## Probabilities of reincarnation?

Not quite philosophy discussions, debates, various thought experiments and other topics of interest.

### Probabilities of reincarnation?

Reincarnation might exist, or it might not. The later would give us the situation the demon spoke of in Nietzsche`s writings, about having to relive the same life again & again. If we`re to be impartial about things, its 50/50% if reincarnation exists or not. Either it does, or it doesn`t. I, for one, can`t imagine any other possibilities so it`s either/or. Assuming it does exist, what other probabilities are we faced with?
Reincarnating into this same universe, or not. By another universe I mean one with different laws of physics.

Reincarnating into the same timeline of the same universe, or not. Quantum mechanics would`ve it that even if `the laws of physics are unchanged, there are multiple potential parallel dimensions of this universe. Is there any reason to believe multiple universes can exist at once? Perhaps this universe has to live its full lifespan before any othe universe comes into being. But one may be able to skip that if reincarnation goes forward or backwards in time.

Reincarnating backwards, forwards or smoothly in time. We`ll differentiate forwards in time from smoothly by how forward jumps from the point of death till some future point (for example a decade), while if smooth, you`d reincarnate instantly after your death. So if you died in in year 2000 8:00 pm, you`ll reincarnate at that exact same time too.

However, aren`t we faced with the possibility it might not be the time of our deaths that determined when we will reincarnate? Perhaps it is at the midpoint between our death & birth at which we reincarnate? So if you were born in 2010, died in 2020 you`d reincarnate in 2015. Or one might reincarnate after one`s birth, so whoever was born immediatelty after you, you would reincarnate as. It doesn`t have to be physical birth btw, because as the abortion debate shows there`s so much controversy surrounding all of that. If there`s a soul (which reincarnation needs) then there might be some point where the soul "merges" with the body (or perhaps the soul manifests itself physically, who knows) so we can speculate that instead of physical birth in this paragraph.

What about location? Is one as likely to reincarnate here as one is to reincarnate somewhere else in the universe, assuming other intelligent lifeforms exist out there? What about one`s birth place & place of death? Is there any reason to think one would reincarnate at the same places one died or was born? or that there might be some midpoint thing again, for example if one was born in London & died in Paris, one would reincarnate somewhere between them? Or, one might reincarnate anywhere but at the exact point where one was born, died, or just have been throughout one`s life. Or one may be limited to reincarnating anywhere one has been to throughout one`s life.

Could one possibly be reincarnated as a lower lifeform, like an animal? I have a hard time seeing myself with much weaker cognitive faculties; it just seems like that wouldn`t even be me.
What about the death method - should one prefer cremation or burning to death over preserving the body? One could speculate the soul has an easier to time moving on when the body is destroyed, but couldn`t it just as easily be the other way around?
If one reincarnates into another, totally different world, some would imagine that to be hell, some would imagine it to be heaven. But these are extreme worlds. Wouldn`t it be more likely for sth in between to be where one ends up?

Is there a reason to believe there might be different "soul types"? If so, then it might not be a coincidence that one has the biological mother & father one has. Perhaps this explains why some reject implants too. I know there`re scientific reasons for that but if we knew more about reincarnation then that might be scientific too after all & be connected to genes, etc. If such soul types exist, are some types inherently given to reincarnating in particular ways over the others?

There`s also the chances there`s some luck involved to. So, if one wanted to change universes one would have to try a few times before succeeding.

Is there any reason at all to assume that humans, or perhaps other beings affect the reincarnation probabilities in any way, shape or form? For example, some conspiracy theorists would have it that conspirators have access to magic, & one application of magic would ofc be to manipulate reincarnation. Our planet, if life is viewed from a dramatic, literary, genre-based, etc perspective, does appear far more sinister & "conspiratorial" then, say, a world which only has pristine nature, innocence, & natural cycles every year, with no "history/metanarratives" & no top secret informations. OTOH, couldn`t our world appearing like so all just be a coincidence, or, if there`s a creator (of the universe), be a a prank/red herring? The same could be applied to those who claim those who live virtuously are heaven-bound in the afterlife, couldn`t it just as easily be the opposite, that is, the vicious going to heaven, or no correlation at all that is purely random where people end up? Could simply desiring to reincarnating in one way over another give one the power to do so?

Overall, with all these considerations to take into account, if one wanted to be reincarnated in an universe totally different from this one, is there a reason to favor one way of dying over another? One location to die in than another? One time to die then another? Outside of these, are there any other factors that should be taken into account? I know only a little about probability theory & I know one of the main questions is the treatment of priors. Bayesian decides on priors before? & there are multiple other approaches to probability but perhaps that might not be relevant to this thread. I was hoping one of you have the insight to determine if it has.

A final question, are multiple lives, at least for the individual, inevitable simply because he can imagine it? Is sth bound to happen, given enough time, as long as one can imagine it? Fantasy comes from the unconscious, perhaps the unconscious is simply what is far removed from us in space, time & other dimensions. Going by that, our fantasies of all these other worlds could be interpreted as these worlds "calling" to us or "echoing/reverberating" thru to us, yes? The downside of this, ofc, is that one will experience all the boredom one has ever imagined as well as the worst of tortures one has imagined... unless there`s some "rule" or whatever that locks out these, but one can imagine a time when this rule won`t exist anymore too, so....
n0ki
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

All I know to respond to this is: There is no empirical evidence that supports belief in a succession of lives by one individual. Reincarnation seems like blind faith in an unsupported idea. I know that some forms of Buddhism and Hinduism teach reincarnation. Also, Pythagoras believed in it and so did Plato.

I guess I don't share your enthusiasm for the idea of reincarnation. That's pretty much all I know about the concept.
Phaedras
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

If re-incarnation occurs, it didn’t happen to me. Apart from my basic drives, everything in life has been a new discovery to me.

But when I googled ‘REINCARNATION’, I found a large number of anecdotal reports of people claiming that they recall past lives.

These reports range from individuals currently outlining their own personal experiences in blogs, to reputable psychiatrists investigating and documenting individual claims by children, to one involving hypnotic-regression studies of more than 1000 adults over 10 years by Dr. Helen Wambach. The latter set out in the 1960s “to prove how foolish the whole idea of reincarnation was”, but finished up stating "I don't believe in reincarnation - I know it!" (http://humansarefree.com/2011/02/proofs ... -part.html ).

One would suspect that the sheer number of reports gives them some credibility, but surprisingly, as much effort seems to have been spent debunking them as there is in recording them in the first instance.

There is one documented case though that no one has even attempted to debunk. It is the case of Arego, the Surgeon of the rusty knife. It’s not strictly a case of reincarnation of a newborn, but rather an example of ‘Possession’.

A Brazilian peasant with a third grade education claimed that he was ‘possessed’ when he was about 30 years old by a Dr Adolf Fritz, a German military surgeon who was killed in WW!. Arego claimed that he suffered severe headaches and hallucinations if he did not indulge in healing sick people. His story is told in this video clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BX6WTL88j4 , and a brief review is supplied in Wikipedia on this site https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z%C3%A9_Arig%C3%B3 .

Essentially he treated more than 200 people a day for 20 years, performing consultations with prescription writing, minor and major surgery, as well as psychic healing, all while under the influence of Dr Fritz.

The above two web sites do not mention that the book on his life by John Fuller (AREGO: THE SURGEON OF THE RUSTY KNIFE) records that he underwent examination by a five-person American surgical team who on one day made diagnoses on c200 of his waiting patients before he saw them. When they compared their diagnoses with the ones he made at the end of the day, there was a 98% correlation.

As far as I’m concerned at this stage, Arigo was possessed by the ‘being’ and knowledge of a Dr Fritz. I would appreciate information about any attempts, to disprove his story, that I may have missed.

doogles
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Phaedras » July 7th, 2015, 12:45 pm wrote:All I know to respond to this is: There is no empirical evidence that supports belief in a succession of lives by one individual. Reincarnation seems like blind faith in an unsupported idea.

That very much depends on who you ask and what you consider "evidence".

The term "evidence" is often misunderstood in science.
Many seem to think that "evidence" is an unequivocal support of a hypothesis.
Not so.
"Evidence" needs humans to conceive and to interpret. Facts never speak for themselves!
Take cosmology for example. We have virtually never direct evidence for our hypotheses.
We have indirect evidence that needs heavy interpretation and agreement amongst scientists to count as evidence. Quite often it is those who shout the loudest or otherwise know how to work the scientific playground in their favor who get the strongest support and set the current trends.

When it comes to topics like parapsychology there is a heavy bias amongst scientists to discard facts or at least question them to a degree of scrutiny cosmological "facts" for example rarely receive.

There are plenty of reports of near-death experiences for example where people see things while they are clinically dead that they should not have been able to see according to conventional "wisdom".
NetiNeti
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

I only know this. I have no memory of anything that happened before I was born. When I die, I expect my consciousness to cease existing. My molecules will return to the earth and eventually my atoms will return to the universe. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust as the poet said. I do not believe my consciousness gets put on a celestial shelf somewhere, ready to be re-instantiated in some newborn baby somewhere in the world.
someguy1
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

someguy1 » July 8th, 2015, 1:10 pm wrote:I do not believe my consciousness gets put on a celestial shelf somewhere, ready to be re-instantiated in some newborn baby somewhere in the world.

Yes, that makes no sense to me either.

I think there is only (one) consciousness or oneness.
And everything we perceive or otherwise experience appears in and as consciousness.
In that sense re-incarnation is real in the sense that consciousness never dies (there is no time, since there is only oneness) and can appear localized in another body.
On the other hand re-incarnation is not "real", as bodies and minds are not "real" in the sense that they have an existence independent of consciousness.
("Real" in the sense of naive realism).

That's how it makes some sense to me...
NetiNeti
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Here's another problem with reincarnation: Who is manufacturing all these souls? In 1980 there were 4 billion people on Earth. Now there are an estimated 7 billion. Since 1980, in order for reincarnation to be true, someone had to create 3 billion souls. Who?

Also, in response to NetiNeti, I purposely used the word EMPIRICAL to describe the kind of evidence to which I was referring.
Phaedras
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Phaedras » July 8th, 2015, 5:26 pm wrote:Here's another problem with reincarnation: Who is manufacturing all these souls? In 1980 there were 4 billion people on Earth. Now there are an estimated 7 billion. Since 1980, in order for reincarnation to be true, someone had to create 3 billion souls. Who?

A common question.
It depends on what is supposed to reincarnate.
(I don't like the word soul, so I am going to use 'entity'.)

If the entity that reincarnates is an almost mechanical entity with clear borders and a clear identity (as you seem to suggest) then there could be a problem. On the other hand, who is to say that those entities have to have a prior incarnation on earth? As I am sure you know this universe we seem to find ourselves in is modeled to be a very dynamic place where entire solar systems are created and destroyed all the time. There might be plenty of entities to go around, wouldn't you think?

This is just one way of looking at it.
Another might be to consider the entity that is to reincarnate not to be a clearly defined almost mechanical entity. Some suggest that different aspects of the same entity can be incarnated in different bodies at the same time.

Also, in response to NetiNeti, I purposely used the word EMPIRICAL to describe the kind of evidence to which I was referring.

It doesn't really make a difference.

Evidence (whatever its kind) never speaks for itself. It always needs to be interpreted. If multiple (or all) scientists interpret a given evidence in the same way, consensus has been reached.
Which, strictly speaking, means nothing, except that consensus has been reached. It does not mean that science has discovered a new 'truth'.
(Incidentally, only naive realists would state that science discovers any truths about our "reality". It does of course no such thing. Science only develops models - mind-made and mind-dependent models.)

Consensus might change. Evidence remains as it is but its interpretation might change considerably.
NetiNeti
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

NetiNeti, someguy1, and Phaedras, you all appear to have posted fairly close to my last contribution and appear to have missed the challenge I issued in that post.

In that post, among other things, I admitted, like all of you, that I have no personal experience of a previous life. But I did research as much as I could about the experiences of others in that regard. If you re-read that post you will see that large numbers of people have been recorded as having experiences quite different from mine and yours. At my age (80s), I’m convinced that my own lifetime experiences per se are totally insufficient to appreciate the significance of anything on this planet. I believe we all have to look at the broader scopes of research among our kind on any issue.

(Having said that, I realise that this is the advice I would give if I posted in a parallel post on how I would change the world.)

But back to the subject, please read my last post (July 7, 9.39 PM) and please provide evidence that discredits ‘Arigo, The Surgeon of the Rusty Knife.

There is a mass of evidence supporting Arigo's claims for his 'possession' by Dr Fritz. If you can find any serious evidence debunking this claim, I will gladly go back to yours' and my, previous way of thinking before I began to look outside of my own shallow way of consideration of all aspects of life on this planet.

Otherwise, you will have to accept that ‘possession’ or 'reincarnation' or whatever, logically merits belief and explanation.

doogles
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

doogles » July 8th, 2015, 8:36 pm wrote:NetiNeti, someguy1, and Phaedras, you all appear to have posted fairly close to my last contribution and appear to have missed the challenge I issued in that post.

I didn't take you up on the challenge because I don't doubt reincarnation on the level we are talking here (i.e. assuming there are independent entities and objects in a universe interacting with each other). On that level I think there is some compelling support for life after death.

Btw, doogles, you might be interested in the book "The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds" by Edgar Mitchell (and Dwight Williams).

He describes in some detail parapsychological experiments that were conducted under strict scientific guidelines (set up as double blinds, etc). He describes how some experiments yielded results that were in clear support of psychoactive phenomena like psychokinesis, telekinesis and remote healing. These experiments were conducted by scientists and according to Mitchell many scientists to whom he showed the results would flat out refuse to accept them, not because they found flaws but because they didn't fit into their ideology.
NetiNeti
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Phaedras » Wed Jul 08, 2015 6:26 am wrote:Here's another problem with reincarnation: Who is manufacturing all these souls? In 1980 there were 4 billion people on Earth. Now there are an estimated 7 billion. Since 1980, in order for reincarnation to be true, someone had to create 3 billion souls. Who?

Also, in response to NetiNeti, I purposely used the word EMPIRICAL to describe the kind of evidence to which I was referring.

Maybe 3 billion souls were transferred from other planets? Or maybe some of the now human souls were just promoted from worms?

In any case, my issue with reincarnation is that I feel if I don't remember my past lives then there is no value, they might as well never existed. Apparently, some can, but even if the stories these people tell are real they are what about 0.00001 percent of the population? And most of these people can only recall one past life, much less the tens of thousands that are possible going back to our evolution. And do any recall being an animal in a past life or a bacteria? Without any useful evidence of reincarnation, whether its happening or not, what's the point?

Doogles, I don't think anyone here would be familiar enough with Fritz to go through his story and refute elements of it. I am willing to bet though there are a lot more psychological conditions that pose a more likely explanation for his story than the explanation of reincarnation.

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

If memory does not transfer, it does seem rather pointless, though some religions claim that some sort of acquired wisdom and skill will go to the reborn person, existing in a latent state until tapped by learning. The population math, which several mention, would mean that some of us were only dogs or pigs or whales or other mammals, I suppose. So if you have a penchant for chasing cars or wallowing in mud, perhaps you have an answer. Seriously, as Neti points out, evidence rarely speaks for itself. I find it telling thatt these past life cases arise far more often in cultures which have a strong belief in reincarnation.

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Why do we expect there are a finite number of available souls based on the earth population? Perhaps there are a great many souls off doing whatever souls do when not attached to a human being. And given the likelihood of other life out there, (based on the numbers and extent of the Universe) the soul may also attach to these life forms.

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

I guess we see so many cycles in nature that we like to assume a part of us will continue on, beyond the mundane material we are composed of. I like the idea but shy away from "me", my personality, continuing after death. I like to believe something of what I call consciousness/unconsciousness (I guess unconscious really!) does have a continuation ... if not then I guess it doesn't!

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

doogles, I'm interested in addressing your case of Ze Arigo. I think it's safe to say that there are a variety of cases like Ze Arigo's, a variety of stories which defy current scientific explanation, out there in the world. I am reminded of a story told to me by a friend of a friend, who swore that she and four of her relatives were sitting in one of their kitchens when they all saw the latch on the kitchen door turn to lock shut all by itself. She challenged me to explain that and I could not. There is a challenge to explain the story of Ze Arigo (though like SciAmeriken, I would have many questions about his life - he appeared to begin exercising his newfound medical skills at the age of 29, plenty of time for him to have gained medical knowledge from any number of corporeal sources).

