The Debunkers Quest

Discussion in 'Reincarnation Questions' started by Deborah, May 6, 2006.

  1. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    I came across an interesting excerpt on Stephen Sakellarios site (among other things): Skepticism and debunking is something we do not talk about often here unless a skeptic brings up issues, and yet it is an interesting exercise to review their POV and ponder the pros and cons. I enjoyed reading Steve's website -some very interesting research....and I found his reflections on the issue to be 'spot on.' :) What do you think?

     
  2. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    I have believed in reincarnation my entire life, so I don't understand what it means to be skeptical about it -- I can, however, appreciate the fact that everyone does not share a similar viewpoint. Well...I can understand them not believing -- until they are presented with some of the amazing stories we've all had the opportunity to read.

    Even though I am a believer with experiences of my own -- I am still always incredibly amazed and profoundly moved when I hear stories about small children that have led people to their old homes, named relatives and claimed personal items as their own -- all correctly. All without prompting. How could someone hear that evidence and not even consider the possibilities?

    No kidding! ;)

    Thanks for posting this, Deborah. I think Steve did a fabulous job, as per usual.
     
  3. Karoliina

    Karoliina Moderator Emerita

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    Thanks for bringing this up, Aili! :thumbsup:

    I'm not doubting reincarnation at all either - even if I'm sometimes doubting my own memories. But I'm not very bothered if someone chooses not to believe in all this. However, denying the proven facts is just about being scared - or stubborn. ;)

    Karoliina
     
  4. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    I would think that they're probably both scared and stubborn, both which I can understand. I've accepted reincarnation as a factual concept most of my life, although as a Catholic, I never heard of it. But I think most people are a bit afraid of anything they don't understand, and no one likes being proven wrong. A friend of mine would never admit that reincarnation was possible simply because that would mean that I was right. Believers don't need proof, skeptics won't accept any proof. Sounds like you had a splendid vacation Deborah.

    John
     
  5. vicky

    vicky Senior Member

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    Before my own son started talking about his memories, I didn't believe in reincarnation. I also had never heard any of the stories about children remembering, speaking other languages etc. If I had, I think it would have given me pause and I might have explored it a little.
    I didn't even know that it was common for young children to remember their past lives.
    Also, I don't know if this makes sense or not. At the time that I didn't believe in reincarnation, I had more reason 'not' to believe in it than to believe. (religious junk I was raised with prevented me from even wondering) It wasn't until my son started talking that I was 'forced' so to speak to take a stand in order to help him. It was at this time that my reason to believe overcame my reason not to believe.
    Vicky
     
  6. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Very few........

    It has amazed me - that with all of the debunking that use to happen regarding reincarnation -- over the last five years or so we have had VERY few skeptics visit here. In fact - it has been a while. ;)

    It makes me wonder - if the evidence is becoming stronger than the skeptics rebuttle.
     
  7. magnet

    magnet New Member

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    Count me as a skeptic in general - it's tough to convince me of things unless there's scientific evidence. More than that, I think I have a hard time believing things I don't understand, like reincarnation. I wish this was not the case, but I don't know how to get around it.

    I've read most if not all of Ian Stevenson's publishings, I WANT to believe in reincarnation.. And when you read what he's written it should be undeniable. But it seems like there's always something in my mind that just says, "No, that couldn't be..."

    I think I always come up with some mental excuse like, Stevenson didn't investigate til after the child met the PL family, so he wasn't a first hand witness, and the actual witnesses may've been exaggerating. Some of his cases are really so strong though.. But it's still difficult for me to accept having never seen these things for myself, never having actually seen the child's emotional reactions and such.

    Stevenson really has done some amazing research, and I am really looking forward to Jim Tucker's research, and I hope that others research as well because it's such an interesting and under-explored area.

    But, honestly, until someone has some understanding of HOW reincarnation could possibly happen, I think the skeptics have that one big glaring thing on their side- If I told you I was born on Mars, and I had evidence.. pictures of me on Mars, some dirt from Mars, knowledge about Mars, you'd probably ask for a lot more evidence before you believed it. But if it was fairly common for humans to be born on Mars, it would take much less evidence to convince you. As Carl Sagan said, "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof."

    While Stevenson's case studies are great and might be very convincing evidence in other, better understood, fields of science, I think because reincarnation is not understood at this point, that there just needs to be more Stevenson-like research done, more strong cases in more controlled settings, for it to be convincing.. or the actual process of reincarnation needs to be understood better.
     
  8. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Awesome post Magnet - thank you :thumbsup: I enjoyed the read - and your perspective on the situation. :) Food for thought.

    I think it was also Carl Sagan that asked "Do you love your mother?" or anyone in your life. The person responded "Yes" - he said, "Prove it." :):):) Gotta love a critical thinker.

    I know... I know - its' not much -- but I get a kick out of thinking about his point; HOW does a person prove they love another.
     
  9. vicky

    vicky Senior Member

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    I'm glad, Magnet, that you pointed out that it is you that needs more evidence and I don't think you are alone in that. In fact, I applaud your honesty.
    I used to be like you and I don't know how much 'research type evidence' it would have taken. I only know that the proof came out of the mouth of my then five year old son in about a ten minute conversation about his past life family. We live with comments about past lives and astral projection and many other things that couldn't possibly have been made up.
    Skeptics, just be aware, that someday you could be blindsided in much the same way. You never know what exactly it will take to believe or where that proof will come from.
    Vicky
     
  10. magnet

    magnet New Member

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    I was thinking about what Deborah said- How do you prove you love your mother. And I thought, well, love is subjective and by definition unprovable. You can't prove you had a thought or a feeling or any internal experience. The only reason you could have a chance to convince somebody that you love your mother is because love is universal. So even though it's subjective, it's objective in its subjectiveness :) . Everyone experiences love, so because they understand what you mean when you say you love your mother, they're more likely to believe it.

    Then Vicky said that she didn't believe in reincarnation til her son started talking about it, and it occurred to me that maybe that's what it takes- that same subjective understanding, to be able to believe it. I don't have any kids or know any kids who've had past life memories, so for me, every single bit of evidence for reincarnation has been second-hand. It's as if you described to me how you love your mother and tried to make me understand what that felt like, etc, but if I didn't know what love was, I would never understand no matter how well you described it.

    I really honestly think I'd be much more likely to fully believe in reincarnation if I saw the evidence first-hand- If my own young child who I knew well, knew everything they saw on TV, all people the interacted with, things they normally said, etc, suddenly came out with these memories he couldn't have gotten any other way.. that'd be worth reading about a million Stevenson case studies.
     
  11. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    Years ago during a discussion about friendship and relationships, a friend of mine made what I thought was an excellent point. She said that if someone claimed they hated us, we might wonder why, but we'd believe them. So why is it so hard to accept that someone loves us? I wonder how many people really see friendship as a form of love.

    John
     
  12. tanguerra

    tanguerra Senior Registered

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    I don't see why it is so very, very difficult to believe in recinarnation personally. Why is it any more difficult to believe than the idea that we are only our bodies which are born then die and that's 'it', or to believe in heaven and hell or any other number of beliefs which people hold dear about what happens after we die?

    I would like a scientific type to prove conclusively, once and for all either of those alternatives rather than just say 'Nonsense!' without any foundation. They would find it a great deal more difficult in my view. There is such a large body of information out there now, from NDEs to Dr Stevenson's work, not to mention all the anecdotal accounts on this site, and throughout history and from psychologists/psychiatrists working in the field you would indeed have to be very stubborn and narrow minded to dismiss it out of hand and assume some kind of mass halucination. I can't think of any way to refute Helen Wambach's work for that matter. In my view reincarnation is the simplest explanation which fits with all this information.

    I don't think we really have to know exactly how something works to acknowledge that it exists. We don't know exactly how any number of things work (quantum physics anyone?) but yet their very existence is not questioned. The effect is observable and predictable therefore something obviously exists. It may later come to light what the exact mechanism is, but only if we look into it with an opening and enquiring mind.
     
  13. EggWHITES

    EggWHITES Eating Machine

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    ok, valid points. What if it is nothing more than psychic abilities?

