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Challenge Match: Hefficide vs SonoftheSun: OBE's, Trick of the Mind or Reality?

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posted on Sep, 23 2012 @ 12:07 PM
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I would like to begin by stating my sincere gratitude to ATS for allowing us this forum to engage in debate, to the staff and members who support this forum with their patronage, and to SonoftheSun for generously agreeing to engage in this dialogue with me. Sincerely, thank you all.

Today, SonoftheSun and I will begin discussing the topic of "out of body experiences". The following is my initial statement on the subject:

My opening thoughts



This is a subject that has deep personal relevance to me as, at eighteen years old, I had a cardiac arrest, due to a congenital heart defect, was clinically dead for well over twelve minutes, and personally had a N.D.E. ( Near death experience ) - one of the most common types of O.B.E.'s ( Out of body experiences ). For the sake of this debate, the specifics of my own experience are irrelevant. What matters is that I did experience something. And I have had nearly thirty years to contemplate, research, and reflect upon just what happened to me and what it could mean. This personal journey is what informs my position in this debate.

For the sake of beginning a dialogue on this subject, let's try and break the term "O.B.E." down to a basic idea. Wiki informs us:


An out-of-body experience (OBE or sometimes OOBE) is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside one's body and, in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from a place outside one's body (autoscopy).


That is a fair enough, if not oversimplified defintion and one I think we can work with. Also, I will be using the term "soul" during this debate to describe the id - that part of is that exists internally and is capable of thought. I use this term without implying any religious connotations to it.

Science and psuedo-science will offer us many theoretical explanations for this phenomenon. Everything from misfiring neurons to proof of the afterlife. Bioelectric and biochemical processes are very much thought to be the cause of the O.B.E. phenomenon, and I honestly cannot argue with the validity of these theories. They make sense and have strong evidenciary support to back them up. But, for me, they are not the end all-be all of the story. Science, unfortunately, cannot even inform me as to why I have in body experiences. If science cannot answer the simple question of "Why am I?" - then how can I trust it to inform me about the limitations of my being? I offer that science is always a work in progress, an ongoing search for answers - and not the definitive text for all that can be known. We are in our infancy of understanding - so I accept that there are areas where science has not yet matured enough to help provide answers to many questions. We also have the added problem of religious bias in science. A predispostion to disregard things considered to be "spiritual" as "nonsense"... to accept only the physically quantifiable as rational. To me this blind rejection of a common and well recorded phenomenon is sad and limiting. As we are all aware, the universe is far more complex than we can possibly comprehend - and the human mind is equally as perplexing and intricate. Just because we cannot currently understand a thing does not mean it lacks validity or truth.

That leads us to the crux of this debate. Do we possess an energy that exists in symbiosis with our physical bodies, but which is also a separate entity in its own right. One that science currently lacks the vocabulary and tools to define? If so, then, is it possible for that individual aspect of our being to perceive or experience without relying upon the physical shell to do so. My eyes see, my olfactory senses smell and taste, that my ears hear. I am told that these organs are requisite for experience. Yet, I dream. I experience texturally valid and convincing events that have no basis in reality at all. In dreams I can hear, see, engage in conversation, and with a quality that rivals or even exceeds the standards of my waking state. Could dreams be effective analogs of O.B.E.s? Science has provided us with some information regarding alpha states and REM activity. But these are only metrics of the body and not the soul. We simply cannot quantify what the soul is experiencing - only how dreaming effects the host shell.

NDE's show us that the soul is capable of experiencing something even in a body that is showing no scientific signs of life. It may be that the soul is dependant upon the body to exist in this plane or dimension. But these experiences to tend to suggest that the soul can operate, at least for a time, without physical support. If this is the case - then supposing that the spirit might be able to supercede the control of a living host seems a rational conclusion. And we if we can accept that the soul - the thinking part of us - can experience, if even for a short time, without physical connection. Then we must accept that OBE's are a reality.

