The thing is: They don’t really need to experience those things during the period of brain inactivity. What if they are experiencing those things in a few seconds before the shutdown or after the brain starts regaining its activity but they look to last much longer due to an illusion of extended time?
I’m not really much into Feser, but I do like the arguments of Dean Zimmerman:
But I’ve never watched this video, so I will check it out
This would fall into the area in the brain which is active at those kinds of vision/hallucinations, which is on the surface and thus measurable, but obviously shut down (I can search a graphic for you later, but now its really late here). And it doesn´t fit the pretty common event of the patient being able to describe the actions of doctors and nurse while having the feeling to watch from above, which obviously is extended over a longer period of time. But again the point you´re asking does account for the cases which could be explained away if the neurons in the deep are still active. My interest would rather focus on the other if I would want to make a real argument.
I´ll check this and I can understand that Feser is not something for everyone especially since he wants to adress really everytghing and the possible answers if he gives a lecture, which makes it hardto follow him sometimes. His blog post are also almost always the length of a long book chapter. But he´s my favourite philosopher for sure and I really enjoy his beginners guide to Thomas Aquina and ordered his Five proofs for God
Forget near death experiences (though it seemed Paul and other apostles had those on a disturbingly regular basis), the early church had actual death experiences. (Dorcas, Eutychus, the guy who fell asleep in the window because Paul’s sermon got long and boring.) I wonder what those people said. Evidently it wasn’t deemed interesting or relevant enough to make it into the canon for posterity.
I wonder if listening to one of those would count as a NDE?
Do worry about being rude. Most doubters reject any evidence of the afterlife or the soul and then create ill-conceived experiments to “prove” or disprove the such evidence which I have presented. In the example you describe, you make three assumptions about the soul: 1) the soul is willing to participate in your test and will tell the truth, 2) that the soul can communicate everything it experiences with the consciousness to the scientist (Do you remember every detail of your dreams?), and 3) that every soul goes to the same physical location where you placed your symbols.
You have to have an understanding of the physics of the ethereal world and realize you are dealing with sentient beings that can only communicate to you through their conscienceless. Forensic techniques are better suited for these investigations. This is what I have done with hundreds of studies I have investigated and only summarized above.
I have given you five solid areas to investigate and a possible sixth. As an engineer and a scientist, when I see five separate methods pointing to the same answer, I start listening.
Is evidence for the afterlife really necessary?
Read Jesus’ tale of Dives the rich man and Lazarus the beggar, found in Luke 16:19-31. I’m picking up the story after both men die. Dives is in a place of torment, and begs Abraham to send somebody back from the dead to warn his 5 living brothers to repent, so they don’t end up in the same place. Abraham refuses, saying that “if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
I see a fundamental contradiction in examining the idea of existence outside the space-time mathematical framework of the physical universe and then expecting some kind of evidence for this within the space-time mathematical framework. How can such ever be evidence for anything but an existence within the space-time mathematical framework? All I would ever expect NDEs (clearly within this space-time mathematical framework) to be evidence for is events within this space-time mathematical framework (i.e. events within the brain).
In some sense then… “persistence” is the wrong word, as if everything is taking place within an overall absolute measure of time. Thus I would suggest the proper way of framing this question is whether there is an existence outside this space-time framework which can then have its own separate experience and measure of time quite apart from that framework, but which still experiences some continuity with the events experienced within the physical framework. The point being that cannot expect NDEs to have any real relevance to this.
In my list of possible proofs of an afterlife, NDE does not come into my top six. They may have the most occurrences, but there is no consistency in the subject and not performed in a controlled environment. The people who experience NDE are under so much stress, they have no frame of reference (since it is their only experience) and they bring back no forensic evidence of any value.
Robert Monroe showed in his studies with OBE that it take many experiences to just learn the proper vocabulary to explain what is happening, besides being able to retain the knowledge that one gains in spirit, out of the body. For me, the only thing NDE does for science is to beg for further analysis.
I guess I don’t see how studying reports of what sentient beings have to say about their experience with consciousness gives you any kind of roadmap for “the physics of the ethereal world”. However I do think it is the best we can do for learning the lay of the land of consciousness.
Mark, What I have learned by reading many of these reports from many sources during my life is that the Heisenberg principle is observed. That is, the audience plays a key role in any communication, guided by the basic principle - “Do not throw pearls to the pigs.” This is the main reason why simple scientific experiments do not work.
Your approach makes sense to me. But I think it tells you about consciousness as such, not about the ‘physics’ of the ethereal,
I rather appreciate the question you pose, although we may hold to some form of it for very different reasons…
I recently had this discussion (again) with someone who referred me to a YouTube posting and noted that they had a close relative who had an NDE and it was similar to this YouTube account.
I cannot say what sort of experience someone did or did not have – although there have, in recent years, been some famous/infamous recantations of previous claims.
I can, however, read these accounts – or watch them on YouTube – and say “hmmm…” and then go on my way. If someone has information that adds to/ expands upon/elaborates — or just plain contradicts – what is in the biblical text, then I just say “interesting” and switch to another YouTube video or return the book to the bookstore shelf (or decide not to buy it online).
Just as modern physicians, archaeologists, astronomers --or professional athletes or professional chefs (plus others) have criteria for what is verifiable or lives up to professional standards or meets FDA or ADA requirements — so also a Christian has the biblical text by which to gauge what can or cannot be known or justifiably said about the afterlife (plus many other things).
So – no. I do not think that citing an NDE as “proof” is proof of anything beyond maybe our innate curiosity about these issues. We only know what the biblical text offers us…anything more is just ------umm, dare I say it? Velveeta and not real cheese.
Velvetta gets a bad rap, but it is comfort food. In any case,here is a quote from Princess Bride:
Miracle Max: See, there’s a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead. Now, mostly dead: he’s slightly alive. All dead, well, with all dead, there’s usually only one thing that you can do.
Inigo: What’s that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
From my position as a doctor, that is actually a pretty accurate representation of death. Interestingly, some cells remain alive for quite a while after clinical death, so it is not a clear boundary, but obviously resuscitated people were never really dead. I am of the opinion that their experiences are due to hypoxia or drug induced hallucinations, perhaps expounded on to sell books. Call me a cynic.
Isn’t that why we can do organ transplants? The brain may be dead but some other organ can still be harvested?
Most major organs are transplanted while still on life support after brain death confirmed, though some things like corneas are good for 24 hours after loss of circulation. According to the internet, sperm may be viable up to 36 hours and white blood cells up to 70 hours. Neurons go quickly, however.
I agree. This was an interesting BBC article on this here.
Thanks for the info, Phi…and yes, I also loved Velveeta as a child and might still if it so happened that I wanted to buy it and not – oh so occasionally — sharp cheddar cheese. Is Velveeta as bad for the arteries as cheese? If so, my childhood fondness for Velveeta explains a lot.
As for your cynical side – doctor or not, it is hard not to come to same conclusion as your analysis of NDEs and books about angels with moulting wings. I will have to google hypoxia – but it probably means lack of oxygen or similar…
Enjoyed the quote from Princess Bride…
Randy…we agree with Phil on this issue. I did read this article from BBC News that you referenced. The second to the last paragraph indicates that, during certain states, some people have described experiences and/or observations and events that they could not have experienced by observation since their brains have “flatlined:” at that point. Do you read that the same way??