How do you reconcile that with your beliefs? Do chimps perhaps have a quasi-soul? What about dogs? Does a soul attach itself to a body if it's not an emergent property of it? Why just humans? Do people who don't exhibit some of the things that other people do - such as the level of intelligence most of us have (which you say comes from teh soul) - have less of a soul? Do people with severe mental retardation have a soul? Do babies with anencephaly
have a soul? And isn't it strange that the intelligence, emotions and creativity you attribute to the soul seem to be impaired by brain damage, or in the case of anencephaly, the almost complete absence of the brain?
If I destroy a book, the molecules of the book may still be around, but the book isn't. The words on the page will have been scrambled and therefore whatever was in the book - perhaps a story - is now no longer there.
Interesting. On one hand, that fits very well. The story ceases to exist, but evidence that something was there still does. If death resulted in non-existence, only small pieces would remain worth almost nothing. However, for the individual who has ceased to exist, there is absolutely nothing, no link to existence at all.
By the individual, what do you mean? Their body? Their mind?
If you burn a book, the story is gone but the atoms of the book's cover, its pages, the ink, are still around. The charred remains of the book might be evidence for a while, but eventually the ashes will be scattered by wind and it'll be gone with little evidence it was ever there. When you die, your body is evidence that a consciousness was once there, but as it decays, the evidence of that will be gone. Other evidence of a book's existence might be a listing in a library catalogue, just as living memories and the legacy of a person are evidence that they once may have existed.
A story book and a person appear to be wholes greater than the sum of their parts, but that relies on how they are materially arranged. Disturb the arrangement, and it falls apart back into the entropy from whence they came.
You sound very sure that we will not cease to exist. Do you mean that the components that form us won't exist? What is a soul/spirit and why isn't it subject to the laws of physics like the body it resides in? How does it relate to consciousness? What evidence do you have for the mind existing outside of the physical body?
By evidence, do you mean empirical, measurable evidence?
What other kind is there? Well, I suppose you could show that it's logically necessary in some way, but I would prefer that you have something that demonstrates to me why I should believe there is a soul, without any reasonable doubt that a more plausible explanation exists for the phenomena you interpret as a soul.
If the mind which makes up our consciousness is indeed metaphysical, it most likely could not be observed from outside the subject.
And yet it is observable. So it's not metaphysical. Why then must it be supernatural?
As a Christian who has interacted with God, I firmly believe in a spiritual realm outside of the know physical realm. Also, in the bible, we believers are told that in the day when the Kingdom of God is established, we will receive new bodies. This includes those who have died and whose bodies have long since decayed. In the bible it says the dead will be raised, many of which have nothing physical to raise, so I figure it must mean a non-physical being, the spirit.
Yeah, but the Pali canon records that the Buddha teaches us that our consciousness will be reborn into various new lives according to the karma debt that one has to pay, over and over until we reach enlightenment and free ourselves from the cycle of rebirth.
Of course, I don't believe that, but I hold about as much stock, if not more, in the scriptures of Buddhism as I do in the Bible.
I understand that you firmly believe this, but in presenting these ideas to other people, I am asking what you have to recommend these ideas to us as rational people who require a reason to believe one story over many others.
The soul/spirit is where our desires and feeling come from, where we get the capacity to love, create art, engineer.
So, the soul is our brain? Because we have empirically shown that our thoughts and feelings come from the brain. We can map them. We can watch brain activity light up on a screen in response to stimuli. We can even identify "islands of consciousness"
in people that previously were diagnosed as in a persistent vegetative state, and work out what level of consciousness they have, what senses they still have, even if they can't communicate with anyone else themselves. What part of our consciousness has not been attributed to brain activity? Even déjà vu might be explained by delays or differences in response times with different parts of the brain responding to the same stimuli.
I doubt that it's merely the size of our brain that gives us this capacity. Certain animals are almost comparable in brain size, but have few if any of the abilities that make us human, certainly no capacity for art, philosophy, or science.
Well, yeah, size only has a little to do with it. It's actually the structures within the brain and how they work that gives us this capacity. In fact, size only really matters because it provides volume to house and power these structures.
Somewhere, I have a video that might provide more support, but I'll have to find it and check its credibility.
May I politely request that you check the credibility of the bible and its authors on neurology while you're at it? They sure had some funny ideas back then. Mental illness was believed to be caused by demons, for example.
As for the animal thing, other animals do show capacity for varying
amounts of emotion, ethics and other so-called human attributes. I've emphasised the word varying as the complexity of an animal's brain, not to mention where they are on the evolutionary tree of life, seem to correspond with what they are able to do. So yeah, we can do somethings that chimpanzees can't (please note when people say chimpanzees they aren't talking about monkeys.). Does that makes us special? Yes, but not in the way you think. Only special in the same way that chimpanzees are "special" compared to dogs in what they can do. And dogs are more conscious than fish. And a fish has a lot more going on than a tape worm. This tends to correspond with consciousness and all the other things you attribute to a supernatural soul having natural, physical origins.
If souls are eternal, did they exist before people? What did they do until modern humans evolved? Did they float around waiting for the eventual emergence of Homo Sapiens?