2 years ago
Which side makes a better case?
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  • 2 years ago

    Just a few things I didn't have the time to mention, I believe in the veracity of NDE's, that they do take place, but I also believe that people can be deceived while they're having one by malevolent forces. Likewise I also believe in the paranormal, or what's commonly studied in paranormal world but again I still believe it's a deception from what the Bible calls "familiar spirits" that are in fact demonic. Thirdly I'd like to thank you Michael Sumner, blessings to you and I hope my hand waving at the end wasn't misinterpreted as being anything other than me trying to say goodbye, take care and maybe we can discuss more things in the future. Blessings

    • 2 years ago

      I didn't find the Pro case especially persuasive, but Con's heart pretty clearly wasn't in this one and he didn't put up much of a spirited defense. (I know @bookman can because he did a spirited job of his claims in our debate just now!)

      I try to judge debates not so much on whether I came out agreeing with the claim but who made the more cogent and compelling arguments for their case. This was too one-sided to go with Con. Pro was more prepared and did more work to make his claim than Con did to tear it down.

      BTW: On this issue, I'd point people to the AWARE study which not only recorded peoples out of body experiences but made a very concerted scientific effort to create controlled conditions where they could be proven to have shown knowledge about the environment that was strictly impossible to know without being disembodied.

      The result... absolutely no one was able to describe the targets that were placed in the rooms and thus there was no conclusive proof that ruled out other explanations for these experiences.

      Thus, these could largely be hallucinations, fabricated memories, or memories formed before brain death or after resuscitation.

      One of the strongest arguments against the authenticity of such visions is that they are nearly always culturally specific. People see the religious iconography and symbolism they are most familiar with. This suggests strongly that these experiences are largely self-generated as the result of extreme stress and the unusual circumstances of surgery.

      We have learned a lot about the way memory works in recent studies. It is not a fixed thing. Every time we remember something we change those memories. Sometimes dramatically, sometimes subtly. As a result, it is quite possible to make people remember things that never happened through subtle suggestions, especially in times of stress or high emotion. We also know that memories are not "time stamped" and thus the exact moment a memory is formed is not something we can say reliably. So it is quite possible for these memories to form before or after brain death or near brain death.

      None of this means after death experiences are impossible, but they all point to very valid possibilities that man that such experiences are not certain evidence of an afterlife. Indeed the other explanations are more likely due to the cultural inconsistencies of the experiences themselves.

      • 2 years ago

        @sigfried Hey Sigfried, actually the case of veridical perception I cited was actually from the Aware study, that's where I was getting my info from. Also the idea that these experiences are hallucinations, memories (?) or anything other than actual, has been disproven by the doctors who did the Aware study, as for the culturally specific objection that's not as true as people would like to think, while hindus may see who they think is "yamdoot" the death god, the only figures that are identified are "beings of light" and Jesus, so I believe the evidence for them is pretty strong although like I already mentioned I believe that the majority of them are deceptions, a person who's written extensively on the deception involved and veracity of these experiences is Dr. Maurice Rawlings

      • 2 years ago

        @akyriak Where did you get your information about it? This is what I've seen reported...

        "Out of that data pool of 2,060 participants, the study provides evidence for only one single patient who had what Parnia et al describe as “a verifiable period of conscious awareness during which time cerebral function was not expected.”

        You should notice a conspicuous missing claim in those conclusions. It’s a claim that many wish was there, and some of whom are mistakenly insisting is there. Not one participant was able to recount or recall the characters or images on any of the placards."

      • 2 years ago

        Also, a good article on the problems with memory...


      • 2 years ago

        @sigfried I'm not sure how that article relates to NDE's , but here's an excerpt from the source I was using, "it’s very hard to get enough data. Over four years, the study recorded a total of 2,060 cardiac arrests. (There were more than that, but the researchers weren’t able to record them all.) Of those patients, 330 survived, 140 of whom were judged well enough to be interviewed and agreed to participate. Of those 140, 101 made it past a screening interview; the others were unable to continue, “predominantly due to fatigue.” Of those 101, nine remembered experiences that counted as an NDE on the Greyson scale, and two remembered an out-of-body experience. Of those two, one became too ill to interview further. That left just one subject who could recount what he’d seen in detail.

        That one case is tantalizing. The patient, a 57-year-old man, described floating up to a corner of the room, seeing medical staff work on him, and watching himself be defibrillated. According to Parnia’s paper, several of the details he described checked out. What’s more, after triangulating the patient’s description with the workings of the defibrillator, the researchers think he may have seen things that happened for as long as three minutes after his heart stopped" so while the stimulus symbols weren't seen, the only patient that was able to speak about his NDE recorded veridical perception that was verified by doctors. Also if youu're interested in researching these things from a Christian perspective I recommend Dr. Maurice Rawling's books on life after death and NDE's.

      • 2 years ago

        @akyriak But the point of the symbols were that they would be proof that the patient didn't just describe the events from memory or a construction of what they know about the surgery or the room. The targets were things they could not know by any other means, and should have been seen if the person was out of body and floating around the room in spirit form.

        Without it, this one single experience is no more definitive than all the other claims out there of similar experiences. A whole host of plausible explanations that have nothing to do with duality or an afterlife remain viable explanations.

        I respect the AWARE study because it had a very real and earnest scientific process to try and prove a hypothesis. But the truth of the matter is, they failed to prove it with their experiment.

        as to memory....

        The article speaks to the fact that memory is highly unreliable as evidence for a number of reasons. The most important of which is that memories change when you remember them and it is very easy for people to add to memories. Memories are shown not to be like a video tape, where every time you see them they are carbon copies. They are living narratives that can change with each recall. Memories made while a person is going under surgery can be all kinds of scrambled thoughts and impressions that people then later try to make sense of and in making sense of them they construct narratives that are familiar, such as those commonly reported as after death experiences.

        The exact same issues come up with cases like Alien abduction memories or being kidnapped by fairy folk. Or even cases of child abuse. The process of others interviewing you about your experiences can cause you to "remember" events that never actually happened based on social expectations, desires, or norms.

        This provides a very ready and unremarkable explanation for how near death experiences happen. They are personal interpretations of unusual experiences that happen to the brain during life and death situations which are then put into a social context by the person when interviewed or when they reflect upon their experience.

        I was rendered senseless by a concussion once. And while I didn't have near death experiences, I do have memories of events that never happened, or events that happened but occurred very much out of time with my frame of reference. When I was out of it, I had no sense of time. Every minute or so I'd ask what time it was because I could not remember anything from one moment to the next. Yet when that stopped, I had a whole host of disordered memories, some real, some imagined, from that time frame. It was a fascinating expereince that taught me how fragile concionsness is and how many things must opperate correctly for us to have it.

    • 2 years ago

      This was an unwinnable claim IMO, "must" did this one in. I could see a possible win should the pro take the position that others live after you die.