Religion Dispatches discusses the new scientific reports on allegedly "brain dead" patients a few of whom have an active life of the mind:
This is a tricky question, where science and religion often hide, or collide. It’s answered in a diversity of ways by different cultures at different times, by different physicians in different hospitals, different shamans in different tribes. Is it when your heart stops working (as in Japan and Shintoism)? When your soul leaves your body (as in Tibet and Buddhism)? When your brain stops working? When a certain part of your brain stops working? Who decides when you’re dead?
Can you be dead in body, but not in mind? Vice versa?
Cogito ergo sum?
A new study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine adds intriguing neuroscientific fuel to the fires already ablaze around these questions.
The article asks, "Based on this new MRI research, we asked the question: If your Dad can only communicate through ‘thought MRI’ like patients in this study, would you consider him alive?"
What about yourself - would you want to be kept alive?
Read the study in the New England Journal of Medicine