What Science Really Says About the Soul

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EdgarS
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What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby EdgarS » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:06 pm

Article by Stephen Cave

My argument with Cave is not that there is a "soul" that survives destruction of the body. Even the term is not well-defined. But if we take "soul" to mean what animates the body, makes decisions, has a sense of self, etc., then I argue that is just information encoded (somehow) in the brain. Then I say the soul MAY survive the legal death of the body if the structures (whatever they may be) encoded in the legally dead brain are preserved. Although it can't be done with today's technology, in the future a technology may be developed to (somehow) read these structures and (somehow) re-activate the "soul" of an individual into a new body or perhaps into a virtual reality in a (much advanced) computer.

About the only way to attempt this now is the practice of Cryonics, which tries to preserve the soul by preserving the body, especially the brain, in liquid nitrogen, where chemical deterioration will be negligible for hundreds of years. People have also thought of funding research into time travel in hopes of a "rescue" from the future. This may not be as crazy as it sounds, but is certainly more speculative than cryonics, which also contains a lot of uncertainty.

If the soul is information, then we can compare it to sheet music or a sound recording, which carries an orchestral performance forward in time unchanged (if care is taken against damage), long after the orchestra stops playing, and the composer and all the players are long dead. But if all the copies are somehow destroyed, then the information is lost forever.

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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Fozzy » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:57 pm

I am sure the philosophers have already went over this ad nauseam but an interesting scenario that comes to mind is, what if you make duplicates of the "sheet music"? Do you have one soul or two?
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:00 pm

" But if we take "soul" to mean what animates the body, makes decisions, has a sense of self, etc., then I argue that is just information encoded (somehow) in the brain."

Special definitions can justify any usage I guess.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Major Malfunction » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:04 pm

Take jellyfish. They have a nervous system, and are animate. Yet some consider them more a floating colony of specialised cells acting in conjunction and co-ordination toward the benefit of their mutual survival and reproduction of DNA, than animal. Do they have a soul?

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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby kennyc » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:08 am

The mind and all its components/processes/activities are certainly information-based but that has nothing to do with a 'soul' in the sense and definition of it as normally used.

Sure if we had the capability to completely upload/copy all information from the brains processes which are the mind and place them in an environment (brain/computer/whatever) that mind would in some manner of speaking continue to exist or that copy of it would. We are very far from any such capability though.

The only thing science says about the soul is that there is no evidence it exists.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Fozzy » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:04 pm

I don't think I disagree with what others have written.
Consciousness is still a big mystery. You can make the analogy of the "soul" being the software and the brain being the hardware, in which case, what happens if that software is uploaded to two machines at once? Is either you? Are both you?

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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby A True Investigator » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:17 pm

Hi, Everybody, I have a real case for you to investigate or better yet to participate.

(1) I have discovered that everybody do has a personal guardian angel.
(2) But angel kind is not allowed to communicate or interact with mankind openly.
(3) According to the above facts, I have designed some argot systems, including
verbal languages and non verbal signs for them to use, so that they can get arround
their rules, and therefore able to communicate and interact with me !
(4) Every intelligent person who truely has an open mind should be able to discover
what I have discovered, and can do the samething I do.
(5) By communicating with angels, you can imagine that we can get informations
that we otherwise can not get.
(6) I am thinking about to pass my discoveries to the mankind, and train them
to use my argot systems.
(7) I am an invetigator and a researcher. I believe in only facts and science. I've
never been a religious person, and may nerver be ! I'm also a mathimatical thinker,
who has full common sense and intact logy.
(8) I'm not willing wasting my precious time and your time arguing by words.
For now I only want to train a selective group of people

1. Who have been educated and trained by sicence.
2. Who are not a religios person.
3. Who must not have a closed mind, but have a flexible thinking style.
( A true open mind always allow possibilities manifest themselves. )
4. Who are not a casino gambler. Poker champions are an exception.

I especially welcome Sherma, Chopra, Randi, Silvia and other famous skeptics,
psychics and scientists.

