Saturday, 20 September 2008

Study into near-death experiences

Study into near-death experiences (BBC News, Thursday, 18 September 2008)

Doctors at 25 UK and US hospitals will study 1,500 survivors to see if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have "out of body" experiences.

No one doubts that people can have such experiences. But having an out-of-body experience (OBE) does not mean that the mind can detach itself from the body, floating about the operating room looking from above upon the surgeons and upon the corporeal self. It is clear the knucklehead who wrote this piece doesn't understand the basic vocabulary of near-death studies.

The study, due to take three years and co-ordinated by Southampton University, will include placing on shelves images that could only be seen from above.

Very interesting, but from the cited comments by the researchers it is clear they themselves do not find it very plausible that anything (mind, consciousness, soul, whatever) would actually leave the body during an OBE. A number of neuro-biological factors have been identified that may well cause OBEs and other near-death experiences, and I imagine the proposed studies will attempt to shed more light on these primarily.

One could have presented this story with an emphasis on medical science, but no, BBC News goes straight for the woo-woo.

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