Do Souls Exist? Science Says No.

Do Souls Exist? Science Says No. May 13, 2016

soul physicsThis photo is of Phineas Gage, a railroad worker who, in 1848, was tamping down black powder with an iron rod when the powder exploded and shot the rod through his head, coming in under his left cheekbone and out the top. This picture shows him with the rod, his “constant companion.” (To see his skull and a recreation of where the rod went, go here.)

Mind/brain connection

What happens when much of the left frontal lobe of a person’s brain is destroyed? Gage was one of the first examples by which modern medicine saw how cognition and personality—what we think of as the mind—are connected to the physical brain.

Modern science has continued to find connections between various parts of the brain and different functions, and the mind is often defined as simply what the brain does. For example, Henry Molaison had part of his brain surgically removed in 1953 to treat epilepsy. An unintended consequence of the surgery was a type of amnesia in which he could remember events before the operation, but he couldn’t form new memories.

Another example is Clive Wearing, a British musicologist who got amnesia from encephalitis in 1985. His long term memory is poor, and he can’t remember new events for more than half a minute. He feels like he is continually waking up. He can still play the piano, though he has no recollection of ever being taught.

Then there’s Klüver-Bucy Syndrome, the rare result of some kinds of brain damage from surgery or disease. Or aphasia, the loss of the ability to speak, which usually comes from strokes. Or the kinds of personality and memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia. Or even prions, the misshapen proteins that cause BSE (“mad cow disease”) in cattle and similar degenerative brain diseases in humans. These are all examples of the “mind” being changed due to physical damage to the brain.

The “mind” is a useful idea, but this close connection between the brain and mental function leaves no room for a physical mind—something separate from the brain—to hide. The same is true for the soul. It’s a useful word to refer to someone’s essence or moral character, but there is no evidence that the soul exists as anything more than an abstract concept.

The brain behaves exactly as if it’s all that there is, not that it is simply the shoebox in which the soul is stored. How could an injury to the shoebox affect its contents, when the soul is immutable and will be good as new in heaven?

When you change your mind, the old opinion doesn’t go anywhere, it just stops existing in your mind. Why should the soul be any different?

What does physics say?

Physics isn’t a field that usually has much to say about the soul, but a video by physicist Sean M. Carroll of CalTech makes the intriguing argument that physics shows that souls don’t exist.

There’s plenty of physics that we don’t yet understand, he says, but the physics of our Newtonian world is all understood. For example, you don’t need to understand string theory to work in chemistry. Any physics that operates in our world would be known to us by now, which leaves no room for the supernatural.

Could new particles hide from our view? Sure, but only if they were (1) very weakly interacting or (2) too heavy to create or (3) too short-lived to detect. In any of those cases, the new particle would be irrelevant to our everyday lives. (Source)

Everyday physics is understood. We’re done. It’s nothing more than quarks, mass, and the fundamental forces.

The physics that remains are non-everyday physics (dark matter, dark energy, quantum gravity, origin of the universe, etc.) and complicated systems that are the result of the understood physics (superconductivity, turbulence, cancer, consciousness, etc.).

Compare physics with chess. Knowing the rules of chess doesn’t make you a grandmaster, but it does constrain the kinds of games you can play. Any games in which the pawn moves like a queen, for example, can be simply ruled out.

In physics, we know the rules of the everyday world, and this constrains the kinds of things that make sense. We know enough to simply rule out astrology, claims of clairvoyance, ESP, life after death, homeopathy, and other supernatural claims. If these claims were true, we would know that already. If you claim that a soul exists and lives on in the afterlife, tell us the physics by which the soul moves to the afterlife.

The ideas that the soul actually exists and that the mind is separate from the brain belong back to the time when demons were said to cause mental illness.

What is freedom of expression?
Without the freedom to offend,
it ceases to exist.
— Salman Rushdie

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 5/4/13.)

Photo credit: Wikipedia

 

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  • igotbanned999

    A Christian I know tried to argue against this by saying that the brain is like a radio that picks up the transmissions of the soul, and if the radio is damaged, the signal will come out distorted, but the signal itself is still the same, the problem is the receiver.

    • Tete Rouge

      That is the best bit of making shit up…there are no rules of logic

    • Doesn’t say much about God’s skill at building people. Maybe this is just a science project for school, and as long as he gets a C, he’s satisfied.

      • igotbanned999

        They have ‘The Fall’ as a convenient excuse for that.

        • They do, but I think God being an uninspired teenager explains things better.

        • adam

          “but I think God being an uninspired teenager explains things better.”

          Teenager?

          More like a 5 year old…

        • Cozmo the Magician

          A needy, cranky, petulant, temper tantrum throwing 5 year old bully is more like it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          on Eugene Mirman in 2010:

          One of his latest bits, “God is a 12-Year-Old Boy with Aspergers,” comes to the conclusion that religion, with all its rules and rituals, is “not a leap of faith, it’s high-functioning autism.”

    • Chris J

      Is the soul supposed to be where the sense of “self” is located? If so, then brain damage shouldn’t be able to affect that sense of self. You shouldn’t be able to have the situations where cutting the connection between hemispheres causes you to be able to write down the name of an item that you can’t verbally describe.

      If consciousness was in the soul, communicating to the body via radio, tehn pretty much all types of brain damage should act like “locked-in syndrome,” where you are mentally fine but unable to control your body. But we have cases where your consciousness itself, and your ability to think, are affected by physical trauma.

      To keep believing in the soul, you have to move more and more functions of consciousness to the body, until there’s really nothing left.

    • If I remember the story of Gage correctly, he became more aggressive after his accident. I don’t think that Christian “transmission” rationalization could explain that; if a disposition to violence (which would be a disposition to commit a particular kind of sin) isn’t a property of the soul, then what is left than can be credited to the soul?

      It’s as if a radio show was interrupted by a news broadcast, and you assumed that it meant your radio was broken. Obviously the source of the “transmission” has changed, rather than the receiver.

    • MNb

      That analogy argues for materialism. Radio transmissions are a form of energy and hence material (E = m*c²). That’s how come radios can pick them up.

    • I’ve heard that, or that analogy of the soul being “software” which exists on the brain “hardware”. This amounts to the soul depending on the brain. Except its claimed that the soul survives brain death, so I’m not sure why it’s even necessary.

      • It’s wireless. God has our soul backed up in the Cloud. If the hardware gets corrupted; we backup from the Cloud in heaven.

  • Pofarmer

    Have you by any chance read “The Soul Fallacy”? It’s a recent book. Thought it was pretty good.

    • I haven’t. It sounds interesting. Here’s the Amazon summary:

      Most Americans believe they possess an immaterial soul that will survive the death of the body. In sharp contrast, the current scientific consensus rejects the traditional soul, although this conclusion is rarely discussed publicly. In this book, a cognitive scientist breaks the taboo and explains why modern science leads to this controversial conclusion. In doing so, the book reveals the truly astonishing scope and power of scientific inquiry, drawing on ideas from biology, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and the physical sciences.

      Much more than chronicling the demise of the traditional soul, the book explores where soul beliefs come from, why they are so widespread culturally and historically, how cognitive science offers a naturalistic alternative to religious conceptions of mind, and how postulating the existence of a soul amounts to making a scientific claim.

      Although the new scientific view of personhood departs radically from traditional religious conceptions, the author shows that a coherent, meaningful, and sensitive appreciation of what it means to be human remains intact. He argues that we do not lose anything by letting go of our soul beliefs and that we even have something to gain.

      Throughout, the book takes a passionate stand for science and reason. It also offers a timely rejoinder to recent claims that science supports the existence of the soul and the afterlife.

      • Pofarmer

        Well, I enjoyed the hard science more than the touchy Feely stuff. But I did think it was a good book.

      • MNb

        So basically it’s just another version of filling a gap where a god was hiding, like electricity describing thunder and lightning.

  • Tyler Willis

    “The brain behaves exactly as if it’s all that there is, not that it is simply the shoebox in which the soul is stored. ”

    Related to this part of the post, I heard something one time that I have no idea how a person would respond. Maybe someone here knows.

    We can see pictures of flowers in our mind. How that abstract image gets there isn’t where I’m have a problem. I figure that we don’t need to know how it got there, we only have to know that it’s there to be perceived. I can see the flowers, not digital bits or electrical brain impulses or synapses firing.

    The question put to me is where is this virtual abstract image that I’m able to see? In my brain, of course, yes. Should an outsider be able to see that picture IN the brain somewhere? Why or why not?

    • adam

      “Should an outsider be able to see that picture IN the brain somewhere? Why or why not?”

      http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/03/28/know-what-youre-thinking-scientists-find-way-to-read-minds.html

      • Tyler Willis

        That’s pretty cool stuff right there.

        The question was about what can be seen in the brain. The person being tested can see the same image that the expirimenters are seeing on the screen. There are two images being seen by different people – one on the computer, one in the brain. Everyone can see the one on the computer screen. Can anyone see the one in the brain? If no, why?

        • adam

          “There are two images being seen by different people – one on the computer, one in the brain.”

          Nope
          One image seen by both.
          It is still low resolution at this point.

        • Tyler Willis

          Huh? The patient sees the image in his brain. That’s image #1. The experimenters flip on their equipment and then see the image on the computer screen. That’s image #2.

          There must be two images to compare one to the other. How else would anyone be able to answer the question “is the image on the screen correct?”

        • adam

          “The “image” in the brain isn’t at all like that.”
          Neither is the image on the screen, they are both processed to be an image of what is seen.

          So there are actually 3 images if you want to get technical

          The original image
          a. The brain interpretation of what is visually recorded
          b. The computers interpretation of what is visually recorded.

          a and b are the same image interpreted by two means
          One being a low resolution piece of computer software the other the human brain. So this is what I meant by one image. My bad.

        • Tyler Willis

          a and b come from the same sense data input but the images are physically located in different locations. One is on a screen, one is in the brain.

          If you split the signal to your TV and ran another cable to a second TV there would be 2 images showing.

        • adam

          “TV there would be 2 images showing.”

          Of the same image, as I stated above.
          The original image
          a. The brain interpretation of what is visually recorded
          b. The computers interpretation of what is visually recorded.

        • Tyler Willis

          I don’t follow you. I’m trying though. The same image is where (physically)?

        • adam

          Sorry, but my assessment was made based on a different technology that is a bit older where they looked at visual INPUT.

          This one apparently works differently.

          So they can detect images in your brain,

          “Images from dreams are also detectable.” says the article

          So YOU are not the only one who can see it.

        • Tyler Willis

          “The “image” in the brain isn’t at all like that.”

          Whatever it’s like, it’s an actual image that I can see in my mind/brain (I’m imaging purple flowers right now), but seemingly nobody else can see that SAME image in my mind/brain. That’s the difficult part of the question being asked. If it’s there in the brain, why can only 1 person see it? I don’t know how to answer.

        • adam

          “but seemingly nobody else can see that SAME image in my mind/brain.”

          “If it’s there in the brain, why can only 1 person see it?”

          Because no one is wired directly into YOUR brain.
          Yet.

          As of now the technology doesnt exist, but then again, even the technology displayed is EXTREMELY new.

          Edit:

          Sorry, but my assessment was made based on a different technology that is a bit older where they looked at visual INPUT.

          This one apparently works differently.

          So they can detect images in your brain,

          “Images from dreams are also detectable.” says the article

          So YOU are not the only one who can see it.

          ““This sort of technology can only read active parts of the brain. So you couldn’t read passive memories – you would have to get the person to imagine the memory to read it,” Cowen said.”

          So purple flowers are theoretically possible for this technology.

        • Tyler Willis

          I’ll have to let this soak in while I think about it some more. Hmm….

          Thanks.

        • adam

          Very interesting technology and advances in brain science.

        • MNb

          No, there mustn’t be. In the case of atoms there aren’t either.

        • I’d think that one caution is that we’re looking at an image on a screen. The “image” in the brain isn’t at all like that. Our internal perception might be the same, but we don’t want to dissect the brain looking for the theater part.

        • adam

          “I’d think that one caution is that we’re looking at an image on a screen.”

          Just as we both are looking at text on a screen.

          “The “image” in the brain isn’t at all like that.”
          Neither is the image on the screen, they are both processed to be an image of what is seen.

        • 100meters

          Yep. This is similar to the Victorian detectives who photographed the eyeballs of murder victims, hoping to see the last image/guilty party.
          Nope, the brain has no screen.

        • Cygnus

          “The question was about what can be seen in the brain.”
          ===
          All you can see in a brain is meat. Now, the obvious part apart, what is in the brain is information that is processed and stored. Like in a computer. The only difference between a brain and a computer is that: (Sorry, I am a little bit drunk, but it is still funny when I try explain my point of view)

          – The processor of the computer is limited to the processes the processor has been programmed to process. The human brain has a continuous and evolving processor of information gathered thru receivers that evolved since millions of years ago.

          – A computer has limited inputs devices and a few devices *established* devices for input (keyboard, mouses, maybe some optical/audio devices). The brain has more input “devices”: skin, nose, ears, eyes, tongue and the brain can create abstract senses, like sensus divinitatis from an organ that resides in Plantinga’s brain.(Ha, ha,ha, it was the booze talking, but it is still funny)

          What is similar between a brain and a computer is that we cannot see how the processes are “running” or the information is stored. We know from neurology that there are neurons and synapses, BUT we cannot pinpoint to the information being processed or stored. Not in the brain, nor in the computer processor or RAM. Surely, take a memory stick and tell me it has picture of Bill Gates balls, but can you pinpoint where on that stick are Bill Gates balls gathered? What if Bill Gates tells you “My balls are not on your memory stick, they are stored up in clouds… buaaahahahahh. bye, bye guys, enjoy your weekend, give it a break to that wonderful computer called brain …

        • MNb

          Formulated thus the answer is no. But then you must maintain you can’t see atoms either. Still there are pictures of them – on screen, That obviously only tells something about the limitations of the human eye.

    • MNb

      If science manages to develop the appropriate instruments yes.

  • MNb

    Exactly here is where clear thinking is badly needed. That begins with some proper definitions. Mine are: an eventual soul is immaterial, mind is material (ie emergent from the brain). Then this

    “there is no evidence that the soul exists as anything more than an abstract concept.”
    becomes meaningless, because by definition no evidence is possible for anything immaterial. This demand

    “If you claim that a soul exists and lives on in the afterlife, tell us the physics by which the soul moves to the afterlife.”
    hence is unfair, worse than asking bacteria to formulate a mathematical equation.
    However it also means that regarding the soul the same problems arise as for the immaterial god:

    1. the idea that a soul can interact with a mind is incoherent, because the mind only can be influenced with material means;
    2. there is no method to decide between correct claims about the soul and incorrect ones;
    3. the introduction of the concept of a soul doesn’t contribute anything to our understanding.

    • I would say that the mind is immaterial–the mind is what the brain does.

      I don’t see why you say that the immaterial can’t have evidence. God could exist, and he could do something to let us know.

      1. You say that the mind can’t be influenced by the soul because the soul is immaterial. I’d say instead that I await the evidence that such a thing is possible.

      3. Right. Why is the introduction of the soul helpful? Besides making some theological point, how does this explain reality better?

      • Susan

        I would say that the mind is immaterial–the mind is what the brain does.

        I think the problem is that when theists claim the soul is “immaterial”, they are not talking about emergence. Is “running” immaterial? Running is what the brain, the heart, the lungs, the legs etc. do.

        God could exist and he could do something to let us know.

        Depending on what you mean by “God”. But that’s an aside.

        You say that the mind can’t be influenced by the soul because the soul is immaterial.

        I won’t speak for MNb but I think what he means is that the mind can’t be influenced by the soul because the soul is defined as immaterial. That’s how they attempt to get around the whole evidence thing.

        I’d say instead that I await the evidence that such a thing is possible.

        But they claim that the immaterial is beyond evidence. No amount of material investigation can discover it.

        3. is straightforward on yours and MNb’s points.

        The introduction of the soul is useless. It’s incoherent and contributes nothing.

        Very much like Invisible Pink Unicorns.

        • MNb

          “That’s how they attempt to get around the whole evidence thing.”
          Exactly. Plus they use ambiguous definitions. Sometimes mind material, sometimes it’s immaterial, exactly as it suits them. And they never recognize it. The result is invariably a string of salto mortales from our concete world to a divine world and back (thanks, Domela Nieuwenhuis).

      • MNb

        “I don’t see why you say that the immaterial can’t have evidence.”
        Because evidence is material by definition.

        “I would say that the mind is immaterial–the mind is what the brain does.”
        Your definitions of material and immaterial seem to be incoherent. According to this line of thinking moving is also immaterial, because moving is what a car does.
        Something that is emergent from something material according to my definition (well, it’s not mine; I’m not that original) is also material. Thoughts require energy and energy, see Einstein, is equivalent to mass, hence material. Thus thoughts are material, thus the mind is material.

        1. ” I’d say instead ….”
        One does not exclude the other if you replace “evidence” by “reasons”.

        “God could exist, and he could do something to let us know.”
        If such a god (soul) existed and if such a god (soul) was capable of interacting with our material reality, yes. As an Arguendo

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arguendo

        this is valid. That’s my point: it’s just an arguendo. Gods and souls cannot do so. They don’t have the means and can’t follow any procedures exactly because such means and procedures also are material.

        • “I don’t see why you say that the immaterial can’t have evidence.”

          Because evidence is material by definition.

          But it’s all just magic, right? I’ll just make up rules. Rule #23 says that the immaterial can affect our world because it can enter it and act just like it’s something material.

          “I would say that the mind is immaterial–the mind is what the brain does.”

          Your definitions of material and immaterial seem to be incoherent. According to this line of thinking moving is also immaterial, because moving is what a car does.

          That would follow if I were to say “X is immaterial; X is simply what Y does” is a general rule that works for all values of X and Y. I’m not saying that.

        • Susan

          But it’s all just magic, right?

          It seems that way. No coherent, explanatory model. No evidence.

          Just handwaving and god-of-the-gapsing and appeals to consequences and meaning.

          That would follow if I were to say “X is immaterial; X is simply what Y does” is a general rule that works for all values of X and Y. I’m not saying that.

          Fair enough. When you said “…the mind is what the brain does– the mind is immaterial…”

          What do you mean by “immaterial” and, to a lesser extent, what do you mean by “mind”? Lesser because I’m with you so far on “the mind is what the brain does”.

          I’m probably not disagreeing with you on any of this. Just asking.

          I’m not saying that.

          I didn’t necessarily think you were. 🙂

          What are you saying?

        • It sounds like many of you have thought more deeply about this than I have. As a result, I hesitate to answer your questions.

          By “immaterial,” I don’t mean supernatural, just not physical. By “mind,” I mean your sense of self.

        • Susan

          It sounds like many of you have thought more deeply about this than I have. As a result, I hestitate to answer your questions.

          Hesitate all you want. I have great confidence that you’ll come back with thoughtful answers. I never said I thought deeply about this. Once again, you’ve written an article aimed at getting us all to think about things. That’s a good thing.

          By “immaterial” I don’t mean supernatural, just not physical.”

          What’s the difference? When you use the terms “natural” and “physical”, what are you trying to say? What’s the distinction?

        • No distinction. Natural and physical are equivalent for this discussion.

        • Susan

          Natural and physical are equivalent for this discussion.

          Would you have as easily said “the mind is what the brain does– the mind is unnatural/unphysical?”

          How is “immaterial” different from either equivalent term?

        • Are you moving toward a point?

          Immaterial = unphysical in this instance, though unnatural has its own different meaning (“Preservatives are an unnatural additive in this jelly”).

        • Greg G.

          I would like to point out that homeopathic remedies are prepared in an unnatural way and the active ingredients are immaterial. Does that help?

        • Susan

          Are you moving toward a point?

          Not really. I’m just trying to be clear on terms. Theists claim an “immaterial mind” all the time without justification. When you said “mind” is “immaterial”, I just wanted to know what you meant exactly. I didn’t think you meant it in the way that theists use it. I might have completely misunderstood your point.

          Immaterial=unphysical

          Do you mean it then as something like “justice”? That it’s a useful concept but just a concept? Is that what you mean by immaterial?

          Theists seem to mean it as something that firmly exists but that is completely immune to investigation because only “material” things can be examined by science.

          When you say that mind is what a brain does, that mind is immaterial then things are already unclear as theists define an immaterial mind without a brain. ‘Cause they say so.

          Straight out of the gate on this subject, “immaterial” has two different meanings.

          It’s a strange term highly subject to equivocation so I was just asking you for clarity. I’m not trying to give you a hard time. Not natural or physical can mean very different things.

        • Sure, justice would be immaterial. I remember the distinction from an English standpoint being concrete nouns vs. abstract nouns (chair or house vs. courage or beautiful). Obviously, any of these things, justice and courage included, can be studied.

          My goal is to use the terms as Christians use them so that my critique of “soul” etc. is relevant.

        • MNb

          Let me emphasize one thing. The most important rule for definitions is discriminating power. So there is hardly ever one correct definition.

          “By “immaterial,” I don’t mean supernatural, just not physical.”
          As a teacher physics I have a hard time to wrap my head around this. Are you saying that physics (at least potentially) can investigate immaterial things? Is it something like this?

          Our Universum is natural;
          Our natural reality can be divided in two subsets, a material and an immaterial component, which together form our natural reality;
          The material component consists of mass;
          The immaterial component consists of energy;
          Thanks to Relativity transformations from one subset to the other are possible.

          A priori I can’t see anything wrong with this. Indeed on this view mind would be immaterial and brain material.

        • Physics can investigate immaterial things when they move stuff around in our natural world. You’ll then say that the immaterial can’t do that by definition. I’ll reply that I believe (could be wrong) that Christians say that God and souls (both immaterial) can.