For me, there is a pattern to these kinds of stories. That being, actually, a lack of pattern. There are many stories and many witnesses, but they are largely unrepeatable. You can bring back together all the same conditions, at least all the conditions you are aware of, and you can't reliably cause the phenomena to happen again. You can look for cases in history where the same conditions were all in play, but the phenomena can not be reliably found along with them. Is it possible we're missing measurable factors? Yes, of course. But the continued lack of an ability to find patterns, even in the face of improving technology that can record and measure more and more factors, even in the face of improving knowledge making us aware of more and more possible causes, these kinds of stories continue to fail to produce a reliable pattern which would make study of them amenable to scientific methods.

There is always the possibility that one day we will finally find the underlying pattern to these stories, that perhaps maybe the underlying pattern does in fact speak to some kind of memory transfer across individual human lives, even across the barrier of death. But we just don't have that kind of evidence yet, Ze Arigo's story standing even so. If Ze's abilities truly did seem to come out of thin air, well, that certainly demands explanation. But without the ability to thoroughly study and test the phenomenon, we may never know how it happened. Which includes both not knowing if it was a cause currently known to science and not knowing if it was a form of reincarnation. It's certainly not positive evidence towards reincarnation. Especially given the extreme lack of known empirical phenomena that could possibly allow reincarnation.

I think it is unwise and unkind to simply wave off stories people strongly believe and so far irrefutable evidence of strange occurrences. The stories and this evidence exist and there's no point trying to pretend it doesn't. But existence is not enough by itself - all attempts to interpret and understand this evidence, to use the scientific method to explore it and explain it, have failed to produce anything significant. And without a reliable interpretation or explanation, there is little we can discuss that will have any reliable meaning to our lives and to human knowledge.

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

="doogles » Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:39 pm

The above two web sites do not mention that the book on his life by John Fuller (AREGO: THE SURGEON OF THE RUSTY KNIFE) records that he underwent examination by a five-person American surgical team who on one day made diagnoses on c200 of his waiting patients before he saw them. When they compared their diagnoses with the ones he made at the end of the day, there was a 98% correlation.

As far as I’m concerned at this stage, Arigo was possessed by the ‘being’ and knowledge of a Dr Fritz. I would appreciate information about any attempts, to disprove his story, that I may have missed.

There is no shortage of strange events and happenings that suggest something strange is going on, but without the explanation of how these strange things happen, the conversation is stoped. The 98% correlation seems somewhat compelling, but if you can't answer the how question, everything else becomes suspect.

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

The only mechanism I can think of would require that Bostrom's "Matrix" conjecture is correct. We die, our file is edited, leaving only core personality and latent abilities, then we are reloaded into a baby simulation. Once in a while, the memory wipe is botched and you get an Arigo or Murphy. Be interesting to retain adult memories and then be offered a boob upon entering a fresh simulation.

Regrettably, this is how my mind works.

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Watson » July 9th, 2015, 5:11 am wrote:
There is no shortage of strange events and happenings that suggest something strange is going on, but without the explanation of how these strange things happen, the conversation is stoped. The 98% correlation seems somewhat compelling, but if you can't answer the how question, everything else becomes suspect.

Why is the conversation stopped when there is no how?
On the contrary, that's when it gets really interesting, for me anyways.
There is a phenomenon and we have no idea how it works - what could be more exciting (in the scientific world)?

Besides, when does science ever answer a how question?
Never. Not once.
We can model things in a certain way and we can test the model but that never explains the "how".

How do the 4 fundamental forces actually work?
We have absolutely no idea how two masses know that they are supposed to attract each other and how that attracting itself actually works.
We have models but they don't explain the "how" at all.
They only give us measurable properties and their relationships.

We accept certain answers as "how" because we can't be bothered to dig deeper. We are happy to stop somewhere (pretty early) in the causal chain and accept that as a "how" - but strictly speaking it never is.
NetiNeti
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Netineti -

Speculation *without limits is nonsense.

