From the bottom of my frontal lobe...

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Nebula, Nov 7, 2002.

  1. Nebula Occasionally Frequent Registered Senior Member

    I have news for everyone:

    There is no such thing as a soul. You don't have one, nor do you need one. Get used to it.
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  3. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    Good name for a thread. Congratulations.

    Well, you should have backed up your arguments. I'm going to brazenly fight you, though, so prepare yourself for my onslaught!

    First I must ask the definition of soul. In my opinion, my thought process, my system of ideals and dreams and wants and desires are completely unique among the human race. There is not another single me out there, I am the only me that exists, or will ever exist. Therefore, I have a soul, a thing that, in my opinions, makes us unique from one another, and makes all living things slightly or significantly (depending on overall intelligence or capacity for affection) differ from one another. Even in insects. We just can't tell, because we can't empathyze.

    I have a soul. You do as well.

    Do I need a soul, though?

    I would go so far as to say yes, to be alive, to be acknowledged by friends and enemies alike you need your uniqueness, and without it, without the life behind your eyes, you are only a corpse in a world of organic material. What happens when the body dies, if the soul does anything other than die, is beyond me and any other human that has ever existed.

    Get used to it? Take your own advice.

    From the center of my metaphysical existence to yours

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  5. pumpkinsaren'torange Registered Senior Member

    well, bless my soul!

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    and, yeah...i do have a soul. my soul is full, too...full of love...sweet, sweet love....

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  7. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Wait pollux. Are you suggesting that it's impossible to attribute the fact that we're all different to our anatomy (chemical make-up) and our nurturing??? If so, I highly suggest you either prove this and thus radically alter every view in science or proclaim that your view is, at best, flawed.
  8. Nebula Occasionally Frequent Registered Senior Member

    Thank you for your response Pollux. Now allow me to return the favor...

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    But first, a definition ye requests. Hold tight whilst I think...

    Soul: A supernatural, spiritual, non-physical entity that is somehow tied to an individual's physical reality.

    I don't mean anything ambiguous by soul; I guess I'm simply stating that body/mind/soul are one in the same, physical stuff. Typical monist standpoint I guess.

    I'm saying that any type of spiritual soul (the kind that would guarantee an afterlife, for example) does not exist.

    And now, to dismember you....hehehe...

    Pollux V:
    I totally agree with you here. I am unique also, and everyone is different from everyone else.

    If I follow you correctly, this is basically your argument:

    A soul is something that makes people unique.
    + People are unique.
    Therefore, people have souls.

    Here is my problem with that line of reasoning. As a human, I am naturally going to accept explinations that are (1) complete, (2) plausible, and (3) simple.

    Personally, I feel that genes explain human differences much more completely, plausibly and simply than a soul could. Why should we think that the functions of a soul cannot be functions of the human mind? While it maybe hard to believe that mere flesh can "think", I find it a simpler explanation than trying to add a supernatural (and thus, unproven) aspect.

    There is no evidence of a soul. There is, however, evidence that suggests that personality and temperment- things often attributed to a soul- may reside in certain areas of the brain. Phineas Gage (search on google for more info) had his frontal lobe scrambled about by a steel rod, and although he survived, he was never "the same." He went from being a mild-mannered and outgoing man to an short-tempered, crude and obnoxious person. Similar observations have been reported in other case where the frontal lobe was altered/destroyed (ie, lobotomies).

    This also carries over to the spiritual realm. I recently read a Reader's digest article that discussed how one area of the human brain may be linked to religious experiences. I believe they used PET scans (but I don't remember for certain) to monitor cerebal activity during a religious experience (ie prayer, deep meditation). What they found was that activity in the area of the brain that usually links our consciousness to our sense-datum was dramatically reduced. This may explain why humans have occasional "spiritual moments" in biological terms. This is still a pretty controversial area; people don't like believing that all of those deep inner feelings of peace, solitude or elevated consciousness are not the result of a soul, but rather, simply your brain disconnecting yourself from reality.

    All in all, it seems that EVERY sensation, every thought and EVERY last emotion that you experience is the result of physical neural activity. I don't see, then, why one feels the need to add a supernatural element to the equation. Adding a soul to the mix only complicated the explination (especially since biology has the potential to explain everything).

    I also wonder if, when people say they "know" they have a soul because they "feel" it, they question the credibility of introspection. From what I've taken in psych, I would say that introspection is a pretty shitty way to reach any conclusion, let alone one of this magnitude.

    Sorry if this seems disjointed and long, I'm all out the stream of consciousness

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    Thanks again for your post, it got me thinking anyway

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  9. SoLiDUS OMGWTFBBQ Registered Senior Member

    Have fun proving that. One cannot know for sure until physical
    death... but you're free to entertain the idea that such a thing
    does not exist.

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...

    Entertain the possibility that your brain is merely a radio or the
    device your soul uses to interact with the physical plane: what
    would happen if parts of that device were to be broken ? You
    obviously know the answer to the question so I won't expound
    on what I mean...

    Biology can explain the physical, but many things (unfortunately
    subjective) have yet to be explained, such as how an OOBEer
    can see people a great physical distance away interact together,
    talking and then, upon "awakening", recall everything said, all of
    it confirmed by the people seen in the experience...

    In any case, soul or not, it makes no difference to me: if nothing
    awaits at physical death, I won't really know it now will I ? But if
    there is something else, hot diggity!
  10. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    Nebula I look forward to debating with you. I'll try to get to your longish post, but first I have to get to tyler.

    I'm not going to be stubborn and I'm not going to be a dumbass. We can formulate the definition of the "21st century soul" right here. I forgot about the parents-nurturing-you thing, how we all do, whether we like it or not, act somewhat, somewhat like our parents or guardians, as well as our early friends and possibly idles. But, while all of these wildly variable variables put together COULD equal a soul, that is, YOU, yourself, I want to just say that it's possible that not everything you hear makes you who you are, that only a little of it makes you unique, and therefore, different. Just a drip of dye into the mix.....

    Okay nebula. Let's rumble

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    You're lucky I'm at home waiting to go to an orthodontist appointment, otherwise I'd probably be flirting with my current crush at this moment. Anyhoo....

    We should stop on this train of thought, since we really can't prove either argument, which will be MY argument heheh

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    Well to scramble his frontal lobe the guy must have been pretty screwed up to begin with

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    But I've thought about this too, how it is albeit possible that we are all bound by DNA and RNA in our brain cells etc, but that we may also have, I hate to say it, a spiritual grounding as well. I'm talking about the life behind the eyes, how I've heard that if you watch someone die, watch their eyes, their face, you can see the life just fade away from them.

    My argument, possibly irrational and definitely unscientific in the way that it delves into religion, is that for all living things, there is something more to being alive, a gift that separates them from rocks or, well, nebula hehehe. There is more to an existence then simply electrical thought inside your mind, neurons firing to each other. They control my muscles, control my typing ability, but I control them, my being that was nurtured from birth by parents and among other things STAR WARS!! I hate to present such a scattered argument, but it's a tough debate to do in the first place, and thus, these things happen. Let me try to sum up my rant:

    You start life as a baby, but immediately after birth your person that developed from your parents genetics is molded, and this molding continues for your entire life. The brain creates the soul, the spiritual entity that makes us different from rocks, but it isn't always there, and it isn't always the same. It is in a constant state of flux, the mind and the senses altering what you and me are. We live inside our brains, nestled deep within the soft flesh, something that science cannot detect and cannot measure.

    Man o man I hope I'm not the next truthseeker. I also hope that what I'm saying isn't thought of as crazy as it sounds, but I've never put it to words.

    Reading through your post, I've found we have very different opinions, and I concede that yours may be correct, that there is nothing more to life than electricity and DNA and the five senses and how our complex mind interprets it all. I've made the little jump into thinking that there is just a little bit more to it than that, even though I do not believe in it fully.

    Take care

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  11. Nebula Occasionally Frequent Registered Senior Member

    Hehe...I read this for the first time just minutes before reading it your post

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    . You'll notice the "..." at the end of the statement however, at which point you tack on "necessarily."

    An argument without evidence is very weak. The argument in favor of a soul has far less evidence than the argument against a soul.

    Why should be believe something without evidence when we have more evidence to the contrary side? Are you saying that although there are scores of evidence indicating that the Earth is round, it may actually be flat?

    I should say something that I didn't want to say this early into the thread. I started this thread because earlier that day, in Phil., we had a discussion about all this. I personally don't know if we have souls or not; I agree with Pollux when we say that neither side can be 100% verified. I'm just saying that given the evidence that we DO have, it seems unlikely that a soul exists. The purpose of this thread was to prove that there is more evidence in favor of a soul not existing.

    Hopefully that kind of gives you a better idea of where I'm coming from. So, in accordance with the above analogy, I believe the Earth is round, it is not flat, but it could be flat. Does that make sense? Thus, I believe we do not have a soul, but we might. I don't know, maybe this is a bad way of thinking?

    One more side note:'
    Pollux....always, always ALWAYS choose females over sci-forums...what kind of a nerd are you?

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    Anyway, back to the argument...

    Sol: I've often thought of this, and it does offer a logical explanation of the argument. However, the fact is that it is a complicated explanation. Therefore, we should feel inclined to accept the argument that explains things equally thoroughly, yet much more simply: a soul doesn't exist. I may not be able to tell you HOW the brain "gives life", but I don't need to in order to say that it potentially could.

    I agree that a soul cannot be dis/proved. That fact is irrelevant right now, however. The only time we should believe a soul exists is when we prove that every experience IS NOT a direct result of the physical brain. Until that time, we have no reason to believe otherwise. Do you see what I mean? Until we admit defeat and say "Okay, we have studied and explained the human brain 100%, nothing remains unknown about it. Yet there are things that that knowledge does not explain," we should not feel inclined to believe that human life is anything more than biology. That is the basis of my argument, and I hope it made myself clear.

    What if aliens were controlling us with interstellar telepathic waves? Sounds a bit far-fetched huh? Well, prove to me that this isn't the case. That seems to be the basis of your argument.

    I'm saying that you shouldn't be asking me to disprove your theory until you've disproven mine, because mine is simpler.

    BTW, you guys have given me a really good idea for my Phil term paper

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    Ugh, i shouldn't even be doing this, I've had no more than 20 hours of sleep in the last 6 days.......
  12. SoLiDUS OMGWTFBBQ Registered Senior Member

    There is evidence for the existence of souls: unfortunately, it all
    lies beyond the realm of the empirical. External observations of
    astral projections, for example, are limited to verifying the items
    a person may have been asked to "check out", if you see what
    I mean.

    I agree; evidence is almost non-existant for the case of souls but
    I still prefer opposing Ockham's Razor for this

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    No, it isn't. Also, I wasn't really arguing with you: rather, I just
    wanted to give you my opinion on the topic, which is all anyone
    can do when it comes to a subject like this, where neither side
    has the necessary proofs to "conclude" the discussion. I agree
    that given the evidence we have so far, your side would be the
    more logical one to defend, but given my background and all of
    the experiences I've had, I can't bring myself to jump the fence,
    so to speak...

    I hope you get an A for that paper you'll write

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  13. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    *lifts up shoes*:bugeye:

    i have TWO

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  14. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    As for the paper

    Feel free to quote me
  15. Nebula Occasionally Frequent Registered Senior Member

    aw, see that's why I didn't want to mention my "experiment" this early on, now the thread has died...

    And thx pollux....but how do I cite sciforums?

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  16. Fathoms Banned Banned

    -Definition of "Soul"

    My conception of the "Soul" is mannered in rather abstract fashion as it differs greatly from more conventional definitions. As the years have ravaged on my young mind, peppering it with escapist riddles, childish fantasies and sobering ruminations I have begun to envision a sophistication in my philosophizing that might actually lead to some place of contentment. Ideologies are constantly fluxating from one end of the spectrum to the next, with a person as gullible as I that is a dangerous thing. However, I now have chosen to adopt the outsiders perspective, a place of detatchment where I can analyze and detect the important issues of the entire spectrum without tainting each of its rich colors by standing amist them. For example, lets say theism=blue, polytheism=red, atheism=green and so on. An atheists green is likely to have a warped perception of the theists blue my imposing its own criteria of what constitutes logic, reason, fantasy ect and order of importance of these wonderful things...

    Basically-I've decided that there is a difference between studying the forest from the trees, above the trees, within the trees and so on. Hey great analogies popping up here... Better than the spectrum one. We could call polytheists squirrils, theists avaions, and atheists sharks. Or we could say polytheists are branches, theists are trunks and atheists are like molechules. All understandably have durastically differing vewis on reality and what not...I love metaphors.

    Anyway, I am saying that I'm kind of ripping the the roof off the house and studying each room at the same time rather than always studying from the kitchen and never setting foot in the other rooms when it comes to contemplating. (Ohh, I like this analogy too. Better jot that one down) I'm trying too see how they all come together to create a framework of reality that I can work with and in effect deduce my own unique conclusions about it.

    The first causalty is ego. Ego is the worst thing imaginable when it comes to philosophy. Not that it isn't useful; It's downfall is in that it sucks up energy like a black hole, smears ones perceptions like a pint of beer, spreads the pieces of a jigsaw and hides all of the eges, dictates the commentary of observation, laughs during the sad parts in a movie, runs when it should be walking, eats when it should be sleeping and stuff. Its irritating, I can't personally get my ego to shut up for 4 consecuative seconds. Consequently, I can't make any progress without first aknowlegeing, and accepting that my ego will play an integral part in my conclusions. In all likelihood, from day one I was doomed to fall prey to the nihilistic spiderweb of misery, or fall in love with the whims and whispers of the metaphysical. In truth, my whole life I've been bouncing back and forth between the two...

    Primarily, ego has a lot to do with social context but I don't feel the need to dive into that right now. In any discussion their are a million issues, digressions, epiphanies, mental shortcomings, that shouldn't be indulged in. Otherwise, we would never ever ever get anything accomplished at all and likely die off of starvation, or go crazy with sleep deprivation, or kill eachother with ego-driven holy wars and what-not.

    The most important consideration needed in understanding my philosophy is that I place equal importance on everything. On logic, on flights of fancy, on science, on emotions, on ego, on many many many things. After all, they all exist in this reality don't they? Should they not be entitled to equal oppurtunity? With that in mind I try not to make any assumptions about each of them. Which of course takes a real long time stripping them down to their bare marrow and figuring out how the peices are supposed to fit.

    Also, being the most important consideration needed in undestanding my philosophy is that I place no importance on everything. Especially concerning that which is in my head, which of course is everything. I entertain the possibility that the true nature of that which we call reality is so diluted by that which we call the human mind (its perceptions, thoughts ect) that we fall victim to assumptions ad infinitum. Including our assumptions about assumptions.

    This leaves me in the most rubust vaccuum I can imagine in trying to contemplate the possibilties of spirituality, namely the "Soul".

    At this point, my own philosophy striates into places I'm grossely incapable of comprehending with my limited education and mental inequity. Here on the surface of this vast sea of contemplation I can tell you that I now agree unequivocally that anything at all is possible. It is possible there is an afterlife, it is possible that there is such thing as a soul, it is possible that there are infinite dimensions, parrallel universe and yes, regretably its even possible there is a heaven, there is a hell; though I don't tread those waters often. And lastly, it is even possible this life is all there is. What we see is all there is but I do consider it unlikely.

