Dr. Peter Fenwick, M.D.: Science and Spirituality
Page 1 of 8Major talk given by one of the world's leading NDE researchers summarizing 30 years of research - a fundamental overview of scientific findings.
Science and Spirituality: A Challenge for the 21st Century
The Bruce Greyson Lecture from the International Association for Near-Death Studies 2004 Annual Conference
Peter Fenwick, M.D., F.R.C.Psych.
Peter Fenwick, M.D., F.R.C.Psych., is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, and associated with the Mental Health Group at the University of Southampton. He is also Consultant Neuropsychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital and at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and holds a visiting professorship in Japan, where he spends three months of the year in advanced neuropsychiatric research. Reprint requests should be addressed to Dr. Fenwick at the Institute for Psychiatry, deCrespigny Park Road, London S.E.5, United Kingdom.
This paper was transcribed and edited from Dr. Fenwick’s Bruce Greyson Lecture at the 2004 annual conference of the International Association for Near-Death Studies by Janice Miner Holden, Ed.D., Professor in, and Coordinator of, the counseling program at the University of North Texas in Denton. Dr. Holden’s primary area of research interest is the transpersonal perspective in counseling, in general, and near-death and similar experiences – their veridicality and their role in personal and transpersonal development – in particular. She currently serves as president of the International Association for Near-Death Studies.
A major and relatively rapid shift is underway in the field of medicine. In the past 10 years, medical professionals have gone from looking upon spirituality with a skeptical if not cynical eye, to embracing it enthusiastically. Consider these developments:
Things have changed for the better regarding serious inquiry into, and acceptance of, the role of spirituality in medicine. But they still have further to go. Today I would like to talk about two sets of experiences: approaching-death experiences that occur in the 24 hours before death, and the dying process itself, for which I am going to use the near-death experience (NDE) as a model. I am going to begin my talk with near-death experiences. First, I will discuss the early retrospective studies, those that involved researchers collecting accounts from experiencers whom they met for the first time after the participants had already had their NDEs, and about whom they had no information. I will address only those aspects of these studies that particularly interest me. Then, I will talk about the current focus of near-death research: prospective studies, those in which the researcher begins studying the participants before they have their NDEs, and thus has information about the circumstances in which the near-death experience occurs.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 April 2007 09:19 )