"Sacred Pathways: The Brain's Role in Religious and Mystic Experiences"
Professor Todd Murphy (affiliated with Laurentian University Behavioral Neurosciences Program) proposes that the information passed forward during reincarnation helps us achieve the highest possible social rank. He points out that those in the higher social ranks have more mating opportunities, and receive more help in feeding and raising their young.
Having a higher social rank means that more of one's DNA survives in future generations. Murphy suggests that reincarnation confers an intuitive sense of right and wrong (adaptive and mal-adaptive)
Murphy’s hypothesis was first published hypothesis in the Journal for Near-Death Studies in 2001, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
In Buddhist tradition, rebirth brings us closer to enlightenment. In this new concept, rebirth tends to bring us away from extinction and threats to our survival.
The Dalai Lama has a long-standing interest in the convergence of science and Buddhism, encouraging the scientific study of meditation, and even consciousness itself within the framework of Buddhist psychology. He has even announced that Buddhism should discard any beliefs found to be in conflict with the discoveries of science. In putting his name on a foreword to this book, the Dalai Lama has taken the meeting of Buddhism and science into a new realm - that of Darwinian Evolution.
In the past, the meeting of Buddhism and science has happened in the domain of cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience. With this book, the meeting ground is extended in an unlikely direction – Anthropology as the way to understand “the cycle of lives”.
Todd Murphy also offers explanations for how reincarnation happens (via the earth's magnetic field), and the evolutionary pressure (an increase in the complexity of human culture) that spurred its development.
The author, neuroscientist Todd Murphy, also offers new hypotheses on other topics, including enlightenment, psychic skills, and common patterns of mystic experiences, but the really new element here is that the Dalai Lama shows an acceptance of Darwinian evolution, the scientific theory that Christian Fundamentalists love to hate.
Murphy, Todd "The Structure and Function of Near-Death Experiences: