On Our Minds
Debating Near-Death Experiences
People who've had near-death experiences report strikingly similar stories: a dramatic transformation of perspective; passage through a tube or a tunnel into another world; a brilliant light; being greeted by deceased family and friends. When they come back, most people say they've been transformed. Raymond Moody, the psychiatrist and philosophy professor who has collected thousand of NDE stories, says that people often then feel “the most important thing we can do while we’re alive is to learn how to love.”
Scientists believe that these experiences aren't inventions, but there is still much debate about how they happen and what they might mean. Some scientists argue that NDEs have purely physiological causes. Others believe that NDEs may in fact be a gateway into a different realm of consciousness. Either way, they pose extremely challenging questions for science and spirituality. Steve Paulson presents an overview of the NDE debate, complete with links and a conversation among leading thinkers in the field.