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REVIEW OF JAMES WEBSTER'S BOOK
" The Case Against Reincarnation - A Rational
Approach (Paperback)" Available
by Raleigh Amesbury (USA)
Evidence for reincarnation
is inherently evidence in support of a life after death.
"The Case Against Reincarnation" is weak indeed
for the following reasons:
1. The author
may be a well-informed spiritualist, but he is not knowledgeable
in the subject of reincarnation. Nowhere in the text
or bibliography does he state he has read even one book by
any of the following leading reincarnation researchers: Ian
Stevenson, MD; Jim Tucker, MD; Peter Ramster; Robert Snow;
Walter Semkiw, MD; Frederick Lenz, PhD; D. Scott Rogo; Peter
& Mary Harrison; Carol Bowman; Michael Newton, PhD; Brian
Weiss, MD; Roy Stemman, Dell Lombardi, Roger Woolger, PhD;
Ruth Montgomery; Bryan Jameison; Jess Stern; Murray Bernstein;
Arthur Guirdham, MD; Joe Fisher; and Joel Whitton, PhD, MD.
Webster has not studied the theory and evidence that he criticizes
and attempts to impugn.
2. The book is filled with armchair speculation, opinion,
rationalization, communication from the spirit world and philosophical
opposition. But armchair speculation, opinion, rationalization,
communication from the spirit world and philosophical opposition
are not evidence. And although Webster seems to be sincere
in expressing his beliefs, sincerity is not evidence, either.
3. While not disputing the facts of any case in the literature,
and not questioning the integrity of any researcher, Webster
speculates that there could be several other causes for apparent
past-life memory including fantasy, cryptomnesia,
overshadowing, possession, "supernormal cognition"
(whatever that is), and how about "genetic memory"
(if there were such a thing), among others. Many of these
arguments are not new. Reincarnation researchers already know
about them and design their experiments and research, and
evaluate their evidence, accordingly.
4. Successful psychotherapy is evidence in support
of the validity of the theory on which that therapy is based.
In recent decades, thousands, perhaps millions, of suffering
people have experienced relief and healing from phobia, anxiety,
phantom pain and other complaints as a result of past-life
regression therapy, at the conclusion of which both therapist
and patient agreed that the cause of the patient's problem
seemed to be in a traumatic event that occurred in a recent
incarnation. It is unlikely they were all fools. On the contrary,
Webster does not produce one case--not one--where a patient
experienced relief and healing pursuant to one of Webster's
alternative theories. He attempts to do so when he cites a
case from Dr. Carl Wickland, an early pioneer in possession
research. In this case a deceased spirit person took possession
of the patient because the spirit person was confusing possession
with reincarnation. Dr. Wickland gave him some advice and
he departed. Possession and reincarnation are distinct phenomena.
Possession has distinct symptoms such as confusion, change
of personality, and exhaustion. Hence this case was not a
case of the reincarnation type to begin with.
5. As is apparent from the above list of reincarnation researchers,
today there is a substantial amount of evidential
literature that supports reincarnation. This evidence
ranges from weak to incontrovertible. On the contrary, Webster
does not cite one book written by one competent mental health
care professional that supports any of his alternative theories.
6. Webster concludes with a chapter of cartoons that ridicule
people who believe in reincarnation. Resorting to ridicule
is an admission that one has no serious argument to put forward.
In summation, The Case Against Reincarnation is weak indeed.
It is about time for Mr. Webster to take "a rational
approach", consider the real evidence, overcome the prejudice
with which he is afflicted and accept reincarnation as a fact
of human life.
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