anyone else's toddler ever spoken about 'past life' experiences??????

(327 Posts)
noonar Tue 18-Sep-07 13:33:30

now, am not saying (necessarily) that i believe in reincarnation, but i've just had a rather spooky conversation with my 3 yo dd. (just 3)

the gist of it was that she's bored with being 3 and wants to be a teenager again. when i asked her where i was whilst she was busy being a teenager, she said that she had a different mummy then.

the conversation went on, and then she said that she got sick and she died.

as i said earlier, i'm not saying i believe any of this, but it certainly sent a shiver down my spine.

MostlyLovingLurchers Mon 15-Apr-13 15:38:09

He says himself not all the cases are reliable as evidence and that some were fraudulent.

He had a whole team of researchers working on the project. Are you criticising his methodology on the basis that he didn't speak every language in south asia?

He did carry out research in north america. He said though that more cases occur in countries where a belief in reincarnation is the norm as the parents were less likely to disregard it. In the west it is not generally something that we are looking for.

I don't want to keep defending Stevenson's work. I have said it is not proof. I have said it is flawed. He believed in some things that i don't think are well supported by the evidence (like the birthmarks). That said, he endeavoured to bring scientific rigour to the research, and the evidence is interesting.

I mentioned him initially because there is very little meaningful reasearch in this area apart from him, and i thought it might be interesting for those whose children have come out with statements about other lives. If anyone wants to read his work they can. If you think it is a load of woo then disregard it.

IamtheZombie Tue 16-Apr-13 00:17:41

I knew Ian Stevenson personally. He carried out his research in a professional manner. He was a highly principled man and well aware of the potential pitfalls and the allegations that would no doubt be levelled against him and his research. He is not to be lightly dismissed.

seeker Tue 16-Apr-13 08:39:33

No. But even highly principled, honest people can be wrong. And anyway, he was very clear that his research proved nothing.

Are people seriously saying that it is even remotely credible that if somebody has a hand cut off in one life, they will be reincarnated with a hand deformity? If you believe in the existence of souls as seperate from bodies, then I can see why the idea of reincarnation is credible- but surely the idea a physical injury being reincarnated as a birth defect is just a step too far?

MostlyLovingLurchers Tue 16-Apr-13 10:26:54

Thank you Zombie. I have been trying, obviously not well enough, to differentiate the work he did from the Brian Weiss/Michael Newton type stuff, which is entirely based on past life regression - which, incidentally, Stevenson rejected.

Seeker - he did not find definitive proof, but he did find evidence, some of it problematic, some of it difficult to dismiss (not impossible, but difficult). I am glad that you think the idea of reincarnation is at least credible. Obviously if you don't believe in the existence of the soul you are not going to accept the concept of reincarnation.

I hope that those who have had experience of this with their own children will continue to post. I was really interested. My ds's vocabulary still mostly consists of boob and bum, so i have a little wait before i know if he is going to come out with anything interesting.

littlebitofthislittlebitofthat Tue 16-Apr-13 11:05:25

OKAY - I have a new question about proving these experiences.

SCIENTISTS have proven that when an experiment is observed IN LAB CONDITIONS the results are affected.

the same experiment with the same part, the only difference is that one experiment is observed and one isn't.

Surely.... if the proven phenomenon of observation changes the results of a test.... why are we surprised and insist on THIS phenomenon to be observed, measured and proved?

IndigoBarbie Tue 16-Apr-13 11:19:39

Alittlebit yes!!!! Thankyou
It's not just children who talk about it there are many adults who remember and I'm not wholly convinced that the idea if research is to actually be able to show proof-it's subjective, however what it does show is that similar things happen to people and can be quantified.
I'm still a bit sad thinking that their has to be a scientific explanation or it's not real.
Of the scientists I know- they fully accept their work as theories and are open to possibilities.

IamtheZombie Tue 16-Apr-13 11:39:48

"Of the scientists I know- they fully accept their work as theories and are open to possibilities."

Exactly, IndigoBarbie.

ICBINEG Tue 16-Apr-13 14:17:44

oh ffs.

I am scientist. I am open to the possibility that reincarnation occurs. I have reviewed the evidence and come to the conclusion that it highly unlikely that reincarnation occurs due to there being no evidence for it happening that cannot be explained by already known and proven mechanisms.

<This is what science looks like>

ICBINEG Tue 16-Apr-13 14:21:11

little wtaf are you talking about now?

An experiment is something in which a quantity is measured. If you don't do an experiment then you have no evidence for or against anything. If you do an experiment then don't look at the results then you have no evidence for or against anything.

You only need to find evidence for reincarnation if you actually care if it happens or not. If you are happy to believe it happens with no evidence then clearly the evidence is unnecessary.

Scientist collect evidence / do experiments because they care about what actually happens, not what people would like to think actually happens.

Is this clear?

seeker Tue 16-Apr-13 14:22:08

However, this position will be reviewed if further evidence emerges which cannot be explained by known and proved mechanisms.

Interested in what people think about the birth defect thing.

ICBINEG Tue 16-Apr-13 14:25:10

There is a perfectly good scientific theory to explain the 'toddlers speaking of past lives' phenomenon, it just doesn't involve reincarnation.

And yes it is a theory, and yes if there is new data that theory may yet be found to be insufficient to explain the experimental data. In which case a new theory will be constructed which may or may not include any reference to reincarnation.

But you need some evidence to disprove the current theory first!

littlebitofthislittlebitofthat Tue 16-Apr-13 16:20:59

I'm actually talking about QUANTUM THEORY

which states that by the very act of watching, the observer affects the observed reality.

I understand this might be a 'ickle' bit difficult for you to understand ICBINEG

seeker Tue 16-Apr-13 16:27:26

Er- I don't think that's what quantum theory says......

Sounds a bit Shroedinger-ish to me....

IndigoBarbie Tue 16-Apr-13 21:30:03

I just don't get it. I mean, why if it is quite obviously something that many are experiencing (and not all parents are having their kids scientifically tested - I mean, who to turn to? exactly? historians or record keepers or people with long memories...) do people act like it's their kid's wild imaginings and dismiss it as imagination.

It is through the power of imagination that we create our every moment in life, (there is a thought, there is an action etc) and yet, we dismiss it as if it's something to be scoffed at.

ICB - why would someone have to disprove current theories and not, say, come up with another one and do a different kind of research? Do we need to obtain some kind of special funding to kick off this new research?

ICBINEG Tue 16-Apr-13 22:12:06

little an experiment in quantum mechanics is the same as any other experiment.

You set it up and you make measurements and record the data.

The same data would be recorded whether or not the scientist is looking at the data.

You are confusing uncertainty in the experimental protocol or uncertainty in the recording of data (which is not a part of scientific method AT ALL) with uncertainty in the actual quantum state of small-molecular sized ensembles of atoms.

The quantum state of a test ensemble measured by an experiment will depend on the interactions (with light or other matter) that have happened to that ensemble. Such an interaction is termed "an observation" because the other light/matter retains information about the interaction which can be interrogated and used to collapse the uncertainty in the test quantum state. When you then measure the quantum state of your test ensemble you can tell if has interacted or not.

I hope you can see that:

a) Observation of a quantum mechanical experiment (or any other experiment) does not change the outcomes of the experiment.
b) Observation, with reference to quantum mechanics does not at all have anything to do with observation by people but actually refers to interaction with photons or matter.
c) It might not be me having an ickle bit of difficulty understanding the princples of quantum mechanics.....

ICBINEG Tue 16-Apr-13 22:20:59

indigo The scientific method is as follows: Observe the world, formulate a theory about why something happens, check to see if the theory matches all the available data.

Why would you look for an alternative explanation if your current explanation fits all of the data?

Would you have scientists spending all the time thinking up new theories to explain Newtonian mechanics even though we have had an adequate functioning theory for over 300 years?

Or should scientists working on curing cancers stop what they are doing and come up with a new theory to replace evolution even though they use it's outcomes everyday in their work?

We use a theory till it breaks...only then do we look for a replacement. Otherwise we would waste all of our time requestioning all of the basic tenets over and over again.

Of course even our theories of gravity, quantum, even Newtonian mechanics or thermodynamics would come up for the axe if new data emerged that put them into question. Nothing is sacrosanct but we have to reserve the main thrust of our effort on things that there is evidence we cannot already explain.

ICBINEG Tue 16-Apr-13 22:49:33

indigo regarding the funding, I have applied for funding for research and the key metrics are basically a) what is it that doesn't work/isn't understood that you want to fix/understand b) how is this going to benefit humanity.

It would be hard to answer part a) because the consensus is that the current model of toddler past life stories seems to explain all the data and work perfectly well. b) would presumably be huge if you did find evidence to support reincarnation....but the most likely outcome of spending time and effort on this is that, like others before you, you do not change the level of evidence for reincarnation.

What would you propose as a research programme?

You could:
1. Select toddlers at random ( maybe you would need a few 1000).
2. Ask the families to record their lives for a month, possibly lying about why so as not to bias the data....so maybe tell them it is a language development programme?
3. List all examples of relating of experiences that did not directly match the toddlers real environment. (this would be tough to record accurately as you would have to wait till after the month had elapsed to ask what was going on in reality).
4. Look at the incidence of spooky stories
5. look at the correlation of spooky stories with actual past events.
6. do some baysian analysis to work out if the prior assumption of 'no reincarnation' was able to predict that number of hits purely from chance.

What do you think? Would you expect this to work? What would you do differently?

MostlyLovingLurchers Wed 17-Apr-13 11:41:40

Not representative of the entire scientific community i realise, but Carl Sagan thought that past life recall in children was one of the few areas of parapsychology worth serious study.

littlebitofthislittlebitofthat Wed 17-Apr-13 11:56:08

Quantum Theory Demonstrated: Observation Affects Reality

Feb. 27, 1998 — REHOVOT, Israel, February 26, 1998--One of the most bizarre premises of quantum theory, which has long fascinated philosophers and physicists alike, states that by the very act of watching, the observer affects the observed reality.

In a study reported in the February 26 issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874), researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed. The experiment revealed that the greater the amount of "watching," the greater the observer's influence on what actually takes place.

The research team headed by Prof. Mordehai Heiblum, included Ph.D. student Eyal Buks, Dr. Ralph Schuster, Dr. Diana Mahalu and Dr. Vladimir Umansky. The scientists, members of the Condensed Matter Physics Department, work at the Institute's Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Center for Submicron Research.

When a quantum "observer" is watching Quantum mechanics states that particles can also behave as waves. This can be true for electrons at the submicron level, i.e., at distances measuring less than one micron, or one thousandth of a millimeter. When behaving as waves, they can simultaneously pass through several openings in a barrier and then meet again at the other side of the barrier. This "meeting" is known as interference.

Strange as it may sound, interference can only occur when no one is watching. Once an observer begins to watch the particles going through the openings, the picture changes dramatically: if a particle can be seen going through one opening, then it's clear it didn't go through another. In other words, when under observation, electrons are being "forced" to behave like particles and not like waves. Thus the mere act of observation affects the experimental findings.

ICBINEG Wed 17-Apr-13 23:10:40

little Your post says the same as mine (although I guess you don't realise that). In this case (and all others) the observer is not the scientist. The observer is an interaction as I stated in my post.

The scientist collects all the data which would be the same if s/he collected them/ looked at them or not.

The measurement made to see which slot the electron goes though is done by a particle detector not a human. If the detector interacts with the electron then the measurements made later on in the experiment for that electron reveal the interaction. Again as I said in my post.

Really all this is saying is that if you interact with a quantum system it retains that knowledge in a way that can be later detected. It is subtley mathematically different from the way in which you can detect light in your eye but such detection destroys the light itself, but not philosophically different.

The act of recording the data or looking at it as a human has no impact on the behaviour of the system.

Interacting with the system does. Which is presumably what anyone would expect. Quantum observation is one way of interacting with electrons - there are many others.

Moominsarehippos Wed 17-Apr-13 23:21:08

My neice used to say things. I can't remember (long time ago) but at the time she really freaked us out! Must ask sis what they were.

MrTumblesTreasureMap Wed 24-Apr-13 23:56:36

Sorry if this has already been said but its a lot like cold reading isn't it? Fake mediums who say they have a message from the other side throw out loads of names or facts all at once and the person listening only focuses on the ones the "medium" got right and completely forgets the other five or six facts that were said before that that were incorrect. Eventually the medium will hit on something accurate by guessing and that's the part everyone remembers. They forget all the mistakes in the excitement of it all.

Its the same with this. A parent is less likely to remember all the times little Johnny spoke about being a soldier riding a bumblebee or a flying moon man from planet Zog. They'll only remember the ones that coincidentally match up to a local story or to a part of family history because they do match up. All the hundreds of other random things the toddler says will just be forgotten about when that one random time is an accurate guess, like the medium's one fact.

Sanctimummy Sun 25-Aug-13 20:47:08

Well done for ruining a perfectly entertaining thread with all the bullshit arguing.

Dirtypaws Mon 26-Aug-13 22:21:57

How about our need to make sense of what is around us? In addition, with the decline in religion, are we not seeking out something that is other worldly? I read something the other day in the telegraph about atheists being insane! Apparently we are hard wired to believe (religion). If you dont thenn youre more likely to depression, addiction etc etc. I find this a leetle hard to believe !!!! But is there not a void in a common bond? Btw I am an atheist. In a way, I wish I believed as apparently believers are happier! Also I would like to believe in reincarnation.....as an atheist I find it difficult to accept when you die, that's it

headinhands Mon 26-Aug-13 23:14:52

There is evidence of very early cultures that had no discernible religious/spiritual artefacts so couldn't say it was hard wired in all of us although we do have a tendency to pattern seek which could explain the 4000 or so religions man has made.

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