PZ Myers Calls Eben Alexander’s Visions Brain-Damaged ‘Bullshit’

Harvard-educated neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander woke up one morning with a bad case of E. Coli eating his brain. Before he could say “alakazam,” his neocortex had shut down completely, while his incorporeal body was whisked away on butterfly wings into the depths of the Infinite Beyond. He saw visions, was given messages, and upon returning to consciousness, wrote down his story, which he summarized for Newsweek.

Upon reading this account, blogging biologist and professional party-pooper PZ Myers basically accuses Dr. Alexander of being retarded.  Relishing in his contempt for any Swedenborgian realities that may lie beyond atoms and the void, Myers wipes his ass with Newsweek on his famous science blog Pharyngula:

I’ve got to wonder who is responsible for this nonsense, and how it gets past the staff at Newsweek. Every once in a while, they’ve just got to put up a garish cover story touting the reality of Christian doctrine, and invariably, the whole story is garbage. This time around, the claim is proof of life after death, in Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife. This time, we have a real-live doctor who has worked at many prestigious institutions, as we are reminded several times in the story, whose brain was shut down and who then recites an elaborate fantasy of visiting heaven.

Read more here.

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  • WankstonHughes

    Real or not, it seems like if Alexander wanted to “tout the reality of the Christian doctrine,” his afterlife would have been more . . . Christian-y. Christ and/or God are notably absent from his experience.

  • WankstonHughes

    Real or not, it seems like if Alexander wanted to “tout the reality of the Christian doctrine,” his afterlife would have been more . . . Christian-y. Christ and/or God are notably absent from his experience.

    • Simiantongue

       Did we read the same article?

      “I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a
      God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied
      such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided.”

      “There is, some say, in God a deep but dazzling darkness …”

      “The universe as I experienced it in my coma is—I have come to see with
      both shock and joy—the same one that both Einstein and Jesus were
      speaking of in their (very) different ways.”

      “I know that many of my peers hold—as I myself did—to the theory that the
      brain, and in particular the cortex, generates consciousness and that
      we live in a universe devoid of any kind of emotion, much less the
      unconditional love that I now know God and the universe have toward us.”

      “One of the few places I didn’t have trouble getting my story across was a
      place I’d seen fairly little of before my experience: church. The first
      time I entered a church after my coma, I saw everything with fresh
      eyes.”

      “And, most important, a painting of Jesus breaking bread with his
      disciples evoked the message that lay at the very heart of my journey:
      that we are loved and accepted unconditionally by a God even more grand
      and unfathomably glorious than the one I’d learned of as a child in
      Sunday school.”

      It takes what, all of three minutes to read the article in Newsweak. (No that not a typo)

      • WankstonHughes

        How many minutes did it take to copy and paste the paragraphs before and after the experience I was referring to?

      • WankstonHughes

        How many minutes did it take to copy and paste the paragraphs before and after the experience I was referring to?

        • Simiantongue

           Not christiany enough? There’s more. Try reading it.

        • Simiantongue

           Not christiany enough? There’s more. Try reading it.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielReasor Daniel Reasor

    One of the commentors on the source page puts it succinctly:

    “I don’t understand why people seem to think ‘I used to be an atheist, but then I got brain damage’ is a persuasive argument.”

  • http://twitter.com/DanielReasor Daniel Reasor

    One of the commentors on the source page puts it succinctly:

    “I don’t understand why people seem to think ‘I used to be an atheist, but then I got brain damage’ is a persuasive argument.”

  • Otherworldly1

    I love accounts like Dr. Alexander’s, and it’s particularly disturbing
    to me that closed minded people, especially those in the physical
    sciences, are always quick to denounce accounts like these as some sort
    of sacrilege against logic and reason. What interests me more than
    anything is the true nature of consciousness, which is of course, one of
    the great unsolved conundrums of modern science! I’m guessing around
    99% of neuroscientists will argue emergentism and that consciousness is
    the result of overlapping processes occurring within the brain, and yet
    it fails to explain the epistemic gap (the failure to explain how
    something immaterial, such as conscious experience, arises from
    something material, such as the brain). Not only that, but we have yet
    to find a known neural correlate to consciousness. Altered states of
    consciousness are interesting conduits into studying the nature of
    consciousness, whether they be induced through near-death experiences or
    psychedelic drugs like DMT. Most argue that these experiences are
    simply hallucinations, but the commonalities amongst them are nearly
    universal and very fascinating. The experience of ego-death, the
    feelings of infinite love and oneness with the Universe, the feeling
    that the experience is “more real than real,” are all common experiences
    in such states. Could these be mere fantasies? Certainly, but if they
    are, why are our brains wired in such a way that we would experience
    such things and interpret them in such similar ways? Conversely, if they
    are not mere fantasies, then one can seriously consider theories like
    “non-local consciousness” (immaterial consciousness) and the possibility
    of consciousness surviving the death of the brain. Considering the fact
    that we have a far from perfect understanding of the true nature of
    consciousness, I find it very disturbing that people like PZ Myers feel
    it necessary to publicly berate someone for expressing their opinion on a
    subject that is, even if you refuse to accept it, still very much open
    to debate. I personally feel that the physical sciences will one day
    fully explain the nature of consciousness and altered states of
    consciousness, but until such time perhaps we can keep an open mind and
    not be dogmatic in either direction?

  • Otherworldly1

    I love accounts like Dr. Alexander’s, and it’s particularly disturbing
    to me that closed minded people, especially those in the physical
    sciences, are always quick to denounce accounts like these as some sort
    of sacrilege against logic and reason. What interests me more than
    anything is the true nature of consciousness, which is of course, one of
    the great unsolved conundrums of modern science! I’m guessing around
    99% of neuroscientists will argue emergentism and that consciousness is
    the result of overlapping processes occurring within the brain, and yet
    it fails to explain the epistemic gap (the failure to explain how
    something immaterial, such as conscious experience, arises from
    something material, such as the brain). Not only that, but we have yet
    to find a known neural correlate to consciousness. Altered states of
    consciousness are interesting conduits into studying the nature of
    consciousness, whether they be induced through near-death experiences or
    psychedelic drugs like DMT. Most argue that these experiences are
    simply hallucinations, but the commonalities amongst them are nearly
    universal and very fascinating. The experience of ego-death, the
    feelings of infinite love and oneness with the Universe, the feeling
    that the experience is “more real than real,” are all common experiences
    in such states. Could these be mere fantasies? Certainly, but if they
    are, why are our brains wired in such a way that we would experience
    such things and interpret them in such similar ways? Conversely, if they
    are not mere fantasies, then one can seriously consider theories like
    “non-local consciousness” (immaterial consciousness) and the possibility
    of consciousness surviving the death of the brain. Considering the fact
    that we have a far from perfect understanding of the true nature of
    consciousness, I find it very disturbing that people like PZ Myers feel
    it necessary to publicly berate someone for expressing their opinion on a
    subject that is, even if you refuse to accept it, still very much open
    to debate. I personally feel that the physical sciences will one day
    fully explain the nature of consciousness and altered states of
    consciousness, but until such time perhaps we can keep an open mind and
    not be dogmatic in either direction?

    • Smashandgrabprod

       Bravo sir. Well said, and much more articulate than that sad little man PZ Mayers (who clearly wiped his ass with his own tongue).

      • Paulo Garutti

        Fantastic, you comment. What a lack of respect and fear of accepting the new. I would never go against any statements like “Earth is round”. Going against that is really nonsense and bullshit. But, when someone like PZ Myers calls somebody’s opinion “bullshit”, when the subject is plenty of discussion, he shows all of his prejudice against ideas which opposes those of his ideas. I think just like you, let’s consider all relevant facts, opinions and approaches. He is a Harvard trained neurosurgeon. He has a lot to loose with his statements against downstream science. If Eben Alexander is risking his reputation by assuming his opinion publicly, I think he deserves some credit. He has probably not make as much money with his book as with his neurosurgery, therefore I would rule out the factor “money” when writing his book.

    • tim

      PZ Myers is a nasty piece of work. Your post is one of the best I’ve read.

    • David Howe

      yes, they are mere fantasies

      • Haystack

        Even from a scientific standpoint, a mystical experience is not the same as a fantasy. They may both be brain phenomena, but they are not the same brain phenomena. A person having an NDE experiences the same level of reality as you are as you are reading this comment. It may be false reality, but it is not a “mere fantasy.”

        Don’t be sloppy with your science while scolding others for being sloppy with theirs. 

        • David Howe

           potatoe/potato it’s still in the imagination

          • Haystack

            Spider/insect. They’re both bugs, right? 

          • David Howe

             I guess so.  Are you making a point?  It’s not clear.

          • David Howe

             I guess so.  Are you making a point?  It’s not clear.

          • David Howe

             I guess so.  Are you making a point?  It’s not clear.

          • David Howe

             I guess so.  Are you making a point?  It’s not clear.

          • 1plakat

            Got to expand more on the subject as well David,  one sentence is not enough to counter point. From what I see, the imagination is part of reality and should be taken seriously. Its where a lot of things like inventions begin. Day dreaming is where all my creativity comes from, its a reality within a reality. I suspect animals have a rich internal world that is supported by their physical bodies, thus their constant preoccupation with survival at all costs, they are stroking the furnace that fuels the rendering of an internal reality that is way more complex than we realize. We humans seems to externalize everything while animals internalize their complexity. But who knows right? These are just pondering of my imagination. I suspect the blue whale has the most complex inner world of all, thus the gigantic brain. Got to have top of the line hardware to render complex computer models. Maybe its not heaven but something else is there occulted

          • David Howe

             no

          • David Howe

             no

          • 1plakat

            Got to expand more on the subject as well David,  one sentence is not enough to counter point. From what I see, the imagination is part of reality and should be taken seriously. Its where a lot of things like inventions begin. Day dreaming is where all my creativity comes from, its a reality within a reality. I suspect animals have a rich internal world that is supported by their physical bodies, thus their constant preoccupation with survival at all costs, they are stroking the furnace that fuels the rendering of an internal reality that is way more complex than we realize. We humans seems to externalize everything while animals internalize their complexity. But who knows right? These are just pondering of my imagination. I suspect the blue whale has the most complex inner world of all, thus the gigantic brain. Got to have top of the line hardware to render complex computer models. Maybe its not heaven but something else is there occulted

          • David Howe

             I guess so.  Are you making a point?  It’s not clear.

          • Simiantongue

             No. A spider is of the phylum anthropoda. Not of the class insecta. A bug is a type of insect but not all insects are bugs. So it’s not accurate to say an insect is a bug, as you did. But you could say the inverse that a bug is a type of insect.

