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No. 12: Fall 1980

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Ndes and reality (whatever that is!)

Several books describing NDEs (Near Death Experiences) have appeared in recent years. The level of objectivity varies widely as do the interpretations of NDEs. Some authors are certain that NDEs confirm life after death; others see NDEs as states of consciousness to be expected from the physiological processes occurring dear death. Now a key medical journal has published a series of opinions by doctors familiar with NDEs and other death-bed events.

Although the articles are quite objective, their thoughts span a wide spectrum. Pure reductionism occupies one end of this spectrum; that is, all NDEs can be explained in terms of known physiological processes. A few doctors, though, point out that NDEs are remarkably consistent regardless of cultural background. One doctor maintains that NDEs are "complex, baffling," and contain "perplexing paranormal features."

(Rodin, Ernst, et al; "The Reality of Death Experiences," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 168:259, 1980.)

From Science Frontiers #12, Fall 1980. 1980-2000 William R. Corliss