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jimmydasaint

Has Science debunked the idea of a soul?

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True; DM and DE provides an eloquent explanation for the forces underpinning the cohesion and expanse of our universe. However, belief in a soul, for some, may also have its eloquence in explaining phenomena reported as reincarnation, out-of-body and near-death experiences.

 

 

 

While a soul is an explanation, it is not the only explanation.

 

In the broader picture, it's not so much that science has debunked the idea as much as it's that nobody has amassed sufficient evidence to support the existence of a soul.

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While a soul is an explanation, it is not the only explanation.

 

In the broader picture, it's not so much that science has debunked the idea as much as it's that nobody has amassed sufficient evidence to support the existence of a soul.

I would ask "Is a soul needed?"

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If you studied physics a bit you would see that there is no mechanism that could plausibly account for it. Even in biology, as I'm sure you know, all psychological/physiological phenomena are emergent processes. What you are asking for is an extant non-physical phenomenon that co-exists in parallel but autonomously to the physical processes.

I didn't answer this because I didn't know what extant meant. Now that I know, I am not sure that psychological/physiological phenomena are emergent processes (epiphenomenological). I think it is a good theoretical framework to explain how thoughts and actions arise but events like long term potentiation (memory) occur. I am quite interested in Penrose and Hameroff's theory of consciousness http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24070914 where the role of a soul in providing qualia (single unified thoughts, e.g. "Oh, good! Ice cream") allows for a soul to be involved in the processs of conscious behaviour by influencing neuronal outputs in the brain.

 

True; DM and DE provides an eloquent explanation for the forces underpinning the cohesion and expanse of our universe. However, belief in a soul, for some, may also have its eloquence in explaining phenomena reported as reincarnation, out-of-body and near-death experiences.

That was my main aim. I was hoping that Science would be able to explain, or not explain, out of body experiences and then means would be encouraged to measure a "proto-soul".

DrmDoc, if we were to have a soul, does that mean animals have a soul as well? If not, why not? What keeps the soul attached to a person's body? Could a soul move from one person to another person, or to an animal? Could two souls occupy the same body?

Sorry to answer for DrmDoc, he can certainly answer for himself. But I thought that animals are purely instinctive beings with a consciousness without the ability to rise above their instincts or to negate what their instincts tell them. We have: 1. Complex language; 2. thoughts that can reflect on the thinking process; 3. A unified sense of self/ego for the most of humanity, although there are anomalies. I am not trying to patronise you here or to be pedantic and I apologise if I sound that way. There are obviously faith groups who believe in metempsychosis, but I don't know anything about this topic.

I would ask "Is a soul needed?"

That is the tough question. If a soul is like a rewriteable CD and carries the right and wrong actions of a human being and then prepares to evolve to an afterlife soul that is enlightened, then, to a certain segment of the world population, the answer would be yes. It is the battlefield of the soul that provides the domain of faith. However, there are also agnostic atheists who want to believe in a "soul". Actually, to be honest, I only exchanged comments with one, but he seemed to believe in a soul-driven existence without faith involved. I don't really know the answer. What is the alternative? Mind-body states interacting with each other? From what I have read, scientists have identified parts of the brain in great detail for doing "a", "b" or "c". However, what is the cause to the effect? Just sensory information? There are more questions than answers for me personally.

Edited by jimmydasaint

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I didn't answer this because I didn't know what extant meant. Now that I know, I am not sure that psychological/physiological phenomena are emergent processes (epiphenomenological). I think it is a good theoretical framework to explain how thoughts and actions arise but events like long term potentiation (memory) occur. I am quite interested in Penrose and Hameroff's theory of consciousness http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24070914 where the role of a soul in providing qualia (single unified thoughts, e.g. "Oh, good! Ice cream") allows for a soul to be involved in the processs of conscious behaviour by influencing neuronal outputs in the brain.

That was my main aim. I was hoping that Science would be able to explain, or not explain, out of body experiences and then means would be encouraged to measure a "proto-soul".

Sorry to answer for DrmDoc, he can certainly answer for himself. But I thought that animals are purely instinctive beings with a consciousness without the ability to rise above their instincts or to negate what their instincts tell them. We have: 1. Complex language; 2. thoughts that can reflect on the thinking process; 3. A unified sense of self/ego for the most of humanity, although there are anomalies. I am not trying to patronise you here or to be pedantic and I apologise if I sound that way. There are obviously faith groups who believe in metempsychosis, but I don't know anything about this topic.

