Mod+ 270. ASU PROF. LAWRENCE KRAUSS CALLS FOR DALAI LAMA TO STEP DOWN OVER REINCARNATION CLAIM

#61
Did this guy used to be a Christian? He rants and raves like those silly street corner fundies waving their little signs around.
It kind of does give you an idea what it might have been like for guys like Galileo or Bruno during the middle ages eh? The authority in power - brooking no disagreement.

My Best,
Bertha
 
#62
I just finished listening to the whole thing. Alex, my humble opinion is that you're losing your footing when you get into a discussion about "meaning." The end of that rabbit hole is the realization that we're looking at the universe inside-out... too easy to get lost along the way, especially wrestling a greased pig like this guy. Solid ground is the research (in this case, reincarnation research) and his willingness to ignore information that doesn't confirm his view of reality.
 
#63
When he says, "If you’re going to make an extraordinary claim in science that means you’re in some sense contradicting–generally an extraordinary claim is contradicting generally accepted wisdom which is based on the evidence. So you’re saying the conventional ideas and theories are wrong. And if you’re going to make that claim then you’ve got to have a darn good reason to make it."

Reminds me of Feynman's definition, "Science is a belief in the fallibility of experts". Duh, science is meant to undermine generally accepted wisdom, that's how it moves ahead.
 
#64
3. How can reincarnation be true when there are more people alive today than have ever lived before?

Since I was born in 1950, the world population has increased from about 2.5 billion to about 7 billion. It may be true that the sum total of people alive in the past is greater than the population on earth today, but at any one time, the current generation is larger than any previous generation (where a generation is defined as a group of people from birth to death). How many people of my age are currently alive? Let's arbitrarily assume it's 50%, or 1.25 billion. So where did the 7 billion souls of the present generation (which includes me) come from?

At some point, human beings appeared on earth. Only a few, but over time, the numbers in any given generation increased. On the face of it, if human beings are embodied souls, then not all of them can be embodied at the same time. There must have existed right from the outset at least 7 billion souls, maybe more. Either that, or souls are multifaceted and each facet gets to be incarnated; in the extreme, there's only the one soul that has, over time, accounted for all the incarnations we hypothesise today. We're all the same soul that has incarnated itself in billions of ways.

The maths of it is beyond my ability to compute, especially if we allow for some souls the possibility of reincarnating. I agree with Alex that I simply don't know, if reincarnation is a fact, how to account for it. I tend to believe in it because of the evidence, as well as the fact that it fits in with an evolutionary schema, but I could be wrong.

We have to distinguish between incarnation and reincarnation. I think we have convincing evidence for incarnation (i.e. human beings each have a soul or represent a facet of a soul), but the evidence for reincarnation isn't as compelling. Things like past-life memories don't firmly connect a live person with a dead one; it could be a case of some people having fairly arbitrary access to collective memory for a time after birth (past-life memories tend to disappear with maturation). Birth marks could be influenced by this, who knows?

The more one thinks about reincarnation, the more bewildering it becomes. It certainly isn't an open-and-shut case, but I don't think it's a ridiculous notion.
 
#65
3. How can reincarnation be true when there are more people alive today than have ever lived before?

How and why do we exist in the first place? That there is even reality itself seems pretty mind boggling to me. Why is there anything at all? Seems more likely nothing would exist. Just nothing.

The rest is - small details.

My Best,
Bertha
 
#66
3. How can reincarnation be true when there are more people alive today than have ever lived before?

Since I was born in 1950, the world population has increased from about 2.5 billion to about 7 billion. It may be true that the sum total of people alive in the past is greater than the population on earth today, but at any one time, the current generation is larger than any previous generation (where a generation is defined as a group of people from birth to death). How many people of my age are currently alive? Let's arbitrarily assume it's 50%, or 1.25 billion. So where did the 7 billion souls of the present generation (which includes me) come from?

At some point, human beings appeared on earth. Only a few, but over time, the numbers in any given generation increased. On the face of it, if human beings are embodied souls, then not all of them can be embodied at the same time. There must have existed right from the outset at least 7 billion souls, maybe more. Either that, or souls are multifaceted and each facet gets to be incarnated; in the extreme, there's only the one soul that has, over time, accounted for all the incarnations we hypothesise today. We're all the same soul that has incarnated itself in billions of ways.

The maths of it is beyond my ability to compute, especially if we allow for some souls the possibility of reincarnating. I agree with Alex that I simply don't know, if reincarnation is a fact, how to account for it. I tend to believe in it because of the evidence, as well as the fact that it fits in with an evolutionary schema, but I could be wrong.

We have to distinguish between incarnation and reincarnation. I think we have convincing evidence for incarnation (i.e. human beings each have a soul or represent a facet of a soul), but the evidence for reincarnation isn't as compelling. Things like past-life memories don't firmly connect a live person with a dead one; it could be a case of some people having fairly arbitrary access to collective memory for a time after birth (past-life memories tend to disappear with maturation). Birth marks could be influenced by this, who knows?

The more one thinks about reincarnation, the more bewildering it becomes. It certainly isn't an open-and-shut case, but I don't think it's a ridiculous notion.
The third question doesn't need to be answered. However there are theories that have been mentioned that could perhaps be true. For example if there are let's assume a million inhabited planets in the universe by intelligent life why couldn't we incarnate there? Or those beings here?

Or perhaps let's speculate that science is wrong about how long intelligent life has existed on this planet. There is some evidence that intelligent life has been around a lot longer than mainstream science currently says. It's possible that many hundreds of billions of people have lived on earth.

This is of course only speculation but it isn't that far fetched.
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#69
If we accept reincarnation as a given, is there any reason we have to shut off the possibility of incarnating as a non-human species on this planet?
Except that doesn't come across in most "spirit experience data": NDEs, after-death communications, children remembering past lives, mediumship, etc. etc.
 
#73
We have to distinguish between incarnation and reincarnation. I think we have convincing evidence for incarnation (i.e. human beings each have a soul or represent a facet of a soul), but the evidence for reincarnation isn't as compelling. Things like past-life memories don't firmly connect a live person with a dead one; it could be a case of some people having fairly arbitrary access to collective memory for a time after birth (past-life memories tend to disappear with maturation). Birth marks could be influenced by this, who knows?
With no disrespect intended, in my opinion this doesn't properly address the nature of reincarnation. As I said before, though in a slightly different context, reincarnation isn't about "plucking facts from the air", it's not about surface appearances. It's about the nature of being. To make a rather imperfect analogy, let's say two people are present when one of them commits a crime. Both of them have knowledge of what took place. But we would not feel it appropriate to sentence one of them for the actions of the other. (as I said, not a perfect analogy). Similarly if one of the two performs a benevolent action.

Also, the idea that past-life memories tend to disappear with maturation applies only to a specific sub-group of manifestations of memory. In others, the memories may not properly emerge until adulthood. I know this may present some problems in terms of evidential value as proof of the phenomenon, but if one is to understand the nature of both reincarnation, and indeed of our own existence, it is necessary to include this.
 
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#74
3. How can reincarnation be true when there are more people alive today than have ever lived before? (Alex doesn't know).
Perhaps we are looking at this all wrong and this question may not have much relevance if we approach it at a different angle. To formulate a serious answer to this question, one should address the concept of how time works first. And how do we address time? Does anybody really have a clue? The 200,000 +/- years that humans apparently have been on this Earth is a nano second next to eternity. We may have over 14 trillion souls (just a guess for argument's sake ;)) and most of them have yet to be incarnated, at least here on Earth. Maybe these ... yet to be incarnated souls ... decided to wait until tomorrow because of the apprehension of living the physical life. So this "waiting until tomorrow" could be over 200,000 years in our linear timeframe. The human existence on this planet is so short and we are so young!
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#76
Krauss says he won't look at Tucker, or UFOs, because it's likely wrong. Classic pseudoskep dogma we've heard from most of the skeps Alex has interviewed. It can't be, so it isn't, and why then should I be bothered with it?

I don't have the time or inclination to study something that is outside of my worldview is likely wrong.

And, of course (Bertha, you were right in another post, I think on the Shermer thread, about atheists and existentialism), it ends with Krauss embracing existentialism to take care of the meaning question. Problem solved.
 
#77
Krauss thinks there's only one in a thousand chance that reincarnation is real because it would overturn the current scientific world view.

And yet that world view has been changed several times in history and it always finally happened because somebody had the courage to look at new evidence.

Where would we be if we'd relied upon scientists like Krauss? Probably still hunting with flint spears.

And anyway where does he get his 'one in a thousand' from?

I know of no other potential world view theory game changer with enough current back-up evidence such as parapsychology and NDEs etc, that comes even near the problem of understanding the nature of consciousness.

So comparing the evidence for reincarnation with what must be a multi-billion to one chance of a teapot flying round Jupiter, is ludicrous and an insult to intelligence.
 
#78
So comparing the evidence for reincarnation with what must be a multi-billion to one chance of a teapot flying round Jupiter, is ludicrous and an insult to intelligence.
That teapot argument is brought up again and again. I see it merely as another way of saying, "I'm unwilling to discuss this properly" which always seems to make the person invoking it appear to be on weak ground.
 
#79
Psiclops said:
Krauss thinks there's only one in a thousand chance that reincarnation is real because it would overturn the current scientific world view.
Then why is he not satisfied that 1 in 10^-50 or so is enough to indicate design in the fine-tuning of the universe to support life?
 
#80
Then why is he not satisfied that 1 in 10^-50 or so is enough to indicate design in the fine-tuning of the universe to support life?
I must admit, I gave up on this podcast before it was over - it was clear that LK had nothing interesting to say to us.

Regarding fine tuning, it may well be a sign of design, but I think there may be other explanations, see for example, the section entitled "Disputes regarding the existence and extent of fine-tuning" in this link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

I seriously wonder just how much trust we can have in calculations or simulations of a universe with changed constants.

David
 
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