My “debate” with Annan “Reincarnation has been verified!” Boodram

I say debate in quotes because I honestly, truly, sincerely didn’t intend for it to become one. A mutual friend of Annan’s and mine made some claim about karma on Facebook, I don’t even remember what, and I responded with something skeptical comparing the friend’s claim to the ridiculous claim of reincarnation. Annan piped up that reincarnation was real. I asked him for evidence.


Following is the text of our debate (along with self-criticizing commentary [in brackets] because I feel like I did a good job at times, not so much of one at others), videos, pics, and whatever else I throw in there to try to maintain your attention. (WARNING: This is EPIC!)

But first, some background context:


My parents (whom I adore) wasted part of my childhood and teen years with the above-pictured bullshit organization, indoctrinating me into any number of bullshit beliefs such as the healing power of crystals, astral projection, auras, and…


I wasn’t so much told that reincarnation was •real• as I was encouraged to trust the possibility. To keep an “open mind” (I’ll get into THAT even more in a second). Most of the time, it never crossed my mind to question what I was being told, like how the fuck my parents knew that there was any validity to the claims of reincarnation, and when I did ask, I got either hemming and hawing or no answers at all.

Surprisingly, reincarnation is one of the last concepts I stopped believing in, even years after I became an atheist. My last stalwart defense was pretty much the exact same bullshit appeal to ignorance fallacy others had given me about the existence of a god. “We can’t know.” That is until I had a discussion with a close atheist friend who schooled me. He pretty much broke it down as, and please anyone correct me if I get any of this wrong, the only “energy” that exists in our brains is the biochemical electricity from all the neurons firing and doing whatever else it is that neurons do. Once we die, as with a shut-off computer or car, the neurons stop firing, energy goes away. (Please don’t whine to me about the laws of thermodynamics–I’m paraphrasing). The brain, not the energy, contains the information that defines us as us, so when the brain shuts down, that’s it. We’re gone. Nothing of us remains but our remains. Thus, nothing to transfer to other bodies. Thus, no reincarnation. This is exactly what science has demonsrated.

Now, without further ado, to the debate (in Italics; his words in bold)!

me August 16, 2010 at 5:45pm
Greetings Annan,

I was afraid X’s comments section was getting cluttered, so I decided to send this to you directly as well.

Please don’t tell me what I mean to say [Annan had corrected me on claiming that karma wss bullshit by saying that what I meant to say was that I hadn’t yet seen proof of it–or something like that.]. I was raised in the Association of Unity Churches, which, among other things, propogated the unsubstantiated beliefs in reincarnation and karma.

A book is not evidence. The Grimm tales can’t be claimed as real. An article is not evidence. Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s opinions on homosexuals are only her opinion. A TV program is not evidence. Fox’s Alien Autopsy was not proof of aliens. By that standard, there’s loads of evidence for fairies, unicorns, and leprechauns. I assume you don’t believe in those. Can you point to any objectively verifiable evidence for reincarnation or karma beyond an appeal to authority, history, popularity, ignorance, or incredulity?

Annan Boodram August 16, 2010 at 6:03pm
Is the Bible not a book? Using your logic nothing in the Bible is substantiated. Can u point to any objectively verifiable evidence for anything written in the Bible? Incidentally there are many, many documented cases of people recalling past births in detail and then having those details verified. If you’re really open minded you would do the research.
Now I have no intention of telling you what you mean but please don’t presume to tell me what I must or must not believe and accept. So let’s agree to disagree and move on.

Right off the bat, Annan makes an appeal to open-mindedness. I won’t rant about that bullshit misnomer. I’ll let QualiaSoup do it:

me August 16, 2010 at 7:18pm

We had a tiny misunderstanding. I was raised in the Association of Unity Churches, but left the church in my teens. The reason I left? Exactly what you pointed out. No verifiable evidence.

With that out of the way…

>I think the pint has been made. If the people recalled facts and details and then had them verified and that is not objective verification for you then that is indicative of pre-emptive conclusions rather than conclusions based on the evidence.

I understand what you’re saying. I really do. But I’ve seen and read cases of supposed reincarnation and no, I don’t find that evidence of such just as much as I don’t find people reporting having been abducted by aliens as evidence that they actually have been. Again, I’m happy to take a look at anything you’re willing to point me toward.

I’ll give you an example that I tried to share before, but which Facebook ate. I had a student who claimed that in some rooms on Amtrak, there is no separator between the passenger seats and the toilet. I didn’t believe this at first. I’d never seen or heard anything like this. A week later, though, my student brought in a print-out picture from the Amtrak web site. There it was in black and white. No separator. As baffled as I was, I was happy to have been proved wrong.

So, any opinion on fairies, unicorns, and leprechauns?

Annan Boodram August 16, 2010 at 7:24pm

I absolutely respect your position but again we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’ve seen conclusive proof many times over but I have neither the time or inclination to do the research for anyone. Have you ever heard of Uri Geller…might be interesting to research him. And no I don’t believe in fairies, unicorns or leprechauns.

In case you’re wondering, here’s Wikipedia’s page on Uri Geller. And here’s Uri:


me August 16, 2010 at 7:36pm

As I pointed out with the Amtrak example, I am more than happy to be proved wrong. The assertion is reincarnation exists. Wonderful. What’s your evidence? You say you’ve seen “conclusive proof.” Excellent. What is it? Where can I find it? I’m not saying do the research for me. You could name a book or a TV show. Anything you think is a piece of objectively verifiable evidence. I will happily take a look.

I have not heard of Uri Geller, but I’d be happy to look him/her up.

Why don’t you believe in fairies, unicorns, or leprechauns?

Annan Boodram August 16, 2010 at 7:43pm

Just look up on the Internet…much for you to digest then decide what u can accept or reject. Opra also did a few shows where the verification was fool proof.

Scientific Proof of Reincarnation: Dr. Ian Stevenson

There are others as well.

No on ever seriously claimed that fairies, unicorns, or leprechauns really exist or denied that they are nothing more than mythical figures.

Here’s Wikipedia’s page on Dr. Ian Stevenson. Here’s Ian:


me August 16, 2010 at 7:56pm

Thanks for all the suggestions. By the way, I’ve already looked up Uri. Seems he’s an admitted magician using tricks. Following is the Wikipedia quote.

“In 1975 Geller published his first autobiography, My Story, and acknowledged that in his early career, his manager talked him into adding a magic trick to make his performances last longer.[13] This trick involved Geller appearing to guess audience members’ license plate numbers, when in fact his manager had given them to him ahead of time. One of Geller’s most prominent critics is the prominent skeptic James Randi, who has accused Geller repeatedly of trying to pass off magic tricks as paranormal displays. Randi often duplicated Geller’s performances using stage magic techniques.”

I’ll check out Oprah, but am immediately skeptical since she publicly supported The Secret, another load of hogwash.

Actually, at one time the whole of Europe absolutely believed in fairies and unicorns. The whole of Ireland and related Celtic cultures believed in leprechauns. No one has ever disproved the existence of any of them.

There are still cultures today that believe in ghosts, demons, and other “mythical” creatures. None of them have been disproved.

But my question was why you didn’t believe in those. I find it interesting that rather than answer the question, you relied on an appeal to popularity and an appeal to history. “No one ever…” Essentially, what you said is that because a lot of people now don’t take the notion of fairies, etc. seriously, they should not be taken seriously. By that same token, why should I take reincarnation seriously? Can you prove that fairies don’t exist? [I feel like I should’ve more specifically covered Annan’s logical fallacies, discussed them in more detail.]

Off to check out the other sources you mentioned.

I’ll get into The Secret some other time. For now, let’s move on. After the Wikipedia article on The Secret and the pic.


me August 16, 2010 at 8:22pm

I’m reading about Dr. Stevenson now. Immediately in my scant knowledge of him, I find some points that seem at least questionable.

“Stevenson came to see both behaviorism and psychoanalysis as unable to explain the formation of individual characteristics and
personality. In the late 1950s, he reviewed “cases suggestive of reincarnation”, and was impressed by certain similarities among published reports, particularly that a significant proportion of subjects were under the age of 10 when they apparently recalled past lives.[12] He started collecting and investigating cases of children who seemed to recall past lives, without using hypnosis.”

The first issue I have is this pretty much reads as a definition of confirmation bias. [Maybe I should’ve given a dictionary definition of confirmation bias here.] Do I know why kids might be able to recall events from past lives? No. But I also don’t know that fairies don’t exist. However, I assume the latter. Until fairies are definitively proved to exist, must I assume their existence? As you’ve already demonstrated, of course not. Thus, just because a bunch of kids made claims that seemed like reincarnation does not mean that it actually was.

“Seemed to recall past lives.” Another way of putting this might be “told stories.” Just because someone claims to be remembering a past life doesn’t mean they actually are.

“After publishing a paper on reincarnation in 1960, Stevenson was invited to travel to India and Sri Lanka by self-professed psychic and founder of the Parapsychology Foundation Eileen J. Garrett. The trip convinced him that the child cases were plentiful and impressive.”

Invited by a self-professed psychic. How is that any different from a self-professed wizard or alchemist?

I don’t deny that the supposed cases were plentiful and impressive. What I find interesting, though, is that they were by invitation of a psychic and they occurred in a culture that overwhelmingly believes in the phenomenon. That’s like going to Scotland and collecting cases of locals who’ve seen the Loch Ness monster.

I won’t quote the rest of it, but from what I’ve read, it’s a textbook example of both confirmation bias and argument from ignorance. [Arg. I should’ve given a definition of appeal to ignorance. And the problem with that fallacy is that the second people hear the word “ignorance”, they think you’re calling them “stupid”, which I thought Annan was being, but I wasn’t actually accusing him of that.] Certainly, the things described are odd by most people’s standards, but oddness doesn’t equal evidence. And even the so-called physical evidence might have other explanations.

It’s clear to me, then, what you’ve done is looked for “evidence” of something you already believed in. That is confirmation bias and nothing more. When I asked for examples of evidence, the two main pieces you offered were a self-professed magician and a man often criticized of utilizing pseudo-science. Neither are legitimate scientists conducting objectively verifiable research.

Again, I have to ask, if you consider the above as valid evidence, why don’t you believe in fairies? The case of Finthorn Wood and the 19th century photographs British girls took of fairies are both examples of evidence.[I think I should’ve been much more specific about Finthorn Wood and the photographs. They kind of just hang there. The Finthorn Wood case is that there’s a garden in Scotland, Finthorn, wherein people for generations have claimed to have seen fairies and elves and shit. The Cottingley Fairies case is that little girls claimed to interact with fairies in their garden and even produced photographs of their interactions.]

Here’s Wikipedia’s page on Eileen J. Garrett. Here’s Eileen.


Here’s Wikipedia’s page on the Cottingley Fairies case. Here’s a pic.


Annan Boodram August 16, 2010 at 9:27pm
All u’ve done is cursory research and used it seelctively. Geller used mind power to distort the shape of unseen objects and was put through the scientific grill without any evidence being found that he was anything but genuine. In the case of Stevenson I cited a book since u said you wanted books to read. Don’t tell em u have already read it. Look this is not going anywhere since as I pointed out from the very inception your mind is already closed although u pretend otherwise. So this is my last post. Have fun.

me August 16, 2010 at 10:00pm

Open-mindedness does not equal blind acceptance of unsubstantiated claims. If that were true, adults would believe in Santa Claus (which many do, they just call him “god”). Open-mindedness is the willingnes to set aside one’s preconceptions and look at new evidence.

In the case of my student, I was willing to accept a separator-free toilet on an Amtrak train. I thought it unlikely, but I checked it out. Once he’d presented evidence, I readily accepted the fact that I’d been wrong.

Your mind is completely closed on the existence of fairies. You’ve cited no reason, other than an appeal to popularity, that they don’t exist. I cited both the Finthorn Wood case and the case of the girls who took photographs of fairies. Photographs! Look them up if you like.

Gellar admitted to using tricks. It says so right in his autobiography. Have you seen Gellar bend spoons? I mean seen it in person? Have you held the spoon in your hand as he bent it? Do you know how he was “put through the scientific grill”? I’d think that a human able to bend metal spoons with his mind would’ve made world-wide headlines. Unless of course it either didn’t happen or it was a trick.

I don’t need to read all of Shakespeare to know he was a genius. Similarly, I don’t need to read all of Stevenson to know that he couldn’t prove reincarnation. If he’d proved it, it’d be scientific fact like gravity or evolution.

As this is your last post, I’ll humbly ask that you not vote. For, people like you, who form rigid, baseless opinions on made-up hogwash citing nothing other than pseudo-science and parlor tricks, have no right to take part in the democratic process of policy decisions which affect us all.

Yeah, I got a little pissy in the end. What can I say? He was pissing me off. Some back and forth occurred on Facebook, which I’m not willing to track down, but our conversation continued.

me August 22, 2010 at 6:56pm

Sorry for the delay. I had some work obligations. And whenever you’re ready to point out the flaws in my logic, I’m happy to listen.

“let me repeat…the crux of evolution is the life emerged from non-living matter.”

I looked this up and, actually, you’re wrong. Evolution simply describes the process of organisms adapting over time, etc. It has nothing to do with how or why the process (we call “life”) started.

“This has neither been duplicated not validated.”

Wrong again. Since I wasn’t entirely sure, I looked this up as well. It seems that the building blocks of DNA, amino acids, have been around pretty much since the earth formed. Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen etc. were all present. Feel free to look this up for the details. Thus, your assertion that “life couldn’t have come from lifeless matter” seems not only to be completely false, but also very likely what did happen. Not only that, but, as I pointed out to you earlier, the conditions of the early earth and the amino acids upon it have been replicated in the lab. You can look this up as well. [I forget where I found all this origin of life info. I think all I did was look it up on Wikipedia.]

(I’ve attached the 1st part of a Richard Dawkins interview in which he goes into this in some detail.)

You’re employing an appeal to incredulity. You personally don’t know how what you call life came from what you call lifeless matter; therefore, even with evidence to support that which you personally find incredible, you still dismiss it out of hand. I personally don’t understand exactly how our forebears went from grunting to speaking Proto-Indo-European, but it very clearly happened.

You also keep trying to set up a false dichotomy. Your “evidence” for reincarnation can’t be duplicated or verified (which you have admitted), and, rather than address that fact honestly, you point your finger at an irrelevant topic, and, ignoring the evidence, you claim the same criticism. [Here was a huge mistake. I wish I hadn’t called his fallacy a false dichotomy because it wasn’t that. I corrected myself later, but I lost a bit of credibility in the process. I should’ve been ready with the proper fallacy or not mentioned it at all.]

“Now with respect to reincarnation there are hundred and hundreds of documented cases of people from around the world over time being documented.”

But, Annan, surely you must realize that the frequency of reports doesn’t validate them. There have been hundreds and hundreds of documented cases of people claiming to have been abducted by aliens. Do you assume those to be true as well? And if not, why not? If you’re going to employ an appeal to popularity to support your belief, you must then apply the same appeal to any belief.

“Once cannot duplicate a past birth but there is enough validation to make it credible.”

Then you must agree that the notions of alien abduction, Loch Ness monster sightings, and, yes, fairies are also credible. By your own admission, we can’t duplicate reincarnation, thus, it seems your sole standard for evidence is folklore. Must we then take the Grimm Tales as true?

“I know this; I have seen enough documented cases in writing and on TV – to validate reincarnation.”

And I’ve read countless versions of Arthurian legend. That doesn’t make Merlin the Magician real. I’ve also seen footage of dinosaurs, living mummies, and aliens, but Jurassic Park, The Mummy, and Aliens aren’t documentaries. Additionally, as I told you before, I’ve also seen a documentary series of Fox specials on alien autopsy called Alien Autopsy. That doesn’t make the corpse of the alien real.

“its not my job to prove it to you.”

I completely agree, but given that you asserted an incredible notion, the burden of proof rests on your shoulders. Just as it did on my student’s shoulders who had asserted the lack of a separator between the seats and toilets on the Amtrak train.

“I have also read enough on Uri Geller to know that he did the mind power to twist and bend unseen objects and that he was put through the mill by science without been proven a fraud.”

And I’ve read about Harry Houdini, but that doesn’t mean that he used magic to escape from seemingly impossible situations. Not only was Geller proved a fraud, but he also admitted that he’d used tricks. The fact that you’ll willingly believe writings on Geller, but not Geller himself I find baffling.

“Incidentally theories are just what the word connotes – unproven, not validated and based on piecemeal bits and pieces of circumstantial evidence.”

Wrong again. A theory is a model employed to describe evidence. A hypothesis is the initial thought for which we gather the evidence. It is a fact that there was some kind of Proto-Indo-European language. Exactly how, why, and when about it is the theory.

“One can use the same argument for reincarnation as well as many of the other paranormal phenomena. “

Which is exactly why, until proven, we shouldn’t believe in any paranormal phenomena.


And here’s an excellent QualiaSoup video on evolution:

Annan Boodram August 23, 2010 at 2:28am
Again let me repeat: let me repeat…the crux of evolution is the life emerged from non-living matter. Now you can state that I’m wrong a thousand times but that does not make it so. According to the Big Bang theory (another unproven theory) the earth was too hot to facilitate any life forms. So it cooled over millions of years and then life emerged from some sort of primordial soup (sic). In essence life emerged from non life. Besides using the red herring of language development to support evolution et al does not prove that life emerged from non-life. Science has yet to take amino acids and create a living entity. Secondly Geller admitted using tricks on occasion but the fact remains that he did bend and twist unseen metal objects and science was unable to prove fraud. You’re focusing on the former and ignoring the latter. Thirdly I did not admit that evidence for reincarnation cannot be verified — what I said is that there are hundreds, if not thousands of documented cases that HAVE BEEN VERIFIED by reputable entities and individuals. None of those other phenomena you’re referring to have been verified. BIG DIFFERENCE.

me August 25, 2010 at 12:11pm

Sorry for these delays. Other commitments.

“Again let me repeat: let me repeat…the crux of evolution is the life emerged from non-living matter.”

This is from (since you didn’t believe me before): Biology . change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.

Nothing in there about “life from non-living matter.”

From Evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations.[1] After a population splits into smaller groups, these groups evolve independently and may eventually diversify into new species. Ultimately, life is descended from a common ancestry through a long series of these speciation events, stretching back in a tree of life that has grown over the 3.5 billion years of life on Earth. This is visible in anatomical, genetic and other likenesses between groups of organisms, geographical distribution of related species, the fossil record and the recorded genetic changes in living organisms over many generations.”

Now, admittedly, I can see your point that one can ultimately extrapolate “life from non-living matter” from the definition of evolution even though it’s not explicitly stated, but I just wanted us to be clear that that specific claim doesn’t seem to have been made.

But let’s go ahead and pretend the claim has been made. As I’ve already pointed out (and remember, I had to look this up because I wasn’t sure), organic molecules have been around since the beginning. “Life” seems to be the evolution of these molecules into amino acids, DNA, and the like. I’ve already covered how this likely happened, and even if I didn’t, you can look it up.

“Now you can state that I’m wrong a thousand times but that does not make it so.”

I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with you. That’s why not only did I state that you were wrong, but I proved that you were. Except in one case which I’ll get into later.

“According to the Big Bang theory (another unproven theory) the earth was too hot to facilitate any life forms.”

I agree with you on this. As far as I know, the Big Bang theory has not been definitively proven; however, it does seem to be the prominent one at the moment. [I’ve since had the Big Bang Theory confirmed as not only the most probable theory, but a supernatural power giving the initial “push” absolutely unnecessary. I cite Stephen Hawking and my best friend’s wife.]

As for the claim of the earth being too hot, I don’t think that’s true as organic chemicals have been around since the beginning and even today, some types of bacteria not only survive, but flourish in some areas that are extremely hot. If you’re talking dogs and cats as “life forms”, then, yes, clearly they couldn’t have survived a hot earth.

“So it cooled over millions of years and then life emerged from some sort of primordial soup (sic). In essence life emerged from non life.”

Yes, that does seem to be the case as the evidence demonstrates.

“Besides using the red herring of language development to support evolution et al does not prove that life emerged from non-life.”

“Red herring” from Something intended to divert attention from the real problem or matter at hand; a misleading clue.

I accused you of using a red herring because when I pointed out that there is no evidence for reincarnation, rather than address the point, you claimed that there was no evidence for evolution. Your point was irrelevant to mine. We were discussing reincarnation, not evolution. Your perceived intention was to relate one clearly invalid thing with one controversial thing in order to justify your belief in the former. [See what I mean? I pretty much had the one chance to throw his fallacy in his face, but hrew the wrong one, so he got all fussy over another one. I’d lost my chance to have a more rational discussion about the fallacy I’d meant to identify.]

In point of fact, I used my linguistic model in the opposite way of a red herring. I didn’t use it to distract from the point; I used it to analogously illustrate the point. You made claims about evolution. I attempted to discuss those claims in another evolutionary process, linguistics.

And of course citing linguistics doesn’t prove life came from non-life. That obviously wasn’t my intent. You had made an appeal to personal incredulity about life coming from non-life. I was illustrating that I have my own personal incredulity in terms of language evolving from prehistoric, animal grunts. And yet it happened.

“Science has yet to take amino acids and create a living entity.”

If the observed process takes millions of years, the experimental process would take no less. That’s like saying science hasn’t thrown dust in the air and created a planet. Well, no, it hasn’t, but that’s entirely to do with the conditions and time-restraints preventing it.

“Secondly Geller admitted using tricks on occasion but the fact remains that he did bend and twist unseen metal objects and science was unable to prove fraud.”

Yes! Geller used tricks and admitted it! And now you’ve finally admitted it as well! Woo hoo! 🙂

How do you know it’s a fact that he was able to bend and twist unseen metal objects? You said you’ve read about it, but I’ve read about winged horses. Doesn’t make them true. And I’ve also seen footage of dinosaurs, but they clearly don’t walk the earth. Was there any other evidence of Geller’s activities which you hadn’t previously mentioned? If you like, simply drop a URL or link to a YouTube video and I’ll happily check it out on my own.

“Thirdly I did not admit that evidence for reincarnation cannot be verified”

I can find your exact quote if you like. [The occasion didn’t arise for me to do so, but it’s up there where he basically says that the process of reincarnation can’t be verified, but the documentation is validation enough for him.]

“what I said is that there are hundreds, if not thousands of documented cases that HAVE BEEN VERIFIED by reputable entities and individuals.”

By whom, when, and how? How does one verify reincarnation? I sincerely don’t know the answer to that. But I’d love to hear what it is.

More to the point, though, Joseph Smith and dozens of others claimed to have verified the existence of the translating stones that Smith used to interpret God’s word from the golden tablets which then became the Book of Mormon. Do you believe that to have happened? I saw a copy of the signatures of those who swore they saw it happen. They weren’t lying, so then must that also be true?

“None of those other phenomena you’re referring to have been verified. BIG DIFFERENCE. “

Wrong. Alien abductions and near-death experiences have been documented thousands of times and there are countless professionals who verify those claims.

Now to where you weren’t so wrong. The definitions of “theory”: 1 a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity. 2 a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

It seems we were both right. I was using definition 1 and you were using definition 2. The issue I have with this is you are treating theories that fall under 1 as if they fell under 2. That’s intellectually dishonest. For example, you would never dismiss the theory of gravity as “just a theory”; however, I totally agree with you on the Big Bang as falling under definition 2. (Although I need to refresh on Big Bang because I’m pretty sure that it does fall under 1.)

P.S. I’ve attached another video that, while crass, covers many of the questions of evolution [courtesy of Feredir28].

Annan Boodram August 25, 2010 at 12:17pm
I’m sorry my friend but I have neither the time nor the inclination for this. You believe what you will and I’ll do the same. Have a nice life.

me August 25, 2010 at 12:29pm

I know you’ll ignore this, so I’ll just say it. Interesting how you’ve repeatedly claimed that you’ve had neither the inclination nor the time, and yet you’d kept going.

I personally don’t care if the Big Bang, evolution, or any other are true or not. They seem to be, but maybe they aren’t. You, on the other hand, seem to be very emotionally invested in reincarnation (and karma, for that matter) being true. Such willful ignorance leads inevitably to more ignorance. That’s how we get nasty things like the Dark Ages. I’m at least willing to set aside my preconceived notions in the face of evidence. I used to believe in a god, ghosts, reincarnation, karma, and all sorts of other kooky stuff. But I’m willing to admit that there’s no evidence for any of it. I’m sorry to see that your emotional attachments are more important to you than a verifiable reality.

Thank you for the kind send-off and you take care as well.

There you go. I made a few mistakes, but I did my best to back up my claims with either facts or citations that would lead to facts. When I was wrong, I admitted it. I’m sorry that Annan wasn’t mature enough to do the same. Oh well. Fuck him.


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    Is there any truth to it, however? Is reincarnation just an idea, a fantasy? Or is there real evidence to support it? Here’s some of the best evidence available, gathered by researchers who, in some cases, have devoted their lives to the subject. Examine it, then decide for yourself.


    The practice of reaching past lives through hypnosis is controversial, primarily because hypnosis is not a reliable tool. Hypnosis can certainly help reach the unconscious mind, but the information found there is not reliable as truth. It has been shown that the practice can create false memories. That doesn’t mean, however, that regression hypnosis should be dismissed out of hand. If the past life information can be verified through research, the case for reincarnation can be considered more seriously.

    * The most famous case of past life regression through hypnosis is that of Ruth Simmons. In 1952, her therapist, Morey Bernstein, took her back past the point of her birth. Suddenly, Ruth began to speak with an Irish accent and claimed that her name was Bridey Murphy, who lived in 19th century Belfast, Ireland. Ruth recalled many details of her life as Bridey, but, unfortunately, attempts to find out if Ms. Murphy really existed were unsuccessful. There was, however, some indirect evidence for the truth of her story: under hypnosis, Bridey mentioned the names of two grocers in Belfast from whom she bought food, Mr. Farr and John Carrigan. A Belfast librarian found a city directory for 1865-1866 that listed both men as grocers. Her story was told both in a book by Bernstein and in a 1956 movie, The Search for Bridey Murphy.


    Do you have a life-long illness or physical pain that you cannot account for? Their roots could be in some past life trauma, some researchers suspect.

    * In “Have We Really Lived Before?”, Michael C. Pollack, Ph.D., CCHT describes his lower back pain, which grew steadily worse over the years and limited his activities. He believes he found out a possible reason during a series of past life therapy sessions: “I discovered that I had lived at least three prior lifetimes in which I had been killed by being knifed or speared in the low back. After processing and healing the past life experiences my back began to heal.”
    * Research conducted by Nicola Dexter, a past life therapist, has discovered correlations between illnesses and past lives in some of her patients, including: a bulimia sufferer who swallowed salt water in a previous life; a fear of indoor heights caused by carving the ceiling of a church and being killed by falling to the floor; a persistent problem in the shoulder and the arm area having been caused by participating in a tug of war which injured the same arm; a fear of razors and shaving was found to have its root cause in another lifetime where the client had chopped off someone’s fingers with a sword and then as retribution had his entire hand cut off.

    Next Page: Phobias and Nightmares; Children’s Special Knowledge

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    Readers Respond: What is your opinion of the evidence for reincarnation?
    Read responses (53) What Do You Think?
    Suggested Reading

    * The Past Lives of Children
    * The Mystery of Past Life Recall
    * Life Before Birth

    Suggested Reading

    * Deathbed Visions
    * Contacting the Dead in Electronic Age
    * Book Review: The Afterlife Experiments

    Related Articles

    * The Mystery of Past Life Recall – People recall past lives under hypnosis
    * Past Lives – Reincarnation – How Do You Know if You Had a Past Life?
    * The Mystery of Past Life Recall – People recall past lives under hypnosis
    * Native American – Past Life Regression – Reader Stories: My Past Life Regre…
    * Tuesday, June 24, 2008 Oprah Show Recap – Does Past Life Regression Work?

  2. […] course it makes sense that she would. And since, unlike here, I mind if I piss her off for doing so, I readily removed the offending bits. (Though not quite as […]

  3. It can be very frustrating to attempt to hold a mature debate with somebody who is obviously unwilling or unable to examine that there are other possible explanations apart from the one which they take as truth.

    Alot of the time though, I think I am one of those people! Except that my arguments tend to stem from the absolute non-existence of any divine occurrences or entities, while my opponent just as stubbornly argues the opposite.

    I used to believe in reincarnation, as well as karma in the metaphysical sense. But besides my own opinion and the pro reincarnation/karma books I read at the time, there was no objective evidence for either concept.
    Reincarnation sounds nice in theory. We don’t want to have to admit to ourselves that we truly are mortal. I think we would like to imagine ourselves living on forever, either in body or “soul”, and that there is some grand scheme or purpose surrounding our existence.
    Yet to deny our mortality is to deny our existence here and now. There is as much evidence for reincarnation as there is for a real life Easter bunny. Sure, it’s possible. But given the lack of evidence, I’d have to say it isn’t even remotely probable.
    As for karma, well, my first car was named Karma. But that isn’t proof of anything, except for my propensity towards an ironic choice of name for my vehicle, given the highly illegal crap which my driving centered around at the time.
    It would be nice to think that there is such a thing as “divine retribution”. But the reality of the matter is that there is no proof of any such thing. Some people are just assholes, and whatever they’re doing, there is a good chance they’ll probably get away with it.

    • Anton A. Hill Says:

      I used to believe in reincarnation as well–in fact long after I’d become an atheist. But as you pointed out, there’s zero evidence for it and so I had no choice but to let go of my emotional attachment to it.

  4. swagbuck…

    […]My “debate” with Annan “Reincarnation has been verified!” Boodram « Atheist Asshole[…]…

  5. Please keep the article short it will be easy to read it.

    All atheists are welcome to have their own opinion but I really do not get why Ian Stevenson’s research is not even suggestive of reincarnation.

    The most famous objection given is that there is no known mechanism. But I still do not see this as a valid objection. I also observe most atheists saying that easter bunny cannot be disproved does that mean it needs to be researched.

    Honestly I see this kind of attitude as being close minded, since the basic philosophy behind these objections is the materialistic philosophy. So I personally think the objections are not objections but mainly assumptions that since materialistic philosophy is true , any thing that even remotely suggests materialistic philosophy to be untrue is bullshit or garbage.

    I personally find atheists as believers in their materialistic philosophy, they may have reasons to believe in it and call it a reasonable belief but nonetheless it is a belief.

    I better scientific approach is to remove all assumptions and examine things fresh. Not from an opinion or belief but taking ignorance as the starting point.

    • Sorry about the length, but it wasn’t technically an article, rather a posted conversation.

      The reason Stevenson’s research isn’t suggestive of reincarnation is that it’s not scientific.

      Why do you find “no known mechanism” an invalid objection?

      How is “materialistic philosophy” in any way relevant?

      How are you defining “belief”?

      I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of a “better scientific approach,” but I agree that an appropriate approach to any hypothesis is to attempt to falsify it. As I recall, Stevenson doesn’t attempt to falsify the reincarnation hypothesis, but rather confirm it. This approach is non-scientific.

      • Actually Stevenson is not trying to prove or confirm reincarnation. He merely says thay this is what the facts says. And that it suggests reincarnation.

        So when people bring up the mechanism argument. They say as there is no mechanism to suggest this hence the research does not confirm it. Also Ian Stevenson does attempt to falsify his own findings. He covers many objections as well.

        The best way to see a theory is true or not is not to merely falsify it. But test and see if it is worth it’s. This done by examining the arguments both for and against it.

        • Thanks a lot for posting my comment. Really expected you to do so. Whether we agree or disagree I thank you for posting my comment and patiently replying to it.

        • It’s admittedly been a while since I’ve reviewed anything Stevenson said so I’m working from memory, but as I recall, he didn’t attemp to falsify the reincarnation hypothesis, but rather prove it. This is, by definition, non-scientific, as trying to prove a hypothesis can easily lead to confirmation bias, whereas attempting to falsify doesn’t lead to this.

          If Stevenson attempts to falsify, I’d love to know more as that was not what I found.

          Well, i have to disagree with your assessment of theory as some theories, like the Egyptian theory of creation, have no real “arguments” to support them other than some people think that’s what happened. But if we consider “some people think this happened” a valid argument, there are countless beliefs we’d then have to consider as valid scientific theory. It’s much easier, and more effective, to attempt to falsify or declare a “theory” unfalsifiable.

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