Science and Personal Experience...

Discussion in 'SCIENTIFIC and ANECDOTAL research' started by Rod, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. Rod

    Rod Senior Registered

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    In another thread, Florence raised questions which I hope you will agree are independently threadworthy, so they are the start of this one.


    What is good science when it relates to Reincarnation.?? In my case it's all meditation and dreams. Knowings and one regression. In that one regression, I did state my fathers name, that he was a Doctor and we lived in Maryland. I gave my age as 5 and my name as Marnie
    I found a man named Doctor Francis Phelps did live in the 1800's in Maryland...but I found no child named Marnie
    So what is that? That is interesting but it is not science...
    Even with all of the information that Baby_rn has listed,,,,without a name for that Fireman to prove he existed....is that science??
    It's Difficult ....most of us have little scientific proof....
    If you erace all of the threads that contain no proof....the board would be almost empty I think."


    I would urge you not to be discouraged about science or its utility in the investigation of reincarnation. It is true that your experience alone does not and cannot prove anything. Similarly, neither can mine, nor that of anyone else, individually. Each experience is merely a datum. One must have many data (the plural of "datum") to show almost anything. Please bear with me and follow this silly example:

    A datum can only ever suggest possibility. If you drop a glass of water and it shatters and spills, but you had never seen this happen before and were unfamiliar with the concept of gravity or the fragility of glass, you would only know that breakage and spillage are possible outcomes of a dropped drink. You might even think carelessly-released beverages in glasses could sometimes bounce or perhaps hover in mid-air.

    Two data can be compared, adding greater certainty to the idea of possibility, but still hardly confirming anything. You drop another glass of water and the same thing happens. This suggests the first instance was not a "fluke" and reduces the chance that the first result was a simple mis-perception.

    Three data can be ranked. One glass broke more completely one one of the drops and water splashed over a larger area. You still don't know the extremes or the variability of outcomes.

    After 10 glasses of water are dropped, you notice that water always spilled. 2 glasses shattered completely with fragments skidding across the floor for many feet. 6 broke into pieces in a "debris field" only several times larger than the glass. 1 only cracked but didn't split into pieces, and one glass strangely remained unbroken, even though water spilled and splashed just about as much as in all of the other cases.

    Only now do you know with reasonable certainty that:

    a. A dropped glass of water will spill and splash.
    b. Glasses generally are damaged by being dropped, with a seemingly 90% probability.
    c. Not every dropping of a glass damages it by the same amount.
    d. Neither glasses nor water will float or hover when dropped; they do fall.
    e. Drinking glasses do not bounce.

    Now think back on how little you knew when the first glass of water fell. It is the collective results of many people that provide statistically significant evidence for reincarnation or NDE particulars. Your own experience can suggest to you that it is possible and worth studying. The aspects that are the most similar in the greatest percentage of cases may be accepted at a higher standard of evidence than other details or suppositions.

    Certain details of the process are amazingly similar across cultures, regardless of their religious or cultural beliefs or lack of beliefs about reincarnation. These include: the timing of reincarnation, chances of souls returning in the same family, lack of obvious relationship between one's past-life sins and present station in life, likelihood of remembering details in dreams, ages at which children are most likely to speak of seemingly past-life experiences. With hundreds or thousands of documented testimonies, the statistical "power" of the case is quite high.

    The way to scientifically investigate reincarnation involves three primary strategies:

    a. Gather similar information about as many cases as possible so they can be compared easily.

    b. Try to verify the validity of the reported past-life experiences of the most detailed or compelling cases.

    c. Compare these reports and similarities in them to both random chance and to the chance of many unacquainted individuals making up lies that match.

    Many commonly-accepted "truths" are based only on statistical analysis no different from this.

    ...Rod



     
  2. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Thank you Rod - for this thoughtful and in-depth post. I appreciate the time and effort you have put into it. I am giving it some thought - and will post more later. In the mean time I hope others chime in.
     
  3. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    Hi Rod -- very interesting post! I enjoyed it :D .


    I think you raise an important point: a lot of people misunderstand what the scientific method is and thus what it can do - and what it can't do - for reincarnation research.


    I'm wondering why reincarnation needs to be scientific? The believers in reincarnation believe in it whether it's got an 'approved'-label from a scientific lab or not. And I'm not completely sure that reincarnation can be science. Science is about establishing general laws based on repeated tests and objective observations. Can reincarnation really provide this? Even though most of the members here can provide personal experiences most of the stories can't be validated (my own included), which gives them a credibility problem in a scientifical setting. It even creates a credibility issue for those whose stories can be validated, because this unexplainable discrepancy creates a problem in the statistical data.


    Even if we by looking at the statistics can conclude that 'past life memories' (a laden word that obviously shouldn't be used in science...) occur all over the world and with both genders of all ages -- we're not actually sure what we're learning from this information: are we dealing with a spiritual or a psychological phenomena?


    Would we as believers even be able to accept a rational scientific explaination or is our belief so engulfed in spiritualism that we're not even considering the possibility that it may not be a spiritual phenomena?


    : angel;)


    P.S. I am actually a believer in reincarnation, believe it or not :laugh:
     
  4. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    Although many people have experienced personal affirmation of reincarnation, there still exists a huge majority of people, who are deeply immersed in the Newtonian paradigm of physical reality and the so-called "laws of physics".


    If, as some people believe, we are approaching a new reality; it would seem important to find a bridge from one paradigm to another. It seems that "science" would be that bridge, which will help our cultural beliefs to change into one that accepts the non-physical realities.


    Quantum Physics is becoming a scientifically proven theory, which demonstrates that the laws of physics no longer hold true at certain levels of existence. But, as Rod has point out, the observation of repeated anecdotal evidence can also serve to demonstrate this new paradigm. The old adage that we can't know what death is like, because no one has come back to tell about it, is no longer pertinent to the truth. People are coming back from many deaths, and their memories are often validated in a way that cannot be ignored by either Western Society, nor the Scientific Establishment.


    And, with the advent of the internet, these facts are being quickly disseminated throughout the world with a speed that has never been witnessed by history. It seems now possible to expect a "quantum leap" of acceptance for reincarnation and other paranormal phenomenon within our lifetimes; as science begins to accept the non-physical.
     
  5. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    Hiya Nightrain :D


    I'm feeling a bit contrary these days, so please bear with me :tongue:: angel


    I'm well aware that some physical sciences are beginning to embrace concepts that are not within the general physical laws, but I think that spiritualists often mistake these theories: they're not trying to prove a spiritual realm. Astronomers also say that statistically there is life in outer space, but it's not the same as saying that alien exists.


    I was pleased to read the article from New York Times and learn that 'past life memories' are becoming more acceptable within various spheres of science. However I was also pleased to read that within these 'believing' circles there are people, who acknowledge the concept and yet remain sceptical as to what it really is. I think that is where science is in general when it comes to reincarnation. One thing is realizing that the concept exists, but then we have to work out why it exists and what it actually is.


    :D
     
  6. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    Not a problem, Sunniva! I tend to agree that Spiritualists may have prematurely grabbed a hold of recent Quantum Physics experiments as proof of their beliefs. However, I truly believe that such proof is likely to present itself within our lifetimes. Many mainstream scientists have already opened their minds to the possibility of non-physical worlds that lie beyond our limited realm of matter; and I believe this number is steadily growing.


    Personally, this is a moot issue, because there is nothing I can do as an individual to affect these conceptual changes; so I must simply wait on the sidelines as an observer, knowing that any number of possibilities exist. However, there certainly appears to be a growing bridge between Empirical Science and the non-physical world.
     
  7. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Hi Rod


    Yes, there has been quite a lot of work done of the type you describe. Notably by Dr Ian Stevenson and Dr Helen Wambach who collected and meticulously recorded thousands of past life stories from people from all over the world. This work is usually simply dismissed though by the scientific 'mainstream'. People will explain this sort of thing away by talking about brain chemistry malfunction, fraud, coincidence, insanity and delusion. There are not many 'scientists' (eg. physicists) who will risk ridicule by dabbling in this area. But, it is not really a physics problem anyway, as physics deals with the 'physical' after all.


    There are quite a few psychiatrists involved in it however. Do they rate as 'scientists'? Many of them tell the same tale of how they became interested in this when their patients would spontaneously start to talk about past lives when the psychiatrist had placed them into a light trance in an attempt to access childhood memories. There are so many stories of this nature it seems impossible to dismiss them all out of hand, but this is what happens.


    Certain people hold very strongly to their cherished and so-called 'rational' belief that we are just a body and nothing else They believe that all memories are stored in the physical brain, therefore to remember a past life is simply 'impossible' - end of story. For example, Dr Stevenson's work with Indian children was criticised because the Hindus already believe in reincarnation, therefore, ergo, anything they said on the subject must be falsehood. I don't understand how that follows, but there you go.


    "... In a book review criticizing one of Stevensons' books, the reviewer raised the concern that many of Stevenson's examples were gathered in cultures with pre-existing belief in reincarnation. In order to address this type of concern, Stevenson wrote European Cases of the Reincarnation Type (2003) which presented 40 cases he examined in Europe..."


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reincarnation_research
     
  8. dreamer1

    dreamer1 New Member

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    Meet my Twin-flame and had to believe!


    hi, :D


    All I can say is that I have meet my twin flame and Before 2 months I never even know what is "twin flame" and now in this 2 months I feel like I have aged 20 years because of the informations that is going inside my head.


    I am evolving at a rapid pace...


    When I looked into his eyes, time stood still and everything in the room literally blurs and I need sometime to focus back to this world.


    I see eternity in his eyes, several lifetimes gone.


    This space is too less to even tell you all the things that I am experiencing and so I will just say that "finding my TF have opened the doorway to the spiritual world".


    Definitely I support the theory of reincarnation or else there won't be any twin flames and what I am feeling may be just my imagination. But no, I am a sane rational human being and have never being superstitious at all.


    But what you know inside is yours to keep and it does'nt matter if nobody agrees. :laugh:


    Love you all and ya.. my first post!!
     
  9. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Hi dreamer1, welcome to the forum, and thanks for sharing :)


    Congratulations on finding your twin-flame! I think everybody has at least one, but not all of us are destined to meet in every lifetime. I believe I may have found one of mine, but I won't be certain until we eventually meet in person.


    Have you spoken to him about any of this? Does he feel the same way when he's with you?
     
  10. Rod

    Rod Senior Registered

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    A few thoughts on some questions here...


    In the recent busy weeks, I have read some of the responses, but in the absence of much time to respond, decided to just let it run for a while and see what would be said. To address a few of the major points in this thread...


    Why do we need proof? - It was raised that those who believe will continue to do so. While this is true, my objective is not to believe in reincarnation; it is to observe it. Beliefs are opinions, but observations are data. Indeed, my personal observations cause me to strongly hypothesize that reincarnation occurs, it is nothing more than hypothesis until and unless corroborated by sufficient data. Only with wide acceptance as fact can the process and physics of reincarnation be studied in detail.


    Others have made these studies... - This is true, and even many skeptics are left scratching their heads at the reality that Dr. Stevenson's work appears scientifically solid. Tucker, Wambach and others have also made great contributions, but this needs to be augmented to the point where general scientific thinking would be that replicable results have been obtained.


    Can something that is only shown by people's observations of their own experiences ever be considered "science"? -- Ask Sigmund Freud! Psychology is considered a science and it is all about what goes on in people's heads. Each accepted principle of this field is obtained through the gathered and correlated experiences reported by many. Similarly, experimentation plays a very minor role in many other sciences that are primarily observational, including sociology, anthropology, archaeology, epidemiology, and even some modern quantum physics (due to the uncertainty principle).


    Science can't look past the "physical"... - But it does all of the time. Newton's physics was that of explaining normal experiences scientifically. Others followed in this tradition. Einstein changed it all. We now know that Newton and others made many observations that are valid within the limited scope of living on a planet with gravity and an atmosphere, but are not universal. Many aspects of quantum physics, where objects affect each other instantly without anything appearing to traverse the intervening space and no time passing, seem positively mystical. If these scarcely-understood connections between bits of matter can be shown real, is it any more absurd that a not-yet-understood connection could exist between consciousnesses (i.e. "souls") could also be proven?


    The stakes here are enormous as we stand at the precipice of comprehension of how life itself works.


    ...Rod
     
  11. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    HI Rod,


    Your posts are always so thoughtful and reflective. Thank you for bringing your wisdom to the forum. The past few years I have been dealing with life. You know, things that require attention so I have not been as active here as I once was.


    I am currently reading a very good book by Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz. Does The Soul Survive A Jewish Journey to Belief in Afterlife, Past Lives & Living with Purpose. I did not realize until reading this book - that Brian Weiss is also Jewish; he wrote the forward. Spitz's words caught me as he shared a supernatural event in his life:

    I also liked this:

    Besides Jim Tucker and Carol Bowman....is anyone else researching children's past lives and documenting cases in the US? What do you see needs to be done and what can we do here on the forum - if anything? I think people would be interested in your thoughts.


    (Thanks to Sunday for the book reference)
     

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