NDEs - a curious phenomena

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NDEs - a curious phenomena

#1  Postby chairman bill » Sep 16, 2012 12:47 pm

Whilst having lost the inestimable Christine & the good doctor, I might not be the only one left here interested in some actual answers. I'm up for considering the data (such as it is), discussing how the topic might be best explored and researched, and to more fully consider the potential implications of the phenomena.

Generally speaking, I think the idea that it somehow represents evidence for survival of death, is complete & utter bollocks. But that doesn't mean something else may provide evidence for it. I'll not be holding my breath waiting, and that would be another thread.

I'm interested in the phenomena surrounding this thing called Near Death Experiences, and how we might account for it.

It would be interesting as an exercise in skepticism too, to bring the same level of critical analysis to 'rationalist' explanations as we do to the supernaturalist ones. I'm not sure we always do that.

So, who's up for it?
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#2  Postby Sendraks » Sep 16, 2012 12:50 pm

I'd certainly be interested in a discussion about what mental processes might account for the whole "Out of Body" NDE experience.
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#3  Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Sep 16, 2012 1:17 pm

Sendraks wrote:I'd certainly be interested in a discussion about what mental processes might account for the whole "Out of Body" NDE experience.

Given how the human brain is so highly adept at running simulations of reality, I'm at a loss as to what it is people feel needs to be "accounted for" here. :dunno:
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#4  Postby chairman bill » Sep 16, 2012 1:24 pm

Well, some of the accounts include blind patients making accurate claims of events that even if conscious, they shouldn't be able to provide. There may well be methodological issues in the gathering of such accounts, which renders their status as 'data' deeply suspect. The accounts might be purely fictional, and part of a conspiracy by patient, doctors, nurses and other health staff involved. Who knows? But the claims, if accurate & true, bear further scrutiny.
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#5  Postby mindhack » Sep 16, 2012 1:30 pm

chairman bill wrote:Well, some of the accounts include blind patients making accurate claims of events that even if conscious, they shouldn't be able to provide.

What accurate claims did blind patients give?
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#6  Postby Sendraks » Sep 16, 2012 1:33 pm

Horwood Beer-Master wrote:Given how the human brain is so highly adept at running simulations of reality, I'm at a loss as to what it is people feel needs to be "accounted for" here. :dunno:


Why the brain does it? I mean, I can understand stress might make the brain do some fairly crazy stuff, but what's the purpose of it.
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#7  Postby mindhack » Sep 16, 2012 1:41 pm

Sendraks wrote:
Horwood Beer-Master wrote:Given how the human brain is so highly adept at running simulations of reality, I'm at a loss as to what it is people feel needs to be "accounted for" here. :dunno:


Why the brain does it? I mean, I can understand stress might make the brain do some fairly crazy stuff, but what's the purpose of it.

My guess would be NDEs are brain failures due to a lack of oxygen. In G force simulation training combat pilots sometimes report NDEs, with out of body experiences and everything.

Stress hormones suppress the loss of consciousness, wouldn't they?
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#8  Postby campermon » Sep 16, 2012 1:41 pm

Presumably, NDE's would happen in other mammal species, in particular primates.

Has anyone done any research to see what happens as a brain dies in animals?
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#9  Postby GrahamH » Sep 16, 2012 2:05 pm

chairman bill wrote:Whilst having lost the inestimable Christine & the good doctor, I might not be the only one left here interested in some actual answers. I'm up for considering the data (such as it is), discussing how the topic might be best explored and researched, and to more fully consider the potential implications of the phenomena.


I'm all for that, if we can get some good data to look at.
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#10  Postby Made of Stars » Sep 16, 2012 2:32 pm

chairman bill wrote:...I'll not be holding my breath waiting...

Dammit, there goes our best chance of getting some actual evidence. :(
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#11  Postby Sovereign » Sep 16, 2012 3:30 pm

campermon wrote:Presumably, NDE's would happen in other mammal species, in particular primates.

Has anyone done any research to see what happens as a brain dies in animals?


I think the problem with that is communication. NDEs are reported by the patient to the doctor/researcher. You can't really get an animal to describe its near death experience to you. What I would like to see is that one device that "takes images from your brain and put them on a screen" developed further and we do live images from simulated NDEs in people. We may get a better understanding then.
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#12  Postby lobawad » Sep 16, 2012 3:33 pm

Teaming millions of people love House music. NDE's are way down on the list of bizarre unexplained human experience.
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#13  Postby GrahamH » Sep 16, 2012 3:34 pm

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCm_NMU6Phw[/youtube]
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#14  Postby campermon » Sep 16, 2012 3:42 pm

Sovereign wrote:
campermon wrote:Presumably, NDE's would happen in other mammal species, in particular primates.

Has anyone done any research to see what happens as a brain dies in animals?


I think the problem with that is communication. NDEs are reported by the patient to the doctor/researcher. You can't really get an animal to describe its near death experience to you. What I would like to see is that one device that "takes images from your brain and put them on a screen" developed further and we do live images from simulated NDEs in people. We may get a better understanding then.


