, so maybe it is best to embrace Jesus as your Lord and Savior and not take a chance on being "wrong" and doom your soul to eternal torture and torment.

I think this is the path you should take, embrace Jesus, NDE's, OBE's, ghosts, goblins, angels, cherubs, satan, witches,etc...possibly this will give you peace.

Good luck.

I think I wasn't 100% clear with what I meant. I didn't intend to say that there is a 30% chance of NDEs being true. I said that our current understanding on the topic is about 70%. We still don't fully know how the brain works under all circumstances, and there haven't been many scientific experiments conducted. I would say some of the experiences have certain aspects that are difficult to explain now, such as, how a person can recall things while they were supposed to have no conscious. Of course it is more likely that they were in fact at least somewhat aware of what was going on, and that their brain being confused didn't exactly know where it was, so it created the OBE. I would never say it has a 0% chance of being true, but I would never say 30. I am just asserting that while most things here can be at least somewhat explained, there are a few areas that we still need to investigate more, and until we do, we can only shrug our shoulders and say "I don't know" about some aspects of some of these experiences, not NDEs in general.

Again I disagree completely. There is absolutely zero evidence supporting NDE's, OBE"s or any nonmaterial existence after death. Nothing. I do agree that we don't have a complete understanding of how the brain works, but that doesn't mean a lack of understanding for the complexity of our minds suggests the possibility that they have the ability to exist outside the physical realm of our existence.

Our brains are fueled by the energy created by our bodies, when the body dies so does the brain, and then that is it. No more Bruno, no more Manga, nothing...the sense of awareness and individuality you have (You may call it a soul) dies along with the brain.


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