Environmental Science
articles by Will Kemp

Science versus pseudoscience: near death experiences

Recent theories of modern physics predict that the universe has more dimensions than are apparent to us. Many near-death experiencers report the perception that there are more dimensions than we are commonly aware of. These two statements might be related.

Near death and out of body experiences are frequently reported by people who have undergone severe trauma and have come close to death. Descriptions of these experiences seem to be similar around the world and across different age groups – including young children (Bonilla, 2011). Near death experiences (NDEs) typically involve some combination of feelings of peace, looking down at the situation from above, being surrounded by brilliant white light, passing through a tunnel, encountering mysterious beings, dead family members or friends, and being given a choice of whether to stay or go back (Cole, 1993; Mann et al., 2001). These experiences are often interpreted as being religious or spiritual in nature, and as indicating the existence of an “afterlife” (Agrillo, 2011; Mann et al., 2001).

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What is science

I had to explain what science is in about 200 words for the “Science: Nature, Knowledge and Understanding” unit at James Cook Uni. This is exactly 200 words.

Science is a systematic approach to understanding existence in terms of provable observations. Because existence has such a vast scope, its study has split over time into a wide array of specialized fields. However, all branches of science share a common approach to developing an understanding of their area of interest.

Scientific practice is based on studying some aspect of existence, formulating a theory to explain a particular phenomenon, and then developing an experiment that proves the theory is correct (or incorrect) and which is reproducible by anyone else. Some research, such as experiments carried out by the Large Hadron Collider, cannot be reproduced by anyone without the necessary resources, but the data collected in those experiments can be made available for independent analysis.

As well as reproducibility, peer review is a fundamental element of scientific research. Publication of research papers in peer reviewed journals is the primary means of validating new research. The peer review process means only research that’s considered to be valid by other experts in that field will get published. Publication ensures the research is available to other scientists who can then try and prove or disprove the published hypotheses, and validate or invalidate experimental results.