Do you believe in life after death?

Do you believe in life after death?

  • Yes

    Votes: 87 39.9%
  • No

    Votes: 91 41.7%
  • I don't know

    Votes: 40 18.3%

  • Total voters
    218
Status
Closed
Aug 2010
16,168
Welsh Marches
But I did, and found this: "A Burmese girl born without her lower right leg had talked about the life of a girl run over by a train."

On a serious note, have you considered that there's far more simple and plausible explanations for these phenomena? For example, the Srilankan child was out somewhere earlier when she (absent mindedly) overhead a couple of strangers talking about the drowning case, and her imaginative mind made her believe it was she herself?
Personally speaking, reincarnation is not something that I particularly want to believe, nor is it something that I have studied thoroughly, but I have been sufficiently struck by some of Stevenson's researches in paricular to think that there might possibly be something in it. I don't think that you were being fair to Stevenson by implying that he was a pseudo-scientist, he was in fact quite methodical in his methods of investigation, and was well aware that some or all cases could be quite easily explained in such terms as you suggest (the child has heard some story and has spinned a fantasy out of it), or as something that has been put into the child's mind by people around it (as can easily happen in countries where reincarnation is accepted as part of the general culture, so that false memories can easily be instilled). He did not draw definite inferences from single points like that, or depend on second-hand reports, but investigated on the ground, to see for instance whether the child had definite memories of the family arrangements and family history in a place that it had never visited. If such an instance is found in which there are many interconnected items of evidence, and the child has bodily marks relate to precise details of the mode of the death that is recorded in reliable documents about the mode of death of the person whom the child "remembers" itself as having previously been, such marks can have some evidential value, but only as part of a wider pattern.
 
Aug 2010
16,168
Welsh Marches
Numbers! That should make the existence of God also a part of science? But then somebody did not have much faith in numbers and found that Earth is round and it Sun is the center of the revolution of planets.What was his qualification in Biology? Near-death experience - Wikipedia
Stevenson had a medical degree and conducted research in biochemistry and aspects of psychosomatic illness before concentrating on pyschiatry, and later conducting his researches into supposed reincarnation cases. I don't think anyone could seriously question his scientific credentials, or the scientific methods employed by him in his researches.
 
Apr 2010
33,650
T'Republic of Yorkshire
The question I have is, if reincarnation is true, there should be instances prior to the advent of global communications, of people remembering past lives in a culture they had never heard of, that we should be able to identify.
 
Jul 2012
3,234
Dhaka
Personally speaking, reincarnation is not something that I particularly want to believe, nor is it something that I have studied thoroughly, but I have been sufficiently struck by some of Stevenson's researches in paricular to think that there might possibly be something in it. I don't think that you were being fair to Stevenson by implying that he was a pseudo-scientist, he was in fact quite methodical in his methods of investigation, and was well aware that some or all cases could be quite easily explained in such terms as you suggest (the child has heard some story and has spinned a fantasy out of it), or as something that has been put into the child's mind by people around it (as can easily happen in countries where reincarnation is accepted as part of the general culture, so that false memories can easily be instilled). He did not draw definite inferences from single points like that, or depend on second-hand reports, but investigated on the ground, to see for instance whether the child had definite memories of the family arrangements and family history in a place that it had never visited. If such an instance is found in which there are many interconnected items of evidence, and
He lost credibility from right here:
the child has bodily marks relate to precise details of the mode of the death that is recorded in reliable documents about the mode of death of the person whom the child "remembers" itself as having previously been, such marks can have some evidential value, but only as part of a wider pattern.
It's almost certain that stories were spun based on those peculiar birth marks.
 
Dec 2011
2,217
Karl Popper pointed out multiple problems with the empirical method [1]. The problems that he encountered with "verificationism" led him to his ideas on "falsification."

Of course, falsification is the demarcation criterion that he uses to distinguish science from pseudoscience.

So, per this criterion, any data that does not provide for us an ability to "contradict the observations", which is to say, test for falsifiability, will be considered pseudoscience.

In this conversation, pseudoscience does not have pejorative connotation. Popper is quick to point out the benefits that many areas of pseudoscience can give us and also the many areas where this line can be blurred. However, there is a distinct difference between "science" and "pseudoscience."

The point is simply to distinguish the nature of evidence that one is dealing with and to use this information to formulate the best questions possible for research.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Conjectures and Refutations - Karl Popper
 
Oct 2013
6,252
Planet Nine, Oregon
Rupert Sheldrake's take on it:

Quest Magazine Interview

'RS: Yes. I'm suggesting that through morphic resonance we can all tune in to a kind of collective memory, memories from many people in the past. It's theoretically possible that we could tune into the memories of specific people. That might be explained subjectively as a memory of a past life. But this way of thinking about it doesn't necessarily mean this has to be reincarnation. The fact that you can tune into somebody else's memories doesn't prove that you are that person. Again, I would leave the question open.
But, you see, this provides a middle way of thinking about the evidence for memories of past lives, for example, that collected by Ian Stevenson and others. Usually the debate is polarized between people who say this is all nonsense because reincarnation is impossible---the standard scientific, skeptical view (I should say, the standard skeptical view; it's not particularly scientific)---and the other people who say this evidence proves what we've always believed, namely, the reality of reincarnation. I'm suggesting that it's possible to accept the evidence and accept the phenomenon, but without jumping to the conclusion that it has to be reincarnation.'
 
Apr 2010
33,650
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Rupert Sheldrake's take on it:

Quest Magazine Interview

'RS: Yes. I'm suggesting that through morphic resonance we can all tune in to a kind of collective memory, memories from many people in the past. It's theoretically possible that we could tune into the memories of specific people. That might be explained subjectively as a memory of a past life. But this way of thinking about it doesn't necessarily mean this has to be reincarnation. The fact that you can tune into somebody else's memories doesn't prove that you are that person. Again, I would leave the question open.
But, you see, this provides a middle way of thinking about the evidence for memories of past lives, for example, that collected by Ian Stevenson and others. Usually the debate is polarized between people who say this is all nonsense because reincarnation is impossible---the standard scientific, skeptical view (I should say, the standard skeptical view; it's not particularly scientific)---and the other people who say this evidence proves what we've always believed, namely, the reality of reincarnation. I'm suggesting that it's possible to accept the evidence and accept the phenomenon, but without jumping to the conclusion that it has to be reincarnation.'
"Morphic resonance"?
 
Aug 2010
16,168
Welsh Marches
@Asherman. "As to transmigration of souls, as much as many people believe in it, the evidence for it remains mostly anecdotal though studies into the question have raised enough questions to justify far better and more rigorous investigation." The best evidence is in fact based on first-hand investigation on the ground
He lost credibility from right here:


It's almost certain that stories were spun based on those peculiar birth marks.
I'm sorry, it's pointless to consider the question in such general terms, it is necessary to show that he has 'lost credibility' by failing to take account of such possibilities in a specific case or particular cases. If you can point to such a case, giving the title of the volume and page numbers, I will have a look at it. In what I have read of his work, there are no obvious deficiencies in his approach that would justify such an accusation.
 
Dec 2011
2,217
Stevenson had a medical degree and conducted research in biochemistry and aspects of psychosomatic illness before concentrating on pyschiatry, and later conducting his researches into supposed reincarnation cases. I don't think anyone could seriously question his scientific credentials, or the scientific methods employed by him in his researches.
The scientific method, per Popper, is to question everything. And, to question everything over and over and over again. The only thing that matters is the ability to test a proposition or the ability to test evidence and to validate that info or falsify it.

To even hint that an "event of reincarnation" is scientifically sound generally requires five items:

1. A description of the event and the claims made due to the event.
2. The testing method for falsification or validation.
3. How the testing method will falsify or validate the claim.
4. Results of the test
5. Independent testing of the results.

Where is the 1, the 2, the 3, the 4 and the 5 ?

This is what we have to have for any remote claim of scientific credibility. This is especially true when the claims suggests supernatural concepts which are items that are beyond the scope of natural laws as we understand them. Without these items, we are not in the realm of being able to claim something as scientifically validated. We are in the world of pseudoscience.
 
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