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View Poll Results: Do you belive in souls?

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Thread: Souls?

  1. #1 Souls? 
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    What are souls and are they real?

    I personally don't belive in souls but there seems to be a driving force for the human, and indeed any living thing.


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  3. #2  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    the soul is an human invention designed to make us feel special


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D. Cat1981(England)'s Avatar
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    No, i believe that your soul is simple an illusion created in your mind because you have self awareness.
    Eat Dolphin, save the Tuna!!!!
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  5. #4  
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    i believe that people confuse the idea of a soul with the idea of human will power. both are driving forces that seem to motivate people. or at least and excuse for motivation.

    people also like having comfort in knowing that our essence will be carried over to an afterlife. it gives our blatant worthlessness some spice, or hope for people who see this idea as nothing but depressing. people think they need comfort in the unknown. so we create devices to ease the "soul".

    (pun intended)
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Einstein
    What are souls and are they real?
    Good question. Do you want a scientific answer, or an ideological one? Too bad, yer getting both...

    Scientifically, who knows. Since we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of a soul, and there is a lack of empirical evidence to examine either way, all we can do is explore. (And before anyone jumps out and says "ha, no evidence, no soul!" I'd like to point out there's no evidence for a lot of science.)

    Ideologically, the soul is whatever you want it to be. If you follow a specific religious teaching that augments your faith, perhaps the soul is what your texts say it is. Personally, while I really want there to be such a thing as a soul, specifically for afterlife scenarios, the whole concept makes me feel all creepy.

    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    the soul is an human invention designed to make us feel special
    That's it. I'm not inviting you to any parties, you wet blanket!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cat1981(England)
    No, i believe that your soul is simple an illusion created in your mind because you have self awareness.
    Interesting notion, but how about this for thought:

    Take for instance the concept that the neurons that make up the brain are simply multi-faceted switches. We can make mechanical versions of these switches with relative easy. However, lump 100-billion of these switches together, and do you get a sentient person? Usually not...

    So what's going on?

    Well some people believe that our conscience, that is our sentient individual thought and motivation, comes from another source. There are those who believe that that source is the soul. There are others who think that there may be something going on that we just don't know about yet. Perhaps this thought comes from something that isn't physical like cells. Perhaps it's kinda like alternate dimensions in physics. Something we can't yet detect, but we can see the effects on the particles.

    And what if in the future we create a process by which you can take a person, precisely freeze them, make a duplicate of them right down to the cellular level, charge, snot and fluid balance, and then unfreeze both subjects? What happens?

    If you believe that all the physical components of the body are all there is, then the duplicate person should be utterly identical to the original, right down to the same thoughts.

    If not, then something else must exist. That something else could also be construed as the soul, even though it may have a very scientifically-grounded existence and function.

    Don't let any of this keep you up at night, though.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Scientifically, who knows. Since we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of a soul, and there is a lack of empirical evidence to examine either way, all we can do is explore. (And before anyone jumps out and says "ha, no evidence, no soul!" I'd like to point out there's no evidence for a lot of science.)
    I don't think I agree with this. If there is no evidence, no testable property, then the scientific answer is "no". I'm not sure what science you are referring to that has no evidence but even in theoretical physics for example there is evidence - the laws of the universe. The theories describe a framework which make predictions and you can test those predictions. Maybe not 100% in practice due to technology limits but it's not inherently impossible like in the case of a soul.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    I don't think I agree with this. If there is no evidence, no testable property, then the scientific answer is "no". I'm not sure what science you are referring to that has no evidence but even in theoretical physics for example there is evidence - the laws of the universe. The theories describe a framework which make predictions and you can test those predictions.
    Actually, much of quantum theory, string theory, and M-theory, greatly followed as science, have no current ways of testing or observation. To that extent, since when has anyone claimed to completely understand much of anything?

    We still have no exact idea what gravity is, cognition, how singularities work, etc, etc. A lot of wrong has been done in science because those studying it stayed inside a box.

    There's a whole lot of theory going on in science without a whole lot of tests or proof. There are a few folks, like Steven Weinberg, who believe that if you can't test something, it doesn't exist. It's not science. No tests, no string theory, M-theory, and although we can detect some subatomic particles, much of the rest of quantum theory is speculation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Maybe not 100% in practice due to technology limits but it's not inherently impossible like in the case of a soul.
    Well that's just narrow minded, my friend.

    You're making the assumption that the soul, if it exists, must be the soul of religion, am I right? If so, why couldn't religious beliefs surrounding the soul be byproducts of actually having something that is or acts like a soul?

    Saying that there can't be a soul because you can't detect it, is ludicrous. That's bad science. We can't detect a lot of things, does that mean it's impossible for them to exist?

    The best we can do is say something is "improbable," and even then that's only subjective.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    I don't think I agree with this. If there is no evidence, no testable property, then the scientific answer is "no". I'm not sure what science you are referring to that has no evidence but even in theoretical physics for example there is evidence - the laws of the universe. The theories describe a framework which make predictions and you can test those predictions.
    Actually, much of quantum theory, string theory, and M-theory, greatly followed as science, have no current ways of testing or observation. To that extent, since when has anyone claimed to completely understand much of anything?

    We still have no exact idea what gravity is, cognition, how singularities work, etc, etc. A lot of wrong has been done in science because those studying it stayed inside a box.

    There's a whole lot of theory going on in science without a whole lot of tests or proof. There are a few folks, like Steven Weinberg, who believe that if you can't test something, it doesn't exist. It's not science. No tests, no string theory, M-theory, and although we can detect some subatomic particles, much of the rest of quantum theory is speculation.
    Those theories aren't just random collections of equations - they describe or attempt to describe the way the universe ACTUALLY WORKS. The theories ARE what they ARE precisely because of observable evidence. That ALONE puts them on far higher standing than a concept based on nothing at worst, religion at best - the soul.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Maybe not 100% in practice due to technology limits but it's not inherently impossible like in the case of a soul.
    Well that's just narrow minded, my friend.

    You're making the assumption that the soul, if it exists, must be the soul of religion, am I right? If so, why couldn't religious beliefs surrounding the soul be byproducts of actually having something that is or acts like a soul?
    Saying that there can't be a soul because you can't detect it, is ludicrous. That's bad science. We can't detect a lot of things, does that mean it's impossible for them to exist?
    The best we can do is say something is "improbable," and even then that's only subjective.
    The soul has no properties, it has no definition, it leaves no evidence - the same analogy of unicorns and cyclops applies. It is a concept, nothing more. Keep in mind that I said "IF there is no evidence, no testable property" then the answer is emphatically NO the soul does not exist. I am not merely saying the answer is "no" if we can't detect it, I'm saying the answer is "no" if it's undetectable. There's a difference.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Those theories aren't just random collections of equations - they describe or attempt to describe the way the universe ACTUALLY WORKS. The theories ARE what they ARE precisely because of observable evidence. That ALONE puts them on far higher standing than a concept based on nothing at worst, religion at best - the soul.
    Uh, actually as a lot of religion and faith beliefs go, the soul is a method that is part of the explanation of how the universe actually works.

    We have no clue whether or not string theory or M-theory is correct. Anyone studying in those fields will tell you that the theories seem to fit nice, but that doesn't make them correct. There's been a lot of things throughout history that seemed correct, and were later proven wrong.

    We can't prove that "soul theory" is wrong, anymore than we can prove that "M-theory" is right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    The soul has no properties, it has no definition, it leaves no evidence
    Given that it's estimated that roughly 2.5% of the world's population is atheist, that leaves 6.3-billion people who potentially disagree with that statement.

    Read any religious texts concerning the soul, or any teachings surrounding the soul, and you'll find that the soul has properties and a definition that identify the concept of a soul. Evidence is as speculative as most particles of quantum physics. Religion tells us they should be there, all evidence points to it, but the evidence is shaky at best. Ghost sightings, paranormal sensations, divine interventions, sainthood, etc.

    Simply because one branch of theory doesn't reside in another, doesn't discount it. Einstein was famous for having a disregard for other fields of study. He had no way of proving their ideas with his own understandings, but he didn't discount that they could be true. Mathematics has a hard time proving theories of biology, sociology, and psychology.


    But why are we stuck in this loop of thinking of the soul as proof of divine existence? Could not the soul be scientific? As I said earlier, perhaps what religion sees as the soul, is simply an interpretation of a physical trait we haven't examined yet?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Those theories aren't just random collections of equations - they describe or attempt to describe the way the universe ACTUALLY WORKS. The theories ARE what they ARE precisely because of observable evidence. That ALONE puts them on far higher standing than a concept based on nothing at worst, religion at best - the soul.
    Uh, actually as a lot of religion and faith beliefs go, the soul is a method that is part of the explanation of how the universe actually works.

