Brain Scientist Defends Near Death Experiences
Mario Beauregard argues that materialist attempts to explain them away ignore the scientific evidence
In his new book, The Brain Wars (excerpted in Salon) Mario Beauregard argues that near-death experiences can’t be dismissed as brain malfunctions or hallucinations. Beauregard is no slouch. He is associate research professor at the Departments of Psychology and Radiology and the Neuroscience Research Center at the University of Montreal. He is the coauthor of The Spiritual Brain with Denyse O’Leary, and he has more than one hundred publications in neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry. Here’s the money quote:
The scientific NDE [near death experience] studies performed over the past decades indicate that heightened mental functions can be experienced independently of the body at a time when brain activity is greatly impaired or seemingly absent (such as during cardiac arrest). Some of these studies demonstrate that blind people can have veridical perceptions during OBEs associated with an NDE. Other investigations show that NDEs often result in deep psychological and spiritual changes.
These findings strongly challenge the mainstream neuroscientific view that mind and consciousness result solely from brain activity. As we have seen, such a view fails to account for how NDErs can experience—while their hearts are stopped—vivid and complex thoughts and acquire veridical information about objects or events remote from their bodies.
NDE studies also suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness. Needless to say, this view is utterly incompatible with the belief of many materialists that the material world is the only reality.
This is one of the most concise summaries of the current evidence I’ve seen. See the whole article at Salon.