Recently I attended a church service where the minister spoke at length about the human soul. This is not something I do often but it’s a very hip church with literally a million-dollar sound system and professional musicians (we go for the music…).
Unfortunately, the, very hip minister, who I like, segued into the human emotion and the soul. He mentioned that our emotions are in our heart and part of our very soul. Actually emotions are managed by the Amygdala, a small structure in the brain. We now know that. We did not know it thousands of years ago. The Amygdala is the integrative center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation.
There is simply no evidence for a soul.
Once the cells and electricity of the mind ceases all that we knew and were is essentially gone. Our knowledge of Alzheimer’s, dementia, brain damage and brain disorders all point to specific areas in the brain where our thoughts abilities, and emotions exist. Those afflicted with Huntington’s syndrome lose their sense of disgust. Once an area is damaged that part of our personality or ability goes with it. Yes, there is some elasticity of the brain but it’s limited.
The soul meme is passed down from parents to children over thousands of years.The “just believe” tautology or “isn’t it better to believe than not” is not a rational answer or one that leads to knowledge or the truth. The soul is just something that people made up–the product of dream states and experiencing deceased relatives in dreams after they die. It’s wishful thinking but not based on any current reality or any known science.
Which version of homo earned the soul? Was it just homo sapiens sapiens? Homo erectus? Homo habilis? What about the neanderthals? Did they have souls?
Do we now have to believe the mythological Adam and Eve (who never existed) and talking snakes (huh?) and an omniscient deity who subsequently re-engineered all of creation because his creation disobeyed him (willful disobedience). Was he surprised or is that the world He wanted? Oh, I’m sorry it’s just all our fault. Repeat that meme as often as needed.
Someone might reference that the soul was found to weigh 21 grams based on research by Dr. Duncan MacDougall in 1901–over 100 years ago.
While the faithful will accept this meme the more skeptical will note the small sample size (six patients) unreliable equipment at the time, and the fact that results not consistent with his hypothesis were discarded.
There was not any proof for a soul; it simply won by default, without having to go through the onerous process of positive confirmation. This is known as the “god-of-the-gaps” argument. The study has not been repeated since and discredited by scientists.
Finally he invoked the “hell card”. You had better believe, because without Christ you soul will not go to heaven but “the other place.” We certainly don’t want that. I was very sad to hear this, because this particular church is known for its “Christian light” sermons, and emphasis on positive behaviors. Once you play that card, it’s Damnation by Probability last straw and I pretty much tuned out anything else he had to say as irrelevant and misguided.
I M Probulos