The problem of consciousness and awareness
I think there is a quality about consciousness unlike any other bodily functions.
I'm not here to prove a point but to say, like Carl Sagan once did about reincarnation, that more research is needed on the subject.
Lets take on the comatose state for example, or the vegetative state. Imagine a person in a coma lacking EEG activity, or very low activity...
The cells are being fed, the heart is beating... everything is working normal. This person doesn't have any visible brain damage... Then why aren't the neurons firing up??! Now with every other body function there is always a substantial chemical evidence to prove why is your kidney or your liver isn't functioning, for example... this doesn't happen in the brain... Why can't the function of awareness be more accurately pinpointed as the kidney function can?
It is commonly known that electrical activity in the brain is linked to the level of awareness one possess (link), saying otherwise is plain stupid, and contrary to evidence. Then why can’t a person with a seemingly unimpaired brain can't wake up from a coma right away?
From a purely empirical level, for all we know, conscious awareness is just electrical activity in the brain but the fact is we haven't yet the slightest idea on how awareness is generated... we are merely correlating EEA (electro encephalic activity) with awareness. that doesn't mean it IS the cause of consciousness.
I think scientific research on NDE's deserve more credit and attention because it can potentially solve this problem. And a rational person looking at it must take into account that the level of conscient awareness a person experiences IS (not like some of you implied at another of my posts, that even a low EEA can give you heightened awareness and vivid memories) related to EEA. There is sufficient evidence in NDE's and other related experiences which show that we are far from understand how awareness comes to be. And that EEA and awareness are correlated but something else may be triggering both, thus is their cause.
More fascinating, and contrary to this or not, is the fact that recent research shows that vegetative state persons have EEG ranging from normal to alpha, to PLEDs, etc. So how come the electricity in the brain is widely different but the behavior is the same? (link)
As to NDE's it's a fact that there is loss of consciousness no more than 18 seconds after cardiac arrest. Thus I can't believe that the brain has vivid memories, receives sensory input while it should be unconscient and it is on a fast track to a flat EEG. As to the G-Lock explanation, I have search for scientifically evidence of this... most what I have found is anecdotal. For example, I can't find any interviews of soldiers that went to G-lock on a scientific paper. The army was not interested on the physiological outcome of the experiences.
Still it is a fact that the soldiers subjected to G-lock went through the first phases of an NDE, this only reinforces the NDE's by giving credibility to the experimenters. In no way this proves the NDE core experience can’t be transcendental.
As to Occam's razor... well Elli still went to a wormhole to find her dad on another planet... and if we'd follow Occam every time... science would have not advanced.
To summarize: it is almost impossible that the NDE happens prior to flat EEG, it is also almost impossible that the NDE happens during flat EEG.
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"
"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)
"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies