Immortal Souls / Immortality Debunked
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05-10-2012, 08:14 PM (This post was last modified: 07-10-2012 08:33 PM by Starcrash.)
Immortal Souls / Immortality Debunked
I imagine some of these arguments have been done before, but as far as I can remember, there hasn't been an actual thread just about the existence of souls. So here it goes:

The concept of souls doesn't make sense. Most of us atheists would agree that there is no separate mind outside of our brains, and there's good science behind that: our brains can malfunction, which causes our minds to malfunction. For instance, if we had souls, one would expect our belief in God to be a part of that. And yet, apparently that rests in the brain. How about memory? Without your memories, in what way would you even be the same person? But of course amnesia is a common disorder that we're all aware of, and that's often caused by brain damage.

Now an apologist may counter by claiming that the brain is merely a device that communicates with the soul, and thus a breakdown in the brain causes this communication to malfunction and merely makes it "appear" as though the soul has a problem, when in reality the soul is okay. I see 4 major problems with this defense.

1. There's no evidence. None. There's never been anything in the body resembling a soul or anything being emitted from the body that could be considered communication. You can call it "supernatural" all you like, but that puts it in the realm of un-testable, un-falsifiable, and unverifiable. Thus, there's not only no evidence but there could never be evidence.

2. It begs the question. A lack of evidence means that the conclusion is being reached first, not last. You can't tell us how a soul operates until you can prove its existence, and you can't prove its existence by telling us how it operates.

3. It isn't compatible with what we know from the natural world. Whether or not you believe in a god, you know that there are factually birth defects... if there is a god, then he/she has no problem with allowing them. And yet, you believe that every being gets a perfect soul that is attached to the body every time without mistake? Why is this the only part of the process that doesn't mess up?

4. Animals don't have souls. If we evolved from animals without souls, at what point did we "grow a soul"? And if you believe that animals do have souls (I've never heard this response, but it's possible), then why are they the exception to reading the bible/having someone die for their sins/etc.?

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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05-10-2012, 08:39 PM
RE: Debunking "Souls"
Reposting this:



If souls exist as defined then they interact with the human mind in some way.

The human mind is demonstrably governed by physical processes in the brain.

If the soul interacts with the brain in any meaningful way, then regardless of its supernatural nature it must have some type of physical affect on those physical processes.

Science is currently able to or will in the future be able to measure those affects.

Those affects have not yet been observed.

Therefore until those affects are demonstrated, the null hypothesis (there are no souls) is preferred.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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05-10-2012, 08:54 PM
RE: Debunking "Souls"
"Define soul", I say to the theist who argues for its existence. Incoherent babbling from the theist ensues. Good times.
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05-10-2012, 08:55 PM
 
RE: Debunking "Souls"
(05-10-2012 08:14 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I imagine some of these arguments have been done before, but as far as I can remember, there hasn't been an actual thread just about the existence of souls. So here it goes:

The concept of souls doesn't make sense. Most of us atheists would agree that there is no separate mind outside of our brains, and there's good science behind that: our brains can malfunction, which causes our minds to malfunction. For instance, if we had souls, one would expect our belief in God to be a part of that. And yet, apparently that rests in the brain. How about memory? Without your memories, in what way would you even be the same person? But of course amnesia is a common disorder that we're all aware of, and that's often caused by brain damage.

Now an apologist may counter by claiming that the brain is merely a device that communicates with the soul, and thus a breakdown in the brain causes this communication to malfunction and merely makes it "appear" as though the soul has a problem, when in reality the soul is okay. I see 4 major problems with this defense.

First off, I'd like to counter that there is no seperate mind outside of the brain. How do you know that? How do you explain precognition or remote viewing--probably by denying they exist. How do you explain purposeful movement and learning capability in paramecium, which have no brain or nervous system of any kind (I've posted the links to the papers many times in this forum, just google "learning in paramecia." They've been demonstrating it since the 1950's).

Obviously, you have to have an intact brain in order for the mind to manifest in bodily ways.

Quote:1. There's no evidence. None. There's never been anything in the body resembling a soul or anything being emitted from the body that could be considered communication. You can call it "supernatural" all you like, but that puts it in the realm of un-testable, un-falsifiable, and unverifiable. Thus, there's not only no evidence but there could never be evidence.

The soul, if it exists at all, would be the mind. I can't think of anything else that it is. The mind is apparently not something we can see with the senses. Because it goes like this: Mind - Brain - Body. Mind controls the body, body gives input to the mind. How could the body then ever see the mind. Your asking for impossible evidence.

Quote:2. It begs the question. A lack of evidence means that the conclusion is being reached first, not last. You can't tell us how a soul operates until you can prove its existence, and you can't prove its existence by telling us how it operates.

That’s a good point.

Quote:3. It isn't compatible with what we know from the natural world. Whether or not you believe in a god, you know that there are factually birth defects... if there is a god, then he/she has no problem with allowing them. And yet, you believe that every being gets a perfect soul that is attached to the body every time without mistake? Why is this the only part of the process that doesn't mess up?

That’s a religious question. I’m not going there. It really has nothing to do with this discussion.


Quote:4. Animals don't have souls. If we evolved from animals without souls, at what point did we "grow a soul"? And if you believe that animals do have souls (I've never heard this response, but it's possible), then why are they the exception to reading the bible/having someone die for their sins/etc.?

Animals have as much of a soul as humans do. They act with will and purpose, they learn and remember, and some of them even have primitive reasoning abilities, like chimps learning to use tools in the wild. Again, paramecium display will and learning and have no nervous system whatsoever. What they do have can in no way explain their apparent consciousness.

Frankly, I don’t believe there are individual souls. I think there is only one mind and it has always existed, and we merely manifest more or less of it through physical bodies. In other words, when I die, the “me” I know from the mirror will be dead. My personality will die; my delusional identity (ego) will cease. What remains will be the consciousness that was there before I was born—which is what I really am…you, too.

Great post, by the way. I like debating this.
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05-10-2012, 09:50 PM (This post was last modified: 05-10-2012 11:42 PM by amyb.)
RE: Debunking "Souls"
Quote:How do you explain precognition or remote viewing--probably by denying they exist.
I can't speak for the OP, but unless you show evidence that these things are real, I don't think it's relevant to the topic. I have yet to see any [believable, testable, repeatable] evidence of these. Sure, some people have dreams that seem to "come true," but I'd consider that confirmation bias among other things, and that they simply forgot all the possibly-precognitive dreams that did not come to pass, or interpreted/remembered in such a way that it seemed more impressive.

Same with "remote viewing," pretty sure this is some kind of supernatural stuff. Again, just because some people believe in it doesn't make it objectively real. Personally, I would prefer to look for a natural explanation before I chalk it up to supernatural forces/abilities. For remote viewing, I'd imagine this is some kind of dream state/psychosis/delusional thinking.

(05-10-2012 08:55 PM)Egor Wrote:  Animals have as much of a soul as humans do. They act with will and purpose, they learn and remember, and some of them even have primitive reasoning abilities, like chimps learning to use tools in the wild.
So you are defining "soul" as "acting with will and purpose?" Isn't that what the mind does?

Quote:What remains will be the consciousness that was there before I was born
I haven't seen any evidence that I existed before I was born, so I disagree on that point. What remains after I die is some organic material, which will decay, and heat/energy which will dissipate into the surroundings, I think.
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05-10-2012, 10:06 PM
RE: Debunking "Souls"
(05-10-2012 08:14 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  ...as far as I can remember, there hasn't been an actual thread just about the existence of souls...

I'm pretty sure there is another thread on this.

I recall a comment from Erx about mind and body being one. Therefore, we are souls.

No wait! That was Uranus.

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05-10-2012, 10:20 PM
RE: Debunking "Souls"
(05-10-2012 08:55 PM)Egor Wrote:  Frankly, I don’t believe there are individual souls. I think there is only one mind and it has always existed, and we merely manifest more or less of it through physical bodies. In other words, when I die, the “me” I know from the mirror will be dead. My personality will die; my delusional identity (ego) will cease. What remains will be the consciousness that was there before I was born—which is what I really am…you, too.

Not saying that I agree, but this is absolutely beautiful and so perfect sounding. I wish it were this way.
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05-10-2012, 10:34 PM
RE: Debunking "Souls"
(05-10-2012 10:20 PM)LadyJane Wrote:  
(05-10-2012 08:55 PM)Egor Wrote:  Frankly, I don’t believe there are individual souls. I think there is only one mind and it has always existed, and we merely manifest more or less of it through physical bodies. In other words, when I die, the “me” I know from the mirror will be dead. My personality will die; my delusional identity (ego) will cease. What remains will be the consciousness that was there before I was born—which is what I really am…you, too.

Not saying that I agree, but this is absolutely beautiful and so perfect sounding. I wish it were this way.

I too have noticed that Egor has been turning up the poetry-dial recently. When it gets to 11, I'll start to genuflect.

I agree with the above quote from da man except for the second sentence.

You, Ed, may think that but I see no evidence for it. Having said that, I can't prove you wrong. Maybe we are all in the Matrix.

I guess we differ about what might be that "consciousness" and I would add that we also leave behind a legacy in that we are all part of the continuum of progress.

Reminder:
"being is all
that matters
matter is all
that is"

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05-10-2012, 11:54 PM
RE: Debunking "Souls"
First of all, my German isn't very good. If I were transported to a German only speaking town I could convey my immediate needs, some of my wants, and be somewhat conversational, but I have never taken a formal course and my spelling and grammar is shit. Okay, now to my thought; I always found it interesting that the German word for mind (geist) is a synonym for soul/spirit. Perhaps some Germans on the forum will correct me if I am wrong. Before I had always just thought that a "soul" was just bullshit, but you know your language shapes how you think about things. Language categorizes things, compartmentalizes things, makes our conceptions of things what they are. After giving it some thought I figured that I do have a soul, or something that is the essence of me, and that is in my mind. I was a teen at the time, and German was the first language I took a stab at (aside from my mother tongue, English.) Don't get me wrong, I don't think I have an immortal spirit, but the mind contains the essence of what I am, and if that isn't a soul then I suppose I don't believe in one.

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06-10-2012, 12:09 AM
RE: Debunking "Souls"
Actually the "mind" that your referring to Egor is simply electrical noise in the circuits of the brain which then causes the brain to translate those impulses into actions.

If you go and do some research into neurology you'll actually discover that what we think of as a "mind" may simply be part of what our DNA codes into our brain cells. We often make a decision before we are even aware of having made one.

As for precognition and remote viewing if they held valid repeatable demonstrable results there wouldn't even be a discussion of reliability.

By the way did you know the US government actually funded remote viewing in the 1970s until 1995 at which time it was discontinued for failing to provide any actual results? It's often called the Stargate project go look it up. As for precognition it falls much into the same trappings.

I may be the only one here but I also find the idea of "...What remains will be the consciousness that was thee before I was born..." hogwash. There is simply no evidence that anything is left except physical matter. If you wish to claim otherwise I'll simply ask for evidence which you readily mark as unviewable since "How could the body see the mind?".

So your willing to claim that the mind can be used to see the body through remote viewing or precognition but not the body the mind? Why would such a thing work only one way if it does indeed work?

Sorry Egor I know it seems I always pick on you but my bullshit meter just goes off a lot around such metaphysical talk.
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