Introduction for professional uses and also for
Professor Pieter F Craffert is a research professor and Chair of Department (College of Human Sciences) at the New Testament University of South Africa in Pretoria wrote the article referenced above. A few of his other publications include; “Meeting the Living among the Dead”, “Mediating Divine Power”, and “Illness and Healing in the Biblical World”.
This paper was published in TD: The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa which is a journal devoted to promoting the concept of transdisciplinary research. The aim is to create knowledge through an interdisciplinary approach using natural and human science as the foundation.
The TD journal publishes annually, the types of articles published include; original articles (3500-7000 maximum of 60 references), review articles (2500-4000 maximum of 40 references) and editorials (less than 800 words maximum of 10 references). This journal is reviewed through a double-blind peer review. This journal is an open access journal which means all content can be viewed freely without charges.
The document that this assignment focuses on is an original article which is written in a formal scientific manner. From the information stated above on the intentions of the journal, it can be perceived that the journal is writen for professional uses and also for academic population simply because it is easily accessible.
Craffert, P. (2015) makes it clear that the aim of the study is to look at both OBEs and NDEs and how it contributes to the idea of nonlocal consciousness.
He does this by evaluating the validity of multiple studies done on both OBEs and NDEs he uses studies from various fields including neuroscience and psychology and evaluates whether the studies actually contribute to the idea of the nonlocal consciousness. Craffert, P. (2015) three main lines of argument was evaluated through three different ways. The first is testimonies of people who have experienced NDEs. The second is what happens during cardiac arrest when there is allegedly no brain activity. The third is an argument about veridical perception during out of body experiences. As the aim of this critical review is to focus on OBEs, this assignment will focus on the third argument.
Summary / Evaluation Of The Journal Article
This assignment will focus on evaluating OBEs which can be found in chapter 4.3, it draws upon Veridical perception during OBEs, Craffert, P. (2015) believes that it provides rhetorically and significantly the strongest claim for nonlocal social consciousness. Nonlocal social consciousness is the existence of consciousness independent of the body and brain, which draws upon questions of human existence, the essence of life and human destiny. (French, C. 2001; Engmann, B. 2014.).
Craffert identifies that there are two possible sources of empirical data on veridical perception these include firstly anecdotes or reports by NDErs (near-death experience’rs) the second is field studies or designed studies testing perceptual ability during OBEs. The first source of data comes from studies which aimed at determining whether individuals are experiencing an OBE and if it produces confirmable insights. Craffert does this by drawing upon multiple studies which have been done from both sources
Evaluation Of The Evidence Presented In The Article
Anecdotes or reports by NDErs (near-death experience’rs)
The first evidence that Craffert draws upon to support his argument is a set of 150 cases of OBEs linked to NDEs, the researchers of this study is Janice Holden and David Rousseau they claimed that “90% of NDE reports of perceptual experiences during cardiac arrest or prolonged respiratory arrest contain no errors” and “35% of these reports have been independently corroborated” (Holden, Janice M. 2009.).
Holden identifies that the perceptions of OBEs vary from weak to extremely strong Craffert identifies that she does not give any indication of what “extremely strong” means and how many of the cases that are included in the evidence that is weak. Essentially it could be seen that the evidence provided could be weak evidence. Holden says that most cases did not involve cardiac arrest which means it is difficult to rule out healthy working brains during the NDE. Her strongest argument is the volume of the anecdotes collected over the past 150 years suggest that veridical perception “is real”. It could be seen that the evidence from Holden is insignificant and does not contribute to the understanding of OBEs however it is not a surprise as the title of the study is obviously included to variety in evidence as it is identified as “claims about veridical perceptions” (pg10).
Craffert discusses some of the cases from Holden’s research in the section called “strong evidence for out-of-body perceptions”, Craffert begins with Pam Reynolds work which is classified as the “most detailed and objectively corroborated content” (Holden 2001). In this section, it is an account by Pam Reynolds where she gave a very detailed description of her surgery and she believed that she was having an OBE. However according to Michael Sabom who documented her case after eight years of the event happening he identified that she was actually awake when she was put under local anesthesia when she experienced these things she mentioned. Pam Reynold’s case was also documented by numerous publications which took away from the validity of the study as “numerous publications claim that it took place during her NDE while her EEG was flat”. This particular data set did not need to be analyzed properly to identify if it actually was an OBE as Craffert identified that Sabom was the only reliable source, therefore, it was clear that it was not an OBE.
Another case was by a Dutch group of scholars, their cases consisted of hospital incidents the. One of the cases was an old man who had an accident and claimed that he recalled what happened during his car crash. However, the distinct voice of the nurse he claimed to have seen in his OBE, Craffert identified that it was possible that the man recalled the events from his accident (losing his dentures and the nurse having them) from hearing the nurse’s peculiar and distinct voice. Craffert goes ahead to list three other cases which have similar storylines.
Field studies on OBE perceptions
Craffert then identifies there are two kinds field studies on OBE perceptions, which identified as “the second part of the vital evidence which could explain veridical perception”. However, he only discusses one of them. His summary of the field experiment was very brief and spanned over half a page (pages 13/14) Besides anecdotal accounts of OBE perceptions, field studies of two different kinds were conducted in order to test such perceptions. On the one hand, experimental tests with subjects who can voluntarily enter OBEs aim at the identification of objects or places during the OBE (Alvarado, 1982).
He tested more than a dozen subjects who could enter OBEs under hypnosis or during sleep experiences on six occasions. Some of his subjects were tested more than ten times and others experienced out-of-bodiness on at During all these experiments only one subject correctly identified a five- digit number, 25132, during an OBE. On the other hand, many prospective studies in hospitals with cardiac wards where it is to be expected that people might experience NDEs have been conducted. The problem with these studies, as Blackmore pointed out more than a decade ago, is that there “are many claims from case studies that people can really see at a distance during OBEs but the experimental evidence does not substantiate them” (2005:191).
This the only example included for a field study and it lacked any scientific criticisms that can effectively contribute to the understanding of OBEs this is another clear indication of Craffert’s bias attempt to produce evidence that knocks the validity of OBEs without any tangible scientific evidence.
Analysis of evidence presented for OBE
It is apparent that Craffert’s aim was to discredit all the work he drew upon, this assignment does not summarize every single detail of Craffert’s work but his work is extremely bias, he consciously does not use any evidence or theories to identify possible reasons as to why these OBEs were only perceptions and not actual OBEs. Craffert did not really focus on effectively analyzing OBES his work takes a shortcut as he draws upon work that can easily be discredited. Instead of “strong evidence”, it can clearly be seen that his aim most especially in chapter 4 of this article was to discredit the possibility of OBEs being real. Craffert should have found pieces of evidence that contributed significantly to proof that OBEs exist and he should have evaluated them to see if they explained non-local consciousness.
Craffert’s work is not very scientific, I would identify that is work is a very cheap contribution to the field as it does not indicate that he actually did very much research. His arguments are clearly very bias, as he only provides evidence that discredits the exist of OBEs which removes the requirement for him to explain how and why the studies he mentioned did not explain non-local consciousness.
It can be agreed that he did achieve the aims of this study due to the requirements of the journal which he published in. As the journal requirements indicate that the intentions of the journal are to focus on knowledge at “grassroots level”. They believe that it is vital to explore this “grassroots level” of knowledge as it becomes the foundation for further research. The requirement of each study being published is that it is presented in the conventional scientific report format. The editorial team acknowledges data that is both theoretical and material based. TD prefer research that focuses on southern Africa, notwithstanding they do accept and find refreshing articles that can make contributions towards the understanding of science outside of one discipline.
Conclusively it could be seen that all evidence presented in this article was for him to be able to put forward the ideology that “there is no reason to believe that consciousness can exist independently from a living brain”. Craffert’s work does not provide evidence for how OBEs and NDEs point towards the reality of nonlocal consciousness, but in fact, his work identifies the lack of empirical evidence in his field which is bias.
Explanation For OBEs That Is Not Presented In The Article
This section will draw upon evidence for OBEs, through theories and contributors to research on OBEs. OBEs have been widely reported and are usually associated with NDEs. The Society for psychical research identifies that there is two argument that is typically used to explain OBEs: that either spirit, mind consciousness, etc leaves the body and the second is that it is a purely hallucinatory event that can be explained though neuroscience and psychology.
In the twentieth century, there was a considerable amount of research done to understand OBE. Psychologists who contributed to the study of OBE in the field of parapsychology include Hector Durville (Durville, H. (1909).) he was a well-known French student of magnetism and psychic phenomena. the idea of “subtle bodies” and their manifestations, he provided evidence that the body was just a placeholder, “The physical body is seen at the place that it really occupies, and at the same moment its phantom is seen at a distance. The sensations felt by the phantom are reflected on the physical body. The physical body is never in its normal state during doubling.”. Another contributor would include Ernesto Bozzano (Bozzano, E.1934/1937), he is known mostly for his analysis of death bead apparitions his work scopes over most topic under parapsychology.
The most generally used OBE accounts are derived from books and articles these include; Sylvan J Muldoon’s influential book “Projection of the Astral Body (Muldoon & Carrington, 1929)”, the second includes a book published by JHM Whiteman (3£Whiteman, J.H.M. (1956). The process of separation and return in experiences fully ‘out-of-the-body.’ Whiteman wrote about full and half separations from the body.
As previously mentioned work done by Bozzano and Muldoon and Carrington were quite popular and it provided a framework of OBE features. Some researchers analyzed potential features of OBEs, in a study by Alvarado, C.S. (1984) he reported a few features these include; “awareness of the sensation of leaving the body (34%), awareness of being connected to the body (26%), and shock on return to the body (33%). Less commonly reported features were seeing a ‘cord’ connecting the out-of-body projection with the physical body (0%); encounters with ‘spirits’ (7%); hearing music (8%); and remembering earlier life events (15%).”
Modern theories of OBE, in disciplines such as psychology and cognitive science OBEs, are characterized as dissociative experiences which come from numerous psychological and neurological factors. Scientists identify OBEs as an experience from a mental state, they believe it could be a dream or an altered state of consciousness that does not link to the paranormal. Psychologists like Charles Richet (1887) believed that OBEs are no different from dreams and they are moments created by subject memory (like Holden’s reference to the man who had an accident) and imagination processes. James H. Hyslop (1912) believed that OBEs occur when an individual’s mind in a subconscious state dramatizes certain images to give the impression that the individual is in a different/alternate physical location. Another theorist Eugene Osty (1930) believed that OBEs were mere products of imagination. Psychology identifies that there are more psychological and neurological explanations for OBEs
Overall the article is clearly very bias and is written to discredit the existence of OBEs however it should have been approached in a much more scientific manner, Craffert used studies done to discredit the possibility that OBE’s exist however he did this with cases that were already questioned, as a researcher it is important that whatever work you produce is contributing to the field of knowledge that is out there. Craffert discredits himself as his work draws upon work that has already been critiqued, what he should have done, is use psychological or neurological explanations to explain why the cases were flawed. This would have been a much better contribution. The title of the work was also extremely misleading as out of the forty pages; four pages were references and five pages (pages 10-15) discussed OBEs and half of that provided futile evidence whilst the other half contained criticisms. As a whole, the paper is very simplistic and lack any true scientific knowledge to back the claims presented. It does achieve the aims however the quality of the written work is questionable