## Near Death Experience: theoretical implications contingent upon validity of claim?

[During the pilot phase in one of the hospitals, a
coronary-care-unit nurse reported a veridical out-ofbody
experience of a resuscitated patient:
“During a night shift an ambulance brings in a 44-
year-old cyanotic, comatose man into the coronary care
artificial respiration without intubation, while heart
massage and defibrillation are also applied. When we
want to intubate the patient, he turns out to have
dentures in his mouth. I remove these upper dentures
and put them onto the ‘crash car’. Meanwhile, we
continue extensive CPR. After about an hour and a half
the patient has sufficient heart rhythm and blood
pressure, but he is still ventilated and intubated, and he
is still comatose. He is transferred to the intensive care
unit to continue the necessary artificial respiration. Only
after more than a week do I meet again with the patient,
who is by now back on the cardiac ward. I distribute his
medication. The moment he sees me he says: ‘Oh, that
nurse knows where my dentures are’. I am very
surprised. Then he elucidates: ‘Yes, you were there
when I was brought into hospital and you took my
dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that car, it
drawer underneath and there you put my teeth.’ I was
especially amazed because I remembered this happening
while the man was in deep coma and in the process of
seen himself lying in bed, that he had perceived from
above how nurses and doctors had been busy with CPR.
He was also able to describe correctly and in detail the
small room in which he had been resuscitated as well as
the appearance of those present like myself. At the time
that he observed the situation he had been very much
afraid that we would stop CPR and that he would die.
And it is true that we had been very negative about the
patient’s prognosis due to his very poor medical
condition when admitted. The patient tells me that he
desperately and unsuccessfully tried to make it clear to
us that he was still alive and that we should continue
CPR. He is deeply impressed by his experience and says
he is no longer afraid of death. 4 weeks later he left
hospital as a healthy man.”]

Source: http://www.zarqon.co.uk/Lancet.pdf (p.3)

This information was published in 2001, a) how are more people not talking about this, and b) regardless of the ambiguity that derives from such a claim, why are we (assuming we're not or haven't) investigating this more?

Thoughts?
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 Blog Entries: 8 Recognitions: Gold Member We are not investigating because as with all other NDE claims, it is purely anecdotal evidence and in the eyes of science - completely worthless.
 Blog Entries: 2 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Near-death experiences are hallucinations created by the brain due to hypoxia. It has been shown that pilots undergoing g-force stress training have similar experiences. More than you probably ever wanted to know about out-of-body-experiences: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out-of-body_experience

## Near Death Experience: theoretical implications contingent upon validity of claim?

 Quote by Mech_Engineer Near-death experiences are hallucinations created by the brain due to hypoxia. It has been shown that pilots undergoing g-force stress training have similar experiences. More than you probably ever wanted to know about out-of-body-experiences: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out-of-body_experience
Are they able to perceive physical reality from some sort of lateral metaphysical standpoint?
It is unclear to me why this alleged patient and nurse would fabricate such a story; there is no monetary incentive, fame incentive - the man, if the story is true, didn't care at all that much about its implications. It seems highly unlikely that this was fabricated as it was published by what popular opinion has dictated as a heavily credible source.

The point being: if what this study says is true, then there are profound implications regarding the mutual compatibility of perceptual reality and 'metaphysical' reality. And I see no reason for disinformation.

Entirely separate, but am I correct I'm deducing that, generally speaking, nobody seems to be interested pursuing a complete understanding of the dream-state? That would be amazing.

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 Quote by hereandnow672 The point being: if what this study says is true, then there are profound implications regarding the mutual compatibility of perceptual reality and 'metaphysical' reality. And I see no reason for disinformation.
I direct you to the other NDE thread, this exact item has been posted there.

This is a lovely collection of stories, but that's all it is. Like I said, anecdote doesn't mean jack in science.
 Entirely separate, but am I correct I'm deducing that, generally speaking, nobody seems to be interested pursuing a complete understanding of the dream-state? That would be amazing.
What? There are lots of people working on dreams.

