Tag Archives | Near Death Experiences

Pim Van Lommel On Near Death Experiences And Non-Local Consciousness

I remain somewhat skeptical that near death experiences (NDE) involve a different plane of perception, but Pim van Lommel is far closer to convincing me than Proof of Heaven. Inspired by the transformative encounters described by his patients, the Dutch cardiologist has interviewed hundreds of people who have had NDEs and argues that they are “real”, cannot be dismissed as tricks of memory or the oxygen-deprived mind, and are suggestive of consciousness existing outside of the brain:

I grew up in an academic environment in which i had been taught that there was a reductionist and literalist explanation for everything, that it was obvious that consciousness was a product of a functioning brain. But the phenomenon of near death experiences raised a number of fundamental questions. I was unable to accept most of the answers to these questions because they seemed incomplete, incorrect, or unfounded.

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Fox News Guest Claims She Smelled God During Near-Death Experience

"Ever wonder what heaven's actually like?" Fox News journalists have the answer, from the mouth of Crystal McVea, whose heart briefly stopped while she was undergoing treatment for an inflamed pancreas. McVea claims she ascended to heaven, where she felt like she "had 500 senses" and smelled God. She is selling an e-book titled “Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again” describing the experience:
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The DisinfoCast: Episode 35: Carla Wills-Brandon

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Licensed therapist, grief counselor, author and near-death researcher Carla Wills-Brandon is here to discuss the phenomena of deathbed visions: A culturally univeral phenomena in which the dying report seeing visions of friends and family who have died before them. Wills-Brandon has appeared on numerous programs, including Coast to Coast AM, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Geraldo Rivera and many others. Her most recent book is Heavenly Hugs: Comfort, Support and Hope from the Afterlife.
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Near-Death Experiences as Proof of Afterlife? Not Really.

Picture: Dr. Mario Markus (CC)

A rebuttal to the articles: Heaven is Real: A Doctor’s Experience with the Afterlife and A Neuroscientists Describes His Near-Death Visit to Another Realm.

Dr. Eben Alexander’s article can be summarily dismissed with one sentence in the words of the late, great, (kind of a jerk but…) inarguably intelligent, and erudite Christopher Hitchens: “that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” And there you have it. However, considering the nature of my disagreement with Dr. Alexander, I suppose I should put forth an actual case for why I believe his experience does not constitute evidence (let alone proof) for life after death.

There are many possible explanations for what Dr. Alexander went through. Perhaps he really did experience an event in which his disembodied consciousness was whisked away to heaven on the wings of a magical butterfly with a hot brunette in tow.… Read the rest

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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.

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A Neuroscientist Describes His Near-Death Visit To Another Realm

Picture: Jesse Krauß (PD)

Proof of an afterlife, or simply that we really have no idea how the mind works? Via the Daily Beast, Dr. Eben Alexander recounts his trip to a higher plane of existence whilst his brain was shut down in a coma:

As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences. I understand what happens to the brain when people are near death, and I had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death.

In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.

All the chief arguments against near-death experiences suggest that these experiences are the results of minimal, transient, or partial malfunctioning of the cortex.

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