Thank you.




posted on Sep, 23 2012 @ 06:12 PM
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This should be a fun debate and I wish to thank Hefficide for giving me the opportunity to debate him over such a great subject! Thank you, once again, to the moderators, the members and the viewers for their involvement, without whom, none of these great debates would see the light of day!!
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Opening Statement




The out of the body experiences are, by their very nature esoteric, no doubt, as it is the common belief. To see yourself, from an exterior view, is an experience that no one ever forgets. Much like a near death experience, it leaves quite an impression. How does one quantify such an experience? If it was simply one individual giving his testimony of such an occurrence, it could probably be easily labeled. But when tens of thousands of people have lived such a wonder on a worldwide scale, it becomes a little harder to dismiss it as an isolated case that could be attributed to a syndrome of a mental sickness.

Wiki attributes it as:


belief-centric labels such as "astral projection", "soul travel", or "spirit walking".


No one can deny the possibility. To do so would deny the very existence of a soul. Yet, a possibility doesn’t necessarily and/or automatically mean the end of the research by itself. A belief isn't a fact. And this is where my side of the debate comes in. That it could be more than just our soul looking down on us.

Wiki also states the alternative:


OBEs can be induced by brain traumas, sensory deprivation, near-death experiences, dissociative and psychedelic drugs, dehydration, sleep, and electrical stimulation of certain parts the brain, among others.


en.wikipedia.org...

This is where science comes in. We have barely scratched the possibilities of what our brains can do, yet, with today’s technology that is available to us, we can quantify certain areas. We can run tests, we can evaluate and we can measure. We can gather data and compare. We can analyze. We can dissect and research. We can study. How can we do those with our soul?

While we can speculate about what our soul is, where it resides, where the link is between our physical, mental or metaphysical bodies, we can research factual data, with our brain. We can link what the brain does to various parts of our body. But we can only speculate, when the soul is concerned.

While there are subjects upon which I will not touch such as brain traumas, or sleep, or subjects that are forbidden by the T&C, I will however center this side of the discussion on the electrical and the magnetic parts of the brain. As this is where the strongest research is conclusive, regarding O.B.Es.

The title we have chosen for this debate is, in a sense, misleading. While an O.B.E. is a very real experience, as Hefficide’s testimony provides, for example, it clearly shows that it does exist in our three dimensional reality. Unfortunately, while it is real, it is also a trick of the brain. And even then, “trick” is a little confusing. It isn’t a trick. No aces up the sleeve here, just very convincing scientific data suggesting that our brain is the culprit.

Within the course of this match, I will supply the evidence that the medical research is serious, factual and accurate. In the following statements, I will link to serious studies, analyses and tests. Tests where our senses such as touch and perception, were not only deceived but actual O.B.Es can and are reproduced, in lab.

It will be up to you, the readers, to decide where the truth resides. Or, at the very least, to decide where the strongest possibilities lay. Thank you!



posted on Sep, 23 2012 @ 11:35 PM
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reply to post by SonoftheSun
 


Exellent opening post SonoftheSun! Kudos to you Sir. Your post enables me to get down to very marrow of my argument. Reality and how we define it This is a slight detour, but one necessary for my position to be understood in the proper context.

I propose that reality in and of itself is illusory and impossible to quantify with any meaningful certainty. Reality itself is really just a term we use to describe a general, but highly subjective, seemingly shared experience. We are all aware that our own perceptions and experiences are unique. We find commonality in reference points - such as being able to identify an apple on sight for example. But we have no way of knowing if what we see as an apple is exactly what our peers also see. If we could trade bodies ( and parts of the soul ) with others we might find that the very quality and texture of their perceptions differ greatly from our own. Through their eyes - and their interpretive hardware and software, that apple may appear to us as something totally alien and unidentifiable. This subjective nature of being is where I believe the science begins to fall apart, as science relies upon consistency and predictability for control and thus often fail when universality is lacking.

Thus, as recalcitrant as science is to admit it, human consciousness is as much a mystery to them today as it was to Plato nearly 2,500 years ago. Even their own discipline acknowledges that simply observing their own experiments can skew the results.

If we cannot adequately define what reality even is then how can we arrogantly engage in the practice of placing limitations upon it at all? Especially in this particular field. Using perceptions that we cannot fully understand or explain to dismiss other, equally inexplicable perceptions. It's all a bit contrary to me.

My esteemed opponent also mentions that science has clearly shown that certain chemicals, physical ailments, mental states, and other things that can alter bio-electrical processes or biochemical levels can produce events similar to OBE or NDE experiences. I agree with this fully, but differ in the opinion that I think this actually supports the notion of a separate soul, rather than suggesting against it. For example, in high school I used electricity to make a dead frog move as if it were alive. But I was not creating life at all - merely exploiting neurological mechanisms already present in the decedent. In the inverse, it follows that we should be able to stimulate the soul, through physical stimuli and reproduce some of the functions it is capable of. But, in doing so, we only prove an ability to manipulate or trick the soul into a reaction - and not anything definitive beyond that.

My opponent also suggests that OBEs and NDEs exist within our three dimensional reality and therefore are implicitly linked to brain function. In this he contends that they are "real" but only through trickery of the incredibly advanced and amazing human brain. There is wisdom here, to be sure. But so much is yet to be understood about the brain that it is impossible to state that even if the brain is implicitly tied to the soul - through some form of entanglement - that this, in the end, has any bearing upon the debate at all. This incredible organ, for instance, might well have enough "umph" to it to be able to create a multidimensional and virtually eternity all encompassed in a single thought. Since perception is all we really have to go upon - this possibility does not seem far fetched to me at all. I have personal difficulty in seeing the flesh as a necessary requisite for the spirit, but can concede that it is possible. Maybe OBE's, NDE's, and even an eternal afterlife could all be unbelievably intricate and complex creations of the mind. A firing of neurons that effectively create an "experience" that potentially has no limitations or even an end at all. A single thought with such depth an clarity as to be endless and seemingly as real to us as anything our perception experiences in this world.

Another aspect I have not covered thus far, is the notion of a collective super conscious. A return to the source, if you will. One could argue that an NDE or OBE is simply a view taken from the vantage point of returning to the essence... the "all".

What I am getting at is that, even if the scientific data has merit and is accurate, there are theories, many with supporting evidence, to suggest that science may have the pieces of the proverbial puzzle - but lack the knowledge, at this point, to put them together correctly.

A spike in neuroelectric activity and brain chemistry may be a a part of the equation. But I honestly doubt that these readings even scratch the surface of the whole truth.

Thanks for reading again.



posted on Sep, 24 2012 @ 01:23 PM
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O.B.E. – Your Brain is to Blame


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Dear readers,

Within the limitations of this second post, I shall bring forth the core of my side of the debate. While reality, consciousness – or super consciousness for that matter – are interesting points that could be up for discussion within the course of dozens of debates, it is my intention to put those aside (not denying them) in order to emphasize on facts, and facts only.

My esteemed opponent has mentioned an interesting personal story that touches on the very premise of this side of the debate, and I quote:


For example, in high school I used electricity to make a dead frog move as if it were alive.


Poor frogs...I’ve done that too. The science behind this is called Neurostimulation. Or, as it suggests, an electric stimulation of the nerves. Which will make those poor frogs twitch, no doubt in my mind. But an O.B.E. is a little more than that.

en.wikipedia.org...

Here it is. While evaluating two women that were up for epilepsy surgery, in Geneva, something strange and unimaginable happened. One of these two women reported that she had the sensation of being out of her body, close to the ceiling, while she looked down at herself. Now, THAT is interesting for multiple reasons. One, she wasn’t dead or dying. Two, she had a conscious O.B.E. that was caused by an external stimuli.

Dr Olaf Blanke, a neurologist from Switzerland, has researched – since then - into this part of the brain that causes a similar reproduction of, as most would call it, an extraordinary paranormal experience. This part of the brain (where it all happens) is called the Angular Gyrus.



en.wikipedia.org...


The angular gyrus is a region of the brain in the parietal lobe, that lies near the superior edge of the temporal lobe, and immediately posterior to the supramarginal gyrus; it is involved in a number of processes related to language, mathematics and cognition.


Emphasis is mine. Cognition. When the brain is stimulated in a certain way, with accurate apparatus, within this certain area of the brain, it reproduces the experience to a T. Truth is, the brain’s cognition gets hay wired. Or short circuited. The result, nevertheless, is an O.B.E.