Thank you for your interest. Please forgive my errors if any. And please do not
pick faults with me, but help me to carry out this misssion. Together we are about
to change the future for the mankind as well as for the spirit kind.

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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby A True Investigator » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:06 am

Ps: Please email me at: Be.extrastrong@gmail.com if you want to witness the truth..
I am living in the Los Angeles area now.
Thank you. Truthfully Allen Chaolong Huang

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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Daedalus » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:20 am

A True Investigator wrote:Ps: Please email me at: Be.extrastrong@gmail.com if you want to witness the truth..
I am living in the Los Angeles area now.
Thank you. Truthfully Allen Chaolong Huang


Please stop spamming your delusions and email address. One more time, and I'll render that email address of yours useless for all time.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Pyrrho » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:37 am

Although I recommend that people not do it, there really is no rule here against a person posting their own email address.
For any forum questions or concerns please e-mail skepticforum@gmail.com or send a PM.

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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Monster » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:05 pm

A True Investigator wrote:Ps: Please email me at: Be.extrastrong@gmail.com if you want to witness the truth..
I am living in the Los Angeles area now.
Thank you. Truthfully Allen Chaolong Huang

Just simply state your proof or whatever you have here. Why do we need to email you at your email address? And I won't be traveling to Los Angeles to witness anything.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Gord » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:51 pm

Monster wrote:Why do we need to email you at your email address?

Because sea serpents and souls are bankable commodities and money money something internet money.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Daedalus » Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:08 pm

Pyrrho wrote:Although I recommend that people not do it, there really is no rule here against a person posting their own email address.


Forget email, the loon just posted his home address in another thread.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby carto499 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:41 am

aside from the 'email me' part of the post ... that was the most ridiculous proposition i've seen..in awhile!
.i guess the use of the words 'science' , researcher' was supposed to be the bait.
i do want to see the intact logy.

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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby carto499 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:15 am

definition of soul by wiki is :
"The soul, in many religious, philosophical, psychological, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal and, in many conceptions, immortal essence of a person, living thing, or object.[1] According to some religions, including the Abrahamic religions in most of their forms, souls — or at least immortal souls capable of union with the divine[2] — belong only to human beings. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" (anima) to all organisms but taught that only human souls are immortal.[3] Other religions (most notably Jainism and Hinduism) teach that all biological organisms have souls, and others further still that non-biological entities (such as rivers and mountains) possess souls. This latter belief is called animism.[4] Anima mundi and the Dharmic Ātman are concepts of a "world soul."

lets boil it down to incrporeal essence of a person, (or creature ,etc)
the typical use of 'soul' indicates more than an information system. Yet even out information system is more than a brain. our information system resides not only in our brain, but in our glands, our hormones/endocrine systems as well as our sensory and nervous systems.
forgetting soul for a minute, think about defining a complex emotion via science..science can explain and can track it through our systems , but that still seems somehow an incomplete description compared to the experience of an emotion.

it is also the 'incorporeal" part of the definition that eludes, i think. the soul is said to 'leave the body' at death. almost describes a life energy that is given off when the machine ceases to function. when you 'expire', you breathe out the 'spirit'. people sometimes report that there is a palpable burst of love energy present at some deaths, but that is anecdotal and , though i do believe this is an authentic experience, it may be because of the emotional content of the experience, for the live participants as well as the dying. i do not believe a scientific measurement exists of a soul ,of the exiting energy, or, more accurately , i certainly am unaware of one.
i do believe that our human psyche has has depth and a great ability to conceptualize. if you think of it, we've managed to come up not only with religions , but dances, arts, dreams and rituals. .if you think of it, imagination is also hard to put under a microscope. we know that circumstances such as shock, drugs, and experience can drastically alter our sensitivity , our perceptions and beliefs..
it does not surprise me that certain belief systems have come up with the concept of a soul . it does not surprise me that certain places are described in terms of soul. we've all been to places that inspire us, that speak to us on a deep level. i can accept the word soul as a poetic metaphor.

