A “tunnel”, “bright light”, or lives “flashing” before their lives… many who have faced death report incidents of near death experiences (NDE); some even claim to have an out of body experience where they were “floating” above their bodies, watching their doctors fight to revive their dying bodies.
On one hand, some individuals claim that this is proof of a life after death.
On the other hand, skeptics claim that NDEs do not exist and are physiological and psychological reactions to intolerable stress and pain, or hallucinations brought on by a dying and failing brain.
But what if there was scientific evidence to prove or disprove either of these viewpoints?
Today, I stumbled upon an article titled “German Scientists Prove There is Life After Death” written by World News Daily Report, citing and summarizing a recent study conducted in 2014 at Technische Universität of Berlin by a team of researchers led by Doctor Berthold Ackermann.
The study claimed to have medically induced and supervised NDE in 944 volunteers for a time period of four years, using epinephrine and dimethyltryptamine to allow the body to survive clinical death and reanimation without damage. Various other drugs were used to place the individuals in a comatose state, from which they were “reanimated” from approximately 18 minutes later.
A cardiopulmonary recitation (CPR) machine called the AutoPulse was used to reanimate people who had been declared clincally dead anytime from 40 to 60 minutes.
Participants reported feelings of detachment from the body, overwhelming light, levitation, securiy, sereniy, warmth, and “absolute dissolution”.
As soon as I read the lines about an “induced” comatose state, I knew there was something wrong with this supposedly “scientific” study.
Before I explain my reasons for being skeptical, I’ll show you the disclaimer written on the “news” website that this article was initially published on.
“World News Daily Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within worldnewsdailyreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.”
If this isn’t convincing enough for you that the article is fake, let me explain some reasons why you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet, especially this article:
- Ethical Issues: I cannot think of one institutional review board (IRB) at any university that would grant funding and permission to conduct an experiment that placed its participants in a drug-induced state of clinical death– even if only for 18 minutes.
- Dr. Berthold Ackermann: The non-existent doctor that was the head researcher of the university. One google search shows that all the proof for the existant Dr. Ackermann are from World News Daily Report or other websites that have shared or summarized the article.
- Population Sample: Would you volunteer for a study that claimed to be able to kill you and bring you back to life, just to record the memories that you had of the event when you were supposedly brought back to life?
- Immeasurable Variables: There is no statistical data to prove or disprove the existence of an afterlife in this study. The fundamental parts of a scientific experiment (independent and dependent variables, control group, hypothesis…) were not present, and even if this experiment was real, correlation does not prove causation. Also, there are many ways to die– not just from the usage of drugs, which could also have affected the outcomes.
- Publication: Where was this scientific study published? There are no citations for a scientific journal that the study was supposedly published in, and no specific details stating the statistics for the experiment (with the exception of the number of participants and the length of the study– four years!)
Despite the (very) fictional nature of this article, NDE is a widely reported phenomenon worldwide.
However, due to the very subjective and unpredictable nature of NDEs, it is very difficult to establish any scientific evidence– especially through an experiment that claims to kill its participants and bring them back to life.
So don’t believe everything you read– question the validity of scientific findings, and don’t take everything at face value.
Think about the research procedures, the validity of the experiment, and most importantly: the source of the information.