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Old 1st November 2019, 03:02 PM   #1
litewave
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Interaction between body and soul

The main problem I see with the idea of the soul (as a conscious entity that can survive the death of the physical body) is how this soul would interact with the physical body while eluding the observations of physicists and neuroscientists. If the soul interacted with the body via a very weak force, it might elude the observation of physicists and neuroscientists but its influence on the body would seem insignificant. If on the other hand the soul interacted with the body via a relatively strong force, it seems that this force should be detectable by physicists or neuroscientists.

Here is my possible solution to this problem.

The possible solution is that the soul would interact with the body via a relatively strong force that results in measurable changes in brain activity but due to the rather limited level of detail at which we can measure complicated brain processes (fMRI, EEG...) and due to myriads of external influences on the brain, it would be difficult to tell whether the measurable changes in brain activity are or are not entirely caused by known physical forces. At least if the soul's influence on the brain was normally within the usual variance of brain activity and behavior.

However, the brain consists of the same elementary particles that physicists observe with high precision (unlike in neuroimaging studies) in particle accelerators and there they have failed to detect a force other than the known physical forces. A relatively strong force should be detectable in particle accelerators. So if the soul influences the brain in a significant way, this influence would seem to be limited to the brain and maybe to some other complex physical objects where it would be difficult to differentiate this influence from the known physical forces. But why would the soul influence only brains or other complex objects?

It has occurred to me that the soul might interact with matter via a very weak force (that's why it has not been detected even in precise observations in particle accelerators), but it would be able to influence the brain in a significant way via resonance. Resonance is a familiar physical phenomenon in which a periodic external force or vibrating system drives another system to oscillate with greater amplitude at specific frequencies. Thus the effects of a weak force would be amplified, theoretically without limit if the driven system had no resistance. It is the same phenomenon where freely traveling electromagnetic waves cause vibrations in specially constructed electric circuits in a radio or a TV set. It might be that only certain highly complex structures like neural networks provide patterns that can resonate with the soul and so the otherwise weak interaction between soul and matter would be difficult to detect outside the brain. Perhaps the weak force connecting the soul and the body might even be the familiar gravitational force, which is a universal force (acting on everything that has energy) and is too weak to be measured in particle accelerators.

The interaction between the soul and the brain could also go the other way: via resonance, brain activity would influence the soul, and thus the soul would be able to receive information from the brain, including information that encodes perceptions of the sensory system of the physical body. After the death of the physical body, the soul could continue to exist and hold consciousness but would lose access to further information provided by brain activity.

Mod InfoThread moved from General Skepticism and The Paranormal to Religion and Philosophy.
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Last edited by zooterkin; 4th November 2019 at 02:21 AM.
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Old 1st November 2019, 03:14 PM   #2
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What i the evidence for a soul?
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Old 1st November 2019, 03:52 PM   #3
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Soul - brain - particle accelerators - resonance -fail.....................
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Old 1st November 2019, 03:58 PM   #4
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Here's a good start from the blog of Sean Carroll:

http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/...y-of-the-soul/
"As far as every experiment ever done is concerned, this equation [refers to the Dirac equation (supplied in the blog link)] is the correct description of how electrons behave at everyday energies. It’s not a complete description; we haven’t included the weak nuclear force, or couplings to hypothetical particles like the Higgs boson. But that’s okay, since those are only important at high energies and/or short distances, very far from the regime of relevance to the human brain.

If you believe in an immaterial soul that interacts with our bodies, you need to believe that this equation is not right, even at everyday energies. There needs to be a new term (at minimum) on the right, representing how the soul interacts with electrons. (If that term doesn’t exist, electrons will just go on their way as if there weren’t any soul at all, and then what’s the point?) So any respectable scientist who took this idea seriously would be asking — what form does that interaction take? Is it local in spacetime? Does the soul respect gauge invariance and Lorentz invariance? Does the soul have a Hamiltonian? Do the interactions preserve unitarity and conservation of information?"
So how do you, litewave, begin to address these questions?
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Old 1st November 2019, 04:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Here's a good start from the blog of Sean Carroll:

http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/...y-of-the-soul/
Actually that's where I started about a year ago. The idea of a weak force amplified by resonance occurred to me when I was thinking about this very article by Sean Carroll. I even wrote him an email about it but he never replied. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to develop the idea further.
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Old 1st November 2019, 06:18 PM   #6
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You can cut through this brain and soul numbing speculation by letting go of the bifurcation of reality into soul stuff and business, and body stuff and business.