If the limits we prescribe are not nonsense then what are they?

Paralith -

She challenged me to explain that and I could not.

Group psychosis? That said it could just have been an occurrence currently beyond common understanding.
Last edited by BadgerJelly on July 9th, 2015, 3:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

BadgerJelly » July 9th, 2015, 5:03 pm wrote:Netineti -

Speculation within limits is nonsense.

If the limits we prescribe are not nonsense then what are they?

I have no idea what you are trying to say or what you are referring to.
Explain pls.
NetiNeti
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Ooops! ... "without limits" sorry :S

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

BadgerJelly » July 9th, 2015, 6:00 pm wrote:Ooops! ... "without limits" sorry :S

I would agree that "speculation without limits" is not very useful.
Who was suggesting it in this thread?

I certainly didn't.
When it comes to life after death (LAD) issues we have experiences from people.
Those experiences limit the speculations.

We have no paradigm within which to develop a hypothesis.
Currently, science is pervaded by (scientific) materialism and naive realism.

Note: "naive realism" is a technical term in philosophy.
"naive" is not my judgement. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Na%C3%AFve_realism

I think the answer lies in the above mentioned paradigms of scientific materialism and naive realism.
Science is not free as long as scientists submit to those paradigms.

There are few limits as far as speculations about multiple universes are concerned.
We certainly don't have any first-hand experiences or measurements that would limit the speculations.
How is that any more scientific (or makes more sense) than speculations about LAD?
NetiNeti
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

I completely agree with the problem of naive materialism that does some fairly prevalent, I would say more so amongst the general public than amongst scientists in general.

I am asking what limits are satisfactory?

I am fairly sure that once you die you are dead and that you cannot have an experience of death and then come back again. Near death experiences may just possibly uncover something but it is purely speculative evidence ... not that that is not worth considering.

Before someone else jumps in, I am pretty sure that the theory of multiple universes is bases on mathematical models. It is speculative and most fringes of physics is speculative

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

NetiNeti, thank you for that book reference. I’ll get a copy out of interest. I like your last sentence “These experiments were conducted by scientists and according to Mitchell many scientists to whom he showed the results would flat out refuse to accept them, not because they found flaws but because they didn't fit into their ideology.” We do tend to turn off when people present us with ideologies that differ from our own.

Sciameriken, I agree with you on many of your points, particularly “my issue with reincarnation is that I feel if I don't remember my past lives then there is no value, they might as well never existed” It becomes a curiosity rather than a useful event, except in the case of someone like Arigo who devoted his ‘healing’ ability to helping hundreds of thousands of people gratis. Others have mentioned the ‘numbers’, but this point presumes that all babies are reincarnated. I think the spiritualists claim that most spirits go to heaven or hell or paradise, and that the ones that reincarnate are those that have been trapped in limbo.

Braininvat, re “I find it telling that these past life cases arise far more often in cultures which have a strong belief in reincarnation”, I believe that Dr Helen Wambath’s 1000+ cases were all Californians. I like your sense of humour in your later post.

Paralith, I appreciate the thought and effort you put into your post and overall, I found it to be a well-balanced comment on the subject. Re the Arigo challenge, I suppose it comes down to the possibility of whether a 29-year-old peasant with a third grade education because of the need to work physically for a living, and then having five young children to rear, would have the necessary access and time and intellect to teach himself all aspects of diagnosis, therapy, minor and major surgery, and prescription writing. This surgery was performed with a kitchen knife that, (according to one person who held Arigo’s arm when he operated said) felt as if the tissues that the knife contacted were receding from the knife like two magnets repelling each other. Hysterectomies for cancer were performed in minutes, were bloodless and healed without sutures. As I said in a previous post, a panel of five doctors from the USA examined him on a single day of 200 or more treatments. I have to admit that my reading of the stories about him (admittedly secondhand contact), suggests that ‘possession’ by a Dr Fritz makes a more plausible explanation for his methods and success than the self-education theory.

