I've found it interesting that many people disagree on this subject.
To me the idea of the soul MUST have predated the big 4 religions (Buddhism (Hinduism), Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) because those religions all are answers to what happens to your SOUL upon death.
So to me all of these religions are BASED on and dependent on the idea of the soul. And if that is so then if we can disprove the idea of the soul. We suddenly have disproved all of these religions.
If this is the case wouldn't it be important and rationally responsible to attempt to prove that we have no soul. Is it possible to do so? I think that one day there could very well be a way to prove this through science. It seems an easier thing to prove. (even though I for one find the lack of evidence to be actual evidence against)
This is how it went down for me...
At some point a primitive version of ourselves feared death... to ease that fear he decided to believe that when one dies they live on in another realm. This was either because he himself was dying or someone he cared for... I believe this process probably occurred in many instances. Not just one. This idea was spread in various ways as well until it became necessary to have an explanation for it. At which point someone had to deceitfully devise the story of "god". And various versions of this story arose in different places on different occasions as well. This story of god and heaven was devised to support the idea of the soul. A MYTHOLOGY for the soul if you will. A way to let people grasp the ideas... with the added bonus of controlling the behavior of people.
I don't think they mean in the sense that your corpse and body matter fertilizes a flower tho. They actually mean a part of your essence or consciousness lives on...
This link seems to lean heavily towards a nearer to classic definition of the soul... http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma5/viewdeath.html
They believe in the cycle of rebirth. Without a spirit or soul (or ghost), what IS it that passes from the life of a human to the life of a rat or elephant? The thing about the original Buddhism of Gautama is that it wasn't really about renicarnation, it was about happiness defined as placidity. In a nutshell, Gautama taught that the cause of unhappiness was craving. Craving wealth and/or possessions, craving power, craving influence, craving happiness, even craving enlightenment. His teaching was that once you REALLY understand this, you've attained enlightenment.
It's often said that, of all the major religions, Buddhism is most in tune with physics. And all the more so now that string theory has come along. According to Buddhism, all is vibration. Physicists see string theory as some unimaginably tiny string-like objects vibrating at different frequencies.
According to Space.com, in string theory, tiny bits of string replace traditional subatomic particles. Vibrations by the string determine characteristics such as mass and charge. What are these strings made of and what powers their vibration? We're at a level well below anything we can relate to or describe in everyday terms.
We are a form of life that happens to be "very self aware". Thus "The Soul". So does the sperm or the egg carry the soul? Is it inherited at some prescribed "moment" of the fertilization process? Perhaps it's happens at some point during a c-section? If you create a clone, do they share a soul? Does a brain-dead body have a soul?. Did souls evolve, e.g. do homo sapiens' ancestors have "simpler" souls. I want dolphins to have souls too, is that ok? What's an "old soul". Was Hitler a "young soul", but now he's an older soul? Does god have a soul?
I agree with your initial claims. Every intelligent person realizes that your life could end at anytime by events beyond your control. The soul just makes that fact a lot easier to fathom. People took that need and ran with it. And your avatar is freakin me out, LOL.
Yeah... I think they ran with that idea of needing a soul and after countless people questioning the validity of it. They created a mythology to try and explain it. That mythology to me is religion...
Hahaaa I built that mask from a scan of my own head in 3D on a computer and then printed out, cut out and glued back the pieces in the form of a larger version of my own head.
Interesting 3D project. I had Coulrophobia as a kid, yet I like gargoyles and grotesques. Makes much more sense than Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia,
Anyone else seen the invention of lying? This was one of the very first lies ever told in the history of humanity in the story:
It's not really science, unless it's testable, verifiable, and repeatable. It's reasonable to believe there are no unicorns, even if we can't prove it. But the fact remains that science cannot disprove the existence of unicorns, or soul, so it will always remain a supernaturalist's opportunity to create any belief system around it one wants.
I would rather just try to successfully explain why one feels one has a soul, than to unsuccessfully try to disprove souls.
To me we already know why we invent the idea of the soul... to ease our natural fear of that which we don't understand. Namely: death.
I (and many scientists) believe we will be successful in explaining every facet of our consciousness through a couple exponential leaps in neuroscience. At which point all of our consciousness will be understood. We will then be able to transfer our consciousness over to a synthetic brain where we could live as a consciousness forever. At which point... what's the purpose of believing in a soul? I can't see that continuing much longer if at all.
transfer our consciousness over to a synthetic brain
lol, a whole new can of worms to discuss. Well, such synaptic transfers could probably be called soul transfers in the future. Or soul cloning, multiple cloning of one's consciousness, and then questions like "would putting one of the extra consciousness clones to sleep for an undetermined period of time be tantamount to murder".
But I digress! :)
I suppose that is a new can.. :D
Sorry I didn't think of this and write it sooner, but here's the thing.
Say someday we can upload and duplicate our consciousness. Does that really mean that our "person" (or soul or whatever it should be called) just moves to another vessel? Not exactly, because what if the meat body it left behind is still intact, with mind intact? Does the copy now have the right (as a "replacement") to destroy the original meat body, even if the copy thinks that's what the meat body would want?
This is what troubles me about such speculation. What if (say) such scientifically duplicated souls/consciousnesses is really possible someday? That still wouldn't prove or disprove the existence of any soul, in any classical sense. In fact, I'm not even convinced that the copy of my meat body & mind is really the same "being" (or whatever the copy should be called) as myself.