Letter to the Editor: When Ideology Overrules Science Page: 50
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JOURNAL OF NEAR-DEATH STUDIES
Woerlee's ideas about the Reynolds case. Apart from that, we asked
Rodin what he thought of the responses from Spetzler regarding our
two questions. These were his unequivocal answers (personal commu-
nication, October 28, 2013). Regarding Woerlee's contention that all
NDEs can be explained through physiological processes, Rodin said,
"I believe that NDEs are subjectively real experiences for which we
have at this time no explanation." Specifically regarding the Reynolds
case, contrary to Woerlee's contention that all anesthesiologists and
neurologists would agree with him that Reynolds' experience can be
explained physiologically, Rodin said:
Your conversations in regard to Reynolds with Spetzler are interest-
ing and I agree with him that what happened with Pam, defies expla-
nations. I also agree that EEG burst suppression is incompatible with
ordinary consciousness so I don't know what happened there.
Another amazing observation I do not want to neglect to report.
As I (Smit, 2012) wrote in a previous letter in this Journal:
So how Reynolds could have become habituated to these hor-
rible sounds, and then under such dire circumstances as her life-
threatening surgery, is beyond my comprehension. I am particularly
perplexed when I consider that Reynolds was a musician, a singer /
songwriter whose life was devoted to beautiful, harmonious music.
Whereas Woerlee alleged that "it is very reasonable to conclude that
she may have been conscious at the time" (p. 15), heard through nor-
mal means, and habituated to the clicking sounds, I believe that if
she had heard those horrible sounds, she would have gone mad on the
operating table-and certainly would have remembered and reported
the traumatic aural experience.... (p. 189)
Woerlee (2013) did me the honor to respond to this letter on his
website. He copied part of my letter and followed it with his response:
Smit claims Reynolds would have gone mad on the operating table if
she had heard these sounds. The answer to this is evident. Reynolds
did not go insane as a result of these sounds, nor was she rendered
deaf in one ear as a result of these sounds. After all, subsequent to her
operation, she continued her musical career. The same applies to all
operations performed in the Barrow Institute. If people become deaf
and insane due to these sounds, then many hundreds / thousands of
patients treated at the Barrow Institute will have departed cured of
their aneurysms, but insane, and deaf in one or more of their ears. Did
this happen-NO. This is a case of "get real"-these stimuli, while un-
pleasant to normally conscious persons, are insufficient to induce sig-
nificant hearing damage, and insufficient to cause insanity. (Woerlee,
Here’s what’s next.
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Smit, Rudolf H. Letter to the Editor: When Ideology Overrules Science, letter, Autumn 2013; East Windsor Hill, Connecticut. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc938061/m1/4/: accessed April 3, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .