The Instigator
Sagey
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Stirling
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

NDEs and OBEs are Not Experiences, They are Hallucinations So Should Correctly Be NDHs and OBHs.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,051 times Debate No: 42666
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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Sagey

Pro

There have been many extravagant claims regarding what are incorrectly termed "Near Death Experiences" and "Out Of Body Experiences" OBEs. YET: Nobody In History Has Been Able To Come Close To Demonstrating That Such Claimed Experiences Are Not Simply Hallucinations. In Fact: Everything About NDEs and OBEs Can Be Considered as Part Of a Hallucination, Thus They Should Be Termed, "Near Death Hallucinations" NDHs and "Out Of Body Hallucinations" OBHs, Respectively.

Yet not one of any of the claims for them being experiences has ever demonstrated any actual Experiences* that can be considered as validated.
Every event and perception claimed as an experience can be generated by neuronal stimulation, either by a magnetic field (god helmet) or probes in the Temporal Lobe structure as Hallucinations.
It appears that many of the claimed experiences happen under some form of medication or anesthetic, such as in an operating theater where the blood has either introduced hallucinogens, toxins or toxins produced by the body undergoing the process of death, such as high levels of CO2 in the blood stream.

Also, the Temporal Lobe feeds off and stimulates audio/visual (Illusion) recollections or associated memory recall from sensory (audio/visual/touch/smell, etc..) input.
When under the process of surgery in an operating theater, the blood contains anesthetics (known to produce hallucinations) and other chemicals, some natural cortisones produced by the body undergoing trauma/shock, also known to produce hallucinations.

Plus the fact that the auditory system is often the last sensory perception to shut down and people talking in the operating theater has been known to stimulate visions and other voices that come from within the patient's own recollections, these combine to produce a composite Hallucination, which the patient can often recall as an NDH or an OBH.
Definitions from Google:

*Experience:
Noun:
  1. practical contact with and observation of facts or events.
    "he had learned his lesson by painful experience"
    synonyms: involvement in, participation in;
  2. An event or occurrence which leaves an impression on someone"audition day is an enjoyable experience for any seven-year old
synonyms: undergo, encounter, meet, have experience of, come into contact with,run into, come across, come up against, face, be faced with, confront,be forced to contend with;
Verb:
encounter or undergo (an event or occurrence).
"the company is experiencing difficulties"
synonyms: undergo, encounter, meet, have experience of, come into contact with,run into, come across, come up against, face, be faced with, confront,be forced to contend with



Hallucination:
noun
  1. An experience involving the apparent perception of something not present.
    "he continued to suffer from horrific hallucinations"
    synonyms: delusion, illusion, figment of the imagination, vision, apparition, mirage,chimera, fantasy, dream, daydream;

Since there has never been any tangible evidence providing any proof that their NDHs nor OBHs were actual real experiences (NDEs/OBEs), or interacting with real objects, real people or even visualizing real spiritual beings, they can not truly be considered as Experiences but are most Definitely Hallucinations.

Groups of researchers have tried to provided evidence that they are indeed Experiences and that there exists an afterlife, such as "The Awareness Project" headed by Dr. Sam Parnia, yet, to this very date, they have not been able to produce a single shred of evidence in favor of their gross misconceptions.

An amusing reference for NDHs is: Why a Near-Death Experience Isn’t Proof of Heaven
By Michael Shermer Here's an introduction: http://splashurl.com...

On OBHs: Some research suggests OBHs are linked to Brain Glitches:
http://splashurl.com...

Enjoy
Stirling

Con

Hello!

I, unfortunately, am not a medical genius. However, I will argue via the English point of view.

An experience is: practical contact with and observation of facts or events. etc. As you already stated

An event however is:
a thing that happens, esp. one of importance.

and to happen is to occur. Now I wish to draw to your attention one such synonym for happen is to materialize which is to appear in spiritual form. Hallucination appears to fall within the half spiritual category.

I do agree nobody actually can provide proof [i.e. allowing someone into their brain] but I believe it proof enough that so many people of different origins, races etc all experienced this. Despite not having proof per se, it is not responsible or possible to rule out the possibility of this being real. And allow me to remind you a hallucination is typically of th unreal form.

Why our brain experiences NDE [or NDH if you prefer] is not known. True. But there are many very possible factors. These include deprivation of oxygen or perhaps a physical shutdown of the body temporarily. However, NDE is widely considered and accepted as a real event and in no way is simply a hallucination. In fact, there are even characteristics that are common for this.

  • A sense/awareness of being dead.
  • A sense of peace, well-being and painlessness. Positive emotions. A sense of removal from the world.
  • An out of body experience. A perception of one's body from an outside position. Sometimes observing doctors and nurses performing medical resuscitation efforts.
  • A "tunnel experience". A sense of moving up, or through, a passageway or staircase.
  • A rapid movement toward and/or sudden immersion in a powerful light. Communication with the light.
  • An intense feeling of unconditional love.
  • Encountering "Beings of Light", "Beings dressed in white", or similar. Also, the possibility of being reunited with deceased loved ones.
  • Receiving a life review
  • Receiving a "life preview" in the cases of George Ritchie and Betty Eadie, which Ring calls an NDE "Flash Forward".
  • Receiving knowledge about one's life and the nature of the universe
  • A decision by oneself or others to return to one's body, often accompanied by a reluctance to return.
  • Approaching a border.
  • The notice of unpleasant sound or noise (claimed by R. Moody).
  • Connection to the cultural beliefs held by the individual, which seem to dictate the phenomena experienced in the NDE and the later interpretation thereof (Holden, Janice Miner. Handbook of Near-Death Experiences. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publishing Data, 2009.).
  • A sense of going across a bridge where the dead relatives are calling.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Now, obviously, NDE can be easily passed off as crazy or insane. But it is pretty hard to put it down as a hallucination if a great number of people experience it, can we?

Debate Round No. 1
Sagey

Pro

Thanks Con for your Input: Which may be quite valuable as this debate progresses.

Con states: An event however is: a thing that happens, esp. one of importance.

Yes, though an actual "Event" as used in the definition of an Experience, is an objective (tangible) entity, yet the imaginary events of Hallucinations are Subjective entities, and Subjective entities do not actually exist, so call an unreal, imaginary, subjective event an experience is not accurate, a more accurate term is Hallucination, thus a Near Death Hallucination makes far more rational sense than the term Near Death Experience, as to call them experiences is misleading and leads to individuals, such as others I have had similar debates with, into thinking of NDHs as being proof of subjective reality, like afterlife, which in fact they are not.

Firstly: Buddhism has taught that our sense of Self is an Illusion, made up of many Components. Neurology has found much agreement with this teaching of Buddhism.

Here is a Youtube clip where V.S. Ramachandran, discussing the workings of the human mind with a Buddhist Researcher B. Allan Wallace.

Their topic is "The brain, the mind and its potential "



Ramachandran stated that the big difference between humans is that humans are not happy just being human, humans want to transcend their mortal frame and reach for the stars.
I translate this to: Humans are essentially Ego driven our human ego is not happy with just being an extended upright ape. This is one of the essential driving forces for subjective, artificial reality and religious concepts in humans. Some modern humans, like myself are happy with just being an upright, very clever ape.

Here is a statement from Oliver Sacks who has been researching Neuro-Psychology, NDHs, OBHs and Hallucinations.
Sacks is regarded as the world's leading authority on Hallucinations.
His book entitled "Hallucinations" is well worth reading.

"
Sooner or later, with this intensive practice, for some of the congregants, the mind may leap from imagination to hallucination, and the congregant hears God, sees God, feelsGod walking beside them. These yearned-for voices and visions have the reality of perception, and this is because they activate the perceptual systems of the brain, as all hallucinations do. These visions, voices, and feelings of “presence” are accompanied by intense emotion — emotions of joy, peace, awe, revelation. Some evangelicals may have many such experiences; others only a single one — but even a single experience of God, imbued with the overwhelming force of actual perception, can be enough to sustain a lifetime of faith. (For those who are not religiously inclined, such experiences may occur with meditation or intense concentration on an artistic or intellectual or emotional plane, whether this is falling in love or listening to Bach, observing the intricacies of a fern, or cracking a scientific problem.)

In the last decade or two, there has been increasingly active research in the field of “spiritual neurosciences.” There are special difficulties in this research, for religious experiences cannot be summoned at will; they come, if at all, in their own time and way — the religious would say in God’s time and way. Nonetheless, researchers have been able to demonstrate physiological changes not only in pathological states like seizures, OBEs, and NDEs, but also in positive states like prayer and meditation. Typically these changes are quite widespread, involving not only primary sensory areas in the brain, but limbic (emotional) systems, hippocampal (memory) systems, and the prefrontal cortex, where intentionality and judgement reside.

Hallucinations, whether revelatory or banal, are not of supernatural origin; they are part of the normal range of human consciousness and experience."

From: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com...

Essentially, Sacks sums up much of my case in this.

CON also stated:
" NDE is widely considered and accepted as a real event and in no way is simply a hallucination. In fact, there are even characteristics that are common for this.

  • A sense/awareness of being dead.
  • A sense of peace, well-being and painlessness. Positive emotions. A sense of removal from the world.
  • An out of body experience. A perception of one's body from an outside position. Sometimes observing doctors and nurses performing medical resuscitation efforts.
  • A "tunnel experience". A sense of moving up, or through, a passageway or staircase.
  • A rapid movement toward and/or sudden immersion in a powerful light. Communication with the light.
  • An intense feeling of unconditional love.
  • Encountering "Beings of Light", "Beings dressed in white", or similar. Also, the possibility of being reunited with deceased loved ones."
Problem for Con is, all these and much more, can also be products of Hallucinations.

1: They don't really have any sense of being dead, because, brain wise, they are not really dead, as they have neuron function at least, likely a lot more is still working, in order for them to recover as they do.

2: Hallucinations often bring a sense of surreal calmness, even my own experiences of Hallucinations have all been peaceful and I too have had OBHs where I actually floated above myself and watched myself grow old.

3: The tunnel experience is extremely common in Hallucinations, and Hallucinations are often far more vivid than reality.

4: A feeling on unconditional Love is a chemical inbalance, likely Oxytocin and Dopamine are being released or present which gives humans that feeling of being carressed and loved. Also present in Hallucinations.

5: The sense of light, is also common in Hallucinations, Sacks covers this in his book, "Hallucinations".

Both Ramachandran and Sacks have separately stated that there is nothing in NDE and OBE experiences that do not occur in Hallucinations.

Hallucinations were the reason for much of my experimentation with drugs in the 70s, I was a seeker of Hallucinations, Oliver Sacks experimented on himself in similar ways, yet he had more medical knowledge about what he was doing.
One cough mixture that we would use to generate hallucinations, often had the person surrounded by people, deceased and not deceased as if they were really with them. In one deliberately induced Hallucination, I had many of my friends telling me jokes that I had never heard before and my grandfather who died two years before was with them, though his voice did not match and when asking one of those I met a year later which told me the very funny joke, he did not know it.
So I realized from the start that it was a hallucination, with real people in it.

My brain created the whole party scene and filled that party with familiar faces. Yes, the brain is an amazing organ.

Yet it can also be incredibly Deceptive, which is likely what NDHs and OBHs are, brain based illusions, that are so real that they become delusional.

We are being deceived by our brains 24/7, Buddhism agrees with this as the Buddhist hints on that clip I started this post with.

Enjoy the clip! It's very though provoking! :-D~
Stirling

Con

Thank you Pro for your speedy reply.

For somebody that disagrees so heavily with religion cite:

[It is okay to force Creationist beliefs on someone else]

http://www.debate.org...

[Religious Fundamentalists are the Least Intelligent Humans]

http://www.debate.org...

you certainly trust heavily in Buddhism. A single religion's beliefs [as you so eloquently state in a few of your debates] do not reflect the truth. Near Death Experiences and Out of Body Experiences are not simply hallucinations.

"unreal, imaginary, subjective event "

Unreal is certainly possible. The definition of unreal being so strange as to appear imaginary; not seeming real. But that simply states it not appearing real. Not that it isn't.

Imaginary, however, is simply not likely. Please check out this link http://iands.org...

I realize IANDS.org is a biased source but aren't all sources that way now? Especially your whyevolutionisture.wordpress.com. In fact, a Google link check simply shows many more personal biased blogs linking ba to it and as a result is not, in my opinion, reliable. To be subjective is to be based on one's whims. I don't recall many people daydreaming about dying or coming close to it.

And again, after reading so many eloquent essays on how religion is stupid, moronic, wrong... I do not understand how you can reference a religion to prove your point on a simple name change.
Debate Round No. 2
Sagey

Pro

Thanks again Con:
Though on continuing with the subject and I should really let Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris have the most say on NDHs, which they wrongly refer to as NDEs.

;

This is rather amusing.
Notice the account of the shoe on the windowsill. The most likely reasons for noticing the shoe, was she may have seen it once during the time in hospital, awaiting the operation, but, her brain focused on it while having her hallucination.
The other reason could be that she heard somebody mention it (remember the auditory system sometimes doesn't shut down) either on the way to the operating theater or from one of the staff in the theater.

As far as those experiencing going to Heaven, bright light of such a place, etc.., we must remember, they haven't really died, so that so called experience can be cancelled by this fact and deemed entirely a Hallucination.

Con Stated:
"you certainly trust heavily in Buddhism. A single religion's beliefs [as you so eloquently state in a few of your debates] do not reflect the truth. Near Death Experiences and Out of Body Experiences are not simply hallucinations"

No, I'm Not for all of Buddhism, I'm into Confucianism, well some of it, the parts that believe in Educating the Masses. Is I've already indicated on our other debate.


I only attack religions that push entirely Irrational tripe without bothering to consider genuine Knowledge. I'm against religions that push Extreme Ignorance of reality, which is Most Of Them.

Where a religious concept supports genuine scientific or rational, critical concepts, I will support that part of that Religion.
There is an awful lot of spiritual nonsense in many forms of Buddhism that I do not support.
The Buddhist in my last Clip, is a pseudo-Rationalist, some of his concepts are beyond credibility and therefore I do not support those, neither does Vilaneur Ramachandran, who is my real mentor in that discussion, since I'm studying the work of Ramachandran, who is considered one of the top Neurology researchers in the world.
You can tell by his expressions and having to bite his tongue, at some of Wallace's statements to avoid conflict, because he certainly does not agree with Wallace's concepts of Cosmic Consciousness.

There are open minded Christian groups that I do not consider as completely ignorant of reality.
There are also many Christian Scientists, in fact, at the moment, the vast majority of scientists are Christians who are not entirely Ignorant, well, at least in their respective fields.

One of those is the Barna Group, headed by George Barna, who at least try to do Honest Research.

Another is "The New Covenant Group", who appear to be far more open minded in their discussions with Atheists. Especially their Michael Dowd, who I consider as the most Rational, Critical Thinking Christian I've ever witnessed in my life.

Such as this discussion they televised with Michael Dowd and Steve Shives (Atheist).
Steve Shives Critiques Christian Apologetics.
Yes, general consensis is that all Christian Apologetics is Nonsense!



Enjoy!

On Christianity, Morality, Illusion, Delusion, all which are relevant to NDHs and OBEs is that they are Illusions, I'll leave the last word for this comment with the renowned, Educator, Neuroscientist/Philosopher, Sam Harris.

#t=181

Enjoy!

Stirling

Con

My opponent again uses his round to delve into his religious views and spends one sentence discussing the topic at hand.

"On Christianity, Morality, Illusion, Delusion, all which are relevant to NDHs and OBEs is that they are Illusions"

These six items corrolate in the strangest of fashions- if at all. Morality, the act of being moral, is most definitely not an illusion. An illusion is, of course, as pointed out by my opponent, synonymous. Same can be said for delusion. Christianity, however, is not an illusion. An illusion is something wrongfully perceived by one's senses. It would impress me greatly if you could wrongfully perceive something like Christianity with your five senses.

NDE and OBE are not illusions because they are not wrongfully perceived. They are seen, heard, felt by your senses and truly percevied. It is a ridiculous argument that one does not perceive NDE and OBE.
Debate Round No. 3
Sagey

Pro

Thanks Con: A nice short reply.

Though Con: Rather arrogantly, without giving any evidence for his brash statement whatsoever: "NDE and OBE are not illusions because they are not wrongfully perceived. They are seen, heard, felt by your senses and truly percevied. It is a ridiculous argument that one does not perceive NDE and OBE."

Neuroscientists, who study the workings of the human brain the world over, know full well that NDE's and OBE's definitely are Illusions. No patient in history who claims an NDE nor OBE has ever been able to prove that their event was not an illusion. They have never, ever proved that the event was an actual, realistic experience, they only feel realistic or even ultra realistic, as Hallucinations often do.

Here is a nice piece of realistic information concerning OBEs:
"

Both OBEs and NDEs, which occur in waking but often profoundly altered states of consciousness, cause hallucinations so vivid and compelling that those who experience them may deny the term hallucination, and insist on their reality. And the fact that there are marked similarities in individual descriptions is taken by some to indicate their objective "reality."

shutterstock_59735221.jpgEEG with epileptic waveforms [Wikimedia Commons]

But the fundamental reason that hallucinations -- whatever their cause or modality -- seem so real is that they deploy the very same systems in the brain that actual perceptions do. When one hallucinates voices, the auditory pathways are activated; when one hallucinates a face, the fusiform face area, normally used to perceive and identify faces in the environment, is stimulated.

In OBEs, subjects feel that they have left their bodies -- they seem to be floating in midair, or in a corner of the room, looking down on their vacated bodies from a distance. The experience may be felt as blissful, terrifying, or neutral. But its extraordinary nature -- the apparent separation of "spirit" from body, imprints it indelibly on the mind and may be taken by some people as evidence of an immaterial soul -- proof that consciousness, personality, and identity can exist independently of the body and even survive bodily death.

Neurologically, OBEs are a form of bodily illusion arising from a temporary dissociation of visual and proprioceptive representations -- normally these are coordinated, so that one views the world, including one's body, from the perspective of one's own eyes, one's head. OBEs, as Henrik Ehrsson and his fellow researchers in Stockholm have elegantly shown, can be produced experimentally, by using simple equipment -- video goggles, mannequins, rubber arms, etc. -- to confuse one's visual input and one's proprioceptive input and create an uncanny sense of disembodiedness."
From: http://www.theatlantic.com...;

I myself have regular OBHs, and I know for sure they are hallucinations, I also know that they are triggered by sounds and voices, as my auditory functions stay up, long after I go into a subconscious state, this may mean a neurological issue with my auditory connections within the brain, which is one of the main reasons I started delving into neurology in the first place, to understand my own brain. Or maybe I've created these connections with my form of Buddhist like meditation, but I know I often appear to leave my own body, once in hospital, supposedly still under an anesthetic induced coma/subconscious state, I left my body and hovered above myself, it seemed frighteningly real, though what led me to realize that it was an illusion was two details, firstly I actually watched myself aging, secondly the meter that measured my pulse and blood pressure were on the wrong side of the bed in my illusion. This is because I could hear it coming from my right when laying on the bed and the brain kept it on my right while floating above the bed (auditory triggered illusion) which meant it was on the left of my bed in my illusionary vision.
Yet, the images in my illusion seemed more real than reality.
This is also explained that since there is little or no signal noise coming from all my other physical sensors and brain fuctions, my brain can focus more intently on my vision than it can focus on what you see in real life, because of other sensory/brain signal noises, so the visions in hallucinations like mine are far more vivid than reality.

I often enjoy OBHs while either in meditation/entranced or sometimes during sleep.
Often if a vehicle passes while I'm in such a state, I suddenly find myself physically outside observing the apparent, illusional event, I know these are illusions because sometimes it is late at nights and dark outside, but I'm standing out on the street in broad daylight, my brain has forgotten the time in the illusion, especially if people are talking outside, I'm suddenly out there with them, as if it was ultra real. Though I also find many triggers in my recall of these visions that tell me that they are definitely illusions. Such as I'm outside in front of my house, where somehow it is broad daylight at 3am and looking back into my driveway I see my favorite car that I wrote off months before the vision, but the number plate cannot be read. This is probably because I can never remember my own license plate, thus my brain cannot produce it.

If anybody can prove they are not hallucinations, but experiences of real events, then they would elegible to claim the 1 million dollars posted by James Randi, for proving that a paranormal event exists.

Another fact that demonstrates the illusionary properties of NDEs and OBEs are those that have visions of their God(s) and Heavens, the particular God or Gods (for polytheistic theists) always conform to the religion they were indoctrinated (conned) into believing.
A Hindu will have one, some or many of their Gods present, a Christian will nearly always have Jesus, though occasionally Yahweh preseint and a Muslim will always find Muhammad or Allah present in his Illusion.
This fact alone demonstrates clearly that the images are drawn from within their own brain's image base.
Sorry Con: Making blanket statements without providing some evidence to support them is highly Irrational and indicates blind bigotry, not rational nor skeptical criticism.

Sam Parnia's "Awareness Project" and other scientific studies into NDEs and OBEs have been trying for over twenty years to prove your case.
So far, they have produced absolutely no evidence that NDEs nor OBEs are real experiences.
Their failure increases the probability that my Title Statement is correct.

In other words, the lack of evidence against NDEs and OBEs being Hallucinations and the Neurological studies now discovering the likely causes and triggers for Hallucinations only go together to make my case far more plausible than my opponents.

For Instance:

"Recently, a host of studies has revealed potential underpinnings for all the elements of such experiences. "Many of the phenomena associated with near-death experiences can be biologically explained," says neuroscientist Dean Mobbs, at the University of Cambridge's Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. Mobbs and Caroline Watt at the University of Edinburgh detailed this research online August 17 in Trends in Cognitive Sciences."

From: http://www.livescience.com...

Here is an extremely old (1991) neutral statement by Susan Blackmore in the "Skeptical Enquirer",
Though we must remember that neuroscience has discovered a thousand times more information about the brain since then.
http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk...
Wonder how much she would change her mind if updated with current research findings.

Here is a Q & A section on Dr. Oliver Sacks, dealing with sections of his book "Hallucinations".
Sacks is still considered the world's leading authority on hallucinations
http://healthland.time.com...

Con: is blatantly misrepresenting the practical Truth.


Stirling

Con

Stirling forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
A little disappointed Con didn't try to defend himself, though I guess, I really left him nowhere to go.
Because the evidence for NDEs and OBEs being nothing but hallucinations is now overwhelming.
Had I posted this debate 20 or even 10 years ago, con would likely have the upper hand.
It's pretty amazing how much the very new science of Neurology has discovered in it's short existence.
And it is only getting started, as it has had some initial teething issues, the same as evolution had 150 years ago, but, it is nearly over them and likely the knowledge will snowball, in the same way evolutionary knowledge has. We know a billion times more than Darwin ever did, yet it still supports his original concepts, that's pretty amazing in itself.
Posted by imsmarterthanyou98 3 years ago
imsmarterthanyou98
I coulden't agree more haha then they go on to claim it as evidence of an afterlife, how absurd.
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