Aren't Near-Death Experiences Scientifically Falsifiable?

Veridical near-death experience cartoon. By Kevin Williams

SKEPTIC'S QUESTION:  "One of the characteristics of a near-death experience is being out of body. This, mercifully, is scientifically falsifiable. Whether or not someone is out of their body can be experimentally determined. There are no ifs about it. It's either a fact, or it's not. Studies may already be underway to try to falsify it - I don't yet know. But if not, rest assured that they will be."

 

DR. KENNETH RING:  "Much the same answer could be given here, but from the NDE literature, the work of Michael Sabom in Recollections of Death (Harper and Row, 1982) is especially relevant. Also my work on NDEs in the blind, as reported in my book, Mindsight (William James Center for Consciousness Studies, 1999), and summarized in Lessons From the Light (Chapter 3) could be cited in this connection. (Kenneth Ring)

 

DR. ROBERT JORDAN:  "If I am understanding [the question] correctly, I disagree ... that the phenomena of Soul awareness occurring in reality outside of the body is falsifiable. I don't believe that it is falsifiable if the phenomena is nonphysical. This possibility would throw the whole issue back into the arena of theology and individuals' personal beliefs." (Robert Jordan)

 

DR. P.M.H. ATWATER:  "Again, you must consider the emotional field of the experiencer, rather than the mental one, if you want verifiable evidence." (P.M.H. Atwater)

 

DR. SUSAN BLACKMORE (NDE Skeptic):  "There have been numerous tests of whether anything actually leaves the body in an OBE. I document them up to 1982 in my book Beyond the Body and also in Dying to Live. Sadly this is not such an easy matter as your questioner seems to imply. There are many methodological difficulties in designing such experiments. In the end my own conclusion is that experiments have provided no evidence at all that something leaves the body. However, anecdotes continue to appear suggesting it does. None of these, so far, seems convincing to me. I think we will ultimately understand how out-of-body experiences come about by understanding how our brain perceives the world in other states of consciousness too - in other words by understanding ordinary consciousness better." (Susan Blackmore)

 

"A miracle is not the breaking of physical laws, but rather represents laws which are incomprehensible to us." Guirdjieff

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