Archive for NDE

Dr. Kevin Nelson on Skeptico

Posted in Science & Spirituality with tags , , on January 29, 2010 by jackpot12

Kevin Nelson

I personally find Alex Tsakiris profoundly annoying. I think he has a naive believer’s mentality, is condescending and gets in over his head. Why doesn’t Alex Tsakaris have a show about how Pam Reynolds NDE started 2 hours before stand still?

I am partial in this debate to Roger Nelson even though I frankly don’t agree with either of them. DOCter Nelson is fond of saying that we have an enormous amount of understanding about consciousness. But what he means is we have a bunch of data about the neural correlates of consciousness and no understanding at all of the actual generation and origin of experience (assuming you are not like Dan Dennett and think there actually is a problem to be solved). One must explain what the correlation is between electromagnetism generated by ion gradients across membranes, and the experience of being aware of your existence and typing such emails to your friends all the time as “why do we even bother to wake up in the morning”. Descartes should have said something like “I am healthy and pain free, yet I often wonder why I bother to exist….. therefore I am.” That would have been far more profound. Unconscious entities don’t ponder why they continue to bother operating. In reality, everyone who thinks for a moment about this puzzle of consciousness must find it absolutely striking. The total failure of AI to form anything resembling a consciousness or a fluid intelligence seems to drive home the point that the complexity and number of interconnections is not what *causes* consciousness to occur. At least, it has mostly convinced me. Wrapping quadrillions of Christmas lights around the planet and turning on the power would do nothing to make the planet conscious, or even on iota closer to becoming conscious. There is a totally missing element. One we have no idea about. It may be generated by the brain, it may not. But the typical non-religious lay person who thinks  they have consciousness all figured out just because there are neural correlates just hasn’t  thought deeply about the problem at all.


Devastating Rebuttal to Pim?

Posted in Science & Spirituality with tags , on November 17, 2009 by jackpot12


Can we really know what is going on in the brain during the NDE? This article originally published in Skeptic magazine 2008 has challenged many of my assumptions. According to the article, deep brain activity can result in vivid realistic hallucinatory narratives with no cortical activity. It also gives evidence to suggest that EEGs commonly do not register this deeper subcortical brain activity even when it is in seizure! I have no way to verify the veracity of these claims or whether the references are speculative or objective. I suspect much of this is debatable, since we need more understanding of the dying brain.

I wonder if OBEs are literally seizures of the brain. In all, we don’t really know what the state of the brain is during the NDE, it is impossible to say that ones brain is “dead” at a given point. One thing I tend to agree with the article about is that Sabom, Parnia and Van Lommel tend to greatly oversimplify the reality behind the dying brain. The only thing that would prove it is total veridical perception of something impossible to otherwise know. Have a look- Article.

Penn and Teller on the NDE

Posted in Humor, NDE with tags , on November 8, 2009 by jackpot12

This is the most disingenuous hatchet job I’ve seen Penn and Teller do. They pretend to examine the NDE and remain intentionally ignorant about key aspects of it. The whole thing is treated as if an obvious result of “lack of oxygen”. The garbled and meaningless hallucinations of fighter pilots are equated with fully lucid experiences “more real than anything on earth”. This whole video sequence was story-boarded on a spiral bound notebook laying on Penn’s lap while he was taking a shit the diameter of a coke can and scribbling away without the slightest degree of knowledge or research.

I 98% Concede the OBE/Lucid Dream Debate

Posted in Humor, Science & Spirituality with tags , , on October 11, 2009 by jackpot12

[This is a high quality sales pitch video. You wonder if these guys really believe this stuff is real. Notice how in the video, the trick is to be able to tell whether you are in the dream state or not while lying in bed. If you are, you will be able to move your “astral” arms and legs without disturbing your body . If you are not in the dream state, you will move your real arms and lose your trance (as I did a few nights ago).]

It appears that OBEs are merely a sub-class of lucid dreaming. The difference appears to be only in the timing for which the dream state is entered into. If it is entered early on in the process more directly from the waking state (what researchers call WILDS as opposed to DILDS), one gets the impression that they are still lying in bed, and naturally, the way the dreaming mind makes sense of this is to roll out of the body and start floating around.

The reason people’s hands go right through the door is because tactile sensation is not something the mind invents. It is something that happens to the body when it encounters a force. So during the dream, you put your hand on the door knob expecting it to push back on its own and to register the solidness. But it doesn’t so your hand goes right through. However, it seems to me that if someone was really dreaming in the OOB state, they should be able to imagine being able to open the imaginary door and feel the imaginary doorknob. But maybe not.

