Where Does the Soul Fit?

Check out this article that demonstrates the incoherence of the idea of the soul at QuIRP.

Abstract: The concepts of the "Soul" and "Free Will" are tightly coupled and are misunderstandings of emergent properties of complex biological systems due to fallacious causal oversimplifications and are, in effect, a phenomena analogous to a rainbow. In the case of a soul that is separate from the self it would be judged by God for actions it did not condone. In the case of the soul as the self, the soul is locked into the body every night during REM sleep and is catastrophically impaired by malfunctions of the body it resides in. While religions are divided on whether animals have souls and/or spirits, with or without them, animals have some of the same types of cognitive abilities as humans and they get along well within their biological limitations. The philosophical soulless zombie as the null hypothesis for souls fits with established knowledge better than the "soul" described in unauthenticated bronze age "divinely revealed" texts.

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27 comments:

Leon said...

Does Christianity posit a nonmaterial soul? I thought it wasn't a big idea in Hebrew thinking.

Harlan Quinn said...

while i don't have comprehensive knowledge of what all christians think, I'll bet that no christian can state clearly and coherently what it is they think the soul is.

Harlan Quinn said...

Here's a thought,
if a christian "punts to mystery" as John likes to say, just tell them "its not mystery, its incoherent".

Mysterium Tremendum said...

H.Q.,

I think I would have to disagree with what you said about mysteries. There is a relationship between mystery and contradiction that easily reduces us to confusing the two. We do not understand mysteries. We cannot understand contradictions. The point of contact between the two is their unintelligible character. Mysteries may not be clear to us now simply because we lack the information or the perspective to understand them. My God promises further light in heaven on mysteries we are unable to understand now. Further light can resolve present mysteries. This is not so with clear cut contradictions.

From what I understand the soul can refer to the mind, will, and emotions. It can also refer to the life principle or the animating principle or in some cases the person or creature as a whole.

Harlan Quinn said...

okay,
its incoherent until you can find additional information to make it more coherent.

stopping at the mystery part is incoherent.

your method perpetuates ignorance and perpetuates poor decision making.

in your methodology, "going with what you know" would lead to less successful outcomes.

I site prayer studies as an example, and the fact that christianity has only 30% mindshare world wide after 2000 years.

While germ theory has quite a large buy in after less than 200.

Harlan Quinn said...

by the way, contradictions are just one aspect of incoherence.

Adjective

* S: (adj) incoherent (without logical or meaningful connection) "a turgid incoherent presentation"
* S: (adj) incoherent ((physics) of waves having no stable definite or stable phase relation)
* S: (adj) incoherent, tongue-tied (unable to express yourself clearly or fluently) "felt tongue-tied with embarrassment"; "incoherent with grief"


http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=incoherent

Mysterium Tremendum said...

Hey H.Q.,

I was aware of the differrent aspects of incoherence. I just figured that you were refering to contradiction because alot of people seem to confuse contradiction and mystery.

You said: "your method perpetuates ignorance and perpetuates poor decision making."

But if God is all-knowing and infinite in wisdom then don't you think it would be a sign of humility to admit we don't know everything about this Being and His ways? I mean me coming to the recognition that I'm finite and limited and the infinite is not and that I as a limited human being can't fully comprehend the infinite produces humility in me. I don't think this means we have to stop learning though. What do you think?

Harlan Quinn said...

MT,
as far as i'm concerned, you are talking nonsense kind of like the following.

"If there were zombies wanting to eat my brains, wouldn't it be prudent to figure out how to defeat them?"

in order to answer this question you have to implicitly accept that zombies could possibly exist.

there is no reason for you to do that.

there is no reason for me to accept that god exists.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

H.Q.,

Clearly there are some good reasons to think God exists. They're not demonstrations in the strictest sense but clearly there are reasons. They can be rationaly resisted but there's AT THE VERY LEST just as good reasons for thinking such a being exists as their isn't. Take the origin of the universe out of nothing. This may not prove that there is a Creator but clearly this is a very good reason for thinking there is one.

Harlan Quinn said...

MT,
Clearly there are some good reasons to think God exists.

Clearly there are reasons for some people to think elves exist as well.

nonsense to me.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

This QuIRP article reminds me of the story of the Emperor's New Clothes --- incoherent indeed -

But then again I keep reminding myself that you are trying to debunk a perspective of a god who wants people to become accomplished in making arrogant demands for things that were never promised in the first place, like taking the "super" out of "supernatural".

Good luck with that.

(BTW, bless the heart of the poor 'soul' who authored this :-)

Rob R said...

okay,
its incoherent until you can find additional information to make it more coherent.


Then all human knowledge is ultimately incoherent since our knowledge is finite and eventually terminates in mystery.

Harlan Quinn said...

Rob,
that was a ridiculous thing to say, its symptomatic of black and white thinking, and you are not addressing the argument of the article.

Where does the soul fit?

and addressing your red herring for a bit of fun, here's some bayesian probability in action for you,
- does it have a beak?
- does it paddle around in water with its feet?
- does it quack?
- does it waddle?
- does it stay by lakes?
then its probably a duck.

I can't know that with absolute certainty, but in most cases, in reality, 95% or better is a safe bet.

and about evidence, when you get right down to it, equivocal evidence is really not evidence at all is it? I'm talking about personal experience of god. Strokes and epilepsy give you a personal experience of god as well.

the question becomes, how little physical pathology does it take to initiate the experience? We can see the catastrophic pathologies but we really haven't gotten what we need to define it, and predict it, or cause it. But we're getting there.

I'm collecting youtube videos, medical papers and eplipsy.com forum discussions for some posts on epilepsy and religious experience at my blog (QuIRP). I invite you to drop by occasionally. Bring Akakiwibear with you.

Harlan Quinn said...

To Rob and all believers,
here's a challenge taken from an average course on problem solving.

when presented with new evidence,
rather than dismiss it out of hand,
ask yourself
"how does this fit with what I know and established knowledge?"

this way you avoid hasty conclusions, and get a better quality of deliberation, leading to more successful outcomes.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

H.Q,

Those are 2 completely different things. (Elves and God.)

I'm talking about scientific evidence for all of reality coming from absolutely nothing. Clearly this supports the Christian doctrine of creation ex-nihilo. I'm talking about a Creator of the world arround us. This is clearly a different category than elves don't you think? I didn't read anything like that for the support for the existence of these elves. Unless I missed it. Isn't this going by what we know?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Here's a challenge for those who want to dethrone the notion of divine expression/creation:

Take a complete void
Develop a creative environment without using any inspiration or ideas from what you have witnessed in the seen world around you -

remember, no cheating! You cannot use any vision or inspiration from this world that you have already witnessed/experienced - your creation must be completely original -- wishing you the best of luck with it!

Rob R said...

Rob,
that was a ridiculous thing to say, its symptomatic of black and white thinking, and you are not addressing the argument of the article.


course I wasn't addressing the argument. I was addressing something that has no resemblence to any actual specific rule of logic.

When I address the argument, (or more specifically, some crucial pieces) I will post it a Quirp and drop a link here.

Harlan Quinn said...

MT,
it supports the hindu belief that vishnu did it too.

and it doesn't exclude a natural process.

if you're willing to say you are agnostic about whether god exists I am too.

Harlan Quinn said...

Rob,
I'm waiting.
I'm getting lonely over at quirp.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

Lee,

I don't think it's absolutely the same there either. Unless I got some bad information but this is what I found:

"Before this time began, there was no heaven, no earth and no space between. A vast dark ocean washed upon the shores of nothingness and licked the edges of the night.A giant cobra floated on the waters. Asleep within its endless coils lay the Lord Vishnu. He was watched over by the mighty serpent."

So, here we have a vast dark ocean washing on the shores of nothingness whereas the Christian doctrine teaches God created ex-nihilo. Nevertheless, I think the evidence supports a Creator of some sort. I think I may know what you are refering to when you say it doesn't exclude a natural process. But just so that I don't jump the gun again, what do you mean when you say it doesn't exclude a natural process?

Harlan Quinn said...

MT,
where'd you get that ex-nihilo bit?
the bible doesn't say "ex-nihilo" does it?

Mysterium Tremendum said...

No but it does teach creation out of nothing. It is a Christian concept:

Romans 4:17 (English Standard Version)

as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.


Hebrews 11:3 (English Standard Version)

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Harlan Quinn said...

mt,
rather than mess around with you, i'll make it short.

you don't get that evidence for god and for elves are of the same type because they are equivocal, therefore, not evidence at all.

your creation myth cannot be considered trustworthy information by any stretch of the imagination because, you don't know the author, you don't if the author was in a position to know, you don't know if god exists, you don't know if it came from god, you don't know which god if any it came from, it tries to circularly legitimize itself, and above all the information is inconsistent with established knowledge and with itself.

it is as incoherent as any other creation myth you care to bring up.

and quoting paul won't get you any further because paul is not a reliable source of information for at least five reasons, if what paul says can be trusted,
1. he is described as having experiences consistent with temporal lobe epilepsy,
2.he was taking money on the side while saying he wasn't,
3. his own churches preferred other leaders to him.
4. He was not in a position to know, he was not one of the original 12.
5. And he was at odds with the other apostles who WERE in a position to know.

not to mention, NO WONDER he wasn't accepted by the Jews and had to go with the Gentiles. Gentiles didn't know anything substantive about judaism so they had no frame of reference to go by when he started talking.

If what paul wrote was BS, then he can't be trusted, if what he wrote was not BS then he can't be trusted due to what we know about what he said about his religious experiences.

you can speculate, like akakiwibear, all day long about how he would be absolutely shunned as being possessed if they knew he had epilepsy, but rolling around on the ground and slobbering is only one manifestation of a seizure, sometimes they just stare off into space and wring their hands.

if you go to QuIRP you can see several videos and a short paper written by a doctor on the correlation between neurological disorders and religious experiences, and if you keep an eye out, in the coming weeks I'll use that data in an article on why paul is not trustworthy.

simple, succinct, to the point,
now have a nice day. I'm moving on.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi HQ - you wrote,
"you don't get that evidence for god and for elves are of the same type because they are equivocal, therefore, not evidence at all."

What if the goal of faith was not to "prove" but to express, reveal, demonstrate in order to build trust?? "demanding proof" is a symptom of cynicism - why would someone Who invites "trust" promote a habit that destroys trust??

By faithful standards, God's existence is revealed in the relationships in a community of faithful believers and demonstrated in the way they love one another. A faithful group is structured on a foundation of a common savior and for the purpose of serving humanity whether they live inside or outside the group. Contrast this to groups that are formed against a common threat/enemy or for the sole purpose of survival and maintenance of heirarchal/territorial thinking.

If you desire something God hasn't promised, then you have grace to do so and are able to seek it as you please, but God doesn't promote those things that cause human perishing.

You are also, of course, entitled to your perspective of Paul, but you have missed the main tenant of scripture/his writings, which is grace! The progression shown within his writings exemplifies the maturation/deliverance process - many read the bible without the benefit of having received God's grace and interpret faith to be a matter of immediate compliance to a set demand. Faith is about grace - There is grace for human fallibility and authenticity with God, but not with ppl who are infected with condemnation. With God, there is no need to hide the truth for our need for grace tobe delivered from being deceived and practicing deceit.

Bye!
3M

Harlan Quinn said...

mmm,
What if the goal of faith was not to "prove" but to express, reveal, demonstrate in order to build trust??
what if?
but its not.
rational people don't just give trust away, they NEED to FEEL comfortable, and this comes with experience of interaction.

"demanding proof" is a symptom of cynicism - why would someone Who invites "trust" promote a habit that destroys trust??
demanding proof does not destroy trust in rational people. in real life, rational people get fired if they don't earn the trust of their employer.

it doesn't seem as though you are familiar with these concepts.

it seems like you are rambling and saying things that don't reflect real world situations.

Ghandi talked about grace, a five year old can talk about grace too, it an easy concept to get a grip on, even my cats show each other grace when they lay on top of each other. Be nice to each other. in the language of game theory, agents maximize their outcomes in iterative games by cooperation. Its in their self interest, it is logical and rational, no god required. But "be nice" was not all pauls message was, don't be silly.

I'm moving on. have a nice day.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi HQ - you wrote, "rational people don't just give trust away, they NEED to FEEL comfortable, and this comes with experience of interaction. "

A "rational" person can justify condemning another person out of moral conceitedness. Happens everyday. So, no, grace does not generate out of a comfort zone- not at all. Nor is grace necessarily polite - in fact, God's grace offends our sense of justice and desire for retribution.
Gods grace is interventional, not passive or polite, although many gravitate towards that rational and comfortable zone.

Thx for the conversation,
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Postscript: You also wrote, "demanding proof does not destroy trust in rational people. in real life, rational people get fired if they don't earn the trust of their employer."

I don't suppose you have ever entertained the notion that, between people, trust can be something that is built, mutually, and wisely - initially constructed upon a small matter and grown from there. It does not have to be "demanded"......

But I am rational enough to acknowledge that trust between people is often an "earning proposition" - beginning on a foundation of suspicion and unhealed record of others' wrongs.

At any rate,
see ya,
3M