Consciousness after Death: “Neurologically Inexplicable”?

Doctors performing “resuscitation medicine” keep finding people living longer after they are clinically dead — and talking about it:

New techniques promise to even further extend the boundary between life and death. At the same time, experiences reported by resuscitated people sometimes defy what’s thought to be possible. They claim to have seen and heard things, though activity in their brains appears to have stopped.

It sounds supernatural, and if their memories are accurate and their brains really have stopped, it’s neurologically inexplicable, at least with what’s now known. Parnia, leader of the Human Consciousness Project’s AWARE study, which documents after-death experiences in 25 hospitals across North America and Europe, is studying the phenomenon scientifically.

Read the whole thing.

3 thoughts on “Consciousness after Death: “Neurologically Inexplicable”?

  1. Well, I’ve been following this type of research for a while now and what has always struck me is that even though the “brain” and heart appear to have stopped, the *cells* of the body are continuing to do their thing, which is why they can resuscitate people. However, once those cells stop working, then the process of decay has started and that is not reversible. So really, these folks who “think” they’ve “died” really haven’t because the cells of the body are still viable. My guess (and I’m no scientist, or doctor, just interested in the subject) is that the some of the brain cells may still be working which is why folks can “remember” certain incidents and/or have “visions”. But it’s not until doctors can “restart” (for want of a better word) the brain that everything kinda “comes back online.” 🙂 Sorry for the computer analogy.

  2. This looks to me to be very far from a slam dunk, but it certainly does suggest that those who rigidly insist that “the mind is what the brain does” are missing something.

  3. The comments on the whole article very quickly disappear into a theological morass, with some folks almost name-calling in their scorn for anyone who ‘draws conclusions’ that appear to contradict mainstream neuroscience and others trying to parse the difference between various Christian explanations for Hell. I recommend skipping most of them.

    The point I wish someone would make is that we have almost no evidence at all for the idea that ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness’ is an output product of the brain. We can readily demonstrate that this or that mental function is hampered when this or that brain structure is damaged, but how is that demonstration different from showing that a radio with a damaged tuner dial may have trouble tuning in a particular radio station?

    We’re a long way from showing whether consciousness ‘arises’ from brain function or is merely ‘facilitated’ by brain function, just as we are a long way from demonstrating much of anything about the possibility of consciousness long after death.

    Except in anecdotal accounts of ghost meetings, of course. But those have not yet been found scientifically verifiable. (Does that mean they don’t exist?)

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