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I don't understand how the word 'will' is being used posted 03 November 2008 in NeuropathI don't understand how the word 'will' is being used by Thorsten, Candidate

Actually, souls are quite well defined in dictionaries and reams of religious text. That is, the idea of a soul is quite well defined. What is missing from all those definitions is any description of the soul as a real, natural entity. All definitions of the soul make reference to the supernatural, which is not testable nor even a coherent concept. So you are right in saying that natural science will never even be able to start looking for a soul.


Yes. I think we can safely dismiss the notion that religious texts are true in the same sense as scientific texts, i.e. as a sequence of exact definitions tied to observations of nature. Quite obviously, for this reason of terminology alone, before we go looking for a soul, the definition would have to be formulated in scientific terms somehow. So, you may ask, is there an invariant piece of mind which is not lost after death. Which of course would require you to define mind - a task in which science is rather bad, given the amount of suggested definitions.

My point was that the energy does not disappear into some extradimensional realm.


Strangely enough, the upcoming physics program at the CERN Large Hadron Collider is (among other things) looking for energy which 'disappears into some extradimensional realm' (see [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_extra_dimension:a6aw9hsr]here[/url:a6aw9hsr] for one of the suggested models). So present day particle theorists think it quite possible that the very thing you rule out actually happens.

It is still there, in the environment. If a person died in a perfectly insulated, non-conductive room, the amount of energy in the room would not change after his death.


Again, that presupposes there is any such thing as a perfectly insulated, non-conductive room. But as soon as you say 'room', you need spacetime. As soon as you have spacetime, you have gravitational waves which go right through your room because the only way to shield spacetime from vibrating is to create an event horizon - but that's a black hole, not a room. And even those radiate energy.

This is not consistent with the idea of a soul leaving the body and flying up to heaven. If it is your claim that the soul is made of an energy pattern in the body, then I guess it is also your belief that souls die after the body does, since all the energy in the brain becomes disorganized and returns to the environment.


Certainly, taking 'up to heaven' literally makes it inconsistent. The pattern being preserved somehow in the fabric of spacetime via gravitational waves, or the pattern leaking into extra dimensions and being stored in the underlying brane reality is a possibility. I don't claim I know what happens to souls or if there is one - I just know enough ways how an invariant core of mind may be preserved after death.

There is no soul and there is no consciousness outside of the electrochemical activity in a brain.


Well, that's just your claim. But unless you prove it, it remains your opinion, no? Just repeating it doesn't make it true.

You might just as well marvel at the fact that a computer is able to perform calculations.


That illustrates a very good point. While in the brain you insist that everything is electrochemical activity, for a computer you'd distinguish between hardware and software. But you wouldn't in any way insist that the software needs to run on a particular CPU - instead of an electronic CPU, it may as well be processed optically. It actually doesn't have a real CPU at all - it can be a virtual CPU simulated by another machine. So the (non-conscious) software is in fact a concept that 'transcends' the running in a particular environment (you'd probably agree that copying a program and running it on a different computer gives me the same software running on a different computer) - whereas you think it flatly impossible that the (conscious) 'software' of the brain can be realized in any way except neuroelectricity. Interesting - but not really plausible.

Look up a picture of a CAT scan. Your search is over: that is consciousness.


No, that's a picture of brain activity. That's not the same thing. That's like taking a snapshot of memory activity in a computer and claiming you understand what the algorithms are. That's confusing hardware and software. There is no way of telling from even the most colorful picture if the mind which is depicted is conscious or not. Try to think about it!

Incidentially, just last week I read an interview with Wolf Singer, a leading German neuroscientist - he wasn't prepared to take the position you are advocating here that brain activity scans answer any fundamental questions. In fact, he called the notion misleading.

The only way in which it would not be theoretically possible to chart the action of the brain would be if the brain were not a macroscopic part of this universe. Since it demonstrably is, my statement is fact.


Define 'this universe'. String theory has plenty of hidden ones which couple only by gravity to 'this one'. In the end, it's a meaningless question, because in any scientific formulation of soul, the religious 'heaven' would in some sense have to be a part of 'this universe' - maybe a hidden one, but certainly not disconnected - how else would the soul go there?

Everything since then is deterministic in the sense that effect follows cause, invariably, and in perfectly predictable ways. Quantum effects do not count at the macroscopic level. We can ignore them for the sake of this discussion.


No, sorry, the DVD drive in the computer in front of you is based on a quantum effect playing out macroscopically. The sun works because of quantum effects playing out macroscopically. Neither of these works in a deterministic way - it's just that randomness in large numbers allows statistics to say something about the most probable outcome, but that's not deterministic, because you can always have a different outcome.

But the actual problem is more fundamental. It has to do with the transition from quantum state to the observed state. You can read up a bit on [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decoherence:a6aw9hsr]Quantum Decoherence[/url:a6aw9hsr]. To quote the main message:

Decoherence does not provide a mechanism for the actual wave function collapse; rather it provides a mechanism for the appearance of wavefunction collapse. The quantum nature of the system is simply "leaked" into the environment so that a total superposition of the wavefunction still exists, but exists — at least for all practical purposes — beyond the realm of measurement. Thus decoherence, as a philosophical interpretation, amounts to something similar to the many-worlds approach.

Funnily enough, here's the second way how present-day physics understanding generates worlds beyond our own... They are rather plentiful to find I must say.

Well, in short you are completely wrong about the universe being deterministic - but I can't give you a complete lecture in quantum field theory here.

Many scientists refer to God when they are trying to talk about the larger structure of the cosmos. This almost never means they believe in one of the traditional, personal Gods of religion.


I do know many scientists. In fact, I am one (in case you haven't guessed, I'm making my money doing theoretical physics, applications of quantum field theory). And when they talk about God, they usually mean the traditional, personal God of religion.

Please point to one particle of evidence that shows that the universe is non-deterministic above the quantum level.


Your question is ill-posed. Anything 'above the quantum level' is an effective concept how we try to cast the universe into a shape we can perceive. In nature, there is nothing 'above the quantum level' (and probably, even the quantum level is a gross approximation of reality). In its very nature, in its foundation, the universe is quantum. Regardless of how your perception creates the illusion of determinism. view post


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