    What if the child simply can "tap in so to speak" to a souls mind and memory? If this were the case, its still a possability that it is not renicarnation and nothing more than psychic ability.

    just food for thought and exploring other options like you know I like to do.
     
  14. EggWHITES

    EggWHITES Eating Machine

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    So to recap, we still have many possabilites

    1. reincarnation (this is what everyone hopes for, believers will fit the puzzle in favor of reincarnation and skeptics will do just the opposite) I am neither nor

    2. nothing more than psychic abilities

    3. insert some paranormal possablitity....here is one, perhaps the child has a ghost living with him/her where he learns details.

    4. The last one, you cant deny this possability either, that would be wrong, their is always a possabiltiy for this

    the child is coached by the parents. Why would they do this. Because they can benefit in some way. talk shows, books, attention etc....I am not implying this at all, their is always the statistical chance and this needs to be known.
     
  15. EggWHITES

    EggWHITES Eating Machine

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    one more response for deborah, to kind of put in different words than I have already said.....

    Ok, this article, assuming everything is controlled for and their is no fowl play, has strong information in support of "paranormal" activity

    in my definition of P.A.- renicarnation can be included. what this article supports, and supports well, is that their is definately some "P.A." going on....

    Now with the given information, imo, their is nothing conclusive to suay me either way.......psychc ability, reincarnation, ghosts, the list goes on, are all equally acceptable possabilities......Nothing wrong with believing one way or the other.....But with this territory, biasedness has to be accepted......To say that this is near conclusive evidence of reincarnation is a bit biased imo without exploring other options.

    Now I am not accusing anyone of stating that this is conclusive or near it, because I dont think anyone did, but its just a point to make.
     
  16. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    HI EggWHITES,

    I think perhaps you might enjoy the work of Ian Stevenson and I suggest you look carefully at his studies. The evidence is very strong. Ian even says - "it is not proof" - but each person must make his own assessment of the possibilities. His work is unparalleled. Some of the stories take my breath away. Amazing, heart felt and detailed. His research team receives thousands of cases every year. Far to many for them to even begin to investigate.

    So when they say there is "near" conclusive evidence, they are suggesting you look at the individual cases. Making generalizations about the studies as a whole - is difficult and not a good approach.

    Also - from my POV, there is a big difference between belief, and experience. People have faith and believe in certain things....it is a choice. Their choice is usually based on personal experience or by way of upbringing.

    When a two year old says "my other family, my other mommy"; or when they remember details and own those details in the first person - I do not think they are telling a story by way of a spirit or other PA as you call it. ;) When a child has night terrors or deep seeded fears that can not be explained in this life, or when they have scars that also coincide with the memories - it goes beyond belief.

    When the family is not a follower of reincarnation, and their religion forbids it, there would be no reason to make-up a story for publicity. Many are fearful to even post here. Religious beliefs then become the deciding factor. Even if experience dictates otherwise. So IMO, it is the silent thousands that know there are credible cases out there -- and they know it by way of experience-- that will eventually change the status quo.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  17. EggWHITES

    EggWHITES Eating Machine

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    ps. Deborah


    Dont ever take me the wrong way....


    uhhhm, If I got a chance to talk to god himself, I would probably find somthing to disagree on and argue with him....


    I am basically born to argue, so just, dont ever take my stuff the wrong way....
     
  18. tanguerra

    tanguerra Senior Registered

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    Research is always recommended Eggwhites. There is nothing wrong with taking an opposing view, as long as you have your facts straight.


    Take a look at this thread, it discusses the exact same thoughts you have put forward: 'Alternative explanations..."


    http://www.childpastlives.org/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=340
     
  19. EggWHITES

    EggWHITES Eating Machine

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    I am not as anti-R as some of my posts would lead you to believe
     
  20. tanguerra

    tanguerra Senior Registered

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    I don't suggest you are Eggwhites. I know you are just curious and enquiring and have had your own experiences as well.


    Did you read the thread? It talks about what you are suggesting at some length. To assist I will pull out some key remarks. I understand it is quite long.


    Fiziwig, as usual is eloquent and logical....

    Here is what I said - so that I don't have to repeat myself:

     

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