A certain amount of the energy that makes a human being function will certainly end up in other humans after he/she dies. A lot of it is recycled chemically in the soil that claims our bodies, for a start.
Does that count as reincarnation, though? Once that energy leaves your body, it has no memory of who or even what you were. It does not carry any part of what you would think of as your identity (you might suppose it does so invisibly, but then you're getting into the realms of fantasy).Those who come into contact with it will not be contacting "you".
It is a nice thought that our physical remains continue on as part of our larger legacy, and I've actually used that thought to comfort the bereaved. The energy we've used, while it is out there, will not produce any long-term echoes of us that anyone will ever identify. Our memories and identities are much better preserved in photo albums.
Welcome WolfFable. Yeah, I ended up writing a mountain of stuff on NDEs when Maroun took it upon himself to defend them as evidence for God.
The boy you're referring to is James Leininger, who according to the story remembered details of the life of WW2 pilot James Huston, killed over Iwo Jima.
It seems to have become a flagship case for reincarnation, and in the case of the above link the religious are using it to support the existence of God. This is interesting, because reincarnation is not an accepted part of many mainstream religions. The impetus, I sadly suspect, is the New Age industry based around helping people "remember" their past lives.
Here is an excellent skeptical analysis of the case. Highlights:
- The first and only counsellor who saw the poor kid was a believer in reincarnation, who went about recovering the old memories on the immediate assumption that they were there.
- Most versions of the story fail to mention that the boy had been to the Kavanaugh Flight Museum in Dallas a few months before it all started.
- Little James talked about a Corsair, among the more distinctive planes featured at the museum. After investigation, it turned out James Huston was killed in a FM2 Wildcat.
There are other elements of the story which cannot be attacked so readily, but see how much less credible it is when just a few omitted facts are re-integrated into the story? Unfortunately parts of this story will probably get harder to pin down as time goes on, but there's enough so far to suggest that little James Leininger had plenty of earthly inspiration for his initial fixation.
Generally, reincarnation depends on the existence of souls, so you've got to establish those before you can talk about them moving between bodies. There are atheists out there who believe in ghosts, so a few atheists might well buy this concept too. I don't.