118. Dr. Jeffrey Long Responds to “NDEs are an Illusion”
NDE Researcher Dr. Jeffrey Long responds to recent comments by Dr. Sam Parnia regarding near-death experiences being a “trick of the mind”.
Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with physician and New York Bestselling author, Dr. Jeffrey Long. During the interview Dr. Long is asked to respond to recent comments by fellow NDE researcher Dr. Sam Parnia suggesting that the near-death experience phenomena may be an illusion, Dr. Long said, “… I strongly support any researcher that has a reasonable opinion about near-death experiences. I think the one opinion that I think is not reasonable at this point in time is the absolute blanket statement that NDEs are illusions. There’s just too strong evidence forthcoming from my research as well as the research of others. I mean, by the time you have near-death experiencers with crystal-clear consciousness, the out-of-body observation seemed to be overwhelmingly correct in both prospective and retrospective studies, near-death experiences in those totally blind from birth, near atypical near-death experiences even while under general anesthesia, and it goes on and on. I think that’s pretty thoroughly refuted… when I read the interview it sounded to me more like Dr. Sam Parnia considered NDEs to be a research question. In other words, that’s why he’s doing this prospective study. The comment that stuck out more to me is ‘I don’t know’ in terms of what the cause of near-death experiences are.”
But when asked what evidence would suggest that Dr. Parnia’s suspicion is correct, Dr. Long presented a highly unlikely set of circumstances, “for NDEs to be accepted as an illusion then each and every one of all of the following must be true for all NDEs: 1) The predominately crystal-clear consciousness during NDEs would always have to be an illusion. 2) Accurate OOB observations (out-of-body observations) during NDEs must all be false. 3) NDEs reported under general anesthesia, they all must be false. 4) The consistency of NDE reports, both from very young children who are not socialized, and older children, and adults — the consistency of all those groups must be explainable by some yet unknown means. 5) We also have to explain the consistency of the content from NDEs around the world, including cultures very different from Western cultures. All that must be explainable.”
In conclusion, Long states, “therefore, the belief that NDEs are only illusions would require both: 1) the lack of acceptance of established and corroborated, extensive NDE evidence and 2) faith that science will someday have explanations for what we’ve already observed and find unexplainable.”
Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris, and on this episode of Skeptiko, well, I have a couple of different things I want to try and mish-mash together and create a show for you.
But before I do any of that, I want to take a minute, because I really don’t talk about this too much. I want to just thank you all, listeners. You know, it’s kind of amazing. You sit down here in front of a microphone and you’re all by yourself after the kids have gone to school and it’s nice and quiet and you talk and maybe you call some people up and you talk to them. It’s just amazing that that can reach out and connect with so many people like this show has.
That interaction, that talking to you and you talking back to me has really been a tremendous gift, at the risk of being trite. But it really has. It’s been a tremendous experience for me and I just want to say thanks and I hope I can continue to do this for a long time. I hope that you’ll stay with me and be a part of this and invite other people to join this “thing” that we have going on here at Skeptiko.
Okay, enough getting that out of the way. Here’s what I wanted to bring to you today. You know, in the last episode of Skeptiko I laid out this idea that the Skeptiko show has been going down these two tracks. This one track of exploring what’s real and the other track of exploring what that means for us. In particular, what does that mean about the deep life issues? Who are we? Where are we going? What are really spiritual issues but we don’t like to say they’re spiritual issues because that kind of freaks some people out?
And I want to go down both of those tracks today but in kind of an unusual way a little bit.
Because after I said that in the last show, I realized that what really is interesting to me, and I think to so many listeners out there, is how much these tracks intersect and overlap. It’s like in the railroad tracks where they cross over at a crossing station and all that stuff. And that’s constantly going on here.
This process of understanding what’s real isn’t a fixed event, right? It’s something that’s constantly going on. We’re constantly filtering in new information, hearing different opinions, sorting, sifting, and saying, “Okay, this seems like the best bet of what’s real, what’s consensus reality at this point.” And then we move on and get some new information and then we take that in really deeply sometimes and we say, “Oh, okay, so this is what this means for me. This is who I am.” And then that changes our filter in terms of what we get in in the next round of what’s real.
