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Do we have a soul? Show more Show less
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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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Quantum mechanics is the ultimate scientific input on the soul

The compelling field of quantum mechanics provides some of the most convincing evidence regarding the soul; convincing evidence for both sides of the debate.

Context

When quantum physics (or quantum mechanics) spawned its first theories in the 1920s, it upturned what physicists and scientists knew about the world. To this day, it remains a mysterious, confusing, immensely complex theory that describes the smallest things in the physical world and the very fabric of our universe.

The Argument

To many, quantum mechanics was the opening to a joining of the scientific and the spiritual. At the quantum level (the extremely small level), matter behaves in ways that look nothing like what we see around us. Particles exist as waves of probability, and nothing is predetermined or predictable. In the most famous quantum physics experiment, the double-slit experiment, light is passed through slits in a wall. The light is shown to behave as a wave but is observed as a particle. Ultimately it is clear that the actual act of observation by the human brain changes the outcome of the experiment. Particles exist not as determinate things, but as a probability of an unknown event. Our conscious mind is what causes the event to physically take place. This idea of human consciousness influencing the physical world is a clear sign pointing to the soul. Multiple quantum mechanics ideas and concepts point to the human as what makes up the scaffolding of the physical world we see; our soul and our spiritual essence create the world we live in.[1] On the other side of the spectrum, quantum mechanics simultaneously provides some of the strongest evidence against the existence of a soul. Quantum field theory is the theory describing the fundamental particles and forces which make up our universe or the "standard model" of physics. If a soul existed, it would require spiritual particles and forces for it to consist of and to allow it to interact with normal matter. The standard model does not include these soul particles or forces and would have to be completely overhauled for the addition. The CERN particle accelerator has confirmed the standard model, and if any other particles existed in our universe they would have been detected in the previous experiments - however they weren't. Furthermore than the fact that they would have already been detected, based on the current model it is impossible for the spiritual matter and forces to exist. The Dirac equation is a famous quantum equation describing the particles in the universe and has been tested and proved in countless experiments. If spiritual particles or forces were added to the model, it would violate the equation and go against the many experiments confirming it. Quantum field theory has been vigorously tested and simply leaves no room for the existence of spiritual particles; we already know the physics of how the universe works, and it does not include a soul.[2]

Counter arguments

Quantum physics is far from a proven or trustworthy field. Although it has broad claims of describing the fabric of the universe, it is far from a complete theory. Einstein's theory of relativity and quantum mechanics directly oppose each other, and cannot exist in equilibrium. Einstein's theory is also accepted as true, yet both cannot be true at the same time. If quantum mechanics is considered true, but a theory that cancels out quantum mechanics is also considered true, it is clear that quantum mechanics is not yet the correct or complete description of the universe. Due to it being an invalid theory, quantum mechanics' evidence about the soul should not be considered.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Quantum physics asserts that the observer can influence the physical world with their consciousness. [P2] The consciousness influencing the physical world supports the existence of a soul. [P3] The quantum field theory describes the workings of the universe and has been proven. [P4] Quantum field theory does not include room for a soul, so the soul cannot exist.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/biocentrism/201112/does-the-soul-exist-evidence-says-yes
  2. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/physics-and-the-immortality-of-the-soul/
This page was last edited on Saturday, 15 Aug 2020 at 01:33 UTC

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