You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You don't have a body. You are a body. A living Human Body (provided ze's not a vegetable in a coma) is a living soul.

No need for mysterious forces that can't mesh with the forces we know, or misunderstanding the existent ones in ways that contradict their functions to account for the wonderful beings we are.

That subjective inner life we celebrate cannot be made into some separate stuff. We have consciousness because we're empirical. We can speak of empiricality because we're conscious. Stuff as in Mind or Spirit. Stuff as Matter are both ignorant projections.
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Old 1st November 2019, 06:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by litewave View Post
Here is my possible solution to this problem.

What problem?

You're assuming that a soul exists and then trying to figure out why you don't have evidence of it.

That's exactly backwards from actual science. Scientists find a bit of data that doesn't conform to known theories and then try to isolate and study it.

What evidence is there that any soul exists sufficient to spend any time trying to figure out anything about it? What evidence do you have that the biological processes of the human brain are insufficient to explain the entirety of processes of the human brain?

Evidence, evidence, evidence.
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Old 1st November 2019, 06:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by litewave View Post
The main problem I see with the idea of the soul (as a conscious entity that can survive the death of the physical body) is how this soul would interact with the physical body while eluding the observations of physicists and neuroscientists.
Yeah I totally believe you really have a problem with this.

Quote:
The possible solution is that the soul would interact with the body via a relatively strong force that results in measurable changes in brain activity but due to the rather limited level of detail at which we can measure complicated brain processes (fMRI, EEG...) and due to myriads of external influences on the brain, it would be difficult to tell whether the measurable changes in brain activity are or are not entirely caused by known physical forces. [snip the next 3 paragraphs of Woo]
Oh another "This Woo thing totally exists... but you see the reason there is literally no evidence for it isn't that it doesn't exist but, by some amazing coincidence, it just so happens to only work when already understood force that would ALREADY BE DOING THE SAME THING SO I'M NOT ACTUALLY EXPLAINING ANYTHING would also be happening.

Rocks fall down because of gravity, except for this one rock I've decided is magic it doesn't fall down because of gravity but because of magic, but magic that works exactly, in fact that is totally indistinguishable, from it falling down because of gravity.
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Old 1st November 2019, 06:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by litewave View Post
Actually that's where I started about a year ago. The idea of a weak force amplified by resonance occurred to me when I was thinking about this very article by Sean Carroll. I even wrote him an email about it but he never replied. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to develop the idea further.
That's too bad he never responded. But still, how are you attempting to answer these questions?
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Old 2nd November 2019, 02:45 AM   #10
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I thought all souls were alphabetically identified 'cos everybody has an r-soul.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 05:24 AM   #11
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There just MUST be some way we can have a soul!

Wishful thinking. Modern neuroscience has shown us that the electrochemical activity of our massively complex and interconnected brains is quite adequate to produce consciousness, even if we don’t have all the fine details as yet.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 06:39 AM   #12
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Old 2nd November 2019, 08:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by litewave View Post
Actually that's where I started about a year ago. The idea of a weak force amplified by resonance occurred to me when I was thinking about this very article by Sean Carroll. I even wrote him an email about it but he never replied. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to develop the idea further.
Still doesn't work for the same reason, fundamentally there just isn't any "room" for such a transfer of energy/information.

And this isn't like one of those old "man will suffocate if the train goes bove 30mph", it's because we have looked down to the scale that if there was anything even if we couldn't detect what it is we would see anomalies in the energy detected. And we don't.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 10:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Still doesn't work for the same reason, fundamentally there just isn't any "room" for such a transfer of energy/information.

And this isn't like one of those old "man will suffocate if the train goes bove 30mph", it's because we have looked down to the scale that if there was anything even if we couldn't detect what it is we would see anomalies in the energy detected. And we don't.
I think this is false, and I have explained why in OP.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 11:44 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by litewave View Post
I think this is false, and I have explained why in OP.
Where is the math?

Once again, physics is not truly expressed in words but in mathematics. I showed the link which discusses the Dirac equation. You said you have looked at Dr. Carroll's blog and maybe it helped you to come up with your idea.

That's cool. But we [ISF] aren't ultimately the people you have to convince but theoretical physicists like Dr. Carroll.

Speaking of which, it is the actual job of theoretical physicists to think of ideas like what you've come up with. What makes you think someone like Sean Carroll hasn't already considered a resonance idea?

See, the thing is, ultimately your soul would be measurable if it affects the brain, regardless of how the signal got there or what route it got there, such as resonance.

This is what you're missing. Once it reaches to the level of affecting the brain in any way, we can measure it. That's it. We. Can. Measure. It. And if you want to say that there is something there we cannot measure, then you will be uprooting the entirety of science, as Sean Carroll expresses in the linked blog.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
What makes you think someone like Sean Carroll hasn't already considered a resonance idea?
I don't know whether he considered the resonance idea.

The Standard model is obviously incomplete. It doesn't contain gravitons and dark matter particles.

And what makes you think that when a neuroscientist sees a measurable change in brain activity, for example on fMRI, he can say that it was caused entirely by known physical particles inside and outside the brain? He can locate activations with spatial resolution of a few millimeters but how does he trace its origins in the messy system of billions of neurons and synapsies? It seems there is a lot of room for unknown influences that manifest as normal brain activity.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 05:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
What problem?

You're assuming that a soul exists and then trying to figure out why you don't have evidence of it.
I agree. It is that simple.

I also would like to add that there is no possible mechanism for "souls" to evolve, so do we have the souls of homo erectus? Alternatively, is someone claiming souls only popped up with modern humans?
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Old 2nd November 2019, 06:40 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by litewave View Post
And what makes you think that when a neuroscientist sees a measurable change in brain activity, for example on fMRI, he can say that it was caused entirely by known physical particles inside and outside the brain?

The mere fact that an action hasn't been observed doesn't mean that the overall theory is suddenly debunked and any dreamed-of idea is equally likely. The theory that wins is the one that fits all the evidence with the fewest assumptions. When a bit of contradictory evidence is discovered, then scientists can begin testing to create a theory that incorporates that evidence - either a modification or a complete sea change in ideas.

How did we abandon our belief in phlogiston, or a deep space ether, or the idea that disease was caused by bad air? Scientists did experiments that returned data that was inconsistent with those theories.

Do you have any evidence that's inconsistent with the theory that a human is entirely material in nature and the mind is an emergent property of a working brain?

If so, please present it. Otherwise, there is no reason to attempt to shove an extra assumption about "souls" into an otherwise perfectly serviceable theory - especially one for which no counter-evidence has been observed.

We might as well try to work out how raccoons are able to control our emotions, or how exactly the planet Mars worked out a proof of the quadratic equation. It's all nonsense without evidence.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 09:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Here's a good start from the blog of Sean Carroll:

http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/...y-of-the-soul/
"As far as every experiment ever done is concerned, this equation [refers to the Dirac equation (supplied in the blog link)] is the correct description of how electrons behave at everyday energies. Itís not a complete description; we havenít included the weak nuclear force, or couplings to hypothetical particles like the Higgs boson. But thatís okay, since those are only important at high energies and/or short distances, very far from the regime of relevance to the human brain.

If you believe in an immaterial soul that interacts with our bodies, you need to believe that this equation is not right, even at everyday energies. There needs to be a new term (at minimum) on the right, representing how the soul interacts with electrons. (If that term doesnít exist, electrons will just go on their way as if there werenít any soul at all, and then whatís the point?) So any respectable scientist who took this idea seriously would be asking ó what form does that interaction take? Is it local in spacetime? Does the soul respect gauge invariance and Lorentz invariance? Does the soul have a Hamiltonian? Do the interactions preserve unitarity and conservation of information?"
So how do you, litewave, begin to address these questions?
I see no reason to suppose there is such a thing as an immortal soul, but Carroll's questions here seem to miss the point and assumes that a soul, if it existed, would be another material entity that we haven't yet discovered.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 04:29 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Matthew Ellard View Post
I agree. It is that simple.

I also would like to add that there is no possible mechanism for "souls" to evolve, so do we have the souls of homo erectus? Alternatively, is someone claiming souls only popped up with modern humans?
Surely the process of living our lives is the mechanism which causes the evolution of our souls?
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Old 3rd November 2019, 04:37 AM   #21
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What if the soul does not normally interact with the brain, thereby causing no unexpected electrical activity. It just lays dormant waiting for the person to live out their lives. Then normal consciousness could be a property of the brain, but when we die we enter the spirit body, which has recorded in its memory everything that happened to us.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 06:17 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
What if the soul does not normally interact with the brain, thereby causing no unexpected electrical activity. It just lays dormant waiting for the person to live out their lives. Then normal consciousness could be a property of the brain, but when we die we enter the spirit body, which has recorded in its memory everything that happened to us.
That sort of soul could play no part in explaining human consciousness, the main reason that many people assume the existence of a soul in the first place.

At least human consciousness is observable. Life after death not so much.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 08:17 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by litewave View Post
I think this is false, and I have explained why in OP.
It is empirical science, whatever we think doesn't change the facts. All you do in the opening post is to try and move the goal posts, however the goal posts are these days set in concrete so aren't moving for the likes of you and me.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 08:25 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
What if the soul does not normally interact with the brain, thereby causing no unexpected electrical activity. It just lays dormant waiting for the person to live out their lives. Then normal consciousness could be a property of the brain, but when we die we enter the spirit body, which has recorded in its memory everything that happened to us.
That doesn't escape the criticism, you say the soul records what the brain does therefore there is energy/information transferred from the brain to the soul so again there would be something to measure. Which ever way you slice it if something interacts with the brain we could in principle detect something.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 10:25 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
What if the soul does not normally interact with the brain, thereby causing no unexpected electrical activity. It just lays dormant waiting for the person to live out their lives. Then normal consciousness could be a property of the brain, but when we die we enter the spirit body, which has recorded in its memory everything that happened to us.

Why are you assuming the existence of a soul? There is no properly controlled evidence that I know of which is inconsistent with the material brain being the sole seat of consciousness.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 10:33 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
What if the soul does not normally interact with the brain, thereby causing no unexpected electrical activity. It just lays dormant waiting for the person to live out their lives. Then normal consciousness could be a property of the brain, but when we die we enter the spirit body, which has recorded in its memory everything that happened to us.
If the soul "records in its memory" via the brain and sensory organs, then -- as others have said -- that requires interaction that can be measured. If the soul's memory of events is entirely independent of the body, then that just leaves open all the important questions. It also obviates the need for incarnation. You say the soul lays "dormant," by which I take it you mean there is no ongoing absorption of anything from the environment. Then magically this soul ends up having acquired a record of everything that happened, without any evidence of the interaction, either ongoing or in one fell swoop.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 10:40 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Why are you assuming the existence of a soul? There is no properly controlled evidence that I know of which is inconsistent with the material brain being the sole seat of consciousness.
See my thread 'scorpions spiritualism' to read my experiences of esp and telepathy, and messages from the spirit world. Such subjective experiences are the reason I believe in the soul. To others they are just anecdotes, but to me they are evidence.

There is also the matter of my last 50 years of battling against schizophrenia and winning. In that struggle I learned that chemicals do not control my thoughts, I do.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 10:46 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
...but to me they are evidence.
That's not what the word evidence means.

Quote:
There is also the matter of my last 50 years of battling against schizophrenia and winning.
How do you know you're winning?

Quote:
In that struggle I learned that chemicals do not control my thoughts, I do.
The pharmacological effect of the medicines commonly used to treat schizophrenia is well known. The general failure of schizophrenics at metacognition is also well known. I'm not sure why your mental illness is relevant to your argument here. This is not a thread about you. It's a thread about souls.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 10:52 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
If the soul "records in its memory" via the brain and sensory organs, then -- as others have said -- that requires interaction that can be measured. If the soul's memory of events is entirely independent of the body, then that just leaves open all the important questions. It also obviates the need for incarnation. You say the soul lays "dormant," by which I take it you mean there is no ongoing absorption of anything from the environment. Then magically this soul ends up having acquired a record of everything that happened, without any evidence of the interaction, either ongoing or in one fell swoop.
We take our consciousness with us don't we? everything the brain has experienced in life is in our thoughts, so why would that not be remembered in a spirit mind when we die?
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Old 3rd November 2019, 10:59 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
We take our consciousness with us don't we? everything the brain has experienced in life is in our thoughts,
This is generally true of the organism. To say that "everything" from a multi-decade life is remembered, by any means, seems beyond the mark. A similar property for the soul has not been proven because the existence of a soul has not been proven. It's fruitless to speculate about the properties of something for which there is no evidence of existence.

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...so why would that not be remembered in a spirit mind when we die?
Begging the question, non sequitur, and shifting the burden of proof. Was that intended to be a serious argument?
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Old 3rd November 2019, 11:00 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I'm not sure why your mental illness is relevant to your argument here.
It is my experience I can overcome chemical chaos in the brain. I say that is because I tuned myself to my immortal spirit, and was not ruled by the bowl of porridge inside my skull.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 11:04 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
We take our consciousness with us don't we? everything the brain has experienced in life is in our thoughts, so why would that not be remembered in a spirit mind when we die?
You don't "experience" anything after you die.