So in the spirit of this being an iterative process that never ends and you never know when that new information is going to come in and kind of shift your world a little bit, I ran across a rather amazing video. Here’s a little bit of audio from it:
“Stanford Research Institute has been conducting an experimental program in the field of psychoenergetic effects. This film describes the five-week investigation conducted at Stanford Research Institute with Uri Geller, a young Israeli. The film portrays experiments that we performed with him just as they were carried out. Each scene has been taken from film footage made during actual experiments. Nothing has been restaged or specially created.”
Okay, now I know a lot of you are familiar with this story, but for those of you who are not, there are these two researchers, Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff, are Ph.Ds.’ at Stanford, double-E types, and they’re just kind of chugging along doing their research and they get a knock at the door from the CIA. This is in the 1960s. The CIA has heard that the Russians are looking into psychic spying and they figure they’d better get into this, too. They hire these guys and set them up through Stanford Research Institute to begin a series of experiments on psychic phenomenon. That becomes this big project called Stargate.
We’ve had Paul Smith on to talk about remote viewing and we’ve touched on it in a couple other episodes. But this video focuses on the ESP, if you will, which was the term of the day, work that they did with Uri Geller. Uri Geller has become quite a showman and quite a famous mentalist.
But what’s so amazing about this video is it really is just a straight, simple, series of ESP experiments. Let me play you a little bit more audio and then I’m going to pop in here again.
“This is Uri Geller. With Uri Geller this is Edgar Mitchell who, with his eyes covered, is trying to pick up the number that Geller is sending. Also we see Wilbur Franklin of Kent State, Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ of SRI, along with Don Chewick, Vice-President for Research at SRI.”
Now, I’ve provided a link to this video in the show notes so you can go and watch it for yourself, but I want to play these clips because you can get a pretty good sense for what’s going on here. For instance, here the camera’s just panning by these guys sitting on a couch, one by one, and it’s kind of an interesting mix of people. They look a lot younger than they do nowadays because it’s 40+ years ago.
There’s also Edgar Mitchell there, who’s a famous astronaut who goes on to the IONS Institute that of course Dean Radin is a researcher at and has been so prominent in doing a lot of psychic research. So it’s just kind of interesting. But let’s get back to playing some more clips from this, because it gets even more interesting.
“Here we present a case of a double-blind experiment in which someone not associated with the project comes into the experimental room, places an object into a can chosen at random from 10 aluminum cans…”
Okay, I think this is pretty simple but let me explain it for you. There are 10 cans, kind of like the old 35-mm film cans, you know, these tiny little cans. And in one of the cans is a ball. A metal ball. And it’s randomized so that nobody knows before they go in the room. They go in the room. Uri Geller is asked, “Where’s the ball?” And he finds the ball. Here are the results:
“We repeated this type of experiment 14 times. Two additional trials were made, one with a paper-wrapped ball bearing, and one with a sugar cube. The latter two targets were not located. Geller felt that he didn’t have adequate confidence as to where they were and he declined to guess and passed. On the other 12 targets, the ball bearing, the magnet, and the water, he did make a guess as to the target’s location and was correct in every instance.”
So they run this experiment 14 times. Two of the times Geller passes. He says, “I don’t know. I’m not going to pick on this one.” Of the other 12 trials, pick which can out of 10 which has the ball, he gets every one right. Every single one of the 12 trials, one ball out of 10 in the can, he gets them all right.
“The whole array of this run had an a priory probability of 1 part in 10 to the 12th, or statistics of a trillion to one.”
Did you catch that? Odds against chance a trillion to one. Guess one out of ten, twelve times in a row, no misses. That’s just astounding. And if you’re worried about Geller pulling some tricks or anything like that, I mean come on, this is a simple experiment. He’s in another room. They send their secretary in to mix up the can, label them and put a ball in them. It’s not like there’s some trick involved. But if you don’t like that experiment, check out this next one. This is even more interesting in a way to me.
So they take a box, a little steel box, the kind they used to put index cards in back in the olden days, you know? So they take this box and they put a die in it. You know, dice you roll, playing Backgammon or whatever. They put it in there, they close it up, and you actually can’t see it. It’s sealed, right? Now it’s double-blinded. No one can see. They take the box; they shake it, and the die lands. They ask Uri Geller to guess what the number is. And then after he guesses, they open it up and see what the number is, right? I mean, you can’t get a more controlled experiment than that. How can you fake it? No one knows. You’ve shaken the dice inside of a box and you open it up to look at it. Here are the results:
“We decided at the outset to carry out the die-in-box experiment until we got to a million to one odds, at which time the experiment was terminated. Out of 10 tries in which he passed twice and guessed eight times, the eight guesses were correct. And that gave us a probability of about one in a million. We would point out again there were no errors in the times he made a guess.”
