Skeptical Argument: The Only Real Proof is Out-of-Body Veridical Perception

SKEPTIC'S QUESTION:  "Something amazing happens during a near-death experience. There are still profound questions, like, why doesn't everyone who comes close to death have an NDE? And, is the NDE the brain's final fantasy? Autoscopy (being out of body, looking down) is the SOLE trait of the NDE amenable to empirical validation. But even here, we must be careful. I must categorically reject out of hand anything that an experiencer says describing his environment, what people have said, what they were wearing, and so on. This isn't enough! What I personally insist on is an accounting of what's happening elsewhere, in a physical place far removed from the physical body of the experiencer. After all, one cannot rule out that sensory pathways are still active in the brain of the experiencer, accounting for their ability to hear and see and smell some things from their immediate physical environment. The only truly compelling proof of being out of body comes from very remote viewing."

DR. KENNETH RING:  "These are cogent objections, but there are in the literature on both remote viewing and NDEs many cases of the sort ... where people appear to know things at a distance. (That is, demonstrate clairvoyance). I also consider some of these same objections in my book, Lessons From The Light, and Sabom treats them as well in the book of his I previously mentioned. As for why some people have NDEs whereas others don't, I explored this question in depth in my book, The Omega Project (Quill, 1993)." (Kenneth Ring)

DR. JEFFERY LONG:  "A number of experiencers describe out-of-body experiences (OBEs). These experiences frequently include visualization of their body from a vantage point outside their body. Much less commonly reported are visualizations of earthly events geographically far removed from their body. Michael Sabom, M.D, conducted an excellent study of OBE among experiencers. Dr. Sabom identified a group of thirty-two patients who had a cardiac arrest, experienced an NDE, and visualized their own resuscitation efforts during the OBE stage of their NDE. 

"He found a group of twenty-three patients who had a cardiac arrest and did not have an NDE. Both groups were asked to describe their resuscitation. The NDE group was uniformly accurate, including correctly recalling readings on medical machines outside their potential line of vision. Twenty of the twenty-three patients who did not have an NDE were highly inaccurate in describing their resuscitation. This is verifiable and potentially reproducible validation of the OBE component of the NDE. Other researchers should attempt to replicate this important study. Anecdotal accounts continue to surface of experiencers with OBE experiences involving visualization far geographically removed from their body. Formal study of these accounts would be an important future area of research. For more information about an example of a verifiable OBE observation during an NDE, click on the link provided." (Jeffery Long)

DR. ROBERT JORDAN:  "The fact that some people who come close to physical death recall NDEs and others don't could have several explanations that are either physical or nonphysical. Perhaps they are amnesic of the experience. Perhaps the physical process of the brain ceasing to function occurs too quickly or in the wrong sequence for a memory of the experience to be retained." (Robert Jordan)

DR. P.M.H. ATWATER:  "As long as you discount verifiable evidence that could not have been accessed through the regular senses and was indeed obtained remotely, you bias your own demands and outcomes. However, if you want to explore scientific proof of remote viewing, I suggest you contact Joe McMoneagle through his website. Joe just returned from Japan where, live and on television, he successfully demonstrated the validity of scientific remote viewing. Joe, by the way, is an experiencer." (P.M.H. Atwater)

KEVIN WILLIAMS, B.SC.:  "I know of one event that came very close to providing scientific proof of autoscopy. The only reason it did not qualify as scientific proof is because the proper controls weren't used at the time it occurred. Dr. Charles Tart was experimenting with a subject who would have spontaneous out-of-body experiences. A remote five-digit number was placed out of view of the subject. She had an out-of-body experience and successfully read the five-digit number. The subject was then able to return to her body and successfully tell Dr. Tart what the number is. This provides strong circumstantial evidence that consciousness can transcend the physical body.

"Dr. Stanislav Grof, another consciousness researcher, theorizes that consciousness may not even be localized in the brain as so many scientists assume. He theorizes the brain may be merely acting as a reducing valve for which our five senses can process the vast amount of information that bombard our senses and influences our consciousness. 

"It may be asking too much of researchers to gather data that proves, beyond any doubt, that consciousness survives death. Science may never develop the tools necessary to quantify many aspects of the NDE. However, there is currently available a mountain of circumstantial evidence suggesting that consciousness does indeed survive death." (Kevin Williams)


"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." - Albert Einstein

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