The Problems With NDE Claims – Comprehensive

Question from Miguel:
Often times, NDEs [near death experiences] sound quite compelling, and some OBEs [out of body experiences] sound very compelling. The thing is that they are anecdotes, and so far, no one has fully demonstrated that they are real. An objective measure would be to place targets in hospital rooms and see if patients during their OBEs can have them. People who believe in OBEs will always say, “well the brain was dead, it couldn’t have picked up information, and it sure as hell couldn’t have generated a whole classic realer than real NDE”. A few things that don’t make sense though about NDEs are:
1) How does a soul which is not supposed to be physical pick up light and sound, but also go through walls and ceilings? What would be the point of a creator giving us ears or eyes if we could see and hear with souls? There has also been an inconsistency in OBEs. For example, the vast majority of people say they float through objects, while Howard Storm (atheist who became a reverend after his NDE) claimed he was walking, and could feel the cold floor during his OBE, which is inconsistent.
2) NDEs can happen when a person is nowhere near death, there are cases of them occurring when someone jumped off of a bridge or when someone got into a near car accident.
3) Rarely, but sometimes, there are documented inconsistencies during the NDE. For example, very rarely, but once in a while, people will have NDEs with live relatives, or they will have NDEs telling them things about the future that don’t end up taking place.
4) Evidence of the brain when it gets damaged seems to suggest that souls don’t exist.

Now here is my question. In recent years and even months, many people who research NDEs will take cases like a person having an NDE when they aren’t anywhere near death and say “well, the fact that this person who jumped off a bridge had an NDE when they weren’t near death proves that hypoxia or lack of oxygen cannot be the cause for NDEs. Then they say that the recent rat experiment where a doctor took rats near death and saw their brain activity spike is not relevant because when someone who is not near death has these, their brain would not have these spikes, yet they have NDEs. They also interview NDErs who also tried ketamine and DMT and claim that the drugs are no where near as “real” as the near death experiences were. Then they claim there is no evidence that the brain releases DMT. Then finally, we have neurosurgeons like Eben Alexander and Peter Fenwick who criticize neurosurgeons against NDEs and will always use the “but the brain can’t create that kind of imagery in those situations” argument, and that studies show that most cardiac arrest patients who had NDEs didn’t in fact have less oxygen in their brains than normal. Would you say that even if it was true that the oxygen, hypoxia, anoxia, and ketamine/DMT explanations were not true, that it would mean NDEs are? It seems like they don’t make sense if you look at them on their own, but there doesn’t seem to be a sufficient scientific explanation for them at the moment. Would you still think they were not real, even if all the current science explanations failed?

Answer by SmartLX:
We’re talking about an argument from ignorance here, Miguel. Even the best case is still a logical fallacy.

The reason you’re supposed to accept these claims that peoples’ souls left their bodies and had independent experiences is that there is supposedly no other way that what happened could have happened. This is flatly contradicted as long there are other potential explanations, because there are other ways it could have happened. Even if all these other explanations are eliminated (and as you say, many try their hardest to do just this), the most they can honestly say is there there is no other known way it could have happened. This does not complete a proof by elimination because it leaves room for explanations that haven’t occurred to us yet.

To summarise all this very simply, there is a BIG difference between an event being unexplained and an event being proven supernatural.

12 thoughts on “The Problems With NDE Claims – Comprehensive”

  1. The question was: “Would you say that even if it was true that the oxygen, hypoxia, anoxia, and ketamine/DMT explanations were not true, that it would mean NDEs are?”


    If one explanation is not correct or true, that doesn’t make any of the other explanations more true, or even more likely. Each explanation has to stand on its own merit. In other words, each explanation has to be proven to be accurate on it’s own data and evidence.

    It is worth noting, by the way, that there are also people who have concluded the opposite of what folks like Alexander and Fenwick have stated. It is hardly a settled issue, and as you mentioned Miguel there needs to be more controlled testing in real environments (putting up targets during surgery for example) to help us determine what is really going on.

