X-Message-Number: 16748
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 06:56:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: Scott Badger <>
Subject: Re: Dear Death Experiences

<During the initial study, Parnia said, 
>63 heart attack patients who were deemed 
>clinically dead but were later revived 
>were interviewed within a week of their 
>experiences. Of those, 56 said they had 
>no recollection of the time they were 
>unconscious and seven reported having 
>memories. Of those, four were labeled 
>NDEs ... 

Only 4 NDEs out of 63?  Actually the percentages are
usually closer to the 30% mark in many studies.  Still
two thirds report nothing.  Ask yourself why.

Here are some counter arguments:

 Michael A. Persinger, a neuroscientist at Laurentian
University in Sudbury, Ontario, has induced many of
the characteristics of an NDE--the sensation of moving
through a tunnel, the brilliant white light. He has
done so by stimulating the brain's right temporal
lobe, the area above the right ear responsible for
perception, with mild electromagnetic fields. In
England, Karl Jansen has zeroed in on the brain's
reaction to shifting levels of ketamine, a powerful
neurotransmitter. Often ingested as a recreational
drug--its street name is Special K--ketamine
frequently causes the out-of-body sensation common to
NDEs. The U.S. Navy has managed to replicate many of
the sensations of an NDE by subjecting test pilots to
massive centrifugal force--a physical stress that can
induce the presence of a patriarchal figure
interpreted by some as God. "There's nothing magical
about the NDE," Persinger asserts. 

Physiological findings have led many researchers to
view NDEs not as glimpses into a world beyond but as
insights into the world within the human mind. "I
think it is an evolutionary adaptation," says Sherwin
Nuland, the National Book Award-winning author of How
We Die. He ascribes NDEs to the actions of opiate-like
compounds known as endorphins, which are released by
the brain at times of great physical stress to deaden
pain and alleviate fear. He scoffs at those who view
NDEs as a temporary bridge to an afterlife. "I think
that the mind is just trying to save itself from the
horror of unbelievable trauma," he says. 

You may also refer to Susan Blackmore s book; 

 Beyond the Body : An Investigation of Out-Of-The-Body

 January 13, 2001 
Reviewer: Lee Cooper from England
Dr Susan Blackmore is the leading academic authority
on the out-of-body experience or OBE, she has had obes
herself and has seriously studied the phenomenon for
many years. Her book begins with details of the OBE
from the shamans of thousands of years ago right
through to the modern day OBE which is often a part of
the near-death experience. All of the major names in
the field are mentioned like 'Sylvan Muldoon, Robert
Monroe, Ingo Swann and Dr Charles tart, as well as all
the academic research on the subject. Susan Blackmore
brings the full weight and discipline of science to
this subject. With great authority, and after
considerable explanation she reveals the true nature
of the phenomenon with great clarity and insight. This
book is a must for all who are seriously interested in
the subject.

And ... 

 Dying to Live : Near-Death Experiences  by Suasan
Editorial Review From Booklist 

Near-death experiences (NDEs) have remarkably similar
characteristics the world over, leading many to cite
them as proof of a hereafter. Blackmore, a British
psychologist, carefully reviews the literature and her
own research for something like an opposite claim.
NDEs do indeed have universal aspects, but that's
because they manifest the chemistry of dying brains;
what's universal is the brain itself. Moreover,
components of NDEs (such as "tunnels," down which the
dying travel toward bright lights; sensations of
well-being; and the appearance of comforting relatives
from the beyond) can also be found in LSD trips and
dreams. Tunnels are the most universal element of
NDEs, but they, too, can be explained as chemical
aberrations--brought on, in this instance, by the
distress of optic nerves. Having said all this,
Blackmore goes on to discuss the profound
psychological--not to mention religious--impact NDEs
can have on individuals, but clearly her account is
valuable because it looks rationally and with as much
scientific rigor as possible at this strange, almost
unmeasurable phenomenon. - John Mort 

After considerable personal investigation into this
issue, I have evolved from being an enthusiast to
being highly skeptical.

BTW, I also recommend another book by Blackmore, "The
Meme Machine"


Scott Badger

"Vita Perpetuem"

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