            True bugs have mouths shaped like straws called stylets. There are also differences in the wings of bugs from other types of insects. Often times the front sets of wings are colored near where they attach to the body and are thicker.

            Not all fantasies are mystical experiences but all mystical experience is fantasy, to date that I’m aware of. A fantasy broadly is a work of the imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained. Or, the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.

            Where we run into trouble, or where people take exception is when it’s intimated that a fantasy is “unreal”.  Fantasy often times carries the connotation of fiction.

            The point of contention being, what do some consider real or unreal.

          • Simiantongue

             No. A spider is of the phylum anthropoda. Not of the class insecta. A bug is a type of insect but not all insects are bugs. So it’s not accurate to say an insect is a bug, as you did. But you could say the inverse that a bug is a type of insect.

            True bugs have mouths shaped like straws called stylets. There are also differences in the wings of bugs from other types of insects. Often times the front sets of wings are colored near where they attach to the body and are thicker.

            Not all fantasies are mystical experiences but all mystical experience is fantasy, to date that I’m aware of. A fantasy broadly is a work of the imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained. Or, the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.

            Where we run into trouble, or where people take exception is when it’s intimated that a fantasy is “unreal”.  Fantasy often times carries the connotation of fiction.

            The point of contention being, what do some consider real or unreal.

          • Calypso_1

            Not really, all true bugs are insects of the order Hemiptera.

          • Simiantongue

            I think you misread what I wrote, or perhaps I’m not being clear enough. Yes, bugs are a type of insect. I said as much.

            But haystack said that insects are bugs. It’s not a true statement, because not all insects are bugs.

            At best, if you were to insist that insects are bugs, that is true “sometimes”. In this case since there was no context as to what type of insect, that is an unknown quantifier.  Since there is no context it’s reasonable that he/she meant all insects are bugs. Which they’re not.

            Spiders are of the phylum anthropoda as are insects. But spiders are not insects.

            It is untrue that insects are bugs.

            It is true that bugs are insects.

            So in effect what Haystack said was not correct.

            “Spider/insect. They’re both bugs, right?”

            No they’re not. If he/she had said.

            Spiders/bugs. They’re both insects, right?

            That would have been at least half correct. Spiders are not insects but bugs are.

          • Simiantongue

            I think you misread what I wrote, or perhaps I’m not being clear enough. Yes, bugs are a type of insect. I said as much.

            But haystack said that insects are bugs. It’s not a true statement, because not all insects are bugs.

            At best, if you were to insist that insects are bugs, that is true “sometimes”. In this case since there was no context as to what type of insect, that is an unknown quantifier.  Since there is no context it’s reasonable that he/she meant all insects are bugs. Which they’re not.

            Spiders are of the phylum anthropoda as are insects. But spiders are not insects.

            It is untrue that insects are bugs.

            It is true that bugs are insects.

            So in effect what Haystack said was not correct.

            “Spider/insect. They’re both bugs, right?”

            No they’re not. If he/she had said.

            Spiders/bugs. They’re both insects, right?

            That would have been at least half correct. Spiders are not insects but bugs are.

          • Calypso_1

            Sorry, I did not see what you had already written when I replied to Haystack; my statement is 100% correct, though I was not specifically addressing the fact that arachnids are neither bugs nor insects.

          • Calypso_1

            Sorry, I did not see what you had already written when I replied to Haystack; my statement is 100% correct, though I was not specifically addressing the fact that arachnids are neither bugs nor insects.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            i’m assuming he was talking about the informal/colloquial word “bug” which is a huge categorization

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            i’m assuming he was talking about the informal/colloquial word “bug” which is a huge categorization

          • Earaches

            Again, you are wrong.

      • Earaches

        No. You are wrong.

      • Earaches

        No. You are wrong.

      • tim

        No they are not. They are a glimpse into another dimension.

    • JohnWaynman

      “like these as some sort of sacrilege against logic and reason”
      No, only claiming them to be true without evidence is.

      “Could these be mere fantasies? Certainly, but if they
      are, why are our brains wired in such a way that we would experience
      such things and interpret them in such similar ways?”

      The things you named were all too abstract and general for this to be particularly alarming.
      If it had been something very specific, a similar looking entity or place (which actually does happen, and is also a big thing in alien abduction stories – where it’s likely that the image of greys originated at a certain point in history and then just started circulating among the population), then maybe, but feelings of “love” or “loss of identity”… sorry.

      Fascinating, but so are our other hard-wired emotions, perceptions and behaviors we display when awake.

      “expressing their opinion on a subject that is, even if you refuse to accept it, still very much open
      to debate.”
      But Alexander didn’t “express his opinion”, he used his credibility as a “scientist” to take his subjective mind trip and use it as some kind of factual proof. That kind of thing is allowed to be called out.

      And “open to debate”, in this case, only means that you can debate it. The actual position, without actual evidence for the reality of those experience, still should be a negating one.

      No, not “dogmatically” as you uppity folks love to put it, just rationally.

    • JohnWaynman

      “like these as some sort of sacrilege against logic and reason”
      No, only claiming them to be true without evidence is.

      “Could these be mere fantasies? Certainly, but if they
      are, why are our brains wired in such a way that we would experience
      such things and interpret them in such similar ways?”

      The things you named were all too abstract and general for this to be particularly alarming.
      If it had been something very specific, a similar looking entity or place (which actually does happen, and is also a big thing in alien abduction stories – where it’s likely that the image of greys originated at a certain point in history and then just started circulating among the population), then maybe, but feelings of “love” or “loss of identity”… sorry.

      Fascinating, but so are our other hard-wired emotions, perceptions and behaviors we display when awake.

      “expressing their opinion on a subject that is, even if you refuse to accept it, still very much open
      to debate.”
      But Alexander didn’t “express his opinion”, he used his credibility as a “scientist” to take his subjective mind trip and use it as some kind of factual proof. That kind of thing is allowed to be called out.

      And “open to debate”, in this case, only means that you can debate it. The actual position, without actual evidence for the reality of those experience, still should be a negating one.

      No, not “dogmatically” as you uppity folks love to put it, just rationally.

    • http://twitter.com/chaser27 Stephen Sponsler

      There really is nothing to debate nor will there ever be . It’s either Yes or No. God is not interested in what ‘we think we know or even think we think’ about something that we did not create as in opinions, assumption, presumptions, or even transumptions. This goes the whole way back to the Bible , as written in 600BC, “There is nothing new under the sun, all is vanity vanity vanity, like toiling under the sun, like grasping at the wind’.. What is there to grasp when there is nothing to see. Jesus could and would not perform miracles in places where there was no Faith for this very reason. Even if he had, it would always be ‘just one more thing’…that’s the point.

  • Thad McKraken

    The earth is flat! FLAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Thad McKraken

    The earth is flat! FLAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Eet Macuchi

      FUCKIN’ BULLSHIT! JESUS NEVER SAID THAT!

  • Vickii_dodge

    i love how predictable it is for people to dismiss anything outside of their small bubble. the possibility of something more seems ridiculous to them, but in reality, their notion that this life and existence is THE one and only is the more ridiculous notion. alas, people are inevitably confined to their thought patterns and unable to see beyond. there is far more that we can ever understand, although the touches people have with death are dismissed as being wild vivacious fantasies and clearly unreal. it’s funny, because those who’ve experienced the beyond are ridiculed are the most clarified to tell such stories, but that’s okay, keep living in your little bubble, one day i’m sure you’ll realize the truth and no one will hold you cynicism against you. 

  • Vickii_dodge

    i love how predictable it is for people to dismiss anything outside of their small bubble. the possibility of something more seems ridiculous to them, but in reality, their notion that this life and existence is THE one and only is the more ridiculous notion. alas, people are inevitably confined to their thought patterns and unable to see beyond. there is far more that we can ever understand, although the touches people have with death are dismissed as being wild vivacious fantasies and clearly unreal. it’s funny, because those who’ve experienced the beyond are ridiculed are the most clarified to tell such stories, but that’s okay, keep living in your little bubble, one day i’m sure you’ll realize the truth and no one will hold you cynicism against you. 

    • bobbiethejean

       We don’t dismiss things outside our “small bubble.” We dismiss unevidenced, unverifiable sensationalist nonsense. The fact remains: No proof. Until his claims are proven, they remain just that- CLAIMS. Amazing how we’ve discovered so much about our universe yet we haven’t yet managed to classify, quantify, or qualify souls or any other supernatural phenomena for that matter.

    • bobbiethejean

       We don’t dismiss things outside our “small bubble.” We dismiss unevidenced, unverifiable sensationalist nonsense. The fact remains: No proof. Until his claims are proven, they remain just that- CLAIMS. Amazing how we’ve discovered so much about our universe yet we haven’t yet managed to classify, quantify, or qualify souls or any other supernatural phenomena for that matter.

      • DeepCough

        As a matter of fact, I CAN scientifically reproduce the same experience of Eben Alexander: all I need is an eighth of good psilocybin mushrooms or, better yet, a gram of some really dank hashish. You can find more information on my Kickstarter page.

      • DeepCough

        As a matter of fact, I CAN scientifically reproduce the same experience of Eben Alexander: all I need is an eighth of good psilocybin mushrooms or, better yet, a gram of some really dank hashish. You can find more information on my Kickstarter page.

        • bobbiethejean

          :P You know what I mean. Brain damage is not adequate proof for an afterlife. XD

        • bobbiethejean

          :P You know what I mean. Brain damage is not adequate proof for an afterlife. XD

      • Vickii_dodge

        Yes, things outside of one’s bubble that could challenge a reality are met with disbelief and anger. Someone is giving an account of their experience and what they deem to be the truth doesn’t make it a fact, but adversely, no proof serves the other side of the argument that one cannot know the truth because of a lack of evidence. This doesn’t mean to say its doesn’t exist. People who do have had such experiences are quick to be defamed, discredited or explained away by those who aren’t willing to speculate on the possibility of further existence. Oh well, one day we’ll all find out.

      • Vickii_dodge

        Yes, things outside of one’s bubble that could challenge a reality are met with disbelief and anger. Someone is giving an account of their experience and what they deem to be the truth doesn’t make it a fact, but adversely, no proof serves the other side of the argument that one cannot know the truth because of a lack of evidence. This doesn’t mean to say its doesn’t exist. People who do have had such experiences are quick to be defamed, discredited or explained away by those who aren’t willing to speculate on the possibility of further existence. Oh well, one day we’ll all find out.

        • David Howe

           there is only one reality and that’s where your problem lies.  And please don’t accuse those of us don’t agree with you of cynicism.

