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< Back to question Do we have a soul? Show more Show less

The soul as a concept is widely debated and has an array of definitions. It is broadly defined as the essence of our being, that which makes one who they are. It is normally considered beyond the physical world, and often eternal or immortal. For generations, humans have sought to explain the soul through religion, philosophy, and science, and there are countless theories and controversies regarding this question. Do we have a soul?

Science is the ultimate answer to the question of the soul Show more Show less

The scientific consensus on the nonexistence of the soul goes contrary to natural human beliefs and centuries of religious teachings. However, some theories support the idea of a spiritual human essence.
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Neuroscience can teach us about the soul through its exploration of the brain

Although the widely accepted neuroscientific view is that we have no soul, some fringe theories support the idea of a soul.
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Proponents


The Argument

Most neuroscience evidence and knowledge assert that there is no such thing as a soul. If the soul is defined as the spiritual essence that makes up our personality, defines who we are, and allows us to perform high-level functions, it does not exist. Neuroscience has shown that these processes are easily explained by the brain; the prefrontal cortex controls rational decision making, reasoning, and thinking, and many areas of the brain perform immensely complicated and varied functions. Personality comes down to brain chemistry and structure; there is no need or evidence for the soul. However, a minority of scientists propose neuroscience evidence that does support the idea of a soul. A primary supporting fact for this viewpoint is that neuroscientists cannot explain the cause of consciousness. Consciousness as a concept is almost identical to the soul; what causes and controls our subjective and unique individual experiences and self. We all experience the world differently, because of what makes us the person we are. This essence is consciousness and the soul, and neuroscience cannot figure out its inner workings. Many believe that the science of consciousness cannot be explained because consciousness results from the soul, not the brain.[1] One major piece of evidence for the soul is that people with brain damage or in a vegetative state still exhibit consciousness. If physical brain evidence points to these people as not possessing the machinery needed to function, and yet they can still exhibit personality and human qualities, the best explanation is that they have retained a soul.[2]

Counter arguments

Neuroscience should not even provide commentary on the soul. The soul is a divine, spiritual essence that is far beyond the physical and scientific world. The soul is far too separate from the physical world to ever understand in a physical sense. Therefore, neuroscience has no grounds in which to speak on the soul because it is not studying the plane of existence in which the soul resides, such as religion and philosophy do. Whatever neuroscience has to say about the soul is ultimately irrelevant.

Premises

[P1] Neuroscience can explain all of the functions a soul is claiming to fulfill through brain chemistry and structure. [P2] Neuroscience cannot explain many mysteries of the brain, including consciousness, indicating the influence of the soul is at play.

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/biocentrism/201112/does-the-soul-exist-evidence-says-yes
  2. https://evolutionnews.org/2019/06/egnor-why-neuroscience-points-to-a-soul/

This page was last edited on Saturday, 15 Aug 2020 at 01:24 UTC

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