Rebirth and past life experiences

67


Discussion by: Logical Thinker
Hey everyone..!!! I’m an atheist brought up in an atheistic Buddhist environment. Everything I learned in my religion or better call it a philosophy, were more like logical stuff and everything was about reasoning, and nothing to do with superstition. But later I came up with this strange subject, Buddhism focus on called the “rebirth”. Buddhists believe that when a person dies he is born again. Its kind of a evolving consciousness . So I started my research on the topic and read so many incidences when children, (usually in ages 3-5) talk about past life experiences where they can even describe roads they have never been never been before, people who they have never met before. There are instances where the child says that he died during a war, and show places where weapons are hidden too. So I’m really curious about this topic. And just hope we can have an interesting discussion on the topic.. Thnx.. :-)

67 COMMENTS

  1. Hi LT, this is really a matter of skepticism. Reincarnation does not have to be caused by a deity. It could be caused by karma or other psuedoscientific or metaphysical stuff claimed by its proponents.

    The claim is also very problematic because, first of all, I am skeptical about the testimonies. There are many other explanations that could explain the apparent knowledge of past lives such as cryptoamnesia.

    Even if the memory is true, reincarnation is not the only theory that can explains why a child has another person’s memory. There are lots of competing pseudoscience theories, such as the one where people from faraway places could share knowledge or memories which was used by some crackpots to explain why civilizations from distant places have similar technology or culture, which it needs to debunk to prove its own validity.

    (I forgot the name of the second theory)

  2. People can say and write anything. You can find stories of incidences of “true” vampires, encounters with yeti and aliens and it goes on and on. But you haven’t found any clinical research that demonstrates those claims. No double blind studies showing some children can “remember” facts they could not know. Stories, sure. Claims, yeah. Purported studies? You bet. But they all fail when looked at closely, just like the claims of every other paranormal kind of activity. I would suggest to you that every claim you have heard about has a flaw, a weakness, a point at which it becomes just a claim, not a proof.
    If the human race underwent rebirthing and children could sometimes remember past lives, I can assure you that it would be a well known, proven phenomena. We’d have labs with 4 year old children drawing maps they couldn’t know and speaking languages they never learned. Instead, we have stories of those kinds of things. Just stories. And stories of sasquatch and god and santa and mind reading. It is ALL the same. Same claims of other worldly stuff that NEVER holds up upon scrutiny.

    • digibud said :”And stories of sasquatch and god and santa and mind reading. It is ALL the same.”

      Now THAT is a huge, uninformed observation which, alas, discredits anything else you have to say. Unless, of course, you have evidence which demonstrates that they are ALL the same.

      In reply to #2 by digibud:

      People can say and write anything. You can find stories of incidences of “true” vampires, encounters with yeti and aliens and it goes on and on. But you haven’t found any clinical research that demonstrates those claims. No double blind studies showing some children can “remember” facts they could not know. Stories, sure. Claims, yeah. Purported studies? You bet. But they all fail when looked at closely, just like the claims of every other paranormal kind of activity. I would suggest to you that every claim you have heard about has a flaw, a weakness, a point at which it becomes just a claim, not a proof.
      If the human race underwent rebirthing and children could sometimes remember past lives, I can assure you that it would be a well known, proven phenomena. We’d have labs with 4 year old children drawing maps they couldn’t know and speaking languages they never learned. Instead, we have stories of those kinds of things. Just stories. And stories of sasquatch and god and santa and mind reading. It is ALL the same. Same claims of other worldly stuff that NEVER holds up upon scrutiny.

  3. Don’t you find it suspicious that these Buddhist children recall past lives , though children from other faith systems do not? It’s an amazing coincidence in much the same way that only adherents to the Roman Catholic faith see visions ( which look remarkably similar to the religious imagery in their churches). Protestants don’t see visions at all as its not part of Protestant thinking or traditions.

    These children have been primed to recall past lives, methinks.

    • In reply to #3 by Nitya:

      Don’t you find it suspicious that these Buddhist children recall past lives , though children from other faith systems do not? It’s an amazing coincidence in much the same way that only adherents to the Roman Catholic faith see visions ( which look remarkably similar to the religious imagery in their churches). Protestants don’t see visions at all as its not part of Protestant thinking or traditions.

      These children have been primed to recall past lives, methinks.

      Why would that be suspicious? If God spoke to you, you would likely “hear” him in English. Does that mean that the skeptic could retort, “I find that suspicious. Are you saying that God is an anglophone? Haw-haw-haw.”

      Any kind of spiritual or transcendental experience would have to be expressed through the psycho-cultural experience of the individual. And to say that only Catholics have visions is just plain false. Please don’t let your skepticism make you as blind as those you would condemn for having “blind faith”.

      • In reply to #5 by quilisma2013:

        In reply to #3 by Nitya:

        Don’t you find it suspicious that these Buddhist children recall past lives , though children from other faith systems do not? It’s an amazing coincidence in much the same way that only adherents to the Roman Catholic faith see visions ( which look remarkably similar to the religious imagery in their churches). Protestants don’t see visions at all as its not part of Protestant thinking or traditions.

        These children have been primed to recall past lives, methinks.

        Why would that be suspicious? If God spoke to you, you would likely “hear” him in English. Does that mean that the skeptic could retort, “I find that suspicious. Are you saying that God is an anglophone? Haw-haw-haw.”

        Any kind of spiritual or transcendental experience would have to be expressed through the psycho-cultural experience of the individual. And to say that only Catholics have visions is just plain false. Please don’t let your skepticism make you as blind as those you would condemn for having “blind faith”.

        Are you saying that the supernatural makes contact with its followers in the method to which they’ve grown accustomed? That’s it’s all part of the same phenomena but manifests itself differently depending on the branch of belief the community is part of? That all sounds rather convenient. Such a school of thought has all bases covered really!

        I’m afraid I’m not buying it.

        • Nitya – saying that an explanation sounds rather convenient does not falsify that explanation.

          The cognitive sciences have demonstrated that “Believing is seeing” is often just as true as “Seeing is believing.” All the information that is captured by your sense perceptions is then processed by your brain/mind. Information processing varies from one individual to another and, obviously, from one culture to another.

          The form of this information processing mechanism is often called a “world view.” This depends not only on the brain that you have inherited genetically, but also by the sum of your experiences. The fact that there is an almost infinite variety of different world views is often a major source of problems in communication.

          In experiments, when subjects are played a recording of a very faint but garbled voice, if they are told that the noise is in fact a person speaking and they are asked to identify the language, an American will identify snippets of English phrases, a German, snippets of German phrases. Some even pick out whole sentences…but always in their mother tongue. New, unsorted information is always processed by the processing mechanisms we have available. In this experiment, of course, there are just garbled sounds – no language at all is present.

          The expression “the Lamb of God” made no sense whatsoever to Eskimos who had never seen sheep. “God the Father” will evoke different reactions according to personal experience of the father-figure.

          So the fact that transcendental experiences are processed differently, and given different conceptual forms is no surprise at all. And far from being convenient to recognise this fact, saying that it “has all bases covered” is nothing more than rather mindless hand-waving.

          I agree that we should exercise a degree of skepticism when dealing with any explanation that looks “too convenient”, but dismissing it out of hand is not a sign of rational thought.

          In reply to #6 by Nitya:

          In reply to #5 by quilisma2013:

          In reply to #3 by Nitya:

          Don’t you find it suspicious that these Buddhist children recall past lives , though children from other faith systems do not? It’s an amazing coincidence in much the same way that only adherents to the Roman Catholic faith see visions ( which look remarkably similar to the religious imagery in their churches). Protestants don’t see visions at all as its not part of Protestant thinking or traditions.

          These children have been primed to recall past lives, methinks.

          Why would that be suspicious? If God spoke to you, you would likely “hear” him in English. Does that mean that the skeptic could retort, “I find that suspicious. Are you saying that God is an anglophone? Haw-haw-haw.”

          Any kind of spiritual or transcendental experience would have to be expressed through the psycho-cultural experience of the individual. And to say that only Catholics have visions is just plain false. Please don’t let your skepticism make you as blind as those you would condemn for having “blind faith”.

          Are you saying that the supernatural makes contact with its followers in the method to which they’ve grown accustomed? That’s it’s all part of the same phenomena but manifests itself differently depending on the branch of belief the community is part of? That all sounds rather convenient. Such a school of thought has all bases covered really!

          I’m afraid I’m not buying it.

          • In reply to #17 by quilisma2013:

            “Believing is Seeing” is just another way of saying that one’s perceptions are highly unreliable , and dare I say it, subjective. I’m definitely in agreement with you there. However, your interpretation of the “garbled voices” experiment etc is different to mine . Whereas you interpret the results to mean, anything’s possible, I interpret it to mean otherworldly phenomena is highly suspect given the tendency to mould one’s perceptions to one’s own preconceived world view.

            By way example, a few years ago, a trick of the light caused a face of the virgin to seemingly appear on a fence post near a Sydney beach. In no time at all a small crowd would gather at the same time every evening to witness the apparition. Needless to say, the crowd was comprised of people for whom such a vision was relevant. Any onlookers from another branch of religion or lack thereof , were not able to see much of anything. With the passing days, the light changed (perhaps it rained a few times) and the virgin disappeared.

          • In reply to #19 by Nitya:

            However, your interpretation of the “garbled voices” experiment etc is different to mine . Whereas you interpret the results to mean, anything’s possible, I interpret it to mean otherworldly phenomena is highly suspect given the tendency to mould one’s perceptions to one’s own preconceived world view.

            Er, how do you know that my interpretation is “anything’s possible”? It isn’t actually. We should alway be careful to avoid this kind of straw man – attributing a belief to our opponent, and then proceeding to argue against it.

            However I fully agree with you that all other-worldy phenomena should be regarded with skepticism, like used car salesmen, door-to-door “missionaries” and your ex-wife’s lawyer.

          • *In reply to [#21]

            Er, how do you know that my interpretation is “anything’s possible”? It isn’t actually. We should alway be careful to avoid this kind of straw man – attributing a belief to our opponent, and then proceeding to argue against it.

            Point taken re my interpretation of your interpretation. I thought that after putting the comment in print. We are at odds regarding the interpretation of the results though, are we not?

            However I fully agree with you that all other-worldy phenomena should be regarded with skepticism, like used car salesmen, door-to-door “missionaries” and your ex-wife’s lawyer.

          • In reply to #22 by Nitya:

            We are at odds regarding the interpretation of the results though, are we not?

            Maybe.

            I think about Vytas’ comment:
            Language or culture has no relevance here. If God spoke in English, that would not be suspicious at all, not one would even react to that, because you would assume that God can speak any language.

            He makes he common error of anthropomorphizing God – a Super, Super, Superman who is, obviously, also a polyglot. This is, of course, an infantile, Santa version of God. If God is God, then his linguistic abilities are irrelevant. It would only matter that his interlocutors received his “message”. An American would receive it in English, a German would receive it in German, and a Welshman would receive it in, er, his local pub.

            Not even the writer of the Acts of the Apostles made this mistake two thousand (almost) years ago :

            When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene;etc etc

            (Incidentally, none of these people would have been subject to any cultural conditioning that would have led them to project into the garbled “noise” of “tongues” the message of Christ. The Christian message of death and resurrection, non-tribal charity, and humility was a world Premier! But many of them “converted” anyway. Whatever…)

            I suppose that our concern as reasonable human beings with more or less shared values, would be what the Spanish subject did with what he “heard” in Spanish in the recording of garbled speech. For example, if he heard a message telling him that if he punched me in the face he would become very rich, I think I would be tempted to run out of the nearest door before collating my scientific results.

            On the other hand, as a social animal, genetically programmed for survival and pain-avoidance, I would have no problems with him saying that he heard a message telling him to love his neighbour as himself. (Unless he was a masochist, of course.)

            So, Nitya, I’m not sure that we are really at odds about the interpretation, except perhaps at a moral level. Though perhaps this discussion is not the right place to work out how you get from an “is” (facts) to an “ought” (moral values).

          • So, ok, God provides simultaneous translation:). Ok fine, let’s pretend that’s somehow essentially different or “less infantile” than God speaking in different tongues himself. But it’s good that we have finally established that language is irrelevant, as no one really has any problem with God relaying his message in a language that the recipient can understand. HOw he achieves that is again beside the point.
            But that cannot be said that about the central message and the essential attributes of and personality of God reflected in those visions and other so-called supernatural experiences. These should be consistent in all cultures, but instead are usually manifestly conflicting. No one should try to reconcile irreconcilable. GK Chesterton’s point of view that Christians do not deny miracles coming from other religions but that only Christian miracles are from God while all others are from the devil actually makes more sense despite its utter arrogance.

            In reply to #24 by quilisma2013:

            In reply to #22 by Nitya:

            We are at odds regarding the interpretation of the results though, are we not?

            Maybe.

            I think about Vytas’ comment:
            Language or culture has no relevance here. If God spoke in English, that would not be suspicious at all, not one would even react to that, because you would assume that God can speak any language.

            He makes he common error of anthropomorphizing God – a Super, Super, Superman who is, obviously, also a polyglot. This is, of course, an infantile, Santa version of God. If God is God, then his linguistic abilities are irrelevant. It would only matter that his interlocutors received his “message”. An American would receive it in English, a German would receive it in German, and a Welshman would receive it in, er, his local pub.

            Not even the writer of the Acts of the Apostles made this mistake two thousand (almost) years ago :

            When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene;etc etc

            (Incidentally, none of these people would have been subject to any cultural conditioning that would have led them to project into the garbled “noise” of “tongues” the message of Christ. The Christian message of death and resurrection, non-tribal charity, and humility was a world Premier! But many of them “converted” anyway. Whatever…)

            I suppose that our concern as reasonable human beings with more or less shared values, would be what the Spanish subject did with what he “heard” in Spanish in the recording of garbled speech. For example, if he heard a message telling him that if he punched me in the face he would become very rich, I think I would be tempted to run out of the nearest door before collating my scientific results.

            On the other hand, as a social animal, genetically programmed for survival and pain-avoidance, I would have no problems with him saying that he heard a message telling him to love his neighbour as himself. (Unless he was a masochist, of course.)

            So, Nitya, I’m not sure that we are really at odds about the interpretation, except perhaps at a moral level. Though perhaps this discussion is not the right place to work out how you get from an “is” (facts) to an “ought” (moral values).

      • Language or culture has no relevance here. If God spoke in English, that would not be suspicious at all, not one would even react to that, because you would assume that God can speak any language. What matters is the message and the personality of alleged God, which should be consistent throughout the world and in any culture. If the Christian God is “real God”, it should be always a Christian message whenever and to whomever it is announced and it would be reasonable to expect that people of other religions/countries/cultures would receive it too. Whether reincarnation is true, or whether Jesus is God, whether you must say ten rosaries a day to save the world, is not a matter of culture, but a matter of fact. The fact that the messages essentially differ (and are incompatible) based on cultural/religious background and upbringing really makes them look suspicious and the whole thing very confusing and pretty much meaningless.
        And I have to agree with Nitya on the visions. If we mean apparitions, especially well-documented, witnessed, “approved” and given significance as part of religious teaching/tradition, that IS pretty much
        a Catholic thing. Not absolutely exclusive, but for the most part.
        In reply to #5 by quilisma2013:

        In reply to #3 by Nitya:

        Don’t you find it suspicious that these Buddhist children recall past lives , though children from other faith systems do not? It’s an amazing coincidence in much the same way that only adherents to the Roman Catholic faith see visions ( which look remarkably similar to the religious imagery in their churches). Protestants don’t see visions at all as its not part of Protestant thinking or traditions.

        These children have been primed to recall past lives, methinks.

        Why would that be suspicious? If God spoke to you, you would likely “hear” him in English. Does that mean that the skeptic could retort, “I find that suspicious. Are you saying that God is an anglophone? Haw-haw-haw.”

        Any kind of spiritual or transcendental experience would have to be expressed through the psycho-cultural experience of the individual. And to say that only Catholics have visions is just plain false. Please don’t let your skepticism make you as blind as those you would condemn for having “blind faith”.

        • vytas
          Apr 19, 2013 at 6:59 am

          If we mean apparitions, especially well-documented, witnessed, “approved” and given significance as part of religious teaching/tradition, that IS pretty much
          a Catholic thing. Not absolutely exclusive, but for the most part.

          I think the feature of the “Catholic thing”, is that the Catholics make a big feature of any hint of supernaturalism and encourage their believers to be gullibly accepting of such things.
          They have enough splinters of the “Trrooo Cross” to build a warehouse, and relics of saints with enough limb bones to have been centipedes.

          The latest woo-ology is the recycling of the “Turin-Shroud” which everyone who respects scientific evidence, knows is a medieval fake, but let’s pretend the matter is uncertain and keep milking it!

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21984966

          The Turin Shroud, revered by many Christians as the burial cloth of Jesus, has been shown on Italian television in a special programme.

          Pope Francis contributed a video message to the programme, in which he was careful not to authenticate the cloth, instead calling it an “icon” that “speaks to our hearts”.

      • In reply to #5 by quilisma2013:

        In reply to #3 by Nitya:

        Any kind of spiritual or transcendental experience would have to be expressed through the psycho-cultural experience of the individual. And to say that only Catholics have visions is just plain false. Please don’t let your skepticism make you as blind as those you would condemn for having “blind faith”.

        Do catholics speak in tongues? I know some christian churches consider it quite a big deal. If one sect does something spiritual, but another doesn’t, what does that tell you?

        • Maybe you would like to Google “non sequitur” then come back when you know what you’re talking about.

          It’s not only Catholics who have visions:

          Do catholics speak in tongues?

          Duh….

          In reply to #10 by bob_e_s:

          In reply to #5 by quilisma2013:

          In reply to #3 by Nitya:

          Any kind of spiritual or transcendental experience would have to be expressed through the psycho-cultural experience of the individual. And to say that only Catholics have visions is just plain false. Please don’t let your skepticism make you as blind as those you would condemn for having “blind faith”.

          Do catholics speak in tongues? I know some christian churches consider it quite a big deal. If one sect does something spiritual, but another doesn’t, what does that tell you?

    • In reply to #3 by Nitya:

      Don’t you find it suspicious that these Buddhist children recall past lives , though children from other faith systems do not?

      This is a popular argument but it does not survive critical thinking! It should be obvious that in a community that does not believe in rebirth, the babble of little children would not be interpreted in such a way! It would just be dismissed as child’s talk. Actually, the idea of rebirth was common in many cultures – even in the ancient Greek and Judaism! It was destroyed by religions like Materialism, Islam and Christianity! Since most things in nature re-cycle, why not mind? It is a rather natural idea…

      • In reply to #46 by rainerd66:

        In reply to #3 by Nitya:

        Don’t you find it suspicious that these Buddhist children recall past lives , though children from other faith systems do not?

        This is a popular argument but it does not survive critical thinking! It should be obvious that in a community that does not believe in rebirth, the babble of little children would not be interpreted in such a way! It would just be dismissed as child’s talk. Actually, the idea of rebirth was common in many cultures – even in the ancient Greek and Judaism! It was destroyed by religions like Materialism, Islam and Christianity! Since most things in nature re-cycle, why not mind? It is a rather natural idea…

        To digress a little, I read your comment #45, and unfortunately it made no sense to me whatsoever! A little like those children you mentioned in your reply to my comment #3.

        There have already been a couple of comments proposing a similar line of thinking. But, it works both ways! Because adherents to a particular belief system are expecting to hear conversations that confirm their set of beliefs that is exactly what they hear. It’s called confirmation bias and it explains why people see evidence supporting their views and ignore everything else that is not supportive.

        Of course there is a way out of this cycle of conflicting “evidence”. Put it to the test by constructing an experiment to test the validity of such claims. That’s why the scientific method trumps claims made by revelation and the “wisdom of elders”.

        I’m pretty sure that there was a former comment that went into detail about the construction of such an experiment. If you broaden your idea of recycling enough, you should be able to include everything and give a reply that would be acceptable to all, but that’s not what’s meant by reincarnation, is it?

        • In reply to #48 by Nitya:

          In reply to #46 by rainerd66:

          In reply to #3 by Nitya:

          Don’t you find it suspicious that these Buddhist children recall past lives , though children from other faith systems do not?

          This is a popular argument but it does not survive critical thinking! It should be obvious that in a community that…

    • In reply to #3 by Nitya:
      Hi Nitya, I agree in your direction but would also add an anticipated, reasonable response that in those cultures they children are not also ‘blocked’ or tabooed from such things by conflicting teachings of their own imposed theologies.

      • In reply to #52 by SilverWun:

        In reply to #3 by Nitya:
        Hi Nitya, I agree in your direction but would also add an anticipated, reasonable response that in those cultures they children are not also ‘blocked’ or tabooed from such things by conflicting teachings of their own imposed theologies.

        I’m not 100% sure that I follow you in this point. I always like to be completely sure of the question before I try to answer it. Do you mean that the children recalling past lives, do NOT have an authority figure saying, “you can’t remember that place. You’ve never been there”, sort of thing? If you are saying that, I get your point.

        I suppose the main focus of my statement was that people tend to have religious experiences that are in keeping with their own religious traditions. It is as if there’s a neural framework in their brain and any manifestations of the phenomena they’re experiencing conforms with their particular culture. This has always struck me as being symptomatic of a “culturally biased delusion”. I’m surprised that it isn’t commented upon more often.

        I come from a culturally Protestant tradition. When supposed miracles and visions etc are reported by Catholics, they strike me as being weird. Who says Mary is going to be dressed in blue! Why is Jesus seen to have blue eyes in a vision? Surely he would be of middle eastern appearance.

        In this thread, the cultural manifestation just happened to be about reincarnation. People not familiar with Buddhist thinking on this particular topic would never pay heed to children suggesting these things.

        • It was my point exactly. You got it. I guess it would have been a short cut to say that it might work as well in reverse. In reply to #54 by Nitya:

          In reply to #52 by SilverWun:

          In reply to #3 by Nitya:
          Hi Nitya, I agree in your direction but would also add an anticipated, reasonable response that in those cultures they children are not also ‘blocked’ or tabooed from such things by conflicting teachings of their own imposed theologies.

          I’m n…

      • Dharam
        Apr 21, 2015 at 4:36 am

        I’m Protestant and I had visions in my church. I have never been inside a Catholic Church and I saw the Virgin Mary.

        Did she look dark skinned and like an Arab or Semitic Jew, having the appearance of the natives of the middle-east? – or did she look like the European images in picture books, videos and RC statues?

  4. At least present us with some evidence to examine. Are there any scientific studies on this subject, or is all the evidence anecdotal? Reincarnation is a really big claim, and as it is with big claims, they require big evidence.

    And evidence aside, what is more likely? That this is just one of the many unfounded human beliefs about the afterlife (or prelife), or that despite all current scientific understanding consciousness can transcend the physical realm and move from one to another with no known way for us to ever prove or disprove this?

    Let me spare you the trouble. Reincarnation? Not very likely.

  5. So a bunch of kids make up stories, the way they constantly do. You ignore the stories that don’t match up with the local terrain, history, or people. You select the stories that vaguely match some known location or person, reinterpret them to make a better match, and then jump up, saying “Look at that match!”

    It’s called biased sample selection, subsequently enhanced with biased interpretation.

    I forget who it was that used the same technique with a cookbook. They chose recipes that resembled current events, interpreted the ingredients as symbols and the instructions as politcal metaphors, and showed how the book predicted yesterday’s newspaper headlines. It’s the same thing.

    And that’s being very generous, assuming that the story actually had some origin with a child. Chances are that even that grain of truth evaporates when you investigate it. Try to find out the child’s name and you usually find out that the information has been rather conveniently lost in the mists of time.

    I enjoyed investigating stories like this when I was younger, but I wised up to the biases and eventually tired of the universal trait that all these stories shared – that good hard evidence was always “just around the corner”. Still, it taught me something about human’s tendency to fool themselves.

  6. Obviously, it’s quite possible for children to talk about people they may have met, or places they may have been. I can remember having very vivid dreams as a young child about various people and places. As a very young child of age 3-5 as you mention, it must be very easy to get confused between memories of real events and memories of dreams.

    To have serious discussion on this you need evidence that a child is remembering a real place they could never have been, or a real person they could never have met, and that nobody could have given them any clues about these places or people, including seeing anything on TV. It’s probably almost impossible to prove that a child could not have been prompted in some way to have these “memories”, but that’s just tough. You’ve got to provide good evidence.

  7. massive pinch of salt

    I know nothing of these claims but…

    the disaster at abarfan wales. hundreds claim to have forseen it in dreams. our lady of Fatima. tens of thousands of people saw the sun vanish. Healing properties of spring water in Lourdes, the grotto has hundreds of discarded crutches hanging over it from people beyond help being suddenly cured. Uri Geller turns up on TV and hundreds of viewers phone in to say he’s fixed their clocks. there are apparently still police forces who have psychics on their books.

    the things these have in common with your question are; a supernatural element (woo), an apparently large body of anecdotal evidence (can’t be coincidence) and testimonies from people who simply couldn’t be lying.

    my suggestion is you investigate every individual claim as far as you can. break the claims down into important factors (who witnessed, how was it reported etc) and then apply the universal solvent of statistics.

    statistics are frighteningly ruthless. they cut through shit better than cilit bang! the examples above are all evidence of woo i’ve seen mercilessly destroyed by statisticians. Lourdes for example, actually has far fewer unexplained recoveries from serious conditions than would be expected in the population based on the number of sick people who go there, but it only takes one or two to come back and tell their stories to keep the industry booming (i’ve witnessed this as a kitty).

    the disaster in wales was in the public conscious already, it was known there was a large slag pile in a dangerous position near a school and humans tend to have bad dreams

    i could go on but the main point is much of what you’re getting is noise, not signal. there will be dishonesty, maybe not much but some, there will be exaggeration, maybe not much, there wil be facts that haven’t been confirmed, there will be subconscious queues that are taken as something more meaningful, there will be mountains of facts not presented and together they will create an illusion of significance.

    in the case of living multiple lives, the first thing i think is “how do we expect that to look?” and then look at how easy it is to be biased towards your expectations and seperate that from what is actually logical. the most logical answer will always be “i’ve evolved to see these patterns as significant even if they’re not as a way of ensuring my genes have a slightly higher than 50/50 chance of passing on my genes”

    Children have imaginations, very good ones. in an environment where people believe in rebirth all is needed is the odd coincidence, which WILL happen, then discard all cases where no coincidences hapen and you have a 100% success rate (can’t ce coincidence!)

