Question from Jaak:
I found this interesting video on youtube, with children recalling supposed past lives. They seem genuine, do you think this demonstrates that reincarnation exists?
Answer by SmartLX:
If everything in these stories were true, it would be a choice between the reality of reincarnation (at least in a few cases) or extreme coincidences between deceased people’s lives and the imaginations of children. That “if” is a huge one, and it’s the main barrier to these stories being credible evidence for reincarnation.
The meat of each of these stories is things a child has casually said to the parents, which seem unexplainable at first but then are found to match details of someone’s old life. These initial statements are never recorded, because why would parents record every word their kids say? Equally important is that the interrogation that immediately follows is never recorded, so if the parents asked leading questions that essentially fed the kid the necessary information (deliberately or not), no one can prove it. Once the parents start writing and speaking publicly about the child’s “recollections”, the child is caught in a feedback loop where repeated tellings of the story shape and reinforce the memory itself, until any fabricated parts of it seem as real as the rest. Any authors, paranormal researchers, religious figures, etc. who latch onto the story only amplify this cycle of reinforcement. Short of someone in the family admitting a total hoax, these stories never really get smaller, and not a shred of evidence is needed; only a bit of research into the life of a dead person.
Ultimately, if a kid apparently identifies as a former person then jumping to an actual reincarnation as the reason would require a pre-existing belief in reincarnation, psychologically speaking. If that’s not already there, it’s a huge shift in one’s worldview just to explain some unexplained stories that have no bearing on one’s own life. All other possibilities would have to be completely ruled out, and it’s hard to eliminate coincidence, pure or partial fabrication, and the child being led by the nose or otherwise fed details.
Question from Jaak: