Hi Jime, thank you for this interview! I'm Titus P.M. Rivas M.A. M.Sc., an independent author, researcher, lecturer, and writer of various courses on philosophy and (para)psychology. I'm Dutch, but my late father was Spanish, which explains my surname. To a certain extent, I have been raised bi-culturally and I'm rather fluent in the Spanish language. This has influenced me in that I don't identify with a particular country but consider myself a cosmopolitan.
5)As a psychologist and philosopher, do you think the split-brain patients cases provide empirical evidence against mind-body dualism?
6) One of the proposed theories to account for the mind-brain connection is Myers/James transmission theory of consciousness (in contrast with the so-called materialistic productive theory). But some people say that, from a scientific point of view the productive theory is better because it is in principle falsifiable. And the transmission theory doesn't seem easy to refute since that it is consistent with all the facts and even with any imaginable fact, making it untestable and unfalsifiable in principle and hence unscientific. What do you think of this objection?
7)Do you think the super-ESP hypothesis is a reasonable alternative explanation for the evidence suggesting an afterlife?
8-Let's to discuss in detail some specific and well-known NDE cases. The case of Pam Reynolds comes to mind. For many people, this case is conclusive evidence for survival because Pam had veridical perceptions while she was "clinically dead" and without brain activity. However, skeptics say that a careful reading of the evidence clearly shows that Pam's flat EEG probably did not last longer than half an hour and more importantly that she had NO verifiable perception at all while in this extreme state. So, it is literally false that Pam had verifiable perceptions while she was "clinically dead". What do you think of this objection and, if correct, how does it affect the evidential power of this case regarding survival of consciousness?
9-Pam Reynolds wore tightly-fitting earplugs during her operation which supposedly excluded all external sounds. However, skeptics argue that earplugs do not totally exclude all external sounds, they only considerably reduce their intensity. Moreover, people under general anesthesia can hear things, specially (in Pam's case) she could hear the sound of the bone saw because as the saw was cutting through her skull, the sound made by the saw would have been conducted directly through the bones of her skull into her middle ear where she perceived it. Is this a plausible objection?
10-Some have said that the main reason to think the earplugs excluded all the external sounds is because loud clicks were repeatedly being produced by the earplugs. However, skeptics have argued that the loud clicks produced by earplugs were intermittent and that in intervals of silence she would have been able to hear conversations, even slightly muffled by the earplugs. Since this point is critical to the evaluation of the case, is there any good evidence regarding the mode (i.e. continuous or intermittent) in which the clicks were being produced by the earplugs?
12-One of Woerlee's main objections is that the entire case rests on the uncorroborated words of a single nurse (TG). There is not independent cross-examination of the patient's experience (because the man died sometime after the discharge from the hospital) and no cross-confirmation with any other of the parties concerned was possible, or has been done. What do you think of these criticisms?
13-Woerlee has also complained that regarding the timing of removal of this man's dentures, TG gives two different stories, causing some uncertainty as to the exact time of removal of the dentures. In the first report, TG states that the dentures were removed after starting the Thumper (heart massage machine). In a second statement TG states that the dentures were removed after positioning the man under the Thumper, and only after the mask for artificial respiration was positioned on the man's face was the Thumper started. According to Woerlee, this later explanation makes little medical sense, as it means the patient would receive no heart massage for a while, and continuation of heart massage is the primary objective of basic CPR. What do you think of this objection?
14-Another of Woerlee's criticisms is that the patient reported that, at the same time as he was undergoing an out-of-body experience, he also felt the physical pain of the heart massage due to the Thumper (i.e. he reported a physical perception of pain due to cardiac massage during an out-of-body experience). Perhaps we could articulate more precisely Woerlee's criticism in this way: if the patient was actually out of his body, it makes no sense to think that he felt pain caused on the physical body to which he was not connected anymore. We can't have it both ways: either he was outside his body (in which case no embodied, physical perception is possible), or he was still embodied and having normal physical sensations like a purely physical chest pain (and hence no out of the body experience was factual).
15-Even though the patient's surname (Beekhuizen) and profession (manual laborer who placed steel reinforcement in concrete constructions) was reported to be known, it has been argued that, even after active searching by some researchers, no independent objective corroboration of the existence (and profession) of this person exists. What do you think of this criticism?
16-Another criticism is that the patient was undergoing resuscitative measures whilst en route to the hospital in the ambulance and in these conditions we have no good evidence of what exact level or state of consciousness really was when his dentures were removed, specially since there are no official hospital records extant.
17-TG reported that when he shined a light into the patient's eyes, the pupils were unresponsive, indicating the patient was completely unconscious. But, scientifically speaking, the reactivity of pupils is generally accepted as evidence of deep unconsciousness?
18-Another objection is that the case is fairly old and it tends to cast doubts on the investigation, specially since the case rests largely in TG's memories and, as psychology has shown, memories sometimes are not very reliable regarding specific details when time has happened.
19-Woerlee says in the article "Cardiac Arrest and Near-Death Experiences" that "the nature of the deceased relatives seen during these NDEs differs from one culture to another [...]; Hindus have Hindu NDEs, Buddhists have Buddhist NDEs, and Christians have Christian NDEs [...]; the reason for return to life differs from one culture to another". All these 3 factors, taken together, don't show that NDE's are a cultural creation, and not real experiences with spirits?
20-These two papers - "Surges of Electroencephalogram Activity at the Time of Death: A Case Series" and "A Theoretical Basis for Surges of Electroencephalogram Activity and Vivid Mental Sensation During Near-Death Experience" could show a normal and plausible explanation for the Pam Reynolds and the Denture Man NDE cases? If not, why not?
25-What do you think about ufology and the possibility that advanced aliens are visiting the Earth?
- Books by Bob Coppes, Pim van Lommel, Sam Parnia
- Books by Chris Carter
- German book by Dieter Hassler
-More Subversive Interviews here.