The Out-of-Body portion of a Near-Death Experience
does not provide convincing evidence of Survival.
How do we know when someone is truly dead? Throughout
most of humankind's time on earth, a person was considered dead
when he stopped breathing. Then the ancients discovered the function
of the heart and its stoppage became the measure of death. Today,
most doctors would say that death occurs when there is no longer
any electrical activity in the brain. But, within the cells of the
various bodily tissues, life does not end just because the neurons
in the cerebellum have ceased firing. Such life continues to generate
heat and electro-magnetic fields in addition to doing creepy things
like growing long fingernails on corpses.
So, until a body has truly returned to ashes and
dust, some modicum of energy remains within it. Some part of it
is still living. The question thus becomes: "How certain can
we be that the experiences reported by the brain-dead voyager are
not dependent upon this residual energy?" Given that an unfortunate
without brain waves does actually exit his physical body and observe
and accurately report scenes in the operating room scenes
his physical senses had no way of detecting his ability to
do so could still somehow depend on the cells that remain alive
in his brain and elsewhere throughout his body.
This is especially true in the case of NDEs because
the physical body remains sufficiently alive for the person's brain
function to be restored; otherwise, we would have no report of the
I conclude, therefore, that the experience of an
OBE as part of an NDE can be suggestive of, but does not provide
solid evidence for, Survival.
This is not to say that other aspects of NDEs have
not provided supporting evidence for Survival. In particular, the
corroboration of descriptions of other realms by numerous NDErs
who are unknown to one another indicates that the experiences are
neither dreams nor hallucinations.
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