On Life After Death, or Something Like That

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience' started by Tiassa, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    So, here is the problem:

    After you die, your brain knows you're dead, terrifying study reveals

    (New York Post)

    This is an example of really awful journalism resulting from a desperate and unprincipled scrabbling to pander trends. Andrea Downey's↱ article (originally for related paper, The Sun) is nothing but a rehash of what everyone has known for over thirty years; there is precisely nothing new in the article.

    Furthermore, what the headline exploits is the idea that brain activity can occur after an artificial threshold by which humans define death for specific purposes.

    There is nothing in the article to actually suggest that the brain "knows" anything during the period between the clinical death threshold and full cessation of brain activity.

    Nonetheless, there also exists an argument suggesting that drawing any attention to such exempla only glorifies them, but I do think it's important, from time to time, to point out that the appeal of such articles is actually predatory. We worry about glorification because some people might actually believe the headline in the scary hook context intended instead of attending the detail. Some days we might think, "Bah! it's not worth worrying about." And then, I don't know, come Wednesday someone you know is breathlessly telling you precisely what you decided nobody would actually take from the article.

    Seriously, there is nothing new in the article. There is nothing to actually support the headline, except by the statement that, "Death, in a medical sense, is when the heart stops beating and cuts off blood to the brain."

    This is all because someone is rebooting Flatliners. As we read through the NYPost.com presentation for the article, there are six links out to other articles. Four are to other Sun articles proclaiming life after death; one is to a LiveScience article reflecting on the science of concepts in orbit around the new Flatliners boot; the other is actually somewhat scientific, from the "Faboulous!" section of The Sun, advising people how to discern the symptoms of a heart attack.

    Yet, quite clearly, The Sun, at least, and, apparently, the New York Post, would seem to think there is some future in pushing this kind of bullshit.


    Downey, Andrea. "After you die, your brain knows you’re dead, terrifying study reveals". New York Post. 19 October 2017. NYPost.com. 19 October 2017. http://nyp.st/2hRMOwg
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  3. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    First up, I note it's an article in the New York Post, a harbinger of stories from the fringe as far as my limited reading of that rag goes.

    But importantly, medical science tells us that people who are "brain dead" can be kept alive (in a strictly medical sense I suppose). True death occurs when the brain dies and all the neurons disconnect, which is an irreversible process from which there is no return.

    Being brain dead and being truly dead are somewhat vague concepts. And there's the thing, concepts are things a brain which is alive and has connected neurons can harbor. When this isn't true, surely there are no concepts, no awareness, and particularly no possibility of being aware of your own state.

    Can there even exist a concept that a brain can be aware of anything when there is no possibility of consciousness? If awareness depends on connectedness between neurons in that brain, then no, you need to draw on something supernatural or something (which can't be a thing medical science bothers with).

    Conclusion: it's rubbish.
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  5. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member


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    Thank god

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    for the first two post which saved me from bothering to read the article. I certainly believed when I saw the title of of the thread here comes more rubbish

    Yes there is a grey area between being alive and being dead which no amount of trying to define death will eliminate

    In simplistic terms we have moved from holding a mirror over the mouth to detect breath to electrodes to detect brain activity

    It might be worth pointing out the main reason death needs a LEGAL definition is to prevent unwarranted accusations against persons who might be required to determine the status of the body in question

    THAT determination has numerous consequences

    Those persons being kept alive with the complex medical treatment currently availability generally (and I stress generally) are being assisted with some (even if extremely low) prospect of recovery

    There is a lot more to discuss but let's leave it there for the moment

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  7. river

    There is certainly alot more to discuss .

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