Author Topic: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?  (Read 17323 times)

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Offline Dominic

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #58 on: September 04, 2010, 12:26:49 AM »
Did you WATCH the video? It's not an opinion. You see the guy blackout. He comes to. He says "I SAW A LIGHT!"

It happens to the overwhelming majority of people.

Hey. Hey guy. Hey.

<whispers>

Your bias is showing.

Yes I watched the video.  Astronauts having a similar experience is evidence supporting NDEs not evidence against it.

'Near Death Experience' is a term that has come about to cover the experience.  How near to death each  person is could be discussed ad nauseum.

The personal story in the OP was about someone who was uninjured.  It could be argued that she was near death potentially because of the truck but that is a distraction from the experience itself which we call an NDE for convenience in communication.
 
Regarding the astronauts again -

1.  If the spinning machine was not stopped when they passed out, I suggest that they are at risk of death or brain damage.  Even what they do experience looks dangerous.  Becoming unconsciousness while strapped into a chair spinning at high speed would be classed as a high risk activity.

2.  Let's hear about their experiences (which are quite probably NDEs) in detail.  Anyone seen/heard/read any in detail ?



« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 01:22:39 AM by Dominic »

Offline Dominic

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #59 on: September 04, 2010, 01:00:24 AM »
What about reincarnation stories, Dominic? There are plenty of those out there as well,

Have you come across hundreds of reincarnation stories which demonstrate a consistent pattern ?

Here are some NDE collections (which do) -

http://www.near-death.com/

http://www.nderf.org/

http://www.bibleprobe.com/nde.htm




Offline superfly

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #60 on: September 04, 2010, 01:03:35 AM »
I had a NDE a while back after a horrific car crash.
at the time it was just another interesting experience.
today, it was just another interesting experience.
 :shrug


Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile!
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Offline Dominic

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #61 on: September 04, 2010, 01:05:01 AM »
I don't see how you can investigate NDEs and remain a theist.

Lets assume NDEs are real. So, we're being asked to believe that the perfect omnipotent god has set up a system to 'capture' souls of people who die. But sometimes god goofs up and captures a soul who's body isn't quite dead yet and then he needs to stuff the soul back into the body.

Ok, we can argue about when exactly a body is truely dead and ok, we can and do make mistakes, burying people who wake up.

But this is the omnipotent god we're talking about. An omnipotent god making mistakes???

NDErs regularly report a decision of whether or not to return to their bodies and then a choice to do so - usually after gaining immensely valuable experiences and information.

I have not heard of any mistakes being reported.




Offline Dominic

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #62 on: September 04, 2010, 01:06:05 AM »
I had a NDE a while back after a horrific car crash.
at the time it was just another interesting experience.
today, it was just another interesting experience.
 :shrug



Hi sf

Would you mind telling us a brief account ?



Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #63 on: September 04, 2010, 07:58:37 AM »
It's all cultural.  If all NDE's were the same, regardless of culture and beliefs, then you might have more evidence on your side.  But a few Christian woo experiences doesn't lead to the belief in the Christian God, any more than 11 Thai experiences makes me believe in Yamatoots.   
NDErs speak and/or write about their experiences using words and concepts from their own culture.  That is exactly what we would expect them to do.

LOL JeffPT, do you see how much ground you need to cover before this guy even begins to comprehend the point you made?
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline koberulz

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #64 on: September 04, 2010, 10:34:36 AM »
Did you WATCH the video? It's not an opinion. You see the guy blackout. He comes to. He says "I SAW A LIGHT!"

It happens to the overwhelming majority of people.

Hey. Hey guy. Hey.

<whispers>

Your bias is showing.

Yes I watched the video.  Astronauts having a similar experience is evidence supporting NDEs not evidence against it.

Evidence that it happens? Yes. Evidence that it's supernatural? No. At the very least, it proves nothing either way, but the fact that they're not actually dying, and thus can't be ascending to heaven or whatever, would indicate that it's the brain's way of freaking out when it starts to shut down. Ever been on LSD? Does that prove the existence of God?

Offline jetson

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #65 on: September 04, 2010, 10:47:44 AM »
Ever been on LSD? Does that prove the existence of God?

When EVERYTHING proves the existence of God, there is no hope for the deluded.

Offline RaymondKHessel

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #66 on: September 04, 2010, 10:58:45 AM »
Did you WATCH the video? It's not an opinion. You see the guy blackout. He comes to. He says "I SAW A LIGHT!"

