Is There Scientific Evidence Of A Soul? [Trollville]

linkboy
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Is There Scientific Evidence Of A Soul? [Trollville]

(A Josh Greenberger article reprinted with permission)
 

 

Is There Scientific Evidence Of A Soul?
 

 

Is everything really explainable by science?
Or does the human body show physical evidence of a Divine Origin?
 



The axiom a "whole is equal to the sum of its parts" holds true in physics and mathematics as well as biology. It seems so logical that one wonders why such an axiom even needs to be postulated. But is it really all that logical? There is a case in which the sum of an entity's parts do not seem to add up to its whole. No, I'm not talking about black holes, quantum particles, virus mutations or * infomercials. I'm talking about the human being. The biological components of the homosapien do not seem to add up to what we call the human being.

Strictly on a biological level, it all gives the impression of fitting together very nicely. For example, we all know that the heart pumps blood, and it is usually strain or the deprivation of oxygen to this natural pump that results in heart attacks. By the same token, it is the deprivation of oxygen to the brain which can lead to a stroke or even death. The components which come into play here become more obvious upon a more detailed analysis of the circulatory system.

The heart consists basically of four chambers -- the right and left atriums, and the right and left ventricles. The heart's function is to keep the blood oxygenated by pumping it past the lungs, which absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Although beating approximately 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime is quite an amazing feat, how the heart accomplishes its task is not at all that mysterious. The heart's components -- chambers, veins, arteries, etc. -- propel the circulatory system, a mechanical process which we quite readily understand.

Similarly, the liver, our largest organ, serves as the body's chemical factory. Some of the chemicals it produces are: albumin, which regulates the exchange of water between blood and tissues -- complement, proteins which help the immune system fight infection -- coagulation factors, which help the blood clot when blood vessels are damaged -- globin, a part of the pigment known as hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. In addition, the liver produces cholesterol and special proteins that help carry fats around the body.

This is of course an oversimplified description of an extremely complex organ. In fact, the liver's complexities make a practical artificial liver a lot farther from reality than an artificial heart. Yet, in spite of its complexities, the liver's basic functions are not really great mysteries. That is, although precisely how the liver produces and regulates the body's chemistry may still be far from understood, the notion of producing chemicals or regulating circulating fluids are not exactly mystical concepts. Such chemical functions are performed on a daily basis in laboratories and in many man-made devices.

To sum it up, what the above two organs have in common is that in their cases the "whole is equal to the sum of its parts" -- i.e their underlying mechanical principles work satisfactorily as a whole within the context of the living body as well as isolated components within a laboratory setting.

The brain, however, is a little different. The brain and spinal cord comprise the central nervous system, and control virtually every vital function of the body -- thought, speech, heart beat, breathing, body temperature, etc. It is believed that the cerebral cortex (the outer portion of the cerebrum) is where movement, sensation, memory and perception, among other things, are processed. Some of these functions are similar to those of other organs in the sense that, in spite of their awesome complexity, their mechanical processes have parallels in man-made objects or in the laboratory.

Computers are excellent examples of how huge amounts of data and images can be stored and transferred in man-made objects. Electrical impulses are utilized in both computers and the brain, although their processes may not necessarily be identical. So, with respect to the purely mechanical process of memory and the transmission of data or impulses, the brain and nervous system hold no great mysteries. As with the liver, the precise processes employed by the brain may be far from understood, but man understands many of the functions performed and has in some cases reproduced their effects.

But this is where the familiarity with the brain ends. After all the sophistication and miracles of modern medicine, biology and biogenetics, the concept of intellect remains a total mystery. There is no substance known to man, either within the human body or the lab, that will produce intellect. To scan the brain, as some scientists have done, with an imaging device and track down the parts of the brain that come into play under certain intellectual pursuits is not the same as isolating a substance that produces intellect. We may know that the brain is the seat of the intellect, but that says nothing about what intellect is or what substance, if any, produces it. A rough analogy might be, determining what part of an engine contains combustion says nothing about how fuel is produced or where it comes from.

Upon dissection of the human brain, aside from some jelly-type matter, nerve fibers and perhaps neurotransmitters, all of which come into play in our thought and motor functions, there emerges not a shred of evidence of a substance that produces a sense of humor, the appreciation of art, or the ability to differentiate between good and evil. Even if not the precise method, at least a clue as to how these human qualities are produced would, I think, have been in order at this advanced stage of the twenty-first century. But nothing! Zilch! This seems to fly in the face of the principle a "whole is equal to the sum of its parts:" whereas the human brain seems to be the seat of consciousness, its biological components do not seem to possess the potential of producing such a quality.

Is it possible that "consciousness" actualy is a separate entity and has no physical roots? And can it's effect on humans be taken as proof that such an entity exists? "Black holes," despite the fact that they cannot be directly detected, are universally accepted as science.

A black hole in astronomy is a celestial object of such extremely intense gravity that it attracts everything near it and prevents even light from escaping. Because light and other forms of energy and matter are permanently trapped inside a black hole, it can never be observed directly. It can only be detected by the effect of its gravitational field on nearby objects. Yet, as undetectable as they are, black holes are considered as real and as scientific as planets and stars.

