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The Science of the Soul


PaulaJedi
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First, I do not wish this to be a debate thread because nobody can prove what we are discussing. My intention for this thread is for people who believe we have a soul to think outside the box and discuss what they believe the soul is. Let's not make this about religion, please. Let's keep it scientific if possible.

 

My own explanation of a soul is simple, I will admit that. I am not a neurologist and everyone except 2 people here won't expect me to be (lol!!). I also have no scientific journals or papers to throw at you because again, we are just having a friendly discussion.

 

Here goes. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Our memories are energy, correct? They are stored on our brain using electrical impulses. So, when we die, where does this energy go? Do our memories float away into cyberspace or do they stay contained in a "soul"? Is our consciousness basically equivalent to our soul? These are things I wonder.

 

Do any of you have any ideas about what a soul could be and what it is composed of? You don't need to quote scientists and doctors unless you want to, because I'm interested in what YOU have to say. If I wasn't, I could Google all day long and not even come here. :)

 

What do YOU think a soul is?

 

 

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The soul is the life force that animates the body. All the souls worked together to create the universe. The soul is immortal. That would mean that all the souls combined are what we call God. The universe was created so that souls could take time off from being Gods. So basically life is just a vacation. Why take a vacation from being a God? Maybe being a God is more boring than being mortal.

 

 

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The soul is the life force that animates the body. All the souls worked together to create the universe. The soul is immortal. That would mean that all the souls combined are what we call God. The universe was created so that souls could take time off from being Gods. So basically life is just a vacation. Why take a vacation from being a God? Maybe being a God is more boring than being mortal.

But what is it made of? How does it work? Is it just energy?

 

 

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Perhaps, the soul, the essence of your existence, is a form of energy that can be contained in a biological body, as long as, the Spirit (life) is in the body to bind it.

 

When the Spirit leaves at death, the soul is no longer bound and enters a type of space, not physically connected to this universe nor,(possibly), the same space the Spirit returns to. (In some beliefs the soul doesn't immediately enter "Heaven")

 

It's difficult to discuss the soul without some reference to religion. The soul could be a form of energy, that works within the brain while in the body but doesn't require it to exist outside it and is not restricted by the physics of the universe. Time, as in the duration of time, may be of no significance. Imagine your soul, the continuation of your consciousness, is not subject to "universal speed limits" nor time. You think of a place and, you are instantly there. I always wanted to see the Crab Nebula... and Betelgeuse... I want to see if Michael Keaton is there. ;)

 

Just one possibility. Just one simple opinion.

 

 

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[ATTACH=full]408[/ATTACH]Here goes. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Our memories are energy, correct? They are stored on our brain using electrical impulses. So, when we die, where does this energy go? Do our memories float away into cyberspace or do they stay contained in a "soul"?

At present, memories are deleted forever in all forms of dementia. With alzheimers dis. ease, the build up of plaques on the brain rids the person of memories, therefore a person with dementia who dies, does not have memories floating away into "cyberspace".

 

When talking of the soul, many people often mean and define it as the true, everlasting essence of a person; but think about this question... what is a bicycle? Does it have a true essence, that makes it a bicycle? Does a bicycle actually exist? If you were to remove the wheels, the handlebars, the seat, the chain, the nuts and bolts etc etc, where is the true essence of the bicycle?

 

Similarly, where is the true essence of a person located? Many people who have loved ones with dementia, say that the dis. ease has robbed the person of their personality/character. They assert that the person is not the "same" and the person has in effect, "died". So is the soul related to the true essence of a person OR can the soul be likened to a battery, that enables a person to operate (separately to the heart)?

 

 

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I've wondered if who we truly are is energy (the soul), and that our memories and personally are heavily influenced by a symbiosis with a human brain.

 

If you could take a "friendly" soul and transplant it into the mind of a serial killer, would the new being kill while feeling incredible sorrow and regret? Take a malicious soul and trap it in the same mind, would the person revel in the murderous lifestyle?

 

Yeah, the problem with -soul- is that the idea was wrapped up in a blanket called religion, and put in a position where science is afraid to touch it. Science is based on what we know and expanding knowledge into realms of what we don't, but if something's branded as taboo right off then the human race is doing itself a huge disservice.

 

 

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At present, memories are deleted forever in all forms of dementia. With alzheimers dis. ease, the build up of plaques on the brain rids the person of memories, therefore a person with dementia who dies, does not have memories floating away into "cyberspace".

Are they deleted or just can't be accessed?

 

 

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What if we consider the soul to be the essence of your life experiences. A vessel containing a "map" of everything you have experienced, a map similar to the neuro-pathways that your brain develops over your lifetime of experiences, the diagram of your personality...good or bad. Have you ever heard someone say of a child, "They have an old soul."? They are exhibiting wisdom beyond their years.

 

At present, memories are deleted forever in all forms of dementia. With alzheimers dis. ease, the build up of plaques on the brain rids the person of memories, therefore a person with dementia who dies, does not have memories floating away into "cyberspace".

Are they deleted or just can't be accessed?

I'm going to go with, "can't be accessed". Simply because most of your life experiences aren't even "stored" and the brain of an Alzheimer's patient is more like a damaged highway system, pathways are there but a connection or bridge may be out (dead neurons) or the path is overgrown (neurofibrillary tangles), or blocked and impassable (amyloid plaque).**

 

If the soul contains a map, it would have value to someone with the ability to read the map and reconstruct the "highway". (God)

 

... what is a bicycle? Does it have a true essence' date=' that [i']makes[/i] it a bicycle? Does a bicycle actually exist? If you were to remove the wheels, the handlebars, the seat, the chain, the nuts and bolts etc etc, where is the true essence of the bicycle?

If I still have the assembly instructions, I can still make it a bike again.

 

In an analogy to the body and soul; a body without a soul is an empty container but, still a body. The soul without a body is still a soul just no longer confined in a physical container.

 

**

 

I don't want anyone to feel I am making light of Alzheimer's sufferers in any way. My mother had Alzheimer's. She passed away in '97 but the last time I saw her she was in the mid-stages of the disease. When I walked in the house she became very excited and happy to see me but, I could see a bit of uncertainty as her eyes scanned my face. She "knew" me; knew she was happy to see me; yet not completely aware of who I was. I told her I was her son, Scott, and she then remembered and was even more excited to see me. For the rest of the visit, about a week, she remembered me, most times, and told me, every day, I could stay in the spare bedroom and I would remind her, I had brought my travel trailer and was staying in the RV park that was part of the retirement village they lived in. I believe, even though their memories are affected... deep inside, in their soul... they know, are aware, and continue to experience the life around them. "Those memories" are contained in the soul, along with the rest of their memories and are not degradable.

 

 

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I personally do not think that it is memory "recall" that is affected with people dementia (i.e. memories not being accessed) but I believe the memories are actually gone. I have had first hand experience of the last stages of Alzheimer's dis. ease. During these later stages, there is no recognition; the person does not remember how to chew, eat and swallow; the person is just a shell.

 

In regard to the analogy of the bicyle, maybe I didn't clearly explain myself. What I meant to convey is that the "bicycle" is nothing more than a name/label that refers to a collection of components such as wheels, a seat, splkes, nuts, bolts, frame etc. The bicycle has no true essence; similarly, people argue that human beings are just a collection of components that has no true essence/soul.

 

 

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I personally do not think that it is memory "recall" that is affected with people dementia (i.e. memories not being accessed) but I believe the memories are actually gone. I have had first hand experience of the last stages of Alzheimer's dis. ease. During these later stages, there is no recognition; the person does not remember how to chew, eat and swallow; the person is just a shell.In regard to the analogy of the bicyle, maybe I didn't clearly explain myself. What I meant to convey is that the "bicycle" is nothing more than a name/label that refers to a collection of components such as wheels, a seat, splkes, nuts, bolts, frame etc. The bicycle has no true essence; similarly, people argue that human beings are just a collection of components that has no true essence/soul.

It's really sad and even sadder if memories disappear, but where do they go? If the person is just a shell, maybe his/her soul has moved on and the body is still alive. The body just responds to stimuli, but the consciousness or self awareness has left.

 

Think of a hard drive. The data is recorded onto the disk inside the drive. The only way to get rid of the data is to smash the drive or scramble the data with a magnet to make it unusable, but the data is still on the drive. What happens if it is melted? Where does the data go? Wasn't it stored with magnetic energy? This implies the data cannot be permanently destroyed. It must be released into the air or the universe, but since the hard drive is not self aware, the data would not be, either. That's how I think of it.

 

You do make a good point. Why do humans have self awareness? Perhaps it's because we have the proper medium to record data. Wow..... now this is sounding like androids could be self aware...... lol....

 

 

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It's really sad and even sadder if memories disappear, but where do they go? If the person is just a shell, maybe his/her soul has moved on and the body is still alive. The body just responds to stimuli, but the consciousness or self awareness has left.Think of a hard drive. The data is recorded onto the disk inside the drive. The only way to get rid of the data is to smash the drive or scramble the data with a magnet to make it unusable, but the data is still on the drive. What happens if it is melted? Where does the data go? Wasn't it stored with magnetic energy? This implies the data cannot be permanently destroyed. It must be released into the air or the universe, but since the hard drive is not self aware, the data would not be, either. That's how I think of it.

 

You do make a good point. Why do humans have self awareness? Perhaps it's because we have the proper medium to record data. Wow..... now this is sounding like androids could be self aware...... lol....

Yes, you do ask very interesting questions. Where does deleted data from hardware go? In science, energy can neither be created or destroyed. Theistic religions believe that God was not created, but always "was" and "will" be (eternally). You mention burning and melting a hard-drive, surely that process permanently "deletes" the data? When a candle flame is extinguished, that particular "flame" has gone forever and thats what I believe happens to memories as well.

 

 

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We're trying to shove a square peg into a round hole when we try to be physical with a non-physical entity.

 

If your view is based on "physical" neurological activity in the brain then, it is independent of the soul concept. We can not yet scientifically prove a soul exists but, we have a good handle on neuro-electrical activity processes in the brain. If you look at "memory" as the purely biological, neuro-electrical processes in the brain then, Alzheimer's disrupts the connections between neurons and effectively the process of memory retrieval. A memory is a series of interconnected neurons which, when activated, recall a stimulus. These connections are reinforced with more connections when a stimulus is repeated, over and over. Usually, in Alzheimer's, the patient can not store new memories; the short term memory fails early. Longer term memories, that have had a chance to be reinforced, fail later and finally, even the involuntary functions of the brain fail. This is the result of physical damage to the brain. In this sense you can argue that the memories are effectively destroyed.

 

In the concept of a soul, the processes of it, the memories stored in it, (if they even are), is of a non-physical nature, not affected by damage to the person's brain. It is not part of the biological container that it resides in.

 

In the bicycle analogy, everything could be subjected to the same concept since everything is made up of atoms but, once you get to the most basic component, the last hydrogen atom, it does have a definitive essence. (As would each of the other atoms but, hydrogen is the smallest atom state.)

 

 

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We're trying to shove a square peg into a round hole when we try to be physical with a non-physical entity.If your view is based on "physical" neurological activity in the brain then, it is independent of the soul concept. We can not yet scientifically prove a soul exists but, we have a good handle on neuro-electrical activity processes in the brain. If you look at "memory" as the purely biological, neuro-electrical processes in the brain then, Alzheimer's disrupts the connections between neurons and effectively the process of memory retrieval. A memory is a series of interconnected neurons which, when activated, recall a stimulus. These connections are reinforced with more connections when a stimulus is repeated, over and over. Usually, in Alzheimer's, the patient can not store new memories; the short term memory fails early. Longer term memories, that have had a chance to be reinforced, fail later and finally, even the involuntary functions of the brain fail. This is the result of physical damage to the brain. In this sense you can argue that the memories are effectively destroyed.

 

In the concept of a soul, the processes of it, the memories stored in it, (if they even are), is of a non-physical nature, not affected by damage to the person's brain. It is not part of the biological container that it resides in.

 

In the bicycle analogy, everything could be subjected to the same concept since everything is made up of atoms but, once you get to the most basic component, the last hydrogen atom, it does have a definitive essence. (As would each of the other atoms but, hydrogen is the smallest atom state.)

I hear what you're saying. Obviously, any dialogue about the "soul" can only be speculation. If Joe Bloggs was to stop me on the street and ask me to give a definition of the "soul", I'd be hard pressed to give an adequate reply. There seems to be anecdotal evidence that suggests that when a person dies, memories are carried through into another life via reincarnation. I have posted elsewhere of children providing detailed accounts of a prior life. If these accounts are indeed true, then we can confidently assert that a "soul" does indeed somehow store memories.

 

In the bicycle analogy, everything could be subjected to the same concept since everything is made up of atoms but, once you get to the most basic component, the last hydrogen atom, it does have a definitive essence. (As would each of the other atoms but, hydrogen is the smallest atom state.)

 

Yep. Basically, "everything" consists of "something" and is made up of "something". I'm not scientifically minded, but even quarks must be made up of something (that has currently not been discovered). Maybe I'm taken this thread off track, but I'd end by saying that a well detailed. scientific study of those who claim to remember past lives, may provide us with a little bit more evidence into the existence of the "soul".

 

P.S. Can someone explain how I can quote multiple sentences (from one member or more than one as well); cheers.

 

 

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P.S. Can someone explain how I can quote multiple sentences (from one member or more than one as well); cheers.

There may be a better way to do multiple quotes but, I do it one at a time or, write it out in BBC code in notepad.

On each post, there's a "+ Quote" button which lets you add them all in one go using the "Insert Quotes" button on the editor... I don't use it much though.

 

Even easier, if you highlight text in someone's post, you'll see a little tooltip show up which lets you quickly quote ONLY that portion of the post. Saves me lots of time!

 

 

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I hear what you're saying. Obviously, any dialogue about the "soul" can only be speculation. If Joe Bloggs was to stop me on the street and ask me to give a definition of the "soul", I'd be hard pressed to give an adequate reply. There seems to be anecdotal evidence that suggests that when a person dies, memories are carried through into another life via reincarnation. I have posted elsewhere of children providing detailed accounts of a prior life. If these accounts are indeed true, then we can confidently assert that a "soul" does indeed somehow store memories.

This brings new questions. Would someone with amnesia or Alzheimers still have amnesia or Alzheimers when they die? Meaning, are the memories lost forever? (They obviously can't have brain damage with no brain). If their memories are restored as a spirit, then they don't disappear from disease and trauma.

 

 

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Science and the soul are actually not that opposite ideas, it's a topic studied all throughout history by hardened scientists (and an assortment of nutjobs, but what isn't). One study tells of a scientist weighing people at the moment of death, and noting a clear change in weight, declaring that the soul's weight (it has since been explained as the weight of certain liquids evaporating without being replenished as the body shuts down). Even today, it continues; apparently, theories are being put forth that consciousness evolved from our ancestors surviving better if able to resist animalistic urges, creating functions in the brain to examine and evaluate itself, i.e. become self-aware (we are all Skynet).

 

One idea that fascinates me (which has absolutely no root in science) is that the soul might not be "us", per se, but rather an imprint of us, for storage, study, or even duplication and experimentation. Meaning that the flesh is the flesh, and the soul is a *seperate* entity from the conscious self altogether. And yes, my brain does hurt.

 

Oh, and memories are not energy. They are fixed (but possibly fragile) constructs of matter in the brain's fluids, lining up to form bigger wholes when tapped into by our brains' operations. They are *created* with energy, but they are very much physical constructs themselves.

 

 

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Oh, and memories are not energy. They are fixed (but possibly fragile) constructs of matter in the brain's fluids, lining up to form bigger wholes when tapped into by our brains' operations. They are *created* with energy, but they are very much physical constructs themselves.

A source I came across long ago made a claim of being unable to pinpoint a location in the brain for memory. If you have a more current link supporting your statement, I would be more than willing to read it.

 

 

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A source I came across long ago made a claim of being unable to pinpoint a location in the brain for memory. If you have a more current link supporting your statement, I would be more than willing to read it.

Isn't there a general location, though (non-pinpoint)? ...short term memory in a certain lobe, long term in another, etc.......

 

I suppose they only know that from people who experienced trauma.

 

I've always thought memory and the soul were related somehow because I believe in ghosts. They appear to remember a lot.

 

 

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A source I came across long ago made a claim of being unable to pinpoint a location in the brain for memory. If you have a more current link supporting your statement, I would be more than willing to read it.

I'll see what I can find when I get home tomorrow, but Gpa's article is a good start. So is Hank Green's neurology videos on Youtube. Note that I am no expert, just a geek ;)

 

PaulaJedi, IIRC shortterm memory has a general location, while longterm specializes.

 

PS why wont multiquote ever work for me?

 

 

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