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NDEs and Sleep Paralysis

One of the more prominent news stories doing the rounds at the moment is on the results of a study into the links between Near Death Experiences and sleep paralysis. While it’s always great to see new research into these topics, I find it bemusing to read from the lead researcher that “we found it surprising that out-of-body experience with sleep transition seemed very much like out-of-body experience during near death”. Not sure how much literature he’s read on the topic…

Aside from that pedantic criticism though, the usual negative consequence is that you get related stories like this one, which say that the study “backs the idea that the near-death experience is a biological experience, rather than anything to do with a spiritual dimension, a glimpse of heaven or the existence of the soul.” While we don’t know for sure either way, the study certainly doesn’t purely support a physicalist worldview. It depends entirely on whether you see brain functions as causal, mediating or symptomatic…if you see it as causal, then it will certainly confirm your already pre-existing physicalist notion. Other (somewhat anecdotal) evidence, such as Charles Tart’s experiments with ‘Miss Z’, lucid dream studies with ‘talented’ individuals such as Joe McMoneagle, and the Pam Reynolds NDE, suggest there is more to be investigated here…and certainly not dismissed with statements which are based on faulty/circular logic.

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