Reincarnation

#1
So if the proponents are going to discuss between life accounts given by kids who claim to remember past lives, though there is no way to verify them usually, perhaps some people in this forum want to explain how it is that after reading Stevenson's work you still think that the Indian, Bengali, Iranian, Turkish, Lebanese, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, American, Christian, etc subjects are all trying to defraud Stevenson and his collaborators?

I asked Paul this a while back in reference to a Turkish case and I recall that he complained that there was a remote possibility of a connection between the families involved, which for him was enough to discount the entire case. How is it that on such slender possibilities all of a respected researcher's life's work can be tossed as worthless? Would that same standard be used in other normal contexts? If I live in New York City (as I did for six years) would anything I had to say on the subject of reincarnation be tainted by the fact that Ian Stevenson visited the city occasionally and might have talked to me (he didn't)?

The objections I have read about Stevenson's work, here and elsewhere, either do not match facts as laid out by Stevenson or assume such a high level of fraud, deceit, or collusion (innocent or otherwise) that I find them incredible. How can any self-respecting skeptic believe that a three year old kid is going to start speaking a language that is foreign to all of his relatives and most of his neighbors, save one that the family barely knows, and talk of the life of a disreputable person in an unknown village, as the result of some scheme to defraud? This happens in families that don't believe in reincarnation, like the Muslims in southern Iran (see Mills' work) or are antagonistic to the idea because their Muslim child remembers life as a Christian, to atheists, etc. The actual effect of these things, like when a child in a wealthy family remembers the life of an untouchable, are more often damaging to the child and family than positive. What is the incentive? How is it done? I don't speak Russian, so how could I teach a kid who barely speaks English to speak Russian and tell a coherent story about the life of a person I don't know? Would I secretly learn Russian without any of my friends and neighbors knowing about it, then teach my kid, also without anyone knowing, then research the life of some peasant wastrel that died in Minsk so that I could teach it to a toddler? The idea of such things happening seems ludicrous to me, but that kind of explanation keeps coming up in skeptic circles as if any speculation at all, no matter how wild, as long as it denies dualism, is legit.

Please explain why this is, I am genuinely curious.

AP
 
#3
I am interested in the Moslem/Hindu cases. I've found some Web sources for Mill's work:

http://auromere.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/cases-of-reincarnation-across-religions/
http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_04_2_mills.pdf

May be back when I've read them
I am interested in the Moslem/Hindu cases. I've found some Web sources for Mill's work:

http://auromere.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/cases-of-reincarnation-across-religions/
http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_04_2_mills.pdf

May be back when I've read them
What I enjoy about these cases is that they go against conventional wisdom within any of the Abrahamic traditions. If the Christian path is the only way to salvation, then how could God allow a Christian to be born as a Moslem? Or a Moslem as a Christian? Or as a Jew? Etc. the whole idea of a "one true path" to God makes no sense in the context of reincarnation. My feeling is that this is why they reject it outright. Never mind the evidence, or even the prophets who talk about it from within their own traditions, if reincarnation happens, they either have to rethink the idea that they have exclusive rights to God's ear, or their religion collapses. For atheists, it's similar because if reincarnation happens, then much of their science (not physics, but other sciences, like medicine and biology fall apart. It should be no wonder than reincarnation is reviled in the west where Abrahamic religion or atheism are dominant.

AP
 
#4
What I enjoy about these cases is that they go against conventional wisdom within any of the Abrahamic traditions. If the Christian path is the only way to salvation, then how could God allow a Christian to be born as a Moslem? Or a Moslem as a Christian? Or as a Jew? Etc. the whole idea of a "one true path" to God makes no sense in the context of reincarnation. My feeling is that this is why they reject it outright. Never mind the evidence, or even the prophets who talk about it from within their own traditions, if reincarnation happens, they either have to rethink the idea that they have exclusive rights to God's ear, or their religion collapses. For atheists, it's similar because if reincarnation happens, then much of their science (not physics, but other sciences, like medicine and biology fall apart. It should be no wonder than reincarnation is reviled in the west where Abrahamic religion or atheism are dominant.

AP
great points... especially when read along with the first post. I'm amazed when folks don't make these obvious connections and instead try and shoehorn the substantial evidence for reincarnation into a Christian/Islamic/Atheist worldview.
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#5
I'm amazed when folks don't make these obvious connections and instead try and shoehorn the substantial evidence for reincarnation into a Christian/Islamic/Atheist worldview.
And yet somehow we have to wrap our heads around the presence of both Jesus and reincarnation in NDEs - sometimes together!
Alex, from your recent guest Kevin Williams:

Reincarnation and the Bible
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen03.html
 
#6
And yet somehow we have to wrap our heads around the presence of both Jesus and reincarnation in NDEs - sometimes together!
Alex, from your recent guest Kevin Williams:

Reincarnation and the Bible
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen03.html
Keep in mind that what Jesus said (according to the NT) is often different from the meaning attributed to them by Paul and subsequent theologians. When Jesus talks about Isaiah having returned but that he wasn't recognized, and a couple other statements like that, they sound like reincarnation to me. How much more was there before the Council of Nicea decided, three hundred years later, that reincarnation was heresy?