In the same way, consciousness can be "proven" to have its own existence by the effect it has on humans, giving them qualities such as reasoning abilities, appreciation of art, humor, etc. Unlike a black hole, however, since we cannot prove the existence of any physical substance or process that can produce such features, consciousness takes on a unique existence -- an effect without a physical origin. Call it what you will, but this precisely coincides with the age-old concept of a "soul."

I realize that a soul in itself may not be a scientific concept. But when you can prove its features and qualities as surely as you can prove a black hole's effect on its environment, you have effectively proven its existence. Unlike a black hole, it's origin does not appear to be physical, but, very much like a black hole, it definitely reveals itself within its environment.

Unscientific, at this point, would be to deny that an entity exists that gives human beings their unique intellectual features. There is no question that it exists. The only question is, what do you call it? If "soul" is to religious sounding for you, call it what you will, but there is definitely something at work here that is not of a physical nature.

If you don't believe a "soul" has been proven here, you may want to start questioning things like black holes. Nobody will prove them to you any better.

 

(A Josh Greenberger article reprinted with permission)    

<> p.s. My understanding is that Josh Greenberger does not believe in Jesus or "the holy spirit." He speaks of the God that created heaven and earth -- the original.

 


wavefreak
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Because we cant it explain

Because we can't explain it it must be supernatural. That's the entire argument in a nutshell.

 

Seems weak to me.


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No, there isn't any evidence

No, there isn't any evidence for souls at all.


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It would help if Mr.

It would help if Mr. Greenberger cited data or peer-reviewed studies to support his assertions, such as:

Quote:
After all the sophistication and miracles of modern medicine, biology and biogenetics, the concept of intellect remains a total mystery.

Quote:
Upon dissection of the human brain, aside from some jelly-type matter, nerve fibers and perhaps neurotransmitters, all of which come into play in our thought and motor functions, there emerges not a shred of evidence of a substance that produces a sense of humor, the appreciation of art, or the ability to differentiate between good and evil.

Quote:
In the same way, consciousness can be "proven" to have its own existence by the effect it has on humans, giving them qualities such as reasoning abilities, appreciation of art, humor, etc.

Quote:
there is definitely something at work here that is not of a physical nature.

These are empoverished and baseless assertions.  There is no evidence for a soul, nor is there any hard definition for what a soul is, let alone anything that "precisely coincides with the age-old concept of a "soul".  

Neuroscientists, evolutionary psychologists, anthropologists are all looking into the physical and material make-up of the brain/mind.  Neuroscience, for instance, is still a very new field ... I would warn against positing a supernatural cause for anything, but especially before we've exhausted , you know, actual emprical, scientific inquiry into where our mind/consciousness comes from.

If you're interested in this topic, Linkboy, I'd suggest "A Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond" (Oxford University Press) by William H. Calvin - its a good primer on the topic from an evolutionary perspective.

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Denying evidence doesn't make it "not there."

Saying something isn't there is easy. You can look at a building and just say it isn't there. But that's only fooling yourself. Reality doesn't just come and go based what you prefer believing. It's either there or it it's not. If you deny evidence that something exists, it'll still be there, except you just won't know about it. How can that possibly help you in any way?


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linkboy wrote: Saying

linkboy wrote:
Saying something isn't there is easy. You can look at a building and just say it isn't there. But that's only fooling yourself. Reality doesn't just come and go based what you prefer believing. It's either there or it it's not. If you deny evidence that something exists, it'll still be there, except you just won't know about it. How can that possibly help you in any way?

 

Nobody is denying that conciousness exists. It is the explanation for conciousness that is at question. You can't find evidence for something unless you define what you are looking for. This essay doesn't clearly define a soul so how can you claim evidence for it?

 

 

Gawd. I'm sounding like an atheist. I feel so tainted. 

 

 


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When an entire argument is

When an entire argument is dependant on the misrepresentation of facts, that should send up big red flags. You can't understand any brain function by looking at it under a microscope. You can, however, use other tools to see what areas of the brain are involved in things like humor and art appreciation. You can see how the stimulus enters the brain through the appropriate sensory organ(s), gets compared with things like memory and associations, gets processed by the parts that recognize patterns, and ultimately goes through many feed-forward and feedback loops that end up causing the appropriate and complex reaction based on our present emotional state, memories, and associations.

In other words, these things can easily be explained. The fact that they can't be examined at a microscopic level is a red-herring. They can be understood by observing how the brain works as a whole. Take away key parts of the brain, and the attributes that the author attributes to a "soul" completely disappear.

If things like a soul really existed, there would be no problem giving a lucid and rational explanation that anyone can agree to, regardless of their biases or beliefs. It shouldn't take such vague and abstract rationalizations that depend entirely on you not knowing something. 


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wavefreak wrote: Nobody is

wavefreak wrote:
Nobody is denying that conciousness exists. It is the explanation for conciousness that is at question. You can't find evidence for something unless you define what you are looking for. This essay doesn't clearly define a soul so how can you claim evidence for it?
Well put Smiling


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wavefreak wrote: Gawd. I'm

wavefreak wrote:
Gawd. I'm sounding like an atheist. I feel so tainted.