          • Vickii_dodge

            i beg to differ.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            whether or not there is only one reality, there are multiple non-overlapping perspectives. You have the same kind of firm convictions that a righteous christian or muslim would have, but with different content. It seems from the way you talk that you view all these wild fanciful people as less-than-human, and given the opportunity would love to purge them from our land. This could be called something like “intellectional nationalism” where allegiance is primary. Many are not arguing with the content of your perspective, but with the character of your intellect.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            whether or not there is only one reality, there are multiple non-overlapping perspectives. You have the same kind of firm convictions that a righteous christian or muslim would have, but with different content. It seems from the way you talk that you view all these wild fanciful people as less-than-human, and given the opportunity would love to purge them from our land. This could be called something like “intellectional nationalism” where allegiance is primary. Many are not arguing with the content of your perspective, but with the character of your intellect.

          • Calypso_1

            Current physical theories of the nature of the universe require the existence of realities that are outside of our own. Your agreement or understanding is not required for the math to work.

          • Calypso_1

            Current physical theories of the nature of the universe require the existence of realities that are outside of our own. Your agreement or understanding is not required for the math to work.

        • bobbiethejean

          [someone is giving an account of their experience and what they deem to be the truth]

          And of course, you’re just going to take his word for it? That he’s not making shit up or embellishing or even experiencing perfectly explainable brain phenomena?

          [one cannot know the truth because of a lack of evidence.]

          That’s a lot of fancy-shmancy words for shifting the burden of proof. The bottom line is that if you are making a positive claim, it is on YOU to prove it. I can tell you there is a purple alligiraffegator in my backyard and it sprouts wings and flies but only when no one is looking. Since I’m making a claim, I must prove it and it would be wrong of me to say “Well you can’t disprove it.”

          [People who do have had such experiences are quick to be defamed,]

          That’s because a significant amount of the time they turn out to be charlatans just trying to cash in on people’s gullibility.

          [speculate on the possibility of further existence.]

          Speculating is fun but it’s still just speculating. You can’t call speculating knowledge. Without proof or even shaky evidence, stuff like this is just stabs in the dark and guesses. The concepts that there are souls, afterlives, ghosts, spirits, gods and so on have utterly failed time and time again to stand up against even the most delicate scrutiny. I’m not saying these things 100% don’t exist- that would be a positive claim and I’d have to prove it which I cannot. However, I find it awfully strange how massively uneven our understanding of the real world and the supernatural is. We know so much about our universe but what do we know about the supernatural? Nothing. Not a damn thing.

        • bobbiethejean

          [someone is giving an account of their experience and what they deem to be the truth]

          And of course, you’re just going to take his word for it? That he’s not making shit up or embellishing or even experiencing perfectly explainable brain phenomena?

          [one cannot know the truth because of a lack of evidence.]

          That’s a lot of fancy-shmancy words for shifting the burden of proof. The bottom line is that if you are making a positive claim, it is on YOU to prove it. I can tell you there is a purple alligiraffegator in my backyard and it sprouts wings and flies but only when no one is looking. Since I’m making a claim, I must prove it and it would be wrong of me to say “Well you can’t disprove it.”

          [People who do have had such experiences are quick to be defamed,]

          That’s because a significant amount of the time they turn out to be charlatans just trying to cash in on people’s gullibility.

          [speculate on the possibility of further existence.]

          Speculating is fun but it’s still just speculating. You can’t call speculating knowledge. Without proof or even shaky evidence, stuff like this is just stabs in the dark and guesses. The concepts that there are souls, afterlives, ghosts, spirits, gods and so on have utterly failed time and time again to stand up against even the most delicate scrutiny. I’m not saying these things 100% don’t exist- that would be a positive claim and I’d have to prove it which I cannot. However, I find it awfully strange how massively uneven our understanding of the real world and the supernatural is. We know so much about our universe but what do we know about the supernatural? Nothing. Not a damn thing.

          • tim

            I’m afraid you are behind the times with your ideas. 5 prospective studies have already garnered evidence for mind brain separation. Now there is a multi-centre study in 25 hospitals conducting research into the NDE phenomenon.

          • Calypso_1

            That multicenter study you reference was supposed to be for three years.  It has shown no positive results in the five years since it started and has not resulted in any publications.
             
            I am very interested in and current on many aspects of consciousness studies.  I am wondering if you would please cite the five ‘prospective’ studies and their garnered evidence regarding mind-brain separation.

          • Calypso_1

            That multicenter study you reference was supposed to be for three years.  It has shown no positive results in the five years since it started and has not resulted in any publications.
             
            I am very interested in and current on many aspects of consciousness studies.  I am wondering if you would please cite the five ‘prospective’ studies and their garnered evidence regarding mind-brain separation.

          • tim

            No positive results ? How on earth would you know that. Very amusing :-)  Actually, the results have not been released  because the study is not complete. Trust me.
            previous studies, Van Lommel et all, Parnia/ Fenwick, Sartori, Shwaninger, Greyson, Sabom.  

          • tim

            No positive results ? How on earth would you know that. Very amusing :-)  Actually, the results have not been released  because the study is not complete. Trust me.
            previous studies, Van Lommel et all, Parnia/ Fenwick, Sartori, Shwaninger, Greyson, Sabom.  

          • tim

            And it wasn’t designed as a three year study, it was designed to collect 1500 survivors of cardiac arrest. That is not easy to do when 90% of cardiac arrest patients die and many that do survive are brain damaged and cannot be included.

          • tim

            And it wasn’t designed as a three year study, it was designed to collect 1500 survivors of cardiac arrest. That is not easy to do when 90% of cardiac arrest patients die and many that do survive are brain damaged and cannot be included.

          • Calypso_1

            “90% of cardiac arrest patients die”
            “many that do survive are brain damaged”

            I don’t know under what medical system you are living but if that was occurring in ours we would be, 1) looking for a dedicated cult of medical serial killers,  2)  put out of business by the malpractice attorneys.

          • tim

            Nevertheless, that is a fact my friend. 90% of cardiac arrest patients on average throughout the world do die though not all immediately, a day later two days later, a week later.Check it out.

          • tim

            Nevertheless, that is a fact my friend. 90% of cardiac arrest patients on average throughout the world do die though not all immediately, a day later two days later, a week later.Check it out.

          • Calypso_1

            If we are going to make our medical statistics ‘the world’ it changes some things.  I believe we were specifically talking about in a medical setting…or care upon transport to a medical setting, and we were referring to a study being practiced in Britain.  American hospitals currently achieve closer to a 30% survival discharge rate & 20% one year survival.

            Also the researches you referenced as being linked to studies that ‘garnered’ evidence for mind-body separation do nothing other than catalog and categorize NDE’s.  Obtaining demographics, religious backgrounds, feelings about, statistical occurrence of, etc. is in no way evidence for mind-body separation.  It is simple description of the phenomenon and data gathering on those that have experienced it.   I am not trying to disparage such research.  It should certainly be done.  People obviously experience such things.  However, they also experience extremely similarly events under the influence of certain seizure states and with pharmacological induced events, neither of which can effectively be argued as being close to death.  There is also, to my taste, too much of a vested interested among certain NDE researchers in non-objective interpretation of their work as evidenced by their publication of popular books that bring their theories in line with particular theologies.   I believe studies into the nature of consciousness are vital and are just beginning to approach the technological realm where they are indeed becoming feasible so that more serious hypotheses can be made.  To stake a claim that the current investigations into NDE’s have broached any evidence or understanding of mind-body divide is grossly premature and does a disservice to that research field and consciousness studies as a whole.  It is of course a topic that is easily sensationalized by the media but that does not in any way absolve researches in the field from proceeding with the caution and deliberation it warrants.  Even while doing this one can maintain and communicate the fascination and inspiration such study brings.

          • Calypso_1

            If we are going to make our medical statistics ‘the world’ it changes some things.  I believe we were specifically talking about in a medical setting…or care upon transport to a medical setting, and we were referring to a study being practiced in Britain.  American hospitals currently achieve closer to a 30% survival discharge rate & 20% one year survival.

            Also the researches you referenced as being linked to studies that ‘garnered’ evidence for mind-body separation do nothing other than catalog and categorize NDE’s.  Obtaining demographics, religious backgrounds, feelings about, statistical occurrence of, etc. is in no way evidence for mind-body separation.  It is simple description of the phenomenon and data gathering on those that have experienced it.   I am not trying to disparage such research.  It should certainly be done.  People obviously experience such things.  However, they also experience extremely similarly events under the influence of certain seizure states and with pharmacological induced events, neither of which can effectively be argued as being close to death.  There is also, to my taste, too much of a vested interested among certain NDE researchers in non-objective interpretation of their work as evidenced by their publication of popular books that bring their theories in line with particular theologies.   I believe studies into the nature of consciousness are vital and are just beginning to approach the technological realm where they are indeed becoming feasible so that more serious hypotheses can be made.  To stake a claim that the current investigations into NDE’s have broached any evidence or understanding of mind-body divide is grossly premature and does a disservice to that research field and consciousness studies as a whole.  It is of course a topic that is easily sensationalized by the media but that does not in any way absolve researches in the field from proceeding with the caution and deliberation it warrants.  Even while doing this one can maintain and communicate the fascination and inspiration such study brings.

          • tim

            That’s all wrong I’m afraid. The prospective studies have been carried out on cardiac arrest patients. Cardiac arrest equals death. Fact !
            Pim Van Lommel found that between 10 and 20 per cent of cardiac arrest patients had memories of the time when their brain was not functioning.

          • tim

            That’s all wrong I’m afraid. The prospective studies have been carried out on cardiac arrest patients. Cardiac arrest equals death. Fact !
            Pim Van Lommel found that between 10 and 20 per cent of cardiac arrest patients had memories of the time when their brain was not functioning.

          • Calypso_1

            Cardiac arrest ≠ death. 

            Fact. 

            This conversation is over.

          • Calypso_1

            Cardiac arrest ≠ death. 

            Fact. 

            This conversation is over.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            It is hard to read the rants of closed minded people, even when I want to agree with them.

            Your patience is commendable.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            It is hard to read the rants of closed minded people, even when I want to agree with them.

            Your patience is commendable.

          • Calypso_1

            I find it hilarious that every single reply that you or I has made to Tim is getting the rampant application of the new ‘vote down’ feature.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Tim’s rollin’ deep in the cut. His muthafuckas be down to down-vote a muthafucka.

            Either that, or it’s a painstaking process of logging in, down-voting, logging out, down-voting, creating a new account, down-voting.

            Or maybe random observers don’t care for our opinions.

            If I was a betting man…

          • Calypso_1

            Heh… I don’t bet, & my MS is in biostatistics. Propensity is trending towards butthurt.

          • Calypso_1

            “90% of cardiac arrest patients die”
            “many that do survive are brain damaged”

            I don’t know under what medical system you are living but if that was occurring in ours we would be, 1) looking for a dedicated cult of medical serial killers,  2)  put out of business by the malpractice attorneys.

