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Tags past life memories , reincarnation

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Old 11th August 2017, 08:19 PM   #1
Wonder234
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Defend/Debate Reincarnation / Child Reincarnation Stories

In this thread, I was hoping that I could get a chain of objections going, the purpose of which is to not settle on some single objection we have to a claim and leave it at that, but to dig deeper and see where it leads us. So I will make an objection to an objection in this post and in the next post someone will object to my objection and in the post after that someone will object to their objection until we've reached a point where you can't make any more objection. I thought we would do this with child reincarnation stories. If you don't know what that is, it's when a child claims to remember a past life and the parents or a researcher or researchers are able to verify the details about the past life (google if you wish). I don't want to focus on Ian Stevenson but just what the case is by itself.

I'll begin:

Claim: Reincarnation is real.

Evidence: Children's past life memories are verified.

Objection: Cryptomnesia: Children get "past life memories" from various sources in their life such as a television, or a book and forget where they got it from and mistake it for a past life memory.

Objection to objection: There are cases where a child remembers being someone so obscure that there is practically no way to come across information about them other than deliberately searching for it.

After this someone would object to that last objection and then the chain starts.
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Old 11th August 2017, 09:41 PM   #2
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Shrug, Sure.

I object and want to know the specific cases.
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Old 11th August 2017, 11:40 PM   #3
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Yes, the evidence is not evidence, but rather anecdotes that fold when actually examined critically rather than credulously.
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Old 12th August 2017, 12:23 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post

There are cases where a child remembers being someone so obscure that there is practically no way to come across information about them other than deliberately searching for it.
Which cases are these?
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Old 12th August 2017, 06:16 AM   #5
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I agree we'd need specifics. In her book "Spook, Science Looks At The Aferlife", author Mary Roach interviewed a Hindu scientist working in India to find actual evidence of reincarnation.
Despite interviewing dozens of families and the children with their past-life memories, he's forced to conclude that these are all explainable by ordinary things. And this guy wants to believe....But his scientific training won't let him accept the anecdotes.
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Old 12th August 2017, 07:53 AM   #6
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This applies:

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I AGREE
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Old 12th August 2017, 10:05 AM   #7
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I'm sorry, the point of this thread was not to argue about specific cases, but just to argue about the theory or idea of someone remembering a past life and those details being verified later. I know, this may not tie into reality, but I just wanted to know does the idea hold up. If you think this can not be done, just give it a try.
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Old 12th August 2017, 10:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
I'm sorry, the point of this thread was not to argue about specific cases, but just to argue about the theory or idea of someone remembering a past life and those details being verified later. I know, this may not tie into reality, but I just wanted to know does the idea hold up. If you think this can not be done, just give it a try.
The problem is, all we have are specific cases. Skepticism is about examining the evidence, and the evidence is a collection of specific cases. If we are to examine whether it is possible to recollect a past life, the only way to determine the answer is to ask whether there are verifiable cases of someone remembering accurately details that they could not have known by any means other than memory of a past life; and if no verifiable cases are found, we assume the null hypothesis that it is not possible. Theoretically there is no mechanism by which anyone can hold memories from the life of someone else, so there is no theory to argue about.

Dave
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Old 12th August 2017, 10:48 AM   #9
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Well put. Wonder234 what is it you want to discuss?
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
The problem is, all we have are specific cases. Skepticism is about examining the evidence, and the evidence is a collection of specific cases. If we are to examine whether it is possible to recollect a past life, the only way to determine the answer is to ask whether there are verifiable cases of someone remembering accurately details that they could not have known by any means other than memory of a past life; and if no verifiable cases are found, we assume the null hypothesis that it is not possible. Theoretically there is no mechanism by which anyone can hold memories from the life of someone else, so there is no theory to argue about.

Dave
What about instead of specific evidence we talk about reasonable possibilities? Take the first post, my objection to an objection as an example.

I object to the idea of cryptomnesia, the idea that children's past life memories come from mundane, everyday sources like television that they then forget where it came from and mistake it for a past life memory. Instead of saying "there are cases where children remember being someone obscure", let's say instead, isn't it possible that children could remember being someone obscure? This is when you check inside yourself to see if that is reasonable. Just like we don't know if someone has ever shaved a rabbit of all it's fur, we could still judge that such a thing is possible. I know that just saying it's possible doesn't mean that there is a case where someone remembers being someone obscure and therefore it doesn't really make it any more likely that past life memories are just cryptomnesia, it just shows that it might be possible for such a case to exist (that could actually one day happen). Therefore, in a way, we are arguing for actual cases.

