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P. David Hornik


February 16, 2014 - 8:00 am
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sam parnia

Sam Parnia is one of the world’s leading experts on death—on how people can medically be brought back from the dead, and on what happens to the mind, or soul, or consciousness, after people die.

Of UK origin, Parnia works these days as assistant professor of medicine at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. He is also directing the joint American-Canadian-British AWARE study, which he calls “the world’s largest ever study of mind and brain during cardiac arrest.” And he is the author, most recently (with Josh Young), of Erasing Death, an up-to-date exploration of both of Parnia’s areas of expertise—resuscitation from death, and death itself.

About half of this book focuses on resuscitation science—which, since the 1960s, has been able to bring people back from states of clinical death. What Parnia has to say is interesting and informative, though it is not the reason I got hold of the book; I’m more interested in what could be called the mystical angle.

Basically, in Parnia’s telling, resuscitation science is both making unprecedented advances and not doing that well. Thanks to the new technique of cooling the body of a clinically dead person, cell deterioration in the body can be slowed down, and people can be resuscitated for ever-longer periods after death has occurred. On the other hand, survival rates—the percentages of people who are actually brought back to life—are still low and have not improved since the 1960s. “It’s really amazing,” Parnia says, “but absolutely true.”

What’s needed, Parnia contends, is for the resuscitation field to be much better organized, standardized, and coordinated. At this point, the quality of resuscitation care you get at a hospital—or whether you even get it—is pot luck. Parnia thinks the situation can be drastically improved, which would not only mean bringing a lot more people back to life, but restoring a lot more of them intact instead of in vegetative or brain-damaged states.

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Top Rated Comments   
Bookmarked and passed on. Looking forward to part two. Thank you for posting this.
That each of us is an irreducible scientific entity which cannot be destroyed leaves me beaming with delight.

Grave, where is thy victory ? Death, where is thy sting ?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (31)
All Comments   (31)
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The list of evidence supporting the survival of consciousness is too long to list here; but you can read some of the evidence here:

A. Scientific evidence suggestive of an afterlife:

B. Evidence from quantum theory supporting the survival of consciousness after death:

C. Evidence of an afterlife from near-death research:
Near-death experiences (NDEs) offer the best scientific evidence suggestive of an afterlife. But skeptics and materialists like to dismiss NDEs as being caused by brain anomalies – even though it doesn’t matter WHAT mechanism causes NDEs when determining whether NDEs are real afterlife experiences or not. Nevertheless, brain anomalies have already been ruled out (see A.) Also, the materialists' so-called "CAUSES of NDEs" are actually only the SIDE-EFFECTS of having an NDE.

And if NDEs are nothing more than a final hallucination before total oblivion (as claimed by materialists), then they need to examine ALL the evidence such as:

(1) NDE experiencers can have verified out-of-body perceptions where they see and hear very detailed events and conversations sometimes hundreds of miles away. Google: "veridical near-death" or "George Ritchie".

(2) People born blind (or color blind) can see correctly for the first time in their lives during a NDE. Google: "Vicki Umipeg".

(3) Memories of NDEs are more real than normal memories. Google: " Steven Laureys" near-death.

(4) The level of conscious alertness during NDEs are usually greater than that experienced in everyday life - even though NDEs generally occur when a person is unconscious or clinically dead. Google: "Jeffrey Long" "nine lines of evidence".

(5) A vast number of NDEs occur while the NDE experiencer is under general anesthesia - at a time when any conscious experience should be impossible.

(6) The NDE "life review" provides the NDE experiencer with a perfect playback of real events which previously occurred in their lives - even if the events were forgotten or happened before they were old enough to remember. Google "Jeffrey Long" "nine lines of evidence".

(7) NDE experiencers bring back important scientific discoveries. Google "Mellen-Thomas Benedict" or "Lynnclaire Dennis" or "Ralph Duncan".

(8) NDE experiencers report seeing visions of the future which actually occur as foretold. Google "Ned Dougherty" or "Dannion Brinkley".

(9) Children’s NDEs, including very young children who are too young to have developed concepts of death, religion, or NDEs, are essentially identical to those of older children and adults. Google: children near-death experiences

(10) NDEs are remarkably consistent around the world and across many different religions and cultures. Google: "NDEs of Hindus" (for example).

(11) NDE experiencers encounter people who are virtually always deceased and are usually relatives of the NDE experiencer including relatives who died before the experiencer was even born. Google: "Jeffrey Long" "nine lines of evidence".

(12) It is common for NDE experiencers to have powerful, life-enhancing, and long-lasting major life changes and aftereffects after having an NDE.

(13) NDE experiencers themselves are practically universal in their understanding that their NDE was a real afterlife experience. Google: near-death aftereffects

(14) NDEs are drastically different from hallucinations. Google: "NDEs are not hallucinations".

(15) NDEs have been documented throughout history including ancient times. Google: Plato Er near-death

(16) Here is a YouTube video of a doctor describing a patient who successfully read a 12-digit number while out of their body:

(17) Other research related to veridical (verified) perception in NDEs exists, such as:

a. Veridical out-of-body experiences (Google: "Charles Tart")
b. Veridical deathbed visions (Google: "Carla-Wills Brandon")
c. Veridical dreams (Google: "Claire Sylvia")
d. Veridical after-death communications (Google: "Bill and Judy Guggenheim")
e. Veridical remote viewing (Google: "Joseph McMoneagle")
f. Shared death experiences (Google: "shared death experiences").

Too many skeptics and materialists who draw materialistic conclusions about NDEs have simply not done their homework.

Kevin Williams
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
To date, out-of-body experiences where people see things that could not have any awareness of, are all anecdotal. But this is the one aspect of NDE’s that could be tested scientifically.

And that is exactly what the AWARE study was supposed to do. From a summary of the AWARE study: “they will also be testing the validity of out of body experiences and claims of being able to see and hear during cardiac arrest through the use of randomly generated hidden images that are not visible unless viewed from specific vantage points above.”

This is harder than it might seem. These images would have to be placed in hundreds of locations in hospitals where cardiac arrest might occur, to get a statistically significant probability of a hit. Then someone has to have an NDE that they remember, and they have to have an out-of-body experience, and it has to take them to locations up high were these images could be seen, and they have to remember the images. Then the protocols are complex. The images have to be changed periodically, and no one in contact with the NDE person can know what they are.

Can you imagine what would happen if out-of-body experiences were proven scientifically?

The problem is, the folks doing the AWARE study have been promising results for years, and delaying results for years. It has been going on since 2010 and there aren’t any updates since January 2013. I’d really like to ask Dr. Parnia what is going on with this study.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Funny how, after all these books and movie deals, no one has actually come back from the dead. Like, after a MONTH. From the ground.

Even thought the rights would be killer-imagine the movie!!

Another odd thing, the being of love and light. So nice. And the first thing this being of love and life does, is put you through a "life review". Without asking you if you would like such a thing. With no warning, or explanation. Against your will. Nice. Does not sound like the Jesus I know.

Apparently. beings in the afterlife, still lie, use force against you, have their own agendas, and are not what they seem. So, just like home then! Really, why even bother dying?

Is every person who has an NDE brain dead, for real? They never noticed the contradiction between the feelings they felt, and the actual behavior, of the being of "love"?

One thing is for sure, the scumbag, greedy con-artist doctor hasn't. Or, prefers to keep that to himself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This whole discussion centers around the scientific definitions of "death" and "consciousness."

At the moment, if I understand correctly, "consciousness" is thought to be an electro-chemical process that occurs in the brain (or the product of such a process - sort of like "motion" is the product of the mechanical-chemical processes inside a running car).

Again if I understand correctly, the definitive "death" is currently thought to be "brain death," indicated by the complete cessation of all electro-chemical activity in the brain. Your body can be kept alive with machines, but if your brain activity is gone then so are you.

So if we hook an unconscious person's brain to an EEG or scan it with FMRI and it shows zero electro-chemical activity, that means the subject is completely, indisputably, and irreversably dead.

Note that this doesn't tell me about anything ELSE that might be happening in, around, or to the deceased. Only that they are, for practical purposes, gone and not supposed to come back.

So I guess I need to know whether any NDE-experiencers have been examined with EEGs or FMRI or any other electro-chemical-activity-detecting equipment at the "point of death" and afterward.

If there's some data, I'm prepared to listen.

If there's no data, then I file NDEs in the same drawer with ghosts and UFOs - i.e., things a lot of people have "witnessed" but the existence of which no one has ever "proved." That means I neither feel the need to believe in them ( believer) or reject them (skeptic).

The drawer is marked "Weird S**t That Nobody Can Explain."

I'm comfortable with that. Don't need closure. I'll find out for sure in a few years.

(show less)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Irreducible consciousness. I'm skeptical. Consciousness is always consciousness of something. I have no consciousness of unconsciousness; recalling a dream, an interlude of consciousness, does not count. I have never succeeded in being conscious of the consciousness (mind) doing the consciousness, much less some putative irreducible consciousness or mind that would exist after my death or existed before my birth.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I like the way this is laid out. Lots of angles. Charlie Martin's funny because, in a way, he perfectly describes the conundrum by asking "how do you know you're conscious NOW, let alone after death?" That's healthy to put on the table, I think.

So, we work with certain assumptions. I assume I'm conscious and, as my own flavor of faith, assume that others are conscious, too. So, maybe one of the beauties of afterlife ( SUPPOSING an afterlife), is in knowing that 'you' and
'others' are conscious.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cool stuff.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This irreducible consciousness is "empathy", and it is what connects us and the furthest reaches of the universe together, instantaneously. See Bell's Theorem for proof.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The description of the city is very similar to Sr John's description of the New Jerusalem. I am just making an observation here, please don't preach to me "skepticism". I am reading The Age of the Universe by Professor Gerald L. Schroeder and there are some interesting concepts about time and our experiencing of time that IMHO fit with these experiences very well. Since it is impossible to experiment with this in the laboratory it is very likely that we as a species will never be able to comprehend this mystery.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Doctor writes: "Whatever this being or feeling was, it completely transformed him[ Joe Tiralosi]."

OK, so Joe, who was a cab driver, was completely transformed into a concert pianist or Cosmologist? What does "completely transformed" supposed to mean. How does "science" prove a "complete transformation?"

In addition isn't it possible that the current signs of death recognized by Medicine are premature phases for some patients for whatever physiological reason. The signs of death now described as such could be a step or steps to final or true death.

Speaking as a skeptic, no, I don't like it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You don't like what? This was a super-loving, merciful being of light. I'm missing what is not to like.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Duh, I was responding this comment by David: " the skeptics may not like it, but doctors and their staff are hearing more and more accounts from revived patients like this one, told by a patient to a nurse in Parnia’s AWARE study..."

Ask Catino, he'll tell ya, Text comprehension 101. The doctor attempts to speak as a scientist making a scientific observation, not as a religious figure. That's the entire point of this piece. Look people, those back from the dead see It. The scientific world is now beginning to see evidence of life after death. You don't see this as the central point of this Doctor's work?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh, I see what you're saying. Never mind.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Because he had experienced this luminous feeling, he said that he was no longer afraid of death. Whatever this being or feeling was, it completely transformed him."

The cab driver's words as reported by the doctor. You should talk to the cab driver and ask him. The doctor is obviously reporting on what he heard from the patient. The doctor is NOT defining an event scientifically.

Text comprehension 101.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Catino, JoanE below understands the purpose of the piece, why don't you, you're as smart as anybody else? But I am skeptical and I didn't like what I read, OK? David was right.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, Catino, my good friend, if an astronomer says the moon is made of cheese, you say I should go ask the man in the moon if that is really true? Text comprehension isn't all there is. What one comprehends deserves examination, I'm sure you would agree.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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