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TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jul 27, 2014 - 07:19pm PT

Oldest Medical Report of Near-Death Experience Discovered
By Bahar Gholipour, Staff Writer | July 24, 2014 04:00pm ET

Cover of the book "Anecdotes de Médecine," by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux (1733-1766)
Credit: Archive.org - Book contributor: Fisher - University of Toronto.

Reports of people having "near-death" experiences go back to antiquity, but the oldest medical description of the phenomenon may come from a French physician around 1740, a researcher has found.

The report was written by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux, a military physician from northern France, who described a case of near-death experience in his book "Anecdotes de Médecine." Monchaux speculated that too much blood flow to the brain could explain the mystical feelings people report after coming back to consciousness.

The description was recently found by Dr. Phillippe Charlier, a medical doctor and archeologist, who is well known in France for his forensic work on the remains of historical figures. Charlier unexpectedly discovered the medical description in a book he had bought for 1 euro (a little more than $1) in an antique shop.

"I was just interested in the history of medicine, and medical practices in the past, especially during this period, the 18th century," Charlier told Live Science. "The book itself was not an important one in the history of medicine, but from a historian's point of view, the possibility of doing retrospective diagnosis on such books, it's something quite interesting."

To his surprise, Charlier found a modern description of near-death experience from a time in which most people relied on religion to explain near-death experiences. [The 10 Most Controversial Miracles]

The book describes the case of a patient, a famous apothecary (pharmacist) in Paris, who temporarily fell unconscious and then reported that he saw a light so pure and bright that he thought he must have been in heaven.

Today, near-death experience is described as a profound psychological event with transcendental and mystical elements that occurs after a life-threatening crisis, Charlier said. People who experience the phenomenon report vivid and emotional sensations including positive emotions, feeling as though they have left their bodies, a sensation of moving through a tunnel, and the experiences of communicating with light and meeting with deceased people.

Charlier compared the nearly 250-year-old description with today's "Greyson criteria," which is a scale that a psychiatrist developed in the 1980s to measure the depth of people's near-death experiences, so that these cases could be uniformly studied. The scale includes questions about the perceptions people report during near-death experiences, for example altered sense of time, life review and feelings of joy. A score of 7 or higher out of a possible 32 is classified as a near-death experience.

Although the data in the old book were limited, Charlier determined that the patient would have scored at least 12/32 on the Greyson criteria, Charlier said. He published his findings last month in the journal Resuscitation.

In the 18th-century case description, Monchaux also compared his patient with other people who reported similar experiences, caused by drowning, hypothermia and hanging.

The physician offered a medical explanation for the bizarre sensations, too, but his explanation was the opposite of what modern day physicians name as the likely cause of near-death experience, Charlier said. Monchaux speculated that in all of reported cases of near-death experience, the patients were left with little blood in the veins in their skin, and abundant blood flowing in the vessels within their brains, giving rise to the vivid and strong sensations.

However, modern researchers think it is likely the lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain that puts the organ in a state of full alarm and causes the sensations associated with near-death experiences.

Email Bahar Gholipour or follow her @alterwired. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Originally published on Live Science
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 27, 2014 - 08:12pm PT
the only likely explanation based on physical evidence is the full development of language.

This is incorrect.

measuring intelligence scientifically has proven impossible so far.

This is incorrect.

.....

Frunitcake...

When you understand the basic concepts and dynamics at work, the subject's pretty clear. Remember, your conflict - whether it's regarding sentience or "free will" - is not with me or Harris, it's apparently with modern science.

There's no way to have even a half-serious discussion with namecalling, baseless crazytalk or lapdogs running about out of control. I wish circumstances were different because everything from motive will to non-ohmic pn junctions to perceptual illusions to a dozen other things are interesting topics.

It's true: I don't have extensive background coursework let alone credentials in various branches of Christian theology, eg angelology, demonology, mariology, eschatology or soteriology, so I'm not qualified to judge those subjects. Astrology either.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 27, 2014 - 08:16pm PT
Is a determinist the third rail that carries energy between the discursive and phenomenological tracks ?

Not sure what you mean by this, Jim. Maybe shake the tree a little more so I can get a take on what falls to the deck.

And curiously, Faucault, shortly before he died of AIDS, went to Japan and studied in a Zen monsistary. Interesting guy who covered a lot of shifting ground.

