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Hi, I added the "Scientific evidence against the existence of soul" section which I intent to expand a little.Sen (talk) 22:42, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

How about the concept that the soul becomes a part of the body ar birth (or conception) and is cut loose from the body upon death ? A stroke, brain damage , disease etc then becomes a mechanical problem with the sould interfacing with the body but itself remaining intact. On death these disabilities go away. Hamster (talk) 04:31, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Ah, but here is the thing. Brain damage does not only result in mechanical disabilities like not being able to move an arm etc, but also in changes in cognition, personality and memories. If those are immaterial why would physical damage affect them? And these can be referenced as well, like a rail worked who was nice & tame and them became an alcoholic after he got a rod through the head. ( ) Or even a guy who was a pedophile before a tumor was removed, but not afterwards ( ). Countless other cases from strokes etc, regarding altering cognition (eg, not being able to perform mathematics they could once do). Plus let's not forget that little old "psychosurgery", "science", Lobotomy. (ie: ) Which conservatives of the past btw were keen to do on "libertines" and "homosexuals". Which is a double irony since now they call it a decision... Sen (talk) 13:32, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Section title[edit]

I'm not really struck by the title "Scientific evidence against ...." How about "Logical arguments against ..."--BobIt's cold! 07:16, 23 February 2010 (UTC)


You cannot weigh a soul because it is ethereal. Every living creature has a soul, except bacteria. The fact that things are alive is proof. Talsley (talk) 22:35, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Wait, what? So, if all life except for bacteria have a soul, I would say that a soul then would be the cell nucleus, which all life but bacteria have. But a cell nucleus isn't "ethereal", whatever that means. Also, just because things are alive or able to make decisions doesn't prove an immaterial entity controlling it. I don't see how this leap of logic can be made. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 17:26, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

term that's used somewhat similarly in engineering ?[edit]

An older term for soul is anima, and they aren't always seem as immortal. To be detected (exist?) anima require something physical to err ... "animate". As such it strikes me that an anima would be performing the role of reacting to inputs from senses with outputs on a physical body. Isn't that equivalent to a transfer function operating on a "thing" ?

The soul caught on camera[edit]

The scientist Konstantin Korotkov claims to have caught the soul on camera. I am looking for any valuable links that summerise his findings. Any help would be useful. DinoCrisis (talk) 20:04, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

The energy that leaves the body at death is the soul. — Unsigned, by: Serectrus / talk / contribs 2013-09-06T16:18:27‎
Okay, then how many joules is it? Wackyvorlon (talk) 23:58, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm also interested in hearing about how this magic "soul energy" can be structured such that it provides consciousness. Last I checked, the energy stored in the various batteries I have around the room hasn't managed to develop sentience yet. - GrantC (talk) 23:59, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure that the term 'soul' is inextricably tied with 'consciousness'. You see, I've seen many a cartoon where the soul was just depicted as some sort of mindless ghost. Then again, I've also seen many a cartoon where the soul of an ancestor speaks to the young one and gives sound life advice and such. It would actually help if everybody agreed on what soul should be before continuing this. Nullahnung (talk) 03:21, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
To be blunt, I disagree that precisely defining the "soul" manners here. By any reasonably common definition, there is no direct link between your soul and any particular type of energy within your body. From a metaphysics standpoint, you could certainly say that the energy powering your body is your soul by proxy, since without it you have no being (for your body to be completely without energy, it would have to be completely destroyed). Based on the fact that Serectrus is trying to equate the soul with quantum measurement (as can be seen elsewhere on this talk page), I would assume that he/she is trying to draw a more physical conclusion than that. - GrantC (talk) 03:43, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Whatever works for him/her, I suppose. Since we're not defining soul first, I see no reason to participate in this thread, which will no doubt go no where. (also, blunt + 'manners' instead of 'matters', hah! very clever, somewhat Freudian) Nullahnung (talk) 04:08, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
... Yes, clever. Let's pretend it's that instead of a typo (*cough*). I'm all for a good discussion of metaphysics, but based on Serectrus' postings so far, I feel as though his position is more quantum woo than anything else (his contributions to this talk page don't exactly give me high hopes). - GrantC (talk) 04:12, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

The soul WAS caught on camera. thats the entire thing, RATIONAL wiki. (talk) 06:13, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

Is the soul/body inseparable in faiths besides Christianity?[edit]

In Christianity, the soul is connected with the body, rather than existing as a separate entity. So, when someone is resurrected, the body itself is resurrected, and not just the soul. Are any other religions like this? Do they believe the soul dies with the body, and is then resurrected with the body? Or is the soul separate from the body, in the sense that the body doesn't survive, but the soul continues on? Bumpy Toad (talk) 04:15, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm thinking of Egyptian Pharaohs right now. Osaka Sun (talk) 07:26, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure that most Christians believe that. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:40, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes. Psychiatry still maintains that there are diseases of the mind/soul that can be cured by 'talk' therapy much like the priests used to believe and counter to science based medicine (and rational thinking!). Obviously Szasz has explained this time and time again - see The Manufacture of Madness, but is denounced as a 'heretic' (or even worse - a scientologist!). See the entry of Thomas Szasz on this site... and compare to Wikipedia). -- (talk) 05:24, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Everything is energy[edit]

Matter is also compressed energy. Soul is also energy. And energy can be measured, with the right instruments. I believe energy has been measured leaving the body at death, which is ATP. I've been told spiritual energy stays in the form of ATP while in the body. That is why lack of ATP causes lack of 'spirit'. 'Soul is indestructible' means that it is energy, and energy can only tranform. But, the spirit can feel pain, as a reaction to past actions. — Unsigned, by: Serectrus / talk / contribs

What is ATP? Nullahnung (talk) 05:22, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Adinosine Triphosphate (ATP) is used as an energy source in our cell's mitochondia (power house of cell). — Unsigned, by: Serectrus / talk / contribs 2013-09-06T16:14:52‎
Energy leaves the body at death, yes, but it does so in a fairly boring fashion. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that any energy in the human body can be equated with the concept of a "soul". Also, matter is not "compressed" energy. Perhaps you're trying to reference the idea that matter and energy are interchangeable to some degree, but that's not the same as implying that one can "compress" energy into matter. - GrantC (talk) 23:20, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I meant matter is just a form taken by energy.Serectrus (talk) 05:21, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
Why is it that people stressing that everything is energy always forget about the momentum term? It's E=mc^2+pc^2, people! Wackyvorlon (talk) 00:02, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
You uh, you didn't quite get that right, Wackyvorlorn. It should be E^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2. Additionally, when people refer to E=mc^2, they're referring to mass energy, so... that's perfectly acceptable! Nullahnung (talk) 03:13, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
It's also far more common in relativity to use natural units, such that energy, mass, and momentum are all equivalent. In effect, mass energy and momentum energy are still energy. :) - GrantC (talk) 03:45, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, of course! Unit used varies depending on field of physics, though sometimes the only reason is convenience. Cutting all the c's and sort of putting them in the unit makes things a lot simpler in particle physics, for example. Nullahnung (talk) 04:04, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I can attest to that. The situation is similar with quantum electrodynamics. - GrantC (talk) 04:06, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Serectrus goes off the rails in his second sentence - "Soul is also energy". Everything he says after that is based on this utterly unfunded statement grabbed from the air.

