Near Death Experiences - What do you guys think?

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Near Death Experiences - What do you guys think?

So today, I was referred to this site by a comment on YouTube:

http://www.near-death.com

 

It documents peoples' near-death experiences, and offers a number of articles from scientific and religious perspectives that attempt to explain this phenomenom. (I haven't read throught everything on the site yet, so I'm not sure what all these articles say, as of right now.)

Supposedly people have been converted (to which religion seems to vary) from these experiences. What do you guys think? Has anyone ever experienced something like this?

I'm tempted to think that this is simple hallucination or dreaming. Most of these documented experiences occurred at a stressful time (e.g. terminal illness). In a rational situation, many people would probably say that there is no afterlife... but when you are actually close to death, and realize this, I don't think it would be an uncommon reaction for you to secretly wish that there was more. These NDE's could be a subconscious "acting up" or expression of the reluctance to leave this life.

Thoughts?

(PS - Sorry if I posted this in the wrong forum, but I didn't want religious people jumping in saying, "It's JEEEZUS!" as those opinions already litter the website. Move if appropriate.)


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The "tunnel" effect where

The "tunnel" effect where people see outside themseves or see their loved ones, is merely their neurons missfiring (The filing cabinate malfunctioning).

I doubt that someone who had their brains blown out with a shotgun is going to have an NDE.

The "light" or "life" flashing before our eyes, so the NDE people claim is nothing more than all our neurons firing off at the same time. Much like dumping out an entire filing cabinate.

People who experiance this simply dont die.

Death without catistrophic displacement to the brian is much like an old tv where the pitcture goes from full screen to a tiny dot then dissapears. It is like the dimmer switch on on a light. But once the setting of the switch is OFF, you cant turn it back on. The people who have NDE never hit the OFF position.

If someone dies they die, thats it. If they dont die, they dont die. The margin of survival certainly has a range, but to make claims of white tunnels and floating bodies is absurd as multiple armed deities and Allah picking the sex of the baby.

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It brief vivid dreams from

It's brief vivid dreams from a lack of oxygenated blood to the brain.  You can check out what it's like if you're willing to take the small chance of it really hurting you.

Stand with your back to the wall, lean over and put your hands on your knees, and hyperventilate for a full minute.

Stand up straight against the wall and have a friend push on your chest.  After a few seconds (most of the time) you will black out.  You will have some vivid dreams and will be out for about a minute or so.

I used to do it in college with my friends.  Once I dreamed that a dog I had was licking my face.  Felt real as anything.  But the dog was still alive at that time.  He was at my parent's place 5 hours away.

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Suffocating

Suffocating game...yeah...lot of deaths attributed to it as well.

http://www.nbc10.com/health/4992556/detail.html

It's not that much different than being on drugs, but people don't take drugs so it must be god. 


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I/friends did that years ago

I/friends did that years ago before any of us had heard of anyone else doing it intentionally. It got old after about 4 or 5 times though.

Same effect though; I'd always come back to laughing my ass off and thinking I'd just been wrapped in a warm blanket in the sun.

No drugs or near-death required at all.

When people say "but people wouldn't lie about these kinds of things!"

Remember those who claim to have seen bigfoot or that they've been anally probed on an alien spaceship.


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My understanding on NDE's

 I too questioned the realness of NDE's and my conclusion on NDE's is hallucinations that occur during the body continuing to function on less then ideal conditions.

It reminded me of this drug that I heard about a few years back, that is a mass dose of the chemicals released from your pineal gland in the brain during a near death experience called DMT. It's hypothesized DMT is a chemical that is produced in our brain is linked with or promotes visual dreaming while we sleep. They also theorize that massive release of DMT from our pineal gland in our brain is the cause of near death experiences. Interestingly enough people that took the drug reported NDE like hallucinations, some even reported contact with other beings, alien, insectoids. Some felt they were manipulated, tested and even probed. 

The information I found on DMT was on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethyltryptamine

To me it's absolutely amazing how truly complex our minds are. I would simply sum up NDE's not a glimpse into an after life or spiritual realm, but as simply as a chemical reaction in our complex minds. Extremely fascinating.

 

 


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Turns out somebody here's

Turns out somebody here's already written about this.  (cough.. me... cough, cough...)

If you haven't checked out the RRS Authors section, it's really a great resource.  It's on the left sidebar.  Anyway, here's the piece where I talk about NDEs.

For New Atheists: Is This Really All There Is?

 

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Ever notice how chrisitians

Ever notice how chrisitians claim they see god and muslims claim allah?


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   Lack of oxygen is

   Lack of oxygen is spooky, as are other problems  http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/lack

Then we can go the other way , too much of ..... 

 the brain ! Wow


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There is a lot more to it

There is a lot more to it than that, I think you are oversimplifying. Unless you are dead you can never really know to an absolute certainty what happens after death.  

Energy can’t die

We know that energy can’t die, we know that we are essentially energy so when we die we could live on in some form. I do not believe in ghosts, spirits, souls but I certainly leave room for the possibility that something of that nature can exist, especially when science supports the notion.

Of course there are many problems with the theory that we can live on beyond death because energy cannot die.  As far as we can tell the only part of us that makes us, ourselves is our brain. Our brain is run on energy and chemical reactions and without those chemicals we are not who we are.

Anyway the possibility exists that the energy can somehow live on consciously. I doubt energy lives on consciously but I leave room for the possibility.

You can even get into quantum physics and start discussing the 4th, 5th etc etc dimensions. We are all so ignorant about what, who and how we are. We like to think we have all the answers but we only have a grain of sand in an ever expanding universe.


 

If Jesus was born today he would be institutionalized as a schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur.


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Quote:There is a lot more to

Quote:
There is a lot more to it than that, I think you are oversimplifying.

Yes, there is more to it.  A molecular biologist could tell you right down to the level of each part of a cell what happens when we die.  My presentation is an overview, not a textbook.

Oversimplifying, no.  If you'd like a complete explanation, ask deludedgod.  He'll give it to you, and you still won't know much more than you do now.

Quote:
Energy can’t die

Nor can it live.

Please, consider that last sentence very, very carefully.  Energy is not life.  Energy is not alive.  Energy is the force that enables life to happen.   Life is a process involving the interaction of matter and energy.  If there is no matter, there is no life.  Period.

Now, consider the fallacy inherent in Pascal's Wager.  People are sucked into Pascal's Wager because they don't consider the reality that every god who ever existed is also possible, and they don't consider the possibility that god doesn't want us to know about him.  If that is true, there is an endless number of possibilities.  Knowing of several possibilities does not make any of them any more likely.

In the same way, postulating something about quantum physics, which you know very little about unless you are a quantum physicist, works the same way.  Great.  Inventing the unsupported claim that energy can live in the 9th dimension sounds great for science fiction, but it's just as possible as energy living in the "Fourth and a Half Dimension," which is trapped in between the rotting corpse of Elvis and the still living nose of Michael Jackson, both of which are living in Peter Pan's brain.

Just saying, "Oh yeah, it might be possible, because we don't know about quantum physics" is an appeal to ignorance, and has exactly as much validity as claiming godditit.

Quote:
but I certainly leave room for the possibility that something of that nature can exist, especially when science supports the notion.

Ok.  If science supports it, where's the science?

If science doesn't support it, why mention it as a possibility?  Until there's evidence that we should even consider it a remote possibility, why should we?  Let's examine the possibility that souls live in the cilia in our inner ear instead. 

Quote:
As far as we can tell the only part of us that makes us, ourselves is our brain. Our brain is run on energy and chemical reactions and without those chemicals we are not who we are.

Exactly.  You've got it right, yet you're still giving ground where there is no reason to.

Quote:
I doubt energy lives on consciously but I leave room for the possibility.

Hopefully,  you mean that you leave the possibility in the same way that you believe Yahweh might be the one true god.  Sure, it's remotely possible, but only if everything we know is wrong.

Quote:

You can even get into quantum physics and start discussing the 4th, 5th etc etc dimensions. We are all so ignorant about what, who and how we are.

People who say this are usually making an error of composition.  We know a damn lot about what we are.  For thousands of processes, and each individual organ in our body, we know right down to the individual proteins exactly what makes us tick.  We know which regions of the brain control which aspects of our consciousness.  We know all sorts of things about human nature, about human biology, and tons about the ecology that drove us to evolve as we did.

We clearly don't know everything, but we're far from stumbling around ignorantly.  When people say, "We know so little" they are usually trying to let one of their pet theories slip through the cracks.

In this case, we know a damn lot about energy, too.  We know what life is, and we know what it isn't.  It isn't energy.

The bottom line is this:  If there is something that happens to energy after a person dies, and if it has anything to do with us at all when we are living, then our conceptions of matter and energy are SO disastrously wrong that we have to go back and examine the very foundations of all the sciences until we figure it out.

Quote:
We like to think we have all the answers but we only have a grain of sand in an ever expanding universe.

I'm going to be as polite as I can about this, because I'm trying to help, not bitch.  I really hate this kind of argument.  No self respecting scientist I know says we have all the answers.  Only religious people think that.  However, and this is really, crucially important...  not knowing everything is completely different from not knowing anything.  We know a lot.  We know enough about energy to know that there are two choices:

1) Organic life does not exist after death, and energy does not live.

2) We've got everything about energy wrong.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Sorry everyone, I tried to

Sorry everyone, I tried to write a reply yesterday, but my computer froze up & it never got posted.

Anyways, Hambydammit, I'm sorry I didn't come across that article before posting my question! That was very well written, and the researcher Nelson that you quoted seems to have the same idea that I do: the common threads in NDE's don't necessarily point to a discrete afterlife, but rather, to a similarity in human brain function. I mean, our brains are all built with the same components and are built to respond to the same chemicals in the same way... why wouldn't we have similar experiences? Thanks a ton for leading me to that article, as that pretty much answered all my questions, and quelled my fears of an afterlife.

And for those of you who talked about the lack of oxygen, that convinced me that there is nothing spiritual involved. I think I'll pass on playing that game, after reading the article that Mr. Atheist linked to. I've had the pleasure of fainting or passing out a number of times in my 20 years, and I've never seen god or aliens or anything, unfortunately. But right before I pass out, I see tons of colors, and then I see white clouds. That means I'm going past the clouds into heaven right?? But after that it just goes black. What a disappointment.

SabbySu - thanks for mentioning DMT. It could be possible that some people secrete this neurotransmitter inappropriately, or something like that, making them think they've been abducted by aliens, and the like. I hadn't considered this possibility, so thanks for pointing that out.

Also, for the people who talked about neurons misfiring, this was what I suspected played a role, as my family witnessed this firsthand as my grandfather lay on his deathbed a few months ago. In the year leading up to his death, he was often disoriented and confused, and would hallucinate frequently, due to some drugs he was on. He basically lived in a fantasy world. But on his deathbed, it got even worse. He frequently went back in time, thinking he was still in Greece, or thinking that his daughter (my mom) had one baby, when in reality she now has three grown children. He was once a Red Cross chairman in Greece, and so he started reciting an entire speech in Greek about humanitarian duty that he had once given at an event long past.

Anyways, I definitely thought that the "misfiring neurons" theory had some weight, but it didn't explain the testimonies of people who had transcendental experiences during orgasm or other weird situations. However, lack of oxygen is probably the culprit in those cases. (I suppose these experiences could explain why some people have fetishes involving choking or suffocation during sex.) I'm glad to find I'm not the only one who thinks that there is a biological explanation for these phenomena that doesn't involve the spiritual, so thanks to everyone who responded for clearing this up.


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Zombie wrote:Ever notice how

Zombie wrote:

Ever notice how chrisitians claim they see god and muslims claim allah?

You took the words right out of my mouth, Zombie. In fact, it says this somewhere on that site (I think it's in a summary of one woman's research on NDEs).

Additionally, a lot of the stories are prefaced with "she was a devout Christian" or "had a strict Christian upbringing" or something similar. That seems to explain a lot of their interpretation.


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NickB wrote:Unless you are

NickB wrote:
Unless you are dead you can never really know to an absolute certainty what happens after death.  Energy can’t die

GIVE ME A "D"

GIVE ME A "U"

GIVE ME AN "H"

WHAT'S THAT SPELL?

Yea, thanks for the CNN headline there. But what does not knowing what happens after death have to do with propping up absurd magical claims?

We know that once the brain dies, that is it. The atoms that make up the brain, "energy that cant die" is simply transfered. But that does not constitute a "soul" surviving, or a "memory" surviving after death.

As best we know today, when the brain dies, that is it, and the only thing that survives us is the memory of those who survive us. Other than that, our body decomposes and the atoms become part of something that they transfer to.

Most people don't think about this, but the atoms that made up your zygote are not the same atoms you have in you today. The skin you look at 10 years from now, wont have the same atoms in it.

No, we do not know what happens after death. But we certainly should rule out hocus pocus.

 

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The most simplistic way to

The most simplistic way to look at a afterlife is simple. Ask yourself a simple question, "Is life before I was born any different than it will be after I die?"

Energy is transfered, and that is a NO SHIT SHERLOCK, DUH of science. But to have dreams about past lives and reincarnation or some utopia where you are partying it up with Allah or Jesus, is absurd. The people who think this way are merely trying to escape their own mortality.

