What part of the brain is responsible for the soul (as theists call it?)

faithnomore
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What part of the brain is responsible for the soul (as theists call it?)

I have been debating a theist on another website that believes God created everything but doesn't believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  He believes that God is manifest through us and created that part of us that theists refer to as the soul or spirit. 

 

His last post is as follows, "The fact that we are interacting and trying to express what we feel in our soul is testament to the existence of the soul. If not, why would my mass of cells and neuronal connections care about your mass of tissue?"

 

I need someone with a science background to give me a rational response to this.   Any help would be appreciated.   Thank you

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In the case of your argument this is gap god

 

 

You won't find consciousness in the brain

 

MOST neuroscientists, philosophers of the mind and science journalists feel the time is near when we will be able to explain the mystery of human consciousness in terms of the activity of the brain. There is, however, a vocal minority of neurosceptics who contest this orthodoxy. Among them are those who focus on claims neuroscience makes about the preciseness of correlations between indirectly observed neural activity and different mental functions, states or experiences.

This was well captured in a 2009 article in Perspectives on Psychological Science by Harold Pashler from the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues, that argued: "...these correlations are higher than should be expected given the (evidently limited) reliability of both fMRI and personality measures. The high correlations are all the more puzzling because method sections rarely contain much detail about how the correlations were obtained."

Believers will counter that this is irrelevant: as our means of capturing and analysing neural activity become more powerful, so we will be able to make more precise correlations between the quantity, pattern and location of neural activity and aspects of consciousness.

This may well happen, but my argument is not about technical, probably temporary, limitations. It is about the deep philosophical confusion embedded in the assumption that if you can correlate neural activity with consciousness, then you have demonstrated they are one and the same thing, and that a physical science such as neurophysiology is able to show what consciousness truly is.

Many neurosceptics have argued that neural activity is nothing like experience, and that the least one might expect if A and B are the same is that they be indistinguishable from each other. Countering that objection by claiming that, say, activity in the occipital cortex and the sensation of light are two aspects of the same thing does not hold up because the existence of "aspects" depends on the prior existence of consciousness and cannot be used to explain the relationship between neural activity and consciousness.

This disposes of the famous claim by John Searle, Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley: that neural activity and conscious experience stand in the same relationship as molecules of H2O to water, with its properties of wetness, coldness, shininess and so on. The analogy fails as the level at which water can be seen as molecules, on the one hand, and as wet, shiny, cold stuff on the other, are intended to correspond to different "levels" at which we are conscious of it. But the existence of levels of experience or of description presupposes consciousness. Water does not intrinsically have these levels.

We cannot therefore conclude that when we see what seem to be neural correlates of consciousness that we are seeing consciousness itself. While neural activity of a certain kind is a necessary condition for every manifestation of consciousness, from the lightest sensation to the most exquisitely constructed sense of self, it is neither a sufficient condition of it, nor, still less, is it identical with it. If it were identical, then we would be left with the insuperable problem of explaining how intracranial nerve impulses, which are material events, could "reach out" to extracranial objects in order to be "of" or "about" them. Straightforward physical causation explains how light from an object brings about events in the occipital cortex. No such explanation is available as to how those neural events are "about" the physical object. Biophysical science explains how the light gets in but not how the gaze looks out.

Many features of ordinary consciousness also resist neurological explanation. Take the unity of consciousness. I can relate things I experience at a given time (the pressure of the seat on my bottom, the sound of traffic, my thoughts) to one another as elements of a single moment. Researchers have attempted to explain this unity, invoking quantum coherence (the cytoskeletal micro-tubules of Stuart Hameroff at the University of Arizona, and Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford), electromagnetic fields (Johnjoe McFadden, University of Surrey), or rhythmic discharges in the brain (the late Francis Crick).

These fail because they assume that an objective unity or uniformity of nerve impulses would be subjectively available, which, of course, it won't be. Even less would this explain the unification of entities that are, at the same time, experienced as distinct. My sensory field is a many-layered whole that also maintains its multiplicity. There is nothing in the convergence or coherence of neural pathways that gives us this "merging without mushing", this ability to see things as both whole and separate.

And there is an insuperable problem with a sense of past and future. Take memory. It is typically seen as being "stored" as the effects of experience which leave enduring changes in, for example, the properties of synapses and consequently in circuitry in the nervous system. But when I "remember", I explicitly reach out of the present to something that is explicitly past. A synapse, being a physical structure, does not have anything other than its present state. It does not, as you and I do, reach temporally upstream from the effects of experience to the experience that brought about the effects. In other words, the sense of the past cannot exist in a physical system. This is consistent with the fact that the physics of time does not allow for tenses: Einstein called the distinction between past, present and future a "stubbornly persistent illusion".

There are also problems with notions of the self, with the initiation of action, and with free will. Some neurophilosophers deal with these by denying their existence, but an account of consciousness that cannot find a basis for voluntary activity or the sense of self should conclude not that these things are unreal but that neuroscience provides at the very least an incomplete explanation of consciousness.

I believe there is a fundamental, but not obvious, reason why that explanation will always remain incomplete - or unrealisable. This concerns the disjunction between the objects of science and the contents of consciousness. Science begins when we escape our subjective, first-person experiences into objective measurement, and reach towards a vantage point the philosopher Thomas Nagel called "the view from nowhere". You think the table over there is large, I may think it is small. We measure it and find that it is 0.66 metres square. We now characterise the table in a way that is less beholden to personal experience.

Science begins when we escape our first-person subjective experience

Thus measurement takes us further from experience and the phenomena of subjective consciousness to a realm where things are described in abstract but quantitative terms. To do its work, physical science has to discard "secondary qualities", such as colour, warmth or cold, taste - in short, the basic contents of consciousness. For the physicist then, light is not in itself bright or colourful, it is a mixture of vibrations in an electromagnetic field of different frequencies. The material world, far from being the noisy, colourful, smelly place we live in, is colourless, silent, full of odourless molecules, atoms, particles, whose nature and behaviour is best described mathematically. In short, physical science is about the marginalisation, or even the disappearance, of phenomenal appearance/qualia, the redness of red wine or the smell of a smelly dog.

Consciousness, on the other hand, is all about phenomenal appearances/qualia. As science moves from appearances/qualia and toward quantities that do not themselves have the kinds of manifestation that make up our experiences, an account of consciousness in terms of nerve impulses must be a contradiction in terms. There is nothing in physical science that can explain why a physical object such as a brain should ascribe appearances/qualia to material objects that do not intrinsically have them.

Material objects require consciousness in order to "appear". Then their "appearings" will depend on the viewpoint of the conscious observer. This must not be taken to imply that there are no constraints on the appearance of objects once they are objects of consciousness.

Our failure to explain consciousness in terms of neural activity inside the brain inside the skull is not due to technical limitations which can be overcome. It is due to the self-contradictory nature of the task, of which the failure to explain "aboutness", the unity and multiplicity of our awareness, the explicit presence of the past, the initiation of actions, the construction of self are just symptoms. We cannot explain "appearings" using an objective approach that has set aside appearings as unreal and which seeks a reality in mass/energy that neither appears in itself nor has the means to make other items appear. The brain, seen as a physical object, no more has a world of things appearing to it than does any other physical object.

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Ray Tallis trained as a doctor, ultimately becoming professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Manchester, UK, where he oversaw a major neuroscience project. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a writer on areas ranging from consciousness to medical ethics

 

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527427.100-you-wont-find-consciousness-in-the-brain.html

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Robert Wright: The evolution

Robert Wright: The evolution of compassion

The basic idea is that cooperation has advantages for species that do so. Therefore we evovolved into animals that seek the approval of others and many times feel good about helping others. We invented concepts like unselfishness, compassion, bravery, etc... as a means to reward social behavior. It's all just a game.

How can this Chritian be truely compassionate if he's only do so to get heaven and other rewards from Mr. Invisible?

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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There are some interesting

 

Asides to the study of consciousness - including the fact that if you sever a patient's corpus colossum, the comms bus between the left and right hemisphere's of the brain, the patient experiences 2 selves.