          Your material/immaterial distinction sounds fine, though I would think that some Christians put all matter and energy into the material category, leaving “immaterial” for souls and stuff. I could be wrong.

        • MNb

          “I’ll just make up rules.”
          Well, that’s exactly the problem with an eventual (especially for soooooo fucking stupid Cygnus: this means that for the time being I keep the option open that there is a soul, that it’s a meaningful idea) immaterial component of the brain, soul, mind or whatever you prefer to call it.
          If it’s not a general rule, how do you avoid special pleading?

        • Well, that’s the problem. Magic or religion make up their own rules, unconstrained by evidence. When I say that the immaterial can affect our world somehow, I assume that that’s one of the rules some Christians have. I’m trying to be consistent with their definition of soul (or at least one of their definitions; I’m sure there are many) so that I’m not knocking over a straw man.

      • Cygnus

        “I would say that the mind is immaterial–the mind is what the brain does.”
        ===
        I would say that mind is a process that takes place in a brain. That process uses information from stimuli from “outside” the brain (from ears, eyes, etc), and from information stored in the brain (experiences).

        Now, your “immaterial” should be explained as “immateriality of the trace let by an object that is moved from the position A to position B”, but this “immateriality” is just declared as such because we can’t see the trace. Yet, the trace is there, that’s what Quantum *Physics* is telling us, and theists say that God already said that, but we didn’t read the bible carefully.

        Maybe Einstein read the bible and came up with the Theory of Relativity, because Einstein, on his death bed, said that God exists, yet theists would say, it is just a “theory” or speculation made by an atheist Jew, because they refuse the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • Rudy R

      I can agree with your attributes of a soul. It would need to be separate from the mind, because the mind is changing and the soul, presumably, does not. But like I understand the attributes of a unicorn, I don’t see any compelling evidence a soul exists.

      • MNb

        Like I wrote such evidence is impossible if the soul is defined as an immaterial entity. If the unicorn is defined as a material entity (and Invisible Pink ones are defined as immaterial as well, which is exactly the point of it) its attributes can be researched, beginning with the questions if the unicorn exists.

        • Rudy R

          Duly noted.

    • Cygnus

      Oh my, you have some “proper” definitions, but how are they satisfactorily or correctly? You meant “proper” as in “my own”? Try to speak English, not Hollandaise, I read around that you have the recipe of.

      OK, let’s see: “an eventual soul is immaterial” WTF? You mean to say that there are souls that are material in other cases? Like soul is material while it is in some kind of events. I guess, while you are living, your soul is material? That’s sooo fucking stupid that only a theist could came up with that. Oh I found it, when God formed a man from the dust of the ground and farted into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being, or in your vision some kind of fucking material soul.

      Oh, boy, you are making Bob’s blog looks like “godless in dixie”.

      • Try to speak English, not Hollandaise, I read around that you have the recipe of.

        MNb’s English skills are about average for the people who hang out here. Not bad for someone for whom English is a second language.

        You’re living in a bit of a glass house yourself, so you might want to minimize the insults. On the other hand, MNb does enjoy a good chew toy.

        • Cygnus

          Bob, I didn’t ask NMb to learn English for the sake of it, but for having an intelligible conversation about the topic you present for discussion.

          Anyway, I am glad that you take a pleasure in listening to MNb squeaks he’s making chewing his toy 🙂

      • MNb

        “That’s sooo fucking stupid …”
        Indeed. It was also not what I was writing. Which makes you look sooooo fucking stupid, not me.
        Thanks, I appreciate it.

  • Cygnus

    Bob, just a couple of questions:

    – When a scientific searching for a soul has been done and a statement was issued that soul doesn’t exist? I understand that you talk about neurology, yet neurology has no authority to declare that soul doesn’t exist. I think the patients of psychiatry yard, in the vicinity of neurology building have the authority to say something about soul 🙂

    – If you know that physics science doesn’t give a rat ass about what a soul is, why an opinion of a physicist must be considered the “voice” of physics about soul? I can be an Associate to the Executive Manager of Marketeering and Conservation efforts and I have an opinion about the soul, does my opinion counts as a contribution to Marketeering and Conservation field in regard to what is or what is not a soul?

    Just asking.

    • I say that science says that there are no souls because of Carroll’s critique. If there were, we’d have uncovered the physical mechanism by which they work by now.

      If you want to challenge that, you could say that Carroll is a maverick and that this isn’t the consensus of physicists. But I doubt there is much opposition to what he says from within physics.

      • Cygnus

        Love you, man. I am still a bit drunk, but I hope my neurons and synapses are still talking to each other and reach a conclusion to be posted on your wonderful blog.

        Lemme listen: – OK, 3, 2, 1… Carroll’s critique has nothing to do with science even if Carroll is a scientist, for Carroll’s critique is not made on the top of any known science that makes research on the soul. There’s no scientific research on a soul, but there are opinionated scientist about subject they want to… opinionate, just for the heck of it. I remember a fucking dentist in Texas, part of the Texas education system (fucking idiot), who wanted to insert Creation in the skulls of young people, cuz goddammit, he’s in the science of taking the roots out of your skull and that makes him an authority to insert Creation in the remaining holes.

        Now, the second paragraph (thanks god for auto correct function showing in red wine my grammatical mistakes)… what you say… “maverick”… seen the Mel Gibson and that Cain guy… meh… mavericks come and go… have a nice weekend

        • I’m not sure what I can add. Carroll’s observation sounds pretty complete to me. No, physics doesn’t evaluate souls themselves, but his analysis still makes sense. The law of gravity applies to aardvarks just like cannonballs, even if no physicist has specifically enumerated aardvarks in the list.

        • MNb

          And exactly Cygnus’ blah blah is why I insist that proper definitions of soul and mind are demanded. If you insist that the human mind is immaterial, what exactly are your definitions? What exactly is the difference with the human soul?

        • My definitions are that the mind is what the brain does, and the soul (some sort of information that survives death) doesn’t exist.

          But if we’re at the hair-splitting phase, maybe we should consider using your definitions if you’ve agonized over them more than I have. Put them forward if you want.

        • MNb

          I did underneath. Mind is the material component, ie synonymous with psyche. Soul is an eventual immaterial component.

          “if we’re at the hair-splitting phase ….”
          That’s simply silly and totally violates your very own motto: “clear thinking”. Clear thinking requires that we understand what we’re talking about and that’s exactly what definitions are for. I have no problem with (at least temporarily) accepting other definitions than mine.

          “the mind is what the brain does”
          That’s pretty good.

          “the soul (some sort of information that survives death)”
          That’s pretty good as well.

          Applied consistently these definitions are largely the same as mine. Or am I missing something?

        • I’m happy to accept that.

        • Cygnus

          Don’t feel compelled to add, just add something freely thought, you are very negligent and articulate. I won’t feel insulted if you contradict what I’ve said. I was just expressing some raving, talking enthusiastically about abstract subjects, or as ignorant amos put it: “INEXISTENT” LOL!

          I like to express my thoughts about abstract thingy, in some kind of personal philosophy, especially when Bacchus muse is the wind beneath my wings. That’s why I like your blog, I can say what I think without being censured, in spite of some “godless in dixie” style lieutenants moderators and trolls, trying to stifle my expression because I am “insincere”, “dishonest”, “don’t know no English” and some other crap.

          I got that you don’t say physics evaluates soul, whatever pathetic definition some try to give to it and to bring it into “existence”, you just want to say that some physician analysed something that would make sense to be “enumerated” (not in physics, god forbid), of something that would be called “soul”, until we find out that it is in fact: bullshit used for entertaining ignorant people.

    • Paul D.

      I would say that neurology explains (imperfectly for now) all the functions attributed to the soul: thought, memory, emotions, etc. As a field of science, it is certainly in a position to say whether there is anything that cannot be accounted for by physical interactions within the brain.

      Certain kinds of negative propositions are difficult to prove, but I think the burden of evidence would be on anyone positing the existence of a ghost in the machine.

      • MNb

        How does a field of science that depends on physical interactions decide that there is something that cannot be accounted for my physical interactions within the brain?

        • Cygnus

          Science that “depends on physical interactions “? From your babbling, do you want to understand that you have difficulties in understanding what a science called “Physics”, is about? Go read a dictionary, man.

          Physics don’t depend on some “physical interactions”, it is the study of nature, it studies matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force, and yes, in the brain there are matter interactions that produces your idiocy, or what you may call, your mind. You’re such an ignorant guy that you don’t even know that Chemistry has to be backed up by Physics, at the molecular and submolecular levels, when it explains why your brain will assplode under too much knowledge.

          Don’t waste you precious time making half-wit remarks, go back to school, and if you are there, stay there.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          I’m a teacher math and physics, silly.

          “along with related concepts such as energy and force,”
          Energy is the quantity responsible for physical interactions and force is the classical (Newtonian) term for interaction. You you’re way off my dear.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_interaction

          “go back to school, and if you are there, stay there.”
          Tomorrow I will fulfill your first wish, but not your second. You’re getting entertaining.

        • Cygnus

          “BWAHAHAHAHA!
          I’m a teacher math and physics, silly.’
          ===
          Yet you give proofs of your illiteracy: “I’m a teacher math”? Then send a link to Wikipedia?

          Just stay with “I’m a Celebrity, Really, I Am!”

        • You really want to open the door to people criticizing your syntax, grammar, and spelling as well?

        • Cygnus

          Go ahead, I can learn from mistakes.

          BUT, as I already told you, I didn’t pick on MNb grammar as a grammar Nazi, but because I can’t have an intelligible dialog with him.

          I couldn’t even ask him to reformulate his ideas, even with a bad grammar, syntax and typos. What I see him using are tag genre “dialog” like “Yo Mama so fat even her Myspace has no space”, or “Why wasn’t Jesus born in the USA? Because God couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin”, etc. then gather laughs and upvotes, while I believe he can better his English just for the sake of having an intelligent dialog, I hope you’re trying to promote by creating your blog.

          I am not replying to your topic or others opinions with the purpose of offending someone, I like to talk about ideas for discussing interesting idea, not label people around as “dishonest”, “insincere” as I was labeled and everything started with MR.

        • MNb

          “Go ahead, I can learn from mistakes.”
          Thus far you only have demonstrated the exact opposite …
          Or have you already learned the difference between an observation and an argument?

        • Cygnus

          I was answering to Bob. I don’t give a shite about what you think.

        • Greg G.

          English is not his first language.

        • Cygnus

          It doesn’t matter, English is a language in which any form of any word is completely and utterly possible. The problem is that he doesn’t express it ineligibly. I do not criticize bad grammatical, bad syntax or typos. One can express an extraordinary idea in spite of an incorrect grammatical, bad syntax or typos. But not MNb.

          “I cna tpye 100 wrods pre mniute” – even that make sense even if it doesn’t look English 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your own English and grammar is very suspect. That’s why a thought you were of East European origin.

        • Cygnus

          I know, East Europeans use a more complete and accurate English that sometime sounds weird to Americans.

          I understand yours :”That’s why a thought you were…” means “That’s why I thought you were…”, but I see what you want to say.

        • MNb

          … and physics, silly. As such I can evaluate the value of a Wikipedia article on physics. Of course you don’t have to accept it. Ask some physicist. There are quite a few on internet. They will confirm what I wrote.
          But you won’t ask of course. Because you made yourself look sooooo fuuuuuckiiiiiing stuuuupiiiiid and are desperately trying to hide it.
          The swan keeps on squeaking.

        • Cygnus

          Did the “I’m a Celebrity, Really, I Am!”, that actually describes your activity in blogs, irked you ?

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          “Matter and its motion through space and time.” So yes, physical interactions.

          Insulting people doesn’t make you right. It just makes you rude.

        • Cygnus

          It is rude, or at least ignorant, to say that Physics is a science that depends on “physical interactions” therefore Physics can’t decide ” that there is something that cannot be accounted for physical interactions in the brain.

          Even if MNb has difficulties in expressing an intelligible tought, I still understood that he tried to say something like “Physics (if that was he referring to when he said “a science that depends on physical interactions”) can’t decide in matters that can be accounted in physical interaction within the brain.

          Don’t you see the contradiction, or the use of PI (physical interactions) as applied differently? He is unable to see the contradiction because he thinks that “physical interaction” on which Physics “depends” are different from “physical interaction within the brain”, so Physics, even if it depends on PI can’t account for PI in the brain.

          Telling him to stay in school is not rude, after I read careful what he wrote. And “half-wit” I mentioned because I feel he likes to clown around with terms that he has not benefited from a comprehensive education.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          First of all, you seem to think that
          1) ignorance is rude, and that
          2) statements you disagree with or that don’t make sense to you may be written off as ignorant without further discussion.

          Hence, you seriously seem to think that it’s rude for people to say things to you that you don’t believe or find convincing. That strikes me as a rather strange definition of rudeness, but if it’s a widely held belief on these forums then it would account for a lot.

          In fact, it seems pretty clear to me that you misunderstood him. His point was that if there _were_ something that could not be accounted for by physical interactions within the brain, physics would by definition be unable to tell us.

          I have tried to make a similar point before, and been met with similar incomprehension.

          You guys are arguing in circles. You claim confidently that science explains everything, and when challenged you demand that the challenger provide scientific evidence that non-scientific ways of understanding the universe have value! It’s similar to the way fundamentalists ask for Biblical arguments against their beliefs about the Bible 🙂 (I know atheists are annoyed at being compared with fundamentalists. But I’m afraid the only way you will avoid such comparisons is to stop acting so much like fundamentalists.)

          So yes, you were rude. You didn’t understand what he said, and you blamed your lack of comprehension on him.

        • Paul D.

          The same way we can assume angels aren’t helping the planets rotate around the sun: parsimony.

        • Susan

          The same way we can assume angels aren’t helping the planets rotate around the sun: parsimony.

          But you can’t disprove my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies.

          You are claiming you can.

          That’s what the theist says.

          The only other option, they seem to think, is that we are all minds in a vat.

          Which they say is silly.

          A silly argument is not silly if you replace any other term with the deity of their choice. Suddenly, it’s “rational”.

          Reverse argument again (reduce it to its terms) and they call it silly and act intellectually and emotionally offended.

          Special pleading.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Indeed, one can’t disprove “immaterial snowflake fairies” (I have no idea why they are “snowflake” fairies, and you probably don’t either, because you appear to belong the school of atheists who think it’s a very telling argument to make up something out of scratch that you intend to sound silly and then declare, by fiat, that beliefs real people actually hold are just as silly). But since we both know you made them up (or some other atheist making an equally empty rhetorical point did), there’s no reason to believe in them either.

          I don’t rule out the existence of any supernatural beings that significant numbers of people have actually believed in. So the actual fairies of various mythologies? Sure, they could be real. I’m inclined to think they are, although not much rides on it and I admit it could be wishful thinking (as could my belief in God, though that has a much stronger rational basis).

        • You seem to be unusually broadminded. What about religious supernatural claims? Do you also figure that those that you haven’t researched enough to strongly show are false must be assumed to be true?

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          I didn’t say I assume them to be true, but that I don’t rule them out. And yes, certainly i would apply that to religious claims, including those of religions to which i don’t belong (I’m a Christian).

        • So you’re a Christian, yet you don’t rule out the supernatural claims of other religions that would point you in a different direction.How does that work?

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Several ways. First of all, I don’t claim that I understand everything about the universe or about what sorts of things are compatible with what other things. I believe that I have good reasons to go on accepting the Christian faith in which I was raised, but I can hold that in tension with a recognition of what appear to be other compelling truth claims. I don’t mean that I just live in cognitive dissonance–I keep working at thinking how all the things I have reason to think are true may be true. But I’m also not impatient or particularly worried by the fact that I can’t explain perfectly how, for instance, my intuition that the basic claims of Buddhism are true is compatible with my Christian faith.

          In the second place, it’s quite possible that people in other religions have valid supernatural experiences of the divine or of angelic beings, etc., but misunderstand them and put them in a mistaken framework.

          And in the third place, there’s a well-established Christian tradition of saying that the supernatural encounters of people in other religions are real but are encounters with evil, fallen supernatural entities (demons). That would not be my first way of explaining the presence of the supernatural in other religions, but it’s certainly a possibility.

          So I don’t see why any Christian would be bothered by accepting the idea that various claims in other religions about encounters with the “supernatural” are true. Different Christians will gravitate more to one or another of these explanations depending on their own theological premises.

        • adam

          ” for instance, my intuition that the basic claims of Buddhism are true is compatible with my Christian faith.”

          And yet Buddhism has much less baggage….

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          I dunno. I’ve seen people make up some memes about Buddhism that were just as silly and unfair as that one. Fundamentalists can be pretty nasty to Buddhism, you know–about as nasty, and as irrational, as your posts bout Christianity are. So I’m not sure you’re right there.

        • adam
        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          I jest when I say that there are Christians who have said things about Buddhism equally as clueless as the things you say about Christianity?

          I actually agree with your point that Buddhism has less baggage (By the same token, it doesn’t try to explain some of the basic questions of the universe). But your meme was so ridiculous as an account of what Christianity teaches that the only appropriate response seemed to be a sarcastic one. Probably I should not have yielded to that impulse.

          But really, if you want to talk to people you disagree with, try to do so without posting memes all the time.

        • adam

          “(By the same token, it doesn’t try to explain some of the basic questions of the universe).”

          It does, without the HORRIBLE baggage of Jehovah and Jesus.

          The Four Noble Truths

          The teachings on the Four Noble Truths are regarded as central to the teachings of Buddhism, and are said to provide a conceptual framework for Buddhist thought. These four truths explain the nature of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness), its causes, and how it can be overcome. The four truths are:[note 5]

          The truth of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness[note 6])

          The truth of the origin of dukkha

          The truth of the cessation of dukkha

          The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Buddhism doesn’t explain why there is a system of causation in the first place.

          I think the Four Noble Truths are more or less true. I certainly find them very helpful as a way of thinking about life.

          I don’t find Jesus to be “horrible baggage” at all. But then I find the description of Christian belief in your meme to be a ridiculous caricature.

          There is certainly some baggage in certain parts of the OT, but I don’t find the picture of God in the OT as a whole to be one I would like to be without (i.e., “baggage”). You and other atheists read the OT _very_ selectively (as, to be fair, most Christians do as well–but I think on the whole a religious reading of the OT leaves less out than a reading that dismisses it as a bunch of savage stories about ancient people killing each other).

        • adam

          “Buddhism doesn’t explain why there is a system of causation in the first place.”

          No, neither does christianity.

          “I don’t find Jesus to be “horrible baggage” at all.”

          You know hell and all that torture

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Which was an idea Jews of his day believed in. Jesus was using the language of “eternal fire” to make a point about the people who think they are righteous being the ones most in danger of condemnation.

          I use fundamentalist language about judgment and damnation when talking to fundamentalists sometimes. My view of hell is actually very different from theirs, but I use a common vocabulary to try to shock them into considering the possibility that they are the ones in danger of judgment rather than the “others.”

          I think Jesus was doing something like that.

        • adam

          “Jesus was using the language of “eternal fire” to make a point about the
          people who think they are righteous being the ones most in danger of
          condemnation.”

          But Jesus spoke a LOT more than THAT about hell

          http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/hell-bible-verses/

          “My view of hell is actually very different from theirs,”

          Of course it is…
          We are grateful that you have better morality than your ‘God’.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8198ae28ec5f3029a962bf0496632c92762d8db41adbc070de3e8c9ce558c3f3.jpg

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Where do you find the Gospels describing Jesus as speaking about hell _not_ in the context of self-righteous people abusing others and neglecting the needy? (I’m aware that there are some passages that don’t obviously speak of this, but I think that’s always hovering around in the context somewhere.)

        • adam
        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          That’s a grab bag of texts, some of which are from the OT and aren’t necessarily talking about “Gehenna” at all but about the place of the dead. I asked about the Gospels specifically.

        • adam

          “Which was an idea Jews of his day believed in”

          But of course, just like they understood that Jesus could NOT be the Messiah, because he failed the prophecy. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/76500d8cf67f4cc54fc1ae38c602b321d7c6d5672ef9bed13505898ac78f3b30.jpg

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Your remarks are kind of random, you know? 🙂

        • adam

          No, I dont.
          You brought up

          “Which was an idea Jews of his day believed in.”

          I just took what you wrote and commented.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          You went off on another idea Jews (obviously not all Jews, many of whom _did_ believe Jesus fulfilled prophecy) believed in, which had nothing to do with the point I was making. You seem to have certain slogans you like to repeat regardless of the actual argument going on. I get that you are probably working out a lot of anger and resentment, and I can easily imagine all kinds of reasons why you might be justified in feeling that.

          But in a discussion, it’s helpful to engage what the other person is actually saying. I’m sure I have often failed in that as well.

        • adam

          “. Iget that you are probably working out a lot of anger and resentment”

          Obviously you dont, I dont hate your IMAGINARY god, nor I am angry at it.

          That is just your EMOTIONAL appeal, because you have no RATIONAL appeal.

          “You seem to have certain slogans you like to repeat regardless of the actual argument going on.”

          Because I think they are relevant.

        • adam

          “but I don’t find the picture of God in the OT as a whole to be one I would like to be without (i.e., “baggage”).”

          Let’s see original sin, genocide, more genocide, killing of witches, gays, fornicators, infidels, etc.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Original sin is in the Old Testament?

          Legions of Biblical scholars would love to hear about that. . . .

          Jews don’t believe in it, you know. Depending on how broadly you define it, it’s either Paul’s interpretation of the Genesis story (which I obviously think is true) or Augustine’s interpretation of Paul’s interpretation (which I’m less sure about, though I take it very seriously).

          And you prove my point about selective reading.

        • adam

          “Original sin is in the Old Testament?”

          Adam and that temptress Eve

          “Jews don’t believe in it, you know.”

          Of course, and you know they dont believe Jesus is the Messiah either, as it doesnt fit prophesy.

          “And you prove my point about selective reading.”
          The only way to avoid that with the bible is by viewing it as a collection of stories and myths.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          The Bible is a collection of stories and myths. Some of them are historical, some aren’t. All reflect the culture of their times. Through all of them, in one way or another, God speaks to us about his love and grace and his willingness to enter into relationship with us to heal his creation.

          The Genesis story in its probable original context does not necessarily suggest anything about people having a sinful nature as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin. It’s about the entrance of death and various physical evils into the world.

          Naturally I think the Christian tradition is right to see a deeper meaning in this story having to do with “spiritual death”–the way our choice to see and know the world independently of God, and to “be our own gods,” cuts us off from our source of life and leads to our abusing each other. (Note: I’m not talking about atheism here, but about idolatry. Atheism can be a form of idolatry, but it can also be a form of iconoclasm–smashing the idols.) But it’s quite possible to take the OT “on its own terms” and see no original sin there at all.

        • MNb

          “Through all of them, in one way or another, God speaks to us about his love and grace and his willingness to enter into relationship with us to heal his creation.”
          If your god will show his love and grace and his willingness to enter into a relationship with me the same way he did with the Amalekites and Canaanites thanks, but no thanks. Somehow I think I’m better off without an abusive stalker like that.

        • adam

          “through all of them, in one way or another, God speaks to us”

          You are confusing ‘God’ with superstitious, ignorance story tellers

          It was humans who told the stories, wrote and rewrote them over the last thousands of years.

          Until you can demonstrate that this “God” of yours is anything but IMAGINARY, you are just pissing in your boots. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a290f73f84c317d9e8cf39187d52b12c448f2272120d3a6bd8fb8861ad2962f5.jpg

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          I have no interest in trying to demonstrate anything to you. We would have to have a conversation about what would count as a “demonstration” first. If you want to have a serious conversation about epistemology and how we establish ground rules for what counts as evidence, I’m willing to have that conversation. Without it, we can’t possibly “demonstrate” anything to each other about these matters, except basic questions of history and science and literature, about which I’m happy to talk to you till the cows come home.

          But it would be so nice if you could see your way to laying off the memes and speaking to me in your own words as a rational being.

        • adam

          “I have no interest in trying to demonstrate anything to you. ”

          Really?
          You have no interest in demonstrating that this “God” of yours is anything but IMAGINARY?

          No interest in demonstrating the POWER of your “God” and its ‘saving grace’?

          “We would have to have a conversation about what would count as a “demonstration” first. ”

          Demonstrate the MAGIC that is the supernatural…

          Demonstrate that the CLAIMS your “God” makes are anything but IMAGINARY.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          I have no interest at this point, because we don’t have agreed-upon ground rules for what would count as a “demonstration.” Nor do I think I can “demonstrate” the truth of Christianity in the traditional sense of that term–prove with logical certainty. Aquinas thought he could demonstrate that God existed in that sense, and possibly he could–possibly the fact that I find the arguments only probable is due to the weakness of my intellect. But I personally don’t find any of the arguments one way or the other “demonstrative,” only probable.

          I think it is highly likely that God exists, and worth living one’s life on that basis. I don’t think that the confident, rationalistic, scientistic atheism current on these forums makes a lot of sense. I find it nearly as irrational as religious fundamentalism.

          But there are just too many misconceptions about what I believe and why to make any attempt to give reasons for my faith worthwhile. I’m here to try to clear up those misconceptions.

        • adam

          ” Nor do I think I can “demonstrate”
          the truth of Christianity in the traditional sense of that term–prove with
          logical certainty”

          So you CAN’T have a rational conversation about christianity.

          ” I don’t think that the confident, rationalistic, scientistic atheism current on these forums makes a lot of sense. ”

          Because emotion.

          ” I find it nearly as irrational as religious fundamentalism.”

          No, it is not EMOTIONAL like religion
          It is very RATIONAL.

          “But there are just too many misconceptions about what I believe and why
          to make any attempt to give reasons for my faith worthwhile. I’m here to
          try to clear up those misconceptions.”

          You then must understand that your EMOTIONAL attack on rationality does help your situation.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          If you don’t want to be perceived as emotional, you might try laying off the all caps and refraining from incessantly harping on a narrow range of issues in a tone of outrage. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with being emotional. But I think most people reading our posts comparatively would find your tone much more emotional than mine.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nah…not really.

          Like many a regular on this blog, one gets an understanding fort the community. A lot of the regular contributors are here a lot longer than me, but that said, when a stranger pops in and derides the commenting manner of someone that is very familiar, then the eyes get rolled in the back of the head and the attention is redirected at the stranger.

          Adam is no more or less emotional than any of the rest of us a suspect, and we all have our own methods and idiosyncrasies in showing it.

        • adam

          Hey, I am not the one WHINING irrationally about having a rational discussion

          ” I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with being emotional.”

          So what is it’s place in a RATIONAL discussion?

          ” But I think most people reading our posts comparatively would find your tone much more emotional than mine.”

          Sorry, you’ve NOT convinced us here that you think at all.

        • TheNuszAbides

          then why aren’t you engaging the non-‘scientistic’ persons here?

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          I would be happy to. I’ve enjoyed Myna’s posts very much and have responded to a lot of them.

        • TheNuszAbides

          indeed, in this thread alone it appears that she challenges you far more than you let on.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • adam

          “But it would be so nice if you could see your way to laying off the memes and speaking to me in your own words as a rational being.”

          No problem, FIRST, though you will have to be rational.

          Simple Definition of rational – Merriam Webster

          : based on facts or reason and not on emotions or feelings

          : having the ability to reason or think about things clearly

          THEN we can have a conversation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Original sin is in the Old Testament?

          Oh it’s in there all right, it just wasn’t called Original Sin yet. Christianity has a habit of renaming all sorts of biblical stuff after the incident.

          Legions of Biblical scholars would love to hear about that. . . .

          I don’t think so.

          Prior to Augustine, most theologians had read Paul as saying that humans inherited Adam’s mortality (itself a punitive condition), and a propensity to sin. Augustine, however, insisting that all subsequent human generations were in a literal way “in Adam,” insisted that all future generations inherited not only his penalty, but also his actual guilt. ~ Paula Fredriksen, Professor, Hebrew University

          http://www.bibleodyssey.org/tools/ask-a-scholar/original-sin.aspx

          The Catholic Encyclopaedia explains it so…

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm

          The problem is that Christian’s got the idea of it from the OT. It seems certainly to have first been written about by Paul in such a way, then elaborated by Augustine.

          Jews don’t believe in it, you know.

          Of course they don’t. But some once did. That was before they were known as Christian’s.

          Depending on how broadly you define it, it’s either Paul’s interpretation of the Genesis story (which I obviously think is true) or Augustine’s interpretation of Paul’s interpretation (which I’m less sure about, though I take it very seriously).

          Indeed. And in there you’ll have the Trinity, Eucharist as symbolic rather than transubstantiation, Praying to Jesus i.e., the Second Person of the Trinity, the Rapture, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc., etc.,…

          Remarrying divorced Christian’s that were joined through God in a religious ceremony.

          Mark 10:9 “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.’ 10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (cf. Luke 16:17-18).

          And we all know what adultery is according to scripture.

          And you prove my point about selective reading.

          Well to be fair, there was a lot of it going on right from the get-go. And of the selective reading there was a plethora of interpretations. So there is no real way to know what is and is not original to the Christian faith or original to the bible, whatever that even means. You are guilty of selective reading yerself I should imagine, it certainly appears that way in anycase.

        • Myna A.

          Buddhism doesn’t explain why there is a system of causation in the first place.

          Buddhism is more concerned with what is, than any story of origin, perhaps. How is life affected with what exists in the here and now? It is an internal awareness that affects the external.

          but I don’t find the picture of God in the OT as a whole to be one I would like to be without

          Why is that?

          …but I think on the whole a religious reading of the OT leaves less out than a reading that dismisses it as a bunch of savage stories about ancient people killing each other.

          Many who have become critics of Christianity were, themselves, either seminarians, members of a religious ascetic order, biblical scholars or members of the clergy. The reasons vary, I’m sure.

          You and other atheists…

          Ironically, the most religious don’t recognize their own atheism. Christians are atheists when it comes to Allah or Krishna or The Triple Goddess and vice versa.

        • MNb

          “Buddhism doesn’t explain why there is a system of causation in the first place.”
          Point for buddhism, because there isn’t any, unless you reject Modern Physics. According to Quantum Mechanics our Universe is probabilistic.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Can you point out what it is in Adam’s meme that is so ridiculous?

          I realise that Christianity isn’t taught in those exact terms, that’s the idea behind the meme, but the general premise seems reasonably accurate enough to me, depending on ones understanding of the enigmatic Trinity of course and which one of the 45,000+ flavours of the cult one follows.

        • Greg G.

          In the second place, it’s quite possible that people in other religions have valid supernatural experiences of the divine or of angelic beings, etc., but misunderstand them and put them in a mistaken framework.

          How do you know that they Christians and Bible authors are not the ones who misunderstood the framework? We know that people are prone to misunderstanding natural events and attributing them to supernatural causes. Miracles are claimed every time a tragedy is less than 100% efficient at killing everyone, for example. How do you know that people aren’t misinterpreting events and waking dreams as supernatural events?

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          I don’t, although sometimes the insistence of secularists that an event can’t be supernatural looks pretty desperate to me. But _of course_ it’s possible that Christians are the ones misunderstanding. I thought about saying this explicitly, but decided against it. The point of my post was to explain how, _as a Christian_, I could accept the possibility that other religions are genuinely encountering the supernatural. Of course one possibility is that these reports of encounters with the supernatural have other explanations, and of course the same is true of Christian claims–although non-Christian attempts to explain how early Christians came to think Jesus rose from the dead seem pretty vague and unconvincing to me. They always seem to resort to some hand-waving appeal to the stupidity and gullibility of the people involved.

        • Myna A.

          In the second place, it’s quite possible that people in other religions
          have valid supernatural experiences of the divine or of angelic beings,
          etc., but misunderstand them and put them in a mistaken framework.

          And it’s quite possible that Christians do the same.

          …my intuition that the basic claims of Buddhism are true is compatible with my Christian faith.

          Buddhism is not a religion, it is a Middle Way. I’ve come across many articles written by Christian clergy who have spent or remain to spend time in Buddhist monasteries.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          One can reasonably argue that the concept of “religion” is unhelpful–that there are a number of different traditions none of which are “religions” in quite the same way. By a broad sociological definition of religion (see Geertz’ definition of religion as a “cultural system”) it certainly is.

          But yes, I’m certainly not alone in thinking that Buddhism may in some sense be compatible with Christianity. Zen in particular has relatively few “religious” aspects–I believe that many atheists practice it as well. (Of course, Buddhism as a whole can be said to be “atheistic,” but most forms of Buddhism are certainly not atheistic in the sense of modern scientific/naturalistic atheism.)

        • Myna A.

          …Buddhism may in some sense be compatible with Christianity.

          In same ways, possibly, as it is with other religious systems; however, it is not centric, and that would ultimately be the tension for the devout Christian.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Could you explain what you mean by “centric”?

        • Myna A.

          Centric: forming an opinion or evaluation originating from a specified viewpoint. (ie: Eurocentric)

          In terms of the Abrahamic religions, the core theosophy is very ego-centric, and the universe, pre-Cartesian or post, is based on an anthropomorphized outside agency that is concerned with individual human activity, personal salvation and of being worshiped. Granted, other religious systems also have god-men/women, but are less individualized culturally.

          This is why I brought up earth based or indigenous systems earlier, because these are the least centric in the sense that it is the wellbeing of the whole (earth-life) rather than the specific individual.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Another non traditional invention…

          The whole of the modern Christian belief systems, that condone and embrace multiple faiths or gospels/salvation messages within their communities.

          In contrast to the Holy Bible which commands “complete unity”( John 17:22:23, 1 Cor 1:10 ) and “One Faith” (“There is One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God.” Eph 4:4), the modern Christian churches accept, condone and perpetuate a plurality of contradicting faiths/gospels, resulting in complete disunity within these churches. This blatantly unbiblical practice is evidenced by the plethora of “Statements of Faith” possessed by each of these churches. Search the “Yellow Pages” under “church” for a graphic demonstration of this unbiblical example, (and that is just your city).

          “I have given them [believers] the glory that you gave me, that they may be as one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:22,23)

          “Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all say the same thing, and that there be no dissension among you, but that you be perfectly united in one mind and in one judgment.” (1 Cor 1:10)

          “There is One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God.” (Eph 4:4)

          The whole thing has gone to pot and just about anything goes nowadays.

          It’ll soon be time to roll out ‘The No True Scotsman’ routine next.

        • adam

          ” because you appear to belong the school of atheists who think it’s a very telling argument to make up something out of scratch that you intend to sound silly and then declare, by fiat, that beliefs real people actually hold are just as silly).”

          It is very telling, about people with imaginary friends and characters.

          ” I admit it could be wishful thinking (as could my belief in God, though that has a much stronger rational basis).”

          Simple Definition of rational Merriam Webster.

          : based on facts or reason and not on emotions or feelings

          I am doubtful, but lets see your facts or reasons without any emotion.

        • Greg G.

          (I have no idea why they are “snowflake” fairies, and you probably don’t either, because you appear to belong the school of atheists who think it’s a very telling argument to make up something out of scratch that you intend to sound silly and then declare, by fiat, that beliefs real people actually hold are just as silly).

          It is the reductio ad absurdum method that shows that an argument in favor of something that can be made to show any arbitrary thing, including the ridiculous, means that the argument shows nothing. It doesn’t show that the conclusion is wrong, only that the argument doesn’t show that conclusion.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Indeed. But these appeals to made-up beings never seem to me actually to address the reasons why people believe either in one eternal and perfect source of reality (God) or in various superhuman beings (gods, fairies, nature spirits, etc.).

          To say that one can’t prove for certain that there aren’t various improbable beings that no one has actually ever believed in is trivially true.

          But that’s not the claim those of us who believe in the validity of one or more traditional religions or mythologies are making. We’re saying that a longstanding tradition of belief is in fact a kind of evidence. Of course it’s not scientific evidence. And so the basic question, as always, is whether science is an exhaustive and all-sufficient method for discovering truth.

        • Myna A.

          We’re saying that a longstanding tradition of belief is in fact a kind of evidence

          A long standing belief is in no way, shape or form evidence of anything but a story having been passed down that eventually becomes viewed as being true. Belief is not the synonym of truth. If it were, then Osiris would still be sitting on the throne. The world would, indeed, ride on the back of a giant turtle. Seafarers would still fear falling off the edge of the horizon. And on and on it goes.

          Krishna said don’t follow anyone but me. Jesus said don’t follow anyone but me. Allah said, don’t follow anyone but me. God fights are meaningless. Siddhartha was right about the last one.

          And so the basic question, as always, is whether science is an exhaustive and all-sufficient method for discovering truth.

          Science is not about weighing in theosophical ideas, otherwise it would be subject to those limitations.

        • MNb

          “address the reasons why people believe either in one eternal and perfect source of reality ”
          That’s not the point.

          “We’re saying that a longstanding tradition of belief is in fact a kind of evidence.”
          There was a longstanding tradition of belief that the Earth was flat. There was another longstanding tradition of belief that the Earth was the centre of the universe. There was a longstanding tradition of belief that the four humours of the body explained lots of diseases.
          Were they a kind of evidence as well? Perhaps yes – that this kind of evidence is invalid.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Certainly they were a kind of evidence. People not having very good reason to reject these views were rationally justified in accepting them. To someone simply saying “where’s the evidence that the sun goes around the earth,” a geocentrist would be quite justified in saying, “you need to provide me with evidence for your alternative–otherwise I will trust the received consensus.”

          Also, I agree with Kuhn–as I suspect many on these forums do not. Paradigms aren’t simply “contradicted by the evidence.” People come to a point where a rival paradigm seems more appealing given the level of complexity necessary to maintain the old paradigm.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i don’t have a beef with Kuhn, but i may have missed some critical point of disagreement. my nutshell of his findings is an elaboration on the relatively simple fact (perhaps woefully under-researched prior to Kahneman and Tversky) that humans don’t have an unerring, unflinching grasp on the scientific method [owing to widespread, recurring, selectively reinforced heuristics and biases and so on].

        • Greg G.

          To say that one can’t prove for certain that there aren’t various improbable beings that no one has actually ever believed in is trivially true.

          It is equally true for all improbable beings whether anyone has believed in them or not. Since the only beings we have evidnece for are material beings, any other type of being is improbable.

          We’re saying that a longstanding tradition of belief is in fact a kind of evidence.

          Other cultures have longstanding traditions, too, but they are contradictory, which shows that, at least, all but one is false with no indication that any are true. It should be obvious that longstanding traditions without evidence are most certainly wrong.

          A longstanding tradition is not evidence for other beings. At best, an appeal to a longstanding tradition is a tacit admission of having no evidence.

          one eternal and perfect source of reality (God)

          This is where Aquinas built on the worst of ancient Greek philosophy which was the idea that something must exist somewhere before a person can conceive it. There is no need for a perfect circle to exist for us to have the concept of an infinite collection of dimensionless points equidistant from one dimensionless point. Such a thing cannot exist in reality because dimensionless things are just a concept. The fact that we can conceive of snowflake fairies proves that. Reality exists or it does not. We cannot know if it is eternal and there is no reason to imagine that it is a god.

        • MR

          Not to mention that we’re dealing with an entity who so loves the world that presumably he wants us to know him. Fairies, if they exist, don’t want to be known (I presume this to be true of snowflake fairies as well), but an omnipotent god should have no trouble revealing himself so there remains no doubt. That he doesn’t is suspect. That theists have to invent all kinds of implausible reasons why he remains hidden is telling.

        • Greg G.

          If I told you all the powers of my lucky coin, you wouldn’t believe me. If I also tell you that it is invisible, it cannot make it less plausible.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Your second sentence is, I’m pretty sure, circular.

          Or do you have some concept of what kind of “evidence” there might be for immaterial beings?

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          You’re also wrong about Aquinas. Your description of his position is actually an oversimplified description of Anselm’s position, which Aquinas rejected.

        • adam

          “Indeed. But these appeals to made-up beings never seem to me actually to
          address the reasons why people believe either in one eternal and
          perfect source of reality (God) or in various superhuman beings (gods,
          fairies, nature spirits, etc.).”

          Superstition and ignorance explains it well.
          Based on a Hyper Active Agency Detection system.

          ” We’re saying that a longstanding tradition of belief is in fact a kind of evidence. ”

          Yes, of superstition and ignorance.

          “is whether science is an exhaustive and all-sufficient method for discovering truth.”

          Science has already been demonstrated to demonstrate truth where religion only demonstrates faith ‘wishful thinking’ and ignorance.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Precisely. By dismissing everything that challenges your paradigm as “superstition and ignorance,” you seem to me to be behaving irrationally and in a highly prejudiced fashion–once again, reminding me irresistibly of fundamentalist Christians, who also have nice rhetorical devices for dismissing anything that might challenge their way of thinking.

        • adam

          ” By dismissing everything that challenges your paradigm as “superstition
          and ignorance,” you seem to me to be behaving irrationally and in a
          highly prejudiced fashion”

          So by behaving rationally, you FEEL EMOTIONALLY I am irrational?
          Typical christian fundamentalism…

          Simple Definition of rational- Merriam Webster
          : based on facts or reason and not on emotions or feelings

          : having the ability to reason or think about things clearly

          So give me some FACTS that support these superstitious CLAIMS.

          Let’s have a RATIONAL conversation, if you DARE….

        • Susan

          I have no idea why they are “snowflake” fairies, and you probably don’t either

          Because one can make anything central in material reality. The universe is fine-tuned for snowflakes. You can show me the “how” of snowflakes, but you can’t tell me “why” snowflakes.

          you appear to belong the school of atheists who think it’s a very telling argument to make up something out of scratch that you intend to sound silly and then declare, by fiat, that beliefs real people actually hold are just as silly)

          No. I’m simply using the same argument that some theists use and exhibiting it without recourse to special pleading. The argument, without special pleading, sounds silly. It’s a common technique in logic to root out potential errors in our thinking.

          But since we both know you made them up (or some other atheist making an equally empty rhetorical point did), there’s no reason to believe in them either.

          It’s not a rhetorical point. Show me where I made a logical or evidentiary move that broke the rules that apologetics uses.

          there’s no reason to believe in them either.

          Not if the arguments are equal. There’s either a reason to believe in both of them or there isn’t. Until you show me a distinction. Nothing rhetorical about it.

          I don’t rule out the existence of any supernatural beings that significant numbers of people have actually believed in.

          What is a supernatural being? What does it mean for one to exist?

          So the actual fairies of various mythologies? Sure, they could be real.

          What would it mean for them to be real? Why would they be more real than my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies?

          as could my belief in God, though that has a much stronger rational basis

          Explain what you mean by God. Provide a clear definition and the rational basis for your belief.

        • MNb

          Nicely avoiding the point.
          The point is how you decide which claims about supernatural beings are correct and which ones aren’t This one

          “since we both know you made them up”
          isn’t a reliable method. I could say the same about your god: I just have to add ” (or some Hebrew making an equally empty point did),.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t rule out the existence of any supernatural beings that significant numbers of people have actually believed in.

          The auld ad populum fallacy.

          What is a significant amount?

          So the existence of Jesus and by extension, Christianity, should not have been taken seriously until it had significant numbers of people that actually believed in it?

          There are apparently 14.7 million Mormons, is that significant enough a number to not rule out the supernatural powers of magic temple underwear?

          Scientology? Not significant enough to believe their woo woo I suppose?

          Where do you stand on Jedism?

          Can you not see the folly of such thinking?

          So the actual fairies of various mythologies? Sure, they could be real. I’m inclined to think they are, although not much rides on it and I admit it could be wishful thinking (as could my belief in God, though that has a much stronger rational basis).

          Indeed. I’d go the step further and assert it is all wishful thinking, because like Snow Fairies and Space Ponies, that’s all I see anyone has at this point.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Scientology does indeed not seem to me to be particularly credible, and “Jedism” less so (are there actually any serious “Jedists” or is it just a big game?).

          Mormonism is a difficulty. In and of themselves, the Mormon claims don’t seem credible to me. But clearly many people, many of them intelligent and spiritually serious, do think so. I certainly haven’t seen enough of spiritual value from Mormonism to take it _really_ seriously, but I don’t dismiss it or mock at it. Clearly there’s something real there.

        • MNb

          Assuming is not the same as deciding.

      • Cygnus

        Actually neurology has no dog in theistic fight about “soul” claim, “soul” is no part of neurological terminology, it is just some theists trying to fit neurological science in what they want a “soul” to look like.

        The theistic mentality is so retarded that theists, even up to 100 years ago, would say that a computer would have a “soul”. Even now, if a scientists would explain that a song is inside a memory stick but they cannot pinpoint exactly where that song is in that memory stick, theists would in a Creationistc voice, that that songs floats inside the memory stick like a soul, sticking on the silicon dioxide and hafnium, as the “soul” stick on the brain.

        “ghost in the machine” is just an old play on ignorant people, who don’t understand how memory “sticks” on organic material and how brains have the capacity to process that bio-memory, or memory and process that evolved in millions of years, but for idiots seems that it started about 6,000 years ago.

  • Aram

    I’m in the no-soul camp. Just because our thoughts feel outside our brain doesn’t mean they are. No brain = no thought, no soul, nothing. I’m always prepared to be proven wrong, but as far as all the evidence shows as of yet, when we die that’s it. So best enjoy this life y’all 🙂

    • MNb

      How do people that, feel that thoughts are outside the brain?!

      • Aram

        Because thoughts are just so ethereal yo 😉

        • MNb

          Man, do I feel stupid. I never thought of my thoughts that way.

  • William Colburn

    Before theologians added their spin to the story, the Genesis account put it simply, ‘the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man BECAME a living SOUL.’ (Gen 2:7) The material ‘form’ plus the spark of life equals a ‘soul’. The breath of God is not a ‘soul’ entering the ‘form’. When the breath leaves, the soul ceases to be. A ‘soul’, at least from the Genesis account, is simply a human life until death. Then nothing. More than that was added myth.

    • Greg G.

      I think that they thought of breath as the soul or spirit. The word “spirit” comes from the word for breathing which was used for soul. It doesn’t seem to be used metaphorically. They used heart and kidneys when they should have used brains throughout the Bible and never seem to have had a clue about the function of the brain.

      • MNb

        I think they didn’t make any distinction between breath, soul, mind and spirit. So the question whether it’s a metaphor or not is only relevant for us in the scientific age, not for what the author meant.

        • Greg G.

          Theists twist concepts to believe the author actually understood it in some way but didn’t have the proper words to make it understood to their contemporaries so they used the very understanding of their time as metaphors. They try to convey that idea because it would be nice to be able to believe it.

        • MNb

          Yeah and that’s annoying. Plus it’s an argument from tradition.

        • Cygnus

          It is annoying when you don’t know that “argument from tradition” is an ignorant way to say Appeal to Tradition. Surely ” Appeal to Tradition” origin comes from the Latin “argumentum ad antiquitatem”, but when Greg said that theists twist concepts, they are doing that not by argumentation, but by appealing to Christian tradition, as if Christianity has some shred of credibility within their claims.

          I am not picking on you, just that some people here are looking up to you as some kind of “authority”, when in fact I needed to read only a few of your replies, out of about 15700 (oh my) to see how half-educated you are and kissing up to get as many upvotes possible, the only purpose you have in your life you’re spending in blogoshpehre.

          Now, about your pseudo intelligent reply. You found that the Appeal to Tradition is an annoyance!! Let me up-vote you, so I won’t get the wrath of those who don’t give a shit about what I think, but that I am giving to your replies.

          BTW, what are you doing beside looking for upvotes in blogosphere and avoid to be banned? I mean, what use are you for your community, in *real* life?

        • Susan

          Let me up-vote you, so I won’t get the wrath of those who don’t give a shit about what I think, but that I am giving to your replies.

          No one’s ever responded with wrath for not upvoting MNb.

          You’re way off course here.

          Get some sleep.

        • Cygnus

          Sorry, I forgot the add a smile after the “wrath”, so now I’ve got a condescending reply.

          Anyway, thanks for expressing your thoughts. Better out than in.

        • Susan

          I forgot the add a smile after the “wrath”, so now I’ve got a condescending reply.

          I responded to your actual reply, not the one you meant to write.

          There was nothing condescending about my response. You alluded to something for which there was zero evidence.

        • Cygnus

          “There was nothing condescending about my response”
          ===
          Oh, you forgot to add some condescending emoticon after “Get some sleep”, a remark that you made while I was sleeping.

        • Susan

          you forgot to add some condescending emoticon after “Get some sleep”.

          No. I didn’t. If it came off as condescending, I apologize and will strike it.

          You ignored the bit about “You alluded to something for which there is zero evidence.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          You ignored the bit about “You alluded to something for which there is zero evidence.”

          Par for his course it seems on both counts.

        • MR

          If it came off as condescending, I apologize and will strike it.

          Oh, the irony.

        • Cygnus

          “No. I didn’t. If it came off as condescending, I apologize and will strike it.”
          ===
          Thank you for apologizing Susan! You gave the impression that you are dishonest and insincere person, but now I feel so guilty. Can you forgive me for having such thoughts? Please?

          Allusions don’t need to be supported by evidence, they are hints or something for me to know and for you to find out. You didn’t.

        • MNb

          “I am not picking on you”
          Especially that you totally are (or it wouldn’t take you so many words) and apparently are getting horny from it.
          Alas – you’re totally right (alas for you being horny I mean). Except that I actually did know, but for the gazillionth time relied on my very poor memory instead of looking it up.
          Still:
          Dankjewel voor de correctie.
          What I’m doing in real life I’ll tell you as soon as I feel like, which is not now.

        • Greg G.

          I mean, what use are you for your community, in *real* life?

          MNb is a curmudgeon on the internet but his profession is about as honorable as anybody you will meet. If he told you as an answer to that question, it might seem like bragging or an ad hoc exaggeration.

        • Cygnus

          To such “curmudgeon” he is, the only thing I can tell to him is
          “Git off mah lawn! Git now! Ahm not gonna tells yuh agin!”, something like those “godless in dixie” are saying.

          Unfortunately, Bob is such a kind guy to those trolls, he hopes that sooner or later they will start to thing instead for throwing half-wit comments.

        • You’ve mentioned the Godless in Dixie blog several times. What trait about that blog are you referring to?

        • Cygnus

          They are banning all people who don’t believe in their “atheists” blog party line. The blog is populated with trolls that are even made “lieutenants” moderators, with powers to ban anybody who tries to mock, laugh at or satirize Christianity because it is impolite to disbelieve such a beautiful religion that suppresses the bible belt.

          They practically don’t substantiate why theistic claims about the existence of God are bullshit, they just criticize that Christianity is not followed correctly by Christians, thus they believe they are “civilized” and “polite” atheists that want to work together toward communion between atheists and theists, and translate in life the latest pope francisc call for a “friendship” between Christians and atheists, so the Catholic church still keep floating. Right now Catholic church looks like the Titanic. In it latest hours, grasping at straw to keep the religion going underwater, or completely cultural (giving a shite about the religious message of Christianity)

        • Susan

          They are banning all people who don’t believe in their “atheists” blog party line.

          Were you banned Cygnus?

        • Cygnus

          Why are you asking?

        • Susan

          Why are you asking?

          You seem to not agree with their position and you claimed that they ban everybody who doesn’t.

          I think that should be obvious.

          Answer or don’t answer.

        • Cygnus

          I did answer: “Why are you asking?”

        • MR

          You should have followed your own advice. 😉 It’s like dealing with a 13 year old.

        • Susan

          You should have followed your own advice.

          I am. I didn’t say I wouldn’t engage.

          But I’m not going to follow him down any rabbit holes.

          I asked. He answered. We’re done on this topic.

        • MR

          Just teasing. (not you)

        • Susan

          Just teasing. (not you)

          Understood.

        • Cygnus

          Was it obvious for you that I was one of the people banned?
          You said: “I think that should be obvious.”
          Then why are you asking if I was banned?

          I don’t want to insult your intelligence, but when a question is asked, an answer is still there. The question was to confirm that you “obviously” knew the answer, but you’re not sure and that makes you uncomfortable.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are a wee bit confused again. Or maybe it is just a reading comprehension issue again.

          When Susan said, “I think that should be obvious”…she means it should be obvious why she is asking you if you are banned. Which is why it was proceeded with…

          You seem to not agree with their position and you claimed that they ban everybody who doesn’t.

          That being the case, it should be obvious why she’d ask if you’ve been banned. That, and the massive chip on your shoulder.

          So, have they banned you or not? Given that you need to have your history incognito and asking you is the easist way to find out.

        • Cygnus

          I did not deny that it was obvious that she had a question. But it was not obvious for me why she asked the question. That’s why I asked. Is that clear for you?

          Apparently not, for you have a reading comprehension issue, you *obviously* ask the question again.

        • TheNuszAbides

          he doesn’t know the difference between a blog with a “no preaching” comment policy that gets way more hostile traffic as a matter of course, and a blog that one exceptionally talented (and photographically super-strong) individual can moderate single-handedly.

        • (I’m a paper tiger.)

        • TheNuszAbides

          that’s His Majesty Kingpaper Tigerweasel to the rest of us.

        • MNb

          What you tell me can oxidate at the lower end of my digestive system. What BobS tells won’t, but his view on me doesn’t seem to be yours. See, he is the one who gets to decide what kind of blog this is, not you. He seems to think I do fit.
          Of course it’s hard for you to accept that you’re not the ultimate authority on what this (or any) blog should be like.

        • Cygnus

          Five sentences, no one linked to make a coherent thought, but a pitiful attempt to insult me. But continue to squeak, even if no one solicited a reply from you.

        • MNb

          Coming from you this is a compliment.

        • Cygnus

          Enjoy

        • Cygnus

          I see blogging as community, where people express their opinions, ideas and have a constructive and an intelligible dialog without the fear of being suppressed.
          In *real* life, I meant what is his use for people in the blogs he posts?

        • MNb

          That’s up to those people to decide.
          Personally I think you largely useless.

        • Cygnus

          “Personally I think you largely useless.”
          ===
          Don’t sweat over it.

        • MNb

          Thanks for this useless advise, thus confirming what I think of you.

        • Cygnus

          Thanks for renting me a space in your brain. I promise I piss all over it.

        • MNb

          Great. When you promise something the sound bet is that it ain’t gonna happen.

        • Cygnus

          Boy, oh boy! Me pissing in your brain already happened. You just replied!

          When you ignore me, you are proving that I am not pissing in your brain; you stop renting any space in your brain with my presence. Maybe it won’t get thru thickness.

          But go ahead, reply with pissed thoughts, I enjoy reading them, until I don’t give a shite.

      • Once you die, you stop breathing. The flow of air had to be essential to life somehow. Maybe the spirit came in (inspiration) from God as breath, and that’s how it exited.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, that and blood was like the magic smoke in electronics.

          Genesis 1:30; 7:15, 22 all talk about have “every living, breathing creature” or “everything having the breath of life in it”.

        • Cygnus

          For theists only animals have “soul”, since “soul” is in fact “anima”, but the human animal “soul” was snorted from God, so it’s a different kind of cocaine.

          However, Christians came up with the Bible Version 2 (New and improved) bluffing that “anima” can be “eternal”, or whatever the fuck they mean by that, because Christ, so the human animal can “resurrect” and be kicked in the ass until it goes into the clouds to live “eternally” with God.

    • Cygnus

      When the Jew fabricated Yahweh that gave “soul” to Adam, that “soul” was as it is translated in Latin, as “anima”, thus only animals have “soul’, thus “animals”. Yet human “soul” is above animal souls because, meh, the Jew sez that Yahwhe farted it in Adam, but not in Eve. Eve is still an animal but not at the Adam level, for God is an omnifucking MAN. But then you realize that men, not women, wrote the “holy” scriptures.

  • Greg G.

    John Loftus at Debunking Christianity posted There is no ghost in the machine with a link to 2016 : WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST INTERESTING RECENT [SCIENTIFIC] NEWS? WHAT MAKES IT IMPORTANT?.

    However, in the aggregate, all lead to the emergence of perhaps the greatest developing news story: the widespread understanding that human thought and behavior are the products of biological processes. There is no ghost in the machine. In the public sphere, this understanding is dawning.

    • Edwin Woodruff Tait

      Of course there is no ghost in the machine.

      I’m not sure there is a machine in the first place 🙂

      • Greg G.

        The body is a machine made of meat.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          I know that’s what you believe. That’s precisely what I doubt, as I said above.

          You and other atheists are still thralls to Descartes–you just throw the ghost away and were left with the machine.

          Aristotle and Aquinas were wiser 🙂

          An example of how hard it is for modern secular folks to go back behind Descartes: in the Darwinism exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum a few years ago, one of the displays suggested that it was a revolutionary and shocking claim to say that humans were animals.

          Yet this would be axiomatic to Aristotle and to the medieval Christians.

        • Myna A.

          You and other atheists are still thralls to Descartes–you just throw the ghost away and were left with the machine.

          I’m thinking you’ve been reading some Rupert Sheldrake, no? I’m also thinking you are simplifying his argument a bit. It’s really rather more complex than this, in my view.

          modern secular folks

          I’m not certain that the word “secular” is appropriate, given its definition: Secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institutions and religious dignitaries.

          Religion has no place in government given the diversity of the populace and its right to that diversity. Modern sensibility, I could go with, though.

          There are two arguments taking place. One, is mechanistic and one is underlying consciousness. The body, itself, is a machine, a host to breath, as it were, and is subject to the wear and tear of its lifespan. Consciousness, which would be Sheldrake’s argument, for example, is not subject to the wear and tear of the machine, but is the underlying current, a sort of stream of memory and motion.

          Yet this would be axiomatic to Aristotle and to the medieval Christians.

          And to earth based systems, which predate Aristotle and, as I’ve said before, are less centric than Middle Eastern religious assumptions, to which Aquinas adhered to.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          I’ve never heard of Rupert Sheldrake.

          But it sounds like probably I should read him.

          “Secular” can mean a lot of things–you’re just citing one possible meaning. But that’s not worth arguing about.

          I’m not sure I agree that there is such a thing, as a category, as “earth based religious systems” to be contrasted to “Middle Eastern religions assumptions,” but while that is worth arguing about it may not be relevant here.

          Of course what I said about Aristotle and Aquinas would apply a fortiori to other ancient traditions.

        • Myna A.

          I’ve never heard of Rupert Sheldrake. …probably I should read him.

          Your ideas are very similar, though less refined, but yes, look him him up if you’ve a mind to it.

          …as a category, as “earth based religious systems” to be contrasted to “Middle Eastern religions assumptions,”

          Earth based religions are indigenous, non-centric. Middle Eastern assumptions are: Yahweh, Jesus and Allah, and are very centric.

          …but while that is worth arguing about it may not be relevant here.

          Not so much interested in arguing about it, but how is it not relevant?

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Because the point was that premodern Western views of the self are different from those of Descartes. That there are other premodern views of the self than those I mentioned which are even more different doesn’t really affect that point.

        • Myna A.

          That there are other premodern views of the self than those I mentioned
          which are even more different doesn’t really affect that point.

          While the Western Cartesian view is centric, the Abrahamic religions are equally centric. That would be my response to the position of relevancy, you see. Earth based religious systems still exist, so they can’t be discounted. This planet is comprised of more than just the Western worldview.

          It may be that we are coming from two different directions, so I will leave it at that.

        • Susan

          you just throw the ghost away and were left with the machine.

          If you don’t define those terms, I have no reason to accept what appears to me to be a false dichotomy.

          Aristotle and Aquinas were wiser.

          Clever fellows who had no access to the evidence we have access to today. I don’t blame them for that. They were clever fellows given the little information they had. That doesn’t mean they were right about most things. Would their claims survive modern philosophical reasoning? (That means, ya know, post-DesCartes, despite your attempt to bullet-point strawman.) No.

          Evidential reasoning? No.

          An individual clever human does not necessarily “wisdom” make.

        • TheNuszAbides

          have you and Edwin butted heads elsewhere? he seems to give you the silent treatment rather more abruptly than far less eloquent types have done.

        • Susan

          have you and Edwin butted heads elsewhere?

          Hi TheNuszAbides. No.

          he seems to give you the silent treatment

          Edwin is trying to carry on a lot of conversations at once. I stayed back for a lot of it because of the dogpiling factor.

          If he missed a lot of my responses, it’s fair to assume that he was busy responding to busier commenters.

          None of them can get anything of substance out of him, either.

          I find his pleas for “substantive” discussion ironic.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I have a soul, I bought a used one on ebay /s

    • adam

      Get it exorcised before you use it.
      You never know where this thing has been.

    • Greg G.

      I just went into the insurance business. How much would you like to insure that soul for?

    • Stephen King said, “I have the heart of a young boy … in a jar on my desk.”

      • busterggi

        Robert Bloch said it first!

  • MNb
  • MR

    The Phineas Gage story is quite interesting. Oliver Sacks wrote about him in An Anthropologist on Mars. I also read The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat. Sacks had a profound effect on my thinking regarding the ideas of morality, the soul, and the concept of “I”, the idea that there is a homogeneous “me” that is in charge. Of course, Sacks doesn’t actually attack the concept of the soul, etc., he simply recounts fascinating tales of what happens when someone has disease or damage related to the brain. But the implications are startling.

    Physical effects can cause profound changes to a person’s character, moral sensibilities and impulse control–things entwined in our concept of the ‘soul.’ Phineas Gage is an early famous example, another is the Texas Tower shooter who had a brain tumor and wrote a chilling letter in which he asks that an autopsy be performed because he suspected some physical disorder drove him to commit violent acts.

    Not only illness and disease but simple chemicals can have a profound affect on a person’s personality and morality. Sometimes we’re so close we don’t recognize this obvious fact. We all know drugs and alcohol can change a person, and we accept that medications like Prozac can have a positive effect on a person’s personality. But think of the implications of recent discoveries like the Parkinson’s drug and others that were found to cause patients moral-related problems they never previously had like gambling, sexual improprieties and examples of good upstanding Christian folk suddenly developing the vocabulary of a sailor and the sexual conduct of a Shanghai whore. Think about it. Chemicals can change our morality! And each of us already knows that.

    Chemicals, illness and disease, brain damage, all can change the core of what we perceive as our very selves. Those implications really undermined my belief in a soul.

    • Even just blood sugar–too much or too little–can change one’s personality.

      • Cygnus

        IMHO, personality is a combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character, so a temporary chemical imbalance doesn’t change a personality.

        I may see you drunk one time (chemical imbalance), yet I’d be an idiot to say that you have the personality of drunkard or that you just had a change in personality. Maybe you had one too many at a wedding, like Jesus did, but can one say that Jesus had a drunkard personality?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jesus had one too many at a wedding?

          Where did you get that one from?

        • Greg G.

          You know, the wedding at Cana where Jesus was wasted so they put him up to turning the water into wine and played along with it. Then they went around telling people to pretend to be blind, deaf, or possessed and pretended to be cured when Jesus came along.

          But they took it too far when they had Lazarus pretend to be dead and got resurrected. Then Jesus thought he had the authority to disrupt the Passover celebration which got him executed.

          Then his buddies had to spin it that he actually was magic and he got executed for a good reason.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t start me. I’ve just been watching the movie “Risen” ffs….

          http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3231054/

        • Pofarmer

          Why?

        • Ignorant Amos

          There is some amount of spinning being done in that movie.

          Cygnus could have wrote it.

          One thing that had me in stitches though. I made the point a while back while arguing with a theist, George perhaps, that if he knew anything about soldiers, it would not be beyond a reasonable assertion that the two Romans standing guard over the tomb on such a mundane and tedious duty, fell asleep. The writer of Risen made the same assertion as part of the plot.

          The added ending of Mark is also central to the plot.

          I was just alluding to how a complete fiction can be derived from a complete fiction without an iota of support other than literary licence.

          Still, it was an entertaining movie nevertheless.

        • Cygnus

          When he said that he turned water into wine. He made a joke, not that his personality was of a stand up comedian. His personality was of an aggressive/defensive person.

        • Ignorant Amos

          More ballix.

          Jesus said fuck all of the sort. The author of a story said a character in that story turned water into wine, but that has fuck all to do with my question. You intimated that Jesus had one too many drinks of vino at a wedding. Where did ya get that shite from? Where does it say the Jesus character had even one alcoholic drink at the wedding?

          Now elsewhere in the New Testament it is inferred that the Jesus character liked a charge at the oinos, a bit like myself, but let’s not make shite up.

        • Cygnus

          Your question was:
          “Jesus had one too many at a wedding?”

          Jesus had one too many at a wedding is an a conclusion that is based on the absence of statements in historical documents, rather than on presence.

