Dr. Sam Parnia Claims Near Death Experience Probably an Illusion
Interview with NDE researcher and AWARE Project leader explores limits of experiments on near-death experience.
San Diego, CA (PRUnderground) October 15th, 2010
Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with the NDE expert and author of, What Happens When We Die?, Dr. Sam Parnia. During the interview Dr. Parnia is asked why he suspects NDEs are an “illusion”, a “trick of the mind”. When pressed, Dr Parnia stated, “…It may well be. You’re pushing and I’m giving you honest answers. I don’t know. If I knew the answers then I don’t think I would have engaged and spent 12 years of my life and so much of my medical reputation to try to do this. Because to appreciate people like me, I risk a lot by doing this sort of experiment. So I’m interested in the answers and I don’t know. Like I said, if I was to base everything on the knowledge that I have currently of neuroscience, then the easiest explanation is that this is probably an illusion.”
While Parnia’s position regarding the validity of the NDE phenomena stands in contrast to most other near death experience researchers he continues to push forward. His AWARE Project asks cardiac arrest patients who experience a NDE to recall hidden pictures placed above their bed. This methodology has been criticized by NDE experts who give it little chance of yielding positive results. Dr. Parnia responds, “I don’t know if [the tests will] be successful or not. That’s an important point to make. As I said, I don’t have a particular stance. It’s possible that these experiences are simply illusionary and it’s possible that they’re real. Science hasn’t got the answers yet. So we have to go fair-minded. Right now what we have is a setup that can at least, we hope, objectively determine an answer to the question.”
The Skeptiko interview (audio and transcript) is available at: http://www.skeptiko.com/sam-parnia-claims-near-death-experience-probably-an-illusion/
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