Probabilities of reincarnation?

Not quite philosophy discussions, debates, various thought experiments and other topics of interest.

Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby mtbturtle on July 11th, 2015, 5:16 am 

doogles » Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:02 pm wrote:mtbturtle - "doogles, What would count as evidence in this case? Do we even have any idea what would count against it?"

Any transcripts of any inquiry into the validity of Arigo being 'possessed' by a Dr Fritz. My own search of the literature failed to discover a single negative report.


You mean any report that said not possession, or reincarnation you would consider as "evidence"? That seems kind of thin, isn't it? The question remains on what basis would a negative report be issued? It's not clear on what criteria positive reports were issued also.
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Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby TheVat on July 11th, 2015, 10:16 am 

All these cases seem open to multiple explanatory schemes, and none of them open to Popperian falsifiability. There's definitely something weird going on, but my Ockham razor wants to shave off transmigration of soul as an improbably complex account of what's happening. But they are, at this point, truly mysterious. And I love mysteries, having been an inquisitive kitty-cat in a previous life.
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Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby doogles on July 12th, 2015, 6:35 am 

I have obviously misunderstood your question, mtbturtle, and I apologise to you for that failing of mine. I don’t usually have problems understanding questions, but I do seem to be missing a point here somehow.

I’ll try answering the concluding sentences of your last post in the hope that they embody the thrust of your query – “The question remains on what basis would a negative report be issued? It's not clear on what criteria positive reports were issued also.”

Obviously Arigo is dead and gone, so we cannot set up a Commission of Inquiry now to observe him in action. I would have liked to have been able to observe him myself, and I would have liked to have seen a report by James Randi. But apparently James Randi never crossed paths with Arigo.

So we are left with transcripts of reports by people who did observe and report on him during his lifetime. The most prominent document (in fact the only document) I know about is the book on his life by John Fuller. This includes a detailed report by a team of doctors from the USA, one of whom had a benign lipoma removed from his arm in seconds. In fact the story is that he held out his arm to show Arigo, and then turned around to speak to someone, only to find the lipoma out of his arm and a fresh incision when he turned back. Photographs are included.

Unfortunately I’ve lent out my copy of the book, so cannot cite passages.

Everything in that report was positive about Arigo, and the investigators never questioned his BELIEF that he was possessed by a Dr Fritz. There seemed to be no evidence to contradict that.

According to reports, his practicing of medicine and surgery was frowned upon by not only by his local priest, but by the medical profession as well. He spent a period in gaol for practicing while not qualified, but was released after 4 months on order of a President of Brazil, whose daughter had been cured of a kidney disease by Arigo. (His clientele by the way did not consist of just peasants; there were family members of many prominent people from all over the world).

With so much antagonism towards him, I would have expected that that his own church or the local medical profession at least, would have conducted official inquiries into his claims with a view to discrediting him. But I cannot find any such reports on the Internet. At the same time, if someone does happen to come across such documentation, I would love to read the transcripts so that I can judge the evidence myself.

Hence my challenge to you and other posters to provide any evidence that discredits Arigo’s belief , and his practising of medicine and surgery as a result, that he was possessed by a Dr Fritz.

I said “If you can find any serious evidence debunking this claim, I will gladly go back to yours' and my, previous way of thinking before I began to look outside of my own shallow way of consideration of all aspects of life on this planet.”

Then, fair enough, you threw it back to me, asking “doogles, What would count as evidence in this case? Do we even have any idea what would count against it?"

My response suggested to you that I may have misunderstood your question and you responded again with “You mean any report that said not possession, or reincarnation you would consider as "evidence"? That seems kind of thin, isn't it? The question remains on what basis would a negative report be issued? It's not clear on what criteria positive reports were issued also.”

I’ve attempted to answer the last two sentences above as well as I can, mtbturtle, but I have a feeling that what I’ve said may still not meet your expectations. I’m still willing to go to any lengths possible to do that.

If the above is not satisfactory, could you please attempt to rephrase your question, or give me a rough example of the type of answer you expect?

Respectfully

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Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby mtbturtle on July 12th, 2015, 6:50 am 

doogles,

I suspect that the claims of reincarnation or possession are not able to be proven false (or true for that matter). You'll find no evidence that he was not possessed because we have no idea what such evidence would be. If we use the swan example that was given in another thread about the demarcation between science and non-science, if we want to show the proposition All swans are white to be false we find a nonwhite swan. Arigo is/was reincarnated/possesssed. What's Argio's nonwhite swan? If we want to show this proposition false what do have to find?
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Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby T. Burbank on July 24th, 2015, 4:59 am 

To me it is evident that I MUST continue to exist after I die. I can't base this on any empirical evidence, but rather on a principle of logic that seems to me to be a priori valid.

I don’t know what this principle that I appeal to is called. It seems similar to the principle of inertia, but is something else. Through it I see instantly that something cannot come into existence out of nothing; that is inconceivable. Nor can “something” ever cease to exist and there suddenly come to be only nothingness. The only thing that something existent is able to do that could on occasion appear close to this is to change form.

It is important here to try to understand what absolute nothingness would mean. No sights, no sounds, no sense data of any other kind either of course. No space, no time, no consciousness... (no "there" to make it grammatically meaningful to say "no consciousness of there not being any space or time.”)

And it seems immediately obvious that if such a situation (nothingness) ever pertained it would have to pertain permanently. And if it does not pertain, then it can never later come to pertain.

Some of course do not accept that there is any such thing as a priori synthetic logic, not even the famous principle of non-contradiction.

