The idea of a spiritual soul, the real you

#thrives on how if you are hurt badly you think the real you is okay

#thrives on how you think this spirit is about love and justice and respect and morality - it is the spring of moral sense

#is a mystery and is the reason how free will can work - another mystery

#makes you feel like a mini-god that you control all in your mini-universe, the cosmos in your head and immediate vicinity [Religion plays the following trick. "Just because I don't think I am God and don't think I can command the universe I am humble." But control is control. You can think you are God of your mini-universe, the room you never leave with all the things you want. If you were the creator that might be all you would make. So you don't have to aspire to run all creation or make an unimaginably big universe to self-deify and be riddled with pride. Everybody controls something and takes pride in it. Pride is pride. Our hypocrisy does not like obvious pride so that is how we get away with it.]

#makes you think death is not the end 

#makes you think you know better than scientific experts

While it seems obvious that a soul that is not made of any material parts can be immortal, it does not mean that one soul cannot say put another out of existence in the afterlife.  If you truly love your spouse or child, you will prefer for death to be the end of life rather than there be the slightest risk that they will go to eternal damnation.

I am taking some inspiration from Psychology Today contributor David Kyle Johnson, Ph.D. on the subject of the soul and also of free will being a spiritual immaterial power like a soul.

He warns that science is not based on faith but on letting evidence and argument direct you in what to believe and think.  He adds "if you can’t be confident in the findings of science, you can't be confident in anything."  Now doubting science too much or being agnostic is only going to demotivate science.  Why bother if it is just opinion?

Interestingly he says science looks for natural explanations and says that if you lost your wallet no matter how mysteriously you would not be even suggesting that a ghost might have taken it.  What is interesting about that is if you believe in souls in human bodies then in a sense you are saying that if somebody stole it, it was a ghost!  An embodied ghost is still a ghost.   I would add that taking something on faith in a secular sense and in a religious sense are not the same thing.  Science avoids doing neither.  Secular faith violates science but religious faith even more so.

Back to Johnson.  To argue that your mental activity is not your brain and indeed is separate from it is against neuroscience which "shows us that the existence of the mental is dependent upon the existence of the brain; without the brain, the mental cannot exist."  So the soul idea is out.

He cautions, "Some have concluded from the fact that the mental is dependent upon the brain that the mental is identical to the brain. Tallis argues that this is not correct—that this is a fallacious bit of reasoning. And he is correct; dependence does not entail identity. It could be that they are identical, but even if that is true, that fact does not follow from their dependence. Dependence is a necessary but not sufficient condition for identity."

Some turn the brain into some kind of antenna for the soul.  Others recognise that mind can depend on brain but not be identical.

People with grave enough injury to the frontal cortex in the brain change into almost different people.  Physical causes change them.  It is not their free will or alleged soul so who you are depends on your brain.  If there is a soul it is not really you or important.  It is like a fandangle made of nothing.  It is up to the believers to explain how he could have a soul that was not part of his material components.  They cannot do that.

Plus if we think our experience is that we are some kind of soul that affects our science in this way.  We think we are otherworldly beings in bodies looking at material things.  That might not affect science in practice but definitely in theory.  It denies that you are part of nature and science looking at nature and science.  This is not science but going through the motions.

He writes that science is the best guide to realness that people have ever engaged in.  He cautions that this "is not a knock against philosophy, given that science is an offshoot of philosophy, originally called 'natural philosophy'. It’s also not to say that science can discover all truth; moral truths (if they exist), for instance, are outside the grasp of science."

I would add that if science cannot show you what is fair or unfair, it cannot refute the notion that John is really innocent and did not deserve to be murdered.  It can perhaps prove forensically that John murdered somebody. But that does not mean it can say he deserved to be murdered.

But it can still tell us if John did something.  Morality according to philosophers is about truth for without truth there is no fairness and no respect for persons.  So if it cannot give morality it can inform it.  Shockingly as morality says, "There is no expectation to do the impossible", you may have to make do with, "Science says this causes too much suffering so it is wrong."

So science can maybe indirectly validate morality.  Religion lies about that for it wants God to ground morality or be the basis. 

Some say that as nature does not allow contradictions and reality is not about us we have to line up to nature/reality to be safe and morality is not possible without that reconciliation.  If fitting in with reality is not morality as some might say, then who cares?  Does it matter if the man is true to his wife just because he knows he will lose her or if it is because it is the loving and fair thing to do?  No.

Ethics or morality can be a subset of all that.  What do we mean?  We mean it is an outgrowth.  Unless you start with what can be done you cannot work out what should be done.  But is it needed at all?  No!

 If we can go against reality and even biology to do a greater good the fact remains that we are taking a risk.  Reality can take its "vengeance".

People wonder how natural laws are not really laws but descriptions of regularities what this has to do with morality.  They say that nature being reliable suffers the turkey and the farmer problem.  The turkey gets his handful of grain to feed on every morning and assumes it will be the same today but the farmer comes and cuts his head off for the dinner.  Firm and unalterable experience then seems to confirm that nature will behave as expected.  Even if you soften this to say that the evidence for the regular is greater than that for the irregular, you will say that the turkey had not the slightest reason to expect his grain.

All moral codes have to consider reality but as they are guessing, they are really about control not justice and love and respect.

If morality is based on lies then why would a soul doctrine matter?  A lot of it is about how the soul has these great moral potentials because it is bigger than and beyond the world and the physical.  We have dispensed with that nonsense.

And we may complain when somebody cares only for themselves but who says that is wrong?  Is it good selfishness?  Bad?  Neutral?  Indeterminate?

Interestingly if you can establish that morality is real it does not follow you will clearly know what it is.  Worse, you may fail to show why it should be universal.  The reality of morality is more important than showing why it should apply to everybody in the world.  But we can't really prove that justice and love as principles matter.  And as a consequence, we cannot show everybody needs them.

Philosophers say that if free will is true then "materialism does make it difficult to account for free will".  If it is hard it is not necessarily impossible.  And I always pointed out that if ghosts and non-material entities exist they can be as clockwork as the material world is, if not more, if it is indeed the case that material things are about being directed not directing.  We are asserting that they might clockwork.

Physics informs us on the basis of general and special relativity which says that for "President X will die of old age" to be true then for this to be true the future in a way must already be set and exist.  This shows that even with souls and alleged free will you still don't get real freedom.

We conclude that the urge to affirm spiritual souls is based on errors and wishful thinking and is a threat to science.


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