That's what death means.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 11:34 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
It is my experience I can overcome chemical chaos in the brain. I say that is because I tuned myself to my immortal spirit, and was not ruled by the bowl of porridge inside my skull.
How do you know the delusion of having an immortal spirit is not just the product of the bowl of porridge inside your skull? How do you know that your conclusion to have overcome "chemical chaos" is not merely the failure of metacognition that is a well-known symptom of schizophrenia?

The topic of this thread his how the soul, if any, interacts with the brain in a way that makes sense to what we know about the physics that governs interactions among everything else. This is not a thread about you. You have said that the soul lays "dormant" during mortal life How can that be, if you are winning your fight with schizophrenia by tuning in to your soul while you're still mortal? As usual, you contradict yourself constantly. Fix that. And no amount of repeating your anecdotes and no amount of vigorous introspection can produce evidence that is relevant to this thread, which is focused on measurable phenomena. You have a thread for you to ramble in, and there are several issues there awaiting your attention.

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Old 3rd November 2019, 12:14 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
I see no reason to suppose there is such a thing as an immortal soul, but Carroll's questions here seem to miss the point and assumes that a soul, if it existed, would be another material entity that we haven't yet discovered.
I don't see how that's a problem.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 12:20 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by litewave View Post
Here is my possible solution to this problem.
There is none. The problem is not that we can't detect the soul now. It's that we can't detect it even in principle. You think theists will agree that one day we may develop a technological soul detector? Nope. It's invisible by definition, which is actually the biggest flaw in that 'theory'.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 01:32 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
What if the soul does not normally interact with the brain, thereby causing no unexpected electrical activity. It just lays dormant waiting for the person to live out their lives. Then normal consciousness could be a property of the brain, but when we die we enter the spirit body, which has recorded in its memory everything that happened to us.
I admit I didn't think of the possibility of a "dormant" soul, although it seems to be a frequent claim in both esoteric and exoteric religions that the "spiritual aspect" of man is suppressed on earth, as a result of an ancient spiritual fall. If the soul is largely inactive that would make it even more difficult to detect. Now that I think about the reports of near-death experiences, people often report having a kind of "life review" where they re-experience events from their life and take lessons from them; maybe that's related to extraction of data/memories from the brain to the soul as it leaves the body.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 02:55 PM   #37
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Scorpion and litewave can carry the thread now. Whither, we know not.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 03:48 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by litewave View Post
...people often report having a kind of "life review" where they re-experience events from their life and take lessons from them; maybe that's related to extraction of data/memories from the brain to the soul as it leaves the body.
Okay, think that through. The people who report this didn't finish dying. They woke up. Otherwise, how could they tell us what they experienced? We don't know if any of the people who went on to die experienced the life review. So we can't say definitively that the life review is actually part of death. But for the sake of argument, let's say it is. Again, because people didn't finish dying, we can say that the process precedes death. It starts before death occurs. That suggests there's something about impending death that triggers it. Okay, that works reasonably well for people who die calmly in hospital beds. And it works reasonably well for people who got a sudden shock and "saw their lives flash before their eyes."

But what about when death is the result of a sudden, catastrophically traumatic brain injury, such as by gunshot? People die in some pretty awful ways, and not all of them can be foreseen and not all of them allow time for the memory dump before the brain is rendered non-functional. If you're posing this as a sort of natural process of evolution, then you can say that death by traumatic brain injury deprives the spirit of life memory. In that case it just sucks to die that way, but that's the breaks. But if you propose this kind of dualism as something designed and dictated by, say, an omnipotent god, then you have to answer that plot hole.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 04:30 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
See my thread 'scorpions spiritualism' to read my experiences of esp and telepathy, and messages from the spirit world. Such subjective experiences are the reason I believe in the soul. To others they are just anecdotes, but to me they are evidence.

Unverifiable, unrepeatable, unfalsifiable stories are not evidence, at least not in any scientific sense. A repeatable experiment for which a positive result definitely shows the existence of esp or telepathy would be evidence. So far, no properly controlled experiment has isolated these things.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 05:05 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Unverifiable, unrepeatable, unfalsifiable stories are not evidence, at least not in any scientific sense.
Don't word it like that. He'll see it as an open door the idea that there is some sort of equally valid type of evidence that just isn't scientific.
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