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Tambra Tice

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What do you think happens to your soul when your body dies?

What do you think happens to your soul when your body dies? I'm looking to find out what people think about the soul...does it live on? cease to exist? reincarnation? heaven or hell? What makes you believe that?

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    Sep 2 2011: Here's the deal (not that anyone will pay any attention - heck, I'm not even paying attention and it's my idea:)

    You either know or you don't.

    If we have a soul, and we know we have a soul - we know.

    And if we know, we also know the nature of knowing and, as such, we will know that someone who doesn't know cannot be convinced by any explanation of any kind.

    If we don't know we have a soul - we don't know. We might have an opinion - for or against - but arguments on either side are just so much speculation.

    So if we don't know, just say that: "I don't know."

    For all of us who are skeptics, the best we can do is be honest and say, "I don't know."

    For all of us who believe (but don't know,) the best we can do is be honest and say, "I don't know."

    For those of us who do know - one way or the other - the best we can do is point out the possibility of knowing (if it is indeed possible for others to know) or to keep quiet (if it is not possible for others to know.)

    Of course, the problem comes when people who don't know, but believe, talk about "the possibility" of knowing. My request is that you don't. Why? Because you don't know.

    Of course it is "possible." Anything is possible.

    It's possible that aliens will be showing up soon and it's possible we could colonize the sun. So yes, it is possible there is a soul and to know there is a soul but, if we don't actually know, saying it is possible to know, is as meaningful as saying it is possible to build houses on, or in, the sun.

    Bottom line: Skeptics and believers alike don't really have anything definitive to say. Those who know, know what to say, or what not to say.

    To address Tambra Tice's question, let's assume we do have a soul (and we know it.)

    What happens to the soul after we die?

    The ONLY way to find out is to die.

    NDEs do NOT count (and for the record, I have had three.) NDEs are NOT the same as dying ... they might not even be close. Unless we have done both, there is no way to know.

    Carry on.
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      Sep 2 2011: Great response Thomas!
      I agree.
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      Sep 2 2011: What if, what people are calling the soul, is energy? Do we all agree that there is energy running through the body/mind?
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        Sep 2 2011: Hi Colleen,

        What if what people are calling the soul is the breath of God? What if it's an illusion caused by a "parasitic meme?" What if it's energy? What if it's a delusion we create to deal with our inability to comprehend our own annihilation?

        What if? What if? What if?

        The questions presume we know that the soul exists, or that it doesn't, and that it is the energy running through body/mind, or a delusion, or ...?

        Or the questions are mere speculation, or based on speculation, or about a speculation ... and we know how that will turn out. (My speculation makes more sense than your speculation! Does not! Does too!)

        We either know or we don't know.
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          Sep 2 2011: Thomas,
          It feels like you are simply arguing for the sake of arguing. It is scientifically proven that we have energy in the body/mind. That is not speculation.

          With references to soul, spirit, god, etc., we may all be talking about the same thing...energy. That's my only point.
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        Sep 2 2011: Hi Colleen,

        I never argue for the sake of arguing.

        You are correct, we MAY be talking about the same thing - we call that speculation.

        Does the fact that we MIGHT be talking about the same thing have any impact on whether we know or not?

        We either know or we don't know.
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        Sep 2 2011: I absolutely do think the soul is energy, Colleen...I just think it vibrates at a much higher frequency than the 'material' world.
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          Sep 3 2011: Hi Tambra

          If the soul is energy, then it cannot be eternal. If it is energy then it is part of the material universe, & as such subject to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. In other words it will deteriorate over time. Mass/Energy is subject to Time. To be eternal a soul must have no atoms, or any other material.

          :-)
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          Sep 3 2011: Tambra,
          Our "material world", could vibrate at a higher energy. As individuals, we vibrate at different energy levels.

          Peter,
          If you can ever get out of the box you have created for yourself, you may begin to see something different.
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          Sep 4 2011: Colleen

          Just basic physics. :-)
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      Sep 4 2011: YES!!!!!
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      Sep 6 2011: That is quite far fetched Farrukh,

      That would imply that your soul is your metabolism....

      But technically, it is not in contradiction with science. Though I would like to point out that when the energy is used and disperses as heat.... your soul is the heat (following your reasoning)... and stops to produce more heat after death.

      It does not support a lot of the claims made in this conversation though
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          Sep 7 2011: QUOTE: "When it comes to heat being the soul, I did not even think about anything like that."

          No, that's true, you didn't say that - whether you thought about it or not is beyond my ken - , but it is the logical extension of attributing anything to the application of energy. "Unused" energy dissipates as heat. There is no physical contrivance, biological or otherwise, that is 100% efficient in its use of energy.

          QUOTE: "In worst case, my interpretation of soul as type of energy might be wrong, but soul is something."

          Yes, it no doubt is "something." It is possible that "the something" is simply an idea.

          It might be something other than that.

          Again: We either know or we don't know.

          Speculation is not disallowed.
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          Sep 7 2011: I'll have to second Thomas.

          I think it is unfair (and misleading towards science) to first try and formulate a scientific account of the soul, while later saying you are not using the scientific terminology (in this case energy) properly.

          Your claim about "unconventional energy" should not be called energy (unless it has the same fundamental properties all forms of energy have). If that is a claim you are willing to make, it can start to become a scientific theory, that can then be tested (after eliminating all logic errors en inconsistencies first I guess)
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        Sep 7 2011: Christophe,
        What might have happened, if scientists, throughout history had said...that idea is too "far fetched" so we're not going to consider it? Probably not much progress in scientific discovery huh?

        I think Farrukh's idea is very interesting, and it DOES support many claims made in this discussion:>)The soul/energy may be very much a part of our metabolism, as some of us have suggested that it is the life force energy.Y

        ou say Christophe, that technically, Farrukh's theory is not in contradiction to science? I agree:>)Some of us are suggesting that the soul/energy moves on when the body dies. The energy disperses heat...the soul is the heat/metabolism/life force, and stops producing heat IN THE BODY because the energy/soul is no longer in the physical body. That is why the body becomes cold and
        ceases to function.

        I don't think it is unfair or misleading towards science to build on the knowledge we have at this time, and in fact, that seems like the logical way to learn and grow with information. Scientific discoveries need to start somewhere...correct? Again, I ask you the question...what would happen if young scientists with different ideas are all told that their idea is too "far fetched"?

        We know that I am not a scientist, and I'm commenting on this topic because of an experience I had, and I LOVE to hear the scientific possibilities:>) The only way I can describe what I experienced is as energy, and I know that is not adequate as far as what I am trying to describe, but it is the only word that fits, at this time. Call it "unconventional energy" if you will, and perhaps we can speak about soul/energy/life force from that base. It is already being tested scientifically, so for you to dismess it as "far fetched" Christophe, doesn't seem very logical:>)
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          Sep 7 2011: Hi Colleen
          I just received over mail the link to a testimony that you perhaps would like to see.
          Maybe Christophe likes to see it too, to criticize it because it doesn't fit his logic.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL1oDuvQR08
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          Sep 7 2011: @ Frans:
          - They pronounced him dead when he was still on the machines... (technically he was still not completely dead?)
          - The person heart started to beat again (which he admits happens). The pressure comes back (we don't know why... but it can happen)...
          => this is an exceptional story, but does not give an account of a soul
          - The person's description could have been influenced by other people's witnesses... I would need to make an inquiry on the people talked to him &c... Plus the doctors pre-disposition towards certain beliefs (in order to exclude confirmation bias)
          Still quite skeptical, but witnesses like that should make us attempt to document such cases, and maybe try and film the whole event, in order to exclude any sources of skepticism people like me still have...
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          Sep 7 2011: @ Colleen

          Of course out of the box thinking is needed in order to generate new hypothesis... so i would not try to prevent people from coining new ideas.

          however... certain observations and established facts have a body of evidence that can not be ignored, and need to be taken into account within the new (forming) theory. It may not blatantly reject it (a new theory in physics cannot contradict gravity for example)

          I did say he made a good point... sadly, he lost his credibility after my comment... If he acknowledged the (thus far never ever rejected) ideas of thermodynamics, it would have been great and he might have gone to a new plausible theory that might augment the probability of a soul to exist.
          However, he retreated from the established body of observations, and got to a "mere" opinion.
          if however, he acknowledges thermodynamics, we could go further, and investigate his ideas (following the older logic of Popper, or the newer Bayesian reasoning), in order to see whether this (albeit far-fetched) idea is likely (or not).

          To me it's like Michael Shermer says: "Be open minded, but not so open minded your brain falls out"... It means that you cannot throw previous observations or ideas out of the window, just because you like to think otherwise (or because you don't know about them)
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          Sep 8 2011: Hi Christophe,

          I am responding here to a question you asked in another conversation.

          I don't think our intention should be to convince other people of anything ... that is, it is not important whether anyone agrees with us or not (about anything.)

          I think we should just express ourselves as clearly as we can and accept that, like us, others will make up their own minds.

          I do not think that we humans are particularly good and drawing "correct" conclusions. I think we are pretty good at choosing what makes us feel good - even if it doesn't make sense. And, when you think about it THAT makes sense: choosing to feel good over choosing to make sense is EXACTLY what an irrational feeling machine would do.

          So if it makes us feel good to believe that our soul goes to heaven when we die, no matter what evidence is, or is not, available, we will interpret the evidence in such a way that it supports our worldview - or we will ignore it.

          And if it makes us feel good to believe that we don't have a soul and that everything can be explained using physical laws, we will interpret the evidence in such a way that that worldview is supported.

          It seems rare for humans to simply say, "I don't know." (Saying "I don't know" makes us feel uncomfortable.)

          As a small sample in support of that statement, witness the bulk of this conversation.

          Does anyone here know what happens after we die - absolutely not - and yet very few of us are willing to accept that. (In fact, that I will say that, unequivocally, will likely draw out a few comments about how I don't know that they don't know ... because of ... [pick an explanation.])

          But my point is: it doesn't matter if people understand and accept your point of view. It's enough that you do.
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          Sep 8 2011: Science does not give all the answers Farrukh... It tels us how the answers can unabiguously be found. And it tells us the current answers (with all our ignorance).

          There are degrees of wrong: http://hermiene.net/essays-trans/relativity_of_wrong.html
          Please read this article written by Isaac Asimov... he explains it better than I can.

          in short: 50% error is more wrong than 10% error is more wrong than 0.1% error.
          If you think all wrongs are equal, and derive that science is wrong, you are more wrong than those two wrongs together.

          And Yes, we could be completely wrong about everything (though i does not seem that way, given our posibility to predict a lot of stuf); but it is better to base your ideas on facts (limited information) than on nothing at all... Some people call it inductive reasoning
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          Sep 8 2011: I agree Christophe,
          Scientific research provides the "current answers", and as with any other exploration, when we get new information, our answers may change at times. If we are "stuck" with what detail is "right" and which one is "wrong", we may miss the exploration, and thereby limit ourselves:>)
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        Sep 9 2011: Dear Christophe,
        Farrukh's comments were not at all "far fetched" and his ideas are "not in contradiction with science" as you have stated. They did however, seem to be in contradiction with what you are willing to open your mind to. Too bad we lost him from this discussion.

        I agree with Cole Barnshaw's recent post in this thread. You "correct others" when Cole does not have the energy to do so. What kind of discussions evolve however, when a person needs always to "correct others"?
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          Sep 9 2011: Hmmm...
          There is this saying ( Matthew 7:3) that is in my opinion incomplete:
          "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

          I say: "Help each other to remove each other's specks and planks, so you can both see more clearly." (actually, in the Apocrypha Gospel of Thomas, it is stated like that).

          I also regret that Farrukh's posts have disappeared...

          There is no contradiction between an open mind and a logical mind.
          But I don't mind I might give you the impression of audacity...
          or like Birdia puts it:
          "[some] people tend to mistake confidence for arrogance"

          I don't have the energy to be gentle with everybody who might be offended with what I say or think.
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        Sep 9 2011: I agree Christophe,
        We are here to support each other in our life journey..."help each other to remove each other's specks and planks, so you can both see more clearly".

        The only contradiction between an open mind and a logical mind comes when one is stuck in his/her own logic, and fails to be open minded to someone else's logic. How about being gentle with yourself and allow yourself to honestly see all the specks and planks without judgement?

        I don't agree that people "mistake confidence for arrogance". Confident people will generally be open to new thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions.
        • Sep 10 2011: Dear Colleen,

          Cop is saying 3 + 3 = 6
          and you are asking why don't one accept the possibility of being 7
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        Sep 10 2011: Dear Kaka Dada,
        As humans, we continually evolve beyond certain scientific beliefs...that is how we grow, learn and evolve as a species:>) I'm open to the idea that 3+3=6 is a mathamatical construct in the human life experience, and may not be correct in other life forms:>)

        I'm sure you know the fact that we have energy moving through our body and mind has been proven scientifically. The next question is...where does that energy go when the body dies? That is the topic of this discussion.
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          Sep 10 2011: Ok, let's assume I'm less open minded than you, and that I have my profound reasons for it. You can be open minded to accept that Colleen.

          As for the energy through the body (as indeed that is the topic in this part of the conversation):

          - Thermodynamics and laws of entropy can be seen as a fact.
          - The energy that flows through the brains is partly chemical/molecular (synapses, neurotransmitters) and partly electric (neuronal signal, triggered by sodium/potassium differential)
          These energy flows are fed by the cell's metabolism that needs sugars and oxygen.
          When the blood stops flowing through the brain, and the oxygen is all burned, the energy flow stops... And the neurons start to die (you see this in stroke trauma's).
          When the brain ceases to function, the energy-flow ceases.
          The process of decomposition is the sum of all the molecules and cells that start to lose more and more energy, as the chemical reactions follow the chain of entropy.

          The energy in the atoms (nuclear energy) stays the same
          the molecular energy falls down (through heat) until the remainder molecules are stable.
          The electrical energy is lost when the membranes of the cells get torn and add to the chemical reactions

          So the energy goes to heat.

          You are free to put forth another hypothesis. For example: If there is such thing as "soul"-energy, it should be measure-able and maybe even isolated and captured. (place a dying brain in a (air and magnetic) sealed tank filled with energy sensors of all kind, and see what happens)
        • Sep 10 2011: Colleen, "As humans, we continually evolve beyond certain scientific beliefs...that is how we grow"

          thats how i was forced to believe there is Big guy up there in Heaven who watches every move i make but i'm sorry Colleen it didn't make me grow.
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          Sep 10 2011: The human experience is 1+1=3. Sometimes 4.
        • Sep 11 2011: Frans, rubber hasn't anymore value?
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        Sep 10 2011: Dear Kaka Dada,
        When I said we evolve beyond certain scientific beliefs, I was thinking that we move to more advanced scientific beliefs. Sorry I was not more clear with that statement.

        I also had the experience as a child, with people trying to force me to believe "there is a big guy up there in heaven who watches every move i make". That never made sense to me even as a child. As I grew to be an adult, I realized I could make my own choices based on information I had at any given time. The information I consider is from many different sources. Nothing to be sorry about kaka dada...it is all part of the life exploration:>)
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        Sep 10 2011: My Dear Christophe,
        I accept and appreciate you exactly as you are, and do not care to compare my open mindedness with your open mindedness:>) I have simply been encouraging a dialogue that includes and welcomes ideas that may be new to some people:>)

        In many respects, we're on the same page. I have never questioned the dying process, which you have explained very well. After sitting with many dying people, I can probably tell you the order in which the organs start to fail, but that is not the topic of this discussion.

        I agree...."the energy flow ceases" when we die. In my perception, it ceases to flow through the body, and changes form.

        I do not agree that "the electrical energy is lost". I believe it changes form, and that is what we call the spirit/soul/life force energy. That is the idea Farrukh explained much better than I can. It was this idea you called "far fetched" and said it did not support any other comment on this thread, which is not true. Several of us on this thread have presented this theory:>)

        I do not have a "dying brain" available to me, but scientists are doing just fine with similar experiments:>) Thanks for your openmindedness:>)
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      Sep 7 2011: Frans,
      Thanks for that link...I LOVE it of course!!!

      As a younger person, I worked as an Operating Room Technician/Surgical Assistant, so I've seen lots of interesting "scenes". As an older person, I've volunteered in a terminal care facility, and I've been with several friends and relatives when they died. Then of course, there's my own NDE/OBE, which happened after a head/brain injury and craniotomy, as life support systems were keeping the body alive:>) I've also done a lot of research on the topic over the years.

      I got a kick out of the video because it reminded me of going back to ICU to visit the people who took care of me there. The director of ICU showed me the room I was in when I was unconscious, close to death, and hooked up to life support systems. I described the room as I saw it from above, and he was quite amazed that I knew how the room was set up...I was unconscious and very close to death according to the medical model:>)
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        Sep 7 2011: Hi Colleen
        Thought you would like it. One has to see with or without their own eyes to know. At the age of 19 I had a heavy road accident and was fully unconscious until I waked up in the hospital. Yet did I answer questions in the ambulance about my identity and security and I have a memory of it. And also that I had a vision on the same moment from inside as well as outside the ambulance. The answers I provided were out of the database that wasn't yet updated because some facts weren't actuated.

        @Christophe
        Over thermodynamics. Do I say something stupid as I think that entropy decreases in living systems during their development in ever more complex order?
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          Sep 7 2011: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes..."
          (Marcel Proust)

          Thanks for sharing a piece of your story Frans, and glad you're still here:>)
          There is so much information regarding this topic, I am amazed that some people still hide their heads in the sand...but...that's life in this earth school:>)

          Personally, I feel that the spirit/soul/energy state of being is more "real" than the earth school. I am looking forward to going back to my real home again,when I'm finished here:>)
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          Sep 8 2011: Frans: no, you don't, but that comes from the fact that we charge up with a higher form of eneregy that comes from our food, and that the energy on our planet can increase due to the sun... though the sun is increasing entropy at a very high rate.

          Local decreases in Entropy don't violate the laws of thermodynamics...
          If you look at each specific reaction that happens, we see that it is always an increase though...

          So it is not stupid. It is incomplete
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      Sep 7 2011: My Dear Christophe,
      You are absolutely right! "Certain observations and established facts have a body of evidence that can not be ignored, and need to be taken into account within the new (forming) theory".

      "Be open minded, but not so open minded your brain falls out".
      I agree with THAT Christophe!!! Perfer to keep my brains inside at this point...LOL:>)
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      Sep 8 2011: I think it's definition problem.
      Definition problems are everywhere..

      I curious about this question, do you think everything is energy?
      I mean, do you think "soul or your thoughts" are energy?

      I doubt it..
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    Sep 10 2011: It blows my mind when I think about what mysteries would be unveiled about ourselves, others and the true nature of the universe if "ego" was not a factor. But unfortunatly it always has been and always will be. To me pride is the true enemy of knowledge. Ignorant people fool themselves into thinking that because they can speculate on the obvious nature of the material universe(that anyone with a few textbooks and some education can do) by using boring, lengthy scientific defintions that they have actually said something worthwhile. Meanwhile, the real world with all of its un answered questions and mystery is still spinning around that small head of theirs- wich is most likely going to explode at some point because they are busy trying to stuff the universe inside it. I want to give one big thumbs up to those who have participated in this disussion. Soul or no soul who are still in love with wonder. O and my favorite quote by Shel Silverstien-
    Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be."
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    Sep 1 2011: As I don't think a soul is something non-material (all non-material definitions of a soul I reject), the soul dies with the body.

    Your legacy lives on (the effects of your life on this world)... should be sufficient to try and do good.

    Reincarnation, heaven, hell: there is no reliable data for assuming it's existence (so probably in-existent). Hence no belief for me here
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      Sep 1 2011: Christopher- I respectfully disagree. You say there is no data for assuming the exsistence of a soul. But isnt the data you are speaking of a certian kind of data. What I mean is - there will never be at least for now -a scientific measurment that can gauge whether a soul exsists. But that really isnt the goal of science is it? at least not western science. It seems to me that hard science is concerned with measuring the data from the material universe and the soul is only a part of the material universe in as much as it inhabits a body. Furthermore , the idea that man is at essence a spritual being hasnt always been rejected in the scientific community. It is thought of as an absurdist idea now but most of the factors that have swayed the popular opinion of the scientific community has had nothing to do with science at all.Thats interesting. The presence of a soul may be the stuff of fairy tales but in the long run there are some questions more suited for fairytales than anyhting else. I want to digress here and say that I am not one of these weirdo science bashers- Im a total geek for the stuff but then again in my life for the most important questions that I have come across I have searched for answers in the arena of the supernatural not the material. It seems to me that there is a great benefit for having one foot in the world and carelessly draping the other one over the edge. Some say it is a cowards way out or anti-intellectual but I think its neither of those. Its just living.
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        Sep 1 2011: What you are saying does not appear to me as bearing a lot of sense.

        If something exists, it should have an effect that shows it's existence.
        If it has no effect at all, it doesn't need to be assumed it exists.
        Claiming it could never be measured would only assert my claim it probably does not exist.

        You need to give at least one example that gives a clue towards the existence of a soul. (you don't, you say something like "I did not find the answers I was looking for (in science), so I follow a fairy tale" (this is re-interpretation, indicating I might have misunderstood your arguments).
        Maybe you are not willing to accept the answers?

        The argument that some people accept a (false) idea is no reason to accept the idea as true (that is a logical fallacy)
        Also, what scientists do or don't do (or research or try to answer) is no argument pro or contra the existence of a soul.

        To me "Science is the set of methods that can reduce uncertainty about truth"
        What science seems to you is probably not the same as what I understand by it.
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          Sep 2 2011: "If something exists, it should have an effect that shows it's existence"
          Well , I guess we would have to define what each of us means by effect wouldnt we?
          If by effect you mean a tangible ,concrete, demonstration or as having direct implicaiton on the physical universe then yes there are plenty. My answer to that is walk out side and have a look around. I do not understand why it is such an absurd idea to not just define what something is or isnt by its physical properties alone. I cant even say that I know for sure what another human is. Science answers quite well the physical properties but the more exsistential or trancendant ones are the mystery. If you think that there is nothing beyond the physical universe or that people are exactly as they appear-souless carbon bodies that will dissentigrate into the earth then Im not sure how much of a conversation we can have.
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          Sep 2 2011: O and saying that I may not be willing to accept the anwers isnt concerned much with science. :)
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          Sep 3 2011: If something exists then it shud show some effect.

          Who says ? What you are actually saying is that there is only one way things can BE.
          I don't believe that you have that kind of knowledge. Christophe
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        Sep 2 2011: Just because 'science' isn't able to PROVE that the soul exists, does not mean that it DOESN'T exist, it simply means that scientists (mere MORTALS that they are) have not yet discovered how to prove/disprove the existence of it! Think about it...How many things can you think of that were 'thought' not to be TRUE (but still been believed in by some people) and then years later, discovered to be actual FACT by the scientific world??? I can think of MANY!
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          Sep 2 2011: Sure Tambra,

          the possibility exists that there is a soul...
          Currently, our knowledge of the soul is 0.

          Any claims made about the soul are therefore speculations and fall (to my account) in the category of fantasy.
          Mind you, I do like fantasy, but not when it gets confused with reality.

          Science is a journey of discovery, and if we happen to find a soul, and if I'm still alive, I will acknowledge it, and change my views accordingly.

          Your argument that we make errors is however no argument pro the existence of anything.
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        Sep 2 2011: Dear Jacob.

        An effect can be anything (from a photon hitting the eye-ball, a soundwave or a radio signal. It can be a questionaire or actions people take,...)

        Can you give me some hints to what I specifically need to look for outside?
        Do I need to go to nature? or a town square?

        It would be great to see 'signs of soul'

        And yes, I do think that we are soulless carbon bodies that will disintegrate into the earth.
        Though that does not reduce my sense of wonder and fascination of life.
        • Sep 2 2011: Christophe, would you agree as a scientist, that absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence ?
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          Sep 3 2011: Christopher Im sorry for the delayed response I did not see that you commented on my comment. :) Its hard for me to keep up with the flow of these conversations. I did not mean to come across as if I was brushing off your question about seeeing the effect of a possible"soul" demostated in the world. I meant too answer with another. Do you beleive there is more too humans that can be or has been explained by science? Even Einstien himself said " "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. " Do you agree?
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        Sep 2 2011: @ Natasha

        Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence... Although that statement is logically true, it is incomplete.

        Absence of evidence can hold information about evidence of absence... This happens over time (actually, it is given the amount of data, and the data gets collected over time)

        A thought experiment:

        If I give you a bowl filled with grains of sand, and there might or might not be a grain of gold in it... when would you conclude that I was lying if I say there is one in it?
        You can check each grain...
        - If you have the time, you can go through all of them and be sure (in which case you are completely sure)
        - if you have no time, you'd need to gamble (a coinflip, as that represents the likelyhood of either answer)
        - if you have only limited time, you could start.... After you checked half of the bowl, and the grain of gold was not there, your best bet would already be that I was lying (statistically, you had 50% of finding it, the fact that you did not find it, makes me 75% likely to be a liar)
        As you still have some time, and the grain of gold does not start to appear... those chances are increasing...
        until you find it, at which case you are surprised it took you so long (especially if it was one of the last grains you checked)
        But if not... you are not surprised that I was actually lying.

        So the absence of the grain of gold (the evidence) is informative for the evidence of absence (as the information gets piled up).

        I hope you can agree on that?
        • Sep 3 2011: Thank you for the attempt, Christophe,
          I appreciate it, though I am not at all convinced,
          the grain of a gold may rest right at the bottom of the bowl of sand, and no matter
          how
          statistically the evidence of absence is growing, we can't state it is not there.

          And one more thing I want to add, the definition of hell, which I found very convincing :
          "A hell is the truth, seen too late"
          Maybe there is a soul, let's wait till the ultimate truth is revealed to us,
          but before that moment comes ,I prefer to stay open.
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          Sep 3 2011: @C You are really at word play.
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        Sep 3 2011: Dear Natasha,

        I have no problem that you accept a very low possibility as sufficient to stay agnostic about something. By the same argument you'll need to be agnostic about Russel's teapot
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot

        My refutal of Pascal's Wager can be found here (first response) http://www.ted.com/conversations/1602/why_don_t_people_believe_in_go.html

        I don't believe that the ultimate truth will ever be revealed... meaning I can't wait for that to come, and need to resort to probabilistic reasoning.
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        Sep 3 2011: Dear Jacob,

        [Do you beleive there is more too humans that can be or has been explained by science? Even Einstien himself said " "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. " Do you agree?]

        There certainly is more to humans than currently explained by science. We don't have the answers (yet). Though I do think it probable that we can know everything about humans, at least in principle (through science)
        Having mysterious experiences are indeed wonderful, and Einstein was probably right on that account.

        But that is no reason to believe in fantasy
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        Sep 4 2011: @ Helen,

        If something that exists and does not have any effect is not worth knowing, as it has no effect on reality (no effect what-so-ever...none).
        How can something that does not affect you (or our known, or future knowable universe) ever be interesting?
        I do understand fantasy is fun (I can't stress that enough). I thoroughly regret people try to spread ideas that are clearly false. I do have sufficient knowledge to judge at least a part of them.

        (And If you claim I do word play, please explain where I did so and to what extent I made a mistake...)

        Look: If a runner can run faster than you, are you going to deny that?
        Then why can't people accept they have less knowledge than other people?
        I deeply deplore this. (And I'm trying to resolve this problem)

        [edit: Helen: my answer to your response can be found below]
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          Sep 4 2011: Christophe....Please explain in detail what knowledge is and how do we obtain and interpret it ? Is it only stuff we can actually touch, hear, see or do you think that there can be other forms of existence, for instance such as immaterial and if not why not ?
          You speak as if you KNOW that what we who believe in soul are fanatics.
          Just how do you think that the idea behind Occam's Razor can be proven ?
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        Sep 4 2011: Kathy
        ["If something exists, it should have an effect that shows it's existence."
        The effect of having a soul is a little thing called "life"; the soul is the energy which animates the physical body.
        Thus, if you are alive, you are observing and experiencing the 'effect that shows it's existance."]

        I see how you define a soul... so when does the soul enter life? Can one assume a virus has a soul? or a prion? When abiogenensis started, how did something as a soul appear?
        Can one see them as chemical reactions? or is it different? If so, how can you see this soul in action?
        When the body dies, can one see it disappear? has it energy or a measurable mass...

        Of course, one can be agnostic about those questions, but they need to be answered in order to accept this version of a soul.
        Also, when the brain degrades (say dementia), is the soul un-afected by it?

        The number of problems with such a soul is very high...

        Concerning the observation of the soul: maybe you and Jacob might try and agree to your opposing views first.

        Needless to say I totally reject your thoughts on the soul as true. (And a god is not an argument to me as I cannot it's existence either)
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        Sep 4 2011: @ Kathy

        I gather your soul-idea is then all-pervasive (a form of panentheism)

        Aside from rejecting the idea of seeing aura's (that has been thoroughly researched and there is no evidence of it's existence), I have only one philosophical argument against the panentheistic idea: Occam's razor.

        As this all pervasive idea of soul does not seem to add to the explanational power of current theory of the universe, I see it as redundant.
        Other than that, I think you add to it a lot of ideas that are without any evidence, and that is where I see the main problem with redundancy: it can lead to fantasy.

        Other than that: merely stating that everything is energy, and that you call that energy (or part of it) "soul", that would be acceptable to me, though I would rather stick to the current word used for it: energy (as soul has indeed the co-notations you describe).
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        Sep 4 2011: @ Helen
        [Please explain in detail what knowledge is and how do we obtain and interpret it ?]

        You know that we have limited space in these conversations... And explaining it in detail would require a book (I do have 35 pages of notes in Dutch, that I'm willing to send if you want, explaining it in detail. I'm planning to continue the translation in English next month, so If you want, email me, so I can send it to you)

        [ Is it only stuff we can actually touch, hear, see or do you think that there can be other forms of existence, for instance such as immaterial and if not why not ?]

        I would consider all particles as described in physics to be material. I know that some are sometimes better described as wave, but I accept that as well. I have thus far found no evidence of immaterial things that are part of this cosmos or have effect on it... I see no reason to assume the existence of it.

        [You speak as if you KNOW that what we who believe in soul are fanatics.]

        I would not claim you are fanatics (as that has negative connotations that don't seem to apply to you or others her in the discussion), but I do think that believing in an immaterial soul is erratic.

        [Just how do you think that the idea behind Occam's Razor can be proven ?]
        (You haven't looked into the book I sent you the link to in a previous conversation we had, did you?)
        Occam's razor is "proven" in Cybernetics, or rather in complexity theory, where it is assumed that a shorter description-complexity that explains the same as longer description complexity should be preferred (as they describe exactly the same). It is a desideratum that I agree with... "make things as simple as possible, but not more simple than needed".
        The shortest description complexity can be seen as the (upper boundary of) complexity of the things described by it. The extra description is redundant (by definition of redundancy). Hence Occam's razor is a valid argument.
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        Sep 5 2011: @ Kathy

        there is a reason for the character limit. Multiple long posts are very discouraging, and lead to escalation.
        I scanned over them, saw more things to disagree upon, and decided to leave it like it is.

        I might want to add that I have a master degree in Psychology (specialization in neuro-behavioural sciences), so I might understand a little what psychology might mean.
        I read multiple religious books as well as new-age books. So I can safely claim that I am sufficiently informed of the ideas I oppose.
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    Sep 1 2011: Implying you have a soul or a self to begin with...
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      Sep 1 2011: Am I to assume that you don't believe the soul even exists? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that.
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        Sep 1 2011: I believe in soul music,
        I believe in soles in my shoe.
        I even believe in Seoul, S. Korea

        But I do not believe in any real definition of "souls"

        The lack of evidence isn't the only damning attribute, souls just don't compute with my view of the world. A non physical (spiritual) presence that belongs to me; a presence that is indisputably and eternally ME. Boy that's pessimistic, what if you're born a boy who fancies himself a girl, Does the soul know that? Is William the Conqueror's soul somewhere being William the Conqueror's soul for all of eternity?

        I just don't have the Ego to think any part of me is as permanent as a soul, and if you buy into the idea that the soul dies with the body. What makes it so special, what makes it worth worrying about? My soul never lowered blood pressure, it didn't get me rich... just let go of the whole idea of it.
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          Sep 1 2011: Interesting take, Christopher...I certainly respect your right to your opinion, but personally it saddens me to know that you have no faith that the soul exists! I think your take is the pessimistic one...you die, that's it. There's nothing left of YOU. Whereas the idea that your actual SOUL is the 'you' that exists eternally, now THAT is optimistic! As far as your question of "what if you're born a boy who fancies himself a girl..." well, my answer to that is that the true SOUL does not HAVE a gender...and William the Conqueror was just a soul who incarnated in a male human body and lived that particular life as he did in order to experience and learn particular lessons, but when that body died, the soul (who was the true essence of who that particular person really was) 'moved on'...It is my belief that we (all 'spirits') originate from GOD, but are each seperate from Him, and we are sent to earth to learn lessons and experience ALL that is possible (not possible in merely 1 lifetime as a human); once we have learned all things/experienced all things, we can once again reunite with God. This of course, is merely MY OWN idea of what the 'human experience' is all about, and yes, I totally agree that there is no PROOF for my idea, I just like the idea and it resonates as truth for me...but since I DON'T know, that is exactly why I posted the question I did...to see what others think...what is THEIR truth...I don't think it is at all 'egotisitcal' of me to think that a) I HAVE a soul, and b) that it will live on for eternity...and furthermore, I don't think the 'point' of a soul is to make me rich or lower my blood pressure...I think the purpose of a soul is unfathomable by ANY human being; it is God's creation, and only He knows what it's purpose is...but I DO believe that we are here to learn lessons...to become more God-like with each and every lesson we learn, and that Earth is the school in which we are to learn these lessons...
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          Sep 1 2011: Christopher,
          Whether or not you believe or disbelieve in a soul energy, you have not provided a very good argument.

          Of course there are people "born a boy who fancies himself a girl", and vise versa. Why do you think people have sex change operations? The one comment that is consistant with these folks is that they felt like a woman in a man's body, or a man in a woman's body. So, you might as well scrap that argument!

          Is "William the Conqueror's soul somewhere...?"
          In my perception, his soul/spirit/energy is somewhere with a new body and name:>)

          It's ok if souls just don't compute with your view of the world...life goes on:>) If you really believed that however, you probably would not have come to this discussion. Seems you may still have some questions regarding this topic?
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          Sep 1 2011: P.S. Christians are not the only people who believe in the existence of the SOUL
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          Sep 1 2011: What is the chance that something exists purely on the merit that it's a nice idea? What function would the soul play that isn't covered by our physical attributes? How can a soul have the desirable attributes it's described as having without the physical attributes needed for these. How does a soul absorb photons (particles of light) and interpret them without an eye and a brain? We don't just magically see the world around us, there's a whole photon absorption process. There's a material interaction. All our senses need material support. To ignore is to make a huge abstraction.

          One could argue that a soul makes a cohesive being but that falls short from explaining sudden personality change after brain damage and the development of separate personalities in split brain patients.

          The concept of the soul is comforting, but it falls short from providing any evidence of its existence and its existence wouldn't explain any human physical characteristic that needs explaining, not in a serious manner at least. Occam's razor comes to mind.
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          Sep 1 2011: Matthieu,
          I agree...it's a nice, comforting idea:>)

          "What function would the soul play that isn't covered by our physical attributes?"
          AND..."How can a soul have the desirable atttributes it's described as having without the physical attributes needed for these?"
          The soul/spirit/energy powers the physical attributes.

          You're right..."there's a whole photon absorption process".
          It's powered by the soul/spirit/energy:>)

          You're right again..."There's a material interaction...all our senses need material support".
          It's all powered by the soul/spirit/energy. The body is the carrier for the energy:>)
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          Sep 1 2011: From eye formation to eye maintenance I see no need for a soul. Please point out at what stage a soul is needed for power. Also my 2nd question was how the soul permitted vision separate from eyes (after leaving the body).
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          Sep 1 2011: Matthieu,
          You are a computer scientist correct? Do you see reason for energy to power your computer? At EVERY stage, the computer needs to be powered by energy?

          Regarding vision: As an energy being, we "see" in a different way. It's like having different computer programs...one may recognize certain information, and another one may recognize different information...correct? Our brain, and all physical componants work much like a computer:>)
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          Sep 2 2011: My computer runs on electrical power just like the body runs on chemical and electrical reactions. I'm not sure what your point is.
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          Sep 2 2011: Matthieu,
          You wrote..."Please point out at what stage a soul is needed for power".
          As you probably know by now, I percieve what people call soul or spirit as energy?

          So, I was answering your question, and you answered it yourself with your comment above..."My computer runs on electrical power just like the body runs on chemical and electrical reactions". The body is ALWAYS powered by energy...until it dies.
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          Sep 2 2011: I think my original statement clearly defines what I mean by soul. It's the kind of soul Tambra and Christopher are talking about I'm interested in discussing not a metaphor for energy.
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          Sep 2 2011: Matthieu,
          I'm talking about energy, that may have different names for different people!
          There is a theory, that in order to explain the energy running through our body/mind, people started calling it soul, spirit, god, etc. That seems very logical to me. We may all be talking about the same energy...you see?
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          Sep 2 2011: Maybe. I think phantom limbs probably also played a big part in the idea coming into being. Feels like limbs are there when they aren't, people must have seen it as a non-material manifestation of self (a soul).
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          Sep 2 2011: Matthieu,
          What do you percieve as the "idea coming into being"?

          I am aware of phantom limbs, phantom limb pain, and certain practices used to relieve the pain. My understanding is that the brain creates certain pathways, and if the brain does not recognize that the limb is actually gone, it continues to send the pain message. Mirror image has been used to convince the brain that the appendage is actually gone, and therefor the patient no longer feels pain.

          You say..."people must have seen it as a non-material manifestation of self (a soul)". I'm not understanding the connection you seem to be making...can you explain more?
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          Sep 3 2011: Energy is present in a living body. Energy is present in a dead body. Energy is present here. Energy is present there. Energy is present everywhere.

          If all living bodies cease to exist, does all this energy constitute a soul? Whose soul would it be?

          People who "believe" in the soul have energy running through their body. People who do not "believe" in the soul have energy running through their body.

          There is energy in a quark. Does it have a soul?

          Some of us experience this energy and choose to say we have a soul. Some of us experience this energy and choose to say we do not have a soul. Insofar as both assertions are based on an interpretations of subjective experience, both are simply personal beliefs. (The "energy" is there, no doubt; whether it is a "soul" or not is usually a matter of belief - unless of course, one "knows.")

          Our experiences and their interpretation, no matter how compelling they are to oneself, will never be convincing to anyone who interprets their subjective experience differently.

          Nor can we be sure our own "interpretation" is accurate.

          [But that won't stop some of us from asserting that it is.]

          We either know or we don't know.

          QUOTE: "Mirror image has been used to convince the brain that the appendage is actually gone, and therefor the patient no longer feels pain."

          Actually the mirror convinces (tricks) the brain the limb is still there (not gone) and the brain then sends and receives signals that are perceived as "relaxing" the (missing) muscles. This "relaxation" releases the tension which has triggered a cascade effect in the nervous system that was registered as pain because of altered neurological pathways and cortical reorganization. The technique was developed by V. S. Ramachandran.
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          Sep 3 2011: You are right Thomas. I'm sure you are aware that I was pursuing Matthieu's interesting idea?
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          Sep 3 2011: QUOTE: "You are right Thomas. I'm sure you are aware that I was pursuing Matthieu's interesting idea?"

          I am
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          Sep 3 2011: Colleen/Matt
          Just a thought on the energy thing. As I understand it mass & energy are interchangable. Material (atoms) are involved. If a soul has no atoms; ie it is non-material; it would have no use for energy. Any soul that used or was energy would be a material entity & therefore come within the bounds of science. Yes/No ?

          :-)
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          Sep 3 2011: Peter, I'm not equating energy and the soul myself, Colleen is. I personally don't find that view useful. I'd actually tend to agree with you here. To be honest I don't want to launch myself in another semantics debate. Everyone knows what everyone else means by soul and energy, but everyone is sticking with their version, leading to pointless exchanges where people appear to disagree when they actually agree.
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          Sep 3 2011: @Colleen: I am just suggesting that for people living in the stone age, it must have felt like their body had a separate existence from their flesh and bones since they could still feel missing parts of their body. They could have imagined it to be their soul. Just a thought.
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          Sep 3 2011: It's a good thought Matthieu:>)

          I like even better, your thought above regarding "exchanges where people appear to disagree when they actually agree". In my perception, many times people are agreeing, but using different terminology!
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          Sep 3 2011: @C........Lack of evidence is not evidence.
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        Sep 1 2011: Colleen, I didn't provide an argument I was just giving you my take on it. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. If I wanted a sound argument I would argue on the basis of science... That's been done though.

        Tambra don't be sad by my lack of faith, you shouldn't let others get you down!
        I will be content to die and become plant food, every story comes to an end sometime.
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          Sep 1 2011: You are absolutely right Christopher...there is a lot of scientific research being done on this topic. Google Near Death Experience Research:>) I'm not trying to change anyone's mind either. I'm simply looking at the research as well as my own experience:>)
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          Sep 1 2011: Christopher, your opinion does not 'get me down' (being 'sad' for your stance doesn't mean I am down, it merely means that I feel sorry for you in that you apparently have no hope or expectation that YOU will live on long after your physical body becomes 'plant food', as you put it.) I thoroughly expect that after your BODY dies, your MIND will experience some sort of 'flashback' to this conversation, and you will say to yourself, "Wow! so THIS is what she was talking about!" Ha Ha Ha! Whether it actually happens or not remains to be seen...but isn't it a pleasant thought anyway???
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          Sep 1 2011: Stop feeling sorry for us, we're being realistic. It's much more tragic to believe in something just because it makes you happy.
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      Sep 9 2011: I agree Kathy, that the comments in question are simply the projection of one point of view, and anyone who would argue so much against something is probably afraid of facing it. To try to speak for everyone or anyone here other than him/her "self" is ridiculous.

      I KNOW:>)

      The question is: "What do you think happens to your soul when your body dies". Anyone trying to debunk the fact that there is a soul/spirit/life force energy is technically off topic anyway:>)
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        Sep 10 2011: You know what happens to our souls after we die?

        All of them?

        So you think you can make a categorical statement in favour of knowing what happens to the soul after we die and someone else can't make such a statement about "knowing?"

        Interesting.

        Do you think you might be doing a little projecting of your own?

        The question is: "What do you think happens to your soul when your body dies".

        I agree but how many of you have expressed your belief as an opinion - you "know," Kathy "knows," Peter "knows," another fellow (a Muslim whose name I forget) "knows," the atheists and the materialists "know."

        That fact that you all "know" and yet what you know is incompatible with one another should give you a bit of clue.

        I know, I know - it would all be so simple if we just knew what Kathy knows ... then we would, well, know ... and we could put aside all of our other foolish unknowing masquerading as knowing.

        What?

        Not Kathy?

        How about Colleen?

        No?

        Peter?

        Me?

        If you believe you know, fine.

        Do you know?

        Not a chance.

        And you don't have to agree with me.
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          Sep 10 2011: Thomas,
          I'm not sure who you are addressing, but since I recieved the notification of your comment, I will respond.

          I know what MY experiences are, and I am confident that I know what is going to happen when MY body dies and the energy that powers the body moves on.

          I have made no "categorical statement" about anyone else Thomas. I have shared information simply as my experiences. It feels like you are arguing simply for the sake of arguing, and I don't care to go in those argumentative circles with you.
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        Sep 10 2011: QUOTE: "I know what MY experiences are, and I am confident that I know what is going to happen when MY body dies and the energy that powers the body moves on.'

        Thank you Colleen.

        (And you have confirmed my assertion that you have integrity when it comes to responding to the "best of your ability*," with honesty and clarity.)

        "I know ... MY experiences ... I am confident that I know ...'

        I believe you.


        ------------
        * To paraphrase you.
    • Sep 10 2011: Kathy, [Given that I have personally experienced 'clinical' death, out of body/astral travel, aura viewing, memory of previous deaths,.......of what is "unknown" to you.]

      Hmmmm. my neighbor had the similar experience but he was on drugs.
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        Sep 10 2011: Kaka Dada,
        You're right...many emotions, psychological and physical states can be reached "on drugs". While working with hundreds of men in the prison system, most of whom were drug addicted, I discovered that one can certainly reach altered states with drugs, but usually cannot sustain that feeling when NOT on drugs.

        To me, that is the difference with drug induced euphoria, and the states we are talking about.
      • Comment deleted

        • Sep 11 2011: Kathy, " with knowledge and meditative discipline, one can stimulate one's own pineal gland to activate the seratonin "

          If you call this process a soul i'm ok with that.
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      Sep 10 2011: QUOTE: Verily I say unto you, just because *you* do not know what happens to the soul after the body dies doesn't mean no one else knows.

      You do like to argue, don't you?

      By the way, have you ever heard me say I don't know what happens to our soul after we die.

      No, I didn't think so.

      For all you know I could be here simply to help you get over your "self" ... not that you would be open to that possibility ... you already "know" ... and your "knowing" is so much more genuine than mine ... or the Christian's who says he or she knows you're going to hell. Or the atheist who says you are going to be worm food. Or ...

      Of course, your knowing is the supreme knowing (no doubt - for you - it is.)

      Anyway Kathy, I have no objection if you think you know what happens after we die.

      As the saying goes ... whatever gets you through the night.

      And even if you think you do, you don't. (Live with it.)
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      Sep 10 2011: QUOTE: "Given that I have personally experienced 'clinical' death, out of body/astral travel, aura viewing, memory of previous deaths, memory of being born into this realm, memory of the ascension process and other phenomenon, I find your blanket proclamations as to what is "absolute" to be an indication of your own fears and insecurities of what is "unknown" to you."

      Have you ever heard me say I have not had all of those experiences ... and more?

      No, I didn't think so.
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        Sep 10 2011: Thomas...I for one would like to know what experiences you have had ???
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          Sep 11 2011: Hi Helen,

          As you may have guessed, I do not usually talk about my personal experience. Even mentioning that I have had three NDEs was done only to address a particular point.

          There is a reason I do, or, more accurately, don't do it.

          (Language has its limitations to which this sentence will attest.) Not the least is that they are mine and, to use a particular worldview, they are the universe's gift to me. If the universe would like others to have them also, I am sure it can be arranged.

          But because it is you who is asking, let me share a little.

          My request is that you do not use these descriptions as confirmation or refutation of any particular cosmology. They are simply what they are ... stories of someone's experience.

          I have read the scientific literature, the holy, and the profane, and I have found not one human experience described therein that does not relate directly to an experience I have had myself. Not one. (Excluding science fiction, of course.)

          I could not write the stuff I write if it was "from a book."

          I have listened to teachers, students, and masters ... and, again, there is not one thing they have shared that does not match a personal experience I have had.

          At a point in my life - when I was very young - I strove for what Kathy might refer to as higher "levels" of consciousness. I compared myself to others and it caused me to experience pride and envy. Life's kindness dissolved all barriers. Understanding collapsed. Definitions collapsed, Explanations collapsed. Everything collapsed but life itself.

          Life contains all. I contain life.

          This is the mystery.

          In eastern philosophy there is the concept of "maya" ... illusion. It is said that if you can see it, hear it, taste it, touch it, feel it, or think it, it is maya.

          Our pictures, our explanations, our stories, our expectations and our memories are all "maya."

          We like to talk about what happens to the soul AFTER we die.

          There is no after.

          Literally, there is no after. "After" is maya.
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          Sep 11 2011: Thomas,
          Well that makes it all very clear...sounds like you have done it ALL!
          Kudos to you:>)

          p.s. I like to talk about "here" and "now" a LOT, as you may have noticed in my comments:>)
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    Sep 6 2011: I've concluded that my mind is my soul. There is evidence that the Universe, or its virtual particle substrate, can function as a holographic recording medium. At the very least, it is known that the quantity of perceptions that gets recorded far outstrips any system of neuron's ability to store it. We don't know where memory is stored. We know that brain electricity, like any electricity, creates fields and that fields interact and can cause diffraction patterns. Our memories might be diffraction patterns in the stressed vacuum or Dirac Sea. It is also know that brain signals travel at 20,000 times the speed of speech or the voice in your head. So most of what goes on in your head, say 99.999%, is not known to you. Autistic savants can access more of that high speed networking.

    In any event, if memory is somehow woven into the fabric of space, then a technology might be invented where by it can be downloaded into a new body. That's my take on reincarnation. This theory of mine has the exact same quantity of rigor and merit as any other religious or philosophical speculation on a "soul" but nobody will be asking you for missionary money.
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    Sep 3 2011: Hi Tambra
    I believe that we have an eternal soul which is closely related to our creator, who is spirit. Just like the bible says. There is indeed Heaven & Hell, and this life in our bodies is designed to provide a forum to make that choice. If we chose correctly, we are eventually given a new body suitable for eternal life. If we chose wrongly we are separated from our creator for ever.
    Why do I believe this ?
    I believe that the bible is a credible source of truth. It doesn't need to be continually updated, yet it provides reasonable answers to our questions. It has never been proven to be wrong as far as I can see.
    The only other possibility of truth lies with science. However the mainstream seem to have painted themselves into a corner of materialism. It seems obvious to me that there is a spiritual dimension to life, & yet these seekers after truth start off by denying even the possibility of one.
    The irony is that the deeper we delve into the material universe, the more obvious it is that a purely material origin is a non-starter. The other point that swings it for me is the vehement anti-god rhetoric that surfaces during discussions on this subject. Why should materialist scientists get so animated about a non-existent spirit ?
    We live in an interesting time; somewhere near the end of the New Testament.

    God Bless :-)
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      Sep 3 2011: I can give an answer why most people get the creeps of traditional (Christian) religion. They indoctrinate children, don't live by the teachings of their lord (most of them). They use passages of the script to serve their own interests. They say for many centuries that the end is near. They try to force their view up on to other people. In doing so they have no respect for those peoples and all they value. They understand little of their own religion but what tradition has conditioned them to. Their attitude has caused much deep suffering and distortion over the centuries for millions of people. I can go on for a while but it doesn't get better.
      All this stimulated science in the first place to free themselves from that tiranny and for a part still does.

      God Bless
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        Sep 5 2011: I am sure you were inferring this already but not all Christians are like that
        Chirstianity is not a religion it is a relationship.
        O and Jesus wasnt very nice to religous people for the very same reasons you mentioned above.
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          Sep 6 2011: I agree with you, Jacob. I consider myself a Christian, and I consider myself spiritual...but I don't consider myself 'religious' because I have a problem with 'religion' and all the hypocracy and of it, and I don't like the fact that religion is 'big business' and that it is the root cause of so many people being killed. I have a personal relationship with Christ, which is what being a Christian is all about, TO ME. I also respect other peoples CHOICE NOT to believe, and still love them anyway.
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      Sep 3 2011: They tell us that if we chose correctly (meaning chose the same belief they have embraced) we are going to heaven with them, but if we have chosen another path, then we go to hell.

      Peter,
      Why does anyone "get so animated"? Perhaps because you seem to be trying to convert everyone with a threatening belief? Yes...your message is...if you folks don't believe what I believe, you are all going to hell.
      That causes animated discussion over and over again.

      God Bless
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      Sep 3 2011: Hi Peter,

      To comment on a few of the points you make:

      QUOTE: ... the bible is a credible source of truth ... It has never been proven to be wrong ..."

      I guess it depends on what we mean by "wrong."

      Aside from the whole creation thing, the flood, and a miscellany of other major and minor details, there are tracts like these:

      Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. - Matthew 24:34 (These "things" being Biblical prophecy: all to be fulfilled before those who were alive in Christ's time died. They weren't.)

      See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. - Isaiah 17:1 (Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.)

      In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction. – Isaiah 19:18 (The language of Canaan is extinct.)

      Biblical scholars agree large parts of the Bible are forgeries (written by someone other than the purported author.) And, as Tim Callahan puts it, "Christian apologists ... tend to give the canonical forgeries a free pass, avoiding the issue of forgery—meaning lying—through their many rationalizations."

      QUOTE: "The only other possibility of truth lies with science."

      The only two possibilities of truth are science and the Bible?

      QUOTE: ".. these seekers after truth [scientists] start off by denying even the possibility of [a spiritual dimension.]"

      I do not believe that is were scientists "start off." It may well be were they "end up."

      QUOTE: "The irony is that the deeper we delve into the material universe, the more obvious it is that a purely material origin is a non-starter."

      This is not an accurate statement. There are very compelling materialistic explanations.

      QUOTE: "... vehement anti-god rhetoric ... Why ... get so animated about a non-existent spirit?"

      It is more likely they get "animated" by the the claims of those who believe.
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        Sep 3 2011: Thomas, I have run out of thumbs up, but your post is brilliant!
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          Sep 4 2011: Thank you.

          If I may, I would like to point out two things:

          1) I was (hopefully) respectful to Peter - I addressed his comments; not his person.

          And ...

          2) I did not make any assertions based on my opinion - unless I qualified them ["I do not believe ..." and "It is more likely ...," and so on.]

          You might also notice, I did not say, it is my opinion, the Bible is "wrong" - I did not even say it is demonstrably wrong* - I simply pointed out what is observable to anyone who attends to it.

          ----------------

          * As a footnote: The word "wrong" originated with Peter's comments; it is not a word I typically use.

          ------------

          PS You'll be allocated more (opposable) thumbs soon. ;-)
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          Sep 6 2011: Hi Colleen
          Couldn't get in where I wanted.

          "Please be aware of the foolish arrogance in your belief that I and others need to "get saved"".
          You do take life seriously don't you ? Ever heard of "Tongue in cheek"?

          :-)
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          Sep 6 2011: Peter,
          You are correct...I take life seriously.
          I also live life with humor, joy, and I am very familier with "tongue in cheek".
          You have stated over and over again that your mission is to save those of us who do not embrace your beliefs. Honestly, it's not very humorous any more.
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        Sep 4 2011: Hi Guys

        I believe the question was :- "What do you think happens to your soul when your body dies? & Why?"

        I answered the question, didn't expect many to agree with me; but I guess the response was predictable.

        :-)
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          Sep 4 2011: Hi Peter,

          You did answer the question (in your first sentence) but you also expounded on your answer.

          Would you have preferred we ignore that part?

          Thomas
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          Sep 4 2011: Yes Peter, you are absolutely right. As long as you persist in preaching about a god who will send us all to hell for not believing in "him", you will probably get a response similar to the ones you have been getting on TED for 2 years.

          Of the hundreds of people I've interacted with on TED in 2 years, and the thousands of participants in TED, you and one other participant are the ONLY ones who have preached the belief that if we do not embrace your god, we will go to hell.

          Most humans Peter, have evolved past the point of willingness to be controlled by an external force. Humans are getting to the point where they/we want to make decisions for ourselves...choices that will benifit the whole of humankind. A threatening dogma is no longer acceptable to the majority of people, nor does it serve us well. As long as you persist, the response will probably be predictable.
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          Sep 5 2011: Hi Peter,

          Just to clarify, after reading Colleen's reply to you, I was not responding to your previous posts or to your beliefs in heaven or hell. I haven't read your previous posts and don't know what your views are.

          I was responding only to the content of your recent post in this thread. (The one starting with: "Hi Tambra ... I believe that we have an eternal soul which is closely related to our creator, who is spirit. Just like the bible says.")

          Thomas
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          Sep 5 2011: Just to clarify, I am also responding to the recent post in this thread which is very similar to many others.

          "There is indeed heaven and hell...if we chose correctly, we are eventually given a new body suitable for eternal life. If we chose wrongly, we are seperated from our creator for ever".

          I agree with Peter...the response was predictable because the comments have been predictable.
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          Sep 5 2011: Hi Peter,

          You said, "Yes is probably the correct response."

          To which question/s are you responding?

          1) Would you have rather we ignored your comments?

          2) Is it that you think all of the alleged discrepancies - and the forgeries - are erroneous and the Bible is inerrant?

          3) Both 1 and 2?
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          Sep 5 2011: Bible and hell seems to me very important for you. Maybe you found out that hell is found in the bible but not in the originals. In Hebrew there is no word for the like as sheol which means grave, in Greek they used the word Hades which was a total different concept.
          Hell is derived from the Norse and German religions were it was the place for death for those that weren't heroes and couldn't go to Walhalla. It is a kind of mixing up cultures to demonize the existing native religion. Church fathers presented this word with a lot of horrors to manipulate the people by fear.
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        Sep 6 2011: Hi Frans

        What you say is correct. I suppose the eternal place would be the Lake of Fire as far as the bible goes. Hell is a more readily understood concept for the layman & gets the essential message across.
        If this is a real prospect; as I believe; then I make no apology for warning folks. Nothing to do with manipulation; it's about love. If I knew your brakes were faulty, wouldn't it be good if I told you ?

        :-)
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          Sep 6 2011: Peter,
          Love does not threaten us. Those who do not embrace your beliefs are not "faulty".
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    Sep 3 2011: Enjoying lot of good discussions below.

    For me I am inclined with scientific viewpoints discussed below by Matthieu, Christophe, Thomas, Christopher et al

    Also open to understand viewpoints Tambra , Colleen , Jacob et al. Pondering with following questions , can you help me to understand with your explanations

    When we are alive where the soul exist?
    Do only human-being have soul?

    What is the definition of "death of a body" as pointed out in the premise? (Asking this as after clinical death for quite sometime organs of dead person have been being transplanted in to the body of alive person who is in need of an healthy organ). So clinical death of a body is not instant death of the whole body. Life still exist in that body , what about soul then?

    What's your thoughts about tranplanted organ, do you see it as extension of life partly atleast of a dead person? If so what about the soul of that dead person ?
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      Sep 3 2011: Salim,
      Here are my thoughts on the questions you asked:1) The soul exists in the body when we are alive 2) I do not believe that only humans have souls 3) 'death' of the body is when there is no breath of life going in and out of the lungs and no heart beating. 4) A 'body' and an 'organ' are not the same thing. Do I think there is a soul living in the transplanted organ? No...the soul which resided in the body which the transplanted organ came from left that body when the body died. The body which recieved the transplanted organ has it's own soul.
      Hope that clarified my position for you, and I'm glad you are enjoying the conversation!
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        Sep 4 2011: Thanks Tambra for your thoughts.
        Replying to Colleen's post below, some more questions came up, will be glad to hear your thoughts about those.
        As you told you believe other than human being soul exist , so does it exist in unicellular organisms?
        What about plants ?
        Yes body and organ is not same , but without collections of specific organs , body of complex species like human being can't survive long.
        On the other hand in case of much simpler form of life, even a single cell becomes a body. So life exist at cellular level. That's why even after death of a person or multicellular species (according to agreed upon medical definition) , some of it's cells /organ stay alive. That's why pondering shouldn't soul also exist at that level?
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      Sep 3 2011: Hi Salim:>)
      1) I believe the soul is the life force/energy, so I believe it exists in the body/mind when we are alive.'

      2) I believe that all living things have the life force/soul/energy flowing through us/them.

      3) Clinically, I'm not sure if they are using the heart function or brain waves as medical definition of "death of a body" as a medical model at this time. They've changed it a couple times. I personally would not use "breath" as indication of life. As a rescue volunteer and volunteer in a terminal care facility, I've seen the breath stop for considerable periods of time, and the person was not dead.

      4) Regarding organ transplant: I believe all organs are dependant on the interconnections with the body, so it is only when they are connected with the whole, can they function. I don't believe any organ can function by itself without being connected with the entire body system, or other support systems? I therefor believe that it is the whole body that retains the life force/soul/energy...or not.
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        Sep 4 2011: Colleen, you are right about the breath thing...I stand corrected.
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          Sep 4 2011: Tambra,
          The "breath thing" is very close to my heart and mind right now.

          My 91yo neighbor passed on last week. She recently had a massive stroke and never regained consciousness. Her daughter brought her home, and we all thought she might live a couple days or something like that. She lived for 10 days. During that time, she had apnea (suspension of external breathing) more extreme than I have ever witnessed. We thought several times that she had passed on, then she would gasp for air and start breathing again. We were not sure what was keeping her alive all that time, but we continued to keep her as comfortable as possible, and she appeared to not be in pain. Toward the end of her life, the breathing stopped for an incredible amount of time, and we often sat there wondering...has she passed on, or is she going to breath again? Even with the last breath, we were wondering for several minutes before we were sure...it was amazing. Even though I've sat with several people who were actively dying, I've never witnessed anyone with that extreme apnea...it was interesting.
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        Sep 4 2011: Thanks Colleen for your thoughts.
        Understand what you explained about organ and it's link with total body or system. Human being and other mammals or even other muliticellular organisms are pretty complex so those put forward more challenges while facing these kind of questions.
        What about unicellular organism ? As you explained soul as energy / force that can be valid also for unicellular organism.
        What about human sperm and ovum ? These are not complete cell rather can say half cell, but those can live quite sometime even outside body. Yes those need specific environment, same is true for all living being, I mean support specific environment i.e. a Panguin will die in desert.
        What is starting point of that soul , does it start only after fertilization ?

        Now a days with the advancement of Bio-Tech humankind soon will get organs produced in labs. Those organs also hold life outside body again will need specific environment though. A living body accepts another living organ only though needs lot of cross matching. Yes living bosy also accept non living things as well such metal screws to fix bone , or pace maker. But when it's an organ , body only can accept living organ.
        So even defining death seems pretty complex to me.
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          Sep 4 2011: Salim,
          I'm not a scientist, so some of your questions are mind boggling for me! I believe there is a soul/energy/life force in all living things. I believe the soul/energy comes into the being at the beginning of the life cycle. No...I do not have any proof!!! LOL:>)

          I agree with you that with advanced technology, body parts, life which starts in the lab, etc., we may find our questions getting more and more complex:>)
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        Sep 5 2011: Hi ColleenNeither am I a scientist, just curious you can say. The concept of soul is there in the history of humankind quite long time, specifically with spiritual and religious thought but explanation of the same is very vague.

        Recently was shaken up with a question from my 6 year son after death of my father. He asked " how you all so sure that Grandpa is dead? " Tried to explain with my shallow knowledge told he is dead as Life went off & then got another tough question.... "where in body life exist" , couldn't handle actually , so answered once you grow up you will find these answers which your dad don't know........
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          Sep 5 2011: Hi Salim,
          I agree...the concept of soul has been known and pondered throughout history, and it is often thought of as a religious/spiritual belief. Scientific reaseach however, is now beginning to recognize that it may be our life force energy.

          Sorry about your father passing on. I belive it is not the end of life, but rather a transition to another life form. The body ends, and the soul/spirit/energy/life force, whatever we choose to call it, passes into another form. This is what I experienced with the NDE/OBE. As I was in another form, I looked down at the body, and felt that it was a vehicle that carries me through this earth experience. Although the body was not a pretty sight, I was detached from the emotions that cause pain and fear. I was content with my existance if the body died, and content if the circumstances were the opposite. Although according to the medical model, I was not supposed to live, then not expected to ever function "normally" again, I am doing both relatively well. Do we know what "normal" actually is? With each stage of evolution, we discover more information which makes the old definition of "normal" obsolete:>)

          I think you are absolutuly correct Salim...by the time your 6 year old son grows up, we will probably have more answers. Again, I am sorry about the loss of the physical manifestation of your father. I believe we are always connected with the soul/spirit/life force universal energy:>)
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        Sep 5 2011: Hi Coleen,
        About being dead without dying I saw an extreme in a documentary. In the Swiss Alps they found a man under cooled, not breathing anymore. With all transport and other difficulties it took more than six hours before they could resuscitate him. He recovered without consequence.
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          Sep 5 2011: Wow Frans...that is amazing.. although it really doesn't surprise me too much! The body/mind is an incredible intricate mechanism. There have been kids in this area who have fallen into frozen rivers/lakes in the winter, and because the body cooled down considerably, they were resuscitated after a prolonged time span and recovered without consequence. 6 hours though...WOW! As I said in a previous comment to Salim, with each stage of evolution, and technology on fast forward, what we percieve as "normal" is changing:>)
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        Sep 5 2011: Hi ColleenThanks for your empathatic response as well as sharing your own experience. Don't know how it happened to you. But feeling sorry as well as happy.

        Sorry because you went through some seriously special situtaion. Happy because you are able to share your experience, from where I could learn.

        All my best wishes for you for a long long life....... yes life can be conitnuum.....as it can only transform ..... scientifically energy can transforms into another type of energy or object and vice versa ........

        We really don't know many thing.... but beauty of science is, it evolves and agrees that nothing is constant only change is........
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          Sep 5 2011: Hi Salim,
          I sustained a head/brain injury from a horseback riding accident 21 years ago. Hold onto that "happy" feeling...ok? It certainly was/is a challenge, and I continue to learn a great deal from the experience:>) I agree...nothing is constant...only change. I appreciate your heartfelt wishes, and I'm reflecting them back to you:>)
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    Sep 1 2011: Tambra, I don't understand why you'd be interested in hearing my thoughts about why I do not "believe" in something that has no measurable existence in this world. I have nothing to say, since there is literally nothing to talk about. Much more interesting would be to hear how it is you find the word useful. What on earth does it stand for? A subjective feeling when you are having an out-of-body experience? A hope based on a fear of death? Stories people made up and then told you when you were young and impressionable? I suppose in these regards, the word "soul" can act as a placeholder for an abstract notion. What happens to this abstract notion when you die? What were you like before you were born?

    An apology is in order: I don't mean to imply I know the answer to your question. I was simply searching for the meaning of your question, and for me, there is no real meaning because the word does not have any objective referents. For me, there is no mind-body duality. The material world is amazing, wonderful and so much more interesting than human make-believe.
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      Sep 1 2011: I started a response to your questions, Don, and then hit some button (unbeknownst to me what exactly) which may have deleted my comment in progress, so I apologize in advance is my response shows up as a 'partial post' somewhere...As I was saying...Why am I interested in your thoughts? Well, because I don't proclaim to KNOW the answer to this question...I simply have my own ideas on IF the soul exists, and if it does, WHY, etc...Knowing that I don't have the ultimate answer to the question doesn't prevent me to being open to new ideas/thoughts on the subject. Why do I find the word 'soul' useful? It gives me comfort believing that when my physical body dies, that it won't be the END of ME! Is it a hope based on fear of death? No, I really don't believe that it is, because I am NOT afraid of physical death; simply because it is my belief that we (the soul; essence of who WE are, individually) do not die! I believe the physical body dies, but the soul which inhabits the body lives on. Is it (soul) an abstract notion? Of course it is...beacuse at this moment in our human evolution, we have not been able to PROVE that the soul exists empirically...but do I BELIEVE in it's existence never-the-less? Yes. Proof in the existence of a 'soul' does not, at least for me, negate the validity of it's existence...I have FAITH that it DOES exist, and believe that it is only a matter of time before it's actual existence is scientifically proven. How is that going to come about? I have no idea; I just know that the existence of the soul resonates TRUE for me.And yes, the material world IS amazing and wonderful, but I also believe that it's very existence serves a 'higher' purpose, and that is to serve as a learning enviroment for our SOULS! Thanks for your post, and I look forward to your response.
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    Sep 7 2011: When my body die, then i am gone forever.
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    Sep 7 2011: We cannot conceive of absolute nothingness after death, so a natural tendency for us is to fill that nothingness with something. That 'something' in the context of this question is a detachable entity we call the soul. It is pretty much the same as nature abhorring a vacuum - absolute nothingness being an unnatural state.

    Sitting here on my agnostic fence I can see both the conventional scientific view of the material, but I can also see the possibilities of the non-material, related as it is, to our own consciousness (although I do not profess to understand much of it). The relationship between consciousness and the quantum is a scientific concept too, but touches upon seemingly paradoxical dimensions that go way beyond that which is immediately understandable to us. We have little idea about what goes on in those dimensions - so as far as the question of 'the soul' is concerned, should we keep an open mind?

    This does not necessarily need to head into religious territory - it can remain scientific if you want it to be - but I would mention the possibility that the polar opposites of religion and science might just form a coalition and mutual understanding within the area of quantum reality (?)
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    Sep 7 2011: This topic I'm interested always. My suggestion (or idea) is, you never die, as you are not your body or soul, or whatever you can name. This idea can be absurd, but this is what I learn from my lab. I mean, usually I think my dream is my lab of 'dream physics'. In your dream you create time (I remember a week long dream), space(I remember I fly high above the ocean), people and things, then you think all are real and acceptable(Sometimes I 'die' in my dream knowing I never die. Sometimes I wake up from a dream and sleep again, then my dream continues as if past & present lives.). In the morning you wake up(do not open your eyes for a while and try remember your dream) and remember your lifetime(dream) for a while, then open your eyes, you forget your past life(dream).... after matching (dream, life) to (life, afterlife) I got several hints, especially for questions like you. Religion, life and death, past life, space and time, etc... One last comment is, you do not go hell cause you had a bad dream. I'm working on configuring super beings like Jesus Christ, Buddha, etc.. i.e., religion in my 'lab'.
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    Sep 6 2011: Why don't we at least get a general consensus on what a soul is.

    Because every theist gives me a different answer.

    I've heard everything from "energy" to "ectoplasm" to "nothing, because science can't prove everything".
  • Sep 5 2011: Hey,

    I don't think souls exist.
    So when I die.. it's over.
    Please don't think it's a negative approach. By knowing it'll be over when I die, I try to enjoy every moment I live. (and I succeed in it quite well)

    best link on this topic is http://academicearth.org/courses/death imo

    grtz,
    P
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      Sep 5 2011: i heard an estimation that the total number of humans ever lived is about 80 billion
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        Sep 5 2011: They're still living in you and me and everyone else. Every person this moment filling up a part of their dreams.
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        Sep 5 2011: I remember hearing that there were more people alive than had ever died. Something to do with the exponential birth rate.

        :-)
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        Sep 6 2011: Good idea. Folks would be so busy maintaining them that they would have no time for war. We would all be chilled out & say "man" all the time.

        :-)
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    Sep 4 2011: The closest thing we have to a soul would be our genes, I suppose.
    The data about who we were as unique individuals surviving it's flesh and bone envelope, getting reincarnated into fresh new bodies.

    So it does live on if you've mated, disapears with you otherwise.
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    Sep 4 2011: As disturbing as this sounds, you probably cease to exist. I don't want to believe that this will happen as I really dislike this prospect, but there is little proof against it. Hurry up, Aubrey deGrey!
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      Sep 4 2011: But you do believe there is such a thing as a soul, is that right?
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    Sep 3 2011: I cannot help wondering what animates the body ? And what happens to this force when an animal dies ?
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    Sep 3 2011: I don't believe I have a soul – I AM a soul. I have a body that I live behind when it no longer serves me. I believe the real world is the spiritual world, and that we reincarnate on this planet in missions for our betterment. What makes me believe that is that I know many people who are able to communicate with spirits – the souls of people who have died – and from the logic of the teachings of the Spirit world, empirically organised by Allan Kardec, the French educator who studied these phenomena nearly two centuries ago. If you believe there is a God, this is the only way that his fairness make sense.
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      Sep 3 2011: Of course, you are a soul and you have a body. Let's get things right.
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      Sep 4 2011: "I don't believe I have a soul-I AM a soul. I have a body that I live behind..."
      I agree with you Paula
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    Sep 3 2011: QUOTE:"There certainly is more to humans than currently explained by science. We don't have the answers (yet)"
    Well, the possibility remains that science may never have the answers. Scientists have been saying for years/decades that ideas like religion and an eternal soul will become all but exstinct with the advancment of scientific theory but this isnt even close to becoming a reality. The reason some people beleive as you say in fantasy is because the very questions that science has failed to answer just so happen to be the most important ones. If you were to ask a greiving mother who has just lost her child or anyone facing a traumatic experience: what the questions are that they would like answered and 10 times out of 10 you will find those answers from science either. Even if it could answer the most mysterious and pressing questions, tell me what good would that do? Is it really going to be much of an inspration- cure lonliness stop drug addictions, suicides, genocides.The things that actual matter. People! Can we really reform people while only reforming only there mind and denying even the slightltest possiblity of a soul. The answer from me a resounding no. It makes little to no difference to me whether or not so called" naturallists" think that they are so brave and honorable in their enlightened 21 century minds while those of us regressive, weak, simple folk have to coward behind god or fairytales and relgion because we are too scared to face the truth. Ha, thats ok with me because the secret is at the end of the day we all go to sleep under the sames star and ask the same quesitons and look for our answers in many different ways call it science ,god, soul whatever its all the same to me.
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      Sep 3 2011: That is indeed the only argument there is to make: people are too weak to face the truth (or the acceptance of not knowing).

      I never said people should all know the truth (or our closest approximation of it)... that is not necessary to lead a good life indeed.

      BUT if people do claims about the truth, then I'm ready for a debate (like here on the TED conversations).

      I think that we can however learn to accept reality, and that it does not need to hurt people accepting it.
      Though I don't know the definite answer to that yet (science will figure it out sooner or later I bet ;-) )
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        Sep 3 2011: Hi Christophe....Well, said except for one assumption. I am comfortable with not knowing But I believe what is reasonable because it makes my life work well. I don't believe that I am the only person on earth that does this.
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      Sep 3 2011: I'll put my mind set here...

      Perception is key. Cognitive science is now telling us more and more about all these "supernatural" events people experience near death, high, and/or sleeping.

      The idea of soul is ancient, something created from reflecting on oneself and the world around you. The soul is the "essence" in the most common understanding. Thus the soul of you, may be different than the person next to you in personality, but not different it what it is...

      The hierarchy of needs dictate this best, you do not get an ego if you are worrying about eating all day long.. what kind of "souls" are most really incarnated with if the majority of humans past were not worried about egos but about the future of their lineage.. Most people believing in "souls" should be playing with thoughts relative to "The Gaia Hypothesis" therefore it branches out into the ideas that our "energies" or "souls" do recycle in life on THIS PLANET. I find it most interesting because of "gravity". While it makes you feel you are stationary, in reality you are moving thousands of miles per hour in space.. The earth being "alive due to gravity" would make the idea of souls have more foundation. Otherwise... we create our existence through nurture and nature, not through our personal control..
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    Sep 2 2011: Guys this is a very interesting topic and here in Brazil we're more envolved in this area then in other countries. In the 19th century one guy named Allan Kardec the codename for Mr. Hippolyte Léon Dénizard Rivail an important French educator he studied deeply the spirits phenomenas, so he wasn't a medium, instead he was an researcher. The spiritism borned in France but spread here in Brazil. Far from being a religion Spiritualism is a doctrine based on facts. In order to contribute with this discussion I suggest you to visit this web site in English. I hope to be useful for this discussion.
    http://www.spiritist.us/spiritist-instructions/who-was-allan-kardec/
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      Sep 2 2011: Very hard claims you make...

      So what's the doctrine? (please in 1 or 2 points)
      "Spiritism
      The Spiritist Doctrine, basis of Spiritism, is found in The Spirits’ Book consisting of 1019 questions answered by Spirits of a High Degree, transmitted through various mediums"

      reading the PDF:
      "the fundamental principle of the spiritist theory, or Spiritism, is the relation of
      the material world with spirits, or the beings of the invisible world"
      ...
      Maybe one of his followers is ready to claim the Randy Million (my woo detector is ringing all it's alarm bells)?

      As a materialist, I completely disagree.
      I do however understand that back in 1830, they still thought it was plausible.
      To me, there is no reason to assume spirits. I would suggest "spiritists" try and claim the Randy Million, (thereby establishing it as a real science).
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        Sep 2 2011: It's hard to understand and believe in life after death as well as difficult to understand love once that we cannot see just feel. I respect your materialist vision and it not my intention to convince you only to add something that can be useful. Please, taking in mind that I'm not a religious guy...
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      Sep 2 2011: You do know what the word 'fact' means right?
  • Sep 2 2011: I like the following clip from Sam Harris on this subject. I would not make a 100% denial of a "soul", but I have never seen any credible evidence of it myself and therefore I do not believe we have eternal souls. I also feel that people's need to believe in such things is very dangerous and creates delusions. People like Sylvia Browne who charge $1000 for a 20 minute phone reading to contact souls and be a spiritual guide are a perfect example of this. The mind can play cruel tricks on us and often does.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQLypwgqefc
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      Sep 2 2011: The funny thing in the video is that Sam disproves the existence of soul by assuming that he knows what it is. In truth he has no idea what he is talking about and takes the mind as representation of the soul.
      To give a hint about what I refer to as soul is that it is light, metaphorical speaking that is.
      In comparison: if the light of a projector runs there is nothing to see but light. If the movie starts there are things moving that we can see because of that light and that is mind.
      Our movie of our mind is based on the input from our senses that continually is converted into meaning by spirit. Spirit being the director of the movie has created those images that give them meaning over all generations of our evolution.

      If some Alien ever tries to figure out what function a radio had in the human world he wouldn't find the radio program by analyzing the transistors and speakers. He wouldn't know what people broadcasted. And that's exactly what neuroscientists are trying to do.
      • Sep 2 2011: I don't think Sam even tries to disprove the existence of a soul in this particular clip...in fact, he leaves a door open for the possibility of such a thing existing. I think what he does is point out how we as humans either look at things logically or with varying degrees of ignorance which can lead to silly delusional ideas. (Although he obviously sees the idea of a soul as something that science doesn't agree with).

        Maybe your personal definition of a soul or eternal spirit is different than what he is describing, but I feel that his point still holds.
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          Sep 2 2011: You're right that he states that science has an open mind for the future. After that he shows that all damage on the brain gives a distorted mind. And as in my analogy with the radio this is normal but the broadcasting goes on undisturbed.
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        Sep 2 2011: GREAT analogy Franz!
        • Sep 2 2011: What makes this analogy "GREAT" in your opinion? I think the idea of a soul can be a beautiful thing and a lot of wonderful art that I get much pleasure from is based on this idea. These happen to all be works of fiction though.

          I also get pleasure from learning how the world around me works. Reality is just as wonderful as fantasy in my opinion.

          So I ask again... What makes this analogy great? Is it because it fits well with a beautiful fantasy that we would like to believe or because it fits well with beautiful reality that we know to be true or can prove?
  • Sep 1 2011: Tambura,

    Many people believe in Karma, many people believe in Voodoo, angels, winning the lottery, and flying saucers. Just because people believe, does not make them so. I do not need the threat of a hell to do the right thing.

    You have hit the argument right on the head " What a great and comforting concept! I would hate to think that when my body dies, that there isn't a part of me (my soul) which will go on to something greater and more glorious than what I experienced on this 'physical plane'." THAT is what I would PREFER to believe, and when I die, if that is the reality...BONUS! I just have accepted that it is probably not the case. I am not suggesting that I know exactly what will happen after my death, but my actions on earth are not predicated upon what may or may not happen after I die.

    Sorry darling, just wishing something is so, does not make it so, but the prospect has built many thousands of churches and temples all over the world, with treasure that could have been put to much better use. The tens, perhaps hundreds of millions that have died because their belief system did not closely align with the belief system of others, may argue that the good done in the name of these belief systems does not come close to the harm they have inflicted upon the people of the earth.

    I too am a newbie to TED, but I am not a newbie to this topic. I have had too many decades to reflect upon this very subject. If I am going to choose a fantasy after I die, it might be OZ...I am not very tall but I would be a giant there!
  • Sep 1 2011: You believe in a soul; I believe in the demonstrated power of such beliefs to cause incredible harm to the world's people.

    We have abandoned Aphrodite, Apollo, Athena, Baal, Bacchus, Dionysus, Hermes, Ishtar, Jupiter, Loki, Mars, Neptune, Odin, Osiris, Phoebe, Poseidon, Quetzalcoatl, Thor, Zeus. and a boatload of others. Let's just get it over-with and discard the remainder. We can then abandon fairy tales regarding the creation and continued functioning of the earth in favor of reality.

    Heaven, Hell, eternal life and the concept of "soul," and the bablings of ancient scripture, are the constucts of human minds that knew no better. We do, or we should!

    I admit that the notion that some part of me will live for ever is enticing, and even more enticing is the prospect that I could be reunited with my late beloved wife. Her death-bed conversion after a life-time of christianity was the realization that things were about to end for her, no matter how much we wanted things to be different. Going to the place (non-existence) that we occuppied prior to being born should not be scary, certainly not as scary as the man-made concept of hell.

    TED is supposed to be about enlightenment and yet these fairy tales keep popping up.
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      Sep 1 2011: I would argue that the 'demostrtated power of such beliefs' cause IMMUSURABLE GOOD, as well as harm to the world's people! There are MANY people who believe in KARMA, and 'what you put out, you get back, tenfold'!, so there are many peole who DO DOOD in this lifetime a)simply because they know it's the RIGHT thing to do, and b) because they believe that there are AFTER LIFE consequenses to those actions! To me, (upon my OWN deathbed) I believe that only my PHYSICAL body is dying, and that my SOUL will live on. What a great and comforting concept! I would hate to think that when my body dies, that there isn't a part of me (my soul) which will go on to something greater and more glorious than what I experienced on this 'physical plane'. And furthermore, while I am admittedly a 'newby' to the whole TED experience, I DO believe it is all about 'enlightenment', and hope that you hearing other people's perspective about this subject has indeed enlightened you (on the fact that other peole are of differing opinions as you) and that you will ultimately be thankful for, and respecting of those 'other' opinions.
      • Sep 1 2011: Tambra,

        While I respect you as a human being, not all opinions are created equal. There are those who chose creationism over evolution, natural versus man-made climate change, alien abduction versus bad dreams, and 2000 year old modified and manufactured scriptures, versus the anthropological evidence that these tales were made up and morphed through the ages.

        I was once close to where you are now in my belief systems, then rationality set in. It is not nearly as painful as you might suppose...Don
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          Sep 1 2011: I respect you too, Don...as a fellow human being on this journey we call "life". And I am completely open to the possiblilty that what I propose to be true is, in fact, merely my 'wishful thinking'...However, I still stand behind my belief that there is a soul, that there is a part of me that will live on long after the flesh of Tambra is dead and gone, and I still hold out hope that one day (in the 'afterlife') both you and I will have a better understanding of what these lives we have lived were 'really' all about.
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    Sep 11 2011: Thomas........I would not betray you as you ask. I was just interested in what kind of experiences you spoke of.
    I think every experience tells us something, but as yet I could not say what that something is. Maya is an interesting idea and I have to think about this much more. How can I incorporate this into my belief system. I do have one more question...When you speak of the universe's gift could you tell me how you define universe. I know that sounds a little stupid but please ? Thank you for sharing this with me. I sincerely appreciate it.
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      Sep 11 2011: Maya could be all that changes. If I'm at sea there's just water and the wind. Waves everywhere I look but those patterns I see aren't real. There’s nothing but the wind and water everywhere and me watching it al.
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    Sep 9 2011: Christophe Cop, you are a genius and you correct others when I do not have the intellect or energy to do so.

    And you strongly resemble Bill gates from a far in your profile picture.