Consciousness is like abiogenesis and prime mover. But while we don't know how it works yet this inability to explain consciousness does not guarantee an invisible eternal soul, the proof for which is inscrutable. 

It goes without saying that you can drink a bottle of scotch and kiss your consciousness goodbye any day of the week.

Most theists admit the brain is involved in consciousness but they'll insist there's some sort of mysterious interface to the soul that allows the physical storage of memories and the inputs of amygdala and cerebellum to

be accessed at a spiritual level.

I tend to think consciousness is an executive interface between brain centres, the body, and environmental inputs - sort of a NOS and a PS3 user interface in one - but this is outright speculation. What's important from the point of your discussion's

point of view is that your protagonist explain why consciousness is linked so forcefully to the physicality of the brain. Why brain disease impacts on personality. Why brain death results in the complete disappearance of the 'soul'.

Why brain damage impacts on observable executive behaviours including expression of morality and empathy and (hilariously) why brain damage is linked to spiritual transcendence.

 

http://www.miller-mccune.com/blogs/news-blog/brain-injuries-linked-to-spirituality-4062/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Gawd.

 

I'm totally off half cocked. For discussion of souls, see above. In terms of your argument, humans are social animals driven to communicate. It's got nothing to do with souls and everything to do with building social bonds that may be mutually beneficial.

Your protagonist's argument that your discussion on its own somehow proves there are immortal souls inside each of you is downright stupid.

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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faithnomore wrote:His last

faithnomore wrote:

His last post is as follows, "The fact that we are interacting and trying to express what we feel in our soul is testament to the existence of the soul. If not, why would my mass of cells and neuronal connections care about your mass of tissue?"

What's to say this line of thinking didn't offer an evolutionary advantage? People might not like that but it seems like a possible and natural explanation.

 

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. - William S. Burroughs


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I agree but we have a few

I agree but we have a few people following our discussion.  I realize that I won't change anyone's beliefs but I want to plant the seed of doubt with everyone who is following our debate.  However, his scientific knowledge far outweighs mine.  I'll probably copy and paste some of what you wrote.     Thanks for your help.

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe. - Carl Sagan

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He believes in the Big Bang

He believes in the Big Bang Theory and thus evolution.  He uses God as an explanation for those things that the Big Bang doesn't explain.     Thanks for your help.

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe. - Carl Sagan

Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion. - School Superintendent on "The Simpsons" episode #1


faithnomore
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another question from a theist

The quote below is the one I received after copying and pasting the 2nd post from AtheistExtremist.  I just wanted to say that I didn't take credit for his quote.  Instead I pointed out that someone from rational responders had said that and I invited him to this site to debate with someone who has more scientific knowledge than me.  Anyways, I copied and pasted his reply to me below. 

 

Refer back to your "Rational Responders" and ask why the inability to explain consciousness through empirical science does not guarantee the existence of an eternal invisible soul or God. In all fairness, it can be equally true that the fact we can't explain it is evidence that there is a higher power incomprehensible to us with our current scientific knowledge. In other words, it makes as much or even more sense to say there is a God than to say there isn't simply because it has eluded our understanding.

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe. - Carl Sagan

Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion. - School Superintendent on "The Simpsons" episode #1


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This is the part where we

 

All start repeating ourselves, over and over and over. There's vast evidence that consciousness or what theists call 'soul' is directly related to activity in the brain. There is no evidence of a soul aside from the fact we inadequately understand the neuroscience behind consciousness. To take this knowledge gap and posit a mighty god existing outside the universe, outside of time and beyond our knowable reality is an exercise in wishful thinking. There is no proof of a soul. There is no proof of a god. We cannot talk about things outside the universe without making assumptions about things it's not possible to know.  

Tell your friend that "in all fairness" it cannot be "equally true" that despite no evidence to the contrary there are any components to the human body or to the prime mover that could be described as spiritual. And ask for a definition of spirit while you're at it. What is your mate insisting actually exists, and what are its properties given no one has ever seen one?

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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faithnomore

I will copy and paste your reply.  I appreciate your input on this.  I am about ready to quit debating him on this.  It seems that he keeps saying the same thing over and over.  Hopefully, he will give me his definition of a "spirit" or of "God" since he doesn't buy into the Bible's version or at least he says he doesn't. 

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe. - Carl Sagan

Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion. - School Superintendent on "The Simpsons" episode #1


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The article posted by

The article posted by Atheistextremist is interesting...
In my opinion, trying to analyze the consciousness with mind is like trying to see your own face by intensive staring forward without mirror. The correct way might be to step out of it and stop analyzing. Stop thinking, for a moment. If you walk home, and then at home you still move your legs like walking, that's insane. But so it is with mind. If scientists would meditate and thereby experience altered, thoughtless states of consciousness, they would know, that consciousness is not thinking, not neural activity. "Cogito ergo sum" is bullshit. Patients with severed corpus callosum perhaps experienced two selves, but I experienced in meditation NO self at all!

We usually think of ourselves as conscious. But in fact, in our daily life we are not more conscious, than in dream. We don't remember details, things we did in the past or yesterday, and there is very little we actually remember about our surroundings. Our mental abstraction of reality is mistaken for reality, and scientific abstraction is not different. Scientific opinion is subjective too...
The example from article, perceiving a table for instance, isn't very good. "Big table" or "small table" are again abstractions of reality, not the reality itself. Let's say, if I see a table, register it consciously in detail, but have no opinion about it whatsoever, (not even scientific opinion about molecules of celulosis in wood) then it's perhaps what neuroscience needs.

What is the soul? Certainly not activity in the brain. Most of people doesn't even have soul, or better said, contact with it. The soul makes the difference between good computing skills and universal intellect, between systematic routine towards the goal and spontaneous knowledge. It's also significant by granting the person an unusual strength of character or charisma. Brain is a biologic sensor, computer and archive of memories, but it's the soul that determines, how effectively, flexibly and purposefully are these assets used. Most of people have a tiny awareness and great subconsciousness, but light of the soul reveals more consciousness, at the expense of subconsciousness. Ensouled person is therefore confronted with much more than most of people.
The bottomline is, that it's very unlikely that an ensouled person would get properly tested under fMRI, they're too rare and scientists don't know what to search for anyway. They usually mistake the soul for emotionality.

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Edit:A soul is a supposed to

Edit:

A soul is a supposed to be an immaterial, supernatural thing that can existent independent of the brain. If it's just a product of the brain, then it's not a soul, by definition. You mean consciousness. 

faithnomore wrote:
However, his scientific knowledge far outweighs mine.

Don't be intimidated by his supposed scientific knowledge. 

This post...

"The fact that we are interacting and trying to express what we feel in our soul is testament to the existence of the soul. If not, why would my mass of cells and neuronal connections care about your mass of tissue?" 

...shows that he either doesn't understand evolutionary psychology or he's practicing cognitive dissonance. I doubt he has real science credentials.   

Emphasizing what our bodies are made of, an implicit argument from incredulity and fallacy of composition, is typical of Creationists who have no understanding of anything related to science. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:"The fact

butterbattle wrote:

"The fact that we are interacting and trying to express what we feel in our soul is testament to the existence of the soul. If not, why would my mass of cells and neuronal connections care about your mass of tissue?" 

...shows that he either doesn't understand evolutionary psychology or he's practicing cognitive dissonance. I doubt he has real science credentials.   

 

Looks like cognitive dissonance to me.

 

 

The above answers were probably the wrong way to answer the question, though, for a layman audience.  Technically right, but people might not get it.

 

Try this way:

 

First off, you are obfuscating the issue by compounding two things- consciousness and conscience- these are different issues.

 

Conscience is well evidenced, and logically explained by evolutionary psychology by game theory.  We know how and why we care about each other.  That is a non-issue for atheists, and does not at all express or imply any supernatural cause.

A quick Google search reveals this site as a potential learning aide for you, if you do not understand the logistics of game theory:

http://www.gametheory.net/students.html

 

Secondly, regarding consciousness, and your proposition of "evidence from ignorance":

 

When something is unexplained, it isn't evidence of anything save the fact that we haven't explained it.  In these cases, we develop hypotheses for explanations.

