Author Topic: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife  (Read 19130 times)

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Offline Hermes

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No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« on: May 16, 2009, 08:42:13 PM »
[ This thread was started based on a conversation I had with justsomeone.  The original thread can be found here; http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=6333 ]



I'll start with the generic post.  Discussions can go from there if necessary;

Quote
How can anyone get to an afterlife if there is no such thing as an incorporeal soul?  You can't; even if Heaven exists, nothing that ever was alive will ever get there.

Consider my more modest wall of words that I never get a complete answer to;

===========================================

"Where will I go when I die?"

I know the answer to that.  When I'm alive, I am -- when I'm dead, I am not.

Here's the long version;

Summary: There is no such thing as a soul.  Because of that, there is no existence for us after our lives are over.  That's why it's called death.

How can I write that with any confidence?

Think about what we know -- what we can actually check and examine.  Think about what we do not need to speculate about -- on both life and death.

1. Death is not a clear line; on one side alive, on the other completely dead.

Death happens in stages as individual cells no longer retain integrity for a variety of reasons, often because of oxygen starvation from organ failure or trauma that prevents the blood from circulating.  Parts of us are dying and new cells are being made all the time.

2. Organ transplants.  Even when 'we' cease to be, parts of us are still coherent, allowing organ transplants.  There is even a method of blood extraction from corpses that is used occasionally.

3. All of our thoughts while we are alive are contained in a structure of neurons.  This can be seen in a variety of well documented cases from Phineas Gage through to the impacts of severing the corpus colosum and the impacts of traumas such as strokes and alzheimers as well as the structures found that map nerves to a variety of tasks and thoughts.

4. When people start to die, the brain is frequently one of the last organs to be starved of oxygen.

5. The 'tunnel of light' is caused by the visual cortex losing oxygen and the remaining parts of the brain attempting to deal with that.  The same 'tunnel' can be simulated.  Pilots experience this when they use a centrifuge under high G forces for training or to test new gear.  Both these are documented and can be duplicated with the proper equipment and/or circumstances.

6. People who live after being through this oxygen starvation tell stories based on their brain's attempt to deal with the stress.  They talk about 'flash backs', they talk about 'stepping outside' of themselves and seeing themselves.  The same thing the pilots in the centrifuges report.

7. The more time the brain or any organ is starved, the more damage.

8. People don't act any differently from more damage (that brings them closer to complete death and thus an 'afterlife') then other victims of brain damage.

9. When people 'come back' from 'the dead' their bodies have not suffered complete cell death; they weren't completely dead.

10. When cell death is complete, there is no place for 'us' to stand; there is no way to 'see the other side' and return to talk about it.

11. Think back to #3.  Now, with that in mind, where do 'we' go if our brains suffer a stroke or other damage?  Are there surpluses of souls hanging around, waiting for brain damage before they can be inserted into a live body?
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline InvisiblePinkUnicorn

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2009, 09:51:13 PM »
Can I smoke some of your sh*t?   ;D
All edits in my posts are for typo correction unless otherwise explicitly stated.

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Offline Hermes

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2009, 10:03:55 PM »
Maybe that's why I haven't gotten any responses with good objections?
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2009, 10:10:09 PM »
Can I smoke some of your sh*t?   ;D

Well, the notion of an afterlife doesn't make sense unless we assume the existence of a "soul". But it seems to me that "souls" don't make sense, either. So where does that leave us?

Ben
So, little by little, time brings out each several thing into view, and reason raises it up into the shores of light--Lucretius

Offline Hermes

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2009, 10:26:52 PM »
Mortal.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline InvisiblePinkUnicorn

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2009, 10:36:10 PM »
All edits in my posts are for typo correction unless otherwise explicitly stated.

"In some awful, strange, paradoxical way, atheists tend to take religion more seriously than the practitioners."

-Jonathon Miller

Offline bahramthered

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2009, 10:38:33 PM »
-claim withdrawn by author since google, ask, and yahoo all failed me.-
« Last Edit: May 16, 2009, 10:45:16 PM by bahramthered »

Offline InvisiblePinkUnicorn

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2009, 10:39:48 PM »
There's science experiments that turn out different if people watch them as opposed to dummies.

Citations?
All edits in my posts are for typo correction unless otherwise explicitly stated.

"In some awful, strange, paradoxical way, atheists tend to take religion more seriously than the practitioners."

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Offline onesteward

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2009, 11:34:59 AM »
There's science experiments that turn out different if people watch them as opposed to dummies.

Citations?

 Try looking up "The Double Slit experiment" in quantum physics.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
what ever my lot, you have taught me to say
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

Offline Bumblesquee

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2009, 11:59:30 AM »
Even though subjective claims don't really amount to any evidence, OBEs (out-of-body experiences) have been pretty much debunked.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6960612.stm
This article explains how they've recreated the experiences. So basically, if you're having a near-death experience, you're not "seeing the other side". Your brain is just being fried.

Most situations like this can be attributed to neurological or psychological events. Or even chemical. It's not evidence for a soul at all. It's just that our bodies (and brains) aren't nearly as fine-tuned as a lot of people seem to believe. If we were designed, our designer did a lousey job of it.

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Offline Malik

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2009, 12:35:21 PM »
My Sheikh mentioned something to me about Steven Hawking talking about subatomic particles retaining 'memory' of what they have composed and that this is one thing they are looking into for understanding the Big Bang in greater depths. This is as good as place as any to ask if anyone has any idea what that was all about?
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Offline Hermes

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2009, 02:19:10 PM »
Quantum effects deal with particles at the quantum scale.  If anyone wants to claim they apply in the same way at a larger scale, they have to show that is the case.

Are there any physicists want to chime in on this?
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline InvisiblePinkUnicorn

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2009, 02:42:06 PM »
There's science experiments that turn out different if people watch them as opposed to dummies.

Citations?

 Try looking up "The Double Slit experiment" in quantum physics.


The Double Slit experiment doesn't change its results based on whether dummies are watching or real people.  I proves that a photon can pass through two points at the same time.  (Nothing to do with dummies watching vs. people watching.) 

Do you have actual citations or are you making s**t up now?
All edits in my posts are for typo correction unless otherwise explicitly stated.

"In some awful, strange, paradoxical way, atheists tend to take religion more seriously than the practitioners."

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Offline onesteward

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2009, 06:21:22 PM »
There's science experiments that turn out different if people watch them as opposed to dummies.

Citations?

 Try looking up "The Double Slit experiment" in quantum physics.


The Double Slit experiment doesn't change its results based on whether dummies are watching or real people.  I proves that a photon can pass through two points at the same time.  (Nothing to do with dummies watching vs. people watching.) 

Do you have actual citations or are you making s**t up now?

 You're right it doesn't mention dummies.I thought that might be the experiment that was mentioned and was trying to help.
I remember the Double Slit experiment to be that the photons ? reacted differently if they were being observed.

 One more thing....decaf may help.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
what ever my lot, you have taught me to say
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

Offline InvisiblePinkUnicorn

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2009, 06:34:13 PM »
I remember the Double Slit experiment to be that the photons ? reacted differently if they were being observed.

Everything acts differently when it is observed. 

The Double Slit experiement, on the other hand, shows only that when ONE and ONLY ONE photon is shot down a corridor that ends in a wall with two narrow slits in it (so that it would seem that the photon must choose one slit to go through) the interference pattern on the second wall proves that the one photon is going through BOTH slits at the same time.  the photon appears to be in two spots at the exact same time.

Again, do you have any citations for the experiments you were referring to when you wrote:
Quote
There's science experiments that turn out different if people watch them as opposed to dummies.
All edits in my posts are for typo correction unless otherwise explicitly stated.

"In some awful, strange, paradoxical way, atheists tend to take religion more seriously than the practitioners."

-Jonathon Miller

Online Azdgari

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2009, 06:45:04 PM »
Again, do you have any citations for the experiments you were referring to when you wrote:
Quote
There's science experiments that turn out different if people watch them as opposed to dummies.

It was bahramthered who wrote that, not onesteward, and he has since withdrawn his claim.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline InvisiblePinkUnicorn

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2009, 06:58:51 PM »
Again, do you have any citations for the experiments you were referring to when you wrote:
Quote
There's science experiments that turn out different if people watch them as opposed to dummies.

It was bahramthered who wrote that, not onesteward, and he has since withdrawn his claim.

Ah.  The other poseter confused my brain.
All edits in my posts are for typo correction unless otherwise explicitly stated.

"In some awful, strange, paradoxical way, atheists tend to take religion more seriously than the practitioners."

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Offline onesteward

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2009, 08:33:28 PM »
I remember the Double Slit experiment to be that the photons ? reacted differently if they were being observed.

Everything acts differently when it is observed. 

The Double Slit experiement, on the other hand, shows only that when ONE and ONLY ONE photon is shot down a corridor that ends in a wall with two narrow slits in it (so that it would seem that the photon must choose one slit to go through) the interference pattern on the second wall proves that the one photon is going through BOTH slits at the same time.  the photon appears to be in two spots at the exact same time.

The one I watched on 'you-tube' stated that when observed it acted like a particle and when it wasn't it acted like a wave.It may be vice-versa though.
Quote
Again, do you have any citations for the experiments you were referring to when you wrote:
Quote
There's science experiments that turn out different if people watch them as opposed to dummies.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
what ever my lot, you have taught me to say
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

Offline kevyrat69

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2009, 08:55:40 PM »
I think the soul is made up of what dreams are made of:  Just all in our heads of people with a conscousness that want to live forever.  As I see it, because we have a thought process means we live forever in this world in our own minds.  If I live and care for others then I am thought of by others.  This is all we have.  If we want to make our world heaven then that's what it is here on this planet.  As long as I'm living and I love, live, laugh, and be the best I can be then that is all I need to have.
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whatever people are experiencing when they experience God, it's not something they're perceiving in the external world. It's something their brains are making up.
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Offline justsomeone

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2009, 03:08:53 PM »
Death is death.

Life and death are not opposites.
Birth and death are.

There is the psyshiological death wish you just said.
But that's not the end.

I believe there's the resurrection of the death.
Our bodies will also be resurrected and not only our souls.

The personality of Gage was changed but that's all.

Scientific proof of soul?
Can't be seen.

Soul is something given by God.
Bodies are of this world created by God.

So we have Heavenly souls but for now earthly bodies wich die.

Afterlife almost surely can't bee seen in our bodies.
The beatiful 30 million genetic unit long bodies of ours that is.

But in Jesus you can see it.

Offline Crocoduck

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2009, 04:02:16 PM »
the soul is just a figment of our imagination, its just a word thrown around in place of consciousness. made up by fooling ourselves by thinking "there must be something more", and being to arrogant to admit that this is all we are.
atheism is not a religion... it is a personal relationship with reality.
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Offline Hermes

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2009, 05:34:40 PM »
Death is death.

Life and death are not opposites.
Birth and death are.

Is there a reason you're bringing up opposites?

There is the psyshiological death wish you just said.
But that's not the end.

OK.  Where in the 11 items on my list do you see a gap?

I believe there's the resurrection of the death.
Our bodies will also be resurrected and not only our souls.

Belief is not the question.  Evidence is.  I have provided evidence that can be scrutinized.

The personality of Gage was changed but that's all.

Is that an informed and honest assessment?  Seriously, I'm thinking that you are not willing to admit where you need to do research, and you are jumping to conclusions.

Yet, Gage isn't the only one.  If you want more, I'll be glad to provide it them.

In the meantime, what do you think of epilepsy sufferers who get their corpus callosum severed?  Are you even aware of them?  Please be honest.

Scientific proof of soul?
Can't be seen.

I'm not talking about science, I'm talking about evidence.  If science is involved, it is only because it provides evidence.

Soul is something given by God.
Bodies are of this world created by God.

You don't know that.  You are asserting that as a part of your dogma.  As such, a Hindu will talk of reincarnation, and a Muslim will talk about souls being given by Allah.  Other cultures do or do not have a concept of an unbodied consciousness.

So we have Heavenly souls but for now earthly bodies wich die.

Afterlife almost surely can't bee seen in our bodies.
The beatiful 30 million genetic unit long bodies of ours that is.

But in Jesus you can see it.

More dogma.

I provide you with evidence that can be examined from a variety of sources.  They all concur.

You provide me with an assertion that you are right -- an no evidence.

Why can't you be more honest and admit the limits of your knowledge?

Specifically, if you are guessing, why not say you are guessing instead of telling me this unsupported superstition as if it were supported by facts?
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline InvisiblePinkUnicorn

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2009, 07:17:55 PM »
Death is death.

