What About Death?

I explain death scientifically without any superstition attached to it.

Death starts as soon as we are born. The cells that help us grow actually causes our own death in the end – we begin to die the day we are born. The hormones and chemicals that we release cause our own death.

We are at a time where people are living the longest they ever have (The Biblical account of people living to be 400 or 700-years-old is a myth and not factual.). This is the first time in human history that we are able to see why we die as well as the causes of death. It is this technological advancement in medicine that will allow us one day to effectively counteract the causes of aging and perhaps even turn the Biblical mythology of living to be 700-years-old into fact.

This of course goes back to the psychological reasons for inventing religions. If man were to advance his medical technology far enough to create immortality (either physically or by transferring the conscious) then we eliminate the need for an afterlife. If we create our own immortality, then there is no longer any reason to fear death – the afterlife idea becomes irrelevant and is realized to be the mythology that it is. Religions would have to find another way to exist in the minds of followers – if they did not collapse altogether.

Atheist Tombstone: All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go. ;)

Death is a natural event. It can be an unnatural event if we die at the hands of others or at the whim of a man-made machine or the often-brutal methods of nature. However, no matter how death occurs – the processes afterward are the same.

Our bodies recycle and decompose and we become nutrients in the soil for plants, insects, and other animals. The plants, insects, and other animals become food for us – and we recycle. The best way to describe it is, as the Lion King put it, The Great Circle of Life. In an odd sort of way, we are reincarnating as energy transfers from our dying cells to the environment around us. The environment soaks up our energy and it passes it along to other living creatures.

Why do we use dead leaves and twigs as compost? In the death of the leaves and twigs, nutrients create our soil rich and fertile. Death creates life.

I can hear the question already, “What about the soul?”

I have concluded that the soul does not exist. I know that we have a conscious and this conscious is often confused as the soul. Our conscious is really nothing more than who we are; our memories, dreams, emotions, feelings, and characteristics make up a collective that we call the conscious.

Electrical activity in the brain regulates our conscious. If that electrical activity goes away, so does the conscious; and that is death. The scientific definition of death is simplistically “loss of brain activity.” Your heart can stop all it wants, but you are not technically dead until electrical activity in the brain ceases. When that happens then you are truly dead.

There have been teams of Christian “scientists” working to prove that souls exist for nearly 35 years. I put the word scientists in quotations because the teams were not practicing science because they disregarded the scientific process – they started with a conclusion and went looking for data to back it up: avoiding contradictory data along the way (like Creationists do). They made absolutely no progress in proving that souls exist. They cannot measure any transfer of energy, protoplasm, or whatever pseudo-scientific word you want to call it, during death.

So what is the scoop with Near-Death-Experience?

NDE is not a hot trip to Heaven. Air Force and Navy pilots know what an NDE is. They noticed the same “tunnel effect” during high G testing in a centrifuge. The pilots lost consciousness and began to see a tunnel of light and they felt like there was something pulling them into it.

Scientists quickly began a more dedicated research into the phenomenon and found that during times of unconsciousness and death the brain released hormones as much as ten times as normal. These hormones act like a narcotic to the brain and reduce pain stimuli to the nerve center. It causes the brain to focus in on whatever stimuli are left. This causes a tunnel effect.

Belief in an afterlife is soothing for some: it’s why so many visit graves for years after a loved one has died. Accepting reality is psychologically healthier.

High stress situations that involve fight or flight also cause this effect. Victims that escaped crises recalled not being able to hear anything or see anything except what was immediately in front of them. Everything else was blurry. They had a sense of walking down a tunnel and being in “automatic” mode.

This tunnel-like apparition is often associated as ascension to heaven in a great tunnel of light, we hear our relative’s voices calling for us, and a great knowledge is at the end of the tunnel.

During an NDE experience, two parts of the brain increase electrical activity at the release of these chemicals: the memory and the senses. Chemicals dull Pain, memories and stored knowledge are active, and our sense of hearing and sight are greatly enhanced, but focused intensely, causing a tunnel-like vision. The end of the tunnel contains knowledge because our memories are active and everything we have ever learned and memorized is racing through our brain.

As science continues to understand why we experience the things we do, religion loses its credibility in providing the answers to our emotional and psychological needs.

Religion no longer explains lightning, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, comets, meteor showers, and other scientific phenomenon. Science now understands what an NDE is and why it happens. Yet gullible people across the world continue to believe people that insist they have actually ascended to heaven and returned.

Have religionists not noticed that no one comes back with an NDE if the patient is brain dead? The only time an NDE can occur is if there is still electrical activity in the brain. There is a simple answer for this that religionists refuse to acknowledge – NDE is a brain-generated phenomenon, not a trip to an afterlife.

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