"If there is evidence and proof of an afterlife, this is probably as good as it gets," Catholic Online, a Web-based Roman Catholic news service, wrote approvingly.
"For seven days, I lay in a deep coma," he recalled. Yet at the same time, Alexander "journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe, a dimension I'd never dreamed existed.
There he found "big, puffy, pink-white" clouds against a "deep, black-blue sky" and "flocks of transparent, shimmering beings… quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet." It turns out Alexander was not alone. His traveling partner in the afterlife was a young woman with high cheekbones, deep blue eyes and "golden brown tresses" who, amid "millions" of butterflies, spoke to him "without using any words." "You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever," she told the doctor, a father of two with movie star looks. "You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong."
A “near death experience” changed a Colorado cowboy to become a Hawai’ian Kahuna priest. In the spring of 1982, when Arthur Costello was 34 years old, he was in a flooded crawlspace under his home when caught in the grip of 30 amps of electricity powered by 220 volts from an electric hot water heater that had shorted out in the water. When his ‘lifeless’ body was pulled from under the house his back was broken in 4 places, and his hips, shoulder joints, heart, and brain were all severely damaged. He suffered a second near-death experience two years later when his heart stopped beating properly due to the electrical damage. During both of these powerful NDE experiences transformed a man’s life and set the stage for his life’s work. Arthur Costello was born in 1948 in a small mountain town in Colorado called Salida. From his earliest years he knew he was born to be a priest. He talked about it so much that his parents sent him to a Benedictine Monastery when he was 13 years old. When he was 18 he left not only the monastery, but also the Catholic Church. He felt he had to do this because he wasn’t able to reconcile what he had been taught in the monastery with truth as he was beginning to see it.
He and his wife were told they were the “new world brother and sister that had been expected by the Mo’o.” The representatives of this ancient clan said they recognized Lono (Mr. Costello) because he was teaching their Message which had never been written before. He was using certain words in certain ways and teaching concepts in ways only members of their priesthood clan knew. Because of this, they not only knew who Lono was, but also that he had been born to fulfill, renew, and spread the ancient Mo’o Message to people across the world.
Brain death is a condition in which there is "irreversible unconsciousness with complete loss of brain function". It is marked by the presence of apnea and the lack of any behavioral response to the environment (Medical Consultants on the Diagnosis of Death, 1981). Generally, an electroencephalogram demonstrates electrocerebral silence reflecting the absence of electrical brain activity. Transcranial doppler studies reveal the absence of cerebral blood flow. Finally, functional imaging, using cerebral perfusion tracers and single photon emission tomography (SPECT), illustrate the "empty skull" sign in which the "whole brain" (Facco et al., 1998) is inactive.
Detecting behavioral signs of consciousness is currently the main way to distinguish conscious from unconscious patients.
Neocortex: The newer portion of the cerebral cortex that serves as the center of higher mental functions for humans. The neocortex contains some 100 billion cells, each with 1,000 to 10,000 synapses (connections), and has roughly 100 million meters of wiring, all packed into a structure the size and thickness of a formal dinner napkin. The cells in the neocortex are arranged in six layers, within which different regions permit vision, hearing, touch, the sense of balance, movement, emotional responses and every other feat of cognition.
My synapses—the spaces between the neurons of the brain that support the electrochemical activity that makes the brain function—were not simply compromised during my experience. They were stopped. Only isolated pockets of deep cortical neurons were still sputtering, but no broad networks capable of generating anything like what we call 'consciousness.' The E. coli bacteria that flooded my brain during my illness made sure of that. My doctors have told me that according to all the brain tests they were doing, there was no way that any of the functions including vision, hearing, emotion, memory, language, or logic could possibly have been intact.
Last year Parnia published a study indicating that 10 percent of clinically dead patients who were later resuscitated reported memories while they were lifeless. Evidence includes patients recognizing hospital staff they had never met but who helped during their resuscitation. Others have recalled conversations between doctors. According to known medical science, this should be impossible, given the absence of any brain activity.
In December 2001, a Dutch neurologist, Dr. Pim van Lommel of Hospital Rijnstate in Arnhem, Netherlands, led a team that published an article in The Lancet, the United Kingdom's highly respected journal of medicine. The study showed that 18 percent of clinically dead patients, later resuscitated, recalled near-death experiences years after the event.
Another study, this one conducted in the United States by the father of near-death-experience studies, Kenneth Ring, used blind patients, resuscitated from cardiac arrest, who likewise described seeing their body while clinically dead, although slightly out of focus. The book Mindsight was inspired by this research.
A heart attack left him clinically dead for a few moments before the doctors were able to bring him back. In his autobiography “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” Jung recalls hating the doctor for bringing him back to life
or perhaps Orchestrated Object Reduction,
The area where REM intrusion is triggered is found in the brain stem -- the region that controls the most basic functions of the body -- and it can operate virtually independent from the higher brain. So even after the higher regions of the brain are dead, the brain stem can conceivably continue to function, and REM intrusion could still occur
but I won't aid him in his own position.
Dr. Hameroff presented this theory – known as Orch-OR (Orchestrated Objective Reduction) – in 1996 with English physicist Sir Roger Penrose. While some of their colleagues disagree with their work, he says: “So far nobody has landed a serious blow to the theory…”
And while anoxia - in which brain cells die through lack of oxygen - is one of the principal theories as to why near-death experiences may occur, this was not found to be statistically significant among this small group of patients.
Instead, the researchers from the University of Maribor found blood carbon dioxide levels were significantly higher in the near-death group than among those who had no experience. Previous research has shown that inhalation of carbon dioxide can induce hallucinatory experiences similar to those reported in near-death experiences.
The medical staff kept seeing spikes in patients' brain waves just before death.
The doctors believe they are seeing the brain's neurons discharge as they lose oxygen from lack of blood pressure.
"All the neurons are connected together and when they lose oxygen, their ability to maintain electrical potential goes away," Chawla said. "I think when people lose all their blood flow, their neurons all fire in very close proximity and you get a big domino effect. We think this could explain the spike."
One of the researchers, Dr Caroline Watt, said: "Our brains are very good at fooling us."
"The scientific evidence suggests that all aspects of the near-death experience have a biological basis."
But Swiss researchers found such experiences could be artificially induced by stimulating the right temporoparietal junction in the brain that plays a role in perception and awareness.
The paper also suggests the action of noradrenaline, a hormone released by the mid-brain, can evoke positive emotions, hallucinations and other features of the near-death experience.
Cardiologist Dr Pim van Lommel, who has studied near death experiences extensively, described the findings as "interesting". "But they have not found a cause - merely an association. I think this is something that will remain one of the great mysteries of mankind. The tools scientists have are simply not sufficient to explain it."
Furthermore many people accurately report "seeing" events taking place at a time when the brain doesn't function (such as during cardiac arrest). These cannot be explained by brain changes, since the brain had shut down and 'flatlined'.
Nice way to open for Bknapple giving some good examples to support his position.
I love the position taken by Druid. Defining "death" will surely be the key here and I found myself looking back at Bknapple's examples in a different light and I had to ask, are the people in these examples actually "dead". After reading the links a second time, now I am not so sure.
Round 1 winner: Druid
The "be careful what you ask for round" as Bknapple has done a great job of countering Druid. At first I thought bknapple may be a bit out matched for this, but his/her round 2 post certainly proves otherwise. Very well done.
Druid's response for round 2 is really more of what I would expect from Druid. Well thought out, thorough, leaving me with more questions than answers. Also very well done.
Round 2: This was a very very difficult round for me to judge. I thought both parties did an outstanding job but this round will go to Bknapple by the slimmest of margins.
Another difficult round to judge. My hat off to both participants for an absolutely amazing job with a tough topic. I think Druid summed it nicely when he said, "My opponent has failed to prove the existence of life after death, yet in retrospective, I have not been able to prove there is not. What this debate boils down to is which is more likely. A biological explanation, or a supernatural one? "
Round 3 Winner: Druid by a very slim margin.
Again I have to say this was a very good debate by both participants. Both deserve a pat on the back for this and this was a very tough one to judge. Excellent job to both parties.
Good opening by bknapple32, clearly laying out his intentions and approach angle. Continues to give two examples, which should convince that Near Death Experiences are real. They actually do not wholly convince, but are remarkable as they are.
Druid42 starts by countering the examples given for NDE experiences, and rightfully remarks that these were experienced during a comatose phase, as opposed to clinically dead. Explains how hard it is to distinguish between alive and dead, even for modern-day science. Ends by stating how complex the brain is, and how we do not fully understand it yet, and raises the question whether or not a life essence is required.
bknapple32 acknowledges the importance of the definition of death, and how difficult it is to define. Succesfully points out how his first example, the Eben case, might be considered a true experience under brain death conditions. He then focuses on two separate studies; both indicating that NDEs are quite common among resuscitated patients.
Druid42 counters by introducing REM intrusion and Orchestrated Object Reduction, which may explain certain experiences under brain death conditions. Points out a study that shows that patients with an NDE had higher levels of CO2 in their bloodstream than those without. Sums up numerous other possible, biological, explanations.
bknapple32 closes by explaining his angle on the debate and countering some of Druid's arguments, explaining that these do not necessarily rule out a true NDE. Emphasizes the fact that his examples deal with true brain dead experiences and concludes by summarizing his evidence.
Druid42's closing post reflects on ecidence given by both, and draws the conclusion that neither could prove their point. He concludes by explaining how a traumatized brain reacts to survive, which may account for visions and hallucinations.
In my opinion bknapple32 focused too much on a few extreme cases, however interesting they are. I would have liked to see a more broad approach from his side, since this enabled Druid42 to easily counter certain aspects with a multitude of opposing data. Although I agree that the debate's subject is not settled by any means, by either of the participants, I have to conclude that Druid42 was more convincing in his rebuttals and presented us with a broader range of evidence to strengthen his case.
Thank you both for this very interesting read!