Dr Blank has reproduced the experiment many times over since 2004. Here is his conclusion and the link that explains the mechanisms involved.


And while it may be tempting to invoke the supernatural when this body sense goes awry, he said the true explanation is a very natural one, the brain’s attempt to make sense of conflicting information.


Out-of-Body Experience? Your Brain Is to Blame

To understand this with everyday terms, it simply says that the brain doesn’t make the difference between a real experience or a stimulated one. That’s right, the brain can’t tell the difference! It simply reproduces it. Now, that is much more than just neurostimulation.

Finally, my esteemed opponent concludes his second post with this statement and I quote:


What I am getting at is that, even if the scientific data has merit and is accurate, there are theories, many with supporting evidence, to suggest that science may have the pieces of the proverbial puzzle - but lack the knowledge, at this point, to put them together correctly.


I think I have just shown the opposite. And will continue to do so in my third and conclusive post in which I will show that, with full knowledge and understanding, O.B.Es are, in fact, reproduced in lab.

My one and only Socratic Question:

Is it a possibility that the experience you’ve lived – as mentioned in your OP – could be reproduced, consciously, in lab, with the right equipment and under the right conditions?

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Hefficide, you’ve offered an excellent debate so far and look forward to your conclusion.

Dear readers, see you in the next post and thank you, once more, for reading.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 10:05 PM
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reply to post by SonoftheSun
 


OBE - YOUR SPIRIT UNLEASHED!

I wish to begin my final entry in this debate by thanking SonoftheSun, the staff who run this forum, and to those who have given of their time to follow along. Thank you all, sincerely.

As a beginning, I will address my opponents Socratic question:

Is it a possibility that the experience you’ve lived – as mentioned in your OP – could be reproduced, consciously, in lab, with the right equipment and under the right conditions?

My answer is emphatically yes. It is feasible that my experience could be reasonably reproduced, through artificial methods in a laboratory. I will even add to this that a sharp blow to the head, certain chemical compounds, epilepsy, oxygen deprivation, and even a sharp blow to the head could all also theoretically do so.

To quote an advertising slogan that many may be too young to recognize... Is it live - or is it Memorex An old pop-culture reference that embodies my entire position in this debate... is reproduction the same thing as the original source? Obviously making a tape of Ella Fitzgerald does capture something of her - but by no means does it capture the entirety of her. Thus reproducing an event only goes so far in regard to the complexity of the whole.

The heart of my argument can be simplified into a metaphor found on the very PC in front of you and the operating system that controls it. Take away the O/S and the computer will not work. It is a dead shell. But aspects of the O/S can operate without the PC. Flash drives, mobile devices, mp3players, etc. The "Cloud" is there whether or not your PC ( or Mac ) is functional or not. Admittedly this metaphor doesn't cover the more complex aspects of my argument. But I think it is a fair simplified version.

If we perceive our souls as something akin to software, our bodies as housing units ( computers ) for that software, and the universe ( or God, Allah, the higher power, the collective subconscious ) as the "Cloud" - then I should be able to close my final entry now. As this one example seals the deal and shows that the soul transcends the physical, making it possible for OBE's and NDE's to not only exist, but to be expected and a part of the natural order of things.

Thought ( consciousness ) - inspiritos ( the divine breath ) transcend the physical. If this debate forum is extant in a thousand years, then a reader might happen upon this very debate and not only think along with me, but actually think the []i]exact thoughts I am as I type these words. In a vague way, even this might qualify as an OBE of sorts. I illustrate this because no scientific measurement in the world can quantify this - and yet we all know it to be true. Our thoughts will live in, through repetition, in the minds of others - even generations later.

I began this by discussing my own OBE, but left out part of the story. Months after my recovery a relative got sick and I found myself back in the same ER I had been in when I had my cardiac arrest. A doctor walked by me. I instantly recognized him as the doctor who had saved my life. So I jumped up and thanked him. He was perplexed, but courteous. Then he hurried away. I turned to find a puzzled look on my mothers face. After a moment she said "You cannot possibly have remembered him. All he did was bring you back. It was other doctors who tended to you from that point on."

But I did remember. A person who was only there while I was dead, eyes closed and unconscious. Followed by three days in a coma. There is no physical way I could have known this mans face, and yet I did. And my own NDE did not involve "seeing myself from above" at all. Mine was a "bright light" type NDE. How did I not only recognize him, but know exactly what he'd done for me? Unless I had somehow seen it.

In closing I wish to propose a single Socratic question to my opponent:

Given history and the fact that science has often marginalized topics only, later, to embrace and explain them - Is it possible that OBE's and the existence of a separate, but connected "soul" energy are simply things that science has yet to understand, and therefore is yet to embrace?

My final statements are that the human mind, spirit, and nature - in general - continue to force science to reevaluate and rewrite its own rule book on nearly a daily basis. Our capacity for understanding is unlimited. I propose that OBE's and NDE's, one day, will be understood, accepted, and validated as a very real phenomenon. That science will, one day, consider the human soul to be as rational as gravity, cosmology, and medicine are to us, today.

Thank you very much SonoftheSun for a compelling, challenging, and enjoyable dialogue. I have enjoyed it very much. And thank you ATS, for reading and considering.

This has truly been a wonderful experience!

~Heff



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 06:17 AM
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Conclusion – The Science of O.B.Es



Dear readers,

I will start this conclusive statement by saying that I believe we have a soul. I believe we have a consciousness. I believe in life after death.

But I will also reiterate that belief does not equal facts. When it comes to Out of Body Experiences, is it a possibility that our brain is the culprit? I will close by saying a resounding YES.

My esteemed opponent has had an experience where he recognized the doctor that saved his life. We all agree that he is saying the truth, no doubt. But as he says and I quote:


How did I not only recognize him, but know exactly what he'd done for me? Unless I had somehow seen it.


And this is where cognition comes into play. Cognition is not a fact that we have a soul. Cognition is not a fact that we have a consciousness. No. Cognition is a fact that we have a brain. As a matter of fact, cognition affects all of our senses. Consciously or unconsciously. Our brain interprets what we see, we hear, we touch, we smell, we think, we feel. Much like an amputee that still feels his missing limbs, cognition plays its important part in O.B.Es.

Cognition

My opponent’s Socratic Question:


Given history and the fact that science has often marginalized topics only, later, to embrace and explain them - Is it possible that OBE's and the existence of a separate, but connected "soul" energy are simply things that science has yet to understand, and therefore is yet to embrace?


My Socratic Answer:

Of course, it’s a possibility. But is it also possible that science will also one day prove that the soul is a fallacy, that science will embrace and explain that everything we think we know is a result of our brain function? To my dismay, I must answer yes.

And chances are, they have already started to do so.


Get ready to see yourself in a new light. Two papers released this week by the journal Science describe what seem to be the first lab-induced out-of-body experiences in healthy people.





Two independant studies have concluded tests, one in Sweden, the other in Switzerland.


Using goggles hooked up to video cameras, and sticks to poke and stroke, researchers subjected study participants to a variety of visual and physical cues to confuse their brain about their body's location.


As I explained in the second post, the angular gyrus (the part of the brain where cognition resides), when stimulated, confuses the brain to re-enact the sequences of O.B.Es. Both those studies are conclusive. The first one, in Sweden, has gone to the point where the volunteers have relocated themselves entirely, out of the body.


Now, there are the current Science experiments: the first where volunteers have relocated their entire "selves" — their minds, as it were — outside of their bodies.


In Switzerland, the medical field has worked on the brain stimuli. While being blindfolded, the researchers confused the participants in remembering where their true self and the projected self were. As I said in my previous post, the brain can’t tell the difference!

Dr Ehrsson concludes that the volunteers feel that the experience is very vivid.

My conclusion is that our brain has yet much to show us. Think of the repercussions of a projected self. Perhaps, as my esteemed opponent has mentioned, that one day science will be able to prove a consciousness, a soul while, at the same time, proving that our brain is the launch pad.

Could you think of these implications? I sure can. Teleportation, light speed travel throughout our galaxy and beyond, having emergency surgery without induced anesthesia while your projected self is watching...imagine the video games of the future...the movie “Strange Games” comes to mind !!!

