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Source: (consider it) Thread: NDEs - oxygen depletion or three steps to heaven?
romanesque
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# 18785

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I've long had an interest in the subject of Near Death Experiences, in the unlikely event you haven't heard of the phenomenon, YouTube is your annoying friend.

Are they the last firing of synapses? Demonic delusions? A glimpse of the beyond?
Any thoughts?

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leo
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# 1458

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Why either/or? Can it be that God works through our synapses?

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romanesque
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Why either/or? Can it be that God works through our synapses?

Sure, but the NDE debate tends to fall either side of natural or supernatural, whatever the hell those terms mean. I've looked at cases till my head hurts and formed a few opinions, but I'm interested to know what other people think.
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Ian Climacus

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I've generally thought them the last firing of the synapses, as you put it; they all seem rather similar so I've guessed it is some dream-like state.

I'm not unprepared to believe it may be a touching of the eternal, but I tend to go for a more scientific explanation currently. In past times I thought God was sending people back, but I know think that a bit strange.

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romanesque
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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
I've generally thought them the last firing of the synapses, as you put it; they all seem rather similar so I've guessed it is some dream-like state.

I'm not unprepared to believe it may be a touching of the eternal, but I tend to go for a more scientific explanation currently. In past times I thought God was sending people back, but I know think that a bit strange.

Here's some food for thought: http://ncu9nc.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/materialist-explanations-of-ndes-fail.html
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DonLogan2
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My wife had one when she was given an epidural which went wrong and her heart stopped. She remembers being out of her body looking down and seeing the doctors and nurses working on and shouting at the person on the table. She did not realise until afterward that person was her, she just thought it was terrible that they were all shouting at her, but she did say that all was calm. They revived her and all is well apart from a few years of back pain where the epidural was placed.
She was not a Christian at the time and she said it took all her fears of death away as it was a state of total calmness (apart from the doctor etc shouting). It could be that she was suffering from lack of oxygen but it does not explain how she was watching the scene from above.

[ 08. June 2017, 11:29: Message edited by: DonLogan2 ]

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Moo

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# 107

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I knew a man who had a NDE and remembered some of the things the medical people said. He was not highly educated, and I can't imagine how he learned this vocabulary if the experience was all imagined.

Moo

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Firenze

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quote:
Originally posted by DonLogan2:
. It could be that she was suffering from lack of oxygen but it does not explain how she was watching the scene from above.

That always puzzles me: how do we 'see' if we are no longer in the physical body which provides the apparatus of sensory input?

The brain is extraordinarily good at confabulating. I remember lucid dreams in which I was flying over buildings and thinking 'I know this is not a dream because how would I see so accurately the A/C plant on the roof?' Ah, but there used to be a computer game in which the viewpoint was flying over an urban roofscape... The creative imagination has this power of re-projecting fragments of remembered experience into a convincing synthesis - as witness great writers. People say Shakespeare must have been or done X because how otherwise could he have written about it so convincingly? Because he - and we - can imagine things we haven't experienced. As Sir P Sydney remarked 'Nature never set forth the earth in so rich tapestry as divers poets have done...her world is brazen, the poets only deliver a golden'. In other words, we can imagine beyond what exists.

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mdijon
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Memories can also be inserted in repeatedly retelling stories, as would be expected of a NDE. Being asked if x happened can easily result in implanting the suggestion that x happened.

I read an article quantifying this effect in a particular experiment, I'll try to dig it out.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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mdijon
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Here's some stuff on how the brain works differently with false memories versus real memories.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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DonLogan2
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But it also begs the question why would my wife want to insert a memory of being above the people who were working on her lifeless body? I would also ask why was she even hearing them?
As for inserting memories, it has not changed since first telling me otherwise I would have noticed or to have also had some memory inserted, and I was 8000 miles away in the South Atlantic at the time.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Why either/or? Can it be that God works through our synapses?

Sure, but the NDE debate tends to fall either side of natural or supernatural, whatever the hell those terms mean. I've looked at cases till my head hurts and formed a few opinions, but I'm interested to know what other people think.
Both sides of that debate are being reductionist - as it a post about dreams - god works through dreams too - very scriptural.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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When I was a younger chap, in June 1974 while climbing in the south of Jasper National Park (Albert, Canada), someone above me dislodged a large piece of slate (rock), which hit my helmet and knocked me off my hand and foot holds, I was being belayed (roped in to protection, i.e. rock screws above me) so fell only about 4 feet. I was out for about 45 seconds as told to me by the others. My personal experience was that the 45 seconds felt like an eternity, like I'd lived through 10,000 years (the 10,000 years is how I have always told it). I became persuaded that I'd had a glimpse of what happens when you die. No review of experiences of life, no tunnel or bright light - I don't think the general discussion in society contained those elements so perhaps I lacked the expectation to process the experience within a laid-out structure. I did notice some darkness and a vague bit of light, as if a sunrise might be ready to occur in a starless sky in about an hour, though the diffuse light was white with just a hint of yellow.

I have thought my experience was both physiological and of something eternal, but there was nothing particularly divine, just a sense of okay, that if lived or dies, okay. Content and comfort.

So in answer to your question, from only a single and personal experience: it is both something physical and a wee bite of eternity. I am grateful I was able to spit out the eternity. But I won't call it heaven. It was nothing exciting, just an okayness type of feeling and perception.

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North East Quine

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I have a memory, which feels like a real memory, of being in a plane crash. I can remember sitting next to my husband in the plane, the oxygen masks coming down, and then the sensation of falling.

In actual fact, I lost consciousness in hospital, in a wheelchair, and the medical staff put me down onto the floor and gave me oxygen.

I assume there was enough of a flicker of consciousness for my brain to try to make sense of the oxygen mask.

A short while later, as I continued to bleed out, I went into shock. My last conscious memory of that was that everything was golden and glowing and peaceful. I was looking at a framed photo of my children and feeling quite relaxed. (My husband assures me that there was no photo of our kids in the hospital!)

I don't think it was supernatural, but I know that if the hospital hadn't got me into theatre and stopped the bleeding, that would have been my last thought. And I know that death at that point would have been pleasant and peaceful.

(I'm glad I didn't die then, in 1998, glad I've lived to see my kids grow up, and to get my PhD etc etc. Very grateful to the NHS, and to whichever blood donors provided the blood that kept me going. There are strangers out there who can have no idea how much their blood donation has given me, just an hour out of their day for them but 19 years extra so far for me. [Axe murder] )

[ 09. June 2017, 21:00: Message edited by: North East Quine ]

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Chorister

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# 473

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quote:
Originally posted by DonLogan2:
it does not explain how she was watching the scene from above.

I've had that experience before, but my life was not in danger. (Giving birth, but quite safely). I always assumed it was particularly potent painkillers, but I may be wrong.

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Curiosity killed ...

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I had that out of body experience as a teenager - in a French lesson. No apparent reason.

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Lamb Chopped
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It must have been dire! [Eek!]

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romanesque
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The question is whether any of these accounts are veridical, and the experiencer returns with anomalous information they couldn't have gained in any other way. There are some, but the implications for the standard model are such that organised scepticism goes into overdrive with ever more incredible explanations to debunk the phenomenon.

Sam Parnia's AWARE study has looked into NDEs but his initial experiment (pictures hidden in the emergency room) didn't show any unequivocal cases, and the protocols were somewhat creaky. Hopefully he finds funding to continue. I think there's definitely to be a case to be answered but most people aren't prepared to wade through the noise to the signal.

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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:
The question is whether any of these accounts are veridical, and the experiencer returns with anomalous information they couldn't have gained in any other way.

As I mentioned above, I knew a man who had an NDE and afterwards described the words and actions of the medical people working on him.

He was not educated, and I cannot imagine where he could have picked up this type of information.

Moo

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Posts: 19997 | From: Alleghany Mountains of Virginia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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I don't think the application of any form of science will help understand these further. They are unique, personal experiences, about which the interpretation of the person experiencing them is vital and central to understanding. Much like finding a phrase of music sublime or a natural phenomena, like hearing the wind riffle through the feathers of a flight of geese. The science can help understand the pitch, tone, and other aspects of the sound, but they cannot do more than measure the brain patterns of the person experiencing them. If I derive meaning or no meaning from my 1974 unconscious episode, science cannot inform, except, if I'd had EEG monitoring, it might show that my brain had done some interesting things just then.

But then, the therapeutic use of LSD-25, psilocybin, mescaline and a few others also produces some profound experiences which are interpreted differently depending on context and reason for taking. We have a lengthy history in Saskatchewan of pre-illegality use of these for treatment, cf. Peaking on the Prairies, Handbook for the Therapeutic use of LSD-25.

[ 12. June 2017, 02:15: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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romanesque
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
[QB] I don't think the application of any form of science will help understand these further.

Science can acknowledge the phenomenon exists by recognising the evidence in the same way it would any other data. What it can't do currently is accommodate it within the standard model because it doesn't present a working hypothesis.

There are iconic cases, including the sports shoe NDE where someone flat-lining during surgery reported seeing a training shoe on the hospital roof during an out of body experience. This was subsequently found by a nurse on an inaccessible ledge accessed by a locked window. In the Pam Reynolds case she reported seeing the surgeon use a toothbrush like object from a remote position during the removal of deep brain thrombosis. In contrast to the saw she would have imagined them using, the surgeon confirmed they did indeed use a micro-saw shaped like an electric toothbrush.

