Last week I wrote a basic description of the work of two Psychiatrists from the University of Virginia: Dr. Ian Stevenson, and Dr. James Tucker.
Dr. Stevenson, who died in 2007, was the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia for ten years and held other high profile posts as well.
Dr. James Tucker, who is an associate professor at the University of Virginia, and a Board Certified Psychiatrist, is carrying on the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson who began, in the early 1960’s, to interview children between the ages of 2-5 who had very detailed memories of having lived a past life. Many of these memories are specific enough that they could be checked out. These two researchers claim that many of the details claim to have been remembered by these very young children have been confirmed by their investigations. After exhaustive study, they conclude that neither the children nor their families could have fabricated these details as part of some misguided hoax. While they are not setting forth complete or testable explanations as to how these memories could have been transferred from one life to the next, they are convinced the stories are not fraudulent.
For a very good example of one such case study please see this NPR interview from January 5th 2014.
As y9ou can imagine, there are critics of this research. Two such critics are Paul Edwards and C.T.K Chari. I assume there are others. If you know of any other credible critics please let me know who they are.
But as yet I have not seen anything in these critiques that effectively invalidates the substantial number of case studies that Dr. Stevenson compiled and which Dr. Tucker continues to add to.
In fact if you view this video of Dr. Tucker you will see how careful he seems to be to approach this research project with an appropriate level of skepticism. You will also see how intelligently and calmly he addresses all of the typical objections that have been raised about this research.
While I remain to be convinced that this research is valid and that these case studies are not elaborate hoaxes, I am encouraged by the high grade of dispassionate and rigorous scientific study and the fact this research is conducted by two professionals with impressive credentials who are doing this research while affiliated with a well-regarded University.
It is one thing for spiritual people to talk about reincarnation, or miracle healings, or other “Para-normal” phenomenon.
It is quite another to see if the tools of science and experimentation applied by professional scientists can confirm, through rigourous study of the highest standards, empirical data that significantly shakes up the modern scientific, materialist paradigm. It is the application of the scientific method as a means to study legitimate spiritual theories that has the best chance of correcting the foundation errors of both science as well as the ridiculous phantasmagoria of many “far-out” spiritual teachings.
Will the data of this modern study of reincarnation be confirmed as authentic, or will it turn out the families of these children helped them fabricate these stories as a way to get attention for them and their child?
If it is confirmed, what will that mean for the modern fields of physics, psychology, neuro-science, and the basic structure of the cosmos?
Dr. Tucker, please continue to be as thorough and careful as you seem to be. I assume you realize the importance of the dynamite you are working with. With your work, and Dr. Stevenson’s work as prologue, you may well have the first data that punches a major hole in the materialist, scientific model of modern times.
This would be as truly earth-shaking as were the breakthroughs of Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein.
Now as to what conclusions are to be drawn from this data if it is confirmed, that is a good segue for another time.
For a more detailed list of the case studied please see “Life Before Life” by Dr. James Tucker with a forward by Dr. Ian Stevenson.
Will Raymond Author of “the Simple Path of Holiness” and host of MeditationPractice.com.
will at meditationpractice .com (email spelled in this way to limit spam) 774-232-0884