Re the discussion initiated by Watson on “ if you can't answer the how question, everything else becomes suspect”, This has become known in science as the Semmelweis Reflex (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semmelweis_reflex ) What this site does not explain is that Ignaz Semmelweis was the medical director of a hospital in Germany (I think) that was experiencing a maternal death rate of 15% during birth, while a neighbouring midwife-operated hospital had a figure close to 1.55. This was c1815. Ignaz suspected that the difference had much to do with the fact that his obstetricians did autopsies on women who had died. After he instituted a compulsory procedure that obstetricians wash their hands in a solution of chlorinated lime solution before assisting at births, the death rate in his hospital dropped to 1.5%.

The medical profession in general refused to adopt his procedure apparently on the grounds that he could not explain HOW or WHY his procedures were working. Who knows how many women died unnecessarily because of this refusal to acknowledge the facts per se? Semmelweis died prematurely in an insane asylum. It wasn’t till after the 1860s that Louis Pasteur established that microorganisms were not only responsible for the fermentation of grape juice to alcohol, but that they were a prominent cause of diseases in humans and other animals as well. Anyhow the refusal to accept a factual result simply because the recorder cannot explain HOW it occurs has been labelled the Semmelweis Reflex.

Apologies for the long post, but I feel obliged to respond to comments generated by one of my posts.

A generalisation I would like to make as part of this submission is that the older I grow, the more I realise that we really have to become deeply involved in a discipline before we really understand it enough to say that we understand even the rudiments of it.

In this respect with regard to the topic under discussion, I would like to refer posters once again to the regression-hypnosis study of 1088 Californians over 10 years by Dr Helen Wambach (See http://humansarefree.com/2011/02/proofs ... -part.html ). Dr Wambach affirms quite readily that she actually set out to discredit this nonsense once and for all, but finished up as a believer in reincarnation.

doogles
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Thanks, doogles, for pointing out the "Semmelweis Reflex", which I had not heard about.

Several people have mentioned that they have no memories of past lives and what would be the point if you don't have those memories?

Most spiritual traditions that support reincarnation say that it is about the overall lessons of the entity. An entity evolves from whenever they start to the point of enlightenment. Enlightenment is the final stage from which point onwards further incarnations are not required because all necessary lessons have been learned.

Imagine you had access to memories from maybe hundreds of incarnations. It would be incredibly confusing if they floated freely accessible in our brains. Some of those incarnations may have been in lifeforms so different from our current minds and bodies that we probably couldn't relate to their memories even if we had access to them. However, the lessons learned in those incarnations may have been vital for the further development of the entity.

I may come across as a supporter of reincarnation. I am not, not really. I tried to convey my personal view on the matter in my second post in this thread.

I only engaged in this discussion because of the often heard (and mostly misused) statement:
"There is no evidence for it."

That is just not true. What is true is that the vast majority of scientists simply ignore the existing evidence, as is also the case for other parapsychological phenomena.
They don't fit into the prevailing ideologies of scientific materialism and naive realism and few dare to swim against the current and risk ridicule or being ignored altogether.

Science should be entirely free of ideologies!
However, I do realize that science is done by human minds and those are virtually never free of ideologies and stubbornly held believes.
NetiNeti
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

NetiNeti » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:00 pm wrote:I only engaged in this discussion because of the often heard (and mostly misused) statement:
"There is no evidence for it."

That is just not true. What is true is that the vast majority of scientists simply ignore the existing evidence, as is also the case for other parapsychological phenomena.
They don't fit into the prevailing ideologies of scientific materialism and naive realism and few dare to swim against the current and risk ridicule or being ignored altogether.

Science should be entirely free of ideologies!
However, I do realize that science is done by human minds and those are virtually never free of ideologies and stubbornly held believes.

It is not the subject matter its the methodology. So Neti I challenge you if you feel science is limited by ideology, then design an experiment that explores one element of life after death? What is your hypothesis and how would you test it? Keep in mind the Randi institute offers USD1,000,000 for anyone who can demonstrate reproducibly any such paranormal occurrence (http://web.randi.org/the-million-dollar-challenge.html) and in the 10 years that I've known about this challenge, nobody has done it. I wouldn't blame science for not answering such questions, rather I would say science is probably not the right tool for the job. But please feel free to prove me wrong and also perhaps make a million dollars doing it.