Last edited by Wonder234; 12th August 2017 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
What about instead of specific evidence we talk about reasonable possibilities? Take the first post, my objection to an objection as an example.

I object to the idea of cryptomnesia, the idea that children's past life memories come from mundane, everyday sources like television that they then forget where it came from and mistake it for a past life memory. Instead of saying "there are cases where children remember being someone obscure", let's say instead, isn't it possible that children could remember being someone obscure? This is when you check inside yourself to see if that is reasonable. Just like we don't know if someone has ever shaved a rabbit of all it's fur, we could still judge that such a thing is possible. I know that just saying it's possible doesn't mean that there is a case where someone remembers being someone obscure and therefore it doesn't really make it any more likely that past life memories are just cryptomnesia, it just shows that it might be possible for such a case to exist (that could actually one day happen). Therefore, in a way, we are arguing for actual cases.
You are perfectly free to reject anything you wish to. Unfortunately so far you have lost at least two and probably any others , assuming you have posted more. You are wasting your time here. Most of us (other than the trolls) already have the skills needed to tell feces from shoe polish!!!!!
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
What about instead of specific evidence we talk about reasonable possibilities? Take the first post, my objection to an objection as an example.

I object to the idea of cryptomnesia, the idea that children's past life memories come from mundane, everyday sources like television that they then forget where it came from and mistake it for a past life memory. Instead of saying "there are cases where children remember being someone obscure", let's say instead, isn't it possible that children could remember being someone obscure? This is when you check inside yourself to see if that is reasonable. Just like we don't know if someone has ever shaved a rabbit of all it's fur, we could still judge that such a thing is possible. I know that just saying it's possible doesn't mean that there is a case where someone remembers being someone obscure and therefore it doesn't really make it any more likely that past life memories are just cryptomnesia, it just shows that it might be possible for such a case to exist (that could actually one day happen). Therefore, in a way, we are arguing for actual cases.
Oh, check Bridey (ie?) Murphy scam for example.
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:27 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Well put. Wonder234 what is it you want to discuss?
I wanted to start a chain of objection where someone objects to my last objection on the first post, and then someone objects to that persons objection and so on, so as to see what holds up, and to get closer to the truth on this matter. And also for fun.

Last edited by Wonder234; 12th August 2017 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:29 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
I wanted to start a chain of objection where someone objects my last objection on the first post, and then someone objects that persons objection and so on, so as to see what holds up, and to get closer to the truth on this matter. And also for fun.
Not fun, waste of effort: You want infinite objections. Once you have a good one, stick with it. Not our job!!! And not what we are here for.
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:32 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
You are perfectly free to reject anything you wish to. Unfortunately so far you have lost at least two and probably any others , assuming you have posted more. You are wasting your time here. Most of us (other than the trolls) already have the skills needed to tell feces from shoe polish!!!!!
But what about the smart people who believe? If you are an atheist, wouldn't that argument asking how can religious people believe in their religion while at the same time dismissing other religions, also apply to you (assuming you don't believe)? What I'm saying is, keep an open mind. It hasn't been disproven after all.
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:40 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
I wanted to start a chain of objection where someone objects my last objection on the first post, and then someone objects that persons objection and so on, so as to see what holds up, and to get closer to the truth on this matter. And also for fun.
It's been done to death. Make some extraordinary claim and see if you can defend it. That would be a rarity. Ask Jabba.
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:41 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Not fun, waste of effort: You want infinite objections. Once you have a good one, stick with it. Not our job!!! And not what we are here for.
Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Once you have a good one, stick with it.
How do you know it's good if you don't test it?

Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Not our job!!! And not what we are here for.
Being as this is a skeptic forum, I figured questioning the claim of past life memories would be an apt topic. Also you don't have to participate if you don't want to, if there are any takers, that's nice, if not that's OK as well.
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:46 AM   #18
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My objections to your Objection to the Objection is that the Objection being objected to is so incomplete as to be a straw man and the Evidence presupposes the conclusion by claiming the memories are verified. I understand what you are attempting here, but you stumble at the very first hurdle.
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Old 12th August 2017, 11:49 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
I'm sorry, the point of this thread was not to argue about specific cases, but just to argue about the theory or idea of someone remembering a past life and those details being verified later. I know, this may not tie into reality, but I just wanted to know does the idea hold up. If you think this can not be done, just give it a try.
You can't get around specific cases. It's like saying what if pigs could fly? As long as nobody cannot show an example of pigs flying, nobody is going to buy ****-proof umbrellas.

If there isn't even a single verifiable past-life memory that cannot be explained otherwise, what is there to discuss?

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Old 12th August 2017, 11:54 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
What about instead of specific evidence we talk about reasonable possibilities?
There are no 'reasonable possibilities' by which one person could remember things that happened to another. There's not really anywhere to go from there.

It seems that what you want to do is to divorce our understanding of reality from actual events, and to proceed from theory to understanding without testing theory against reality. It's a fruitless and sterile approach, because there's no method by which it can be corrected should it fail to agree with reality. The scientific method is a superior approach; formulate a theory, determine what would be required to falsify that theory, test it against specific cases (this is the bit where reality impinges), and accept or reject it based on whether it has yet been falsified. If you remove the bit where theories are tested against specific cases, then you're discussing fantasies rather than reality.

So unless you can come up with a case that specifically refutes cryptomnesia, then you don't really have an argument, because cryptomnesia doesn't violate the theoretical structure that has been extensively tested against actual cases, whereas actual remembrance of past lives does; cryptomnesia is therefore a more parsimonious choice.

Dave
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Old 12th August 2017, 12:33 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
There are no 'reasonable possibilities' by which one person could remember things that happened to another. There's not really anywhere to go from there.

It seems that what you want to do is to divorce our understanding of reality from actual events, and to proceed from theory to understanding without testing theory against reality. It's a fruitless and sterile approach, because there's no method by which it can be corrected should it fail to agree with reality. The scientific method is a superior approach; formulate a theory, determine what would be required to falsify that theory, test it against specific cases (this is the bit where reality impinges), and accept or reject it based on whether it has yet been falsified. If you remove the bit where theories are tested against specific cases, then you're discussing fantasies rather than reality.

So unless you can come up with a case that specifically refutes cryptomnesia, then you don't really have an argument, because cryptomnesia doesn't violate the theoretical structure that has been extensively tested against actual cases, whereas actual remembrance of past lives does; cryptomnesia is therefore a more parsimonious choice.

Dave
Here's a case I think makes cryptomnesia an unlikely explanation, at least for this case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZbyaGvlzPE
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Old 12th August 2017, 12:46 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Here's a case I think makes cryptomnesia an unlikely explanation, at least for this case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZbyaGvlzPE
It's considered rude by some folks to post a blind link to youtube without at least a short synopsis. I'm one of them. I'm not following your youtube link.
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Old 12th August 2017, 12:54 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by John Jones View Post
It's considered rude by some folks to post a blind link to youtube without at least a short synopsis. I'm one of them. I'm not following your youtube link.
I'm sorry, I didn't know. The video is about a boy named Ryan who was ten years old at the time who claims to have memories of being a 1930's Hollywood extra named Marty.
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Old 12th August 2017, 01:54 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
I'm sorry, I didn't know. The video is about a boy named Ryan who was ten years old at the time who claims to have memories of being a 1930's Hollywood extra named Marty.
Do we know whether his recollections have been traced back to actual events involving an actual person, and if so, what about it makes cryptomnesia an unlikely explanation?

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Old 12th August 2017, 04:06 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
What about instead of specific evidence we talk about reasonable possibilities? Take the first post, my objection to an objection as an example.

That's the sort of flawed methodology that led Aristotle to believe (and document) that men had more teeth than women.
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Old 12th August 2017, 05:10 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Do we know whether his recollections have been traced back to actual events involving an actual person
They found someone who matches his claims.

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
and if so, what about it makes cryptomnesia an unlikely explanation?
What makes cryptomnesia an unlikely explanation for this case, in my opinion, is that the man that matches his claims was not very well known. He was so little known that there would be very little way of stumbling across information about him. He was an extra in a movie that came out in the 1930's, and didn't have any lines and only appeared twice briefly - that was the only movie he appeared in. The person with the memories that correspond to that person is a 10 year old boy who was born in the 2000's. How could he, even if he saw the movie, know the address of the extra and the names of his children? In the movie they featured none of that. It is entirely possible that his memories did come from some mundane source, I just think it's unlikely with the facts being as they are.
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Old 12th August 2017, 05:52 PM   #27
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This bears repeating:

Originally Posted by Kid Eager View Post
Yes, the evidence is not evidence, but rather anecdotes that fold when actually examined critically rather than credulously.
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Old 12th August 2017, 06:11 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Kid Eager View Post
This bears repeating:
Show me how it folded.
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Old 12th August 2017, 07:27 PM   #29
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I doubt the concept of an objection chain is the way to determine truth. There are many cases where the evidence is 99.9% in one direction, yet the very basis of an objection chain is that the for and against arguments alternate. Inherently an objection chain contains arguments half in favor and half against.

What then determines truth in an objection chain? Is it determined by which post is the last one? Is this determined by when one side runs out of arguments, or just when one side gets bored?

