Have Scientists Really Proven That Life After Death Exist?

April 23, 2018

Is there life after death? For centuries, science has been gradually replacing religion to explain the great mechanisms of life. Reproduction, evolution, diseases, heredity, ageing: the cards are unveiled one by one and combine to form a castle of improbable complexity. But the building rises higher and higher despite a glaring foundation problem: the two greatest mysteries of humanity are still unexplained. Why are we here? What has death reserved for us? We do not know it. And it is these shortcomings that cause billions of people to still believe in God.

Even though science has progressed a lot with humankind. Edifying figures that testify to the powerlessness of the sciences to certain disturbing phenomena. And among them, there is one that is gaining momentum: the Near Death Experience.

1.They claim to come back from beyond the grave

Millions of people around the world are reporting incredible stories after being in a state of clinical death and miraculously regaining consciousness. A white light at the end of a tunnel, luminous beings, an intense well-being, the sensation of leaving one’s own body. The stories are similar. Beyond cultures, ages and beliefs, this sequence the experiences remains surprisingly well preserved. It is said that those people who seem to come back from beyond the grave are experiencing the phenomenon known as the impending death.

And these common traits that are found in most NDEs have been studied by several researchers who now take these testimonials very seriously. It must be said that the progress of the resuscitation have exploded the number of NDEs and it is now difficult to accuse them all of pretending or imagining. Especially among them are eminent scientists such as neurosurgery professor Eben Alexander who changed his mind after having lived the experiment himself and Dr. Raymond Moody who devoted a book to the subject by collecting testimonials in his hospital.

“This backtracking took the form of mental images, let’s say, but it was much more vivid images than normal. I only saw the important moments. It was going fast as if I was flipping through the book of my whole life in a few seconds. It unfolded before me like a prodigiously accelerated thread. While allowing me to see everything and understand everything. This is a testimony as dozens of them are found in Dr. Moody’s collection. And all of them have a slightly mystical hue that make it fascinates as much as complicated.

2.Why are these experiences problematic?

The first problem posed by the impending death experience is the very definition of death. Some of the individuals who experienced this were declared dead by the medical profession. Now, if we consider, as current scientific materialist theories indicate, that consciousness is inextricably linked to the human body, the phenomenon described by these people is totally impossible. Either people are not really dead, or the dominant scientific paradigm of our time is wrong. In one case, as in the other, there is something that we are not seeing yet.

When can a medical team say that someone is dead? This is a question that may seem obvious but whose answers differ according to time and culture. For centuries, the only criterion of death used by doctors was the observation of the inactivity of cardiac and respiratory functions, in other words, cardiorespiratory arrest. It was an extremely readable and sensible test that validated our collective representations of death. Are we not talking about the “last breath” after all?

But with the progress of medicine, we managed to “bring back” people who were believed to be definitely gone. And the boundaries of death had to be pushed back. No, people with cardiopulmonary arrest are not necessarily dead. Advanced ICU care, artificial respirators, defibrillators have shown that the brain can sometimes regain control of vital functions. In recent centuries, billions of men have probably been declared dead while still alive. Condemned, no doubt, but still alive. Could they hear and see the doctor declaring them dead as some people who have experienced this experience claim? We can not know it yet.

Today, things have changed a little. In France for example, death can only be declared if 3 criteria are met:

The total absence of consciousness and spontaneous basic activity

The absence of all reflexes of the brainstem

The absence of any spontaneous breathing

Doctors rely on examinations and observations to certify that each criteria is met. But one of these criteria challenges. Could you define “total absence of consciousness”? Does your doctor know? What do we really know about consciousness when the scientific community itself is struggling to establish a clear definition for it? And you have to prove that people do not have any? How can we do that? Most of the time, the doctor uses common sense and experience to judge if the person is still “conscious”.

But, in case of doubt, he uses an examination that measures the electrical activity of the brain: the electroencephalogram (EEG). Electrodes are placed on the patient’s scalp and the recording device converts electrical pulses into graphic patterns. If the pattern obtained is flat, it is estimated that there is no longer any electrical activity in the brain and therefore we face a total absence of consciousness. A second EEG will testify a little later that the lack of consciousness is irreversible. The method seems solid.

And then in 2011, a study published in the journal PLOS ONE made doubt rise again. Researchers at the University of Montreal have succeeded in demonstrating that unknown brain activity could occur within people in coma with flat electroencephalograms. These unsuspected electric waves, called “Naked complexes”, put an end to a dogma belief that, beyond a flat EEG, there was no longer any possible brain activity. For one of the authors of the study, “it proves that the brain is able to survive an extremely deep stage of coma.” And this proves above all that we do not yet have a clear conception of death. We try to interpret the physiological signs that we are able to detect.

3.How do we interpret these experiences scientifically?

The brain is a fundamental organ of the human body. It is the organ of the soul. To function, it needs to be constantly fed with oxygen and glucose. When it is deprived of one of the two elements, by blocking the breathing or the blood circulation, it undergoes quickly an alteration of its functions. And this is exactly what happens in the event of a heart attack: the heart is no longer able to distribute blood to the brain, which starts to sorely lacking in oxygen.

But what happens between the time the heart stop and the definitive shut down of the brain? Is it during this time interval that the imminent death experience occurs? How much time can elapse between the two events? A few years ago, the researchers estimated that the brain stops about fifteen seconds after the heart stops. But in 2013, an experiment that was conducted on rats showed that the brain still recorded activity up to 30 seconds after the cardiac arrest occurs. And that this activity testified to a particularly intense state of awakening. Several publications including the famous AWARE study now quantify the period during which a state of consciousness is possible despite the cardiac arrest at 3 minutes, even when there is no electrical activity.

The brain does not stop when the heart stops beating. On the contrary, it increases its activity. The brain struggles. For the majority of materialistic scientists, it is during this period that the imminent death experience occurs.

Deprived of oxygen, the brain makes every effort to cope with this unprecedented biological drama. It tries to regulate the communication that became difficult between the cells by massively releasing glutamate, a very active substance that stimulates the memory. And to curb the disruption of calcium content that leads to excess of the glutamate, the brain also produces a substance close to ketamine, known for its hallucinogenic effects and its ability to cause disconnection of the sensory level. But the part of the brain that would be mainly involved in the Impending death experience would be that of the temporal lobes, known to play a role in cases of epilepsy, intense emotions, recall memories and depersonalization. Their slow agony would participate actively in the experiment. Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield has managed to recreate some of the sensations of this phenomena by stimulating this area within some of his patients. The tunnel itself finds its explanation: the random excitation of the visual cortex would produce a brilliant light effect in the center of the visual field and a fade to darkness on the periphery.

4.Another life was waiting for us

People who shared their experiences were not brought back from the dead but were saved at a very close point to death. No one can say, then, that they indicate what is waiting for us all at the final stage of death. But they can give us an idea of what awaits us before this fateful moment, and everything indicates that there would be a life after life.