Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd
28 - 30 High Street
Surrey GU1 3EL
Paperback: 490 pages
Obtainable from AMAZON and all major bookstores
REVIEW BY CHRISTOPHER SEARE
POSTED ON AMAZON.CO.UK - OCTOBER 2017
A very interesting and thought-provoking book, though it does assume some maturity on the part of the reader. As far as I know, Blake is the first person to use logic and mathematics to refute the doctrine of reincarnation. While other writers appeal to their favorite ‘bibles’ for support, Blake’s arguments are strictly deductive. Given what he calls the Four Postulates he proves that the human self does not incarnate more than once. It’s a novel way of refuting the doctrine of reincarnation because the concept of reincarnation doesn’t need to be discussed at all. If nobody incarnates more than once then reincarnation doesn’t happen! [QED]. Since, the logic is impeccable, anyone who wants to challenge this result must challenge the Four Postulates.
The first two postulates – what Blake calls the Temporal Postulates – are, in one form or another, common to the five great religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Postulate 3 (Immortality) would only be seriously challenged by a materialist or Buddhist; and Postulate 4 (Individuality) is a statement of the obvious. But, does denial of Postulate 3 undermine Blake’s thesis? Not in the least because he has a very powerful weapon in his armoury – mathematics. Stepping away from the Four Postulates he starts afresh in chapter 4 and analyzes reincarnation’s principal support – the doctrine of karma. The most remarkable feature of the analysis is his quantification of karma, and once it is quantified it opens the door to a devastating attack culminating in the so-called Impossibility Theorem. If I have understood Blake correctly, karma cannot be eliminated by everyone so that some people will incarnate an infinite number of times – clearly an impossibility! This highlights a fatal flaw in the doctrine of karma. Without karma the doctrine of reincarnation is like the grin of the proverbial Cheshire cat - without the cat i.e. all grin and no cat.
Blake’s multi-faceted Socratic-logical-mathematical approach is superior to the majority of writers in this area who, I have to say, are as clueless as their readers. Compared to Blake they’re mere children. I particularly like chapter 1 which is a conversation between Blake and two imaginary reincarnationists who, it must be said, are more open-minded than real reincarnationists! In chapters 2 and 3 Blake challenges long held beliefs about evolution and causality – ideas that have gripped the imagination of reincarnationists everywhere. In chapters 5, 6 and 7 Blake looks at the evidence for discarnate spirit influence and how it accounts for the phenomena often thought to be evidence of reincarnation. But the real eye-opener is chapter 8 – Suggestive of What? Although Blake is scholarly in his approach he demonstrates quite clearly that the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson – which purports to provide evidence for reincarnation – is a gigantic fraud. I first learned of this deception when I stumbled upon Blake’s website www.reincarnationrefuted.uk and studied the case of Jasbir. Stevenson clearly suggests that Jasbir – who had definite and verifiable memories of the life of Sobha Ram - is a reincarnation of Sobha Ram. But, Jasbir and Sobha Ram were alive at the same time for about three years. What a revelation! It follows that none of the cases investigated by Stevenson support the doctrine of reincarnation. I have to say that all those writers who have appealed Dr. Ian Stevenson’s work for support look rather foolish.
Chapters 9, 10 and 11 are philosophical in character but essential reading for anyone seriously interested in the historical origins of the so-called law of cause and effect. I found the mathematics in chapter 4 rather demanding but the formal logical refutation set out in chapter 12 can be understood by anyone. In conclusion, I would recommend this book to anyone who has a genuine interest in human spirituality and related topics and isn’t afraid to do some hard thinking.
REVIEW BY RICHARD ANTHONY
POSTED ON AMAZON.COM - APRIL 2014
No open-minded person will believe in the doctrine of reincarnation after having read this book. Stephen Blake has achieved what many thought was impossible: he has proven that reincarnation does not happen. How he does this is both novel and intriguing. He doesn't refute the many individual beliefs about reincarnation that are currently circulating the globe - an evidently impossible task - but, instead, establishes "the true nature of human spirituality." Human spirituality is expressed in four postulates: (1) time to eternity is unreal (2) everything belongs to the temporal or the eternal (3) the human self is immortal (4) the human self is uniquely expressive. While the first postulate has its origins in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Parmenides of Elea, Sextus Empiricus, Augustine of Hippo and the twentieth century philosopher John McTaggart, the last two postulates are key tenets of the world's great religions with possibly the exception of Buddhism which teaches that no permanent self exists. Interestingly, Blake uses the first two postulates - what he calls the Temporal Postulates - to prove that the concepts of immortality, individuality and reincarnation cannot form part of a logically coherent system of thought. So much for the claim "you can't prove a negative" - an idea Blake comprehensively rebuts in Chapter 3 following a discussion of inductive reasoning and its relationship to statements that cannot be refuted of which the statement: "The human self reincarnates" is not one of them. Proposition D, Chapter 3 - "To an eternal being all events are simultaneous" - has profound implications because it explains why Darwinism and the law of cause and effect have collapsed as fundamental principles of science and why creationism is in the ascendant.
To those who insist that time is real, Stephen Blake responds with his most original contribution: the Impossibility Theorem. Starting from the premise that time is real, he launches into a theoretical investigation of karma, showing how karma can be quantified and analysed with the tools of mathematics. Blake's master stroke is to dispense with the notion of an entity reborn - the source of much confusion in the reincarnationist world e.g. Buddhists recognize only a 'stream of consciousness' - and consider the notion of 'a series of noncontemporaneous personalities' whose function is the elimination of karma. Only when karma is eliminated can a series of personalities be liberated from the cycle of rebirths. According to Blake, karma cannot be eliminated by the conscious personality - an assertion he justifies by proving that karma is the product of chance and can only be eliminated by chance - and that the proper focus of attention should be on the motion of karma itself. Having developed the mathematics of karma and illustrated how karma changes over time, he uses Cantor's cardinality theorem to show that the probability of any series of personalities eliminating karma and attaining liberation is equal to zero - enough to show that karma is unworkable. However, Blake is not satisfied with this result because he feels that karma - assuming it does exist - may operate within a small margin of error, that is to say, liberation may be attainable if karma is not completely eliminated but almost eliminated. He then proceeds to calculate this probability - the proof is set out in the mathematical appendix - and it turns out that it is equal to the error in the operation of karma. And it is here that the Impossibility Theorem comes in. If reincarnation is a fact, every series of personalities should, at some point along the timeline, however far into the future, eliminate karma and achieve liberation from the cycle of rebirths. Using an estimate of the maximum number of people capable of populating the planet - Blake puts this figure at around 10 billion - the probability of every series of personalities eliminating karma is so small - infinitesimally smaller than, say, Planck's constant - it can be equated to zero. To quote Blake: "Unless every series of personalities can eliminate karma and escape the cycle of rebirths, at least one series will be infinite. Since this is impossible, reincarnation cannot be a fact of nature."
Having established the logic and mathematics of the refutation, Blake proceeds to demolish reincarnationism's best known work, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation by Dr. Ian Stevenson. But, he prepares the ground in advance. In Chapter 6 - Spirit Influence, he discusses the nature of spirit possession and obsession, and how both phenomena are often mistakenly adduced as evidence for reincarnation. The case of Lurancy Vennum - first brought to the world's attention by Dr. E. Winchester Stevens in 1928 - is reviewed at length in a long and memorable chapter. Lurancy Vennum, who was possessed (and then obsessed) by the spirit of Mary Roff, had many characteristics in common with supposed cases of reincarnation such as the possession of past life memories, detailed knowledge relating to a previous life, a change in personality, the 'adoption' of the parents of the previous personality, and a strong desire to go to the previous personality's home. But, as Blake points out, reincarnation is impossible in this case because Lurancy Vennum and Mary Roff had been contemporaries of one another in the neighbouring states of Iowa and Illinois in the USA. Chapter 7 - Mind and Body is the coup de grâce for reincarnation research because it shows how mind-body interaction offers a more plausible explanation for the strange phenomena often presented as evidence for reincarnation. While Dr. Ian Stevenson and his supporters have consistently maintained that correlated birthmarks coupled with past life memories are indicative of reincarnation, the cases reviewed by Blake show that minds - one's own and someone else's - can impact the physical body to produce a range of physical and psychical phenomena of which birthmarks and past life memories are the least interesting and most trivial examples.
One of the most novel features of the book is Blake's method of introducing the reader to the many issues surrounding the subject: an imaginary conversation between himself and two believers in reincarnation. By the end of the chapter, the reader is fully prepared for the rest of the book. Chapter 5 - Strange Encounters begins in a similar vein - a conversation with a man who believes he is more than one person! However, Blake has a more serious purpose: he wishes to show that a number of strange phenomena such as bilocation, circumscriptive replication, exteriorisation of sensitivity and motivity, the physical phenomenon of mediumship etc. do not undermine the concept of individuality.
In conclusion, the book is a game changer - a classic in the making. As such, it is essential reading for anyone interested in religion, science, spiritualism and spirituality.
Richard Anthony - April 2014
REVIEW BY JAMES WEBSTER
POSTED ON AMAZON.CO.UK - JUNE 2014
The author Stephen Blake has really put his seal on this blockbuster.The reader's attention is immediately captured by this brilliant mathematician and scientist who presents the refutation of reincarnation in such a manner that the reader gets an easy grasp of the argument from the very beginning. It puts me in mind of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes in the way he unravels the case and evidence with his investigations and ‘modus operandi.’ When the inevitable question arises, there is the famous response resounding in the mind - “Elementary my dear Watson” - as he proceeds with the explanation.
Blake, in his research, is a perfectionist and this is made obvious to the reader in his writing - he dots his “ i’s ” and crosses his “ t’s ”.
I find it so uplifting and inspiring that here we have a scientist who accepts life after death and survival as a fact, without question, and also accepts that we have a mind and a brain which are separate, but at the same time keeps the belief, theory and doctrine of reincarnation out of the equation as being neither helpful nor encouraging nor having any part to play. By using maths and science to refute reincarnation Stephen Blake is removing a huge obstacle which has hindered humanity's spiritual progression for thousands of years.
It is a large book of nearly 500 pages and some sections are best left to scholars of maths, but there is plenty for everyone to get into - just scan over certain areas where necessary.
Dr Ian Stevenson is no doubt the most often quoted by reincarnationists and looked upon by many as their ‘guru.’ Chapter 8 of Stephen Blake’s book is devoted to Dr Stevenson’s research and in particular to his Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (1974). Blake unravels these cases - in particular the case of Jasbir as a prime example - and presents to the reader the errors and weaknesses of Stevenson’s investigations. Although Dr Stevenson dismissed the phenomenon of obsession by discarnate personalities he, nevertheless, provided abundant evidence for human survival beyond bodily death. The importance of this cannot be over emphasised as it supports the work of the early psychic researchers Prof James Hyslop, Sir William Crookes and others who demonstrated in scientific investigations and experiments that human personality not only survives the death of the physical body but can also influence the incarnate. That Stevenson's reincarnationist interpretation of the facts is wrong is proven by the case of Jasbir.
Spirit influence was proven by Prof James Hyslop and by Dr Carl Wickland and his wife Anna (a fine medium) in the earlier years of the 20th Century - refer to ‘Thirty Years Among the Dead’ (Wickland), and it was pleasing to see references to these fine researchers and pioneers in Blake’s book and yet wonder and fail to understand how this most important evidence was ignored by Dr Ian Stevenson.
Within the doctrine of reincarnation is found its partner in crime and bed-mate - the Law of Karma. Saturating the Eastern religions, it is now accepted by Western reincarnationists and incorporated into their thinking. In chapter 4 ‘The problem with karma’, Blake uses logic and mathematics to disentangle this false and misguided concept; and by the end of the chapter the imposing wall of karma is lying in ruins at the foot of the 'Impossibility Theorem.'
