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  1. #1
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    The soul does not exist

    All religions have trouble convincing others of the truth of their religion - either their morality, their deity, facts concerning their deities interactions and their after life. So it all becomes a personal choice and a personal decision as to what people decide to put their faith into, and spend their resources onto and how they want to live a moral life.

    However, nearly all religions are united in the idea of a soul; even a modern religion such as Scientology has the concept of a thetan - “having no mass, no wave-length, no energy, ...”. Hinduism has the idea of reincarnation and the Abrahamic religions have various locations where the after life is spent. Incidentally, the latter two also disagree as to whether animals have souls, which is an interesting divergence too.

    All definitions of soul point to something that is:

    1. An immaterial “essence”
    2. Immortal
    3. Provides the animating force behind a person’s actions.

    My argument is that souls do not exist because:

    1. If it is immaterial, it doesn’t exist other than as an idea (or a wish). So therefore, I contend that a “soul” is basically a way for people to cope with death, the permanent destruction of a physical mind. The idea of the soul is compelling because it means that a loved one would really be in a better place, or an enemy in a worse one. But just because it is a appealing, that doesn’t make it actual.
    2. The idea of a soul being eternal brings many problems, not least of which, where do they come from and where do they go after death and how could there possibly be enough room for everyone, forever. Of course, each religion has various ways to resolve the issue, from reincarnation to a supposedly ever expanding heaven/hell or simply being absorbed back into some deity. But none of these solve the space issue or resources or how souls will interact with each other.
    3. It’s clear that we are the sum of our brains and our bodies. Attempts to ‘measure’ the weight of the soul at the time of death have usually failed at being convincing (see the 21gram experiment - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/21_grams_experiment) and all the stories about out of the body experiences have been equally inconclusive. So there is no proof of anything other than the physical brain providing the animating force.

    So it’s hard to conclude that the idea of a soul is anything more than wishful thinking that requires an enormous amount of supporting ideas and concepts in order to make it a viable concept. That there is little evidence of the soul or for any of the supporting materials, one must conclude, based on all the facts at hand, that souls don’t really exist beyond mere speculation and mainly for religious purposes.

  2. #2
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    All religions have trouble convincing others of the truth of their religion - either their morality, their deity, facts concerning their deities interactions and their after life. So it all becomes a personal choice and a personal decision as to what people decide to put their faith into, and spend their resources onto and how they want to live a moral life.

    However, nearly all religions are united in the idea of a soul; even a modern religion such as Scientology has the concept of a thetan - “having no mass, no wave-length, no energy, ...”. Hinduism has the idea of reincarnation and the Abrahamic religions have various locations where the after life is spent. Incidentally, the latter two also disagree as to whether animals have souls, which is an interesting divergence too.
    Agreed, religions are pretty much mutually exclusive and rely on similar evidence to forward their truth, but the "soul" does seem kinda universal. I don't disagree with your conclusion so much as I don't see it wrapped up either.

    ---------- Post added at 05:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:26 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    All definitions of soul point to something that is:

    1. An immaterial “essence”
    2. Immortal
    3. Provides the animating force behind a person’s actions.
    I would generally agree here to (though I would add, immortal sounds like an actual infinity so I don't personally see how it could be true, but religions do forward this).

    ---------- Post added at 05:40 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:29 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    My argument is that souls do not exist because:

