Dr. Christof Koch on Human Consciousness and Near-Death Experience Research

Industry: Science

Interview with Cal Tech professor, and author of the upcoming, Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist, Dr. Christof Koch.

California (PRUnderground) February 9th, 2012

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Dr. Christof Koch, author of, Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. During the interview Dr. Koch discusses the limits of near-death experience research for understanding consciousness:

Dr. Koch: …once again it’s all about the details. The only way you can do such an experiment would be to have a near-death experience while your brain waves are being recorded, while you’re in a brain scanner. Because otherwise, how do I know? Otherwise, the guy wakes up an hour later, right, and then you ask what happened to his brain an hour before. Of course, an hour before he wasn’t in the brain scanner. So the only way to do the experiment is while you’re having this near-death experience.

Alex Tsakiris: Great. And that makes it impossible to do the experiment. We’re back to ground zero. But hold on. I don’t think that’s the case. You referenced the GLOC experiments with the pilots. Well, by deduction you’re incorporating in human experience. You’re saying that of course, which is obvious, people can say what happened to them.

The other thing about it is that they have this continuity of experience, right? They say, “Oh, I was awake and then I started blacking out and then this happened and then I woke up.” They have a continuous experience. Now you can say they recreated that continuous experience after they woke up but the burden is really on you, especially when it’s consistently reported as a continuous experience. Why would we assume that it’s not continuous? That’s the way it’s being reported.

Dr. Koch: When I go to bed I suddenly wake up inside and I fly. I just did this tonight. I have no experience of the intervening two hours, right? So suddenly I’m flying. Well, wonderful. So now what? So now you’re going to say it’s not up to you to find out through which space that I flew? No. I have this experience every night. My brain gives rise to all sorts of experiences. Of course I realize them. I don’t deny them for one second. But they’re caused by specific brain activity.

The Skeptiko interview with Christof Koch (audio and transcript) is available at: http://www.skeptiko.com/

About Skeptiko:

Skeptiko.com is the first scientifically oriented Podcast exploring new research in controversial areas of science such as telepathy, psi, parapsychology, near-death-experience, psychic detectives, medium communication, reincarnation, and after-life encounters. Each episode features open, honest debate on new scientific discoveries. The show includes interviews with top research scientists and their critics.

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