 Quote by JaredJames I direct you to the other NDE thread, this exact item has been posted there. This is a lovely collection of stories, but that's all it is. Like I said, anecdote doesn't mean jack in science. What? There are lots of people working on dreams.
a. I understand that. However, consider the discovery (and rarity) of synesthesia; interest developed, I assume, from "anecdotal evidence". We know now that synesthesia is real as it has been experimentally verified. Where do we draw the line between pursuing (and at the very least an interest) the verification of anecdotal evidence with potentially profound implications toward our understanding of reality? There has been one William Sidis, one Isaac Newton, one Galileo; all of whom's intellect and in turn contribution has derived from the physical components of their body inherited at birth - just as one who could theoretically "perceive reality from a metaphysical standpoint as it were truly happening" would probably derive that ability from birth, and may very well be one of a kind relative to their times.

b. Nobody talks about dreams in everyday conversation. Thus the extent of my observation.

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 Quote by hereandnow672 a. I understand that. However, consider the discovery (and rarity) of synesthesia; interest developed, I assume, from "anecdotal evidence". We know now that synesthesia is real as it has been experimentally verified. Where do we draw the line between pursuing (and at the very least an interest) the verification of anecdotal evidence with potentially profound implications toward our understanding of reality? There has been one William Sidis, one Isaac Newton, one Galileo; all of whom's intellect and in turn contribution has derived from the physical components of their body inherited as birth - just as one who could theoretically "perceive reality from a metaphysical standpoint as it were truly happening" would probably derive that ability from birth, and may very well be one of a kind relative to their times.
I'd recommend the philosophy forum for this lot.
 b. Nobody talks about dreams in everyday conversation. Thus the extent of my observation.
That means nothing. There is plenty of research on dreams out there already and still being conducted.

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 Quote by hereandnow672 Are they able to perceive physical reality from some sort of lateral metaphysical standpoint? It is unclear to me why this alleged patient and nurse would fabricate such a story; there is no monetary incentive, fame incentive - the man, if the story is true, didn't care at all that much about its implications. It seems highly unlikely that this was fabricated as it was published by what popular opinion has dictated as a heavily credible source.
The Lancet isn't very credible right now, what with the HUGE scandal over the editors backing the MMR/autism fraud.

 Quote by hereandnow672 lateral metaphysical standpoint?
I know what all of those words mean individually, but I have no idea what they mean in that order. Can you please rephrase this in everyday English instead of Woo-speak?

 Quote by hereandnow672 The point being: if what this study says is true, then there are profound implications regarding the mutual compatibility of perceptual reality and 'metaphysical' reality. And I see no reason for disinformation.
Have you read the paper you posted thoroughly and looked at the discussion at the end. The discussion starts with why only small no. of patients experience this, why not a large majority.

Interesting fact about the study -

 Mortality during or shortly after stay in hospital in patients who had an NDE was significantly higher than in patients who did not report an NDE (13/62 patients [21%] vs24/282 [9%], p=0·008), and this difference was even more marked in patients who reported a deep experience (10/23 [43%] vs 24/282 [9%], p<0·0001).
 I'm an agnostic on near death experiences but, as a retired scientist, I'm a bit appalled at some of the responses to the OP. He posed two scientifically reasonable questions to anectdotal data: a) how are more people not talking about this, and b) regardless of the ambiguity that derives from such a claim, why are we (assuming we're not or haven't) investigating this more? While there may be good answers to these, "anecdote doesn't mean jack in science" is not one of them, nor is "near-death experiences are hallucinations created by the brain due to hypoxia." The first rejects the role of observation in scientific advance, the second assumes a result based on results whose conditions do not match the reported observation. Granted, the anectode must be screened to ensure it was correctly reported by a good witness, etc, but we have enough of these to meet the basic criteria for a good observational data set. Not to be condescending, but science begins with interesting observations, then hypotheses, then tests to confirm or reject the hypotheses. The anectode posted is not in itself proof of anything but, if enough similar anectdotes are posted, a case could be made that these are observations worthy of a hyothesis and a test. This was the situation with the hypothesis of spontaneous generation and the Martian canals, proven wrong, and Galileo's heliocentric theory, proved correct. All of these, and every other scientific theory, began with interesting observations that were new or didn't fit the mainstream. The vast majority of such observations are found to be false, or incorrect interpretations, but the few that are valid form the basis for scientific advancement. So the NDE anectodes may be hallucinations, may be misinterpretations, etc, but to reject them out of hand as being merely anectodes is to misunderstand the nature of the scientific method.

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 Quote by nesp I'm an agnostic on near death experiences but, as a retired scientist, I'm a bit appalled at some of the responses to the OP. He posed two scientifically reasonable questions to anectdotal data: a) how are more people not talking about this, and b) regardless of the ambiguity that derives from such a claim, why are we (assuming we're not or haven't) investigating this more? While there may be good answers to these, "anecdote doesn't mean jack in science" is not one of them, nor is "near-death experiences are hallucinations created by the brain due to hypoxia." The first rejects the role of observation in scientific advance, the second assumes a result based on results whose conditions do not match the reported observation. Granted, the anectode must be screened to ensure it was correctly reported by a good witness, etc, but we have enough of these to meet the basic criteria for a good observational data set. Not to be condescending, but science begins with interesting observations, then hypotheses, then tests to confirm or reject the hypotheses. The anectode posted is not in itself proof of anything but, if enough similar anectdotes are posted, a case could be made that these are observations worthy of a hyothesis and a test. This was the situation with the hypothesis of spontaneous generation and the Martian canals, proven wrong, and Galileo's heliocentric theory, proved correct. All of these, and every other scientific theory, began with interesting observations that were new or didn't fit the mainstream. The vast majority of such observations are found to be false, or incorrect interpretations, but the few that are valid form the basis for scientific advancement. So the NDE anectodes may be hallucinations, may be misinterpretations, etc, but to reject them out of hand as being merely anectodes is to misunderstand the nature of the scientific method.
And how do you propose to do scientific testing of these anecdotes?

 The few that are valid
I am not aware that any NDE's have been scientifically proven.
 "And how do you propose to do scientific testing of these anecdotes?" That's a premature question. First, tell me your hypothesis, then I'll suggest how to test it. "The few that are valid... I am not aware that any NDE's have been scientifically proven." Validity does not equate with provability. Data validity is the process of ensuring that the data captured is internally consistent, gathered under the same set of rules, as free of bias as possible, with due diligence on the data source, the manner of reporting, etc. Provability is well down stream. Data may be valid, as in Lowell's drawings of smudges on his observations of Mars, yet his hypothesis failed to be proven. Or the data may be invalid, in which case it's probably a waste of time to hypothesize. For the sake of argument, suppose the hypothesis is that consciousness continues to exist for a certain period of time after clinical death. First thing is to critically define what we mean by consciousness, clinical death, etc. Again, for the sake of argument, suppose we agree on consciousness as being the ability to use one or more of our five senses to probe the same reality as those living. And clinical death as the stoppage for an agreed period of time of measurable brain activity. Then a reasonable observational study would be to compare reported observations by those clinically dead for that agreed-upon period of time with those living in the same space and time. If they didn't match to some statistical threshold, we could reject the hypothesis. If they did agree, we could entertain its correctness and wait for replication by other experiments. In either case, the best we could do it to demonstrate that such a hypothesis was experimentally tenable -- we could not, of course, prove it without recourse to random experimentation, nor could we extend its results to those who were clinically dead for more than the agreed-upon timeframe, for practical reasons. Even with these constraints, such an experiment would be equally valid as those used today for other clinical observational studies on interventions such as experimental cancer therapies, for which double blind studies are the exceptions rather than the norm. Again, I'm an agnostic on the topic under discussion, but a proponent of the scientific method.

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 Quote by nesp "And how do you propose to do scientific testing of these anecdotes?" That's a premature question. First, tell me your hypothesis, then I'll suggest how to test it.
Apparently you don't understand that the onus of proof lies with the one making the claim.