How Dying Changes Us

May 15, 2012

Although people have long been curious about the experience of death, the science of the question is still young.

Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel is one of the leading researchers in the field. He says encountering death has had significant impacts for most of the people he's interviewed in his study of near death experiences.

Van Lommel tells Steve Paulson that so much time spent talking death has removed his fear of the end of his life. 


A human is not dead when the heart stops and not even when no electrical activity can be measured in the brain. This is because we cannot measure small amounts of electrical activity in the brain near death. When someone is dead there is no coming back--nobody has and nobody ever will.

As I said in another comment, this portion of the Minding Mortality show was sickening proselytization. It does not reflect what is known by the field of neuroscience. It presented one guy's subjective experience--highly biased. None of the studies cited in favor life after death followed good experimental design. All studies that have had good controls have shown just the opposite conclusion of what was presented.

Why NPR and PRI continue to avoid interviewing good neurologists and neuroscientists who have a healthy scientific skepticism I can only believe is because those in charge wish to proselytize religion. You will never get donations from the majority of elite scientists if you continue to present a one-sided unscientific point of view. It's as if you had only interviewed a climate change denialist for a show about climate change. Disgusting.

Please interview clinical neurologist Dr. Steven Novella for such a show...or someone similarly skeptical of supernatural nonsense. People see what they want to see--especially when it agrees with their religious or political beliefs. Good science is the only way to correct for the biases of individuals.

I liked this segment on TTBOOK - I didn't find it religious, and I'm not religious, myself, so I'm usually sensitive to such things. But, I was left wondering if the stories/data are accurate, and whether they could be interpreted another way. I'd love to read a book about these near death experiences from a scientific, skeptical viewpoint. Can you recommend a title? I've heard some intriguing stories about DMT involvement and would like to learn more.

From the interview "one of the most interesting aspects of this experience, that when you have an experience of only one or two minutes your whole life changes".

From what I collected so far, results seems to show that:
- the word "I" is used when they say "I was floating above or out of my body".
- it is a life's changing experience and mostly a "positive" change

Questions triggered by that first data collection:
1. What is this "I" ?
2. How can such a short experience can have so profound and lasting effects ?

Anyone who has spent years of collecting data –like any scientist– would be qualified to talk about this subject.