JL
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
Jul 27, 2014 - 08:27pm PT
Even the wonders of what is produced mentally need an explanation, John. An anchor of knowledge that is assailed has to stand up to criticism or it's just another peculiarity floating around to be thought about.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 27, 2014 - 08:45pm PT
re: determinism and freedom of the will and decision-making

"That much said, if you are a staunch determinist, all actions and thoughts and so forth are entirely determined by our evolved, genetic programing (plus inputs from environment: true). We cannot predict what we might or will do (beyond a point: true; makes life more interesting), owing to the every moving world "out there," full of chaos and randomness, and which we encounter. always anew, with our aforementioned programing (plus input: true). Put differently, ALL of our responses - the belief (science) goes - are "determined" and sourced by our programing (plus input: true). Experientially, this means that everything that enters our field of awareness issues from that programming (plus input) and nowhere else (true). "We" choose and decide nothing whatsoever per our thoughts, actions, feelings, etc. (False, we are a head full of circuits with branchpoints, learning capability, mind-boggling information processing powers, some aspects much like a cpt, conferring super amazing decision-making powers whose purpose is to "choose and decide" that apparently is easily misunderstood as something of an immaterial "free will" by noobs to the subject, eg esp religious ones, inculcated and acculturated from youth, pining away for anything supernatural )."

It's true: all thoughts and actions! That's what makes it so terribly exciting and incredible!! Still blows me away every time I think about it!!

Finally, remember there is some lasting confusion over "determinism" owing let's say to Laplace's demon and its ability to predict. It's important to the subject and the discussion to get clear on this. But we've already posted about this, many times probably.

In short: That actions and thoughts are "determined" is one thing, that they are predictable (down the line, at some future time) is quite another indeed.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
Jul 27, 2014 - 08:53pm PT
Cornly,

Are you positing the definition of a determinist is equivalent to a person who fritters their youth practicing guitar in their bedroom in order to shuck an adolescent chrysalis in pursuit of being a rock star ?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 27, 2014 - 09:01pm PT
Hey, I'm not, science is. Positing determinism, that is. I'm just a messenger here. Regarding the rest, aren't we all fritterers of some kind or other? :)

(Hey where's that sexy girl pic you posted once on one of these threads, couldn't find it a ways back, lol!)
WBraun

climber
Jul 27, 2014 - 09:24pm PT
There is no determinism in the events.

It's an illusion.

Reducing matter into some kind of unconscious energy is all you're doing.

Life comes from life.

The symptom of life is consciousness .......
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
Jul 27, 2014 - 09:39pm PT
I'm definitely no scientist either. Werner pointed towards a theme that resonated with me throughout reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

An excellent whip through "how come" but the best part was about life being constant regardless of the limited grasp on it by individuals of any species...
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 27, 2014 - 10:13pm PT
"We" choose and decide nothing whatsoever per our thoughts, actions, feelings, etc.


Fruity claims: False, we are a head full of circuits with branchpoints, learning capability, mind-boggling information processing powers, some aspects much like a cpt, conferring super amazing decision-making powers whose purpose is to "choose and decide" that apparently is easily misunderstood as something of an immaterial "free will" by noobs to the subject, eg esp religious ones, inculcated and acculturated from youth, pining away for anything supernatural."

--


You are hard to pin down on this one, Fruitecake, but what you are saying, above, with the word "conferring" is what I was saying using the word "imposing." That is, a determinist believes that our thoughts, actions and feelings are conferred or imposed on us mechanically, that there is no independent "us" who can ever get outside or away from our programming and evolved coding who can "decide" anything at all. It is all "conferred" and imposed on us by our brains, which acts imdependentally of any imagined human will, and entirely through mechanical, fully determined means. That is, our thoughts, feelings and actions come FROM that programming, and never from "us."

So again, I ask the much-dodged question: If someone DID make a choice or do something that was NOT determined by said coding, from whence would such a choice come from? Does not a deterministic belief system rule out free choice as a matter of course, seeming that a free choice would arise undetermined?

In a line: does not determinism rule out ANY free choice, however big or small, entirely and forever?

JL

Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Jul 27, 2014 - 10:16pm PT
the only likely explanation based on physical evidence is the full development of language.

This is incorrect.

measuring intelligence scientifically has proven impossible so far.

This is incorrect.


Fructose, if you have an explanation for the sudden explosion of culture 50,000 years ago other than fully developed language, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, every account that I have read says that since the human brain actually got smaller after neanderthals, we must have been using what we had more efficiently and the only common denominator according to all that I've read, must be language.