It happens to the overwhelming majority of people.

Hey. Hey guy. Hey.

<whispers>

Your bias is showing.

Yes I watched the video.  Astronauts having a similar experience is evidence supporting NDEs not evidence against it.

Evidence that it happens? Yes. Evidence that it's supernatural? No. At the very least, it proves nothing either way, but the fact that they're not actually dying, and thus can't be ascending to heaven or whatever, would indicate that it's the brain's way of freaking out when it starts to shut down. Ever been on LSD? Does that prove the existence of God?

Exxxactly. I don't think anybody's disputing that it happens, are they? Here's the thing - it's called a NEAR *DEATH* EXPERIENCE. If the exact same thing happens when people are not *DYING*, it's not exactly special, is it? So it's not evidence of "NDES" - it's evidence that when your brain is deprived of oxygen, it cranks off a bunch of wacky ass effects in yer melon.

Or is Jesus calling the fighter pilot home when they're in the G machine?

Must be pretty embarassing for the poor guy. Sems like he's a bit off his game if he can't tell the difference between somebody dead and somebody who's just passed out.

It's like somebody worships lightning as the source of fire, and then somebody comes along with a lighter and goes "click". Not a big deal.

But.. But... There must be LIGHTNING in that bic!!!  &)

And also, it's cute you were so dismissive of Penn and Teller untill you realized there was actual concrete evidence in the video. Went from being "toilet science" to being twisted into evidence for your case pretty quick.  :D
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 11:01:38 AM by RaymondKHessel »
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Offline Odin

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #67 on: September 04, 2010, 08:23:59 PM »
NDE's happen when the brain is not fully functioning, just like when dreams happen.  When you dream, you are not fully conscious and aware.

Same with ghost hunting.  Ever notice how ghost hunting always happens at night?  As if all ghosts are nocturnal.  Nope, it's just easier to fake the ghost effects in the dark.

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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #68 on: September 04, 2010, 10:32:04 PM »
It's all cultural.  If all NDE's were the same, regardless of culture and beliefs, then you might have more evidence on your side.  But a few Christian woo experiences doesn't lead to the belief in the Christian God, any more than 11 Thai experiences makes me believe in Yamatoots.   
NDErs speak and/or write about their experiences using words and concepts from their own culture.  That is exactly what we would expect them to do.

LOL JeffPT, do you see how much ground you need to cover before this guy even begins to comprehend the point you made?

Why do you think I didn't respond?  :)  I read his response and said.... "aaaaanyway", and clicked to another thread.  I figure I saved myself about 2 full hours of wasted time over the next week or so by not responding back.  I'm trying to be more economical with my time lately.  You know, picking my battles a bit more intelligently.  :) 
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Offline spiritualatheist

Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #69 on: September 05, 2010, 12:07:42 AM »
In case if the author of this thread didn't realize, you can be atheist and still believe in reincarnation (which is a form of after life). So yes by default an atheist could believe his NDE was the side effects of a spockle on the wheel of reincarnation.
Religion is to superstition as chocolate is to coco beans.
You can call me an atheist or agnostic with pantheistic beliefs but I ain't believing in your imaginary omnipotent friend bullshit.

Offline superfly

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #70 on: September 05, 2010, 02:29:27 PM »
I had a NDE a while back after a horrific car crash.
at the time it was just another interesting experience.
today, it was just another interesting experience.
 :shrug

Hi sf

Would you mind telling us a brief account ?

Sure. short version. bad car crash. i was thrown from the vehicle at a high rate of speed in a roll over. multiple fractures, head injury, blood loss.
in the ER, i left my body, floated to the ceiling and watched the ER folks work on me. to oddest thing was i felt as if my body was wrapped in cold wet wool.
i can't tell you how long it lasted, but my impression was that it was quite a while.
i was told later that my blood pressure and heart rate had dropped significantly for a brief period of time.
i remember remaining "out of my body" as i was wheeled to X-Ray.
next thing i remember was waking up in the ICU about week or so later.

no tunnel, no dead relatives calling for me, no god/gods.
Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile!
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Offline Dominic

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #71 on: September 05, 2010, 06:22:29 PM »
I had a NDE a while back after a horrific car crash.
at the time it was just another interesting experience.
today, it was just another interesting experience.
 :shrug

Hi sf

Would you mind telling us a brief account ?

Sure. short version. bad car crash. i was thrown from the vehicle at a high rate of speed in a roll over. multiple fractures, head injury, blood loss.
in the ER, i left my body, floated to the ceiling and watched the ER folks work on me. to oddest thing was i felt as if my body was wrapped in cold wet wool.
i can't tell you how long it lasted, but my impression was that it was quite a while.
i was told later that my blood pressure and heart rate had dropped significantly for a brief period of time.
i remember remaining "out of my body" as i was wheeled to X-Ray.
next thing i remember was waking up in the ICU about week or so later.

no tunnel, no dead relatives calling for me, no god/gods.


Ok, thanks.


Watching from the ceiling ?


I wonder how atheists generally come to terms with that phenomenon.

« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 06:43:26 PM by Dominic »

Offline OnePerson

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #72 on: September 05, 2010, 06:29:38 PM »
Ok, thanks.


Watching from the ceiling ?


I wonder how atheists generally come to terms with that phenomenon.

It's called "We don't know, lets avoid jumping to conclusions and research it."

Or at least that's what rational people do. 

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #73 on: September 05, 2010, 06:44:29 PM »
Ok, thanks.


Watching from the ceiling ?


I wonder how atheists generally come to terms with that phenomenon.

It's called "We don't know, lets avoid jumping to conclusions and research it."

Or at least that's what rational people do. 

My mom had a NDE as a kid, where she experienced the watching from the ceiling thing. It didn't go any further, but left her with  the feeling that death is not something to be feared. Some sixty-five years later, she is still Catholic, but has always been of a more universalist stripe.
The closest I ever came was when my blood pressure came close to bottoming out after the birth of my third child. I was not far gone enough to be at death's door but do remember a feeling of serenity as I floated toward unconsciousness.  I don't think that means anything at all, but it does make me feel marginally better about the actual transition. I'd always imagined a sort of "rage, rage against the dying of the light" feeling, but I don't really think that's going to be part of it.

Offline Kodanshi

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #74 on: September 05, 2010, 07:26:45 PM »
On the other hand, I’ve had blackouts during periods of drunkenness, and can easily imagine death as that sudden and instant loss of consciousness. Which doesn’t make me feel good at all.

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #75 on: September 05, 2010, 08:10:36 PM »
Kodanshi,

What's the difference, in terms of your life experience, between you being in a deep dreamless sleep and you being temporarily dead?

In a deep dreamless sleep, you're not conscious, you have no sense of yourself; 'you' don't exist. You have turned yourself off. (Though certain sub-systems continue to function of course - but you're not aware of them).

So each night when we go to sleep, we effectively die. When we wake up, we re-create ourselves.

It doesn't hurt to go to sleep; why should it hurt to die?

Offline RaymondKHessel

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #76 on: September 05, 2010, 10:40:55 PM »
I had a NDE a while back after a horrific car crash.
at the time it was just another interesting experience.
today, it was just another interesting experience.
 :shrug

Hi sf

Would you mind telling us a brief account ?

Sure. short version. bad car crash. i was thrown from the vehicle at a high rate of speed in a roll over. multiple fractures, head injury, blood loss.
in the ER, i left my body, floated to the ceiling and watched the ER folks work on me. to oddest thing was i felt as if my body was wrapped in cold wet wool.
i can't tell you how long it lasted, but my impression was that it was quite a while.
i was told later that my blood pressure and heart rate had dropped significantly for a brief period of time.
i remember remaining "out of my body" as i was wheeled to X-Ray.
next thing i remember was waking up in the ICU about week or so later.

no tunnel, no dead relatives calling for me, no god/gods.


Ok, thanks.


Watching from the ceiling ?


I wonder how atheists generally come to terms with that phenomenon.



Well, can't speak for anybody else, but THIS atheist "comes to terms" with it by knowing the definition of the word "hallucination". Do theists believe that your soul actually has ocular cavities? That it can "see"? With what? What the hell would a soul "see" with? You don't have a brain anymore. You don't have eyeballs.

No, I mean, I'm sure it was really his soul escaping. A little see-through (or invisible!) version of superfly was floating around the E.R., with super-magical spirit retinas and corneas and pupils. I wonder if you get perfect 20/20 vision when you discoporate? What if you have cataracts? Do you get ghost cataracts? Maybe X-ray vision?

Or could it be that you're fucking DYING and your brain is pumping out all kinds of crazy chemicals that can make you hallucinate or, perish the thought, dream?

I saw a 300 foot tall tornado made out of fire once. No, but I'm sure it was really there. "It really happened!" is surely the most rational and likely explanation. Couldn't have had anything to do with the bootfull of acid I had eaten.

Take my word for it. Your brain can make you see virtually ANYTHING, all on it's own. Magical space eyeballs not required.

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Offline Fiji

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #77 on: September 06, 2010, 01:52:49 AM »
I don't see how you can investigate NDEs and remain a theist.

Lets assume NDEs are real. So, we're being asked to believe that the perfect omnipotent god has set up a system to 'capture' souls of people who die. But sometimes god goofs up and captures a soul who's body isn't quite dead yet and then he needs to stuff the soul back into the body.

Ok, we can argue about when exactly a body is truely dead and ok, we can and do make mistakes, burying people who wake up.

But this is the omnipotent god we're talking about. An omnipotent god making mistakes???

NDErs regularly report a decision of whether or not to return to their bodies and then a choice to do so - usually after gaining immensely valuable experiences and information.

I have not heard of any mistakes being reported.





Do you realise you're now claiming that every case of an NDE where the NDE-er made a decision is actually a case of the dead coming back to life. Even though the attending physician(s) noticed nothing of the kind.
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Offline pingnak

Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #78 on: September 06, 2010, 02:17:11 AM »
First off, not EVERYONE gets 'NDEs'.  I guess the rest just cease to exist when they die?  Sorry, that was rhetorical; we ALL cease to exist when we die.

Another way I've described NDEs in the past is with a parable.

You plan all year for a European vacation.  You pack your bags, go to the airport, and the flight is cancelled.  You collect your refund, go home, and write a book about all the awesome places in Europe you never went to.

That is what people drawing conclusions from their cherry-picked NDE 'experiences' are doing.

I've had many awesome dream experiences.  Just last night it was legless T-Rexes (not chopped-off legs, bred without) with helicopter rotors in their backs.  We came through a Stargate (yes SG-1 style, and I haven't seen an episode of that in a long time) and got attacked by an army of them over the sand dunes, and other things I don't remember.  There may've been raptors, but it was dusty.  Some 'bad guy' was in charge of them, but that didn't seem really important to the narrative, as if this dream had one.  One of them ate a grenade and blew up, and we got away, but it's unclear how.  We made our way to the 'peace' seminar, but everyone was dressed more like a science fiction geek convention (I never went to any), and some other mayhem-related stuff happened there, which I don't remember, either.  Then the cat pecked at the screen with his claws and I had to get up and shut the windows before it got hot (or the cat destroyed the screen - whichever first), and couldn't get back into the dream to see how it ended.  Bummer.  I need a DVR for my dreams.

For a more conventionally 'NDE'-like dream, I was travelling along an inter-dimensional road visiting places, but none of them were home.  Small towns.  Little filling stations in the middle of nowhere.  Some modern.  Some old-fashioned.  Some places just medieval cottages on a dirt track.  Was I 'dead' and looking for a place for my spirit to rest, or just dreaming?  I'm thinking 'just dreaming'.


Conclusion?

Blood-thirsty dinosaur helicopterexes must be real!  I saw it in a state of altered-consciousness.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 02:19:46 AM by pingnak »

Offline Emergence

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #79 on: September 06, 2010, 02:34:17 AM »
Watching from the ceiling ?

I wonder how atheists generally come to terms with that phenomenon.

Hello Dominic,

I suggest reading following publications. When you've read them (and made an effort to understand their relevance and conclusions) we can talk and i will explain to you how I (personally, not as 'Atheist') "come to terms" with the phenomenon.

Understanding the out-of-body experience from a neuroscientific perspective (Aspell & Blanke; Psychological and Scientific Perspectives on Out-of-Body and Near Death experiences;2009; link to PDF)

First person experience of body transfer in virtual reality (Slater et al.; PLoS One;2010; link to PDF)

Keeping in touch with one’s self: multisensory mechanisms of self-consciousness. (Aspell, Lenggenhager & Blanke; PLoS One;2009; link to PDF)
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Offline MockTurtle

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #80 on: September 06, 2010, 09:22:13 AM »
Even simple artificial neural networks have been shown to have many of the same properties as NDEs when neurons are destroyed.  Why should anyone assume similar results from the brain are anything special?
If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. — Paul Dirac

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #81 on: September 06, 2010, 12:01:00 PM »
Viel glück, Emergence.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #82 on: September 06, 2010, 02:27:39 PM »
NDErs speak and/or write about their experiences using words and concepts from their own culture.  That is exactly what we would expect them to do.

bs.  Christians and other theists insist that they have the one and only true god and afterlife. If there were some "truth" then everyone should have the same experience.

Quote
NDErs regularly report a decision of whether or not to return to their bodies and then a choice to do so - usually after gaining immensely valuable experiences and information.

I have not heard of any mistakes being reported
  I love this too.  why does your god allow some people a "choice" and not all?  Again, this simply reeks of the usual special snowflake nonsense that theists want to claim, that their god does special things for them and only them. 
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 02:30:36 PM by velkyn »
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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #83 on: September 06, 2010, 05:38:51 PM »

I don't see how anybody could study the brain and remain religious.
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Offline snkiesch

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #84 on: September 06, 2010, 06:02:20 PM »
They have done experiments in emergency rooms, visual stimuli were placed where they could only be seen if the person was floating above their body. The results have all been negative.  I think it shows that OBE's are the brain dealing with stress.




http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_augustine/HNDEs.html#experiments
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Offline Tealeaf

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #85 on: September 06, 2010, 10:38:37 PM »

I don't see how anybody could study the brain and remain religious.

The same way anyone looks at science and remains religious: an unstoppable will to deny anything and everything to selfishly hold on to a belief, because it's the easy way out; or a good way to give a purpose to an otherwise pointless life.

NDE's have been shown to be nothing more than chemical reactions in the brain. Where this idiot Dominic goes wrong once again - what with his moronic comparison of theists saying 'god did it' with atheists saying 'chemicals did it' - is that we can SEE AND FUCKING OBSERVE these chemical reactions, their effects, and tamper with them ourselves. Not the case with invisible sky-daddies that behave exactly as if they do not exist.

My highly unorthodox advice to anyone who can't seem to grasp the power of chemicals in the brain is to try some mind-altering drugs. See how much mere milligrams and even micrograms of a substance can vastly alter the way reality is percieved. Couple this with the unconscious, dream-like state of an NDE and the various responses in the brain, and it's pretty obvious how the 'trip' can come about.

There's still that other giant hole in the NDE enthusiests thought process.... The fact that none of them prove anything about their whacko supernatural claims. They also provide no useful information that couldn't have been attainted via normal methods.

My proposition to those trying to make the case for NDE's is simple. I'll even flavour it for Christian nut bars like Dominic. Show me someone who has had absolutley no teaching of Christianity at all - not even suble rhetoric - who has an NDE and then wakes up with knowledge of the religion and it's specifics.

You hear that Dominic? That's what'll take to get me to bite. And before that peanut in your head shorts out again, re-read what I just asked of you people. It DOES NOT mean show me a case where some idot has an NDE, wakes up and all the sudden decides to join a church. This crap happens all the time because of the 'oooo-ahh' nature of nearly dying....and religion is where the non-thinking populace will flip people.

And just for the hell of it, what about babies, toddlers and young children? Where's the grand revelations for them? Oh wait....they don't have much, if any, pre-NDE knowledge.

Offline Gimpy

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Re: Is it possible to study NDEs and remain an atheist ?
« Reply #86 on: September 06, 2010, 10:55:53 PM »
[quote author=blue_spiral link=topic=15565.msg350585#msg350585 date=1283812731
My highly unorthodox advice to anyone who can't seem to grasp the power of chemicals in the brain is to try some mind-altering drugs. See how much mere milligrams and even micrograms of a substance can vastly alter the way reality is percieved.

I have a nephew who is schizophrenic.

His "reality" is a struggle to manage day to day because of his brain's chemical imbalances.

The "voices" he hears are REAL (to him).

The "lights" he sees, as well as other things that he "sees" are REAL (to him).

The "odors" he smells, they are real, too.

Even though none of any of that actually exists anywhere outside of his noggin.

He takes medications to keep the hallucinations in check. The chemicals he takes helps to counteract the natural chemicals that are fucking with his brain.

So, no NDEs do NOTHING for me in terms of presenting any legitimate "case" for theism.

We know that NDEs are chemical reactions in the brains of the people who experience them due to various things affecting the brain (a vast variety of things during a near - death or actual death, sudden revival scenario).

As stated above, I don't see how anyone can study the brain and still remain a theist. But I agree with you as to why many can and do. Core beliefs are hard to shake loose.

Not all those who wander are lost; some are buried in my backyard. . .