The idea of a "soul" might be ONE of these hypotheses- that does NOT a theory make it.

There are billions, if not an infinite number of other potential hypotheses to explain this unknown, and they range from Quantum mechanical effects, to the flying spaghetti monster.

 

To be "fair", your hypothesis doesn't have a 50-50% chance of being right, even if you subscribe to the bunk idea that the chances of a hypothesis being right can even be evaluated without evidence, because there are not simply *two* possibilities- to be fair, it would be a 1/infinity % chance of being right, given the sheer range of potential hypotheses.

If you know anything about math, that's effectively zero- pretty inconsequential, eh?

 

That's why evaluating the "chance" of a hypothesis is meaningless.  A theory, on the other hand, can be evidenced by making predictions about behavior which can be empirically true or false- increasing the chance of its truth, or helping to debunk it.

 

The moment your concept of a "soul" starts to make testable predictions about human behavior is the moment we can start to talk about it as a theory- and it can join the MANY legitimate theories on the subject; which variably discuss matters of mechanical brain function.

 

However, as it stands, your "soul" will never make it past the hypothesis stage, due not only to its utter failure to make any testable prediction, but also to the simple, logistical evidence against a soul, which makes it a failed hypothesis.

As to that logistical evidence, we can arrive at it Socratically:

 

From where do you propose your soul came?

 

Legitimate theories have roots in well established materialistic determinism.  Lets see if you can match that, or if you default to the illogical concept of a prime-mover.


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 I am no grand philosopher

 I am no grand philosopher or brain surgeon.  But it seems to me the word soul or conscience are as vague as the word weather.  They are extremely complex systems or expressions of complex systems.  We will eventually understand the basic principles of definition.  Meaning that we will discover the mechanism for memory storage in the brain.  We will gain understanding in personality expression.  Emotional responses.  Etc.  What more do we need to know in order to understand the soul?  

Just like with weather, we understand barometric pressure, temperature, and many other variables that combine to create individual conditions.  The wide range of natural biological and unique experiences create who we are mentally.  If this is true than you can change your soul through changing your brain chemistry, and through experiencing new things.  New experiences can drastically change people's ideologies, for good or for worse.  Is that not the definition of a "soul"? 

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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faithnomore wrote:Refer back

faithnomore wrote:
Refer back to your "Rational Responders" and ask why the inability to explain consciousness through empirical science does not guarantee the existence of an eternal invisible soul or God. In all fairness, it can be equally true that the fact we can't explain it is evidence that there is a higher power incomprehensible to us with our current scientific knowledge. In other words, it makes as much or even more sense to say there is a God than to say there isn't simply because it has eluded our understanding.

Really? That's what he wrote? That's so dumb I thought even theists had stopped using it. Besides the descriptive fail as to what science can and can't explain, it's a fallacy and a very obvious one. Argument from ignorance: I/science/whoever can't explain something, therefore [insert stuff I like to be true] is true.


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faithnomore wrote:He

faithnomore wrote:

He believes in the Big Bang Theory and thus evolution.  He uses God as an explanation for those things that the Big Bang doesn't explain.     Thanks for your help.

Yep, when in doubt, instead of looking further, give up and say "God did it". Great if you like a diet of sugar pills, but lousy for looking for future discoveries.

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faithnomore wrote:He

faithnomore wrote:

He believes in the Big Bang Theory and thus evolution.  He uses God as an explanation for those things that the Big Bang doesn't explain.     Thanks for your help.

That demonstrates a total lack of understanding of Science.

There is no specific relation between the Big Bang theory and evolution, apart from them both being scientific theories.

The Big Bang is about the origin of our observable universe of stars and galaxies, evolution is about the way life diversifies and adapts to its environment. He probably things evolution is about the emergence of life in the first place, which it isn't, but it is a very common misconception among Theists.

God does not offer an ultimate explanation for anything, unless we can also explain God. So 'God' just makes things overall harder to explain, by introducing something totally beyond anything we observe, with nothing but negative evidence , ie stuff we can't explain.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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 Personally, I like to

 Personally, I like to describe the formation of the elements as an evolutionary process as well.  Building from simple Hydrogen to Helium etc, is an evolutionary process.  Iron.  Amino acids and finally cells.  It is the same story, but I agree that genetic evolution is a subject of its own.  The soul in this respect can be said to have evolved.  It is a fundamental question as to what is the most rudimentary example of a soul.  Does it exist only in humans?  Apes?  Mammals?  Animals?  Nothing is black and white or hard lined as was said.  Species, even the definition of life is vague.   

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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ShadowOfMan wrote: I am no

ShadowOfMan wrote:

 I am no grand philosopher or brain surgeon.  But it seems to me the word soul or conscience are as vague as the word weather.  They are extremely complex systems or expressions of complex systems.  We will eventually understand the basic principles of definition.  Meaning that we will discover the mechanism for memory storage in the brain.  We will gain understanding in personality expression.  Emotional responses.  Etc.  What more do we need to know in order to understand the soul? 

The problem with this definition is, that what is described here is not soul. It is emotionality and memory. The soul is a different thing than physicality, emotionality and mentality, or as Freud expressed it, id, ego and superego. It's also true, that most of people are too limited to express anything else than these personal aspects. Experience of the soul is among the most blissful and meaningful experiences in life, and by no means it is restricted to any particular religion or group of people. Therefore in any human group it is a small minority. Studying properties of the soul requires to recognize, gather and analyze ensouled people of all origins, regardless of their cultural background and jargon they might use for the state of ensoulment. It's obvious that introspective traditions like religions, mysticism, philosophies and other will have more data (and jargon) of the soul, because the outrospective science wasn't really in last centuries directed in this way. It still isn't, but it's getting better.

 

ShadowOfMan wrote:
Just like with weather, we understand barometric pressure, temperature, and many other variables that combine to create individual conditions.  The wide range of natural biological and unique experiences create who we are mentally.  If this is true than you can change your soul through changing your brain chemistry, and through experiencing new things.  New experiences can drastically change people's ideologies, for good or for worse.  Is that not the definition of a "soul"? 

No, that's a definition of emotionality and mentality. These are changed by a person. And quite opposite, the soul changes the person - always towards the better. There is a relationship between soul and intuition, conscience, perception of patterns (synchronicities), symbolic dreams, and so on. It's not a conscious part of a person, usually. It's intelligent and creative, but not intellectual, it doesn't bother with logical process, when it has direct results. Perhaps the most typical feature of a soul is unconditional love and acceptance. Not as an ideal, but as a present psychological state, without the corny feeling.

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faithnomore wrote:I have

faithnomore wrote:

I have been debating a theist on another website that believes God created everything but doesn't believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  He believes that God is manifest through us and created that part of us that theists refer to as the soul or spirit.  

His last post is as follows, "The fact that we are interacting and trying to express what we feel in our soul is testament to the existence of the soul. If not, why would my mass of cells and neuronal connections care about your mass of tissue?" 

I need someone with a science background to give me a rational response to this.   Any help would be appreciated.   Thank you

He is guilty of the fallacy of reification -- he assumes that, because he conceives of the "soul," it actually exists.

You don't "feel" things in your soul. Feelings have been mapped to specific physiological activities. Also, disorders such as sociopathy (extreme lack of empathy) have been shown to have a genetic component, further bolstering the hypothesis that our mental "selves" are really just our physical "selves."

If the sensation of thinking means there's a soul, the sensation of pain may well mean there's demons. Seriously. I mean, you feel the pain, don't you?

Further, even if we were to postulate a "soul," there is no method by which to judge exactly what a "soul" is. There is no way, for instance, to judge if the soul is immortal, or if the soul is part of a larger object, or anything else. Not only is there no evidence for the soul, the profound lack of evidence also leaves us completely ignorant about what a soul might even be.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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 I have to be honest with

 I have to be honest with you.  Most of all that went completely over my head, Luminon.  I have an inability to comprehend such things as id, ego, superego, ensoulment, etc.  Jargon like you said, and what seems to me as psuedo-science repeated over and over.  Psychology is moving away from such terms and toward measurable brain chemistry and physics.  I'm not educated enough about philosophy to debate the existence of the soul.  I'm sure that as a theist you believe in a human essence which is somehow eternal and I am skeptical of your imagination.  I am attempting to describe what are actual functions of the brain and placing the "soul" within those boundaries. 

