Are we purely material beings or do we have souls?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Correlation is not causation. Minds being correlated with bodies does not imply any causation between them. You may never personally find the Indian fellow who answers your customer service calls either, but that doesn't mean he only exists in your phone. There are many things unknown, and unknowable, to science. That's just reality. The null hypothesis is that no two things have any relationship but the evident. That the cessation of one cannot be assumed to cause the cessation of the other without actual evidence to that particular end. Parsimony would dictate that you cannot make a positive assertion in either direction, because there is evidence of neither.

    Your scientism assumptions are just that.

    Again, the null hypothesis is that minds are not caused by brains, unless you have conclusive evidence otherwise. You have zero basis to make any assertions about personal experience after the brain dies. If you did, you having such experience would contradict your claim. See how that works?


    You asked "why you believe in them, and to present your best evidence for their existence". I'm saying there is no material evidence and that belief requires none. You don't need to find the fellow in India to believe he exists.

    For one, conclusive evidence that choices are generated by the brain, like the debunked Libet-type experiments tried to.

    That's why I prefer to talk about the null hypothesis or even parsimony. Too many think Occam's razor means that the simplest answer is usually correct, but that's a very naive understanding. The null hypothesis is that, if people have internal, subjective experiences not related to the body or its stimuli, perhaps there is some duality. Unjustified relationships are not parsimonious, otherwise we could just assume a theory of quantum gravity and call it a day.

    Preferring to assume an answer that satisfies your scientism is not parsimonious.

    Like I said, the brain is the switchboard. Like the wires, it carries the signal. You know, like the invisible electromagnetic waves. Certainly you don't doubt those simply because they are invisible.

    All subjective and anecdotal. Nothing that you would find compelling.

    Processing stimuli and controlling autonomous bodily functions is a far cry from explaining subjective experience.
    Again, who said there was any positive evidence for the soul? You're the one making positive assertions here. So tell me, where does the onus lie? If you don't like that answer to that, simply quit making positive assertions.

    Of course you don't understand the personal experiences that lead a vast majority of the world's population to believe in a soul, but you should at least be able to acknowledge that such experiences probably exist. Otherwise, you must have a rather sad outlook of most of the world being delusional for no apparent reason. Would likely make it a scary place for you.

    Again, my experience would not be compelling.

    No, I just know the futility. It's not compelling and admittedly only my personal belief, which means that any appeals for evidence are lost on me. Not sure what anyone would have to gain from it, unless they have nagging doubts about their own disbelief and are desperately seeking something to cling to.

    To what end? So you can bicker about something that I readily admit is not scientific evidence? I don't see the point.

    Hence the "if".

    You said "evidence of any flavour".
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
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  3. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    It's not my opposition that debunked those experiments.

    No, I didn't. Learn to read or quit erecting straw men.

    Neither can be evidenced by science. So again, what material evidence do you have that you love your family? It's okay if you can't answer. That doesn't mean you don't love your family. I'm happy to believe you if you tell me you do, without any evidence at all.

    "we don't know yet" is scientism. It's an unjustifiable belief in science, which itself states that some things are forever beyond its methodology.
    Cute how you think all beliefs should somehow be justified by scientific evidence. Again, where is such evidence that you love your family?
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I know that I am conscious. I infer from your behaviour that you are conscious.

    Are you going to answer my questions now?

    Sorry, I didn't read your sentence properly. There's no problem with that part.
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  7. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    What? Do we have souls? My belief is that there is One Soul that shines through Each of Us.
    The best analogy I've heard of is that of the Sun shining through a stained glass window (like that of a church).
  8. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps this is the question you are referring.

    All things are observable: the external environment (world), physical sensations (body), emotions and thoughts (mind). The only thing I can't observe directly is the witness of all else--for lack of a better word...awareness/consciousness. It is elusive in the sense that a finger can't scratch its own itch. You can't know it as you know all else, because it is the light at the core of your being. It is the "I" in You. It is my belief that that "I" is Universal and is at the core of each of us.

    I have no evidence, just an understanding.

    Was that helpful?
  9. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    So SC does not know this, so it can't know that

    Got it
    So byeeee

    So far it seems you have some sort of belief - anybody out there work out exactly what? - but your not going to post it because
    OK byeeee

    Give you 0.5% for the hint of lime/lemon flavour

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  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    They arn't debunked.....The mind stems from the brain. Get used to it [no pun intended]
    Like most creationists, and like your bible, you post as cryptic as possible to justify your nonsense and dribble.
    Quite irrational to link love with your God simply because neither are concepts that can be defined. God being the result of myth and being supernatural and unscientific, differs somewhat from love which is simply an emotion like hate or sadness.
    Ahaa, we have another Jan, redefining words to support his agenda. We don't know yet, means exactly that, as yet we don't know but tomorrow with the advent of a verifiable QGT, we might know. God on the other hand is a supernatural concept and by definition, unscientific.
    I didn't say that...stop being so dishonest. The physical nature of the universe, and all in it is justified and explained via the scientific method. Love as explained is simply a human emotion.
  11. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Beings don’t have souls.
    Beings are souls, in a biological suit we call the body.

    You have a mind.
    You are not the mind.
  12. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Are you quoting Yoda?
  13. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

  14. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    In one post, you managed to demonstrate one of the most self-defeating narratives I've seen today. And, I'm sure you'll post more of them.
  15. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    The metaphysical cannot be addressed with scientific methodology. And?

    Yes, they are. Go look up the latest studies on the Libet-type experiments.

    Again, no accounting for your comprehension unless you have specific questions I can answer.

    You're avoiding the question.

    The methodology of science puts some question forever beyond it. This is rather trivial. Who ever said God was scientific? That's a bizarre notion.

    So you can wholly account for love through physical processes? Doesn't that make any love for your family completely insignificant?
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Is unscientific at best, and mythical at worst. No evidence, no proof, nothing, zilch for anything remotely pointing to any existence of any mythical soul.
    No thank you.'The brain controls basically all human functions, consciously and/or unconsciously. If you believe this stems from some mythical soul, that we cannot see or feel, then the onus is on you to provide evidence for such a mythical entitiy.
    My comprehension is OK, even in the face of dishonest and obtuse discussions with the likes of yourself and Jan.
    No I am not. But anyway I'll answer it again and put your confusion down to your lack of comprehension...Quite irrational to link love with your God simply because neither are concepts that can be defined. God being the result of myth and being supernatural and unscientific, differs somewhat from love which is simply an emotion like hate or sadness.
    Let me be even more blunt...Speaking generally of course, "Science is what we know: Philosophy is what we don't know: Religion are/is mythical explanations stemming from pre-science days.
    I'm accounting for nothing, including your dishonesty, which seems to be a trait often used by believers and creationists.
    Again, the physical nature of the universe, and all in it is justified and explained via the scientific method. Love as explained is simply a human emotion. Perhaps once again, your comprehension is limited?
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
  17. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Or, any methodology, yet some people actually believe in it.
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    These assertions are all well and good, but beside the point of this thread.

    I asked why you to tell me why you believe this, and what evidence you have for it.

    Are you going to answer the question, or just make proclamations about your beliefs?
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Your belief is that different individuals share a single soul in common?

    I guess this fits with your belief (posted in a different thread) that God is all things. In that context, it doesn't really make much sense to distinguish individuals or individual souls. All souls would be God. All individuals would be God.

    And yet, you seem to be saying that God's magical soul light shines through individuals, not that it is those individuals.

    What is it that makes an individual an individual, according to you? Anything in particular? Just the separateness of the material bodies, perhaps?

    I disagree that all things are observable. In particular, I disagree that all our mental processes are accessible to our consciousness. I'd also say there's good evidence for that.

    It is possible that this "I" is a sort of illusion your brain constructs for you?

    How can you say you understand something for which you have no evidence?

    Yes. Thank you.
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    That's all well and good, but you avoided addressing the Occam razor argument I put to you. Your soul idea requires not just a brain to produce consciousness, but a brain and an immortal, immaterial soul. You're multiplying entities unnecessarily, unless and until you can show that the soul is a required element. We already know that a brain is required for consciousness.

    Also, it's worth noting, once again, that we have established that bodies exist, whereas we can't detect souls by any objective method. Therefore, given the observed correlation between mind and body, it is much more plausible that the physical body causes the mind than this invisible, undetectable, supposedly immortal soul.

    You assert that the brain is merely a switchboard through which the soul controls the body. But no communication method has been identified through which a soul could possibly contact a brain. Compare this to the brain controlling the body. That works through good old-fashioned chemistry and electromagnetism.

    A series of physical connections can be traced from my phone to the guy in India. It's about a billion times more plausible that he exists than that an undetectable, untraceable soul exists in communication with each brain.

    The null hypothesis is that two specified things (typically measured characteristics of a group) have no relationship of a specified kind. It's most often used in statistics.

    Similarly, the operation of one cannot be put down to the operation of the other without actual evidence to that particular end. We have actual evidence that minds do not operate without brains. We have no actual evidence that minds do not operate without souls.

    What assumptions?

    If your research question is "Are minds caused by brains?" then the null hypothesis is "Minds are not correlated with brains". The statistical analysis of the available data will show that, in fact, minds are correlated with brains, thus refuting the null hypothesis.

    If, on the other hand, your research question is "Are minds caused by souls?" then before we start formulating a null hypothesis we have ask how we're going to collect data about souls, separate from minds. (We can certainly do that for brains.) Once we have the soul data, then we can formulate a suitable null hypothesis and test it. But where's the soul data?

    That's why scientific conclusions about correlations between mind and brain are not based on personal experiences!

    I agree with you, of course. You're saying you have no material evidence for the existence of souls, but you believe in them anyway. That's all very clear. Thankyou for your honesty.

    It's more a case of: if there are two equally powerful explanations, we should prefer the simpler one. I know what the simpler explanation is out of "brain is needed for mind" and "brain and soul are both needed for mind". What extra does adding the soul have to offer?

    The theory in that case would be "internal, subjective experiences are caused by a soul". The related null hypothesis would be "souls and internal, subjective experiences are uncorrelated with one another". But where are you going to get unconnected souls to test?

    Parsimony actually has nothing to do with justified relationships. It's all about not multiplying entities unnecessarily.

    My scientism? What are you talking about, exactly? You keep bringing it up, so it must be important to you. Can you explain, please?

    Here you are talking about null hypotheses and the like, and you want to leave science, statistics and the like out of the discussion? Do null hypotheses work differently in religious discussions?

    Also, you imply that I "assume" an answer. I infer an answer, based on the observations and explanatory power of the theories used to account for them, taking advantage of rules of thumb such as Occam's razor. That's quite a different process than making unwarranted assumptions.

    What's the signal, in the case of the soul?

    Those invisible electromagnetic waves are certainly detectable, in many different ways. Moreover, they can be isolated from individual devices such as television sets, radios, stars, light bulbs, etc. Where are the isolated souls? How do you detect them?

    You didn't really answer the question I asked you: by what process does your soul connect to your body? Instead, you tried to give me an analogy about how the connection might work, comparing it to radio or a telephone line. I asked you how it does work. Give me the explanation, not the analogy. I already understand the analogy.

    Again, thank you for being honest. I do appreciate it, since so many theists find that they can't be, for reasons known only to themselves.

    I agree. But nowhere near as far as we are from detecting an immaterial, immortal soul.

    I'm not sure which positive assertions of mine you're taking issue with. Please explain.

    I'm not arguing with you here. I simply asked why you (theists) believe in souls, and I invited you all to present your best evidence for their existence. You've told me you have no objective evidence for their existence, which is fine. Now all you need to do is to tell me why you believe in souls and we'll be done here. So far, all you've said is that you have reasons that you don't think will convince me. That's just fine, too, but I'd still like to hear your reasons even if I'm not convinced by them.

    Why "Of course..."? Do you think I'm in a special position where I'm unable to understand why millions of people believe in souls? I'm quite a smart guy, you know. Why don't you try me?

    Look, you don't have to speak for the millions. You can just speak for you, and that will be fine. Have you had personal experiences that make you believe in souls? Do you want to share? Is it too private and personal for you to say? No pressure, but I'm interested.

    Are you ever interested in hearing opinions and points of view from people who think or believe differently to you? Ever been curious about how the other half lives? Do you really think there's nothing to be gained from listening to what people who believe or think differently have to say? Personally, I think that kind of attitude, which isn't that uncommon, is a problem in our modern world of ideological bubbles.

    I also think that we don't have to hate each other if we disagree on certain matters.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2020
  21. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    The thread asks if we are purely material beings, or, do we have souls (meaning non material). If we “have”souls, then we are purely material beings with souls, and your question becomes impossible to answer effectively.
    My assertion was a correction of the question.
    I don’t have to believe it. I would have to believe otherwise. I would have to think up explanations as to why I believed it. As it stands I know I am separate to anything I own, or regard as belonging to me.
  22. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member


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    Yeah, that's one to think about.
  23. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    What evidence is that?

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