Mod+ 239. DR. JIM TUCKER COMPILES DATABASE OF PAST LIFE MEMORIES

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Andrew Paquette, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Andrew Paquette

    Andrew Paquette Administrator

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    239. DR. JIM TUCKER COMPILES DATABASE OF PAST LIFE MEMORIES


    Interview with University of Virginia professor Dr. Jim Tucker about research of children who remember past lives.
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    I just read the Tucker book and liked it better than the first one. The Hollywood and pilot cases were very detailed as these things go but the one I wanted to know about was the boy who claimed to have been a snake and a deer in previous incarnations. Tucker was skeptical of it, but what is the difference? If a spirit can "drive" a human body, why not an animal body? They are constructed in pretty much the same way. If a human body needs a spirit to live, why not a non-human animal? If a spirit is not permanently linked to one human body as reincarnation studies indicate, why would a spirit be limited to incarnations in human bodies only?

    AP

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  2. Andrew Paquette

    Andrew Paquette Administrator

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    There was a question, now deleted, about whether I thought everything has a spirit. I didn't have time to answer it earlier (I just finished writing two articles) but wanted to comment. With the original question gone, I'll just wing it.

    My impression is that matter is held together by spirit. This would mean that, if true, everything has a "spirit", including what we refer to as inanimate objects. This is not a unique idea, as anyone who looks into Eastern mysticism will discover. How it works is a separate topic that I don't want to speculate on. As for hierarchies among spirits, again, I have no idea if there is a hierarchy or how it would work if there is. For all we know, a spirit incarnated as a human today might enjoy being a tree for a couple hundred years before coming back as a human. A related question is whether planets and galaxies have spirits. I have read books by mystics who claim this is the case. I would say it is possible, but beyond that have no opinion. If this sounds strange, think of how strange it sounds for materialists to claim there is no such thing as a spirit to guide our bodies in this world.

    AP
     
  3. KeithA

    KeithA New

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    Well...my comment...I'm trying to fit all this in with my life now as I have no memory of a past life and I guess the person in a future life will have none of this one! I'm sure the previous guy wasn't thinking as much (or even at all) about all this stuff that I now do. It's all very immediate for me at present. So do I, now, have a future? Can I kind of "buck the system" in this life from what I know now...

    Just a thought...maybe the Western materialist paradigm encourages forgetting whereas previous cultures more bounded to the Earth encouraged the opposite - the natural state?

    I really like Dr. Tucker...one of the true gold researchers who says it as he sees it.

    (also well done to Bucky and Alex for clearing up the problems)
     
  4. Andrew Paquette

    Andrew Paquette Administrator

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    My feeling from reading the work of Stevenson and his associates is that forgetting the previous life is very practical because it allows us to focus on our goals for the future rather than the mistakes and attachments of the past. The idea of having a forgotten past life out there is intriguing, but for the people who actually remember them, it usually hinders their efforts in the current life. This is less true (or not true at all) of experienced meditators like swamis and lamas, but for everyone else, I consider it a blessing even if the equivalent of a fascinating novel has been lost.

    The fact that reincarnation happens is a different story. This should be known and accepted even if most people do not remember their previous incarnations, because it helps solidify awareness of the spiritual nature of our existence. It is important to do this (I think) because an emphasis on materialist philosophy amounts to nothing less then belief in falsehood. As I see it, part of our goal in these leaves is to learn to discern truth, and if we are spiritual beings, then materialism is false and we shouldn't think otherwise. Reincarnation studies like Tucker's and Stevenson's go a long way toward establishing that personality, memory, and consciousness survive physical death. On its own this is enough to call much of materialist philosophy into question.

    AP
     
  5. billw

    billw New

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    About 17 years ago I read something by Joan Grant in Many Lifetimes, written well before Stevenson’s research, that discussed what she calls the supra-physical body and how its stored memories of past lives affected the fetus and developing personality. Apparently, Grant had an extremely rare form of clairvoyance that she called “far memory” that allowed her to recall and trace past life experiences. I then abandoned reading this kind of esoteric nonsense, not being able to accept any of it without proof, and went down the long research path.

    Years later when reading Stevenson’s cases of reincarnation and biology on scars and birth defects, it struck me that it sounded exactly like what Grant was describing. I recently re-read her stuff, and picked up some new information that I missed the first time around. I was paying better attention this time.

    I recently noticed this on Grant’s Wikipedia page:

    I’m not sure where that last part about the calendar came from, but apparently it must have escaped the notice of the organized skeptics or surely they would have “corrected” it to discredit her. :)

    Cheers,
    Bill
     
  6. radicalpolitik

    radicalpolitik New

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    I've postulated this idea before, but isn't it possible that these cases are due to chance? Given that there are billions of people on earth, it doesn't seem to much to say that these kids just guessed them right.
     
  7. billw

    billw New

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    You might want to consider reading the cases for yourself before you postulate such things. Stevenson was a cautious guy, even skeptics give him that. He spent 40 years researching this--thinking he didn't consider that is a bit naive.

    Cheers,
    Bill
     
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  8. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    But what is meant by "guess"?

    If someone is asked a question, they might attempt to guess the answer. But what if there is no question? What then prompts the act of making a guess under this hypothesis?

    For me, this unsolicited and enthusiastic pouring forth of information is one of the most difficult to explain characteristics. But I also agree with billw that it is necessary to study the cases in detail to really appreciate this.
     