  8. Chew on these statistics:

    Aprx. Population of India:
    2013: 1,241,492,000 1913: 257,058,000
    (one source- http://www.populstat.info/Asia/indiac.htm)

    Aprx Population of US:

    2013: 313,914,040 1913: 97,225,000

    OK, in 100 years India has nearly 5 times the population ( Anyone correct my math or logic please.) Let’s say ,roughly, people live to 60. Double 257,058,000 rounding off to 500,000,000. Then double that to 1,000,000,000 – still short about 240,000,000. That’s a whole lot of new souls that claim to be reincarnated.Most people would have totally new souls, then some with just one prior life and the rest have either been waiting for centuries in some sort of waiting room so that souls can be evenly distributed amongst the newer souls, or just a few people will have really old souls.

    Ah! you say, but we are all ONE therefore there is no lack of divine Oneness. Souls and lives come from the ONE source – then everyone can have many lives- simultaneously shared by other souls around the world. Then you must explain how ego which is supposedly temporary and impermanent can exist beyond this world. In Buddhism, all illusion and impermanence is not part of “God.” If all these memories are from the ego or impermanence, how so? How are you even sure that these memories are made up? We are excellent at connection one piece of information to another; it’s called creativity

    • In reply to #13 by QuestioningKat:

      Chew on these statistics:

      Aprx. Population of India:
      2013: 1,241,492,000 1913: 257,058,000
      (one source- http://www.populstat.info/Asia/indiac.htm)
      Since Buddhists believe all animals have souls, there’s plenty of room for preexisting souls – I suppose the statistical problem is likely the reverse, if extra humans displace greater numbers of other animals. Now back to reality.

      Aprx Population of US:

      2013: 313,914,040 1913: 97,225,000

      OK, in 100 years India has nearly 5 times the population ( Anyone correct my math or logic please.) Let’s say ,roughly, people live to 60. Double 257,058,000 rounding off to 500,000,000. Then double that to 1,000,000,000 – still short about 240,000,000. That’s a whole lot of new souls that claim to be reincarnated.Most people would have totally new souls, then some with just one prior life and the rest have either been waiting for centuries in some sort of waiting room so that souls can be evenly distributed amongst the newer souls, or just a few people will have really old souls.

      Ah! you say, but we are all ONE therefore there is no lack of divine Oneness. Souls and lives come from the ONE source – then everyone can have many lives- simultaneously shared by other souls around the world. Then you must explain how ego which is supposedly temporary and impermanent can exist beyond this world. In Buddhism, all illusion and impermanence is not part of “God.” If all these memories are from the ego or impermanence, how so? How are you even sure that these memories are made up? We are excellent at connection one piece of information to another; it’s called creativity

  9. If you haven’t seen it already it’s worth looking at this video by Sean Carroll

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrs-Azp0i3k

    He explains why reincarnation, telepathy, etc are completely impossible without overturning established physics. Very established physics with loads of experimental evidence supporting it.

    Can you tell us some of the places you have read these stories ?

    There is an amazing amount of “evidence” available for all kinds of things if you start looking. Try UFOs !

    Michael

  10. So, the kid describes something and then you go out and find what they described? I am going to describe a road right now. It has a yellow line in the middle, a church on the left hand side and a post office on the right. I think there is a convenience store about halfway up the block. Now go find my street.

    Am i reincarnated or are the people who proliferate this school of thought using their “logic” the wrong way?

  11. Quillsma,
    Great post. You have quite a gift for communicating difficult concepts. I see that you are new around here. Please stick around.

    In reply to #17 by quilisma2013:

    Nitya – saying that an explanation sounds rather convenient does not falsify that explanation.

    The cognitive sciences have demonstrated that “Believing is seeing” is often just as true as “Seeing is believing.” All the information that is captured by your sense perceptions is then processed by your brain/mind. Information processing varies from one individual to another and, obviously, from one culture to another.

    The form of this information processing mechanism is often called a “world view.” This depends not only on the brain that you have inherited genetically, but also by the sum of your experiences. The fact that there is an almost infinite variety of different world views is often a major source of problems in communication.

    In experiments, when subjects are played a recording of a very faint but garbled voice, if they are told that the noise is in fact a person speaking and they are asked to identify the language, an American will identify snippets of English phrases, a German, snippets of German phrases. Some even pick out whole sentences…but always in their mother tongue. New, unsorted information is always processed by the processing mechanisms we have available. In this experiment, of course, there are just garbled sounds – no language at all is present.

    The expression “the Lamb of God” made no sense whatsoever to Eskimos who had never seen sheep. “God the Father” will evoke different reactions according to personal experience of the father-figure.

    So the fact that transcendental experiences are processed differently, and given different conceptual forms is no surprise at all. And far from being convenient to recognise this fact, saying that it “has all bases covered” is nothing more than rather mindless hand-waving.

    I agree that we should exercise a degree of skepticism when dealing with any explanation that looks “too convenient”, but dismissing it out of hand is not a sign of rational thought.

  12. Very sorry, in advance but…. bollocks! I used to be convinced that reincarnation WAS making a comeback.
    Then I woke up. Too old, too grumpy, too impatient to tolerate any more woo; life’s too short.

    Interesting? Not.

  13. I don’t think that being rational, agnostic or scientific requires one to be locked into linear thinking or literal interpretations. Zen Master Seung Sahn told a good story (hope I get it roughly accurate) about why so many humans have animal consciousness; it was because we killed so many animals that there’s a big supply of animal consciousness available and so when a fresh human mind comes along, they are kind of outcompeting the human consciousnesses for the job. Result – you get human mind with fish or snake or rat consciousness. A rat consciousness in a rat mind is okay, but a rat consciousness in a human mind is not so good. I think it is a great teaching tool. The definition of karma is more like habitual ways of thinking and acting. On God: “Don’t make god”. If you adopt the idea of mindfulness, being in the present moment because that’s all there is to be in, then each moment presents the opportunity to change your karma. It is possible to do this, but it’s hard – we have to overcome these habits. It takes mindfulness, awareness and effort to do it. If I consider each moment to be a life then each moment offers the opportunity to be reborn with the same or a different, better or worse, consciousness.

    There’s a wide range of Buddhist practices, ranging from the nonsense of the magical, mystical, supernatural to the atheistic. Depending on the environment, the nonsense gets piled on to suit it or adapted for compatibility with the ambient. I interpret the legend of Buddha’s night of onslaughts by all the various gods and his victory over each which lead to his great enlightenment as the defeat of the power these superstitions held over the human mind. He defeated all of them, he killed all gods, until he was left with his own mind. Freedom. If suffering is an intrinsic aspect of life then Nirvana is death from which there is no rebirth. The idea of continued rebirth until one achieves buddha-hood is the carrot that motivates the continual effort that is necessary. But you have buddha-nature, you are already buddha, but you have to realize it and then you have to attain it. I don’t think he ever came right out and stated atheism because it probably would have gotten him stoned. I found this essay after I joined this site and have noted it in several posts “Was the Buddha the First Humanist?” by P. D. Hutcheon, http://www.humanists.net/pdhutcheon/humanist%20articles/buddha.htm Naturally I was pleased to it sort of agrees with my conclusion about what I think of as key to the Buddha’s enlightenment. However, I believe I’m making a mistake to think about it, but that’s my karma.