    Reality, in my estimation is ineffeble. More importantly I see reality as more supernatural than any fable concieved by humans without question. So few people really take a moment to consider the surreal vastness of space, the overwhelming complexity of consciousness (the human brain), the sheer imagination and creativity vibrant in everysingle atom in this universe we call home. It is undeniably supernatural in my mind that reality exists at all, continues to exist, and for the time being plays cheif cook and bottle washer to these majestic creations of life we see present on this planet in this passing ever-so-transient moment.

    Whenever people squabble over explanations of concousness and whether or not there really is a soul I can't help but be fascinated by the purity of both sides of view. In one lineage of reason we find brilliant deductions about the nature, workings, functions of the human brain and in the other we find arguements invoking the intagible properties of conciousness. Of course, reductionists argue that there is no need for a soul and I'm thinking they may be correct, even so they fail to even address the issue of 'experience'. It is because of this I wonder if reality itself is akin to a musical instrument (say... a hapr) being played upon by lifeforms (namely, their brains) that creates fleeting vibrations that have a sound and melody all to their own. Maybe we just can't dissect these sounds and melodies the same way we can the strings, but it makes them no less succeptable to mortality.

    There are so many metaphysical ideas I'm kicking around like a bruised and tattered alluminum coke can down this dizzying road of life. Many of them do allow for a 'soul' albiet in much different contexts than conventional notions (lets face it, right now nueroscience has the soul by the testicicles. Ideas have to evolve in order to survive). I believe in forever.
  17. Nebula Occasionally Frequent Registered Senior Member

    don't get lost
  18. machaon Registered Senior Member

    a reply

    Oh, but I DO have soul. It is an etherial little gnome that quietly peers over my shoulder and repeats the last word of every sentence I utter. His name is Leon.
  19. airdog prehensile Registered Senior Member

    You're trying to tell me that Otis Redding had no soul?
  20. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member


    I read the first quarter of your post, I have to just say that I'm not sure you can say that you can truly study human behavior, this includes religion, from an outsiders perspective. You grew up here and society has molded you into a human being. Unless you're an alien, then the claim that you can study from the outside is false.

    I'll read more, though, rest assured

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  21. xandrique moniqueface Registered Senior Member


    OH MY... this really annoys me. I just spent like 15 minutes writing a reply and I closed the window WHILE IT WAS PROCESSING. So there may be two replies here (I have no idea).

    What I was saying:

    I've always considered the soul "life." That having a "soul" was just being ALIVE. I haven't really even applied the supernatural to it. I've always used it as a synnonym for life.

    I was also asking Nebula if, just because there are parts of the brain that may attribute to the idea of the SOUL and the spiritual awareness and all that... how exactly does that prove that there isn't a soul?
    I'm really not sure about the technicalities of the brain (because I'm not very attentive in psych, in fact, I'm skipping right now). But, take the occipital lobe, for instance, and how it processes visually, and once impaired it can cause a person to be blind? That doesn't necessarily mean that anything visual doesn't exist. So just because there are parts of the brain that process the "spiritual" or the "soul" that doesn't mean that there isn't one... does it? I'm wondering, to get a better idea on all of this.

    This is one of THOSE things I haven't yet grounded an opinion on. I think it's because I don't think there's a right or wrong idea.
  22. Nebula Occasionally Frequent Registered Senior Member


    Your description of the soul or spirit is the kind I most agree with. I started a post on here a long time ago asking "what is death?" Why can't we ALWAYS bring someone back to life after they have just died (assuming there was no major structural damage). Until we can do that, I personally do feel inclined to believe there is more to us.

    Also, keep in mind that I try to be a methodological skeptic: just because I say/argue something doesn't necessarily mean I believe it

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    My argument was that a soul shouldn't be used as an explanation until we have proved that the brain is not capabable of producing every experience. So it doesn't really prove there isn't a soul, it just says we shouldn't be so willing to assert that there is a soul.
  23. xandrique moniqueface Registered Senior Member

    That's a lot like me. I didn't know what you meant, at first, when you said methodological skeptic.

    But still, in regards to the topic... whether having a place in the mind to process the spiritual events really means that we don't really experience them? I may have really lost contact with the initial argument here.

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