    1. If it is immaterial, it doesn’t exist other than as an idea (or a wish). So therefore, I contend that a “soul” is basically a way for people to cope with death, the permanent destruction of a physical mind. The idea of the soul is compelling because it means that a loved one would really be in a better place, or an enemy in a worse one. But just because it is a appealing, that doesn’t make it actual.
    2. The idea of a soul being eternal brings many problems, not least of which, where do they come from and where do they go after death and how could there possibly be enough room for everyone, forever. Of course, each religion has various ways to resolve the issue, from reincarnation to a supposedly ever expanding heaven/hell or simply being absorbed back into some deity. But none of these solve the space issue or resources or how souls will interact with each other.
    3. It’s clear that we are the sum of our brains and our bodies. Attempts to ‘measure’ the weight of the soul at the time of death have usually failed at being convincing (see the 21gram experiment - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/21_grams_experiment) and all the stories about out of the body experiences have been equally inconclusive. So there is no proof of anything other than the physical brain providing the animating force.
    1. I generally agree here but let me offer the thought of a friend on the subject (since no one else is playing at the moment to challenge you):
    "I don't see why something immaterial would lack causitive powers. Why is matter required? And, more importantly, what does that say about our physical models which rely on probability to be causative for a lot of what happens in this universe?"

    2. This one doesn't really work for me as a valid argument.
    God creates souls.
    They don't die so don't "go" anywhere. When the body dies the are dispatched per God's judgement.
    God can create any amount of "room" he desires, so no overcrowding issue. God created the universe from nothing, so no "resource" issue. Lack of rules for "souls interacting" does not rule out the possibility of a soul.

    3. I personally agree here, save the "weight" part of the argument (what does "essence" weigh and how would we know?). However to again quote a friend:
    " Why would a particular ordering of chemicals in any given medium (brain, test tube, comptuer, etc) have any relation at all to an objective concept?

    How could a specific set of neurons firing have any mesurable connetion to say a star or an asteroid, or gravity?

    Under materialism it can't. There is no mechanism that allows for our brains to have any connections to those objective realities. That's the point I was originally making. If materialism is true, then nothing you've said has meaning, it is just the expression of a chemical reaction, no different than an oxidation reaction. When you say "...the brain works..." that doesn't mean anything. The little characters on screen have no connection to a brain or the concept of it working in a way."

  3. #3
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    "I don't see why something immaterial would lack causitive powers. Why is matter required?
    This kind of question floors me every time.

    If something is immaterial, in what sense does it exist?

    It seems to me that people that actually struggle with this question usually fail to push the immaterial thing back to its material cause.

    For example, people love to point out that ideas, in the dopiest, most myopic sense, are technically immaterial. But if idea is immaterial, in some dumb, short-sighted sense of the word, where is the immaterial source from which the idea emerged? Moreover, in what sense does the actual idea exist without a material mind to process it? Even the idea of ideas means nothing in the absence of a material mind to ponder it.

    This is way less profound than people often imagine it to be.

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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    This kind of question floors me every time.

    If something is immaterial, in what sense does it exist?

    It seems to me that people that actually struggle with this question usually fail to push the immaterial thing back to its material cause.

    For example, people love to point out that ideas, in the dopiest, most myopic sense, are technically immaterial. But if idea is immaterial, in some dumb, short-sighted sense of the word, where is the immaterial source from which the idea emerged? Moreover, in what sense does the actual idea exist without a material mind to process it? Even the idea of ideas means nothing in the absence of a material mind to ponder it.

    This is way less profound than people often imagine it to be.
    Just a point to make sure you saw I was forwarding another persons idea, not necessarily my own.

    I personally generally agree with you and was just trying to submit a rebuttal to forward the discussion in the absence of anyone else commenting.

  5. #5
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    If something is immaterial, in what sense does it exist?
    Are you asking how energy or empty space, shapes, isomers or surfaces can exist? They are all immaterial.
    Last edited by eye4magic; February 22nd, 2019 at 06:15 PM.
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Are you asking how energy or empty space can exist?
    Energy exists.

    If by "empty" you mean "absolutely nothing" then the question is nonsensical. Because if "absolutely nothing" existed it would no longer be nothing would it?

    It is just like asking what is north of the north pole, by definition there is no where north of the north pole....

  7. #7
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    Agreed, religions are pretty much mutually exclusive and rely on similar evidence to forward their truth, but the "soul" does seem kinda universal. I don't disagree with your conclusion so much as I don't see it wrapped up either.
    I'm a big rusty with religious debates but I try to interpret the world with modern eyes - souls just don't even make sense.

    I would generally agree here to (though I would add, immortal sounds like an actual infinity so I don't personally see how it could be true, but religions do forward this).
    I think nearly all religions rely on an eternal God and for souls to make sense, they too have to be immortal - otherwise, you'd have to die twice: I guess there's a limit as to how much one can stretch a person's credulity on these matters.

    1. I generally agree here but let me offer the thought of a friend on the subject (since no one else is playing at the moment to challenge you):
    "I don't see why something immaterial would lack causitive powers. Why is matter required? And, more importantly, what does that say about our physical models which rely on probability to be causative for a lot of what happens in this universe?"
    The short answer is that it doesn't. There are plenty of 'immaterial' things that have immensely powerful causative powers: memes - in the form of viral ideas such as political ideologies, patriotism, supporting a team, even religions themselves are systems of immaterial ideas that somehow can gain followers, adherents, and proselytizers. And if all people are saying is that souls are an 'idea' then I'd have to no argument; but religious folk are insistent these are 'real' things and that they truly exist and manifest themselves in a physical way, even beyond death.

    2. This one doesn't really work for me as a valid argument.
    God creates souls.
    They don't die so don't "go" anywhere. When the body dies the are dispatched per God's judgement.
    God can create any amount of "room" he desires, so no overcrowding issue. God created the universe from nothing, so no "resource" issue. Lack of rules for "souls interacting" does not rule out the possibility of a soul.
    Then we have the issue of some kind of infinite space issue - where is all this volume coming from? And then how is everyone going to get fed, or interact, or anything. Will there be transport? Do those souls have other kinds of bodies and what's needed to feed them? There are just too many unanswered questions about our post-death existence that can only be answered by more speculation.

    3. I personally agree here, save the "weight" part of the argument (what does "essence" weigh and how would we know?). However to again quote a friend:
    " Why would a particular ordering of chemicals in any given medium (brain, test tube, comptuer, etc) have any relation at all to an objective concept?

    How could a specific set of neurons firing have any mesurable connetion to say a star or an asteroid, or gravity?

    Under materialism it can't. There is no mechanism that allows for our brains to have any connections to those objective realities. That's the point I was originally making. If materialism is true, then nothing you've said has meaning, it is just the expression of a chemical reaction, no different than an oxidation reaction. When you say "...the brain works..." that doesn't mean anything. The little characters on screen have no connection to a brain or the concept of it working in a way."
    I don't see the difficulty with materialism: we literally know all the mechanisms that point to our brains being a very complex machine of neural networks, all operating simultaneously, with an emergent physical actions as a result of whatever goes on within. We have psychology to examine how people can be motivated or manipulated in very consistent ways; and we have all sorts of ways to understand people en-masse.

    We don't need to invoke anything magical nor is it valid to dismiss it as 'just the expression of a chemical reaction' as if it were a simple thing: our entire existence depends on millions of 'chemical reactions' operating in concert, in chains of reactions, physically moving nutrients throughout our body to keep it alive. I don't see how our mind *needs* to be necessarily different or why we need anything beyond materialism to explain things.

    Maybe I'm not entirely understanding you, but the brain literally just works - we know this because if portions are removed or damaged then they have an actual effect on a person's capabilities. If there truly were a 'soul' then surely, we would not see this effect: why would a 'soul' have such a specific location within the brain in order to fully work?

  8. #8
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    So it’s hard to conclude that the idea of a soul is anything more than wishful thinking that requires an enormous amount of supporting ideas and concepts in order to make it a viable concept.
    What would be some examples of enormous amounts of supporting ideas, concepts, evidence that would make the soul a viable concept?

    Definition Soul: "The immaterial aspect or essence (life) of a human being."
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    What would be some examples of enormous amounts of supporting ideas, concepts, evidence that would make the soul a viable concept?
    Most religions support the idea of the soul by placing it at some place beyond death. Then they usually have some kind of deity that put the whole thing in place. I don’t buy any of it since there’s no evidence of any of those things either.

    My main trouble with even the idea of it being a “viable concept” is that viability hasn’t been demonstrated. I see it more as an idea that doesn’t explain anything, isn’t very useful and confuses matters for the living.

    Definition Soul: "The immaterial aspect or essence (life) of a human being."
    So it’s basically an emotion or a taste? It’s not really there but it’s a useful idea to help support a common human experience or to support a religion.

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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    My main trouble with even the idea of it being a “viable concept” is that viability hasn’t been demonstrated.
    Yes, I understand your position, that’s why I’m addressing your comment “that requires an enormous amount of supporting ideas and concepts in order to make it a viable concept.”

    What would be some examples of enormous amounts of supporting ideas, concepts, evidence that would make the soul a viable concept?
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  11. #11
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Yes, I understand your position, that’s why I’m addressing your comment “that requires an enormous amount of supporting ideas and concepts in order to make it a viable concept.”

    What would be some examples of enormous amounts of supporting ideas, concepts, evidence that would make the soul a viable concept?
    Gods. Heaven. Hell. Punishments after death. Bibles. Religions. War. Inquisitions. Social exclusion. Etc. Etc.

    I probably should have said “... in order to TRY TO make it a viable concept”. I certainly don’t mean to claim it actually is viable!

  12. #12
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    I probably should have said “... in order to TRY TO make it a viable concept”. I certainly don’t mean to claim it actually is viable!
    Ok, so basically your OP is “The Soul doesn’t’ exist and there is no amount of supporting ideas, concepts, evidence that would make the soul a viable concept.

    Please discuss.”

    Thanks for clarifying, I’ll bow out for now.
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Ok, so basically your OP is “The Soul doesn’t’ exist and there is no amount of supporting ideas, concepts, evidence that would make the soul a viable concept.

    Please discuss.”

    Thanks for clarifying, I’ll bow out for now.
    That's a little more than what I was implying - it's absolutely possible that if such a thing existed that there would be some kind of evidence to demonstrate that. It's just that such evidence currently doesn't exist: the soul is not a new idea and the arguments are already out there, so my comment is really a review of where the evidence currently stands. There may be some new ideas in showing souls are viable but one would think that everyone would know those ideas by now.

    Also, the soul as a 'concept', as I've already stated, is not a problem: I don't mind playing pretend. I don't even mind pretending that the pretense is real (which frankly, I think is what most religious belief basically boils down to). However, if we drop all the pretense, and really try and figure out what the soul really is, I see very little that is even plausible, never mind being viable.

    Anyway, thanks for the chat!

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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    it's absolutely possible that if such a thing existed that there would be some kind of evidence to demonstrate that.
    What do you think the criteria for that evidence would be if such a thing existed? What kind of evidence would make it viable and how are you defining what is not real?
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    The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    What do you think the criteria for that evidence would be if such a thing existed? What kind of evidence would make it viable and how are you defining what is not real?
    I suppose, evidence that is objective, not really open to interpretation and experimentally verifiable would be a good start. Or maybe, even before then, a description of a soul that’s plausible would help.


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    ---------- Post added at 11:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:47 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    This kind of question floors me every time.

    If something is immaterial, in what sense does it exist?
    Math is immaterial and it clearly exists. Our physical models exist because they comport to reality, and are in every sense real, manipulable things.

    These things exist because our minds exist to hold the ideas. And those ideas can generate physical reactions. So they exist in the sense that they are neuronal configurations that are copiable to other humans.

    It seems to me that people that actually struggle with this question usually fail to push the immaterial thing back to its material cause.
    The material *cause* is that they are physically existing in our neuronal maps that form our brain. Language exists in our brain as patterns of words on top of our built-in affinity to learn grammar. Stroke victims or people with split brains report that effects which show that the brain is absolutely where ideas exist so it’s not rocket science to draw the conclusion that this is the material basis for all our ideas.

    For example, people love to point out that ideas, in the dopiest, most myopic sense, are technically immaterial. But if idea is immaterial, in some dumb, short-sighted sense of the word, where is the immaterial source from which the idea emerged?
    Ideas obviously exist without a mind: you’re literally staring at it: the computerized representation of what is in our neurons exactly shows that ideas can totally exist without a mind. We had books before that and literally ideas were written in stone, before that. Indeed, God himself gave us his 10 commandments via stone-media.

    Moreover, in what sense does the actual idea exist without a material mind to process it? Even the idea of ideas means nothing in the absence of a material mind to ponder it.
    We don’t even need minds to process ideas because we also have computers to do that also; we gather statistics and make interpretations all the time with computers - so processing data is not a big deal at all.

    Sure, I agree that ultimately, a mind would be needed in order for the ideas to have a material affect on the world in a way that benefits us, but it’s not *necessary*.

    I would argue that mathematical theories already exist and all we’re doing is *discovering* what is already there within the rules we set up. So in that sense, we don’t even need any minds at all: math exists regardless of whether there are humans at all.

    Just because there’s no human around it doesn’t mean an idea can’t still exist. After all, does a falling tree still make a sound if there is no human to hear it: yes indeed it does!

    This is way less profound than people often imagine it to be.
    In this modern age, I would say these ideas are obvious. We’ve had computers for decades, so automatically manipulating *ideas* is not a big deal at all. What *is* a big deal though, is that we are building systems that can simulate the mind: for example IBM built a system that beat all human Go players and they did it by constructing a program that knew how to *learn*.

    So there is absolutely no reason why a human mind is needed at all in any of this (other than playing God by writing the applications of course).





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  16. #16
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    1. If it is immaterial, it doesn’t exist other than as an idea (or a wish). So therefore, I contend that a “soul” is basically a way for people to cope with death, the permanent destruction of a physical mind. The idea of the soul is compelling because it means that a loved one would really be in a better place, or an enemy in a worse one. But just because it is a appealing, that doesn’t make it actual.
    Okay. But this does not support that the soul does not exist. Just contending something does not support it. And while it is true that wanting the soul to exist does mean it exists, it certainly does not provide evidence that the soul does not exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    2. The idea of a soul being eternal brings many problems, not least of which, where do they come from and where do they go after death and how could there possibly be enough room for everyone, forever. Of course, each religion has various ways to resolve the issue, from reincarnation to a supposedly ever expanding heaven/hell or simply being absorbed back into some deity. But none of these solve the space issue or resources or how souls will interact with each other.
    That does not support that the soul does not exist either.

    If you are going to support that the soul does not exist, you need to provide evidence that the soul does not exist. Noting that those who contend that the soul does exist hasn't fully explained how it all works does not support that it doesn't exist. You are basically shifting the burden with that argument.



    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    3. It’s clear that we are the sum of our brains and our bodies. Attempts to ‘measure’ the weight of the soul at the time of death have usually failed at being convincing (see the 21gram experiment - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/21_grams_experiment) and all the stories about out of the body experiences have been equally inconclusive. So there is no proof of anything other than the physical brain providing the animating force.
    That is essentially an argument from ignorance fallacy.

    lack of evidence of the soul existing is not evidence that the soul does not exist. I mean hundreds of years ago science could not detect infrared light and yet it existed anyway.




    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    So it’s hard to conclude that the idea of a soul is anything more than wishful thinking that requires an enormous amount of supporting ideas and concepts in order to make it a viable concept. That there is little evidence of the soul or for any of the supporting materials, one must conclude, based on all the facts at hand, that souls don’t really exist beyond mere speculation and mainly for religious purposes.
    Not if one wants to avoid engaging in the argument from ignorance fallacy.

