The Human Soul

xamination
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The Human Soul

I am familiar with the Christian view of the soul, but I am interested in hearing the atheist view on this subject.  Does such a thing as a soul exist?  If so, what is it, exactly?  Is it eternal? Do other creatures have it as well as humans?  And if you are opposed to the idea of the soul, why?  What is conciousness then?  Is this a question that can be answered without any mysticism?

All I know is... Cogito ergo sum. 

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.


darth_josh
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How much does a 'soul'

How much does a 'soul' weigh?

How large or small is a 'soul'?

Where is the 'soul' located on an anatomy chart?

How much radiant energy does a 'soul' produce or consume?

At what maximum speed can a 'soul' travel at in order to go to its destination?

What would I use to feed my 'soul'?

Can a 'soul' be extracted if it is faulty?

How would a 'soul' burn in hell or frolic with angels?

Can I use my 'silver cord' to strangle someone else's 'soul'?

Does a tree have a 'soul'? What about a rock?

 

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To answer your question

To answer your question simply - no.


tatsie
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exactly, there simply isn't

exactly, there simply isn't one.


xamination
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Then let me ask this:  You

Then let me ask this:  You are the product of millions of chance events and the fact that you even exist is luck.  Well, maybe not luck, but you get what I'm going at.  Anyways, the fact remains that if one factor in the past were lsightly changed, you, you're conciousness, would not exist.

I can't comprehend that idea.  Death I understand.  Life, I think I understand.  But non-existance?  It is beyond me at this point. 

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.


rexlunae
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xamination wrote:Then let

xamination wrote:

Then let me ask this:  You are the product of millions of chance events and the fact that you even exist is luck.  Well, maybe not luck, but you get what I'm going at.  Anyways, the fact remains that if one factor in the past were lsightly changed, you, you're conciousness, would not exist.

Basically, yes. I don't see what this has to do with a soul though.

xamination wrote:

I can't comprehend that idea.  Death I understand.  Life, I think I understand.  But non-existance?  It is beyond me at this point. 

Well, think of it like this. It would be just like death, only without that tiny insignificant place in time where you would have been alive.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


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Do you remember the time

Do you remember the time before you were born? The time after you die will be exactly like that.


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Hmmm...

I actually like where you're coming from Xamination!

Here's some food for thought for those empiricists who feel that their existence is entirely physical.

It is almost certain that, through the many, many processes that you are all aware of regarding cell growth and ingestion of elements, not one atom in your body was there when you were born. What does that mean about a physical concept of the self?

If you thought something about energies in the brain, okay. If you are aware of the law of conservation of energy then you know that no energy is destroyed in any reaction. In this case, the reaction is death. 

 

So, if memories are physical then they are insubstantial because the body is insubstantial. If they are energetic, then they never disappear, even if they do dissipate.

 

The 'soul' need not be a ghost that rises above you in near-death-experiences. Have some sense of poetry - the physical returns to the earth and the energetic dissipates to become one with the universe. What is to say you won't have some sort of conscious to an even higher degree when your thoughts are no longer contained inside your head, even if they cannot develop due to lack of the physical.

BAM! Like I said. Food for thought. Pun definitely intended. 


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TheSage wrote: I actually

TheSage wrote:

I actually like where you're coming from Xamination!

Here's some food for thought for those empiricists who feel that their existence is entirely physical.

It is almost certain that, through the many, many processes that you are all aware of regarding cell growth and ingestion of elements, not one atom in your body was there when you were born. What does that mean about a physical concept of the self?

If you thought something about energies in the brain, okay. If you are aware of the law of conservation of energy then you know that no energy is destroyed in any reaction. In this case, the reaction is death.

 

So, if memories are physical then they are insubstantial because the body is insubstantial. If they are energetic, then they never disappear, even if they do dissipate.

 

The 'soul' need not be a ghost that rises above you in near-death-experiences. Have some sense of poetry - the physical returns to the earth and the energetic dissipates to become one with the universe. What is to say you won't have some sort of conscious to an even higher degree when your thoughts are no longer contained inside your head, even if they cannot develop due to lack of the physical.

BAM! Like I said. Food for thought. Pun definitely intended.

 

Simply put - reincanation. 


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No.

That is, most certainly, NOT what I said.

Reincarnation would come after the processes I described, if it does exist. And even then, there is no indication that the one "soul" would reincarnate itself again and again as it was. Instead, it may be that new beings draw from a "pool" of previously grown souls.

Ever seen Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within? Kinda like that maybe?

(Not necessarily what I believe, but something I consider) 


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Wait. So , atoms have a

Wait. So , atoms have a consciousness?

atoms have brains??? Time to call CERN before they smash nuons in July.

 

Are we trying to ascribe characteristics to matter itself? 

Is it wrong to say that no brain = no thought? No temporal lobe = no memories?

Blood loss to the memory parts of the brain cause the memories to be inaccessible. Permanent blood loss would cause the memories to disappear forever. Gone. Not floating in space or tossed into a volcano in Hawaii or genetically encoded in a mushroom.

Like a renamed file on a mac. It's fucking gone. 

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To get back to the original

To get back to the original question, the soul, or illusion thereof, is a trick of brain chemistry.  Everything we feel and everything we think comes down to the synaptic connections formed in our brains, and the chemical interactions that make thinking possible.  Less evolved animals have "souls" as much as we do, most don't have the burden of concsiousness or self awareness though.  Your question boils down to those two seemingly mammalian atributes, consciousness, and self awareness.  Those are the contributing factors in the illusion of soul.  So, simply put, no there is no such thing as a soul.

The darkness of godlessness lets wisdom shine.


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hellfiend666 wrote: To get

hellfiend666 wrote:
To get back to the original question, the soul, or illusion thereof, is a trick of brain chemistry.  Everything we feel and everything we think comes down to the synaptic connections formed in our brains, and the chemical interactions that make thinking possible.  Less evolved animals have "souls" as much as we do, most don't have the burden of concsiousness or self awareness though.  Your question boils down to those two seemingly mammalian atributes, consciousness, and self awareness.  Those are the contributing factors in the illusion of soul.  So, simply put, no there is no such thing as a soul.

Wait... are you saying that you don't have conciousness, that self-awareness is an illusion?

Well, I can't prove that I'm self aware, but I know I am. 

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.


melchisedec
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xamination

xamination wrote:

hellfiend666 wrote:
To get back to the original question, the soul, or illusion thereof, is a trick of brain chemistry. Everything we feel and everything we think comes down to the synaptic connections formed in our brains, and the chemical interactions that make thinking possible. Less evolved animals have "souls" as much as we do, most don't have the burden of concsiousness or self awareness though. Your question boils down to those two seemingly mammalian atributes, consciousness, and self awareness. Those are the contributing factors in the illusion of soul. So, simply put, no there is no such thing as a soul.

Wait... are you saying that you don't have conciousness, that self-awareness is an illusion?

Well, I can't prove that I'm self aware, but I know I am.

 

I don't believe he is denying that we have conciousness and self-awareness. I think what is being said here is that what you consider to be an immaterial soul is actually natural bodily processes. Hence the illusion of a soul.


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Did you read that at all? 

Did you read that at all?  I said we do have consciousness and self awareness, but not a soul.


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I sold my soul for a

I sold my soul for a sandwich once.  But I am in the market to buy a new one.


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MarthaSplatterhead wrote: I

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:
I sold my soul for a sandwich once. But I am in the market to buy a new one.

That must have been one good sandwhich. Would you like some soul food? :P 


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Look, whatever description

Look, whatever description you want to ascribe to this "soul" thing makes little difference. Essentially, I would describe it as information - be it memory or experience; whatever, that survives in one form or another after we die.

And it is entirely possible that an atom or electron experiences a moment of consciousness. Conscious does not entail a brain. That is a HUGE assumption when we don't know that much about consciousness. There is one theory that suggests that it is because of the density of our brains and structures that promote a high degree of interaction that we experience consciousness to a far higher degree than any animal we know. And it also suggests that subatomic particles experience a moment of conscious action once every, I dunno MILLION years or something. But what is to say that something like, say, the planet itself isn't conscious of itself? It's not like it could talk to us. That'd be like us trying to explain things to our cells.

Quote:
Is it wrong to say that no brain = no thought? No temporal lobe = no memories?

Yes, because what we know about thought is limited to human experience. I find it fairly self important of people to assume we are so priveleged in this department that we can assume that to be intelligent you must be like us (or an alien with better technology, but essentially the same!).

And one of the things you should be aware of is that, even if half of your brain is removed, you still have your motor functions. That contradicts, to a degree, the localisation of certain functions of the brain. It is true to a degree that functions have locations in the brain but that is merely where they are centered. The removal of parts of the brain diminishes memory or motor function but doesn't obliterate it altogether because memory is also stored holographically.

"Soul" does not entail continuing to feel emotion or being able to store memory or anything involved with the functions of the human body. Who knows, maybe the "soul" crystallises in a body because it can't grow any other way. All it means is that the energy of your mind and body does not simply disappear when you die but maintains some sort of affiliation - if you know anything about entanglement then this is not a far-fetched theory.

 

Just because you don't believe in God doesn't mean you can't accept the possibility of anything metaphysical. I'm not saying I believe any of this, but it is all stuff that I consider. Because if it is true - and some of it has some convincing evidence - then it is VERY important.


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TheSage wrote: And it is

TheSage wrote:

And it is entirely possible that an atom or electron experiences a moment of consciousness. Conscious does not entail a brain. That is a HUGE assumption when we don't know that much about consciousness.

We may not fully understand consciousness, but we know enough about it to know that an electron, or even an atom can't have it.  It requires a complex organ to hold it.

TheSage wrote:
There is one theory that suggests that it is because of the density of our brains and structures that promote a high degree of interaction that we experience consciousness to a far higher degree than any animal we know. And it also suggests that subatomic particles experience a moment of conscious action once every, I dunno MILLION years or something.

I'd love to see you cite a serious scientist on that nonsense. 

TheSage wrote:
But what is to say that something like, say, the planet itself isn't conscious of itself? It's not like it could talk to us. That'd be like us trying to explain things to our cells.

We also have no reason, none whatsoever, to believe that the Earth is conscious.  If the Earth, as a whole, were conscious, there should be some evidence of coordinated action.   The problem with analogizing us to our cells is that our cells don't have the mental faculties to evaluate our consciousness.  It's not just a problem of scale, cells are fundamentally too simple to understand and learn.

TheSage wrote:
And one of the things you should be aware of is that, even if half of your brain is removed, you still have your motor functions. That contradicts, to a degree, the localisation of certain functions of the brain. It is true to a degree that functions have locations in the brain but that is merely where they are centered. The removal of parts of the brain diminishes memory or motor function but doesn't obliterate it altogether because memory is also stored holographically.

The brain is a very complex organ which is capable of adapting to wide variety of problems.  I don't see how that proves anything.

TheSage wrote:
Just because you don't believe in God doesn't mean you can't accept the possibility of anything metaphysical. I'm not saying I believe any of this, but it is all stuff that I consider. Because if it is true - and some of it has some convincing evidence - then it is VERY important.

Do you actually have any evidence for any of this mumbo jumbo?

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


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Quote:

Quote:
We may not fully understand consciousness, but we know enough about it to know that an electron, or even an atom can't have it. It requires a complex organ to hold it.

It is theorised by most people that atoms or electrons cannot experience consciousness. Some have alternative theories. That's all I was demonstrating. I'm sure you're well aware of the difference between knowing something and theorising something.

Quote:
I'd love to see you cite a serious scientist on that nonsense.

Roger Penrose: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_penrose#Physics_and_consciousness

And an advocate of Penrose's work, Stuart Hameroff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Hameroff

Quote:
We also have no reason, none whatsoever, to believe that the Earth is conscious. If the Earth, as a whole, were conscious, there should be some evidence of coordinated action. The problem with analogizing us to our cells is that our cells don't have the mental faculties to evaluate our consciousness. It's not just a problem of scale, cells are fundamentally too simple to understand and learn.

Ecosystems and a general sense of balance are coordinated. Besides, how would one even comprehend the goals and actions of an entire planet? It's not an unfair analogy because a planetary consciousness might have exactly the same perspective of a human being. Just because you think you are able to learn doesn't mean you can learn to the degree that another form of life might be able to. Use your imagination.

Quote:
The brain is a very complex organ which is capable of adapting to wide variety of problems. I don't see how that proves anything.

It's relevant as a contradiction to the argument you made concerning memory loss due to irregularities in the physical brain. You made an argument that physical changes can affect memory. I made the argument that physical change merely diminishes memory and I think nonlocalisation is a very powerful argument for the idea that consciousness isn't as limited by specific physical structures as some would like to think.

Quote:
Do you actually have any evidence for any of this mumbo jumbo?

Your use of the phrase "mumbo jumbo" is offensive. I'm not a mystic so don't get up on your high horse about science and evidence; I'm not an idiot. I majored in Physics in high school, am currently a university-level Philosophy Major and got a distinction in the exam for my last Philosophy unit- Philosophy of Science! So many of these things are currently under discussion by philosophers of science concerned with quantum theory and entanglement.

Watch 'What the Bleep do We Know?!' - some of it is questionable but there are some very prominent scientists discussing consciousness in that movie. You don't have to agree with everything said, but it gives some intriguing examples of verifiable studies conducted and some interesting, if a little radical, explanations.

Read 'The Holographic Universe' by Michael Talbot, if you can find a copy. There are hundreds of examples of strange occurrences in that book that can be linked to quantum physics and holography IN THEORY. Yes, there it is. Theory. I don't act like I have all the answers because I understand that the nature of science is to formulate theories that will always need to be revised and updated.


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I made the claim regarding

I made the claim regarding blood loss or deprivation to memory loss. That isn't just a hypothesis either. It is a theory.

Why do philosophers feel the need to weigh in on the subject of neuroscience? I can understand a neuroscientist making opinions philosophically (See Sam Harris).

Shouldn't we leave 'consciousness' and its definitions up to the neuroscientists or psychologists?

Here's a thread that I found interesting a while back(actually still do):

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forums/sapient/philosophy_and_psychology_with_chaoslord_and_todangst/the_nature_of_the_brain

 

 

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Let us assume that an

Let us assume that an individual atom has no self-awareness.  Let us also assume that the average person is self-aware.  Since humans are simply a combination of different types of atoms, when do a group of atoms realize they are atoms - or what combination of atoms do you need for them to realize what they are as a whole?

If I were to create a human atom by atom in my evil labrotory with the help of my assistant Igor, when lightning struck and my creation awoke, would it be self-aware?

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.


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Hypothetical answers are

Hypothetical answers are allowed for hypothetical questions.

Atoms make up molecules. Molecules interact, but not because of a 'consciousness'. Basic chemistry. If a reaction happens this way once then it will happen in the same way every time unless something changes. Those changes don't have to be caused willfully by anything. 

Can I forcefully blink my eyes and cause a tornado in Tokyo? If Tokahuro wins the next Ninja Warrior Challenge will there be peace in the middle east? The temperature rises just enough to change the type of combination of two atoms to make the molecule 'propagate' and VOILA 3 billion years later, cells of symbiotic molecules, no one had to think about it. The chemistry was just right. 

For me, it seems the question of consciousness isn't so much something special to anything. It is a symptom of a chemical process. One that hasn't seen its end yet either.

As far as the 'buliding of a human' in your evil laboratory, I don't know. Let's try it. Where is your evil laboratory? I'll bring the sugar and some scrap iron. Do you have running water in the lab? 

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Quote: How much does a

Quote:
How much does a 'soul' weigh?

Nothing, as it is incorporeal (without matter).

Quote:
How large or small is a 'soul'?

It has no quantity, and hence no volume.

Quote:
Where is the 'soul' located on an anatomy chart?

It "informs" the matter of which a human being is composed. It is the thinking "structure" of the human body. So, in a certain sense, it is found on the entire anatomy chart.

Quote:
How much radiant energy does a 'soul' produce or consume?

Zero, unless you count the body's action, which it causes. If you count that, it causes all action, so all the body's radiant energy.

Quote:
At what maximum speed can a 'soul' travel at in order to go to its destination?

It is not a body and hence cannot move through space.

Quote:
What would I use to feed my 'soul'?

The soul does not need to consume anything to live. You can speak metaphorically, and the answer would be "grace" or sharing in the life of God keeps your soul's spiritual life vibrant.

Quote:
Can a 'soul' be extracted if it is faulty?

Not at all.

Quote:
How would a 'soul' burn in hell or frolic with angels?

The soul itself does neither. Burning comes with the final resurrection of all bodies. There is an allegorical burning that occurs in the "worm of conscience" that torments the soul that is seperated eternally from God.

Quote:
Can I use my 'silver cord' to strangle someone else's 'soul'?

I don't have any idea what a "silver cord" is. I think it is some New-Agey thingy, in which case I don't acknowledge that such exists.

Quote:
Does a tree have a 'soul'? What about a rock?

Yes, in a sense. A soul is a form that is a principle of life. So, a tree has a soul, properly speaking. It does not have a rational, or thinking, soul, but it has a vegetative soul. A rock has a form, which is the non-living equivalent.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,
StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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Quote: For me, it seems the

Quote:
For me, it seems the question of consciousness isn't so much something special to anything. It is a symptom of a chemical process. One that hasn't seen its end yet either.

Well, it's your prerogative to believe that to be true, but you limit yourself by not considering other theories. Don't you find it the least bit intriguing that you are aware of the fact that your existence is comprised of chemical processes? If our thoughts were truly governed purely by chemical processes wouldn't we be no different to most animals? Although perhaps we're not as different as we'd like to think we are. Nevertheless, whatever you class consciousness as - a standalone ontological entity; a by-product of chemical processes - consciousness exists. What you mean to say is that consciousness ends at death, but I see no reason to believe that to be the case, since all matter and energy is infinitely recycled and intertwined.

 I don't think it unfair for a philosopher to 'weigh in' on debates regarding neuroscience. Philosophers have to look at what is logical and defensible. Neuroscientists and Psychologists, like everyone, are often swayed by what the want to be true. In fact, evidence is almost always sought in pursuit of an existing hypothesis and contracting results are often ignored by scientists. So yes, I think a philosopher is most welcome at any round-table discussion of consciousness, just as an atheist should be welcome at any discussion of religion - to provide an alternative view or to point out when others are being contradictory or unreasonable.


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St. Michael, Those are the

St. Michael,

Those are the answers that I've gotten before and thus continue to frown upon as being untestable ergo invalid. Another reason for my continued anti-theism. Thanks for trying.

No matter. No energy to measure. How precisely does this 'soul' function to 'control' my body?

You may be comfortable with allegorical burning and metaphors. However, I see metaphors as a means to communicate, not to be taken literally.

I find it intriguing that you would cursorily dismiss the hypothesis concerning a silver cord, but you cling to the notion of the soul itself. Why is it that you won't juxtapose that with your own ideas about a soul? When you can answer that, then you will know why I disregard the 'soul' altogether.

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The Sage, What you are

The Sage,

What you are calling 'theories' seem to be nothing more than hypothetical speculation.

Yes. I actually do find it intriguing that my existence is comprised of chemical processes. With that said, it does not denigrate the magnificence of those processes. Nor does it degrade our willingness to understand them for what they are not what we wish them to be.

The point is that we ARE different than animals. However, haphazardly ascribing that difference to something as obscurely defined as a soul seems rather loose-minded.

I understand that you see no reason to believe that death means death for the consciousness. Your beliefs are well stated, but poorly defended in my opinion. I see no reason for the 'consciousness' to continue on without the structures that support it and feed it. No brain = No thoughts, feelings, memories, etc.

How much does the thought of a permanent death scare you? Does it scare you? It does me. However, if it is reality then it must be faced and all of the wishful thinking with regard to a soul is not going to MAKE it true.

Philosophers philosophize, hypothesize, and even theorize. I agree. However, without science to back it up, it all becomes speculation. In the case of the 'soul' it becomes conveniently untestable speculation in my opinion. Thus my equating neuro-philosophers with reprobates intent on misleading the masses with fictitious stories.

This seems to be one case where the NOMA rule could be put in place. Perhaps? Unless it decides to continue to overstep the boundaries of science.

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TheSage wrote: It is

TheSage wrote:

It is theorised by most people that atoms or electrons cannot experience consciousness. Some have alternative theories. That's all I was demonstrating. I'm sure you're well aware of the difference between knowing something and theorising something.

Well, yes, you can find a theory for almost any idea, no matter how outlandish. The question that is more interesting is which theories are well-supported and which ones have a good chance of being supported.

TheSage wrote:
Quote:
I'd love to see you cite a serious scientist on that nonsense.

Roger Penrose: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_penrose#Physics_and_consciousness

And an advocate of Penrose's work, Stuart Hameroff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Hameroff

Fair enough. However, I would point out that he is a physicist and mathemetician, and his arguments about human consciousness are not, according to wikipedia, anyway, widely accepted in scientific circles, so I'm not sure he counts.

Moreover, I don't think there's any reason to think that either the halting problem (which I'm fairly familiar with) or Godel's Incompleteness Theorum (which I hadn't heard of until I looked it up) would provide a reason to doubt that the human brain is purely physical.

TheSage wrote:
Ecosystems and a general sense of balance are coordinated. Besides, how would one even comprehend the goals and actions of an entire planet? It's not an unfair analogy because a planetary consciousness might have exactly the same perspective of a human being. Just because you think you are able to learn doesn't mean you can learn to the degree that another form of life might be able to. Use your imagination.

You'd have a better time making that argument about ecosystems rather than the Earth as a whole. To claim that the Earth itself is conscious, you'd have to demostrate cases of geology assisting biology or vice versa to claim that the whole planet is conscious. If the earth is not conscious, however, you would expect that ecosystems and geology would coexist with themselves and each other by reaching points of equillibrium, which as far as I can tell is what happens.

TheSage wrote:
Quote:
The brain is a very complex organ which is capable of adapting to wide variety of problems. I don't see how that proves anything.

It's relevant as a contradiction to the argument you made concerning memory loss due to irregularities in the physical brain. You made an argument that physical changes can affect memory. I made the argument that physical change merely diminishes memory and I think nonlocalisation is a very powerful argument for the idea that consciousness isn't as limited by specific physical structures as some would like to think.

I'm assuming you're referring to one of my attempts to discuss the physical nature of the brain with StMichael. If I recall correctly, in those post, I posted a link to some examples of the results of brain damage. Read it. Brain damage has been known in many cases to cause not simply a loss of memory, but changes in behavior as well, including some seemingly irrational paradoxes. Yes, the brain is sometimes able to adapt to damage and function mostly normally. Sometimes it can't. I don't see the contradiction. I'm not a neurologist, but it seems like it would be just a matter of specifically where the damage occurs and how extensive it is.

TheSage wrote:
Your use of the phrase "mumbo jumbo" is offensive. I'm not a mystic so don't get up on your high horse about science and evidence;

It sounds pretty mystical to me. Perhaps I've misjudged you, but you hadn't presented any science or any reason to believe what you were saying, just suggesting some beliefs that one might choose to adopt seemingly for fun. I like to believe in things for good reasons, and I like to encourage others to do the same. I still don't think you've really presented much reason to believe in this stuff, so I can't really apologize for calling it mumbo jumbo.

TheSage wrote:
I'm not an idiot. I majored in Physics in high school, am currently a university-level Philosophy Major and got a distinction in the exam for my last Philosophy unit- Philosophy of Science! So many of these things are currently under discussion by philosophers of science concerned with quantum theory and entanglement.

I didn't accuse you of being an idiot or uneducated.

TheSage wrote:
Watch 'What the Bleep do We Know?!' - some of it is questionable but there are some very prominent scientists discussing consciousness in that movie. You don't have to agree with everything said, but it gives some intriguing examples of verifiable studies conducted and some interesting, if a little radical, explanations.

I'll watch it, at some point.

TheSage wrote:
Read 'The Holographic Universe' by Michael Talbot, if you can find a copy. There are hundreds of examples of strange occurrences in that book that can be linked to quantum physics and holography IN THEORY. Yes, there it is. Theory. I don't act like I have all the answers because I understand that the nature of science is to formulate theories that will always need to be revised and updated.

Knowledge is always qualified with an appropriate dose of uncertainty, which often goes unmentioned because it is usually quite small when discussing something as fact. I don't claim to have all the answers, but that does not stop me from calling out someone else who is making wild, unsupported claims. Claims like this:

"And it is entirely possible that an atom or electron experiences a moment of consciousness."

No theory, no evidence, just a wild suggestion offered as fact. And besides that, contradicting the seemingly well-founded principle that consciousness requires a complex device which an electron cannot be considered. You seem quite willing to accuse me of putting on airs, but what about you?

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


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Well, I've already quoted

Well, I've already quoted some sources of my - yes aptly-named - hypotheses. My research is continuing of course, since it's in early stages for me to comprise some convincing, structured theory. All theories start with a hypothesis. Once I get 'The Holographic Universe' back off my friend, I'll quote some passages and see if I can find corroborating evidence of some of the studies referenced in the book. It's quite a fantastic book, in my opinion.

Suffice to say that I became an atheist when I was 13 and quickly developed hostility toward religion and a general impression of death as the final end and anything remotely metaphysical as psychobabble. As a science student I picked up a few books on astronomy and physics (not all of which I could comprehend at the time) but, when I was 16 I read 'The Holographic Mind.' With well-referenced clarity, this one book led me to the conclusion that it is not unscientific or irrational to consider the metaphysical - souls & psychic phenomena etc - as possible. Like I said, I'll give you some examples as soon as I get the book back.

I understand your problem with untestable theories, but you have to be careful what you rule out. If we're going to be technical, there are a thousand-and-one possible explanations for why a ball falls to the ground when it's dropped. You can't test gravity as a theory exclusively, but merely give a name to our observations. My point is that there's a lot of unusual discoveries being made in quantum-physics that are going to need some radical explanations if we're ever going to work out what's going on and SOME of those explanations and theories have significant philosophical implications. Smiling


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rexlunae: That was a fair

rexlunae:

That was a fair response to my argument. But it should be noted that I'm not saying these theories are true. I'm not saying I believe them. I believe they are possible and, when I have time, I look into them. I'm aware of how radical the claim that atoms or electrons experience a moment of consciousness is. I found it particularly stirring myself when I first heard it. Nonetheless, it is a claim that has been made and whether or not the majority of the scientific community accepts it is irrelevant to is truth-value. You are aware of how many people contradicted Galilieo when he promoted the copernican model of the solar system instead of the ptolemaic. Just because an idea isn't popular doesn't make it wrong. Everyone's theories deserve to be considered, but most people (aka the majority of scientists, as you said) prefer to believe what they've already established their worldview as. Everyone is biased. Einstein (and the majority of scientists at the time) didn't believe entanglement would be possible because it contracted his core belief that objects could not interact to that degree at long distances. But it was proved to be true. I'm not a scientist, but as I said in my previous post just a few minutes ago, theories have to start somewhere. As a Philosopher I am merely interested in the philosophical implications of some of the wilder theories of our time and I believe they deserve consideration.


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The energy of the body is

The energy of the body is that coming from the soul. It is precisely my point that all actions of the body come from the soul. The soul does not "control" the body - it is the acting of the body. I think it also depends on your definition of "test" for whether the soul is untestable. I would argue it is clear from observation that a soul exists and that one needs to be posited in any living thing, but obviously my testing is a different standard from yours. I think the problem is mainly a wrong concept of what a soul is; a soul is not a little spirit that flies around in the air and gets caught in a body, driving it like a train. A soul is an immaterial entity that is the form or structure of any living body, causing it to have life.
Energy, in this sense, is likewise a material term; one cannot measure something that is inherently immaterial.
The burning of hell does not properly happen until the resurrection of the body. Thus, it doesn't come into the discussion at all.
Lastly, I see no evidence to postulate a "silver cord" at all. I have no idea what it would be or why it would need to exist. The soul has no parts because it is immaterial. It is like saying this idea of Jelly-Beans has a rope with which to strangle another idea - that of Kit-Kats. It just doesn't make sense at all.
Souls are postulated from the general notion of form. Forms are necessary in all things, just from the fact that the matter in them is ordered in a specific way. For example, consider what pure matter would be, without any structuring principle at all - it would be entirely formless and without any intelligibility. The form or structure of a thing is what we perceive in the matter when we see an actually existing physical thing in the world. A form of a living thing is a "soul."

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,
StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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A soul.

This is my response to the original question.

 

You wanted to know the atheist view on it? The official atheist response for the existence of a soul would sound like this "hahaha...oh I'm sorry, wow that's a big no, no such thing, I'm busy go play nintendo."

I know I can't answer for every atheist. Technically atheism just counts out god, so an atheist could by a stretch of the imagination believe in having a soul. I for one don't.

A soul doesn't exist. It's a word people misuse in the place of other things. Personality, consciousness, a black ladie's singing voice, attitude, nitrogen gas, behavior, and plenty of other things.

I could argue that other creatures exhibit any of the things that get confused for the notion of a soul, but that would be silly. Then again lemurs have excellent singing voices.

What is consciousness? That can be answered easily without any sort of mysticism. Self awareness. Nothing mystic about that.

You doubt by using your brain. You doubt, therefore you think, therefore you are. Your brain ceases to work, you cease to doubt, you cease to think and cease to be.

 

 

 

The easiest way to become lost is by pretending you know where you are going. ~ Keno


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Quote:

Quote:
[...]Self awareness.

In that case, let me give an equal non-explanation.

What is a coin? One word, money.

Using a concept that is often interchanged with another, does not mean that stating one concept explains anything about the former.

What is addition? One word, math.

If one does not know how to understand addition, what makes one think that he might understand math. Furthermore, if one does not have an explanation for addition besides 'math', I would state that one does not much of an understanding of either.

I'm not giving my own thoughts on the soul, or consciousness.. just pointing out that this answer should not, in my opinion, be considered adequate.

What are feelings? One word, emotion.


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That's pretty much it. We

That's pretty much it. We are monoists, people who understand that no trait is outside of the physical workings of the brain. Since I started working in neurology, I posted this on a different thread a while back.

As it turns out, the brain spends a lot of it's time talking to itself. Not very much of it is wired to sensory processing. As I type this, billions of tiny electrochemical gradients in ion channels buried inside nueron fascicles are reversing, causing an influx of sodium, potassium and chloride to cross into the synaptic membrane. As a stimulus produces a negative electrical charge, it forces the ions through the channels and into a synaptic knob where billions of nuerotransmitters bind to tiny voltage gated ion channels admitting the ions through the dendrite into another nueron producing a reaction. In essence, every controlled function works like this. You probably know that brain size does not correlate with intelligence. You want to know what does? Syanptic connections. Every time a new peice of information is gleaned, an axon makes a new link with a dentride, forming a new synapse. This process is the result of billions of years of painstaking evolution.

"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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i don't think the sage is

i don't think the sage is saying anything radical especially to physicalists. why shouldn't thoughts and consciousness be made up of the same stuff as the rest of the universe?


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StMichael,

StMichael,

Everyone knows you believe in the soul. The original question was whether there are any reasons that an atheist might have to believe that souls exist. Your opinion isn't relevant to this discussion. I'm not trying to be cruel, all I'm saying is that no-one will read your posts. Save yourself the time.

 

Quote:
i don't think the sage is saying anything radical especially to physicalists. why shouldn't thoughts and consciousness be made up of the same stuff as the rest of the universe?

Thanks, 'hello.' Of course if thoughts can be thought of as "things" they are made up of the same things as the rest of the universe. The issue here is whether or not consciousness is immaterial, but transmitted by the material world. Your comment is the reason why I think it's possible that consciousness doesn't disappear at death.

And to everyone who keeps stating that it is clearly irrational to believe in the soul, I maintain that you are welcome to your opinion. However, I suggest that you look into newer scientific research a little and realise that 'soul' is simply a word; what it means is much more important. As I suggested earlier - simply a form in which consciousness exists even after the physical body dies, whether or not that form can continue to grow or learn isn't relevant (all examples given from the anti-soul side have either been about memory or about learning).

Quote:
In a universe in which individual brains are actually indivisible portions of the greater hologram and everything is infinitely interconnected, telepathy may merely be the accessing of the holographic leve
- Michael Talbot

I suggest checking out http://twm.co.nz/hologram.html for more information on explanations of experience formerly believed to be "mystical" which could be explained by quantum physics.


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I am not just asserting my

I am not just asserting my own personal opinion that souls of human beings exist and are subsistent; rather, I think it obvious that this is the case and that any rational thinker ought to agree with the evidence. The evidence for the existence of a soul is clear from the fact that human beings are alive and have minds. This is what a soul is for a human being - the principle that orders the body as a living, thinking thing. To deny a soul is to deny that a human being is alive, thinking, or has any structure to his/her body. The subsistence of the soul is something else, however. There are three clear reasons why the rational soul must be subsistent (immortal):
First, because universals, like what it is to be a dog, are immaterial entities. One cannot show me a handful of the essence of dog-ness. An immaterial thing is only known in an immaterial agent - the mind.
Second, the mind can know all bodies. Any sense organ can only know material things under the particular material aspect to which it is disposed - a nose knows smells, an eye knows bodies as coloured, and so on. This is true in two ways: if the mind were matter, every matter is determinate in this way and can only take on a material form insofar as it is in this way determined. Hence, it could not take on all material bodies. Or, in the other way, if it were identical with an organ of sense, it could only sense certain bodies, like smellable ones. But this is manifestly false, and hence the soul is immaterial and exercises its action of thinking independent of the body - it is subsistent.
Third, the mind is manifestly not a sense organ. Every sense organ is impeded in sensing things that are more sensible. The mind's operation in knowing things is not at all impeded as things because more immaterial or knowable. In fact, the more intelligible things are, the more clearly we know them. Hence, the mind is immaterial, subsistent, and not identical with an organ of the body (read: the brain).

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,
StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: I am not

StMichael wrote:
I am not just asserting my own personal opinion that souls of human beings exist and are subsistent; rather, I think it obvious that this is the case and that any rational thinker ought to agree with the evidence. The evidence for the existence of a soul is clear from the fact that human beings are alive and have minds. This is what a soul is for a human being - the principle that orders the body as a living, thinking thing. To deny a soul is to deny that a human being is alive, thinking, or has any structure to his/her body. The subsistence of the soul is something else, however. There are three clear reasons why the rational soul must be subsistent (immortal): First, because universals, like what it is to be a dog, are immaterial entities. One cannot show me a handful of the essence of dog-ness. An immaterial thing is only known in an immaterial agent - the mind. Second, the mind can know all bodies. Any sense organ can only know material things under the particular material aspect to which it is disposed - a nose knows smells, an eye knows bodies as coloured, and so on. This is true in two ways: if the mind were matter, every matter is determinate in this way and can only take on a material form insofar as it is in this way determined. Hence, it could not take on all material bodies. Or, in the other way, if it were identical with an organ of sense, it could only sense certain bodies, like smellable ones. But this is manifestly false, and hence the soul is immaterial and exercises its action of thinking independent of the body - it is subsistent. Third, the mind is manifestly not a sense organ. Every sense organ is impeded in sensing things that are more sensible. The mind's operation in knowing things is not at all impeded as things because more immaterial or knowable. In fact, the more intelligible things are, the more clearly we know them. Hence, the mind is immaterial, subsistent, and not identical with an organ of the body (read: the brain). Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom, StMichael

 

ATTENTION THEISTS: STOP POSTING IN THE FREETHINKING FORUM.  YOU HAVE PLENTY OF PLACES TO POST.  THIS IS FOR ATHEISTS ONLY.  THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING. 


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what are the characteristics

what are the characteristics of a soul? where do you separate the soul from the brain? does a soul carry memory? how do you differentiate one soul with another soul? are all souls the same?


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If you want to continue the

If you want to continue the discussion, please create a new thread, or you can private message me, as it seems we are upsetting the balance of things.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,
StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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I'm going to reignite this

I'm going to reignite this thread. Everyone seems to have abandoned it since St. Michael posted here...

After a lengthy conversation with Darth_Josh, I want to post a few things. Luckily for me, it's 9pm here where it's 6am there and he needed sleep! Laughing out loud

I want to state that I don't believe in the soul in the conventional sense. This conversation has obviously changed to consciousnes etc which is what most theists consider to be a soul. I don't believe in ghosts or anything like that.

HOWEVER.

I do not deny the possibility that consciouness could possibly affect reality! I honestly suggest checking out the essay I posted in my earlier post. Since I realise that traveling to this website constitutes effort, something which I myself am not a fan of most of the time, I will post the entire article here.

Quote:

Does Objective Reality Exist, or is the Universe a Phantasm?

In 1982 a remarkable event took place. At the University of Paris a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. You did not hear about it on the evening news. In fact, unless you are in the habit of reading scientific journals you probably have never even heard Aspect's name, though there are some who believe his discovery may change the face of science.
Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart. Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light. Since traveling faster than the speed of light is tantamount to breaking the time barrier, this daunting prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up with elaborate ways to explain away Aspect's findings. But it has inspired others to offer even more radical explanations.

University of London physicist David Bohm, for example, believes Aspect's findings imply that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram.
To understand why Bohm makes this startling assertion, one must first understand a little about holograms. A hologram is a three- dimensional photograph made with the aid of a laser. To make a hologram, the object to be photographed is first bathed in the light of a laser beam. Then a second laser beam is bounced off the reflected light of the first and the resulting interference pattern (the area where the two laser beams commingle) is captured on film. When the film is developed, it looks like a meaningless swirl of light and dark lines. But as soon as the developed film is illuminated by another laser beam, a three-dimensional image of the original object appears.
The three-dimensionality of such images is not the only remarkable characteristic of holograms. If a hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the rose. Indeed, even if the halves are divided again, each snippet of film will always be found to contain a smaller but intact version of the original image. Unlike normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole.
The "whole in every part" nature of a hologram provides us with an entirely new way of understanding organization and order. For most of its history, Western science has labored under the bias that the best way to understand a physical phenomenon, whether a frog or an atom, is to dissect it and study its respective parts. A hologram teaches us that some things in the universe may not lend themselves to this approach. If we try to take apart something constructed holographically, we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes.
This insight suggested to Bohm another way of understanding Aspect's discovery. Bohm believes the reason subatomic particles are able to remain in contact with one another regardless of the distance separating them is not because they are sending some sort of mysterious signal back and forth, but because their separateness is an illusion. He argues that at some deeper level of reality such particles are not individual entities, but are actually extensions of the same fundamental something.
To enable people to better visualize what he means, Bohm offers the following illustration. Imagine an aquarium containing a fish. Imagine also that you are unable to see the aquarium directly and your knowledge about it and what it contains comes from two television cameras, one directed at the aquarium's front and the other directed at its side. As you stare at the two television monitors, you might assume that the fish on each of the screens are separate entities. After all, because the cameras are set at different angles, each of the images will be slightly different. But as you continue to watch the two fish, you will eventually become aware that there is a certain relationship between them. When one turns, the other also makes a slightly different but corresponding turn; when one faces the front, the other always faces toward the side. If you remain unaware of the full scope of the situation, you might even conclude that the fish must be instantaneously communicating with one another, but this is clearly not the case.
This, says Bohm, is precisely what is going on between the subatomic particles in Aspect's experiment. According to Bohm, the apparent faster-than-light connection between subatomic particles is really telling us that there is a deeper level of reality we are not privy to, a more complex dimension beyond our own that is analogous to the aquarium. And, he adds, we view objects such as subatomic particles as separate from one another because we are seeing only a portion of their reality. Such particles are not separate "parts", but facets of a deeper and more underlying unity that is ultimately as holographic and indivisible as the previously mentioned rose. And since everything in physical reality is comprised of these "eidolons", the universe is itself a projection, a hologram.
In addition to its phantomlike nature, such a universe would possess other rather startling features. If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected.The electrons in a carbon atom in the human brain are connected to the subatomic particles that comprise every salmon that swims, every heart that beats, and every star that shimmers in the sky. Everything interpenetrates everything, and although human nature may seek to categorize and pigeonhole and subdivide, the various phenomena of the universe, all apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of nature is ultimately a seamless web.
In a holographic universe, even time and space could no longer be viewed as fundamentals. Because concepts such as location break down in a universe in which nothing is truly separate from anything else, time and three-dimensional space, like the images of the fish on the TV monitors, would also have to be viewed as projections of this deeper order. At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. This suggests that given the proper tools it might even be possible to someday reach into the superholographic level of reality and pluck out scenes from the long-forgotten past.
What else the superhologram contains is an open-ended question. Allowing, for the sake of argument, that the superhologram is the matrix that has given birth to everything in our universe, at the very least it contains every subatomic particle that has been or will be -- every configuration of matter and energy that is possible, from snowflakes to quasars, from blue whales to gamma rays. It must be seen as a sort of cosmic storehouse of "All That Is."
Although Bohm concedes that we have no way of knowing what else might lie hidden in the superhologram, he does venture to say that we have no reason to assume it does not contain more. Or as he puts it, perhaps the superholographic level of reality is a "mere stage" beyond which lies "an infinity of further development".

Bohm is not the only researcher who has found evidence that the universe is a hologram. Working independently in the field of brain research, Standford neurophysiologist Karl Pribram has also become persuaded of the holographic nature of reality. Pribram was drawn to the holographic model by the puzzle of how and where memories are stored in the brain. For decades numerous studies have shown that rather than being confined to a specific location, memories are dispersed throughout the brain.
In a series of landmark experiments in the 1920s, brain scientist Karl Lashley found that no matter what portion of a rat's brain he removed he was unable to eradicate its memory of how to perform complex tasks it had learned prior to surgery. The only problem was that no one was able to come up with a mechanism that might explain this curious "whole in every part" nature of memory storage.
Then in the 1960s Pribram encountered the concept of holography and realized he had found the explanation brain scientists had been looking for. Pribram believes memories are encoded not in neurons, or small groupings of neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulses that crisscross the entire brain in the same way that patterns of laser light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece of film containing a holographic image. In other words, Pribram believes the brain is itself a hologram.
Pribram's theory also explains how the human brain can store so many memories in so little space. It has been estimated that the human brain has the capacity to memorize something on the order of 10 billion bits of information during the average human lifetime (or roughly the same amount of information contained in five sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica).
Similarly, it has been discovered that in addition to their other capabilities, holograms possess an astounding capacity for information storage--simply by changing the angle at which the two lasers strike a piece of photographic film, it is possible to record many different images on the same surface. It has been demonstrated that one cubic centimeter of film can hold as many as 10 billion bits of information.
Our uncanny ability to quickly retrieve whatever information we need from the enormous store of our memories becomes more understandable if the brain functions according to holographic principles. If a friend asks you to tell him what comes to mind when he says the word "zebra", you do not have to clumsily sort back through some gigantic and cerebral alphabetic file to arrive at an answer. Instead, associations like "striped", "horselike", and "animal native to Africa" all pop into your head instantly. Indeed, one of the most amazing things about the human thinking process is that every piece of information seems instantly cross- correlated with every other piece of information--another feature intrinsic to the hologram. Because every portion of a hologram is infinitely interconnected with every other portion, it is perhaps nature's supreme example of a cross-correlated system.
The storage of memory is not the only neurophysiological puzzle that becomes more tractable in light of Pribram's holographic model of the brain. Another is how the brain is able to translate the avalanche of frequencies it receives via the senses (light frequencies, sound frequencies, and so on) into the concrete world of our perceptions.
Encoding and decoding frequencies is precisely what a hologram does best. Just as a hologram functions as a sort of lens, a translating device able to convert an apparently meaningless blur of frequencies into a coherent image, Pribram believes the brain also comprises a lens and uses holographic principles to mathematically convert the frequencies it receives through the senses into the inner world of our perceptions.

An impressive body of evidence suggests that the brain uses holographic principles to perform its operations. Pribram's theory, in fact, has gained increasing support among neurophysiologists.
Argentinian-Italian researcher Hugo Zucarelli recently extended the holographic model into the world of acoustic phenomena. Puzzled by the fact that humans can locate the source of sounds without moving their heads, even if they only possess hearing in one ear, Zucarelli discovered that holographic principles can explain this ability. Zucarelli has also developed the technology of holophonic sound, a recording technique able to reproduce acoustic situations with an almost uncanny realism.

Pribram's belief that our brains mathematically construct "hard" reality by relying on input from a frequency domain has also received a good deal of experimental support. It has been found that each of our senses is sensitive to a much broader range of frequencies than was previously suspected. Researchers have discovered, for instance, that our visual systems are sensitive to sound frequencies, that our sense of smellisin part dependent on what are now called "osmic frequencies", and that even the cells in our bodies are sensitive to a broad range of frequencies. Such findings suggest that it is only in the holographic domain of consciousness that such frequencies are sorted out and divided up into conventional perceptions.

But the most mind-boggling aspect of Pribram's holographic model of the brain is what happens when it is put together with Bohm's theory. For if the concreteness of the world is but a secondary reality and what is "there" is actually a holographic blur of frequencies, and if the brain is also a hologram and only selects some of the frequencies out of this blur and mathematically transforms them into sensory perceptions, what becomes of objective reality? Put quite simply, it ceases to exist. As the religions of the East have long upheld, the material world is Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we are physical beings moving through a physical world, this too is an illusion.
We are really "receivers" floating through a kaleidoscopic sea of frequency, and what we extract from this sea and transmogrify into physical reality is but one channel from many extracted out of the superhologram.

This striking new picture of reality, the synthesis of Bohm and Pribram's views, has come to be called the-holographic paradigm, and although many scientists have greeted it with skepticism, it has galvanized others. A small but growing group of researchers believe it may be the most accurate model of reality science has arrived at thus far. More than that, some believe it may solve some mysteries that have never before been explainable by science and even establish the paranormal as a part of nature. Numerous researchers, including Bohm and Pribram, have noted that many para-psychological phenomena become much more understandable in terms of the holographic paradigm.

In a universe in which individual brains are actually indivisible portions of the greater hologram and everything is infinitely interconnected, telepathy may merely be the accessing of the holographic level.
It is obviously much easier to understand how information can travel from the mind of individual 'A' to that of individual 'B' at a far distance point and helps to understand a number of unsolvedpuzzles in psychology.
In particular, Stanislav Grof feels the holographic paradigm offers a model for understanding many of the baffling phenomena experienced by individuals during altered states of consciousness. In the 1950s, while conducting research into the beliefs of LSD as a psychotherapeutic tool, Grof had one female patient who suddenly became convinced she had assumed the identity of a female of a species of prehistoric reptile. During the course of her hallucination, she not only gave a richly detailed description of what it felt like to be encapsuled in such a form, but noted that the portion of the male of the species's anatomy was a patch of colored scales on the side of its head. What was startling to Grof was that although the woman had no prior knowledge about such things, a conversation with a zoologist later confirmed that in certain species of reptiles colored areas on the head do indeed play an important role as triggers of sexual arousal. The woman's experience was not unique. During the course of his research, Grof encountered examples of patients regressing and identifying with virtually every species on the evolutionary tree (research findings which helped influence the man-into-ape scene in the movie Altered States). Moreover, he found that such experiences frequently contained obscure zoological details which turned out to be accurate.
Regressions into the animal kingdom were not the only puzzling psychological phenomena Grof encountered. He also had patients who appeared to tap into some sort of collective or racial unconscious. Individuals with little or no education suddenly gave detailed descriptions of Zoroastrian funerary practices and scenes from Hindu mythology. In other categories of experience, individuals gave persuasive accounts of out-of-body journeys, of precognitive glimpses of the future, of regressions into apparent past-life incarnations.
In later research, Grof found the same range of phenomena manifested in therapy sessions which did not involve the use of drugs. Because the common element in such experiences appeared to be the transcending of an individual's consciousness beyond the usual boundaries of ego and/or limitations of space and time, Grof called such manifestations "transpersonal experiences", and in the late '60s he helped found a branch of psychology called "transpersonal psychology" devoted entirely to their study.
Although Grof's newly founded Association of Transpersonal Psychology garnered a rapidly growing group of like-minded professionals and has become a respected branch of psychology, for years neither Grof or any of his colleagues were able to offer a mechanism for explaining the bizarre psychological phenomena they were witnessing. But that has changed with the advent of the holographic paradigm.
As Grof recently noted, if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange.

The holographic paradigm also has implications for so-called hard sciences like biology. Keith Floyd, a psychologist at Virginia Intermont College, has pointed out that if the concreteness of reality is but a holographic illusion, it would no longer be true to say the brain produces consciousness. Rather, it is consciousness that creates the appearance of the brain -- as well as the body and everything else around us we interpret as physical.
Such a turnabout in the way we view biological structures has caused researchers to point out that medicine and our understanding of the healing process could also be transformed by the holographic paradigm. If the apparent physical structure of the body is but a holographic projection of consciousness, it becomes clear that each of us is much more responsible for our health than current medical wisdom allows. What we now view as miraculous remissions of disease may actually be due to changes in consciousness which in turn effect changes in the hologram of the body.
Similarly, controversial new healing techniques such as visualization may work so well because, in the holographic domain of thought, images are ultimately as real as "reality".

Even visions and experiences involving "non-ordinary" reality become explainable under the holographic paradigm. In his book "Gifts of Unknown Things," biologist Lyall Watson describes his encounter with an Indonesian shaman woman who, by performing a ritual dance, was able to make an entire grove of trees instantly vanish into thin air. Watson relates that as he and another astonished onlooker continued to watch the woman, she caused the trees to reappear, then "click" off again and on again several times in succession.

Although current scientific understanding is incapable of explaining such events, experiences like this become more tenable if "hard" reality is only a holographic projection. Perhaps we agree on what is "there" or "not there" because what we call consensus reality is formulated and ratified at the level of the human unconscious at which all minds are infinitely interconnected. If this is true, it is the most profound implication of the holographic paradigm of all, for it means that experiences such as Watson's are not commonplace only because we have not programmed our minds with the beliefs that would make them so. In a holographic universe there are no limits to the extent to which we can alter the fabric of reality.

What we perceive as reality is only a canvas waiting for us to draw upon it any picture we want. Anything is possible, from bending spoons with the power of the mind to the phantasmagoric events experienced by Castaneda during his encounters with the Yaqui brujo don Juan, for magic is our birthright, no more or less miraculous than our ability to compute the reality we want when we are in our dreams.
Indeed, even our most fundamental notions about reality become suspect, for in a holographic universe, as Pribram has pointed out, even random events would have to be seen as based on holographic principles and therefore determined. Synchronicities or meaningful coincidences suddenly makes sense, and everything in reality would have to be seen as a metaphor, for even the most haphazard events would express some underlying symmetry.

Whether Bohm and Pribram's holographic paradigm becomes accepted in science or dies an ignoble death remains to be seen, but it is safe to say that it has already had an influence on the thinking of many scientists. And even if it is found that the holographic model does not provide the best explanation for the instantaneous communications that seem to be passing back and forth between subatomic particles, at the very least, as noted by Basil Hiley, a physicist at Birbeck College in London, Aspect's findings "indicate that we must be prepared to consider radically new views of reality".

This is where I draw my inspiration from in this topic. There is no mention of a soul but as I said to Darth_Josh, the philosophical implications of this theory are parallel to those of the existence of a soul: life after death, consciousness, the immateriality of thought, "matter" experiencing moments of conscious decision, planetary consciousness etc etc etc. If you take a moment to consider the implications, I'm sure you'll understand why I have been pushing the points that I have.

I also suggest checking out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holophonic_sound

The holophonic sound thing is really interesting, you can listen to a sample of it. I just listened to it and it is unbelievable. If you close your eyes it's almost like someone is actually shaking a box of matchsticks all around your head. Eerie...


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Fine. NO-ONE reply!

Fine. NO-ONE reply!


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TheSage wrote: Fine. NO-ONE

TheSage wrote:
Fine. NO-ONE reply!

I just have to let you know that I read your post but had no great input toward it. It's just that I don't know.  I could speculate about conscienceness after death or energy that leaves the body but I honestly do not have any educated guess on the matter and the only reason I am replying now is in hope that someone will try to answer you more thoroughly.  

 Good luck, Sage.


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Sage, Please have patience.

Sage, Please have patience. That's a lot of material to read. lol.

I promise that within the week I will respond with my thoughts. 

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@TheSage I've just gotten

@TheSage

I've just gotten around to reading your big post. I'm glad you posted it, it's really interesting, and it makes it a lot easier to see what you were talking about when you started this thread. It seems there isn't very much to the theory yet, but still food for thought. There are several very different hypothesies mentioned, and they are very tenuous.

My first impression is, of course, skeptical. I think the fact that brain damage can cause mental impairment indicates that we depend very heavily on the physical world for our consciousness. At the same time, it seems reasonable to suggest that our memory may employ holographic recording to store information.

As for the question of a holographic universe, that's a much harder question. It doesn't even necessarily bear on our existence. It seems likely to me that even if the universe is just a holographic reflection of a single thing, we may be part of the reflection. I could only guess about the possiblities that quantum entanglement brings, but the idea that the universe is only one thing reflected many times seems to be reaching to the extreme of reasonability. I would have to wonder, if there is only one thing in the universe, what causes the reflections?

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


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Well I'm glad that a few

Well I'm glad that a few people have at least read this and my efforts weren't for nothing lol.

Martha - Thanks for the input, even if you didn't feel up to making a structured response. I'm glad that people are at least reading it. Smiling 

D.Josh - awesome.

Rexlunae - I'm extremely glad that this has made you consider some new options. I apologise for it taking me so long to even present something concise to you all. It's true that it seems there isn't a great deal to the theory from this essay, but it was written at least 15 years ago (Michael Talbot, the writer, died in 1992 at the young age of 39 due to leukemia Sad ). And his last book, The Holographic Universe, has a great deal more to it. I hope to get it back from my friend today. I understand that you're skeptical, in fact that's pretty good considering the low level of evidence before you. All I wanted to prove was that it was worth considering. This is an avenue of thought I find greatly interesting because, if true, it means that things are nowhere near as separate as we tend to think and the implications of that are... well, under discussion, but many possibilities arise!!!


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hello wrote: i don't think

hello wrote:
i don't think the sage is saying anything radical especially to physicalists. why shouldn't thoughts and consciousness be made up of the same stuff as the rest of the universe?


TheSage wrote:
Thanks, 'hello.' Of course if thoughts can be thought of as "things" they are made up of the same things as the rest of the universe. The issue here is whether or not consciousness is immaterial, but transmitted by the material world. Your comment is the reason why I think it's possible that consciousness doesn't disappear at death.


Could you clarify the bold statement in relation to the previous sentence? I've a gut feeling that the bold may have been worded awkwardly, but just to be sure: you're not contending that consciousness might possibly be "immaterial," right?

Also, what are you considering "consciousness" to be in this context? What facet of mind is it that you're considering may continue after death?


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Laker-taker wrote:

Laker-taker wrote:


TheSage wrote:
Thanks, 'hello.' Of course if thoughts can be thought of as "things" they are made up of the same things as the rest of the universe. The issue here is whether or not consciousness is immaterial, but transmitted by the material world. Your comment is the reason why I think it's possible that consciousness doesn't disappear at death.


Could you clarify the bold statement in relation to the previous sentence? I've a gut feeling that the bold may have been worded awkwardly, but just to be sure: you're not contending that consciousness might possibly be "immaterial," right?

Also, what are you considering "consciousness" to be in this context? What facet of mind is it that you're considering may continue after death?

Semantics often make a good argument weak. It annoys me. That's not directed at you, but merely a general statement. I guess I would say consciousness insofar as the sensation that we are aware of ourselves, as well as the personality that we associate with ourselves. That is what I would suggest has a possibility of continuing after death.

I am suggesting that consciouness itself is immaterial so much that it isn't made of matter. I know that seems a roundabout statement to make, but when you consider that matter is merely a form of energy and we're probably talking about energy or latent energy or who knows what.

But the side of experience that we associate with the brain - emotion, I guess; maybe memory - does not continue on. Basically, Freudian psychology doesn't apply to the soul, so you can't be traumatised in a post-death state. This part of my discussion is all speculation, though.

All I'm getting at is that if everything IS connected, and nothing can be permanently destroyed, why is it so far-fetched to believe that a (hypothetical) non-material aspect of consciousness survives while the brain dies. It's like a piece of computer code in the internet. The computer that came from may be long gone, but the information is still there because it is connected,or wired to the rest of the information in such a fashion as to be indivisible!

 (The statement in bold was worded kinda awkwardly. I meant that some aspect of consciouness may be material, but that aspect takes form through the physical.)


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TheSage wrote: It is almost

TheSage wrote:
It is almost certain that, through the many, many processes that you are all aware of regarding cell growth and ingestion of elements, not one atom in your body was there when you were born. What does that mean about a physical concept of the self?

That it is a question of physical information rather than physical matter.  Do not confuse physicalism with naive materialism.

Quote:
If you thought something about energies in the brain, okay. If you are aware of the law of conservation of energy then you know that no energy is destroyed in any reaction. In this case, the reaction is death.

 So, if memories are physical then they are insubstantial because the body is insubstantial. If they are energetic, then they never disappear, even if they do dissipate.

Define insubstantial. Is an email insubstantial?

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The 'soul' need not be a ghost that rises above you in near-death-experiences. Have some sense of poetry - the physical returns to the earth and the energetic dissipates to become one with the universe.

Again, you are neglecting that information is also physical but neither 'returns to the earth' nor 'becomes one with the universe'. Information can be both created and destroyed. Think of information as physical arrangement of matter/energy in spacetime. That is what our minds and memories are. Actually, mind is also a process, a stable transformation of information over time.

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What is to say you won't have some sort of conscious to an even higher degree when your thoughts are no longer contained inside your head, even if they cannot develop due to lack of the physical.

Occam's Razor. There is no evidence that this is so, and so there's no reason to believe it. It may occur, but since you seem to be implying some magical supernatural afterlife, we have no way to know, since the supernatural cannot be detected by the physical.

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TheSage wrote: Look,

TheSage wrote:

Look, whatever description you want to ascribe to this "soul" thing makes little difference. Essentially, I would describe it as information - be it memory or experience; whatever, that survives in one form or another after we die.

The only way information in our brains can survive beyond our bodily death is for the person to express their ideas on a medium or artifact that survives past death. Information is not a supernatural thing, it is purely physical, so it requires purely physical means to propagate itself in the physical universe. 

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And it is entirely possible that an atom or electron experiences a moment of consciousness.

Define experience and consciousness.

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Conscious does not entail a brain. That is a HUGE assumption when we don't know that much about consciousness. There is one theory that suggests that it is because of the density of our brains and structures that promote a high degree of interaction that we experience consciousness to a far higher degree than any animal we know. And it also suggests that subatomic particles experience a moment of conscious action once every, I dunno MILLION years or something.

There is no evidence to support any of this.

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But what is to say that something like, say, the planet itself isn't conscious of itself?

It is. We are part of the planet, and we are conscious of the planet and of ourselves, making the planet (us) conscious of the planet (us + whatever else we know about the Earth).

Humanity is like the brain of the planet and each person is like a neuron in that brain. The planet's consciousness is composed of us.

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It's not like it could talk to us. That'd be like us trying to explain things to our cells.

Of course, the analogy breaks at some level, because humans are far more advanced than a single neuron. Our consciousness is capable of understanding itself, meta-awareness, which a single neuron is not capable of.

And in any case, we DO 'explain' things to our cells, but we use hormones and neural signals to do the talking. Human culture (family, school, church, TV, media, etc.) teaches individual humans about humanity and the world, so yes, the world does talk to us through cultural expression.

Quote:
"Soul" does not entail continuing to feel emotion or being able to store memory or anything involved with the functions of the human body. Who knows, maybe the "soul" crystallises in a body because it can't grow any other way. All it means is that the energy of your mind and body does not simply disappear when you die but maintains some sort of affiliation - if you know anything about entanglement then this is not a far-fetched theory.

What if spirit/soul is just 'what you leave behind when you die', and that can include many many things such as writings, videos, memories in your friends and loved ones, what you've taught your kids and students, other people writing about you, the school play you performed in, the movie you starred in, a song you wrote, etc.

Carl Sagan is dead, but his spirit lives on in me and many others. Nothing supernatural required.

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rexlunae wrote: If the

rexlunae wrote:

If the Earth, as a whole, were conscious, there should be some evidence of coordinated action.

Would you consider the orbiting GPS satellites to be 'coordinated action'?

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The problem with analogizing us to our cells is that our cells don't have the mental faculties to evaluate our consciousness. It's not just a problem of scale, cells are fundamentally too simple to understand and learn.

I agree, but I still think it's a useful analogy overall.

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