There are still some mysteries which make me think that maybe there is some psi component to it. But those who know they are having lucid dreams probably report veridical experiences just as often as those who think they are OOB! Both are radically inefficient.

So now I am *really* curious… how did miss Zzzz cheat? Was it the reflecting clock? Was it all just made up? I used to laugh at those who would say “maybe it was mere telepathy”, yet now I wonder if it was mere telepathy. Did Charles Tart construct such a poor experimental design that one could memorize a 5 digit number they saw? Why did it take her several nights to see the number? She must have really believed she could do it. If she could read the number somehow with her eyes, why did she wait three nights be successful? Because the clock reflection was blurry the first two nights? I would literally kidnap this woman from the supermarket!

Although I am 98% sure that the OBE is a subclass of lucid dream, I am also 98% sure that NDE OBEs are the same thing. Why would NDE OBEs be better at giving veridical accounts? Do we even know they are? Is there a continuum of accuracy depending on what degree the “body consciousness” is interfering with the imagery? Is the NDE the only time when the body consciousness is totally not interfering?

Or, a far more simple explanation- we are exterminated at bodily death and all of these things are a sham.

How can we find out?


An Engineer has a high detail OBE/NDE experience

Posted in NDE, Science & Spirituality with tags , on September 20, 2009 by jackpot12

This one I found profoundly fascinating. Very few accounts come from logical engineer types. More veridical anecdotes (6:30), though only convincing to the experiencer. Here we learn that it takes two weeks for a “seat of consciousness” to “become deconditioned to the customary modalities of perception” after exiting the body (until then you continue feeling like you have a body and limiting your perception to what you are accustom to like jello in a mold), how to perform a “core dump” to remember (usually the memory is not downloaded into the neurology), and that somehow the interface of consciousness involves the “nerve endings” or synapses and it takes a little while to integrate the two. “What is my source of propulsion?” Willpower. “What can I do?”… go anywhere, do anything.

I wonder if David Chalmers would consider this man’s experience to be potentially true at face value after a couple of beers. He is apt to think that a thermostat is probably conscious….. but I bet he would be less likely to believe this guy’s story (at least in public).

Dean Radin Strikes Again

Posted in Opinion, Science & Spirituality with tags , , , , , , on June 28, 2009 by jackpot12
Believe or I'll kick your ass!

Believe or I'll kick your ass!

When I first read Radin’s “Conscious Universe” I was blown away  by the seemingly overwhelming evidence for psi. I remember my first encounter with Pat being an argument about the significance of these findings. He talked me out of being overly accepting of Radin’s arguments though claiming to be 99% sure we survive physical death himself. An interesting position.

But then there are the die-hard skeptics. Why do so many people refuse to believe? Not being a statistician I can’t tell anything about the data other than the fact that they are largely ignored by very bright people, many of whom I greatly admire.  Is the body of evidence ignored because of bias, or because there really isn’t anything there?

Sam Harris, my most beloved defender of reason has been attacked and ridiculed in the atheist community for being open minded about psi and even evidence for reincarnation. I consider Sam to be one of the clearest thinkers I’ve witnessed. He knows that the skeptic arguments are tinged with unreasonable bias, but does not fully accept the conclusions offered by people like Radin.

Dean is a giant in the field of psi research

Dean is a giant in the field of psi research

After trying to defend the existence of psi for years, partly because it built up my preconceived vision of a spiritual universe, I was left unsatisfied by the evidence. I could never fully convince myself of its existence, and over time I lost interest in the question because I realized that no amount of experimentation was going to solve the question satisfactorily as long as people far more knowledgeable so solidly dismissed it.  Even if I was a statistician and had time to go through the numbers myself, I still wouldn’t know. The sketchy behavior and demeanor of those who claimed these experiences didn’t help convince me either. I would far rather hang out with atheistic scientists and philosophers than spiritualists and your typical NDEer…. even if I KNEW we survived death.

So Dean Radin gave this talk for the people at Google, going through the evidence. There is some interesting new data since I last checked. Apparently Radin’s talk became the most heavily discussed Google talk so far. It would seem that among the younger generation there is less immediate dismissal of such ideas than the older generation. Many in the audience found their heads spinning as they questioned. You could imagine them thinking, “This is such amazing evidence, what is it he’s not telling us, because if it were really this solid everyone would believe it… what is WRONG with this data? There must be something, even if I have no idea what it is.”

I didn’t plan on watching the entire hour and a half. But I did. Credit to Radin for a superb defense of his work.

Imbedding is prohibited, watch here.