Do NDE's Really Demonstrate Survival?

#1
One point that I disagree with to an extent that Alex makes is that NDEs constitute evidence for survival of death. Please let me elaborate.

Obviously we have to look at two aspects here: 1. How do you define "death," and 2. How do you define "survive"? This may cause many to groan and feel this is just semantics, but I feel that it is important since the disagreements I have heard on some shows (forgive me since I forget which exact ones) seem to depend on this.

One guest (again I forget) felt that NDEs didn't constitute evidence for survival of death since he said the patients didn't die. Alex was a bit incredulous of this statement, since Alex was using the medical definition of death, while the guest was using a definition that seemed to be that death is when you medically die and then are not resuscitated (as in you get buried).

I can see where this guest was coming from to a degree, since in my opinion, the evidence does suggest that consciousness survives medical death for a period of time, but what happens after that? What happens when death is final? Does consciousness continue in the same way experienced in the NDE? This is what I mean by "how do you define 'survive?'" I think based on the NDE research alone, we cannot answer this.

However, if we take into consideration reincarnation research as well as research on mediums, it seems we are better able to approach this question. If communication can be demonstrated via mediums after death is final, wouldn't that suggest further length of survival after death? And if someone's personality and memories can seemingly go from one body to another, as seen in Ian Stevenson's research, then wouldn't this provide evidence that consciousness can in fact survive death?

I think that these questions can be better approached when considering research from these various paranormal fields together. For example, NDE research receives a plausibility argument from parapsychology research, since parapsychology evidence is hardcore laboratory research that seems to demonstrate a non-local, and therefore non-physical aspect of human consciousness. If consciousness is non-local and therefore non-material, this would seem to indicate that consciousness is not just in the brain, which would make the experience of an NDE seem much more plausible. I think this is particularly true if you consider the similarities of remote viewing and many NDEs.

So my point is that if one only considers evidence from one particular field of research, such as NDEs, it is not nearly as convincing as when considering all the evidence from the fields of parapsychology, terminal lucidity, NDEs, reincarnation research, and even evidence of apparitions and mediums. For example, if mentioning NDE research, and a skeptic says "yeah well that doesn't mean consciousness survives death," one could response "ok, fair enough, so then how do you explain the reincarnation evidence?" To this, a skeptic may respond, "but how would you explain this?," which could be responded something like "well the evidence from parapsychology research seems to strongly suggest that something about our consciousness is non-local and therefore non-material." This is going to be much more difficult to explain away.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#2
I think that these questions can be better approached when considering research from these various paranormal fields together. For example, NDE research receives a plausibility argument from parapsychology research, since parapsychology evidence is hardcore laboratory research that seems to demonstrate a non-local, and therefore non-physical aspect of human consciousness. If consciousness is non-local and therefore non-material, this would seem to indicate that consciousness is not just in the brain, which would make the experience of an NDE seem much more plausible. I think this is particularly true if you consider the similarities of remote viewing and many NDEs.
What do you mean by "non-local"? You can't be using it in the same sense as QM does, since it's entirely physical in that case.

~~ Paul
 
#3
What do you mean by "non-local"? You can't be using it in the same sense as QM does, since it's entirely physical in that case.

~~ Paul
Hi Paul, thanks for the question. I mean non-local in the sense of not being influenced by only the immediate surroundings. In that sense it would be like in quantum theory, but it certainly seems different, meaning I do not think quantum non-locality explains telepathy, and of course entanglement cannot be used for communication.

Telepathy and remote viewing, for example, appear to be largely distance-independent, and remote viewing can have somewhat time-independent (but not entirely) effects. In this sense it appears an aspect of consciousness is beyond spacetime, which is why I say non-local.

I also think this would appear to be a necessity, since if consciousness were local to the brain, then we would have problems with violation of Special Relativity theory due to the apparent communication of information.

I also think there is some experimental evidence with retroPK experiments and double-slit PK that may be suggestive of a consciousness-collapse interpretation of quantum theory, and I think such a consciousness would have to be non-local as well as be unitive to avoid the Wigner's friend paradox.

Hopefully this clarifies my idea, and if there are any criticisms of it I would appreciate feedback.
 
#4
It's probably less useful to ask whether NDEs "demonstrate" survival as it is to ask whether their very existence and nature in *some* sense makes pervasive consciousness a credible possibility.

It's probably "more than a day's work" to ask in what way, and after what shape, such consciousness might exist, especially after the near death time window. There does not, at present, seem to be any real way of answering *that* question in a very reliable way. But I still think it would border on the absurd for someone to claim that NDEs somehow contrive to make survival of death less likely rather than more, and that the same does not apply to the territory of human anomalous experience in general.

And as I said in my opening remark, that is perhaps astonishment enough to be getting on with...for now.
 
#5
One point that I disagree with to an extent that Alex makes is that NDEs constitute evidence for survival of death. Please let me elaborate.

Obviously we have to look at two aspects here: 1. How do you define "death," and 2. How do you define "survive"? This may cause many to groan and feel this is just semantics, but I feel that it is important since the disagreements I have heard on some shows (forgive me since I forget which exact ones) seem to depend on this.

One guest (again I forget) felt that NDEs didn't constitute evidence for survival of death since he said the patients didn't die. Alex was a bit incredulous of this statement, since Alex was using the medical definition of death, while the guest was using a definition that seemed to be that death is when you medically die and then are not resuscitated (as in you get buried).

I can see where this guest was coming from to a degree, since in my opinion, the evidence does suggest that consciousness survives medical death for a period of time, but what happens after that? What happens when death is final? Does consciousness continue in the same way experienced in the NDE? This is what I mean by "how do you define 'survive?'" I think based on the NDE research alone, we cannot answer this.
In terms of semantics, "continuity" would probably constitute a better description for the concept than "survival". If consciousness is fundamental, then our current definition of "life" is certainly erroneous. Hell, if consciousness is fundamental, assigning such importance to a vessel would seem awfully superfluous.

However, if we take into consideration reincarnation research as well as research on mediums, it seems we are better able to approach this question. If communication can be demonstrated via mediums after death is final, wouldn't that suggest further length of survival after death? And if someone's personality and memories can seemingly go from one body to another, as seen in Ian Stevenson's research, then wouldn't this provide evidence that consciousness can in fact survive death?

I think that these questions can be better approached when considering research from these various paranormal fields together. For example, NDE research receives a plausibility argument from parapsychology research, since parapsychology evidence is hardcore laboratory research that seems to demonstrate a non-local, and therefore non-physical aspect of human consciousness. If consciousness is non-local and therefore non-material, this would seem to indicate that consciousness is not just in the brain, which would make the experience of an NDE seem much more plausible. I think this is particularly true if you consider the similarities of remote viewing and many NDEs.

So my point is that if one only considers evidence from one particular field of research, such as NDEs, it is not nearly as convincing as when considering all the evidence from the fields of parapsychology, terminal lucidity, NDEs, reincarnation research, and even evidence of apparitions and mediums. For example, if mentioning NDE research, and a skeptic says "yeah well that doesn't mean consciousness survives death," one could response "ok, fair enough, so then how do you explain the reincarnation evidence?" To this, a skeptic may respond, "but how would you explain this?," which could be responded something like "well the evidence from parapsychology research seems to strongly suggest that something about our consciousness is non-local and therefore non-material." This is going to be much more difficult to explain away.
This problem seems quite prevalent within parapsychology, even when you have several researchers working under the same roof, everybody seems focused on a certain niche. Even UVA seems fragmented in this manner. The conferences do erase these lines for a short time, leading to all sorts of innovative inquiry, but once they are over the entire field seemingly resets to the status quo.
 
#6
In terms of semantics, "continuity" would probably constitute a better description for the concept than "survival". If consciousness is fundamental, then our current definition of "life" is certainly erroneous. Hell, if consciousness is fundamental, assigning such importance to a vessel would seem awfully superfluous.
I think you make a good point with the word continuity. In fact, if I may expand on that comment with my thoughts, the term consciousness itself may be used incorrectly.

In western culture, consciousness and awareness are almost synonymous, while some eastern traditions have historically made a distinction. If consciousness is the substratum for existence, it doesn't even make sense to say that consciousness survives or even has continuity after death, but rather the individual awareness or personality survives bodily death.

If I were to be highly speculative, I wonder about the emerging field of quantum information theory, and how it talks about quantum information describing physical events, and even recording their interaction with the environment in a sense. What if all our experiences are 'recorded' in this sense of quantum information, and through a localization of consciousness awareness, this "brings life" to that personality, which may have continuity after death. The consciousness is always there, but the localization of awareness that arises through the brain could persist along with 'entangled' quantum information of the past interactions with the environment?

Before someone jumps on me for these ideas, please realize I am being highly speculative and just throwing out some sort of potential explanation based on my very limited understanding. I think there is data that needs to be explained, so we have to start somewhere.
 
#7
Hello Neil,

Thank you for that thread. I am fairly new on here, but I think I come to the forum with some 'experience'. I can understand what you are getting at, but its somewhat circular. I have, perhaps over the last 5-6 years become increasingly interested in the NDE. I have a background in healthcare, and spent many years working in acute hospitals. At that time I was too busy to pay any attention to such phenomena, and in any case I had a passing interest in 'survival' so I took a long and hard look at Spiritualism. I also saw my fair share of death. At that time I was doing my job, and hardly had time to think about what came after.

I have been fortunate to witness physical mediumship on many occasions. Over and above the criticism or otherwise of that, I have witnessed some very interesting phenomena which made me read extensively on the topic...So what is my point ?. Its this, and you elude to it somewhat. The NDE cannot be looked at as an isolated phenomena. It is one of a number of 'indicators' towards the probability of survival. Taken along with mediumistic evidence, reincarnation etc it is yet another tool in our quest for answers. as for the' instant of death' it is often not clear, but I don't think that is a problem.

What I think is most interesting is veridical NDE's where events and incidents are observed 'outside the body'. I think that presents fairly strong evidence that something may be 'surviving'. How long such 'consciousness' can go on surviving we cannot know. However on the evidence of mediumship and survival research it would seem a long while. As to what form the consciousness may survive, then we cannot have clear answers, although I suspect we retain all our faculties in another dimensional realm.
If I am wrong, then I am not going to know anyway, so its pointless worrying about it !!!....I think that along hard look at the different threads suggestive of survival is the best option to come to your own conclusions. I think the NDE remains a very important one.

Dr Malcolm Lewis
 
#8
Dr. Lewis,

Thank you for your response. The question of perception, memory, etc. without the brain and body is certainly very challenging. It creates very deep questions regarding the nature of perception and memory. I think that parapsychology evidence is suggestive that there may be a link, and perhaps parapsychology may help us get at the question since it lends itself to lab research much better than NDEs.

With respect to perception, there are two types of experiments that that I think may give us an indication as to the nature of perception.

The first is Dean Radin's newer PK experiments involving double-slit and Michaelson interferometer devices. These devices are enclosed, and subjects are asked to try to intuitively perceive which slits the photons go through, which ends up disturbing the interference pattern produced. What is this intuitive perception? It appears to be a perception of one's awareness without using the sense organs. Perhaps an extraction of information from the environment through non-local awareness.

The other related type of research is remote viewing, with highly skilled remote viewers' mentations sounding much like an OBE, although they themselves say they only go inside themselves.

Extraction or insertion of quantum information in a system could be a way for interaction of conscious awareness and matter, since exchange of qubits does not require exchange of any energy and perhaps eliminating issues with conservation laws.

If matter is fundamentally quantum information, this changes how the mind-matter interaction might occur. Perhaps matter is fundamentally quantum information, and quantum information fundamentally occurs in the substratum of a protoconciousness, eliminating dualism all together.
 
#9
Attn: Alex and anyone interested. In the interest of what this thread topic is about, I came across this online and want
to share it with you Alex(And everyone) and would like to know what you think. This seems to counter quite extensively
and logically that NDE's are actual soul experiences or even out of body experiences in any actual sense. Alex, if you could give some feedback I would appreciate it. I cannot yet post it because I am a new member but will when I meet the electronically presented criteria.
 
