Once again, we see an exaggerated headline and all the eggs metaphorically in one basket.
No, this study is not evidence for life after death.
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 person experienced an out-of-body event. Widespread skepticism is WARRANTED, not a bad thing. And, I dare say that one study that has some problems is NOT going to end that skepticism.
Dr. Sam Parnia, who headed this study, is an expert in these brain behavior after death studies. He suggests that medical knowledge is mistaken in this area, that the brain may “live” on hours after “death”. (Doctor says your consciousness lives on for at least a while after “death”) Interesting stuff but NOT paranormal. At all.
The headline, once again, is totally misleading. The study does not say anything about “life after death” but notes brain activity that takes place after normal “death” as we have defined it. Perhaps this study redefines the threshold of “death”. But to say it is evidence for life after death is in error.
Certain anti-skeptics online are being smug. (Way to misunderstand, Hancock…)
Some parapsychologists are not so impressed.
I contacted Dr. Caroline Watt,Senior Researcher at the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh.
She told me that the objective verifiable test of awareness was hidden images on shelves. 140 cardiac arrest survivors were tested. Only one gave an account of awareness.
The one ‘verifiable period of conscious awareness’ that Parnia was able to report did not relate to this objective test. Rather, it was a patient giving a supposedly accurate report of events during his resuscitation.
He didn’t identify the pictures, he described the defibrillator machine noise. But that’s not very impressive since many people know what goes on in an emergency room setting from seeing recreations on television. Dr. Watt calls this a “non-convincing account from a single patient”.