[quote="fnr, post:1, topic:276885"]
There is pretty good evidence that people's personalities and memories are very much linked with their brain structures. Traumatic brain injury patients can undergo loss of mental function and changes in personality and/or temperament.
This all points to mental function, emotion, and personality being inseparable from brain cells, tissues, and structures in a very physical way. I would dare posit that identity is dependent on our brains.
It seems to me that that takes the notions of personality and identity out of our souls.
Some ideas, any or all of which seem to be right or wrong depending on how I think about them. I'd welcome your thoughts.
- Minimalist/existentialist soul: nothing about how we think of ourselves resides in the soul. It's simply a record of our existence, as noted by God. The inescapable "surd" of existence described by Soren Kierkegaard, or potentially the self identified by Rene Descartes.
- The maturing soul: everything that we think about ourselves is contained within our soul, and it acquires "memory" independent of the nervous systems. The soul starts as a blank slate (tabula rasa). An analogy would be that it's the long-term memory and our brains are short-term memory that are constantly dumping into the long-term memory.
- The screen play (or computer code) of our life: God knows all, "in our mothers' wombs," and our soul is our story at various points in being told.
- The mirror: a spiritual (e.g., not observable) reflection of everything we do in the material world.
I think given neuroscience's establishment of identity and personality in the brain, the notion that when we die, we're going to see and meet all the people we loved in our lives is not a given. Maybe in the "mirror" soul or "screen play" or "maturing soul" we could remember things of our life, but it seems to me that God is so far beyond anything humans can comprehend or perceive with our physical senses that I'm not sure we'll ever answer what happens when we die.
You make many excellent points, and have omitted many others that could be made in support of your considerations. Nonetheless, neuroscience is not the solid, well-established hard science that its practitioners would have you believe.
I'm not an expert in the field but have written a few computer programs in support of neuroscience research which gave the scientist who paid me for them an undeserved reputation. I've studied the field well enough to write a book which included a neurosurgery section that impressed several surgeons. And I've had conversations with one serious neurological researcher whose previous publications support my theories about the brain/soul interface.
Neuroscience is a field that is in as much flux as astronomy. Today's textbooks will be obsolete in three years. Let's see where the changes take us before concluding that they have excluded "soul" from their theories. After all, these folks have yet to explain Wilder Penfield's consciousness experiments from 1947. Consciousness itself remains a mystery.
It is really impossible to discuss soul in the context of neuroscience, because soul is defined to be a spirit, an entity which cannot have any interaction with the physical.
One of my projects is to provide a more precise definition of soul (and a new name, beon, to go with it), which is consistent with all aspects of physics (and concomitantly at odds with religious beliefs).
This revised understanding of soul, the "beon" concept, is entirely consistent with the real evidence of neuroscience. It is similarly in alignment with evidence from psychology.
By way of simple examples, it makes sense of two phenomena which conventional science explains poorly:
Handedness (specific hand preference) in human beings.
The Sperry-Gazzoniga split-brain experiments.
There are others.
IMO you are wise to be thinking of these ideas. I don't recommend discarding your beliefs on account of neuroscience theories just yet. Reading, thinking, and questioning seems a fair course of action. .