In catholic school it was used as a teaching tool and there wasn't much mystery about it at all. i remember clearly in the grade school book illustrations the soul was depicted in the area where the heart is. when a baby is born it is black (with sin) when the baby is baptized it is white(cleaned). when you have venial (small) sins, it is lightly speckled. when you have committed major ,mortal sins, it is heavily blobbed with black. until you go to confession, when it is made white(clean ) again. and yes, your goal is to get to the finish line with a snowy white soul, or you will have to take the down escalator instead of the up escaltor when your time comes . see, there's nothing so difficult or complex about it!!! :)

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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Gord » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:18 am

carto499 wrote:In catholic school it was used as a teaching tool and there wasn't much mystery about it at all. i remember clearly in the grade school book illustrations the soul was depicted in the area where the heart is. when a baby is born it is black (with sin) when the baby is baptized it is white(cleaned). when you have venial (small) sins, it is lightly speckled. when you have committed major ,mortal sins, it is heavily blobbed with black. until you go to confession, when it is made white(clean ) again. and yes, your goal is to get to the finish line with a snowy white soul, or you will have to take the down escalator instead of the up escaltor when your time comes . see, there's nothing so difficult or complex about it!!! :)

Sounds horrifying!!
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby carto499 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:49 am

yeah , i often wondered why the soul didn't just come equipped with it's own windshield wipers.

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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby OlegTheBatty » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:08 pm

carto499 wrote:yeah , i often wondered why the soul didn't just come equipped with it's own windshield wipers.

Mine did! Mwwwahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:21 pm

Death is that place where you were before you were born.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Cygnus_X1 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:33 pm

Although it can't be done with today's technology, in the future a technology may be developed to (somehow) read these structures and (somehow) re-activate the "soul" of an individual into a new body or perhaps into a virtual reality in a (much advanced) computer.


This is a common misconception. A copy of 'you' is no more 'you than a copy of my car is my car.

This can be conclusively demonstrated by simply creating the 'backup' of the person and inserting it into a copy while the original person is still alive. Clearly, the original person and the copy are going to have two entirely separate consciounesses. You are not going to experience the consciousness of your copy, or he your consciousness.

So...if a copy does not experience being 'you' while you are alive, why should it experience being 'you' just because you died and the copy was then created ??
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Martin Brock » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:33 am

Cygnus_X1 wrote:So...if a copy does not experience being 'you' while you are alive, why should it experience being 'you' just because you died and the copy was then created ??

Imagine a technology implanting memories in a brain. We're both 52, and I get a memory transplant from you, so I experience memories of your childhood as though I had experienced your childhood. You still experience the same memories. I have a sense of being 12 year old you 40 years later, but we agree that my sense of being 12 year old you 40 years later is an illusion.

Without this technology, am I 12 year old me 40 years later, or is this sense of continuity with 12 year old me also an illusion? Am I another person with 12 year old me's memories? I'm definitely not the same matter that constituted 12 year old me. I have hardly an atom in common with 12 year old me.

I suppose a copy of me experiences being me exactly as I experience being me. I might as well be the copy. Tomorrow morning, the person writing this post will no longer exist, but the person's software, slightly modified, will be reincarnated.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Cygnus_X1 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:28 am

Martin Brock wrote:
Cygnus_X1 wrote:So...if a copy does not experience being 'you' while you are alive, why should it experience being 'you' just because you died and the copy was then created ??

Imagine a technology implanting memories in a brain. We're both 52, and I get a memory transplant from you, so I experience memories of your childhood as though I had experienced your childhood. You still experience the same memories. I have a sense of being 12 year old you 40 years later, but we agree that my sense of being 12 year old you 40 years later is an illusion.

Without this technology, am I 12 year old me 40 years later, or is this sense of continuity with 12 year old me also an illusion? Am I another person with 12 year old me's memories? I'm definitely not the same matter that constituted 12 year old me. I have hardly an atom in common with 12 year old me.

I suppose a copy of me experiences being me exactly as I experience being me. I might as well be the copy. Tomorrow morning, the person writing this post will no longer exist, but the person's software, slightly modified, will be reincarnated.


If they made a copy of your car, then you might confuse it with your car right up until the moment you saw your own car in your own driveway and said 'THAT is my car....which I left there this morning....the other one is an imposter'.

The other car clearly isn't 'your car'.

I think people are deluding themselves if they think that one day they will be able to download 'themselves' onto a computer and have their 'being' uploaded to a new body after death. What will happen is their old self will die....the end....and then an imposter with no conscious connection with the original will be created. This will not be immortality....it will be more like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby salomed » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:13 pm

I rejected the idea of a soul.

Mainly for these two well known reasons:

1) I could see now way that an immaterial soul could interacted with a material body.
2) I could see no way that a soul could fit into evolution.

I now think I might have been mistaken because my starting assumption was mistaken.

Maybe its all soul?
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Cygnus_X1 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:23 pm

salomed wrote:I rejected the idea of a soul.

Mainly for these two well known reasons:

1) I could see now way that an immaterial soul could interacted with a material body.
2) I could see no way that a soul could fit into evolution.

I now think I might have been mistaken because my starting assumption was mistaken.

Maybe its all soul?


Well of course an immaterial soul is impossible by definition if one has 'a priori' labelled everything that exists as material.

It's like the semantic argument over what is 'natural'. Well...by definition everything in nature is natural !

Or the semantic argument about God being 'beyond nature'. Yet if you define nature as everything then by definition there is no room for God.

These sort of meaningless circular semantics never actually prove anything. All that really matters is evidence.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby kennyc » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:39 pm

Cygnus_X1 wrote:
Martin Brock wrote:
Cygnus_X1 wrote:So...if a copy does not experience being 'you' while you are alive, why should it experience being 'you' just because you died and the copy was then created ??

Imagine a technology implanting memories in a brain. We're both 52, and I get a memory transplant from you, so I experience memories of your childhood as though I had experienced your childhood. You still experience the same memories. I have a sense of being 12 year old you 40 years later, but we agree that my sense of being 12 year old you 40 years later is an illusion.

Without this technology, am I 12 year old me 40 years later, or is this sense of continuity with 12 year old me also an illusion? Am I another person with 12 year old me's memories? I'm definitely not the same matter that constituted 12 year old me. I have hardly an atom in common with 12 year old me.

I suppose a copy of me experiences being me exactly as I experience being me. I might as well be the copy. Tomorrow morning, the person writing this post will no longer exist, but the person's software, slightly modified, will be reincarnated.


If they made a copy of your car, then you might confuse it with your car right up until the moment you saw your own car in your own driveway and said 'THAT is my car....which I left there this morning....the other one is an imposter'.

The other car clearly isn't 'your car'.

I think people are deluding themselves if they think that one day they will be able to download 'themselves' onto a computer and have their 'being' uploaded to a new body after death. What will happen is their old self will die....the end....and then an imposter with no conscious connection with the original will be created. This will not be immortality....it will be more like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.


Agreed.

But assuming the copy was complete and instantiated in such a way as to allow all the processes of the brain/mind to operated as they did, that NEW person/consciousness would have the same memories, history, makeup, etc as the original and would certainly think they were the original. .... a lot like identical twins which certainly WERE the same cell at one point. :)

and you are right if that NEW person has no knowledge -- nor gains any -- as far as their origin, then agreed they'd have no 'conscious connection'/awareness/knowledge that they were a copy, they'd think they were the original. :)
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Cygnus_X1 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:23 pm

kennyc wrote:
Cygnus_X1 wrote:
Martin Brock wrote:
Cygnus_X1 wrote:So...if a copy does not experience being 'you' while you are alive, why should it experience being 'you' just because you died and the copy was then created ??

Imagine a technology implanting memories in a brain. We're both 52, and I get a memory transplant from you, so I experience memories of your childhood as though I had experienced your childhood. You still experience the same memories. I have a sense of being 12 year old you 40 years later, but we agree that my sense of being 12 year old you 40 years later is an illusion.

Without this technology, am I 12 year old me 40 years later, or is this sense of continuity with 12 year old me also an illusion? Am I another person with 12 year old me's memories? I'm definitely not the same matter that constituted 12 year old me. I have hardly an atom in common with 12 year old me.

I suppose a copy of me experiences being me exactly as I experience being me. I might as well be the copy. Tomorrow morning, the person writing this post will no longer exist, but the person's software, slightly modified, will be reincarnated.


If they made a copy of your car, then you might confuse it with your car right up until the moment you saw your own car in your own driveway and said 'THAT is my car....which I left there this morning....the other one is an imposter'.

The other car clearly isn't 'your car'.

I think people are deluding themselves if they think that one day they will be able to download 'themselves' onto a computer and have their 'being' uploaded to a new body after death. What will happen is their old self will die....the end....and then an imposter with no conscious connection with the original will be created. This will not be immortality....it will be more like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.


Agreed.

But assuming the copy was complete and instantiated in such a way as to allow all the processes of the brain/mind to operated as they did, that NEW person/consciousness would have the same memories, history, makeup, etc as the original and would certainly think they were the original. .... a lot like identical twins which certainly WERE the same cell at one point. :)

and you are right if that NEW person has no knowledge -- nor gains any -- as far as their origin, then agreed they'd have no 'conscious connection'/awareness/knowledge that they were a copy, they'd think they were the original. :)


Yes, you'd have all these copies walking round swearing blind that they were the original and saying ' can't you see ? It's me ! '...yet the real original person would be long gone.

The original 'you' is identical to your original atoms...which would be in a grave somewhere.

Copying one's 'mind' is not a route to immortality. In fact, if you think about it, this whole thing is a proof that your mind is 100% physical and is not just 'in the software'.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Cygnus_X1 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:25 pm

It's worth adding that that is one of the reasons why I reject functionalism. It cannot be the whole story....or the copy would be 'you'.
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby Martin Brock » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:11 am

Cygnus_X1 wrote:Yes, you'd have all these copies walking round swearing blind that they were the original and saying ' can't you see ? It's me ! '...yet the real original person would be long gone.

The "real" you at 12 is already gone, and the real you today is gone tomorrow. Only a person who remembers being you today remains tomorrow.

The original 'you' is identical to your original atoms...which would be in a grave somewhere.

You have few atoms in common with 12 year old you. 12 year old you is not in a grave, but most of his atoms are not in you.

Copying one's 'mind' is not a route to immortality. In fact, if you think about it, this whole thing is a proof that your mind is 100% physical and is not just 'in the software'.

If your mind is 100% physical, then you don't share a mind with 12 year old you. What you have in common with 12 year old is the form of a mind. Your neural network is a later form of a neural network evolving over time, but only the structure of this network bears a relationship to the earlier network. Its material constituents are continually replaced.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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His Noodly Appendage
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Re: What Science Really Says About the Soul

Postby His Noodly Appendage » Wed May 28, 2014 6:59 pm

Heaven to believers as I understand it is a place where your surrounded by loved ones, have ultimate pleasure and are free of pain, become a sphere of pure energy and one with god and/or get to be god of your own planet(s). Regardless of which afterlife flavor you prefer, in each case, my understanding is you're still you. And if you're not you, what was the point anyway - sort of like the soul you were before you were born. Unless of course, this life really is just a temporary test period that you examine (or not) when you're bodily functions cease and your free again to return to god and be your true soul self. I'm not sure science has or can have anything to say about that interpretation of soul.
I'm probably confusing consciousness with the soul here (perhaps intentionally), but If I could get my mind to run on electronic hardware vs biological hardware, why would I need a soul (unless doing so would prevent me from dying and returning to my true soul self - which I suppose would be hell (this has got to be why people want to hold onto these beliefs so strongly - this promise of an amazing spiritual "life" after death)). Anyway, electronic hardware that mimics neuron and synapse function should be easy enough but, the interconnectedness might be a little tricky. I would imagine it would require copying of typical brain activity, wave patterns, etc. and then some impetus or "shock" to push me (my mind) onto the new hardware. In this way I could see us being eternal like souls until all the energy runs out.


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