Ian Stevenson and the Scientific Study of Reincarnation

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Ian Stevenson and the Scientific Study of Reincarnation

Post by Kim O'Hara »

As I said before ...
Kim O'Hara wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:06 pm You may think the rules are wrong or silly or shouldn't matter, but your opinion won't change the rules, any more than your opinion will change the rules of chess.
I have nothing more to add.

:namaste:
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Crazywisdom
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Re: Ian Stevenson and the Scientific Study of Reincarnation

Post by Crazywisdom »

tkp67 wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:51 pm
Crazywisdom wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:23 pm It is not a disprovable theory, so it is not scientific. There is just no way to devise an experiment to show someone born from mother B and is alive now was not born from previous mother A a dead person.
I often wonder if some lineages carry down certain secreted information that is used as a basis in the confirmation of such things within those lineages.
In the case of TB they bring items from the child's previous life and mix them up with other items, like vajra and bell and the child must select the correct item. The lamas require many such confirmations. But this is different than science. .
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Ian Stevenson and the Scientific Study of Reincarnation

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Aemilius wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:28 am
Nevertheless, there is a lot of reseach carried on that is based on people's personal experience in the fields of psychology and anthropology etc.. That is exactly same kind of research that has as its object the phenomenon of rebirth or reincarnation.

in what way is it the same?

Also, if you had read the studies that have been done in the field of reincarnation, you would know that the persons remembering their past lives very often have said things that relate to the concrete world and these have been validated many times, in many cases.


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.
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Aemilius
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Re: Ian Stevenson and the Scientific Study of Reincarnation

Post by Aemilius »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:25 pm
Aemilius wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:28 am
Nevertheless, there is a lot of reseach carried on that is based on people's personal experience in the fields of psychology and anthropology etc.. That is exactly same kind of research that has as its object the phenomenon of rebirth or reincarnation.

in what way is it the same?

Also, if you had read the studies that have been done in the field of reincarnation, you would know that the persons remembering their past lives very often have said things that relate to the concrete world and these have been validated many times, in many cases.


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.

"Psychology is the scientific study of how people behave, think and feel. Psychologists study everything about the human experience from the basic workings of the human brain to consciousness, memory, reasoning and language to personality and mental health."

Study of reincarnation in the University of Virginia https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-stu ... carnation/
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
Jingtoo2
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Re: Ian Stevenson and the Scientific Study of Reincarnation

Post by Jingtoo2 »

They were not “ validated” in any sense that is recognized by the scientific method. This matters because that is the claim being made. We can choose to except Dr Stevenson’s findings or not.
What we are not free to do is to say that they are validated in a way that would be accepted by a panel of his peers, because they are not and would not be.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Ian Stevenson and the Scientific Study of Reincarnation

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

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.
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Aemilius
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Re: Ian Stevenson and the Scientific Study of Reincarnation

Post by Aemilius »

Now you come with something that Stevenson has found in several cases, namely the "birth marks", this seems to prove that you have at least cursoly read some of his work. The birth marks have appeared in several cases, and they are not mentioned in traditional rebirth lore, -as far as I know anyway. Does this prove anything? Atleast Stevenson isn't so biased that he would leave them out, because they do not fit in the traditional buddhist view of reincarnation.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
Jingtoo2
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Re: Ian Stevenson and the Scientific Study of Reincarnation

Post by Jingtoo2 »

I don’t think there IS a Buddhist view of reincarnation. The Buddhist doctrine of purnabhava is quite different from reincarnation. The main difference is in there being no atta which passes from one to another body.
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