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Question: Do you believe that you have a soul?
Yes   -31 (44.9%)
No   -30 (43.5%)
Don't know   -8 (11.6%)
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Total Voters: 69

Author Topic: Do you have a soul?  (Read 5181 times)
HagridOfTheDeep
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« Reply #50 on: July 05, 2012, 08:01:19 pm »
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Maybe for you. And that's okay.

Sure, we can be made of atoms and stardust and this and that. But that's just superfluous. Who cares? Stars and planets and atoms? Those definitions operate in the confines of our world, not Truth. Maybe our senses are a result of the matter in our brains--hell, I'm sure some scientific process actually explains our ability to hear and see, etc. But the state of actually seeing something trumps the bells and whistles of it all. And you may disagree--I just think that's a more limited way of looking at things (as I'm sure you probably think about my thought process too Tongue).

So the 'state of actually seeing something' isn't simply scientific, even though the fact we can see can be explained by science as you admit? If anything you are adding the 'bells and whistles' to experiences that are very fantastic but easily explainable.

You can explain how it is that we are able to see. Fine. But explain what it is actually like to see to someone who has never seen before.
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« Reply #51 on: July 05, 2012, 09:56:30 pm »
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Maybe for you. And that's okay.

Sure, we can be made of atoms and stardust and this and that. But that's just superfluous. Who cares? Stars and planets and atoms? Those definitions operate in the confines of our world, not Truth. Maybe our senses are a result of the matter in our brains--hell, I'm sure some scientific process actually explains our ability to hear and see, etc. But the state of actually seeing something trumps the bells and whistles of it all. And you may disagree--I just think that's a more limited way of looking at things (as I'm sure you probably think about my thought process too Tongue).

So the 'state of actually seeing something' isn't simply scientific, even though the fact we can see can be explained by science as you admit? If anything you are adding the 'bells and whistles' to experiences that are very fantastic but easily explainable.

You can explain how it is that we are able to see. Fine. But explain what it is actually like to see to someone who has never seen before.

No, but that's a problem of communication, not a problem of fact. Even if I can't adequately describe what sight is I could demonstrate to a blind person that I have a way of sensing that they do not. It's easy to think of an experiment to do so, for example:

I could hand them a piece of clear tupperware and a small red block. I would leave the room and the blind person would decide whether or not to put the block in the tupperware. When done, the blind person would call me back in and I would quickly determine whether or not the block is in the tupperware. I could repeat this as many times as needed to show that I'm not just guessing and that I can really determine the presence of the block with 100% accuracy each time.
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HagridOfTheDeep
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« Reply #52 on: July 06, 2012, 04:02:56 am »
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You are missing my point. That person would still have no idea what anything looked like. Lack of communication? Sure, that's sort of the point. No amount of science or language in our material world will ever be able to explain exactly what it is like to see to a person who cannot. It's not about "demonstrating that sight is real." It's about the phenomenon of seeing: the science is inadequate and meaningless when you look at the big picture.

Anyhow, I'm not convincing anyone and this is really going in circles... I'll keep answering your questions if you want, but don't expect anything creative. Tongue
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« Reply #53 on: July 06, 2012, 06:17:34 am »
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You're the one that's missing the point - it really is about demonstrating that something is real. There are numerous claims of the metaphysical, many of which contradict each other. Should we take all of them seriously just because someone's got a gut feeling that they are true?
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« Reply #54 on: July 06, 2012, 06:01:36 pm »
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You're the one that's missing the point - it really is about demonstrating that something is real. There are numerous claims of the metaphysical, many of which contradict each other. Should we take all of them seriously just because someone's got a gut feeling that they are true?

No, each person should decide for himself.

And I'm not trying to say it's about demonstrating that something is real to the blind person. In the confines of our current material world, everything we think we know is shallow. The blind person can use his other senses to assume that the object goes in the box--that's fine. But the box and the object are like forms that have an essence we can't currently know. I happen to believe there is more beyond our senses.

But what our senses do show us is still an incredible gift. "Seeing" is an indescribable experience. To me, it is all the proof I need. Your faith might sit on different foundations or might not exist at all. It's not really my concern--I believe faith is inherently personal, though I appreciate the opportunity to share in my own with others.
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« Reply #55 on: July 09, 2012, 12:25:22 pm »
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I voted yes.
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« Reply #56 on: July 20, 2012, 03:56:04 pm »
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You're the one that's missing the point - it really is about demonstrating that something is real. There are numerous claims of the metaphysical, many of which contradict each other. Should we take all of them seriously just because someone's got a gut feeling that they are true?

The case for the existence of mental substances goes rather a bit beyond a 'gut feeling', since we all have a direct and very real experience of something that seems very difficult to explain in other terms. If anything, the responsability of finding evidence against the existence of such substances is on the reductionist side. There is no very convincing account of the mental in purely physical terms that I'm aware off. What we do have is rather a lot of vague promises and hugely simplified schemes of what such an acount *might* look like if we were ever to posses a complete understanding of the human brain in terms of chemical and neurophysical processes, and even those fail rather miserably at answering the 'qualia'-objection. (Roughly Speaking: how de we make sense of the 'what-it's-like' of an experience without falling into circularity.)
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« Reply #57 on: July 20, 2012, 06:54:00 pm »
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The case for the existence of mental substances goes rather a bit beyond a 'gut feeling', since we all have a direct and very real experience of something that seems very difficult to explain in other terms.

Is this the royal we you're referring to?

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If anything, the responsability of finding evidence against the existence of such substances is on the reductionist side.

If the substance is other than the brain, sure, but what other substance is there any actual evidence for? If you want to claim that there's some other substance, then you have to provide evidence for that claim just like any other.

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There is no very convincing account of the mental in purely physical terms that I'm aware off. What we do have is rather a lot of vague promises and hugely simplified schemes of what such an acount *might* look like if we were ever to posses a complete understanding of the human brain in terms of chemical and neurophysical processes, and even those fail rather miserably at answering the 'qualia'-objection. (Roughly Speaking: how de we make sense of the 'what-it's-like' of an experience without falling into circularity.)

The evidence is quite convincing to me. Damage someone's brain and you can affect not just someone's abilities, but their emotions, moods, and behaviors as well. Same with using drugs, be they medical or otherwise. Upon brain death there is no indication that a person remains at all. Science by no means claims to have a complete understanding of the brain, but the brain is quite obviously a physical thing that obviously can be affected by physical things in ways that are detectable. If you wish to posit the existence of something else connected to our consciousness, what other than an argument from incredulity do you have to demonstrate to people that it is more than a delusion?
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« Reply #58 on: July 20, 2012, 09:03:26 pm »
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John Dibble,

In order to vindicate reductive materialism, you have to show more than that material states cause mental states. You have to show that material states are identical to mental states. Everything you stated is consistent with mind-body dualism, from epiphenomenalism to versions that incorporate free will.

I recommend two great books to anyone who's interested: David Chalmers, The Character of Consciousness; and Robert C. Koons and George Bealer, eds., The Waning of Materialism.
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« Reply #59 on: July 20, 2012, 11:20:03 pm »
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John Dibble,

In order to vindicate reductive materialism, you have to show more than that material states cause mental states. You have to show that material states are identical to mental states.

It's already been shown to some extent. Chemical imbalances can cause any number of mental conditions, and using chemicals to change the balance can provide relief for those conditions. Physical input changes physical output.

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Everything you stated is consistent with mind-body dualism, from epiphenomenalism to versions that incorporate free will.

Being consistent with something and being evidence for something are entirely different things. I could posit that gravity is due to fairies using magic to bend spacetime based on the mass of the matter in the area and the evidence we have would be entirely consistent with this explanation - after all, we seen in the presence of massive objects that spacetime is warped. However, there's no evidence for fairy magic being present, so why would we tack that on?
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« Reply #60 on: July 21, 2012, 12:04:50 am »
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You do not show that two things are identical by showing that one gives rise to the other. You're again ignoring the difference between nomological supervenience and logical identity.

I did not cite your facts as evidence of mind-body dualism. The point is that (contrary to your earlier suggestion) they in no way favor reductive materialism over its rivals.
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« Reply #61 on: July 21, 2012, 02:18:32 am »
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You do not show that two things are identical by showing that one gives rise to the other. You're again ignoring the difference between nomological supervenience and logical identity.

I did not cite your facts as evidence of mind-body dualism. The point is that (contrary to your earlier suggestion) they in no way favor reductive materialism over its rivals.

I'm a reasonably intelligent human being who's seen this debate more than a few times, and I'm not familiar with this terminology -- or sure why you're assuming your audience here is.
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« Reply #62 on: July 21, 2012, 05:31:57 am »
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You do not show that two things are identical by showing that one gives rise to the other. You're again ignoring the difference between nomological supervenience and logical identity.

I did not cite your facts as evidence of mind-body dualism. The point is that (contrary to your earlier suggestion) they in no way favor reductive materialism over its rivals.

I'm a reasonably intelligent human being who's seen this debate more than a few times, and I'm not familiar with this terminology -- or sure why you're assuming your audience here is.

It's the correct terminology when discussing the mind-body problem, though. I don't see what part of it you think is problematic?

The case for the existence of mental substances goes rather a bit beyond a 'gut feeling', since we all have a direct and very real experience of something that seems very difficult to explain in other terms.

Is this the royal we you're referring to?

Let me put it like this: you don't experience 'neurochemical process XYZ', you experience a desire for ice-cream. Now, it may be the case that what actually happens when we desire ice-cream is a 'neurochemical process XYZ', that my desire is actually identical to an exchange of chemicals in the brain, but to say that this is the case, like every explanation of an X in terms of Y, requires further explanation.

Now, it's alltogether possible that you yourself never find yourself having a desire, holding onto a belief, or experiencing a sensation, but I somewhat doubt that.
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« Reply #63 on: July 21, 2012, 09:24:21 am »
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You do not show that two things are identical by showing that one gives rise to the other. You're again ignoring the difference between nomological supervenience and logical identity.

I did not cite your facts as evidence of mind-body dualism. The point is that (contrary to your earlier suggestion) they in no way favor reductive materialism over its rivals.

No, but you're asking me to take mind-body dualism seriously - why should I? What compelling reasons or evidence do you have? Like I said, I can tack fairies onto relativity but without having a good reason to do so I'd just seem silly.


The case for the existence of mental substances goes rather a bit beyond a 'gut feeling', since we all have a direct and very real experience of something that seems very difficult to explain in other terms.

Is this the royal we you're referring to?

Let me put it like this: you don't experience 'neurochemical process XYZ', you experience a desire for ice-cream. Now, it may be the case that what actually happens when we desire ice-cream is a 'neurochemical process XYZ', that my desire is actually identical to an exchange of chemicals in the brain, but to say that this is the case, like every explanation of an X in terms of Y, requires further explanation.

Now, it's alltogether possible that you yourself never find yourself having a desire, holding onto a belief, or experiencing a sensation, but I somewhat doubt that.

You should have said it that way in the first place rather than being vague. Yes, I experience desires, beliefs, sensations, etc. However, I see no compelling reason to attribute them to things other than brain states given what I know.
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« Reply #64 on: July 21, 2012, 12:57:36 pm »
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I don't understand why people can't grasp the fact is that everything we think and feel comes from the brain. Simple as that. There is no evidence that it comes from elswhere, no evidence that there is anything other than the brain that processes it. If you drink it affects your brain, if you take drugs, have a stroke, get shot in the head it affects your brain. When you die you cease to think.
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« Reply #65 on: July 21, 2012, 03:15:30 pm »
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I don't understand why people can't grasp the fact is that everything we think and feel comes from the brain. Simple as that. There is no evidence that it comes from elswhere, no evidence that there is anything other than the brain that processes it. If you drink it affects your brain, if you take drugs, have a stroke, get shot in the head it affects your brain. When you die you cease to think.

Again, a causal relationship doesn't equal a relationship of identity. Everything you post above is entirely consistent with even the most radical variant of cartesian dualism. I personally hold that we are quite empathically not our brain, but that's largely a combination of personal preference and the simple observation that reductionist accounts of the mind consistently fail to answer the delightfully simple qualia-objection.*

If you happen to be a reductionist that's fine with me of course, but you'll have to accept that I think you the victim of rather a nasty case of conceptual confusion. As Thomas Nagel says in 'What is it like to be a bat?' an identity theory of the mind may well be true, but it seems to be the case that we can't possibly imagine how it could be true.

*: Another problem for such a theory is, I understand, that type-physicalism is rendered wholly untenable by such phenomena as the plasticity of the brain or, more exotically, the possibility of alien minds. We are then left with token-physicalism, which I don't find an at all attractive alternative.
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« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2012, 07:55:08 am »
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Reality doesn't care about what you can't imagine or what you might prefer it to be. Just because we don't know everything about how the brain works doesn't mean it's legitimate to tack on additional ideas for which there are no evidence. That's not a path to finding the truth, that's just making stuff up.
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« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2012, 03:12:27 pm »
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It's the correct terminology when discussing the mind-body problem, though. I don't see what part of it you think is problematic?

I'm sure the terminology is fine!  I'm just unfamiliar with it, and I've seen this debate done before without it.  It's nobody's responsibility to dumb down the vocabulary for me, but I think there could be more (intelligent) participants in the debate if less esoteric terms were used.
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« Reply #68 on: July 22, 2012, 03:18:02 pm »
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Reality doesn't care about what you can't imagine or what you might prefer it to be. Just because we don't know everything about how the brain works doesn't mean it's legitimate to tack on additional ideas for which there are no evidence. That's not a path to finding the truth, that's just making stuff up.

I think you are confusing cause and identity.
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« Reply #69 on: July 22, 2012, 03:39:47 pm »
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To answer my own poll, most definitely.  A soul is what gives our bodies life and intelligence.  Without it, the critical parts of our bodies (i.e. the brain, the heart) cannot function.  

I absolutely have a soul.  Everyone has a soul.  The soul is who I am.  I am not a brain or a beating heart or functioning organs.  I am a living, caring, breathing soul with a heart that cares for other soul's destinations.  When I die, my physical body will stay 6 feet under in the ground and rot away and turn back to dust, but my soul will be taken to heaven to be with its Creator and live forever and be given a new body, a body without pain, without tears, without any kind of sickness or sorrow, a body that will never break down.  Those who have not believed in Christ in the life they were given, will still live forever, but it will be judged and sent to an eternity in a lake of sulphur fire and eternal separation from God.  No one will ever get used to hell and no one will die once in hell, it will be constant excruciating torment and torture that has no end whatsoever.  Once a soul is sent to hell there is no hope for it anymore, it can never get to heaven after that.  The reverse is true, as well.  Once a soul enters heaven, hope is turned to reality, and does not have to worry anymore about being sent to hell.

How do ghosts fit into this?  Do you believe in the possibility that -for some of us- our souls may not immediately go to either heaven or hell, but remain in a sort of earthly purgatory for a variety of reasons, awaiting assistance from the living to move on 'into the light'?    

Well in my ideology there is no heaven or hell. They both exist here on Earth.

To Ride, Rangers, Ride!: Whatever happened to the Christ dying for our sins? Wouldn't the souls be savéd from Hell?
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« Reply #70 on: July 22, 2012, 06:42:12 pm »
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Reality doesn't care about what you can't imagine or what you might prefer it to be. Just because we don't know everything about how the brain works doesn't mean it's legitimate to tack on additional ideas for which there are no evidence. That's not a path to finding the truth, that's just making stuff up.

I think you are confusing cause and identity.

I think I'm not. I think I'm asking for evidence for a non-physical mind and all I'm getting is people saying that the evidence for a physical one isn't inconsistent with a non-physical one. That of course is not evidence for it, for the reasons I've pointed out. So do you or anyone else here actually have any evidence for a non-physical aspect of mind?
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« Reply #71 on: July 22, 2012, 08:53:18 pm »
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The experience of thinking is inherently non-physical.
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« Reply #72 on: July 23, 2012, 08:48:44 am »
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The experience of thinking is inherently non-physical.

If the brain is indeed the sole source of consciousness and thought is the result of neurochemical processes then thinking is purely a physical action. What is your evidence that thinking involves more than purely material processes?
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« Reply #73 on: July 23, 2012, 11:50:46 am »
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The experience of thinking is inherently non-physical.

If the brain is indeed the sole source of consciousness and thought is the result of neurochemical processes then thinking is purely a physical action. What is your evidence that thinking involves more than purely material processes?

My evidence is purely the reason why when we attempt to teleport living beings, the energy and way of living is left behind. Energy is not and cannot be controlled by matter.
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« Reply #74 on: July 23, 2012, 12:23:49 pm »
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My evidence is purely the reason why when we attempt to teleport living beings, the energy and way of living is left behind. Energy is not and cannot be controlled by matter.

We teleport living beings? Are you from the future or did I simply miss the memo?
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