That is the tough question. If a soul is like a rewriteable CD and carries the right and wrong actions of a human being and then prepares to evolve to an afterlife soul that is enlightened, then, to a certain segment of the world population, the answer would be yes. It is the battlefield of the soul that provides the domain of faith. However, there are also agnostic atheists who want to believe in a "soul". Actually, to be honest, I only exchanged comments with one, but he seemed to believe in a soul-driven existence without faith involved. I don't really know the answer. What is the alternative? Mind-body states interacting with each other? From what I have read, scientists have identified parts of the brain in great detail for doing "a", "b" or "c". However, what is the cause to the effect? Just sensory information? There are more questions than answers for me personally.

My personal stance is that I don't fear my own demise and, as such, don't need a soul to keep me going... in fact, I'd be rather pissed off... there's only so many times you can go around the block before it gets boring. :)

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That is a brave worldview, to have no fear or doubt. I just live between fear and hope. You must have gone round this block many times as I have. To stop yourself from getting bored just plug into your heavy metal and forget everything. :)

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That is a brave worldview, to have no fear or doubt. I just live between fear and hope. You must have gone round this block many times as I have. To stop yourself from getting bored just plug into your heavy metal and forget everything. :)

LOL! I was going to say that as much as I love listening to Pink Floyd - 40 years and counting - it's gonna get a bit too familiar in a 1000 years time. :)

 

On the subject of going around the block too many times, I also think, even if the people around you change i'm reminded of the saying: same old shit; different actors. There's a certain life routine we all follow and it's got to pall after a few centuries. De ja vu must be an endemic condition up there in heaven and you don't have the option of dying to get away from it. :)

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While a soul is an explanation, it is not the only explanation.

 

In the broader picture, it's not so much that science has debunked the idea as much as it's that nobody has amassed sufficient evidence to support the existence of a soul.

Precisely, which is why science and scientist shouldn't become so staid as to not consider there could very well be such evidence yet to be uncovered. Sure, remain unconvinced of a soul but also remain open to the consideration of evidence in that possibility. Being closed-minded isn't science or scientific, it's fanaticism--an irrational, unreasonable, and destructive force diametric to progress. Let's not be like those scientist of the late 19th to early 20th century who prematurely declared that there is nothing new to be discovered.

 

DrmDoc, if we were to have a soul, does that mean animals have a soul as well? If not, why not? What keeps the soul attached to a person's body? Could a soul move from one person to another person, or to an animal? Could two souls occupy the same body?

Whether animals, including ourselves, have a soul is dependent on our perception or understanding of its properties. Since we haven't developed or evolved a means to discern what a soul's properties might be, no one can definitively answer your questions. It's much easier, because of the science, to answer whether animals have minds than whether they have souls. With a mind as our query, we merely have to look for brain structures and behaviors comparable to human.

 

My personal stance is that I don't fear my own demise and, as such, don't need a soul to keep me going... in fact, I'd be rather pissed off... there's only so many times you can go around the block before it gets boring. :)

I'm pissed off enough without the angst of having to endure an eternity of indifference.

Edited by DrmDoc

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I'm pissed off enough without the angst of having to endure an eternity of indifference.

Imagine being married to the same person/soul for forever: there's only so many positions in the Kama Sutra....

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Imagine being married to the same person/soul for forever: there's only so many positions in the Kama Sutra....

 

Ha!

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Ha!

I think the only you could live forever happily and not go insane from repetition is by having no memory or a very short term one but then one would be trapped within a moat of forgetfulness doomed to do the same thing over and over again. <Puts God is a DJ on for the fifth time>.

Edited by StringJunky

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I think the only you could live forever happily and not go insane from repetition is by having no memory or a very short term one but then one would be trapped within a moat of forgetfulness doomed to do the same thing over and over again. <Puts God is a DJ on for the fifth time>.

 

Noooo! I shutter at the possibility. Once is enough thank you! :)

 

Edited by DrmDoc

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Precisely, which is why science and scientist shouldn't become so staid as to not consider there could very well be such evidence yet to be uncovered. Sure, remain unconvinced of a soul but also remain open to the consideration of evidence in that possibility. Being closed-minded isn't science or scientific, it's fanaticism--an irrational, unreasonable, and destructive force diametric to progress. Let's not be like those scientist of the late 19th to early 20th century who prematurely declared that there is nothing new to be discovered.

 

 

"You haven't gathered enough evidence" is not being closed-minded, though.