    The correct statement is it's hard to conclude anything at all about the soul and therefore we can't say if it exists or not.

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    The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    That is essentially an argument from ignorance fallacy.

    lack of evidence of the soul existing is not evidence that the soul does not exist. I mean hundreds of years ago science could not detect infrared light and yet it existed anyway.
    Sure but infrared light is consistent with our universe as we know it now. There’s no magic savior theory to justify whether souls are a thing or not since we already know how brains work. There’s little room for there to be any additional explanations, particularly one that smells made up and not even agreed upon.

    Souls are in the same category as miasma explaining diseases and has all the attributes of a poorly thought out idea to begin with: it doesn’t even make any sense.

    Also, the burden is on those that claims souls to exist; it’s not on me to prove they don’t. And looking at the evidence put forward, even religions disagree so there’s little support even for the idea.

    The weight of all the evidence points to something made up. Just like dragons and gods. I will contend souls exist as a useful idea but beyond that, there’s too little support and too much controversy to take the idea seriously.

    The correct statement is it's hard to conclude anything at all about the soul and therefore we can't say if it exists or not.
    I disagree. It’s easy to conclude that everything we currently know is true points to the *likelihood* souls don’t exist other than a unproven idea that’s being contested by everyone.

    I agree we can’t be 100% sure, but I would hazard that we’re 99.999% sure. It’s certainly not a 50:50 split that you appear to be implying.
    Last edited by SharmaK; February 22nd, 2019 at 02:40 PM.

  18. #18
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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Sure but infrared light is consistent with our universe as we know it now. There’s no magic savior theory to justify whether souls are a thing or not since we already know how brains work. There’s little room for there to be any additional explanations, particularly one that smells made up and not even agreed upon.
    If you are going to argue that science has determined what consciousness is well enough to conclusively say that its strictly a product of the physical brain, please support that. As far as I know, science has not answered that question conclusively.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Souls are in the same category as miasma explaining diseases and has all the attributes of a poorly thought out idea to begin with: it doesn’t even make any sense.
    I'd say you are shifting the burden here.

    If you are going to argue that the soul does not exist, then there is absolutely no reason to consider the arguments for the soul until you've provided support for your argument against it. So how flimsy the arguments are for the soul existing are irrelevant.

    I personally ignore those arguments and just ponder the issue of whether my consciousness will go on after I die. If it does go on, then I have a soul. If it doesn't, then I don't have a soul. And until someone can show me with solid logic or evidence that either proposition is correct, the issue remains unsettled.

    If all you have is just telling me that the "pro-soul" side don't have any good arguments or evidence, it doens't mean that the "no-soul" side is correct.


    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Also, the burden is on those that claims souls to exist; it’s not on me to prove they don’t.
    The burden of ANY argument is on the person who makes the claim. The very title of the thread is "The Soul does not exist" and the OP argues that. The burden is clearly on the position that the soul does not exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    And looking at the evidence put forward, even religions disagree so there’s little support even for the idea.
    Religions are pretty unanimous that there is life after death.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    The weight of all the evidence points to something made up. Just like dragons and gods. I will contend souls exist as a useful idea but beyond that, there’s too little support and too much controversy to take the idea seriously.
    Not bothering to take the notion seriously does not equate an argument against it existing.

    Again, I'm just looking at the notion of whether consciousness survives death and have seen no solid evidence that it does or that it does not. And I have yet to see anything from you that would make me think that one side is more likely correct than the other.



    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    I disagree. It’s easy to conclude that everything we currently know is true points to the *likelihood* souls don’t exist other than a unproven idea that’s being contested by everyone.
    I see nothing that leads to such a conclusion. I agree with you that no one has provided evidence that the soul exists but then I've seen no evidence that it hasn't either.


    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    I agree we can’t be 100% sure, but I would hazard that we’re 99.999% sure. It’s certainly not a 50:50 split that you appear to be implying.
    Well, when neither side has any evidence, then they both have an equal amount of evidence.

  19. #19
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    The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    If you are going to argue that science has determined what consciousness is well enough to conclusively say that its strictly a product of the physical brain, please support that. As far as I know, science has not answered that question conclusively.
    AFAIK, there has been no scientific proof that there are other explanations outside of the brain as far as consciousness is concerned; and most certainly NOTHING in the ballpark as a poorly defined one such as the soul. Outside of charlatans like Depak Chopra, I have no idea what you mean that science has explanations outside of the brain. If you have some proof of this doubt please forward it!

    I'd say you are shifting the burden here.

    If you are going to argue that the soul does not exist, then there is absolutely no reason to consider the arguments for the soul until you've provided support for your argument against it. So how flimsy the arguments are for the soul existing are irrelevant.

    I personally ignore those arguments and just ponder the issue of whether my consciousness will go on after I die. If it does go on, then I have a soul. If it doesn't, then I don't have a soul. And until someone can show me with solid logic or evidence that either proposition is correct, the issue remains unsettled.

    If all you have is just telling me that the "pro-soul" side don't have any good arguments or evidence, it doens't mean that the "no-soul" side is correct.
    It's not really my concept to prove, so it's not at all shifting the burden. What I *have* done is to point out that the idea doesn't make sense - your own description of what you think the soul is literally has no meaning: what do you even mean by "my consciousness will go on"? Where will it go on? How? What specifically is this "consciousness" that you're talking about anyway? And what happens to the current brain configuration that forms all your experiences? Where does it even go and how does it even get there? With the brain gone and the body dead and no energy, what else do you expect to happen other than your animated consciousness is gone!?

    So I'm telling you that the idea makes no sense and that any arguments trying to support it are flawed from the get-go. It is *much*, *much*, more likely that it's just an awful idea that doesn't pass basic muster.


    The burden of ANY argument is on the person who makes the claim. The very title of the thread is "The Soul does not exist" and the OP argues that. The burden is clearly on the position that the soul does not exist.
    Right, and I have laid out my arguments and all you have is an explanation of the soul that raises more questions than it answers, without even dealing with my original problems.

    My conclusion is wholly based on the soul being a terrible idea to begin with and that even the peddlars of the idea can't agree about it! Therefore, they have already failed the burden of plausibility, never mind proof.

    Religions are pretty unanimous that there is life after death.
    Not Buddhism as far as I know; and every other religion invents even more unsupported speculations and all different. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

    Not bothering to take the notion seriously does not equate an argument against it existing.
    I take is seriously as everyone else does. Even your own description doesn't really sound like anything more than just wishful thinking! If you're suggesting that a poorly thought out idea (see the OP, as well as your own description) isn't sufficient of an argument then I seriously don't know how low your bar is!

    Again, I'm just looking at the notion of whether consciousness survives death and have seen no solid evidence that it does or that it does not. And I have yet to see anything from you that would make me think that one side is more likely correct than the other.
    This is just the same as saying whether the body survives death: we know it doesn't because the body has rotted. I have no idea how you expect an emergent property of something that is dead to continue existing. You're just not making much sense in your question. Please explain!

    I see nothing that leads to such a conclusion. I agree with you that no one has provided evidence that the soul exists but then I've seen no evidence that it hasn't either.
    My point is that you don't need to have evidence when the idea doesn't make much sense to begin with.

    Well, when neither side has any evidence, then they both have an equal amount of evidence.
    No, when one side makes no sense then they are in no way equal to the other which has more plausible explanations: i.e. a physical brain!
    Last edited by SharmaK; February 22nd, 2019 at 07:43 PM.

