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Physics And The "soul"


The Paineful Truth
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The question of the soul is still as far from being answered as is the question of what's on the back side of the Big Bang.

 

My very weak random thought on the subject is that if the soul does exist and survives our death, its disposition must involve the (6,7,24?) dimensions beyond the 4 we are currently contained in. This could be related to the Big Bang question in that our 4-dimensioned universe could have been extruded from the many other dimensions most physicists agree exist.

 

One weakness here is that all animals have a spirit of sorts that vanish(?) at death. Does that mean that mosquitoes have an afterlife?

 

Other than assuming and hoping that there is only Hell for mosquitoes, flies and fireants, and that one of my missions is to dispatch as many of them as possible there as quickly as possible, this is pretty much a serious question.

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I never studied physics, so I know very little about it. But I was actually wondering something like this last night. Could there possibly be an afterlife without there being a god?

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I suppose it's as possible as anything else. But it brings up my bigger issue with the idea of "souls". It is EXTREMELY anthrocentric and assumes humans are somehow "better" or "higher" than all the other life on the planet. Why would we have a soul and not bacteria? or dogs? or daisies?

 

No matter how you slice it, the soul and the anticipation of an afterlife seem like the last desparate gasp of the ego not being able to accept a world in which it does not exist...

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One thing that has me confused at the moment is applying the law of Conservation of Matter and Energy to human beings. According to this law, energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can change it's form. Could this possibly apply to our "souls"? We can see what obviously happens to our matter (bodies) when we die, but what about our energy? Could that be our "souls"? Maybe this energy gets sucked into the sun and spewed back out, I don't know. I'm a novice to this physics stuff myself. I'd love to hear some opinions.

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There have been scientific studies relating to the loss of weight immediately upon death, which many people believe is the soul leaving the body. Of course, these studies were done a long time ago and the methods used are somewhat questionable nowadays, but it is an interesting concept. If humans do indeed have souls, whether given by God or simply the presence of energy in the body, it makes sense that it leaves when the body dies. Here's some articles that I've found on the subject...

 

<a href="http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp">Snopes.com</a>

 

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul#Attempted_demonstrations_of_the_soul_as_distinct_from_the_mind">Wikipedia.org</a>

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There have been scientific studies relating to the loss of weight immediately upon death, which many people believe is the soul leaving the body. Of course, these studies were done a long time ago and the methods used are somewhat questionable nowadays, but it is an interesting concept. If humans do indeed have souls, whether given by God or simply the presence of energy in the body, it makes sense that it leaves when the body dies. Here's some articles that I've found on the subject...

 

<a href="http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp">Snopes.com</a>

 

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul#Attempted_demonstrations_of_the_soul_as_distinct_from_the_mind">Wikipedia.org</a>

 

So you are saying that I can blame that extra 10 pounds I gain around Christmas time on an increase in the size of my soul?! I knew it!

 

Of course the immediate loss of weight upon death could also be due to loss of bowel control :HaHa:

You would be amazed at how much goo comes out of a dead body...

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Casey Bones wrote:

One thing that has me confused at the moment is applying the law of Conservation of Matter and Energy to human beings. According to this law, energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can change it's form. Could this possibly apply to our "souls"?

 

The conservation of matter/energy, as I understand it, doesn't involve action/transmission into the other dimensions. Also I believe that whatever the soul might be (if it exists), it wouldn't have weight (21 grams or whatever). If 21 grams was converted to energy at death, I think we'd be having everyone's head blowing up just as they were crossing over. It would have turned the French Revolution into a fireworks show.

 

Skankboy wrote:

It is EXTREMELY anthrocentric and assumes humans are somehow "better" or "higher" than all the other life on the planet. Why would we have a soul and not bacteria? or dogs? or daisies?

 

Anthropocentrism, at least in this world, has some justification. We appear to be the only ones who are sentient or self-aware (a requirement for moral choice), with the possible exception of primitive ones that may be possessed by the higher apes and/or porpoises.

 

No matter how you slice it, the soul and the anticipation of an afterlife seem like the last desparate gasp of the ego not being able to accept a world in which it does not exist...

 

I think a soul, like God, is a near 50-50 proposition. Ego is the first product of self-awareness.

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So you are saying that I can blame that extra 10 pounds I gain around Christmas time on an increase in the size of my soul?! I knew it!

 

Of course the immediate loss of weight upon death could also be due to loss of bowel control :HaHa:

You would be amazed at how much goo comes out of a dead body...

 

I think the bowel movements upon death were accounted for in these studies because the dying people were laid on a bed type thing that was itself attached to the scale, so when the dead bodies defecated it would still be on the bed and would still be counted in the weight. I think I also read that he made an allowance for the evaporation of said liquids (or semi-solids, as the case may be) as well.

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Skankboy wrote:

It is EXTREMELY anthrocentric and assumes humans are somehow "better" or "higher" than all the other life on the planet. Why would we have a soul and not bacteria? or dogs? or daisies?

 

Anthropocentrism, at least in this world, has some justification. We appear to be the only ones who are sentient or self-aware (a requirement for moral choice), with the possible exception of primitive ones that may be possessed by the higher apes and/or porpoises.

 

We are?

 

Shit, someone better tell that to all those deluded dolphins and the chimps fooling themselves into believing they can communicate with sign language.

 

:Hmm:

 

Honestly, it's entirely possible that other species are sentient and self-aware--at least as possible as the existence of a deity. For most other forms of life, we simply can't know due to the communication barrier.

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Apostasist wrote:

The Paineful Truth: Why in the WORLD would you give God or a soul a 50/50 proposition when nearly all of the evidence is against and the only evidence for is questionable at best?

 

Can you provide any evidence for or against God? It is equally incredable that God created the universe or it came into being spontaneously. And if the likelyhood of God is 50-50, so too would be the probability of the soul.

 

Woodsmoke wrote:

We are?

 

Shit, someone better tell that to all those deluded dolphins and the chimps fooling themselves into believing they can communicate with sign language.

 

I'm not sure what side you're arguing here, unless you just being anti-, but Apes have been taught sign language. But that doesn't really say that much about sentinece. Perhaps you could expand.

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Apostasist wrote:

The Paineful Truth: Why in the WORLD would you give God or a soul a 50/50 proposition when nearly all of the evidence is against and the only evidence for is questionable at best?

 

Can you provide any evidence for or against God? It is equally incredable that God created the universe or it came into being spontaneously. And if the likelyhood of God is 50-50, so too would be the probability of the soul.

Occam's Razor. A deity so severely complicates things that it's highly unlkely it's there.

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21 grams, huh? Did the soul go downward after death?

 

I'd think in order to upward, the soul would have had to be lighter than air. Therefore, the body should have gained weight after death.

 

Unless, of course the guy didn't know Jesus.

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The question of the soul is still as far from being answered as is the question of what's on the back side of the Big Bang.
There is an answer to both and it's the same answer - nothing. There was no "other side to the big bang" and there is no "soul" (as in lives on after the death of the body).
One weakness here is that all animals have a spirit of sorts that vanish(?) at death. Does that mean that mosquitoes have an afterlife?
No, there is no "afterlife" for anyone or anything.

 

....We can see what obviously happens to our matter (bodies) when we die, but what about our energy?...
It stops being made, or "changed." You die because your body uses up the last little bit of energy it has left when each cell dies from lack of oxygen and so on. Here, read up on adenosine triphosphate and mitochondrion.
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You die because your body uses up the last little bit of energy it has left when each cell dies from lack of oxygen and so on. Here, read up on adenosine triphosphate and mitochondrion.

 

Your body stops using energy. There was a jew that used to come here, by the name of Space Falcon, who explained the idea that the soul was divided into 5 tiers, the lowest of which was a more or less unconscious soul contained by every atom of everything that exists. Then masses of matter had the next type of soul, simple life forms another, higher life another, and humans had all 5 tiers.

 

Actually, I'm not sure how many levels there were, but I think I'm close there. Anyway, it's something to think about.

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Has anyone measured the number of calories that are burned upon physical death? They should weigh someone while they are smoking a cigarette and see if there's a few grams of weight loss during, that might tell them something.

 

Personally I don't believe in souls. If there was a soul it's got to be either independent or dependent (in regards to the physical body). If it is independent then I would think it could "leave" the physical body at will, whether the body is alive or dead (which it apparently doesn't), and if it is dependent, then I would think it could not leave the physical body, whether it is dead or alive (this seems more likely, and would be the same behavior if it didn't exist at all). Yet I am to presuppose there is such a thing as a soul, then believe upon death the "soul" just kind of "knows" to "leave"? Seems a bit of a stretch...

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Honestly, it's entirely possible that other species are sentient and self-aware--at least as possible as the existence of a deity. For most other forms of life, we simply can't know due to the communication barrier.

 

 

Humans are much higher level thinkers but most dog people will attest to the emotions that their pets feel when the care giver is away for long periods.

 

I would never have believed it until I saw my inlaw's dog whine and howl when they left for vacation. It changed the way I look at animals.

 

As well... humans think they are super duper exceedingly intellegent and that only a few mammals show minimal potential. I don't this this is in perspective.

 

As an amateur I find human interpretation of animal and bird behaviour quite an ego trip. As a specis we really need to either downgrade owr opinion of ourselves or upgrade that of our fellow planetary occupants.

 

For example...have you ever tried to hide your food from an animal? Well, when you go camping, you need to be very careful how you tie up your food. More so than bears, raccoons are absolutely cunning and persistant little buggers. They are dextrous, learn how to open things and have good memories. Raccoons are very smart.

 

How is it possible that a hummingbird can fly through a running fan unscathed?

 

When the original (forget technical terms) nomenclature for bird anatomy was developed, it was based on the concept that birds were utterly dumb. One scientest mounted a huge effort to have scientests change the naming system so that people studying birds would stop assuming they are dumb. Now scientests are discovering that birds, and their teeny brains have many remarkable skills. (PBS: Nova)

 

Animals are not stupid, they are different. Theyare highly evolved in specific areas. Looking at their appitudes narrowly, we can say that they are often more intellegent than humans.

 

If we were created by a supernatural being that has the qualities that humans ought to possess, it actually does beg the question whether we were created by a Dog!

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You die because your body uses up the last little bit of energy it has left when each cell dies from lack of oxygen and so on. Here, read up on adenosine triphosphate and mitochondrion.
Your body stops using energy.
It also stops "creating" it. What was there is used up.
There was a jew that used to come here, by the name of Space Falcon, who explained the idea that the soul was divided into 5 tiers......
Which is a fantasy someone made up.
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Honestly, it's entirely possible that other species are sentient and self-aware

I've always thought it was not only possible that non-human animals are self aware, but rather that it is obvious (almost ridiculously obvious) that they are. When a cat has an itch it scratches itself. It doesn't scratch a rock or chair or another cat or a dog, because it is aware that it itches and not some other thing. A cat that isn't aware of itself shouldn't know what it isn't any more than it shouldn't know what it is. Isn't that evidence of self-awareness? :shrug:
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I've always thought it was not only possible that non-human animals are self aware, but rather that it is obvious (almost ridiculously obvious) that they are. When a cat has an itch it scratches itself. It doesn't scratch a rock or chair or another cat or a dog, because it is aware that it itches and not some other thing. A cat that isn't aware of itself shouldn't know what it isn't any more than it shouldn't know it is. Isn't that evidence of self-awareness?

 

I just saw this story today:

 

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20061031/D8L3OLIO0.html

 

Mirror Test Implies Elephants Self-Aware

By ANDREW BRIDGES

 

WASHINGTON (AP) - If you're Happy and you know it, pat your head. That, in a peanut shell, is how a 34-year-old female Asian elephant in the Bronx Zoo showed researchers that pachyderms can recognize themselves in a mirror - complex behavior observed in only a few other species.

 

The test results suggest elephants - or at least Happy - are self-aware. The ability to distinguish oneself from others had been shown only in humans, chimpanzees and, to a limited extent, dolphins.

 

That self-recognition may underlie the social complexity seen in elephants, and could be linked to the empathy and altruism that the big-brained animals have been known to display, said researcher Diana Reiss, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the Bronx Zoo.

 

In a 2005 experiment, Happy faced her reflection in an 8-by-8-foot mirror and repeatedly used her trunk to touch an "X" painted above her eye. The elephant could not have seen the mark except in her reflection. Furthermore, Happy ignored a similar mark, made on the opposite side of her head in paint of an identical smell and texture, that was invisible unless seen under black light.

 

"It seems to verify for us she definitely recognized herself in the mirror," said Joshua Plotnik, one of the researchers behind the study. Details appear this week on the Web site of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Still, two other zoo elephants, Maxine and Patty, failed to touch either the visible or invisible "X" marks on their heads in two runs of the experiment. But all three adult female elephants at the zoo behaved while in front of the jumbo mirror in ways that suggested they recognized themselves, said Plotnik, a graduate student at Emory University in Atlanta.

 

Maxine, for instance, used the tip of her trunk to probe the inside of her mouth while facing the mirror. She also used her trunk to slowly pull one ear toward the mirror, as if she were using the reflection to investigate herself. The researchers reported not seeing that type of behavior at any other time.

 

"Doing things in front of the mirror: that spoke volumes to me that they were definitely recognizing themselves," said Janine Brown, a research physiologist and elephant expert at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington. She was not connected with the study but expressed interest in conducting follow-up research.

 

Gordon Gallup, the psychologist who devised the mark test in 1970 for use on chimps, called the results "very strong and very compelling." But he said additional studies on both elephants and dolphins were needed.

 

"They really need to be replicated in order to be able to say with any assurance that dolphins and elephants indeed as species are capable of recognizing themselves. Replication is the cornerstone of science," said Gallup, a professor at the State University of New York at Albany, who provided advice to the researchers.

 

The three Bronx Zoo elephants did not display any social behavior in front of the mirror, suggesting that each recognized the reflected image as itself and not another elephant. Many other animals mistake their mirror reflections for other creatures.

 

That divergent species such as elephants and dolphins should share the ability to recognize themselves as distinct from others suggests the characteristic evolved independently, according to the study....

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As an amateur I find human interpretation of animal and bird behaviour quite an ego trip. As a specis we really need to either downgrade owr opinion of ourselves or upgrade that of our fellow planetary occupants.

 

 

Just how arrogant are we in our view that all other life forms are less intellegent and under evolved? In searching the net to find this octupus as an example of a visual system that is exceedingly more evolved than ours, I found out more than I imagined. You can't be entirely "stupid" and do these kinds of things. The octopus is amazing so why wouldn't it have a soul too? If you can find video you'll be amazed. Nonetheless, read this...

 

http://www.bviwelcome.com/articles/spineless/index.html

Perhaps the most amazing of all the invertebrate creatures is the octopus. Anyone who has ever witnessed this “alien intelligence” will agree that they are strong-willed clever creatures. They possess the most highly evolved eye of all invertebrates and can see about as well as you and I can. They are curious, willful and seem to have strong personalities, occasionally playing hide and seek with divers. Though they are related to clams (both are mollusks), which are not known for their intellectual aptitude, octopus are about as intelligent and active as a pet poodle. Laboratory test have shown them (octopus – not poodles) to be great problem solvers, quickly learning how to remove shrimp from a glass globe.

 

But, it’s outside of the laboratory where octopus show their true colours – literally. Many divers have been stopped in their tracks, dumbfounded, the first time they saw an octopus go through its colour changes. I don’t mean slow gentle transitions like a chameleon, but quick pulses, rapid waves of colour that literally flow over the body and then down the arms. Brown becomes white, stripes change to patches, turquoise alternates with emerald. Shifts in hue as subtle as flickering candlelight play on top of dramatic rock-concert style colour changes. Even their normally velvety smooth skin gets involved, going from smooth to wrinkled to knobby, barely keeping pace with the colours. An octopus wears its emotions on its sleeve and a really excited octopus can cycle through its colours so fast that it’s hard to believe you’re not imagining it.

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I read about a study of wolf pack behavior. Wolves have a code of conduct - wolf morality, if you will - and if it's violated, the offender is punished. One of the offending behaviors was if a wolf bit another wolf too hard during play-time. The offender was ostracized from the pack until he demonstrated the proper sense of contrition. Then, eventually he was allowed to become a member of the group again. To say that animals operate only by a sense of natural instincts and are unable to process decision-making thought is nonsense.

 

I had a jack russel terrier who would locate a spot in the fence where he might escape from the yard. As you inspected the fence for the spot, you could always tell where it was because as you got close to it, the jack russel would look the other way. Smart little shit.

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Thanks CB and Mongo, that was my point exactly. To me, "soul" implies humans are somehow "better" or "more important" than the rest of the life on this planet. I just don't buy it.

 

It was previously mentioned that only we have the power to make moral decisions and that this somehow tied into the existence of a soul/afterlife. First, I don't believe morals exist in a objective sense. They were created by humans, for humans, as a way to keep societies from self-destructing. Morals don't make us "better" than other animals. Indeed, the fact that we need morals puts us a rung below the other species that seem to get along just fine without them...

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It was previously mentioned that only we have the power to make moral decisions and that this somehow tied into the existence of a soul/afterlife. First, I don't believe morals exist in a objective sense.

 

How can non-sentient creatures make moral decisions. That is an excellent example of excess anthropomorphism. Only creatures with ego and vanity can choose between good and evil. The rest are innocent.

 

I believe morality is absolutely objective and is defined as honoring the rights of others to their life, liberty and property. Adhering to this rule as an example (force) for others to do the same; it's called enlightened self-interest. If you define morality as subjective in any way, that is license to justify anything.

 

But there is a balance--virtue, which has been so often equated by the church etc. with morality is a subjective issue. It is one's personal code of honor, behavior or integrity that doesn't involve morality. Sex is a good example. Sex between two (or more) consenting adults (including polygamy, prostitution, s&m, homosex) is moral, but may or may not be virtuous. Sex without consent, or sex with children, is immoral. Extra-marital sex would be moral, IF neither has sworn fidelity to someone else, in which case it would not. You can only disavow your marriage morally if the spouse breaks their vows.

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How dare thou claim that any other creature on this planet is self aware. We were created in God's image, according to the buybull! Only we posess the gift of intelligence! Although, some humans waste it on things like rationality, science, and free-thinking.

I will pray for you.

(don't know to who, though)

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