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Old 08-07-2018, 10:25 AM
 
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I'm wondering if contemporary research in genetics offers some explanations to the persistent human belief in reincarnation, or more fundamentally, some sort of existence beyond death. The following two brief articles support the notion of genetic memory:
Quote:
'Memories' pass between generations
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-25156510you

Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/sci...ancestors.html
I thought the idea of genetic memory was something I came up with, but it's obviously not original with me.

Of course, we still have the notion of separate planes of existence, co-equal in time.
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Old 08-07-2018, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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Your BBC link has a problem (the 'you' at the end) - here's one that works:

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-25156510
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasily View Post
Your BBC link has a problem (the 'you' at the end) - here's one that works:

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-25156510
Oh, sorry. Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2018, 02:47 PM
 
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In other words, are all the past notions of the existence of life after death not superseded by this genetic research? It seems altogether likely to me. So the older kinds of spooky stuff were just efforts to explain what now has a more rational explanation?

That doesn't take away the wonder and mystery and beauty of existence, it just quiets the irrational and superstitious.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraZetterberg153 View Post
I'm wondering if contemporary research in genetics offers some explanations to the persistent human belief in reincarnation, or more fundamentally, some sort of existence beyond death. The following two brief articles support the notion of genetic memory:


I thought the idea of genetic memory was something I came up with, but it's obviously not original with me.

Of course, we still have the notion of separate planes of existence, co-equal in time.
Interesting theory but there is no proof in the first place of memories transferred from a previous existence except for anecdotes and just nonsensical reports, so there is really nothing to explain.

The mice experiment noted is interesting but I wonder if that's more due to the natural selection evolutionary cycle. I mean that's already known, as a "survival of the fittest" type of measure, animals, including humans, inherit charactersitics that give them survival and reproductive advantages. It's not memories - but traits, characteristics, and instinct.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
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But is that "instinct" not really a fear or avoidance based upon the genetic memory from their ancestors. A collection of genetic memories from many prior generations can then form what we call "instinctive" behavior. And the off-spring with the most complete set of genetic memories has the best instincts and becomes the "fittest", and survives to reproduce even better equipped off-spring. This makes more sense to me than random genetic mutations being solely responsible for natural selection.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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Random mutations are one of the sources of genetic variation that natural selection uses to shape an organism - an evolutionary biologist would not say random mutations are "solely responsible" for natural selection.

In the case of the studies on mice, what's being passed on is an emotion associated with a certain smell; the "memory" is actually a set of genetically-determined neuronal responses to the presence of certain chemicals in the environment that are associated with cherry blossoms.

That's a far cry from passing on a specific memory of an event. We develop a fear of snakes at an early age - but we're not born with that fear; what it appears we are born with is an ability to quickly recognize shapes that are important to our survival: snakes, spiders, and human faces as well as edges of things. We are conditioned to associate the emotion "fear" when our optical circuits detect a snake shape.

https://neuroanthropology.net/2008/0...ear-of-snakes/

Again, a shape cue triggers certain neurons associated with that shape - which is not a specific image of a snake (it would be better characterized as a squiggly curvy elongated shape), or a memory of a snake biting us in a past life. For someone with a phobia, a snake stirs up fear; for a herpetologist it stirs up feelings of joy. Because our memories are associational, the triggering of this emotion may trigger past negative experiences of our own. So as Dd714, it's very interesting but (at least at present) there's no indication that anything more complex than a sensory input (like a smell or a shape) could be passed on through the genes.
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:06 PM
 
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What I'm after, and probably not explaining it very well, is whether the whole gamut of supernatural beliefs may be superseded by contemporary science, such as DNA studies which examine how living humans may retain genetic memories of their antecedents.

It would seem to stand to reason that in our human history what we have attributed to supernatural causes and beings, has an alternative, scientific explanation. Here is an example:

Supposing a man survived a war, primarily because of luck, intelligence, physical strength and character. And survived but had memories of the violence and hardships involved. Could these memories pass to his offspring. This, I believe, is what the research suggests.

Last edited by KaraZetterberg153; 08-10-2018 at 02:15 PM..
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraZetterberg153 View Post
What I'm after, and probably not explaining it very well, is whether the whole gamut of supernatural beliefs may be superseded by contemporary science, such as DNA studies which examine how living humans may retain genetic memories of their antecedents.

It would seem to stand to reason that in our human history what we have attributed to supernatural causes and beings, has an alternative, scientific explanation. Here is an example:
About a third of scientists of various types believe in God:

https://www.christianpost.com/news/s...-in-god-39753/

Kenneth Miller is a well-known biologist who defends evolution against creationist attacks:

https://www.minnpost.com/perspective...win-and-divine

So no, I don't think supernatural beliefs may be superseded by the findings of science. A physicist who became an Anglican priest and theologian, John Polkinghorne, has written extensively on his theory of how Divine providence works in creation to influence change:

John Polkinghorne on Divine Action: a Coherent Theological Evolution | Ignacio Silva - Academia.edu

Scientists like Miller and Polkinghorne are evidence you can, in other words, believe in science, while also believing in the supernatural. The big question that Polkinghorne addresses is: if there is a supernatural realm, how does it (or rather how might it) interact with our everyday reality?

Quote:
Supposing a man survived a war, primarily because of luck, intelligence, physical strength and character. And survived but had memories of the violence and hardships involved. Could these memories pass to his offspring. This, I believe, is what the research suggests.
As I wrote in my other post, no, that's not what the research in question suggests. I wrote:

Quote:
there's no indication that anything more complex than a sensory input (like a smell or a shape) could be passed on through the genes.
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Old 08-14-2018, 12:10 PM
 
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@Vasily: Well of course, an entity with the name "Christian Post" is going to say that 1/3 of scientists believe in God but I think that characterization is biased. Dawkins says otherwise. I think it's a very tiny percentage.

If Kenneth Miller defends evolution against creationist attacks, that supports my side of the argument.
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