          Either the ballix author of a ballix jesus, or the ballix jesus if it existed, were retards or drunken when they “observed” the water turned into wine. I chose not to conclude that they were retards, so I concluded they were fucking drunk after they consumed all the wine and the ballix jesus pissed some water into wine because they had nothing else to drink.

          Jokes like that are done sometime at the weddings, or at least at a wedding where I went, and Jesus Pedro Mendoza did that joke. That you say that at that wedding where a lot of morons, then I can argue from silence that at that ballix weeding in Cana, there were also morons.

          What’s wrong with you?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your question was:

          “Jesus had one too many at a wedding?”

          Oh, ffs…it was your assertion that Jesus had one too many. My question was a request for an affirmation that that is what you meant. Then I followed it with a citation request.

          You followed that up without answering either, but by asserting more unsubstantiated rubbish.

          Jesus had one too many at a wedding is an a conclusion that is based on the absence of statements in historical documents, rather than on presence.

          In other words, you are making shite up.

          “Jesus stuck a rocket up his arse and flew to the moon” is a conclusion that is based on the absence of statements in historical documents, rather than on presence. There are millions more like that. Making shite up isn’t that difficult, but it adds nothing to the discussion.

          Either the ballix author of a ballix jesus, or the ballix jesus if it existed, were retards or drunken when they “observed” the water turned into wine. I chose not to conclude that they were retards, so I concluded they were fucking drunk after they consumed all the wine and the ballix jesus pissed some water into wine because they had nothing else to drink.

          That’s because you are away with the fairies Cygnus…seek help.

          Jokes like that are done sometime at the weddings, or at least at a wedding where I went, and Jesus Pedro Mendoza did that joke. That you say that at that wedding where a lot of morons, then I can argue from silence that at that ballix weeding in Cana, there were also morons.

          And you had the audacity to attack MNb for his English and grammar, along with lack of coherence?

          That you say that at that wedding where a lot of morons…

          I said that? Where? Are you making more shite up?

          Cygnus, you are free argue from silence and make up any old crap you want. I am free to laugh at it, mock it, ridicule you for it’s ridiculousness also.

          What’s wrong with you?

          Spooooiiiing!

          It ain’t me with the problem here…seek some help.

        • Cygnus

          “Oh, ffs…it was your assertion that Jesus had one too many.”
          ===
          I explained already that the assertion was argumented and based on the absence of statements in historical documents, rather than on presence. That’s what Christians scholars are doing all the time.

          Every Christian is making shite up when they read the shite in the bible, shite up made by the shite up authors hit by the holy shite up.

          If you can show a little bit of scholarly and analyze the shite up (water into wine at a wedding) made by shite up authors and put on a shite up Jesus, it makes more sense that the shite up “water into wine” was made when either shite up authors or shite up jesus had one too many.

          Can you argue scholarly that the shite up jesus stuck a rocket up his arse and flew to the moon?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I explained already that the assertion was argumented and based on the absence of statements in historical documents, rather than on presence.

          And it is ridiculous…again.

          That’s what Christians scholars are doing all the time.

          Another unsubstantiated assertion.

          But anyway, I don’t much care what nonsense Christian “scholars” are making up.

          The rest of your comment was such a mélange of incoherent dross, I mean…“…shite up made by the shite up authors hit by the holy shite up.”.WTF?

          Like I said, you need help.

          I think I’ll bow out again to preserve my own sanity from your asinine inanity.

        • Cygnus

          “Another unsubstantiated assertion.”
          ===
          Just a question, when you said: “I am free to laugh at it, mock it, ridicule you for it’s ridiculousness also.”, were you so dumb not understand that I was doing the same thing with “Jesus had one too many”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cygnus, do me a favour and fuck away off ya dumb cunt. There’s a good chap.

        • Cygnus

          LOL! Love Our Lord 🙂

        • adam

          “When he said that he turned water into wine. ”

          So you are talking about Jesus as if he was real.

          Theists must really love you for validating their beliefs.

        • Cygnus

          You are confused because I didn’t say “When the bullshit “holy” authors of the bullshit bible said that the bullshit Jesus turned water into wine, it was because of a prank done at a wedding where a guy pissed into the glasses making the other drunken people believe that water can be made into wine”.

          You just are so desperately clinging in giving wordings a sense that wasn’t there but that you think you can rebut. I know that Christians are such idiots to believe that if you say “Jesus shite” you are confirming Jesus existence. But you?

        • adam

          Nope, I am not confused about your hypocrisy.
          It is every clear.

        • Cygnus

          BWAHAHAHAHAH…. “hypocrisy”, what the hell has it to do with it?
          Do you think that when I use “Jesus shite” I believe Jesus existed?
          Oh, I see. When the theists is screaming “God”, “Jesus”, “Christ”, “Allah”, “Yahweh”, etc. they already have proof of those bullshit existence, but when an atheist say one of the bullshit words above, then the atheists believe the bullshit because she/he is uttering the bullshit.

          Thanks for reminding the humorous dialog from “Life of Brian”:

          Matthias: Look, I don’t think it should be a sin, just for saying “Jehovah”.
          [Everyone gasps]
          Jewish Official: You’re only making it worse for yourself!
          Matthias: Making it worse? How can it be worse? Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!

        • adam

          “Do you think that when I use “Jesus shite” I believe Jesus existed?”

          You are merely appeasing the christians and their belief system confirming your BELIEF in Jesus.

        • Cygnus

          Oh my, my!! Run, ruuunnn, the Christians are attacking and I am trying to appease them by mentioning “Jesus shite”.
          You make a lot of sense.

        • Myna A.

          …personality is a combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character, so a temporary chemical imbalance
          doesn’t change a personality.

          But a significant brain trauma or disease can erase any distinctive character, memories, intelligence, etc. in a heartbeat. Herein rests the danger of counting on personality as being little more than a “sense” of self or the quality others might outwardly observe and ultimately both are illusory. It’s like chasing a mirage when claiming, “I am this” or “He is that.” It appears real, but can be altered by many, many factors.

          Sure, in the absence of brain injury or disease one can go through one’s whole life with a sense of a familiar self, but even that changes with time and at some point ceases to exist altogether. Again, I would say that consciousness may or may not be an extended force that either perishes with bodily death or exits into the ether. I have no idea, but I think the evidence shows that brain injury is capable of wiping out the sense of being a familiar self. This also wipes out religious claims of afterlife court appearances. Who to judge? The guy before or after the brain trauma? It’s ludicrous, of course.

          Even though I am fascinated by the idea of extended consciousness, I am nonetheless wary of the claim of being a distinct personality. Yes, it is a useful tool while it exists, but it’s too unstable a mechanism to place all the eggs in one basket, as it were.

        • Cygnus

          I got your point, but I was referring to Bob’s chemical imbalance “blood sugar–too much or too little” doesn’t change an individual’s distinctive character. Surely brain traumas or a *long* term disease can change *significantly* a personality.

          What you call “extended consciousness” is, for me, still mind, or as Bob put it, what the brain creates. Near Death Experience is an example of mind produced by brain as long as the brain produces brain waves, storing and processing stored information in the brain, not information from outside the brain when the heart has stopped working for a while.

          Apparently, the human brain has evolved in such a way to interpret the stimuli from body receptors as an form a “self” concept, helping the species to survive better than species that don’t evolved self. There are very few animals that recognize self in a mirror (dolphins, elephants), but they are still under-evolved when compared to humans other characteristic as a whole.

          My point is that everything is in the brain, it is about the point where the brain has evolved to interpret the stimuli in such a way to make the species survive. Is your brain creating a mind called “extended consciousness” and that helps the human species conservation? If yes, then that’s good, if not then reject it and produce a mind that works better than “extended consciousness”. It’s all in the brain and everything evolves, including the mind, thru a better processing and memorizing brain.

          And yes, this process can broken by trauma or disease, but not by short chemical imbalances “blood sugar–too much or too little”

        • Myna A.

          Near Death Experience is an example of mind produced by brain…

          There is the phenomenon of disassociation, which is part of the sensory perception of the brain, it is true. This is not specific to NDEs, but can occur during any physical or psychological stress. It can also occur spontaneously without any associative cause, and so the study goes on.

        • Cygnus

          “There is the phenomenon of disassociation”
          ===
          Dogs, seeing themselves in a mirror, had not evolved brains to a stage where they can associate themselves with the image in a mirror, they continue to bark at the image as if there’s another dog.

          But a few mammal’s brains, including human’s, has evolved to associate “themselves” with the image in a mirror, then keep that information in the brain, process it and create a thought called “phenomenon of disassociation”, it works when one is not looking in the mirror.

          As long as your brain has seen and objectivate your “self”, you can process that “self”, make it go where your brain capacity imagination can go. It may occur “spontaneously without any associative cause” because the “cause” is an information already stored in the brain, and yes, that information is not apparent and because of that, some ignorant people are calling it soul, “something” separated from matter.

        • Greg G.

          The first time my brother saw a full-length mirror against the wall, he tried to look behind it and went into the next room looking for the little boy. A dog I had acted similarly the first time she saw one but grew accustomed to it. But when I stood behind her when she was facing the mirror, she seemed to associate the image with me outside the mirror.

        • Myna A.

          A dog I had acted similarly the first time she saw one but grew accustomed to it.

          I had a cat that did that! LoL, it was the funniest thing, because he also saw the other two cats reflected across the room and went nuts trying to get around the mirror. He’d look back at them, then into the mirror, and back again. Then he’d pace. This lasted about a week, then he forgot about it.

        • MR

          When I first got my cat she attacked herself in the mirror for a couple days. Now when I hold her up to it she doesn’t even care.

          For years we used to refer to the neighbor’s cat by a name we had given it which was not it’s real name. We ended up inheriting that cat and so decided we should start calling it by its real name. This completely confused my poor cat (who was strictly an indoor cat). She would be staring out the window at the outdoor cat and we would refer to it using the other name and she would think there was another cat elsewhere and run to the other window to try to find it. Finally we started hyphenating the outdoor cat’s name, using both names. Eventually she caught on it was the same cat. Poor thing must have thought we were crazy after years of calling the cat one name to suddenly, for no reason, start calling it another.

        • Cygnus

          Researchers aren’t sure if the children know that the reflection is themselves or whether they still think it is another child. – Toddlers (age 20-24 months) seem to clearly recognize that the reflection in the mirror is their own. What age was you brother when he tried to look behind the mirror?

          The information of “self” is already constructed in the human brain, as any other animal instinct that is transmitted genetically. When an animal is born, it doesn’t get trough all evolution stages, just use all what it has been gathered at every step of evolution. The brain needs a while to “tune up” the body according to he information that it has already in genes (genes can also store information), then continue to gather new information and process.

        • Greg G.

          My brother was still in diapers, wasn’t talking yet, but could run a little.

          Your description of genes acquiring information is ambiguous. A mutation might incidentally provide information and be selected by helping its owner reproduce. A mutation that provides bad information will promote its own elimination. But I doubt that genes are selected for mirrors. It’s just that a complex brain can work out novelties.

        • Cygnus

          “My brother was still in diapers, wasn’t talking yet, but could run a little”
          ===
          That’s understandable, children need a little time for the “self” to kick in. “Self” gene is still in the brain, but need a little time from birth to “work”.

          The information of “self” is damaged in children born with brain damage. That explains why the ignorant believed “soul” doesn’t come into a child. A lot of information gathered through evolution is stored in genes, DNA that come up while an organism is born.

          Don’t worry if your little brother doesn’t see his “self” in the mirror in the first few months, worry if after a longer period (12 months at least), your little brother doesn’t recognize his “self”, then something is wrong in the brain, not that he got no “soul” as some retards religionists believe.

          Genes do carry information, now you mean to ask how that information got there? Matter has also the property to memorize patterns, that’s what scientists say and can demonstrate. Even if I don’t understand very well all that terminology of bio-genetics, I still don’t believe theistic claims that the holy spirit farted a soul on genes.

          I don’t understand yours ” But I doubt that genes are selected for mirrors”. I was talking of the information that is already in genes, that “spring” when an organism develops. Think about little animals that go instinctively to a mammary glands, that “instinctively” is information written in the genes. Mirrors can trigger of “self” gene in humans, humans who don’t see a mirror in their life and live among wolves, are scared by their image in a mirror, but with a little exercise the “self” can surface, while the wolves never get a “self”.

          Did I explain it better?

        • Greg G.

          My brother figured it out in about five minutes.

        • Cygnus

          You mean to say that your brother got his head out, was shown a mirror and figured out he has a “self”? In abut five minutes?

        • Greg G.

          Yes, that is exactly what I mean, or else you could read upthread to recall the context of the conversation.

        • Cygnus

          You didn’t understand what I meant by “got his head out”. I meant that your brother didn’t have a mirror at birth and in about five minutes he understood he has a “self”, that he realized the the image in mirror is “him”.

          If you have read carefully what I explained about the information of “self”, that is realized by the newborns when it happens to have a mirror, that realization is not yet “surfaced” until after at least 4-5 months.

          Maybe you meant that after a period of 4-5 months there was about five minutes when your brother realized his “self”, so the information of “self” genetically stored in the brain was activated in about five minutes, according to your observation.

          But thank you for sharing your observation about your brother experience in those about five minutes, even if I don’t see the link to what I’ve been explaining.

        • Greg G.

          I was responding to this:

          Don’t worry if your little brother doesn’t see his “self” in the mirror in the first few months, worry if after a longer period (12 months at least), your little brother doesn’t recognize his “self”, then something is wrong in the brain, not that he got no “soul” as some retards religionists believe.

          My brother is nearly fifty years old now.

        • Cygnus

          You made some people around here to talk about their small pets looking in the mirror, thinking that you *just* observed your little brother “about five minutes” in which he understood his “self”.

          Sometime it is useful to add more information, so you would know that I wasn’t talking about a “fifty years old” little brother, but about that period after birth, while a newborn “self” information inscribed in the genes, “pops out” in the presence of a mirror. And that information is there, not transmitted by “soul” as some retards religionists believe.

        • TheNuszAbides

          your English (which is better than any of my second languages–but that isn’t saying much) will simply have to improve before you can actually pull off what you seem to consistently imagine are clear (or “over their heads”) jokes/explanations/”gotchas”–let alone the ironic twist in most of your attempts to call out native speakers for a lack of clarity or relevance.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I can but dream…east European I have suspected…not that it matters to bad comm’s.

        • Cygnus

          beside “my” English, what else are you whining about?

        • TheNuszAbides

          exactly.

        • Cygnus

          Ok, whine away. Exactly.

        • TheNuszAbides

          mis-characterize away: ‘whining’ is only accurate if you are annoyed–in which case, show some mettle, don’t let mere words affect you so!
          on the rare (so far) occasions in which you leave traces of an honest effort to comprehend, there’s no need to debunk your imaginary victories because you’ve successfully restrained your inner poo-flinger. on other occasions, you apparently prefer to pile further errors onto your opening one rather than recognizing or learning a clarification/correction/joke for what it is.

        • Cygnus

          OK, have it your way. I don’t give a rat’s ass about what you’re scribbling all over, so I am not annoyed, just bored, and your are not whining, just yapping.
          Cheers

      • MR

        Theist points below for missing the point and attacking a strawman. 😉

    • TheNuszAbides

      my wife just devoured Sacks’s autobio. what a life!

      • Is that the one with the criminally long footnotes? Where he talks about going to the chemist and they actually were a chemist, with hydrochloric acid or mercury for sale?

        Yes indeed–what a life!

      • MR

        Just ordered it, thanks for the suggestion.

  • Myna A.

    Isn’t consciousness (defining it here as breath of life), though,
    immaterial? Science can only study its manifestation in the machine and
    not the force that makes it tick. This is where I think it all gets a
    little murky, and in that murkiness, the stories begin to swirl.

    Middle Eastern religious systems seem to view the thought process, the brain, as the realm of choice in conjunction with the “soul in the machine” that is rewarded or punished, given the rules of conduct, as central to the story. Heresies, and to some extent mysticism, stray from those precepts, which is why these peripheral views/perceptions are feared or dismissed.

    In earth based religious systems, the so called soul is less centric…that is, one’s perception of self is part of the entire fabric of consciousness, or life, so the interaction and the story is going to reflect that interconnection.

    In Eastern based religious systems, the self is seen as illusory because the machine is unstable…in that it suffers. This view would be less centric as well, given that suffering is universal.

    I think one has to distinguish between the poetics of soul and the reality of consciousness as an actual force behind the function of the machine. The latter doesn’t depend on religion or philosophy to exist.

    • a r tompkins

      there is certainly an aversion to the thought that when the chemical processes in the brain shut down, so do you. so does everything in your consciousness that made you you. honestly, I hate that. but what other evidence do we have? do you remember any of the 14.whatever billion years in which the universe was evolving before you got here? were you in any discomfort, pain, angst? me neither. and I guess that’s where you return. as the age of the universe tends toward infinity, the fraction of time you were here tends to 0. and so, in the end, were you ever here at all? life is but a dream.

      • Greg G.

        To the rest of the universe, my existence may be meaningless but, to me, it is everything. To paraquote Epicurus, “Why should I fear death? While I am here, death is not. When death is here, I am not.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          either Socrates said something similar or Guildenstern is guilty of misattribution.

      • MR

        there is certainly an aversion to the thought….

        Yet we have no problem with the concept when we are talking about a mosquito. It seems to be an ego problem with muggles. 🙂

      • Myna A.

        To quote Twain, yes, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” And yes, I would agree and have stated before that the ego cannot fathom non-existence, so it conjures stories. Religion is part of that tapestry of story.

        What I am saying here is that consciousness is (or perhaps more precisely appears to be) a force, and we do not know what that force is because it cannot, in and of itself, be studied under the microscope because it is immaterial. We can only observe its manifestation. Whether it extinguishes like a flame at physical death or spreads out into the ether is something we don’t know. We don’t know whether a conscious force exists in the universe or does not, thus these intangibles become the impetus of story. I’m not prepared to swear either way, only say that I don’t know. I would say, however, that perception is often illusory and that stories allow the unbearable to become bearable.

        • a r tompkins

          wow – The concept of the universe’s being billions of years old was around in Twain’s day? I wouldn’t have guessed that. Or it might be that, whether the universe has here or not, he is implying that time stretches back to …??? did it ever have a beginning? We now think time and space are two sides of the same coin, so it could be the idea that time can’t exist without a space with which it coexists. it’s twisting my consciousness up in knots at the moment.

          anyway, whether consciousness extinguishes like a flame or spreads itself out into the ether, I have a feeling it doesn’t matter.

          as far as the consciousness’ making up stories to assuage and deny its angst, don’t you think that this is why there is religion at all? it’s a consciousness species survival tool. it aided human evolution. evolution selected for religion. blows my mind, but there it is. and now, religion, like an infected appendix, might be what dooms the conscious being. gotta love it!

        • Myna A.

          I have a feeling it doesn’t matter.

          It doesn’t matter. Que sera sera.

          as far as the consciousness’ making up stories to assuage and deny its angst, don’t you think that this is why there is religion at all?

          I would say it is the imagination that makes up the stories and given the nod by the ego, which has its own agenda to believe the stories. I use the word “consciousness” as the life force, not the mechanics of the brain. The physical form would be the host, as it were, to that energy force, for lack of a better way to put it. The ego is soothed by what it imagines as the meaning of it’s own existence. Life (consciousness) exists, regardless of any story given it.

          And I could simply be imagining the force of mental debris inside my own head. There is that, too.

        • Michael Neville

          The concept of the universe’s being billions of years old was around in Twain’s day?

          Many 19th Century scientists believed the universe was eternal with neither beginning nor end. Both William Herschel (1738-1822) and his son John (1792-1871) claimed there was no reason to assume the universe had a beginning.

        • a r tompkins

          sure, i can see how it would be suggested the universe might be eternal – that gets us out of the “who made it” problem, and it probably seemed quite static until less than a hundred years ago or so. but there’s a big difference between eternal and billions and billions of years – like an infinite difference. the thing is, “billions and billions” is in the same order of magnitude as our present understanding, so I am just wondering if that was a coincidence, or if the Twain quote is accurate. or was Samuel Clemens also a prescient cosmologist?

        • MNb

          Perhaps not billions, but certainly millions.

          http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Lyell.html

          Replacing billions by millions (or the other way round – the original quote very well may have said millions) doesn’t change the meaning at all, does it?

    • ningen

      Why does there need to be a force behind the function of the machine instead of there being the force found in the function of the machine?

      • Myna A.

        There doesn’t necessarily need to be anything (in terms of conscious force), but “behind” does indicate a separation of consciousness when pondering the question, and considering it more closely I find it may be the wrong word to have used. There would be no separation. Yes, it would be found in when looking at it in terms of interconnection.

        But I may be off track on what you are asking.

  • Cygnus

    “If you claim that a soul exists and lives on in the afterlife…”
    ===

    Putting “soul” into the context where it belongs, Christians claims that soul is eternal an lives on in the afterlife. In the Jewish bible, the whole body goes up to Yahweh, see Elijah and his donkey chariot, yet the Jew never came up with soul as going in afterlife until after that Hellenistic Jew Paul, fabricated Christianity starting with by translating the Jewish “Messiah” into Christian “Christ”.

    Philosophers of antiquity said: “I know that I don’t know”, as a start to gain knowledge, but not as Christians try to dumb down their followers with: “Only God knows everything, you know that you don’t know, so have faith in God and you’ll know everything” crap. But then you have that Hellenistic Jew Paul, who knew he knows nothing, started to pretend to know something by taking the Yahweh dead meat, give it a Christ “resurrected soul” put it into a “new and improved” bible and sell it to suckers who have faith that they have their souls kicked into after life.

