2 min readDoes consciousness continue after death?

A scientist and his team embarks on a research never been done before. Will their results change the way we view death?

This article published by The Guardian is an introduction to a research began in 2008 by Dr. Sam Pernia and his team. It talks about the research methodology the team will employ, as well as the hypothesis for the study.

According to Dr. Pernia, there are three explanations for out-of-body experiences:

  • people may have imagined it;
  • patient opened their eyes while they were being revived; and
  • the human mind and consciousness may be non-local to the brain

When this article was published, it was still early days, its results were published in 2017. We shall, in a future article expound on these results.

Implications for AI

The quest for immortality is as old as life itself. We have heard how adventures were launched in search for the Elixir of Life and the Philosopher’s Stone. Modern science has developed all sorts of substances to delay aging and extend life.  With biotechnology [see Understanding Biotechnology] and mind uploading [see With Mind Uploading, There Is No Need For Religion], we might just find a way to achieve physical immortality.

Dr. Pernia’s research is important because it is the first of its kind and scale to be conducted. When the article was published, they only had 60 volunteers for the research. He wanted to have at least 1,500 subjects to ensure that his research will be accepted by the scientific community. This tells us about the values our current science has – one experience (such as that of Dr. Eben Alexander’s) does not suffice as evidence. It must be experienced by many in order for it to be real.

But there is a problem to this kind of approach. For one, Pernia already mentioned that only 10% of people can remember having a near death experience [we shall provide articles in the future that can help explain why this is so]. Even if the research team actually recruits 1,500 people, they can expect that their results will be scrutinized in detail because other scientists who do not believe in life after death will be eager to disprove them.

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