Aemilius wrote: ↑Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:28 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: ↑Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:25 pm
But in what way were they ‘validated’?
That’s the point.
If someone is already convinced that rebirth or reincarnation is valid, then they will accept anything as “evidence”. If a child says, “I used to have a brown dog” and the researcher finds that someone who died in a remote village also had a brown dog, then they are likely to regard this as evidence.
This just shows that you have not read any of the works by Ian Stavenson, he is quite careful in his conclusions.
And yet, this is your
conclusion about me, which isn’t based on any solid evidence either. It’s just an assumption.
And that’s precisely point. It’s easy to draw conclusions, and even more likely to occur in defense of an unproven theory. Researchers Tucker and Stevenson present a lot of very persuasive evidence, but if they had one piece of irrefutable evidence, this discussion wouldn’t even be taking place.
Truly irrefutable evidence may not even be possible to obtain, and that’s perfectly okay. For those whose experiences with family members are convincing enough, that’s all that matters. But in terms of scientific evidence, that’s a different story.
One of the flaws in of metaphysical research is that exactly what you are researching
isn’t clearly established from the start. You can say “someone lived before and their consciousness was reborn in another body” but that’s actually very vague. What is the consciousness that is reborn? What does “reborn” exactly entail?
I once called in to a radio program where the host was interviewing someone whose data showed that hospital patients for whom others had prayed consistently showed higher rates of successful recovery after operations. The guest’s assertion was that this offered evidence of God.
When I called, I asked, “How do know that the research wasn’t flawed because invisible unicorns might have been giving those patients magical healing kisses?”
That was pretty much the end of the show. And the point is, you can’t begin with an assumption of something that itself is undefinable, such as a God, that is any more likely than that of “invisible unicorns”, and base any research on that. You can’t begin with a personal belief for which there is no proof, and then fill in whatever pieces seem to support your belief, and call that a viable argument.
That’s not how proving a scientific theory works.
Buddhist teachings hold that everyone is reborn from a previous life. That’s actually a very reasonable assumption, simply because (I think, Nagarjuna argues) every occurring moment of awareness can only follow a previous moment of awareness.
In other words, there is nothing to suggest that awareness can suddenly, spontaneously, arise from physical matter (which is all that cells are). The human brain is composed of water and fat, with some salt and amino acids thrown in. It functions by way of neuro-electrical impulses, but water, fat, and electricity doesn’t just start thinking on its own (at least, there’s no scientific basis for making such an assumption).However, awareness itself is a fact. And if awareness occurs within an individual entity, it must have a cause. Awareness itself doesn’t necessarily need to have a beginning. But to arise with one set of aggregates (a body) and then another, there must be cause-and-effect.
Tucker and Stevenson’s research needs to be continued and validated. Unfortunately, one sees a tendency towards “grasping at straws” in things like associating birth marks with the accident scars of people the children may claim to be. Why would that even happen? You can’t just throw things like that in as some sort of evidence without first explaining it.
The greater there is a reliance on things which are themselves unexplained, (the “...well, if X
isn’t true, how do you explain Y
” argument), the less valid the overall theory becomes.