Researchers from the University of Southampton say they have evidence that there might be life after death. Per the article:
The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely. It is a controversial subject which has, until recently, been treated with widespread scepticism. But scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria. And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted. One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room. Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines. “We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” said Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University, now at the State University of New York, who led the study. “But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped. “The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for….13 per cent said they had felt separated from their bodies and the same number said their sensed [senses] had been heightened….Most studies look retrospectively, 10 or 20 years ago, but the researchers went out looking for examples and used a really large sample size, so this gives the work a lot of validity….“We just don’t know what is going on. We are still very much in the dark about what happens when you die and hopefully this study will help shine a scientific lens onto that.” The study was published in the journal Resuscitation. Dr Jerry Nolan, Editor-in-Chief at Resuscitation said: “Dr Parnia and his colleagues are to be congratulated on the completion of a fascinating study that will open the door to more extensive research into what happens when we die.”
“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,”
How do we know this? Why would brain activity stop, the instant that the blood stops flowing? Consciousness doesn't flow through the blood vessels, and I don't see why the brain couldn't keep doing stuff for a little while after the cells stop receiving nutrients. If the brain didn't remain alive for a while after the heart stopped, it would be impossible to bring someone back after a cardiac arrest.
This seems very fishy. The problem begins when they mark death at the point of cardiac arrest, which seems like a very bad standard, and it just gets worse after that.
... more to the point, after reading the whole article, the quotes in the second half of the article don't support the sensationalist opening paragraphs. Okay, so a small number of people remain conscious longer than average. Why would that surprise us? Most things, when measured within a large sample set, will show a bell curve.
What I'm seeing in the article is questions, not what I would call even as much as a hint.
The researchers are not claiming that the study proves there is life after death. Rather, their position is that science does not yet know whether there is life after death. Per the article:
“We just don’t know what is going on. We are still very much in the dark about what happens when you die and hopefully this study will help shine a scientific lens onto that.”… Dr Jerry Nolan, Editor-in-Chief at Resuscitation said: “Dr Parnia and his colleagues are to be congratulated on the completion of a fascinating study that will open the door to more extensive research into what happens when we die.”
You're right about that John that science doesn't know if there's life after death. I'm not convinced science will find the answer to that question any time soon. But till anyone comes up with evidence that their could be something I think the best choice is to accept the fact that we have one life and that's it.
As for that article, link you included. Forget it as it contains zero objective or scientific stuff.
The examples in that article are pointing to an unconcious state of the mind and what those patients did experience were dreams. The fact they don't remember much or nothing is just dream amnesia.
Till someone comes with some decent evidence I'll go on linking out-of-body experience to waking from a dream in a dream. And in this case decent evidence will be required against me.
If someone claims there is or could be life after death it's up to them to come up with some evidence, something this article fails badly in it.
The examples in that article are pointing to an unconcious state of the mind and what those patients did experience were dreams.
Not even that, really. The quotes from the researchers don't even vaguely imply that they think some sort of afterlife event is happening, just extended consciousness beyond the point that they previously thought was possible. The author of the article is adding shit to the study, without even being able to find an applicable quote.
It's almost like an apologist trying to find Bible quotes that indicate that Yahweh was telling us about quantum mechanics.
Blame it to my poor English for not being able to be a bit more clear with what I mean.
I wasn't pointing to what the author meant, his/her interpretation, but what was actually going on. Especially the example of the out-of-body (hate that terminology for this kind of dream event) of that social worker.
I don't think an extended consciousness is even possible with consciousness shutting down somewhere between 20 to 40s. What would be interresting to know is what kind of brain activity happens during those clinical deaths and compare those results with sleep and dreams states.
This might be where the study breaks down. There certainly should have been a monitoring of brain activity while the patient was supposed to be having an after death experience. However, the doctors trying to save the patient's life surely would have objected to such interference with their emergency treatments not to mention the patient's family. It seems there are ethical problems with studies like this one.
The author of the article is claiming something close to that, though. I'm not impressed with her journalistic integrity.
And as I've said plenty of times before: without falsification, the scientific method tells us to reject claims out of hand. Otherwise, you end up with the kind of confirmation bias and distortion displayed by the author of the article. If you can't tell me what will demonstrate that a claim is false, I can't ever accept it as true, even tentatively.
In studies of this type I suggest that each researcher should declare whether he or she is or is not religious --- and which religion.
I am ill-disposed to announcements of this kind from believers in non-existent gods because of the chances of latent or blatant prejudice.
Your right, the chances of researchers getting involved solely with the aim of verifying their personal convictions has to be high.
The writer of the article is cooking the living hell out of it, too. As I pointed out further up, the title of the article and the lead-in are completely unjustified by the quotes in the latter half of the article. I think we have a religiously-motivated science-correspondent, here.
Hopefully, this will open the door to more studies on the matter. Nobody should feel threatened by truly objective scientific studies on the matter. If this one is invalid future truly objective ones are likely to reveal it. On the other hand if future truly objective ones lend credibility to this one or even indicate to a high probability that there is life after death they will still not point to the existence of a god. They will only mean that life may be sustainable from forces and particles in the physical universe that are external to animal bodies. There would be nothing supernatural about this. We as Atheists should be prepared to take such a stand if necessary rather than fly in the face of scientific findings as theists do