Life and death are not opposites.
Birth and death are.

There is the psyshiological death wish you just said.
But that's not the end.

I believe there's the resurrection of the death.
Our bodies will also be resurrected and not only our souls.

The personality of Gage was changed but that's all.

Scientific proof of soul?
Can't be seen.

Soul is something given by God.
Bodies are of this world created by God.

So we have Heavenly souls but for now earthly bodies wich die.

Afterlife almost surely can't bee seen in our bodies.
The beatiful 30 million genetic unit long bodies of ours that is.

But in Jesus you can see it.


Would you like to have a coherent conversation about any specific claim, or are you going to pseudo debate by preaching?
All edits in my posts are for typo correction unless otherwise explicitly stated.

"In some awful, strange, paradoxical way, atheists tend to take religion more seriously than the practitioners."

-Jonathon Miller

Offline justsomeone

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2009, 09:39:20 AM »
Quote
Is there a reason you're bringing up opposites?
Quote

Just saying what they are.

Quote
OK.  Where in the 11 items on my list do you see a gap?

Nowhere because it's your list.
Facts about dying but that's it.
It doesn't have facts about afterlife.

Quote
Belief is not the question.  Evidence is.  I have provided evidence that can be scrutinized.

You believe that that is the end.
A belief wich does not lie in knowing what happens during death but what comes afterwards.
You also believe.

Is that an informed and honest assessment?  Seriously, I'm thinking that you are not willing to admit where you need to do research, and you are jumping to conclusions.

Yet, Gage isn't the only one.  If you want more, I'll be glad to provide it them.

In the meantime, what do you think of epilepsy sufferers who get their corpus callosum severed?  Are you even aware of them?  Please be honest.

I know. I used to read pshycology.
Intriding but it won't tell us about afterlife.
Just basic information about human mortality.

Quote
I'm not talking about science, I'm talking about evidence.  If science is involved, it is only because it provides evidence.

Then there is only the lack of evidence conserning soul.
Not evidence that it wouldn't exist.

Quote
You don't know that.  You are asserting that as a part of your dogma.  As such, a Hindu will talk of reincarnation, and a Muslim will talk about souls being given by Allah.  Other cultures do or do not have a concept of an unbodied consciousness.

Well these earthly bodies have been given to us.
Here they are.
But where the souls comes I do not know.

Quote
More dogma.

I provide you with evidence that can be examined from a variety of sources.  They all concur.

You provide me with an assertion that you are right -- an no evidence.

Why can't you be more honest and admit the limits of your knowledge?

Specifically, if you are guessing, why not say you are guessing instead of telling me this unsupported superstition as if it were supported by facts?

I'm honest that these bodies are mortal and that evidense conserning afterlife most likely can't be found in physiological death.

I believe Jesus rose from the death.
One can't prove that He wouldn't have.
The dead can regain life when God allows it.
So basic laws of nature don't work when affected by force beyond nature.

Offline justsomeone

Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2009, 09:43:45 AM »
Quote
Would you like to have a coherent conversation about any specific claim, or are you going to pseudo debate by preaching?

Not pseudo.

If I'm wrong then what?
Atheists gone laugh at me in death?

But what if there is an afterlife?
Would hurt us that we believe in it?
But what about those who didn't believe in it?

Offline Hermes

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2009, 07:17:36 PM »
[ Quotes broken again.  I'm not fixing them this time.  Please use the quote function properly.  I sent you a mail message with a few threads on this topic and an offer to help you if you needed help after reading those threads. ]

Quote
OK.  Where in the 11 items on my list do you see a gap?

Nowhere because it's your list.

I'm puzzled what you mean by that.

Are you saying you like my list, or that you will not touch it because it's mine -- like a shirt or a house key?

Frankly, I don't get it.

Facts about dying but that's it.
It doesn't have facts about afterlife.

It covers what we know, not what we suppose.

If you want to add *facts* about an *afterlife* that everyone can agree on and scrutinize, feel free to add those *facts*.  Consider that ...

- Most educated Muslims should agree with you (but not every single Muslim).
- Most educated Hindus should agree with you (but not every single Hindu).
- Most educated Buddhists should agree with you (but not every single Buddhist).
- ...and so on... including educated Christians.

If your *facts* require that only Christians understand them, then they are not facts.

Agreed?

Quote
Belief is not the question.  Evidence is.  I have provided evidence that can be scrutinized.

You believe that that is the end.
A belief wich does not lie in knowing what happens during death but what comes afterwards.
You also believe.

My belief does not matter.  What we have are facts.  Evidence.  From them, we can eventually make conclusions.

If you have *facts*, if you have *evidence*, you can provide them -- but you can't assert that your beliefs are facts unless you can support them.

Quote
Is that an informed and honest assessment?  Seriously, I'm thinking that you are not willing to admit where you need to do research, and you are jumping to conclusions.

Yet, Gage isn't the only one.  If you want more, I'll be glad to provide it them.

In the meantime, what do you think of epilepsy sufferers who get their corpus callosum severed?  Are you even aware of them?  Please be honest.

I know. I used to read pshycology.
Intriding but it won't tell us about afterlife.
Just basic information about human mortality.

Please use the Spell Check button.

Seriously.

It is rude to burden everyone else with attempting to figure out what you are saying.  It shows you are lazy if you can't spend 2 seconds pressing it, while I and others spend quite a bit of effort writing up the details that you sloppily reply to if at all.

If you want to tell me what you just wrote, I'll give you a response.

Quote
I'm not talking about science, I'm talking about evidence.  If science is involved, it is only because it provides evidence.

Then there is only the lack of evidence conserning soul.
Not evidence that it wouldn't exist.

Or pixies.  Or aliens who built the pyramids in Egypt.  Or Bigfoot.  Or a Yeti.  Or a sphinx. ...

If you have evidence, then you can provide evidence for your proposition.

If you have no evidence, then you're not adding support for your case that there is an afterlife or a soul or both.

Just as it is the responsibility of Muslims to provide evidence for Jinns (Genies), it is not your responsibility to do that for them.  Your responsibility is to support your case for an afterlife or a soul.

Can we agree on that?

Quote
You don't know that.  You are asserting that as a part of your dogma.  As such, a Hindu will talk of reincarnation, and a Muslim will talk about souls being given by Allah.  Other cultures do or do not have a concept of an unbodied consciousness.

Well these earthly bodies have been given to us.
Here they are.
But where the souls comes I do not know.

Do you understand what I just wrote -- and you quoted?

Are you paying attention?

If you do, explain why a Muslim and a Hindu are wrong.  If you can not, and you won't positively support your own claims, I can't take you seriously.  I have to reluctantly conclude that you are unable and unwilling to be moral or honest.

Quote
More dogma.

I provide you with evidence that can be examined from a variety of sources.  They all concur.

You provide me with an assertion that you are right -- an no evidence.

Why can't you be more honest and admit the limits of your knowledge?

Specifically, if you are guessing, why not say you are guessing instead of telling me this unsupported superstition as if it were supported by facts?

I'm honest that these bodies are mortal and that evidense conserning afterlife most likely can't be found in physiological death.

Then provide your evidence for an afterlife.  Stop preaching at me.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 07:24:42 PM by Hermes »
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2009, 07:30:49 PM »
Justsomeone, if you can not show;

1. That sufficient items on my list are critically flawed and must be discarded.

*AND*

2. Facts and evidence to support the existence of a soul that exists without a body.

Then I have no reason to take your assertions that there is/are souls seriously.

What puzzles me is that you have the world to look through to find support for your idea of souls -- and you don't show any interest in even looking!  Go look!

If you require more time to investigate this issue, just say so.  Not knowing, or requiring more time is perfectly fine.

On the other hand, if you assert that you are right and continue to not provide facts and evidence as I've asked for in my last message, while I do provide facts and evidence that can be checked by you or anyone without my assistance, and I will provide more details on request, then I have to conclude that you are being inherently dishonest as described in the thread listed below and that you have by your inability to address this thread honestly, concede the point of this thread; there is no such thing as a soul or an afterlife.



The inherent dishonesty of theism: Must theists lie because they follow a lie?
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=1080
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2009, 05:31:34 AM »
Months go by ... and there are no challenges the conclusion of this thread.  Time to add something new.  Maybe someone will figure this out and show that there are souls that we are not our 'mortal shells'?

Quote


A blog post from Common Sense Atheism...  (Original blog post has more links.)

