I guess meningitis, fever, and drugs wouldn't cause a pleasant hallucination, it had to be actual heaven.

yahoo news.

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I don't know.  I never know what to think of a man in a bow tie.

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I'm glad he enjoyed "death", but an entirely subjective, meningitis-induced memory doesn't exactly give me confidence.

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I find it astonishing that people trust their senses or perceptions ESPECIALLY when their physiology is malfunctioning!  It's like no one ever read that line from Dickens' Christmas Carol:

"Why do you doubt your senses?"
"Because," said Scrooge, "a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats."

If a blot of mustard or an undigested bit of beef can twist the senses, then how about dangerously low blood pressure or O2 saturation much less than 100% or any one of a hundred other untoward conditions? Should we also mention the psychotropic effects of the medications which may be administered at the time?

I'm not even a doctor, and I can think of the above just off the top of my head.  This guy is a neurosurgeon and he can't be bothered to look at this critically and objectively???

[BTW, Charles Osgood wears bow-ties, and he's a decent sort ... but I'm not relying on him to deal with a tumor in my cerebellum, either!]

Isn't Bill Nye a bow-tie wearer? I'd trust him to be suitably skeptical about such silliness.

Why is it that all these guys who go to Heaven when they die (or don't die) and come back again,never come back with anything interesting? They see angels on fluffy clouds etc but couldn't they pick up something interesting,such as a cure for cancer,or how is Elvis?

You are absolutely right.  Maybe that's where he learned to tie the bow tie.  it's not easy.

Sorry for adding a necro post and on a minor part of the original post but...

DON'T trust a doctor wearing a regular tie.. those things are nasty nasty breeding grounds for all sorts of bugs. Lots of Doctors used to wear bow ties as regular ties would often touch the patients icky bits.

I am a medical sales rep and I have taken to not wearing any tie because of this reason, and few doctors I see wear one either.

MB

NDE's are probably where the stories about heaven and hell come from in the first place.

Sam Harris did a very good takedown of this.

That article is a KEEPER, Luara, and a must-read for anyone who has to deal with a believer in near-death experiences.

Yes, and this neurosurgeon is making a giant leap in his "reasoning", using only his apparently very minimal knowledge of neuroscience.  It suggests that the hyper-reality of this kind of experience is very convincing to people.  Terence McKenna also said he believed in the reality of the ketamine experience. 

I wonder how this neurosurgeon claims this kind of experience couldn't come from a drug, since he's most likely never tried DMT himself. 

I had a very mild experience of hyper-reality when I started taking a choline supplement.  I wonder what's known about what is going on in someone's brain when they have these intense experiences of hyper-reality. 

I wonder if it's possible for stories of the afterlife to be true, in the sense that the dying brain would experience this merging into the light etc. as an eternity.  
Sam Harris says that these vast experiences can happen in a very small time, so maybe a small time could seem like eternity.  One couldn't have an infinite number of thoughts, but perhaps an ultimate version of a meditation experience of merging into bliss. 

Dead people have a seraphic smile, at least sometimes - maybe this smile corresponds to an experience. 

Nature would be less cruel if this were so - animals get torn to pieces without anesthesia, and they probably have some kind of consciousness.  Maybe bliss at the end of life, evolved for some reason. 

I'd love to believe that the soul can exist independent of the body, and could survive, at least if the survival doesn't follow the grim rules of many religions.   I've heard that some hospitals put pictures facing towards the ceiling where someone's spirit, if it really was up there during an out of body experience, could see them.  But not that anyone did describe what was in the picture after an OBE.  It would help if this were routinely done in hospitals, someone has an OBE and one can check whether they saw the picture ...

Excellent response!

great article by Sam Harris!

Thanks Luara!

The August issue of Esquire has an article on Dr. Eben Alexander, the "proof of heaven" guy.  The article racks a lot of muck.

It seems he has a history of carelessness as a neurosurgeon, a lot of malpractice lawsuits, and he's "cooked the books" on records of his mistakes. 

Also the ER doctor who treated him when he came in with this bacterial meningitis, says he wasn't in a coma because of the meningitis.  He was in a coma because the ER doctors gave him anesthesia.  He came in agitated and delirious, so they anesthetized him.  They withdrew the anesthesia now and then, but he woke up still agitated and delirious. 

The ER doctor read his account and said it was fictionalized.  The weather wasn't as he described it, he didn't yell "God help me!" as he described, etc. etc. 

He would have had brain waves in the coma, not having brain waves is "brain death", not coma.  The article doesn't discuss this. 

This supposedly factual, scientific book about Heaven is actually a fictionalized account of an experience this guy had, reworked into something marketable.  Dr Alexander considers himself now a healer of the soul and people's fear of death. 

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