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Could modern biology help explain rebirth? - Dhamma Wheel

Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

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

Postby Individual » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:22 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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Pannapetar
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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:40 am

This is all highly speculative, but I think that looking for a material basis of rebirth is betting on the wrong horse. I would definitely bet on a nonphysical horse here. At this particular stage in history, the success of science directs attention away from the nonphysical, since science itself is embedded in a materialist/physicalist ontology. I would look at epigenetic processes before looking at heredity.

Apart from that, I think it is -at least in principle- possible that empirical sciences can shed some light on rebirth. The study conducted by Ian Stevenson "Twenty cases suggestive of reincarnation" has pioneered this field, and this work is now being continued from various sides by various researchers. I think it is somewhat comparable to the phenomenon of NDEs (near-death experiences). 30-40 years ago, NDEs were a rather obscure phenomenon and almost no literature existed on the topic. Today we have roughly a dozen scientific studies on NDEs that were published in respected science publications and we have a flood of books that have popularised the topic. The research on PLEs (past life experiences) will not be as easy as the research on NDE, because the phenomenon is much rarer and presents intricate internal problems for a scientific point of view, but I think we can expect an increasing body of literature and empirical support.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:00 am

Rebirth, how absurd (anatta) ;)
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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:04 am

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:17 am


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Ben
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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:40 am

Dear members

This is just a reminder that the appropriate place to challenge the doctrine of rebirth is the 'great rebirth debate'. This thread is not the place for doing so. Please focus on the subject of this thread. Any posts which do not conform to the OP or this request will be removed and repeat offenders disciplined.
Thanks for your cooperation.

Ben
“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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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:48 am

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Individual » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:06 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:23 am

unfortunately I can't remember which sutta fit but when I remember correctly rebirth is determined by kammā thus rebirth is connected with kamma-vipakā and kamma-vipakā is . the buddha never explained how rebirth works, maybe because 'how it works' doesn't matter. all the buddha said is that there is rebirth. so my interpretation is 'how it works' has nothing to do with the cessation of dukkha. if someone finds out how rebirth works one would've wasted his time anyway, because dukkha wouldn't end by the knowledge of 'how rebirth works'.

best wishes
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:09 am


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Individual » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:27 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:44 am


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:01 pm

- Peter


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Individual » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:35 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:36 pm

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Macavity » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:50 am


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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:18 am

There are a number of things that speak in favour of Stevenson's work:

1. Stevenson's study was free of preconceived religious notions; it was based on the simple empirical question: do people live more than once? To say that Stevenson was given to speculation is off the mark. Stevenson even stated that his work cannot and should not be seen as conclusive evidence for reincarnation.
2. His methodology was sound. He collected a large body of data in different cultures. He did not ask suggestive questions. He defined proper criteria for the evaluation of claims. The investigative methods were sound. He was extremely careful about possible fraud, since any fraudulent accounts would have discredited his work. His statistical methods were sound.
3. The relation of birthmarks to injuries in previous lives cannot be attacked by the argument of 'false memories'. It represents an enormous statistical anomaly.

Most attacks on Stevenson's work come from ideologically or religiously motivated parties who are in disagreement with the idea of reincarnation. The overwhelming majority of critics are content with ad hominem attacks painting Stevenson as an fringe science advocate with strange ideas and a pseudo-scientific approach. That picture is far from the truth. Stevenson had a degree in medicine and he was a psychiatrist with a solid scientific education. He was certainly neither a nutter nor a fraud. The data he collected is very strong indeed, though most critics refuse to look at it. Even the Skeptic society wasn't able to produce a convincing refutation of his work.

Stevenson's work is continued today by the Department of Perceptual Studies at the university o Virginia under the direction of Jim Tucker. The case database is continually expanded, particularly with cases in North America. Tucker's work is featured in the documentary . This case was selected not because it produces particularly convincing evidence, but because it illustrates the problems inherent in past life research.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby cooran » Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:09 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:43 am

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Re: Could modern biology help explain rebirth?

Postby Pannapetar » Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:19 am



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