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People who have had "near-death experiences" (NDEs) often report seeing a light at the end of a dark tunnel. TV shows, movies and books drill this crossing-over concept into viewers' minds. However, a study published in Neurology , a scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology, finds that these events have a biological explanation. "It is not clear ... that NDEs are caused by the same mechanisms associated with REM sleep," said Andrew Newberg, M.D. "That there is an association is interesting."
>>Central to the debate is the kind of worldview scientists adopt. Consciousness-centric paradigms point out that even though extraordinary experiences can be triggered by electromagnetic pulses, stress (i.e. drowning victim), physical trauma (i.e. head injury), and chemicals, they are also produced spontaneously or by will.
>>Detected neural activity that is characteristic of such altered states is NOT necessarily the CAUSE: it is just as logically plausible that it is a concomitant effect. In other words, just because the OBE may be triggered by a physical stimulus, it does not make it illusory. To say otherwise would be a logical falacy that any exempt person - or anyone who has taken a basic philosophy, statistics or psychology course should recognize. Ad hominem attacks, scoffing dismissal, and such faulty or manipulative logic (sophism) are typical of so-called skeptics who hold on to their materialist beliefs. It sounds sophisticated to shoot down other people's work from an armchair. How many of these scoffer-skeptics are also lucid projectors? It would be like someone who's never even gone snorkling to ridicule some discovery from the depths of the ocean by Jacques Cousteau.
>>Let us recall that people can train to project intentionally without drugs, brain lesions, anoxia (lack of oxygen in the brain) or any sort of trauma. Also, just because the patient felt sensations akin to those in some OBE's, she was not necessarily having an OBE. For instance, when certain areas of the brain are stimulated, a person may perceive smells or tastes - which does not suggest that all smell and taste and the things that trigger them are illusory.
>>The Swiss neuroscientist Olaf Blanke triggered OBE-like experiences in an epileptic patient when electromagnetically stimulating her right angular gyrus. In a posterior article, Blanke interpreted neurophysiological differences in projectors as “abnormalities” but they just as well could have been evolutionary outliers. Even if those particular subjects had pathological deformities, it does not mean that all projectors do. After all, it was the same Dr. Blanke who conceded, in a October 2002 BBC World Service debate with IAC president Wagner Alegretti, that the experiment did not falsify the OBE as an objective phenomenon and the field merited more investigation. He also admitted the patient made unlikely, accurate visual observations while projected! -- this was not mentioned in the article published in the journal Nature, understandably.
>>You see, if you compare the tone and conclusions of Olaf Blanke in the interview versus the hasty conclusions of the media and materialistic scientists (say, 60% of scientists) -- a bias to defend the current paradigm and beliefs comes to surface. The philosopher Kuhn is best known for discussing the nature of scientific revolutions. The problem is that here we are not challenging the paradigm of a particular science -- but we are falsifying the materialistic world view itself as well as what is possible to study scientifically, and the methods, rules or expectations of science (e.g. replicability expectations; non-physical effects on experimental controls).
International Academy of Consciousness
IAC - Florida
The suggestion that arousal system disturbances may cause out-of-body experiences (OBE's) is a classic example of mistaking correlation for causation in an effort to dismiss an experience that challenges the predominant materialistic, reductionist Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm.
As someone who has been developing the ability to have will-induced, conscious out-of-body experiences and has been investigating the matter for a decade, it is no news that OBE's can be triggered in many ways: spontaneously and unexpectedly, by will, or even "forced" (near-death experience).
Indeed, sleep paralysis can be related to the out-of-body experience (which is why it is also referred to as projective catalepsy in this context). However, it does not happen every time one has an OBE. It is quite the opposite: according to projectiogists (scientists who study the OBE as an objective phenomenon), when someone experiences projective catalepsy, they are partially out of the body. Anyone can verify this fact through several personal experiences.
Scientist who attempt to reduce the OBE to neurophysiology do not have frequent, lucid, will-induced OBE's that would reveal it as an objective, albeit more subtle, reality amenable to scientific study through corroboration of personal experiences.
Nelson Abreu, Instructor & Investigator
International Academy of Consciousness