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   ?  "Is life before I

Yeah,  "Is life before I was born any different than it will be after I die?" ....

ME so sorry Brian37,  I can't remember either !   

and giggles .... thanks man


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I am not saying that any of

I am not saying that any of that is true I am simply saying it’s idiotic to completely rule it out. Teleportation is ‘hocus pocus’ but we are on the verge of being able to accomplish it.  So much was impossible until scientific discovery advanced and made it possible. It is ridiculous to rule something out when we do not have all the facts, even more so when we do not even have a fraction of the facts.

I do not believe in God, heaven, any creator, or in an afterlife but I do keep my mind open to the possibility since we know very little about who and why we are.

Your blind faith may not be religious but it is scientific.

If Jesus was born today he would be institutionalized as a schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur.


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Quote:I am not saying that

Quote:
I am not saying that any of that is true I am simply saying it’s idiotic to completely rule it out. Teleportation is ‘hocus pocus’ but we are on the verge of being able to accomplish it.  So much was impossible until scientific discovery advanced and made it possible. It is ridiculous to rule something out when we do not have all the facts, even more so when we do not even have a fraction of the facts.

Nick, it is perfectly reasonable to rule something out when we do have facts.  We do know what life is.  By definition, energy cannot be alive.  If you are to suggest energy can be alive, you must literally redefine life.

Quote:
Your blind faith may not be religious but it is scientific.

Blind faith implies complete certainty.  If you can show me the scientifically credible, falsifiable hypothesis explaining exactly what life without matter would be, I'll examine it, and if it has merit, I'll change my tune immediately.  You're still missing what I tried to explain in my last post.  Calling up the limits of human knowledge does not work as a proof of the possibility of a theory.  I can come up with a billion theories that are all unscientific, and all rely on us not knowing something.  All of them would be equally improbable, for all of them would rely on ignorance as a justification!

As in any skeptical pursuit, it is appropriate to hold an open mind regarding the possibility that what science believes is wrong.  However, we must remember that the degree of scientific certainty must play a part.  That which is virtually certain must be held to with virtually complete belief.  It is appropriate to hold out the possibility that the sun does not exist, but based on the incredibly overwhelming evidence that it does, we certainly shouldn't be writing magazine articles about the possible nonexistence of the sun.

The fact that you personally don't know much about the science of life and the mathematics of higher dimensions cannot be mistaken for the nonexistence of that knowledge.  Have you noticed that no credible scientists anywhere have any peer-reviewed and accepted hypothesis detailing the existence of life after death?  There's a good reason for that.

Quote:
I do not believe in God, heaven, any creator, or in an afterlife but I do keep my mind open to the possibility since we know very little about who and why we are.

Again, I applaud you for being a skeptic.  It's the right stance.  I must caution you against making an appeal to ignorance.  You must, in order to be rational, assign life after death exactly the same possibility as any other theory for which there is ZERO EVIDENCE.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I to think there is very

I to think there is very little possibility based on what I know now. That being said I do not think we can just rule out all possibility of an afterlife since we do not have all the evidence. I highly doubt there is an afterlife and if I had to put money on I would without a doubt say that there isn't an afterlife but I do not rule it out completely since we do not know. Ruling it out completely is nothing more than a guess, a guess based on slightly favoring but highly incomplete evidence.

Brian37 mentioned atoms in a previous post. The first person we know of that suggested atoms was Greek philosopher Democritus, sadly he had no proof so his theory was forgotten. Then of course Newtown came along and suggested atoms along with other scientests but they had no real proof either. In the 1800's John Dalton suggested atoms existed but again he had no proof and he was constantly ridiculed. It was not until 100 years later that Rutherford proved the existence of atoms. We had centuries of people saying the idea wad idiotic and had absolutely no merit but they were all wrong.

It is perfectly acceptable to deny the existence of something when you have zero evidence. It is however unreasonable to completely deny the existence of something when you have no proof that it does not exist. Sure the idea of an afterlife is unreasonable based on what we know of the human body. To say there is absolutely no chance of an afterlife is unreasonable too because we have no proof that there isn't.

So again I doubt that an afterlife exists but I think it is ignorant to completely rule it out based on what little we know of life.

In other words, I am not suggesting an afterlife is possible I am suggesting it is not completley impossible. 

P.S.  I know energy cannot be alive and I am not suggesting it can be.

 

If Jesus was born today he would be institutionalized as a schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur.


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Oversimplifying, no.  If you'd like a complete explanation, ask deludedgod.  He'll give it to you

And you might be very, very sorry. Eye-wink

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