Mind Power News
Friday, March 12, 2004/ Issue No. 34/ 2004 by Andreas Ohrt
www.mindpowernews.com


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This week: Science Studies Near-Death

Go Towards the Light: One in ten cardiac-arrest patients report "near-death experiences". Now a large-scale study aims to find out what's going on.

Professor Sees Light at End of Death's Tunnel: The existence of an afterlife is a mystery that has plagued religion, philosophy and psychology since their conception - until now.

Quantum Immortality: One of the most controversial interpretations of the many-worlds theory of quantum mechanics implies that a conscious being, once alive, can never cease to exist.



New Scientist: Power of the Paranormal

This week's edition of New Scientist (cover date March 13, 2004) includes a special feature titled "Power of the Paranormal". Unfortunately, these articles are not yet available on the web (I will pass them on to you as soon as they are posted) but you might like to head down to the magazine shop to see the latest scientific thinking in this arena.

Here are the stories in this week's New Scientist:

ON THE EDGE OF THE KNOWN WORLD
Why are we no nearer to knowing whether paranormal powers exist?

THE POWER OF BELIEF
Believers in the paranormal are more likely to get good experimental results. Some say this is the ultimate proof; others that it is a fatal flaw.

OPPOSITES DETRACT
The better the evidence for ESP gets, the harder opponents dig in their heels.

Source: New Scientist


Go Towards The Light

By Clint Witchalls
The Independent

When Jeanette Atkinson was 18 years old she was admitted to hospital with deep-vein thrombosis and seven pulmonary embolisms. At 9pm, Jeanette remembers the light changing, and she had the sensation of floating out of her body, down the ward and past the nurse station. The light changed again, and she found herself entering a long black tunnel. "It was turning like a corkscrew and at the bottom of this tunnel were these most fantastic lights, just like a child's kaleidoscope," she recalls. "I was going towards these lights and it was wonderful, it was peaceful, and then all of a sudden, a voice said to me: 'Come on you silly old cow, it's not your turn yet.' And I was back in my body. Back in pain, with a crash team round me. I don't remember anything else after that."

Jeanette had a strange but by no means unique experience. As many as one in 10 patients who recover from cardiac-arrest report a near-death experience (NDE), a term that came into common use in 1975 after the American physician, Raymond Moody, published the seminal book on NDE, Life after Life. It sold more than 13 million copies. Everyone wanted proof of eternity, and Moody seemed to supply it. Since then, much of the excitement has waned. People have made up their minds: either they believe NDE to be real, or they think it's just New Age mumbo jumbo; opinions have become entrenched. Nevertheless, serious scientific research has been going on in the USA, the UK and Holland.

In the UK, Dr Sam Parnia, of Southampton University, and Dr Peter Fenwick, a neuropsychiatrist, are about to embark on a large-scale study that will, among other things, look at the phenomenon of out-of-body experience (or, to use the medical parlance, "veridical perception"). They will place objects out of the line of sight of cardiac patients and ask them to report on what they saw during their out-of-body experience. Smaller studies have so far proved inconclusive. Dr Parnia and Dr Fenwick's study will cover at least a dozen hospitals in the UK.

Many people who have an NDE have reported similar experiences: a feeling of floating out of the body; a journey through a dark tunnel; a light at the end of the tunnel; feelings of indescribable joy, love and peace. Sometimes they meet a supernatural being, maybe Jesus or Buddha. There may be a reunion with deceased relatives or friends. There is often a review of their life. At some point on this journey, they get a strong pull to go back, because it's not their time yet. These experiences are fairly consistent, regardless of culture, age or religious conviction.

These people have all been dead, in a clinical sense - in other words, they have no pulse, and their pupils are fixed and don't react to strong light. Of course, they're not brain dead. There's no coming back from brain death. So are they really dead? This has been a bone of contention throughout the whole NDE field. Surely this is just a dream? An hallucination caused by a brain starved of oxygen and sugar? But Dr Parnia points to studies that have shown that during cardiac arrest and advanced cardiac life support, global brain function ceases. EEG studies have shown that electrical activity in the brain ceases at least 10 seconds prior to the heart stopping, and doesn't show any activity for up to two hours after the heart has been started again.

Of course, there's nothing to say that these experiences don't happen during the recovery phase. This is one of the arguments Dr Parnia wants to verify, by hiding his test objects in places that are only visible from above. "The key to solving this mystery lies in the accurate timing of the experiences," he says. "If it can be proven that this period of consciousness has indeed taken place during cardiac arrest, it will have huge implications."

Whether these experiences are transcendental, psychological or physiological is still open to debate. What is certain, however, is that NDEs are life- changing. "I don't fear death any more," says Jeanette. "For me, death is a progression of life. You go on to somewhere better."

"My first near-death experience was more real than ordinary life," says Dr Blackmore. "You feel as though you've woken up for the first time and that this is real and ordinary life isn't. But good science will explain those experiences to people and help them to value them, without making false leaps into paranormal belief."

So Dr Parnia and Dr Fenwick may never prove that the mind is separate from the brain, but even if they don't, their study could provide other benefits: "We may also be able to discover the biochemical pathways that convey the sense of joy that accompanies NDEs, and in so doing harness their power to treat patients with severe depression," says Dr Parnia.

Read the full article here: The Independent UK



The technology the U.S. Government almost banned!

Subliminal messaging is powerful. In fact,
subliminal messages were almost banned by the
U.S. Government in the 70's, stating they
"give individuals too much of an edge".

Experience the power of subliminal messaging: Subliminal-Power



Professor Sees Light At End Of Death's Tunnel

By Sarah Stanton
Arizona Daily Wildcat

The existence of an afterlife is a mystery that has plagued religion, philosophy and psychology since their conception - until now.

For seven years, Gary Schwartz, a UA professor and director of the Center for Frontier Medicine in Biofield Science, has been conducting afterlife experiments and research that he believes prove the survival of human consciousness after death.

"When you look at the totality of the data, the simplest and most parsimonious explanation that accounts for the largest amount of data is the survival of consciousness hypothesis," he said.

The experiments are performed in a lab with a medium, a sitter and Schwartz. A medium is someone who believes that he or she can communicate with the dead, and a sitter is a person who wishes to gain knowledge about a deceased loved one.

The medium receives messages from the dead and then relays them to the sitter, who tells Schwartz if the information is correct or incorrect. These messages can include the deceased's cause of death, memories that include the deceased and the sitter and "signs" for the sitter that indicate the deceased is around him or her.

After the experiment, Schwartz analyzes the data and determines the accuracy of the medium's reading.

In this process, he rules out information that the medium got about the deceased before the experiment or that the medium got with clues from the sitter. Schwartz also rules out any information that may have involved cheating or fraud.

At the UA, Schwartz is also performing experiments to determine the nature of the afterlife. In this research, the medium asks the deceased a series of 30 questions, including, "Where are you? What do you see? Do you sleep? Do you have sex?"

Schwartz says the data from these experiments are "extremely interesting," but more data needs to be collected before any conclusions can be drawn.

He acknowledges that it can be difficult for people to believe that consciousness survives death, and that mediums can communicate with the dead.

"I have something called 'PESD,' or Post-Education Stress Disorder. I was taught throughout school that this stuff is impossible, and I think a lot of other people were too. But how much data do you have to see before you accept a new vision?" Schwartz said. "The psychology department is to be commended for honoring academic freedom and for allowing science to function as it's meant to function, which is allowing the data to speak for itself."

Source: Arizona Daily Wildcat



Quantum Immortality

Quantum immortality is the name for the speculation that the Everett many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that a conscious being cannot cease to be. The idea is highly controversial.

The idea comes from a variant of the quantum suicide thought experiment. Suppose a physicist standing beside a nuclear bomb detonates it. In almost all parallel universes, the nuclear explosion will vaporize the physicist. However, there is a small set of alternate universes in which the physicist somehow survives. The idea behind quantum immortality is that the physicist is only alive in, and thus able to experience, one of the universes in which a miraculous survival occurs, even though these universes form a small subset of the possible universes. In this way, the physicist would appear, from a personal point of view, to be living forever. There are some parallels in this with the anthropic principle.

Many people regard this idea as nonsense, and argue that this outcome does not fall out naturally from the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. They say that in the vast majority of universes, the physicist would cease to exist and therefore the most likely experience of a physicist standing next to a nuclear explosion would be the experience (or lack of experience) of ceasing to exist. The counterargument to this is that lack of experience is not itself an experience.

The critics argue that the continuity of consciousness, and the possibility of it enduring forever, are actually assumptions in this scenario, and ones with no physical basis. They also claim that the logic of the thought experiment would suggest that a conscious observer can never become unconscious, and therefore can never sleep. A counterargument to this is that there may indeed be parallel universes in which one never falls asleep; however, the subset of universes in which this happens is vanishingly small compared to the subset of universes in which one falls asleep and later wakes up again. Therefore, given the assumption that consciousness will continue, it is far more likely to continue into the latter set than into the former.

Proponents of the idea point out that while it is highly speculative, there is nothing in the notion of quantum immortality that violates the known laws of physics.

Although quantum immortality is motivated by the quantum suicide experiment, Max Tegmark, one of the inventors of the quantum suicide thought experiment has stated that he does not believe that quantum immortality is a consequence of his work. His argument is that under any sort of normal conditions, before someone completely ceases to exist they undergo a period of non-quantum decline (which can be anywhere from seconds to minutes to years), and hence there is no way of establishing a continuous existence from this world to an alternate one in which the person continues to exist. However, the idea of a "non-quantum decline" has no basis in any known laws of physics.

Source: Wikipedia



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