The many fallacies of "The Soul Fallacy".

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I wrote and published a few days ago a ~5,000 word review of the book The Soul Fallacy that some of you might like to read.
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Slight problem with The Soul Fallacy - the soul, if it exists, lies beyond the scope of anything science is capable of exploring so anything a scientist might say on the subject is nothing but a subjective opinion unrelated to science.  I'm sure there are a number of evangelical atheists who, in searching for the latest confirmation bias, will happily snap it up, but at the end of the day, even if something doesn't exist, you can't prove it doesn't exist.  People have tried proving God doesn't exist but have only succeeded in setting up strawman gods to burn down.  I haven't read your review yet so you may have thought of these things yourself.

EDIT:  Yes, you have covered it.  
Quote:I conclude, contra Musolino, that we cannot claim that the soul is a scientific hypothesis. It is a philosophical one and, more specifically, a metaphysical one.
(This post was last modified: 2022-07-11, 01:06 PM by Brian. Edited 2 times in total.)
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From a non-dual, or idealist, position, materialistic scientists get it wrong because everything they study is conceived as an "object", or a "thing". "Consciousness" (or the soul if you want to call it that) has to be a thing in this paradigm, and gets confused with the mental activities (language, sense perception, etc.) that you can program into a robot.

This is a video that I'm watching contrasting Advaita Vedanta with Buddhism and other Eastern non-dual philosophies (Kashmir Shaivism), but the last part addresses what science (neuroscience) can bring and what it can't.

See 1h36 to 1h56
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From the Foreword of "The Soul Fallacy", by Victor Stenger:

Quote:"...in this beautifully written, impeccably researched, and compassionate book by Rutgers psychologist Julien Musolino, we are now in a position to eliminate perhaps the most deeply personal and destructive superstition held by the bulk of humanity: the immaterial, immortal soul.

Musolino provides a compelling scientific case for the nonexistence of the soul. The author makes it clear that he is not presenting his own idiosyncratic view but that of the wide consensus of psychologists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists - not to mention biologists and physicists. As a physicist who has never seen the hand of God in any observable phenomenon, I view the scientific rejection of the soul as the ultimate validation of reductionist material monism.

The elimination of the soul will be the final, fatal blow to religious belief."

It should be obvious to both proponents and truly open minded skeptics that this ambitiously arrogant and overconfident agenda amounts to writing a bunch of large value checks that will inevitably bounce at the bank of fact checking, for reasons that are too numerous and tedious to go over here. I marvel at the sheer arrogance of Musolino in attempting to show "compassion" for what he really regards as the superstitious, magical and foolishly wish fulfilling belief systems of the great majority of mankind, from  immemorial. 

In fact this represents the "old guard" of scientific orthodoxy defending what has come to be regarded by more open minded and progressive members of the scientific profession as a failed, dead paradigm. It is dramatically out of touch with the latest thinking, in particular with the growing popularity amongst the scientific intelligentsia of panpsychism, which is in dramatic opposition to reductive materialism and at least recognizes the fundamental separation between subjective conscious experience and the material, with the latter being all that science can investigate.

I think Ian Wardell's excellent review demolishes everything important in Musolino's claims, and in detail.
(This post was last modified: 2022-07-12, 03:22 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 4 times in total.)
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Quote:The elimination of the soul will be the final, fatal blow to religious belief
If it's possible, which it isn't, it still fails to eliminate religious belief in total.  Many of us believe in a physical resurrection.
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Quite odd in that he clearly doesn't seem to think he has a soul (self)? I thought everybody knew they had a soul, a self. I assumed the only contentious issue was whether or not it continues on after the hardware ceases to function. 

I guess there wouldn't be much point in presenting him with any of the vast amount of evidence to the contrary. He's obviously read it all and found nothing interesting or unusual, even the cases of cardiac arrest patients (with no brain function) being able to see what is going on around them, even though they were dead. 

I followed the link to see if I could get a better picture of why he's making these strange statements, to see if he was a bit of an odd bird, but no, he seems quite ordinary.
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I've actually become okay with the idea of the soul as material in some sense, since "matter" isn't a well defined concept anyway.

As for where it is, I'd paraphrase Attanasio:

"The sky-wide realization that [h]is soul was not in his body. Rather, his body was in cosmic immensity of his soul"

And of course this is only one possibility. Idealists would note probably everything scientific about "matter" is gained through observation - so Mind - and modeling via maths - so Mind again. So matter may just be the image of consciousness as Kastrup and Hoffman posit.

Also, I don't think we can even claim there are material causes different from mental causes since no one has a clear account of causation. (I hold there are only mental causes, but that's prolly a long thread for another time.)

