Came across this article, with its click-inducing title.
The Hard Science of Reincarnation by Rebecca Nathanson. Published March 31, 2021 at Vice.com
Could it be? Hard scientific proof?
Dictionary.com defines “Hard science” as: “any of the natural or physical sciences, as chemistry, biology, physics, or astronomy, in which aspects of the universe are investigated by means of hypotheses and experiments.”
Investigation of reincarnation is not “hard science” as it is done primarily by those in the psychiatric and psychological disciplines. The article even notes how most who investigate paranormal phenomena in an academic setting continue their mainstream studies as well to maintain credibility.
Here’s a hard truth though – that’s not quantifiable data. You can’t measure someone’s memory of living before. At its most basic level it’s literally just talking to people.
Hey, I’m not just a “believer” I’ve got the memories and past-life regressions of my former lives. They are in every sense of the word, “real” for me.
But that is not “hard” proof. Nope. Can’t make that claim. And neither can this Vice article. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a worthy read, and you definitely should check it out.
Here’s an important point that a lot of folks will overlook. Just because it’s not “hard science” does NOT invalidate the investigation or data gathered. It may not be definitive in the measurable sense, but the reams of data collected over the years by a small but dedicated cadre of academics is worthy in every respect.
The author does a really good job detailing the history of luminaries in the field of parapsychology. I quite enjoyed it and learned new details.
How Dr. Ian Stevenson, a medical doctor who also trained in psychiatry and psychoanalysis investigated and documented over 2,000 cases of reincarnation. He was chairman of the department of psychiatry at the University of Virginia. He wrote over 300 publications on the subject.
That’s a whole lot of data.
Obtained by interviewing experiencers – usually children – who reported have past-life memories that Dr. Stevenson was able to validate. Validation was through correlating things like birthmarks with injuries, correctly remembering names, places, and events of a past life, and corroboration of remembered details.
Dr. Stevenson was meticulous, and his work continues at the University of Virginia, even though he passed in 2007. He stepped down as chairman of the department of psychiatry to head the Division of Parapsychology, now known as DOPS – Division of Perceptual Studies.
Here’s the crux of the matter. Because it can’t be measured or quantified by physical measures, that immediately invalidates it for many folks. It’s too squishy. Statements of experiencers and certain tantalizing correlations are not valid in their eyes.
For some academics, it’s just that – tantalizing data that needs further investigation. The Vice author highlighted the open-minded but skeptical viewpoint of Christine Simmonds-Moore.
Christine is a parapsychologist and associate professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia. She’s quoted as saying, “you don’t have to believe in everything you study. It’s an academic interest and these are experiences that human beings have reported across different times and across cultures, and we really need to try and understand all aspects of human experience.”
Other skeptics, such as Goldsmiths, University of London psychology professor Christopher French, “thinks the most plausible explanation for the majority of cases is that the children are experiencing false memories.”
As I said, I’m in the believer/experiencer category, but I fully respect the need for objective analyses that consider all potentialities.
In particular the sentiment, “you don’t have to believe in everything you study.” Being able to hold that objectivity, and consider ALL aspects is crucial to extending our understanding of paranormal phenomena.
Personally, I find Dr. Stevenson’s work compelling. A preponderance of data that points to the rational conclusion that consciousness does indeed persist post-physical death. Couple this with current investigations in other, definitively “hard science” disciplines such as physics, and a convincing picture emerges.
Evidence of reincarnation taken in conjunction with data on the tangible reality of other dimensions provided by quantum physics begins to sound a whole lot like what ancient sacred texts have described.
But that is moving into the really woowoo realms…
I’m good with that, even if not everyone who investigates the paranormal will.
That academics will even discuss the topic, let alone devote time to serious study is rare. It takes courage and dedication to do even that much. Fear of being shunned and ridiculed is a very real thing, so I applaud those willing to step up.
Will we ever know the Truth? Sure. As one of my former professors used to say, “five minutes after you’re dead.”
But if some of my conversations with the deceased is any indication, sometimes not even then.
I was beyond thrilled when this hit #1 New Release earlier this month.
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