So the film goes on. There are many more experiments and they’re all presented in this kind of dry, matter-of-fact, 60s educational film kind of way, which is nostalgic and interesting in a way. But then it winds up with this-and I have to say, this when I was watching it, this was the clue that made me say, “I’ve got to put this on Skeptiko.”
“What we’ve demonstrated here are the experiments that we performed in the laboratory and should not be interpreted as proof of psychic functioning.”
So there are so many different parts of this that are interesting, but what really piqued my interest is this idea that this isn’t proof. And that word just jumped out at me. Proof. You know, proof is a term that gets thrown around a lot, especially in Skeptiko when we hash it out. “Well, is that really proof?” And then somebody challenges and says, “Well, science can never prove anything. We can only have theories,” and all that.
But you know, let’s just get real in the way that we normally think about it. If I told you that a guy guessed the roll of a dice eight times in a row and I said, “That proves to me that he has some kind of ESP ability,” most people would go, “Yeah, that sounds like pretty good proof.” And especially if I added, “He also picked a ball out of 10 cans and he did that 10 times in a row. I’d say that’s pretty good proof. That proves it to me.” Most of us would say, “Yeah, that proves it to me.” Now as I said before, I’m open for new information. If I find out something different I can change my mind but until then, most of us would say, “Hey, it sounds like proof.”
I guess what I’m driving at is can we loosen up all the heavy-duty doubter skeptic stuff and just acknowledge that there are some things out there that unless they really contradicted with these cherished beliefs that we have about how the world is supposed to work, we’d look at it and say, “You know, that’s pretty good proof that the world works a little differently than I thought.”
The second part that this brings up or the second level that you can look at this is you look at Uri Geller. What does it say about Uri Geller? Now Uri Geller has been maligned and exposed and talked about in terms of is he a showman or a fraud or a fake? I don’t know. You can look at each case. But I can certainly go back and look at this video and look at these men who tested him, who certainly are competent enough to do these simple, basic third-grade science project kind of tests and say something was going on. This guy has some kind of ability or at least he did at some point.
Then that call into question the whole social movement of skepticism and what it means in knocking people down and all that stuff, which I think also plays so prominently into the issues that we’ve been talking about here. And it certainly plays prominently into the interview that I had a couple of episodes back with NDE researcher, Sam Parnia.
On today’s show, what I want to do is play for you an interview that I did as a follow-up to the Parnia interview with Dr. Jeff Long. Dr. Jeff Long, of course, is one of the world’s leading near-death experience researchers.
When we had Dr. Parnia on and he said he suspects that NDEs are an illusion, a trick of the mind, that really got my ire because I don’t know how you can come up with that conclusion if you’ve looked at any NDE research at all. I felt the need to reach out to some other NDE researchers and get their opinion on that. I have several and you’re going to hear from Jeff Long today. On the next episode I have Dr. Pim Van Lommel, another one of the world’s leading NDE researchers, and he has a couple of comments on it as well.
The context that I wanted to put this in and the framing, if you will, relate back to a couple of points that we just talked about. One is what’s proof? Sam Parnia seems to have this level of proof that seems to me to be extraordinary. And not extraordinary in a good way. Extraordinary in a way that really defies common sense. Extraordinary because it dismisses data that we would normally look at, like in those Uri Geller experiments and say, “Wow, that looks like pretty good proof to me.”
But in the case of Dr. Parnia, what we have is filtering of that evidence. A filtering of that proof in this hard science ‘it can never be proven, I don’t believe anyone until they convince me’ kind of thing. I just don’t think that’s very useful. You’ll hear in a minute that Dr. Long doesn’t quite agree with me. And that’s okay, too.
But the second way in which these experiments with Uri Geller relate back to my interview with Sam Parnia and my interview with Jeff Long today and with the feedback that I received from so many of you because some of that feedback was along the lines of “Hey, Alex, give him a break. He’s really on our side. He’s just saying something different because he’s in a tough political spot.”
So the idea was hey, there’s a little secret here and Sam Parnia’s really a NDE proponent. He just says all these really skeptical things because he has to do that in order to advance his career or to fit in or to be accepted in his community of physicians. I’m not denying that there’s some truth to that. We’ve heard Jeff Long kind of say the same thing.
I’m just saying I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to accept that we have to take what someone says and interpret it as meaning the exact opposite of what they said in order to make it fit into some contrived system that we’ve created. Because that’s what we’re really saying, right?
We’re saying, “Hey, the medical, the academic system of proof of knowledge of what’s real is so confined by this paradigm of materialism that we have to dance around it and we have to accept that maybe folks who are trying to challenge that are really going to say something different than what they really mean because we know there’s so much pressure. Even though that system isn’t real and is being assailed by so many different directions, we have to just kind of ride along with it.” Well, no. We don’t. I think the only thing we can do is evaluate Sam Parnia, Uri Geller, and the people that oppose them by what they really say and what they really do and what we can really prove.
So with that as an introduction, let’s go to my interview with Dr. Jeff Long. Let me also let you know that I want you to stick around after the interview because I want to read to you an email that Jeff sent me that really, I think, fine-tunes what he’s saying, or puts it in a different light. Actually, quite a different light. So stick around for that after this interview with Jeff Long:
Alex Tsakiris: Dr. Jeff Long is one of the world’s leading NDE researchers. He’s a medical doctor, and the author of the New York Times best-selling Evidence of the Afterlife. So Jeff was nice enough to jump on the phone here with me and talk a little bit about the interview that I recently did with Dr. Sam Parnia. Jeff, I sent you a copy of that interview and I know from an email you sent me back that you like, you respect Dr. Parnia. You’ve been on a couple of panel discussions with him. So what do you think of this “I suspect NDEs are an illusion” comment from Dr. Sam Parnia?
Dr. Jeff Long: Well actually, Alex, when I read the interview it sounded to me more like Dr. Sam Parnia considered NDEs to be a research question. In other words, that’s why he’s doing this prospective study. The comment that stuck out more to me is “I don’t know”, in terms of what the cause of near-death experiences are. “I don’t know”, to the point that it’s valuable and worth doing these kinds of prospective studies to help be sure or at least gain evidence from one direction or the other as to what the cause of NDEs is. And I think that’s very reasonable.
Alex Tsakiris: You know, Jeff, one of the reasons I really like and appreciate the way you present this information is it’s really straightforward. I know where you’re coming from because you’re direct.
One of the problems I’ve had with Dr. Parnia is he kind of is all over the place. I mean, he says maybe it is; he says maybe it isn’t. We have to investigate it. And I have to take a little bit of exception with what you’re saying.
I really pushed him on this issue because in his video presentation he went a lot further than being neutral. I mean, I’m all for a guy saying “I’m neutral. I don’t know what it is.” But no one forced him to say after his 12 years of research and reviewing 500 cases in his file, that he suspects that they’re an illusion, a trick of the mind. I think we have to take him for his word here when he says he suspects they’re an illusion. I don’t know how he can come to that conclusion.
Dr. Jeff Long: Well, I can tell you, first of all I strongly support anybody that has any reasonable opinion about near-death experiences. I think the one opinion that I think is not reasonable at this point in time is the absolute blanket statement that NDEs are illusions. There’s just too strong evidence forthcoming from my research as well as the research of others.
I mean, by the time you have near-death experiencers with crystal-clear consciousness, the out-of-body observation seemed to be overwhelmingly correct in both prospective and retrospective studies, near-death experiences in those totally blind from birth, near near-death experiences even while under general anesthesia, and it goes on and on.
I think given the strength of that evidence, I would take strong issue with someone with an opinion that said NDEs are definitely an illusion. I think that’s pretty thoroughly refuted. However, if people are uncertain about whether near-death experience is an illusion or not, in other words, they’re open to the possibility that NDEs are real, I think based on the evidence and certainly based on what an awful lot of informed, very reasonable people, scientists, physicians today believe, I think that is a reasonable position.
I see Sam Parnia’s beliefs as being in that what I would consider the area of being of reasonable opinion. And that’s why there’s research. I think that’s doubly true for Dr. Parnia given the fact that he’s doing the world’s largest prospective study on near-death experience.
I mean, if he’s going to do that, I think especially in his role as principal investigator, he really needs to have that credibility with institutions he wants to work with to say, “Hey, this is a valid question. We don’t absolutely know the answer one way or the other and that’s why we’re doing the research. That’s why we’re doing this study so that we can learn something to help answer the question.” So I think especially for Dr. Parnia, his point of view is certainly reasonable given his role.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay. I think that’s valuable to get your input. Jeff, I appreciate it and I appreciate the fact that you’ve vetted him a little bit and think he’s a competent guy. I know he’s a competent guy. But you think he’s a good guy. I’m still not convinced because the other part that doesn’t really add up is it doesn’t add up to me that somebody who’s researched it that long and still suspects it’s an illusion, I just don’t know how you come to that conclusion. But I’ll defer to what you said that that’s in the realm of what someone could reasonably kind of come up with.
But when we take that and follow that through with how he’s done this research and some of the statements he’s made that suggest that this is the definitive research, this is the way to do it in terms of putting these images on the ceiling.
And then when he says that we’re going to get hundreds of people to see these images and when you press him on it a little bit and say, “Just look at the cases out there. It just doesn’t add up that unless you did thousands and thousands of NDE accounts that you would get hundreds of people seeing those pictures,” it just starts adding up that maybe the guy is coming at it predisposed to really, really disprove the validity of the NDE experience.
Dr. Jeff Long: And I spent a lot of time talking with Dr. Parnia and I really don’t get that at all, Alex. The sense I get is that he very much believes in his research study. I know him to have a great deal of honesty and integrity. He’s going to report the results that he gets with this research study; I have no doubt about that, and exactly what the facts of the finding of this study are. Good gosh, you’ve got a guy here who’s in a Fellowship at a university, he’s got almost no discretionary time in his life, and yet he has the dedication to carry forward one of the largest prospective studies of near-death experience ever done.
I’m just in awe that he has that kind of dedication, puts that much time into it when he’s got so little time in his modern life, and is still going forward with his study. From my point of view, I think we really need to respect anybody that is doing research on NDE, regardless of what their opinion is of the cause of near-death experience. It’s the findings of the research that are really going to help us understand near-death experience in the future. I believe from all I know about near-death experience, the findings from research ultimately will help others be more convinced for the reality of near-death experience. But again, we’ll let the research do the talking when it matures.
I mean, I believe from all I know about near-death experience, that’s going to help others be more convinced for the reality of near-death experience. But again, we’ll let the research do the talking when it matures.
Alex Tsakiris: All right. I’ll tell you what then. I’m going to back off a little bit and just wait and see, along with the rest of us. I really appreciate you jumping on the phone here and giving me your thoughts.
Dr. Jeff Long: Yeah, I actually worked with a person who firmly believes that NDEs are illusory, a Dr. Kevin Nelson.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as long as anybody is doing serious, credible research about near-death experience, no matter what their opinion, I’m behind them and I’ll help out in whatever way I can because I believe research is important.
And I’ll tell you that one of the critical things is that even if research is being done by somebody who’s not necessarily a proponent for the reality of NDEs, or even if they believe–and I’m talking in general here that NDEs are an illusion-I think one of the key ways that at some future time we’re going to be able to prove the reality of near-death experiences is by carefully considering all alternative physiological, sociological, and cultural explanations.
And then through good quality research exploring each physiological, sociological, and cultural hypotheses for the cause of NDE and then only if the research does not validate that hypothesis as a cause of NDE, when we’ve ruled out all reasonable alternative explanations for near-death experience, then at that point in time we’ve really got near-death experiences proven because we’ve carefully considered all possible alternate explanations. That’s why I think research, no matter where they’re coming from as long as they’re good folks like Dr. Parnia, we should all encourage their research.
Alex Tsakiris: Well said. Thanks again, Jeff.
Dr. Jeff Long: My pleasure.
Alex Tsakiris: That was great and I’m certainly grateful for Dr. Jeffrey Long getting on the phone and having that conversation with me. I have to tell you that he also sent me an email. We had a little email exchange before the interview and he said basically the same thing-that he’s very supportive of NDE research and he knows Sam Parnia to be a good guy. But he also included this, which I also think is very consistent with what Dr. Long has said and published in the past. He said:
“For NDEs to be accepted as an illusion then each and every one of all of the following must be true for all NDEs.”
Process that for a minute. That’s a pretty strong statement. Each and every one of all of the following has to be true in every case.
- “The predominately crystal-clear consciousness during NDEs is always an illusion.
- Accurate OOB observations (out-of-body observations) during NDEs must all be false.
- The heightened sense reported during NDEs, including visual NDEs in the blind in those blind from birth-they all must be false.
- NDEs reported under general anesthesia, even with accurate OOB observations, they all must be false.
- Life reviews during NDEs with awareness of prior life experiences they forgot and awareness of how others felt that interacted with them, those must all be false.
- The 94% of NDEs that encounter only deceased individuals that they had previously known on Earth and that that vastly higher percentage than observed in the normal state of altered consciousness, that must be explainable by some yet unknown means. [So we’re saying you have to explain the fact that near-death experiencers only see deceased relatives that they’ve known on Earth. But why?]
- The consistency of the content from these NDE reports, both from very young children who are not socialized, under five years old, and the consistency with that in the content of NDEs of older children and of adults and of elderly-the consistency of all those groups. That must be explainable by yet some unknown means.
- We also have to explain the consistency of the content from NDEs around the world, including cultures very different from Western cultures. All that must be explainable.”
- Finally, he throws in one more that gets to the meaning issue, and that is that “the consistent understanding that NDEs encounter about the connection and unity of all in an afterlife, the meaning and purpose of life that they seem to consistently come away with, all that must be explainable by some means that we don’t have any explanation for as of yet.”
Here’s how he wraps it up: “Therefore, the belief that NDEs are only illusions would require both 1) the lack of acceptance of established and corroborated, extensive NDE evidence and 2) faith that science will someday have explanations for what we’ve already observed and find unexplainable.”
I’m going to post the full text of Dr. Long’s email and I’d like to hear if anyone has any objections to what he’s laid down as the logic. The proof standard that’s necessary for us to accept Dr. Parnia’s suspicion that NDEs are an illusion. To me, it’s extremely clear and straightforward because I’m not sure how you can credibly argue against it. But we’ll see. That will be your chance to join this discussion on our forums or in the comment section of the website.
Well, that’s going to do it for today. Thanks for staying with me. There’s much more on the Skeptiko website at skeptiko.com. You’ll find a link to our forum, an email/Facebook link to me, and all the links to our previous shows.
I appreciate those of you who have recommended the show to your friends, have blogged about it and written about it. It’s certainly encouraging to see interest in the show grow and to expand the number of people who are coming to know Skeptiko. So many thanks for that. Please continue to do so. That’s going to do it for now. Until next time, bye for now.
Dr. Jeffrrey Long: What Must Be True If NDEs Are an Illusion
“…I am OK with him having any opinion he wants about the cause of NDEs even as he does this type of research. Nearly all medical/scientific research involves the researcher hoping, or even having a tentative opinion, that the results will show a particular outcome. The important thing is that Sam Parnia is reasonably open-minded, honest, and has integrity. I am confident that any opinions he currently has about the cause of NDE will affect his conclusions from the research findings of the AWARE study.
Having said all this-
For NDEs to be accepted as an illusion, then EACH AND EVERY ONE OF ALL OF THE FOLLOWING MUST BE TRUE FOR ALL NDEs:
The predominantly crystal-clear consciousness during NDEs is ALWAYS an illusion. AND:
Accurate OBE observations during NDEs must ALL be false. AND:
The heightened senses reported during NDEs, including visual NDEs in the blind and those blind from birth, must ALL be false. AND:
NDEs reported under general anesthesia, even with accurate OBE observations must ALL be false. AND:
Life reviews during NDEs with awareness of prior life experiences they forgot and awareness of how others felt that interacted with them must ALL be false. AND:
The 94% of NDEs that encounter only deceased individuals that they previously knew on earth, a vastly higher percentage than is observed during any other state of altered consciousness, MUST be explainable by some as yet unknown explanation. AND:
The consistency of the content of very young children’s NDEs (age five and younger) with the content of the NDEs of older children and adults MUST be explainable by some as yet unknown explanation. AND:
The consistency of the content of NDEs around the world, including in cultures very different from Western culture, MUST be explainable by some as yet unknown explanation. AND:
The consistency and intensity of NDE aftereffects MUST be explainable by some as yet unknown explanation. AND:
ALL shared death experiences must be illusionary. AND:
The consistent understandings that NDErs encounter about the connection and unity of all, an afterlife, the meaning and purpose of life, etc. must ALL be explainable by some as yet unknown explanation.
Therefore, belief that NDEs are only unreal illusions would require BOTH 1) lack of acceptance of the established and corroborated extensive NDE evidence, AND 2) faith that science will someday have explanations for what is observed in NDEs that is not explainable, even theoretically, with all that is currently known.
Acceptance of the reality of NDEs as medically inexplicable is the conclusion most consistent with all available evidence.
Alex- please feel free to post any or all of the preceding on your website, but please reference me as the author with the post, as I may use the preceding in my next book. Thanks!