Evidence of reincarnation

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samseva
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by samseva » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:15 am

chownah wrote:Perhaps Cameron is haunted. Perhaps some spirit is channeling through Cameron and Cameron just thinks that he is remembering a past life. How can you be sure that it is evidence for rebirth when it could be these other things?

Best to just admit that it is a very strange story and there really is know way to know what has caused it. Have you considered that it might be caused by fraudulance? Is there any way to find out?....probably not. Of course those who are desperate to find evidence for reincarnation will not even try to actually find out because finding out might not suit their interests and not finding out does.
chownah
Cameron might be possessed or channeling a spirit, but memories from a past life can't possibly exist?

Fraudulence? What would be the point of of creating such a fraud? Have you even watched the video?

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by samseva » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:20 am

daverupa wrote:
lionking wrote:Meet 2 year old Cameron.

[...]

Tucker's evidence isn't without trouble, and in addition it's not even demonstrated that this functionality being tested for is the "Buddhist" version; anyway, I'll move along now.
Have you watched the video? What astonishes me time and time again, even more so on a Buddhist forum, is that no matter the evidence presented regarding the possibility of rebirth, if that evidence is not utterly and absolutely perfect, rebirth can't possibly exist.

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by daverupa » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:26 am

samseva wrote:if that evidence is not utterly and absolutely perfect, rebirth can't possibly exist.
:strawman:

:redherring:

I am done with these shenanigans.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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samseva
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by samseva » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:32 am

daverupa wrote:
samseva wrote:if that evidence is not utterly and absolutely perfect, rebirth can't possibly exist.
:strawman:

:redherring:

I am done with these shenanigans.
It might be an exaggeration and a slight generalization, but is is in no way a straw man or even less so a red herring.

Also, I wasn't talking about you in particular.

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Ben » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:36 am

samseva wrote: Have you watched the video? What astonishes me time and time again, even more so on a Buddhist forum, is that no matter the evidence presented regarding the possibility of rebirth, if that evidence is not utterly and absolutely perfect, rebirth can't possibly exist.
Sam,
With respect - it's not evidence.
We should be very careful of accepting as evidence that which confirms our existing biases and beliefs. We should set a very high standard and not shy away from scrutinising and uncovering flaws. this is how we discover the truth.
With metta,
Ben
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samseva
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by samseva » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:38 am

Ben wrote:Sam,
With respect - it's not evidence.
We should be very careful of accepting as evidence that which confirms our existing biases and beliefs. We should set a very high standard and not shy away from scrutinising and uncovering flaws. this is how we discover the truth.
With metta,
Ben
It isn't scientific evidence, but it can still be evidence. However, I agree with what you are saying.

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by samseva » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:54 am

This thing is that, in this current age, we don't have the needed technology to prove something as complex and as non-material as rebirth. We do have methods, but sadly they don't come up with conclusive evidence.

If someone were to wait for conclusive scientific evidence of rebirth to accept it, and during that time think it simply doesn't exist, he or she could never find out (at least, in this lifetime :tongue: ).

I believe in rebirth, but that doesn't mean that I don't have a certain doubt of its existence, since I haven't seen firsthand and conclusive evidence. However, that isn't a reason to completely discredit the existence of rebirth altogether.

(Again, I am not pointing to anyone in particular.)

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by lionking » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:19 am

daverupa wrote:You both appear to have a very inaccurate understanding of astrophysics & nuclear science..
Well, I am feeling dizzy seeing you up on this high pedastal getting quite pedantic and all!

In classical sciences you think you are just a PASSIVE OBSERVER quietly noting, understanding and theorizing the universe. However, you are not a passive observer.

The particles that form the universe only comes into being the moment your consciousness begins to observe. The moment your consciousness looks the other way the particles change into a wave of light. In effect your consciousness becomes an ACTIVE OBSERVER changing the reality itself.

Observe here wave/particle duality. The observer changes light into particles.



That renders Astrophysics, Nuclear Science and indeed all classical material sciences irrelevant. They are irrelevant because the material you observe are manufactured by your own consciousness. At all other times the entire universe is a single field of light. Does that ring any bells in Buddha's teachings?

How does this impact Cameron and you.

Imagine an artificial world created in a Virtual Reality (VR) machine. You wear the VR goggles and sign-in into this world as daverupa. The sign-in creates the universe as you know now. The VR machine creates the universe when your senses are awake and observing. It times-out and idles when you aren't.

The VR experience take a toll on your consciousness. How you logged into the session is soon forgotten.

Cameron does the same. He signs into the machine as Cameron. Although for some reason he does not forget the moment he logged-in. He even remembers how he was a different Avatar in a previous VR session.

There is nothing outside of the machine according to your own senses. The Astrophysics, Nuclear Science you understand are relative to this delusion of the VR machine that your senses mimic. The VR machine in reality is called the time-space continuum.

So in effect you are like a frog stuck inside a well. Although you are croaking like a pundit when what you know is quite petty and irrelevant.

Jim Tucker and his friend Cameron gives you a glimpse to what is outside. If I were you I would stand up and take notice.
grr ..

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lionking
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by lionking » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:11 am

chownah wrote:
lionking wrote:. Every expert that observe Cameron conclude he is not lying. He is not hallucinating and he is not imagining "invisible friends" as some children indulge occasionally.
Perhaps Cameron is haunted. Perhaps some spirit is channeling through Cameron and Cameron just thinks that he is remembering a past life. How can you be sure that it is evidence for rebirth when it could be these other things?
The concept of re-birth was discussed by the Buddha NOT in a metaphorical sense. Here are some examples.
When any of the Buddha's fully awakened disciples passed away, he would state that one of the amazing features of their passing was that their consciousness could no longer be found in the cosmos. Rebirth, he said, happened to those who still had clinging, but not to those who didn't (SN 44.9)
Learn more here. If you wish to adopt the Dhamma then its futile to meander unconvinced of re-birth. Its essential to have an open mind and have faith what Buddha said was correct.

Does Rebirth Make Sense? by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Dhamma Without Rebirth? by Bhikkhu Bodhi
The Truth of Rebirth - And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Besides, lets assume for a moment Cameron is channeling a spirit. That itself does confirm re-birth doesn't it? After all, there cannot be spirits in other realms without re-birth!
grr ..

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Zom » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:26 am

In effect your consciousness becomes an ACTIVE OBSERVER changing the reality itself.

Observe here wave/particle duality. The observer changes light into particles.
No consciousness needed -) This works with "observing mechanism" as well .)

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:14 am

Zom wrote:
In effect your consciousness becomes an ACTIVE OBSERVER changing the reality itself.

Observe here wave/particle duality. The observer changes light into particles.
No consciousness needed -) This works with "observing mechanism" as well .)
That's right. I think one needs to be very cautious when talking about consciousness in relation to quantum mechanics. ;)
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by lionking » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:53 am

Zom wrote:
In effect your consciousness becomes an ACTIVE OBSERVER changing the reality itself.

Observe here wave/particle duality. The observer changes light into particles.
No consciousness needed -) This works with "observing mechanism" as well .)
It is in fact a chain of observers. The end observer is always a consciousness. For example.

consciousness <- universe
consciousness <- observing_mechanism1 <- universe
consciousness <- observing_mechanism1 <- observing_mechanism2 <- universe

The observing_mechanism itself is not real if its made out of material do not forget. The observing_mechanism itself only comes into existence because consciousness is observing the observing_mechanism.

A consciousness must always be at the end of the loop. Its the consciousness that drives the whole operation.
grr ..

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Zom » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:16 pm

A consciousness must always be at the end of the loop. Its the consciousness that drives the whole operation.
Not at all. No matter if a consciousness observes or not - the result of "reality" will be different if there is a mechanical observer (a device) involved / not involved in the experiment 8-)

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by kirk5a » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:57 pm

Can those who insist there is "no evidence" of rebirth provide a hypothetical example of something they would consider "evidence"?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Lazy_eye » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:08 pm

samseva wrote:However, that isn't a reason to completely discredit the existence of rebirth altogether.
I agree. But I also don't see that anyone in the thread has set out to do that. Has any poster here indicated that they reject rebirth and consider it to be untrue?

The argument is over what does and doesn't constitute scientific evidence.

It may be worth considering that Buddhism and science have different epistemlogical frameworks -- that is, they differ in terms of what are considered valid bases for knowledge.

In science, valid knowledge depends on making testable predictions, gathering data that can be used to test the predictions, ruling out alternative explanations, and being able to repeat the test. NDEs and past-life anecdotal evidence both fail to meet the standard because alternative explanations have not been ruled out. NDEs could have a material explanation related to the brain. Past-life memories could have plausible explanations other than an actual past life.

In Buddhism, perception and inference are considered valid bases for knowledge:
K N Jayatilleke wrote:Inferences are made on the data of perception, normal and paranormal. What is considered to constitute knowledge are direct inferecnes made on the basis of the data of such perceptions. All the knowledge that the Buddha and his disciples claim to have in 'knowing and seeing,' except for the knowledge of Nirvana, appears to be of this nature.
See here.

Because of the epistemological differences, threads like the current one almost inevitably devolve into pointless squabbling.

My view is that no one is obligated to bring science into Dhamma discussions, but if we decide to do so, we should represent science accurately and demonstrate an understanding of what constitutes good science vs. junk science. Let me use an analogy. From time to time, posters show up on Buddhist discussion boards who clearly have a very superficial understanding of Buddhism (even more superficial than mine!). They post some fake Buddha quotes taken from the internet, or some nonsense they've read somewhere, and they try to pass this off as "Buddhism."

Normally,when that happens, the more experienced posters here try to demonstrate where and how they have misconstrued what the Buddha taught.

It is likewise with science.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Lazy_eye » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:33 pm

kirk5a wrote:Can those who insist there is "no evidence" of rebirth provide a hypothetical example of something they would consider "evidence"?
To me, this is an interesting question, and one which I would like to see explored more often.

My hunch is that it is very hard if not impossible to devise an experiment to test rebirth. For one thing, according to the suttas only a tiny percentage of humans get reborn as humans during their subsequent lives. It can take eons to return to the human realm.
Imagine that the whole earth was covered with water, and that a man were to throw a yoke with a hole in it into the water. Blown by the wind, that yoke would drift north, south, east and west. Now suppose that once in a hundred years a blind turtle were to rise to the surface. What would be the chances of that turtle putting his head through the hole in the yoke as he rose to the surface once in a hundred years?"

"It would be very unlikely, Lord."

"Well, it is just as unlikely that one will be born as a human being. It is just as unlikely that a Tathagata, a Noble One, a fully enlightened Buddha should appear in the world. And it is just as unlikely that the Dhamma and discipline of the Tathagata should be proclaimed. But now you have been born as a human being, a Tathagata has appeared and the Dhamma has been proclaimed. Therefore, strive to realize the Four Noble Truths."
Based on this famous passage, we would have to say that the number of people on earth who had a previous human life on earth within the span of recorded history is relatively small. And the number likely to reborn on earth within the next several millenia is likewise small. How could one then obtain a scientifically valid sample?

The only other approach I can think of would be to establish a scientifically plausible mechanism for rebirth. David Chalmers has suggested that consciousness follows as-yet-undiscovered "psychophysical laws". If such laws could in fact be identified, and they were consistent with Buddhist rebirth, we might be getting somewhere.

An added complication is that Buddhists don't seem to agree among themselves as to how rebirth takes place (i.e. the mechanism). Some posit a sort of disembodied mindstream (complete with an "appropriating consciousness"), which hinges on consciousness being separable from matter. Science might be able to establish whether or not that view of consciousness is correct.

