Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from a dialogue on a private forum, prompted by the Daily Express tweet: Science has ‘ruled out’ humans having souls, says Brian Cox. The names of the participants have been changed.
Lönnrot: I’m not even 100% sure there is a soul in the sense that they [i.e., materialists] imagine to be refuting. There might be, but it’s not obvious. Because there are two possible ways the world might work. One is that the brain is just an antenna to the plane of existence in which the soul resides. Upon death, it gets simply dislocated from the now-dead body. Nothing really happens to the soul per se, it is simply now free to move to a different location than where the body is. In this model, there would be a soul the way they are imagining it.
But the other alternative is that the soul is currently modelled as the particular electric configuration of the brain. Upon death, it gets recreated in another substrate. This is like copying a piece of software from a spinning hard drive to an SSD drive. From the user’s perspective it’s as if nothing really happened, but the data is now represented in a way that has almost zero resemblance to the way it was represented before. If this is the truth about the soul, you will NEVER find it in a living person….
Yes, I know exactly why they argue the way they do. But on the other hand, there is a danger of choosing a theory of the soul, not because it’s the one that makes the most Biblical sense, but because it’s as different as possible from what science says. Which is called the “creationist” theory of the soul.
And what really annoys me is that a word is used for exactly this impulse… But it’s not the right word. That word is “reactionary”. It sounds like it means it, but it doesn’t. Someone who is neither a progressive, nor a conservative, is a reactionary. Progressives want new things, conservatives want to stay where they are, and reactionaries want old things.
Anund: What’s a good word for the people who want true things?
Ingjald: @Anund, how about “honest”?
Lönnrot: My current thinking is that everyone thinks that they are of the truth, and everyone who disagrees is of the falsehood. Because if someone lies to them, and they know the person knows he is consciously lying, a very particular kind of disgust will arise in them, that is not quite like any other disgust. And that thing is their intuitive understanding of what we know to be “truth”, and its opposite. But the forces of darkness have designed all sorts of philosophical ideas to confuse them, so that they wouldn’t follow that train of thought and ultimately find Christianity.
I believe that the people who appear to love lies, deep down inside associate it with this moral intuition of truth. They just have all kinds of rationalizations as to why the people who stand in their way are so deep into lies, that it is actually good to lie to them. Ultimately these lies will take them out of the way, so that they can have what they see as truth, though they wouldn’t call it that because of all the confusing ideas. But they know the feeling when they find truth about something, and they want more of that.
Anyone who says that “there is no truth”, if you asked them “is that true?” and they replied before they had time to think, would say “yes.”
A person who is able to think clearly would recognize that this position is self-inconsistent and would reject it before seriously considering it. But when your thinking is confused, you are unable to see its impossibility. And that is the first step to all sorts of completely insane philosophical structures that will make you behave exactly as if you actually loved lies.