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Author Topic: The works of Dr Ian Stevenson on Reincarnation  (Read 4262 times)

Offline francogrex

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The works of Dr Ian Stevenson on Reincarnation
« on: 18/08/2007 08:51:19 »
This is presented from a skeptic point of view of the research work of Dr Stevenson
newbielink:http://skepdic.com/stevenson.html [nonactive]

And this is only presenting facts without strong comments:
newbielink:http://www.salagram.net/reincarnation-science-history.html [nonactive]

I present a small extract and then would be happy to discuss if anyone has an opinion on this:

Extract:
Neurophysiologist Dick Burgess is trying to find scientific proof for consciousness and the soul. Some of his evidence comes from the story of Uttara Haddur, a Hindu woman who suddenly began speaking an ancient form of Bengali in 1974, without ever having studied the language. She told stories of people in a village many miles away and said her name was Sharada. University of Virginia reincarnation researcher Ian Stevenson traveled to India to study her, and found out that she was telling true stories about people and events from the early 1800s. Burgess says, "This case is very difficult to explain unless Sharada's soul is driving Uttara's nervous system."


 

another_someone

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The works of Dr Ian Stevenson on Reincarnation
« Reply #1 on: 18/08/2007 13:16:49 »
http://skepdic.com/stevenson.html
Quote
Philosophically, Stevenson was a naive dualist. He believed that bodies and souls have separate evolutions and existences, and he seemed not to be concerned or aware of the  philosophical problems that ensue from such claims about mind and body.

His dualism became stronger after he experimented with mescaline and LSD.
    This may seem paradoxical, because if a small amount of a drug acting on the brain can markedly alter our mental experiences does this not prove that our thoughts are only our subjective awareness of our brain's activity? For me it does not. I admit certainly that the chemical changes in my brain that the drugs induced released the extraordinary images and feelings that entered my consciousness. However, this does not account for the images themselves, which (apart from those that I could identify as memories) had no correspondence to anything that I had earlier experienced. Here I need to add that my experiences included nothing that I could prove to have originated outside my mind and, if you like, my brain. I had no verifiable extrasensory experience when under the influence of drugs. My interest in extrasensory perception did not derive from my experiences with drugs, although they enhanced it. (Stevenson 1989).

Possibly I might prefer a researcher that did not develop his theories under the influence of LSD.

There is reference, in general terms, to Uttara Haddur, but I cannot find any specifics with regard to the case.  It is reported that she spoke in an ancient for of Bengali, but I cannot find who it was who observed that she spoke in this language, nor who could verify that she had no previous exposure to the language.  The statement is made as uncorroborated 'fact', without any evidence of verification of any sort.  I am not saying that the statement is false, but neither can it be regarded as undeniably true without some form of verification.  More to the point, in the absence of any verification, it lacks any context in which the details of the observations can to teased out, and where one can actually talk about observations rather than merely unsupported conclusion.
« Last Edit: 18/08/2007 13:18:20 by another_someone »
 

Offline francogrex

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The works of Dr Ian Stevenson on Reincarnation
« Reply #2 on: 18/08/2007 13:47:40 »
Possibly I might prefer a researcher that did not develop his theories under the influence of LSD.
There is reference, in general terms, to Uttara Haddur, but I cannot find any specifics with regard to the case. 

Yes I would prefer some scientist who did not experience with drugs either but that's a claim from the skeptic site probably unverfied. In any case Stevenson was a respectable academic (head of the devision in Virginia university).

The case that was mostly researched and re-analyzed by several and one that Stevenson himself considers his best is that of Imad Elawar. You will find a reference here of an objective analysis taking the plus and the minus. Myabe you can read just the discussion and conclusions of the author and also the original tabulations of stevenson in the appendix:

newbielink:http://br.geocities.com/criticandokardec/imad-elawar-revisited.html [nonactive]

Now you will see several discussion points but the one question I ask myself and I haven't seen asked yet in any of the discussions is how come all (I think all or in any case most) of the cases happen to people who are part of religious cults that believes and teaches re-incarnation: the hindus, the druz, etc... Are followers of those cults motivated to see things that are not true or are they simply made more lucid (by the nature of their cult) and that's why the are able to a certain extent to recognize that they had a previous life?
« Last Edit: 18/08/2007 13:58:37 by francogrex »
 

another_someone

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The works of Dr Ian Stevenson on Reincarnation
« Reply #3 on: 19/08/2007 20:41:41 »
Now you will see several discussion points but the one question I ask myself and I haven't seen asked yet in any of the discussions is how come all (I think all or in any case most) of the cases happen to people who are part of religious cults that believes and teaches re-incarnation: the hindus, the druz, etc... Are followers of those cults motivated to see things that are not true or are they simply made more lucid (by the nature of their cult) and that's why the are able to a certain extent to recognize that they had a previous life?

I would give two reasons - whether one looks from the positive or the negative.

From the positive position, people in these societies who claim to have such visions are less likely to be dismissed or disbelieved, and so once they make a small claim for such a vision, they will be encouraged to explore their visions further rather than being told to suppress such visions as unreal.

On the negative, I suspect that most of these societies not only believe in reincarnation, but in a broader view, probably believed in a cycle of life.  Whereas we tend to view life as a progression, and strongly believe that tomorrow will be different to today, they on the other hand view tomorrow as being very much similar to today, and so can easily project back from today to a not too dissimilar life in the past.  They live in mostly fairly backward (in technological terms) societies, where life does not progress as fast as it does for us, and so if they look at their life in the present, they can well imagine someone in the past living a life with attributes not unlike what they experience in their own life.
 

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The works of Dr Ian Stevenson on Reincarnation
« Reply #3 on: 19/08/2007 20:41:41 »

 

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