I unhesitatingly recommend Stephen Blake’s book ‘Reincarnation Refuted’ whether you are a pro or anti reincarnationist or someone who is just not sure and ‘sitting on the fence’. For certain it will give the reader plenty to think about.
James Webster ( Author of The Case Against Reincarnation: A rational Approach and Life is Forever )
REVIEW BY SUSAN B. MARTINEZ, Ph.D.
PUBLISHED IN THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SPIRITUAL AND CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES - JULY 2014
Personhood has been trifled with, in today's rush of New Age bosh and bunkum. But England's Stephen Blake holds two things as givens: immortality and individuality. And both, as this close analysis demonstrates, are incompatible with the doctrine of reincarnation. "The human self is uniquely expressive," says Blake; yet – and this is the nub of it – when a person loses consciousness, whether in sleep, hypnosis, injury or any other compromised state, that unique identity can be put on hold. And this is precisely when discarnate spirits can step in – even try to take over.
Blake observes that "modern psychiatry has begun to adjust its methods … to cope with the widespread effects of discarnate spirit influence in human society. Without acknowledging that discarnate spirits really exist, psychiatrists can now treat their patients as if they did, whilst leaving the intellectual apparatus of their discipline intact." But being out-of-the-box, Blake (a retired teacher) does not have to beat around the bush or play as-if games. Instead he openly identifies the unseen personalities as "no more than very nasty earthbound spirits … bent on controlling the lives of people on earth." And when a person is overshadowed in this manner, beset with vivid and detailed "memories" of the Attacher's life, some observers will say it is a case of reincarnation: past-life recall. Blake, though, sees it as "no more an incarnation than a marionette is the incarnation of its controller."
Do you believe in reincarnation? Undecided? Confused? Take a look at this well-written, completely original, intense, in-depth approach to one of Psi's most conspicuous cliffhangers – the afterlife. These twelve chapters, enlivened by intriguing case histories, employ the occasional Socratic Method (dialogues) as well as a series of Propositions and Postulates couched in the language and symbols of formal Logic. As a mathematician and scientist, Blake offers an unprecedented format, using spreadsheets and equations, quantum physics, probability theory, Hilbert space, the principle of irrefutability and even "the mathematics of karma." Entering the discussion are the work and theories of great minds (and a few quacks) both past and present: Hawking, Wickland, Cayce, HPB, Darwin, Silver Birch, Newton, Galileo, DD Home, Max Planck, Yogananda, Swedenborg, Descartes and Pascal .
Of course, the work of Ian Stevenson is scrutinized, not only exposing a manifest bias in research methodology, but also offering a reasonable alternative explanation for "birthmarks," and marveling at the professor's casual dismissal of spirit intrusion.
Blake then delivers a mighty blow to karma itself – our "cosmic bank balance." Applying an input-output feedback loop, and noting that each lifetime produces fresh karma (whose debt "would never be settled"), karma, then, as the mechanism for soul-liberation simply collapses under the Impossibility Theorem. Logic notwithstanding, it is Blake's ethical argument – a question of Justice - that stirs us: "Reincarnation and karma have been powerful tools of political and social repression, by shifting the responsibility for the ills of society onto the victims themselves," all the while "maintaining the powerful and the privileged in their special positions … and no one has any business dislodging them."
Unconcerned with the popularity of his targets, the author goes on to illuminate the close relationship of Darwinism and Reincarnationism – both of which he portrays as trapped in the materialist fallacy, and, as his argument unfolds, both ultimately dehumanizing. It is here that the meaning of "immortality" is dissected; the concept of rebirth ("changing overcoats" or "hopping from one body to another") is found to be inconsistent with eternal life. "If human immortality means anything at all, it means much more than bodily survival."
Like a surgeon with his scalpel, Blake cuts to the quick of causality and determinism, eliminates the bogus and renounces science's "burial of God"; but most of all, he reminds us that the "cliffhanger" will find closure only "by establishing the true nature of human spirituality." And to that extent, I think he has pointed us in the right direction.
Susan Martinez, Ph.D. ( Author of The Reincarnation Hoax and Delusions in Science and Spirituality )