          • bobbiethejean

            Bullshit. If this were even remotely true, there would be so much celebrating and mass hooplah all over the world. Show me the proof. By the way, if you’re going to make a claim like that, link to the study and each of the centers participating. Until you guys come up with proof, you’re just making wild claims.

            Also, you never answered my question: What do you KNOW about the supernatural? Hm? We don’t even KNOW it exists, let alone any specifics. Go ahead, o wise one, tell me what we KNOW for sure about the supernatural.

          • bobbiethejean

            Bullshit. If this were even remotely true, there would be so much celebrating and mass hooplah all over the world. Show me the proof. By the way, if you’re going to make a claim like that, link to the study and each of the centers participating. Until you guys come up with proof, you’re just making wild claims.

            Also, you never answered my question: What do you KNOW about the supernatural? Hm? We don’t even KNOW it exists, let alone any specifics. Go ahead, o wise one, tell me what we KNOW for sure about the supernatural.

          • tim

            Bullshit you say. You’re not PZ Myers are you ?
            What are you talking about…there would be celebrating all over the world…really. Why ? I knew before these studies produced evidence that we are more than our brains and I wasn’t celebrating. Strange ideas you have.
            I think you have listening to too many know all sceptics sich as PZ Nasty and Dickie Dawkins. You’ve swallowed the popular line, it’s the sickness of our age.

          • tim

            Bullshit you say. You’re not PZ Myers are you ?
            What are you talking about…there would be celebrating all over the world…really. Why ? I knew before these studies produced evidence that we are more than our brains and I wasn’t celebrating. Strange ideas you have.
            I think you have listening to too many know all sceptics sich as PZ Nasty and Dickie Dawkins. You’ve swallowed the popular line, it’s the sickness of our age.

          • bobbiethejean

            Again, you fail. I don’t need to keep pressing you because I know I’ve won. You refuse to answer the simplest question. What do we KNOW about the supernatural? You can hurl invectives and impugn my character all you like because the fact is, I’m right and you’re wrong. But if I am wrong, by all means, show me. Tell me what we KNOW about the supernatural world.

          • bobbiethejean

            Again, you fail. I don’t need to keep pressing you because I know I’ve won. You refuse to answer the simplest question. What do we KNOW about the supernatural? You can hurl invectives and impugn my character all you like because the fact is, I’m right and you’re wrong. But if I am wrong, by all means, show me. Tell me what we KNOW about the supernatural world.

          • tim

            The experiements that are currently taking place in the 25 hospital multi centre study are designed amongst other things to find out which view is correct, Mind equals brain or mind equals separate from brain.
            If mind does not equal brain (and I’m certain that it doesn’t.. although of course I could be wrong) then this has tremendous inplications for humanity.
            Supernatural is an irelevant term because if that is the case (mind and brain are separate) then it is natural…but it just hasn’t yet been discovered yet.
            The evidence up to now points strongly toward mind brain separate but of course the sceptical materialists are horrified by this and will do anything they can to deny and suppress evidence which contradicts the current paradigm.

          • tim

            The experiements that are currently taking place in the 25 hospital multi centre study are designed amongst other things to find out which view is correct, Mind equals brain or mind equals separate from brain.
            If mind does not equal brain (and I’m certain that it doesn’t.. although of course I could be wrong) then this has tremendous inplications for humanity.
            Supernatural is an irelevant term because if that is the case (mind and brain are separate) then it is natural…but it just hasn’t yet been discovered yet.
            The evidence up to now points strongly toward mind brain separate but of course the sceptical materialists are horrified by this and will do anything they can to deny and suppress evidence which contradicts the current paradigm.

          • bobbiethejean

            Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS4PW35-Y00&feature=plcp

            Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZTCK8ZluEc&feature=plcp

            If you have even a shred of intellectual integrity, you will watch those videos.

            Now back to the question you keep refusing to answer: WHAT DO WE KNOW FOR SURE about the supernatural? Don’t tell me supernatural is an irrelevant term because if you’re purporting there is a soul that will retain memories and functions associated with the human brain, you are necessarily implying supernatural elements. As far as science knows, there are no souls. Now stop trying to sidestep the question by playing semantic musical chairs. What do we know about the supernatural? 

          • bobbiethejean

            Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS4PW35-Y00&feature=plcp

            Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZTCK8ZluEc&feature=plcp

            If you have even a shred of intellectual integrity, you will watch those videos.

            Now back to the question you keep refusing to answer: WHAT DO WE KNOW FOR SURE about the supernatural? Don’t tell me supernatural is an irrelevant term because if you’re purporting there is a soul that will retain memories and functions associated with the human brain, you are necessarily implying supernatural elements. As far as science knows, there are no souls. Now stop trying to sidestep the question by playing semantic musical chairs. What do we know about the supernatural? 

          • tim

            “As far as science knows.” Listen, science is not a postion it’s a method. Science does not know there are no souls, some menbers of the scientific community with the biggest mouths and the  most prestigious positions have assumed there are no souls because they are wedded to the religion of materialism. May scientists DO believe that the mind and brain are separate  because there is an abundance of evidence that falsifies materialism. Tough, you don’t like it, I don’t care Mr Angry, what is so is so and no amount of prejudice will ever change it. If you expect to experience nothing when you pop your clogs, you are in for a big surprise. 

          • tim

            “As far as science knows.” Listen, science is not a postion it’s a method. Science does not know there are no souls, some menbers of the scientific community with the biggest mouths and the  most prestigious positions have assumed there are no souls because they are wedded to the religion of materialism. May scientists DO believe that the mind and brain are separate  because there is an abundance of evidence that falsifies materialism. Tough, you don’t like it, I don’t care Mr Angry, what is so is so and no amount of prejudice will ever change it. If you expect to experience nothing when you pop your clogs, you are in for a big surprise. 

          • bobbiethejean

            I never said science “knows” there are no souls. I said we don’t KNOW. Now STOP SIDESTEPPING AND ANSWER THE QUESTION. 

            WHAT

            DO

            WE

            KNOW

            FOR SURE

            ABOUT

            THE

            SUPERNATURAL!?

            Since you seem so loathe to answer, let me answer for you: NOT A DAMN THING except that supernatural claims have failed time and time again to stand up to even the most delicate scientific scrutiny.

            THE END.

          • bobbiethejean

            I never said science “knows” there are no souls. I said we don’t KNOW. Now STOP SIDESTEPPING AND ANSWER THE QUESTION. 

            WHAT

            DO

            WE

            KNOW

            FOR SURE

            ABOUT

            THE

            SUPERNATURAL!?

            Since you seem so loathe to answer, let me answer for you: NOT A DAMN THING except that supernatural claims have failed time and time again to stand up to even the most delicate scientific scrutiny.

            THE END.

          • tim

            Bye Bye Mr Angry. Enjoy the new paradigm.   

          • tim

            Bye Bye Mr Angry. Enjoy the new paradigm.   

      • RandomStranger2

        How do you classify, quantify, or qualify immaterial phenomenon? You sound like
        a naive realist caveman. “If I can’t see it, it don’t exist” derp
        derp

        • bobbiethejean

          You sound like someone throwing out baseless insults because you’re too unintelligent to come up with a substantive rebuttal. I could regale you with explanations of how we could quantify and qualify an “immaterial phenomenon” but I suspect it would be wasted on a microcephalic twat like you.

  • Deicide

    I’ll start taking NDE authors seriously when they start publishing their stories for free. Until then, it just looks like another opportunistic money making scheme. It’s unfortunate that I have to view it this way, but if history has taught me one thing, it is that the human race is full of con artists who are always coming up with new ways to talk people out of their money.

  • Deicide

    I’ll start taking NDE authors seriously when they start publishing their stories for free. Until then, it just looks like another opportunistic money making scheme. It’s unfortunate that I have to view it this way, but if history has taught me one thing, it is that the human race is full of con artists who are always coming up with new ways to talk people out of their money.

    • MillMill

      Unfortunately that was my exact thought when he opened the door for a follow up book as he explained that he was not able to understand/process all of the information with his earthly brain and “Yet I’m confident that with hard work on my part, much of that knowledge will continue to unfold”. (Page 82)

  • DeepCough

    I have a theory: hallucinations like the one Eben Alexander experienced perhaps could be called
    “screen saver mode” of the brain.

  • DeepCough

    I have a theory: hallucinations like the one Eben Alexander experienced perhaps could be called
    “screen saver mode” of the brain.

  • Joe Bauers

    It’s funny how how much the more vocal atheists have in common with fundamentalist type christians. It’s like they despise eachother and yet they can’t live without eachother. Both groups are on a self righteous ego high, which makes sense because only a fool believes that he is in possesion of ultimate truth.

    When asked why he is the wisest man in Greece Socrates replied, “Because I know that I know nothing.” He was sentenced to death for his ability to expose the high and mighty for the fools they are. I bet the fundamentalists and the atheists would have found some common ground on that decision.

  • Joe Bauers

    It’s funny how how much the more vocal atheists have in common with fundamentalist type christians. It’s like they despise eachother and yet they can’t live without eachother. Both groups are on a self righteous ego high, which makes sense because only a fool believes that he is in possesion of ultimate truth.

    When asked why he is the wisest man in Greece Socrates replied, “Because I know that I know nothing.” He was sentenced to death for his ability to expose the high and mighty for the fools they are. I bet the fundamentalists and the atheists would have found some common ground on that decision.

    • David Howe

      and yet the atheist is verifiably correct and those of you with vivid dreamlives are….people with vivid dreamlives.

      • Haystack

        Then by all means, verify for us that there is no god or afterlife. 

        What you have is the explanation for NDEs that best satisfies Occam’s Razor. That’s good, but it’s not the same as having demonstrable proof that your explanation is necessarily the correct one. 

        Science understands the relationships between things we perceive in the world, and even how perceptions may be altered, but in an ultimate sense it cannot explain perception itself. Take, for example, a person who is born color blind and devotes his to the study of color, the anatomy of the eye, brain science, etc.; then, suppose that his color blindness is cured. He learns something that he did not know before, does he not? 

        Or consider a person who does not speak Chinese, but spends his life in a room studying the relationships between Chinese characters, grammar, etc. He perfectly understands how one set of characters corresponds to another, but without being given the definition to just one word, he cannot crack the code and understand the language. 

        In the same way, we (science) can understand the relationships between things we perceive in the world, but we cannot have ultimate knowledge of where they come from. There are existential limits to what is knowable by beings like us. 

        Materialism is internally consistent, but not verifiable. 

        • David Howe

           Occam’s Razor meets my standards just fine.  And I get that people are fascinated by these druggy fantasies, but you should know that they are druggy fantasies.  Interesting, but hardly proof of an afterlife.  There is no proof of an afterlife (an extraordinary claim that violates everything we know), therefore it is reasonable to conclude that it does not exist.

          • Haystack

            I have no proof of your *current* life. You may be a philosophical zombie, mimicking the behaviors of a living person, or even an Eliza program. Your qualitative experience of consciousness, like Alexander’s experience, is irreducibly subjective. 

            We can draw inferences; based on the preponderance of evidence, you are probably alive, and Alexander’s experience probably was a brain phenomenon. And I get that mere inference is sufficient for you, but you should know that it is mere inference. 

            In the absence of any positive evidence, I’m left to conclude that an afterlife is just as unlikely as my current one. 

          • David Howe

             hooo…we’re in some deep philosophical bullshit here….do you realize that you have obliterated my existence out of spite?

            anyway….you are making a false comparison.  the evidence supporting the inference of “no afterlife” is extant.  the belief in an afterlife is exactly that- a belief.  Can’t it just be that?  Why must you fight so hard to prove non-believers wrong?  They are not equally plausible. The burden of proof is on you, not on me.  Basic Science.

            You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t maintain that there is evidence for something and then reject rationality when it gets inconvenient for you.  The simply, plausible, verifiable explanation for near death experiences and other “proof” of the afterlife is the human imagination which by definition can do anything.  The physical world, of which we are a part, can’t.

          • Haystack

            Did I say I believed in an afterlife?

            My point is simply that you’re trying to apply science to a non-scientific question. Believers haven’t satisfied the burden of proof, their hypothesis isn’t required to explain the observed phenomenon, but they’re also not trying to answer a question about the natural world. They’re speculating upon whether something might exist that is beyond the scope of it. 

            The answer to that question, in a definite, logical sense, is simply not knowable. 

          • Haystack

            Did I say I believed in an afterlife?

            My point is simply that you’re trying to apply science to a non-scientific question. Believers haven’t satisfied the burden of proof, their hypothesis isn’t required to explain the observed phenomenon, but they’re also not trying to answer a question about the natural world. They’re speculating upon whether something might exist that is beyond the scope of it. 

            The answer to that question, in a definite, logical sense, is simply not knowable. 

          • David Howe

             all we have is logic.  the imagination is infinite and thus the problem.  you make this sound like a dilemma and it’s not.

          • Calypso_1

            Logic is miniscule compared to what we have.  Imagination is finite. 

          • Calypso_1

            Logic is miniscule compared to what we have.  Imagination is finite. 

          • http://twitter.com/PhoenixWomanMN Phoenix Woman

            I’m amazed at how he ignored your reference to Occam’s Razor.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Can you deny the existence of non-conscious afterlife?

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Can you deny the existence of non-conscious afterlife?

          • David Howe

             hooo…we’re in some deep philosophical bullshit here….do you realize that you have obliterated my existence out of spite?

            anyway….you are making a false comparison.  the evidence supporting the inference of “no afterlife” is extant.  the belief in an afterlife is exactly that- a belief.  Can’t it just be that?  Why must you fight so hard to prove non-believers wrong?  They are not equally plausible. The burden of proof is on you, not on me.  Basic Science.

            You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t maintain that there is evidence for something and then reject rationality when it gets inconvenient for you.  The simply, plausible, verifiable explanation for near death experiences and other “proof” of the afterlife is the human imagination which by definition can do anything.  The physical world, of which we are a part, can’t.

      • Cwjb

        could you please explain how the “atheist is verifiably correct”

      • Cwjb

        could you please explain how the “atheist is verifiably correct”

        • David Howe

           I have many times.  Occam’s Razor.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        As long as you know when you’re in a dream, living a vivid dreamlife puts you past the edge of reality, so that the great wonder that is reality is understandable and engageable.

        Restricting yourself merely to what is verifiable in human terms limits your perception from the really amazing things that surround us.

    • Tommo

       You couldn’t be more wrong. Christians (like anyone of faith) believe they already know all they need to know, because this information has been handed down to them from on high. Atheists that appreciate science think that part is bull, and the only truth we could possibly attain is from the knowledge we achieve through experimentation and analysis. This is why these people are always demanding evidence, because without it you have no argument, and no one should be taking you seriously. It’s not a question of ego, it’s a question of which model is a “best fit”; faith based, or evidence based. For example, do you believe in evolution or biblical creation? I think one model is vastly superior to the other given the evidence.

      I think one of the major differences between these two groups is how each defines the term “open minded”. To me it means being open to many possibilities and explanations when trying to solve mysteries. Christians seem to define it as being open to the truths laid out in the bible while rejecting competing hypotheses, which isn’t open minded at all in my opinion.

      Also, I think you forgot to mention the other charge against Socrates leading to his execution, the charge of impiety. He was killed because he didn’t believe in the “Gods of the state”.If only they had separation of church and state…

    • Tommo

       You couldn’t be more wrong. Christians (like anyone of faith) believe they already know all they need to know, because this information has been handed down to them from on high. Atheists that appreciate science think that part is bull, and the only truth we could possibly attain is from the knowledge we achieve through experimentation and analysis. This is why these people are always demanding evidence, because without it you have no argument, and no one should be taking you seriously. It’s not a question of ego, it’s a question of which model is a “best fit”; faith based, or evidence based. For example, do you believe in evolution or biblical creation? I think one model is vastly superior to the other given the evidence.

      I think one of the major differences between these two groups is how each defines the term “open minded”. To me it means being open to many possibilities and explanations when trying to solve mysteries. Christians seem to define it as being open to the truths laid out in the bible while rejecting competing hypotheses, which isn’t open minded at all in my opinion.

      Also, I think you forgot to mention the other charge against Socrates leading to his execution, the charge of impiety. He was killed because he didn’t believe in the “Gods of the state”.If only they had separation of church and state…

    • Paulo Garutti

      Just like Batman and Joker… they need each other. Let’s stay with reason, right in the middle, with our eyes, ears and mind wide open.

  • Haystack

    Even if Alexander is wrong, I don’t quite get what it is about this story that inspires Myers and other skeptics to be so dickish about it. He’s a human being who almost died, and wants to talk about a profound experience he had–why belittle him? What this illustrates for me is just how bullying the skeptical community can be at times. 

    Granted, I think the same is often true of believers as well. 

    When I was young I used to love this stuff; to wonder and to speculate about the weird new ideas and possibilities. I’m not sure if I’ve changed, or if the world has changed, but it seems that every new case, every new phenomenon, instantly becomes an ideological battleground between skeptics and believers; that it’s more about winning arguments than exploring possibilities and enjoying the bizarre just for itself. 

    • David Howe

      It’s easy to be prickly when confronted with the irresponsibility of Newsweek magazine combined with the error-laden account by a “scientist” who isn’t very scientific.  The Bad Faith, lousy editing, pandering, and irresponsibility is very alarming and upsetting.  That’s why we’re dicks about it.  Because it’s very irritating how hard people fight for their own ignorance.

      Sam Harris says it best: http://www.samharris.org/blog

      • Haystack

        Sure, I can understand being peeved at Newsweek. They’re not doing their jobs responsibly. I just don’t see why they’re denigrating the guy himself. 

        His self-analysis may not rise to the standards of critical thinking one would expect from a scientist, but this was real and profound for him; not just a “dream” or a “fantasy” that one can easily shrug off. I can excuse his lack of objectivity because I understand that, in the same situation, I might come out thinking the same way. 

      • Haystack

        Sure, I can understand being peeved at Newsweek. They’re not doing their jobs responsibly. I just don’t see why they’re denigrating the guy himself. 

        His self-analysis may not rise to the standards of critical thinking one would expect from a scientist, but this was real and profound for him; not just a “dream” or a “fantasy” that one can easily shrug off. I can excuse his lack of objectivity because I understand that, in the same situation, I might come out thinking the same way. 

        • David Howe

           you can’t have it both ways.

  • zombieslapper

    It’s funny how people fight over what may or may not happen when we die. It simply doesn’t matter.

  • zombieslapper

    It’s funny how people fight over what may or may not happen when we die. It simply doesn’t matter.

    • David Howe

       we should be more concerned about what happens when we’re alive, huh?  what kind of a world would that be? 

      • http://twitter.com/PhoenixWomanMN Phoenix Woman

        “What kind of a world would that be?” That’s a good question.

        Some folks (including a number of atheists like Voltaire) thought promoting monotheistic “Big Daddy” religions was necessary because without the thought of a Heavenly SuperCop to punish them with a craptastic afterlife, it was feared that the masses would be ungovernable (or unexploitable, take your pick).

        Others (such as atheist Ayn Rand) didn’t like religions, especially Christianity, because they taught compassion and empathy and took a dim view of the pursuit of material goods. (One thing that the Catholic Church used to tout, a concept which originated with the great Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, was the idea of a “just price” (https://www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=11855) for goods and services. The reason most persons — including most Catholics and, it is likely, even most readers of this blog — have never heard of it is because the Church was compelled to drop that bit of doctrine in order to please the up-and-coming merchant classes so they would tithe more assiduously. Of course, the Alabama Austrian economists just hate the concept: https://www.mises.org/daily/2918/The-Myth-of-the-Just-Price )

  • Guest

    What a douchebag 

    • C Jhilliard

      Who, pray, is the douchebag, Myers or Alexander?    I have had OOBE.s since I was a child, I have seen my Mother though she died a year and a half ago, and have had many visions especially regarding the moon…that were NOT fantasies or products of an imaginative mind.  I consider myself privileged to have done so, and its only because I have always lived an open, spirituAL LIFE I believe…Eben is the tops and its a message of hope for us all. The closed people who don’t spend time thinking of these things in quiet lives, are the losers!!!! Carolyn Hilliard on c.jhilliard@btinternet.com

      • David Howe

         I’m sorry to tell you this, but your out of body experiences are in the imagination.  you are lucky to experience such things, I’m sure it’s a source of much fascination.

        You might not have control over these visions, but they are just that.  This isn’t magic and this isn’t another realm or communication with the dead.  Unless there is some objective proof otherwise, it’s your imagination because imagination is a perfectly reasonable and plausible explanation.  We have proof that the brain can imagine things, including things we don’t necessary desire to imagine.

        • kowalityjesus

          How nice that you can know intimately another’s experience in order to authoritatively discount the reality of it.  I think the first commenter made the best assertion on this subject:

          Conversely, if they are not mere fantasies, then one can seriously consider theories like “non-local consciousness” (immaterial consciousness) and the possibility of consciousness surviving the death of the brain. Considering the fact that we have a far from perfect understanding of the true nature of consciousness, I find it very disturbing that people like PZ Myers feel it necessary to publicly berate someone for expressing their opinion on asubject that is, even if you refuse to accept it, still very much open to debate. 

        • kowalityjesus

          How nice that you can know intimately another’s experience in order to authoritatively discount the reality of it.  I think the first commenter made the best assertion on this subject:

          Conversely, if they are not mere fantasies, then one can seriously consider theories like “non-local consciousness” (immaterial consciousness) and the possibility of consciousness surviving the death of the brain. Considering the fact that we have a far from perfect understanding of the true nature of consciousness, I find it very disturbing that people like PZ Myers feel it necessary to publicly berate someone for expressing their opinion on asubject that is, even if you refuse to accept it, still very much open to debate. 

          • David Howe

             it is nice to know I’m right.

          • Junius Stone

            But…you don’t. That’s the bitch of it, and it really ticks you off.

  • tim

    If sceptics had a proper look at the NDE research they would find that conventional explanations
    don’t satisfy. As regards Myers, he is true piece of work.

    • David Howe

      When people sleep or become unconscious they dream.  end of story.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

        I take it you’ve not done much exploratory work in this field.

        • David Howe

          appeal to authority?  oh come on; we’ve been down this road already

          • Calypso_1

            You were left to sit in your diapers as a child weren’t you?

          • Calypso_1

            You were left to sit in your diapers as a child weren’t you?

  • David Howe

    As always, PZ is spot-on correct. 

    • tim

      Once again, no he’s not. He’s an ill-informed biased bully.

  • tim

     No such thing as NDE research..really ? Where have you been for the past thirty years ? PZ is not spot on , he is behaving like a  fouled mouthed thug. 

  • tim

     No such thing as NDE research..really ? Where have you been for the past thirty years ? PZ is not spot on , he is behaving like a  fouled mouthed thug. 

    • David Howe

      Unfortunately, it’s all anecdotal and not worth much.  And I don’t see why the name-calling is necessary.

      • tim

        Myers is the persistent name caller. Brain damaged bullshit ? What’s his basis for saying that ?
        Alexander’s brain was shut down, Meningitus and severe/acute menigitus as in his case is a great model for brain death, so he shouldn’t have experienced anything.
        NDE research is not anecdotal, that’s merely the sceptical echo chamber  working well.
        There have been at least five prospective studies into the phenomenon and all have demonstrated that the formation of well structured lucid thoughts with reasoning and memory formation is occuring when science tells us it shouldn’t be possible.
        In order to confirm these findings a multi-centre study in 25 hospitals has been under way for almost 5 years now to try to find the definitive answer.
        PZ Myers already thinks he knows the answer. How arrogant and small minded is that.

        • David Howe

          Your facts are incorrect.  Please read Sam Harris’ dissection of the article:
          http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/this-must-be-heaven

          Briefly, his brain was not dead, it was functioning and we was mistaken about his own biology.

          As for the upcoming studies, I hope they are gathering some sort of proof of these other realms through objective testing.  Anything less is simply a waste of my time.

          • tim

            I have read the Sam Harris objections. Harris is not qualified to make such a statement, plus he was not there. I repeat Alexander’s brain was shut down completely. The neo-cortex the part that makes us human was soaking in puss. Lower brain function is not responsible for the processes that occur in the cortex such as sight and sound that make experience possible etc.
            Eben Alexander is  of the highest calibre as physicians go, He went through nine neurological models with his colleagues to try to explain his experience but couldn’t find one that fully explained it.

            The multi-centre study is not seeking evidence of an afterlife ..it is trying to find out if consciousness continues after the brain has ceased to function, to answer the question of whether mind equals brain or mind is separate…amongst other things which I don’t have time to list. Thanks for the debate. Regards. 

          • tim

            I have read the Sam Harris objections. Harris is not qualified to make such a statement, plus he was not there. I repeat Alexander’s brain was shut down completely. The neo-cortex the part that makes us human was soaking in puss. Lower brain function is not responsible for the processes that occur in the cortex such as sight and sound that make experience possible etc.
            Eben Alexander is  of the highest calibre as physicians go, He went through nine neurological models with his colleagues to try to explain his experience but couldn’t find one that fully explained it.

            The multi-centre study is not seeking evidence of an afterlife ..it is trying to find out if consciousness continues after the brain has ceased to function, to answer the question of whether mind equals brain or mind is separate…amongst other things which I don’t have time to list. Thanks for the debate. Regards. 

          • David Howe

             “he was not there”?  are you for real?

          • tim

            Am I for real ?  Do you mean am I an idiot  ? Yes, I’m a prize fool. Because I’m wasting my time trying to get you to see beyond the end of your nose.  

          • Congleton Julie

            I had a condition called Temporal lobe epilepsy now this involved a damaged right lobe and I would hallucinate andwander off, Cos the brain will do anything to protect itself MY TLE was caused by guitar riffs you know listening to LEd Zep etc as I am  achild of the 70’s it is my musicTrying to get the neuros to believe me was well nigh impossible until they dragged me in hospital wired me up and played all what was my favourite 70’s songs, Deep PurpleThin Lizzy etc they recorded to side o my brain thatw as damaged I was wheeled in for surgery and what music do I now listen too when doing the house work? Led Zep etc. The human brin is a very curoius comples thing 

          • Congleton Julie

            I had a condition called Temporal lobe epilepsy now this involved a damaged right lobe and I would hallucinate andwander off, Cos the brain will do anything to protect itself MY TLE was caused by guitar riffs you know listening to LEd Zep etc as I am  achild of the 70’s it is my musicTrying to get the neuros to believe me was well nigh impossible until they dragged me in hospital wired me up and played all what was my favourite 70’s songs, Deep PurpleThin Lizzy etc they recorded to side o my brain thatw as damaged I was wheeled in for surgery and what music do I now listen too when doing the house work? Led Zep etc. The human brin is a very curoius comples thing 

          • tim

            That’s interesting, Julie. I hope you are coping with it okay.
            The prospective NDE studies that have and are being carried out focus only on cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest equals death so no experience in the brain should be possible after 10 seconds approx.
            There are a great many cases of patients having memories and well structured thought processes while their brains were not working.
            Materialists don’t want to hear it of course. 

          • tim

            That’s interesting, Julie. I hope you are coping with it okay.
            The prospective NDE studies that have and are being carried out focus only on cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest equals death so no experience in the brain should be possible after 10 seconds approx.
            There are a great many cases of patients having memories and well structured thought processes while their brains were not working.
            Materialists don’t want to hear it of course. 

        • David Howe

          Your facts are incorrect.  Please read Sam Harris’ dissection of the article:
          http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/this-must-be-heaven

          Briefly, his brain was not dead, it was functioning and we was mistaken about his own biology.

          As for the upcoming studies, I hope they are gathering some sort of proof of these other realms through objective testing.  Anything less is simply a waste of my time.

  • alizardx

    Atheists with religious certainty are so cute. 

  • alizardx

    Atheists with religious certainty are so cute. 

  • Mikez6868

    Regardless of one’s beliefs….the fact that this gentleman is a neurosurgeon does not validate anything other than his PERSONAL “experience” as a PATIENT in a coma!  It matters not that this individual is highly educated, ect.   For example what he remembers during “no brain activity” may have actually occured prior to or just after emerging.  Time distortion, out of body experiences, ect. is asssociated with dysfunction in the temporo‐parietal junction of the brain.  His education means nothing.  Did he experience this as a person?  YES.   His perception may or may NOT have been altered…..The fact that he is a neurosurgeon means nothing in this case. 

  • Mikez6868

    Regardless of one’s beliefs….the fact that this gentleman is a neurosurgeon does not validate anything other than his PERSONAL “experience” as a PATIENT in a coma!  It matters not that this individual is highly educated, ect.   For example what he remembers during “no brain activity” may have actually occured prior to or just after emerging.  Time distortion, out of body experiences, ect. is asssociated with dysfunction in the temporo‐parietal junction of the brain.  His education means nothing.  Did he experience this as a person?  YES.   His perception may or may NOT have been altered…..The fact that he is a neurosurgeon means nothing in this case. 

    • tim

      Yes, that’s the traditional sceptical fall back postion. It occured just before or just after. If you actually examined his experience you would see that that explanation doesn’t cut the mustard. As for his credentials as a neurosurgeon meaning nothing….no it wouldn’t,  would it…naturally he would have been better able to judge the validity of his experience if he’s been a bus conductor.
      PZ Myers knows everything. He knows NDE’s are bullshit…he’s never had one, never studied the research of course, but he doesn’t need to being such a giant intellect.

    • rtb61

       Should you be able to question his experience certainly, should you be able to question his position upon a basis of authority, only if you had a similar frame of reference.
      So for PZ Meyer to comment upon a basis of authority, that authority would require that he die, resurrect and provide us with the qualitative alternative.
      We are one step up from chimpanzees that meaning of life stuff is still pretty much will beyond our reach, only a rare few have glimpsed the merest edges of it.
      Whilst I doubt recollection of his experience was totally accurate and substantially it would be his interpretation of it, the enormous gaps between sub-atomic particles just like gravity hold an understanding beyond our ken.
      The question is really weather or not you truly believe you are really alive and if not how insane you are?

    • rtb61

       Should you be able to question his experience certainly, should you be able to question his position upon a basis of authority, only if you had a similar frame of reference.
      So for PZ Meyer to comment upon a basis of authority, that authority would require that he die, resurrect and provide us with the qualitative alternative.
      We are one step up from chimpanzees that meaning of life stuff is still pretty much will beyond our reach, only a rare few have glimpsed the merest edges of it.
      Whilst I doubt recollection of his experience was totally accurate and substantially it would be his interpretation of it, the enormous gaps between sub-atomic particles just like gravity hold an understanding beyond our ken.
      The question is really weather or not you truly believe you are really alive and if not how insane you are?

  • Ciderhillfarm

    after my friend had meningitis, he thought i was a duck

  • Ciderhillfarm

    after my friend had meningitis, he thought i was a duck

  • paula marie

    While the doctor’s account may indeed be a product of his brain, that makes it no less astounding; it is new information on what can happen in “inner space” when the neocortex shuts down.  I find it amazing that the brain can continue to function and produce such amazing phenomenon, whether earthly or “heavenly.”  One should think twice about such unconscious states and the brain, as there is so much about the mind we obviously do not know. I think Dr. Eben Alexander‏’s experience is quite invaluable and I have also known others claiming similar experiences while being declared “vegetative.” The medical world really needs to take a second look. This article is more than a bit pompous.

  • paula marie

    While the doctor’s account may indeed be a product of his brain, that makes it no less astounding; it is new information on what can happen in “inner space” when the neocortex shuts down.  I find it amazing that the brain can continue to function and produce such amazing phenomenon, whether earthly or “heavenly.”  One should think twice about such unconscious states and the brain, as there is so much about the mind we obviously do not know. I think Dr. Eben Alexander‏’s experience is quite invaluable and I have also known others claiming similar experiences while being declared “vegetative.” The medical world really needs to take a second look. This article is more than a bit pompous.

  • paula marie

    While the doctor’s account may indeed be a product of his brain, that makes it no less astounding; it is new information on what can happen in “inner space” when the neocortex shuts down.  I find it amazing that the brain can continue to function and produce such amazing phenomenon, whether earthly or “heavenly.”  One should think twice about such unconscious states and the brain, as there is so much about the mind we obviously do not know. I think Dr. Eben Alexander‏’s experience is quite invaluable and I have also known others claiming similar experiences while being declared “vegetative.” The medical world really needs to take a second look. This article is more than a bit pompous.

  • tim

    @Calypso person. Yes, cardiac arrest equals death. I think you need to grow up.

  • tim

    @Calypso person. Yes, cardiac arrest equals death. I think you need to grow up.

    • Calypso_1

      Cardiac arrest doesn’t even mean that the heart has stopped beating or that there has been a cessation of electrical activity.  It is the stoppage of cardiac output and sufficient circulation to provide perfusion to organ systems.  This is treatable by defibrillation, cardioversion, hypothermia and a host of antidysryhthmia drugs. 
      Yes it is life threatening but people are treated and survive all the time.  I know, I’ve worked on METs & surgical teams.  I’ve even had a patient without a heart, instead using an external rotational pump – no pulse at all. 
       
      You may be working from another definition but it is not the one used in medical practice. 
      You may also continue to question my relative stage of maturity but I do not think that it adds any credence to your claims or additional weight to your attempt to display knowledge on this subject matter.

    • Calypso_1

      Cardiac arrest doesn’t even mean that the heart has stopped beating or that there has been a cessation of electrical activity.  It is the stoppage of cardiac output and sufficient circulation to provide perfusion to organ systems.  This is treatable by defibrillation, cardioversion, hypothermia and a host of antidysryhthmia drugs. 
      Yes it is life threatening but people are treated and survive all the time.  I know, I’ve worked on METs & surgical teams.  I’ve even had a patient without a heart, instead using an external rotational pump – no pulse at all. 
       
      You may be working from another definition but it is not the one used in medical practice. 
      You may also continue to question my relative stage of maturity but I do not think that it adds any credence to your claims or additional weight to your attempt to display knowledge on this subject matter.

      • tim

        I don’t know where you are getting this bizarre information from  but cardiac arrest equals death. Fact.
        Cardiac Arrest & Clinical Death

         
        Although people have heard of the phenomena of cardiac arrest, most do not realise that cardiac arrest is synonimonous with death.  These two terms essentially mean the same thing.  Most people see cardiac arrest like the glorious moment in various television medical programmes in which doctors try fervently to try and save somebody’s life and prevent them from dying but in fact what they don’t realise is that the point at which we die is when the heart stops beating, the person stops breathing, and the brain shuts down which are exactly the same criteria as a cardiac arrest.  The only difference between a cardiac arrest and death is the definition used by the medical staff. When medical staff intervene with someone who has just died and try to restart their heart, it is called a cardiac arrest. If they do not succeed in restarting the heart and all resuscitation efforts are stopped, then they will pronounce the person as officially dead. In actuality, the two are the same phenomena and cardiac arrest resuscitation simply refers to the first part of death when doctors and nurses attempt to restart the heart in someone who has just died. 

      • tim

        I don’t know where you are getting this bizarre information from  but cardiac arrest equals death. Fact.
        Cardiac Arrest & Clinical Death

         
        Although people have heard of the phenomena of cardiac arrest, most do not realise that cardiac arrest is synonimonous with death.  These two terms essentially mean the same thing.  Most people see cardiac arrest like the glorious moment in various television medical programmes in which doctors try fervently to try and save somebody’s life and prevent them from dying but in fact what they don’t realise is that the point at which we die is when the heart stops beating, the person stops breathing, and the brain shuts down which are exactly the same criteria as a cardiac arrest.  The only difference between a cardiac arrest and death is the definition used by the medical staff. When medical staff intervene with someone who has just died and try to restart their heart, it is called a cardiac arrest. If they do not succeed in restarting the heart and all resuscitation efforts are stopped, then they will pronounce the person as officially dead. In actuality, the two are the same phenomena and cardiac arrest resuscitation simply refers to the first part of death when doctors and nurses attempt to restart the heart in someone who has just died. 

        • Calypso_1

          You obviously have a significant fixation with and emotional investment in this subject.  Your technical qualifications to expound upon it do not however, seem to match the level of interest you have. 
          The information you have acquired in fueling your interest is biased, not grounded in practical medical or scientific education and cannot be circumvented by a reasoned appeal to the latter because of your fixation. 
           
          The nice cut and paste job you did from the Horizon Foundation, is hardly going to convert me.
          Unless I am chatting with either Drs. Fenwick or Parnia themselves (which I would be appalled to learn, given a reference to cardiac arrest being tied to CO as bizarre), I really think you should reconsider who you are trying to push your case against. 
           
          I am more than willing to read through the published papers of these two Foundation trustees to determine for myself how they have derived their opinions from their medical experience and to what level of validity I would assign it.  
          But please don’t try to pass off any more medical ‘expertise’ my way, because it is indeed quite obvious that you do not know where I am getting by information from and I feel no responsibility in helping you acquire knowledge that you cast aside due to a faith based paradigm.

        • Calypso_1

          You obviously have a significant fixation with and emotional investment in this subject.  Your technical qualifications to expound upon it do not however, seem to match the level of interest you have. 
          The information you have acquired in fueling your interest is biased, not grounded in practical medical or scientific education and cannot be circumvented by a reasoned appeal to the latter because of your fixation. 
           
          The nice cut and paste job you did from the Horizon Foundation, is hardly going to convert me.
          Unless I am chatting with either Drs. Fenwick or Parnia themselves (which I would be appalled to learn, given a reference to cardiac arrest being tied to CO as bizarre), I really think you should reconsider who you are trying to push your case against. 
           
          I am more than willing to read through the published papers of these two Foundation trustees to determine for myself how they have derived their opinions from their medical experience and to what level of validity I would assign it.  
          But please don’t try to pass off any more medical ‘expertise’ my way, because it is indeed quite obvious that you do not know where I am getting by information from and I feel no responsibility in helping you acquire knowledge that you cast aside due to a faith based paradigm.

          • tim

            You seem to have some kind of a problem. What is wrong with cut and paste, prey ? I did that so that you would be able to believe me that cardiac arrest equals death. Sam Parnia was the author of the piece,  is an emminent cardiologist, not biased one way or the other.   

            As for trying to convert you, dear oh dear I don’t give two hoots what you care to believe, survival is either true or it’s not, one of us is wrong. Alas for you, all the evidence is stacking up against you.

            That first paragraph you wrote in your last reply reveals  much about you :

            “The information you have acquired in fueling your interest is biased, not grounded in practical medical or scientific education and cannot be circumvented by a reasoned appeal to the latter because of your fixation.”

            What a pompous ridiculous statement.
            I don’t have any more of a fixation than you do. And how do you know the information I’ve  read is biased ? You don’t know what I’ve read, you don’t know anything about me, that is just a load of silly nonsense. And what exactly is a faith based programme ?
             

          • tim

            You seem to have some kind of a problem. What is wrong with cut and paste, prey ? I did that so that you would be able to believe me that cardiac arrest equals death. Sam Parnia was the author of the piece,  is an emminent cardiologist, not biased one way or the other.   

            As for trying to convert you, dear oh dear I don’t give two hoots what you care to believe, survival is either true or it’s not, one of us is wrong. Alas for you, all the evidence is stacking up against you.

            That first paragraph you wrote in your last reply reveals  much about you :

            “The information you have acquired in fueling your interest is biased, not grounded in practical medical or scientific education and cannot be circumvented by a reasoned appeal to the latter because of your fixation.”

            What a pompous ridiculous statement.
            I don’t have any more of a fixation than you do. And how do you know the information I’ve  read is biased ? You don’t know what I’ve read, you don’t know anything about me, that is just a load of silly nonsense. And what exactly is a faith based programme ?
             

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Is unconsciousness intrinsic to your definition of cardiac arrest?  To put it another way, are “having a heart attack” and “cardiac arrest” the same things?

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Is unconsciousness intrinsic to your definition of cardiac arrest?  To put it another way, are “having a heart attack” and “cardiac arrest” the same things?

          • Calypso_1

            A heart attack (myocardial infarction) is not the same thing as cardiac arrest. Often people who experience cardiac arrest have had previous MI or other cardiomyopathy that has damaged the heart. MI is the cutting off of blood supply to a specific region of heart muscle resulting in damage or death of the tissue. One can most certainly be conscious. A sufficiently large MI or one in the presence of other conditions may lead to cardiac arrest but an MI itself by no means always causes arrest. As to unconsciousness with arrest, yes, it is nearly synonymous. Many conditions leading to arrest ie shock may have already produced unconsciousness, otherwise it occurs rapidly either from immediate shock to the body or in the short duration it takes the brain to be deprived of O2.
            Much of the cutting edge research for survivability is on enhancing the brains ability to survive anoxic conditions.

          • Calypso_1

            A heart attack (myocardial infarction) is not the same thing as cardiac arrest. Often people who experience cardiac arrest have had previous MI or other cardiomyopathy that has damaged the heart. MI is the cutting off of blood supply to a specific region of heart muscle resulting in damage or death of the tissue. One can most certainly be conscious. A sufficiently large MI or one in the presence of other conditions may lead to cardiac arrest but an MI itself by no means always causes arrest. As to unconsciousness with arrest, yes, it is nearly synonymous. Many conditions leading to arrest ie shock may have already produced unconsciousness, otherwise it occurs rapidly either from immediate shock to the body or in the short duration it takes the brain to be deprived of O2.
            Much of the cutting edge research for survivability is on enhancing the brains ability to survive anoxic conditions.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Thanks. I’ll avoid that conflation in the future.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Thanks. I’ll avoid that conflation in the future.

        • TennesseeCyberian

          “Synonimonous”?
           
          If that was cut-and-pasted, you are going a long way toward discrediting your sources.  You should go back and edit that out, and if it was cut-and-pasted, you should inform the original author as soon as possible.
           
          “These two terms essentially mean the same thing.”
           
          A redundant sentence that is synonymous with saying that cardiac arrest is “synonimonous” with death.  That is if “synonimonous” means what I think it means.
           
          “doctors try fervently to try and save somebody’s life…”
           
          Yoda would cringe at this.  These doctors would make terrible Jedis.

          Grammar aside, it should be pretty obvious that people frequently go into cardiac arrest without losing consciousness, let alone dying.  While I appreciate where you are coming from, you are mangling the facts.

