Latest Near-Death Experience Research Hit Job |326|

#61
See, this is what pisses me off. "Supernatural" is used in a pejorative sense: just by using the word, one is attempting to characterise the opposition as being beyond the pale.
Indeed. It is also an excuse to justify lack of effort, that is, this pejorative term means there is no need to even consider such ideas in any serious way. There's a whole lot less work involved that way. And potentially an avoidance of mental anguish too. It's very much a lazy way out in more ways than one.

Whatever is actually the case isn't supernatural: rather, it's natural.
I couldn't agree more.
 
#62
Whatever is actually the case isn't supernatural: rather, it's natural. If the blind can see during NDEs, that's something natural. Physicalists doubt it because they don't have an explanation, but why should lack of an explanation in physicalist terms automatically make something supernatural, i.e. non-existent?.
Lol. Perhaps everyone should start describing such things that are espoused by physicists/cosmologists such as dark matter/energy, or the multiverse in terms of them being 'supernatural' til it becomes part of the common parlance. See how they like it, hehe.
 
#63
See, this is what pisses me off. "Supernatural" is used in a pejorative sense: just by using the word, one is attempting to characterise the opposition as being beyond the pale.
I appreciate why you might feel that way, and I get where you are coming from but I just don't see it presented that way in the book.

Whatever is actually the case isn't supernatural: rather, it's natural. If the blind can see during NDEs, that's something natural. Physicalists doubt it because they don't have an explanation, but why should lack of an explanation in physicalist terms automatically make something supernatural, i.e. non-existent?
I think you can make the case for your definition, but they provide their own definition. They make it clear how they are using the word.

They could instead say that it's not understood how blind people can see during NDEs; but by saying that, they'd tacitly be accepting the phenomenon as real. "Supernatural" equates to "unreal" and therefore spares physicalists the need to explain anything in the first place: it's just a rhetorical ploy.
They don't need to tacitly accept the phenomenon as real - they explicitly do so.

They make a distinction between blindness caused by input issues versus blindness caused by processing blindness, which involves cases where the mechanisms in the brain that process the visual information are impaired. They detail why they believe it is plausible that those with in-put blindness could have visual experiences in NDEs. With regard to process blindness they write:

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#64
Indeed. It is also an excuse to justify lack of effort, that is, this pejorative term means there is no need to even consider such ideas in any serious way. There's a whole lot less work involved that way. And potentially an avoidance of mental anguish too. It's very much a lazy way out in more ways than one.
So they used the word as an excuse to justify lack of effort, but then went ahead and made the effort anyway?
 
#65
Anyhow, if you have access, listen to Blackmore from 36 min 40 sec until 60 min and try to resist the urge to hurl your laptop at the wall.
I laid my iPad down out of reach, but was still sorely tempted! I wish that they'd had someone truly informed to balance what she was dredging up from the past.
 
#66
I haven't read their book but had a look at their "explanation" of NDE'ers meeting deceased relatives. They posit "terror management theory" to do this.
It's here in their book if you Google this phrase

"that appears to provide a more convincing basis for the" which gets these pages (it's my sneaky way of reading things!)

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WwoRDAAAQBAJ&pg=PT52&lpg=PT52&dq="that+appears+to+provide+a+more+convincing+basis+for+the"&source=bl&ots=6XjaVOYXCt&sig=y6GLqlsaqhYrAs0jyz2rT3EIUiw&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q="that appears to provide a more convincing basis for the"&f=false

"Terror management theory offers a plausible physicalist-friendly explanation of this phenomenon"

So people are scared of death and meeting deceased relatives (which Fischer et. al. would say aren't really real) provide comfort - seems to sum up their position. Seems a really dodgy explanation to me! I think Dr. Peter Fenwick has spoken a lot on this aspect. I've heard a few of his interviews and he's never said anything like this as an explanation about relatives. And he's a psychiatrist unlike these guys.

I listened to the whole interview and got the impression the interviewee was pleasant but in a bind not of his own making. To come to the transcendent explanation would have caused an earthquake.
And the fact that John Fischer wouldn't respond to an interview is outrageous. He's just a bloke like all of us and not on an ivory tower. Maybe their book at some point will be judged by history as an exercise in group psychology if anything else? :)

EDIT - actually I think Mitchell-Yellin is part of the problem if they are both gunning for the materialist explanation, perhaps at any cost. Esp. if they're not looking at all the other stuff, reincarnation evidence, medium communications etc., i.e. the bigger picture.
 
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#67
I appreciate why you might feel that way, and I get where you are coming from but I just don't see it presented that way in the book...etc
From the extract you provided, I can't actually tell what they are saying: whether they accept that overcoming processing blindness during an NDE is real or not. It's in the subjunctive mood, you see. I need to see what they go on to say after this. Do they go on to pull a rabbit out of a hat and debunk what has been suggested? If they do, then I rest my case. If they don't, then it's hard to see that they'd be proposing a physicalist explanation for NDE sightedness in the blind; and in that case, I'm with them and we're arguing about nothing.
 
#68
From the extract you provided, I can't actually tell what they are saying: whether they accept that overcoming processing blindness during an NDE is real or not. It's in the subjunctive mood, you see. I need to see what they go on to say after this. Do they go on to pull a rabbit out of a hat and debunk what has been suggested? If they do, then I rest my case. If they don't, then it's hard to see that they'd be proposing a physicalist explanation for NDE sightedness in the blind; and in that case, I'm with them and we're arguing about nothing.
Sure. They go on to say that they are not aware of any process blindness cases, and that they are relatively rare so they place their bets that most cases are input cases.

I wasn't tuned into this issue before and I can't recall offhand if any of the cases I've read would be in the process category. But I haven't gone looking yet. If anyone is aware of one it would be worth discussing.
 
#69
I haven't read their book but had a look at their "explanation" of NDE'ers meeting deceased relatives. They posit "terror management theory" to do this.
It's here in their book if you Google this phrase

"that appears to provide a more convincing basis for the" which gets these pages (it's my sneaky way of reading things!)

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WwoRDAAAQBAJ&pg=PT52&lpg=PT52&dq="that+appears+to+provide+a+more+convincing+basis+for+the"&source=bl&ots=6XjaVOYXCt&sig=y6GLqlsaqhYrAs0jyz2rT3EIUiw&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q="that appears to provide a more convincing basis for the"&f=false

"Terror management theory offers a plausible physicalist-friendly explanation of this phenomenon"

So people are scared of death and meeting deceased relatives (which Fischer et. al. would say aren't really real) provide comfort - seems to sum up their position. Seems a really dodgy explanation to me! I think Dr. Peter Fenwick has spoken a lot on this aspect. I've heard a few of his interviews and he's never said anything like this as an explanation about relatives. And he's a psychiatrist unlike these guys.

I listened to the whole interview and got the impression the interviewee was pleasant but in a bind not of his own making. To come to the transcendent explanation would have caused an earthquake.
And the fact that John Fischer wouldn't respond to an interview is outrageous. He's just a bloke like all of us and not on an ivory tower. Maybe their book at some point will be judged by history as an exercise in group psychology if anything else? :)
Thanks for that. I've spent just a few minutes looking at Terror Management Theory (TMT)... it's obviously clever, and does seem to fit some observations... for example a negative correlation with self-esteem vs feelings of death etc... but it's got problems holding together consistently if you dig into it at a lower level. As we well know, correlation is often muddled up with cause. And observing these correlations still doesn't provide us with any explanations.

In any case, my alarm bells are going off because it seems TMT must assume that some sort of higher cognative learning process is going on (rather than purely associative learning). Something which uses higher concepts like self-esteem to explain behaviour (as the example above). That doesn't wash with me... it never has. It also seems possible to explain all the observations (that the developers of TMT use to support it) by alternative theories.

It's also easy to see that TMT, by it's very nature must be anti-afterlife. It's based on the idea that we invent most of this stuff to cope with the idea of oblivion. In Fishers case, I guess he's using TMT to suggest we also invent NDE ancestors etc to make oblivion more pleasant. Again, it's assuming some sort of higher level processing (ancestors already exist and are pleasant... Lol...),

The idea is somewhat similar to Kai's (when he was on here). I think he thought the NDE was some sort of narrative of the body fighting for life... where as fisher suggests it's a narrative to cope with the idea of oblivion.

I mean if one is allowed to use higher level concepts (without reference to whether they fit deeper detail) one could argue that Fishers explanation of the NDE is just another narrative - and merely his own way of coping with life.

All this is from very little reading, so it may be wrong... when I get more time I'll look at TMT in a bit more detail.