As for intelligence testing, we can ascertain that people with the skills to do well on the tests do well in modern society, and we can usually co-relate IQ ratings with type of job held years later, but we also have well proven that IQ tests measure skills rather than intelligence and discriminate in favor of the dominant group in society and the life skills it values. Just try devising an intelligence test for an illiterate as many anthropologists have, and you begin to see the cultural bias in our tests.

And please don't quote Shockley or Jenson who claimed if he knew the percentage of black blood in a person, he could predict how that would adversely affect their IQ. He is of course less enthusiastic about results that show Japanese score ten points on the average higher than Americans, that they have more genius level IQ's than we do, and that their scores have been rising ever since their huge education push after WWII.

If you've got contrary evidence, let's hear it.

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
Jul 27, 2014 - 10:33pm PT
Alright Largo ! That was good.

I once asked a determinist friend what his opinions would be if he was trained to kill other people by the military. As a pacifist, he thought his beliefs would hold true regardless of outside influences.

It was an interesting discussion after that about chemistry VS consciousness.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Jul 28, 2014 - 04:17am PT
Watch 80,000 Neurons Fire in the Brain of a Fish
http://www.wired.com/2014/07/neuron-zebrafish-movie/
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 28, 2014 - 07:28am PT
Just as implied by Cintune's post...

a determinist believes that our thoughts, actions and feelings are conferred or imposed on us mechanically, that ther eis no independent "us" that stands aside from our programming (and inputs)

Yes, that's right.

.....

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=701885149860397&fref=nf
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 28, 2014 - 07:44am PT
ive had an out of body experience
WBraun

climber
Jul 28, 2014 - 07:45am PT
HFCS

There is always an independent entity turning on the mechanical computer originally which can alter it's programing at any time.

Your mechanical only speculation is in complete poor fund of knowledge in the face of reality that is testable in a scientific method you have never used.

Your nature has the tendency to ridicule what is difficult for you to achieve.

The experiment requires isolation and purification of your own self instead of your easily manipulation of objects that are outside of yourself.

You are also weak otherwise you would responsibly stand behind your words here instead of anonymous cowardice.

Your excuses are those of a complete coward .....
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 28, 2014 - 08:08am PT
many of our decisions are taken subconsciously, then reported to our awareness. this isnt news to anyone. skeptics can sleep on it. that part of our brain that maintains the schema of our awareness delegates to the subconscious for efficiency. our awareness schema can and does make decisions consciously ( door number 1!), but most likely all of those rely on mostly subconscious processing to feed The Decider. so yes, we can consciously decide within our very narrow awareness - but most of what goes into those decisions happens in the vast regions elsewhere. we 'd be damn slow creatures if that werent the case
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 28, 2014 - 08:26am PT
we are biological machines, of course.

many if not most who object to this obvious assessment recycle Decarte's fluid res cogitans - the magical brain fluid. Some safeguard this pre-scientific notion by - you guessed it - conveniently sliding it just beyond science's reach before painting it in contemporary colors for today's modern but still myth starved secular consumer. Pure faddism born from what drives and eventually kills all fads: the need to feel exceptional.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jul 28, 2014 - 08:46am PT
Tvash your back ; I thought you went on that needed Long Silent Retreat.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 28, 2014 - 08:50am PT
Tvash said: ". . . "so yes, we can consciously decide within our very narrow awareness - but most of what goes into those decisions happens in the vast regions elsewhere."

It is true, I AM backing you guys into a corner on this but we need to push it all the way to see where staunch determinism breaks down.

By virtue of Tvash's statement above, he differes from Fruitcake in that the former believes that NO CHOICE WHATSOEVER ever exists and that all actions are determined and imposed on us by our brains. The action implulse, be it a sensation, feeling, thought (sub-conscious or conscious), etc. is always conferred or imposed on us directly from our programming, both genetic and conditioned (inputs).

Put differently, all human free choice is an illusion and is directly sourced by and ONLY by our biology - NOT and never by "us."

My question to Tvash is - if you believe "we can decide within our very narrow awareness" (given a gigantic, real-time unconscious workup by our brains), from where, exactly, does that free choice arise? If this free and "conscious decision" is not mechanically determined by our bio chemestry and circuitry, from what and how does such a choice arise? What sources a "conscious decision," and is this not at direct odds with staunch, mechanical determinism?

JL
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