          David Howe is a hard-headed thumb-dick with an overswollen ego, and I disagree with his self-satisfied claims–and yet his arguments are much more persuasive than yours. 

          You need to sharpen the ol’ sword, Tim, especially if you are gonna talk down to Calypso.  Please mull these things over, then come back to the conversation with a clear head. 

          Edit: I typed before I Googled. I was not making a distinction between “having a heart attack” and full-blown cardiac arrest. Having just Googled it–too late–I see that unconsciousness seems to be intrinsic to actual cardiac arrest.

          So perhaps grammar is your greatest concern.

        • TennesseeCyberian

          “Synonimonous”?
           
          If that was cut-and-pasted, you are going a long way toward discrediting your sources.  You should go back and edit that out, and if it was cut-and-pasted, you should inform the original author as soon as possible.
           
          “These two terms essentially mean the same thing.”
           
          A redundant sentence that is synonymous with saying that cardiac arrest is “synonimonous” with death.  That is if “synonimonous” means what I think it means.
           
          “doctors try fervently to try and save somebody’s life…”
           
          Yoda would cringe at this.  These doctors would make terrible Jedis.

          Grammar aside, it should be pretty obvious that people frequently go into cardiac arrest without losing consciousness, let alone dying.  While I appreciate where you are coming from, you are mangling the facts.

          David Howe is a hard-headed thumb-dick with an overswollen ego, and I disagree with his self-satisfied claims–and yet his arguments are much more persuasive than yours. 

          You need to sharpen the ol’ sword, Tim, especially if you are gonna talk down to Calypso.  Please mull these things over, then come back to the conversation with a clear head. 

          Edit: I typed before I Googled. I was not making a distinction between “having a heart attack” and full-blown cardiac arrest. Having just Googled it–too late–I see that unconsciousness seems to be intrinsic to actual cardiac arrest.

          So perhaps grammar is your greatest concern.

          • tim

            I think your greatest concern should be to stay out of an argument when you don’t know what you are talking about.

          • tim

            I think your greatest concern should be to stay out of an argument when you don’t know what you are talking about.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Sure thing. I think that would be “synonimonous” with polite behavior.

            Sorry to intrude. Feel free to flex your ego with impunity.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Sure thing. I think that would be “synonimonous” with polite behavior.

            Sorry to intrude. Feel free to flex your ego with impunity.

          • Calypso_1

            Sir, I kindly suggest that you not involve yourself in this affair under such unsavory terms with two men of Southern endearment.

          • Calypso_1

            Sir, I kindly suggest that you not involve yourself in this affair under such unsavory terms with two men of Southern endearment.

          • tim

             I kindly suggest that you not involve yourself in this affair under such unsavory terms with two men of Southern endearment.

            Calypso, there you go again. Do you call ‘a fork’ an implement for the elevation of food substances to one’s
            palate ?
            Keep it simple, it sounds more plausible and you will make more friends.

          • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

            Sir, I would kindly recommend that should you find yourself in unfamiliar environs and notice that persons unknown have erected a placard  advising caution related to some proximate feature of geography or fauna, you do not fail to heed said warning merely for the perceived defect of being written in a serif font.

          • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

            Sir, I would kindly recommend that should you find yourself in unfamiliar environs and notice that persons unknown have erected a placard  advising caution related to some proximate feature of geography or fauna, you do not fail to heed said warning merely for the perceived defect of being written in a serif font.

          • tim

            Thanks, Zenc. And do keep taking the tablets.

          • tim

            Thanks, Zenc. And do keep taking the tablets.

          • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

            Sir, I would kindly recommend that should you find yourself in unfamiliar environs and notice that persons unknown have erected a placard  advising caution related to some proximate feature of geography or fauna, you do not fail to heed said warning merely for the perceived defect of being written in a serif font.

          • Calypso_1

            No, I would call it an impaling utensil for transport of pre-bolic, solid nutrients to the oro-masticatory apparatus.

            You wanted to be my friend? How sweet.

          • Calypso_1

            “So perhaps grammar is your greatest concern.”

            Hardly, Tim finds references to cardiac output and perfusion to be bizarre. 

            We are dealing with ignorance on the topic derived from a lay-level knowledge base attempting to extrapolate into realms of complexity and uncertainty in order to satisfy a personal belief system.
            A common enough mistake made all the more ridiculous by the inability to discern the presence of a knowledgeable information source from which education could be received. 
            Instead we have mounting defensiveness, insult and a clinging to that which is held sacrosanct. 

            Let us see though if this results in more invective or if we can indeed establish a respective rapport by which knowledge transfer can ensue.

          • Calypso_1

            “So perhaps grammar is your greatest concern.”

            Hardly, Tim finds references to cardiac output and perfusion to be bizarre. 

            We are dealing with ignorance on the topic derived from a lay-level knowledge base attempting to extrapolate into realms of complexity and uncertainty in order to satisfy a personal belief system.
            A common enough mistake made all the more ridiculous by the inability to discern the presence of a knowledgeable information source from which education could be received. 
            Instead we have mounting defensiveness, insult and a clinging to that which is held sacrosanct. 

            Let us see though if this results in more invective or if we can indeed establish a respective rapport by which knowledge transfer can ensue.

          • tim

            Calypso,
            This statementl>>>We are dealing with ignorance on the topic derived from a lay-level knowledge base attempting to extrapolate into realms of complexity and uncertainty in order to satisfy a personal belief system.>>>> is very pretentious and  silly and shows you have a problem avoiding bulls-hit. Think what you writing before posting. You are not addressing the United Nations, just replying to a factual statement that cardiac arrest equals death. Thanks for the debate

          • tim

            Calypso,
            This statementl>>>We are dealing with ignorance on the topic derived from a lay-level knowledge base attempting to extrapolate into realms of complexity and uncertainty in order to satisfy a personal belief system.>>>> is very pretentious and  silly and shows you have a problem avoiding bulls-hit. Think what you writing before posting. You are not addressing the United Nations, just replying to a factual statement that cardiac arrest equals death. Thanks for the debate

          • Calypso_1

            I put together some words to generate a predictable, though unfortunate result, which further demonstrates your inability for produces conscious thoughts of your own. In fact, you had such a difficult time ‘avoiding’ your definition of BS that you scooped it up, put it in your mouth and regurgitated it while admonishing me for not thinking.
            There was no debate, so thanks are not in order, nor where any facts demonstrated on your part.

          • Calypso_1

            I put together some words to generate a predictable, though unfortunate result, which further demonstrates your inability for produces conscious thoughts of your own. In fact, you had such a difficult time ‘avoiding’ your definition of BS that you scooped it up, put it in your mouth and regurgitated it while admonishing me for not thinking.
            There was no debate, so thanks are not in order, nor where any facts demonstrated on your part.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Probably too late for a polite exchange, but maybe next time. The battle lines are drawn.

            This is a subject of great interest to me, but I often find myself in the same boat as Tim, having an amateur grasp on various medical, biological, and physical science concepts. I do my homework, but am oftentimes out of my element when push comes to shove.

            So on the topics of NDEs, brain science, “neurotheology,” etc., I try to ask more questions than I make statements. At least for now.

            You are certainly in a position to answer such questions, but some people don’t want to hear it.

            Tim seems to have too many answers and not enough questions.

          • TennesseeCyberian

            Probably too late for a polite exchange, but maybe next time. The battle lines are drawn.

            This is a subject of great interest to me, but I often find myself in the same boat as Tim, having an amateur grasp on various medical, biological, and physical science concepts. I do my homework, but am oftentimes out of my element when push comes to shove.

            So on the topics of NDEs, brain science, “neurotheology,” etc., I try to ask more questions than I make statements. At least for now.

            You are certainly in a position to answer such questions, but some people don’t want to hear it.

            Tim seems to have too many answers and not enough questions.

  • JPH

    Hard to believe that there are still those among us that try to discredit others, in order to be right. Might we consider the idea of both thoughts being “right”? I have difficulty understanding why it seems in our culture that the scientific mind holds more importance then the spiritual heart. I appreciate Dr. Alexanders spiritual willingness to share and scientific knowledge to teach.

  • Stephen

    Gosh. It must be great to be PZ Myers. He knows everything. He should have cured cancer by now.

  • mzmxx

    Narrow-minded individual cannot go beyond the box of rigidity of existing paradigm of the obvious. Do dino bones and dragons have a connection?

  • mary

    Don’t you think Dr. Alexander could make a hundred times more money as a neurosurgeon than writing his little book? Come on…he is sharing his experience because it was real to him and believes it will help others.

  • White Butterfly

    so many people are ignorant and arrogant. This is silly, if you choose not to believe then fine, telling the world its bullshit is not because you are unable to disprove the story or an afterlife. Your opinion is strictly a comment coming from your ignorant mind, not to mention most people who approach new ideas in this manner are usually deep down sad and lonely. Atheism and the disbelief in the afterlife are in fact the minority of world beliefs. A HUGE minority, don’t stand so tall , without facts you’ve got nothing. I didn’t say this mans experience was real, but be open, for you think you know but you don’t really. Pitiful really.

  • Dr. Susan

    Patients on a ventilator (breathing machine) as Dr Alexander was during his coma, are given large amounts of sedating drugs, including narcotics, to keep them comfortable and avoid fighting the machine. The drugs are continued even as the patient wakes up and gradually gets off the ventilator over the next day or two.

    Sounds like the good doctor had a long opium dream– a very vivid and realistic state of euphoria due to narcotics.

  • simmans

    The reviewer goes on and on about the book’s Christian slant. Many of the commenters (at the linked article) lament same. However, I just read the book–it’s pretty brief–and find myself wondering what sort of “Christianity” all these people have been smoking. Dr. Alexander’s story contains more Buddhism than Christianity, more Star Wars than monotheism, and more Gandalf than St. Paul. Assuredly, none of these people have read the document.

  • Whylyy

    Wouldn’t “proof” spoil everything ?

  • http://twitter.com/chaser27 Stephen Sponsler

    It scares me to know there are Godless doctors out there actually working on people’s minds and bodies.

  • Maddy

    These “hate the doc” commentaries are so utterly predictable. Cynics and bigots just cannot bear anyone to describe the human experience differently to what they are used to. They not only hate anyone who describes a spiritual experience, they pour scorn and mockery all over a person. Giordano Bruni was burned at the stake for daring to review the sun revolving around earth scientific opinion of his day Quantum scientists are sneered at, homeopathy haters attempt to rule the roost. If these people had their say they would be burn “scientific heretics” alive even today. The hatred for this poor man is palpable. Even if the doctor is talking rubbish, I prefer his rubbish to this plain closed mindedness and bigotry frankly

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