Is death final?
- A recent study on near-death experiences (NDEs) published in The Lancet revealed: “50 percent of individuals who experienced an NDE mentioned an awareness of being dead, 56 percent regarded it a positive experience, 24 percent reported an OBE [out-of-body experience], 31 percent described traveling through a tunnel and 32 percent spoke of interacting with deceased people.”
- Regarding the afterlife, British physicist Stephen Hawking said in a 2011 interview, “There is no heaven...That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
- Brain death is defined as “Irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem. A person who is brain dead is dead, with no chance of revival.”
- A study published in the journal Sage Open revealed that millennials are the least religious generation in American history, yet they still believe in the afterlife in large numbers.
The most extensive study done on near-death experiences, involving patients who suffered cardiac arrest, strongly suggests both consciousness and brain function are active after the time of death, formerly believed to be when the heart stopped. Death is now known to be a process that can last hours, sometimes with individual consciousness remaining intact. Some participants reported being aware they were dead and recounted details of goings-on around them. Forty percent of the surviving participants reported perceptive awareness, suggesting that this could be a common occurrence.
Fascinating occurrences of past-life-regressions give further insight into the immortality of consciousness. Some instances go beyond coincidence, suggesting consciousness is separate from the body and continues existing after death--possibly even manifesting into new life. In other words, consciousness can skip from one life to another.
A recent quantum physics claim supports a similar belief that just as energy cannot be destroyed, the same applies to our life’s energy. Called biocentrism, the theory suggests life is created by consciousness--not the other way around--and that consciousness is an immortal form of energy. This belief asserts that although physical deaths are final, our consciousness, which creates our reality, has no shelf life regardless of what form it takes.
Furthermore, studies show genes also remain active and may even become more active after death. More research is yet to be done on this.
As science progresses, it also continues to revolutionize the way we perceive the unknown. Similar to past discoveries like electricity or wifi, although we may be unaware of a phenomenon’s existence, uncovering proof is not impossible.
For life after death to be possible, human consciousness would have to be entirely separate from our physical body, which scientists assert is not the case. Rather, consciousness is intertwined with our physical bodies and is made up of a series of bonded atoms and electrons. After our biological demise, the laws of physics would not allow for some of these particles, and not others, to continue operating.
And while some people have claimed to have caught a glimpse of a supposed afterlife--having gone through so-called near-death experiences--evidence of this sort is entirely anecdotal. Experts believe cultural norms heavily influence most near-death experiences and that a fear of death could play a significant role in driving many of these experiences. This is because patients often report seeing what they have already been expecting to see once they die, suggesting that many of these experiences are likely just the result of residual brain activity.
Death should also be considered final because not even advanced technology can allow individuals to regain consciousness after passing on. Some scientists have theorized that if our minds could be copied and pasted into a computer or implanted into a resurrected body, there’s a chance you could be restored. However, this restored version of you would not really be you; it would be a copy of you, no different than a twin. Therefore, you would not actually have been resurrected.
It can be concluded; therefore, that life after death is impossible. Death is biologically pre-programmed to be final, and it would be unsound to expect anything different.
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