"NDEs Absolutely, Positively NOT Caused By Malfunctioning Brains"

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#1
I don't think there's a lot of new stuff here, just a listing of varied resources.

Also not vouching for/against the info, but figured it might be worth going through for some people.

NDEs Absolutely, Positively NOT Caused By Malfunctioning Brains

Woman, Blind From Birth, Sees During NDE

Vicki Noratuk was born blind. In this Coast-To-Coast interview Vicki describes what it was like to experience sight for the first time. Then she goes on to describe encounters with Jesus, moving through hellish and heavenly realms, and being told she couldn’t stay on the other side because she was to become a mother and teach unconditional love and forgiveness. Jesus, according to Vicki, also told her to tell others about him and her experience: “let them know of this day and tell them that I AM”. To learn more about Vicki Noratuk, go here.
“To those still seduced by the simplistic notion that ‘the brain creates consciousness’ — those who might recoil when I mention that destruction of my neocortex greatly heightened my awareness — I would remind you of two commonly witnessed clinical phenomena that defy the simplistic brain-creates-mind model:

“1. TERMINAL LUCIDITY (in which demented elderly patients close to death often have astonishing cases of cognition, memory, insight, and reflection as they approach death, often at periods when they are fully aware of departed souls there to escort them to the spiritual realm);

“2. ACQUIRED SAVANT SYNDROMES (in which some form of brain damage — such as that seen in autism, head injury, or stroke — allows for some super-human mental capability such as advanced calculation abilities, intuition, musical abilities, or perfect memory of numbers, names, dates, or visual scenery).

“There is no explanation within our simplistic neuroscientific ideas of the brain to explain such extraordinary and counterintuitive observations.”

— Near-Death Experiencer Dr. Eben Alexander, The Map of Heaven, page 83-84
People in heaven - A more interesting and rare type of NDE is called the “group near-death experience”. This is a phenomenon where a whole group of people have an NDE at the same time and location. They see each other outside of their bodies and have a shared or similar experience. P.M.H. Atwater gives a definition of a “Group NDE”:

“These are rare, but they do occur. With this kind, a whole group of people simultaneously seems to experience the same or similar episode. What makes these so spectacular and challenging is that all or most of the experiencers see each other actually leave their bodies as it happens, then dialogue with each other and share messages and observations while still experiencing the near-death state. Their separate reports afterward either match or nearly so. Reports like these emerge most often from events of a harrowing nature that involve a lot of people.

“Shared and group experiences imply that no matter how sure we are that near-death states mean this or that, and are the result of whatever, no single idea, theory, or pat answer can explain them. Even clues from the powerful patterning that researchers like myself have identified, fail to explain all aspects of the phenomenon.”

The following are excellent examples of group near-death experiences:

1. A Group of Firefighters Near-Death Experience
2. May Eulitt’s and Her Two Companions Group NDE
3. Steven Ridenhour and His Girlfriend’s Group NDE
4. Four Hospital Patients Group Near-Death Experience

Question: What’s the single most important thing that sticks with you from the last 30 years of NDE exploration?

Dr. Raymond Moody: “That’s a big one… You know, I think of something recent that I see as very important. I’ve sensed in the last five years or so that the scoffers are on the defensive… They’ve been rattled when I see them in the debates… there’s not this abrasive aggressiveness you used to see. It’s rather more like they feel they don’t know where they are and all their old arguments have run out.

“I think there’s been a turnaround in where the scoffers are now… they are on the defensive. I saw Sanjay Gupta on CNN a few months ago talking about NDEs with a skeptic… the guy was definitely intimidated by the physicians who were standing there saying “Holy Mackerel, what IS this?” And, you know, they were the experts on neurophysiology, so the pseudo-skeptic couldn’t really come back. So, confronted with your question, that’s what immediately comes to mind. I think we’ve seen the turn-around, where the ball is in their court to come up with something.”
 
#4
Good read but one of of the earlier lines of "evidence" refer to Eben Alexander's "remarkable" NDE. I'll pass on that fraud, thanks.
I agree with Typoz, don't see anything to support such a statement. Are you saying he didn't have an experience ? Or he had an experience but it wasn't an NDE ? I don't even think the sceptics would deny he experienced something out of the ordinary.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#5
Huh?
You mean all it takes is for someone to make false accusations and the accused is forever condemned?
The case is an interesting one - no hard, veridical component but also - as per my understanding - a remarkable recovery.

Thus for me it's less about the NDE and more the Trickster component working here (though admittedly that could be coincidental).

It's a big win to have a doctor who worked with the nervous system...but why this doctor with what seems like a checkered past?
 
#6
No veridical observations of the ICU, Sci, no but the meeting with his deceased sister was extraordinary, no ?

This statement puzzled me

"It's a big win to have a doctor who worked with the nervous system...but why this doctor with what seems like a checkered past?[/QUOTE] "

Could you specifically help me to understand what you mean by "why this doctor," I'm only curious cheers ! BTW He doesn't have a past that's any more chequered than the average neurosurgeon. They all attract a law suit or two throughout their careers because of the extreme nature and hazards of what they deal with. It goes with the territory, apparently.
 
#8
The case is an interesting one - no hard, veridical component but also - as per my understanding - a remarkable recovery.

Thus for me it's less about the NDE and more the Trickster component working here (though admittedly that could be coincidental).

It's a big win to have a doctor who worked with the nervous system...but why this doctor with what seems like a checkered past?
Part of your post I can agree with, but not the last point. To my mind, everyone has a checkered past, It is just a matter of finding a necessity to look for it, There are thousands of NDE reports, (according to surveys there are probably millions, mostly not reported publically). It is just a response out of fear, a perceived threat to a worldview, that all necessary means were taken to neutralise that threat. Politicians know this technique, it is used all the time.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#9
Part of your post I can agree with, but not the last point. To my mind, everyone has a checkered past, It is just a matter of finding a necessity to look for it, There are thousands of NDE reports, (according to surveys there are probably millions, mostly not reported publically). It is just a response out of fear, a perceived threat to a worldview, that all necessary means were taken to neutralise that threat. Politicians know this technique, it is used all the time.
I'd agree that the materialist/skeptical cults will do anything to keep their world view dominant in the West - after all we know one of the founders of CSICOP quit in disgust because of this tendency toward dishonesty!

And perhaps it's my cynical nature, but I'm wary of trusting NDE reports where there might be an agenda to distort facts in the same way once a medium has been shown to be fraudulent I'm unable to accept them as genuine.

I also accept that not everyone thinks like this.

No veridical observations of the ICU, Sci, no but the meeting with his deceased sister was extraordinary, no ?

This statement puzzled me

"It's a big win to have a doctor who worked with the nervous system...but why this doctor with what seems like a checkered past?"

Could you specifically help me to understand what you mean by "why this doctor," I'm only curious cheers ! BTW He doesn't have a past that's any more chequered than the average neurosurgeon. They all attract a law suit or two throughout their careers because of the extreme nature and hazards of what they deal with. It goes with the territory, apparently.
So is the accusation that he tried to alter a report after performing surgery on the wrong area...is that false? I looked that the IANDS page and saw this:

And what of the other allegations insinuated or leveled at Eben Alexander? He deserves to have his side of these cases heard as well. Dr. Alexander’s 25-year neurosurgical career included over 4,000 surgeries. Luke Dittrich does not have a good track record with the truth with respect to Eben Alexander: one cannot trust Dittrich's portrayal of the facts.

The most serious of the cases Dittrich cites, that Dr. Alexander altered medical records in a case of wrong-level spine surgery, similarly distorts the truth, according to Dr. Alexander. The patient in question had excellent relief of his symptoms after Dr. Alexander's surgery, delaying Alexander’s discovery that surgery had been performed at an unintended level. Dr. Alexander corrected the record to reflect the newly learned facts of the case, and disclosed the surgical error to all parties after follow up revealed a genuine surgical benefit. After full investigation by three state medical boards and the American Board of Neurological Surgeons, Dr. Alexander continued to practice medicine without restriction, with his board certification intact.

From his investigative work, Luke Dittrich knows something about malpractice. In professions like medical and legal practice, malpractice involves negligence or incompetence on the part of a professional. This would entail the failure to exercise the degree of skill, prudence and diligence ordinarily expected of a member of the profession. Malpractice is not ordinarily used for journalistic practice. However, there are certain informal ethics and standards of behavior that apply, particularly within a given publishing organization.

The content of Luke Dittrich's article certainly raises the question as to what standards were applied to it by Esquire. In my opinion, Mr. Dittrich's actions in investigating and writing the article and Esquire's unabashed endorsement of it rise to the level of malpractice.

However I also saw this article (admittedly I realize the Daily Mail is a controversial source
):

Esquire reports that instead of fusing C5-6, he accidentally fused C4-5. He did not realize that he had made a mistake until months later when the patient came back in July for a check up, complaining of continued pain.