    1. As far as the Bible is concerned the soul is an actual living person. At death there is not a part of us that goes flying off to heaven or hell. That breath of life that God placed in Adam and later distributed to every being that followed, the Bible says goes back to God who gave it. “GOD’S WORD® Translation
      Then the dust [of mortals] goes back to the ground as it was before, and the breath of life goes back to God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7. Some translations do translate this word breath using the word spirit. And because of this many have fallen for the lie invented by the Catholic Church that a person dies and goes to heaven or hell. But the Bible actually teaches that a person who dies goes to sleep and no where else until they are resurrected when Christ returns. Then the righteous dead are taken to heaven along with those who believed in Christ and were still living. And the wicked dead, all died when Christ came the second time, are resurrected after the 1000 years. But no there is no floating off of a part of a person. That is a lie.

  2. As far as the Bible is concerned, it’s OK to have slaves. It’s OK to stone your children for disobedience. It’s OK to smite your maid, as long as they don’t die from it…

    I don’t think we need to use that collection of ancient writings as a legitimate source of information for anything…

  3. The Bible never once said that it is okay to have slaves. It talked about slaves. But Christ did say “when the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
    15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:15-18

  4. Really? Exodus 21 ring any bells? “When you buy a Hebrew slave”? Or, “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.”

    Your attempted rationalization is ridiculous, preacher Gerald. We all see you try to avoid the truth of your Bible, and then try to slide into some kind of “we are slaves to sin” sermon instead. We aren’t fooled so easily…

  5. There was no rationalization intended. I simply stated what was said in the Scripture. And I’m pretty sure that you will agree with me that God never said that slavery was wrong. He did point out that it was necessary to care for the slaves that an Israelite owned. And as I pointed out in my last post, Christ did tell His people that He wanted to set them free. And Paul reiterated the sentiments of Christ about slaves being treated well by the slave owners. He also told Paul to let us know that a slave is supposed to serve their master as best as he can. He said that we glorify God when we do all the best we can. But, and it is so strange that you don’t look deeper into what you are seeking to try to bring down. God. Did you know that every seven years the slave was set free. A slave most of the time became a slave because of debt owed. This was mainly for the Israelite nation. The other slaves were taken as usual. They were captured. But one thing you need to be told. Israel never attacked a nation that never try to eradicate the nation of Israel. Then and only then did God direct Israel to attack or when they were attack, He told them to defend themselves. And when slaves were taken by Israel they were not treated as they were by the surrounding nations. You’ve read how Rome treated their slaves. They were sent to the lions or worse. You read how Egypt treated their slaves. They were used as slave labor till they dropped dead. God did not allow this. So please stop getting only the part of what you want that will make you feel good. Go for all the truth. Just because God tells the story of how things actually were, doesn’t mean that He is saying it is ok. Or are you saying that because God gave the history of how Egypt, enslaved Israel that He was saying that what happened was ok? No. God told the history that happened without sugar coating it. The good and the bad. Even when it centered around His own people. Just like when David the friend of God. Please check out Acts 13:22. But when David committed adultery, and having the ladies husband killed on the battle by a letter to David’s General, delivered by the man that was to die, God nailed David to the cross. (so to speak). But God knew that David just lost his head due to sin. And that David would change and become His friend. So even though you and other Atheists are headed down the wrong path, there is still time for you. But you have to become a friend of God. But that is easy. Just accept Him as your friend. That’s all He is waiting on.

  6. “And I’m pretty sure that you will agree with me that God never said that slavery was wrong.”

    So you agree that slavery is considered OK in the Bible then, correct?

  7. Once again. The Bible is a record of what has happened in the past. It tells us what God did for His people when they followed and obeyed Him. And it shows what He did when they turned away from Him. Did He allow slavery, among His people, yes. But it was not the type of slavery that the other nations had accepted. For one thing, it was used to as a method for the Children of Israel to pay a debt owed to another Child of Israel. But it also made sure of a way that the person in debt would have a way to eat and have a place to stay. Because many times that person has had to rent out their land to fulfill other debt. Like I said slavery was more like indentured servitude. But for God’s people that person was set free on the year of Jubilee, or on every seventh year. And while in slavery, or in servitude, they were required to be treated by the person they worked for with love and respect. And this included even those who were not of the tribe of Israel. They were at least offered their freedom after a time.
    But once again, the Bible is a record of what happened during biblical days. If you want to know what God expected of His people, How He wanted them to live, then please pay attention to how He instructed His people to live through His 10 commandments. “Don’t lie”, Don’t commit adultery, don’t bear false witness, “Don’t want something of some one more than you want Me”, and especially don’t want it so much that you would do anything to obtain it.” And “Honor your father and mothers.” And the other things that broke down the meaning of those commandments. Like “love thy neighbor as thy self”, or “treat others as you would have them treat you”, or “how ever you treat others is the way you are treating me”. And even “let the little children come unto me”.
    You know, it strikes me strange that when ever someone who wants to bring down the Bible and God, always pull out the bad things that happened in God’s word, even if it was not God that did the bad things, and never talk about the good things that God spoke. Like the list that I mentioned above.