This seems like a good review of the theory from the developers of the theory themselves...

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10478400701369542?journalCode=hpli20

As always sci-hub.cc is your friend if you need free access... doi ref
 
#70
Sure. They go on to say that they are not aware of any process blindness cases, and that they are relatively rare so they place their bets that most cases are input cases.

I wasn't tuned into this issue before and I can't recall offhand if any of the cases I've read would be in the process category. But I haven't gone looking yet. If anyone is aware of one it would be worth discussing.
The well-known case of Vicki Umipeg comes to mind:

Vicki was born blind, her optic nerve having been completely destroyed at birth because of an excess of oxygen she received in the incubator.

Nonetheless, during her NDE:

"I think I was wearing the plain gold band on my right ring finger and my father's wedding ring next to it. But my wedding ring I definitely saw ... That was the one I noticed the most because it's most unusual. It has orange blossoms on the corners of it."

There is something extremely remarkable and provocative about Vicki's recollection of these visual impressions, as a subsequent comment of hers implied.

"This was," she said, "the only time I could ever relate to seeing and to what light was, because I experienced it."

There are other cases, including that of Brad, here. There's also a video of him from about 1:22:


In both cases, the people were blind from birth, with their visual apparatus destroyed. It's not as if they had potentially functional eyes that somehow weren't registering what was there prior to the NDE. I'd be interested to hear how the authors get round these cases, bearing in mind that they're both classic examples of process blindness.

An afterthought: I'm wondering if they get round such cases by simply ignoring them. They say they're not aware of any process blindness cases, then go on to say that they're relatively rare. So which is it? Are there none, or are they relatively rare? And are they rare only because congenitally blind people are a small proportion of the population? Have the authors bothered to read Ring and Cooper's study of NDEs in blind people? 14 of 31 subjects were congenitally blind from birth, and included Vicki and Brad.
 
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#71
The well-known case of Vicki Umipeg comes to mind:

Vicki was born blind, her optic nerve having been completely destroyed at birth because of an excess of oxygen she received in the incubator.
This troubles me straight off the bat as it's somewhat in my sweet spot. Retinopathy of Prematurity is not a pathology of the optic nerve. The retina is affected and to varying degrees depending on severity, I'm not sure if that impacts on the case overall but the details are obviously really important when discussing this stuff.

Remember, 'blind' does not mean 'no light perception'.

https://nei.nih.gov/health/rop/rop
 
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#72
This troubles me straight off the bat as it's somewhat in my sweet spot. Retinopathy of Prematurity is not a pathology of the optic nerve. The retina is affected and to varying degrees depending on severity, I'm not sure if that impacts on the case overll but the details are obviously really important when discussing this stuff.

Remember, 'blind' does not mean 'no light perception'.

https://nei.nih.gov/health/rop/rop
Also, it's obvious that if the incubator causes the blindness, you aren't "born blind".
 
#73
I'm not sure what "process blindess" is nor have I read the book that is the subject of the interview but I'd venture a guess at what doubters might be getting at. They might ask how we could be sure that the blind person is "seeing" in an NDE or OBE in the sense that a sighted person understands seeing. After all, we can't see what they are seeing. So they might be arguing that the brain concocts some pseudo-visual imagery under these circumstances.

I don't want to be setting up a straw man to knock down so perhaps others can explain what is being claimed by the authors. However, if what I have speculated is what they mean then I would put the explanation alongside all the other "delusional" explanations that are put forward by the physicalists. In other words, if the experiencers can't be accused of lying then they must be delusional.

Something that lends weight to the blind-who-can-see claim is the reporting of 360 deg vision as a feature of some NDEs. Clearly this cannot be perceived by front-facing physical eyes so it will be dismissed as hallucination. But to someone not tied to the physicalist assumption that perception is limited to the physical body, the idea that the disembodied mind/soul/self can perceive as well, if not better, than the limited physical body, this is not surprising. That, of course, raises the debate to a whole new metaphysical level involving the nature of what is "out there" or what is created by the mind.

https://www.ted.com/talks/donald_hoffman_do_we_see_reality_as_it_is?language=en#t-826732
 
#75
Also, it's obvious that if the incubator causes the blindness, you aren't "born blind".
Fair point. Best to say in this case "blind from near to birth".

I know that being blind doesn't mean one has complete light unawareness, but both people claim they've never consciously experienced light (since at least just after birth). If we choose not to believe them, then the argument's over: they're liars and the whole thing's a con job. Also liars are all those blind people who report they've never experienced light in their dreams, instead experiencing using the other senses only.

There's no way round charges of mendacity, I'm afraid. It's the last resort of the stubbornly physicalist. Every person who's ever reported an NDE is a liar; not one honest person amongst them. You can soften this by saying they honestly believe, but are mistaken, if you like, which is the tack I think that Mitchell-Yellin and Fischer take. But in the end, if you think all NDE reports are lies, there's nothing further to be discussed. It's no longer an argument about data, but about beliefs, and nothing can change those except ourselves.
 
#76
If there is veridical content which the patient could not have seen or known in the NDE doesn't this blow TMT and any other physicalist theory out of the water anyway? It wouldn't account for this and I can't see how any amount of sophistry can wave it away.
Yes. It blows TMT out of the water as a theory for those cases (and those cases only). There's no question that the veridicals are the juiciest, hence AWARE.
 
#77
How is it possible to confI'm that blind people see during NDE? How do you know it's visual perception, notherwise just some feeling they have never experienced before?

Also, I don't see what Sartori's study proves besides the fact that the brains of people with NDE'S are "more awake" than of those without.

There are a lot of sour point in the interview besides that, but I will leave them for now.
 
#78
I'm not sure what "process blindess" is nor have I read the book that is the subject of the interview but I'd venture a guess at what doubters might be getting at. They might ask how we could be sure that the blind person is "seeing" in an NDE or OBE in the sense that a sighted person understands seeing. After all, we can't see what they are seeing. So they might be arguing that the brain concocts some pseudo-visual imagery under these circumstances.

I don't want to be setting up a straw man to knock down so perhaps others can explain what is being claimed by the authors. However, if what I have speculated is what they mean then I would put the explanation alongside all the other "delusional" explanations that are put forward by the physicalists. In other words, if the experiencers can't be accused of lying then they must be delusional.

Something that lends weight to the blind-who-can-see claim is the reporting of 360 deg vision as a feature of some NDEs. Clearly this cannot be perceived by front-facing physical eyes so it will be dismissed as hallucination. But to someone not tied to the physicalist assumption that perception is limited to the physical body, the idea that the disembodied mind/soul/self can perceive as well, if not better, than the limited physical body, this is not surprising. That, of course, raises the debate to a whole new metaphysical level involving the nature of what is "out there" or what is created by the mind.

https://www.ted.com/talks/donald_hoffman_do_we_see_reality_as_it_is?language=en#t-826732
Yes, I struggled with the idea of "process blindness" too. However, I think it means that somewhere in the chain from eyes to neurons in the brain, the visual apparatus is completely disrupted or destroyed. There simply isn't the means to experience any kind of light. At the other extreme, I suppose subjects would have all the visual apparatus intact, but still wouldn't be able to see (hysterical blindness comes to mind). And of course, we all know there are degrees of blindness: some can make out shadows, and so forth.

If the brain concocts pseudo-visual imagery during NDEs, which I think Blackmore suggests (mainly by subliminally responding to verbal cues from hospital staff, for example), then why at this time and no other? Why don't congenitally blind people concoct such images at the drop of a hat when they're fully conscious?
 
#79
Yes. It blows TMT out of the water as a theory for those cases (and those cases only). There's no question that the veridicals are the juiciest, hence AWARE.
So what that says to me is that you will go with the assumption of deceit and delusion for all experiencers unless they can provide veridical evidence. Every single account that does not contain veridical evidence must be a lie/delusion. Then, when a veridical case comes along, you can go to town on discrediting the the people involved, doubting the timing, the medical records and the lack of proper experimental controls and procedures, as if we were talking about a lab experiment.
 
#80
How is it possible to confI'm that blind people see during NDE? How do you know it's visual perception, notherwise just some feeling they have never experienced before?
The clincher would be veridical perception. If they saw something that could be independently confirmed by a sighted person, and which they couldn't possibly have known about otherwise, then that would be strong evidence.
Also, I don't see what Sartori's study proves besides the fact that the brains of people with NDE'S are "more awake" than of those without.
There's a surprising point right there: that during NDEs, when brain activity is very low or absent, patients report having felt more awake than they ever have.
 
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