Damning NDE Refutations

Lord Parnia

Whenever I read parts of this article by Keith Augustine, I feel my hopes for survival after death being smashed smithereens. And for good reason. In my opinion, this article is a better argued and more comprehensive defense of the annihilation hypothesis than exists anything published in defense of the survival hypothesis. Take this simple fact I learned for instance just now- Greyson and colleagues have discovered a statistical correlation between the time passed since an NDEr has had their experience, and the depth of the experience. This indicates that the experiencer tends to embellish the story as time goes on.

Augustine writes, “The AWARE study is designed to find out whether or not any of these NDErs will be able to accurately report the complex images that appear as hidden visual targets visible only from the ceiling. Parnia explicitly states that the purpose of the study is to “settle this debate once and for all” (Taylor 24), adding that “if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories” (Dreaper). The study has been encouraged by both skeptics of and believers in a survivalist interpretation of NDEs.”

My only question is whether Sam Parnia will become the official spokesperson for atheistic materialism after observing the null findings of his study.

In trying to find more information about cardiac arrest and the NDE, I found an argument more powerful than that I had read by Augustine. This comes from Gerald Woerlee and it severely undermines the idea the cardiac arrest survivors in Pim Von Lommel’s study were certain to have flat EEGs. This is because, as Woerlee describes, nobody stands around observing people in a hospital having a cardiac arrest. They are doing chest compressions and moving a couple of liters of blood through the body. I can understand how Woerlee is so emotionally outraged at the lack of attention paid to what is actually happening during these cardiac arrests. Read what he has to say about cardiac arrests and the NDE, and I don’t think it is possible to think the same way about it ever again.

Accordingly, statements claiming that all people are unconscious, and all people have a “flat EEG” while undergoing active cardiac resuscitation are pure speculation, and likely to be quite incorrect.”- Gerald Woerlee


Update: I have found the article, and it was published in 2008 by Jason J. Braithwaite, not Augustine. There is a whole section on EEG and NDE. I don’t know what to make of the claims or what scientific consensus would be on the speculations. In part he says:

“However, the emerging evidence is somewhat unhelpful for the survivalist. Tao, Ray, Hawes-Ebersole, and Ebersole (2005) compared EEG activity from surgically implanted electrodes placed in or around deep sub-cortical regions of epileptic patients, with cortical EEG electrodes placed on the scalp of the same patients. The results were quite surprising. Tao et al. showed that for 90% of cases, large amplitude paroxysmal firing needed to recruit 10 cm2 of brain tissue in order to show up against background cortical EEG traces. In other words, large seizure-based activity was being recorded by the surgically implanted electrodes (indexing clear and widespread brain-seizure activity) which was completely absent from scalp-based EEG traces until it propagated through and excited 10 cm2 of brain volume. This is a considerable amount of brain tissue.”

“Furthermore, a recent study that employed both EEG and brain-imaging (fMRI) techniques to explore seizure processes found significant increases in localised cortical neural activity (indicative of a seizure) in the fMRI BOLD (blood-oxygen-level dependant) response, which was completely absent from the EEG data (Kobayashi, Hawco, Grova, Dubeau, & Gotman, 2006). This is particularly striking in that this occurred despite the fact that the intense seizure activity occurred in a region where EEG electrodes were closely spaced. Kobayashi et al. note that this is striking as the EEG completely missed the most intensely discharging region despite the fact that this region was also located at the cortical level.”


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