And some who do accept the validity of non-contradiction may disagree that the principle I rely on here can be known a priori. And of course if it is not a priori valid, and something can in fact come into existence out of pure nothingness (and go out of existence and be replaced by pure nothingness), then I have to acknowledge that my argument fails.

Irrespective of that terrifying possibility, here is my argument:

1) There is obviously something, rather than absolutely nothing at all (Leibniz I guess may have been the first to try to point out how incredibly significant this very simple fact is.)

2) And I therefore know a priori that there will have to ALWAYS be something.

3) And what is the nature of this something? Well… it is an ongoing self-aware experience (which I refer to as “mine”) of a very complex, ceaselessly moving manifold of appearances in space all around me, and of emotions, thoughts, feelings, etc. within what I refer to as my mind. All of which also involve the ineluctable passage of time.

This is the “something” that I know of without doubt, and it is clearly other than “nothingness” and so can never cease to exist and be “replaced” by nothingness. It is immortal.

The elephant in the china shop is then this – why can't I remember anything prior to this life? And I sadly cannot answer that, although there are plenty of possible reasons that I can postulate. Perhaps, by the very nature of the mechanism involved, in the process of going from one incarnation to the next all memories of the just completed incarnation are unavoidably wiped clean. And if that is the case, then in essence it is just as if there were no reincarnation, and the “I” writing this post will ultimately cease to exist and be replaced by nothingness.

That is not the postulation that I tend to feel is most likely. But while I think there may be grounds to believe otherwise, they are not clear enough to me yet to discuss And so the only thing that I can be absolutely certain of at present is that whatever I am (other than my accumulated experience during this incarnation) must necessarily continue forever.

Does this make any sense to anyone?
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Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby Positor on August 1st, 2015, 8:25 am 

T. Burbank,

I agree with your argument. I said something similar earlier in this thread:

http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=88&t=29093#p283282

I referred to 'a kind of metaphysical "conservation of energy"'. This would be independent of whether or not one can remember past incarnations.
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Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby T. Burbank on August 5th, 2015, 1:07 am 

Positor,

Yes, I'm sorry I missed that. We seem to be saying the same thing even if we use different words to do it. I liked this:

... it seems reasonable to believe that a metaphysical entity like a first-person perspective must permanently exist in some form or other.


I don't really understand how it is we can know with certainty that nothingness is impossible, but it sure seems that we can. It knocked me over the first time I realized that.

We have apparently "always" existed, somehow or another - and always will.
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Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby EasternWind on September 6th, 2016, 2:51 pm 

...why can't I remember anything prior to this life?


Notice that most people do not remember parts of their past in current life, especially childhood. Sometimes people completely forget an old friend, despite great memories in the past. Not remembering doesn't prove that the past did not exist.

Also consider the possibility that we have a "natural" desire not to remember a past life. In other word, it could be at least somewhat intentional.

Another interesting thing to note is that when someone claims that they can recall a past life, by far the most common reaction of other people is try to invalidate that claim. I mean by far the majority of people feel practically compelled to try to prove him wrong. Why don't they simply say, "well, maybe?" Why are most people so intent on disproving this? Maybe we have some sort of "internal directive" not to remember? Obviously, if we all remembered previous lives (assuming we had many), then the world could not be as it is now. Imagine being able to find Hitler today, or Stalin, etc. Would people come and claim the property they had in a previous life? In short, life would be significantly different, to say the least.

And last but not least, it is my opinion, that if you work with people "correctly", most people start to remember "unusual" memories. Some will start to state that they feel that they have lived in a certain part of the world before, or that they feel that they have been a pilot before, etc. But as I said earlier, today, most people, not only will not work with someone to improve their memories of such, but actually do their best to destroy them! In fact, it is almost guaranteed that people around will consider such a person crazy and weird and he will have difficulty at work, etc. Psychologists and psychiatrists, while withholding any formal view, in effect will reject any such claim outright and make every effort to change the person's mind, if necessary by clouding their judgement with drugs of all sorts. So it's actually quite dangerous today to make such a claim and probably subconsciously we know better than let such memories "surface!"
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Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby TheVat on July 23rd, 2017, 11:01 am 

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Re: Probabilities of reincarnation?

Postby mitchellmckain on July 23rd, 2017, 3:58 pm 

When no probability can be calculated I see the word "probability" as inapplicable and thus a pseudo-scientific effort to make subjective opinion sound like more than that.

This belief in reincarnation is unfalisifiable because of its highly interpretive nature. For example, schools of thought vary regarding what exactly is "reincarnated." In many cases is not the mind, personality, ego, or anything else we usually associate with personal identity. In other cases, it is some kind of multiple personality entity. The result is that like Sagan's dragon, the line between reincarnation and no reincarnation becomes a little thin even when you do believe there is any existence after death. What is the difference between these ideas of reincarnation and influence or possession by a previously living spirit (except that the latter makes it sound like a bad thing, of course).

Also there are really two questions here.
1. Does reincarnation ever happen?
2. Is this the normally what happens to people when they die?
Testimonials, of course, will only ever support 1 and not 2.

In my own metaphysical theories of spirit (which has spirit as a creation of the choices of living things), the idea of reincarnation doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and I am much more likely to see such experiences as influence or possession and thus as something which is most likely a bad thing. Believers look at a child reincarnated and think, "he/she is an old soul" -- i.e. special. I look at the idea of a child reincarnated and think more along the lines of something creepy and horrible.
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