Great question Tate. I've answered this one quite a few times before and there are no responses so far that have addressed the facts I've listed -- all just jump back to 'well, it could be ______'. Well, I'm not speculating or fantasizing, so if you respond I expect that you to not speculate or make wild guesses either. Facts only. Does that work for you?
Here's what we know (corrections on known facts or additional facts are appreciated);Please let me know if you see any gaps
(I know of a couple plus the text needs to be polished a bit);
Claim: Based on what we know, not what we guess or speculate, the afterlife is a fabrication; there is no such place.
Why? Think about what we know. Think about what we do not need to speculate about -- on both life and death.
1. Death is not a clear line; on one side alive, on the other completely dead.
Death happens in stages as individual cells no longer retain integrity for a variety of reasons, often because of oxygen starvation from organ failure or trauma that prevents the blood from circulating. Parts of us are dying and new cells are being made all the time.
2. Organ transplants. Even when 'we' cease to be, parts of us are still coherent, allowing organ transplants. There is even a method of blood extraction from corpses that is used occasionally.
3. All of our thoughts while we are alive are contained in a structure of neurons. This can be seen in a variety of well documented cases from Phineas Gage
through to the impacts of severing the corpus colosum and the impacts of traumas such as strokes and alzheimers as well as the structures found that map nerves to a variety of tasks and thoughts.
4. When people start to die, the brain is frequently one of the last organs to be starved of oxygen.
5. The 'tunnel of light' is caused by the visual cortex loosing oxygen and the remaining parts of the brain attempting to deal with that. The same 'tunnel' can be simulated. Pilots experience this when they use a centrifuge under high G forces for training or to test new gear. Both these are documented and can be duplicated with the proper equipment and/or circumstances.
6. People who live after being through this oxygen starvation tell stories based on their brain's attempt to deal with the stress. They talk about 'flash backs', they talk about 'stepping outside' of themselves and seeing themselves. The same thing the pilots in the centrifuges report.
7. The more time the brain or any organ is starved, the more damage.
8. People don't act any differently from more damage (that brings them closer to complete death and thus an 'afterlife') then other victims of brain damage.
9. When cell death is complete, there is nothing to store 'them'.
Speculation is usually asserted that if there were an after life, the dead person's essence would simply go there. Yet, people report coming back from different after lives that match what the test pilots experience.
Let's speculate even more. Let's say that there is a qualitative difference between the test pilots and those who say they died. There probably is some difference, so for this leg of the conversation I'm leaving what that qualitative difference is wide open.
Here's the question; Where would the person's essence go to in the after life, and where would they go to when they 'return'?