Can science tell us what spirit is?

If spirit can affect our innermost being, it must be able to be measured scientifically.

Where do you get these questions? This is a recently concocted atheist “argument.”

There is the physical realm and there is the supernatural or metaphysical realm. Two different worlds with two different natures and two different functions, as well as two different explanations. Life is possible only through the combination of the two.

Science cannot tell us what spirit is, but spirit can tell us what science is. Science exists only as long as there is a physical realm, whereas the spirit is eternal and needs no science.

Not necessarily. It is possible that forces exist entirely outside of our perception. Perhaps a bit like a looking-glass. One can see through it and see the things behind it, but one can’t exactly see the looking glass itself unless its looked at from a distance. Perhaps we simply aren’t capable of stepping back far enough to see the edges of the looking glass from where we currently stand.

Science cannot even tell you what life, or the mind are (as opposed to what they do); and these are lower-order beings than spirit, as these are arguably the output of spirit.

I’d no more expect science to describe spirit than theologians to teach me physiology.

God Bless, ICXC NIKA

The soul is a spirit analogous angles and God which are spirits. Spirits have no matter, they have no physical composition. Therefore science will never be able to " measure " them or " see " them in any manner. Of course I am leaving out any discussion of the nature of the spirit of angles and of God, this is not part of the question. You can look in the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a discussion of the human soul and also in St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles.


The only thing science can do in this matter as it can not cross over to the science of Religion is perhaps disprove the dogma of the soul by having a corpse loaded with the normal chemicals,blood,etc;much like the scenario from ‘Frankenstein’ and exclaim "ARISE LAZARUS!"That’s as close as you’re going to get to reconciling this notion.

One would think.

The trouble is, the concept of ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ is held to be beyond scientific reach almost by definition. Never mind that no-one has ever put forward a satisfactory explanation for how physical and nonphysical entities might interact - believers in spiritual reality continue to insist that no matter how much scientific investigation is done, we’ll never approach a complete understanding of human consciousness because science can’t touch the soul.

For some, there seems to be an underlying fear that in explaining cherished phenomena such as free will and consciousness (often considered the province of the ‘soul’), science - particularly neuroscience - will be explaining them away. Not so - knowing how something works doesn’t make it stop working. Understanding that my enjoyment of a party or of good conversation with friends or of a delicious meal is a function of electrochemical reactions in my brain doesn’t lessen such enjoyment one jot. We know that (most) humans have certain capacities such as empathy and creative intelligence - the job of science is to investigate how these capacities manifest. It does no good to say, “Oh, but science can’t explain that, because it’s spiritual”. As you rightly point out, if it has detectable effects, a spiritual entity, whatever such may be, is susceptible to scientific study.

I always thought of spirit as microwaves.

Why you think this?

Considering that the human being is a very complex and chaotic (using the technical expression, as in Mathematics) system, where even quantum fluctuations may lead to different measurable states, it’s safe to say that we could never know by scientific measurements or experiments how mind or spirit can affect the body–only that it is possible.

On the other hand, we know mind and spirit not by objective measurement, but by subjective experience. Science cannot measure it, but it cannot deny the possibility either–it is beyond science, simply because it is purely subjective.

Science cannot measure love either, or justice. Does that mean that these do not exist?

Our bodies make great radio antennas that I thought spirit must act like a wave.

As licensed amateur operator I can confidently say that the human body does not make a great radio antenna. It would seem that you are basing your conclusion on a false premise?

No because science studies the natural, not the supernatural.

Science can measure the effects of spirit’s action, but not the spirit himself.

Science grasps the realm of determinism. Spirit has will and ability to act, not only react, which breaks the rules of determinism and disqualifies science as an appropriate descriptor of spiritual behavior.

If our human bodies were excellent radio antennae, you’d need only stick a headphone speaker in your ear to hear radio. That doesn’t happen.

And that’s a good thing, else you’d get zapped the first time you walked past a radio transmitter.


I blame on television.

The total nonsense on this thread can only come from people who have destroyed their brains by watching television day and night to the exclusion of any positive educational activity.

I think that people asking science to tell them what the Spirit is may be similar to people reading the Bible to learn what computers are. Science is basically mankind’s pursuit and discovery of the knowledge of God’s attributes that He has made known to the human race. Evolutionary scientists limit their knowledge and understanding of science only to observable data because according to their belief system reality is a thing that is to be kept within the bounds of physical perceptions; that is to say, physical perceptions limit the thinking of evolutionary scientists. But the Founding Fathers of modern science such as Isaac Newton, calculus; Louis Pasteur, bacteriology; Robert Boyle, chemistry; Charles Babbage, computer science, were all devout Christians and were able to make their great discoveries based on the reality of knowing and understanding that “ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse” (Romans 1:20).

:yup::rotfl::rotfl: To to true! And not just this thread.

Science just tells how things happens; relegion tells the why of things.:thumbsup:

You are correct, IMO. As stated here many times, if the “soul” interacts with the human brain in any way, it is interacting with something that is physical. By definition, anything that interacts with something physical is itself physical.

This is not a subject that conventional science has pursued, because science is directed by theory, which provides a map of potentially profitable experiments. Until recently there has been no theory that could guide empirical science reliably into this realm.

There is a theory now. It will not be considered by science unless there is some pressure from religionists encouraging it to do so. It would be nice of some of them appeared from within the membership of the CAF, but that seems unlikely.

I’ll bet, for example, that this particular thread will deteriorate into dogmatic blather and never seriously consider a science-based extension of the OP. Any imaginative ideas will be shot down as inconsistent with dogma. If such ideas manage to appear, the entire thread will be closed and removed from access. That guess comes without reading a word here except the OP. Let’s see what happens.

It cannot be. Of the attempts made by scientists to date, there is no scientific evidence for a spirit or soul.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit