@seanhannity gives @MrAtheistPants (and the rest of us) free publicity!

American Atheists’ yuletide billboard

Oh, and Hannity proudly brandishes his ignorance of the Big Bang theory and the theory of Evolution.

So I really like this year’s billboard. It’s simple, to the point, and almost completely clear. I say “almost completely” because I took the “Keep the merry!” part as more general than just keeping Santa. To me, that means keeping all the fun, like egg nog, the gift exchange, the stockings, etc. I’m minorly annoyed that there’s been some confusion out there about the intention of the meaning of “merry,” as you’ll see below, but like I said, it’s minor.

Hannity keeps using words like “narcissistic” and “egotistical.” I don’t think they mean what he thinks they mean.

Anyway, either Silverman is getting better at this, or people like Hannity are getting worse. Even Hannity’s tiny ad hominems are starting to look desperate. I’m glad that Hannity brought up death and the above-mentioned theories because even though there was’t a lot of screen time devoted to them, it was a morsel of exposure for Silverman to discuss them.

Unfortunately, the interviews were pretty one-sided, so there’s below to give more:

14 Responses to “@seanhannity gives @MrAtheistPants (and the rest of us) free publicity!”

  1. Hey Mack,

    Thanks for visiting. I answered your poll. In case my answer isn’t apparent, it was “earlier, now-extinct primate.” Check the genetic/fossil record. Also double-check what evolution actually states, not what morons like Kirk Cameron lie.



  2. Kirk Cameron is a national treasure. 80s tv is so bad it’s awesome. Despite the obligatory lip service paid to Jesus we live
    in a secularized culture (the religious right not withstanding.) I’m with
    Bill Maher’s term apatheist. I don’t fucking know so I won’t make up
    a story to relieve the anxiety of uncertainty and who cares. Religion
    is obviously retarded and to act like this assertion is edgy pushes
    the cultural context of discourse backwards. It’s a given in the same
    way that pot is a very safe drug that should be legal is a given. That
    being said all religions are not the same and should be examined
    and understood in terms of the philosophical, intellectual(using that term very broadly as we’re discussing religion) and cultural content.
    I believe that the teachings of Jesus have an underlying theme of
    compassion and equality that have informed the historical development of Western democracies and the concept of human
    rights. Judaism has a psychology and tradition of tolerance and
    intellectual exploration (you Israel bashers who think you’re left wing
    go fuck yourselves, you’re uninformed and your oblivion to the abuse
    of women and gay people shows that you are not enlightened or moral) Islam not so much. While I oppose the indoctrination of
    religious affiliation as it’s not really a free choice when it’s imposed
    at such a young age and the societal pressures are real paying
    lip service to these cultural myths isn’t a huge threat to our morality
    or society as far as I’m concerned. That David Silverwhatever
    doesn’t diferentiate between Christianity and Islam is ignorant.
    Oh but Christians are violent too look at those who bomb abortion
    clinics. Our societies have strong moral and emotional objection
    to these acts and these perpetraters are captured and legally
    punished with the support of our society. Islamic theocracies
    not so much (and the religion which is also a political doctrine
    mandates theocracy.) Jesus and Mohommed not the same thing.
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays (I say this in the cultural
    not the theocratic sense) and believe what you want because we
    don’t jail or kill people because of what they believe in free societies
    though if you believe these unexamined fairy tails you’re a moron.
    That’s what I believe which is my right. Now go get drunk and have
    some ugly family scenes. Thats what this season is all about!

  3. I’m no zooligist but aren’t the catagories in that poll like saying is it
    cat or dog or lion or jaguar or puma or wolf or basset hound or
    poodle (I hope it’s poodle.) Actually the fact of evolution wouldn’t
    be mutually exclusive with the engineering of some diety like
    entity who happens to be fond of sporting white robes and long beards. I would think (once again not a scientist) that the prehistoric
    precursors of homo sapiens were very different than modern apes
    and monkeys (some of them are actually quite contemporary in their
    style and sensibilities.) Based on anecdotal evidence I speculate
    the universe is ruled by energies and forces that do encompass
    some agenda and meaning which is far more complex than humans can or are meant to understand in the physical realm. Reincarnation
    is real we’ve all had past lives and there is ample evidence to support the existence of this. Psychic abilities and the reality of
    the souls and energies of people who have died is an indesputable
    fact. Too many otherwise conventional and objectively sane people
    have had experiences and haunted sites have numerous reports
    of incidents not isolated accounts. Parapsychology is a scientific
    field with electrical equiptment and methodology. Cops (who are
    not exactly reading tea leaves and dancing around some new age
    maypole) work with psychics because they can get results it’s a real thing. People who have had near death experiences overwhelmingly
    report the same type of scenario (warm beckoning light passed relatives and a peaceful feeling despite the fear and dread human
    culture and psychology has about death.) Religion is man made
    stories but I do find overwhelming evidence that there is more to
    human existence and the universe than arbitrary physical reality.
    But I (or anyone) can’t say or know for sure (and I don’t think we’re meant to in the here and now) so let’s not make up stupid stories
    and brainwash our children from a young age. Just say I don’t
    know. That’s apatheism. Thanks to Bill Maher for the term.

    • Good thing anecdotal evidence is almost entirely unreliable, otherwise, we’d all be prone to believe some pretty stupid, made-up bullshit. You’re kidding about reincarnation, psychics, etc., right? Right?? 🙂

  4. Not at all! Anectotal observation is just a step away from emperical
    observation but scientific orginized data is always preferred though that can be subject to procedural and factual bias and flaw. Psychic
    ability(which we all have ) and reincarnation are not made up.
    Why do cops work with psychics there have been accounts of
    people recounting very specific details about places they’d never
    been (often under hypnosis) and children speaking languages they
    never learned. To deny this is to ignore evidence. And the alien
    thing once again obviously something real is there. Just because
    we don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Too much evidence. The hard line tangable logic train of reasoning is no different than the blind acceptance of fairy tails. I put forth once again the idea of we can’t know for sure but psychic past lives and
    ETs too much evidence to dismiss as made up.

    • Anecdotal observation, when pointing out things like “I saw a blue car yesterday,” is completely legitimate. But no where in that quoted statement is there anything out of the ordinary or deciding whether someone will spend his life in jail or be executed. If the statement were “I saw a blue dragon yesterday,” the immediately, the statement and speaker would be suspect. Does the speaker mean a literal blue dragon? Does the speaker mean a stuffed animal shaped like a blue dragon? Does the speaker mean the video game “Blue Dragon”? The statement would be met with immediate skepticism. If the speaker then declared that he meant the first one, no one, yes, no one would believe the claim based solely on its own merits. All of us, yes, every last one, would require more evidence. Why? Because anecdotal evidence, while a form of evidence, is quite possibly the worst possible to prove just about anything. But don’t just take my word for it, take the fact that countless court cases built solely on anecdotal evidence have either been thrown out, overturned, or the defendants exonerated. Take the fact that not one single scientific theory has ever been established as such solely through anecdotal evidence.

      Yes, any one given scientific experiment can be victim to bias or flaw, that’s why scientific theory has to be testable, falsifiable, and reproducible to be considered scientific. If a scientific theory is sound, it will withstand repeated tests, bias notwithstanding.

      Psychic ability and reincarnation are absolutely made up. There was a point in human history in which these concepts, kind of like fairy tales and Star Trek, were completely unknown to us because, unlike physics, biology, or any other scientific discipline, someone actually had to sit down and compose them. Had they not, we never would’ve “discovered” any of them. This holds true when you consider that scientific disciplines are identical across all contemporary cultures, but legends of monsters, demons, or whatever else, contain all kinds of culturally influenced variation. There are no objective standards because they’re made up. And like any fictional canon, someone actually had to decide on what the canonical fiction was.

      What’s your evidence that we all have psychic ability?

      Some cops work with some psychics some of the time because some cops are stupid and have no ethical issues with wasting taxpayer money on frauds.

      Someone recounting details about a place they’ve never been proves nothing. Anyone can do that.

      Name a single proven example of a child fluently speaking a language he couldn’t possibly have learned. I’m not talking a Catholic’s child speaking some Latin. I’m talking someone like me speaking fluent Bantu. Fluency to the point where a native Bantu speaker can’t tell the difference between my speech and his relative’s.

      I deny it because there is no evidence. There’s only the bullshit made up or embellished by liars and charlatans looking to take advantage of the stupid and gullible.

      There is zero evidence of aliens visiting. All pre-’40s accounts of alien visitation recalled aliens looking like common imagined images of the time. Then, post-’40s alien visitation accounts reported aliens looking like the more modern large, oval heads, large, oval eyes, grey skin, etc. crap. Why? Because the latter image had grown more common in the public conscience.

      You’re right, just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean it’s not there. The entire lack of evidence means it’s not there. Name any evidence at all that wasn’t embellished, forged, or faked. Name only evidence that has been independently, objectively verified. You won’t because you can’t because it doesn’t exist.

  5. I’m going to search the web right now. What I know about
    psychics I’ve seen on TV and read about and people I’ve known with
    psychic abilities (not some gypsy in a store front those are scam
    artists) is they are initially very troubled and frightened by
    their sensitivities. They don’t control what they see it’s not
    something they can exercise at will and the entities that come to
    them and the vivid nightmares they have (generally about people and
    events that are completely removed personally from them) are very
    upsetting. Those I’ve known are not professional psychics. I’ve
    seen a series about psychic kids who are given a special kind of
    therapy to help them control and manage the things they see and
    feel. This is not a scam these kids are really tortured and
    traumatized by their experiences. They are clearly not suffering
    from some disassociative psychiatric disorder or attention seeking
    (nor are their parents.) There are many places that are reputed to
    be haunted (or have a lot of energies hanging around) with endless
    accounts of unexplainable incidents by a lot of people with no
    history of mental illness and no financial interest in telling
    their story. I don’t mean things that go bump in the night which
    could have a logical explanation. Usually a research is undertaken
    to find the history of all who resided in the place and what their
    stories were. People have reported being pushed doors being slammed
    hearing voices or laughter and seeing people usually in attire from
    another era. Usually their reaction is to get the fuck out because
    it’s scary. When several people report seeing a little girl of a
    certain description and research finds some intense things happened
    to a little girl who lived there 100 years ago that’s beyond
    anecdotal evidence. Places with residual energies tend to be the
    sites where things like murders murder/suicides and other extreme
    things have happened. There is a show now where a psychic and
    investigator explore a space without communicating (this is done
    indepth) and compare information at the end. Parapsychology is an
    academic and scientific area of research and study and many
    controlled tests have been conducted in labs with people who have
    psychic abilities (ie: a tester may hold up a series of cards where
    the person believed to be psychic can’t see them and ofcourse the
    results are being compared to the results of the general public.
    Very sensitive equipment that measures electrical energy is brought
    into areas thought to have energies going on sometimes voices are
    recorded. These are scientists they want evidence and the truth and
    that is why I say the body of evidence is not only vast but beyond
    anecdotal. Not purporting to know or understand everything or even
    anything but there’s definately something there. I have seen news
    magazine pieces about people who inexplicably knew very specific
    things about places they’d never been while under hypnosis
    including if I recall correctly the name they had at the time.
    Investigation was done to find the place and people who had lived
    there. I think recurring dreams were the reason these people were
    seeking help (from trained mental health care professionals .)
    There is a book called Many Lives Many Masters by a psychiatrist
    who accidentally stumbled on to the past life thing while
    performing hypnosis (this occured over many sessions) with an
    uneducated secratary who when regressed to a past life began
    describing attire, in a very subjective way, as in I’m wearing,
    that was exactly the clothing worn in a certain ancient
    civilization, she didn’t say where she was but the Dr. was able to
    piece together where and when it was from the details, she had no
    way of knowing these historical facts and she was under hypnosis at
    the time. As for aliens they have found the general physical
    description to be consistent across universally broad cultural
    lines but I was unaware of the change in the 1940s. All I can say
    is Stonehenge crop circles pyramids and Roswell (there’s been a lot
    of conspiracy theorizing about the military covering up evidence of
    ETs ) it’s more than likely that there is some other intellegent
    life in this universe mankind knows relatively little about. Think
    about how little science and medicine know about the brain. They
    say we only use 10% of our brains. I speculate that psychic ability
    is a part of the brain that goes pretty much undeveloped in most
    people (not a bad thing I’ve noticed that those with psychic
    abilities not an absolute and it manifests in many different
    degrees and ways seem to have a sort of flattened muted intellect
    and connection with subjective emotion these things may block
    receptiveness to other planes dementions or whatever but they are a
    crucial part of the human experience and hold great meaning.) When
    we dream we are working through emotional and psychological issues
    but our subconcsious mind is also tapping into the psychic insights
    we all have. When someone close to you passes you will have dreams
    about them that are often more vivid and less surreal than most
    dreams. When people refer to instinct or trusting your gut (which
    is generally advised) that is a psychic dynamic. When people “have
    a feeling” this isn’t just illogical and baseless.

    • I see, so because you saw psychics on TV, psychic ability must be true.

      “Reputed to be haunted” doesn’t mean “haunted.” Energies don’t “hang around.” That’s not how energy works. Look it up.

      Name one scientific test of psychic ability that has 100% proved psychic ability.

      Voices are recorded?? Oh, please. You’re not seriously entertaining that bullshit.

      Okay, it’s very clear you have zero interest in skeptically investigating any of this–doubting it until it’s proved–which is fine, that’s your right, but you’re also clearly confirming your bias in what you want to believe.

  6. Reincarnation research

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Reincarnation research is a branch of parapsychology concerning reincarnation, specifically the study of “cases of the reincarnation type”, that is, cases in which a young child “spontaneously makes remarks about a previous life he would have led before his birth”,[1] about a person with whom the child identifies himself.[2] Psychiatrist Ian Stevenson, from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, investigated many reports of young children who claimed to remember a past life. He conducted more than 2,500 case studies over a period of 40 years and published twelve books, including Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation and Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Stevenson retired in 2002, and psychiatrist Jim B. Tucker took over his work and wrote Life Before Life. Other people who have undertaken research on reincarnation include Satwant Pasricha, Godwin Samararatne, Antonia Mills, and Erlendur Haraldsson. Research methods have involved analysis of childhood memories, corresponding birthmarks, and psychological/cultural characteristics.

    No line of research has conclusively demonstrated the existence of reincarnation. The scientific community in general considers reincarnation research to be pseudoscientific.[3][4] Some parapsychologists advocate developing protocols to guide, sort, compare, and evaluate cases studies.[5]

    [hide] 1 Researchers
    2 Methods 2.1 Children’s memories
    2.2 Corresponding birthmarks
    2.3 Psychological and cultural characteristics
    2.4 Independent replication
    2.5 Reviews
    2.6 Research protocols

    3 Criticism
    4 See also
    5 References
    6 Bibliography
    7 External links

    [edit] Researchers

    Several researchers are examining cases of early childhood past life memories and birthmarks at the University of Virginia Division of Perceptual Studies in the School of Medicine. Two of the best known researchers at Virginia are the psychiatrists Jim B. Tucker (Bonner-Lowry Associate Professor of Personality Studies) and Ian Stevenson (Professor of psychiatry and head of the Division of Perceptual Studies until his retirement in 2002) and between them they have published many books and dozens of research papers in peer-reviewed journals.[6]

    Other people who have undertaken research on reincarnation include Satwant Pasricha, Antonia Mills, Godwin Samararatne, Erlendur Haraldsson and H. H. Jürgen Keil. Pasricha is the head of the Department of Clinical Psychology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India.[7] In 2008, she wrote the book Can the Mind Survive Beyond Death?: Reincarnation Research.[8] Mills is an anthropologist and professor of First Nation Studies at University of Northern British Columbia, specializing in First Nations peoples’ reincarnation beliefs and cases.[9] In 1994, she co-edited (with Richard Slobodin) Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit. Haraldsson is Professor Emeritus of psychology at the Faculty of social science at the University of Iceland.[citation needed]

    Mills, Haraldsson and Keil conducted independent replication studies of Stevenson’s reincarnation research from 1987 to 1994[2] and subsequently continued independent research in the field.

    [edit] Methods

    [edit] Children’s memories

    Ian Stevenson, a Canadian biochemist and professor of psychiatry, investigated many reports of young children who claimed to remember a past life with events that occurred during a previous life, ultimately conducting more than 2,500 case studies over the course of his lifetime and publishing twelve books. Stevenson undertook reincarnation research throughout the world, including North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.[10]

    According to Stevenson, childhood memories ostensibly related to reincarnation normally occur between the ages of three and seven years then fade shortly afterwards. He compared the memories with reports of people known to the deceased, attempting to do so before any contact between the child and the deceased’s family had occurred.[11]

    Stevenson found that the vast majority of cases investigated involved people who had met some sort of violent or untimely death.[11][12]

    [edit] Corresponding birthmarks

    Some 35 percent of the subjects examined by Stevenson had birthmarks or birth defects. Stevenson reported that in the majority of these cases “the subject’s marks or defects correspond to injuries or illness experienced by the deceased person who the subject remembers; and medical documents have confirmed this correspondence in more than forty cases”.[13] Many of the birthmarks are not just small discolourations. They are “often unusual in shape or size and are often puckered or raised rather than simply being flat. Some can be quite dramatic and unusual in appearance.”[14] Stevenson believed that the existence of birth marks and deformities on children, when they occurred at the location of fatal wounds in the deceased, provided the best evidence for reincarnation.[12] and he subsequently wrote Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects.[15]

    [edit] Psychological and cultural characteristics

    Erlendur Haraldsson and colleagues conducted several studies of the personality, abilities and psychological characteristics of children who claim memories of a previous life, comparing them with paired children who did not.[16][17][18] The objective of these studies was to determine the role certain psychological characteristics the children might have as possible explanations for their past-life memories, such as, fantasy, suggestibility, social isolation, dissociation and attention seeking. In a study of 23 children pairs in Sri Lanka, those claiming memories of a previous life had greater verbal skills and better memory than their peers, performed much better in school, and were more socially active, but were not more suggestible.[16] In a further study of 27 children pairs in Sri Lanka, one evaluation checklist revealed that the target children exhibited more behavioral problems, including oppositional traits, and obsessional and perfectionistic characteristics, and a dissociation instrument showed them to have dissociative tendencies such as rapid changes in personality and frequent daydreaming.[17] In a later study of 30 children pairs from Lebanon, children claiming memories of a previous life tested higher for daydreaming, attention seeking and dissociation but not for suggestibility and social isolation. The level of dissociation was much lower than cases of multiple personality and was not clinically relevant. There was some evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms; eighty percent of the children spoke of memories of a violent death, mostly from accidents but also war-related deaths and murders. It is possible the repeated appearance of this imagery serves as a stressor.[18]

    Antonia Mills reported an on-going longitudinal study of Hindu and Muslim children who reported memories of a previous life, both with and without a shift in religion, from Hindu to Muslim or vice versa.[19] The objective is to evaluate the later effect of the children’s experience as young adults, how it impacts their attitude toward efforts at Hindu—Muslim reconciliation, their integration in their communities, and whether they score higher on dissociative and psychic experience scales than those who have no such memories. These cases of a shift in religion are very rare. Reincarnation is accepted as a reality by Hindus, yet most of the reported cases entail someone who died violently and came back quickly. Muslims do not formally accept reincarnation as a possibility, yet they report about as many cases of children remembering a life in the “other” religion as do the Hindus.[original research?]

    [edit] Independent replication

    In further research, Antonia Mills, an anthropologist specializing in First Nations studies, published studies of reincarnation cases among First Nations peoples, including cases involving birthmarks.[20][21][22] In a summary of her work,[23] Mills concluded that the numerous cases of the reincarnation type require an explanation for which reincarnation appears to be the most compelling. However, it is impossible to eliminate other possible sources of the child’s knowledge. Cryptomnesia or amnesia as the source of the information may be present in some cases but are unlikely to account for most of them. Other paranormal means of communication such as extrasensory perception (ESP) may account for some elements of some cases, but the evidence for telepathic or other types of ESP indicate that they alone could not account for the level of knowledge and the personal characteristics shown in these cases. Mills suggested three criteria be used as guidelines to evaluate whether reported cases of reincarnation are indicative of more than cultural construction and wishful thinking:[23]
    1.Statements made by the child based on knowledge the child could not have learned through normal means such as the name of the previous personality and the mode of death, and speaking from the point of view of the previous personality including recognition of people, objects and places.
    2.The presence of skills and interests in the child which it cannot be expected to have acquired in the current life such as speaking a language unknown to the current family and community, the ability to play a musical instrument, or abnormal philias or phobias.
    3.Specific birthmarks or birth defects which correspond to wounds or marks on the previous personality, comparing them to photographs, medical records or autopsies of the previous personality. In cases where the mother witnessed the marks or wounds on the previous personality, one cannot eliminate the possibility that the mother’s awareness had an impact on the creation of the birthmark.

    [edit] Reviews

    Old Souls: Scientific Evidence From Children Who Remember Previous Lives is a non-fiction book by journalist Tom Shroder. An editor at the Washington Post, Shroder traveled extensively with Ian Stevenson, as he conducted past life and reincarnation research in Lebanon, India and the American South.[24] While Stevenson wrote extensively on his reincarnation studies, his work earned limited circulation outside academia. At the outset, Shroder sees his role not only as observer, but also as skeptic. But as his journey with Stevenson progresses, Shroder finds it increasingly difficult to reject the possibility of past lives.[25]

    Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives is a 2005 book written by psychiatrist Jim B. Tucker, which presents an overview of more than 40 years of reincarnation research at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.[26] Life Before Life has been translated into ten languages[27] and the foreword to the book is written by Ian Stevenson.[28] Psychiatrist Jim Tucker took over Stevenson’s work on his retirement in 2002.

    Paul Edwards, a philosopher and skeptic, has analyzed many of accounts of reincarnation, and called them anecdotal.[29] while also suggesting that claims of evidence for reincarnation originate from selective thinking and from the false memories that often result from one’s own belief system and basic fears, and thus cannot be counted as empirical evidence.

    [edit] Research protocols

    In 2000, Jim Tucker demonstrated the way in which the University of Virginia has used the ‘strength-of-case scale’ (SOCS) to sort and classify about 800 cases. The SOCS uses four criteria to evaluate a reincarnation case: (1) whether it involves birthmarks/defects that correspond to the supposed previous life; (2) the strength of the statements made about the previous life; (3) the relevant behaviours exhibited, as they relate to the previous life; and (4) an evaluation of a possible connection between the child reporting a previous life and the supposed previous life.[30][5]

    Antonia Mills used the SOCS scale to re-evaluate the case of Ajendra Singh Chauhan,[31] then assessing what the score would have been had Ajendra’s father not suspected that his son’s statements represented a case of reincarnation and had not asked him questions. Ajendra made 12 statements spontaneously without questioning and a further 15 statements in response to his father’s questions. The Ajendra case would have had a SOCS score of 0 and would not have been “solved”, had the father not asked questions. As a result of the father’s questions, the case was solved and most of Ajendra’s statements were verified with a total SOCS score of 31, ranking high on the SOCS scale. This result shows how important parental questioning can be in eliciting the information necessary for solving a case. The case demonstrated the importance of having a written record of the child’s statements before the case is solved, to prevent possible cultural elaboration. In this case, after-the-fact embroidery was checked and was found less accurate, as it has been found in other cases, than the child’s initial statements.

    Jonathan Edelmann and William Bernet say that the SOCS is an important tool for studying reincarnation. But an ideal research protocol would have the sort of evidence and employ the research methods able to “give substantive weight to a reincarnation hypothesis, even for those who have physicalism as a metaphysical bias and are therefore highly sceptical of reincarnation case studies”.[5] Edelmann and Bernet go on to say:

    In order to have an ideal protocol for reincarnation research, the standards, acceptable practices, and methods should be carefully outlined and reviewed by professionals in fields as varied as psychology, psychiatry, parapsychology, forensic science, and anthropology. The group must hold varying degrees of sympathy and skepticism for the belief in reincarnation so as to add as much objectivity and balance to the discussion as possible.[5]

    Antonia Mills and Steven Lynn[32] noted a number of methodological issues in reincarnation research:
    The need for independent replication of Stevenson and his associates’ work. A number of replications have been carried out by independent researchers, for example Mills, Haraldsson and Keil,[2] who augmented Stevenson’s work with methods such as (1) video-recording children who visit the village and home of a previous personality for the first time,[33] and (2) assessing the psychological characteristics of children who appear to remember and act on the basis of experiences from a previous life.[16][17]
    Interviewer effects. An interviewer’s communications may cause young children to incorporate misinformation into their accounts and repeat it as actual experience. Thus, researchers’ and others’ expectations, communications and suggestions may shape a child’s past-life report. It would therefore be worthwhile to study the role of investigator effects in studies of children’s past-life memory reports.
    Difficulties with probability assessments. It is difficult to assess whether a child’s statements regarding a past life exceed chance probability. Each case is unique and needs its own assessment of probabilities. For example, how does one verify the correctness of a detailed statement (e.g., how many people had two water buffaloes in the village decades earlier) or how much weight does one give to incorrect or invalid statements (e.g., statements that are self-contradictory)? Stevenson assessed the chance probability to be very low of having one or more birthmarks on the same regions of the body as the injuries to the previous personality, for example with bullet entry and exit wounds and the corresponding birthmarks. However, the assessment of birthmarks is very complex and collaboration with geneticists would be useful. Also, when a case is “solved” on the basis of corresponding bodily markings, the accuracy of the child’s statements needs to be evaluated, noting whether socializers imparted knowledge to the child consistent with the reincarnation interpretation.

    [edit] Criticism

    Antonia Mills and Steven Lynn[32] discussed three explanations that have been offered by various researchers for spontaneous childhood past-life experiences:
    The reincarnation hypothesis, which holds that the reported experiences are veridical.
    The ESP hypothesis, which holds that the reported experiences are transmitted telepathically or through extrasensory perception.
    The sociocognitive hypothesis, which holds that the experiences are a cultural construction and interpretation of behavior.

    A fourth explanation, that the experiences are the result of deliberately fraudulent or unconsciously motivated self-deception driven by a need for notoriety, self-aggrandizement or confirmation of a belief in reincarnation, was felt by Mills and Lynn to be neither a satisfactory nor plausible explanation for many of the most impressive and thoroughly investigated cases.[32]

    Stevenson never claimed that he had proved the existence of reincarnation, and cautiously referred to his cases as being “of the reincarnation type” or “suggestive of reincarnation”.[34] He concluded that “reincarnation is the best — even though not the only — explanation for the stronger cases we have investigated”.[35] Jim Tucker recognizes that this may seem to be an “astounding statement,” that “memories, emotions and physical injuries can sometimes carry over from one life to the next”.[35] However, he argues that this is no more astounding than many currently accepted ideas in physics seemed to be when they were originally proposed.[35]

    Research on reincarnation has received a mixed response. His methodology was criticized for providing no conclusive evidence for the existence of past lives.[36] In a book review criticizing one of Stevensons’ books, the reviewer raised the concern that many of Stevenson’s examples were gathered in cultures with pre-existing belief in reincarnation.[37] In order to address this type of concern, Stevenson wrote European Cases of the Reincarnation Type (2003) which presented 40 cases he examined in Europe.[38] Stevenson’s obituary in the New York Times stated: “Spurned by most academic scientists, Dr. Stevenson was to his supporters a misunderstood genius, bravely pushing the boundaries of science. To his detractors, he was earnest, dogged but ultimately misguided, led astray by gullibility, wishful thinking and a tendency to see science where others saw superstition”.[15]

    Deducing from this research the conclusion that reincarnation is a proven fact has been listed as an example of pseudoscience.[39]

    [edit] See also
    Carl Wickland
    List of parapsychology topics
    Near-death experience
    Society for Psychical Research

    [edit] References

    1.^ Rivas, Titus (2003). “Three Cases of the Reincarnation Type in the Netherlands”. Journal of ScientiŽc Exploration 17 (3): 527-532.
    2.^ a b c Mills, A., Haraldsson, E., and Keil, H. H. J. (1994). Replication studies of cases suggestive of reincarnation by three independent investigators. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 88, 207-219. Reprint.
    3.^ Kurtz P. (2006). “Two Sources of Unreason in Democratic Society: The paranormal and religion”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 775: 493–504. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1996.tb23166.x.
    4.^ Smith, Jonathan C (2009). Pseudoscience and Extraordinary Claims of the Paranormal: A Critical Thinker’s Toolkit. New York: Wiley Blackwell. p. 241. ISBN 978-1-4051-8123-5.
    5.^ a b c d Jonathan Edelmann and William Bernet (2007). “Setting Criteria for Ideal Reincarnation Research”. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 14, No. 12. p. 92–101.
    6.^ “Publications — School of Medicine at the University of Virginia”. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
    7.^ Sekar K et al.. “Tsunami: Psychosocial care for individuals & families” (pdf). http://www.tn.gov.in. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
    8.^ Satwant Pasricha (2008). Can the Mind Survive Beyond Death?: Reincarnation Research, 184 pages.
    9.^ “University of Northern British Columbia: First Nations Studies Faculty”. Retrieved 2012-08-26. “First Nations … reincarnation beliefs and cases are [among] her current research interests.”
    10.^ Cordón LA (2005). Popular psychology: an encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. pp. 183–5. ISBN 0-313-32457-3.
    11.^ a b Tucker, Jim (2005). Life before life: a scientific investigation of children’s memories of previous lives. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-312-32137-6.
    12.^ a b Cadoret, R (2005). “Book Forum: Ethics, Values, and Religion – European Cases of the Reincarnation Type”. The American Journal of Psychiatry 162 (4): 823–4. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.4.823.
    13.^ Jane Henry (2005). Parapsychology: research on exceptional experiences Routledge, p. 224.
    14.^ Tucker, 2005, p.10
    15.^ a b Margalit Fox (February 18, 2007). “Ian Pretyman Stevenson, 88; Studied Claims of Past Lives”. New York Times.
    16.^ a b c Haraldsson, E. (1995). Personality and Abilities of Children Claiming Previous-Life Memories, Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 183(7), 445-451.
    17.^ a b c Haraldsson, Erlendur, Patrick Fowler & Vimala Periyannanpillai (2000). Psychological Characteristics of Children Who Speak of a Previous Life: A Further Field Study in Sri Lanka. Transcultural Psychiatry, 37, 525-544. Reprint
    18.^ a b Haraldsson, Erlendur (2003). Children who speak of past-life experiences: Is there a psychological explanation? Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 76, 55-67. Reprint
    19.^ Mills, Antonia (2006). Back from Death: Young Adults in Northern India Who as Children Were Said to Remember a Previous Life, with or without a Shift in Religion (Hindu to Moslem or Vice Versa). Anthropology and Humanism, Volume 31, Issue 2, 141–156.
    20.^ Mills, A. (1994). Rebirth and Identity: Three Gitksan cases of pierced-ear birthmarks. In Antonia Mills and Richard Slobodin (Eds.), Amerindian Rebrith: Reincarnation belief among North American Indians and Inuit (pp. 211-241), Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.
    21.^ Mills, A. (1988). A Preliminary Investigation of Cases of Reincarnation among the Beaver and Gitksan Indians, Anthropologica, Vol. 30, No. 1, p. 23-59.
    22.^ Mills, A. C. (1988). A comparison of Wet’suwet’en cases of the reincarnation type with Gitksan and Beaver, Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 385-415.
    23.^ a b Mills, Antonia (1994). Making a scientific investigation of ethnographic cases suggestive of reincarnation. In David E. Young and Jean-Guy Goulet, Being Changed by Cross-cultural Encounters: The anthropology of extraordinary experience (pp. 237-270). Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1994.
    24.^ “Searching out Old Souls”, by Karen R. Long, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, August 19, 1999, page 5E. Online at Google News. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
    25.^ Kenny, Thane (January 10, 2000). “Little Johnny Just Isn’t Himself Today”. Weekly Wire.
    26.^ Butziger, R. “A Scientific Look at Reincarnation”, PsycCRITIQUES, 51(22), May 31, 2006, p. 282.
    27.^ Cedar Creek Institute Board Members: Jim B. Tucker
    28.^ Jim B. Tucker (2005). Life Before Life: A scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 256pp. ISBN 0-312-32137-6.
    29.^ Rockley, Richard. Book Review: Children who remember previous lives[dead link]
    30.^ Tucker, Jim B. (2000). A Scale to Measure the Strength of Children’s Claims of Previous Lives: Methodology and Initial Findings. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 14, No. 4, 571–581. Reprint
    31.^ Mills, Antonia (2004). Inferences from the Case of Ajendra Singh Chauhan: The Effect of Parental Questioning, of Meeting the “Previous Life” Family, an Aborted Attempt to Quantify Probabilities, and the Impact on His Life as a Young Adult. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 18, No. 4, 609–641. Reprint
    32.^ a b c Mills, Antonia, and Lynn, Steven Jay (2000). Past-life experiences, in Cardeña, Etzel; Lynn, Steven Jay; and Krippner, Stanley (Eds). Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the scientific evidence, (pp. 283-313). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2000.
    33.^ Mills, Antonia (2003). Are Children with Imaginary Playmates and Children Said to Remember Previous Lives Cross-Culturally Comparable Categories? Transcultural Psychiatry, vol. 40, no. 1, 62-90.
    34.^ Harvey J. Irwin (2004). An introduction to parapsychology McFarland, p. 218.
    35.^ a b c Jim B. Tucker (2005). Life Before Life: A scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives, St. Martin’s Press, New York, p. 211.
    36.^ Edelmann, J.; Bernet, W. (2007). “Setting Criteria for Ideal Reincarnation Research”. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (12): 92.
    37.^ Rockley, R (2002-11-01). “Book Review: Children who remember previous lives, A question of reincarnation, Ian Stevenson”. Skeptic Report. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
    38.^ K. Farcnik. European Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 57, Issue 5, November 2004, 505-506.
    39.^ Kurtz P. (2006). “Two Sources of Unreason in Democratic Society: The paranormal and religion”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 775 (1 Phagocytes): 493–504. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1996.tb23166.x.

    [edit] Bibliography
    Chakri, C.T.K (1978), “Reincarnation research: Method and Interpretation”, in Signet Handbook of parapsychology, edited by Martin Ebon, New York: New American Library, 313-324.
    Edwards, Paul. (2001). Reincarnation: A Critical Examination, ISBN 1-57392-921-2
    Haraldsson, Erlendur, Godwin Samararatne: Children who speak of memories of a previous life as a Buddhist monk. Three new cases. In: Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. 63 (1999), S. 268-291. ISSN 0037-1475; PDF (1,8 MB)
    Erlendur Haraldsson (2003). Children who speak of past-life experiences: Is there a psychological explanation? Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice. 76, 1, 55-67.
    Erlendur Haraldsson, Patrick Fowler & Vimala Periyannanpillai (2000). Psychological Characteristics of Children Who Speak of a Previous Life: A Further Field Study in Sri Lanka Transcultural Psychiatry, 37, 525-544.
    Erlendur Haraldsson (1995). Personality and abilities of children claiming previous-life memories. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 183(7), 445-451.
    Erlendur Haraldsson (1995). Reinkarnation. In G. L. Eberlein (Ed.) Kleine Lexikon der Parawissenschaften. München: C. H. Beckschen Verlagsbuchhandlung, 157-164.
    Keil H.H.J., and Tucker J.B. (2000). “An unusual birthmark case thought to be linked to a person who had previously died’, Psychological Reports, 87:1067-1074.
    Mills, Antonia, and Richard Slobodin (Eds.), Amerindian Rebrith: Reincarnation belief among North American Indians and Inuit. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.
    Mills, A., Haraldsson, E., and Keil, H. H. J. (1994). Replication studies of cases suggestive of reincarnation by three independent investigators. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 88, 207-219. Reprint.
    Mills, Antonia, and Lynn, Steven Jay (2000). Past-life experiences. In Cardeña, Etzel; Lynn, Steven Jay; and Krippner, Stanley (Eds). Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the scientific evidence, (pp. 283-313). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, 2000.
    Pasricha, S.K., Keil, J., Tucker, J.B. and I. Stevenson, (2005). “Some Bodily Malformations Attributed to Previous Lives”, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 19(3):359-383.
    Satwant Pasricha (2008). Can the Mind Survive Beyond Death?: Reincarnation Research, 184 pages.
    Ramster, Peter. (1990). In Search of Lives Past, ISBN 0-646-00021-7
    Rivas, Titus. (2003). “Three Cases of the Reincarnation Type in the Netherlands”, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 17(3): 527-532.
    Roach, Mary. (2005). Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. ISBN 0-393-05962-6
    Stevenson, Ian (1974). Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, second (revised and enlarged) edition, University of Virginia Press, ISBN 978-0-8139-0872-4
    Stevenson, Ian. (1993).”Birthmarks and Birth Defects Corresponding to Wounds on Deceased Persons”, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 7:403-410.
    Stevenson, Ian. (1997). Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects ISBN 0-275-95283-5
    Stevenson, Ian. (1997). Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Praeger Publishers, ISBN 0-275-95282-7 . (A short and non-technical version of the scientific two-volumes work above, for the general reader)
    Stevenson, Ian. (2000). Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation, revised edition (This is a text aimed mainly at an undergraduate audience.) ISBN 0-7864-0913-4
    Stevenson, Ian, Godwin Samararatne: Three new cases of the reincarnation type in Sri Lanka with written records made before verification. In: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 176 (1988), S. 741. ISSN 0022-3018
    Stevenson, Ian, Godwin Samararatne. Three new cases of the reincarnation type in Sri Lanka with written records made before verification. In: Journal of Scientific Exploration. 2 (1988), S. 217-238. ISSN 0892-3310 (Abstract[dead link], Portuguese translation)
    Stevenson, Ian, Satwant Pasricha, Godwin Samararatne: Deception and self-deception in cases of the reincarnation type. Seven illustrative cases in Asia. In: Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 82 (1988), S. 1-31. ISSN 0003-1070
    Tucker, Jim B. (2005). Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives, ISBN 0-312-32137-6
    Tucker J.B. (2000). “A scale to measure the strength of children’s claims of previous lives: methodology and initial findings”, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 14(4):571-581.
    Van Lommel, Pim. (2001). “Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands”, The Lancet, 358: 2039-45.
    Williams-Cook, Emily, Bruce Greyson, and Ian Stevenson. (1998). “Do Any Near-Death Experiences Provide Evidence for the Survival of Human Personality after Death? Relevant Features and Illustrative Case Reports” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 12(3): 377-406.
    Williams Cook, Emily, Satwant Pasricha, Godwin Samararatne, U Win Maung, Ian Stevenson: Review and analysis of “unsolved” cases of the reincarnation type. I. Introduction and illustrative case reports. In: Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 77 (1983), S. 45-62. ISSN 0003-1070
    Williams Cook, Emily, Satwant Pasricha, Godwin Samararatne, U Win Maung, Ian Stevenson: Review and analysis of “unsolved” cases of the reincarnation type. II. Comparison of features of solved and unsolved cases. In: Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 77 (1983), S. 115-135. ISSN 0003-1070

    [edit] External links
    Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia School of Medicine
    Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Organization formed in 1976 to promote scientific skepticism and encourage the critical investigation of paranormal claims and parapsychology.
    Parapsychological Association An organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psychic phenomena, affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1969.

  7. Tom Shroder

    46 Reviews

    Simon and Schuster, 1999 – 253 pages

    In a book that will fascinate skeptics and supporters alike, award-winning journalist Tom Shroder reveals one of the astonishing, untold stories of our time. It is the story of thousands of young children who speak of remembering previous lives. They provide detailed, accurate, and emotionally laden information about people who died before they were born, people they claim they once were. Dr. Ian Stevenson, the distinguished scholar who holds an endowed professorship at the University of Virginia, has been traveling the world for thirty-seven years to investigate and document more than two thousand of these phenomenal cases. Despite voluminous and meticulously detailed scholarly reports, and the respect of an enthusiastic group of colleagues, Professor Stevenson’s life’s work has until now remained essentially unknown to the world at large. It took years for Tom Shroder to persuade Dr. Stevenson, now eighty, to allow him to observe his field research — first in Lebanon, then India, and finally the American South — the first journalist ever to have that privilege. Old Souls is a riveting firsthand account of this compelling scientific evidence of past lives — not from the hypnotized confessions of adults in psychiatric treatment, but straight from the mouths of babes, small children who spontaneously speak of previous lives, beg to be taken “home,” pine for mothers and husbands and mistresses from another life, and know things there seems to be no normal way for them to know. Shroder, who began his journey as a hardened skeptic, quickly comes face to face with concrete evidence that, try as he might, he cannot discount. From the moment these children can talk, they speak of people and events from previous lives — not vague lives of centuries ago, but lives of specific, identifiable individuals who may have died just months, weeks, or hours before the birth of the child in question. These individuals are often completely unknown to the child’s family, and live in a different town or a different part of the country. Yet, when these families are brought together, total strangers united by a child’s claim of reincarnation, the emotional force of mutual recognition and the factual verification of the child’s past-life memories can be utterly astounding. In a combination of real-life adventure story and scientific mystery, Shroder plunges ever deeper into a world in which small children have vivid memories and strong feelings that compel them to seek out strange families they insist are their own. From Lebanon to India to suburban Virginia, shroder follows Stevenson into the lives of children and families touched by this phenomenon and struggling to grasp its meaning. The result is a spellbinding true
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  8. The data and studies cited in the Wikipedia piece on past life research in children was not anecdotal but

    scientifically and clinically conducted research by well educated scientists (accreditation does matter it’s no assurance

    of competence, integrity or truth but it’s the best game in town and should be a prerequisite for considering any

    scientific findings potentially valid.) You can’t say with absolute certainty that there is no such thing as a soul

    (I hate to use what is religious terminology) or that it dissipates upon brain death. If man relied solely on the

    5 senses to understand science and the nature of existence we would dismiss the atom and even the way the human eye works which is an illusion from our perspective that is not the actual physical reality. Psychic ability has been scientifically proven in labs and studies from Princeton, Stanford, Duke and the CIA. It is indisputable fact. These

    areas of research are very controversial because they call contemporary belief systems into question which is threatening to the social order and the academic establishment so the study and findings of these clearly

    unexplained occurrences is shunned. The glaringly similar accounts from people who were dead and then revived

    can’t be ignored. There is an afterlife which I can’t say with %100 certainty though the evidence is overwhelming

    but you can’t say you’re sure there isn’t one. The universe is vast and more complicated than we are able to understand. These things aren’t non existent they’re unexplained but the occurrences can’t be denied.

    Click here to Reply or Forward

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