SciameriKen
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

SciameriKen » July 8th, 2015, 2:14 pm wrote:In any case, my issue with reincarnation is that I feel if I don't remember my past lives then there is no value, they might as well never existed.

I don't think that is necessarily the case. Suppose you were nearing the end of a very unpleasant life. The idea that you might live it all over again – possibly an infinite number of times – would surely cause you great anxiety, even if you didn't believe that you were going to remember your present life (and earlier lives).

I am disinclined to believe in particular claims of reincarnation, because of the difficulty of ruling out non-supernatural explanations. On the other hand, the idea that my first-person perspective is a 'one-off' – a unique occurrence in an infinite expanse of non-occurrence – seems unsatisfactory, as it violates a kind of metaphysical "conservation of energy". Just as physical energy cannot be absolutely created or destroyed, it seems reasonable to believe that a metaphysical entity like a first-person perspective must permanently exist in some form or other. Otherwise, its contingent existence at the present time would just be a brute fact.
Positor
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

SciameriKen » July 10th, 2015, 12:14 am wrote:It is not the subject matter its the methodology. So Neti I challenge you if you feel science is limited by ideology, then design an experiment that explores one element of life after death? What is your hypothesis and how would you test it?

First off, my nick here is NetiNeti, not Neti. "neti neti" has a specific meaning.

The problem with parapsychological phenomena (PP) is their reproducibility.
I think we are dealing with phenomena that are at the edge of (current?) human capabilities.
Most feats of athletes who are at the top of their discipline cannot be reproduced for the same reasons.
Many of our hypotheses in cosmology cannot be tested. It is rather difficult to reproduce a star for example in our labs and test our hypothesis for star formation.

As far as a hypothesis for PP goes: I have none to offer.
What does that tell you about the validity of PP?

I wouldn't blame science for not answering such questions, rather I would say science is probably not the right tool for the job.

I didn't blame science. I blamed scientists and their ideologies.
I think the scientific method is a great tool to investigate causal phenomena. It's the best tool we have.
If PP are causal, we should at some stage be able to examine the causal chain that leads to them.

However, I think we have some homework to do before we get there.
We don't even have a handle on everyday psychological phenomena. We have no generally accepted model for mind and consciousness for example.
I think models for PP will follow once we have a model for mind and consciousness.
NetiNeti
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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

NN, we often shorten monikers here, esp those of us on Androids who have fat thumbs. I agree that science and ideology don't mix but feel it's important not to assume a scientist is unfree, just because she doesn't feel metaphysics (like reincarnation) offers a viable line of inquiry. Not all research choices are ideologically corseted. Some may prefer cosmology
because we have an array of observational instruments (while the array of instruments we can point at souls or wombs receiving transmigrations is rather lacking at this point) to test various hpotheses.

BTW, the lounge offers a thread where monikers can be explained. If you wish to be addressed in a particular way, that might help.

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### Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Braininvat » July 10th, 2015, 1:41 am wrote:NN, we often shorten monikers here, esp those of us on Androids who have fat thumbs. I agree that science and ideology don't mix but feel it's important not to assume a scientist is unfree, just because she doesn't feel metaphysics (like reincarnation) offers a viable line of inquiry. Not all research choices are ideologically corseted. Some may prefer cosmology
because we have an array of observational instruments (while the array of instruments we can point at souls or wombs receiving transmigrations is rather lacking at this point) to test various hpotheses.

Where did I say that I consider a scientist as unfree if she doesn't investigate PP?
That's absurd!
I did not choose to study PP (I studied math and physics) because it didn't interest me enough (and still doesn't).
Where did I say that all research choices are ideologically corseted?

What I did say (or meant to say - English is not my native tongue) was that scientists who are shown the results of a properly conducted study and reject the study not on grounds of how it was conducted but because they don't like the results, are ideologically motivated and don't really deserve the label "scientist" as such behavior violates the very spirit and foundation of science.

BTW, the lounge offers a thread where monikers can be explained. If you wish to be addressed in a particular way, that might help.

Thanks, B, for the explanation. I consider it common courtesy to address people with their proper names but if you guys handle it differently around here that is fine by me. I certainly understand the phone argument.
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