Am I pushing the envelope? Up to you to decide, but just a week ago I wasn’t even aware that we could create a controlled O.B.E. !! And yet, science has done so.

As Hefficide and I have been saying from the beginning of this debate, we are only scratching the surface here and we could spend numerous posts, or debates even, regarding this subject. So for today, we’ll just leave it at that !

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The Science of Out-of-Body Experiences

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I hope that you, dear reader, have learned something in the process cause I sure have !

Thank you for reading and Thank You, once more, to Hefficide for a pleasant, challenging and fun debate ! It was an honor having a match with you !

~Son.



posted on Sep, 30 2012 @ 04:10 AM
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Judgments are in...





This was a difficult debate to judge. Both sides did a fantastic job of articulating their arguments and I commend them for that.

SonoftheSun excellently argued that the scientific exploration of the mind through experimentation and study has produced results duplicating the experience people have in an OBE. Through scientific achievement, we have taken steps to better understand the origins of an experience that would otherwise lie in the realm or paranormal. Very well written posts and brought a lot of new information to the table.

That being said, I have to give the debate to Hefficide. This quote sums it up best.



“But I was not creating life at all - merely exploiting neurological mechanisms already present in the decedent. In the inverse, it follows that we should be able to stimulate the soul, through physical stimuli and reproduce some of the functions it is capable of. But, in doing so, we only prove an ability to manipulate or trick the soul into a reaction - and not anything definitive beyond that.”


I think Hefficide made the case that science can "trick" the mind or soul to create the perception of an OBE., but science is only emulating (by physical means) the reality of an otherwise natural, un-manipulated experience. They create the simulacrum, but that does not explain the existence of or change the reality of the organic. More importantly, the emphasis on how science tends to play "catch-up" with accepted reality enforced the argument further.

Great debate!







This was a very close debate. Both opponents had solid stances, were very eloquent, and provided relevant information.

In round one, Hefficide opened strong, relating personal experience and years of research to lend value to his point. He nailed the aspect of science not being able to quantify such experiences.

SonoftheSun countered nicely, and started building his case for the debate immediately. He supplemented it with this pivotal quote: "OBEs can be induced by brain traumas, sensory deprivation, near-death experiences, dissociative and psychedelic drugs, dehydration, sleep, and electrical stimulation of certain parts the brain, among others." In my interpretation, he cleverly baited his opponent to refute every aspect of OBEs.

Round one was a tie. Both opponents opened very powerfully, and it was anyone's debate from there.

In round two, Hefficide further advances his point for a "seperate" soul, one not contained within the body, and advances the notion of a "superconciousness". Unfortunately, he failed to provide a source for his theory, which would have been interesting to read, and leaves his soft underbelly open for attack.

Which SonoftheSun takes complete advantage of, spearing him with the introduction of scientific facts, case studies, and the fact that OBEs can be reproduced in the lab. He's very solid in his attack, and presents his position from a standard of which all debates could follow as example. I was impressed with the tenacity and the thoroughness of his presentation, and for that round two goes to SonoftheSun.

In round three, Hefficide stumbles a bit by agreeing with his opponent, often the single most fatal flaw in a debate. He was baited, and fell for it. He presents his computer analogy well, helping to relate the average reader to his position, and finishes smoothly by disclosing this snippet: "the human mind, spirit, and nature - in general - continue to force science to reevaluate and rewrite its own rule book on nearly a daily basis". He remains poised to win the round at this point, simply by stating that science is not a definitive rule, but a guide by which we interpret reality, and in that, recovers nicely.

SonoftheSun is not to be denied his win. He counters back viciously, stating two recent studies in disparate countries, proving that science has attained the ability reproduce OBEs, with verifiable results, and by holding his best information for last, ensures his position is solid. A masterful move by a debate opponent, and thus, by sticking to facts and providing real evidence, SonoftheSun wins round three.

SonoftheSun wins two out of three rounds, and therefore the debate.



It rarely happens but this debate Ladies and Gentlemen is a TIE!!!!!

Great debate and usable as a reference in many ATS threads...





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