Sunday, March 06, 2011

NDEs and Biology - Dr. Eldon Taylor Explores


Dr. Eldon Taylor asked us to submit some questions for his upcoming guest, Neurologist Dr. Kevin Nelson, scheduled for March 15 at Hay House Radio. Dr. Nelson, a near-death experience skeptic, claims that his new book – The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain: A Neurologist's Search for the God Experience – is the first comprehensive, empirically tested, and peer-reviewed explanation of the biology behind near-death experiences. Eldon tells us that by using brain scans, Dr. Nelson claims he has mapped the borderlands of consciousness concluding that spirituality is a part of our biology  – nothing metaphysical going on, just strictly a biological phenomenon like any other. As such, he argues that spirituality and religion are not much more than throw backs to superstition.

See some reviews (including ours) of Dr. Nelson's book. Also, see Victor Zammit's recent newsletter which has a fair amount of significant information about NDE.

Here is what we sent off to Dr. Taylor for his consideration:

1.    In August's recent paper, "The Disparity of a “Standards of Care” for Spirit Mediumship as a Permissible Behavioral Health Care Profession" it’s noted that increasing numbers of doctors (and patients) of the Western realms— especially scientists of the quantum mechanics assembly—are openly acknowledging and encouraging the exploration and use of non-visible energies that may contribute to and maintain mental, physical, and spiritual health. Due to remarkable achievements of science, medicine, and technology—notably quantum mechanics, neuroscience, and neuroimaging, respectively—major changes are rapidly occurring in the ways in which health issues are perceived and addressed, while transforming interdisciplinary attitudes.
“Non-visible energies” includes those evidenced by NDE’s and the various ranges of psychic abilities and phenomena. The vast range of the light spectrum and the phenomenon of dark energy matter also apply here. Is Dr. Nelson able to envision a future where technology has advanced to allow detection, measurement, and analysis of currently non-visible energies for researchers from many disciplines, to explore non-visible energies and previously unknown aspects of physical and mental aspects of the human experience?

2.    The following quote is from our book, The Risen:
“While materialistic science is a process of discovery, noetic science is one of recovery — recovering that which we already intuitively know. This is not to say that materialistic scientists are discovering new things. Rather, the nature of their discoveries is that they are uncovering things which lead to intuitive knowledge.” 
What is Dr. Nelson’s response to this idea?
3.    Maslow saw the Western worldview as typically deficient in its perception, due to limited judgments resulting from researchers not sharing the experience of the subjects they study. In science this results in a kind of “single vision.”  Having similar experiences to those they study could result in “double vision,” where the world can be seen from inside the experiential paradigm and from their own limited viewpoint as well. There are scientists who maintain a healthy measure of skepticism about skepticism, and remain open while questioning. This openness has led to emerging, revolutionary scientific models, such as R. A. White’s Experiential Paradigm, which asserts that there’s a form of knowing that can only come from having been immersed in a particular experience. This means that the worldview of one who has experienced near-death can only be objectively analyzed after the analyzer has also subjectively experienced it. We suggest that because NDE experiences often take place outside the constraints of space and time, they may therefore pose serious challenges to those scientists who have always relied on the space-time matrices in their laboratories. Does Dr. Nelson feel he has a single vision approach? Has he had any interesting experiences, and does he rely only on such matrices to process them?

4.    In his book, Dr. Nelson suggests that the term “spiritual” refers to direct personal experience, regardless of social context. He states that “an implicit and essential feature of spiritual experiences is that they are exclusive to individuals and are not shared directly with others” (p. 26).  Tim and I would suggest that to attempt to reduce any spiritual experience to essentials and exclusivities is the futile action of a mind that seeks to separate itself from the Whole. Does Dr. Nelson profess this conclusion in separation from the culmination of his own experiences with his spiritual self and shared experiences with the spiritual selves of others?

5.    Pin van Lommel, a well-known Dutch cardiologist, just published his book, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience. [A great book! AG]  He states that current surveys show that the 93% of today’s leading scientists do not believe in God or an afterlife, while 91% of the U.S. population does believe. He notes that generally, contemporary science seems convinced that consciousness, including the conception of numinous experiences, is exclusively a product of the brain, and remains rooted in a picture of reality based solely on physically observable data. Dr. Lommel asserts that “true science does not restrict itself to narrow materialist assumptions but is open to new and initially inexplicable findings and welcomes that challenge of finding explanatory theories. Science equals asking questions with an open mind and ought to be based on curiosity. Abnormal findings offer the chance of modifying existing scientific theories or replacing them with new insights that do offer an explanation.” Does Dr. Nelson agree with Dr. Lommel’s attitude that, “ … contemporary science ought to review its implicit assumptions about the nature of reality because they have led to the neglect or denial of important and as-yet-unanswered questions about consciousness”?

6.    Quantum mechanics theories are proving to have major significance in researching and describing spiritual experiences, including the nonlocality that is often reported in NDE’s.  In his book, Dr. Lommel speaks of a hidden or non-visible reality that, at the quantum level, exerts a continuous influence on our physical world, which is the complement of nonlocal space. While interpenetrating the local consciousness of the physical brain, nonlocal consciousness expands unbounded beyond it, and is believed by many to support perceptual reality. This concept underlies theories about after-life survival, remote viewing, and other out-of-body experiences. There appears to be a noticeable omission in Dr. Nelson’s book about quantum systems – was this intentional?