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  9. radicalpolitik

    radicalpolitik New

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    Hmm, let me rephrase that. These kids make statements, the families then find these places. Considering there are so many people in the world, the kid's statements are bound to match.
     
  10. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    I can only repeat my previous comment:
    Also, I don't think the probabilities are necessarily that easy to explain away. One piece of random information is a mere curiosity. But a whole set of coherent facts makes the combined probability very much lower.
     
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  11. perandre

    perandre Member

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    Let's say Stevenson & Tucker et al are simply "right". Then, why jump to the conclusion that ALL people reincarnate? After all, most people don't have any past life memories. And if we all did, how would we know it would happen again? Doesn't even eastern religion teach us to break free?

    We should stop hinting that reincarnation is proven, therefore we will all reincarnate. That doesn't even seem likely, based on the data.
     
  12. billw

    billw New

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    Who stated that conclusion?

    Right, not consciously anyway. But there may be some evidence that they are somewhere in the "subconscious" but do not surface unless the right conditions occur--for example, Robert Snow being hypnotized, or Jeff Keene happening to walk onto a particular battlefield that triggered the "memory."


    I'm sure hoping for that! Being stuck in and endless loop is a bit scary.


    Never heard anyone say it was proven, especially not Stevenson himself.

    Cheers,
    Bill
     
  13. Assuming we have souls, I don't think all people reincarnate into this world or any other as an infant. In fact it seems like Stevenson's research invalidates the notion of karma as taught in a variety of Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

    IMO Eastern & South Asian religions, from what I gather during my time in India & East Asia, probably has some hints figured out but by no means possess the actual truths of the matter. But that's not any different from how I view other faiths including newer ones like techno-paganism.

    Just as indigenous and Western teachings can be corrupted/altered/embellished, so I suspect that if we ever had any true gnosis about this presumed cycle of birth & death it's long been confused.
     
  14. Andrew Paquette

    Andrew Paquette Administrator

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    Your idea can hardly be taken seriously by anyone who has read the data. However, since I have researched this, I will point out that no, simple chance does not explain these cases. There aren't enough people in the history of the world to account for these cases. You are looking at odds against chance to the power of 50, and that's if you are being generous to the skeptical position. If you wonder where the number came from, it's a 90% chance that any given statement is true, raised by the power of one for each statement. Good cases have fifty or so such statements, and excellent cases have more than 100. You are on much more solid ground arguing fraud, but that is a weak argument also. The difference is that the chance argument is mathematically so improbable that it can be described as impossible, while the fraud argument is simply wrong in the good cases as opposed to impossible.

    AP
     
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  15. Andrew Paquette

    Andrew Paquette Administrator

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    My impression is that we are incarnated now, therefore the mechanical functionality to do it again with another body is proven, provided you accept the notion of survival of consciousness. With that as a given, whether to reincarnate on earth is a choice we can take advantage of, but if we do, we are normally going to forfeit our memory of previous lives so that we can make the best use of the life we get. This "rule" seems to be a bit porous, based on circumstances such as the type of death in a previous death and one's previous experience with meditation or other spiritual practices. Therefore, lack of memory should not be taken as evidence that there is nothing to remember. I don't remember being two years old but that doesn't mean I never was.

    AP
     
  16. KeithA

    KeithA New

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  17. radicalpolitik

    radicalpolitik New

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    Out of curiosity, what do the resident skeptics here have to say about this?
     
  18. ghost

    ghost New

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    There is certainly evidence that people can die and come back as ghosts. There is evidence that ghosts can cause phenomena to occur. There is evidence that ghosts can haunt a home because they like the home which is evidence that a disembodied spirit can like or dislike, and can make moral judgements. Now there is evidence that a soul can reincarnate. I applaud those who are doing to work to accumulate this kind of evidence.
     
  19. Ian Thompson

    Ian Thompson Member

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    Just to note that you need more than the two things (present-incarnation and the survival of consciousness) to get reincarnation. For that couple of principles still allows for a survival of consciousness that never comes back, after a single incarnation.

    That 'single incarnation' option would require a conception & birth to be not an entry of a pre-existing being, but the production of a new soul by splitting from one or both parents.

    If such a thing is possible on this view, I am curious with the advocates of reincarnation may yet consider this as still possible sometimes in their general world-view of spiritual things.
     
  20. Andrew Paquette

    Andrew Paquette Administrator

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    This doesn't make sense to me for a couple of reasons. The first is that if consciousness survives death, there is no need to create a new spirit for each new body because there are plenty of discarnate spirits available. Also, and this is just an impression, but my impression is that the "space" occupied by spirits is eternal while the physical universe is transient. I don't see how eternal spirits would need to be created for transient experience. Add to this the reincarnation, NDE, and medium communication research we discuss here and I think the evidence strongly favours survival of consciousness and reincarnation.

    The only two legitimate objections to reincarnation that I can think of are not mechanical in nature. The first is if there is a rule against it (made by God, one would assume). This is not a functional limitation at all, and could be revoked by whatever authority made it in the first place. I think this plainly is not the case because reincarnation does appear to happen regularly. The second objection is will. If a person doesn't want to reincarnate, doesn't have a pressing need or obligation to do so, then it won't happen. My impression is that this does occur from time to time but that multiple incarnations are more common. Also, this is in the limited context of human incarnation. If non-human incarnations are included, I would be hesitant to propose that any spirit has had only one incarnation.

    AP
     
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