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Old Jun 6, 2014, 10:11 AM   #1
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Regressive Hypnosis

I could not find an existing MacRumors thread on this subject. I was called to task by one of our local Atheists when I casually mentioned regressive hypnosis in the Being a Competant Theist thread so I thought it warranted more discussion. Past Life Regression is a hypnosis technique that takes the patient back past their childhood to a previous life. As I've said before, I find it intriquing, but am not a believer because every online source could be a sham. Maybe I'll get the courage to try this myself.

Links for your pleasure. Not presented as evidence of past lives, but to provoke discussion pro and con.. If i place any weight upon this occurrence, one of the most disturbing aspects is that reincarnation implies we are on a treadmill that lasts for an indefinite amount of time. Just when you think you are finished and can relax...you are spit back into the world for another go!

An Experimental Investigation of Past-Life Experiences. This a long document presented as a 2009 research paper. I have not read the entire thing.

Page76:
Quote:
One case involved a woman named Dolores Jay (D. J.) who spoke no German, never studied German in school, whose ancestry did not include any Germans, yet during a hypnotic past-life regression, displayed a personality that called itself "Gretchen" who spoke only German (Stevenson, 1976). Over a period of three years (1971-1973) more than 19 tape recording of sessions with Gretchen were made that permitted examination of Gretchen's German grammar and pronunciation, which Stevenson and two other investigators judged to demonstrate an ability to converse in an imperfect and halting way but nevertheless intelligibly and responsively (i.e., "she could give sensible answers in German to questions put to her in that language") -- a language that Dolores Jay has never studied and had no knowledge of prior to the development of the Gretchen personality (Stevenson, 1976, p. 70). Investigation of the "past-life" statements of the Gretchen personality could turn up no evidence that such a personality ever existed, and indicated some statements to have been inconsistent with historical data (pp. 69-70). Inquiries into the possibility that Dolores Jay had learned German by normal means in her childhood, unknown to both her and her family, and afterwards forgotten that she had done so (cryptomnesia hypothesis) revealed no evidence in support of this hypothesis. Stevenson (1977b) concludes:
Page77:
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Stevenson & Paricha (1980) report the case of a 32-year-old Asian Indian woman named Uttara Huddar born in Nagpur, India in 1941 who had no memories of a past life as a child, who had never been to Bengali and had not learned its language, but who began to display memories and knowledge of foods, customs, and places in Bengal allegedly derived from a previous life lived 150 years ago when a personality that called herself "Sharada Chattopadhaya" spontaneously emerged in 1974 and continued to do so at intermittent intervals until 1979.
Reincarnated! Our son is a World War II pilot come back to life- this article comes from an questionable source but this story has been profiled in media from different sources.

Quote:
It sounds totally beyond belief. But read the tantalising evidence from this boy's family and you may start to wonder...
The agonised screams pierced the air. 'Plane on fire! Airplane crash.' In the dark, a two-year-old boy was just visible, writhing on his bed in the grip of horror. 'He was lying there on his back, kicking and clawing at the covers like he was trying to kick his way out of a coffin,' remembers the boy's father.
Will post more as I find it.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 11:07 AM   #2
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Science of Reincarnation- University of Virginia Magazine.

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When Ryan Hammons was 4 years old, he began directing imaginary movies. Shouts of "Action!" often echoed from his room.

But the play became a concern for Ryan's parents when he began waking up in the middle of the night screaming and clutching his chest, saying he dreamed his heart exploded when he was in Hollywood. His mother, Cyndi, asked his doctor about the episodes. Night terrors, the doctor said. He'll outgrow them.Then one night, as Cyndi tucked Ryan into bed, Ryan suddenly took hold of Cyndi's hand.

"Mama," he said. "I think I used to be someone else."
Children Remembering Past Lives & Children's Past Life Stories: Proof of Reincarnation- this article links to other specific examples. See next link.

Quote:
The most compelling reincarnation cases are those in which small children spontaneously remember past lives that can be facutally verified. Ian Stevenson, MD, of the Unversity of Virginia, compiled over 1200 of these objectively validated cases, which in aggregate provide proof of reincarnation. His academic research is presented on the IISIS web site as children's past life stories for ease of understanding.
If factually presented, this is a very compelling example:
Past Life Regression Story of Carroll Beckwith | Robert Snow- Captain Robert Snow, a sceptic takes a dare.

Quote:
Eventually and much to his shock, Captain Snow experienced powerful and very clear past-life memories during the regression. Captain Snow has related that his perception of the past-life events were more clear than waking consciousness. He recalled several different lifetimes, but the one that was most prominent was as a portrait painter in what seemed to be the 19th century. Captain Snow remembered 30 specific details regarding this lifetime as an artist.
One very clear memory involved him painting a portrait of a hunchback woman. Captain Snow vividly remembered the experience, of the paint strokes that were used to create that painting, and even of his questioning of why someone with a pronounced deformity would want a portrait. A summary of the most specific regression memories is provided below:
Amazingly by accident/chance/guidance he locates the painting in a New Orleans Art Gallery.

Quote:
From the portrait, Snow learned that the painter’s name was J. Carroll Beckwith. Snow’s rational side then took over again. He reasoned that he may still have seen this portrait of the hunchback woman at a museum or at an exhibit. He asked the gallery worker if this was possible. Snow describes the response.
“No,” the man said giving his head a slight shake, “you haven’t seen this work before. This portrait has been in private hands for years. And besides, let me be honest with you, I don’t think there has been an exhibition of Beckwith’s work in the last 75 years. He wasn’t that famous.” (3)
Captain Snow wrote a book, Looking for Carroll Beckwith.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 01:00 PM   #3
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Sounds a bit nutty, is there any science behind this?
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 01:02 PM   #4
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Sounds a bit nutty, is there any science behind this?
There is plenty of pseudo-science.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 02:09 PM   #5
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Sounds a bit nutty, is there any science behind this?
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There is plenty of pseudo-science.
What kind of science would you like there to be? I say this only as devil's advocate- a skeptic agrees to regressive hypnosis and remembers specific things which can be attributed to another person who he knows nothing of and who died before he was born. What is the explanation?

It appears that if this story is truthful, there is something going on. If as described, a mechanism exists. We can put it on science to try to figure out what is going on, but in the mean time, should this account be discredited because a scientific process can't be identified? Or should it be investigated further? (Investigations seem to be ongoing.)
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 02:16 PM   #6
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I have certainly read of many instances of past life recollections, speaking in languages of which the subject had no prior knowledge, etc.

Maybe all of these accounts are phony. I can't really know.

However, I think it demonstrates a very closed mind to simply write these off as impossible, due to current scientific knowledge. There is constant change in our understanding of the human brain.

Who's to say how future scientific knowledge will compare to current?
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 02:46 PM   #7
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I have certainly read of many instances of past life recollections, speaking in languages of which the subject had no prior knowledge, etc.
I like to think that I had a beard in a past life.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 03:15 PM   #8
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However, I think it demonstrates a very closed mind to simply write these off as impossible, due to current scientific knowledge. There is constant change in our understanding of the human brain.

Who's to say how future scientific knowledge will compare to current?
Suppose it were true. What knowledge would change?

The effect on physics alone would be profound. And "profound" is an understatement. Relativity and quantum mechanics would be minor adjustments by comparison.

There would have to be a physical (i.e. scientific) explanation for what the disembodied consciousness is made of. Is it a new form of matter? An organized entity of pure energy? What energy: electromagnatic or something new? Exactly how does this new form of matter or energy interact with the known forms of matter and energy? Current physics has four fundamental forces that determine all interaction of all matter and energy. We'd need another force, or a complete rework of the four we have now.

As just one small example of the enormity of the change in physics, we currently have zero observed instances of organized pure energy. None at all, AFAIK. Every observed example of energy is tied somehow to matter. Either matter emits the energy in unorganized form, absorbs it, or matter serves as the time-persistent framework to which energy is tied. The electrical phenomena in your brain are tied to electrochemistry. Alter the chemistry (or the electromagnetics), and perception, thought, consciousness are all altered.

If the hypothesis is of a new form of matter or energy that interacts or intersects with known matter and energy, how does that happen? At some point in the path of perceptions and actions, the information crosses a boundary between currently known physics and "beyond" physics (metaphysics). This is essentially Cartesian dualism. Basically, there's an independent and separable "soul" or "wathan" or "soul", distinct from all other physical aspects of existence. This entity is also paradoxically strongly influenced and guided by what it perceives via its sensory pathways that are dependent on the physical aspects of existence. Descartes' "seat" for this connection was the pineal gland, as a sort of metaphysical USB-socket:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineal_...ty_and_culture

If there's a single seat or brain structure for this connection, would its removal be fatal? Would damage be a cause for disease? If there isn't a single seat, what is the mechanism by which the metaphysical connects to the physical?

And that's just one small area of how physics and physiology would have to change.


On the social side, a scientifically demonstrable "wathan" which experiences reincarnation would seriously undermine the doctrines of several of the largest religions in the world. I don't expect they'd accept that without protest. In some ways they'd be vindicated (existence of souls), but in other ways horribly undermined (reincarnation, not every person is unique, afterlife, etc.).

Such a discovery could have far-reaching consequences to everyday morality, too. Maybe murder or suicide isn't as bad or even as final as we thought. Infanticide or abortion might seem perfectly justifiable, as one is simply hastening the reincarnitive cycle.

And what about other animals with brains? Do they have "wathans"? If they do, are they granted personhood?

Scientific skepticism says that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I'm fine with that as a standard.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 03:49 PM   #9
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Suppose it were true. What knowledge would change?

The effect on physics alone would be profound. And "profound" is an understatement. Relativity and quantum mechanics would be minor adjustments by comparison.

There would have to be a physical (i.e. scientific) explanation for what the disembodied consciousness is made of. Is it a new form of matter? An organized entity of pure energy? What energy: electromagnatic or something new? Exactly how does this new form of matter or energy interact with the known forms of matter and energy? Current physics has four fundamental forces that determine all interaction of all matter and energy. We'd need another force, or a complete rework of the four we have now.

As just one small example of the enormity of the change in physics, we currently have zero observed instances of organized pure energy. None at all, AFAIK. Every observed example of energy is tied somehow to matter. Either matter emits the energy in unorganized form, absorbs it, or matter serves as the time-persistent framework to which energy is tied. The electrical phenomena in your brain are tied to electrochemistry. Alter the chemistry (or the electromagnetics), and perception, thought, consciousness are all altered.

If the hypothesis is of a new form of matter or energy that interacts or intersects with known matter and energy, how does that happen? At some point in the path of perceptions and actions, the information crosses a boundary between currently known physics and "beyond" physics (metaphysics). This is essentially Cartesian dualism. Basically, there's an independent and separable "soul" or "wathan" or "soul", distinct from all other physical aspects of existence. This entity is also paradoxically strongly influenced and guided by what it perceives via its sensory pathways that are dependent on the physical aspects of existence. Descartes' "seat" for this connection was the pineal gland, as a sort of metaphysical USB-socket:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineal_...ty_and_culture

If there's a single seat or brain structure for this connection, would its removal be fatal? Would damage be a cause for disease? If there isn't a single seat, what is the mechanism by which the metaphysical connects to the physical?

And that's just one small area of how physics and physiology would have to change.


On the social side, a scientifically demonstrable "wathan" which experiences reincarnation would seriously undermine the doctrines of several of the largest religions in the world. I don't expect they'd accept that without protest. In some ways they'd be vindicated (existence of souls), but in other ways horribly undermined (reincarnation, not every person is unique, afterlife, etc.).

Such a discovery could have far-reaching consequences to morality, too. Maybe murder or suicide isn't as bad as we thought. Infanticide or abortion might seem perfectly justifiable, as one is simply hastening the reincarnitive cycle.

And what about other animals with brains? Do they have "wathans"? If they do, are they granted personhood?

Scientific skepticism says that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I'm fine with that as a standard.
What kind of extraordinary evidence is required? If you witnessed this first hand, knew the person involved as a person of integrity, and felt satisfied that all was as it appeared, would you be ready to acknowledge that there was an unknown mechanism at work?

Whether it be energy or matter or a combination, it could be something new i.e., something we are unaware of, but because if it exists, it can be assumed it has been around as long as we have if not longer. So new would only apply to our awareness of it. And it could function within the realm of physics we are familiar with, something that represents a new discovery in physics, such as quarks were discovered in the 1960s, or it could be a completely unknown mechanism that functions in a realm we are unable to identify or detect.

Yes, the implications would be profound. The concept of spirituality, the continuation of consciousness beyond physical death, and the soul would take on new gravity, that the physical body is simply an interface for the soul to interact with the physical world. The Earthbound mystery to be solved would be locating/identifying the connection between the soul and the body and validation that the human notion of a greater persistent existence is grounded in some factual manner. This is why I am intrigued.

Quote:
Such a discovery could have far-reaching consequences to everyday morality, too. Maybe murder or suicide isn't as bad or even as final as we thought. Infanticide or abortion might seem perfectly justifiable, as one is simply hastening the reincarnitive cycle.
Yes, quite jarring, philosophical/moral aspects to be considered, however for the religious, the idea of heaven (spirit/soul) has been around for a long time and for the non-religious, I don't see this effecting laws regarding punishments for taking a loved one away by means of violence. This life has value, and I don't see that changing if reincarnation becomes widely accepted.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 03:56 PM   #10
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I don't think this is our first time, or last time here on this earth.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 04:14 PM   #11
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What kind of extraordinary evidence is required? If you witnessed this first hand, knew the person involved as a person of integrity, and felt satisfied that all was as it appeared, would you be ready to acknowledge that there was an unknown mechanism at work?
I can already acknowledge an unknown mechanism at work. We don't know how or why people seem to be able to do this. Hence, "unknown mechanism". It may be a different mechanism in some cases than in others. Fakery, intentional or not, is one such mechanism. Whether it accounts for all cases, I don't know.

If you mean something more specific by "unknown mechanism" you'll have to be more specific in your terms.

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Whether it be energy or matter or a combination, it could be something new i.e., something we are unaware of, but because if it exists, it can be assumed it has been around as long as we have if not longer. So new would only apply to our awareness of it.
Yes, that should be self-evident. Our understanding of an actual mechanism presupposes it exists in a way that doesn't depend on our awareness of it. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to conduct experiments on it to determine its existence, or to determine an actual mechanism.

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And it could function within the realm of physics we are familiar with,
No, not really. That was the point I was making before. It would need completely unfamiliar physics. It would be far more unfamiliar than dark matter or dark energy.

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something that represents a new discovery in physics, such as quarks were discovered in the 1960s,
Nope, not like quarks. Far more unfamiliar than that.

Quote:
or it could be a completely unknown mechanism that functions in a realm we are unable to identify or detect.
If we're unable to detect it, we can't measure it. That would put it beyond scientific scrutiny, by definition. If we can measure it, then it's within the realm of scientific scrutiny, again by definition. Science requires sensing, from sensing comes measurement. Without sensing or measurement, there is no science. One of the foundations of science is empiricism.

I'm not sure what you mean by "unable to identify". If that's synonymous with "unable to detect", then it's answered above. If you mean something else, then please explain.

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Yes, the implications would be profound. The concept of the soul would take on new gravity, that the physical body is simply an interface for the soul to interact with the physical world. The mystery to be solved would be locating/identifying the connection between the soul and the body. This is why I am intrigued.
Locating the connection is just ONE mystery to be solved. The consequences of solving that would lead to others.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 04:24 PM   #12
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I can already acknowledge an unknown mechanism at work. We don't know how or why people seem to be able to do this. Hence, "unknown mechanism". It may be a different mechanism in some cases than in others. Fakery, intentional or not, is one such mechanism. Whether it accounts for all cases, I don't know.

If you mean something more specific by "unknown mechanism" you'll have to be more specific in your terms.


Yes, that should be self-evident. Our understanding of an actual mechanism presupposes it exists in a way that doesn't depend on our awareness of it. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to conduct experiments on it to determine its existence, or to determine an actual mechanism.


No, not really. That was the point I was making before. It would need completely unfamiliar physics. It would be far more unfamiliar than dark matter or dark energy.


Nope, not like quarks. Far more unfamiliar than that.


If we're unable to detect it, we can't measure it. That would put it beyond scientific scrutiny, by definition. If we can measure it, then it's within the realm of scientific scrutiny, again by definition. Science requires sensing, from sensing comes measurement. Without sensing or measurement, there is no science. One of the foundations of science is empiricism.

I'm not sure what you mean by "unable to identify". If that's synonymous with "unable to detect", then it's answered above. If you mean something else, then please explain.


Locating the connection is just ONE mystery to be solved. The consequences of solving that would lead to others.
Thanks for the non-dismissive reply. This is an example where open mindedness is an asset. For myself, I want to know the truth and I'd be pissed if I discovered this is all just an elaborate hoax designed to mislead, but if it was, I'd accept it as a hoax.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 04:56 PM   #13
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Thanks for the non-dismissive reply. This is an example where open mindedness is an asset. For myself, I want to know the truth and I'd be pissed if I discovered this is all just an elaborate hoax designed to mislead, but if it was, I'd accept it as a hoax.
I don't think regressive hypnosis is necessarily a "hoax", but I think it's unlikely that the accounts subjects have given regarding their "past lives" are actual memories.

From: The Social Reconstruction of Memories
"Several studies have examined factors that influence the formation of false memories by employing the phenomenon of past-life hypnotic regression. Some believers in reincarnation contend that people can be hypnotically regressed back to a time before their birth when they led previous lives (e.g., Wambach, 1979). The available evidence does not support this hypothesis and suggests instead that "memories" of having lived a past life are fantasy constructions (Baker, 1992; Spanos, Menary, Gabora, DuBreuil, & Dewhirst, 1991; Wilson, 1982). "
From: Past Life Regression: Experimental Studies
"In the 1990s a series of experiments undertaken by Nicholas Spanos examined the nature of past life memories. Descriptions of alleged past lives were found to be extremely elaborate, with vivid, detailed descriptions. Subjects who reported memories of past lives exhibited high hypnotizability, and patients demonstrated that the expectations conveyed by the experimenter were most important in determining the characteristics of the reported memories. The degree to which the memories were considered credible by the experimental subjects was correlated most significantly to the subjects' beliefs about reincarnation and their expectation to remember a past life rather than hypnotizability. Spanos' research leads him to the conclusion that past lives are not memories, but actually social constructions based on patients acting "as if" they were someone else, but with significant flaws that would not be expected of actual memories. To create these memories, Spanos' subjects drew upon the expectations established by authority figures and information outside of the experiment such as television, novels, life experiences and their own desires."
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 06:01 PM   #14
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Thanks for the non-dismissive reply. This is an example where open mindedness is an asset. For myself, I want to know the truth and I'd be pissed if I discovered this is all just an elaborate hoax designed to mislead, but if it was, I'd accept it as a hoax.
I hope you realize something doesn't need to be a hoax to be wrong. "Hoax" implies intentional deception. So does your term "designed to mislead", which implies a designer whose overt intention is to mislead. Neither of those are prerequisites for being completely and utterly wrong.

The history of science is filled with earnest well-intentioned (and well-credentialed) scientists who make discoveries that ultimately prove to be wrong. One example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_ray

There are also scientific theories proposed that are ultimately refuted and replaced. One example: phlogiston theory -> caloric theory -> mechanical theory:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlogiston_theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caloric_theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_theory_of_heat

And those aren't even accounting for well-intentioned cranks, such as the subjects in Martin Gardner's book "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science".

There are plenty of books on the subject (basically, History of Science), so it shouldn't be hard to find them. Stephen Jay Gould has some examples, mainly in biology. I think Carl Sagan does, too. Probably Isaac Asimov, as well, but since he wrote books on so many subjects, I'd be more surprised by the absence of such a book than its existence.
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Old Jun 6, 2014, 06:28 PM   #15
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I hope you realize something doesn't need to be a hoax to be wrong. "Hoax" implies intentional deception. So does your term "designed to mislead", which implies a designer whose overt intention is to mislead. Neither of those are prerequisites for being completely and utterly wrong.

The history of science is filled with earnest well-intentioned (and well-credentialed) scientists who make discoveries that ultimately prove to be wrong. One example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_ray

There are also scientific theories proposed that are ultimately refuted and replaced. One example: phlogiston theory -> caloric theory -> mechanical theory:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlogiston_theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caloric_theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_theory_of_heat

And those aren't even accounting for well-intentioned cranks, such as the subjects in Martin Gardner's book "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science".

There are plenty of books on the subject (basically, History of Science), so it shouldn't be hard to find them. Stephen Jay Gould has some examples, mainly in biology. I think Carl Sagan does, too. Probably Isaac Asimov, as well, but since he wrote books on so many subjects, I'd be more surprised by the absence of such a book than its existence.
Earnest and right or hoax most likely applies to this situation. If an individual has no previous knowledge of a person who has been identified during regressive hypnosis session, but suddenly knows all about this person and it is verified as accurate info, I don't want to be close minded about this , but I see a high probability that if there is a connection, that past life is as good an explanation as any, however, this would be blatant speculation and does not preclude another valid explanation. What that might be, I have no clue. Even more compelling is Xenoglossy, where people speak and only appear to know a language they are not supposed to know during a session where they are exploring a previous life.

If fraud, it would either be by the hypnotist, the patient or both in collusion. On the earnest side, you have a person claiming to have previously been someone else. If any weight is put upon the claim, then this has to be considered a major clue.

There could be a possibility that for the patient to become familiar with the details of another deceased person's life, does not automatically mean there is a "previous life" connection, but it could be some other mechanism and the question would have to be asked why was the deceased person singled out?

The single more important aspect of this discussion is not dismissing it outright, but considering the possibilities. No one's mind has been changed, and that is ok.
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Old Jun 7, 2014, 03:47 AM   #16
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What kind of extraordinary evidence is required? If you witnessed this first hand, knew the person involved as a person of integrity, and felt satisfied that all was as it appeared, would you be ready to acknowledge that there was an unknown mechanism at work?
The integrity of the person isn't all that relevant - most people have heard of the phrase don't assume conspiracy in what can be explained by incompetence (or some variation thereon).

There are some people who generally believe in all honesty that they have seen ghosts/aliens or have psychic powers etc. They may well be individuals with great integrity, but what does not mean they aren't wrong. If someone close to me who I trusted completely believed they had experienced something like this I would not assume they had lied, only they had made a mistake. Even if I personally experienced something like this I would be more likely to assume something had gone wrong in my head than these phenomena to be true - which would be the much more likely explanation.
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Old Jun 7, 2014, 09:01 AM   #17
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The integrity of the person isn't all that relevant - most people have heard of the phrase don't assume conspiracy in what can be explained by incompetence (or some variation thereon).

There are some people who generally believe in all honesty that they have seen ghosts/aliens or have psychic powers etc. They may well be individuals with great integrity, but what does not mean they aren't wrong. If someone close to me who I trusted completely believed they had experienced something like this I would not assume they had lied, only they had made a mistake. Even if I personally experienced something like this I would be more likely to assume something had gone wrong in my head than these phenomena to be true - which would be the much more likely explanation.
Here is the problem with your assertion, this is a case where if true, facts were pulled out of thin air along with a personal connection between one person and another. The premise is that a hypnotist nurtured a situation where a person thinks they are remembering back to a previous life.

The pesky part of this dilemma for skeptics is the information that was produced appears accurate and the hypnotized person's feelings, not seeing just a vision, but the familiarity that these are his memories. In the case I really like, Captain Snow, he remembered painting a picture of a hunchback woman (in his former life) and then he goes on to locate the painting.

When I try to produce an explanation for this, the possibilities I imagine are 1) fraud, the entire story is fabricated for our entertainment, 2) The hypnotist has an unknown method for planting these images in the patient's head through suggestion or along the lines of telepathy which for the latter probably does not help the skeptic because of its suedo-scientific qualities, 3) some other unknown methodology, or 4) it's a genuine past life regression. Bottom line, the problem are the facts that have been produced, which appear to give the case authenticity. It would take a skeptic to debunk it, but I am open to any plausible explanation of how this happened without the "past life" explanation.
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Old Jun 7, 2014, 06:40 PM   #18
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I haven't had first-hand experience of past life regression, but I strongly believe that most of us have had past lives. While not relevant to past life regression, I'll share some psychic experiences I have had. I know most people are not going to believe me and I fully understand that, but as someone else has said in this thread, as the person who has experienced it and had it confirmed by others, I do strongly believe it is real.

I was speaking to a friend online. In the conversation, I saw a word flash in my mind. I paused for a moment, because it was a certain word I never use. I mentioned it to my friend and he said he was just thinking that at the time.

I've had other experiences as well. A person I know had to go for lunch and I was wondering what time she would be back. 8:10 immediately came to my mind. She replied to me online at exactly 8:10 PM!

Another experience that I can remember from a few years ago: I had a pack of cards and I shuffled the cards. I wanted to see whether I could know where the nearest King was in the pack of cards. Several times I had numbers flash in my mind and each time I took each card off the top until I reached the card which corresponded to the number that flashed in my head, and each time it was a King (I shuffled the cards each time).

A few more I can remember:

I was talking to a group of people. I kept thinking several times about a particular professional field. I asked whether someone was interested in the industry/area I kept thinking about (forgot what it was - happened 3 or 4 years ago) and someone there said yes.

When I was going to sleep, I was thinking about someone I had spoken with on that day. I said to myself something like "worrying about past life". A few days later I asked this person whether she worries about her past life, and she said yes. She explained she was worried about whether she had done something wrong in her past life.

On the topic of past lives, some believe we go immediately from one life to another. I don't personally believe this to be the case - when we pass away, the only thing that dies is the physical body, and our consciousness (ourself, our personality, our mind) leaves the physical body and are guided back to what religious people may call Heaven. I am not personally religious but that's the best way I can describe what I mean. In "Heaven" or the "spirit world" I believe we plan our physical life there, with the people that will be with us during our time on Earth. I think we are either here to learn something, or to help someone else (or others) learn something. And I think these things would have been planned before we were born, with the others that would be part of your life either all the time (family) or at some stage during your life.

Obviously these are my personal beliefs, I might be wrong and I don't expect anyone to believe me (some probably think I'm nuts, and that's fine ;-)).
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Old Jun 8, 2014, 04:21 AM   #19
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The pesky part of this dilemma for skeptics is the information that was produced appears accurate and the hypnotized person's feelings, not seeing just a vision, but the familiarity that these are his memories. In the case I really like, Captain Snow, he remembered painting a picture of a hunchback woman (in his former life) and then he goes on to locate the painting.
Do you have a source for this particular example? I would like to read it.
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Old Jun 8, 2014, 09:20 AM   #20
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I haven't had first-hand experience of past life regression, but I strongly believe that most of us have had past lives. While not relevant to past life regression, I'll share some psychic experiences I have had. I know most people are not going to believe me and I fully understand that, but as someone else has said in this thread, as the person who has experienced it and had it confirmed by others, I do strongly believe it is real.

I was speaking to a friend online. In the conversation, I saw a word flash in my mind. I paused for a moment, because it was a certain word I never use. I mentioned it to my friend and he said he was just thinking that at the time.

I've had other experiences as well. A person I know had to go for lunch and I was wondering what time she would be back. 8:10 immediately came to my mind. She replied to me online at exactly 8:10 PM!

Another experience that I can remember from a few years ago: I had a pack of cards and I shuffled the cards. I wanted to see whether I could know where the nearest King was in the pack of cards. Several times I had numbers flash in my mind and each time I took each card off the top until I reached the card which corresponded to the number that flashed in my head, and each time it was a King (I shuffled the cards each time).

A few more I can remember:

I was talking to a group of people. I kept thinking several times about a particular professional field. I asked whether someone was interested in the industry/area I kept thinking about (forgot what it was - happened 3 or 4 years ago) and someone there said yes.

