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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 15:11

I wasn't sure whether to put this subject here or in the religious section as reincarnation is a major part of many Eastern beliefs.

Anyway, this is a story that appeared a few years ago. Proof of reincarnation or over active imaginations;

http://www.reversespins.com/proofofreincarnation.html
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 16:03

Proof of the ubiquity of anecdotal reference in this subject and of precious little research which itself hasn't been subject to confirmation bias.

Parapsychological cases relayed in the manner that this one has been are seductively attractive to curious minds at first glance. They appear to offer "evidence" in the form of unbiased testimony and then imply only one "explanation", which is one inevitably related to the paranormal. This inherent bias is reinforced in the narrative in this case by presenting the two most likely culprits of the piece, the childs' parents, as unbiased observers rather than participants in the case.

A guy called Ian Stevenson devoted his academic and professional career to investigating precisely these cases of children apparently experiencing evidence of reincarnation. His work was meticulous but incredibly flawed in that he initially failed to distinguish between cases arising from cultures where reincarnation was or was not an integral and widely held belief. When he was pulled up for this he attempted to redress this failing by concentrating on cultures where it was not, but then failed to measure the susceptibility of the surrounding actors in each case to assume reincaranation to be plausible cause. In the end, for all the appearance of scientific method to the layman, his method was still criticised by peers for its reliance on anecdotal input and an inability to separate that which was fact from that which was presumed on the part of its subjects.

As far as I know this is the nearest anyone has ever got to making scientific sense of the mass of input this topic tends to generate.

Apart, that is, from the researchers in Baltimore University who came up with a scale by which the subjects' input could be evaluated (the SOCS scale) and hopefully add some qualititative value to Stevenson's and other's findings. The only problem was that no two people who have tried to apply the SOCS scale have managed to agree on a score in any one case - it too is subjectively applied and therefore worthless.

In "Mythbusters" terminology then this one is neither "busted" not "confirmed". In the absence of a means of testing it most definitely isn't "plausible" either. It's simply "waiting for better data". As long as the data is presented in the manner above, then it will stay waiting (which of course suits the people making bucks out of relaying the bad data in the meantime, so don't hold your breath waiting for it).

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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 17:01

The parents account does not sound credible to me either, seems they jumped at the suggestion that he was 'remembering a past life' when he was very small and no other possibility was considered. Every uttering of the child since that time was only seen as reinforcement of that 'proof' in the eyes of the parents and the other gullibles who supported their belief. And lord only knows what suggestions the adults were putting into the childs head with all their astounded mutterings. Children are far more perceptive of what goes on around them than we sometimes think.

Many 2yr olds have nightmares, this is perfectly normal at that age. My daughter used to have re-occuring ones about birds, she grew out of them after a bit without anyone suggesting that she must have been a pelican in a past life! A lot of children have fascinations about different stuff too, son used to be mad on tools of all things, could name every tool in the hardware shop which was his very favourite place to be. We soon realised this ability to name every tool came about because he was avidly paying attention to all the home improvement shows or advertisements on the telly and newspapers. But now I really know, he was a handyman in a past life..............
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 18:40

The problem with anecdotal evidence is that it is hardly evidential at all. Even a theory concerning the parents' behaviour is totally dependent on the information as it was presented. We don't know the full facts here and are not in a position to judge either way. Applying the SOCS scale simply verifies the extent to which there is something worth investigating, but there is still no recognised or agreed protocol for then accumulating, assessing or drawing conclusions from the data during this investigation. And that's in a situation where ideally all the data is available to the researcher, not where one is simply invited to draw conclusions based on one brief anecdote related in the popular media.

It's a scammer's paradise, this kind of stuff, and that alone should alert the averagely intelligent person to treat it with scepticism. Personally, I think most people actually do. However those who are prepared to suspend reason in order to "believe" things based on even less "evidence" are legion, so stories like the ones above will enjoy currency and popularity while this sad truth applies.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 20:53

I posted this ages ago, over on Englistory:



Your mention, Ozymandias, of hypnotic regression is very interesting. Something I have longed to try. So far I have lacked the courage! Have you - or any other posters - ever come across a book called "More Lives Than One" - a collection of transcripts that was published in 1976 after a controversial BBC programme called "The Bloxham Tapes"? The introduction to the book was written by that respected broadcaster, Magnus Magnusson. Here is an extract:

"It all started right out of the blue...A BBC television producer in Cardiff, Jeff Iverson (the author of this book), telephoned me one day to ask if I would like to do a programme on hypnosis. But not just *any* programme on hypnosis - a rather special one. Because, as he explained, there was a distinguished* hypnotherapist in Cardiff, a Mr Arnall Bloxham, who claimed that scores of his patients under hypnosis remembered and experienced a previous life, a previous incarnation on earth - and sometimes several. Since I was interested in history and archaeology, would I like to undertake a cool, impartial, informed and critical look at these claims...

...So I went to Cardiff to start my investigation into these claims. What it became, in fact, was an investigation into the human mind itself. It was an uncanny experience to listen to a woman who had never been to York reliving, in remarkable detail and unfeigned terror, the experiences of a young Jewess in York during the great Jewish Massacre; or a man who had never been to sea in his life experiencing a sea-battle...

Where and how could these people have acquired the period detail that came welling up out of their minds under hypnosis? Could it be a deliberate hoax? And if not- was there a rational explanation for this phenomenon?Racial memory? Dreaming? Or hidden memories coming to the surface of the mind from deep in the subconscious**...?"

What struck me was a little detail at the end of the sixth account - that of a woman living in Colchester around AD 286. Professor Brian Hartley, a historian from the University of Leeds who, in 1976, was considered to be an authority on Roman Britain, was asked to comment on "Livonia's" story. Sceptical at first, he ended by saying that Livonia "knew some quite remarkable historical facts, and numerous published works would have to be consulted if anyone tried to prepare the outline of such a story."

The account ends thus - "Professor Hartley's final inscrutable comment was: 'If the lady is hypnotized again, please ask where the amphitheatre was - we've never been able to find it!' "

* Bloxham was no Channel 4 type charlatan: in 1972 he became President of the British Society of Hypnotherapists.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 21:31

Since I cannot believe in survival of conciousness after death and I don't think that every one of those who participate in regression is a charlatan, there must be an explanation which does not rely on whoooo. There was a programme the other night about a young man who seems to be able, on demand, to recall the details of what he was doing on any given day. I'ts on 4OD

[url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/tv-and-radio- .reviews/9566453/The-Boy-Who-Cant-Forget-Channel-4-review.html ]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/tv-and-radio- .reviews/9566453/The-Boy-Who-Cant-Forget-Channel-4-review.html [/url]

Isn't it proposed that we, at least initially, store a memory of just about everything but what we generally do not have is the ability to retrieve those memories at will? The brain sorts and prioritises memories and files them at different levels but hypnotism can allow access to those which we have 'forgotten', a procedure that has been used with the witnesses of crimes. Very few people alive today have not been exposed in books, TV or films to accounts of the past and surely it's these, buried away, that, prompted by the suggestion of the hypnotist, float to the surface.

It wouldn't work with me I fear. When being hypnotised in one of my numerous attempts to stop smoking, I had to point out to the doctor that the balloon which was supposed to be causing my hand to float could not possibly be filled with nitrogen.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 21:35

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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 22:10

Hmmm, the evidence proposed by a 'qualified regression therapist' (whit?) who charges £50.00 an hour is maybe not the most reliable basis on which to base an evaluation. I see he's a ca who raced motor bikes.

"Ian was born in 1959. After gaining a degree in Economics from UCL and qualifying as a chartered accountant, he sold computer software for several years before, in the late eighties, helping to found a business and IT consultancy company. Throughout this period he spent most of his spare time racing motorcycles and then cars.

Then in his mid-thirties he forsook the commercial world to become a writer-researcher specializing in ancient history, esoterica and spiritual philosophy. His first two books, Giza: The Truth (1999) and Genesis Unveiled (2003), have sold over 30,000 copies worldwide. In The Book of the Soul (2004) he first developed the idea of Rational Spirituality, also establishing himself as one of the world’s leading authorities on the interlife. And in The Wisdom of the Soul (2007) he first introduced the idea of the holographic soul.

His other non-fiction books include The Little Book of the Soul (2007), The Big Book of the Soul (2008, a complete rewrite of the 2004 book), Your Holographic Soul (2010), The Future of the Soul (2010) and The History of the Soul (2010, a revision of the 2003 book). Since then he has published a number of novels: The Man Who Didn't Die (2011), The Girl Who Learned to Live (2012), Autobiography of an Angel (2012) and Memoirs of a Messiah (2012)."

Sorry, it's all mince. And profitable mince too.





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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 22:26

Oh, do be quiet, ferval.

You sound just like my best friend who's got a Cambridge philosophy degree.

When I got all excited about Freke and Gandy ("The Jesus Mysteries") she told me not to be so bloody silly.

I've just phoned her, actually, to ask what does "psyche" really mean (she can read bloody Greek, too) and she went on and on for about half an hour. I'm still no wiser. Best wait till tomorrow to post anything about St. Paul and my immortal soul, I think.

She also told me the Hebrew word for "soul" which I thought I would use to impress everyone, but I'm afraid I've already forgotten it.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 22:36

Quote :
She also told me the Hebrew word for "soul" which I thought I would use to impress everyone, but I'm afraid I've already forgotten it.

Oh Temp, how I empathise, it's a bugger this ageing business. I used to have such a good memory, particularly for that kind of thing, but now I spend hours trying to find something which I know well but has just floated off into the ether by googling a few relevant words and hoping that I'll recognise what I'm looking for if it pops up.


edit - For example, I know I know your 'warden pears' answer but I can't remember and I'm not cheating unless I'm still up at 00.01.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 00:47

I cannot believe in all this reincarnation stuff because I am an amalgam - is that the right word - of parents' genes as they are likewise, with traits from both sides that I can identify in myself. There is but one nagging thought though - and that is the passing on of strong traits and interests that do not come from immediately recognisable sources.

For instance I am very 'at home' in a boat - any boat and any situation that I have not been taught; it's just a feeling for what must be done. No one else in the family has the slightest interest in boats. Then by chance, I found out that ancestors were naval people - a string of them - Admirals of the White, even. So I delved about a bit and found ancestors with skills in special interests that I have that seem to have been passed on.

Looks like a load of rubbish but I'll send it anyway. P.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 01:03

I have a problem with this reincarnation too, I have traced all my olds back to about 1700 up to now, this is where it gets difficult, but they all seem like perfectly normal people to me, no eastern princesses.

I believe Shirley MacLaine was into this kind of thing I read some of her earlier books, she may have given it up now.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 05:05

Very simply Temp, as I can do no other not knowing ancient Greek but psyche is still the word used in the modern version, psyche means soul.

Unless pronunciations have changed over time, I'd like to get hold of the person who originally began translating the Greek into English and give him a good talking to. All this ph and ch rubbish in Greek derived words is unecessary and only serves to complicate what really is uncomplicated. Ph (φ) is a simple f and ch (χ) is no more than a h. ψuχn - psihi -pronounced psi (i as in kit) and hi (again i as in kit). But because in English we translate the χ (h) as ch we get mispronunciations, like psy-kee instead.

Too early and now I'm ranting. Not enough caffeine in the system so I'd best have another coffee.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 09:52

Nephesh is the Hebrew word for "soul", but how difficult translation can be. I found this information earlier, taken from what I think is a *reasonably* reputable web-site - but one can never tell.

The word for "soul" in the Old Testament is nephesh. Nephesh is translated in following ways (the numbers being the number of occurrences of each way):

any 3
appetite 2
beast 2
body 4
breath 1
creature 9
dead 5
dead body 4
desire 4
fish 1
ghost 2
heart 15
hearty 1
herself 2
himself 8
life 117
lust 2
man 3
mind 15
mortally 1
myself 1
one 1
own 1
person 29
pleasure 3
soul 475
thing 2
themselves 3
thyself 1
will 4
would have it 1
yourselves 6
Some of these renderings may be confusing. For instance, how can the same word be translated "life," "body," and "dead body"?
The meaning of nephesh's root word is "to breathe." Since those who are breathing still have "life," one of the meanings for nephesh is "life." Since the "body" is what we use to breathe with, one of the meanings for nephesh is "body." Since a "dead body" is what once breathed, one of the meanings for nephesh is "dead body." Thus, all three renderings of nephesh, though apparently quite different, are derived from the same basic meaning of the root word.

The translation of nephesh as "fish" has rather confused me. Greek is just as complicated, it would seem - but I'm on the wrong thread (sorry, ID - back to reincarnation in a sec, honest).
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 11:42

Not sure whether this should go on this thread or the other as it is pertinent to both. Then again, I'm not even sure if it is pertinent at all as this has been translated frorm the modern Greek dictionary, not an ancient. Anyway it gives the definition of psyche or ψuχn (soul) as

The theoretical surrounding the essence that united with the body constitutes the main element and main reason of life, or living breath. Or

The emotional and moral being of a person - energy, life or the taking of initiative (i.e a person with heart or guts).
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 11:47

Going back to reincarnation...

ferval wrote:
Since I cannot believe in survival of conciousness after death and I don't think that every one of those who participate in regression is a charlatan, there must be an explanation which does not rely on whoooo.

My friend is now just as wary as you are about all this stuff, ferval. That said, she has actually undergone a past life regression. Under hypnosis she apparently remembered being somebody very boring and ordinary - a girl in the Swiss Alps (Heidi?) of all things. She lost all interest in the subject after that.

I teased her about it mercilessly - still do. I reckon she thought she was going to be Hypatia in a previous life (at least), and she was mortified to find she wasn't.

Lord knows who I would imagine I'd been. I dread to think, but they'll never hypnotise me. My experiences with the paranormal always border on the ridiculous - I told you before about my disastrous visit to a fortune teller. I dropped the crystal ball and it rolled away under the table; there was then an undignified scrabble to retrieve the damn thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 19:17

ferval wrote:


Then in his mid-thirties he forsook the commercial world to become a writer-researcher specializing in ancient history, esoterica and spiritual philosophy. His first two books, Giza: The Truth (1999) and Genesis Unveiled (2003), have sold over 30,000 copies worldwide. In The Book of the Soul (2004) he first developed the idea of Rational Spirituality, also establishing himself as one of the world’s leading authorities on the interlife. And in The Wisdom of the Soul (2007) he first introduced the idea of the holographic soul.

His other non-fiction books include The Little Book of the Soul (2007), The Big Book of the Soul (2008, a complete rewrite of the 2004 book), Your Holographic Soul (2010), The Future of the Soul (2010) and The History of the Soul (2010, a revision of the 2003 book). Since then he has published a number of novels: The Man Who Didn't Die (2011), The Girl Who Learned to Live (2012), Autobiography of an Angel (2012) and Memoirs of a Messiah (2012)."


Did he also use the nom de plume Oolon Colluphid by any chance?

Quote :
God






God, about to disappear in a puff of logic, from HitchHiker's TV series
Aside from being the favourite subject of author
Oolon Colluphid (Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes, Who is this God Person Anyway? and Well That About Wraps it Up for God), God also makes a disappearance in the Guide's entry for the Babel Fish ("I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing". "But," says man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.").

Majikthise worries about philosophers sitting up half the night arguing that there may or may not be a God if Deep Thought can give His phone number the next morning. Arthur, Fenchurch and Marvin visit God's Final Message to His Creation ("we apologise for the inconvenience") in the novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 19:23

My god! Life - and death - really is so much simpler when one's an atheist.

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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Sat 29 Sep 2012, 20:55

Meles meles wrote:
My god! Life - and death - really is so much simpler when one's an atheist.


Ah, but is it?

I've just watched a superb BBC programme that I recorded on the 12th September. I don't know if it is still available on iPlayer - Rosh Hashanah: Science v. Religion.

In this BBC One offering, the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks meets three atheists: Susan Greenfield, Jim Al-Khalili and - yes, the devil's disciple himself! - Richard Dawkins.

Lord Sacks was uttterly brilliant: he even had the big, nasty D. eating out of his hand. Oh joy - and such a wondrous thing to behold! Just shows what magic there is in a calm, wise, tolerant perspective. Good Lord, the Chief Rabbi actually had Dawkins *smiling* and talking about men of *good will*!

They agreed that science and religion can rub along together after all.

"I'll say Amen to that," was Dawkins's final comment.

Blimey.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 09:25

I must have been more hung over yesterday than I realised, I entirely missed these posts.
Thanks for reminding me about that prog. Temp, I meant to watch it, if for no other reason than Sacks' gorgeous voice. It's here on Youtube and I'll watch it later.


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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 12:36

Thank you for posting the link, ferval. I hope you enjoy the programme as much as I did.

Richard Dawkins is looking very pink these days - I hope he is taking his blood pressure tablets regularly. Seriously - he does get so worked up - that's not good for anyone. The militant Christians have realised this - I've seen a group of them obviousy enjoying prodding him to make him hiss, which is very unkind and very unchristian of them.

Lord Sacks, on the other hand, was so gentle, kind and calm with him. Delightful man.


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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 14:44

Here are some NDE's, just to liven things up.

http://www.near-death.com/
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 15:07

Fair enough, nearly dead is livelier than dead dead.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 15:54

Well, I've just watched the programme and I'm sorry but I think it's dreadful. Sacks is probably a lovely, sincere and decent man but I'm disappointed that all three scientists were so damned polite and allowed him to get away with all the logical fallacies, misinterpretations and evasions that he did.
For much of his apologia, if he had substituted 'morality' for 'religion', I wouldn't have been shouting at the screen so much but really, his argument was sub sunday school level and occasionally risible.

Bring back Anselm, all is forgiven.

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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Mon 01 Oct 2012, 18:13

You won't be surprised that I'm going to agree with ferval, Temp. Sacks seemed a little too desperate to find agreement that the illogical is as equally important as the logical, almost as if he needed reassurance for his own beliefs. His guests took pity and gave him what he needed, and I think he is well meaning but I'm afraid I felt like throttling the man by the end.

I note on Trike's NDE site, the word 'evidence' is much used for all sorts of outlandish claims. Plus there is strong 'evidence' that Jesus is, in fact, the re-incarnation of many people, will wonders never cease?

This is all too out there for me, I'm going to watch the sensible Mary Beard meeting some Romans now. At least there IS evidence that they existed.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 07:03

reincarnation? I hope not, I dont want to have to do puberty again.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 08:04

ferval wrote:
Well, I've just watched the programme and I'm sorry but I think it's dreadful. Sacks is probably a lovely, sincere and decent man but I'm disappointed that all three scientists were so damned polite and allowed him to get away with all the logical fallacies, misinterpretations and evasions that he did.
For much of his apologia, if he had substituted 'morality' for 'religion', I wouldn't have been shouting at the screen so much but really, his argument was sub sunday school level and occasionally risible.




Sub Sunday school level? Oh dear, perhaps that's why I responded so positively to him.

But wasn't Lord Sacks actually trying to converse rather than to debate, ferval? He was not, after all, trying to demolish his "opponents" with logical argument. (Faith isn't about logic; does that make people of faith necessarily always simple and naive? Perhaps it does.) Wasn't the Chief Rabbi trying rather to reach out - to find common ground? An approach which even Dawkins - who is actually rather nice when he softens a bit - recognised and responded to? All four participants were fiercely intelligent, after all; could it be that Sacks simply manifests a different *kind* of intelligence. Or is that a silly thing to say?

I tend to reserve shouting at the tele and having overwhelming desires to throttle folk for the militants - be they Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists or whatever. As Michael Faraday said (quoted by the Chief Rabbi): "There is nothing quite so frightening as someone who knows they are right." But in wanting to shout and throttle I suppose I am being just like the people I am condemning.

He *was* evasive about the Abraham and Isaac story (God intervening in history??), wasn't he - I give you that - but then again his parable/story approach was surely sane and acceptable. Read as allegory/metaphor the Bible's not bad. The Abraham/Isaac tale is a cracking one - look what Wilfred Owen did with it in "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young". Offer the Ram of Pride instead, Owen has God say to Abraham. Good advice and not just about WW1 either. But something easier said than done for any of us. And what were Sarah's thoughts on those events? I've often wondered about that.

I should have liked to have asked Sacks about Sarah *and* have had him explain more about the Jewish God of the Old Testament - a God who after all is so often so terrifying, capricious and cruel. God had to change, didn't He - indeed we're still changing Him. Apologies for the capital letter - early indoctrination sticks.

There is another filmed encounter between Dawkins and Sacks where Sacks does not apparently acquit himself so well. I haven't seen it, but I'll try to track it down. But perhaps not for this thread.

Going back to reincarnation I enjoyed reading Jung's account of his NDE. Death will be an awfully big adventure, as Peter Pan once said. I rather suspect the dying brain plays all sorts of tricks on us - the living one certainly does.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 08:31

All I know about Jonathan Sacks is that his contributions on the Today programme's "Thought For The Day" are cringeworthily opportunistic in their style and often completely disingenuous in their content. I don't like them at all - complete insults to the audience's intelligence, or at least mine.

But I digress ... back to reincarnation

In psycho-analysis the consciousness of personality is reckoned to be a fluid interchange between the id and the superego, with the ego acting as a type of agent of compromise between the two. Superego, being shaped by external influences, is the most vulnerable to interference which can disrupt this process. Religion, for example, is often a blatant attempt to control the superego and promote its role in the balance. Brainwashing is the extreme form of this, a brainwashed person's superego then overriding the ego's contribution almost completely so that the id (instinctive, basic desires and urges) is validated or invalidated directly by the hijacked superego (received behaviour and learnt perceptions).

To believe in reincarnation a person has to a certain extent voluntarily demote their ego (internally developed perceptions, memories, morality etc) and restrict its role in mediating between the id and superego. This allows the superego to internalise perceptions and memories based on received data and adopt them as one's own, indistinguishable to the individual from those which the ego would otherwise have developed and controlled, or at least invalidated based on comparison to its own version of reality. To facilitate the many such perceptions this opening of the floodgate can admit the person is then obliged to construct a "logic" whereby they can be accommodated. One solution is to divide them out and allocate them to separate and distinct personalities, and one way of doing that is to adopt as a belief the notion that these represent sequential lives. The construction of these "lives" is limited only by the author's own intellect and the data with which the superego has been inflated over the individual's lifetime, and the relation of these "lives" is limited only by a person's linguistic and cognitive skills. When some people relate them therefore they can sound very convincing indeed, being eloquent and apparently referencing experiences, behaviour and perceptions which have no place of origin in the personality they exhibit in their actual life.

This displacement of the ego is not considered an illness in psychiatric terms, at least not necessarily. It is a function which facilitates empathy, as well as a valuable tool in constructing credible fictions, a very important social ability whereby complex ideas can be conveyed and imparted. Not to mention good novels.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 09:20

Oh heck, ferval, ID *and* Nordmann all ganging up on me. See if I care.

But I was right about the Hampton Court roundels.





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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 09:36

A number of famous people did believe in reincarnation Temp. George S Patton, Benjamin Franklin, Socrates, Henry Ford, Napoleon, Mahatma Ghandi, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy and Jack London amongst them.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 09:48

An even greater number of famous people did not claim a belief in reincarnation. Citing famous people to infer feasability or infeasability of a belief is a rather glaring non sequitur.

Though of course there would be a rather demonstrable link in psycho-analytical terms between a dominant superego and an inclination to rationalise the result in terms of reincarnation, and the aforementioned people might well all fit that bill.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 10:34

Temperance wrote:
Oh heck, ferval, ID *and* Nordmann all ganging up on me. See if I care.

Heavens, not you Temp. The Sacks bloke with the oh-so-slow voice.

The only time his voice sounded genuine to me (and not like he was putting it on) was when he got a bit heated with Dawkins.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 13:42

Quote :
Faith isn't about logic;

No, I refuse to accept that get out. There is no other area - except maybe homoeopathy - where that would be accepted as a legitimate argument for anything. People often say "What about love?" but claiming to feel that without it being evidenced is the excuse of the neglectful or abusive parent, "But I really do love him/her, it's just that......." Sounds a bit like God really.

