The Debunkers Quest

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

  1. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    If you could just quote me on where I stated that my memories are proof of reincarnation, I would be very grateful because really, I don't remember saying that, I don't remember anybody on this forum saying that, and that is the crux of what I've been trying to say in my last few posts. Or perhaps you are just seeing the bits that your skeptical mind wants to see? ;) : angel
     
  2. Aqualung

    Aqualung Locomotive Breath

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    Entirely possible. I'm human. I make mistakes like everyone else.


    But I think an equal measure of it is that I really don't know what it is that you believe. Since this is apparently a forum for discussing past lives and memories, though, I thought that it wasn't too much of a stretch to believe that you, personally, took your experiences as proof that reincarnation is real.


    If I'm wrong in this, please correct me. I prefer not to make mistakes like that, but I can't if you don't tell me what it is that you do believe.
     
  3. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    One of the underpinnings of skeptical cynics is the ultimate denial that there is any proof of anything that is not within the confines of traditional Newtonian Science. In my opinion numerous qualified researchers have conducted well-ordered and repeatable experiments which give clear indication that there is something beyond what we are able to normally perceive by our senses. This is just one of many papers that are available online.

    For those genuinely interested in reading more on these subjects, you may find considerable material, which may help to debunk the debunkers:


    Dr. Ian Stevenson


    Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, University of Virginia Press, ISBN 0813908728, 1966.


    Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, (second revised and enlarged edition), University of Virginia Press, ISBN 9780813908724, 1974.


    Cases of the Reincarnation Type Vol. I: Ten Cases in India, University of Virginia Press, 1975


    Cases of the Reincarnation Type Vol. II: Ten Cases in Sri Lanka, University of Virginia Press, 1978


    Cases of the Reincarnation Type Vol. III: Twelve Cases in Lebanon and Turkey, University of Virginia Press, 1980


    Cases of the Reincarnation Type Vol. IV: Twelve Cases in Thailand and Burma, University of Virginia Press, 1983


    Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects Volume 1: Birthmarks and Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects Volume 2: Birth Defects and Other Anomalies. (2 volumes), Praeger Publishers, ISBN 0-275-95282-7, 1997


    Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Praeger Publishers, ISBN 0-275-95282-7, 1997. (A short and non-technical version of Reincarnation and Biology, for the general reader)


    Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation, (revised edition) ISBN 0-7864-0913-4, 2000, (A general non-technical introduction into Reincarnation research)


    European Cases of the Reincarnation Type. McFarland & Company, ISBN 0786414588, 2003


    Telepathic Impressions: A Review and Report of 35 New Cases, University Press of Virginia, 1970


    Unlearned Language: New Studies in Xenoglossy. University of Virginia Press, ISBN 0813909945, 1984


    Xenoglossy: A Review and Report of A Case, University of Virginia Press, 1974


    A World in a Grain of Sand: The Clairvoyance of Stefan Ossowiecki, ISBN 978-0-7864-2112-1, (with Mary Rose Barrington and Zofia Weaver), McFarland Press, 2005.


    Dr. Dean Radin Entangled Minds


    The Conscious Universe


    Dr. Larry Dossey The Power of Premonitions


    The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things


    Healing Beyond the Body


    Reinventing Medicine


    Be Careful What You Pray For...


    Prayer is Good Medicine


    Healing Words


    Meaning & Medicine


    Recovering the Soul


    Space, Time & Medicine


    Dr. Russell Targ Limitless Mind


    Mind Reach (Co-authored with Dr. Harold Puthoff)


    Joseph McMoneagle The Stargate Chronicles


    Remote Viewer 001


    The Ultimate Time Machine


    Remote Viewing Secrets


    Dr. Gary Schwartz The Afterlife Experiments


    The Energy Healing Experiments


    The G.O.D. Experiments


    Dr. Charles Tart The End of Materialism


    Michael Newton Journey of Souls


    Memories of the Afterlife


    Destiny of Souls


    Life Between Lives


    Dr. Roger Woolger Other Lives, Other Selves (1987)


    The Goddess Within (1989)


    Healing Your Past Lives (2004)


    Body Psychotherapy and Regression in Tree


    Dr. Helen Wambach Reliving Past Lives


    Life Before Life


    Dr. Carl G. Jung
    Psychology and the Occult


    Synchronicity


    The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious


    Man and His Symbols


    Undoubtedly the Skeptical Dictionary has already tried to discredit some of the above people because some of them tried LSD, were associated with the Theosophical Movement, or employed a dishonest interpreter. However, the overall effect of their bickering does not drown out the growing perception that there is something out there that we are not yet able to understand or quantify. Ultimately those who do not know...cannot! And those who KNOW...understand!
     
