Could the dead hear and feel?

Brett Carswell carswell at
Sun Apr 9 15:24:17 EST 1995

Charles Hokanson (Phnxbmed at wrote:
: While the original question and content of the text seem more 
: appropriate to a religious or philisophical mewsgroup, it does raise and 
: interesting issue, That of the definition of death.  It has long been 
: accepted that the clinical signs of death are lack of vital signs, ie. 
: heart beat and brian wave activity.  And that in the absense of these 
: for some length of time, cell and tissue death occur.  It had been 
: thought that this process occurs rather rapidly (minutes).  However, 
: this process can be slowed (or stopped?) by substantially reducing the 
: temerature of the body.  

: A recent TV program showed a surgical procedure in which the heart and 
: brainwave activity of a patient were totally stopped for one hour.  Half 
: of the blood was removed from the body to reduce the pressure of a very 
: large brain aneurysm.  Once the aneurysm had been deflated, it was 
: clamped off.  The temperature of the patient was gradually increased, 
: and the vital signs were all restored.  Apparently, thousands of similar 
: procedures have been performed in Russia for many years, utilizing 
: hypothermia techniques.

: Therefore, back to the original question, Can the dead hear or feel? It 
: would seem to depend on your definition of death.  The woman who 
: underwent the procedure neither heard nor felt while she was "dead' by 
: normal clinical standards.  And the absence of brain wave activity would 
: seem to indicate that she did not think either.  However subsequently 
: she lived.

: It would seem therefore that a definition of clinical death would have 
: to include a refernce to cell, tissue and organ death, such that when 
: sufficient cell, tissue and organ death has occured, the host organism, 
: human in this case, can not be restored to life.

: As to the many reported cases of, out of "body experiences" and "white 
: light experiences" of people who presumably died and then supposedly 
: come back to life, there is sufficient scientific evidence to debunk 
: this nonsense as nothing more than lack of oxygen, and/or reaction to 
: anestheic gases.

: Finally, as to the religious answer, I don't know what other religions 
: teach, however since you mentioned a catholic, and presumably 
: judeo-christian perspective, I refer you to Ecclesiastes Chapter 9 
: Verses 5 and 6:

:  " For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at 
: all.  They have no further reward and even the memory of them is 
: forgotten.  Their love, their hate, their jealousy have long since 
: vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens 
: under the sun."

: and Job 19: 25,26 :

: "I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon 
: the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will 
: see God."

: CH

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