Unreasoning faith is delusion and while delusion can be comforting and also frightening, it's no basis on which to run one's life and worse, to attempt to run someone else's.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 15:03

Faith does follow a logic - it's just a logic the faithful don't much care for.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 15:18

ferval wrote:
Quote :
Faith isn't about logic;

No, I refuse to accept that get out. There is no other area - except maybe homoeopathy - where that would be accepted as a legitimate argument for anything.

Unreasoning faith is delusion and while delusion can be comforting and also frightening, it's no basis on which to run one's life and worse, to attempt to run someone else's.

But ferval, I'm not trying to offer an ""argument" here - that is my whole point. I am really not trying to convince or convert you or anyone. If I am "deluded" (always a possibility with me), so be it. We all survive in this world as best we can.

I certainly agree with your comment that using faith/religion to attempt to run other people's lives is totally out of order. I agree *absolutely*, in fact. One of the reasons I have warmed to Lord Sacks is because he has declared that no faith - not even his own - has the spiritual monopoly on truth (Derrida again?). Any militant - Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist or Platonist - who insists (especially to a young person) that he or she *does* have such a monopoly is surely - in my very humble opinion - being quite unreasonable. To me ths whole "argument" is simply about respect for others' opinions - and listening with interest and an open mind. Is that wrong - deluded - foolish?

Mind you, expresssing these views has led to my expulsion from our local Bible study group. (I quite like being branded the local heretic - they've not managed to excommunicate me yet, but I think that's being worked on.)

I am genuinely baffled by what appears to be your anger and frustration here - but perhaps anger and frustration are the wrong words - your *contempt* is perhaps nearer the mark. Why do Sacks's opinions at times seem to you to be "risible"? Why does Nordmann feel his intelligence has been "insulted" by this man's views? Such condemnation from you two, whose intelligence, perception and erudition I admire very much, distresses me. But Sacks too is clearly intelligent, perceptive and erudite - he just has a different way of looking at things. The Chief Rabbi is also a highly educated man, much respected and honoured by believers from faiths other than his own, *and* by non-believers. Interestingly, though, he has apparently angered the more fundamentalist members of the Jewish faith.



"Sacks was educated at St Mary's Primary School and Christ's College Finchley, Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge (MA), New College, Oxford, King's College London (PhD), Jews' College London and Etz Chaim Yeshiva (London).[4]

In addition to the PhD he earned at King's College,[5] he has also been awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of: Cambridge; Glasgow; Haifa; Middlesex; Yeshiva University; Liverpool and St. Andrews, University of Roehampton and is an honorary fellow of Gonville and Caius and King's College London."



Perhaps you, ID and Nordmann believe he stopped thinking after he left St. Mary's, if not before?

But in the end why are we arguing like this? What does any of this matter? Belief or non-belief is a personal matter, after all. I was wrong to bring up Lord Sachs and his programme on this thread about reincarnation (apologies here to Trike). It surely only matters when bad religion - like bad atheism - stirs up hatred and the desire to score points and to hurt others. The stinking Ram of Pride again. I shall now remove the smiley (there's a misnomer - a growly more like) of me chucking my PC at you and Nordmann and replace it with a nice, sweet, little sunbeamy thing instead.

PS I rather think the God I believe in (whatever that is - at the moment I seem to be a High Church Anglican Unitarian agnostic Gnostic which does seem to indicate a certain intellectual confusion, forgivable in adolescence perhaps, but not in a woman of my age) is not the god you and ID and Nordmann don't believe in.

Apologies again to Trike - I didn't say I didn't believe in reincarnation, Trike. If it's OK by Socrates, it's OK by me. That man (if he existed) was a god!

PPS
ID wrote:
Heavens, not you Temp.


Ah, thank you for that, ID - honest. What a sweetie you are.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 16:02

Oh gosh, I must learn to compose posts and not just launch into extempore and barely coherent splutterings. I wasn't implying that you were using that as an argument, rather that it is so often deployed as one and it it irritates me almost as much as the "In God, all things are possible" type.

Contempt? I hope you don't feel that that is addressed towards you. That's the last thought or feeling I have in responding to any of your posts Temp, more like embarrassed inadequacy and admiration.

Anger, yes sometimes but directed towards religion that prompts this
Quote :
expresssing these views has led to my expulsion from our local Bible study group. (I quite like being branded the local heretic - they've not managed to excommunicate me yet, but I think that's being worked on.)

I did feel his explanation was of the Isaac incident was risible, 'God's seminar on not killing your children'. As a piece of interpretation it seemed desperate if not positively perverse and utterly unsupported by - here I go again - any evidence.

Why are we arguing, well why not? If religious belief was just a personal matter then then perhaps not but by definition it can't be and anyway, I'm afraid I enjoy it too much: the 17 year old from the debating society is still very much alive in me.

It's not the nature of God, or any god, I have a problem with, it's the inability of so much of humanity to face the bleak but awesome truth of existence. There is neither purpose nor direction beyond the laws of physics.

If I'm wrong, all I ask is to have the chance to argue my case.

And the boss has stopped us wittering on about cats!
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 17:57

Temperance wrote:
Ah, thank you for that, ID - honest. What a sweetie you are.

Sshhh Temp, you'll spoil my reputation Suspect .
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Tue 02 Oct 2012, 21:12

Interesting TTFD comment from Lord Singh that the Sikh religion positively demands that its adherents should study other religions to see what lessons they have (a touch like Seneca's "Epistulae Morales" where he takes most of his texts from Epicurus rather than any of his fellow Stoics)
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 06:42

Lord Singh might like to consult the relatives of the 329 people on board Air India Flight 182 before he pronounces anything based on such trite observations.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 08:36

nordmann wrote:
Lord Singh might like to consult the relatives of the 329 people on board Air India Flight 182 before he pronounces anything based on such trite observations.

But wasn't that *extremism* again - the usual evil masquerading of *politics* as religion?

Weren't the Babbar Khalsa Sikh militant group widely believed to have been responsible? And weren't they condemned by the Sikh religious leaders?

Surely it is unfair to dismiss a religion because of a few fanatical fools - be they Christian, Muslim, Sikkh, Jewish or anything else?

The irony is the fanatics from *all* religions would probably get on together like a house on fire; they all share after all the same crazed, bigoted outlook. They are the *haters* of this world - the ones truly to be feared.

On a lighter note, I remember a piece in "Private Eye" once. They had a picture of the Archbishop of Canterbury (I don't think it was Rowan Williams, but his predecessor whose name escapes me). The caption under his picture was "The Face of Hatred". Our rather meek and mild Primate of All England was being contrasted with the fearsome Ayatollah Khomeini.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 08:45



It was George Carey.


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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 08:47

Religious promulgators cannot disown the "extremists" (or any breed of nutter) their perversion of logic attracts. It's part of the package, and in fact the more "meek and mild" the administration of any organised religion the more facilitating in that regard it can become also.

I loved this when it was first broadcast - still do:

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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 09:10

nordmann wrote:
Religious promulgators cannot disown the "extremists" (or any breed of nutter) their perversion of logic attracts. It's part of the package, and in fact the more "meek and mild" the administration of any organised religion the more facilitating in that regard it can become also.


Mmm. Now that's a worrying observation. I shall go away and think about that.

It is very funny. "Who cares?" is the best line.

The C of E lost it after the Life of Brian controversy - I wonder if Malcolm Muggeridge and the Bishop - was it of London? - were aware of the damage they did?
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 09:12

Which of course is the cue for this little gem:

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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 09:26

It was the Bishop of Southwark.

What a pair of fools they were to debate with Cleese and Palin.
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 11:35





I meant to post a picture of the Ayatollah to contrast with our Anglican Face of Hatred - but I forgot.

I see little of the milk of human kindness here; he actually reminds me of John Knox.

Bet Cleese and Palin wouldn't have dared ridicule *him*.

I'm glad I live in England - we don't realise how fortunate we are, do we?
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 11:51

Which of course is a cue for this one!



I had quite forgotten just how bloody good that programme was!
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 11:56

I never saw that one!


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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 12:04

And this
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PostSubject: Re: Reincarnation   Wed 03 Oct 2012, 12:21

Jagger pinched the idea for that song from Mikhail Bulgakov's novel, "The Master and the Margarita". Pretentious so-and-so.

That "whoo whoo" that starts half way through the track is dreadful - sounds like the Stones are playing with a model railway set (which they could well have been).
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