... or just a person who demands evidence when someone makes a claim about reality.  But, honestly, you are an atheist already in reference to every other supernatural position besides the one you claim now.  You know exectly what its like to reject "faith positions" out of hand.  We just happen to do that for every claim that lacks evidence - or even clearly defined claims (such as linkboy/Mr. Greenberger).

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What you're describing is "data transfer"

What you're describing as the brain is nothing more than what a computer is capable of. Various parts of a computer are involved in various functions. The brain processes not only data and motor functions but also the manner in which thoughts and emotions are expressed. This is a far cry form where those thoughts or emotions come from. A computer does not "think" because it processes data and it certainly isn't aware of itself, nor does it have the ability to understand right from wrong.

In nutshell, you're describing the physical aspects through which a soul (if it does exists, and I believe it does) would express itself. It absolutely does not address the source of human characteristics, which seem to have no physical origin.


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A computer is totally

A computer is totally different from a brain (made from electronic rather than bilogical parts.) No computer yet is complex as a brain. In the future, we may have computers complex enough to have emotions, thoughts, etc.

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That was pathetic. It is

Well, at least it gave me a good laugh. It is apparant neither of you have gone to lengths to study much neurology.

 

You said the mind was a “spiritual thing”. I beg to differ. When I was earning my neurology degree, I studied precisely that. I am sad to say now that I abandoned the field of neuroanatomy for molecular biology, but I am still well versed in brain science. I studied the effects of drugs on consciousness, PVS, the Phineas Gage case, Split-brain and corpus callosum cutting experiments. The mind, I am sorry to say, is clearly grounded in the brain. Using neuroangiograms, neuroscientists can point to different areas of the brain and say “this is where higher thought occurs” “this is where language is processed” “this is where memory is stored” “this is where such and such emotion is triggered”. We now how have the chemical makeup of a large number of the hormones that are responsible for various emotions. We can even watch memories form (synaptogenesis), we can watch information processing which is the fundamental of sentience . The notion that the mind is “spiritual” has been debunked for a while now. In Descartes Metaphysics, the mind is indivisible and indeterminate, which means it has no composition, nor can it be changed (obviously. How can it be changed without composition?). However, experiments in cutting the corpus callosum, as well as certain experiments in neuroplasticity that would certainly not be ethically allowed today (revealing the plasticity of neural interfaces) indicate the opposite. The mind is quite fragmented. Different aspects are handled by different parts of the brain. Even animals, which according to this metaphysics, do not have this mysterious “soul” that is present only in the Homo Sapeins have mental states and emotions and feelings, albeit not as sophisticated as our own. The ones which are closer to us like chimps actually can do better than us on memory tests, and form social groups, displaying qualities like altruism and conditioning. In fact, apart from more brainpower, the only thing that really separates us from chimpanzees is language, and neurologists have thoroughly overanalyzed the material/physical brain grounding of language. It is the most well-studied brain function, such that it has its own field: neurolinguistics.

 

The Phineas Gage case is interesting because it gave scientists the first glimpse into the physical grounding of human emotion and human personality. Before the accident, Gage was an easygoing, friendly, man. After a detonation accident had shot an iron bar straight through his head, destroying part of his temporal lobe, he became a foul-mouth, rude, violent, drunkard. In 1995, Neuroscientists at my university managed to precisly reconstruct the hole which Gage's iron bar had penetrated, and analyze the precise effect of the destruction of brain tissue on personality. As it turned out, it correlated precisely with the available data we have on the relationship between temporal lobe plasiticty and personality.

 

The mind is very divisible and physical. Descartes was wrong. 200 years of neurological experiments have confirmed the mind is generated by the physical brain, influenced by physical events, altered by chemicals and very plastic in nature due to the fact that it is composed of neurons, which, when connecting to other neurons, can undergo synaptogenesis or controlled apoptosis, so as to alter a mental state. For example a disease called synthesaesia directly distorts conscious experience, people see memory as color. All sorts of stimulants, chemicals, drugs, diseases, disorders can distort consciousness. How does the dualist explain this? . These things which are associated with the “spirit” such as perception, thought, memory etc can all be explained by neurologists. Emotions can be directly measured by neuroangiograms, IQ can too, and it can also be affected by environment such as toxicity, carcinogens, and in utero mutations. Every known emotional state has either a hormone or a steroid chemical feedback loop attached to it. Happiness and contentment are not controlled by a soul. They are controlled by endorphins, serotonin, dopamine ect. Actually, the chemical basis for emotion is so good that neurobiologists have now tagged almost every known emotional state with an endocrine feedback loop.

The split-brain experiments are useful because they demonstrate how to divide the cons

Synaesthesia, again, I wish to bring up because it shows how disease can directly affect conscious experience, since the disease causes malfunctioning neurocircuitry such that the sufferer can store memory as color and shape. This in effect is what gives synaesthesiacs their incredible memories, and many of them are renowned for feats like reciting the entire bible or memorizing Pi to 20,000 digits. The clear indication is that consciousness is the product of physical structure and neurocircuitry.

This is further demonstrated by severe autism, which, since synaesthesia is a part of the autism spectrum, has similiar effects. Due to malfunctioning mirror circuitry, the autistic savant has no communication ability, which would seem to underly the notion that the mind is composed of neural networks. Again, this is compounded by split-brain experiments. The corpus callosum is a communication link between the two giant lobes of the brain. When it is cut, a person who observes an object cannot name it. A person shown a word cannot speak it, and they cannot imagine what it would feel like to touch a texture they are observing with their eyes. They also seem to lack neuromuscular proceperception and echoperception.

 

You brought up the interaction problem. I really wouldn’t if I was a dualist. I simply cannot comprehend how this mysterious spiritual being could interact with the physical brain. Clearly mental states depend on causal events. How is it possible that an a-causal, atemporal “thing” can cause these events which alter mental states if it is trascendant of cause and effect? Come to think of it, how can you think at all, when thinking depends on causal events (information being processed by your temporal lobe) as well as sensory inputs such as visual cortex, the primary auditory cortex etc). For instance, when you see a {insert food you like here} your eyes convert the photonic information into electrical signals to be sent along the optic nerve and into the primary visual cortex, which processes the image, which in turn is processed by the temporal lobe/prefrontal cortex, which triggers a mental state associated with it (I’m hungry, or this tastes good) usually accompanied by a small release of endorphins from the pituary gland, and then the cerebral cortex and the facial nerves so that you open your mouth and say “mmmmmm”.

 

Now, if these mental states were under the control of the “spirit” which is acausal and atemporal and therefore not bound by cause and effect, how is this possible? How do you solve the interaction problem? How can a physical brain, a clear, tangible, spatial object whose mental states depend on causal events and temporality, and whose mental states are clearly physical and influenced by temporality and causality as evidenced by split-brain experiments, neuroanatomy, the effects of drugs and neuroplastic experiments, PVS and sensory deprivation chambers, as well as synaptogenesis and axon firing….how could this be controlled by a “soul” or “spirit”? How could they interact such that the soul is responsible for mental states (as shown, this has been debunked. Plus, I don’t see how an entity which is atemporal could influence temporal alteration of mental states)? More to the point, how is it possible for a non-spatial entity to reside inside the brain? If it is inside the brain, shouldn’t we be able to detect it with MRI, PET or neuroangiograms?

Neurologists have now uncovered the structural and chemical basis for emotion, the areas of the brain responsible for the bast amount of functions (humour is one of them-that statement was an argument from ignorance), as well as the synapic electrochemical basis for memory storage, the neurotransmitters responsible for carrying the information responsible for various emotional and mental states, the physical structure responsible for many types of perception and sensory data, including the lesser known aspects of perception like muscle memory.

The whole argument was an argument from ignorance. Pathetic. Study neuroscience.

Seriously, can you name me one cognitive neuroscientist who believes this nonsense? We do not know what consciousness works, we do not fully understand memory storage, or perceptive states or the relationship between the Nerst Equation in action potentials and information across the VGIC, but what we do know, due to experiments, is that they are physical.

Also, to say there is scientific evidence of a soul is just ridiculous because the fundamental assumption of science is materialism. The scientific method (empiricism and experimentation) cannot work with anything else. Unless you conjured up an epistemilogical system for vitalism in your sleep, you simply are not within your epistemic rights to hold such positions. To trot out with this idiocy requires fundamental ignorance of the scientific method.

The argument's title manages to refute itself by suggesting the notion of "a soul" this is a shameless ontological stolen concept fallacy, since the notion of quantifiability requires constituency and divisibility, otherwise it becomes an empty tautology, meaningless. This is why the notion of a "soul" is so ridiculous intellectually bankrupt and shamelessly obfusicated.

Also, even if we did not have all the data I suggested above, we should still be able to deduce that consciousness is a physical process because the "soul" is a broken concept without ontological status.

  1. Physicalism is the only system for which there is an all-encompassing positive ontological status
  2. Supernatural/spiritual is not defined. It has no positive ontology. It is defined only relative to physicalism as a negative concept ie immaterial, acausal, atemporal, intangible etc. So what is it left over to be?
  3. If supernatural/spiritual has no positive ontological status it logically follows that “supernatural things exists” is meaningless since existence requires ontological status as a predicate. To say otherwise is to say A does not equal A

For further reading on this matter:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/philosophy_and_psychology_with_chaoslord_and_todangst/7824

http://www.rationalresponders.com/noncognitivist_arguments_part_i_god_exists_is_mutually_contradictory

http://www.rationalresponders.com/supernatural_and_immaterial_are_broken_concepts

http://www.rationalresponders.com/fallacies_commonly_employed_against_materialism_refuted

 

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


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Jacob Cordingley
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This was a very simple

This was a very simple Soul-of-the-gaps fallacy. You presented no evidence that the soul exists, only evidence that we do not know much about the human brain.


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Daniel Dennet interview


Jacob Cordingley
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Dan Dennet is superb!

Dan Dennet is superb!


ABx
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linkboy wrote: What you're

linkboy wrote:
What you're describing as the brain is nothing more than what a computer is capable of. Various parts of a computer are involved in various functions. The brain processes not only data and motor functions but also the manner in which thoughts and emotions are expressed. This is a far cry form where those thoughts or emotions come from. A computer does not "think" because it processes data and it certainly isn't aware of itself, nor does it have the ability to understand right from wrong.
Actually the computer was modeled from what was known about the brain at the time (the 1940's). The way that you describe the physical brain is actually quite outdated; it's actually quite elegantly complex (most organic things are). The fact that the computer is less complex than the brain is, however, a completely moot point. What primarily differentiates the two is function. A computer is a man-made device that is made to process logic and nothing more. Just like the brain, however, what gives it purpose is really just us.

Emotions can be expressed through art by creating visual representations of things that evoke those particular emotions through our experiences and associations. Every culture has objects and shapes that symbolize and invoke certain emotions. Creating a unique representation of those things can produce a unique experience of it, but it's ultimately all about association. Something profoundly beautiful to us may be completely meaningless to someone of another culture. If what you insinuate were true, I would think that everyone would have the same reaction regardless of their experiences and associations, and have associations beyond our experiences.

How does the fact that the brain processes sensory input change anything? To compare this to a man-made device is a gross oversimplification and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of both computers and the brain.

Quote:
It absolutely does not address the source of human characteristics, which seem to have no physical origin.
Such as...?

The subjective experience of our consciousness is in the complex interplay of the whole brain. No, you can't pin any of it down to one individual part, but the things that you wouldn't think have physical origin can be completely removed with a scalpel. A small incision (or other damage) in the right place(s) could indeed make a person, by most definitions, soulless and/or dramatically change the person's personality. While the fundamental nature of consciousness is still one of the ultimate mysteries, we already know enough to rule out the concept of a soul by the fact that the things thought of as separate and indestructable have been proven to be part of particular systems and destructable.

The fact that the brain produces all of these things changes nothing. Everything about our existence remains the same, we just have that much more knowledge. It's US that provide meaning, and we do so from our experiences, desires, and associations. The fact that all of this comes from such seemingly benign physical processes only makes it that much more elegant and special. The concept of a soul is ultimately useless. Perhaps you don't like the idea of knowing that physical matter is responsible for all of these things, but that doesn't mean it's not true, and it doesn't devalue them in any way.

Knowing all of the "mechanics" of the brain won't be a detrmient to our life. To the contrary, it will give us the opportunity to enhance it in ways that we can't even dream of right now, we just might have to give up some past preconceptions and delusions to get there. Regardless, it's what's happening right now whether you like it or not, and it doesn't change anything about your existence. The only thing it would change is any prior delusions to the contrary. If your sense of self worth is entirely dependant on reality suiting your preference, then you need to re-evaluate your preferences and your beliefs. When something is true, the facts support it. When the facts threaten it, then you know you've got soemthing wrong.


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Hehe all that time I spent

Hehe all that time I spent writing a reply and even I got "owned" by deludedgod's response Embarassed Laughing out loud


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Several people here have

Several people here have posted excellent information.  I will add just one more thing for you to look at - Ebon Musings:  A Ghost in the Machine.  It is an essay on the existence of the soul and I found it very informative.  It is long but very thorough.

 


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The brain versus a computer

You're all totally misunderstanding of the computer analogy.

The analogy was made in response to ABx: "You can see how the stimulus enters the brain through the appropriate sensory organ(s), gets compared with things like memory and associations, gets processed by the parts that recognize patterns, and ultimately goes through many feed-forward and feedback loops that end up causing the appropriate and complex reaction based on our present emotional state, memories, and associations...etc."

This is a typical response to this subject, that misses the point. Of course the human brain is far more complex than a computer. But the fact that we can see how the brain functions does not negate the notion that it could contain a soul, since a computer (which is far less complicated) also has various processing skills yet it is not conscious. So if a human is conscious, he in all likelihood contains something beyond simple computer-like processing skills, even if those skills do manage emotions, a sense of art, etc.

Furthermore, the nonsensical argument that, "Well, maybe someday computers will be conscious, etc." is just a lot copout gibberish. Using this argument you can say, "Well, maybe some day we'll be able to actually see a soul and maybe even God, so therefore..." These are non-arguments. We can only go by what we know, can do and can see today. What happens tomorrow -- which may never happen -- we just have to leave for our great grandkids to argue about.





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The real problem is that the

The real problem is that the title of the essay used the words "scientific evidence". As soon as you invoke science it changes the burden of proof to one that must include empirical, reproducible evidence. It requires a hypothesis and observations that subsequently substantiate or invalidate the hypothesis. So when you say there is scientific evidence for a soul you must define what it is, look for the evidence and compare the evidence with the definition. This essay never defines the soul in a way that allows comparison of evidence to a hypothesis. It basically says because we are self aware we must have a soul since there as of yet no other explanation. That is not science.


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When I went to university

When I went to university and did scientific research I was required to actually do some science.  However, I went to secular universities, apparently there isn't the same requirement in other univeristies.  Analogy is not scientific evidence.

 The author failed to address a huge flaw in the soul concept, name the dualistic nature of the body/brain which the soul advocates believe (science rejects it having soundly proven the mind is physical).

If the mind is non-physical then the entire drug industry has been scamming the world with psychotropic drugs.  How is it that I can take LSD and my mind will experience hallucinations of all sorts.  That would imply a physical construct (LSD) is able to affect the non-physical (soul).  According to soul advocates this is impossible but it's exactly the sort of thing we expect if the mind/soul is physical.

Hence the religious concept of the soul is scientifically disproven. 


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linkboy wrote:

linkboy wrote:
"

This is a typical response to this subject, that misses the point. Of course the human brain is far more complex than a computer. But the fact that we can see how the brain functions does not negate the notion that it could contain a soul, since a computer (which is far less complicated) also has various processing skills yet it is not conscious. So if a human is conscious, he in all likelihood contains something beyond simple computer-like processing skills, even if those skills do manage emotions, a sense of art, etc.


 

Then I ask, what is conciousness? since sciencists, philosophers and various others that have attempted to answer this, have never had a concrete answer as to what is consciousness. At this point the article you provided stated since we don't understand all the functions of the brain and we cannot see what causes what in the brain once it is dissected, this however is hardly scientific evidence that there is a soul. I see no scientific evidence that there is a soul in that article. The notion or the hypothesis might be presented but that is hardly scientific evidence for the soul. It is merely the question....is there a soul. Which is no more scientific than, is there a god?


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Quote:

Quote:
This is a typical response to this subject, that misses the point. Of course the human brain is far more complex than a computer. But the fact that we can see how the brain functions does not negate the notion that it could contain a soul, since a computer (which is far less complicated) also has various processing skills yet it is not conscious. So if a human is conscious, he in all likelihood contains something beyond simple computer-like processing skills, even if those skills do manage emotions, a sense of art, etc.
And you apparently missed our points. For starters, the fact that the brain is so much more complex than a computer is part of what prevents it from being devalued by understanding that it's purely physical. We, the bearers of this consciousness, would constitute most of the rest of what prevents it.

More importantly, the bigger point is that everything I've ever heard as attributable to a "soul" can be explained physically, which excludes a soul. Certain kinds of brain damage can even selectively or completely remove these things. Read deludedgod's post again carefully for examples.

Do you have any examples of your own, or are we simply supposed to take you at your word and accept the argument from ignorance (which appears to be exclusively your ignorance).

 

PS, it would really help if you could quote who you are responding to. You seem to be responding to more than one person, but it's hard to tell because you didn't quote what you were addressing.


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deludedgod wrote:

deludedgod wrote:

The split-brain experiments are useful because they demonstrate how to divide the cons

Synaesthesia, again, I wish to bring up because it shows how disease can directly affect conscious experience, since the disease causes malfunctioning neurocircuitry such that the sufferer can store memory as color and shape. This in effect is what gives synaesthesiacs their incredible memories, and many of them are renowned for feats like reciting the entire bible or memorizing Pi to 20,000 digits. The clear indication is that consciousness is the product of physical structure and neurocircuitry.


Hello Deluded Smiling , baiting the HFA theist is not very altruistic of you, tut tut. Disease and Malfunction, such loaded words, and given what you back it up with, well. *taps foot* sounds jealous a bit don't you think? but you wouldn't be the first or the last in that respect.

Sure you can call it malfuction, if you like, or dysfunction, or even afunctioning, be my guest at judging, I could care less and do a lot worse. I could believe it, for instance, ease the passage of totalitarianism for neurobuffs. But I'm heretical in my theism, what would make one think I wouldn't heresy anything else that pigeonholes my potential and derelicts my self respect?

Sufferers, (as you so mildly put it) of the autistic spectrum aren't at all hampered by the extensions of memory circuitry, confusing women in red dresses with G is an imaginary symptom, it is not confused vis a vis autism, and in the case that it is confused psychiatry has an alternative name for that, and a fairly well known chemical villian at the helm. You rightly put it below, the only through and through consistent diminishing of ability in the autistic spectrum is in sociality and social norms, global coherence.

 

Quote:

This is further demonstrated by severe autism, which, since synaesthesia is a part of the autism spectrum, has similiar effects. Due to malfunctioning mirror circuitry,

The mirror circuitry is not malfunctioning, it's adapted. How else do you think we know the actual difference between a G flat and yesterdays perfume.

 

Quote:

the autistic savant has no communication ability,

Worst case scenario, no communication ability. On the other end of the spectrum however there is limited adaptive drive for the normed differentiation and isolation of self identity. At the HFA end it's much less an inability to communicate than a natural tendency to not commit drive to certain cohesion over others no different to non-autistics except that we are contrary and like our Bach syllables more than trite social cliche (see I can load too). It looks like an adaptation, works like an adaptation, why must it be a disease?

edit: in qualification, i'm on a tangent of the original subject of this thread here, so apologies for that. I agree with monism, I don't think Dennet is even close to the final answer but he is right to say "we know a lot already so dispel the myths" , I remain neutral on dualism, it still concievable to me that dualism and monism are internal aspects of each other thus both still important to study.

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A theistic friend of mine

A theistic friend of mine from back home in Mancs offered this "proof" of dualism:

"When I'm drunk I feel detached from my body. Therefore body and mind are separate"

Somehow, this guy is a philosophy student. Something tells me he won't come out with 1st Class Honours.


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Quote: What you're

Quote:
What you're describing as the brain is nothing more than what a computer is capable of. Various parts of a computer are involved in various functions.

Well, that surely took you a while to realize.

Quote:
This is a typical response to this subject, that misses the point. Of course the human brain is far more complex than a computer. But the fact that we can see how the brain functions does not negate the notion that it could contain a soul, since a computer (which is far less complicated) also has various processing skills yet it is not conscious. So if a human is conscious, he in all likelihood contains something beyond simple computer-like processing skills, even if those skills do manage emotions, a sense of art, etc.

What do you mean by "is not conscious" ? It cannot have ideas of its own? It does not actually realize it exists as a separate entity? It cannot exhibit feelings?

Well, if you're on that line of thought, you should really really look into what they call "neural networks", so that the thought of a "soul" can pass away VERY FAST. It's true, there are no possibilities of a both economical and scientifical nature to create a computer powerful enough to accomodate a human-like neural network, but hey... it's not anyone's fault that actually observing the Earth is round through a trip to the Moon isn't possible either...

Quote:
Furthermore, the nonsensical argument that, "Well, maybe someday computers will be conscious, etc." is just a lot copout gibberish. Using this argument you can say, "Well, maybe some day we'll be able to actually see a soul and maybe even God, so therefore..." These are non-arguments. We can only go by what we know, can do and can see today. What happens tomorrow -- which may never happen -- we just have to leave for our great grandkids to argue about.

OK, so you mean to say that we should never argue on the lines of "we cannot know for sure right now, because we don't have the necessary technology" ? OK, I might go with that, but wait! Your sollution to that is: "Let's believe what tribesmen thousands of years before us were guessing/imagining instead."

You were saying something about "copout gibberish" ?

Quote:
A theistic friend of mine from back home in Mancs offered this "proof" of dualism:

"When I'm drunk I feel detached from my body. Therefore body and mind are separate"

 Somehow, this guy is a philosophy student. Something tells me he won't come out with 1st Class Honours.

Haha! Lol...

Quote:
Hello Deluded Smiling , baiting the HFA theist is not very altruistic of you, tut tut. Disease and Malfunction, such loaded words, and given what you back it up with, well. *taps foot* sounds jealous a bit don't you think? but you wouldn't be the first or the last in that respect.

Sure you can call it malfuction, if you like, or dysfunction, or even afunctioning, be my guest at judging, I could care less and do a lot worse. I could believe it, for instance, ease the passage of totalitarianism for neurobuffs. But I'm heretical in my theism, what would make one think I wouldn't heresy anything else that pigeonholes my potential and derelicts my self respect?

So many theist philosophers, so little sense...

Quote:
Sufferers, (as you so mildly put it) of the autistic spectrum aren't at all hampered by the extensions of memory circuitry, confusing women in red dresses with G is an imaginary symptom, it is not confused vis a vis autism, and in the case that it is confused psychiatry has an alternative name for that, and a fairly well known chemical villian at the helm. You rightly put it below, the only through and through consistent diminishing of ability in the autistic spectrum is in sociality and social norms, global coherence.

Regardless, his point was made...

Quote:
The mirror circuitry is not malfunctioning, it's adapted. How else do you think we know the actual difference between a G flat and yesterdays perfume.

I'm not entirely sure that the people he was talking about when he said that actually do know that difference...

Regardless, his point was (again) made...

Quote:
Worst case scenario, no communication ability. On the other end of the spectrum however there is limited adaptive drive for the normed differentiation and isolation of self identity. At the HFA end it's much less an inability to communicate than a natural tendency to not commit drive to certain cohesion over others no different to non-autistics except that we are contrary and like our Bach syllables more than trite social cliche (see I can load too). It looks like an adaptation, works like an adaptation, why must it be a disease?

Once again, you lost us there... what is the adaptation, what purpose does it serve and what could have triggered that specific kind of persons to need that adaptation?

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Ok, you prove to me that

Ok, you prove to me that "souls" exist and I'll prove I can fart a Lamborginni out of my butt. What's a good time for you? How about a week from "dont hold your breath".

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Jacob Cordingley wrote: A

Jacob Cordingley wrote:

A theistic friend of mine from back home in Mancs offered this "proof" of dualism:

"When I'm drunk I feel detached from my body. Therefore body and mind are separate"

Somehow, this guy is a philosophy student. Something tells me he won't come out with 1st Class Honours.

 AWESOME!  LOL!

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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Rigor_OMortis

Rigor_OMortis wrote:

 

Quote:
Sufferers, (as you so mildly put it) of the autistic spectrum aren't at all hampered by the extensions of memory circuitry, confusing women in red dresses with G is an imaginary symptom, it is not confused vis a vis autism, and in the case that it is confused psychiatry has an alternative name for that, and a fairly well known chemical villian at the helm. You rightly put it below, the only through and through consistent diminishing of ability in the autistic spectrum is in sociality and social norms, global coherence.

Regardless, his point was made...

Ah, yeah I was taking a side road from the point, I have no qualms with the theory, only the translation.

The studies done certainly do demonstrate a significant difference in the autistic corpus callossum giving rise to the crosswired frontal lobe activities, the sense blender. Eye-wink And that makes the point quite clear the physical brain and its activity are a match. There's even more evidence in another condition called agenesis of the corpus callosum where part of it is missing or cogenitally damaged from birth, symptoms of this can be similar to severe autism. Clearly the physical bit must be there for the function to be there, this much we know and I'm not disagreeing with it. This equates the brain with it's thoughts and there's plenty backing that up.

If there's anything I do have to say about the physicalist viewpoint that affects the topic it's that theorising the 'ideal' configuration and knowing the ideal configuration are two different things. One is done on the basis of a clearly flawed and affected image of ideal human behaviour, for the other you would be God.

 

Quote:
Quote:
The mirror circuitry is not malfunctioning, it's adapted. How else do you think we know the actual difference between a G flat and yesterdays perfume.

I'm not entirely sure that the people he was talking about when he said that actually do know that difference...

Yeah well, actually the communication issue is across the spectrum, and it is true in a severe case communication isn't possible on normal human levels. Anyone on the spectrum can be found not to communicate like normal humans, though, some draw out their sentences for several miles of your ear with elaborate and extensive technicality, logicality, analogy and random peculiar prose without trying to do anything but disseminate a single seemingly simple message. (LOL or they could be enjoying the sound of their own music)

 

Quote:

Quote:
Worst case scenario, no communication ability. On the other end of the spectrum however there is limited adaptive drive for the normed differentiation and isolation of self identity. At the HFA end it's much less an inability to communicate than a natural tendency to not commit drive to certain cohesion over others no different to non-autistics except that we are contrary and like our Bach syllables more than trite social cliche (see I can load too). It looks like an adaptation, works like an adaptation, why must it be a disease?

Once again, you lost us there... what is the adaptation, what purpose does it serve and what could have triggered that specific kind of persons to need that adaptation?

 

I don't know, what sort of purpose do you think increased photographic memory, almost effortless calculation, computation or analysis, multilayered cohesive comprehension of a subject, phenomenal concentration or ability to expound patterns of thought might serve?

What triggered it, I don't know, perhaps the human genome is testing out new modes of emerging consciousness for some reason who knows, who cares, I just prefer that we don't go back down the road of prejudiciously handicapping people who are not handicapped.

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ABx wrote: Quote: ...the

ABx wrote:

Quote:
...the fact that the brain is so much more complex than a computer is part of what prevents it from being devalued by understanding that it's purely physical. We, the bearers of this consciousness, would constitute most of the rest of what prevents it.

<> What on earth are you talking about? Before talking about examples and evidence you have to make sense.

 


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Brian37 wrote: Ok, you

Brian37 wrote:
Ok, you prove to me that "souls" exist and I'll prove I can fart a Lamborginni out of my butt. What's a good time for you? How about a week from "dont hold your breath".

Farting sounds just about right for you.

 


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Jacob Cordingley wrote: A

Jacob Cordingley wrote:

A theistic friend of mine from back home in Mancs offered this "proof" of dualism:

"When I'm drunk I feel detached from my body. Therefore body and mind are separate"

Somehow, this guy is a philosophy student. Something tells me he won't come out with 1st Class Honours.

Why is anyone quoting this moron? He sounds like a drunken fool -- nothing to do with anything going on here. I know someone who thinks he's a pair of curtains -- I told him to pull himself together. So what.
 


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linkboy wrote: Brian37

linkboy wrote:

Brian37 wrote:
Ok, you prove to me that "souls" exist and I'll prove I can fart a Lamborginni out of my butt. What's a good time for you? How about a week from "dont hold your breath".

Farting sounds just about right for you.

 

Ah, a typical theist.

You ask a question and post an article which you think has the answer. When others tell you the article doesn't have the answer, you can't admit you have nothing and resort to insulting posters.

Isn't that special? 

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Linkboy, Please review the

Linkboy,

Please review the rules of the forum here

You are bordering on violating the spamming rule:

2.4. Spam.
The posting of spam to promote products, sites, or services not affiliated with RationalResponders.com, FreethinkingingTeens.com, Atheistnetwork.com, InfidelGuy.com, FreethoughtMedia.com, or any other site in the NoGodNetwork.com roof is strictly prohibited. Interested parties are welcome to take out ad-space at our affordable rates instead. Contact Offenders will be exiled and content deleted on sight.

 

It seems you are here to soley promote this particular author and his website. If you continue these actions without due regard to the rules you may be blocked from posting on the forums.

Thank you,

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linkboy wrote: Farting

linkboy wrote:

Farting sounds just about right for you.

Ah yes, revealed is the extent of this theist's ability to debate the very issue he brought up.  Come back when you learn to think for  yourself and actually understand the subject you wish to debate. 


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response

Your remark about farting wasn't exactly an intelligent debate, in the first place. You mean you want to talk about farting but you want me to debate intelligently? Farting DOES seem to be your strongest asset.

 


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linkboy wrote: Your remark

linkboy wrote:
Your remark about farting wasn't exactly an intelligent debate, in the first place. You mean you want to talk about farting but you want me to debate intelligently? Farting DOES seem to be your strongest asset.
Thus far all you've done is given BS excuses to not respond.

Do you have examples to back up your assertion that there are human characteristics with no physical origin?

Do you have any responses to any of the points made, or do you even have anything to back up your assertions?


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linkboy wrote: Your remark

linkboy wrote:

Your remark about farting wasn't exactly an intelligent debate, in the first place. You mean you want to talk about farting but you want me to debate intelligently? Farting DOES seem to be your strongest asset.

 

 

So far you haven't debated anything. You have only parroted the ideas of somebody else. Here's a clue - this place is brutal if you don't present things clearly and show an ability to cogently defend your position.  It has less to do with your belief in god and more to do with demonstrating competence in articulating your ideas.