Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Dualists Cling To Near Death

Posted in Uncategorized by Rodibidably on February 5, 2009

[Originally posted at: Fresh Views From Reality]

Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are not reliable evidence of anything other than psychological phenomena that happens when the body is in a state near death. This hasn’t stopped people who are desparately seeking confirmatory evidence for the afterlife, dualism and religious claims, to cling to the idea that NDEs can somehow “disprove skeptics” and validate their own claims. The word skeptic is often derided and when it comes to NDEs this is no different. Skeptics, adhering to sound scientific practice and correct logic, do not have the luxury to make claims without good reason to do so. Given the nebulous nature of NDEs it takes a very large and fallacious logical leap to use them as evidence for paranormal phenomena. So skeptics justifiably remain unconvinced that the NDEs are somehow the continuation of the self beyond the physical function of the brain. The burden of proof from the claimants has not satisfactorily been met.

This does not mean NDEs should not be reseached but it is critical that any studies should be scientifically tight. That is – well controlled, peer reviewed and conclusions drawn within the constraints of logic. A lot of studies fail in one or all three of the above conditions, primarily because they are conducted to validate claims of dualism and by extension, the paranormal.

A recent piece in the Sunday Star Times by Bryan Appleyard highlighted one of the largest studies that will be performed on NDEs. The study, By Sam Parnia, will involve about 1500 cardiac arrest participants from 25 hospitals in the UK and US. The basic methodolgy of the study is to see whether the NDE stories of Out of Body Experiences (OBEs) are actually out of the body, or more plausibly, are these experiences simply animations of the mind.

[Read the rest of this post at: Fresh Views From Reality]

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