    We have no clue whether or not string theory or M-theory is correct. Anyone studying in those fields will tell you that the theories seem to fit nice, but that doesn't make them correct. There's been a lot of things throughout history that seemed correct, and were later proven wrong.

    We can't prove that "soul theory" is wrong, anymore than we can prove that "M-theory" is right.
    The difference is we have a proven track record of successful mathematical frameworks to describe the universe. What scientific track record to we have for made-up concepts like the soul?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    The soul has no properties, it has no definition, it leaves no evidence
    Given that it's estimated that roughly 2.5% of the world's population is atheist, that leaves 6.3-billion people who potentially disagree with that statement.
    Well that screams for the flat-earth rebuttal. Do I even need to?

    Read any religious texts concerning the soul, or any teachings surrounding the soul, and you'll find that the soul has properties and a definition that identify the concept of a soul. Evidence is as speculative as most particles of quantum physics. Religion tells us they should be there, all evidence points to it, but the evidence is shaky at best. Ghost sightings, paranormal sensations, divine interventions, sainthood, etc.
    Ok well we're talking about the scientific question of whether or not a soul exists so I'm not sure how any of the above applies to that. Evidence for QM, by the way, is FAR more substantive than for a "soul" which has NO evidence. Superstring theory, to my understanding, you'd have more of a point (but even that has considerably more scientific merit than a soul)
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    The difference is we have a proven track record of successful mathematical frameworks to describe the universe. What scientific track record to we have for made-up concepts like the soul?
    I think you'll find there's a track record for religious groups, too, in matters regarding the soul. Just nothing that meets the probe perspective. And "proven" is subjected to the understanding of what the rules are. We once believed that there was fire inside wood, and believed that on the grounds that our principles for proof were of that nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Well that screams for the flat-earth rebuttal. Do I even need to?
    I think what I was getting at was that your comment suggested that soul is just a word without meaning or characteristics. Any faiths or religions that have souls in their teachings will be able to give you both meanings, and characteristics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Ok well we're talking about the scientific question of whether or not a soul exists so I'm not sure how any of the above applies to that. Evidence for QM, by the way, is FAR more substantive than for a "soul" which has NO evidence. Superstring theory, to my understanding, you'd have more of a point (but even that has considerably more scientific merit than a soul)
    As I've said before, the soul can go both ways in study. If you think the soul is a divine concept, then I doubt it obeys the laws of science (after all, you'd be examining the traits of a divine creation).

    If you don't believe in the soul being a divine creation, then there is the possibility that it is scientific, and therefore might be observed and studied by scientific means. There is always the chance that the soul is a property that we don't have an understanding of yet. Consciousness, creativity, chi, individuality, mannerism, gut-reaction, premonition, out-of-body experiences, etc, etc, all hint that something else is going on.

    The topic of the soul has mostly remained a subject of religious study, not scientific, until recently. More and more people are starting to take a scientific look at religious beliefs. If you look at the evidence of the soul from a faith perspective, there's mounds of evidence. From a scientific perspective, well, there's not many people actively studying soul-like traits, and a lot of the scientific evidence for the soul so far defies our understanding that we simply classify it as paranormal and ignore it.

    The problem is probably because the inherent nature of a soul is internal. It may only really be able to be studied by the self, and not by use of a probe. Because of this, most accounts of the existence of a soul are personal accounts, and not physical data like charts and pictures. It might be interesting to consult a priest or theologist and ask about accounts that have given others a reason for belief in a soul. From there, one could study the soul by indirect observation.


    BTW, I have to say this has been a fun thread! :-D
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  13. #12  
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    out of body experiencers and near-death/pre-birth experiencers seem to have a good idea of what it feels like first hand to experience the soul, maybe science can explain that?
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junglist_Movement
    out of body experiencers and near-death/pre-birth experiencers seem to have a good idea of what it feels like first hand to experience the soul, maybe science can explain that?
    True, that might be an interesting angle for indirect observation.

    I know a lot of people chalk out-of-body experiences up to brain-craziness during injuries and serious surgery, but there's a fatal flaw in that logic: people state that they see the room and their body during the surgery, when in fact they were totally unconscious the whole time, and could not have been at such an angle to see such a sight. How do they know what goes on in a room they never actually see? Weird. :?
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  15. #14  
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    A soul is a creature made of pure energy (or something else we don't understand) which exists within the organic creature-human.

    It is a symbiotic relationship between the two.

    When the organic creature dies the energy(or whatever) creature lives on in whatever form.
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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