Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pen And Teller And There Show Bullshit On Near Death Experiences

I have watched there show on youtube on near death experiences and I must say I was totally disappointed but not surprise at all. They use the same old arguments such as a lack of oxygen in the brain and they use scientists to support there claims such as Dr.Barry Bernstein and Christof Koch who works in Computation and Neural Systems. they also mention the certifuges test done on pilots flying at high amplitudes when they blacked out and loss oxygen in their brain. First of all none of the pilots reported a accurate out of body perception
for example in The Irreducible Mind Book

Anyone who has studied the subject knows that reductionists like to explain near-death experiences in terms of purely physical causes. The authors show the inadequacy of all such explanations. For instance, there is the claim that oxygen deprivation can bring about an NDE.

One of the earliest and most persistent of the physiological theories proposed for NDEs is that lowered levels of oxygen (hypoxia or anoxia), perhaps accompanied by increased levels of carbon dioxide (hypercarbia), have produced hallucinations.... One study frequently cited is that of Whinnery (1997), who compared NDEs to what he called the "dreamlets" occurring in brief periods of unconsciousness induced in fighter pilots by rapid acceleration in a centrifuge... He claimed that some features common to NDEs are also found in these hypoxic episodes, including tunnel vision, bright lights, brief fragmented visual images, a sense of floating, pleasurable sensations, and, rarely, a sense of leaving the body. The primary features of acceleration-induced hypoxia, however, are myoclonic convulsions (rhythmic jerking of the limbs), impaired memory for events just prior to the onset of unconsciousness, tingling in the extremities and around the mouth, confusion and disorientation upon awakening, and paralysis, symptoms that do not occur in association with NDEs. Moreover, contrary to NDEs, the visual images Whinnery reported frequently included living people, but never deceased people; and no life review or accurate out-of-body perceptions have been reported in acceleration-induced loss of consciousness. [Page 379]

Dr. Van Lommel's well-known paper also notes that cerebral activity flatlines within 4 to 20 seconds of cardiac arrest.

The medical facts are that when a person's heart stops they lose total consciousness within seconds. EEG and brain stem monitors show no brain activity. There is no gag reflex, no pupil response, they are dead. The brain cannot produce images in this state, and even if it could, you couldn't remember them.

The Dying Brain Theory also doesn't explain why only 18% of those who are brought back from clinical death experience an NDE, while the remaining 82% do not. If it's to do with the dying brain you would not expect that.

Also as Dr.Peter Fenwick points out "Simultaneous recording of heart rate and brain output show that within 11 seconds of the heart stopping, the brainwaves go flat. Now, if you read the literature on this, some skeptical people claim that in this state there is still brain activity, but, in fact, the data are against this in both animals and humans. The brain is not functioning, and you are not going to get your electrical activity back again until the heart restarts." (Dr. Peter Fenwick)

Dr.Sam Parnia: "During cardiac arrest brainstem activity is rapidly lost. It should not be able to sustain such lucid processes or allow the formation of lasting memories."

These points Pen and Teller clearly ignored because it does not fit in with there cherished worldview.

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