In talking with atheist friends, I encountered the problem of trying to prove to them the existence of a human soul. I was wondering if there were any logical proofs of a souls existence without presupposing that they believe in God or christianity.
The biggest problem that they try to explain intellect and free will to be functions of our brain. Meaning that the brain rather than the soul controls intellect or free will.
I don’t know if you want to mention this but it seems logical to me.
The body without the soul is dead. Also I heard, can’t remember where, that the body is wider when alive. Something like the soul adds 3 mm to the body ?? I heard that somewhere. That the body is something like 3 mm less in width when lying flat (from back to chest) when the person is dead.
Sorry I can’t remember the source. But I think it may have been one of those research projects that are kind of unknown.
Ah just googled - found it - snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp
So if you read the article from a faith point of view it makes sense, but at the bottom of the page it says was not credential scientifically due to case circumstances blah blah blah. But I think he was onto something quite possibly
You might tell them that if you are right in your belief in God, you will go to heaven when you die. If you’re wrong, you won’t know it. If they are right in disbelieving in God, they won’t know it when they die. If they’re wrong . . .
Sorry , but youre not making sense. You said that the science would not disprove the existence of the soul? isn’t that what the OP wanted, something logical to show the soul exists? Here is a research done that pretty much proves the souls existence.
logical doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to use science.
a decrease in mass after death might be explained by desiccation or some other biological phenomena in another study. even your own link said that this wasn’t credible science. have these results ever been duplicated? my point is that, even if science does explain (by purely biological logic) that the decrease that you describe is completely natural, say, by proving that it happens in other organisms, then that couldn’t be used as an argument to say that there is no soul. we know that there is one, regardless of change or lack thereof in body mass after death. if the opposite of the argument couldn’t be used against you, then the positive of the argument can’t be used for you. thus, your example, while insightful, might not work.
science is a limited form of logic. it can only verify and explore those things in the natural world that happen repeatedly and with some measure of predictability. things that are supernatural, like souls, can’t be measured by science. science measures the natural only. the supernatural exceeds the scientific method.
another thought: i don’t think that souls would have mass. souls persist after death forever, which is something that mere matter can’t do. thus, it stands to reason that souls are not made of matter and, if they’re not made of matter, it stands to reason that they wouldn’t have mass or volume. that’s just my opinion. that and dollar will buy something off the dollar menu at mcdonald’s. it isn’t like i can test it.
St Thomas makes use of Aristotle…and most atheists like Aristotle.:shrug:
If nothing else, St Thomaswork strengthens our own faith in the Churchs teachings.He`s the Number 1 Doctor of the Church.
Under the subject heading “Soul”, Our Sunday Visitor`s Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine says:
Ever since Plato, philosophers - including Christian philosophers - have given much attention to showing that the soul is nothing material or physical… The philosophers have tried to establish this by showing that the soul performs activities, such as rational understanding or free choosing, which are possible only on the condition that the soul takes up no space and is thus immaterial. Recent research into the brain, especially the work of Sir John Eccles, has added intriguing empirical confirmation of the immateriality of the soul… [pp 641, 642]
So, atheists can`t say the concept of the soul is a Christian invention.
To be honest, even if there were a logical argument in favour of a human soul, it wouldn’t necessarily correspond to any actuality - such is the nature of logic. You can prove something logically that doesn’t exist, simply by starting from particular premises. It’s the premises that have to be established before a logical argument can carry any weight. I think that if you’re basing a logical argument upon the premise of belief in God and a spiritual realm, you probably don’t have much of a job to do in formulating a logical argumment for souls. If you’re starting from a naturalistic premise, you’ve really got your work cut out for you…
Well, technically and biologically speaking, we are “just” animals. And what, exactly, does it mean to be “more” than the sum of one’s parts? What about being the product of one’s parts? All species of animals - and plants too, for that matter - have at least slightly different parts too, so noting our differences from other animals still doesn’t support the argument that we are somehow special and supernatural.
that might not work, since there are scientific reasons for the phenomenon and those scientific reasons would not disprove the existence of a soul.
They certainly don’t disprove the existence of a soul, but they don’t support it either. If there were actual scientific evidence for souls, that would support the idea that souls exist. Until such time as there is direct evidence, then believers in souls and other supernatural entities may take comfort from a lack of decisive disproof, but nothing more.
Hmm thanks, but did you read the link? The body weighed less after death etc.
Ps- I don’t attempt to argue with you. As I seriously cannot be bothered. And perhaps you could be kind instead of putting others posts down, unless that makes you feel better about yourself?
I do seem to recall hearing or reading about experiments done regarding weighing human bodies before and after death, to determine whether the soul has weight - and, therefore, presumably, some detectable substance. At the very least, this does represent a scientifically serious attempt to address the subject! It appears, according to Wikipedia at least, that there was a Massachusetts doctor named Duncan MacDougall who did actually carry out such experiments in the early 20th century. They don’t seem to have been accorded much weight by the scholarly scientific community, although they have gained a place in popular culture - hence the idea that the soul weighs around about 21 grams.
When you look into someones’ eyes you can see their soul. When someones’ eyes sparkle, may it be curious eyes, or happy eyes, or surprised eyes, it’s always an emotion that’s beiing reflected. Reflected from what though? It’s not the lacrimal fluid that makes someones’ eyes sparkle, it’s not the light reflecting the eyes either, and it’s not the smile and face around the eyes either cause if you take that away and only look at the eyes they still sparkle. It’s the soul, it’s always an emotion being reflected, and it’s the soul that does that.
There`s a lot of other good stuff there, as well.
It was provided at post # 7…but ignored, it seems.:shrug:
The human soul is purely spiritual. Its non-material, so it doesnt have mass.
It can change in activity, but it cant change in essence. Its indivisible.
Man is a rational animal. Thats the difference between us and the OTHER animals. Our human soul makes all the difference. Brain volume isnt an indication of intellect.
This is very interesting! But if a soul has weight as is suggested in this study, then it must have mass and be physical and therefore subject to physical law. Having mass suggests having atoms and having atoms means they must be an element or compound. This really limits what the soul could do! It could not travel faster than the speed of light for one thing. It could not exist in space without becoming frozen. It would be subject to high energy radiation like cosmic rays that would tear it apart. And it’s unclear what mechanisms it would have to perform functions that produced consciousness – sensations, feelings, thoughts. It would undoubtedly be subject to gravity and hence captured by stars, planets, moons, etc.
The other question is "How would you recognize another soul?’ There is no visual apparatus. Would you know by ESP?
Do you all know of the person who claimed to capture the souls of several people in a bottle with a stopper that had been sealed by holy water? It was sold to some casino in Vegas, I think. . I gave this to my class as an example of failure to think critically.
I’ll close with a verse from Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat: “Why, if the soul can fling the dust aside, and naked on the air of heaven ride, were’t it not a shame, were’t it not a shame, in this clay carcass, crippled to abide!”
a personality can largely be chemically explained and gender can be biologically explained. intellect, at the current time, cannot be completely explained neurologically, but it might be in the future. what about morality? civilization? math? science? philosophy? culture? all these things that come with being human have to do with finding and/or glorifying God. even the most intelligent non-human animals, our fellow primates, do not have these things, or (in the case of culture) they don’t have them in the way that humans have them. this is what i mean by being more than the sum of our parts. we humans are not that different, biologically, from other primates, but we sure have a lot more than they do. where did it come from? it doesn’t stem from things that can be scientifically investigated. it comes from our human souls.
that was actually my point. you can’t use science to prove or disprove the existence of a soul, so any study on the matter is kind of superfluous. intriguing, yes. useful, possibly. but, for the purposes of actually proving (or disproving) the existence of souls, no.
please be polite. disagree if you want, using reason and being civil, but don’t attack christine85.
i don’t think you understand. romedii didn’t say (and i’m sure didn’t mean) that God actually sends people to hell. they go there of their own volition. i can’t imagine why someone would want that, but there you go.
i dunno… as mentioned above, i don’t think that mere intellect could account for all of the other aspects that come with being human.
christine85 posted the snopes article already.
that is perception, since different people see this sparkle differently.