    So Paul jerked off the philosophy of antiquity and made the bullshit Christ look like “logos” incarnate to help the Yahweh dead meat into a living abstract God. Yahweh started to stink and look putrid in the eyes of intellectual evolving humanity in the Antiquity, yet a Hellenistic Jew came to rescue, or “resurrection

    Analysis of soul existence and how it lives in the afterlife done theologically, the only way to study them. What does physics say about that? I don’t know, all I know is that I can take the Physics scientific discoveries and smash the shit out of theistic claims made in the “holy” scriptures about soul and afterlife. That kind of an atheist I am 🙂

    • Laura G

      “So Paul jerked off the philosophy of antiquity …”
      But what a great con it turned out to be! Arguably the most successful of all time.

      • Cygnus

        Yea, if you can call “successful” a newly creepy religion called Christianity started by Paul, that delayed and hold back the humanity incipient progress, development, and accomplishment that started in Antiquity, then you or are either being ironical or ignorant. Or Catholic?

        Paul “successfully” gave the way for Dark Ages with the fabrication of “Christ” for Christianity, and when you thought that humanity would go back on the right tracks, there comes that pathetic priest Thomasso d’Aquino with idiotic theological ideas, that the Christian totalitarianism imposed as “philosophy”, and plunge the Philosophy back into Dark Ages.

        But it’s OK, humanity has shown it can survive that most horrible “successful of all time” Christian totalitarianism. With the Age of Reason, Christianity has lost its “successful” parasitic grip on human thinking, an it is now grasping at straws, to keep afloat by admitting that the Earth is round, Evolution is true, or “blessing” the friendship with atheists, as if they give a flying duck.

        • Laura G

          Uh, wow. That was unnecessarily intense. I did call it a con, after all.

        • Cygnus

          “That was unnecessarily intense.”
          ===
          It’s OK, don’t worry about my intensity, it is my normal state 🙂
          About “unnecessarily”, I felt it is necessary to say something as you felt necessary to say something interesting, to which I answered.

    • Greg G.

      I mostly agree but I am not sure that the idea of a soul going into the afterlife was not in Judaism before Paul.

      Jewish War 2.8.14They [Pharisees] say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, – but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.

      1 Corinthians 15:53 agrees with that:

      53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

      1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, and Philippians 3:20-21 are apocalyptic prophecies from where the Rapture is surmised. They talk about people, living and dead, being taken up and changed into immortal bodies.

      The KJV has Paul use the word “soul” five times, and spirit a number of times, even in conjunction with one another. He uses the word for soul once where it is translated as “life”. The words for soul and spirit are used they way they are used in the Septuagint. The NIV has Paul using the word “soul” only once in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 in a blessing as “spirit, soul, and body” being kept until what he described in 4:15-17.

      It seems to me that Paul held to the Jewish idea of body and soul. Perhaps Mark got the idea of them being separate from Josephus’ Jewish Wars.

      • Cygnus

        Why are you talking about the “new Jew”? I was talking about the “old Jew” of their Torah: “Elijah going to Yahweh with his donkey chariot” ?
        Surely enough, since that Hellenistic Jew Paul who apparently was literate enough to plagiarize something from Greek Philosophy and use it to continue that terrible bible they started, the “new Jew” is scrambling to show that they believed in dualism of “body/soul”. The biblical quotes you give are from the “new Jew”.

        • Greg G.

          Read it again. I gave a quote from a Jew talking about the beliefs of Jews [Pharisees] regarding an uncorruptible soul surviving in the afterlife.

          Now where does Paul talk about a resurrected “soul” without a body?

        • Cygnus

          Read it again “In the Jewish bible, the whole body goes up to Yahweh, see Elijah and his donkey chariot, yet the Jew never came up with soul as going in afterlife until after that Hellenistic Jew Paul, fabricated Christianity starting with by translating the Jewish “Messiah” into Christian “Christ”.

          The Jew bible don’t say that Pharisees said something, it the Jewish-Christian bible that says something about “soul”. Didn’t you read my separation of “old Jew” claims and “new Jew” claims?

        • Greg G.

          Yes, I read what you wrote. I can cite a verse that supports what you say about what the Jews believe:

          Isaiah 26:19
          19 Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise.
              O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
          For your dew is a radiant dew,
              and the earth will give birth to those long dead.

          I cited above where Paul is saying the same and probably alluding to that verse and the following in:

          1 Corinthians 15:51-5451 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

              “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

          The last line is quoting from Isaiah 25:8.

          Another passage I cited:

          Philippians 3:20-2120 But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.

          Paul is saying that the body will be taken up to and the body will be changed or transformed. That is what the Old Jew says.

          I quoted Josephus telling what those of his particular sect believed. Compare the quote from Jewish War above with:

          Daniel 12:2Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

          Paul also appears to draw from the first half of that verse.

          Some of the old sects of Judaism were anticipating a Messiah since probably the Maccabean era. Some in the first century came up with a reason to think the Messiah was coming during their own lifetime. Paul tried to bring the Gentiles in by playing the faith card but it appears the Jewish stalwarts of the subsect disagreed with him. Everything Paul tells us about Jesus seems to have come from the scriptures. He mostly used the Septuagint, since he was writing in Greek, but he would also using his own translation of the Hebrew version if it made his point better. He was winging it.

          I am not disputing what you say about the Old Jew. What I have cited supports your position. I don’t dispute that Paul started Christianity with the faith qualification, though I think the difference between the Hebrew “Messiah” and the Greek “Christ” doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

          I would like you to show where Paul plagiarized Greek Philosophy and where he promoted anything like the “dualism of ‘body/soul'”. I have quoted passages where Paul does not show any dualism between body and soul.

        • Cygnus

          “I can cite a verse that supports what you say about what the Jews believe:”
          ===
          Thank you, but I was t talking about the Jews as believing in “soul” ONLY after they were directed by an Hellenistic Jew Paul, thus I tried to make you understand the difference between “old Jew” non-belief in “soul” as Torah is showing, and the “new Jew” belief as Christians fabricated according to Paul. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

          Did you pay attention when you copied and paste Isaiah 26:19 ? It is talking about corpses shall live, but the conclusion that corpses live because “soul” was not drawn by the “old Jew” in their Torah. Go talk with some rabbis, they know better that those Christian translators.

          Sure, some “modern” Jews scholars want to interpret Isaiah “dead shall live” as if there is a “soul”, BUT it is clear in Torah, that Elijah went in body, using a chariot, to reach Yahweh. Damn if Elijah was alive after he went through stratosphere 🙂

        • Greg G.

          But Paul isn’t talking about a soul in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54. He is saying that the body will be changed by adding “immortality” to it. He was talking about the corporeal body, just as Isaiah 26:19 did. Paul was saying the Christians of his day would be taken up like Elijah and Enoch, then made immortal, not that they were turned into souls or only their souls would be taken up.

          Paul started Christianity by bringing Gentiles to some Jewish beliefs and eliminating other Jewish beliefs. The next generation may have come up with the soul being different than the body as in:

          Matthew 10:2828 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

          Paul was a religious nut who was making it up as he went along but he gets blamed for things he didn’t do.

        • Cygnus

          When you cite “corporeal body”, you just confirm that the “old Jew” of Torah did not believe in “soul”. When you cite Matthew’s, “kill the body but cannot kill the soul” you just confirm that the “new Jew” started to fabricate a “soul” for the old “corporeal body”, or whatever shit was it.

          Yes, Paul was a nut who wanted to make Jewisim a worldwide religion, by bringing old Jewism “corporeal body”, into a new Jewism “soul”, but Christians stole the idea and tried to kill all the Jews.

        • Greg G.

          My only question is where Paul fits into the old Jew/new Jew thing. He may have been a stepping stone who took the religion to the Gentiles but I don’t think it was he who came up with the soul/body dichotomy. But I can be convinced if you cite where he wrote such a teaching.

        • Cygnus

          “But I can be convinced if you cite where he wrote such a teaching”
          ===
          Here, where you already said it: ” He may have been a stepping stone who took the religion to the Gentiles”.

          Paul is Christianity’s “stepping stone”. In order to pull the ole Jew Yahweh “corporeal body” into some kind of new Jew Christ “logos”, the Hellenistic Jew plagiarized Philosophy of Antiquity and started to write the ramblings of the New Testament.

          The Jew Paul was unsuccessful in taking his isolated Jewish religion of a corporeal Yahweh, and make it universal by “spiritualizing” it through ideas stolen from Philosophers of Antiquity.

          When one says “the Jew believes”, nobody is sure about what belief of the Jew one is talking. The Jew is with one foot in the grave of Jewish religion and another in the grave of Christianity, that helped to be created.

        • Greg G.

          The Hebrews had a basic set of beliefs. A sect of the Hebrews had a variation of that set of beliefs. A subsect had a variation of that sect’s set of beliefs to it. Paul added some variations to the subsect’s set of beliefs. Mark altered some of Paul’s version. Matthew altered some of Mark’s version. And so on. Why are you placing the blame on Paul when you can’t find anything he said that would support that belief? I quoted Josephus talking about the 2nd century BC Pharisees’ beliefs regarding the afterlife and showed that Paul doesn’t say much beyond what the Pharisees were saying 200 years earlier.

        • Cygnus

          If you take a crap and smash it on a wall, it is still the same crap, only that it is splattered on the whole wall. Now you’re showing me that crap splattered on the wall then explain that’s a different crap than the one you have thrown at the wall because it is splattered as ” A sect of the Hebrews had a variation of that set of beliefs.”

          Then you take fresh crap from Paul and smash it on the old crap, then say: “Paul added some variations to the subsect’s set of beliefs”

          While I am trying to explain that the old crap, no matter how that’s splattered on the wall, was “corporeal”, while the new Paul crap splattered second time, was “spiritual”, then you say: “But is the same Jewish shit”. Of course it is, but Paul’s one is after he ate and digested the Philosophy of the Antiquity, is fresh. Yes. it is still Jewish crap but used as fertilizer for the new religion: Christianity.

        • adam

          “Yes. it is still Jewish crap but used as fertilizer for the new religion: Christianity.”

          And for the new religion: Islam as well.

        • Cygnus

          I know, but what I was trying to explain to Greg is about Jewish religious transition, from “corporeal” to “spiritual” of the same Jewish shit. Yes, Muslims got that fertilizer form Jews too, I mean they are brothers, and sharing all that.

        • Greg G.

          You are accusing Paul for inventing beliefs that had already been held by the Pharisees for 200 years.

        • Cygnus

          Wow! You’re coming back with revenge 🙂 —kidding—

          I can’t accuse Paul of anything. A Jew called Saul? An apostle called Paul? Or just plain invention? From religious policeman to grandee of the church, from beast fighter in Ephesus to beheading in Rome, Paul’s story has more holes than a swiss cheese.

        • Greg G.

          You can accuse Paul of whatever you want and I can ask you to support your claim. Paul winged it a plenty in the epistles so there is no need to make up things he didn’t do nor blame him for what forgers said in his name.

        • Cygnus

          I am not accusing anybody. I was explaining the transition from “corporeal” to “spiritual” of a Jewish religion, and how it gave way for christianity to be fabricated.

        • Greg G.

          Your explanation blamed Paul for it. Now you say it was Christianity. I don’t disagree with that. The groundwork was laid before Paul was born and the final break into the spiritual was after Paul’s preserved epistles were written.

        • Cygnus

          “Your explanation blamed Paul for it.”
          ===
          Can’t you make a difference between explanation and accusation?

          I don’t blame Paul for crapping “corporeal” Yahweh as a “spiritual” Christ, after he ate philosophy of the antiquity. I am just stating it.

          You’re mad because I don’t find your idea, that’s the spiritual crap was there all the time in the mind of the Jew, enough supported. I know rabbis that clearly state that “spiritual” or “soul” as it is understood by christians, has no support in the Jewish bible, no matter how much you’re trying to look at the details of the splattered crap on the wall.

          Are you calling rabbis stupid when they say there’s no “soul” in the Torah? Surely, nowadays you can find some Jew kissing up to christians and interpreting some Torah verses as having some “soul”, but they are doing that to appease chirstians who are trying to exterminated the Jew race from the surface of the earth.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem is that pre-Christian Judaism wasn’t just one sect…

          There are some mystical schools of thought that believe resurrection is not a one-time event, but is an ongoing process. The souls of the righteous are reborn in to continue the ongoing process of tikkun olam, mending of the world. Some sources indicate that reincarnation is a routine process, while others indicate that it only occurs in unusual circumstances, where the soul left unfinished business behind. Belief in reincarnation is also one way to explain the traditional Jewish belief that every Jewish soul in history was present at Sinai and agreed to the covenant with G-d. (Another explanation: that the soul exists before the body, and these unborn souls were present in some form at Sinai). Belief in reincarnation is commonly held by many Chasidic sects, as well as some other mystically-inclined Jews.

          http://www.jewfaq.org/olamhaba.htm

          Upon conclusion of its physical life-span, the soul resumes a purely spiritual state. It can no longer perform mitzvot, but the G‑dly deeds it performed during its physical lifetime have elevated it to heights it could not even had contemplated before its descent. These mitzvot are like seeds which take root in the soil of the physical world and grow and multiply, further fueling the soul’s ascent; as do the good deeds performed in the physical world by others for the merit of the departed soul

          http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3194/jewish/What-is-a-Soul.htm

        • Cygnus

          “The problem is that pre-Christian Judaism wasn’t just one sect…”
          ===
          As opposed to ante-Christian Judaism, which may be one sect?

          I am not mocking you, I am just telling you that for me it does not make any sense to call Judaism pre- or ante- Christianity. Judaism is already an established religion, it doesn’t need a “New Testament”, unlike Christianity, that after 2,000 still fails to explain with its “New Testament” what the heck is “Christ”? Is it “corporeal” going up as in the Torah, or is it “spiritual” as a *Hellenistic* Jew called Saul/Paul came up with?

          Please, don’t continue as Greg is doing, to beat the dead horse of some other sects that may have had conceived something as “soul” before Christians came with this idiotically plagiarizing the Philosophers of Antiquity, or send links to some nowadays Jews who scramble to “prove” by interpreting the Torah, that it has something that may look like a “soul”.

          Torah is written as it is and it clearly says the bodies are going up, not the “soul”. The punishment of not obeying Yahweh is death HERE, not death THERE as Hellenistic Jew came up with.

          It totally doesn’t matter if Saul/Paul was a Jew (nobody has anything clear about who really was Saul/Paul), but even as Jew, Saul/Paul didn’t add fabrications to the Torah, the Jewish bible, but to a new fabricated “holy” book, the New Testament.

        • Greg G.

          Josephus described three different sects of Judaism: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. The Pharisees believed in life after death and the Sadducees didn’t. The Essenes were quite different. But then there are other known sects, too.

          Paul didn’t write those epistles to be a new book. That happened later.

        • Cygnus

          Look Greg, I am not going to beat again the dead horse of Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. They were interpreting the Torah, when the Philosophy of Antiquity was *already* circulating around in those times when Christians started to fabricate their fucking religion.

          – Pharisiac – belief in 70 C.E.
          – Sadducees – sect became extinct 70 C.E.
          – Essenes – flourished from the 2nd century BC

          If you’d have a Jew living on the other side of your street and hear him saying that God’s new name is called “fuck off” and is over there, you’ll come here and post about what Jews believed before I already knew that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As opposed to ante-Christian Judaism, which may be one sect?

          Whatever for Judaism took after the Christian sect of Judaism got going is academic to the point you are making, so why bring it up?

          I am not mocking you, I am just telling you that for me it does not make any sense to call Judaism pre- or ante- Christianity.

          Mock all you like, It doesn’t matter what makes sense to you, the fact is that at the time the first gospel was being written there was a paradigmatic shift in Judaism whether you like it or not.

          Judaism is already an established religion, it doesn’t need a “New Testament”, unlike Christianity, that after 2,000 still fails to explain with its “New Testament” what the heck is “Christ”?

          Yeah, but which Judaism? Certainly at least one flavour of it and more, decided it needed new texts and concepts. Hence the Christian version of Judaism. BTW, the “New Testament” isn’t 2000 years old, it came much later.

          Is it “corporeal” going up as in the Torah, or is it “spiritual” as a *Hellenistic* Jew called Saul/Paul came up with.

          But as Greg is trying to explain, those concepts are not Pauline.

          The concept of the soul in Judaism is pre-Pauline.

          From the Jewish encyclopaedia.

          The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended, as the Semitic name “Minos” (comp. “Minotaurus”), and the Egyptian “Rhadamanthys” (“Ra of Ament,” “Ruler of Hades”; Naville, “La Litanie du Soleil,” 1875, p. 13) with others, sufficiently prove. Consult especially E. Rhode, “Psyche: Seelencult und Unsterblichkeitsglaube der Griechen,” 1894, pp. 555 et seq. A blessed immortality awaiting the spirit while the bones rest in the earth is mentioned in Jubilees xxiii. 31 and Enoch iii. 4. Immortality, the “dwelling near God’s throne” “free from the load of the body,” is “the fruit of righteousness,” says the Book of Wisdom (i. 15; iii. 4; iv. 1; viii. 13, 17; xv. 3). In IV Maccabees, also (ix. 8, 22; x. 15; xiv. 5; xv. 2; xvi. 13; xvii. 5, 18), immortality of the soul is represented as life with God in heaven, and declared to be the reward for righteousness and martyrdom. The souls of the righteous are transplanted into heaven and transformed into holy souls (ib. xiii. 17, xviii. 23). According to Philo, the soul exists before it enters the body, a prison-house from which death liberates it; to return to God and live in constant contemplation of Him is man’s highest destiny (Philo, “De Opificio Mundi,” §§ 46, 47; idem, “De Allegoriis Legum,” i., §§ 33, 65; iii., §§ 14, 37; idem, “Quis Rerum Divinarum Hæres Sit,” §§ 38, 57).

          Please, don’t continue as Greg is doing, to beat the dead horse of some other sects that may have had conceived something as “soul” before Christians came with this idiotically plagiarizing the Philosophers of Antiquity, or send links to some nowadays Jews who scramble to “prove” by interpreting the Torah, that it has something that may look like a “soul”.

          Please stop talking out of yer arse and provide evidence of your wishful thinking ballix. That’s how we run around here. I’ll take Jewish sources and Greg’s knowledge over your piffle every time.

          Torah is written as it is and it clearly says the bodies are going up, not the “soul”. The punishment of not obeying Yahweh is death HERE, not death THERE as Hellenistic Jew came up with.

          Fuck what is written in the Torah. We are talking about what Jews of the time and before perceived and interpreted from what was written in the scriptures, not the actual words. It is quite clear that Jews before Paul already had his Hellenistic ideas on this concept of the soul.

          It totally doesn’t matter if Saul/Paul was a Jew (nobody has anything clear about who really was Saul/Paul), but even as Jew, Saul/Paul didn’t add fabrications to the Torah, the Jewish bible, but to a new fabricated “holy” book, the New Testament.

          That comment alone shows just what an ignorant pratt you are. What New Testament existed when what was later to be the Pauline corpus was being composed? A person, lets call him Paul for convenience because that’s his name in the letter’s, used existing Jewish scriptures and other stuff that was already in the thinking of at least some Jews at the time, including the soul, end of.

        • Cygnus

          You try to cover your ignorance about “corporeal”-“spiritual” transition by copy-paste crap from “knowledgeable” bullshitters, then calling me an “ignorant”?
          Doesn’t work on me. Try others.

        • MNb

          “for me it does not make any sense to call Judaism pre- or ante- Christianity. Judaism is already an established religion.”
          Nobody is surprised that you once again demonstrate how little you know. Study some History of Antiquity and especially the effects the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple had in 70 CE. You might learn something. You might even confirm, for the first time on this blog, that you’re capable of correcting your mistakes. Let me help you out a bit. Look up the Saduccees, the Zealots, the Essenes and the Pharisees. The latter developed into Rabbinical Judaism. So “Judaism is already an established religion” is not even wrong – it’s meaningless.

        • SparklingMoon,

          Torah is written as it is and it clearly says the bodies are going up, not the “soul”. The punishment of not obeying Yahweh is death HERE, not death THERE
          ————————————
          The word ”death” in Old Testament or in other holy scriptures is not always used for physical death only. The word death of life iis used many times in scriptures metaphorically to express spiritual death and life. A person during the journey of his salvation many times dies and many time gets life. A step for goodness is called a new life and a step towards evil is called a kind of death of soul.

          Many times the words ”death ” are used by the prophets of Israel in Old testament for deterioration of Israel nation and the word life” for revival. In Old Testament Israel prophets many times used this kind of words to warn the people of Israel to amend their ways .

          It is a tradition of God Almighty to send prophets and reformers to give dead people a new life. There is a description of a vision of Abraham that He supplicated to God saying, “… ‘My Lord, show me how Thou givest life to the dead.’ God said, ‘Dost thou not believe?’ Abraham said, ‘Yes, but I ask this so that my heart may be at ease.’ God Answered, ‘Take four birds and make them attached to thee. Then put each of them on a hill; then call them; they will come to thee in haste.’ …” (Quran 2:261)

          This is a vision of Abraham (sa) in which he was shown the way to train his followers and regeneration them. The interpretation of ‘taking of four birds’ in this vision meant that his posterity would rise and fall four times, a phenomenon that was to be witnessed twice among the Israelites, and to be repeated twice later on among the followers of the Holy Prophet of Islam who was a descendant of Abraham (peace be upon him) through Ishmael. The power of the Jews,the progeny of Abraham(as)through Isaac,was crushed twice,first by Nebuchadnezzar and then by Titus (17:5-8) (Enc. Brit. under ‘Jews’). Each time God raised them after their fall, the second revival having been brought about by Constantine, the Roman emperor who accepted Christianity. Similarly, the power of Islam was first rudely shaken when Baghdad fell to the Tartar hordes, but soon it recovered from the crushing blow. The victors became the vanquished and the grandson of Halaku, the despoiler of Baghdad, was converted to Islam. The second fall came later when there was a general and wholesale decline of Muslims both in the spiritual and political field (Commentary, 2:262). God has raised the Promised Messiah in the latter days.

        • Cygnus

          “The word ”death” in Old Testament or in other holy scriptures is not always used for physical death only.”
          ===
          Of course it was, in the old religions. But don’t worry, just use a big chunk of this blog to write what makes you feel it was otherwise. Now sleep tight.

        • Greg G.

          You said that Paul did it. That is not only an accusation, it is a false accusation.

          You said:

          So Paul jerked off the philosophy of antiquity and made the bullshit Christ look like “logos” incarnate to help the Yahweh dead meat into a living abstract God.

          Philo did that before Paul’s letters were written. See Philo of Alexandria (c. 20 B.C.E.—40 C.E.):

          d. First-born Son of GodThe Logos has an origin, but as God’s thought it also has eternal generation. It exists as such before everything else all of which are secondary products of God’s thought and therefore it is called the “first-born.” The Logos is thus more than a quality, power, or characteristic of God; it is an entity eternally generated as an extension, to which Philo ascribes many names and functions. The Logos is the first-begotten Son of the Uncreated Father: “For the Father of the universe has caused him to spring up as the eldest son, whom, in another passage, he [Moses] calls the first-born; and he who is thus born, imitating the ways of his father, has formed such and such species, looking to his archetypal patterns” (Conf. 63). This picture is somewhat confusing because we learn that in the final analysis the Creative Power is also identified with the Logos.

        • Cygnus

          Why everything I say sounds like accusations to you?
          I just explained what I read in the historical documents: Paul jerked off the philosophy of antiquity ‘cus eh he was a Hellenistic Jew, and discharged “Christ logos”.

          Now it is interesting what you say about one guy called Philo. Maybe Christians came up with a Saul/Paul and put in his mouth what Philo said. After all, who the fuck is Saul/Paul? A Jew called Saul? An apostle called Paul? Or just plain invention? From religious policeman to grandee of the church, from beast fighter in Ephesus to beheading in Rome, Paul’s story has more holes than a swiss cheese.

        • Greg G.

          If you say somebody did something, it is an accusation, especially the way you were saying it. Not everything you say sounds like an accusation. I have never made that claim about anything else you have said.

          Philo was a Hellenistic Jew. He melded ancient Greek philosphy with Judaism. He was well-known in Jerusalem and traveled to Rome to plead to the emperor on behalf of Jerusalem.

        • Cygnus

          You are writing very intelligent. There you go, I accused of something. Now, defend yourself, say it is not true.

          Philo died in 50 B.C just in time for christians to plagiarize him, putting Philo’s words in the mouth of a fabricated christard/Jew Saul/Paul puppet.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Philo died in 50 B.C just in time for christians to plagiarize him, putting Philo’s words in the mouth of a fabricated christard/Jew Saul/Paul puppet.

          So now you agree that the idea wasn’t originally Paul’s after all, make up yer bloody mind.

          Now, a wee bit of help for ya…

          Google is your friend.

          Philo of Alexandria (c. 20 B.C.E.—40 C.E.)

          Philo of Alexandria, a Hellenized Jew also called Judaeus Philo, is a figure that spans two cultures, the Greek and the Hebrew. When Hebrew mythical thought met Greek philosophical thought in the first century B.C.E. it was only natural that someone would try to develop speculative and philosophical justification for Judaism in terms of Greek philosophy. Thus Philo produced a synthesis of both traditions developing concepts for future Hellenistic interpretation of messianic Hebrew thought, especially by Clement of Alexandria, Christian Apologists like Athenagoras, Theophilus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and by Origen. He may have influenced Paul, his contemporary, and perhaps the authors of the Gospel of John (C. H. Dodd) and the Epistle to the Hebrews (R. Williamson and H. W. Attridge). In the process, he laid the foundations for the development of Christianity in the West and in the East, as we know it today. Philo’s primary importance is in the development of the philosophical and theological foundations of Christianity. The church preserved the Philonic writings because Eusebius of Caesarea labeled the monastic ascetic group of Therapeutae and Therapeutrides, described in Philo’s The Contemplative Life, as Christians, which is highly unlikely. Eusebius also promoted the legend that Philo met Peter in Rome. Jerome (345-420 C.E.) even lists him as a church Father. Jewish tradition was uninterested in philosophical speculation and did not preserve Philo’s thought. According to H. A. Wolfson, Philo was a founder of religious philosophy, a new habit of practicing philosophy. Philo was thoroughly educated in Greek philosophy and culture as can be seen from his superb knowledge of classical Greek literature. He had a deep reverence for Plato and referred to him as “the most holy Plato” (Prob. 13). Philo’s philosophy represented contemporary Platonism which was its revised version incorporating Stoic doctrine and terminology via Antiochus of Ascalon (ca 90 B.C.E.) and Eudorus of Alexandria, as well as elements of Aristotelian logic and ethics and Pythagorean ideas. Clement of Alexandria even called Philo “the Pythagorean.” But it seems that Philo also picked up his ancestral tradition, though as an adult, and once having discovered it, he put forward the teachings of the Jewish prophet, Moses, as “the summit of philosophy” (Op. 8), and considered Moses the teacher of Pythagoras (b. ca 570 B.C.E.) and of all Greek philosophers and lawgivers (Hesiod, Heraclitus, Lycurgus, to mention a few). For Philo, Greek philosophy was a natural development of the revelatory teachings of Moses. He was no innovator in this matter because already before him Jewish scholars attempted the same. Artapanus in the second century B.C.E identified Moses with Musaeus and with Orpheus.According to Aristobulus of Paneas (first half of the second century B.C.E.), Homer and Hesiod drew from the books of Moses which were translated into Greek long before the Septuagint.

          http://www.iep.utm.edu/philo/

          You are just plain wrong on this…give it up already.

        • Cygnus

          From Wikipedia Philo of Alexandria (/ˈfaɪloʊ/; Greek: Φίλων, Philōn; Hebrew: ידידיה הכהן‎, Yedidia (Jedediah) HaCohen; c. 25 BCE – c. 50 CE). 40 C.E or 50 C.E, it doesn’t matter, the point you don’t get is that the NT started to crap out its “good news” after the death of Philo.

          Christians just took what Philo said and put in the mouth of a fabricated character Saul/Paul or whatever, and in the mouth of other puppets Christian fabricated to support their religon.

          The idiotic “good news” was written, rewritten, copied added new crap when Christians were totalitarian religion. After Emperor Constantine put Christians in a dictatorial power, those religious scums had the monopoly of writing whatever holy shit they could come up with.

        • Greg G.

          You are writing very intelligent.

          You know, if people keep telling me that, I might start to believe it.

          There you go, I accused of something. Now, defend yourself, say it is not true.

          That is a curse, damn you, the dreaded curse of a reputation to live up to. I would rather be dumb and correct than intelligent and wrong for very sophisticated reasons.

          Philo died in 50 B.C just in time for christians to plagiarize him, putting Philo’s words in the mouth of a fabricated christard/Jew Saul/Paul puppet.

          I don’t think Philo was even born in yet in 50 BC so I’ll assume you meant 50 AD.

          There are thirteen letters with Paul’s name attached. Seven of them are thought to be written by the same person, with some interpolations added, while the others seem to be imitations and forgeries. It is reasonable that the writer of the seven was a person and the fact that others claimed to be that person, it is likely that the person existed. He claimed to be “Paul” though I have read a series of articles that the person was also known as Simon Magus.

          I disagree with you on one major point. Paul argued for faith over Jewish law, against circumcision, that Gentiles were included, and, I think, that Jesus was crucified. Galatians shows that Paul had major disagreements with the “circumcision faction”, of which Cephas and John were big and James was the leader. He expresses sarcasm and disdain for them. He also speaks to the foolish Galatians who apparently abandoned his teaching of the crucifixion and it seems to be Cephas and James who “bewitched” the Galatians because he doesn’t mention anyone else before he argues for the crucifixion through scripture but was really just winging it.

        • Cygnus

          “You know, if people keep telling me that, I might start to believe it.”
          ===
          OK, that’s your defense against me accusing you of having any shred of intelligence. So I admit that I failed to accuse you of intelligence. You showed that you have no intelligence because you brought argumentum ad populum in your defense. Kudos to you!

          Yup, good observation! I meant 50 C.E. Not 50 B.C.

          Now, when you get letters from “Paul”, does it mean they are from a real guy called Paul, whoever the fuck it was? Moreover, apparently most of letters from “Paul” were forgeries. But even forgeries or not, the letter don’t give any indication about who the fuck Saul/Paul was.

          Remember that Christians put a lot of made up shit names authors of their fabricated “gospels”, like Matthew, Luke, John (the toilet), Mark, etc those weren’t in no way the disciples of the puppet Jesus.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i wonder how different his interminable chain of posturing would have looked if you had led with “attributed it to” instead of “accused” or “blamed”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whoever Paul was, he wrote at least 7 letters to various locations. No reasonable scholar disputes that.

        • Cygnus

          So, if I get a letter from you signed “Paul”, I cannot dispute that you are Saul/Paul, or whoever Paul you want to be.
          I have to admit that Christian scholars who have an interest to “reason” about whoever Paul was, don’t dispute the bullshit written in those 7 letters.
          The problem is that way too many letters written as coming from whatever Paul was, were forgeries. About 80%, and that says a lot about the intention of church to fabricate characters to support a new religion, not a new truth.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So, if I get a letter from you signed “Paul”, I cannot dispute that you are Saul/Paul, or whoever Paul you want to be.

          The irony there is that I’m actually called Paul. Why is it so important to you who actually wrote the letters, someone wrote them, they didn’t write themselves.

          Here’s the thing. There is at least 7 letters that scholars agree were penned by the same author. Let’s call the author X if ya want. The author called X refers to himself as Paul, so the scholarly world run with that name. Now the guy who wrote the letters calling himself Paul may have been using a pen name, but what does it matter? Paul, X, Uncle Tom Cobbly, it doesn’t matter, the same person who wrote the 7 letters calls himself Paul and there is no reason to think that was not his name.

          Now there are other letters by forgers claiming to be Paul that we can say were not written by the person who wrote the genuine letters ascribed to thee author called Paul. It is conceivable that there was more than one Paul writing letters, but no reasonable person is having any of that, mainly because it was common practice in antiquity to use the name of a reputable source in order to give gravitas to ones message.

          Read Bart Ehrman’s “Forged”… http://www.amazon.com/Forged-Writing-God-Why-Bibles-Authors/dp/B006QS02F8

          The problem is that way too many letters written as coming from whatever Paul was, were forgeries.

          That is neither here nor there in this argument. You have made an assertion that is fallacious. The author of the genuine letters of th Pauline corpus, whatever his name, did not invent the concept you have claimed he did and it has been shown as such with evidence.

          About 80%, and that says a lot about the intention of church to fabricate characters to support a new religion, not a new truth.

          A non sequitur in this debate, even if true. The idea of the soul existed pre-Christian Judaism.

        • Cygnus

          “The irony there is that I’m actually called Paul.”
          ===
          So, if I get a letter from you, it is from Saul/Paul? Or ironically your name is Saul too? Therefore those letters were not written by themselves. Nice logic. You need help from Christian scholars explaining why your letter is so important. Maybe Bart Ehrman could help you and get to keep his pathetic way to make money.

        • Greg G.

          Saul is only used for Paul in Acts, never in the epistles. Simon’s name was changed to Peter so Luke made a parallel for Paul.

        • Cygnus

          Of course that add to the confusion of who the hell wrote the most part of the new testament. That and the fact that most of Saul/Paul letters are forgeries made by the christian church.

          Even if *christian* scholars, who are of course biased, attests the existence of a Paul, it only support my argument that Paul went clearly “spiritual” way to see “God”, unlike the old belief in a “corporeal” God.

          I understand that some sects like Pharises, Saducces whatever, thought to some “spiritual” Yahweh, BUT, they were already knowledgeable of Philosophers of the Antiquity who were *Greeks* not the Jews. As for some Jewish sects inside Jewish religion that maybe crapped some “spirituality” before Paul, they are irrelevant.

          Paul is known as a Jew who read Greek philosophy and came up with the idea to make the Jewish Yahwheh as a “God” by making it ejaculate a son inside a virgin. Yahweh was only a local god, while by fabricating a son of Yahwheh as a “Christ”, Yahwhen went from “corporeal” to “spiritual” holy shit, I mean spirit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So, if I get a letter from you, it is from Saul/Paul?

          If you got a letter from me it is definitely from Paul, that’s because my name is really Paul. If you get any letter signed “Paul”, unless you have reason to think it is not from a Paul, most normal folk would accept it as being from the signatory.

          Your hang-up with Saul is ludicrous. Paul is Saul is Paul. No letters are written by Saul. I could’ve signed my letter from James, who is me by my alternate name, but if I didn’t, then you’d have no reason to think the letter was from James. The association of Paul with Saul is raised in the Acts and is irrelevant to your silly assertion.

          Or ironically your name is Saul too?

          Are you naturally so asinine or does it take years of practice?

          Therefore those letters were not written by themselves.

          Well they weren’t…you have a problem with them being written by a guy called Paul, so who do you believe wrote them and why does it matter?

          Nice logic. You need help from Christian scholars explaining why your letter is so important

          I have no idea what ta fuck you are on about or why it is even relevant to your erroneous assertion that the author of the letters ascribed to Paul invented the idea of the soul and that it was not an idea in pre-Christian Judaism well before the Christ myth even got started.

          Maybe Bart Ehrman could help you and get to keep his pathetic way to make money.

          So nothing sensible there then either…just an ad hominem for good measure to go along with all the other pish, stuff and nonsense you are coming off with.

          I’ll say it again, seek professional attention, Cygnus, some of us are getting a wee bit concerned.

        • Cygnus

          Can I call you Paul Ignorant Amos? Just not to confuse you with that Paul who wrote some letters that christian scholars try to attest they were written by Paul who wrote the letters in the new testament?

          “Your hang-up with Saul is ludicrous” then “Saul is raised in the Acts and is irrelevant”, but isn’t Acts in that retarded book called new testament? Why is that not relevant in “identifying” Saul as some Paul as some ignorant and retard writers want to link to?

          I am free to express my opinion about that bible with all it shit new testament, that’s written by fucked up religious retards. but why are you free to insult me?

        • Greg G.

          After all, who the fuck is Saul/Paul? A Jew called Saul?

          “Saul” is just Acts bullshit. Luke tells parallel stories for Peter and Paul. Simon got named “Peter” so Saul got the name “Paul”.

          An apostle called Paul?

          He says his knowledge is not inferior to the super-apoatles.

          Or just plain invention?

          Most of what Paul says about Jesus is just adulation about Jesus in heaven but the few things that sounds like facts about Jesus seem to come from Jewish scriptures, mostly Isaiah, Psalms and Deuteronomy.

          PS: But he doesn’t think the super-apostles had access to information he didn’t have.

          From religious policeman to grandee of the church,

          Just more Acts bullshit.

          from beast fighter in Ephesus

          The fighting beasts in Ephesus in 1 Corinthians 15:32 is a hypothetical situation for the rhetorical question that follows.

          to beheading in Rome,

          That appears to be 2nd century bullshit when different sects were competing to have the most noble death for their favorite “saint”.

          Paul’s story has more holes than a swiss cheese.

          Agreed, which is why I focus on what the one writer actually said and not the bullshit words and deeds attributed to him later.

        • Cygnus

          Bottom line: fuck it. Don’t sweat it. Don’t waste your time over that Christian crap, you’re just playing with their delusions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was gonna link to… http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/supp08.htm
          …yesterday, but thought it would be a waste of time.

    • SparklingMoon,

      I can take the Physics scientific discoveries and smash the shit out of theistic claims made in the “holy” scriptures about soul and afterlife.
      ————————————————————–
      As the eye cannot discover the taste of something sweet, nor can the tongue behold anything, in the same way the knowledge of the life after death, which can only be acquired through holy visions,cannot be explained fully on the basis of reason. God Almighty has appointed diverse means for acquiring knowledge in this world of that which is unknown. Therefore, it is necessary to seek everything through its proper means. It is only then that it can be discovered. It states in the Quran”We will raise you into a form of which you have not the slightest knowledge. (56:62). The Holy Quran makes it amply clear that the form of existence of the life to come will be so different from all known forms of life here on earth, that it is beyond human imagination even to have the slightest glimpse of the other worldly realities.

      Every human action leaves its hidden impress upon its author and attracts an appropriate Divine reaction which preserves the evil or the virtue of that action. Its impress is inscribed on the heart and face and eyes and ears and hands and feet of its performer. This is the hidden record which will become manifest in the hereafter. (Ruhanikhazain)

      • Cygnus

        But Jesus gave the hearing to the blind and sight to the deaf.
        What the qumran gave if not only blessing to suicidal attacks, killing infidels?

        • SparklingMoon,

          Firstly, A prophet is never appointed by God to improve the physical condition of his ad-dressers but to improve their moral and spiritual condition. This kind of description (bringing dead to life or to give hearing or sight ) in the scriptures are for spiritual blind and deaf people.

          Secondly, one should consider the state in which a Prophet finds his people and honestly try to find out what transformation he brings about in their character and beliefs. This is how we can learn of the Prophets who appeared at the time of the greatest need and those who came when the need was not so dire. Sinners require a Prophet just as the sick require a healer, and just as the spread of sickness demands a doctor so does the spread of sinfulness call for a Reformer.

          Keeping this principle in mind, if we were to look at the history of the Arabian Peninsula and compare the condition of the Arabs before and after the advent of the Holy Prophet(sa), we would find that this Final Prophet(sa) excelled all others in terms of his holy influence, spiritual power and bestowal of heavenly blessings. We would also realize that the need for the Holy Prophet(sa) and the Holy Quran was far greater than that of all the other books and Prophets put together.

          Take Jesus, for instance. Did he bring any fundamental change in the morals, character and beliefs of the Jews? Did he cause his disciples to attain true self-purification? There is no evidence for any of this. All we know is that a handful of greedy and avaricious people chose to follow him and ended up committing disgraceful acts of betrayal and infidelity. The Gospel contains no new teaching. All its teachings were already in the Torah, and a large portion are found in the Jewish book of the Talmud even today.Christian researchers admit that the Gospel is no more than a summary of the Jewish teachings that were preferred by theMessiah(as).

          The truth is that since man is prone to error and forgetfulness and is unable to show steadfastness in his practice of Divine injunctions, he is always in need of someone to remind him and revive his faith. The Holy Quran came to perfect and complete the earlier teachings. The Torah, for instance, laid great emphasis on revenge and retribution because this was the need of the time, while the Gospel stressed forgiveness and forbearance. The Holy Quran,on the other hand, teaches us to consider the circumstances before choosing one or the other.It is worth remembering that the Holy Quran comprehends all the excellences that the human soul requires for its perfection.

        • Cygnus

          LOL!!

  • WalterSmirth

    Science can be so jealous of religion that it invents “scientific” conclusions.

    • adam

      “Science can be so jealous of religion that it invents “scientific” conclusions.”

      Science has no emotion, so it cant be jealous like “God”

      • Greg G.

        Is that Jackie Chan in the picture?

        • adam

          Sure look like it.

      • SparklingMoon,

        Jealousy is a sin ( Galatians 5:19-21)
        The God of the Bible is a very jealous God (Exodus34:14)
        ————————————————————–
        You have referenced from: (Galatians 5:19-24): ”The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery (20)idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy,and rage; rivalries,divisions,factions, (21)and envy;drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,patience,kindness,goodness, faithfulness, (23)gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no Law. (24)Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

        And second reference is from: (Exodus 34): (14)Do not worship any other god, for the LORD,whose name is Jealous,is a jealous God.

        As God desired that man should develop comprehension of God, He invested the human soul with the faculty of comprehension in advance, for if it had not been so man would have lacked comprehension of God. Whatever the human soul possesses is from God and is a reflection of Divine qualities. No one of those qualities is evil, their misuse makes them evil. Someone may object that man suffers from evil qualities like jealous or rancor, etc., which cannot be bestowed by God.

        The truth is that all human qualities are a reflection of Divine qualities, as the human soul is from God, but excess or misuse gives them a repulsive appearance in men. For instance, jealous is a repulsive quality whereby a person desires that another may be deprived of a bounty and it might be bestowed upon him, but at bottom jealous means only that a man does not desire that another one should be his partner in any excellence that he has acquired. In its essence this (jealous) is a Divine quality by virtue of which God Almighty desires to be recognized as One and unique without associate. The misuse of this quality (jealous) makes it repulsive; however, it is not evil for a person to wish to outstrip all others in virtue and to desire to achieve spiritual uniqueness.(Ruhanikhazain)

        • Greg G.

          Matthew 5:22 says being angry at someone is equivalent to murder but, to you, God killing a quarter of a million people is a divine quality. You are polishing turds.

        • SparklingMoon,

          God killing a quarter of a million people is a divine quality.
          ——————————-
          The description of wars and of human’s killing (in the Bible) of latter coming followers of prophet Moses(as) should not be refereed to God Almighty. The basic law God Almighty had given to the people of Israel in Mosaic Law for safety of humans’life is revised in the Quran for human guidance:

          [5:33] We prescribed for the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person ( unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder (by doing a war) in the land ) it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. And Our Messengers came to them with clear Signs, yet even after that, many of them commit excesses in the land.

        • adam

          “The description of wars and of human’s killing (in the Bible) of latter coming followers of prophet Moses(as) should not be refereed to God Almighty”

          Even though it is to blame….

