A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife



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IT seems like every other week mainstream newspapers trumpet some new study claiming that some researcher has found a simple physiological explanation for near death experiences.

This week newspapers throughout the world have been reporting the issue as having been settled by the research of Dr Lakhmir Chawla who they say has discovered that near death experiences are caused by “a surge of electrical activity triggered by the brain in the moments before death” which caused vivid mental hallucinations.

If they had read Dr Lakmir’s original research published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine they would know that he had observed this effect on only 7 patients, none of whom was able to report a near death experience since they all died.

The report shows that he is merely SPECULATING that people who had this surge of electrical activity MIGHT have seen something.

And even if the patients’ near death experiences were accompanied by a surge in electrical activity it does not show a causal connection.

In any event Dr Lakmir’s research, and the many other attempts that have been made to explain the NDE as a result of a whole host of physiological factors including oxygen deprivation, hallucinogenic drugs, carbon dioxide in the blood, the shutting down of the dying brain etc made no attempt to explain all the other features of Near Death experiences:

* The fact that millions of people during the NDE have had detailed real, accurate and confirmed perceptions of what is happening around them and at a distance from them. These are not visual and auditory hallucinations or projections of imagined happenings.

*The fact that many of these people have conversations with relatives who have died before they were born whose existence they did not know about and bring back knowledge of these people that is later confirmed.

* The fact that NDE encounters are sometimes shared between people who are in accidents together.

* The fact that, according to the International Association for Near Death Studies, around eighty percent of the people who experience near-death states claim that their lives are changed forever. They experience specific psychological and physiological differences on a massive scale which may cause major adjustment difficulties for, on average, seven years but especially during the first three years. This is true with child experiencers, as well as with teenagers and adults.

These after-effects are shared by people, including children, who had intense experiences in a particularly vivid dream, while meditating or who have narrowly escaped death.

* The fact that some people have near death experiences when there is NOTHING physically wrong with them (Kason 1994: 73).

Elizabeth Fenwick, co-writer of the book The Truth in the Light—An investigation of Over 300 Near-Death Experiences (1996) actually began her research thinking that all could be explained in scientific terms. But, after investigating, she concluded:

“While you may be able to find scientific reasons for bits of the Near-Death Experience, I can't find any explanation which covers the whole thing. You have to account for it as a package and skeptics... simply don't do that. None of the purely physical explanations will do. They (Skeptics) vastly underestimate the extent to which Near-Death Experiences are not just a set of random things happening, but a highly organized and detailed affair (Fenwick 1995: 47).”

These views were supported by a study of Near-Death Experiences in Holland by cardiologist Dr William van Lommel and his team who studied 345 cases who would have died without resuscitation. Ten per cent recalled a substantial Near-Death Experience and a further eight percent had a less pronounced one.

These patients were compared to a control group who were identical in terms of seriousness of their illness but who had not had a Near-Death Experience. According To Dr Van Lommel (1995):

"Our most striking finding was that Near-Death Experiences do not have a physical of medical root. After all, 100 per cent of the patients suffered a shortage of oxygen, 100 per cent were given morphine-like medications, 100 per cent were victims of severe stress, so those are plainly not the reasons why 18 per cent had Near-Death Experiences and 82 per cent didn't. If they had been triggered by any one of those things, everyone would have had Near-Death Experiences (Van Lommel 1995)."