Mind-Body Physicalism

I’m blogging my way through Sense and Goodness Without God, Richard Carrier’s handy worldview-in-a-box for atheists. (See the post index for all sections.) In my previous post, I wrote about Carrier’s section on the nature of mind. Today, I cover section III.6.6 The Evidence for Mind-Body Physicalism.

According to physicalism, the mind and body are purely physical systems. What think this is true? Because, Carrier says,

Quote
   …it explains everything about us, and explains it well, with the fewest ad hoc hypotheses [and] because we have a tremendous and ever-growing body of evidence supporting it…

What is this evidence?

   1. Scientists have observed human brains working in dozens of ways, millions of times. But they have never observed a mind at work without a physical brain.
   2. Scientists have shown that for dozens of specific mental events, there is always a corresponding brain event. When people report seeing something, there is always activity in what we know to be the visual centers of the brain. When people report remembering something, there is always activity in the brain where we know memories are stored. And so on.
   3. When scientists stimulate the brain with electrodes, this always triggers “the same mental event when the same stimulus is applied in the same place.” On occasion, scientists will even find patients for whom stimulating a certain part of the brain will always cause a particular song to play in their head, or a particular memory to replay on their mind’s stage.
   4. Brain injury – or impairment with drugs or magnetic fields – “results in the loss of specific mental functions as the specific areas related to those functions are lost or numbed.” There are thousands of examples.
   5. Scientists now understand many of the chemicals that make the brain work, and changing the chemical makeup of the brain changes mental states and even personality.
   6. Comparative anatomy also testifies to physicalism. There is a direct correlation between increased mental powers and increased brain complexity – even within specific parts of the brain. For example, an animal with a highly developed sense of smell has a disproportionately large part of their brain devoted to smell.

Is there any evidence against mind-body physicalism? Carrier writes:

Quote
   The evidence that is offered “against” [mind-body physicalism] differs in a very significant way from the evidence for it. The evidence for mind-body physicalism has been corroborated in laboratories and scientific field studies thousands and thousands of times… the evidence has converged from numerous different directions on the same conclusion.

    In contrast, the evidence against mind-body physicalism is purely anecdotal, almost always ambiguous, and has often been shown to be outright fraudulent.

Carrier lists 5 kinds of evidence that has been offered against mind-body physicalism: (1) Near Death Experiences, (2) Out of Body Experiences, (3) communication with the dead, (4) ghost sightings, and (5) recalling memories from past lives – all of which are anecdotal, ambiguous, weak, and often fraudulent.

And, if mind-body physicalism is true, then of course life after the death of the body is impossible.[1]
 1. Absent a technology that could freeze a record of our memories, abilities, qualities, knowledge, etc. and transplant it into another body.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 05:33:17 AM by Hermes »
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline mram

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Re: No souls, no way to get to an afterlife
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2009, 11:06:51 PM »
Hermes, nobody is going to give proof of a human soul that goes anywhere except to lalaland nowhere when we die, but it might be fun reading as you break them down to a blubbering mass of jelly. ;)

I have a vague notion of a soul, but it's only in us as we are alive and conscious of our own mortality.
It's easy to think its real because we think about mortality and some of us get scared of death then start dwelling on it. When we (well some of us) start to dwell on it the heart beat speeds up, our blood pressure goes up and we begin to imagine all kinds of goofy things .. Personally I think the soul is little more than that and our feelings of guilt, love, envy, passion and so on...,basic human emotions. Once we're dead that all goes to lalaland nowhere..
Now, true, there is a remote possibility that we are wrong and in a million trillion years our eyes will pop open and the earth will be perfect with no pain, no harm, no bad anywhere, but...y'know...I don't feel like holding my breath a million trillion years to find out if that theory is going to hold water or not. ;)
I would bet the farm though there are a bunch of them out there willing to to just that.
I also wanted to add that I've been on those tables with the paddles a few times when the docs were real close to calling my mother with the bad news and the ONLY thing I remember was someone shouting CLEAR and that jolt from hell (well actually the hospitals electrical system) that knocked my ass straight out till the next day when i was wide awake asking where am I. Funny, in the movies and TV the guy is up and smiling within a minute or two.. Hint: Doesn't happen that way. ;)
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 11:13:52 PM by mram »
Imagine gaining favor with "Darwin's"...kind of like praying, huh?

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