In fact, I am already bored with this approach. There are no convincing arguments for reincarnation. If you have any please just present them; don't prolong the process by turning it into a pendulum movement.

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Old 12th August 2017, 08:25 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
What about instead of specific evidence we talk about reasonable possibilities? Take the first post, my objection to an objection as an example.

I object to the idea of cryptomnesia, the idea that children's past life memories come from mundane, everyday sources like television that they then forget where it came from and mistake it for a past life memory. Instead of saying "there are cases where children remember being someone obscure", let's say instead, isn't it possible that children could remember being someone obscure? This is when you check inside yourself to see if that is reasonable. Just like we don't know if someone has ever shaved a rabbit of all it's fur, we could still judge that such a thing is possible. I know that just saying it's possible doesn't mean that there is a case where someone remembers being someone obscure and therefore it doesn't really make it any more likely that past life memories are just cryptomnesia, it just shows that it might be possible for such a case to exist (that could actually one day happen). Therefore, in a way, we are arguing for actual cases.
Let me assist you again: There is nothing to discuss. To the extent any child speaks of past occurrences (prior to their birth) it comes from stories they were told by others (including TV and non-relatives) . Discussion covered. There are no real occurrences of such. Sorry to bust the bubble, but no evidence exists of any such thing as past-life memories.
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Old 12th August 2017, 09:04 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
They found someone who matches his claims.



What makes cryptomnesia an unlikely explanation for this case, in my opinion, is that the man that matches his claims was not very well known. He was so little known that there would be very little way of stumbling across information about him. He was an extra in a movie that came out in the 1930's, and didn't have any lines and only appeared twice briefly - that was the only movie he appeared in. The person with the memories that correspond to that person is a 10 year old boy who was born in the 2000's. How could he, even if he saw the movie, know the address of the extra and the names of his children? In the movie they featured none of that. It is entirely possible that his memories did come from some mundane source, I just think it's unlikely with the facts being as they are.
An address and the names of his kids are the mundanest of mundane facts. C'mon man, get real. What did this 1930's actor really think of the then president? When was the last time he made love with his wife? Did he favor one of his kids over another? Is his spirit baffled at current technology? What kind of slang was common then and did he use it in every day life? He probably attended church regularly; what did he really think of going every week or whatever?

THESE are the kinds of things that would make me think there was more to it than just wishful thinking. The kinds of things where only close family members would know but not think to report before being asked about. Which means that there must be some sort of family alive to verify or repudiate it. Maybe that's why the only past lives which are ever claimed are those which cannot be personally verified and are only facts which could easily be discovered through some mundane documentation.

What would make you think that past lives are not actually real at all?
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Old 13th August 2017, 06:58 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
An address and the names of his kids are the mundanest of mundane facts. C'mon man, get real. What did this 1930's actor really think of the then president? When was the last time he made love with his wife? Did he favor one of his kids over another? Is his spirit baffled at current technology? What kind of slang was common then and did he use it in every day life? He probably attended church regularly; what did he really think of going every week or whatever?

THESE are the kinds of things that would make me think there was more to it than just wishful thinking. The kinds of things where only close family members would know but not think to report before being asked about. Which means that there must be some sort of family alive to verify or repudiate it. Maybe that's why the only past lives which are ever claimed are those which cannot be personally verified and are only facts which could easily be discovered through some mundane documentation.
Why would the address and the names of his kids not be valid?

He did say what his past self's favorite soda was, a soda that was discontinued 50 years before his supposed new incarnation. And there have been cases where intimate details have been reported.


Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
What would make you think that past lives are not actually real at all?
It seems unlikely that each case has some unique thing to explain it away, why would it happen so much if that's the case? Maybe if there was some weird psychological phenomenon that was discovered besides cryptomnesia, but I can't think of what that would be.

What would make you think that past lives are real?
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Old 13th August 2017, 08:47 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Why would the address and the names of his kids not be valid?

He did say what his past self's favorite soda was, a soda that was discontinued 50 years before his supposed new incarnation. And there have been cases where intimate details have been reported.




It seems unlikely that each case has some unique thing to explain it away, why would it happen so much if that's the case? Maybe if there was some weird psychological phenomenon that was discovered besides cryptomnesia, but I can't think of what that would be.

What would make you think that past lives are real?
Nothing. But, then, I am not gullible, incompetent or otherwise lacking in rationality. Nor am I of the Hindu religion or any other that involves souls - re-used or otherwise.
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Old 13th August 2017, 02:02 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Why would the address and the names of his kids not be valid?
I already said — it's some of the most basic information that is written down and kept in various places which a person could stumble across and isn't personal in any way whatsoever.