There's also the phenomenon of shared death experiences, where individuals at the death bed undergo the initial stages of an NDE with the deceased person. The point is if conscious non-locality is proven in a single instance and however briefly, the brain as the producer of consciousness is incorrect and science needs to evolve a different assumption.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:
The question is whether any of these accounts are veridical, and the experiencer returns with anomalous information they couldn't have gained in any other way.

As I mentioned above, I knew a man who had an NDE and afterwards described the words and actions of the medical people working on him.

He was not educated, and I cannot imagine where he could have picked up this type of information.

Moo

Because his eyes and ears were still working?

I have a family member who can tell me, with all seriousness, that he's overheard conversations the ward staff are having with ex-colleagues of his to try to dig up dirt so that one of the nurses can sue him to get his house. He also described to me the council meeting he'd heard that morning where they'd discussed him and how to "deal with" him. He told me how one councillor had objected and was now a marked man. He tells me how on some nights patients are sitting up in bed smoking. Not to mention the people on the ward, all ex-convicts, because a nurse told him so, who are selling children's toys to patients.

Just because someone experiences something, it does not mean that that something happened.

I had a clear memory of getting out of a car so that it could be reversed up a hill, reverse gear being lower than first. Except it never happened; I was told about it but never actually experienced it. Once I knew it had never happened, the memory stopped being a memory and just became an imagined scene. The brain's a funny thing. It makes stuff up, especially when there are gaps to fill. Dementia patients are often masters of it; it's tragic, because they often make up tales of how their relatives are stealing things from them; they must be, because they know they didn't put their handbag in the fridge; their daughter did so that she could steal it later.

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
As I mentioned above, I knew a man who had an NDE and afterwards described the words and actions of the medical people working on him.

He was not educated, and I cannot imagine where he could have picked up this type of information.

Moo

Because his eyes and ears were still working?
He was in cardiac arrest. I doubt that people in cardiac arrest have functional eyes and ears.
quote:
Just because someone experiences something, it does not mean that that something happened.
If this did not really happen, how did he acquire the knowledge of what medical people say and do when a patient goes into cardiac arrest?

Moo

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
As I mentioned above, I knew a man who had an NDE and afterwards described the words and actions of the medical people working on him.

He was not educated, and I cannot imagine where he could have picked up this type of information.

Moo

Because his eyes and ears were still working?
He was in cardiac arrest. I doubt that people in cardiac arrest have functional eyes and ears.
quote:
Just because someone experiences something, it does not mean that that something happened.
If this did not really happen, how did he acquire the knowledge of what medical people say and do when a patient goes into cardiac arrest?

Moo

Medical dramas? Seriously, it does seem to me that both the explanations I have suggested are more likely than a discarnate soul. What does the discarnate soul see and hear with? If it doesn't need eyes and ears, why can't deaf and blind people hear and see with their souls? It doesn't add up.

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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Medical dramas do not give the kind of nitty-gritty details that this man remembered.

M<oo

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Posts: 19997 | From: Alleghany Mountains of Virginia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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In which case I suspect that his senses were working better than you think they were. There's no particular reason why ears and eyes shouldn't work during a cardiac arrest. One is not fully conscious, of course, but that does not mean the brain is doing nothing, nor that senses are disconnected.

I really don't buy this disembodied soul thing. Everything we have traditionally called "soul" is mind, as far as I can see. It's an emergent property of a complex brain. Sure, that doesn't make it unreal, but it does mean it can't exist without a brain.

Which might be why the Christian hope has always been Resurrection, not mere ghostly survival.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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I dunno--when I passed out a couple years back (due to pain from injury) neither my eyes nor ears were working. Low blood pressure was involved and therefore insuffience oxygen to sense organs. I would expect that most (all?) NDEs would be of a similar nature.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Bishops Finger
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I rather hoped that, when undergoing brain surgery last year, I might have an NDE, just to see what it was like.

No such luck - the general anaesthetic knocked me out instantly (no time to count down even from 10 to 9.5), and I woke up equally instantly some five hours later (surprisingly without a headache, or any other ill-effects, God be praised).

If my eventual (but not quite yet, please) death is being knocked out instantly like that, though, no worries.

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

Posts: 8023 | From: With The Glums At The Bus Stop | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

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# 11770

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It is believed, anecdotally, that hearing is the last sense to go when someone is dying. There are lots of accounts of people hearing things when they were unconscious and hospice workers recognising hearing responses in patients close to death, but no absolute proof. That hearing is the last sense to go is believed so strongly that the advice to support the dying is talk to them as if they can hear and make sure you don't say anything you would not like the dying person to hear.

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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Memory is a tricky thing, I wouldn't trust it - even when the person wasn't under anaesthetic at the time. We constantly subtly change our stories, first to ourselves and then to others.

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