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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Hey Nigel

nigelTheBold wrote:

faithnomore wrote:

I have been debating a theist on another website that believes God created everything but doesn't believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  He believes that God is manifest through us and created that part of us that theists refer to as the soul or spirit.  

His last post is as follows, "The fact that we are interacting and trying to express what we feel in our soul is testament to the existence of the soul. If not, why would my mass of cells and neuronal connections care about your mass of tissue?" 

I need someone with a science background to give me a rational response to this.   Any help would be appreciated.   Thank you

He is guilty of the fallacy of reification -- he assumes that, because he conceives of the "soul," it actually exists.

You don't "feel" things in your soul. Feelings have been mapped to specific physiological activities. Also, disorders such as sociopathy (extreme lack of empathy) have been shown to have a genetic component, further bolstering the hypothesis that our mental "selves" are really just our physical "selves."

If the sensation of thinking means there's a soul, the sensation of pain may well mean there's demons. Seriously. I mean, you feel the pain, don't you?

Further, even if we were to postulate a "soul," there is no method by which to judge exactly what a "soul" is. There is no way, for instance, to judge if the soul is immortal, or if the soul is part of a larger object, or anything else. Not only is there no evidence for the soul, the profound lack of evidence also leaves us completely ignorant about what a soul might even be.

 

Thanks for giving me a name for that habit people have of insisting their weird and wild comprehensions exist in actual fact. Reification. Nice one.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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ShadowOfMan wrote: I have to

ShadowOfMan wrote:
I have to be honest with you.  Most of all that went completely over my head, Luminon.  I have an inability to comprehend such things as id, ego, superego, ensoulment, etc.  Jargon like you said, and what seems to me as psuedo-science repeated over and over.  Psychology is moving away from such terms and toward measurable brain chemistry and physics.  I'm not educated enough about philosophy to debate the existence of the soul.  I'm sure that as a theist you believe in a human essence which is somehow eternal and I am skeptical of your imagination.  I am attempting to describe what are actual functions of the brain and placing the "soul" within those boundaries. 

All right, I hope you will at least remember, that an actual, significant psychologic manifestation of the soul is very rare among people. It's not essential for survival, it didn't emerge during human or animal evolution. It emerged through civilization. Therefore, it's very recent, rare and diffcult to study. It's also diffcult to understand, the easiest way is to experience it. The scientists will likely ignore the soul, until some of them will spontaneously experience it.

The point is, that the soul has very specific effects on the usage of brain centers and brain chemistry. An "ensouled" person uses the brain in a bit different way than a normal person. I guess that "fight or flight" mechanism of amygdala must be probably dampened. But there are books that describe the process very closely. The process by which normal, everyday personality is gradually put under control of much different psychologic influence, which is the soul. This process is also described in basic neurologic terms, in terms of activity of brain centers and areas. Also, the experiences of an adept during this process are described in even greater detail. This is nothing that an intelligent person with enough time and will couldn't comprehend.

I think the most professional literature on this point of view is by Alice Bailey: A Treatise on White Magic and Letters on Occult Meditation, for example. I think neurologists and psychologists would be very interested in these books - if they would understand them. These books have their special terminology and much of previous study is required to understand them at least marginally. Of course, it is very original alternate view of psychology and neurology. I guess that only few scientists are seriously interested in other hypotheses, when they have their own.

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Quote: All right, I hope you

Quote:
All right, I hope you will at least remember, that an actual, significant psychologic manifestation of the soul is very rare among people. It's not essential for survival, it didn't emerge during human or animal evolution. It emerged through civilization. Therefore, it's very recent, rare and diffcult to study. It's also diffcult to understand, the easiest way is to experience it. The scientists will likely ignore the soul, until some of them will spontaneously experience it.

So what I gather from this is that, my everyday thoughts including love, frustration, and the willpower to quit drinking are mundane psychological manifestations. While my soul is only expressed rarely and has something to do with living in civilized society. Or are you saying that things like willpower are of the soul? I can see the difference between what would be described as animal instinct vs reason, morality, and will, but I think you are unnecessarily attributing it to supernatural sources. Scientists ignore the soul because the "soul" is a poor hypothesis at best. Science can only deal with the material world and the soul only as far as the soul is a chemical or electrical impulse. Only so far as the the physical actions of individuals or groups, benevolent or malevolent.

I still mostly can't understand what you are saying. Probably my fault. Of course you are speaking with the assumption that there is a new component to who I am, and I have no concept of this. I know where my impulses come from. I know where willpower to overcome them comes from. I don't require a new brain that exists independent of my current brain. My first brain is more than adequate.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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Luminon wrote:ShadowOfMan

Luminon wrote:

ShadowOfMan wrote:
I have to be honest with you.  Most of all that went completely over my head, Luminon.  I have an inability to comprehend such things as id, ego, superego, ensoulment, etc.  Jargon like you said, and what seems to me as psuedo-science repeated over and over.  Psychology is moving away from such terms and toward measurable brain chemistry and physics.  I'm not educated enough about philosophy to debate the existence of the soul.  I'm sure that as a theist you believe in a human essence which is somehow eternal and I am skeptical of your imagination.  I am attempting to describe what are actual functions of the brain and placing the "soul" within those boundaries. 

All right, I hope you will at least remember, that an actual, significant psychologic manifestation of the soul is very rare among people. It's not essential for survival, it didn't emerge during human or animal evolution. It emerged through civilization. Therefore, it's very recent, rare and diffcult to study. It's also diffcult to understand, the easiest way is to experience it. The scientists will likely ignore the soul, until some of them will spontaneously experience it.

The point is, that the soul has very specific effects on the usage of brain centers and brain chemistry. An "ensouled" person uses the brain in a bit different way than a normal person. I guess that "fight or flight" mechanism of amygdala must be probably dampened. But there are books that describe the process very closely. The process by which normal, everyday personality is gradually put under control of much different psychologic influence, which is the soul. This process is also described in basic neurologic terms, in terms of activity of brain centers and areas. Also, the experiences of an adept during this process are described in even greater detail. This is nothing that an intelligent person with enough time and will couldn't comprehend.

I think the most professional literature on this point of view is by Alice Bailey: A Treatise on White Magic and Letters on Occult Meditation, for example. I think neurologists and psychologists would be very interested in these books - if they would understand them. These books have their special terminology and much of previous study is required to understand them at least marginally. Of course, it is very original alternate view of psychology and neurology. I guess that only few scientists are seriously interested in other hypotheses, when they have their own.

The theory of being ensouled is all well and good, but what if we just take a mechanical approach?

Receptors are consistently being stimulated distally (pain, touch, pressure, vibration) and sent to the brain, the brain organizes and processes the information, and elicits a response.  There is some change in the body distally.  It does not end there, though.  The neurons dealing with processing the information received make connections with other neurons and can then store the data of what just happened.  This allows for more efficient work to be done the next time the same information is presented. 

With these interconnections comes a change in chemically in the form of neurotransmittors.  The neurons that are responsible for all of this have connections to your upper cortical areas that control higher level thought.  The chemical change in the subcortical area then indirectly causes a change in chemicals in the cortical area, which elicits another response.  This change will be reflected somehow in your personality/mood/thought process. 

Neurons in the brain are all the same at their core (disregarding myelin) and they are told what to store and how to function by the environment they are in.

You say ensoulment I say endorphins.

 


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 So, in short, the

 So, in short, the reasoning goes like this:

"Consciousness" is not the same thing as "Brain activity."  

We can't explain what consciousness "is."

Therefore, God.

 

The basic problem is in understanding our inability to explain consciousness.  Your interlocutor is confusing disciplines.  As scientists examine the brain, they discover more and more correlations.  They see that neural activity over here indicates this state of consciousness.  Supposing that one day, scientists have a complete map of the human brain, they will be able to explain in great detail exactly what activity in the brain corresponds with what aspect of consciousness.  (And unconsciousness!)  But even if that happens, they will not have answered the question:  What is consciousness?

They won't have even tried to answer it, either.  The job of a neuroscientist is to discover how consciousness works, not to solve the philosophical problems associated with assigning consciousness to a class of "things."  And that's really what this whole thing boils down to, isn't it?  Gee, consciousness isn't the same as a brain, but the brain sure does seem to have a lot to do with being conscious... I mean... I've never been conscious when I didn't have a brain, and every time I take the brain out of a lizard, it isn't conscious anymore.  But if consciousness isn't a brain, and it isn't electricity, and it isn't anything I can think of a word for, what is it?

The search for a "soul" is a category error.  Plain and simple.  "Consciousness" is a symbol we humans use to represent a process.  To be conscious is to travel forward through time.  It's a process.  It's not a "thing," like a brain or a baseball.  We can also say that consciousness is an "emergent property" if we like.  Things that contain brains which do this process have the property of consciousness.

And all of this is fine.  It's a damn fun philosophical puzzle to solve.  But in the end, that's what it is.  It's the quest to figure out why our language and mental faculties have so much trouble understanding or even finding words to express our understanding of what it is to... be.

But no, the cognitive difficulty in quantifying consciousness is not an excuse for inventing a whole new class of things which magically interact with the material world while somehow leaving no measurable impact on the material world.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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ShadowOfMan wrote: So what

ShadowOfMan wrote:
So what I gather from this is that, my everyday thoughts including love, frustration, and the willpower to quit drinking are mundane psychological manifestations. While my soul is only expressed rarely and has something to do with living in civilized society. Or are you saying that things like willpower are of the soul?
The soul is outwards expressed rarely, but in modern civilization most of people are at least once in lifetime under the influence of soul.
Virtually, the soul is also a storage of the best and most valuable that the person is. It has a superior consciousness of it's own, and understands the person as it's tool to explore and control the physical reality. And the first thing it wants to do with the tool, is to bring it under control. You may find yourself under pressure from the side of your conscience, reason, circumstances in life, to adopt more "pure" life style - being free from drinking, for example. When that happens to Christians, they say "God puts me to trials, for I'm sinful". Of course, Christianity sucks, but they at least have some basic misshapen notion of what soul is. In psychology the soul is not yet defined AFAIK, so I'm really limited in my terms. If I'm wrong and there is modern psychologic description of the soul, someone show me please.


ShadowOfMan wrote:
  I can see the difference between what would be described as animal instinct vs reason, morality, and will, but I think you are unnecessarily attributing it to supernatural sources. Scientists ignore the soul because the "soul" is a poor hypothesis at best. Science can only deal with the material world and the soul only as far as the soul is a chemical or electrical impulse. Only so far as the the physical actions of individuals or groups, benevolent or malevolent. I still mostly can't understand what you are saying. Probably my fault. Of course you are speaking with the assumption that there is a new component to who I am, and I have no concept of this. I know where my impulses come from. I know where willpower to overcome them comes from. I don't require a new brain that exists independent of my current brain. My first brain is more than adequate.
No, it's my fault for trying to explain in a few words what is written down in very big books. It's really better to experience it, there is indeed "a new component" to who you are, it can be felt that way. When that happens to a Christian, he says that "Jesus is here with me and he loves me", but he only gives a J-name to something that can be naturally awakened in everyone. Mystical traditions used this principle for millenia before Christianity.

 

As I understand, you want to stop drinking. Overcoming addiction is one thing, but this does not mean you have to stay in one state of consciousness forever. The experience of soul, achieved through meditation is... amazing. I had urges to drink alcohol before, but the experience of soul is like long-termed inner joy, that stays during the day. Alcohol is weak, compared to it. It's a feeling like Jesus loves me and I love Jesus, but without Jesus Smiling I can perfectly understand why Christians are so much into their savior. Let's say, unlike Christians I wrote an open-source version of their ware, without pay, without commercials, without spyware, direct link. Using our full range of consciousness is our human right, and that range includes the experience of soul, which is most self-transforming. It is discovering a part of yourself, that is more perfect and valuable than what you think you are, but only you have the opportunity to manifest this superior part of yourself in reality. It completely replaces any need for psychedelics, for psychedelics are merely feeble and ignorant attempts to replace the soul experience by unnatural means. Of course, there are benefits and there are demands, and if the demands are not met, there are risks.

rdklep8 wrote:

You say ensoulment I say endorphins.

OK, good basic attempt. It's not about endorphins, but let's take that for beginning. Firstly, endorphins are like any drug, they can't be there forever and when they lack, there are mood swings and addiction. But I know of no such thing, if the soul experience is not currently with me, it doesn't mean I feel worse, just...normally. Secondly, I'm not making any effort to feel like that. What I do is meditation, and it's not a bhakti meditation, it's completely abstract and without emotions. I just have to keep as few thoughts as possible and focus on the forehead in level of hypophysis.

Thirdly, there is so much written about the function of soul, that it can not be just written here like that. You would think that I'm pulling things out of my ass so your endorphine hypothesis won't fit. But really, I'm only picking things from the vast theory and practice of soul that I have available. The soul is power, inspiration, geniality, love and again, more power. There are people who experience it passively, and those who can relay it outwards and make a difference in the world. Someone capable of influencing the world for centuries ahead, that is a good yard stick for what a highly ensouled person can do. It's not just endorphines, understand? Smiling

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I have not gone a day

I have not gone a day without a drink in the past four years. That is until last week. This was not an amazing feat of will power for me. I never really liked alcohol to begin with. Drugs of any sort are not attempts to experience the "soul" like some hippie folk claim. They are simply intoxicants. They create altered states of thought, perception and emotion. They may feel like you have entered another plane of existence. But to the sober observer, it's all too obvious.

I get what your saying in a poetic sense. You are boiling down an extremely complex system output to a word which you call the soul. But it is just a mundane output. Change the chemical levels and you get different outputs. Arguably, you become a different person temporarily or permanently. This thread is about "which part of the brain is responsible for the soul?". The use of the word soul in this context is for simplicities sake. I still haven't heard a definition of what a soul is. Luminon: your definition seems to be more what it is not. You are so certain that the brain couldn't be the source. Why not? Why does there have to be this dualism? Why does there have to be more than the physical world. Seems perfectly adequate to me.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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ShadowOfMan wrote:I have not

ShadowOfMan wrote:
I have not gone a day without a drink in the past four years. That is until last week. This was not an amazing feat of will power for me. I never really liked alcohol to begin with. Drugs of any sort are not attempts to experience the "soul" like some hippie folk claim. They are simply intoxicants. They create altered states of thought, perception and emotion. They may feel like you have entered another plane of existence. But to the sober observer, it's all too obvious.
A sober observer, or any other observer can only see the obvious state of physical body. The body is intoxicated and motoric functions don't work so well. But what is going on inside, is the altered state of consciousness. There are many of such a states, which can be marked on a linear scale of 'height'. It has to do with frequency of brain waves, or sound waves that modulate them. This was already done by scientists... And the states of consciousness that allow the soul contact are much higher on that scale than states of drug intoxication. They are more diffcult to achieve, and not by intoxicants.

ShadowOfMan wrote:
I get what your saying in a poetic sense. You are boiling down an extremely complex system output to a word which you call the soul. But it is just a mundane output. Change the chemical levels and you get different outputs. Arguably, you become a different person temporarily or permanently. This thread is about "which part of the brain is responsible for the soul?". The use of the word soul in this context is for simplicities sake. I still haven't heard a definition of what a soul is. Luminon: your definition seems to be more what it is not. You are so certain that the brain couldn't be the source. Why not? Why does there have to be this dualism? Why does there have to be more than the physical world. Seems perfectly adequate to me.

Why? Because there is evidence! Evidence not only for dualism, but for septalism! As the first one, dark matter. Vast majority of the universe is obviously invisible and intangible, unlike our conventional matter. It exists, has gravity pull, but is somehow different. It makes us think that our material world is merely an anomaly, compared to true reality of the universe, a dream, as mystics say. By the voice of majority, our matter is anomalous, not the dark matter.
Secondly, the string theory (M-theory, etc) postulates 7 dimensions of the universe... or better said, 7 modes of particle vibration that differ them from each other. I think this explains very well why majority of the universe is 'dark' to us. There can be different behavior of matter and energy than we know. But as an occultist, my opinion is, that living things are composed of more than one-dimensional matter. A living being has multiple of these components, and one of them is called the soul. By measures of intelligence, power and love this human component is superior to personality, but it strives to express itself on personal level.


 

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Dark matter, dark energy,

Dark matter, dark energy, multiple dimensions, are all aspects of the 'physical' universe. they are detectable by their physical effects on other, more familiar aspects of the universe.

'Dark matter' is , as far we know, actually more 'tangible' than any form of 'energy', including the forms of energy we deal with on an everyday basis. Can you 'touch' the energy contained in a magnetic field? You can certainly feel its effects, such as when we bring a piece of iron close to a strong magnet. What makes the things you are arguing any different, apart from the fact that they have not been shown to be detectable in any consistent manner?

Matter is at least three-dimensional - 'one-dimensional' matter would indeed by intangible and beyond experience.

If being 'intangible', ie not something we can touch as a physical object, or even see except by its effects on physical objects, sometimes very subtle effects, puts something in the category of the 'esoteric' or whatever, then much of what science deals with everyday is in that category. Have you ever 'touched' a quark?

The presence of all those things, their effects, are detectable by physical instrumentation. In fact, science has detected far more things about the universe than any 'esoteric' discipline, things that no-one ever dreamed of, because they are way outside any ability of our mind or body to 'sense' in any way as specific entities, so it is far more successful than any 'woo' techniques at revealing 'hidden' and 'intangible' aspects of reality that our minds can barely comprehend in any direct way.

Just what do you feel justifies putting something in these other categories, justifying 'dualism' or higher order 'isms'? Is it just that the occultist can 'detect' them and science can't? Although you seem to be saying that they are aspects of things that science has already detected. 

What makes the 'soul' more than a metaphorical way to refer to our conception of all those things you attribute to 'it'. Why do you feel it has to have some actual quasi-physical aspect to it? It IS just those aspects of our individual 'personality' and behaviour, collectively considered.

It used to be identified with our actual breath, which is why the word 'spirit' comes from the same root as 'respiration' (breathing). It was our 'intuition' that identified the 'soul' with the expired air from our lungs, and that turned out to be an error, so intuitive judgements are a poor guide to real understanding.

Then 'intuition' told us that the heart was the seat of the soul and our consciousness, and the 'brain' was just some organ for cooling the blood, or performing some other lowly function.

It is like the God concept, continually retreating from more 'physical' conceptions, such as very powerful immortal physical beings who lived on inaccessible mountain tops, or beyond the actual 'dome' of the sky. As scientific revelations continue to encompass more of things that were once considered aspects of the 'supernatural', as beyond the 'mere' physical realm, the ideas of 'God' and the 'soul' have become ever more abstract and 'non-physical', retreating further into those remaining aspects of reality that we have still not quite got a 'scientific' handle on. While Science has revealed whole new areas and details of 'physical' reality and its behaviour, such as Quantum and Relativistic aspects that no-one previously dreamed of. Only a scientific approach can uncover such extremely counter-intuitive things, precisely because they are NOT detectable by our intuitive 'senses', although our whole mental world is no doubt ultimately a product of the interactions of such aspects of the physical.

It is our intuition which has failed to detect 99% of reality, whereas it is Science, including 'mainstream' Science, which deals with it everyday.

So now you want to bring it around and claim that at least some of these un-dreamed-of things are actually part of what the mystics and others have been sensing all along?

 

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Heh.In this day and age,

Heh.

In this day and age, insisting that their beliefs conform to science is a very effective way for any religious and/or mysticism group to gain credibility. Science has credibility, so they leech off science, which is quite ironic, since many religions and snake oil salesman types hold beliefs that are directly opposed to science. It could be argued that the very definition of religion is antithetical to science.    

Homeopathy has scientific evidence supporting, intelligent design is based on science not religion, bla bla bla.   

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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We can always assume that

We can always assume that everyone's opinions are in fact scientific. The problem is that most of these hypothesis fail epically. Literally, the great attempts to discover the "soul" have failed over and over again for centuries. Definitively epic scientific failures.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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BobSpence1 wrote:Dark

BobSpence1 wrote:

Dark matter, dark energy, multiple dimensions, are all aspects of the 'physical' universe. they are detectable by their physical effects on other, more familiar aspects of the universe.

'Dark matter' is , as far we know, actually more 'tangible' than any form of 'energy', including the forms of energy we deal with on an everyday basis. Can you 'touch' the energy contained in a magnetic field? You can certainly feel its effects, such as when we bring a piece of iron close to a strong magnet. What makes the things you are arguing any different, apart from the fact that they have not been shown to be detectable in any consistent manner?

They're much less dense in their atomic structure. My personal guess is, that their electron orbitals reach much farther. It is very diffcult to detect subtle worlds with dense-material detectors. Human body is much more suitable to that, because it is as a living being partially subtle-material. The problem is, that just like every tool, that human being must be correctly trained and used, and there is no standardized human. But it  can be a good beginning until the science develops reliable technical detectors.
 

BobSpence1 wrote:
Matter is at least three-dimensional - 'one-dimensional' matter would indeed by intangible and beyond experience.
These three dimensions are implicit. Plus time, although it's rather a variable, than dimension. But now I mean only the 7 dimensions that are not spatial, but rather qualitative, vibrational. They occupy the same space. There is just one space, material nature of these objects is called a "dimension".  This material property of them goes down to sub-atomic level, to the strings, to number of dormant and vibrating strings of total 7 of every particle. That's how I understand it.

BobSpence1 wrote:
If being 'intangible', ie not something we can touch as a physical object, or even see except by its effects on physical objects, sometimes very subtle effects, puts something in the category of the 'esoteric' or whatever, then much of what science deals with everyday is in that category. Have you ever 'touched' a quark?
I don't know how about a quark, but I knew a respected man who travelled occultly into a proton and recognized it as a living being, conscious of it's purpose and "moving" at extreme speed.

Esoteric theory deals with higher dimensions, including a higher half of this one physical, called etheric-physical. And their relationship to our world. So far, most of what science researched were dense-physical particles, light, energy, and so on. Some research projects already got into what esotericism broadly classifies as etheric matter. (in 4 states)
But science still did not recognize this cathegory as such, our body's etheric component and life forms that are fully etheric. Perhaps these cathegories of matter and dimensions will be never accepted by science and there will be another more detailed system of cathegories, but they should be compatible.

BobSpence1 wrote:
The presence of all those things, their effects, are detectable by physical instrumentation.
Yes, but they will be usually attributed to already known phenomena, "implicit properties" or "emergent properties".

BobSpence1 wrote:
In fact, science has detected far more things about the universe than any 'esoteric' discipline, things that no-one ever dreamed of, because they are way outside any ability of our mind or body to 'sense' in any way as specific entities, so it is far more successful than any 'woo' techniques at revealing 'hidden' and 'intangible' aspects of reality that our minds can barely comprehend in any direct way.
Remember, we lived more than 2000 years in dark ages. Previous millenia were full of mystery schools where esotericism was taught to many more people than it is today. At these times people built monumental structures on par with modern technologies and with amazing knowledge of geometry, mathemathics and astronomy. And all that just for occult schools to have facilities. Isn't that expressive?
But then came centuries of wars and all that could burn (parchment) was burned and some libraries were even burned on purpose, to not fall into hands of barbarians. With wars came desperacy and out of desperacy came ignorance and faith. Ignorance created desire for knowledge, and desire of knowledge is what this contemporary science is all about.
It's about spending humanity's resources on all kinds of bullshit for fun, with greatest success in the least vitally needed areas. (deep space exploration? Entertainment industry?) It is about creating problems and then selling salvation from them. No wonder that to some people science resembles religion Smiling
I don't have respect to contemporary science, I have respect to what it really could be.

BobSpence1 wrote:
Just what do you feel justifies putting something in these other categories, justifying 'dualism' or higher order 'isms'? Is it just that the occultist can 'detect' them and science can't? Although you seem to be saying that they are aspects of things that science has already detected.
This is about reality, not isms. Science has a potential to detect whatever is real. But until there will be some know-how, there will be only coincidential success. In these cases, success was not recognized by scientific community. (Wilhelm Reich, for example) Or there was success, but a new form of space radiation is no sensational discovery.
Scientific institution is very conservative one. Gathering evidence requires finances, but giving finances without evidence would be gullible, right?

BobSpence1 wrote:
What makes the 'soul' more than a metaphorical way to refer to our conception of all those things you attribute to 'it'. Why do you feel it has to have some actual quasi-physical aspect to it? It IS just those aspects of our individual 'personality' and behaviour, collectively considered.

It used to be identified with our actual breath, which is why the word 'spirit' comes from the same root as 'respiration' (breathing). It was our 'intuition' that identified the 'soul' with the expired air from our lungs, and that turned out to be an error, so intuitive judgements are a poor guide to real understanding.

Then 'intuition' told us that the heart was the seat of the soul and our consciousness, and the 'brain' was just some organ for cooling the blood, or performing some other lowly function.

I should make clear, that I use 'soul' in esoteric sense - with hidden meaning. This was called in many traditions by many names, like higher self, Ego, father in heavens, superconsciousness, transcendental object, holy grail, and so on. Soul is merely one of many names for it. It doesn't matter for esotericists, they all know what they mean, the scheme is always the same.
But it seems that the name means much to you. I don't know any modern term for the soul, but my group developed one. It is 'human evolutionary component'. Besides esoteric meaning, this component of ourselves takes care of evolution of the person. Of course the person dies, but it's lifetime experience is recorded, processed, and new person may be reproduced accordingly.
Communication with human evolutionary component, conscious or not, is essential for quality of life. Esotericism offers way to increase quality of life for those who prefer conscious and intentional co-operation with their own evolutionary components, which is a responsible way.

BobSpence1 wrote:
It is like the God concept, continually retreating from more 'physical' conceptions, such as very powerful immortal physical beings who lived on inaccessible mountain tops, or beyond the actual 'dome' of the sky. As scientific revelations continue to encompass more of things that were once considered aspects of the 'supernatural', as beyond the 'mere' physical realm, the ideas of 'God' and the 'soul' have become ever more abstract and 'non-physical', retreating further into those remaining aspects of reality that we have still not quite got a 'scientific' handle on. While Science has revealed whole new areas and details of 'physical' reality and its behaviour, such as Quantum and Relativistic aspects that no-one previously dreamed of. Only a scientific approach can uncover such extremely counter-intuitive things, precisely because they are NOT detectable by our intuitive 'senses', although our whole mental world is no doubt ultimately a product of the interactions of such aspects of the physical.

Well, perhaps it isn't the best time to mention ancient mystics and quantum mysticism. But esotericism is most of all the philosophy of evolution of consciousness. (which relates to the mentioned quality of life) So obviously, as humanity's consciousness evolves, it is able to grasp the natural laws not as bearded guys on a mountain top, but as... the natural laws. Surprisingly, this is pretty straightforward in literal and esoteric interpretation of religions. For example, a common Hinduist will worship Shiva as a guy with trident who sits on mount Kailash.  There will be a few deeper degrees of interpretations, so eventually a really good esotericist recognizes what is called Shiva as Strong nuclear force. And accordingly, Gravity and ElectroWeak force finish the holy trinity. Well, these are the natural laws, that create the world, hold it together and destroy it. Today we "worship" the natural laws by researching them, trying to not destroy ourselves in the process. In the future humanity will research their effect in multiple dimensions, and we will find this effect to be participating on consciousness.
 

BobSpence1 wrote:
It is our intuition which has failed to detect 99% of reality, whereas it is Science, including 'mainstream' Science, which deals with it everyday.
If intuition should work properly, it must first have developed intellect, which was not a standard in past centuries. Otherwise the information will precipitate into imperfect words.
Furthermore, intuition must be trained like any human ability. Untrained people will just pick things from their own subconsciousness.

BobSpence1 wrote:
So now you want to bring it around and claim that at least some of these un-dreamed-of things are actually part of what the mystics and others have been sensing all along?
I wouldn't say mystics. Mystics are good at sensing things, but bad writing them down coherently. What I need is a source of information that systematically equates scientific and esoteric aspects of cosmology. This is only possible as much, as science and esotericism will overlap, which is not much today.
The study requires to...  Hell, it's study! And a diffcult one, of an obscure subject. For a beginning I'd recommend to read Benjamin Creme's bibliography starting with Ageless Wisdom. After you get familiar with basics of esotericism, it's time for diffcult books like A treatise on cosmic fire. Books of Alice Bailey and the like are basically textbooks.
 

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A few comments:Ancient

A few comments:

Ancient astronomy was purely observational, and required only sufficient patience to record the apparent positions of identifiable objects consistently over a long period of time - the accuracy of their predictions are entirely unremarkable or amazing in that context.

The geometry and mathematics was similarly not all that amazing, just requiring a certain degree of care, and was at a pretty basic and essentially practical level, by even ancient Greek standards, let alone what we know now.

You haven't really responded to the observation that modern science has gone way beyond things that the human body can dream of or sense.

Oh and there is not a 'trinity' of forces, you omitted the most perceptible one after gravity, the electro-magnetic force.

 

 

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I also quit drinking because

I also quit drinking because I'm sure everyone didn't appreciate the sudden appearance of dopplegangers and the constant spinning and lurching that my subjective observations created.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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BobSpence1 wrote:A few

BobSpence1 wrote:

A few comments:

Ancient astronomy was purely observational, and required only sufficient patience to record the apparent positions of identifiable objects consistently over a long period of time - the accuracy of their predictions are entirely unremarkable or amazing in that context.

The geometry and mathematics was similarly not all that amazing, just requiring a certain degree of care, and was at a pretty basic and essentially practical level, by even ancient Greek standards, let alone what we know now. 

I guess you're not a fan of Zecharia Sitchin, right? Anyway, I mean civilizations that built the Sphinx, 3 great pyramids of Orion's belt, Macchu Picchu, Teotihuacan and practically a network of astronomically oriented megalithic buildings all around the world.

BobSpence1 wrote:
You haven't really responded to the observation that modern science has gone way beyond things that the human body can dream of or sense.
Of course, that statement implies that much of human experience must be denied and re-interpreted by scíence. For example, I knew a respected man, who mystically travelled into a single proton in his body. And he found this proton to be a living conscious entity, aware of it's purpose and moving (vibrating) at high speed.

Modern science is very good at gathering data systematically. But by no means it is the only method of knowledge. There are other methods with different advantages and drawbacks. The ultimate purpose is synthesis of them, resulting in advanced and perfected science. In my opinion the science's imperfections are so great, that I have to compensate them by studying alternative methods. Are you aware of these problems in science?

BobSpence1 wrote:
Oh and there is not a 'trinity' of forces, you omitted the most perceptible one after gravity, the electro-magnetic force.

Really? I thought there are 3 forces, strong nuclear force, gravity, and electro-weak force that was named like that because someone united electromagnetic and weak nuclear force. And so I mentioned the electro-weak force.

 

 

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My first guess would be:

My first guess would be: whichever ganglia are responsible for "creative socialization"

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Luminon wrote:BobSpence1

Luminon wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

A few comments:

Ancient astronomy was purely observational, and required only sufficient patience to record the apparent positions of identifiable objects consistently over a long period of time - the accuracy of their predictions are entirely unremarkable or amazing in that context.

The geometry and mathematics was similarly not all that amazing, just requiring a certain degree of care, and was at a pretty basic and essentially practical level, by even ancient Greek standards, let alone what we know now. 

I guess you're not a fan of Zecharia Sitchin, right? Anyway, I mean civilizations that built the Sphinx, 3 great pyramids of Orion's belt, Macchu Picchu, Teotihuacan and practically a network of astronomically oriented megalithic buildings all around the world.

