Do Near Death Experiences prove we will survive death?
Is Human Consciousness Spiritual or Biological?
What is Consciousness?
The amount of material written about consciousness is huge, and would have one believe we understood the subject well, however, here are some real world facts that need to be considered:
...Consciousness has never been observed.
...Neither has it been weighed or measured.
...The source of consciousness is unknown.
...It's location, within or without the body, has never been discovered.
...No one has determined what consciousness consists of, or contains.
...And, there's not one single bit of scientific proof that consciousness is biological.
Therefor, it appears, all the material written about consciousness is subjective.
Roger Penrose, eminent physicist and winner of the prestigious Wolf Prize, in his book The Emperor's New Mind, states: "we don't have a good definition of consciousness because we don't know what it is."
True, we don't know what it is, only that it exists. Consciousness remains undefined.
Where is Consciousness Not?
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, was urged by his family to seek psychiatric evaluation. His insistence the human voice could be sent great distances through a wire caused them concern over his mental health.
If Bell's family had seen a modern television receiver in operation they would have really been surprised. This form of transmitting and receiving data without wires was yet to be discovered.
Alexander Graham Bell, and his family would have believed the television receiver was the source of the images and sounds it presented. That the images/sounds were stored somewhere within, and different groups shown when the position of the "channel knob" was adjusted. Bell might even have removed the cover to look for them, trying to discover how the thing worked. But, no matter how hard or long he examined the television receiver he would not have found the images and sounds it presented stored within.
Science has a similar problem with the human brain. Your body is a "tool of communication" for your consciousness (the real you) to use while exploring the physical realm. No matter how hard or long scientists look in the brain for things like consciousness, memory, mind, personality, dreams, NDEs, OBEs, etc. they will not be found. The brain is not the source of these events. There is no proof that the Near Death Experience, or any other event for that matter, originates within the brain. Nothing has been found stored there. Stimulating the brain at different points to produce different events doesn't prove any of those events are stored within the brain. Just as adjusting (stimulating) the "channel knob" on a TV doesn't prove the images/sounds produced are stored within the TV.
Albert Einstein was one of the most intelligent and prolific contributors to the field of science in the twentieth-century. His brain was donated to science for studies of how he acquired such great intelligence. But researchers found that Einstein's brain was smaller than most, and contained nothing unusual. It did, however, contain a larger number of synapses, the minute space between one nerve cell and another nerve cell, through which nerve impulses are transmitted from one to the other. He had more "connections" than the average person, more "channels" for his consciousness to use. The more you use your brain, the more synapses develop.
Scientists are looking for a biologically-based trigger to explain the NDE and other consciousness events. They often say; "We know it is there, we just haven't found it yet." The truth is, they don't know it's there. Obviously, in order to know it's there, it would need to be found. So, without any biological evidence whatsoever, some scientists continue to publicly declare NDEs biological. This behaviour is unfair to Near Death Experiencers, characterizing them as witless, while passing misinformation about NDEs to the general public.
The search for a biological basis of consciousness has been going on for more than a hundred years without any results. I wonder how many more years will pass before science realizes the brain is not the source of consciousness. The brain did not create humanity.
So, if you've had a Near Death Experience and someone tells you it's just a local brain thing, be sure to ask them for proof. There is no evidence NDEs originate in the brain. Then explain to them there is considerable proof the NDE doesn't originate in the brain. That it happens independent of brain and body during clinical death.
Where is Consciousness, the Proof?
At the Barrow Institute for Neurological Research in Phoenix, Arizona a daring surgeon was performing a new procedure. The patient's (Pam Reynolds) body temperature was lowered to 60 degrees and the heart stopped so surgery could be done on a brain aneurism.
During the surgery the patient had an Out-of-Body Experience that surprised and changed her perspective of life. She left her body, looked down upon it, and observed the instruments being used in the operation. When she was revived she described the instruments used and the surgery in detail. The surgeon was amazed, but believed her due to the accurate account she gave. She was certain the experience was real and spiritual. She had the experience independent of her clinically dead body. Her brain showed no activity on the EEG.
The paragraph below is a quote of the same event from an anonymous writer in the NDE newsgroup. It has more detail than mine, so I thought it would interest readers.
"Such is the case of Pam Reynolds who is quite well known in the NDE community. She was having surgery performed to remove an aneurism from her brain. Her body was cooled to below 60 degrees F. and all of the blood was drained from her brain. Her EEG and brain stem response showed no activity, the definition of brain death in many states. During all of this, she reported rising from her body and seeing the operation performed below her. She also reported contact with "The Light" and many of her deceased relatives. Remember, she had no brain activity whatsoever. Even hallucinations register brain activity. It is interesting that upon recovering she recounted accurately many details of her operation, including conversations heard and a description of the surgical instruments. It has been postulated by a NDE skeptic, that Pam overheard the sounds in the room and generated a "mental map" of things around her. What the skeptic failed to acknowledge though is that instruments were inserted into Pam's ears that generated clicks to measure brain stem response. Her brain stem response throughout the surgery was inactive. If conversations were heard, her brain stem response should have registered them."
Pam Reynolds said: "I remember seeing several things in the operating room when I was looking down. It was the most aware that I think that I have ever been in my entire life ... I was metaphorically sitting on [the doctor's] shoulder. It was not like normal vision. It was brighter and more focused and clearer than normal vision..."
Now, according to Pam, she was present, above her body, viewing the whole surgical operation, her consciousness, memory, personality; her whole individuality intact. She proved this with an accurate, detailed description of the instruments, conversation, and procedures used during the surgery. At the same time science, using scientific monitoring instruments, was proving that her body was dead. No brain response, no heart response, no response of any kind. The blood had been drained from her body, and the operation lasted for approximately two hours. Obviously, not the brain nor any other organ of the body was needed to sustain her life.
The Pam Reynolds account was described here because of its extensive documentation. It is by no means the only NDE account proving the survival of consciousness. There are dozens of other well documented experiences and hundreds more without documentation. You can find some more of them on the permanent posting board of this site.
Acknowledge the proof,
or present biological evidence to the contrary.
I believe this is as conclusive as proof gets. Clear, solid proof that man is a spiritual "being" inhabiting a physical body. I hope that in the future, scientists and others concerned with NDEs will consider this preponderance of evidence before telling the general public or experiencers that NDEs are just biological events. In that manner humankind can benefit from this "knowledge of self" and get on with learning to grow spiritually.
Skeptics will need to show proof of two things. First, they need to prove there is tangible, biological evidence of consciousness, memory, NDEs, etc. existing within the physical brain, and that this evidence can be collaborated by their peers. Second, they need to prove how this biological consciousness can remain alive and capable of gathering information of the body's surroundings while the body is in a state of clinical death, showing no brain or heart or respiratory response of any kind, in order to promote their theory that humankind is wholly biological with no future beyond death.
Now, in the name of truth, let the skeptics present their biological proof, or, until they do, cease and desist calling Near Death Experiences some sort of biological misfire. I personally don't ever expect this proof to be forthcoming. Ironically, scientific advances in the field of medicine have proven the theories of evolution (random man) false. It is science that's proven man will live beyond physical death. Science that's validated the spiritual nature of mankind.
Eternally, all people hold within themselves the perfect light of their Creator. Skeptics, believers, and experiencers alike share the common bond of their Creator's Unconditional Love. There are no cracks to slip through, no way to become lost, the program is perfect, just us individual souls struggling to affirm our identity, to extend the love we feel within while trying to balance the contradictions of physical dualism. These Near Death Experiences remind us that we are safe, secure, and eternal. We are One.
"The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing."-- Socrates
The links below are important ones in the search for truth.
Please take time to investigate them all,
it will be well worth your time and effort.
collaborating experience. collaborating research. Pam Reynolds NDE Story.
controlled scientific study. controlled scientific study. scientific brain studies.
Pim van Lommel rebuttal. psi controlled studies.