AP
 
#7
Keep in mind that what Jesus said (according to the NT) is often different from the meaning attributed to them by Paul and subsequent theologians. When Jesus talks about Isaiah having returned but that he wasn't recognized, and a couple other statements like that, they sound like reincarnation to me. How much more was there before the Council of Nicea decided, three hundred years later, that reincarnation was heresy?

AP
There are lots of references about reincarnation and karma in the Gnostic texts, "Pistis Sophia", Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Philip etc...
http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=10036
 
#8
Well, I've read Antonia Mills' paper and found it interesting. I don't doubt the veracity of what she reported, so the only question really is whether the cause was reincarnation. I myself believe in reincarnation, but are these cases incontrovertible evidence of it? I'm agnostic: something unusual is going on, for sure, and in some way, kids can be able to pick up verifiable information about a person who previously died (often violently), and even show birthmarks indicative of the cause of death.

Reincarnation is a parsimonious explanation and it could be so, but what gives me pause for thought is that such reports seem to be prevalent in societies where reincarnation is believed in by most of the population. Maybe there's evidence that I don't know of indicating that it's more common than I think in western societies, for example, but if I'm right about that, one has to ask why it should be the case. It's similar to how NDE reports have can have cultural colourations. Really, this feeds into the question on the other thread that mentions little anomalies or gaps in the straightforward reincarnation explanation.

Lots of people, Western or otherwise, have violent deaths. Why aren't reports just as common? Is it that reincarnation memories are simply more often overlooked or dismissed? If there is a significant cultural influence, then maybe the explanation could be that in some way the culture's collective unconscious is involved in helping promote the phenomenon. I haven't firmed up my ideas about this, so am still pondering.
 
#9
Lots of people, Western or otherwise, have violent deaths. Why aren't reports just as common? Is it that reincarnation memories are simply more often overlooked or dismissed? If there is a significant cultural influence, then maybe the explanation could be that in some way the culture's collective unconscious is involved in helping promote the phenomenon. I haven't firmed up my ideas about this, so am still pondering.
I think it could be a mix of two things: societies that believe in reincarnation have probably a tendency to look too hard for the phenomena, sacrificing other possible and more "normal" explanations and therefore including some "false positives". We, on the other hand, tend to ignore/dismiss the cases and therefore miss a lot of interesting instances.

The problem with the "collective unconscious" is that, although a fascinating theory, does it really stand up to scrutiny? Is there more evidence of the C.U. at work than actual reincarnation cases? Birth marks, past lives regression healings and the congruent spiritual messages of in-between lives seem to strengthen the reincarnation hypothesis more than anything else.

Cheers
 
#10
Well, I've read Antonia Mills' paper and found it interesting. I don't doubt the veracity of what she reported, so the only question really is whether the cause was reincarnation. I myself believe in reincarnation, but are these cases incontrovertible evidence of it? I'm agnostic: something unusual is going on, for sure, and in some way, kids can be able to pick up verifiable information about a person who previously died (often violently), and even show birthmarks indicative of the cause of death.

Reincarnation is a parsimonious explanation and it could be so, but what gives me pause for thought is that such reports seem to be prevalent in societies where reincarnation is believed in by most of the population. Maybe there's evidence that I don't know of indicating that it's more common than I think in western societies, for example, but if I'm right about that, one has to ask why it should be the case. It's similar to how NDE reports have can have cultural colourations. Really, this feeds into the question on the other thread that mentions little anomalies or gaps in the straightforward reincarnation explanation.

Lots of people, Western or otherwise, have violent deaths. Why aren't reports just as common? Is it that reincarnation memories are simply more often overlooked or dismissed? If there is a significant cultural influence, then maybe the explanation could be that in some way the culture's collective unconscious is involved in helping promote the phenomenon. I haven't firmed up my ideas about this, so am still pondering.
Reincarnation cases show up in every country in the world, even in the US, Germany, France, The Netherlands, etc. They appear in families that don't believe in reincarnation and those that do. They appear in cultures were reincarnation is considered heretical and where it isn't. They appear in situations that can be advantageous to the family of the child with previous life memories and (more often, it seems) when those same memories are disadvantageous to the people involved. It is easier to find cases where the people do not actively try to prevent them from appearing, but this doesn't mean fewer people are reincarnated in those places. It is more likely that there is greater pressure to conceal reports like this, as you undoubtedly read in the Mills paper on Muslim children remembering lives as Hindus.

AP
 
#11
I think it could be a mix of two things: societies that believe in reincarnation have probably a tendency to look too hard for the phenomena, sacrificing other possible and more "normal" explanations and therefore including some "false positives".

Cheers
If you look through Stevenson's books, you will see that families sometimes go to great lengths to prevent their child from speaking of a previous life. It isn't that they doubt what the child says, but that they believe memories of that type bring misfortune. Therefore, even in cultures where reincarnation is accepted, it is often concealed.

AP
 
#12
Reincarnation cases show up in every country in the world, even in the US, Germany, France, The Netherlands, etc. They appear in families that don't believe in reincarnation and those that do. They appear in cultures were reincarnation is considered heretical and where it isn't. They appear in situations that can be advantageous to the family of the child with previous life memories and (more often, it seems) when those same memories are disadvantageous to the people involved. It is easier to find cases where the people do not actively try to prevent them from appearing, but this doesn't mean fewer people are reincarnated in those places. It is more likely that there is greater pressure to conceal reports like this, as you undoubtedly read in the Mills paper on Muslim children remembering lives as Hindus.

AP
I know reincarnation claims are found outside societies with a preponderance of believers in it, Andy, but do we have any comparative figures of occurrence rates in different countries? Please note I'm not ruling out that actual reincarnation is occurring: I just have a degree of reservation.
 
#13
I know reincarnation claims are found outside societies with a preponderance of believers in it, Andy, but do we have any comparative figures of occurrence rates in different countries? Please note I'm not ruling out that actual reincarnation is occurring: I just have a degree of reservation.
According to Stevenson, it is much easier to find them in Asia than the west. Despite this, he published an impressive set of cases that all come from western Europe.

AP
 
#14
And yet somehow we have to wrap our heads around the presence of both Jesus and reincarnation in NDEs - sometimes together!
Alex, from your recent guest Kevin Williams:
My best guess (assuming NDE's are in some sense 'real') is that something of human societies extends out into the non-material world. In other words, these religions have some sort of toe hold out there, but they don't represent the ultimate truth. So devout Christians sometimes meet Jesus, people of other religion, or none meet different folk.

NDE's clearly don't correspond to Christian teaching, which is that everyone 'sleeps' until the day of Judgement, when we all (Christians or not) get separated into the saved and the rest. OK, there are variants on this, but there are variants of all beliefs.

David
 
#15
What would be the difference between evidence for reincarnation, and evidence for some sort of mis-connection, or anomalous tuning, at the brain/consciousness interface?
 
#16
What would be the difference between evidence for reincarnation, and evidence for some sort of mis-connection, or anomalous tuning, at the brain/consciousness interface?
To answer this, we need some way of determining the identities of the current and previous experiences. What we have so far is not reliable enough to be sure.
 
#17
I know reincarnation claims are found outside societies with a preponderance of believers in it, Andy, but do we have any comparative figures of occurrence rates in different countries? Please note I'm not ruling out that actual reincarnation is occurring: I just have a degree of reservation.
I think that even if reincarnation were real we should expect to have a higher reported occurrence rate in countries that at least widely accept it as possible.
 
#18
I think that even if reincarnation were real we should expect to have a higher reported occurrence rate in countries that at least widely accept it as possible.
Why? If diamonds the size of the Hope diamond were real, would you expect to see more of them in countries that expect to find them? The fact there are any cases is interesting, but there are over 10,000 cases at the UofVA, which would take an awful lot of arm-waving to get rid of.

AP
 
#19
Why? If diamonds the size of the Hope diamond were real, would you expect to see more of them in countries that expect to find them? The fact there are any cases is interesting, but there are over 10,000 cases at the UofVA, which would take an awful lot of arm-waving to get rid of.

AP
I suspect in areas of the world where reincarnation is accepted then one might see a herd mentality type of behaviour in order to "fit in". This would be consistent with human behaviours in other areas well documented in psycology.... Then I guess it comes down to the question of quality vs quantity of evidence debate. I will bow out at that point because I do not know the evidence well enough to hold an opinion. :)

However, I'd be interested in your take my question above: "What would be the difference between evidence for reincarnation, and evidence for some sort of mis-connection, or anomalous tuning, at the brain/consciousness interface?"
 
#20
Why? If diamonds the size of the Hope diamond were real, would you expect to see more of them in countries that expect to find them? The fact there are any cases is interesting, but there are over 10,000 cases at the UofVA, which would take an awful lot of arm-waving to get rid of.
AP
Yes I would. If people expect to find them, they will look for them and find more than if they were looking. If people expect to find them they are less likely to blow it off when their child tells them they saw one.

I think however that you might be misunderstanding me. I am explaining why the fact that there are more cases reported in Asia is not evidence against reincarnation being a "real" thing.
 
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