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Featured An argument against the spirit

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Unveiled Artist, Jun 9, 2021 at 5:16 PM.

  1. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    "For as far back as we can trace our existence, humans have been fascinated with death and resurrection. But is resurrection really possible? And what is the actual difference between a living creature and a dead body anyway? Randall Hayes delves into the scientific theories that seek to answer these age-old questions."

    Vitalism: The theory that the origin and phenomena of life are dependent on a force or principle distinct from purely chemical or physical forces.

    Many cultures define this vital spark in various ways without needing to go into specific religions to compare them. But in general, so far I know people have an idea of this.

    The video is giving a more scientific view arguing against having a lifeforce, spark, or existing as part of existence and so forth. Whatever term we use to describe the nature of our existence in relation to our inner and outworld worlds, I also wonder how we would feel if we didn't have any concept of not living "anymore."

    Enjoy.
     
    #1 Unveiled Artist, Jun 9, 2021 at 5:16 PM
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021 at 5:32 PM
  2. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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  3. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    It doesn't seem to answer or address the question of a spirit. It merely assumes that life is only a biological process. So then the question is what special configuration of biochemistry gives rise to something entirely new? Namely consciousness, and life.

    Consciousness comes from the brain and allows us to experience the environment. Ok fine. But there is a unified self that has heart, mind, and will. The experience itself is not life. Life is the experiencer of the experience.

    So starting from inner experience instead of from material reality there is a whole other reality going on. The reality tells its own story, does it not?

    All science can do is discover more and more about the death of the body, and brain. And even when the brain is flat lining people are still having experiences of another kind.

    I'm not into ghostly apparitions, or astral projection. But there is an entirely different story from experience going on that cannot be translated Into a brain process.

    So do I believe the story of my inner experience, or just reduce life to biochemicals by mere assumption?

    I think of the brain as information storage and retrieval whereas the memories reside in the soul. Kind of like a CD stores information, but the CD player is where the music happens as an analogy; the brain is like the CD.

    I've heard some say that the self is an illusion and that the brain hallucinates a useful fiction.

    So far no one seems to be proving anything. They seem to merely call for everyone to accept the biochemical version of what life is by default.
     
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  4. MikeF

    MikeF Proponent of RAEism
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    So, if memories are stored in the soul and one develops Alzheimer's and begins losing their memory, are they actually losing their soul?
     
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  5. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Why does your experiences and perspective need to be devalued if it were based on neurology, chemicals, the brain, and even external influences?

    I mean they know now what part of the brain controls emotions, perspectives, our spiritual feelings, and why we say "I just can't put it to words" when it comes to spiritual awakenings.

    Our connection to it and it being "unseen" doesn't mean it's not biological.
     
  6. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    They are losing a connection to their memories. A physically imposed barrier to recall.
     
  7. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    I didn't say devalued. Just reduced in terms of faculty and significance.

    I'd actually like to see such information.

    My take on that is that all conscious experiences flow from the environment to our brains on to the soul. Correlation is not causation.
     
  8. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    As @osgart mentioned, the clip does not seem to argue against the spirit, or at least not the spirit concept that I have.

    If I were to play devils advocate against my own concept of the spirit the best argument would be that the human spirit is unnecessary and lacking explanatory power, therefore slashed by Occam's razor.
     
  9. MikeF

    MikeF Proponent of RAEism
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    A physical barrier to recall of a lost memory, for me, speaks to the whole arrangement being physical in nature. If memories are stored in a soul that is separate from the physical body, yet each memory is linked somehow to a separate physical location in the brain, it seems more likely that it is that physical location responsible for memory storage, as opposed to an unobservable soul. You gave a CD and CD player analogy, but we can also imagine an MP3 player where storage and playback are all contained in the same unit and not considered separate things. In both these analogies, all components are physical in nature, they physically exist in reality. Why cannot the brain be both the physical information storage and the physical playback mechanism?

    We have gained a lot of insight into the workings of the brain by observing all the many ways brain function can be impaired, altered, or broken through disease processes, stroke, other traumatic injuries, as well as the effects of hormones and chemical compounds. Personality, mood, memory, etc. can all be affected and changed by physical and chemical changes to the central nervous system.

    For me it seems clear that who we are is fully encompassed in the physical components and functions of our central nervous system.
     
  10. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Well-Known Member

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    Thank goodness for all those stupid scientists that geniouses like yourself exist who can teach them.


    :rolleyes:
     
  11. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Then where would the unified subject self exist?
    And how much information can memory store if it is physical? And how does that translate to a brain?

    I've seen a video where Sam Harris would tell that there is no location where inner experience resides, and that the self is a persistent illusion with no location.
     
  12. MikeF

    MikeF Proponent of RAEism
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    First, let's be clear. Science has not solved all the mysteries of the brain. :)

    That being said, there are things that we do know. When you ask, "Where would the unified subject self exist?", are you rejecting the notion that the unified subject self resides in the tissues of the brain; that it is the integrated, interconnected structures of the brain that give rise to the characteristic of a unified subject self? If damage to various locations of the central nervous system can cause corresponding damage to the unified subject self(alter sense of self; e.g. mood, self control, critical thinking skills, language), then it seems most probable that it is this whole integrated system that creates what you term the unified subject self. Sense of self is not the product of one region or location in the brain, but a product of the different regions working in concert.

    This unified subject self should not be considered unique to homo sapiens either. Homo Sapiens are at one end of a wide spectrum central nervous system functionality.

    I am also curious about your question, "How much information can memory store if it is physical?" Your question implies that there is not enough material/matter in the brain to store a lifetimes worth of memory and information.

    If you compare the relative size of mammalian brain structures, we human beings have extra grey matter that more than adequately explains our greater cognitive abilities. And given that we cannot recall every experience in full detail, or have photographic memories of all information we have ever been exposed to, seems to indicate physical limitations to storage, not access to a limitless, non-physical storage system or soul.
     
  13. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    I'm saying that the brain gives rise to the connection between soul self and body. The brain is intimately connected and animates the soul.

    One day it would be nice to find out.

    If what you say is true then someday far off we should be able to reproduce consciousness in a lab.

    And if it's all based on physics then we should be able to make artificial consciousnesses, very real ones.

    I lean heavily toward a realm of reality beyond detection. It's not all based on physics.

    I do think there are physical constraints to recalling every memory. There are cases where some people can remember exact details of things that happened on a specific day and time 20 years ago.

    I don't think it's beneficial to have perfect, limitless memory. We are only going to remember things that are relevant, useful, and had a profound effect on us.
     
  14. MikeF

    MikeF Proponent of RAEism
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    If we think of lower life forms as biological robots that have simple senses to detect environmental condition, move toward food and away from threats, we have already matched them in functionality with metal/plastic/silicon based robots, except for self-replication.
    As we increase the functionality of AI software, we continue to move up the evolutionary ladder in terms of the cognitive ability of man-made systems.

    If, at some future time, we develop a computer that is equivalent to human beings in cognitive ability, would that influence or change your opinion on the necessity of a soul?
     
  15. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Life as an experiencer (not quite a psychologist) would be the mind's perception and interpretation of reality. Without consciousness (or the ability for the mind to be aware of itself, internal, and external environment), it's all neural processes really. I think in general everything is based on neurons. We'd like to think there is a soul or spirit but our intimate attachment to it doesn't invalidate it.

    In other words, we think the brain sees the cat in front of us but it doesn't. It just sees, for lack of better words, just a thing just like every other thing living and not in front of it. Our minds (not souls or spirits) interprets what that living being is and our predispositions, upbringing, culture, and experiences makes us feel if we (our perceived souls) are attached to the living animal or to some is it just a feline and go about their business.

    Everything is a function of our brain and biological processes. Maybe we think our minds somehow is separate from the soul because of how personal we attach to abstract phenomena (say love) but regardless how we interpret it, its still biological and psychological.

    As for life as an experiencer, I'm not sure I get that. Life as in soul? Our soul experiences life experiences?

    But how do you know this apart from your internal and external experiences, bias, culture, and how you relate to the world? If reality is its own story, how do you know it exists without depending on your biological and psychological processes to "believe" you picked it up?

    I don't see anything wrong with it. We assume daily and, well, assume our conclusions are facts and not perceptions or opinions. That's why we have language. Without it, we'd be going off instinct. On the other end, I think that as animals we do go off instinct like other animals but maybe we just either don't realize it or don't want to.

    Biologically, memories are stored in the brain not a soul. What are the differences between the two without we needing to think coming from the brain reduces the significance behind it (if I said that right)?
     
  16. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    To be equivalent to human beings an AI would have to be able to reason and accurately understand abstract non physical concepts. It would also have to be aware, and aware of its own awareness. That's another reason I say a soul is necessary. And souls do have capacity limits.

    I'll leave it up to future considerations.
     
  17. MikeF

    MikeF Proponent of RAEism
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    Do you think other animals have awareness and awareness of their own awareness?
     
  18. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    So what I attribute to a soul you attribute to the brain?

    Mind to me is soul. It's the difference between being eternal or only a temporary being.

    Well there are two stories, one from inner experience, and the other is the story of scientific materialism. One starts from inner experience, the other starts from physics and emergent properties of chemistry.

    If life is temporary, it's no less significant. Though I might be more selfish if life is only temporary.

    With scientific materialism I keep having to subtract free will, self as real, inner experience as a true reality. I would have to accept determinism and that there is no truth that has any freedom at all.

    The brain is a pathway to memory. I don't buy into physical storage places in the brain. Sure there are information patterns in the brain, and mood, and personality altering effects that brain damage can do. But for me the physical is tied to the spiritual. The spirit is in the physics. Information is abstract.

    So I believe there are five dimensions. I don't base importance to life on this subject though.
     
  19. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Other animals definitely have awareness. I don't think they are aware that they are aware though, or maybe to a small degree they are.
     
  20. MikeF

    MikeF Proponent of RAEism
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    I think several ape species fall squarely in the awareness of awareness camp, along with dolphins and elephants and others.

    Does this expand the list of species that may posses/require a soul, in your estimation?
     
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