Do we have souls?


#1

How does one prove the existence of a soul in a human being? Can science help us in giving proofs of the existence of a soul?

Thank you already.


#2

Nope, the natural sciences can never prove nor disprove the existence of souls.

It is a purely philosophical issue, relating to our most intimate and impenetrable (except by God) consciousness of our Self.

That I have a soul is self-evident to me. It should be to all souls. BUT the fact that anyone or anything else has a soul, is not as easy to believe if you take time to think about it. They could all just be like robots, or computers, or figments in a dream.

It is only on Faith in God’s Revelation and sound theology that I can believe that all humans have souls, and that no other corporeal creature has a [spiritual] soul.

The soul is what ultimately makes us “conscious” of our self. I don’t just see something. Photons don’t just enter my eyes and affect a neurochemical or bio-electrical effect in my brain. I actually “see” what I see. It is not just a decentralized affecting of circuitry, there is some centralized and ultimately simple principle that makes me conscious of my consciousness, and conscious of my consciousness of my consciousness ad infinitam. It allows me, beyond all capacity of the brain or individual components thereof, to identify as “I”, as my “self”.

A soul is what allows us to infinitely self-reference.

This would be impossible materially, as it would require an infinite amount of matter…which clearly our brains do not have…or else an infinite continuity of division of matter without losing detail…something that, with discreet particles, we know cannot happen.

A good symbol of the soul is a fractal. A fractal keeps self-referencing itself…and within the fractal, is an image of itself. BUT in order to be a true image of itself, the image must contain the image of the self. And in order for THAT image to be true, it must contain the image of the image of the image of the self, ad infinitam.

And yet, while we can draw fractals down to a certain size, and can make formulas for them…no fractal in the material world can ever have an actual existance…because it would either require infinite matter…or matter that can be shaped and subdivided without losing any detail down and down forever…but again, with discreet particles, we know this cannot happen.

And yet the soul allows the Self to know itself fully, including its knowledge of itself, and that knowledge of itself knowing its knowledge of itself…forever and ever.

This cannot be explained with mere matter. It can only be explained with an irreducible spiritual principal, which we call the soul…which is made in God’s image and so can self-reference…(as well as freely will, deciding niether through arbitrary chance, nor a deterministic chain of rules playing out…but a true and culpable choice)

And yet, even our brains cannot know our souls as only they can know themselves. We can concieve of the concept of “soul” in our brain by analogy…such as a fractal or a self-seeing eye…but ultimately it is like the notion of “infinity”…in our brains, it is only a notion…we get the “idea” of it, but never truly picture it. It cannot be imagined.

The only way science might be able to lend support to the existence of the soul, is to show that in a free choice…the brain follows an absolutely free decision…niether as the result of the deterministic outplay of physical laws, or of any sort of seething quantum randomness. But I’m not sure that it can in fact demonstrate that the latter isn’t true…because it might appear that way, and they might assume it was the cause when really it was an effect.

The fact that people say they are self-conscious is really the best empirical evidence. The fact that when presented with the question of its own existence by the brain, the soul answers in the affirmative. But you could get a computer to say that too…or even recreate a circuit system that would mimic the neurons of “knowing about souls analogically” exactly. And yet, this computer would not truly have a soul or really be conscious.

Ultimately, you can only believe other people have souls if you have trust in a logical Reality, and Faith in Divine Revelation.

And you can only truly know your soul, not even in the brain, but in your soul itself, the Sanctuary of your own Consciousness, where none but God may enter.


#3

How does one prove the existence of a soul in a human being? Can science help us in giving proofs of the existence of a soul?

Well despite what the other poster said, it is not ENTIREly speculative. I am an agnostic so I rely on science and reasoning too, and I must admit my belief in a soul. My standpoint on this is based on the fact that the human body loses 21 grams at the moment of death. This can be demonstarted in a lab time and again. Doctors do no call it a soul, but it is a recognized anomaly. Proof enough for this agnostic :slight_smile:


#4

If a close friend, or family member died, and you went to their veiwing/Rosary, that alone, would prove that souls do exist! :slight_smile:


#5

Philosophically speaking, all living beings have souls, but only humans have rational souls capable of introspection, self-referential consciousness, and free will.

It’s easily provable, of course: Only humans engage in internet forums.


#6

[quote=Wormwood]Well despite what the other poster said, it is not ENTIREly speculative. I am an agnostic so I rely on science and reasoning too, and I must admit my belief in a soul. My standpoint on this is based on the fact that the human body loses 21 grams at the moment of death. This can be demonstarted in a lab time and again. Doctors do no call it a soul, but it is a recognized anomaly. Proof enough for this agnostic :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Hmm…where did you get this information, Wormwood? Can you direct me to the webpage detailing this?

Thank you already.


#7

[quote=preyoflove]Hmm…where did you get this information, Wormwood? Can you direct me to the webpage detailing this?

Thank you already.
[/quote]

I’m not sure where you’d go to get that but it’s a very widely recognized phenomenon.


#8

The 21 grams figure is based on extremely bad science:

film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,4120,1150916,00.html

The soul is not material. It is only evident in itself.

Computers or robots or very smart monkeys could perhaps type on a forum if trained well enough. Doesn’t mean they have souls. Doesn’t mean they have consciousness.


#9

[quote=batteddy]The 21 grams figure is based on extremely bad science:

film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,4120,1150916,00.html

The soul is not material. It is only evident in itself.

Computers or robots or very smart monkeys could perhaps type on a forum if trained well enough. Doesn’t mean they have souls. Doesn’t mean they have consciousness.
[/quote]

That article provided virutally no evidence to suggest that there was anything wrong with the experiment other than the author’s belief that the scientist was crazy.

The real facts behind this are simple. There weren’t enough experiments to draw definite conclusions, and the methodology was potentially flawed. On the other had, the fact that similar results were found in all of trials does produce interesting questions, because it would indicate that even if his tests were off, they were all off in the same way (in other words, perhaps the bodies didn’t lose 21 grams but it’s likely that something similar did happen to each one). The experiments are questionable but in no way whatsoever necessarily invalid. The only way to draw definite conclusions either way would be to repeat the experiments using a more surely sound method and a greater number of trials.

Until then, it is necessary that we say that these experiments produced some interesting results that merit further investigation, but that it is equally as bad to discount the results as to hold them conclusively.


#10

Prove that Catholicism = Truth and then take what the church says as true because you already know that catholicism = truth.


#11

For the best explanation of this ever, see Frank Sheed’s wonderful little book “Theology for Beginners” available from Catholic Answers.


#12

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