    If you are attached to religion, you have problems. If you are attached to atheism, you have problems.

    Metaphor and analogy. Unlike Jesus and Mohammad, the Buddha laid no claim on divinity (a least not that I know, if he did he made a big mistake). No matter what you teach, after you’re gone you’re limited in what you can do to control what others make of you.

    Metaphor and analogy.

  14. Inspired by this discussion to go do some reading. I found this:
    here

    Feynman had a very hand-wavy idea that all electrons could in fact be the same electron, just bouncing back and forth between the beginning of time and the end … it did inspire Feynman and others to calculate what the properties of an electron moving backwards in time would be, in a certain precise sense that emerges from quantum field theory. What they came up with was a particle that matched the known properties of the positron.

    So, there’s some heavyweight physics to lend back-story to the reincarnation thing. I know, I am that electron. And likewise I’m sure for both my other particles. I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together… I am the eggman, They are the eggmen. I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob goo goo g’joob goo goo g’joob. Goo goo g’joob goo.

    (credits: physics – Richard Feynman, lyrics – John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

  15. In reply to #24 by quilisma2013:
    By the, way, I find it hard to establish an automatic logical link between a polyglot God and “santa version” of god…
    But, of course, the Santa version is quite popular, yet if someone’s version if God is incorrect, maybe someone is having difficulty to deliver his message. Maybe someone could clarify it. If only that someone existed…
    I have no problem with people trying to attribute human qualities to God, good or bad. After all, they are probably the ones who created him in their own image. And people read those holy books, like the Bible, which attribute some of the most despicable human characteristics to God.

  16. In reply to #24 by quilisma2013:

    In reply to #22 by Nitya:

    We are at odds regarding the interpretation of the results though, are we not?

    Maybe.

    I think about Vytas’ comment:I
    Language or culture has no relevance here. If God spoke in English, that would not be suspicious at all, not one would even react to that, because you would assume that God can speak any language.

    He makes he common error of anthropomorphizing God

    People have been anthropomorphizing god ( gods) through the millennia to a greater and lesser degree. The more “sophisticated ” the religion , the more potent the god figure . The notion of a god, has progressed from a fairly benign bringer of good luck, to an immensely powerful, judgmental figure capable of wreaking havoc and altering the laws of physics on a whim.

    You seem to be very familiar with text of the bible. How do you reconcile the deity of your understanding, with the character urging that people be stoned to death on the flimsiest of reasons? These quotes exist as well. If you’re going to put forward biblical quotes as evidence, you have to take them all, I’m afraid. You can’t pick and chose only the ones that suit your purpose.

    We’re getting way off topic, I’m afraid.

    • In reply to #30 by Nitya:

      In reply to #24 by quilisma2013:

      In reply to #22 by Nitya:

      We are at odds regarding the interpretation of the results though, are we not?

      Maybe.

      I think about Vytas’ comment:I
      Language or culture has no relevance here. If God spoke in English, that would not be suspicious at all, not one would even react to that, because you would assume that God can speak any language.

      He makes he common error of anthropomorphizing God

      People have been anthropomorphizing god ( gods) through the millennia to a greater and lesser degree. The more “sophisticated ” the religion , the more potent the god figure . The notion of a god, has progressed from a fairly benign bringer of good luck, to an immensely powerful, judgmental figure capable of wreaking havoc and altering the laws of physics on a whim.

      You seem to be very familiar with text of the bible. How do you reconcile the deity of your understanding, with the character urging that people be stoned to death on the flimsiest of reasons? These quotes exist as well. If you’re going to put forward biblical quotes as evidence, you have to take them all, I’m afraid. You can’t pick and chose only the ones that suit your purpose.

      We’re getting way off topic, I’m afraid.

      And quilisma makes the mistake of claiming to know “God”, whether “God” should be anthropomorphised or not. Who can say that if there is a god, it is not anthropomorphic in nature, or partly so. Christianity says we are made in “God’s” image, so conversely – if that’s true -“God” must at least in part be in our image). How could anyone know how a god sent a message, (English, Spanish, “Goddish” or any other language)? Is it suppose to be some kind of magic interpretation in the so-called witnesses’ minds, which translates from god-language, to their own languages? How could anyone make such a claim that this kind of interpretation goes on? Where’s the evidence?

      Furthermore, if recall of past lives is a global phenomenon and not the exclusive domain of Buddhist children, it should occur across the board, in all cultures and religions. I do not know the facts, so maybe it does. If it does, would someone please let us know how we can check the veracity of the statistics, and the claims made therein.

      I know for a fact that people can tell lies, or believe things falsely. It is quite within the bounds of possibility that the reported past-life recalls are fabricated at one level or another. Maybe the person who reported it was not the one who supposedly had the experience – and the person reporting, could possibly be lying, or may have misunderstood what happened, or they may be reporting a rumour.

      So to tell sceptics that they are misguided is just as misguided. In this forum, we should be looking for verifiable evidence, not defensive arguments over what might be logically possible, yet factually wrong. Basically, we have not yet had any input in this thread, which tells us what the truth is, and philosophising about falsehoods may be fun, (if that’s what we are doing), but is not getting a clearer idea of truth. So we need to get that verified, and veracious evidence first – well I do, anyway.

      • In reply to #41 by SurLaffaLot:

        Furthermore, if recall of past lives is a global phenomenon and not the exclusive domain of Buddhist children, it should occur across the board, in all cultures and religions. I do not know the facts, so maybe it does. If it does, would someone please let us know how we can check the veracity of the statistics, and the claims made therein.

        You could just tap into the cosmic consciousness — otherwise known as wikipedia

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reincarnation_research

        Michael

  17. Whoops – I messed up #29. (My post is “Since Buddhists believe… back to reality” tucked away in there.)

    Saganthecat wrote:

    “I could go on but the main point is much of what you’re getting is noise, not signal. There will be dishonesty, maybe not much but some, there will be exaggeration, maybe not much, there wil be facts that haven’t been confirmed, there will be subconscious queues that are taken as something more meaningful, there will be mountains of facts not presented and together they will create an illusion of significance.”

    That’s exactly right. We dishonestly – i.e. creatively and self-deceptively – edit our memories. I have very clear “memories” of scenes from “Casablanca” with Lauren Bacall as the romantic interest. Ronald Reagan famously and publicly “recalled” manufactured events. See for example the article at

    http://esciencecommons.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/sorting-truth-from-false-memories.html

    Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, losing eventually all memories, false or (more-or-less) true. Personally, I think that neurological research shows very clearly that memory is one of many elements of conciousness that depends on physical systems. There could arguably be an indestrucible awareness of some kind involved, but it’s not easy to see how it could take anything much with it beyond death. Buddhists have to believe otherwise – believe in an evolving or learning soul.

  18. For the children reciting ‘past life experiences’, think about this:

    People that claim to know the prophecies of Nostradamus are true are basing it on usually hearsay accounts of what he actually said, but more importantly on the common pattern that could be found in any number of events (war, death, etc). The prophecy surrounding Hitler, for example could easily be attributed to any number of other dictators, despots and such. The correlation in most of these cases is made by the people that want to believe, not by someone who looks at the information critically.

    Mind you there are numerous things wrong with basing one’s perceptions on the prophecies of Nostradamus but I hope the correlation is somewhat clear. People are simply reading too much into these claims.

    A child can watch a TV show and get engrossed enough to want to be part of it, but it’s certainly not the same as being the reincarnated form of someone else. We are also talking about the stage in development when we are still figuring things out and tend to use our imaginations far more than most any other time. How hard would it be for a child to make something up? Why would anyone take it seriously?

    It sounds like a severe case of people simply seeing and hearing what they want to and not basing observations on empirical data. Come back when there is substance to the claims, otherwise they are simply claims.

    As has been mentioned already, some actual examples of the claim would be very helpful to go to giving some form of clarity.

  19. One of the common tricks that psychics use is “cold reading”. Here is an example from one of my favorite South Park episodes:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/153776/the-other-side

    I suspect that in at least some of these reincarnation episodes something similar is going on except neither person has to be consciously trying to deceive. Imagine it could go something like this:

    Little Billy: (after falling down the well and having a NDE) As I was trapped in the well and dying I left my body. I was walking down a twisty street.

    New Age Hippy: Was it a hilly street Billy?

    Little Billy: Oh yes very hilly and there was a bridge.

    New Age Hippy: Was there anything distinctive about the bridge like bright colors?

    Little Billy: Oh yes, very bright not like a normal bridge.

    New Age Hippy: Was it reddish orange?

    Little Billy: Oh yes, that was it.

    New Age Hippy: There is only one street like that, twisting, hilly with a bright red bridge it must be Lombard Street in San Francisco!

    Little Billy: But, but I’ve never been to San francisco and never heard of Lombard street!

    All: A Miracle!!!

  20. Unless we ever have a recording of EXACTLY what these children said, we will only ever have the adults’ interpretation. It seems likely to me that young children may not have the linguistic skills necessary to explain all manner of “funny feelings” such as deja vu, and that the adults will interpret what they say through the filter of cultural bias to produce astounding ” evidence”. Made-up example: a child might intend to say, “when I’m old enough I’m going to drive down this street and get married in that church”, but might actually say, “I drove down this street and got married in that church”. Cue gasps of astonishment and a barrage of questions, which the poor child feels obliged to answer with what it thinks the adults want to hear.

    Can a young child fully distinguish between memories and dreams; events and stories; reality and imagination; truth and ideas? I doubt it. If we’re talking about 3 to 5 year-olds, they will probably still be adjusting to the idea that they and the world around them are separate entities, (theory of mind), so untangling the confusing mass of sensory information, new knowledge, complicated experience, socialisation etc. from abstract ideas and input generated WITHIN the mind seems a much more likely source of these “weird” events.

  21. Next time you are in the presence of a psychic, lurch right at them and punch them n the face (I’d never do this and certainly do not advocate it — I am making a point). If you actually strike them; they are not psychic!!

    If I were psychic, I’d win the lottery every night until I had all the money.

    All those who believe in telekinesis raise MY hand.

    Again, bullshit is bullshit.

  22. When I was a kid I would freak people out with psychic powers. The attention of adults encouraged this behavior. All I was doing was cold-reading, figuring out what would get me more positive attention, and the adults were uncritical in their evaluations. There used be a prevailing assumption that children could not imagine lurid details of sexual abuse, therefor such accounts were not to be doubted. The result was a lot of innocent people going to prison and having their lives ruined. We do not know how to harvest data from children. None of these stories are compelling.

    The Buddhist teaching on rebirth asserts you have died and been reborn many times today. It is not a belief in reincarnation. Buddhist dogma formally rejects reincarnation. There are cultural enigmas arising from a 700 year old debate on the nature of perception, creating a model similar biocentrism, but this is not the idea of reincarnation. Afterall, there is no self to reincarnate. Tibetan and Zen tradition put an emphasis on the importance of dying well, and model this in terms of rebirth, but that is not reincarnation belief.

    • In reply to #38 by OHooligan:

      Could this be because it’s only famous people that get re-incarnated?

      Nope. It’s because only the famous people reincarnations get their tales told. Generally only famous people are famous…..
      The real problem is when there are 28 people who are all reincarnations of Napoleon.

      Between 1978 and 1980 I investigated more than 200 cases of “previous life regressions” under hypnosis. We encountered some freaky-looking phenomena, but nothing that could confirm any sort of theory of reincarnation.

      No-one here will be surprised to learn that when I explained to the subject, prior to hypnosis, that I was investigating the theory that “souls” passed directly from one incarnation to the next, that’s what was manifested under hypnosis. When the subject was informed that we were investigating the theory that there were long time periods between reincarnations, that’s what we got.

      When I told the subjects that I didn’t believe in reincarnation, and I was seeking proof that previous lives were imaginary – I still got graphic manifestations of previous lives. I know why. Anybody here want to venture a guess? You are allowed to borrow explanations from that pseudo-science/pseudo-therapy called NLP. (It’s mostly pseudo, but like my face in the mirror, bits of it are good.)

      • In reply to #39 by quilisma2013:

        In reply to #38 by OHooligan:

        Could this be because it’s only famous people that get re-incarnated?

        Nope. It’s because only the famous people reincarnations get their tales told. Generally only famous people are famous…..
        The real problem is when there are 28 people who are all reincarnations of Napoleon.

        The question was ironic. A simple “Yeah, right” would have sufficed. But thanks for the additional information, I’m pleased to hear from one who’s actually done some experiments in this area.

      • quilisma2013
        Apr 21, 2013 at 4:42 am

        Could this be because it’s only famous people that get re-incarnated?

        Nope. It’s because only the famous people reincarnations get their tales told. Generally only famous people are famous…..
        The real problem is when there are 28 people who are all reincarnations of Napoleon.

        . . . .and Elvis has just left another building!

  23. Playing devils advocate with the “gods language” issue; our thoughts are not language, we use language to describe our (abstract) thoughts. So god (or whatever) transmits the idea into the mind, which then interprets in the usual manner, using language to communicate the idea.

    • In reply to #42 by ShadowMind:

      Playing devils advocate with the “gods language” issue; our thoughts are not language, we use language to describe our (abstract) thoughts. So god (or whatever) transmits the idea into the mind, which then interprets in the usual manner, using language to communicate the idea.

      huh?- what’s up with the “god (or whatever)”? You’ve simply just placed that right in the middle of the sentence.
      Basically, your devil’s advocacy reads like word salad.

  24. Actually, Buddha was never talking about reincarnation or rebirth! He was always talking about becoming (bhava). It was Buddha (who called himself the Tathagata), who showed that the immortal soul (Atta – the self) proposed by some Indian philosophers does not exist (Anatta – doctrine of no-self). Becoming and re-becoming are not the rebirth of a person! It is rather the continuation of a mind stream. A mind-stream can only continue where there are proper causes and conditions present – this is the Buddhist idea of Karma. Your last moments before death determine in what world you will re-become. So, a very evil person, when dying in a wholesome state of mind will go a good path (although it is not very probable that a very evil person can be in such a state of mind), and a virtuous person when dying in an unwholesome state of mind (like the stupid nurse spilled the hot soup over her/his face) will go a bad path. It is a bit like applying I. Kant’s categorical imperative.
    The idea of reincarnation developed in Tibetan Buddhism, because some Yogis claimed that they have attained a spiritual level where they can have such control over their minds that they can choose where to be born in a next life (or not being born at all – but because they are Mahayana, they come back to help beings). From this the lineages of the Dalai Lamas, Karmapas (who was the first btw) etc. appeared.

    So, if there are children who have memories of former lives, then this would be more a proof of the possibility of higher spiritual attainments – like omniscience – as that reflects Buddha’s experience during his enlightenment, when he saw all of his infinite former births. From this we also understand why Buddha never accepted a creator god – there is no absolute beginning and he didn’t see one… LOL

    • In reply to #45 by rainerd66:

      […] From this we also understand why Buddha never accepted a creator god – there is no absolute beginning and he didn’t see one… LOL

      I am sorry, I was joking a little bit – the Pali Canon also contains some pretty good reasoning why there is not absolute creator god. It uses the existence of evil and good together as an argument – Christians/Muslims would dismiss this of course, because of their stupid notion of ‘free will’.
      In Buddhism, evil is the result of greed, hate and ignorance -> unwholesome emotions and the lack of willingness to think rationally and taking facts into account (ignorance).

  25. I now of sombody that managed to disrupted a mri scan. They get nothing or they get to much singnal. So it is sientievic based that it is possibel to send a singal with your brain.

    My point is a brain sientics know electrisitie the know substances they know the structuur of the brain. They even know witch part of the brain is active for a task. They even can read minds with a machine. But they still don’t know how the brain works. We are far form understanding the whole brain. And if a machine can read sombody’s his mind why can’t a human being. If sombody can distore the result of a mri scan maby there is more possible.

    I agree skeptisme on this kind of stuff. But I also agree with skeptisme people that are saying nothing is possible. I think we need to have een open mind on the possibilitys of our brain.

  26. Here is some evidence in dutch language about a siencticst that claims to read mind:

    wetenschap24.nl Hersenscanner-kan-gedachtenlezen

    Oke for english people. The articel say something about this. The sienticst show a image of a bal or flower. He do a scan and he now know how your brain looks if you look at a image of a flower.
    Now I can know if he look to your brain with 80% sure rate witch image you are looking at.

    Not verry advanced but it is a start.

  27. There are likely many scientific answers as well if any of the phenomena alleged aren’t staged or induced some other way…such as out and out lying. We, like our furrier cousins, are beneficiaries of some ‘instinctual’ behaviors. This means that what we call memory likely arrives with some programming; slightly charged. Too little is known about this to be certain just how much and how diverse the charging actually is.

    There is also the ‘flatworm’ experiment. I’ll not bore you with it. Google can. It involves ingested memory.

    Any number of known or yet to be known scientific knowledge might exist and be a lot more sensible to explain the phenomenon. Having allegedly lived before is but one possibility and is based on very superficial, if not superstitious, observation. It was once thought that worms were spontaneously generated from dead wood simply because they were observed emerging from it.

    • In reply to #53 by SilverWun:

      There are likely many scientific answers as well if any of the phenomena alleged aren’t staged or induced some other way…such as out and out lying. We, like our furrier cousins, are beneficiaries of some ‘instinctual’ behaviors. This means that what we call memory likely arrives with some progra…

      I’ll check out the flatworm experiment , and get back to you on this. I hope you’re not suggesting that the children ingested their former beings?

    • In reply to #53 by SilverWun:

      There are likely many scientific answers as well if any of the phenomena alleged aren’t staged or induced some other way…such as out and out lying. We, like our furrier cousins, are beneficiaries of some ‘instinctual’ behaviors. This means that what we call memory likely arrives with some progra…

      Just did a lightning fast google of the “flatworm experiment”. It was suggested that the original experimenters were not scrupulously clean in removing all traces of the first trip through the maze, hence the ability of the subsequent worm being able to follow the scent trail left by the first worm. I would like to check further to see if tests always come up with the same results. Looks like a case for Skeptoid so far.

      • In reply to #56 by Nitya:

        In reply to #53 by SilverWun:

        There are likely many scientific answers as well if any of the phenomena alleged aren’t staged or induced some other way…such as out and out lying. We, like our furrier cousins, are beneficiaries of some ‘instinctual’ behaviors. This means that what we call memory…

        Have delved further into this experiment. It was conducted in 1955, but has not been able to be replicated. I rest my case.

      • There were quite a few experiments with flatworms and the one I recall (vaguely due to the time-span) is conditioning them to cringe when exposed to electrical current and a light being turned on, chopping them up and feeding them to other flatworms and getting the cringing reaction from light exposure only in worms that had been fed the conditioned creatures. Memory is a bit foggy on this as I read about it in early 70’s and it was a side-discussiion in Physiology class. In reply to #56 by Nitya:

        In reply to #53 by SilverWun:

        There are likely many scientific answers as well if any of the phenomena alleged aren’t staged or induced some other way…such as out and out lying. We, like our furrier cousins, are beneficiaries of some ‘instinctual’ behaviors. This means that what we call memory…

        • In reply to #59 by SilverWun:

          There were quite a few experiments with flatworms and the one I recall (vaguely due to the time-span) is conditioning them to cringe when exposed to electrical current and a light being turned on, chopping them up and feeding them to other flatworms and getting the cringing reaction from light expos…

          http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/4797/can-flatworms-learn-a-maze-by-digesting-other-flatworms

          Probably this experiment was wrong. But if not it seems what it really showed was not transfer of actual memory but transfer of the ability to learn faster.

          Michael

          • In reply to #61 by mmurray:

            In reply to #59 by SilverWun:

            There were quite a few experiments with flatworms and the one I recall (vaguely due to the time-span) is conditioning them to cringe when exposed to electrical current and a light being turned on, chopping them up and feeding them to other flatworms and getting the cri…

            According to Wikipedia , the results have not been repeated.

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