If consciousness is just the workings of neurons and synapses, how do we explain the phenomenon of near-death experience? By some accounts, about 3% of the U.S. population has had one: an out-of-body experience often characterized by remarkable visions and feelings of peace and joy, all while the physical body is close to death. To skeptics, there are more plausible, natural explanations, like oxygen deprivation. Is the prospect of an existence after death "real" and provable by science, or a construct of wishful thinking about our own mortality?
- Arthur Shimkus
3 years ago
Dr. Raymond Moody hit the nail on the head when he said the answer lies with reason. He is awaiting a future development in reason but that development is already here: Advaita Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta goes right to the core of reality; it is total reason and radical empiricism. First of all there is a huge difference between science and scientific materialism. Science is a legitimate way of finding out about aspects of phenomena but not necessarily reality. Scientific materialism, on the other hand, is a belief system (even the physicist admits his BELIEF in naturalism). It assumes that our senses report to us what is real. As Swami Rama Tirtha said: "What brought the senses into existence? The elements. How do you know of these elements? Through the senses. Is not that reasoning in a circle? This establishes the illusory nature of the world in the wakeful state." One may argue and speculate whether the world most people believe in is real or not but the only thing we really and truly know is consciousness. Before anything is perceived there must be consciousness. The two materialists on the panel want proof from Drs. Alexander and Moody but where is their proof of material? Material is an abstraction that means nothing when examined. If someone says "I see this table, a brown table made of hard wood" all that person is seeing are qualities: color, hardness, texture, etc. but where is this thing called "matter"? It is an unseen thing that is only believed in. After all, in a dream we experience many things yet when we waken we say they are unreal. The materialist says that dreams have been discovered to be brain phenomena--that is the trap of him falling into his belief system which he only ASSUMES to be real but doesn't know that. He has no proof of it.
What makes the defense of the NDE difficult is most of us have been seduced--hypnotized--into only focusing only on objects. Consciousness is so close to us that, paradoxically, we are unaware of it! It is like fish in the ocean asking and debating whether water exists! But reason, as Dr. Moody says, is the answer. Through the discipline of reason (if we are going to be honest and not engage is self-deception) we MUST admit that the ONLY thing we know is consciousness (if there is anything outside of consciousness we can never know it since "knowing" cannot be separated from consciousness). That discipline entails a resistance to "group think." The adherents to the religion of scientific materialism are very much like those whose whole careers are animal experimentation. They find it extremely difficult to address the moral implications of what they do. Their values come from the culture at large and not from reason.
Since consciousness is the only thing we truly know, the only thing we can be certain of, claims of other states of consciousness cannot and should not be so easily dismissed but must be studied by reason and definitely NOT by the faith of scientific materialism.
- Marijus Stasiulis
3 years ago
Yes, you don't die, only communists die.
We all go to Valhala.
5 years ago
Most science debates end up this way. One side, "We want evidence before we believe this." The other side, "You want evidence? Here's some anecdotes."
3 years ago
28:44 - Thank you dear and smart Dr. Moody. You said it all.
4 years ago
at minute 1:26:29 when he says Carl Sagan said in his book The Demon Haunted World on page 302 that he admitted past life evidence from children is overwhelming. I have the full page below if anyone is interested in what Carl Sagan actually said. Vote this comment thumbs up so people can read what he actually wrote.
“Perhaps one percent of the time, someone who has an idea that smells, feels, and looks indistinguishable from the usual run of pseudoscience will turn out to be right. Maybe some undiscovered reptile left over from the Cretaceous period will indeed be found in Loch Ness or the Congo Republic; or we will find artifacts of an advanced, non-human species elsewhere in the Solar System. At the time of writing there are three claims in the ESP field which, in my opinion, deserve serious study:
(1) that by thought alone humans can (barely) affect random number generators in computers;
(2) that young children sometimes report the details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any other way than reincarnation;
(3) that people under mild sensory deprivation can receive thoughts or images “projected” at them.
I pick these claims not because I think they’re likely to be valid (I don’t), but as examples of contentions that might be true. The last three have at least some, although still dubious, experimental support. Of course, I could be wrong.”
1 year ago
01:36:34 How refreshing and (sadly) unusual.
- Saya ___
3 weeks ago
This is it, here’s one way of dealing with this seemingly harsh fact. You’ve heard this all before but maybe it will take on new meaning: be kind. If this is all there is, everyone should try to make this ONE life as lovely as possible, not just for yourself but for everyone else. As much as possible, let’s make each of our one lives we get pleasant. And if you can, please extend this kindness to animals, they might not have self-consciousness like people but they certainly feel pain and have feelings. I’ve seen mice and small birds fall into depression and lethargy till the end of their lives after loosing their mates, as well as larger mammals like dogs and cats. True Kindness (without expecting a reward for it in an afterlife) does something positive to your psyche as well. Others cannot truly know all of us, but we each know ourselves, consciously and unconsciously. Anyone that has reached a certain age KNOWS how that self-knowledge affects your peace of mind more than anything else. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or what you look like. There is nothing better you could do for yourself than build qualities that visibly or invisibly raise your self esteem. Good luck, I wish you peace.
3 years ago
Oh and there are people who were monitored by EKG and were found to have zero brain activity. However, these people were able to describe what the doctors were doing, when they were doing them, who by name was doing them, etc. One of which was a purposeful shutdown of a woman's brain (even metabolically) that was literally brain dead. Her blood was drained completely from her brain after having her body temp lowered for hours to 25 degrees. She had a 5% chance of living because of a massive hemorrhage in her brain. She lived to tell her story and the documentary is on youtube. They literally had to open her head up and go nearly to the brain stem from the top of her head to fix it and succeeded.
- Semra Bahcivan
2 years ago
Near death experience are real, I do have on too, so many years after I am still in that amazing light, and I feel different also became very powerful psychic, my proffesion is violonist.... Thank you for this conversation it is very helpful for NDR sufferers .
- Yassine IJassin
3 years ago
"Every soul shall have taste of death; In the end to us shall ye be brought back
Vers Al-'Ankabut The Spider 29:57) Quran
1 year ago
The scientists dismiss anything that cannot be proven empirically, since all they are interested in is the material world and their material instruments which measure it. It is essentially a forgone conclusion that there is no physical evidence of the metaphysical... that's practically the definition; beyond the physical, another realm which supersedes our empirical world. So... there's no evidence as they recognize it, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. It's the nature of the claim.
The guy on the far right also made a cringe-worthy logical fallacy (correlation!=causation) about how neuroscientists manipulating the brain and effecting consciousness somehow proves that the brain therefore generates consciousness. I was disappointed the other side didn't refute this because it is just plainly, blatantly wrong, and a serious hole in his entire argument.
- Secular Guy
4 years ago
"We are on the brink of a breakthrough in rational study of the afterlife, but it's not going to come initially from science but initially from the realms of logic and rational thinking."
That is what scientific method is, by definition.
It's like saying, we're not going to make a cake by baking, but by mixing ingredients together and putting it inside a oven.
6 months ago (edited)
11:17 Debate Starts
43:00 Opening statements end
3 years ago
If we view the Universe itself as a living organism, then we are merely cells within it. The Universe goes on forever. It will always exist in various states. Presently it exists in a state of expansion. After all the energy is used up and gravity begins to pull it back together again, the Universe will exist in a state of contraction. If there is just enough matter in the Universe to balance out the expansion force, the Universe may exist in a static state. Whatever state the Universe exists, it will always exist, and we, as pieces of the Universe will always exist. I exist now. If I exist now, then I will exist again. The laws of probability demand it. I may have no memory of my past existence, but that's okay. I forget stuff all the time.
3 years ago
@John Doh Thank you for your remark. I humbly request you might avoid
using words like 'nonsense' in a forum meant for academic debate so
that a more mature discussion into this sublime topic might be possible,
as is the general mood of Intelligence Squared debates. Thank you for
your kind understanding.
The Vedantic conception on this important subject is that the source of consciousness is a tiny particle, described as 'spiriton' by Dr T D Singh. This conscious being is clothed by a psychic (or subtle) body, and this psychic body then produces the physical (or gross) body.
Many profound thinkers and scholars have studied this deeply and it would be of benefit to your goodself and other seekers of truth to have an understanding of the (necessarily complex) model that it proposes.
If anyone is interested, a simplistic presentation for the layman was put together by myself some years ago - it is online at www.tiny.cc/8elementsnotes and one is welcome to contemplate it.
For scholars, more scholarly works on the study of consciousness within science have been published by Dr T D Singh - http://binstitute.org/books - to encourage and promote discussion and dialogue on this fascinating and important subject of the duality between the body (physical and psychic) and its owner who utilizes it.