We have no evidence souls exist, much less that they are "also energy". I'm not even sure I know what that means. But without getting sidetracked into what that "means" - where is the evidence for "souls"? --Weirdstuff (talk) 12:22, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Apparently, according to popular definition (as per the English Serectrusian dictionary), soul is just Adenosine Triphosphate (, who knew! That, of course, means we actually know a great deal about what soul is and how it reacts chemically. Splendid! Nullahnung (talk) 14:08, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Theology will never be the same again. - GrantC (talk) 14:37, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I see multiple theological problems here. ATP is involved in energy transfer in all cells. Both plant and animal. I knew a lettuce had a heart - but a soul is a surprise.--Weirdstuff (talk) 14:57, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
All lettuce goes to heaven? - GrantC (talk) 15:01, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
That's getting into some extremely difficult questions, there. Do dogs go to dog heaven? If so, surely lettuce goes to lettuce heaven... We do have animal rights for dogs, but rarely do we ever consider plant rights ( for lettuce. Hmm. Nullahnung (talk) 15:08, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Lettuce in heaven? In some dusty volume of long-forgotten lore, I once read that the Yazidi believe the cabbage is sacred to Shaitan, so probably not, unless there is some kind of lettuce/cabbage::sheep/goat thing going on. In other news, inanimate objects in the violin family each have their own soul. (In Spanish, it's called an alma, and similarly in Catalan. Magyar speakers have a different word for it, but it still means "soul.") It's an acoustically vital little stick of dead spruce that you may shake out of the instrument and hold in your hand, but it is tricky to wangle back into its proper place. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:23, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Interestingly, bacteria can make ATP but viruses cannot. So syphilis goes to heaven but AIDS cannot.--Weirdstuff (talk) 15:28, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Eh, nobody likes the HIV anyways. Only know how to reproduce, the soulless buggers. Also, I do like the idea of string instruments having soul... Nullahnung (talk) 15:33, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Well anyone who has gone to a symphony can back that one up pretty trivially. All string instruments go to heaven (but those dirty brass go straight to hell). - GrantC (talk) 15:45, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Hey, pal, I'll have you know that the voice of the trombone signifies divine presence. We may dribble incontinently, but at least brass kills germs, and we don't go digging holes in the floor like us barely socialized cellists. You may now go fumble around in your reed collection in search of I know not what. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:58, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Psh, brass are the loud-mouthed cousins of the orchestra with whom nobody really wants to associate. As a clarinetist myself, I wish to make the obligatory statement that woodwinds are clearly superior to both brass and strings. Oh, and making fun of my reed collection? I thought you said brass were supposed to be civilized. Pah. - GrantC (talk) 16:03, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I said divine, not civilized nor fabulous. Don't make me reach for the lightbulb jokes, now. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:05, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
(EC)@GrantC: Aha! You know a wood-wind instrument commonly made of brass? Yes, I am talking about the sexsaxophone: And you know who frequently plays it? Soul musicians (! Nullahnung (talk) 16:08, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
(EC)Divine? I think calling trombones divine is a fairly sure way to get most theists up in arms. There are lightbulb jokes for instrument families? I can't say that I've heard of such things. - GrantC (talk) 16:11, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
@Nullahnung: You may be onto something there! It seems the connections continue to grow... - GrantC (talk) 16:12, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Q: How many clarinetists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Just one, but first he has to rummage through a box of new bulbs to find exactly the right one.

Q: How many guitar luthiers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Just one, but first it takes him six months to make the fixturing.

Q: How many bass players does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Four. One. Five. One.
Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:26, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Ha! Well done, sir. - GrantC (talk) 16:37, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Logical dismissal of the "Soul" seems to be based on a biased definition[edit]

While many religions (and the irreligious) often describe the "soul" as being "supernatural", "magical", or distinct from material reality, others describe it as a function of nature. For instance, once a living biological entity has become sufficiently dead, no amount of electrical stimulation or chemical tinkering will restore "life". This is ostensibly because very specific (natural) conditions have to exist in order for the process of biological life to begin in the first place, and once absent, life is "gone forever". The fact that life has only been observed as coming from other life (within the hypothetical context of a natural soul) suggests that it's like an electrical charge moving from one conduit (biological organism) to the next (offspring), and once that energy is "discharged" (death) it can't be restored (zombies?). The "soul" could be described in at least two ways, in this context:

• The "soul" is a distinct, natural, material energy form, as yet undiscovered due to the limits of technology
• The "soul" is a pattern or system of combinations of energy and/or functions, for instance: fully functioning nervous system + personality/experiences = soul?

Defining the soul as "supernatural" immediately loads the argument, as nothing "outside" or "above" nature can be verified or refuted empirically, and not all religions/philosophies describe the "soul" this way anyway --YoureRetorted (talk) 20:54, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Anything could be "undiscovered". The question is what can be demonstrated. The soul can't be. (Cause it's magic.)--Coffee (talk) 20:57, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Can you specify which part of life requiring very specific conditions to exist "can't" be demonstrated? --YoureRetorted (talk) 21:03, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Can you explain what you are talking about?--Coffee (talk) 07:56, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
I thought I already did, but I can try to word it differently I guess? A combination of biological functions, external stimuli, and random choices in response to those stimuli etc, that make you "you", rather than exclusively the electric impulses and chemical processes in the brain that make up the mind--YoureRetorted (talk) 18:56, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
But that dies when you do.--Coffee (talk) 10:42, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Everything is made of energy[edit]

