As the Fenwicks point out, if OBEs and NDEs are hallucinations,
Veridical Paranormal Perception During OBEs?
The rhetoric pervading Tart's account implies that scientism or dogmatic materialism is the only obstacle to accepting a survivalist interpretation of NDEs. But this is simply not the case. First, it is crucially important to note that one could have good reasons for disbelieving that NDEs are visions of an afterlife . For instance, this essay has actually presented data which suggests that NDEs are glimpses of another world after death. One need not have any commitment to materialism—dogmatic or otherwise—to doubt that genuine glimpses of an afterlife would involve train rides, false out-of-body perceptions, or encounters with living persons, fictional characters, and mythological creatures. It is entirely possible that an afterlife exists but that NDEs are not glimpses of it—a view similar to the Buddhist belief that the dying pass through several illusory bardo states generated by their own minds before entering the 'real' afterlife (Fox 94-96).
PICKUP SYLLABLE: Another term for the unstressed syllable in .
[The near-death experience] remains open to a wide variety of psychological and physiological explanations—such as cerebral anoxia, or oxygen starvation of the brain, a self-defensive strategy in the face of imminent extinction, and so forth. At all events, [emphasis mine] (Beloff 267).
Abanes, Richard. . Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996.
The real issue is whether such experiences conflict with an individual's expectations. And there are two further issues here. First, what a person consciously claims to expect of the afterlife says nothing of his expectations, which would surely come into play during an altered state of consciousness like an NDE. Think of how many dreams that you can recall whose content has to do with what you consciously think about during your waking hours. Second, many individuals do not simply accept whatever dogma was taught to them in childhood, but grow to elaborate upon, modify, or reject what they were taught, subject to influence from personal inclinations and a variety of alternative traditions, even some only vaguely known (e.g., Westerners' understanding of Eastern beliefs like reincarnation).
Abramovitch, Henry. "." . Vol. 6, No. 3 (Spring 1988): 175-184.
Henry Abramovitch, who first reported the case, cites two reasons why he thinks that expectation cannot account for the content of Ralbag's NDE. First, Ralbag was taught that the biblical Adam would appear to the dying (much as some Christians are taught that St. Peter will appear to them at the Pearly Gates), but this did not happen in his NDE. Second, he was taught that he would face judgment in the afterlife, but had no life review (Abramovitch 182-183). That an individual's visions of the afterlife do not exactly mirror what he was taught, however, hardly requires an encounter with the afterlife to explain it.