Quote:
He did say what his past self's favorite soda was, a soda that was discontinued 50 years before his supposed new incarnation. And there have been cases where intimate details have been reported.
And how were those details discovered and verified?




Quote:
It seems unlikely that each case has some unique thing to explain it away, why would it happen so much if that's the case? Maybe if there was some weird psychological phenomenon that was discovered besides cryptomnesia, but I can't think of what that would be.
It's irrelevant for skeptics to try and disprove every single case after the fact. Can't be done, in fact. The onus is on the ones who are doing the study in the first place; the onus is on the ones collecting and collating the data to ensure it's verifiability, and reliability. The onus is on the ones making the claim to show compelling rational, verifiable, provable evidence for it.


Quote:
What would make you think that past lives are real?
The information which could only be verified by people who knew the deceased and had not been informed of what items of personal information would be disclosed before being asked, with double-blind surveys as well as control groups and so on. You know: the standard for scientific surveys and data-collection.
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Old 13th August 2017, 03:10 PM   #35
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So this is a "last poster wins" thread?

I object! Win!
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Old 13th August 2017, 03:21 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
I'm sorry, the point of this thread was not to argue about specific cases, but just to argue about the theory or idea of someone remembering a past life and those details being verified later. I know, this may not tie into reality, but I just wanted to know does the idea hold up. If you think this can not be done, just give it a try.
If you're looking for an argument in general terms rather than specific, no problem.

All the past life/NDE/whatever stories are a product of the human psyche only and can not be viewed as evidence of the existence of the referenced phenomenon
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Old 14th August 2017, 10:44 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Why would the address and the names of his kids not be valid?

He did say what his past self's favorite soda was, a soda that was discontinued 50 years before his supposed new incarnation. And there have been cases where intimate details have been reported.




It seems unlikely that each case has some unique thing to explain it away, why would it happen so much if that's the case? Maybe if there was some weird psychological phenomenon that was discovered besides cryptomnesia, but I can't think of what that would be.
There is another problem: How do you know all this is true? Was he interviewed by a person who did not know the story? Was there no way he could have been given, or be clued to the right answers? Children tend to tell adults what they think the adult wants to hear.

How do you know the whole anecdote is not fabrication?

Quote:
What would make you think that past lives are real?
Repeated incontrovertible evidence.

Hans
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Old 14th August 2017, 11:27 AM   #38
Darat
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
There is another problem: How do you know all this is true? Was he interviewed by a person who did not know the story? Was there no way he could have been given, or be clued to the right answers? Children tend to tell adults what they think the adult wants to hear.

How do you know the whole anecdote is not fabrication?



Repeated incontrovertible evidence.

Hans
And if we compare it to something similar, contacting the dead we know people will report accuracy which was not originally supplied. The vaguest of details become accurate details in recollection. That could account for much of "detail" in subsequent reports.
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Old 14th August 2017, 11:55 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
There is another problem: How do you know all this is true? Was he interviewed by a person who did not know the story? Was there no way he could have been given, or be clued to the right answers? Children tend to tell adults what they think the adult wants to hear.

How do you know the whole anecdote is not fabrication?



Repeated incontrovertible evidence.

Hans
What I often notice is that past life believers forget to notice that a child has been absorbing and accumulating via all five senses a mountain of information before s/he can articulate clearly, although s/he obviously understands a great deal.
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Old 14th August 2017, 12:07 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
In this thread, I was hoping that I could get a chain of objections going, the purpose of which is to not settle on some single objection we have to a claim and leave it at that, but to dig deeper and see where it leads us. So I will make an objection to an objection in this post and in the next post someone will object to my objection and in the post after that someone will object to their objection until we've reached a point where you can't make any more objection. I thought we would do this with child reincarnation stories. If you don't know what that is, it's when a child claims to remember a past life and the parents or a researcher or researchers are able to verify the details about the past life (google if you wish). I don't want to focus on Ian Stevenson but just what the case is by itself.

I'll begin:

Claim: Reincarnation is real.

Evidence: Children's past life memories are verified.

Objection: Cryptomnesia: Children get "past life memories" from various sources in their life such as a television, or a book and forget where they got it from and mistake it for a past life memory.

Objection to objection: There are cases where a child remembers being someone so obscure that there is practically no way to come across information about them other than deliberately searching for it.

After this someone would object to that last objection and then the chain starts.
Let us assume that someone has memories of someone's past life. Just how is that evidence of reincarnation? Isn't time traveling telepathy to name one other possibility just has likely?

The default conclusion that such memories could only be the result of a "soul" reincarnating in another body is simply not proven even if the memories have no prosaic explanation.
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