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    Re: The soul does not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    AFAIK, there has been no scientific proof that there are other explanations outside of the brain as far as consciousness is concerned; and most certainly NOTHING in the ballpark as a poorly defined one such as the soul. Outside of charlatans like Depak Chopra, I have no idea what you mean that science has explanations outside of the brain. If you have some proof of this doubt please forward it!
    Shifting the burden. If you are arguing that science has conclusively determined that the soul does not exist (as in our consciousness does not continue to exist after the body dies), then please forward that proof.

    Otherwise, you have no supported argument that science has conclusively determined that the soul does not exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    It's not really my concept to prove, so it's not at all shifting the burden.
    What??? You defined the concept of the soul in your OP. You said:

    1. An immaterial “essence”
    2. Immortal
    3. Provides the animating force behind a person’s actions.

    THAT, for the purpose of the debate is what the "soul" is. And your argument, as directly stated in the OP, is that what you CLEARLY defined 1,2,3. does not exist. That is your argument you do indeed have the burden to support your argument that it does not exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    What I *have* done is to point out that the idea doesn't make sense - your own description of what you think the soul is literally has no meaning: what do you even mean by "my consciousness will go on"? Where will it go on? How? What specifically is this "consciousness" that you're talking about anyway? And what happens to the current brain configuration that forms all your experiences? Where does it even go and how does it even get there? With the brain gone and the body dead and no energy, what else do you expect to happen other than your animated consciousness is gone!?
    That's just a bunch of red-herrings. I'm not arguing that the soul exists or that it is anything beyond what YOU described in the OP so asking me a bunch of questions about the soul IF it exists doesn't add up to anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    So I'm telling you that the idea makes no sense and that any arguments trying to support it are flawed from the get-go.
    The concept makes enough sense to you that you were able to accurately describe the soul in the OP. What you described pretty much corresponds to what people who believe in the soul thinks the soul is. And whether the idea "makes sense" to you is irrelevant. Your opinion on what does or does not make sense does not equate support for anything. Or if you are arguing that it objectively does not make sense, you will need to support that.

    And unless we are shifting the burden, the quality of the arguments FOR the soul existing are irrelevant.



    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    My conclusion is wholly based on the soul being a terrible idea to begin with and that even the peddlars of the idea can't agree about it!
    Actually, pretty much everyone who believes in a soul agrees that it's pretty much that it's what you defined in the OP.



    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Not Buddhism as far as I know; and every other religion invents even more unsupported speculations and all different. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
    But again, they all agree that what is described in the OP exists.



    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    I take is seriously as everyone else does. Even your own description doesn't really sound like anything more than just wishful thinking! If you're suggesting that a poorly thought out idea (see the OP, as well as your own description) isn't sufficient of an argument then I seriously don't know how low your bar is!
    Again, shifting the burden.

    And it's also forwarding the argument from ignorance fallacy. How poor people's arguments are regarding the soul existing means nothing if they have no burden to support that the soul exists.. Either the soul exists or it does not. If someone makes a bad argument that the soul exists, then that just means that they have failed to support the notion that it exists and therefore there is no support that it exists. And a million people making bad arguments just equates the same thing - no support that the soul exists.

    But lack of support that the soul exists is NOT support that it doesn't exist. So to argue that people failing to support the soul existence is somehow evidence that it does not is to engage in the argument from ignorance fallacy.



    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    This is just the same as saying whether the body survives death: we know it doesn't because the body has rotted.
    No, it's not the same. We KNOW the body rots and eventually decays to nothing (not literally nothing but you get the idea) because such a thing has been observed. There has been no such observation of a consciousness rotting away to nothing.


    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    I have no idea how you expect an emergent property of something that is dead to continue existing. You're just not making much sense in your question. Please explain!
    What I'm referring to the thing you described in the OP continuing to exist after the body dies. A majority of the earth's population thinks that it does (and to be clear, I am not arguing that that means that they are correct). If you can't comprehend this concept, it's not my burden to help you understand it. And if you can't or won't understand it, you can't use that as a basis of support that the soul does not exist.

    You not understanding something does not mean that it doesn't exist.

 

 
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