The After-Life and Near Death Experiences A2 Module 3 Mr Harding
What makes me ‘me’?
Appearance – my face?
Job – what I do?
Why is an After-Life Desirable?
We will all die
Life is short – it’s hard to accept
Gives meaning to life on earth
Morality – balancing the books
Eternal reward or punishment
A life without restriction
Bible – God’s gift to believers
Reincarnation – improving your varna
Reincarnation – soul gets a new body
Parapsychology – ghosts/spirits of the dead
Immortality of the soul – Monotheism
Resurrection of the Body – Christian
Qualia: felt experiences, eg tasting chips
Dualism: two-fold distinction eg body/mind
Epiphenomenalism: mental events are caused by brain events
Emergentism: humans are only physical
Behaviourism: mental events are just physical behaviour
Identity theory: mind and brain are same object, but with different functions
Functionalism: expressing the mind and body relationship as descriptions of their casual roles
The Soul – Religious Views
Judaism – Genesis 1, Ruach
Christianity - 1 Corinthians 15 the resurrection of the dead
Hinduism – Atman, Samsara
Muscle Spirit/soul desires Organs Will Size, shape, weight Reason Consciousness Flesh Mind Nerves Emotions Personality Qualia Blood
Size, shape, weight
Eastern Religions eg Hinduism
Vedas (Holy Books)
Part of Brahman “Supreme Reality”
Karma – good or bad actions
Until ‘Moksha’ is achieved
“ Just as a person casts off worn-out garments and puts on new, so the disembodied atman casts off warn-out bodies and takes on new”
MOKSHA Good Karma Good Karma Good Karma Good Karma Good Karma Bad Karma Bad Karma Bad Karma Bad Karma
Samsara Case Study
Evidence for Samsara
Hypnotic Regression voice changes memories recalled Verification? Case study
Philosophical Problems with Samsara
Human = body, memory, psychological patterns (personality)
Can I be me without a body? Ice-cream
Can I be me without a memory?
Can I be me with different personality?
Can so many be Queen Vic, King Arthur?
Simply memories from this life
Immortality of the Soul and Christianity
OT – Heb al-mawet lit ‘not-death’
NT Gk athanasia eternal life
Originally immortal, no sickness, pain, death
Made in image of God, breath ( ruach ) of God – ex nihilo – no pre-existence. Corrupted / lost through sin
All will die a bodily death, all will be judged. As sinners – death, hell
Those who die ‘in Christ’ will be raised to life in the last days
Resurrection bodies ‘spirited bodies’
Jesus died and was raised with a ‘resurrection body’
He ate, spoke, touched, had scars “touch me and see I am not a ghost” Luke 24:39
BUT appeared and disappeared
Followers will too be raised to new life
Like seeds sown into ground – new body
Heaven – paradise restored, eternal bliss
Hell (Gk Gehenna) Literal place or state of seperation from God?
Outline the Christian View of the Soul
In the beginning – immortal, perfect
Image of God – ruach
Immortality lost through sin
All – bodily death
Heaven – through Jesus
End of world – bodily resurrection
Evaluating Christian View
Can we be really human, really ‘me’?
Based on faith and scriptural authority
Heaven’s inhabitant are perfect What about disabled, mentally ill? If these are cured am I really ‘me’?
John Hick ‘Replica Theory’ God able to raise people with same memories, personality and physical features (replicas) to inhabit a new earth
Materialism or Dualism ?
Dualism – Plato - body/soul distinct
Soul/mind makes the body a ‘person’
Greeks – good ‘soul’ released from bad ‘flesh’ Hinduism, Christianity
Descartes – distinct – can interact eg nightmare
Is there anything my body can do without my mind? – breathe, heart beat – ROBOT/Machine
Is there anything my mind can do without my body? Reason/think
Plato – ‘reason’ was immortal
human existence is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth , or essential value. Nihilists generally believe all of the following: There is no reasonable proof of the existence of a higher ruler or creator, a "true morality" is unknown, and secular ethics are impossible; therefore, life has no truth, and no action is known to be preferable to any other
Mind and Body.
Dualism = body + soul (mind)
Humans – material/physical So are rocks, plants etc
Humans – able to think – minds CARTESIAN DUALISM
HOW DO WE KNOW THINGS?
Brian (body) sends electrical impulses
Sight – object converted in impulses
Interpreted/recognised by the brain
HOW DO I KNOW YOUR SEEING THE SAME AS ME?
reality – could be illusion or dream
Some P’s “we’re born as a tabla rasa” blank slate
Others “basic data is hard wired” (body) eg redness
Kant “only concepts of time and space are known” everything else is learned PROBLEM – all relative
How is the mind and body linked?
PROBLEM non-material influences material eg olives
material influences non-material eg bereavement
Epiphenomenalism: Brain is like a VCR. Physical events stored and played back by the mind
Emergentism: World is physical, therefore the mind is physical – thoughts/feelings are outcomes of brain activity.
Behaviourism: Skinner. Mind and brain linked through physical activity. Mr X is angry. How do I know?
Wittgenstein – thoughts do not exist – express physical behaviour
How does this effect Immortality?
Emergentism: Undermines immortality/NDE’s as there is only the physical.
Behaviourism: undermines reincarnation and bodily resurrection. ‘Mind’ is language of certain brain activities. If the brain changes…
Near Death Experiences NDE’s are out of body experiences which occur, by definition, when the patient comes close to death. In some cases the patient is deemed to be “clinically dead”, but is resuscitated. These experiences often include OBE’s, contain reports of accurate information and have striking similarities
Some Key Questions
Is this a biological or spiritual issue?
Is there a soul?
When does death really occur?
At which point in the dying process do NDE’s occur?
Can we validate NDE’s using Religious Experience criteria?
Death and Dying
A well researched process – medical
Previously – cardiac arrest
David Lamb ( Death, Brain Death and Ethics , 1985) ‘the irreversible loss of function of the whole organism’
After 10-15 mins of no blood/oxygen supply most of the brain cells and brain stem cells will die. Brain-Stem Death .
A Heart Stops Beating B Brain starts to lose function C Brain loses all function D Brain Stem begins to lose function E Brain Stem loses all function Rigor mortis sets in 15 mins NDE’s
NDE’s: Who Has them? 1
Kenneth Ring (Professor of Psychology at Connecticut Uni)
Suicide survivors – experience the initial peaceful stages but did not ‘enter the light’
Illness survivors were much more likely to ‘enter the light’
Status, culture, religion, age, race had no influence on who has NDE’s
Conclusion – NDE is a dissociation from painful reality, and an ‘embracing of another reality to feel safe’
NDE’s Who Has them? 2
Raymond Moody ( The Light Beyond , 1988)
1 in 30 have experienced or know someone who has experienced a NDE or OBE
Moody’s Research 9 Tunnel experience 14 Sensation of light 17 Audible voice/music 23 Encountering other beings 26 OBE 32 Being in another world 32 Review of Life 32 Feelings of peace FREQUENCIES ELEMENT
Characteristics Kenneth Ring Life after Death 1980
Entering Darkness 23%
Seeing the Light 10%
Characteristics Raymond Moody Life after Life 1975
Hearing the news
Peace and quiet
The dark tunnel
A Being of Light
Effects on lives
New view of death
Case Studies 1
Case Studies 2
Do the Case Studies work?
Authentication: Can we validate NDE’s?
Science / Biology - Empirical Approaches
Philosophy – logical positivism
A biological approach
Increase in NDE’s with increase in resuscitation technology
Oxygen starvation to brain and release of pain-killing chemicals
Comforting images – preparing for death
All in the mind? How could we evolve this phenomenon?
“ death of a person” – bodily death
“ personal identity may survive death… and may be lost prior (biological) death
Biological Approaches 2
Karl Jansen (London Psychiatrist)
Replicate NDE’s through chemicals like Glutamate
Concludes that NDE’s are a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain
Susan Blackmore (1993)
Identified chemical responsible for feelings of peace and bliss
Ronald Siegal (expert in hallucinations)
NDE’s consistent with all other types of hallucinations
Do you agree? Why?
Drug induced hallucinations far more random, chaotic and scary
Logical Positivism (AJ Ayre)
Only verify through the senses if not – “non-sense” NDE’s personal – others can’t engage