Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Sanghamitta
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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:17 pm

I think that there are many good reasons for accepting a literal view of post-mortem rebirth. However if you want to undermine your own case then citing hypnotherapy is a pretty good place to start.

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Individual » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:26 pm

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:25 am

The original question was whether modern biology might be helpful in understanding rebirth. I think we have to answer this with: probably not. The reason is that biology is purely concerned with physical processes. Heredity could be seen as an instance of physical rebirth at the gene level. Individual genes clearly span multiple life times in the sense of multiple organisms. In case of mitochondrial DNA -since it is passed down unchanged by the mother- it could even be said that rebirth occurs at the level of chromosomes. But genes and mitochondrial DNA are also subject to impermanence due to mutation; in fact this is what makes evolution possible in the first place. Richard Dawkins' book The Selfish Gene gives a fascinating account of this perspective. According to the selfish gene idea, phenotypes are nothing but "lumbering robots" that perform survival functions for the benefit of genes to help them propagate. It's surely an interesting view, but I doubt it has much to do with the Buddhist idea of rebirth.

Consciousness research is perhaps more likely to shed some light on the Buddhist understanding of rebirth. I already mentioned the investigation of PLEs, but the study of near-death experiences (NDE) is likewise relevant to the topic, because NDEs provide a glimpse on what happens when the physical (human) body dies. During the last 50 years, ambulances and modern medicine made it possible for many people to escape death and live on to tell the story. The first case studies of NDEs were published by E. Kübler-Ross, R. Moody et al in the 1970s. Since then a large amount of reports and studies with thousands of cases have been collected, more recently by B. Greyson, M. Morse, S. Parnia, P. v. Lommel and others. Most people who had an NDE, as well as many doctors came to the conclusion that experience continues after death. NDEs cannot be considered conclusive evidence for continuation, since people did come back after all, and there are a number of complicated neurological issues to consider, but they are at least suggestive of continuation.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:44 am

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Ben
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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Ben » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:14 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:05 am


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:24 am


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:37 am

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:48 am


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:46 am


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:59 pm

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:47 pm


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Individual » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:20 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Individual » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:26 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:56 am


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Ben
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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Ben » Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:11 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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clw_uk
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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:52 pm

Hey mike


In answer to the immaterial, Individual touched on some points already. As for myself I see them being different levels of the world that can be entered into via meditation, so i dont see them as an explanation of consciousness with or without matter


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:17 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine


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