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"You haven't gathered enough evidence" is not being closed-minded, though.

 

Of course not; however, some of us can be quite dismissive of any measure of evidence without fair consideration, which is all I believe others ask.

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If I may, didn't Ockham, a Franciscan monk, believe in the existence of a soul and God by proof of "personal revelation" and the "authority of Sacred Scripture", according the Wiki link? This, If I understand correctly, appears to be the opposite of the principles or thoughts some have expressed in this discussion.

Edited by DrmDoc

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If I may, didn't Ockham, a Franciscan monk, believe in the existence of a soul and God by proof of "personal revelation" and the "authority of Sacred Scripture", according the Wiki link? This, If I understand correctly, appears to be the opposite of the principles or thoughts some have expressed in this discussion.

He was speaking for his time and there was also no alternative at that time but he helped break that mould with his logic, which persists today. Focus on the principle not the extraneous details.

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He was, and the irony amused me- which is why I cited him.

However, there's a much bigger issue here.

Was the idea of a soul ever seriously "bunked" in the first place?
If not, what is there to "debunk"?

 

It's like asking if science has debunked the Hobbit.

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He was, and the irony amused me- which is why I cited him.

 

However, there's a much bigger issue here.

Was the idea of a soul ever seriously "bunked" in the first place?

If not, what is there to "debunk"?

 

It's like asking if science has debunked the Hobbit.

I can't say, but proof by "personal revelation" and "Sacred Scripture" certainly seemed serious--to Ockham. And please, let's not get started on the Hobbit! :)

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My feelings for posting the OP were genuine. I wanted the studies on Near Death Experiences and Out of Body Experiences to succeed but the numbers are not yet high enough and the accounts of a unified ego watching operations were anecdotal. Science has some explanation for why people can feel that their bodies float or feel in a different place but I do not have the opinion that this is proof of what happens to those people who can see the top of the heads of their medical attendants and hear snatches of conversation. Even if objects or cards are placed around hospital surgeries on high shelves for a "disembodied" spirit to observe, and the occasional person identifies those object clearly, the mystery of soul or no soul will still remain a controversial area for scientists.

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My feelings for posting the OP were genuine. I wanted the studies on Near Death Experiences and Out of Body Experiences to succeed but the numbers are not yet high enough and the accounts of a unified ego watching operations were anecdotal. Science has some explanation for why people can feel that their bodies float or feel in a different place but I do not have the opinion that this is proof of what happens to those people who can see the top of the heads of their medical attendants and hear snatches of conversation. Even if objects or cards are placed around hospital surgeries on high shelves for a "disembodied" spirit to observe, and the occasional person identifies those object clearly, the mystery of soul or no soul will still remain a controversial area for scientists.

 

Jimmy, I'm going in for a 9 hour surgery in a couple days, while I hope it goes smoothly, if it doesn't I'll report back... then again maybe not! I wonder what the surgeon would say if i asked him to set up an object that I could identify if I had an OOBE...

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Interesting idea. Imagine you get the surgeon to write his 'phone number on top of the light in the operating room.

Imagine (now we are getting into less plausible territory) that you have an OOBE and can drift up + read the number.

 

Here's where I digress for a bit. Many of us have spent an evening drinking heavily and, in the morning, struggled to remember the details of what we said and did the night before.

With that observation in mind, how well do you think you will remember the number- given that you were even more heavily sedated when you saw it than you ever got during any drinking session?

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Interesting idea. Imagine you get the surgeon to write his 'phone number on top of the light in the operating room.

Imagine (now we are getting into less plausible territory) that you have an OOBE and can drift up + read the number.

 

Here's where I digress for a bit. Many of us have spent an evening drinking heavily and, in the morning, struggled to remember the details of what we said and did the night before.

With that observation in mind, how well do you think you will remember the number- given that you were even more heavily sedated when you saw it than you ever got during any drinking session?

 

 

I wonder if thinking about it before hand will set me up to think I had an OOBE!

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I wonder if thinking about it before hand will set me up to think I had an OOBE!

 

 

No, but it doesn't mean you won't.

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Jimmy, I'm going in for a 9 hour surgery in a couple days, while I hope it goes smoothly, if it doesn't I'll report back... then again maybe not! I wonder what the surgeon would say if i asked him to set up an object that I could identify if I had an OOBE...

 

I would being very interested in reading about your experiences whatever they may be. If you have interest, post them here: General Anesthesia.

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