NDE's & Verifying External Consciousness

NDE’s & Ver­i­fy­ing Exter­nal Consciousness

Quan­tum mechan­ics arose to explain ‘wob­bles’ in pre­dicted effects of New­ton­ian physics, such as the sta­bil­ity of elec­tron orbitals. Sim­i­larly, sci­en­tif­i­cally ver­i­fied phe­nom­ena in the field of neu­ro­science which con­tra­dict known the­o­ries of brain func­tion, could give weight and cred­i­bil­ity to neu­ro­quan­tol­ogy, stim­u­lat­ing new research and dis­cov­ery. The exis­tence of con­scious­ness out­side the phys­i­cal brain, often recounted anec­do­tally in var­i­ous forms, if ver­i­fied, could be such a phe­nom­e­non. Accounts of ‘Out of Body Expe­ri­ences’ (OBEs), often incor­po­rat­ing ‘Near Death Expe­ri­ences’ (NDEs) have accu­mu­lated over many years, with believ­ers in the empir­i­cal actu­al­ity of the OBE/​NDE, and scep­tics entrenched. After an overview of expla­na­tions and the­o­ries on both sides, with counter-​​arguments, we make the case for a new approach, for iden­ti­fy­ing ver­i­fi­able cases, if any.

This would allow crit­i­cal appraisal of evi­dence, accord­ing to sci­en­tific method­ol­ogy, though with cer­tain inescapable lim­i­ta­tions. Using a spe­cific, much-​​cited case, we show how dis­torted accounts of NDEs may be used to sup­port sup­pos­edly ‘sci­en­tific’ argu­ments. We pro­pose an algo­rithm, to dis­count unsuit­able cases, iden­tify ver­i­fi­able fea­tures, and allow fur­ther rep­utable sci­en­tific study, and an online cache, of suit­able cases. Ver­i­fy­ing out-​​of-​​brain con­scious­ness would stim­u­late new tech­nol­ogy, for med­ical sci­ence, and even com­mu­ni­ca­tion between brains – and new sci­ence to explain it, con­ceiv­ably using quan­tum mod­els, as it’s impos­si­ble accord­ing to cur­rent neu­ro­science. It would advance argu­ments about defin­ing death, even sur­vival after death. How­ever slim the chance of ver­i­fy­ing OBEs, the poten­tial ben­e­fits and advances in sci­en­tific and bio­med­ical knowl­edge make the attempt worthwhile.

Valerie Laws, Elaine Perry

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