E-mail from Michael Roll to Charles Lowson (September 9, 2002): Near-Death Experiences


Charles,

this is the reason why Arthur Findlay insisted on getting rid of the emotive word "spirit" and making sure we always use the scientific word "etheric". I am bringing all the free thinkers with us solely because I have got rid of all the words associated with the evil forces of priestcraft.

This critic finds it much too painful to read the secular scientific case for survival after death on our websites. These people are beyond all help because they refuse to even look. They are just as bad as the Secretary of the Royal Society - Sir George Stokes - who flatly refused Sir William Crookes's invitation to take part in his repeatable experiments under laboratory conditions that proved there are people in the invisible part of the universe.

Dr. Victor Zammit is right, we must treat Randi and these people who have destroyed the good word "sceptic" with the contempt they deserve. We must only deal with scientists - seekers after knowledge - not professional wreckers whose purpose in life is just to throw spanners in the works.

Michael

Michael Roll is referring to the comment below, which was posted to an online forum on September 7, 2002:

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Surely the experiences described by those going through a process of dying is likely to involve chemical and electrical discharges in the brain?

Although the brain is no longer operating normally, many circuits within it will maintain stored chemical and electrical energy that might be expected to drain when the power is turned off. Thus, the experience of a rapid review of one's life, significant others and so forth. The idea that circuits might carry on in some form is supported by both physical and biological evidence.

For example, when a valve amplifier is turned off its volume gradually dies out and there might be various noises as the remaining stored power drains out of the circuits. When an animal dies; their muscles might twitch significantly for quite some time after vital signs indicate death. There seems no need to resort to spiritual explanations for the reported "near-death" experiences. The study described to assess if dying patients actually rise out of their body in any way will be interesting. If the study is properly conducted with adequate controls for contaminating variables and fraud, I have no doubt that it will find no evidence that the mind actually leaves the body.

Unfortunately, such null results are unlikely to be widely disseminated but occasional spurious results and wildly extrapolated conclusions suggesting the existence of spiritual phenomena will always attract a lot of attention.
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