At that point, Dr Alexander went into his files and in the operation report, he changed all references to C5-6 that he originally made and edited them to read C4-5. In doing so, anyone looking at the report later would see that it matched the patient's physical condition.

It was only in the third follow-up meeting in October that Dr Alexander admitted to the patient about what he had done and said that he would happily do another surgery for free. Later that month, the hospital revoked his surgery privileges.

The farmer filed a $3million lawsuit that was in its beginning stages by the time that Dr Alexander was admitted to the hospital on November 10, 2008 following an extreme headache.

Once he was ready to go back to work, he returned to the non-surgical job at Focused Ultrasound Foundation in Charlottesville that Alexander had secured just weeks before falling into a coma.
So did he edit that report or not?

On the stuff with his sister, Michael Prescott discussed this on his site - I'll try to find it. IIRC Prescott noted that without some initial dated sketch of who he saw in the NDE it's difficult to be sure that was his sister. Did he see the picture, then have his memory altered by that

Admittedly I might be missing some details on the case, but from my initial examination I never found Dr. Alexander's NDE compelling beyond the remarkable recovery.

The only attacks on Alexander are ad hominem character assasinations: "alcoholic", "lousy surgeon", etc. I'm not saying his experience was true or not - I don't know, all I know is that even an alcoholoc, a lousy surgeon or a pickpocket could have an NDE :D
I would agree that any person can have an NDE, and that one's past actions don't necessarily invalidate their NDE. Yet in the absence of some veridical information seen during the NDE that can be corroborated one's past actions will come up in an evaluation of their character.
 
#11
So is the accusation that he tried to alter a report after performing surgery on the wrong area...is that false?
As was stated, the patient had satisfactory relief from the problem. So Dr Alexander made a decision to effectively "leave well alone."

I don't have the credentials to discuss the "ethics" of this decision but what I can tell you is this ; one of his friends (a fellow neurosurgeon) explained to me (via email) that he has the highest regards for Eben Alexander both in his career and private life and was not at all concerned about the "tickle tackle" surrounding Alexander..

Edit I don't make a habit of emailing neurosurgeons BTW it was something of a coincidence
 
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S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#12
As was stated, the patient had satisfactory relief from the problem. So Dr Alexander made a decision to effectively "leave well alone."

I don't have the credentials to discuss the "ethics" of this decision but what I can tell you is this ; one of his friends (a fellow neurosurgeon) explained to me (via email) that he has the highest regards for Eben Alexander both in his career and private life and was not at all concerned about the "tickle tackle" surrounding Alexander..

Edit I don't make a habit of emailing neurosurgeons BTW it was something of a coincidence
I think altering the records (if this happened) isn't just leaving it alone though - that seems like an attempt to get out of trouble after seeing there wasn't a problem? I mean imagine if a skeptic doctor like Novella or Woerlee had done this - wouldn't we (rightly IMO) take it as an example of a person willing to distort the truth for their own gain?

That's one of the big criticisms against Blackmore, that she wasn't honest about the strength of her findings during her time as a parapsychologist.

I am glad that Eben Alexander went public with his experience - as Typoz notes there might be millions of people having NDEs and it is a risk that the pseudoskeptical cults will try to defame you like they do on Wikipedia.

He's invigorated the debate against materialism in the public mind, and helped draw together ideas in science & philosophy.

I just think it's interesting that similarly to mediums who are tested and end up having strong cases in some readings but proven frauds in others, we have someone who maintains that "Trickster & the Paranormal" boundary.

His account, for me at least, simultaneously makes me wary and hopeful all at once.
 
#13
One of the useful bits about Eben's experience is that he provides us with some very detailed and frank information about his background (put up for adoption by his biological parents, rejected by them a 2nd time, world falling apart etc).

That his powerful NDE take home message was that he *is* loved, seems a somehow entirely appropriate, and logical counterbalancing response to his past rejection (i.e he was not wanted - not loved by his biological parents).

My take is that when the brain becomes exposed, external fields laid down on it can create new patterns. These new patterns can close learning gaps/kinks, but to the experient forced to incorporate theses new patterns, they feel like bumps, and are interpreted as entirely relative, powerful NDE take home messages.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#14
One of the useful bits about Eben's experience is that he provides us with some very detailed and frank information about his background (put up for adoption by his biological parents, rejected by them a 2nd time, world falling apart etc).

That his powerful NDE take home message was that he *is* loved, seems a somehow entirely appropriate, and logical counterbalancing response to his past rejection (i.e he was not wanted - not loved by his biological parents).