Others insist the process is simply the result of kammic law. in which case establishing the material or non-material nature of consciousness may not settle the issue. Some related discussion here.

It might help if we were able to nail down exactly what it is that we want science to test. How exactly does a paṭiccasamuppāda cycle (or, if you want to go Abhidhamma, a citta chain) transfer from one physical location (life A) to another (life B)?

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by JiWe » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:14 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:My hunch is that it is very hard if not impossible to devise an experiment to test rebirth. For one thing, according to the suttas only a tiny percentage of humans get reborn as humans during their subsequent lives. It can take eons to return to the human realm.
Imagine that the whole earth was covered with water, and that a man were to throw a yoke with a hole in it into the water. Blown by the wind, that yoke would drift north, south, east and west. Now suppose that once in a hundred years a blind turtle were to rise to the surface. What would be the chances of that turtle putting his head through the hole in the yoke as he rose to the surface once in a hundred years?"

"It would be very unlikely, Lord."

"Well, it is just as unlikely that one will be born as a human being. It is just as unlikely that a Tathagata, a Noble One, a fully enlightened Buddha should appear in the world. And it is just as unlikely that the Dhamma and discipline of the Tathagata should be proclaimed. But now you have been born as a human being, a Tathagata has appeared and the Dhamma has been proclaimed. Therefore, strive to realize the Four Noble Truths."
Based on this famous passage, we would have to say that the number of people on earth who had a previous human life on earth within the span of recorded history is relatively small. And the number likely to reborn on earth within the next several millenia is likewise small. How could one then obtain a scientifically valid sample?
What's the pali for "it is just as unlikely that one will be born as a human being" in that sutta quote? "One" as "one who is currently human being --> again a human being" or "a being --> a human being"?

Most human beings behave like human beings most of the time, so wouldn't a rebirth in the human sphere be the most suitable place for them?

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:03 pm

kirk5a wrote:Can those who insist there is "no evidence" of rebirth provide a hypothetical example of something they would consider "evidence"?
Sir A. J. Ayer, the logical positivist guy, had a pretty good one. He argued that it would be sufficient for the truth of the belief that the man standing beside you is Julius Caesar reincarnated if that man had all the memories that one would ordinarily expect of Julius Caesar, and if he had some verified memories that appealed to facts that were not in any way items of public information. (See The Problem of Knowledge, ch. 5. Penguin Books 1962)
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:12 pm

JiWe wrote:What's the pali for "it is just as unlikely that one will be born as a human being" in that sutta quote? "One" as "one who is currently human being --> again a human being" or "a being --> a human being"?
The cited sutta has to do with the chances of a human rebirth among beings who've fallen into the lower realms, and so is not particularly relevant to Lazy Eye's point. The relevant sutta (or rather a whole vagga of suttas), is in the Aṅguttara Nikāya's Ekanipāta (A. i. 35-8). In these it is stated that exceedingly few devas and humans get reborn as devas or humans: the overwhelming majority get reborn in the lower realms.
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by samseva » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:21 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:But I also don't see that anyone in the thread has set out to do that. Has any poster here indicated that they reject rebirth and consider it to be untrue?
Some have, but my point is more about a general and prevalent way of thinking among some people—mostly not on this forum. I am not pointing out anyone in particular.
Lazy_eye wrote:It may be worth considering that Buddhism and science have different epistemlogical frameworks -- that is, they differ in terms of what are considered valid bases for knowledge.

In science, valid knowledge depends on making testable predictions, gathering data that can be used to test the predictions, ruling out alternative explanations, and being able to repeat the test. NDEs and past-life anecdotal evidence both fail to meet the standard because alternative explanations have not been ruled out. NDEs could have a material explanation related to the brain. Past-life memories could have plausible explanations other than an actual past life.
That is the exact reason why trying to scientifically prove that rebirth exists is such a difficult task. When a framework for studying a particular subject doesn't work, which is at fault, the framework or the subject?

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