BobSpence1 wrote:
You haven't really responded to the observation that modern science has gone way beyond things that the human body can dream of or sense.
Of course, that statement implies that much of human experience must be denied and re-interpreted by scíence. For example, I knew a respected man, who mystically travelled into a single proton in his body. And he found this proton to be a living conscious entity, aware of it's purpose and moving (vibrating) at high speed.

Modern science is very good at gathering data systematically. But by no means it is the only method of knowledge. There are other methods with different advantages and drawbacks. The ultimate purpose is synthesis of them, resulting in advanced and perfected science. In my opinion the science's imperfections are so great, that I have to compensate them by studying alternative methods. Are you aware of these problems in science?

BobSpence1 wrote:
Oh and there is not a 'trinity' of forces, you omitted the most perceptible one after gravity, the electro-magnetic force.

Really? I thought there are 3 forces, strong nuclear force, gravity, and electro-weak force that was named like that because someone united electromagnetic and weak nuclear force. And so I mentioned the electro-weak force.

Ok, I concede that is what you said.

But that makes your statement still arguably mistaken, or at least selective, because if you really mean fundamental forces, we don't take into account recent efforts to connect or 'unify' the forces.

If you want to count the number of forces based on counting 'unified' forces as one, that has changed over time.

Arguably, there are five forces, but it is generally considered that since Maxwell showed how intimately electrical and magnetic forces are connected in our current state of the universe, that it is reasonable to treat them as one entity.

Whereas the electromagnetic and weak nuclear force predominate in very different domains at energy levels mostly available in our Universe today, so these are still regarded as distinct fundamentals, even though we have a theory showing how they are connected.

If you are going to continue that line of argument, there are only two forces, Gravity and Quantum Electrodynamics, which now unifies the Electroweak and Strong nuclear forces.

So if current efforts to achieve a Grand Unified Theory are successful, you will then only have one.

A friend of mine who is basically an atheist, as far as I can tell, is into Sitchen, as well as David Icke. I hadn't known about the Sitchen thing until he brought it up at a little get-together with another mutual friend recently. So I looked into Sitchen, and find him not at all credible. I have reason to mistrust my friend's logical faculties when approaching a number of these 'fringe' topics. The biggest shock I received was hearing him defend anti-vaccination, with such a blatantly fallacious argument that I was speechless for a bit. I basically bit my tongue, and said nothing, because I consider him quite a good friend, we have known each other for quite a long time, and once both worked at the same organization, and do share a number of other interests.

I think you would really be stretching things to find some real demonstration that esotericism really anticipated Quantum Theory or Relativity in any specific sense. So they missed it when Science discovered and explored major ideas that they had no conception of.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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 OF COURSE, much of human

 OF COURSE, much of human experience must be denied.  That man that traveled into a single proton is a liar.  How can anyone in their right mind believe that?  He was delusional!  I'm embarrassed to be a human being now.  Thanks!

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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BobSpence1 wrote:Ok, I

BobSpence1 wrote:

Ok, I concede that is what you said.

But that makes your statement still arguably mistaken, or at least selective, because if you really mean fundamental forces, we don't take into account recent efforts to connect or 'unify' the forces.

If you want to count the number of forces based on counting 'unified' forces as one, that has changed over time.

Arguably, there are five forces, but it is generally considered that since Maxwell showed how intimately electrical and magnetic forces are connected in our current state of the universe, that it is reasonable to treat them as one entity.

Whereas the electromagnetic and weak nuclear force predominate in very different domains at energy levels mostly available in our Universe today, so these are still regarded as distinct fundamentals, even though we have a theory showing how they are connected.

If you are going to continue that line of argument, there are only two forces, Gravity and Quantum Electrodynamics, which now unifies the Electroweak and Strong nuclear forces.

So if current efforts to achieve a Grand Unified Theory are successful, you will then only have one.


I'm trying to avoid overwhelming you with esoteric theory. But if it has to be... Esotericism recognizes 3 forces, 1st Ray equivalent with strong nuclear force, 2nd ray equivalent with gravity and 3rd Ray. 3rd Ray works as it is, but it also divides on 4 next forces, so there are 7 forces in total. Each has a plenty of descriptions that allow most of them to be readily identified as strong nuclear, gravity, and so on.

These 7 forces interacting with each other in many ways at all conceivable levels and frequencies create together all that exists. It is known that all of these came from a single source, and some call this source God, but not antropomorphically, or in worship. Study of these natural forces and learning to use them is the way to know their source.
Esotericism recognizes 7 qualitative dimensions, (barring spatial and time dimensions) and human being as multi-dimensional. The idea is, that our mental and emotional apparatus are counterparts of our physical body in these dimensions. In these dimensions there are the same natural forces. But at these levels they are known to us as emotion, thought, ideals, archetypes, etc. Esotericists know effects of these natural forces on psychology and living things. In this way, people's consciousness is more determined by physics than biology.

If we are capable of thinking and so on, it means we are capable of manipulating energy of thought. How skillfully is that done, depends on a thinker. Thoughtforms have tendency to precipitate into this material dimension, depending on their strength. Therefore, mind is creative. Of course, it must be a clear, focused mind with great ability of long-termed visualization. In such a way there can be precipitated a house, institution, social order, piece of art, scientific technology, style of life, personal future, and so on. It is not the only possible use of creative mind, but most frequent today.
 

BobSpence1 wrote:
A friend of mine who is basically an atheist, as far as I can tell, is into Sitchen, as well as David Icke. I hadn't known about the Sitchen thing until he brought it up at a little get-together with another mutual friend recently. So I looked into Sitchen, and find him not at all credible. I have reason to mistrust my friend's logical faculties when approaching a number of these 'fringe' topics. The biggest shock I received was hearing him defend anti-vaccination, with such a blatantly fallacious argument that I was speechless for a bit. I basically bit my tongue, and said nothing, because I consider him quite a good friend, we have known each other for quite a long time, and once both worked at the same organization, and do share a number of other interests.
OK, so you'd better check out Sitchin by yourself, your friend should have some book. The books are big, but that's because of systematism. Sitchin is a smart man, one of few in the world who can read easily Sumerian language. And his books are about what he had read on the clay tablets.

BobSpence1 wrote:
I think you would really be stretching things to find some real demonstration that esotericism really anticipated Quantum Theory or Relativity in any specific sense. So they missed it when Science discovered and explored major ideas that they had no conception of.

The problem is, I don't know Quantum theory and Relativity very well. I know String theory and it is like esotericism told in other words. But the other theories confuse me. When I tried to learn about relativity, I got so much of conflicting information, that I gave up. I don't trust it. As for Quantum theory, there are many people who talk about it, but hardly anybody who actually explains it. I'll have to try Youtube for a clear, simple explanation, it worked with String theory.

 

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ShadowOfMan wrote: OF

ShadowOfMan wrote:
OF COURSE, much of human experience must be denied.  That man that traveled into a single proton is a liar.  How can anyone in their right mind believe that?  He was delusional!  I'm embarrassed to be a human being now.  Thanks!
Well, now you know how I feel seeing people produce, buy and consume advertised useless things! Smiling Are they stupid or what?
But that particular man was a hero. (now long dead) He escaped from a country with totalitarian regime, but returned there to smuggle in certain books and to be further persecuted for a time. Today his heritage lives and thrives in relative freedom from government's ideology.

When we get to hear about ideas like quantum entanglement or consciousness independent on brain, then such things should be taken seriously. You don't know what is consciousness, and what is possible for it or not. For something to be possible, training is necessary. Nobody knows what the consciousness can do when it is properly trained, because people don't train it, they don't exercise the consciousness and don't focus it for long periods of time. Not in the west, I mean, we don't know how to control our minds, we identify with them and let them be. In the east yogic traditions understand the mind as a tool separate from self, that must be controlled and perfected. Their measures of possible and impossible are much different, mine too.

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That man may have been a

That man may have been a hero. I do not dispute that. But if he imagined himself traveling into a proton, then that's all it was. An over active imagination. Good for him! Who cares and why would any rational human being believe it was reality?
*places gun to temple and cocks the hammer*

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce