Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

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Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Indrajala » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:37 pm

I'd like to introduce here the Division of Personality Studies at the University of Virginia which investigates paranormal phenomena including cases of reincarnation.

http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinic ... types-page

If you have the time watch this interview with Jim Tucker who details his research into children who claim to remember past lives:



The key thing here that comes to mind is that this evidence undermines mainstream theories concerning consciousness emerging from neural activity thus rendering it permanently terminated upon brain death. Though this does not seem to be true if we consider this evidence for reincarnation as well as more metaphysical arguments. A persona can be documented as transferring from one person to another.

Unfortunately this research is ignored and plays no role in the discussion of mind sciences or neurology. In mainstream science it often seems that evidence is made to fit the theory rather than the other way around.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:34 pm

What I always think about is if the person is an illsuory agglomeration of skandhas, then no one is remembering no one. How do we know the children aren't having psychic impression of someone else's memories? I once had a meditation experience where I could see thru someone else's eyes. What if I remembered that in another life? Sometimes I think what Buddha didn't teach might screw up the whole schema he put out there. And the truth is a timeless ocean of mind.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:59 pm

deepbluehum wrote:What I always think about is if the person is an illsuory agglomeration of skandhas, then no one is remembering no one. How do we know the children aren't having psychic impression of someone else's memories?

I think this is a valid point. Couldn't this research on rebirth/reincarnation also be accused of making the evidence fit the theory?
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Nosta » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:53 pm

Huseng, thanks for the interesting material to explore.

Altought we are an aglomeration of skandhas, there is some continuation between lives. There is something that doenst stop. Like when you are awaken, then you sleep and dream: in dreams you are not you (so to say), you are just a character, but that character is somewhat the continuation of the person when she was awake.

So, i think thats natural one can remember past lives in a given situation. Besides, Buddha itself said that people can remember past lives.

Why we dont remember past lives in a general way? I have no idea but i compare life to dreams: often when you awake you just dont remember your dreams. The same with rebirth i think: when you "awake" to a new life, you dont remember that fuzzy state of existence, your last life.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:03 pm

Believing that rebirth should occur is not evidence that rebirth does occur.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Nosta » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:40 pm

You can check on web for Pin van Lommel if you want to learn more about reeincarnation studies.

What i dont get about rebirth is how can it be possible to exist so many people remembering past lifes as humans and no one remembering their life as an ant, a horse, a ghost, a demon, a god, etc.

By the way, you can this case about rebirth:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhKQRC8Vk3w

You will find the link for part 2 and 3 there, on that video.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:25 pm

Nosta wrote:You can check on web for Pin van Lommel if you want to learn more about reeincarnation studies.

What i dont get about rebirth is how can it be possible to exist so many people remembering past lifes as humans and no one remembering their life as an ant, a horse, a ghost, a demon, a god, etc.

By the way, you can this case about rebirth:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhKQRC8Vk3w

You will find the link for part 2 and 3 there, on that video.


I have heard accounts of people remembering their past lives as animals. In fact, there was one person who recounted such memories in E-Sangha once.

Regarding past lives as gods, some evidence from a member of my extended family (now deceased), but it's rather personal and I don't wish to go into detail.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Nosta » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:01 am

Thank you for that information, Pueraeternus.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:13 am

dharmagoat wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:What I always think about is if the person is an illsuory agglomeration of skandhas, then no one is remembering no one. How do we know the children aren't having psychic impression of someone else's memories?

I think this is a valid point. Couldn't this research on rebirth/reincarnation also be accused of making the evidence fit the theory?


It seems logical that a human persona has been somehow transferred into a newly conceived human given the emotional attachment.

I could be mistaken, but do you have a better explanation?
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:20 am

dharmagoat wrote:Believing that rebirth should occur is not evidence that rebirth does occur.


Clearly there is evidence that it does occur.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Sara H » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:41 am

Thank you for bringing this topic up, Huseng.

: )

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IT IS OUR CHOICE
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Yudron » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:02 am

I'm skeptical about lots of things, e.g. aliens (per se) visiting Earth, etc... but I have total natural confidence in a continuity of lives. Everything ending at death just has always seemed not in keeping with other scientific themes such as the law of conservation of matter, or the law of conservation of energy.

Thank you for the video. I'm glad UVA has the courage to pursue this. I wonder how it is funded?
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:48 am

Yudron wrote:Thank you for the video. I'm glad UVA has the courage to pursue this. I wonder how it is funded?


The founder of Xerox left them one million dollars. :smile:
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Yudron » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:56 am

Wow--did he fund a Chair in Rebirth Phenomena?
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby dharmagoat » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:57 am

Firstly, to make things clear, I neither believe nor disbelieve in rebirth, yet I respect others' belief.

Huseng wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Believing that rebirth should occur is not evidence that rebirth does occur.

Clearly there is evidence that it does occur.

The evidence is scant. Too scant to form a scientific theory, in my opinion.

Huseng wrote:It seems logical that a human persona has been somehow transferred into a newly conceived human given the emotional attachment.

I do not see the logic at all. Emotional attachment may appear to have great power when one is alive, but how can this be an indication that it is capable of influence beyond one's death? Again, believing that rebirth should occur is not evidence.

Huseng wrote:I could be mistaken, but do you have a better explanation?

No, I do not seek explanations. There is no need to explain something that is insufficiently supported by evidence and may simply not exist.

:anjali: It is always a pleasure debating with you, Huseng.
Last edited by dharmagoat on Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:00 am

Yudron wrote:Wow--did he fund a Chair in Rebirth Phenomena?


Apparently in his will he left the division a million dollars. I would imagine they've received other sources of funding since then. Most universities would understandably be reluctant to openly fund such research as it flies in the face of mainstream materialist science, psychology and even the humanities which doesn't accept reincarnation as either plausible or realistic.

This kind of research undermines rigid orthodoxy, and consequently many careers.

If you demonstrate the mind can transit from one body to another there are a lot of people in philosophy and neuroscience whose careers will be ruined. Their foundations and anyone associated with them have a vested interest in preserving the predominate theories about consciousness being a resultant product of the brain.

The parallels with how Church dogma and so on were preserved are striking. :smile:
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:10 am

Huseng wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Believing that rebirth should occur is not evidence that rebirth does occur.

Clearly there is evidence that it does occur.

The evidence is scant. Too scant to form a scientific theory, in my opinion.


You can't reproduce the phenomenon under laboratory conditions, so you'll never have proof. The theory behind it for the moment is largely metaphysical, though as Tucker suggests quantum physics might eventually be able to aid in the mechanics behind it. Think of quantum entanglement. The connections are not always so well understood, yet there are clearly relationships and interactions which we can infer to exist in some way.

In the case of the evidence for rebirth, it isn't really that scant. There are thousands of cases at U of Virginia, plus throughout history this is not an uncommon phenomenon.


I do not see the logic at all. Emotional attachment may appear to have great power when one is alive, but how can this be an indication that it is capable of surviving one's death? Again, believing that rebirth should occur is not evidence.


I never said it should occur. It clearly does occur. If you outright reject all the evidence produced by Tucker and Stevenson, then that is your right, but quite unfair and shallow minded. The reason most intellectuals can't tolerate this research let alone pay attention to it is because it undermines their beliefs which they like to think are objective and based on fact.

We have scientific evidence highly suggestive of the phenomena, metaphysical explanations, anecdotal accounts and the authoritative testimonies of yogis.

There are also the arguments for rebirth put forth by figures like Dharmakirti and others. This can easily be investigated if you're unaware of them.





No, I do not seek explanations. There is no need to explain something that is insufficiently supported by evidence and may simply not exist.


You should look into their findings in more detail. There is plenty of evidence.

:anjali: It is always a pleasure debating with you, Huseng.


:techproblem:
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby dharmagoat » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:22 am

Huseng wrote:If you demonstrate the mind can transit from one body to another there are a lot of people in philosophy and neuroscience whose careers will be ruined. Their foundations and anyone associated with them have a vested interest in preserving the predominate theories about consciousness being a resultant product of the brain.

This sounds a little like a conspiracy theory. I would genuinely like to know where you get the idea that established theories are guarded within the scientific establishment. If such a thing as rebirth can be demonstrated, my expectation would be that it would introduce a new vigour to the sciences.

Huseng wrote:
dharmagoat wrote: :anjali: It is always a pleasure debating with you, Huseng.
:techproblem:

I take it that the pleasure is not mutual.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby joda » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:47 am

deepbluehum wrote:What I always think about is if the person is an illsuory agglomeration of skandhas, then no one is remembering no one. How do we know the children aren't having psychic impression of someone else's memories?


I was struck by the case of that boy who remembered perfectly well the house, the place, the airport, the rooms, but he failed to remember correctly the name of his "parents" or the color of the dog. Things liek this complicate things because it implies that whatever he remembered was not in the single past that we like to construct but in a different timeplane.

huseng wrote:There are also the arguments for rebirth put forth by figures like Dharmakirti and others. This can easily be investigated if you're unaware of them.


I liked the argument, too but you should be aware its worthless outside of the buddhism-box as it requires you to

a) know and
b) believe in Abhidharma

Another issue is that the argment is based on the "material" of consciousness and therefore to me it looks like the argument invalidates itself, since Dharmakirti - as a later Yogacarin - does not accept that nama and rupa are of different stuff.
Its a bit like with enlightenment, theres also no evidence for it, nor is there evan an explanation on how to actually reach it (to me this was the more disheartening part) - but the subconscious belief lets people overlook essential facts like that.
What is overlooked in this context is that to prove rebirth you would need a theory of rebirth first. And you dont have that. What you have is a very shallow belief, that there is something called "karma" which somehow transforms intentions into realities and while doing so spanning in the future but only of a single mindstream. People start to talk of seeds, or of perfuming the stream, which are metaphors, not actually useful building blocks.
Inside the box, this might be acceptable, but outside of it - lets just say im not surprised people dont take it seriously. First Buddhists should give a detailed explanation on how this is supposed to work. Then they can begin their proofs.
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Re: Scientific Evidence for Rebirth

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:44 am

dharmagoat wrote:This sounds a little like a conspiracy theory. I would genuinely like to know where you get the idea that established theories are guarded within the scientific establishment. If such a thing as rebirth can be demonstrated, my expectation would be that it would introduce a new vigour to the sciences.


Self-interest explains it. The same principle could be observed with the Church reacting with such hostility to new and innovative thinkers a few centuries ago. There is rigid orthodoxy and to go against it is to step on people's toes. It isn't a conspiracy so much as a mass of self-interest involved. An academic in neuroscience having all their theories undermined stands to lose a lot after all. Their followers likewise.

There is orthodoxy in the scientific establishment. This is what I am saying. It would be idealistic to suggest otherwise.

Stevenson himself lamented how scientists would never take his life's work seriously. It really does go against the grain of the establishment.

Information filtration is also a problem. This is where information that the majority disagrees with doesn't get into mainstream textbooks and encyclopedias. You see this in anthropology where artifacts (particularly human remains) that challenge the established chronology of human development get swept away by the establishment. It doesn't revise the standard chronologies and is either ignored or simply left as an anomaly and not pursued further. In time it is forgotten. The collective self-interest where careers are on the line encourage this collective behavior.

Just look at the whole issue of heliocentrism versus geocentrism. It really comes down to perspective and to challenge the former now is to commit heresy. If you live on earth making earth your point of reference rather than a distant object makes more sense to some people. Ancients understood this as well.


I take it that the pleasure is not mutual.


I was trying to exercise subtle humour. :smile:
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