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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Neuroscientist: Doubt of materialism is “cruel”

In “Near-death neurologist: Dreams on the border of life”, neurologist Kevin Nelson recounts for New Scientist’s Amanda Gefter (4 January 2011) his take on near death experiences. Mostly, it is just materialist explaining away, but there are some useful suggestions:
Lucid dreams are among the closest things we know of to an NDE. They are very similar. Brainwave measurements show that lucid dreaming is a conscious state between REM and waking. During REM consciousness, the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex is turned off. As that's the executive, rational part of the brain, this explains why dreams are so bizarre. But if the dorso-lateral cortex turns on inside a dream, you become aware that you are dreaming. It is like waking up in your dream. When the body is in crisis during an NDE and the brain is slipping from consciousness to unconsciousness, it can get momentarily stuck in a borderland between REM and waking, just like a lucid dream.
Can it indeed? Many people don’t find their lucid dreams bizarre at all; what they often do is represent a life situation as a little drama, with different props and events. Sometimes seeing it clearly that way helps facilitate a solution.

By the way, did you know:
People like to say that these experiences are proof that consciousness can exist outside the brain, like a soul that lives after death. I hope that is true, but it is a matter of faith; there is no evidence for that. People who claim otherwise are using false science to engender false hope and I think that is misleading and ultimately cruel.

There. Anyone who doubts materialism is just plain cruel.

(In fairness to Dr. Nelson, he may not believe that. He may just have to say it to avoid criticism.)

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