Monday, April 1, 2013

Philosophy Wire: Near Death Experiences are Real (not just... real!)

koraka1.limghandlerPhilosophy Wire by Spiros Kakos [2013-04-01]:

University of Liège researchers have demonstrated that the physiological mechanisms triggered during NDE are not at all similar to the mechanisms related to the perception of imagined events, but are more than similar to mechanisms related to the perception of real events which have taken place in their lives! These surprising results - obtained using an original method which now requires further investigation - are published in PLOS ONE. [source: Science News]

Seeing a bright light, going through a tunnel, having the feeling of ending up in another 'reality' or leaving one's own body are very well known features of the complex phenomena known as 'Near-Death Experiences' (NDE), which people who are close to death can experience in particular. Working together, researchers at the Coma Science Group (Directed by Steven Laureys) and the University of Liège's Cognitive Psychology Research (Professor Serge Brédart and Hedwige Dehon), have looked into the memories of NDE with the hypothesis that if the memories of NDE were pure products of the imagination, their phenomenological characteristics (e.g. sensorial, self referential, emotional, et cetera details) should be closer to those of imagined memories. Conversely, if the NDE are experienced in a way similar to that of reality, their characteristics would be closer to the memories of real events.

The researchers compared the responses provided by three groups of patients, each of which had survived (in a different manner) a coma, and a group of healthy volunteers. They studied the memories of NDE and the memories of real events and imagined events with the help of a questionnaire which evaluated the phenomenological characteristics of the memories.

The results were surprising: From the perspective being studied, not only were the NDEs not similar to the memories of imagined events, but the phenomenological characteristics inherent to the memories of real events (e.g. memories of sensorial details) are EVEN MORE numerous in the memories of NDE than in the memories of real events!

Well. Do I really have to comment this one?

Materialism and the mechanistic dogmatism of some scientists have for a long time hindered the efforts to understand human consciousness and life in general. Let's just hope such results function as a wake up call for Science...

PS. No, it is not an April’s Fools joke. The article was published on 27/03/2013.

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