My take is that when the brain becomes exposed, external fields laid down on it can create new patterns. These new patterns can close learning gaps/kinks, but to the experient forced to incorporate theses new patterns, they feel like bumps, and are interpreted as entirely relative, powerful NDE take home messages.
Curious - where are the external fields of his being loved coming from in your view?
 
#15
Curious - where are the external fields of his being loved coming from in your view?
It's what I would call the average group pattern from third parties etc. laid down on his exposed brain...

Those experients out of line with this group average pattern, are more likely to have an experience (complete with a take home message) that is directly proportional to the difference between their pattern, and this group average pattern.

It's no different to any other form of learning (pattern creation). It's just that in the absence of your own EM field, an external pattern can get laid down on your networks which is not your own, and you are left having to incorporate/understand it.

Generally, the 'he is loved' is his own relative understanding (i.e from his perspective), of the difference between his past patterns, and his new patterns.
 
#16
Curious - where are the external fields of his being loved coming from in your view?
"Third parties" in hospitals are usually either too stressed or too panicked to really spend their time "loving". Especially in the ICU. In the operating theatre, I would expect a good dose of stoicism as well. Just sayin' that the American health system is not Woodstock, and that it's awfully selective to assume that the one emotion that is less likely to be experienced by "third parties" during a health crisis (that is "love") is the one being arbitrarily picked up. Pity? Sure. "Love" and "acceptance"? I don't think so, unless you have very good insurance.
 
#17
I think altering the records (if this happened) isn't just leaving it alone though - that seems like an attempt to get out of trouble after seeing there wasn't a problem? I mean imagine if a skeptic doctor like Novella or Woerlee had done this - wouldn't we (rightly IMO) take it as an example of a person willing to distort the truth for their own gain?
My advice to you, Sci is, investigate it for yourself.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#18
Here's the Virginia Board of Medicine "Board Brief"

"03/23/09: Reprimand, $3500 monetary penalty, based on two patient cases of performing surgery on the wrong surgical site; and in one of the cases, failure to disclose same to the patient, and altering the original operative report to obscure the fact of the wrong site surgery."

Like I said, Dr. Alexander is a useful advocate to bring the public into an understanding of why NDEs are important, and my hope is that he calls attention to the Hard Problem and the general flaws of the materialist faith...but at the same time I'm wary of him being the public face of the NDE...
 
#19
Here's the Virginia Board of Medicine "Board Brief"

"03/23/09: Reprimand, $3500 monetary penalty, based on two patient cases of performing surgery on the wrong surgical site; and in one of the cases, failure to disclose same to the patient, and altering the original operative report to obscure the fact of the wrong site surgery."

Like I said, Dr. Alexander is a useful advocate to bring the public into an understanding of why NDEs are important, and my hope is that he calls attention to the Hard Problem and the general flaws of the materialist faith...but at the same time I'm wary of him being the public face of the NDE...
That sounds like a pretty mild penalty to me. It doesn't suggest to me that the Board felt it was a serious transgression. I think it does impact his value as a witness of truth however as mentioned but it's the kind of thing that many of us would consider given it seems there was no harm done. I think if we let something like this lead us to rejecting his testimony (fwiw) outright we'd find it difficult to accept witness evidence from anyone.
 
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#20
This is only my take on this.

Reading between the lines it appears to me that Eben Alexander was an individual that maybe drank too much, would maybe do something illegal to cover his mistakes, maybe he had other 'weaknesses' too - he was generally a typical human being. These 'failures' stemmed from a background as a child that Max has described. Not atypical. I don't know if he was the type of person that one could like in spite of these weaknesses, or a bit too full of ego, maybe rather not be around him given the choice?

Nevertheless, he had made it as far as being a Neurosurgeon, something to be proud of in general. He helped people for his living.

I think he had a full on mind blowing NDE which included a bit at the beginning that he doesn't talk about a lot. The worms eye view. This was a rather unpleasant period which lasted a 'long time' - it's difficult to know when time is different! Then after this significant period he went on to see the light and have his 'nice' NDE.

To me, and only to me, I think that the 'worms eye view' time he spent, was the consequences of his 'dark side'. I think there are consequences, but for a limited time if there is light within your being. And I would hope that there is light within all beings- but who knows?

Once again from The Prophet, this is hinted at:

"And he answered saying:

It is when your spirit goes wandering upon the wind,

That you, alone and unguarded, commit a wrong unto others and therefore unto yourself.

And for that wrong committed must you knock and wait a while unheeded at the gate of the blessed."
 
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