        • Greg G.

          I was thinking of the 2004 Banda Aceh tsunami where an estimated 250,000 people were killed. But there are so many events with people killed by the thousands that a god could have saved but didn’t, it’s no wonder you thought of the wrong event.

        • Myna A.

          the 2004 Banda Aceh tsunami where an estimated 250,000 people were killed.

          Off topic, but I had a strange experience when that tsunami occurred or was about to occur, I’m not certain. It was a full moon that night and I had arrived home very late. I looked up at the moon and suddenly felt like time froze. It was a very striking and very strange impression to have noted in that moment. I hadn’t been listening to the car radio and so had no information on any world events. It wasn’t until the next day that I heard about the disaster.

          I wonder if these things don’t produce some kind of shock/radio wave over the earth, and sometimes, for no particular reason, it is picked up on the other end of the globe at random as a vague sensory perception. Anyway, the mention of the tsunami reminded me of that experience and brought to mind that maybe so called “supernatural” or “psychic” experiences are simply part of the earth, itself. Sometimes one picks it up, and sometimes but most times one doesn’t. [Edited to add:] Maybe it’s the realm of intuition. An AM radio encased in the brain that catches signals now and again.

        • Interesting. On the other hand, and I hope this doesn’t sound too much like Mr. Rational Person, this might just’ve been one of those curious things that you remember only because of the juxtaposition.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As explained by Richard Dawkins in his book “Unweaving the Rainbow”, where the acronym petwhac gets coined.

          Petwhac (Population of Events That Would Have Appeared Coincidental).

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unweaving_the_Rainbow#Petwhac

        • Myna A.

          Yes, I do understand this, but was curious if some anomalous experiences, not specifically precognitive nor appearing relational after the fact (as was mine), were not simply part of the circuitry of the brain in relation to the circuitry of earth or of an immediate environment. And, if what one would define as intuition works something like a radio antenna. I really don’t know.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But then one is into the realm of those with a “special” antenna. Those few individuals who experienced the feeling you experienced and made the connection with an impacting event, the tsunami in this case. Had your feeling been of a catastrophic tsunami ahead of getting the news that was what had happened, then your experience would be a lot more interesting to ponder. Though that is still the sort of thing that folk claim copper fastened’s their beliefs in all sorts of weird stuff.

          I’d be more inclined to believe there was some kind of natural phenomenon if it was a common experience among a majority. Charlatan’s exploit the idea that a lot of people believe they are special and have an antenna that is tuned into phenomenon we would all say is supernatural when such a claim is made.

          Not that I’m trying to take anything away from that special spiritual moment that you had experienced, or anything. It’s just how I feel about such claims from what I’ve learned about such stuff in books and articles.

        • Myna A.

          Not that I’m trying to take anything away from that special spiritual moment that you had experienced, or anything.

          If I gave the impression that it was a special spiritual moment, rather than a curious experience in relation to the mention of the tsunami and a pondering of the experience, then I was negligent in that lack of clarity. Yes, it was interesting enough for me to recall it, and yes, I did wonder, in relation to that, if high impact events might carry some kind of ripple effect that is sometimes picked up in some vague sensory way. Again, I likely would have remembered the curious “frozen time” sensation, only because I note stuff like that with regard to the moon and the herbs and it was particularly striking in that moment. I thought about what it might signify in terms of some sort of natural phenomena, and understand it likely signifies nothing.

          I’d be more inclined to believe there was some kind of natural phenomenon if it was a common experience among a majority.

          For the sake of argument, isn’t the sense of intuition, however vague, however prominent in any given moment, common to all? I have a standing debate with a friend that instinct and intuition are two separate mechanisms. I say aye. He says nay. What does it matter. Please understand, I’m not equating intuition with psychic woo.

          Charlatan’s exploit the idea that a lot of people believe they are
          special and have an antenna that is tuned into phenomenon we would all
          say is supernatural when such a claim is made.

          Yes, they do. Charlatans exploit because that’s what charlatans do.

          I’m not asking if the supernatural exists…I’m asking if there are aspects of the natural that are not understood and are labeled with the prefix, super…when, in fact, they are not super at all.

        • A new term for me, thanks.

        • Myna A.

          this might just’ve been one of those curious things that you remember only because of the juxtaposition.

          Certainly, my mind related to that stark moment the following day. I’d be a fool to deny that. My only defense is that I tend to take note of lunar moments simply because of a studious adventure with the art of Medieval and Renaissance herb gardening over the years, which follows a strict lunar cycle, so even in Winter, by force of habit, I suppose, I take notes of the cycle, eclipses, etc., even off hand observations of hue, orbit, atmospheric conditions and so on. You wouldn’t believe the trivia I keep stored in this head about that reflected ball of dust.

          So, while I might argue (or even believe) that I would likely remember how I found the moment curious, in a general sense, you are right in that my mind struck a pattern note in that particular instance in relation to a natural disaster on the other side of the planet; whereas otherwise it might have gone down in the seasonal mental diary like the atmospheric hues during the summer of 1980 when Mt. St. Helena erupted.

          As for realms of intuition and curiosity thereof, it may just be debris from that Spiritualist childhood of yore that prompted me to make mention of the moon and the tsunami.

          Probably more information than was needed to respond. I plead guilty by caffeine.

        • I’m a little more aware of the moon than average, though not as much as you, I’m sure. I also notice interesting phenomena around the sun–halos are quite common, and I notice sun dogs a few times a year. I like being a little less insulated from nature.

        • Myna A.

          We’re probably equally aware, it’s just that I note it often in relation to the lunar aspect of the herbs. There’s something to be said about a bit o’ the pagan spirit, though, and being less insulated from the natural world. One doesn’t even need a story. It’s all right there. Natura Sophia.

        • Greg G.

          I plead guilty by caffeine.

          Too much blood in your caffeine stream can be dangerous.

        • Greg G.

          When I was a teen, I had a dream that my aunt had died. It felt so intensely ominous, I was sure it was right. I wondered whether I should warn my mother but I didn’t know what to say. Every time the phone rang, I was sure it was the bad news. She lived to be 81. If she had died by coincidence in the next few days, I might still think I was a psychic.

        • adam

          “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8

          “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud “1Corinthians 13:4

          “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a
          jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on
          the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Exodus 20:5In the logical form of Modus Tollens, the following is the conclusion drawn from the above passages:

          P1. IF God is love, THEN God is not jealous.

          P2. God IS jealous.

          C. Therefore God is NOT love.

          This conclusion is catastrophic for Christians, as it negates their
          entire philosophy of “God is Love.” God cannot be love, if God is
          jealous, but God IS jealous. Christians can attempt to whittle off parts
          the square “loving God ” to try and fit into the round “jealous God”
          and create one God, but according to their own scriptures, it does not
          work. Counter examples of “righteous jealousy” do not work either,
          because the Bible does not distinguish between jealousy and righteous
          jealousy. In fact, the above passage from Exodus 20, and others like it
          such as:

          “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and
          take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the
          peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a
          jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you
          from the face of the land. Deut. 6:13-15does not portray a
          god in the sense of having “righteous jealousy” (i.e., merely being
          vigilant in maintaining something) but is a god who feels resentment,
          envy, and is suspicious, and is therefore, filled with “wrath, and
          threats” and is bent on destroying or punishing even those who are
          merely born to those who “hate” him. This too, is unjust and immoral,
          and similar to the idea of all of humanity being punished for the
          so-called “sins” of Adam and Eve. This is a “believe in me or feel my
          tortuous wrath” philosophy, and it is not “righteous” at all.

          Nevertheless, many Christians attempt to show a distinction between love
          and jealousy, and righteous jealousy by asking hypothetical questions
          such as, “If my wife runs out on me with another man, and I am jealous,
          does that prove I love her?” This counter example however, does not
          work, because either the Bible is correct in that God cannot love and be
          jealous, or, the Bible is wrong–and he can love and be jealous. This
          is a dilemma, and illustrates the absurdity of the Christian position,
          especially when we consider the following verse.

          “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud ” 1 Corinthians 13:4Now,
          the Christian can say that he loves his wife, and he can be jealous,
          but the passage above from the Bible states that love is NOT jealous.
          So, either the Bible is wrong, or the Christian who claims to love and
          be jealous is. If it is claimed that this passage is merely poetic,
          evocative, and descriptive, then we can also say that Jesus being the
          “son of God” is merely a poetic and evocative description of him, and is
          similar to the poetic and evocative description of “me and my
          grandmother being one” in that we share the same philosophy. This is why
          biblical exegesis is so important. In the case of biblical exegesis, or
          the critical explanation or interpretation of the Bible, the meaning of
          the text, and the context in which it is written is used to discover
          the relevance of what is written. However, when Humpty Dumpty semantics
          and ad hoc explanations are employed in order to create meaning, the
          text becomes virtually meaningless.http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/07/beliefs-habits-doubt-love-jealousy.html

        • SparklingMoon,

          The basic attribute of God Almighty is Love and Mercy and that is the mother of all attributes. It is the same attribute which sometimes comes into operation in the shape of the attributes of Glory and Wrath for the purpose of human reform, and when the reform has been effected then Love appears in its true form and remains in operation forever as a bounty. God is not like a short-tempered person who loves to torment. He wrongs no one, but people wrong themselves.

          Secondly, All attributes of God Almighty are appropriate to Him. They are not like human qualities. His eyes etc. are not physical and none of His attributes resembles human attributes. For instance, when a man is angry he suffers from anger himself and his heart loses its comfort and perceives a burning sensation and his brain is oppressed and he undergoes a change; but God is free from all such changes.His wrath means that He removes His support from one who does not desist from mischief and, according to His eternal law, He metes out to him such treatment as a human being metes out to another when he is angry. Metaphorically, it is called God’s wrath. In the same way, His love is not like the love of a human being, for a human being suffers in love also when he is separated from his beloved. But God is not subject to suffering. His nearness also is not like the nearness of a human being, for when a human being approaches near someone he vacates the space which he had occupied before. But God, despite being near is far, and despite being far is near. In short, every Divine attribute is distinct from human qualities. There is only a verbal resemblance and no more. That is why in the Holy Qur’an Allah the Exalted says: ”Nothing approximates to God Almighty in its being or its qualities.(Ruhanikhazain)

        • Argus

          I find your claims derived from your ancient book of baseless claims to be not compelling at all. Sorry.

    • Greg G.

      Science is based on evidence. Religion is based on a lack of evidence.

    • Science delivers. Religion can’t even agree within itself the basic facts about religion–how many gods or what their name(s) are.

      No, I don’t think science is jealous of religion.

    • Rudy R

      Science didn’t invent scientific conclusions. Aristotle invented science and Roger Bacon originated the scientific method. You know that scientific method. The systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

      How again is science jealous of a belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power based on faith?

    • MNb

      Science makes it possible that people can read your religious nonsense all over the world.
      Religion never has made anything possible at all.

    • RichardSRussell

      Yeah, like Einstein was so jealous of Rain Man that he invented relativity.

  • davidt

    Bob,
    Embarassing….

    • Oh, dear. Looks like I’m getting one fewer Christmas cards this year.

      If you can expand on that laconic comment, we’d have something to talk about.

      • davidt

        Let’s see if I can frame this simply not that easy.

        Two men were arguing about a puddle of water on the floor. One claimed it came up through the floor the other said the wind blew it in through the door. Finally the third man walked in on the discussion, looked up and said “embarrassing” and walked out.

        • This Zen koan remains opaque. I can’t even tell which side of the issue you favor.

        • davidt

          A man is killed as a heretic. A religion forms up around him and 385 years later, they kill people who are heretics. What exactly is going on?

        • busterggi

          Philip’s boof ‘The Jesus Wars’ should be required reading for all Christians. It will disillusion them to no end.

        • Thankyou for that explanation of your position on the existence of the soul. I’m sure any confusion anyone might have had about this topic has now been resolved.

        • davidt

          Well ophis I do the best I can. We have Two opposite frameworks your framework is “there is no reality out there that is separate from me”. My framework “there is no reality out there I am separate from”. Yours is consistent with the Copenhagen school of quantum mechanics. Niels bohr I believe!!! Profoundly flawed, lacks the capacity to reason, lacks awareness. Like a herd of rabbits on an island with no obvious predator.

        • davidt

          inbreeding is so weird

    • Susan

      Embarassing….

      That you don’t have anything to contribute to the discussion?

  • candide

    Believers belief in an unseen world, so you cannot convince them it doesn’t exist. Stop trying. Let them live and die in their delusions.

    • adam

      ” Let them live and die in their delusions.”

      And kill with their delusions…

    • People are convinced away from Christianity. Doesn’t happen often, I’ll grant, but it does happen.

    • MR

      Being exposed to arguments they haven’t considered before, they might even convince themselves.

  • Rex Jamesson

    Beautiful discussion, Bob, and one that is rapidly gaining scientific traction. I hope it doesn’t seem self-aggrandizing, but I recently wrote an extensive FB “Note” on death and dying, which draws so much of its material from the same scientific understanding as you did. I think you’ll enjoy it!

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/rex-jamesson/on-death-and-dying-in-a-material-universe/262269050828730

  • Argus

    OK ..here’s what happened to Phineas Gage…the rod made a hole in his head…..a demon sneaked in…kicked his soul out and replaced it with his own soul. Peer review paper pending.

    • Nice work! Yet more reason to believe.

      • Argus

        Uh oh…..it could have been a hindu demon instead of christian…more research is needed. Or maybe even a Thetan.

  • Argus

    I have asked believers what a soul is (or spirit)…amazing the variety of answers I receive to a question you would think they would mostly agree on. Also, it’s difficult for someone to answer the question without circular logic.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Also, it’s difficult for someone to answer the question without circular logic.

      by ‘difficult’ are you implying possible?

    • MR

      Stupid Plato.

  • Travis Wakeman

    This entire post seems to be predicated on the category error that the “soul” is understood to be a material/physical object rather than the locus of consciousness which is itself immaterial.

    See the various arguments for mind-body dualism and the immateriality of the mind (like the argument from conceivability) that Edward Feser makes in his book on philosophy of mind.

    • I believe Carroll is simply trying to take the Christian concept of a soul–something that actually exists in our world–seriously. If so, that has consequences, which don’t hold up to scrutiny.

      If, instead, “soul” is the same kind of thing as “courage,” say, just a description, then that might make more sense.

      Does Feser respond to Carroll’s arguments?

      • Travis Wakeman

        The assumption there seems to be that philosophical naturalism is true. That is to say, if there is a soul and it exists, it must be “material in nature and composed of material particles” because all things that exist must be material in nature. But the soul is not claimed to be a material thing, but an immaterial thing- so looking for it as if it were a material thing, not finding anything, and then concluding: ‘Busted’ starts the inquiry in the complete wrong direction.

        What reason do we have to believe that the material world is all that is?

        I think Carrol makes that mistaken assumption (which appears to be your mistaken assumption too). The arguments for mind-body dualism that Feser proposes serve themselves as arguments against philosophical naturalism.

        • If Carroll’s description of how the soul works or how it is conveyed from a body to the afterlife is wrong, then correct it. I don’t believe he says the soul is material in nature.

          Take the concept of courage–there is no violation of physics here. The concept of the soul needs to also coexist with physics or be discarded.

          As I understand the issue, “soul” answers no questions. It’s pointless and should be dropped.

        • Travis Wakeman

          I have corrected it by challenging his (and it seems your own) assumption of “philosophical naturalism”. He is pretty strongly assuming that the soul must be material when he starts talking about “particles” and “physics”- the first of which (even quantum particles) are material, and second of which is confined in scope to the material world.

          It’s as if a flatlander were to say that the existence of “spheres” was impossible because the idea is incoherent within the limited framework of 2-D geometry.

        • He is using particles and energy because that’s how things work in our world. Doesn’t much matter how things work in Supernatural World, since the soul must exist here and then travel there.

          You don’t like the assumption that the soul is conveyed by particles? Then show an alternative.

          You do see his point, right? He’s saying that, though we don’t know everything about QM, we know enough to know that there are no particles possible to do the job.

        • Travis Wakeman

          Now the flatlander is insisting that because the “super-ordinal” directions “up” and “down” make no sense in two dimensional geometry that there must be no third dimension.

          Now he’s saying that a “sphere” is a geometrical impossibility because such a shape cannot exist in two dimensions. Now he’s saying that all “spheres” must really be in their totality circles.

          Cubes which can appear alternately as triangles or squares must really be just triangles or squares since 2-D geometry denies the possibility of something being both “simultaneously”.

          Are you really so trenchant in your philosophical naturalism that you can’t even admit that you are assuming it?

        • Come out of your metaphor world into reality to see if this works. Give me a hypothetical way for souls to exist and travel that gets around the concerns Carroll mentions.

        • Travis Wakeman

          Sounds like someone has never read “flatland”.

          Carrol’s concerns are based on a category error, as I’ve pointed out.

        • This isn’t a hard problem, despite your best efforts.

          Yes, I see the Flatland analog. But is the analog valid? This is where you come in. You caution us against a Flatlander dumbfounded by what a sphere is or could do. Great! Now show how this applies to Carroll’s example. Y’know, get your hands dirty by actually showing how this applies.

        • Travis Wakeman

          Bobby dearest, how can we begin to talk about the category error when you’re not even willing to engage over the question of its source (the assumption of philosophical naturalism).

          You’re the one in your article above making the claim to knowledge that souls can’t exist. I’m merely pointing out that you’ve made a category error in defining what the soul is even hypothesized to be. You and Carroll have failed.

          If you want to dig deep, dig into the arguments for the immateriality of the mind.

        • You’re saying that we misunderstand the soul? Enlighten us then.

        • Michael Neville

          I’ve noticed one thing about Ol’ Travy. He really hates to give examples to support his pronouncements. He’ll claim X and, when asked for justification, condescendingly sneer at the asker for having the chutzpah to ask something of The Great Wakeman™.

        • Susan

          He really hates to give examples to support his pronouncements.

          He is parroting RCC apologetic talking points. But not very skillfully.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He’s not been where we have been to hear such appolegetics….aparently.

          Just saying.

        • MNb

          Yeah – but at the other hand I am mainly parroting counterapologetics, ao provided by

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Philipse

        • Susan

          The difference is that you can show and do show that you understand the argument.

          You don’t rely on parroting.

        • I wasted a couple of hours explaining things to him. I wish he came in with a reputation so that I could’ve avoided that.

          Technology must be able to provide that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As a one time Quality Manager….I concur.

          http://www.iso.org/iso/home.html

          Feckin’ nightmare isn’t it?

          No, its heartbreaking as I sit in my drunken stupor.

          Religious fuckwittery is excused such checks and balances.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t knock one of the greatest keyboardists and innovator of electronic music of the 20 th century….please.

        • MNb

          Let’s begin to use clear and unambiguous terms, something you fail to do in your comment. For instance it’s not clear at all if you think that material and natural are synonyms; if not you haven’t made clear what the difference is.
          So first of all we must agree on what we mean with material and natural. I think they are synonyms. BobS doesn’t; he seems to call energy immaterial. Because of E = mc² I think that useless. The formula shows that energy and mass (ie matter) are equivalent.
          You haven’t presented a view on this at all. That’s convenient for you of course. It allows you to be ambiguous and accuse us of strawmen as soon as you seem stuck. For the time being I’m holding to my own view: material and natural are synonyms.
          Of course, as long as the terminology is crystal clear and ambiguous (and if I present BobS’ view correctly his is) it doesn’t have any influence on the conclusions. The arguments only will need to be reformulated – the wording will be different.

          The brain is material and natural. It produces material stuff (neurobiologists measure things happening in brains and use material equipment to do so). The material/natural stuff produced by the brain I call “mind”. Ie it’s the synonym of or at least closely related to what psychologists call psyche.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology

          As it can be researched with the scientific method it by definition belongs to our natural/material reality. On this terminology “immateriality of the mind” is a meaningless expression. If you want to argue for it the first thing you need to do (and apologists usually avoid it like the plague) is present a term for the material component.
          Accepting my terminology doesn’t prevent you to argue for a supernatural/immaterial component somehow related to humans. I call it soul. Indeed it doesn’t make any sense to assume that the human mind (defined as the natural/material component) will continue after death exactly because it depends on the brain. However it may make sense that the human soul will exactly because it’s not bound to our natural/material reality, ie the human brain.

          Now I have three questions for you.

          1. How does the soul interact (ie the supernatural/immaterial component) with the mind (ie the natural/material component)?
          2. How do you separate correct claims about the soul from incorrect ones? What is your method?
          3. What does the concept of the soul contribute to our understanding of Homo Sapiens?

          Note that these questions do not depend on the definitions. It’s very easy to reformulate them as soon as you have provided a proper term for the material/natural component of what the human main produces. As long as you don’t though phrases like “the immateriality of the mind” only serve to duck the questions by means of ambiguity – by obfuscating the line between the material/natural component from the immaterial/supernatural one. That would be intellectually dishonest and you wouldn’t want be guilty of it. Or would you? Like many an apologist before you?

        • Travis Wakeman

          1. Hylemorphic dualism.

          2. Reason

          3. It tells us what we are

        • Michael Neville

          1. Jargon.
          2. Non specific non sequitur.
          3. Something that doesn’t exist can’t tell us anything.

          Try again, this time put some thought (if you’re capable of it) and at least a little effort into your answers,.

        • Dys

          1. That’s not a mechanism.
          2. Too ambiguous to be meaningful.
          3. Begging the question.

        • MNb

          1. Throwing around fancy words is not the same as describing a mechanism.
          2. Using reason to evaluate reasonable claims can’t distinguish between correct and incorrect claims.
          3. You assume something about what we are to tell us what we are.