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View Poll Results: Do you think you have a soul? and why?

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  • Yes I do belive that people have souls thanks to religious reasons.

    10 15.15%
  • I feel that I have one, therefore I do.

    25 37.88%
  • I think a soul is something which is just made up.

    31 46.97%
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  1. #111
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    The Scientific Theory of the Soul | Hare Krishna Community

    I found this article but I don't know, I tried.

    There exists, within this material universe, three types of energy: gross material, subtle material and spiritual. The gross material energy consists of earth, water, fire, air and ether [defined as the "space" within the universe]. The subtle material energy consists of mind, intelligence and false-ego [defined as the identification of the body as the self]. The spiritual energy consists of the soul [the individual living entities] and the supersoul

    The presence of the soul in any living entity is indicated by consciousness. Although we cannot actually see the soul, we can see its symptoms. We cannot “see” electricity but when we see an illuminated light-globe we can see the symptom of the presence of electricity. Similarly when we see consciousness we see the symptom of the soul.

    Any material body inhabited by a soul will undergo changes. It will be created, it will grow, it will produce by-products [offspring], it will dwindle and ultimately it will die.
    The “Soul Theory” makes many predictions that can be experimentally tested and also one can propose experiments which, if successfully carried out, could disprove it. So it is a theory suitable fro study using the currently accepted “scientific method”.

    * Predicts out of body experiences are possible
    * Predicts past life recollection is possible
    * Predicts “unembodied” souls are possible
    * Predicts life cannot be produced from a combination of chemicals

    “Unless there is a soul present within matter it will not go through the cycle of birth, growth, production of by-products, dwindling and death. This cycle is a symptom of the presence of the soul. The soul is placed within matter by other living entities and then develops.”

    Proof: Analytically study all living entities and confirm that all living entities are caused, or born from “parents”, other living entities.

    Falsify: Show life can be created from matter only [a chemical mixture of earth, water, fire, air and ether.] Then show the resulting combination of matter can exhibit the symptoms of life [growth, changing, production of by-products dwindling and vanishing.]

    “The soul is placed within matter by another living entity then a material body is developed around the soul from matter.”

    Proof: Analytically study living entities to confirm their source is another living entity.

    Falsify: Show living entities can be produced by a combination of chemicals. The resulting living entities must be able to exhibit the symptoms of the presence of the soul, ie: consciousness, and undergo the transformations of growth, change, production of by-products [offspring], dwindling and death.

    I like this bit.

    Leibniz's King of China TE: here Leibniz asks if we would be willing to have our souls switched into the body of Bill Gates (to update the example) if it meant that all of the "pins" were switched (so Bill Gates' pins are put into your pincushion and your pins are put into his pincushion). By Soul Theory, you would become very rich, even though you would have all of the memories and desires of Bill Gates. But Leibniz thinks that no one would agree to this, proving that no one finds it intuitive that "same soul" is a sufficient condition for personal identity.

    Locke's Nestor TE: here we get the reverse problem. In this case, Locke asks what we would think if our pins were removed from our souls and placed into another person's soul and body. If so, then your memories and desires would be present in another person. According to Locke, our intuitions here are that we have moved our position to another body, and so it seems that our intuitions suggest that souls are not even necessary conditions for personal identity.
    Basically I don't know.

    Fall of a cliff and find out.

    Does a person need a soul to have a heart to love?

  2. #112
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    But how can you think you know everything when we know so very little about the Universe? We don't even fully understand antimatter and how it holds systems together. Black holes, other stuff. We humans don't live in some closed system here on Earth, unremoved from the very thing that created us.
    What does that have to do with anything? Is anyone claiming to know everything?

    Quantum physics help understand certain phenomenon a little better, but it took someone with the drive to understand for us to get there.


    Someone didn't fully understand lightning a few hundreds years ago. They could come up with "God's voice" or some other theory on their own to explain it, sure. But the reason behind lightning isn't tied to what people believe. It's there in plain sight. It's how you look at it that differs.

    The presence of the soul in any living entity is indicated by consciousness. Although we cannot actually see the soul, we can see its symptoms. We cannot “see” electricity but when we see an illuminated light-globe we can see the symptom of the presence of electricity. Similarly when we see consciousness we see the symptom of the soul.
    It's all in the definition of it. That's why I don't think in terms of "believing in soul VS not believing in soul". It's much like religion. You must first define what you mean by god to know if you believe in it or not. I could see myself saying i believe in soul sure, if it's what we call consciousness or mental life, if you will.

    But any sort of "other thing" associated with soul...I mean, why should the soul be body-unbound? Electricity cannot exist in the vacuum, in the void, either. It only "exists" where it can. Why can't our soul become when we are born, and die when we die?

  3. #113
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    Nice baiting.

    But how can you think you know everything when we know so very little about the Universe? We don't even fully understand antimatter and how it holds systems together. Black holes, other stuff. We humans don't live in some closed system here on Earth, unremoved from the very thing that created us.
    My point wasn't about relative knowledge, i function and think ONLY in relative terms, so it's not like I have to make a conscious effort to put things into perspective. What I said is that if you correlate rational thoughts and feelings with our experience of the universe, you'll quickly realise that feelings just don't seem reliable past human behaviorism and it seems VERY unlikely that some sensory experience could give us information about a soul when far more sensible tools working on the same base principles didn't manage it, and neither did any study ever. Be it the effect or prayers, 6th sense studies and so on, non WHAT SO EVER had any tangible results.

    You can feel that there's no wall in front of you, yet if you hurt yourself 200 times in a row doing the same thing, you're going to have to admit that there might be some relevant data in the idea that there's an obstacle in there. That's called empiricism, and that's ALL we have.

    People who use empiricism to tell me that I don't know about most of what's around and that therefore I have to accept the possibility of a soul make two assumptions.
    1. That when i tell them that the idea of a soul doesn't make sense nor have any place around us past its function as an egobooster and an interesting subject study for memes evolution, I do positively negate the existence of a thing I haven't observed in any kind of fashion. Which is something I'd never do. Again, I only talk in relative terms.

    2. That we can ever say anything about something ELSE than empirical knowledge be it direct experience of inference of base principles.

    Wether the soul exists or not, it IS a delusion to believe it does, as absolutly nothing hints at the existence of such a thing, it's neither useful, nor practical, and nobody EVER observed (or rather deduced) any kind of data pattern that could exist outside of a physical structure. There is no need for it anywhere around us.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

  4. #114
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EcK View Post
    Wether the soul exists or not, it IS a delusion to believe it does, as absolutly nothing hints at the existence of such a thing, it's neither useful, nor practical not anything, and nobody EVER observed (or rather deduced) any kind of data pattern that could exist outside of a physical structure. There is no need for it anywhere around us.
    Well, it might sometimes be useful to cloud the truth. Much like optimism.

  5. #115
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    Well, it might sometimes be useful to cloud the truth. Much like optimism.
    I do get the psychological pros and cons. It's just that it's a pretty boring topic and I rarely feel like expanding on it.

    edit: Ok maybe not boring, as nothing ever truly is, but when you get into these conversations, most of the time its with people who have an agenda that isn't understanding and trying to achieve knowledge but just, prove that what they feel is right as the opposite would be a blow to their ego.

    The thing is I consider most people to be either children or cowards. I don't bother to scream it from some high place or anything, but well, I don't really mind if the fact I don't give them a complete theory on why i think this or that will make them believe that their boring delusions are anything else than just that.
    You don't feel the need to impress children or cowards. Well neither do I.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

  6. #116
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJ123 View Post
    excellent points you make, science is somewhat coming around though, particularly quantum mechanics, they are realizing that the subjective does matter, and that the conscious observer can change the outcome of an experiment merely by observing and directing his consciousness towards it.
    Actually, quantum mechanics really doesn't help that argument at all. The argument goes -- you can't point to a part of the brain and say "that's pain" or "that's love". Therefore just analyzing the physical is not enough.

    That argument is bullshit, though. Obviously, trying to point to neurons and mapping them to high level subjective experiences is going to be very very difficult, and doing it the way they suggest is like trying to explain flight by looking at feathers. But just because you can't explain flight by looking at feathers doesn't mean you can't explain flight physically.

    In cognitive science, David Marr came up with this idea of three levels of analysis for approaching problems. There's the computation level, which is like "what is the problem trying to be solved and what is the mathematical best answer to that problem? what are the input/output relations?". There's the implementation level, which is like "how would this problem be implemented on physical constituents?". And there's the algorithm level, which is sort of an inbetween step between the two.

    Approaching a problem from only one of those levels isn't going to provide a fully satisfying answer. You need to answer the problem from many different perspectives to get any sort of understanding of the system.

    Anyway, I would think that pain could actually be mapped on the implementation level if we started some levels up and continued to switch back and forth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    I believe in a undefinable, immaterial soul along the lines that some here have descibed (consciousness etc)
    You believe in something undefinable? Why? If it's undefinable, you don't even know what it is that you're believing.

    I don't think what you believe is really undefinable. I just think you're reluctant to define it because then people can shoot it down.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    That's the best part about God--if you define it vaguely enough, nobody can pin it down enough to shoot down your delusions!
    Or, you don't have to be delusional if you define it certain ways.

    What if everyone around you believed in God and would socially sanction you if you said you didn't? Then you could just define God as the laws of physics, and voila! You have a logically consistent way of believing in God!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    Why should we work any differently than machines? A computer isn't off because it lacks a soul. It's off because whatever electrical input is needed to make it work, is lacking. We are exactly the same. The brain works via electrical impulses.
    Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

    What people seem to forget is that we are made up of atoms. Atoms follow physical laws. It's not like any of those atoms one day can say to themselves "I'm not gonna follow this physical law this time!"

    So all we are is a complex system deterministically following physical laws. Where's the room for a soul? If a soul is non-physical, and doesn't have to follow physical laws, how does it affect what is physical? The only way it could do that is to make an atom not follow the laws of physics....which can't happen, therefore it can't be non-physical affecting the physical.

    If you define it as something physical, that's fine, I guess...but then it's just a bunch of atoms following physical laws. There's no hand-wavey hippie transcendence or whatever.

    So, yeah, you can do that. You can say, the soul is the "I" in my subjective experience. And that's fine. It's a useful term sometimes. But don't think that doesn't somehow reduce down to physics.

    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    Nice baiting.

    But how can you think you know everything when we know so very little about the Universe? We don't even fully understand antimatter and how it holds systems together. Black holes, other stuff. We humans don't live in some closed system here on Earth, unremoved from the very thing that created us.
    When we discover new things, we look at them from a physics perspective.

    If there was anything non-physical, it couldn't affect the physical, therefore it wouldn't affect anything we see or do...

    So, sure, there could be non-physical things. They just wouldn't matter.

  7. #117
    Oberon
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    I think it's hilarious that y'all are arguing over the equivalent of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and not one of you has any certain knowledge on one side of the question or the other. Yet you can be so certain...

    Let's try to at least get a good handle on what self-awareness is before we start debating souls, okay?

  8. #118
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I think it's hilarious that y'all are arguing over the equivalent of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and not one of you has any certain knowledge on one side of the question or the other. Yet you can be so certain...

    Let's try to at least get a good handle on what self-awareness is before we start debating souls, okay?
    There are many ways of viewing the problem, and a logically correct answer for each view. I try to cover all the views I can think of...did I miss something?


  9. #119
    Senior Member vince's Avatar
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    This is one of those ever returning thread titles, you know it's bound to go awry.

  10. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    i am not sure, in how far the soul should be labeled as "mine" and/or in how far it has any hard boundaries against "other souls". the soul should not be understood as an object, but as a realm. it's contents and it's richness is a different topic altogether. another word for the realm is "the subtle". and anyone who can dream can access the subtle realm, but the subtle is more than what we usually call dream. now many questions remain open.....
    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    Yes. But not due to religious reasons (so I didn't vote).

    Our material bodies, and the complexity of our DNA make us individuals, but something has to make us Alive. Living beings have to draw Life from somewhere. That is Soul. It comes from the Universe (or antimatter), and infuses matter with Life. It, unlike human bodies, is the same. The same for everyone. So we are different people, but with the same unifying Soulfulness. When a living being dies, you can clearly see just how much Soul matters (little pun ) because the absense of life is marked. Soul must go somewhere. --> Lifeforce of the Universe. Pure Light. Antimatter. Somewhere we cannot fully consciously understand, grasp, nor measure yet.
    I agree with both. There is something ineffable about Life. I do not think this argument should be so much about the literal meaning of soul, but the realm of the infinite. I feel sorry for those who have not explored this (what nanook calls the "subtle" ...very appropriate word for it.) I am not trying to say I have the answers. I strongly urge people to explore this first. If you remain skeptical and cynical you will never experience this fully. Besides, cynicism is useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    Why should we work any differently than machines? A computer isn't off because it lacks a soul. It's off because whatever electrical input is needed to make it work, is lacking. We are exactly the same. The brain works via electrical impulses.
    So what? Our bodies may function like machines but that does not mean we are solely machines. Bodies and "the subtle" are interwoven, yes. However, the body is finite, the subtle is not. How do you explain OBE or NDE...specters and spirits...astral projection (please do not try to tell me I am hallucinating, I have experienced these things and there are countless accounts of others who have as well...just because you never have does not mean it does not exist...I think fanatical materialists do not seem to understand this) ? Just because we are built like machines does not rule out the spiritual in us. It is extremely narrow minded to assume it does. Science explains how things work (which is important of course) ...things that are finite, things that are definable. Are you denying the infinite?


    How would you explain this boy who remembers a past life? (and thousands of young children like him?)... no one has been able to yet through scientific means...I doubt they will in the near future either:
    [YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmHo7_5MtmA&feature=related"]Boy Remembers Past Life--Part 1 of 5[/YOUTUBE]

    Many people here are still missing the point, and have clearly not delved deeply into spiritual practices. I suppose some of you think "What's the point?" and have let your pesky human ego get in the way. You say we are delusional and purposefully being vague so we cannot be disproven. That is the nature of these matters. Without the subtle, the infinite, there would be nothing finite, nothing tangiable. Does this not make sense to you yet? It is like matter and antimatter. People have gone from being humble of self(thanks to spiritual practices) to humble of heart (thanks to materialism). This is where we went wrong. The head rules now and everyone thinks their logical and reasoning capabilities are infallible. Humans are abusing it. It cannot explain everything.

    Do not bash things you are ignorant about and then parade your materialist or solipsistic beliefs as if you are superior of intellect (thinking that it is the be all and end all). Clearly, intellect is not everything. These are all just different ways of trying to make sense of the world. If you marry spiritualism and science, and take all sides of every argument into account to distill possible truths from all of them, you will able to get the most comprehensive answer.

    I have noticed that most people who reject the spiritual are Ts...mostly NTs here. It is obvious why...they rely heavily on their T (of course thinking it is superior to F). Unfortunately, that is silly...they need to develop F in order to see both sides of the picture. Fs develop their T to complement their insights. The key is balance.

    Studying the ancient philosophies of Hermeticism or philosophical Alchemy really tie into this and it is a good place to start for anyone:

    Alchemical texts

    C. G. Jung and the Alchemical Renewal

    THE SEVEN HERMETIC PRINCIPLES

    Also Jung was into these philosophies and wrote about them in many of his works.

    Issac Newton was as well! Talk about a marriage of science and spiritualism...

    People who criticized these things most likely have a rudimentary and fragmented knowledge of spiritual matters…why not explore it first and then make your judgment?

    And there is so much to explore…

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