In the autumn of 2014 Dr. Sam Parnia’s long awaited AWARE study about the authenticity of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) as evidence of a surviving soul was published.
Dr. Parnia’s study can, at best, be described as very disheartening and depressing for those believing that NDEs are evidence of a soul that survives the bodily (physical) death.
Almost exactly a year ago I posted this blog focusing that interesting subject, see: https://bbnewsblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/as-i-said-before/
Now, a year later, I think it’s about time to have a new look at the NDE phenomena and how they can be explained without involving religious bullshit concepts like god(s), soul(s) or afterlife.
Let me start by asking you this question: Are you acquainted with a blog named “Imperfect Cognitions”?
Anyhow, it’s a site where all kinds of delusional beliefs, hallucinations and distorted memories are discussed:
Hayley Dewe’s research is based in The Selective Attention and Awareness laboratory, directed by Jason Braithwaite. Her research focuses on the neurocognitive correlates of anomalous (for example hallucinatory) experience, specifically pertaining to the ‘self’, embodiment, and consciousness.She explains NDEs in the following way:
NDEs are striking experiences that typically occur when one is close to death or exposed to life-threatening situations of intense physical and/or emotional danger (first coined by Moody 1975, Life after Life. New York: Bantam Books). This unusual experience includes a variety of aberrant components such as: sensations of peace and vivid imagery, bright flashes of light, the sensation of travelling through a dark tunnel towards a bright light, a disconnection from the physical body (a shift in perspective: the Out-of-Body Experience), and the sensation of entering a light / visions of an ‘afterlife’ etc.
And she continues:
From a parapsychological (or survivalist / supernatural) perspective, NDEs are understood as mystical and spiritual experiences that expose the individual to another world (or afterlife). This is taken as evidence for the survival of bodily death (i.e. dualism); that the mind/consciousness is not dependent on the brain.
In stark contrast is the scientific/neuroscience perspective. Here, it is argued that NDEs are hallucinatory phenomena, generated by a disinhibited and highly confused, dying brain (known as the ‘dying brain account’).
After this introduction she argues that:
#1: There are a host of logical fallacies and methodological discrepancies within the parapsychological literature.
#2: There appears to be no objective study validating the presence of an entirely inactive human brain with the simultaneous occurrence of an NDE!
#3: Even if there were evidence of a completely inactive brain, and subsequent recollection of an NDE, how could one pinpoint the precise time frame during which the NDE components occurred? That is, the NDE itself may well have occurred before levels of brain activity became ‘inactive’ (or ‘flattened’), or even experienced and recalled afterwards, during recovery.
#4: No component of the NDE is actually unique to the ‘near-death’ experience.
#5: As a matter of fact, you needn’t necessarily be ‘near to death’ to experience NDE phenomena.
So the only reasonable and likely conclusion seems to be: Dualist / Survivalist arguments of NDEs are, at the very best, flawed.
And I myself want to add here: They are not only flawed. They are completely wrong, built as they seem to be on wishful magical and religious bullshit thinking .
In short: THERE IS NO SOUL! Forget what you’ve read or heard about that religious bullshit concept.
And if souls don’t exist, the corollary must be: YOU’D BETTER FORGET ABOUT THE BELIEF IN AN AFTERLIFE, TOO.
In the coming weeks or months I hope to have time to blog about the non-existent soul and non-existent afterlife.
Filed under Atheism, Christianity, Cognitive flaws, Consciousness, Delusions, Gods, Hallucinations, Islam, Jesus, Judaism, Mind, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Science vs. pseudoscience, Soul, Theological bullshit, Woo, Woo-Personality
Rosa Rubicondior is one of my favorite bloggers. She doesn’t like Professor William Lane Craig (WLC). Or maybe rather his arguments in favor of a caring and loving God/Creator.
Neither do I.
In one of her latest blog articlea, see: http://rosarubicondior.blogspot.se/2014/09/only-real-gods-agree-with-william-lane.html , Rosa discusses WLC and his somewhat bizarre – to say the least – Divine Command Theory (DCT). This theory says that whatever God does or commands is always free of sin and the best thing for us human beings to do and fulfill. If we think it’s immoral to fulfill some of God’s wishes/commands, then we don’t understand God’s intentions and goals with His creation plan.
Here’s a quote from Rosa Rubicondior’s blog:
Confused Christians can now sleep soundly in their beds because William Lane Craig has revised his special Divine Command Theory (DCT). DCT says that morality is doing exactly what God commands without regard to the effects it might have on other people because God knows best and can take life if and when he wishes. All you have to do is obey God’s command and whatever you do will be moral. William Lane Craig devised this theory to justify the genocidal murder of the Canaanites in the Bible and so elevated genocide to the level of a moral crusade, provided God told you to do it.
Another blog I highly commend is Why Evolution IS True (WEIT), owned by Professor Jerry A. Coyne (not to confuse with the cat with the same name ;o) ).
Here are three blog articles on WEIT also discussing WLC and his views and conclusions based on the DCT:
1) http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/william-lane-craig-answers-a-distressed-reader-if-isiss-god-were-mine-should-i-do-what-he-says/ ;
2) http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/william-lane-craig-defends-his-ridiculous-claim-that-animals-dont-suffer/; and
3) http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/william-lane-craig-and-the-incoherence-of-and-prevalence-of-belief-in-hell/ .
Anyone thinking that WLC is a good advocate of the Christian God and His morally impeccable, uncorrupted and sinless deeds should read the four blog articles I linked to here above.