One would assume so, though the Law of Conservation of Energy implies that it simply changes form--YoureRetorted (talk) 21:12, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
So the "soul" is "energy" now? No doubt at some point it will be "quantum". What does it mean to say that the soul is "energy"? Coffee (talk) 21:53, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
If the soul is part of the natural world, wouldn't it be made of energy? Everything is made of energy, and I'm told that said energy is equal to mass times the speed of light squared. It would be no more or less "quantum" than anything else I suppose, I wouldn't say "no doubt". I don't know nearly enough about quantum mechanics to make that sort of claim--YoureRetorted (talk) 01:26, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Haven't you read the rest of the talk page? He's clearly bringing the whole "soul is actually Adenosine Triphosphate" thing into the discussion again. Also, @YoureRetorted, the Law of Conservation of Energy only implies conservation of energy. Unless you're going to argue that 'soul' is synonymous with 'energy', it doesn't imply that soul is conserved. Nullahnung (talk) 00:23, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
"Clearly"? No need to make a straw man of my argument. If you'd read the rest of the talk page, you'd see that my original assertion has nothing to do with the nature of the soul, I simply questioned the methodology behind dismissing the concept outright. I'm just not a big fan of the null-hypothesis, that's all. My examples were to illustrate that not all conceptions of the "soul" revolve around Abrahamic stereotypes--YoureRetorted (talk) 01:26, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
It's fine that you want to illustrate more conceptions of soul. If you want to talk about them in the article, then you should provide a detailed description and sources. Nullahnung (talk) 09:57, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Your first definition is: "The "soul" is a distinct, natural, material energy form, as yet undiscovered due to the limits of technology" Here you could replace "soul" with any weird idea you might like. You can postulate the existence of anything but that doesn't give it existence.

Your second definition. "The "soul" is a pattern or system of combinations of energy and/or functions, for instance: fully functioning nervous system + personality/experiences = soul?"

Now you are redefining "soul" to mean the complete condition of any animal. So sure you can redefine "soul" to make it a real thing. But by virtue of this redefinition you now you have something which dies when the animal dies, and that is not the usual meaning people give to "soul".

As another example of the redefinition trick I can redefine "God" to mean "the universe" and then claim God exists. The problem is that I wouldn't be using the definition the rest of the world is using.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 10:27, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

This same redefinition "trick" is what I take issue with in the first place. For instance, if you define a "unicorn" as a magical horse with a single spiraling horn, then of course you could legitimately make the claim that no evidence has been discovered that supports the existence of unicorns; however, if you define a "unicorn" as an Elasmotherium Unicornus (the etymological root of unicorn), then the existence of unicorns is well supported. The "trick" is in loading the argument (thus the title I chose) beforehand, implying that a common colloquial or anecdotal definition is the correct or standard one; by attaching a ridiculous, biased meaning to the definition, one does not allow for legitimate discussion in the first place. In regard to the term "soul", you're not using the definition the rest of the world is using, you're using the modern Western conception of the soul; in Vedic and other cultures for instance, the "soul" is considered to be part of the natural world, a "spark" of life so to speak, not an ambiguous, formless supernatural phenomenon. It's easy to pick on the Abrahamic traditions' concept of the soul as it's the most well-known in the west, but it's not the only conclusive definition, nor is what the "rest of the world" uses, as Hinduism accounts for over a billion people worldwide--YoureRetorted (talk) 18:56, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
The thing is, this site knows the most about the Abrahamic religions and so doesn't much talk about other ones, so discusses a lot of conceptions in such a way that the definition is biased towards Abrahamic origins. It's just the way things are. If you feel you have the necessary expertise, you can try and show us what you would add in another section with "other common conceptions of 'soul' outside of Christianity" or something. Nullahnung (talk) 19:20, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
And what is the non-supernatural evidence for this "spark" of life. Furthermore, redefining "unicorn" - the image of which is quite well known - as some beast that went extinct in the late pliocene does not mean that unicorns "existed". --Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 05:46, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, that definition of unicorn existed, is what I think he/she meant, not unicorn in popular media and folklore.
Spark of life is actually thought to be some mixture of conditions like sunlight, water and amino-acids that spark life into existence. Of course I don't know if that's what he/she meant by soul. Probably not, probably he/she meant a concept that is less scientific. Nullahnung (talk) 10:13, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Most people have probably never heard of Elasmotherium, but most people have heard of the myth that arose from it. That's a pretty good illustration of some of the problems with favoring "common knowledge" or "Common sense" definitions rather than empirically based ones; common sense (which, ironically, doesn't always seem to be all that common) is almost totally subjective, and it seems counterintuitive to use it as the basis of any part of objective inquiry. If you ask most Americans if there was such a thing as a "Brontosaurus", (sorry to keep using dinosaur analogies) they would probably say yes, because it's "common knowledge". Of course, it's well etablished that the so-called "Brontosaurus" was actually a misidentified Aleptosaurus skeleton that was sort of mix-and-matched with fossils from other species. There isn't anything much "less scientific" than loading an argument by inserting bias before dialogue even begins, no matter how "well known" the assertions supporting it may happen to be--YoureRetorted (talk) 22:37, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
But the "common notion" of the Unicorn is correct. Wikipedia defines it as: "The unicorn is a legendary animal that has been described since antiquity as a beast with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead." Look: "legendary animal".
It identifies your Elasmotherium as one of many hypothetical origins of the myth. But having many hypothetical origins doesn't make the unicorn real any more than having multiple definitions of a soul doesn't make it real. --Coffee (talk) 10:41, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
And why is it more "correct" than the definition for which there is empirical evidence? Because you said so? I think this calls for a new Page called "argumentum ad Wikipedia". Favoring the definition that best suits your argument, rather than the one for which there is recorded data, doesn't make "my" Elasmotherium any less real. It just makes your argument more loaded (and appears to confirm your bias more effectively), which was my original premise. I feel like I've made it pretty clear that I'm not arguing for the "realness" of the soul, I'm questioning the methodology through which people dismiss things based on biased interpretations and claim they've done so rationally--YoureRetorted (talk) 23:51, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
My WP link demonstrates that the generally accepted consensus of unicorns is that they are mythical animals. As souls are also mythical I think your comparisons to unicorns is actually quite apt.--Coffee (talk) 07:11, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Science was wrong before[edit]