I will give the skeptics some credit that changes to brain resulting in changes to consciousness should give us pause. But I go back to dreams where one has a different personality - like one where me and the actor who plays Harry Potter are enemies in highschool - and then one wakes up and wonders what that was all about. Of course even in these cases we have the records of terminal lucidity, which again challenge the physicalist belief system...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2022-07-14, 03:30 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2022-07-13, 05:36 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I've actually become okay with the idea of the soul as material in some sense, since "matter" isn't a well defined concept anyway.

As for where it is, I'd paraphrase Attanasio:

"The sky-wide realization that is soul was not in his body. Rather, his body was in cosmic immensity of his soul"

And of course this is only one possibility. Idealists would note probably everything scientific about "matter" is gained through observation - so Mind - and modeling via maths - so Mind again. So matter may just be the image of consciousness as Kastrup and Hoffman posit.

Also, I don't think we can even claim there are material causes different from mental causes since no one has a clear account of causation. (I hold there are only mental causes, but that's prolly a long thread for another time.)

I will give the skeptics some credit that changes to brain resulting in changes to consciousness should give us pause. But I go back to dreams where one has a different personality - like one where me and the actor who plays Harry Potter are enemies in highschool - and then one wakes up and wonders what that was all about. Of course even in these cases we have the records of terminal lucidity, which again challenge the physicalist belief system...

It doesn't take the latest brain research to observe this - all it takes is self-observing the changes in consciousness due to drinking 3 shots of whiskey. It would appear to me that the explanation must posit dualism and be that when in body, the spirit is very deeply and intricately intertwined with the neural structures of the brain, and any alteration or disruption to these structures results in changes or disruptions to consciousness. The TV set analogy is very appropriate, where any disruption or changes to the electronic components of the TV set changes or disrupts the picture and sound produced by the set, but the signal coming into the set isn't disturbed - the programming displayed was produced many miles away by live human beings, not by the components of the TV set. The verified out of body experiences of NDEers fit this model, and it even looks like there may be a specialized "exit and ingress" structure in the brain designed to facilitate leaving (and reentering) the brain.

Dreams and terminal lucidity are the least of the boatload of the paranormal empirical evidence for dualism, perhaps starting with the NDE evidence. The materialists just don't have any plausible argument against the paranormal evidence. All they really have is the last gasp David Hume argument, "if it contravenes any what I consider fixed laws of Nature, it must be impossible, regardless of any and all evidence".
(This post was last modified: 2022-07-13, 09:40 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 5 times in total.)
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(2022-07-13, 05:36 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I've actually become okay with the idea of the soul as material in some sense, since "matter" isn't a well defined concept anyway.

As for where it is, I'd paraphrase Attanasio:

"The sky-wide realization that is soul was not in his body. Rather, his body was in cosmic immensity of his soul"

And of course this is only one possibility. Idealists would note probably everything scientific about "matter" is gained through observation - so Mind - and modeling via maths - so Mind again. So matter may just be the image of consciousness as Kastrup and Hoffman posit.

Also, I don't think we can even claim there are material causes different from mental causes since no one has a clear account of causation. (I hold there are only mental causes, but that's prolly a long thread for another time.)
Love the quote -- "his body was in cosmic immensity of his soul"   Feels like poetry, but does fit the model where there are two discrete environments for science to observe.  An informational environment can be immense in the directions of past memories, future plans and of vivid emotion from deep meanings.
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(2022-07-13, 08:55 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: It doesn't take the latest brain research to observe this - all it takes is self-observing the changes in consciousness due to drinking 3 shots of whiskey. It would appear to me that the explanation must posit dualism and be that when in body, the spirit is very deeply and intricately intertwined with the neural structures of the brain, and any alteration or disruption to these structures results in changes or disruptions to consciousness. The TV set analogy is very appropriate, where any disruption or changes to the electronic components of the TV set changes or disrupts the picture and sound produced by the set, but the signal coming into the set isn't disturbed - the programming displayed was produced many miles away by live human beings, not by the components of the TV set. The verified out of body experiences of NDEers fit this model, and it even looks like there may be a specialized "exit and ingress" structure in the brain designed to facilitate leaving (and reentering) the brain.

I agree that if drunkeness or being "hangry" isn't adequate proof against a soul, not clear why brain damage would be.

But I do think it is a bit different than a TV set in that the person themselves is affected. As you say the signal is undisturbed but also its source is distant, yet with the body/psyche seems the soul is intimately wedding to the body (or at least the brain.)

I do agree that the experiences reported seem to suggest some kind of subtle-body that at times floats above the physical body. The exact mind-body relationship may just not be possible to grasp from our current vantage point.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2022-07-13, 09:56 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
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