When I was going to sleep, I was thinking about someone I had spoken with on that day. I said to myself something like "worrying about past life". A few days later I asked this person whether she worries about her past life, and she said yes. She explained she was worried about whether she had done something wrong in her past life.

On the topic of past lives, some believe we go immediately from one life to another. I don't personally believe this to be the case - when we pass away, the only thing that dies is the physical body, and our consciousness (ourself, our personality, our mind) leaves the physical body and are guided back to what religious people may call Heaven. I am not personally religious but that's the best way I can describe what I mean. In "Heaven" or the "spirit world" I believe we plan our physical life there, with the people that will be with us during our time on Earth. I think we are either here to learn something, or to help someone else (or others) learn something. And I think these things would have been planned before we were born, with the others that would be part of your life either all the time (family) or at some stage during your life.

Obviously these are my personal beliefs, I might be wrong and I don't expect anyone to believe me (some probably think I'm nuts, and that's fine ;-)).
We are just strangers online, but if you are sincere, thanks for sharing! I have no reason to dismiss your story and find it fascinating.

Have you read Silvia Brown? She has passed away, but was a psychic who was discredited on some of the info she passed on to clients about who had died. She said she had a spirit guide who would give her info on passed spirits and told one (or more?) family their loved one had died, when in fact they had not. So either she had a guide subject to error or she was a fraud. Some people feel strongly negatively about her. I am undecided. Anyway you views of planning your life parallels hers. This is why I asked.

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Do you have a source for this particular example? I would like to read it.
I posted the link in reply #2, but here it is for your review: [b]Past Life Regression Story of Carroll Beckwith | Robert Snow. And I acknowledge with any source online there is the potential for fraud. Capt Snow wrote a book. If he is earnest, if he was a skeptic, his story is compelling, if not reincarnation, then another form of a paranormal event.
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Old Jun 8, 2014, 10:49 AM   #21
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We are just strangers online, but if you are sincere, thanks for sharing! I have no reason to dismiss your story and find it fascinating.

Have you read Silvia Brown? She has passed away, but was a psychic who was discredited on some of the info she passed on to clients about who had died. She said she had a spirit guide who would give her info on passed spirits and told one (or more?) family their loved one had died, when in fact they had not. So either she had a guide subject to error or she was a fraud. Some people feel strongly negatively about her. I am undecided. Anyway you views of planning your life parallels hers. This is why I asked.
Thank you for your kind response . I appreciate that.

Well there are obviously people that are willing to give pretend readings to others in the interest of making money or some other reason. It is a shame people are happy to do this without caring about the consequences, but that's just life. Obviously, I can't pass judgement on the person you are talking about, but it's something to bear in mind. There are people willing to lie to others for financial gain or public attention.

In general, I would never give any information to someone who is giving me a psychic reading (as they're called) that could help them provide false messages to me. If I am not provided anything that backs up that they are genuine (information that no one knows except me, for example), I disregard what they said. I have had a reading before where I have felt the person was not genuine, and in these sorts of situations I would just disregard what the person said and move on.

On the topic of spirit guides, that is an interesting point you have made. However I would point out spirit guides cannot stop us from doing these sorts of things even though they are wrong. I remember someone mentioning to me about a medium who was providing a message and was being ignorant and, if I recall what I was told, was refusing to say something the spirit guide mentioned (something along these lines - I can't remember exactly). At this point forward, the medium was not receiving anything from the spirit guide. It is likely at this point the spirit guide drawn away from the medium because the medium was no longer providing messages truthfully or something along these lines, and so the guide may have had no choice but to decide to stand back, so to speak.

I wish I could say spirit guides never make errors as you have described, but I don't want to mislead you as I really don't know the answer to this. I don't know whether the spirit guide would have made an error with the person you are talking about, or whether otherwise that person was dishonest with the readings she provided. However, I have spoken with mediums I trust who has mentioned on some occasions spirits (people that have passed over, like us) have come through to provide messages to their loved ones, and to provide proof to the person being given the reading, has expressed a certain pain the person / spirit experienced when they were on Earth (perhaps due to an illness), and the medium I spoken to said the pain was almost unbearable and she had to ask the spirit to take it away. The medium explained the spirit didn't mean to provide discomfort to her (when we die we don't experience physical pain, obviously) and had taken the pain away immediately after. So I guess a possible answer is - although just a possibility, I might well be wrong - sometimes spirit can make mistakes, just like we can. But I find it a little hard to believe a spirit guide would make the sort of error in the context you mentioned. Who knows.
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Old Jun 8, 2014, 01:23 PM   #22
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I think people underestimate the extent to which people confabulate - which is to say create fictional stories to describe how they feel about things. I suspect that confabulation accounts in part for the sense of realism that people experience during these supposed psychic experiences. There are many examples in which psychologists have induced feelings or behaviour without people knowing, and, faced with the apparent paradox of their experience under these conditions, people concoct all sorts of fictions that they earnestly believe.

Just keep in mind parsimony and you're unlikely to go wrong....
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Old Jun 8, 2014, 05:19 PM   #23
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Thank you for your kind response . I appreciate that.

Well there are obviously people that are willing to give pretend readings to others in the interest of making money or some other reason. It is a shame people are happy to do this without caring about the consequences, but that's just life. Obviously, I can't pass judgement on the person you are talking about, but it's something to bear in mind. There are people willing to lie to others for financial gain or public attention.

In general, I would never give any information to someone who is giving me a psychic reading (as they're called) that could help them provide false messages to me. If I am not provided anything that backs up that they are genuine (information that no one knows except me, for example), I disregard what they said. I have had a reading before where I have felt the person was not genuine, and in these sorts of situations I would just disregard what the person said and move on.

On the topic of spirit guides, that is an interesting point you have made. However I would point out spirit guides cannot stop us from doing these sorts of things even though they are wrong. I remember someone mentioning to me about a medium who was providing a message and was being ignorant and, if I recall what I was told, was refusing to say something the spirit guide mentioned (something along these lines - I can't remember exactly). At this point forward, the medium was not receiving anything from the spirit guide. It is likely at this point the spirit guide drawn away from the medium because the medium was no longer providing messages truthfully or something along these lines, and so the guide may have had no choice but to decide to stand back, so to speak.

I wish I could say spirit guides never make errors as you have described, but I don't want to mislead you as I really don't know the answer to this. I don't know whether the spirit guide would have made an error with the person you are talking about, or whether otherwise that person was dishonest with the readings she provided. However, I have spoken with mediums I trust who has mentioned on some occasions spirits (people that have passed over, like us) have come through to provide messages to their loved ones, and to provide proof to the person being given the reading, has expressed a certain pain the person / spirit experienced when they were on Earth (perhaps due to an illness), and the medium I spoken to said the pain was almost unbearable and she had to ask the spirit to take it away. The medium explained the spirit didn't mean to provide discomfort to her (when we die we don't experience physical pain, obviously) and had taken the pain away immediately after. So I guess a possible answer is - although just a possibility, I might well be wrong - sometimes spirit can make mistakes, just like we can. But I find it a little hard to believe a spirit guide would make the sort of error in the context you mentioned. Who knows.
For reference here is a years old thread: A Guide To The Afterlife where I discussed her book, "Life on the Other Side". It was pretty neat talking about planning your life beforehand and reviewing your life afterwards. Was she sincere? Who knows, she might have been a big fat huckster.

But when it comes to wishful thinking, I like the idea that you don't have to come back for another go at what we call (physical) life. I've already said this, what does not excite me about the concept of reincarnation is being on a never ending treadmill cycling through Earth multiple times. If I speculate about the purpose, it becomes very confusing. Let's say you have a spirit which is the real you. But when your spirit attaches to an embryo, you have no former knowledge or memory and on the next cycle, whatever you learned this time is forgotten for the next go, unless somehow an adjustment is made to your basic stats. Are spirits as flawed as humans or is this just the ultimate role playing game called the Earth Simulator and you are assigned handicaps and setbacks to overcome? For the Atheists listening, this is just fun nonsense. Don't pay it any mind.

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I think people underestimate the extent to which people confabulate - which is to say create fictional stories to describe how they feel about things. I suspect that confabulation accounts in part for the sense of realism that people experience during these supposed psychic experiences. There are many examples in which psychologists have induced feelings or behaviour without people knowing, and, faced with the apparent paradox of their experience under these conditions, people concoct all sorts of fictions that they earnestly believe.

Just keep in mind parsimony and you're unlikely to go wrong....
If I ever do a regressive hypnosis session, I will be very wary of the therapist introducing suggestions. I believe ideally, the only type of questions you may be asked is "What do you see? Tell me more."

Speaking in another language you don't know would be kind of shocking, if any authenticity can be assigned to these reports, this would be another stumper for the skeptics.
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Old Jun 8, 2014, 05:30 PM   #24
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... Speaking in another language you don't know would be kind of shocking, if any authenticity can be assigned to these reports, this would be another stumper for the skeptics.
Cases of Xenoglossia I've read about all seem to fall apart under scrutiny. Are there any such cases that have be confirmed by qualified linguists?
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Old Jun 8, 2014, 05:38 PM   #25
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Cases of Xenoglossia I've read about all seem to fall apart under scrutiny. Are there any such cases that have be confirmed by qualified linguists?
For a starter see post #1 in this thread and the link to a report and a quote identified as page76, to read about Gretchen. It's a long PDF document. It's authenticity is unproven.
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