  4. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    I would like to add a few articles by Jim B. Tucker, who is the medical director of the Child and Family Psychiatry Clinic, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia.Jim B. Tucker's bioDue to the size of the pdf I can only upload one, but if you follow this link to google scholar hopefully there are a few more articles on top of the list. This is not meant for you to deflate, but as examples of how the research is actually conducted in the field.

    View attachment jse_19_1_keil.pdf

    jse_19_1_keil.pdf
     
  5. Aqualung

    Aqualung Locomotive Breath

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    Ah, but this is the most important question: is your opinion correct?

    Unfortunately, it isn't exactly great evidence of ESP. It's really nothing but fluff around the list of meta-analyses, which are also not great evidence. For some information why, and an explanation of why the Honorton meta-analysis in particular is untrustworthy, you might be interested in this link.

    I've never seen anyone try to debunk the results of a study based on the past activities of its conductors - unless, of course, their past activities were falsification of studies. I certainly haven't seen the Skeptic's Dictionary site attempt to do so.


    I'm out of time for now, and I don't think I would ever be able to work through that entire massive list anyway. Thank you for the links, though, both of you; I'll check them out if I have time.
     
  6. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    I started reading this, and discovered that from the introduction they talk about the relation between quantum mechanics and consciousness, starting with the idea that consciousness 'collapses the wave function', which has long-ago been dropped (now we understand more about the whole business - I'm happy to explain if anyone's interested). The historical time line is correct, but QM has moved on. In the next section, they suggest that supporting evidence for QM and consciousness being connected is that the way certain neural circuits involved in perception process their inputs can be characterised using a quantum rather than a classic formalism. Leaving aside that relation between these specific low-level processes and consciousness is not explained by the authors, the suggestion that a having a QM formalism in common means a some kind of connection, is equivalent to saying coastlines and plants are connected because their shapes share a fractal formalism, or that the breeding of rabbits, the spirals of shells, and the curve of waves are connected because they share a Fibonacci formalism... :freak:


    But they do this kind of thing all the way through - pulling in various unrelated snippets of QM, taking them out of context and suggesting they support ideas to which they have no apparent relevance. The paper is laid out on a very conventional way, and looks the part, with plenty of references, but these opening 'musings about analogies and possibilities' are disturbing - I was beginning to suspect hoax, but the references check out. A decent referee should have picked up the QM formalism mistake at least (as should the authors).


    Given the quality of their introductory comments, I find it hard to put much faith in their meta-analysis, which is notoriously difficult to do well (particularly open to selection & confirmation bias).


    There may well be a connection between consciousness and quantum mechanics, but this paper doesn't help shed any light - in fact it's very disappointing.


    ETA: looking at the Journal of Quantology website, they appear to espouse a common misunderstanding of the Copenhagen interpretation of QM (Bohr's 'Complementarity') despite that Bohr himself flatly denied the that the subject has any direct impact on the outcome of a measurement :rolleyes:


    Ouch... I didn't want to make it a rant - it just happened: angel


    Sorry.

    Wow, that's quite a list! Some infamous names, too - Targ & Puthoff, C.G. Jung... ;) Don't know whether to start with them or leave them to the end :D
     
  7. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    Because, although you can (in principle) prove that there is an afterlife, it's impossible to prove there isn't ;) It's the 'Black Swan' problem.
     
  8. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    In the discussion section of that paper, they have some very interesting figures for child reincarnation reports:

    This seems a fair bit different from the adult reports I've seen - do you know if anyone has looked at the differences between


    reports at different ages?


    I'm wondering if they widen geographically and temporally with age, or whether are there qualitative differences between child reports and adult reports?
     
  9. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    Hiya :)

    To my knowledge no one has done that, but it would make an interesting study. However, I suppose one of the reasons why it hasn't been done (yet) is that the group of adults, who claim to remember past lives actually is very small, while the number of children is quite large. That would obviously cause a discrepancy in the comparison of the two groups that would make the results of such a study unreliable.


    A study conducted by E. Haraldson of Reykjavik University showed that out of all the individuals Ian Stevenson had interviewed in childhood about their possible past life memories about 45% still claimed to have some or clear memories, while 51% claimed that they had no memories at all.


    Of the 45%, after further questioning, one revealed to be unsure of the source of the memories, another only remembered talking about a past life and one revealed that she might only remember, because her memories had been so talked about in her family. Excluding those left Haraldson with 38%, who would affirm that they still had memories of a past life.


    Examining the assumed past life memories of the 38% it seemed that memories of death and trauma were more prevalent now than when they were children. Childhood phobias, which were believed to be related to past lives, also seemed to be resistant and in some cases even more resistant than the memories themselves. Of the 38%, who reported still having past-life memories as a continuation of their childhood memories, five stated that they most clearly remembered


    persons that they knew in the previous life, four remembered clearly events or circumstances that led to their death, or how they died, and three most clearly remembered what they used to do or sometimes did. When they were asked what they recalled second most clearly, four stated it was the mode of their death. Three subjects stated that it was the people that they had known, three stated what they used to do in their previous life, and two remembered where they had lived.

    This would indeed be interesting. In Haraldson's study all the subjects were from Sri Lanka and no mention is made of their actual memories. I'm not the expert to answer your question, I simply haven't read about enough cases to have a qualified answer, but an unqualified answer (based on my experiences on this messageboard) would be that it actually seems to be the other way around, which is something we've often discussed. Geographically, adults tend to remember past lives in a context that is somewhat similar to their present one (i.e. primarily the US and Europe, although memories of past lives outside those places also occur). Based on the stories available on these forums, children at the age of three and four have remembered (supposed) previous lives in e.g. Arab countries and China, while several American children (primarily members on this forum are from the US) have remembered lives in Europe. Chronologically however, adults seem to have much wider span than children.


    Sorry for the long answer - I hope you didn't fall asleep :D


    Oh, and by the way if you want the paper about the study by Haraldson, just say so :thumbsup:
     
  10. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    Yes; it's easy enough to allow for variations of group size in a statistical analysis, but confidence levels do drop off fairly rapidly with decreasing sample size (when you start with small sample sizes).

    Not at all, that was interesting information.

    Yes please, that would be useful - I'm curious to see the numbers involved, amongst other things. Do you have a link or a reference?
     
  11. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Dr. Helen Wambach did studies in the 1970's that you might find useful. Regarding her book:

     
  12. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    Hahah, I thought you would. Well, the numbers are fairly small, but from the beginning Haraldson sets out to investigate the cases that Stevenson examined in Sri Lanka only.


    I will upload the article later when I'm at another computer :thumbsup:
     
  13. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    Thanks both :thumbsup:
     
  14. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    The article is too big for me to upload unfortunately, but here's the reference:


    Haraldson, E. 2008. Persistence of Past-Life Memories: Study of Adults Who Claimed in Their Childhood to Remember a Past Life. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 22, No. 3. (pp. 385–393).
     
  15. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    Thanks for that Sunniva, I found the PDF online, so I'll have a browse. That should keep me quiet for a while... ;)
     
  16. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    So what did you think of the article dlorde? Have you had time to read it?
     
  17. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    I did read it, yes, and it was very interesting.


    For some reason all the subjects were in Sri Lanka (convenience? - Stevenson's 60s & 70s study subjects were Sri Lankan).


    There were only 42 subjects (although as a one-time human biology researcher, I know the difficulties involved in finding subjects!), all over 19 years old, with 30 from the original Stevenson study (so only 12 collated by Haraldsson himself).


    Over half (55%) said they no longer have any past-life memories, and 12% were sure they still had. Overall, 38% said they thought they still had some kind of past life childhood memory.


    There were some interesting anomalies, e.g. subjects of Stevenson that were traced and interviewed remembered more statements as children than those not interviewed, suggesting that the interviews unintentionally prompted recall statements (either authentic or confabulatory), etc.


    Haraldsson says that 'phobias are a common characteristic of children who claim past-life memories', but only 12 connected their fears with past lives, and of those only 7 still had the phobias.


    I could go on (there's more!), but the overall impression was that in a small sample size, few still found their past life memories relevant to their adult lives.


    So interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying.
     
  18. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    I'm glad you liked the article - I found it quite interesting too.

    As I understood it this was specifically a re-investigation of Stevenson's Sri Lanka-cases, so it was not merely a question of convenience :)

    I agree, but I do think that the study shows some interesting tendencies. I find it equally interesting that some of the subjects didn't remember anything of their claimed past lives and that some still did as adults.


    This was a short study, but it would have been nice to know if there were other patterns among those two groups such as education, social status, mental/physical health, etc. that could hint at a possible reason why some remembered while others did not.


    I agree with you to some extend that the study is unsatisfactory. First of all it bothered me that the sample size was so small. Secondly I failed to see the implication of his study (which I suppose is mainly due to the low sample size). I do like his approach of investigating adults, who claimed past life memories as children and I would like to see a more thorough study of this (that is an investigation of a much larger group of individuals from different geographical areas).


    However, such a project would take years to complete and would require a large sum of money. At least in my field of academia economy is too often the factor that determines whether a subject will be researched or not and I tend to think that this field suffers under this too.
     
  19. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    Randi's Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, and why they are wrong...


    Robert McLuhan doesn't have any credentials that he cares to share in order to back up his credibility, but his research and intellectual background is as objective and fair as any that I've encountered regarding the various issues of psi including reincarnation.


    He has written a book, "Randi's Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, and why they are wrong...", which approaches each issue as a skeptic, but he doesn't stop at that, because he goes behind the substance of each skeptical argument with the instinct of a blood hound. What he finds is remarkable evidence that most skeptical arguments are founded, first, on their firm belief that all psi is either impossible, fraudulent, or misguided. In addition McLuhan shows in many instances, that many of the well-respected skeptics have, themselves, intentionally employed fraudulent, or misapplied logic and statistics in order to not only misinform the public, but to slander legitimate psi research and deprive legitimate scientists of necessary research funding.


    What is most remarkable are the number of cases in which skeptics have accused people of the very same behavior that they, themselves, have engaged in. And, it isn't just Robert McLuhan, who has found this information. Much of it has been personally experienced and documented by Russell Targ, Charles Tart, Dean Radin and others.


    When one googles information regarding skeptics and the arch-skeptic, James Randi, one is overwhelmed by countless references and information attesting to how we have been saved from the likes of fake psychics and spoon-benders. Mr. Randi's publicity machine has been quite effective with their media releases, but if one looks hard enough, there are some interesting reports detailing his conspiracies to fraudulently discredit the research efforts of scientists.


    Why would anyone want to discredit such an innocuous field of inquiry? Some say it is because they want to stamp out any reference that would give evidence of a spiritual consciousness. Perhaps their fear is, itself, evidence of reincarnation, or some kind of memory when church persecution attempted to purge the physical sciences. Up to the 17th Century many people died and were imprisoned trying to prove that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. Now, that the physical sciences have finally replaced or overturned church doctrine along with other superstitions, many people will do anything to prevent the reemergence of spirituality on any level.


    It is believed by some well-meaning and intelligent people that skeptics help to keep us mindful of objectivity. For this reason skeptics are allowed on many forums and venues in order to project the appearance of balance and objectivity. However, the reality seems to be that the spiritual viewpoint is usually at a disadvantage of being the minority viewpoint, and the only purpose of the skeptics is to maintain superficial doubt without directly addressing the proponent evidence. Most often the skeptics haven't even read the material and they debate it based only on their general opinion that the proponent is either misguided, mistaken or downright dishonest.


    I have a problem with people who's purpose in life is to criticize the work of others. Of all the research done in the field of psi and reincarnation, the only research done by skeptics has been sparse, biased and miscalculated. And, when one considers the harm done by skeptics to the reputations of researchers, it is difficult to understand why they still maintain any credibility, themselves. Above all, my greatest beef with skeptics of reincarnation on this Forum is that they tend to make it unsafe for some people to post their questions or share their experiences. Generally, I suspect that most people who come here for the first time are already full of doubt and fear, because their experiences are already not the kind of things they would publicly divulge. And, when the person coming here is a bewildered and desperate parent trying to understand the strange comments coming from their toddler, the very worst thing they want to read anywhere on this Forum is that Reincarnation is a woo-woo belief of fuzzy-brained New Age enthusiasts with too much time on their hands.


    I have no doubt that someone will answer this post with demands for sources or comments about the dangers of believing or having too much of an open mind. And, their comments will seem all too reasonable. I can only respond beforehand, that skeptics should do more reading before they comment here, because it is the welfare of the children which is at stake--children, who are presently being told not to mention anything of their memories to anyone else for fear of rebuke--children, who are being punished for telling lies--children, who are being remanded to the care of skeptical doctors--children, who's parents are in desperate need help instead of ridicule.
     
  20. Florence

    Florence Senior Registered

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    Hi John,


    It is my opinion that Mr. James Randi is a fake. He has been around for YEARS.....as long as I have...and has offered one million dollars to anyone who can prove they are psychic or gifted in some manner. No one will ever win that money because he has made his living off of that offer. It is his claim to fame. I sincerely doubt that Mr. Randi even HAS a million dollars. No one any longer offers themselves up for an evaluation as they now realize it just gives him an oportunity to tout HIMSELF.


    Years ago Edgar Cayce offered himself to science to try and understand his gift. They pulled off his fingernail and stuck him with pins while he wa in trance to try to prove he was a fake. He was soo angry that he never offered himself again


    I have an interesting book. I have had it for years and forgot I had it. It's called "Exploring Reincarnation" by Hans TenDam... It is an immense body of research into the subject. He describes many diferent authors studies and what they believed...such as Cayce, Wambach, Stevenson, Joan Grant, Allan Kardec and many many more. He goes into great detail on both sides of the issue. In the end he sides with Reincarnation....At the end of each chapter he gives a list od additional reading and the authors...


    Getting back to Mr. Randi....I have often wondered what his past life was about since he seems to dedicate his entire life to de-bunking everything but his checkbook. It is his passion......
     

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