A neurosurgeon recounts his experience with a coma and a Near Death Experience.
There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.
I’m not the first person to have discovered evidence that consciousness exists beyond the body. Brief, wonderful glimpses of this realm are as old as human history. But as far as I know, no one before me has ever traveled to this dimension (a) while their cortex was completely shut down, and (b) while their body was under minute medical observation, as mine was for the full seven days of my coma.
All the chief arguments against near-death experiences suggest that these experiences are the results of minimal, transient, or partial malfunctioning of the cortex. My near-death experience, however, took place not while my cortex was malfunctioning, but while it was simply off. This is clear from the severity and duration of my meningitis, and from the global cortical involvement documented by CT scans and neurological examinations. According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent.
The doctor has a book coming out on this. It has a religious ending. This type of story will appeal to the non-scientist who will use it to bolster their belief in the afterlife. But, scientifically, it is not persuasive as proof of an afterlife, no matter if a scientist tells the story or not. This is an interesting anecdote that happened to one person but it lacks a contact to what we already know. Until we can relate it to explainable functions, it won’t be persuasive. People will accuse skeptics as being closed minded and of missing out on the “more” in life but this doctor is proposing a SUPERNATURAL entity. In science, that just does not work. And if we accepted all the supernatural explanations ever proposed instead of seeking natural ones, we’d still be in the dark ages. So, it’s a good plan to look a bit more deeper into these experiences than to just accept a supernatural cause.