#11
Attn: Alex and anyone interested. In the interest of what this thread topic is about, I came across this online and want
to share it with you Alex(And everyone) and would like to know what you think. This seems to counter quite extensively
and logically that NDE's are actual soul experiences or even out of body experiences in any actual sense.
Alex, if you could give some feedback I would appreciate it. I cannot yet post it because I am a new member but will when I meet the electronically presented criteria.
How about you begin by telling us about the source? It will be a while before you meet the requirements so let someone else post it for you.

Tough that's one statement that has been said before, I don't expect anything new.
 
#12
Dr. Lewis,

Thank you for your response. The question of perception, memory, etc. without the brain and body is certainly very challenging. It creates very deep questions regarding the nature of perception and memory. I think that parapsychology evidence is suggestive that there may be a link, and perhaps parapsychology may help us get at the question since it lends itself to lab research much better than NDEs.

With respect to perception, there are two types of experiments that that I think may give us an indication as to the nature of perception.

The first is Dean Radin's newer PK experiments involving double-slit and Michaelson interferometer devices. These devices are enclosed, and subjects are asked to try to intuitively perceive which slits the photons go through, which ends up disturbing the interference pattern produced. What is this intuitive perception? It appears to be a perception of one's awareness without using the sense organs. Perhaps an extraction of information from the environment through non-local awareness.

The other related type of research is remote viewing, with highly skilled remote viewers' mentations sounding much like an OBE, although they themselves say they only go inside themselves.

Extraction or insertion of quantum information in a system could be a way for interaction of conscious awareness and matter, since exchange of qubits does not require exchange of any energy and perhaps eliminating issues with conservation laws.

If matter is fundamentally quantum information, this changes how the mind-matter interaction might occur. Perhaps matter is fundamentally quantum information, and quantum information fundamentally occurs in the substratum of a protoconciousness, eliminating dualism all together.
You know Neil, I am amazed that your posts are not getting likes since they are thought out and concise. Perhaps they are going over people's heads? Or it might be that you are engaging elements like Linda and that is keeping the established users away from your topics. In any case, you bring a refreshing perspecive to this forum.

BTW, a few of your points remember me of the Hameroff/Penrose ideas... I assume that you lean towards panpsychism?
 
#13
You know Neil, I am amazed that your posts are not getting likes since they are thought out and concise. Perhaps they are going over people's heads? Or it might be that you are engaging elements like Linda and that is keeping the established users away from your topics. In any case, you bring a refreshing perspecive to this forum.

BTW, a few of your points remember me of the Hameroff/Penrose ideas... I assume that you lean towards panpsychism?
I'm tempted to like his posts in case you think they're going over my head.
 
#14
BTW, a few of your points remember me of the Hameroff/Penrose ideas... I assume that you lean towards panpsychism?
Thank you for your kind words. So far I appreciate Linda's skepticism towards some of my posts. I am very Popperian in that I think criticism of ideas and hypothesis is important for the progression of understanding.

I'm not sure quite what to make of panpsychism, really. Perhaps, but I think if I were to categorize myself I would consider myself more of a monistic idealist.

So far, based on how I have come to understand things at this point, I lean heavily towards a conscious collapse model (which differs from the Penrose objective reduction) that clarifies the von Neumann interpretation and eliminates dualism. I think one issue with conscious collapse models is indicated by Wigner's Friend Paradox, and a unitive consciousness beyond spacetime is needed to resolve this problem, as well as explain why there appears to be an objective reality that we all share. I think unifying consciousness and matter is more palatable since science is always trying to unify things. And it may not be a valid question, but if dualism exists, why two things and not more? I also consider claims of mystics that describe the unity of existence, that consciousness is one without a second.

I also see quantum theory as an epistemology as much as a physical theory, but I mean epistemic in a much deeper way than an operationalist interpretation. I think that the emergence of spacetime and matter from the potentialities of the wave equations are really a holographic kind of projection that results from conscious experience. Quantum theory is an epistemology because the world exists within consciousness, and the world is really an emergent property of conscious experience, and since that consciousness is necessarily unitive, everyone is ultimately the subject at the most fundamental level, and this subject gains knowledge of the world through conscious experience, making quantum theory an epistemology.

