bodge006: October 2011 Archives

Near-Death Experience

Vote 0 Votes

This article describes a recent study with an explanation for near-death experiences (NDE's). It suggests that the experiences are tricks the mind plays on itself as a result of a large amount of carbon-dioxide being released into the bloodstream.
There is evidence that people, who have either inhaled excess carbon-dioxide or been at high altitudes, have experienced sensations similar to NDE's, giving more credibility to the study. Anything that damages the brain can account for this experience, including excess carbon-dioxide.
Articles found here and here give similar views of the study.


There does not appear to be enough evidence to support this extraordinary claim. A scientist, who disputed this claim said, "There is no coherent cerebral activity which could support consciousness, let alone an experience with the clarity of a NDE. I'm sure it would be very easy for the researchers in charge of this study to fall victim to the confirmation bias. Of the 52 patients who were admitted to one of three hospitals after having a heart attack, only 11 of them reported a near-death experience. It seems likely that the researchers are looking for a correlation that might not be there. Not only is there evidence, in their own study, that the correlation may not exist, but it is based on some immeasurable variables. Yes, they can measure the carbon-dioxide levels, but to pair high levels with NDE's, how can the researchers tell if a patient actually experienced a NDE except by asking them and hoping they'll answer honestly? There will be instances where patients will experience a NDE and not remember and times when they don't experience a NDE and report that they did. This study seems flawed because it is based on the patients memory, which may not be flawless all the time.

This picture has been circulating the internet for about 5 months. Sometime during the month of July in Buenos Aires, there was a report of nails being found in cheese given out at dog parks. Less than a week ago, another message was sent around through social media networks saying that this was happening in Chicago and Massachusetts. It also claimed that a dog park in Augusta Maine reported finding a lethal amount of antifreeze in water bowls.

Although this did in fact happen once in Buenos Aires, the claim that this is becoming a popular threat to be wary of is not true. This was an isolated incident and by reposting this picture, people are only encouraging a copycat.

This relates to what we talked about in class on Friday among other things. As far as the one confirmed incident goes, the person who targeted the dog parks understood Skinner's behavior analysis. Our dogs have received positive reinforcement in regards to getting treats. If we give them treats to reward behavior, who is to say they won't take a treat from someone else when they do the same thing? Fortunately, this appears to be a one-time occurrence, and at the time being, there shouldn't be any need to worry.

One suggestion made by the article, which I completely agree with, is that you should have your dog look up at you before they put something in their mouth. This will hopefully prevent them from eating anything that could be potentially harmful to them, since usually you are a better judge than your dog itself.

This hoax dates back to 1999 when an email chain was started, asking recipients to donate 7 cents to the Make A Wish Foundation to help a 7 year old girl, named Amy Bruce, pay for medical bills. The email states that she has lung cancer from second hand smoke and a brain tumor from being beaten. As recently as this past month, the chain gained momentum again, but in the form of Facebook statuses, rather than emails.
The photo on the right has been associated with the fictitious girl named Amy Bruce. This photo was taken from the UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) website as a means to give more credibility to the hoax.
The following links are to the Make A Wish Foundations' websites in both the United States and the United Kingdom and reiterate the falsehood of the story.
The new method of Facebook statuses as a means of spreading Amy Bruce's story is a prime example of confirmation bias. When people read the post, they assume it to be true rather than thinking about the facts. The articles clearly state that the Make A Wish Foundation does NOT participate in any type of chain letter and discourages people who receive such an email, or see the status on Facebook, from forwarding the message.

For me, when the organization that is supposedly helping Amy Bruce denies her existence, clearly something is wrong. I still can't help but wonder why people continue to pass on these stories that have been continually disproved for over a decade. When people make the extraordinary claim that reposting the status will somehow get the girl $7, there must be extraordinary evidence. Knowing that the Make A Wish foundation doesn't participate in chain messages is assuredly enough evidence to refute this claim.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by bodge006 in October 2011.

bodge006: November 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.