I've been debating online quite a bit with family. Everytime I pin them into a corner where they logically can't continue, they consistantly go to near death experience. I've tried to introduce the no hypothesis position because it cannot be proven. Any advice how to tread through the near death arguement?
Just tell them the truth. There are no NDEs. What these people experience is actually cosmic projections being transmitted straight to their minds from the alien spaceships hiding behind the moon. This is step 1 in the alien's plan to take over earth by causing confusion amongst the population. Step 2 will of course involve anally probing humans in some diabolic fashion so that when the actual invasion starts everyone will be too busy worrying about their sore ass to notice.
While you are at it you might want to bring up the facts about how the earth is of course flat. And, if those two bombshells have not completely over whelmed their cognitive faculties I would recommend revealing that we now know Elvis and Michael Jackson are alive and well living on a small volcanic island they rent from the Icelandic government. I would however suggest extreme caution be used if you are planning to enlighten them on why chemtrails have caused frogs to turn gay. Some people do react badly when faced with these kinds of truths.
I am sure that I won't have to remind you that at ALL times during these discussions tin foil hats MUST be employed to prevent the aliens from reading your thoughts and finding out that we have discovered their invasion plans.
For a long time people thought the long tunnel with a light at the end was a path to heaven. Science later figured out that tunnel vision was often temporary damage to the brain.
If you're looking for a path to debate with people and better understanding their tactics take a look at this: [kirbymountain.com]. There are a lot of methods people have been subconsciously taught to use to protect their core belief system.
Also I think it's important to remember that these people aren't debating from the same place you are. You are not defending core beliefs that you can't substantiate or prove. You are attacking their belief system and they are taking a defensive stance to protect who they are. You're not going to win by cornering them and you would do well to remember that your goal is not to defeat them, but to bring them over to your side.
Suggestion is a powerful tool. Name one thing that we know that hasn't been taught to us or we've learned from some other vein of knowledge. I have a devout religious family member who experienced an NDE and swears that they saw Jesus. When asked what he looked like they responded with "like Jesus" and we all know that the images of Jesus hanging in most homes is incorrect, right? One day neuroscience will open the "fear closet" in our brains and be able to present a viable theory for what we see.
I find it interesting that most "near death" experiences coincide with whatever belief system the person has/had prior to the experience. For example, in Geronimo's autobiography he talked about how fellow natives spoke about seeing the "Happy Hunting Ground" during near death experiences. To me it's obviously a product of the mind. People see what they've been taught to see in these situations.
The simple point is in the name, a near death experience is not a death experience, if it were the subject would be dead and unable to report, if you were not dead you were still alive, had brain function and so have no proof anything spiritual, at least no more than falling a sleep for a few minutes.
I'm agnostic, so I'm not sure if there is anything after death or not. This is still a huge leap away from being a theist.
From what I've read, though, the pineal gland produces hallucinatory substances when deprived of oxygen and those who've nearly died sometimes experience that.
There isn't clear science on the subject, so I would stay away from trying to "prove" that NDE's are hallucinations. Further I would suggest it is a good idea to remember that discussions are intended to teach and illuminate, not necessarily to argue other people around to your point of view. You seem to want to break down their argument, which is often more the standpoint of a debater than a family member.
The other thing to note is that NDE's aren't actually proof of anything. Perhaps consciousness continues after death, perhaps there is some kind of afterlife. As far as religion is concerned it means very little. What we know about them are a series of subjective experiences which are difficult to investigate scientifically.
I'm comfortable personally with there being some uncertainty in my position here. I've met people and have family members who have some direct experience in this area who I have no reason to distrust.
You could always tell your family that if they are willing to GUARANTEE you won't die, they can do something to you that will test their hypothesis. But if they can't make that guarantee, then you are not willing to presume that they are right and you are wrong, because what they are saying is not testable or provable.
I agree with others. You are not going to persuade them to your views any more than they can persuade you to believe what they believe. Love them as they are and reconcile yourself to your own independent thoughts.
They are not death experiences, they are NEAR death experiences. No one has ever truly died and come back to life, apart from a couple of campfire stories in the Bible.
Like all personal subjective experiences, NDEs cannot serve as valid evidence for anything. For evidence to be considered as even potentially valid, it must be intersubjectively verifiable.
100% of objective evidence currently points away from consciousness being able to remain coherent apart from a physical brain.
Finally, a UK double blind study over many years attempted to validate NDEs objectively and the results were ... wait for it .. "inconclusive".
Interesting that someone just today related a NDE. I found the story to be very intriguing and inspirational. The person is an honorable fellow human and I have no reason for doubt.
We are not talking here about a mathematical theorem in need of proof, but if proof is what you are wanting I suggest putting the information on a back burner and waiting for science to catch up with human experience.
So far as debating your family, if your experience is like mine you are fighting a lost cause. I say leave ‘em be.
It is tempting to say that it is a byproduct of mind, but that is not what it is. It is all mind responding to dynamic chemical imbalances, oxygen deprivation, fading electrical inputs, etc. It should also be noted that the name of the condition/experience tells a great deal about what has happened. So, here's the key: NEAR death experience. No one who has had these experiences has been totally dead, then returned to tell about it.
One may be declared clinically dead yet not be dead. Clinical death is judged by the medical observation of cessation of vital functions. It is typically identified with the cessation of heartbeat and respiration. Here is where the problem comes in. As long as the brain is not 'dead', one can be resuscitated -- brought back from the edge of the precipice. It is because of this that a new criteria has entered the arena for declaring one to be dead dead dead.
Once respiration ceases, a person has about 4-6 minutes before brain damage begins to take place. At around 6-10 minutes some brain damage is likely. Generally, after 10 minutes, irreversible brain damage is almost certain. However, there's no way to know with certainty. Under special circumstances, such as severe hypothermia, biological death may be delayed considerably. This is more likely in children.
During that 10 minutes, a lot can take place in the brain. Random synaptic connections are being made and broken. All regions of the brain are undergoing changes that produce all sorts of reactions/thoughts/visions/memories/etc. Until the brain is truly dead, there is activity in there and if a person is brought back at any time before the brain flatlines, they may recall all manner of bizarre things. One of the reasons it is easy to say with confidence that it is all brain is that NDEs have been induced chemically/electrically under clinical conditions by altering the balances and charges in the brain.
The consistency in these NDE memories tells us much. The inconsistencies are even more telling. This article from the Atheist Republic spells it all out rather nicely:
I have had the pleasure of visiting two NDEs. One the result of hospital procedures, the other unsupportable because it was a drowning experience and resuscitation by a friendly passing native. There was no one there to say officially, "Hey, this dude's dead." They were both similar in detail, so I guess it is safe to assume they were both NDEs. Suffice to say, weird trips that acid couldn't hope to duplicate.
You might also find this RationalWiki article to be of interest:
Micahel Shermer (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-near-death-experience-isnt-proof-heaven/) had a good article in Scientific American on NDE
The lead item (Eden Alexander's The Proof of Heaven) mentioned in that article has been debunked (https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/07/proof-heaven-author-debunked/313681/, [esquire.com]
There is plenty of commentary out there - the above should be a good start.