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Atheists/Agnostics/Other: Does man have a soul

Does man have a soul?

  • Atheist/Agnostic and yes, he does

    Votes: 3 5.8%
  • Atheist/Agnostic and no, he does not

    Votes: 24 46.2%
  • Other belief system and yes he does

    Votes: 11 21.2%
  • Other belief system and no, he does not

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • BTSOOM/FIIK (beats the **** out of me/fvck if I know)

    Votes: 10 19.2%
  • Cake or death?

    Votes: 4 7.7%

  • Total voters
    52

BDBoop

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As C. S. Lewis once said "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body."

I don't know where souls fit in the greater scheme of world religions, but I know they figure quite prominently in Christianity. That led me to wonder; do people who don't believe in a deity still believe that man has a soul, it's what separates him from the animals, etc?

I hope to see some incredibly wordy responses. I want to learn.

P.S.: I'll be gone for the next 24-30 hours in honor of the 4th so will not be able to respond until my return.

Anybody else out there with me, travel safe!
 
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Redress

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I have seen no compelling evidence to suggest a soul, so without that I have no reason to believe in one.
 

BDBoop

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Please be aware that I didn't ask the question from a place of thinking I already know the answer. Having said that - what separates man from the rest of the animals?

I also wonder what people who believe in reincarnation call themselves (the proper title of such a belief system), and also if they believe that what goes from one life to the next is what is known as a soul.

I should actually go read first, and see what the definition of soul is, and not as it applies to music.
 

BDBoop

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From Dictionary.com:

–noun
1.
the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
2.
the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come: arguing the immortality of the soul.
3.
the disembodied spirit of a deceased person: He feared the soul of the deceased would haunt him.
4.
the emotional part of human nature; the seat of the feelings or sentiments.
5.
a human being; person.
 

Gabriel

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As C. S. Lewis once said "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body."

I don't know where souls fit in the greater scheme of world religions, but I know they figure quite prominently in Christianity. That led me to wonder; do people who don't believe in a deity still believe that man has a soul, it's what separates him from the animals, etc?

I hope to see some incredibly wordy responses. I want to learn.
As much as I like many of C.S. Lewis's writing .. he was known to be quite politically conservative. Just sayin.

As for the question .. I only get as religious as science will allow. Which is actually quite interesting. Quantum physics has come up with some really amazing discoveries and theories. I stumbled on this in university sometime ago I was looking for a reason to why things are etc, maybe even find god in some personal way. I had a problem with nothingness which made me think way to much. Years later I found this documentary that I sympathised with regarding the issue and I was surprised to find others had similar problems only much worse. I recommend this documentary to understand what I fell on some 15 years ago inadvertently.

Dangerous Knowledge
[video=google;-5122859998068380459]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5122859998068380459#[/video]
(I really really strongly recommend this documentary.. if you don't get the idea's experessed in the video from first viewing .. watch it again until you understand what is going on. It is really quite profound.)

I have no religious faith I don't like blind faith in anything. Here you can find some really interesting documentaries, video clips etc.
quantum physics - Google Search

string theory.
quantum physics string theory - Google Search

My attempts at finding some rational religious reasoning led me to physics. I read a number of books on physicist and their discoveries from the 1600's to present date. It really is amazing stuff. Without discoveries in this field we wouldn't be communicating like we are right now. People dismiss it because they can't understand it all but computers, nuclear power, micro waves et el are all a result of discoveries made in physics.. ironically the original intent of many of these early thinkers was to find or know the mind of god only to find that what they discovered disproved the existence of that.
 
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Kandahar

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No I don't. I don't think there is any evidence to indicate the existence of some immaterial entity. The complexity of the human brain is sufficient to explain our behaviors, just as the complexity of a cat's brain is sufficient to explain a cat's behavior, the complexity of an insect's brain is sufficient to explain an insect's behavior, and the complexity of a CPU is sufficient to explain a computer's behavior. I'm a fan of Ockham's Razor, which basically says don't assume anything you don't have to assume. Since we already know the biological driver of our thoughts and actions (i.e. the brain), I don't see any reason to assume the existence of something beyond that. For any gaps in our understanding of why we think and behave as we do, I'm much more likely to attribute them to flaws or limitations in our understanding of the brain, rather than the existence of a soul.
 

Gabriel

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"I don't know" would be an appropriate option to have in the poll ads1981. :)
 

Cephus

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There is no evidence to support the factual existence of a soul, therefore I don't believe in one. Present convincing evidence and I'll change my mind.
 

marduc

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Even as a little kid immersed in a religious upbringing, this and also the notion that humans would go to heaven were major hangups for roughly the same reasons. I distinctly remember wondering that if humans had a soul, then so too must other animals, every little ant, my hamsters, and my pet dog all should have so souls too, it seemed silly that somehow we were so different to the rest of the animals on the planet just because.
 

molten_dragon

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No, I don't believe humans have souls, or any similar sort of immaterial or metaphysical part of us. I believe that our brains are what separate us from other animals, and that the degree of separation is not all that great in some cases.
 

mpg

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"the emotional part of human nature; the seat of the feelings or sentiments."

I believe in that definition, but not the others.
 

obvious Child

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Even as a little kid immersed in a religious upbringing, this and also the notion that humans would go to heaven were major hangups for roughly the same reasons. I distinctly remember wondering that if humans had a soul, then so too must other animals, every little ant, my hamsters, and my pet dog all should have so souls too, it seemed silly that somehow we were so different to the rest of the animals on the planet just because.
Welcome to Pantheism.

There is a religion that believes that all life is merely the spark of a divine that was shattered during an epic battle with supernatural evil. And that when a life "dies" that spark returns to the whole. In essence, that spark is a organism's "soul."
 

Caine

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Proof that man has soul...

 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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Human consciousness is the product of chemistry.

Chemicals don't boogey, and they don't have any soul.
 

Panache

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No I don't. I don't think there is any evidence to indicate the existence of some immaterial entity. The complexity of the human brain is sufficient to explain our behaviors, just as the complexity of a cat's brain is sufficient to explain a cat's behavior, the complexity of an insect's brain is sufficient to explain an insect's behavior, and the complexity of a CPU is sufficient to explain a computer's behavior. I'm a fan of Ockham's Razor, which basically says don't assume anything you don't have to assume. Since we already know the biological driver of our thoughts and actions (i.e. the brain), I don't see any reason to assume the existence of something beyond that. For any gaps in our understanding of why we think and behave as we do, I'm much more likely to attribute them to flaws or limitations in our understanding of the brain, rather than the existence of a soul.
The part in bold is certainly inaccurate. Absent any software, the CPU will not cause the computer to behave in any manner at all.

Software is not a tangible object that you can touch. Software is a pattern. A particular sequence of ones and zeros. It is, as you say, an immaterial entity.

Were one to design software sufficiently complex that it could engage in sentient thought given the hardware necessary to do so, then the identity of said entity would be independent of whatever CPU it was using at the time. You could download this sentient program into another computer and it would still be the same program.

It seems to me that the human brain functions very much like a computer, and as such requires software in order to function. A pattern of choices defining a distinct personality. I believe this software is called a soul.
 

Kandahar

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The part in bold is certainly inaccurate. Absent any software, the CPU will not cause the computer to behave in any manner at all.

Software is not a tangible object that you can touch. Software is a pattern. A particular sequence of ones and zeros. It is, as you say, an immaterial entity.

Were one to design software sufficiently complex that it could engage in sentient thought given the hardware necessary to do so, then the identity of said entity would be independent of whatever CPU it was using at the time. You could download this sentient program into another computer and it would still be the same program.

It seems to me that the human brain functions very much like a computer, and as such requires software in order to function. A pattern of choices defining a distinct personality. I believe this software is called a soul.
Your brain is your hardware. Your particular pattern of neurons are your software. No need for a metaphysical explanation.

Similarly, just because a computer's software is a pattern of ones and zeroes doesn't make it any less real. Do you believe that computers have souls (i.e. some metaphysical trait that makes them run)? Why or why not?
 
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Panache

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Your brain is your hardware. Your particular pattern of neurons are your software.
No, the neurons themselves are more like an integrated circuit in a CPU. The pattern in which integrated circuits are arranged in the CPU has no bearing on the pattern in which they are used. Different software can use the same circuits to accomplish entirely different things.

Similarly, just because a computer's software is a pattern of ones and zeroes doesn't make it any less real.
And just because a soul is a pattern of choices does not make it any less real.

Do you believe that computers have souls (i.e. some metaphysical trait that makes them run)?
Yes.

Why or why not?
A pattern of ones and zeros is an immaterial concept. The software isn't the computer, or the CPU or even the disk on which the software is stored. It is not some physical object that you can touch. It is in fact beyond the physical, which makes it a metaphysical trait.

Our software is much more complex, similarly metaphysical, and nonetheless real for it.
 

Kandahar

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No, the neurons themselves are more like an integrated circuit in a CPU. The pattern in which integrated circuits are arranged in the CPU has no bearing on the pattern in which they are used. Different software can use the same circuits to accomplish entirely different things.

And just because a soul is a pattern of choices does not make it any less real.



Yes.



A pattern of ones and zeros is an immaterial concept. The software isn't the computer, or the CPU or even the disk on which the software is stored. It is not some physical object that you can touch. It is in fact beyond the physical, which makes it a metaphysical trait.

Our software is much more complex, similarly metaphysical, and nonetheless real for it.
Just because computer software is immaterial doesn't make it metaphysical. You can easily conduct experiments to detect its presence or absence. If the software exists on my machine, then I should be able to pinpoint its location by deleting certain parts of my hard drive and seeing if it still runs. If the software exists on the cloud (perhaps a better analogy for the concept of a soul), then I can confirm this fact by disconnecting from the internet and seeing if I can still run the program.

There is no comparable experiment that can be run to detect the presence or absence of a human soul, which makes it a fundamentally different concept IMO.
 

Panache

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Just because computer software is immaterial doesn't make it metaphysical.
Being immaterial does in fact make it metaphysical. Meta from the Greek μετά meaning beyond and physical from the Greek φυσικά referring to Aristotle's contemplations of the material. I looked it up.

You can easily conduct experiments to detect its presence or absence. If the software exists on my machine, then I should be able to pinpoint its location by deleting certain parts of my hard drive and seeing if it still runs. If the software exists on the cloud (perhaps a better analogy for the concept of a soul), then I can confirm this fact by disconnecting from the internet and seeing if I can still run the program.

There is no comparable experiment that can be run to detect the presence or absence of a human soul, which makes it a fundamentally different concept IMO.
What do you mean? Deleting certain parts of your brain won't similarly cause the program to stop running? I don't get what you are trying to say here.
 

Kandahar

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Being immaterial does in fact make it metaphysical. Meta from the Greek μετά meaning beyond and physical from the Greek φυσικά referring to Aristotle's contemplations of the material. I looked it up.
What I meant is something that exists independently of any scientific observation. The concept of a soul would qualify; a computer program would not.

Panache said:
What do you mean? Deleting certain parts of your brain won't similarly cause the program to stop running? I don't get what you are trying to say here.
My point is that your computer's soul/software exists either within its hardware, or in the cloud. And in either case, we can test for its presence. There's no comparable way to test for the presence of a human soul.
 

digsbe

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I am a Christian, and I absolutely believe that all humans have a soul. I do not believe the soul is a physical thing though, as it is eternal.
 

Panache

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What I meant is something that exists independently of any scientific observation. The concept of a soul would qualify; a computer program would not.
Everything that exists exists independently of any scientific observation. Nothing is dependent upon scientific observation in order to exist. Why can't we observe a soul scientifically? I understand there is a branch of science dedicated to just that. I think they call it psychology.

My point is that your computer's soul/software exists either within its hardware, or in the cloud. And in either case, we can test for its presence. There's no comparable way to test for the presence of a human soul.
Why not? The soul exists most likely in its hardware. We can scientifically identify patterns of choices. A specific instance of such patterns is a soul. What is so mystical about that?
 

Kandahar

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Why not? The soul exists most likely in its hardware. We can scientifically identify patterns of choices. A specific instance of such patterns is a soul. What is so mystical about that?
If you believe that the soul exists within its hardware (i.e. the brain) then I'm not sure I understand why you call it a soul at all. It sounds like we are in agreement that there is nothing beyond the physical processes of the brain and neural patterns...
 

Caine

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Human consciousness is the product of chemistry.

Chemicals don't boogey, and they don't have any soul.
Why so serious?

This discussion is going to be a circular "You can't prove it" "Yes I can" craptasitic display of hard-headded-ness as all threads like this are.

I don't understand why anyone takes these discussions seriously. To the naysayer, you will never be able to prove something that is supernatural.
 

Chuz Life

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I believe there are things we (mankind) will never really know nor fully comprehend.

But I like the challenge.
 
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