  8. Gerald writes: [Once again. The Bible is a record of what has happened in the past. It tells us what God did for His people when they followed and obeyed Him. And it shows what He did when they turned away from Him. Did He allow slavery, among His people, yes. But it was not the type of slavery that the other nations had accepted. For one thing, it was used to as a method for the Children of Israel to pay a debt owed to another Child of Israel.]

    Uh, Deuteronomy 20: 10-11? “When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you.”

    Pretty obvious they were allowed to take their enemies as “forced labor” aka slaves. Later on it says you can take the women and children “as plunder for yourselves”. Chapter 31 in Numbers allows virgin women to be kept as plunder (after killing off “every male among the little ones” naturally)…

    Nice try, preacher Gerald, but your god was quite the bastard when it came to the treatment of non-combatants during a war, and it heartily endorsed slavery of all types.

  9. Forced labor, does not have to mean what you are thinking it means. I already pointed out that God had a special way for His people to act. And that way was for all who they came into contact with. God had His people permit others to live with them and learn of God. They had the opportunity to live as God has told His people to live. With out these teachings the other people were worshiping false god’s and sacrificing their children to those gods. And as pointed out, many of those nations has become so evil,(like Sodom and Gomorrah), that to have association with them would put those who associated with them in danger of being lost. We do the same thing when we send individuals to the death penalty. You can harp all you want about how God did this but, you fail to see that He had a world to save. And once again, you love to place only one side of God in front, and then not stating all the facts. But God has proven His love to this world, before His death for man and when He died. His story has been told. Accept what you want. But all He want’s for you is to live. That is what has happened when Christianity has gone into other countries. Providing schools, hospitals, and churches that take others out of religions that enslave them to ignorance and to those who take advantage of their ignorance. These are facts. Too bad you permit yourself to be fooled.

    1. Dear readers,

      Did you see what preacher Gerald did there? In a conversation about slavery and what it says in the Bible, he posts a reply devoid of biblical support and doesn’t talk about slavery! He avoids the topic completely, and instead takes rule #1 out of the sermon playbook and tells us how great his god is and how people are to blame for everything.

      This is standard Christian diversion technique. When faced with insurmountable facts, start preaching. Justify how others are treated by claiming they were “permitted” to live with “his people” even though this god supposedly loves all yet has a chosen people. This god loved all and so newborns had to drown in a world wide flood…

      It’s that kind of mind-numbing contradictory nonsense that gets spouted when indefensible passages from the divinely inspired word of a god are brought to the attention of adherents like preacher Gerald. Which is why you didn’t see a continuation of the conversation we were having. Instead you were treated to empty baseless claims of a supposedly loving god who never acted loving.

      We see what you did there Gerald, and we aren’t impressed.

  10. Interesting. How you fail to see what is and what isn’t true. Tim. Just what did I spout that was not backed up biblically? I already stated that God allowed Israel to take slaves but those slaves were treated with respect. Not put into the arena. They were treated as a creation of God. Or God so desired. Did some people take advantage, more than likely. But God gave instructions on how to treat them. It is only that God is dealing with imperfect humanity. He permitted things that later He would deal with more completely. There were things that had to be dealt with immediately, and there were things that, although bad, did not warrant immediate action. All you have to do is read the whole Bible through and see the depth of God’s love for His creation, and you will see, that God does not want anyone in slavery. Especially spiritual slavery. And as people came closer and closer to Christ, He taught them of the better way to live. Attack all you want. But people would rather read all of God’s word and allow Him to reveal what He really wanted for man. And who He really is.

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