The death of the profane essay. Coursework Academic Writing

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By implying that those who reject NDEs as evidence for survival are advocates of some pernicious scientism, Tart presumes that the very issue of contention has already been resolved: that NDEs really are evidence for survival of bodily death. But, of course, this conclusion has been established beyond a reasonable doubt; in fact, it is not even clear that the survivalist interpretation of NDEs is more likely to be true than false. Moreover, Tart fails to recognize that there are perfectly legitimate reasons for maintaining that NDEs are visions of an afterlife—reasons that I have outlined in this essay because few people who've thought about NDEs have even been aware of them.

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Against such observations, Greyson argues that "key features of NDEs ... have not in fact been reported either in clinical seizures or in electrical stimulation of [temporal lobe] brain structures" (Greyson, "Near-Death" 335). But contrary to Greyson, the observations above illustrate that many key features of NDEs are found in such circumstances. Moreover, those advocating a role for the temporal lobe in the production of NDEs are claiming that NDEs 'just are' temporal lobe seizures, but rather that similar temporal lobe activity, other activity in a dying brain, is implicated in NDEs (Blackmore, "Dying" 215-216). That temporal lobe stimulations or seizures do not produce every prototypical Western NDE element, or that they sometimes produce phenomenologically distinct experiences, does not indicate that the temporal lobe is immaterial to producing NDEs. For instance, the temporal lobe can produce visual agnosia, the inability to recognize familiar objects despite clear vision, but temporal lobe or cannot, simply because the former has more profound consequences for overall brain functioning than the latter.

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The cases cited in this essay show that many near-death experiences are hallucinations. NDE cases which include false descriptions of the physical environment have been found not only by different near-death researchers, but by researchers searching for evidence that NDEs are hallucinatory. This motivation among researchers makes it impossible to estimate the prevalence of NDEs with clearly hallucinatory features. As Bruce Greyson points out, the file-drawer problem is a likely factor here: NDE accounts with clearly hallucinatory features may end up filed away indefinitely, while only more dramatic accounts are deemed fit for publication by NDE researchers (Greyson, "Near-Death" 344). Similarly, NDEs with obviously hallucinatory traits seem particularly likely to be underreported by NDErs themselves, given the disparity between how real one's NDE felt at the time and the realization that it could not possibly reflect reality if, for instance, the NDEr communicated with his still-living mother in an ostensibly transcendental realm. Nevertheless, given that many NDEs are already known to be hallucinations, it is likely that other NDEs are hallucinations as well.

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