Yes. What I had in mind was scans on dying brains.
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#15  Postby twistor59 » Sep 16, 2012 5:03 pm

Bit pissed off that there's no NDE thread in physics :waah:
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#16  Postby iamthereforeithink » Sep 16, 2012 5:05 pm

mindhack wrote:
chairman bill wrote:Well, some of the accounts include blind patients making accurate claims of events that even if conscious, they shouldn't be able to provide.

What accurate claims did blind patients give?


The only evidence I have ever seen of this is anecdotal, and there is plenty of that going around on facebook etc. Most of the evidence seems to be in the form of youtube videos. Here's one about a blind woman who could see in an NDE:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HbtoX3Q5OI[/youtube]

And here's a researcher talking about (the same?) blind woman, and other blind NDEers: http://near-death.com/experiences/evidence03.html

One case that recently seems to be a facebook favorite is that of Anita Moorjani, a Hong Kong woman who experienced a spontaneous remission of terminal-stage cancer after an NDE. Apparently, the anomalous/seemingly impossible accounts given by her have been extensively corroborated by a lot of reliable sources.

Here's an account of her experience (she's also written a book): http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experien ... 's_nde.htm

and a you tube video :

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjLouLHH-_I[/youtube]
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#17  Postby CookieJon » Sep 16, 2012 5:19 pm

Some anecdotal evidence for you...

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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#18  Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Sep 16, 2012 8:36 pm

Sendraks wrote:
Horwood Beer-Master wrote:Given how the human brain is so highly adept at running simulations of reality, I'm at a loss as to what it is people feel needs to be "accounted for" here. :dunno:


Why the brain does it? I mean, I can understand stress might make the brain do some fairly crazy stuff, but what's the purpose of it.


Combine it with a selective memory as well. There could be a ton of stuff happening in the brain of a person under these conditions, but later on it's only the stuff that matches a classic 'near death experience' that get's recalled.
Also even without deliberate fabrication, the mind often has a tendency to edit or retcon memories in order to match expectations or incorporate newly found-out information. This process happens without the person even realising it.

Eyewitness testimony is proven to be a massively flaky and unreliable source of information even when the eyewitness concerned is absolutely fully conscious, attentive, honest, impartial and suffering no physiological or psychological stress or impairment, or outside influence whatsoever.
How much more unreliable and flaky must we regard even the most sincere testimony of somebody who is unconscious (or at least not fully conscious), completely distracted by what's happening to them, psychologically traumatised, with their brain operating under the most extreme physiological circumstances, who may well have later interactions with others who were present, and who may well have an intense emotional investment in their particular interpretation of what they believe they experienced?


chairman bill wrote:Well, some of the accounts include blind patients making accurate claims of events that even if conscious, they shouldn't be able to provide...

It would be slightly (and I stress slightly) more impressive if you'd said "deaf patients". Since hearing is often the last thing to go, and can effect what the mind experiences in funny ways (ever fallen asleep with the telly still on and ended-up having a dream related to what's being said on the telly? I know I have).

chairman bill wrote:...There may well be methodological issues in the gathering of such accounts, which renders their status as 'data' deeply suspect...

Yes I rather suspect these experiences (and perhaps more importantly their immediate aftermath) rarely take place under tightly controlled and monitored conditions. More often confusion, chaos and highly charged emotions reign, and the "recall" of the experience only takes place after the metaphorical dust has settled.
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#19  Postby iamthereforeithink » Sep 16, 2012 9:13 pm

Horwood Beer-Master wrote:
It would be slightly (and I stress slightly) more impressive if you'd said "deaf patients". Since hearing is often the last thing to go, and can effect what the mind experiences in funny ways (ever fallen asleep with the telly still on and ended-up having a dream related to what's being said on the telly? I know I have).


I think you perhaps didn't understand what Chairman is referring to. He's talking about cases where patients who have been blind since birth and have no idea what a visual experience looks or feels like, or what anything at all "looks" like. These people report a visual experience where they were able to "see" different objects/people in the NDE state, which they describe in great detail. This doesn't appear to be a matter of simply the mind playing tricks. AFAIK, The mind cannot trick you into experiencing something it has absolutely no conception of. The only explanations I can think of is either these people are outright lying/ making things up or there is something decidedly weird about these experiences. I wonder what a neuroscientist such as Ramachandran might have to say about these. It's of course entirely possible that these accounts are just made up.
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Re: NDEs - a curious phenomena

#20  Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Sep 16, 2012 9:19 pm

iamthereforeithink wrote:...He's talking about cases where patients who have been blind since birth and have no idea what a visual experience looks or feels like, or what anything at all "looks" like. These people report a visual experience where they were able to "see" different objects/people in the NDE state, which they describe in great detail...

I can't understand what they could possibly be saying. Blind or not, how does one describe "seeing"? :scratch:
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