I also think that you can deny almost everything except for one's own existence, which is a subjective conscious experience. Some ask how consciousness could arise in a purely material world (even quantum), which I feel is an insurmountable problem, but if you flip it around and ask, well if consciousness is primary, how can something like matter arise in consciousness? I think this is an easy problem, since matter is not some solid entity, but rather appears to exists as quantum information of potential matter. The hard problem disappears if you flip it around. If there is anything to these computational hypotheses in physics, would it be so difficult to imagine that the world exists as quantum information processing in consciousness, whose information integration results in a holographic projection of the world of our conscious awareness? Or in other words, you take the soulless hypotheses of consciousness being information processing and integration and apply it to quantum information processing within consciousness (as the ground of being), this localization of integration and processing concentrated in brains results in the emergence of awareness, and through evolution progresses towards self-awareness, which may then evolve into something beyond our imagination at this time.

Or not. If history is any guide, my ideas will all sound very quaint in few hundred years anyway.
 
#15
I'm tempted to like his posts in case you think they're going over my head.
I did not mean you or anyone else in particular. It just seems odd that he is actually building coherent arguments (instead of the usual circular collection that some use) and is not getting the attention.
 
#19
I did not mean you or anyone else in particular. It just seems odd that he is actually building coherent arguments (instead of the usual circular collection that some use) and is not getting the attention.
I like to see people apply their ideas to well known anomalous phenomena...
 
#20
Thank you for your kind words. So far I appreciate Linda's skepticism towards some of my posts. I am very Popperian in that I think criticism of ideas and hypothesis is important for the progression of understanding.

I'm not sure quite what to make of panpsychism, really. Perhaps, but I think if I were to categorize myself I would consider myself more of a monistic idealist.

So far, based on how I have come to understand things at this point, I lean heavily towards a conscious collapse model (which differs from the Penrose objective reduction) that clarifies the von Neumann interpretation and eliminates dualism. I think one issue with conscious collapse models is indicated by Wigner's Friend Paradox, and a unitive consciousness beyond spacetime is needed to resolve this problem, as well as explain why there appears to be an objective reality that we all share. I think unifying consciousness and matter is more palatable since science is always trying to unify things. And it may not be a valid question, but if dualism exists, why two things and not more? I also consider claims of mystics that describe the unity of existence, that consciousness is one without a second.

I also see quantum theory as an epistemology as much as a physical theory, but I mean epistemic in a much deeper way than an operationalist interpretation. I think that the emergence of spacetime and matter from the potentialities of the wave equations are really a holographic kind of projection that results from conscious experience. Quantum theory is an epistemology because the world exists within consciousness, and the world is really an emergent property of conscious experience, and since that consciousness is necessarily unitive, everyone is ultimately the subject at the most fundamental level, and this subject gains knowledge of the world through conscious experience, making quantum theory an epistemology.

I also think that you can deny almost everything except for one's own existence, which is a subjective conscious experience. Some ask how consciousness could arise in a purely material world (even quantum), which I feel is an insurmountable problem, but if you flip it around and ask, well if consciousness is primary, how can something like matter arise in consciousness? I think this is an easy problem, since matter is not some solid entity, but rather appears to exists as quantum information of potential matter. The hard problem disappears if you flip it around. If there is anything to these computational hypotheses in physics, would it be so difficult to imagine that the world exists as quantum information processing in consciousness, whose information integration results in a holographic projection of the world of our conscious awareness? Or in other words, you take the soulless hypotheses of consciousness being information processing and integration and apply it to quantum information processing within consciousness (as the ground of being), this localization of integration and processing concentrated in brains results in the emergence of awareness, and through evolution progresses towards self-awareness, which may then evolve into something beyond our imagination at this time.

Or not. If history is any guide, my ideas will all sound very quaint in few hundred years anyway.
Did you get a look at the interview by Bentov. Apparently the holographic reality notion came from him, at least he defines it in a simple way I've not heard before. Some of his views may resonate with you:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/itzhak-bentov-from-atom-to-cosmos.2385/
 
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