“Mr. Kovoor’s sound arguments to prove the absence of a life after death are, no doubt, very convincing. Yet, 1 like to ask Mr. Kovoor what he has to say about the numerous cases of rebirths investigated scientifically and confirmed by persons of high integrity and learning like Dr. Ian Stevenson, Prof HN Banerji, Prof K.N Jayatilleke, Mr. V.F. Gunaratne, and many others.“How will Mr. Kovoor explain child prodigies, and inequalities in children born to the same parents?” (A. Wickramasinghe. Times of
Explanations for congenital variations are better sought in the science of genetics and the Mendalian laws of heredity than in karma and Rebirth.
Man has succeeded in producing prodigies among domesticated animals by selective breeding making use of his knowledge in the science of genetics. The prodigious egg-layers like the ‘High Line’hens, and the prodigious milk-yielders like the Jersey and
cows are the products of such selective breeding. The prodigious
characteristics of the high-yielding hens, cows, cultivated plants etc., are
governed by their genes and DNA molecules, and not by their Karma and 'previous
Time will not be long before man will be using his advanced knowledge of genetics to improve the congenital qualities of his own species - Homo sapiens. Future man will surely find the need for discarding religious taboos, and to put into practice the knowledge he has gained by scientific researches to improve the quality of his own offspring. I visualize a future when the State will be interfering with the freedom of the individual in the field of procreation. By this I did not mean that individuals will be deprived by legislation their freedom to quench their sexual thirst by legitimate means.
Human procreation may become one of the most important nationalized concerns guided and controlled by expert geneticists and far-sighted statesmen.
It may be that semen banks, like blood banks, will be established at state expense for preserving specially selected semen for artificially inseminating specially selected women possessing desired qualities. Thus, if man adopts selective breeding for improving his own species, it will be possible to plan the births of more and more child prodigies than at present. Today such prodigies are few and far between, being the product of mere chance.
It will not be too long before science works out a safe and satisfactory method of sex determination with chemicals. When such a possibility is available, man may be determining not only the quality of his offspring but also the sex.
To say that child prodigies are born with the knowledge they had acquired in their ‘previous lives’ is as absurd as the assertion of some investigators of rebirth in Ceylon that acquired physical characteristics like wounds can reappear as scars on the bodies in subsequent births. If it is so, it will be a death-blow to the Eye Donation Society of Ceylon. The fear of being reborn blind will prevent people from donating their eyes!
A protagonist of rebirth goes about in this country proving the genuineness of an alleged case of rebirth at Balangoda on the basis of his pet theory that acquired physical characteristics, like wounds, could reappear on ‘reborn’ body. Another champion of rebirth - a university don, and a close friend of mine - says, “Human birth is accountable in terms of the deaths of human beings, animals and non-human beings in this world or on other planets in this vast universe The experimental evidence in rebirth is derived by using the age regression technique to regress a subject to antenatal period. The subject is deeply hypnotized and taken back in time by suggestion. At any point in time in his past, the subject may be made to recount his experiences as well as to re-live them”.
Indeed, this is the first time a claim is made that rebirth can occur with both the body and mind of the previous birth intact. If this claim is correct, then there is no foundation for the don's theory that one organism can be reborn as a member of another species. If organisms retain the same bodies with all the congenital and acquired characteristics when reborn, how is it that the genital organs of a woman changed into male organs when she was reborn as a boy? If the pet theories of these exponents of rebirth are true, tigers and zebras should retain their stripes when they are reborn as human beings! Mathematical prodigies should be able to retain their mathematical knowledge even when they are reborn as donkeys or monkeys! We can then look forward for the wonderful day when a donkey - a mathematical prodigy will be occupying the Chair of Mathematics in one of our universities!
The three-pound mass of human brain built of 10 billions or so of nerve cells known as neurons, together with a mass of supporting glia cells is an organ crammed with much physicochemical activity. A great deal of physical and chemical activities takes place in its tissues. In short, it is a physicochemical laboratory where work goes on day and night throughout the period of its life. The force that makes the brain work is electricity. An adult brain works on 20 watts of electricity. Each neuron is in effect a tiny dynamo. All mental activities such as thought, will, cognition, volition, memory, reasoning, emotion etc., result from physicochemical activities which go on in the brain tissue. Mind does not exist apart from the brain. Damage to one's brain affects ones mental processes. With the death of the brain, consciousness and individuality (ego) also end.
Just as there cannot be fire without a substance to burn, there cannot be life and mind without a body to respire. Mind cannot survive the death and decomposition of the brain. To say that mental faculties can remain intact after the death of the person is as absurd as saying that the body-less and brain-less spirit can appear in physical form (often dressed in white) as ghosts, and perform volitional acts.
Stories about children recalling the memories of their ‘previous births’ have to be discarded as myths, like the numerous ghost stories appearing in weekend newspapers.