US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years.
Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject's veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.
The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity.
But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock.
I have already made an argument that if the afterlife exists for humans, then it exists for all life forms. Not all afterlife-belief systems accept non-human species as going to the afterlife, and I will address this in a moment. But for now, let's accept this assumption and assume that if an afterlife exists, then it does for dogs as well as humans.
At this moment, we have two possible explanations for these dogs' reanimation and their afterlives:
1. The dog's soul leaves the body to the afterlife realm upon clinical death, and then instantly travels back into the dog's body once the heart and body functions are restarted via electric shock.
2. The soul is not a separate component of the dog, but merely the combination of physical processes of the body, and the body's processes can be stopped and revived many hours after clinical death, provided that the body's cells do not suffer too much damage. In other words, everything is purely material and there is no afterlife.
Which proposition makes more sense? Presuming that "souls" are immaterial and thus not able to be observed or measured (a popular pro-afterlife argument), it would be impossible to prove either proposition to be wrong, because the immaterial-ness of the soul would make both propositions unfalsifiable.
How can we choose between these two propositions when a soul's immaterial properties make both propositions unfalsifiable? Two words: Occam's Razor. Occam's Razor states that given a set of equally possible options, the simplest one is the best one. Clearly, proposition #2 is the simpler one. It involves less layers of complexity and less entities.
While afterlife-believers insist on immaterial souls, thinking that it helps their argument, we find that it actually harms their argument. By using the immaterial soul argument, we make both propositions unfalsifiable in terms of material observation, and when both propositions are unfalsifiable, we must use Occam's Razor to arrive at the simpler proposition: That there is no separate soul component which can leave the body upon suspension of body functions and then return upon restarting of those functions.
Now, many afterlife-believers will argue that only humans have an afterlife, or that only humans have souls which survive bodily death. Besides the obvious problems with this argument (which I brought up in my Reducibility in Life Forms and the Afterlife blog entry), there is also the problem that the Safar Centre plans to test this on humans within a year.
What happens if the human experiences the same results as the dog? What if the human dies for a few hours and then comes back to life upon restarting of the heart? Maybe the human will report going to heaven or some other afterlife realm for a few hours. Maybe not. But wouldn't the same arguments and propositions that I mentioned with the dogs still apply to the humans? Wouldn't Occam's Razor still be applicable? I believe it would.
What I would like to see is that they test this on many humans. They should test it on a handful of afterlife-believers, and a handful of non-afterlife-believers. Would they all report the same dreams? Would only the afterlife-believers report an out of body experience? Of course, I suspect that there would be no dreams reported, because to be clinically dead, brain functions must cease. And being a non-afterlife-believer myself, I believe that if there are no electro-chemical functions occurring in the brain, then there are no dreams or memories occurring either. But that's just me.
I really want to see some humans go through this. I want to see both pro-afterlife and anti-afterlife humans go through it and report on their experiences, if any, during their clinical death period. At any rate, the anti-afterlife camp is currently leading in this race, thanks to a wonderful little tool known as Occam's Razor.