Indeed it does demonstrate that. Emphasis on "generally accepted consensus" rather than "empirically supported conclusion". Again, you're choosing the "popular" definition that best suits your argument, rather than the factual one for which there is evidence. If we're in the business of ridiculing things that can't be easily observed, then defining evolution as "a monkey having sex with a retarded fish-frog" is grounds for a refutation of evolution, despite fossil records, observation of adaptation, etc. In late 15th century Europe, the "generally accepted consensus" was that the world was flat, even though the Egyptians and Indus Valley civilizations had mathematically predicted the correct shape of the Earth hundreds of years earlier--YoureRetorted (talk) 21:12, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
And science was wrong before so it must be wrong now? --Coffee (talk) 21:57, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Not science, but a lack thereof: popular consensus.--YoureRetorted (talk) 01:35, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
You're actually missing the point again. It's not about scientific enquiry, it's about the nature of words and their meanings. The popular meaning will always be the one that is most useful to catalogue and discuss in a wiki. It doesn't matter if some sort of Ancientus Unicornus animal existed long ago, because we should be aiming to discuss primarily the most popular conception of 'unicorn'. Nullahnung (talk) 00:28, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
It doesn't matter? Says who? We "should" discuss the most popular conception rather than the one for which there is empirical evidence? Says who? Since when does objective science revolve around popular bias?--YoureRetorted (talk) 01:35, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
I think we're talking past each other here. You're not really making clear what you would actually want written in a Unicorn article. Surely it would be primarily about the popular conception of the mythical beast because that's what people understand 'unicorn' as, and after all, he meanings of words are completely defined by what the people think those meanings are. Then I guess we could have a little side paragraph about how there existed an animal with one horn some times ago as an interesting factoid to muse about. Nullahnung (talk) 10:03, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, what is an "empirically based definition" of the soul? Nothing you've suggested above looks like a testable hypothesis. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:03, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
My original premise was to address the criteria on which rejection of the soul is based, in common usage. I should make it clear (if it's not clear already) that I'm not a professional scientist or mathematician, nor an expert on the Vedic concept of the soul, and I'm not here to defend the concept. Maybe I made a mistake in starting up the conversation under such a specific topic, maybe it would've been better suited in the Talk sections for common sense or confirmation bias--YoureRetorted (talk) 23:23, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

I wiki therefore I am.--The soul of the unicorn (talk) 15:13, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

How flattering.--YoureRetorted (talk) 21:12, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks!--The soul of the unicorn (talk) 22:05, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

I would like to point out that YoureRetorted's claim that a flat earth was the "generally accepted consensus" in the 15th century is completely wrong. Since the ancient Greeks it had been accepted and observed that the Earth was round. This is a popular myth dating to the 19th century. Comment on a dead threat, sure-I'm nitpicky that way though.Mcc1789 (talk) 07:43, 24 September 2015 (UTC)


Someone who dismisses the existence of the soul is alive, but never noticed to be. (talk) 19:05, 23 October 2014 (UTC) Arnd

The question is[edit]

... what term should be used of 'the me that exists in the body and observes and interacts with the world (and is distinct from other people's "me-entities".' (talk) 09:01, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

This discussion appears to be happening at Essay talk:Letter to RationalWiki, so that people understand the context I'll discuss it there. Christopher (talk) 09:05, 31 May 2017 (UTC)