We may now briefly summarize the four kinds of evidence that Near Death Experiences provide for an afterlife, or transphysical consciousness after clinical (bodily) death:
- Remarkable consistency surrounding ten features of the experience, seven of which are unique to near death experiences, two of which are shared with physical embodiment (positive emotions and visual/auditory perception), and one of which is shared with out-of-body experiences (seeing one’s body from above) – in all 15 studies cited before.
- Corroborated, veridical, sensorial knowledge by patients who were unconscious (more than thirty seconds after cardiac arrest) – in all 15 studies cited in Sections II and III above.
- Corroborated, veridical, sensorial knowledge by blind patients who were unconscious (primarily Ring, Cooper, and Tart – 1999, Ring and Valarino – 2006, and van Lommel 2001).
- Reports of encounters with deceased people who were unexpected or unknown, and reports of unknown information disclosed by deceased people (primarily Greyson 2010, van Lommel 2010, Moody 1993, Cook et al. 1998, and Kelly et al. 2000).
As we shall see, physicalist explanations of near death experiences do not (and probably cannot) explain these combined phenomena.
Though they can explain how a hallucination might be possible during clinical death, they do not explain how people can accurately report empirical data, how the blind can see, and how people can acquire previously unknown information about deceased individuals during the time of clinical death.
A brief examination of the six major physicalist explanations will make this clear.