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Is the Soul a Myth?
Posted 8/31/08
It's been noted that when a person dies, they lose 21 grams of something. That something, we don't know.
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Posted 8/31/08 , edited 8/31/08

vajmichael wrote:

It's been noted that when a person dies, they lose 21 grams of something. That something, we don't know.


yeah, it was noted in 1907 by a Dr. MacDougall. He conducted an experiment where he constructed a special bed in his office. Then he found 6 people willing to be part of the experiment and be monitored during their death. Some had tuberculosis, others had other illnesses.

He tried to be very precise and spent considerable time making measurements, and observing each patient. He concluded that loss of breath, perspiration, loss of fluid, etc accounted for something like 2 ounces per hour (while the patient approached death)

but then when one of the patients died, there was a loss of 21 grams he could not account for.
he also tried with dogs but no loss of weight occurred so he concluded (after testing only a12 dogs or so) that this was something that occurred to humans only and supported his hypothesis of the soul having a material characteristic.

Back to the 6 people, turns out the other 5 showed inconsistent result of weight loss and none of them matched the previous 21 grams of the first one.


One lost less than 21.
Another lost 46 grams
another lost 12 grams at death, then lost a couple more grams like 5 minutes later, totaling about 30 grams
Another actually GAINED weight at death, then lost a few grams later
one of the 5 results was dropped because of wrong measurements.

So you see, here we have a doctor doing a very limited, small, and inconsistent experiment and then claiming this was proof of the soul and of his hypothesis.

This is a really incorrect way of using the scientific method. Results were not all the same, only 6 people were measured which is way too small of a number to test broad hypotheses. And he only tried with dogs, he never tested other animals.

This idea of the 21 grams has persisted not for its validity but because of the fact that Dr. MacDougall published his results on the new york times, the journal of medicine, and probably other respectable publications. This cause controversy among the public and complete disapproval among scientists because it is simply a bad experiment regardless of how interesting it was.

Since it was so long ago, no one seems to remembers this. They only remember the controversial claim of the body losing 21 grams after death according to this doctor. By word of mouth people just babbler this as if it was an accepted fact and forget to look further into the origins of this.

To summarize, this is just an idea that caught on among the public and it comes from a badly done experiment.
Posted 8/31/08
Yea, it was a poorly done experiment albeit interesting.
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Posted 9/1/08

mauz15 wrote:
.


Well I have read some philosophy books in the past, I just can't remember who said what. In fact I took a intro philosophy class over the summer. I'm just really bad at explaining what I know, no excuse coming from me.
Of course no one is totally one side or the other, but agnostics usually do in fact lean towards one side or the other. It's just less apparent to them compared to their readers.
Yes, I know I have to be careful about the words 'never' and 'always' but I didn't think you would take such words to heart, least I thought. I am an open minded person despite my responses, like you I just consider with what I know. Socrates himself always considered himself a student but would always ask his 'teachers' dire questions until they knew exactly what they were talking about.
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Posted 9/14/08

zendude wrote: Aren't we as well using data that came from our mind to create some kind of algorithm to create an artificial intelligence?
Consider these examples:
- Computer brain with a natural human body
- Human brain in a machine
- Also consider other emulations of intelligence

And from this point of view, genetic engineering would be creating artificial intelligence. I see :)

haddon wrote: so you are claiming that anything post-austrolapithecus had some sort of soul, and was human? despite that erectus was much closer to a modern ape than they were structurally to us, they were human? i would have to disagree, because if someone had a child with 1, it would not look, think, act like us. if the 2 species could even interbreed. which i highly doubt.

Yep, thats exactly what I'm saying Close enough to us to be humans, and there's some twisted humans out there >.>

Sorry if I strayed the topic a bit, but it all applies to how to define this self, this consciousness, this enigma we call the soul
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Posted 9/14/08
Anyone consider Cartesian dualism true?
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Posted 9/15/08
If it was true, then the Churches would be having a field day saying: "WE TOLD YOU SO!!!"



Souls are an illusion. You think it's there, but you don't know for sure.
Posted 9/15/08
I don't see God, and yet i believe that he's the real deal, souls don't play any part in our lifes but i think they're real, ourself, a shining light, like a blind faith in God, as humans should we put our hope/ trust in these myths? Yes, i do.
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Posted 7/3/09
There is no evidence for a soul and most of the people that try to expain there evidence for a soul only pointed out things that have other meaning bahind it and not a soul.

such as out of body near death experinces. It is explainable with no need of a soul.

The hole Idea of a soul is illogicla at best.
Posted 7/3/09

kim_entangledjuvenile wrote:

soul... is true... one of the unexplainable phenomena of mankind...

you experience conscience... but can you explain it?

you have life... but can you explain why there is life and its origin?

you have a God... but can you explain how HE came to be?


^ i agree with that
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Posted 7/3/09

mystic17 wrote:


kim_entangledjuvenile wrote:

soul... is true... one of the unexplainable phenomena of mankind...

you experience conscience... but can you explain it?

you have life... but can you explain why there is life and its origin?

you have a God... but can you explain how HE came to be?


^ i agree with that




1. you experience conscience... but can you explain it? Yes... I have in other threads so no point in repeating my self over and over again.

2. you have life... but can you explain why there is life and its origin? When the earth formed some 4.6 billion years ago, it was a lifeless...
, inhospitable place. A billion years later it was teeming with organisms resembling blue-green algae. How did they get there? How, in short, did life begin? This long-standing question continues to generate fascinating conjectures and ingenious experiments, many of which center on the possibility that the advent of self-replicating RNA was a critical milestone on the road to life.

Before the mid-17th century, most people believed that God had created humankind and other higher organisms and that insects, frogs and other small creatures could arise spontaneously in mud or decaying matter. For the next two centuries, those ideas were subjected to increasingly severe criticism, and in the mid-19th century two important scientific advances set the stage for modern discussions of the origin of life.

In one advance Louis Pasteur discredited the concept of spontaneous generation. He offered proof that even bacteria and other microorganisms arise from parents resembling themselves. He thereby highlighted an intriguing question: How did the first generation of each species come into existence?

The second advance, the theory of natural selection, suggested an answer. According to this proposal, set forth by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, some of the differences between individuals in a population are heritable. When the environment changes, individuals bearing traits that provide the best adaptation to the new environment meet with the greatest reproductive success. Consequently, the next generation contains an increased percentage of well-adapted individuals displaying the helpful characteristics. In other words, environmental pressures select adaptive traits for perpetuation.

Repeated generation after generation, natural selection could thus lead to the evolution of complex organisms from simple ones. The theory therefore implied that all current life-forms could have evolved from a single, simple progenitor - an organism now referred to as life's last common ancestor. (This life-form is said to be "last" not "first" because it is the nearest shared ancestor of all contemporary organisms; more distant ancestors must have appeared earlier.)

Darwin, bending somewhat to the religious biases of his time, posited in the final paragraph of The Origin of Species that "the Creator" originally breathed life "into a few forms or into one." Then evolution rook over: "From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved." In private correspondence, however, he suggested life could have arisen through chemistry, "in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, etc. present." For much of the 20th century, origin-of-life research has aimed to flesh out Darwin's private hypothesis - to elucidate how, without supernatural intervention, spontaneous interaction of the relatively simple molecules dissolved in the lakes or oceans of the prebiotic world could have yielded life's last common ancestor.

Finding a solution to this problem requires knowing something about that ancestor's characteristics. Obviously, it had to possess genetic information - that is, heritable instructions for functioning and reproducing - and the means to replicate and carry out those instructions. Otherwise it would have left no descendants. Also, its system for replicating its genetic material had to allow for some random variation in the heritable characteristics of the offspring so that new traits could be selected and lead to the creation of diverse species.

Scientists have attained more insight into the character of the last common ancestor by identifying commonalities in contemporary organisms. One can safely infer that intricate features present in all modern varieties of life also appeared in that common ancestor. After all, it is next to impossible for such universal traits to have evolved separately. The rationale is the same as would apply to discovery of two virtually identical screenplays, differing only in a few words. It would be unreasonable to think that the scripts were created independently by two separate authors. By the same token, it would be safe to assume that one script was an imperfect replica of the other or that both versions were slightly altered copies of a third.

One readily apparent commonality is that all living things consist of similar organic (carbon-rich) compounds. Another shared property is that the proteins found in present-day organisms are fashioned from one set of 20 standard amino acids. These proteins include enzymes (biological catalysts) that are essential to development, survival and reproduction.

Further, contemporary organisms carry their genetic information in nucleic acids - RNA and DNA - and use essentially the same genetic code. This code specifies the amino acid sequences of all the proteins each organism needs. More precisely, the instructions take the form of specific sequences of nucleotides, the building blocks of nucleic acids. These nucleotides consist of a sugar (deoxyribose in DNA, and ribose in RNA), a phosphate group and one of four different nitrogen-containing bases. In DNA, the bases are adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T). In RNA, uracil (U) substitutes for thymine. The bases constitute the alphabet, and triplets of bases form the words. As an example, the triplet CUU in RNA instructs a cell to add the amino acid leucine to a growing strand of protein.

From such findings we can infer that our last common ancestor stored genetic information in nucleic acids that specified the composition of all needed proteins. It also relied on proteins to direct many of the reactions required for self-perpetuation. Hence, the central problem of origin-of-life research can be refined to ask, By what series of chemical reactions did this interdependent system of nucleic acids and proteins come into being?

Anyone trying to solve this puzzle immediately encounters a paradox. Nowadays nucleic acids are synthesized only with the help of proteins, and proteins are synthesized only if their corresponding nucleotide sequence is present. It is extremely improbable that proteins and nucleic acids, both of which are structurally complex, arose spontaneously in the same place at the same time. Yet it also seems impossible to have one without the other. And so, at first glance, one might have to conclude that life could never, in fact, have originated by chemical means.

In the late 1960s Carl R. Woese of the University of Illinois, Francis Crick, then at the Medical Research Council in England, and I (working at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego) independently suggested a way out of this difficulty. We proposed that RNA might well have come first and established what is now called the RNA world - a world in which RNA catalyzed all the reactions necessary for a precursor of life's last common ancestor to survive and replicate. We also posited that RNA could subsequently have developed the ability to link amino acids together into proteins. This scenario could have occurred, we noted, if prebiotic RNA had two properties not evident today: a capacity to replicate without the help of proteins and an ability to catalyze every step of protein synthesis.

There were a few reasons why we favored RNA over DNA as the originator of the genetic system, even though DNA is now the main repository of hereditary information. One consideration was that the ribonucleotides in RNA are more readily synthesized than are the deoxyribonucleotides in DNA. Moreover, it was easy to envision ways that DNA could evolve from RNA and then, being more stable, take over RNA's role as the guardian of heredity. We suspected that RNA came before proteins in part because we had difficulty composing any scenario in which proteins could replicate in the absence of nucleic acids.

During the past 10 years, a fair amount of evidence has lent credence to the idea that the hypothetical RNA world did exist and lead to the advent of life based on DNA, RNA and protein. Notably, in 1983 Thomas R. Cech of the University of Colorado at Boulder and, independently, Sidney Altman of Yale University discovered the first known ribozymes, enzymes made of RNA. Until then, proteins were thought to carry out all catalytic reactions in contemporary organisms. Indeed, the term "enzyme" is usually reserved for proteins. The first ribozymes identified could do little more than cut and join preexisting RNA. Nevertheless, the fact that they behaved like enzymes added weight to the notion that ancient RNA might also have been catalytic.

Quite recently Szostak found even stronger evidence that an RNA molecule produced by prebiotic chemistry could have carried out RNA replication on the early earth. He started by creating a pool of random oligonucleotides, to approximate the random production presumed to have occurred some four billion years ago. From that pool he was able to isolate a catalyst that could join together oligonucleotides. Equally important, the catalyst could draw energy for the reaction from a triphosphate group (three joined phosphates), the very same group that now fuels most biochemical reactions in living systems, including nucleic acid replication. Such a resemblance supports the idea that an RNA molecule could have behaved like, and preceded, the protein catalysts that today carry out the replication of genetic material in living organisms. Much remains to be done, but it now seems likely that some kind of RNA-catalyzed reproduction of RNA will be demonstrated in the not too distant future.

Studies of ribosomes, often called the protein factories of cells, have provided support for another important part of the RNA-world hypothesis: the proposition that RNA could have created protein synthesis. Ribosomes, which consist of ribosomal RNA and protein, travel along strands of messenger RNA (single-strand transcripts of protein-coding genes carried by DNA). As the ribosomes move, they link one specified amino acid to the next by forming peptide bonds between them. Harry F. Noller, Jr., of the University of California at Santa Cruz has found that it is probably the RNA in ribosomes, not the protein, that catalyzes formation of the peptide bonds.

Other work indicates that primitive RNA would have been able to evolve, as would be required of any material that gave rise to the genes in life's last common ancestor. Sol Spiegelman, when at the University of Illinois, and researchers inspired by his ideas have demonstrated that RNA molecules can be induced to take on new traits. For instance, when RNA was allowed to replicate repeatedly in the presence of a ribonuclease (an enzyme that normally breaks down RNA), the RNA eventually became resistant to the degradative enzyme. Similarly, Gerald F. Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute and others have recently applied more sophisticated procedures to derive ribozymes that cleave a variety of chemical bonds, including peptide bonds.

Thus, there is good reason to think the RNA world did exist and that RNA invented protein synthesis. If this conclusion is correct, the main task of origin-of-life research then becomes explaining how the RNA world came into being. The answer to this question requires knowing something about the chemistry of the prebiotic soup: the aqueous solution of organic molecules in which life originated. Fortunately, even before the RNA-world hypothesis was proposed, investigators had gained useful insights into that chemistry.

By the 1930s Alexander I. Oparin in Russia and J.B.S. Haldane in England had pointed out that the organic compounds needed for life could not have formed on the earth if the atmosphere was as rich in oxygen (oxidizing) as it is today. Oxygen, which takes hydrogen atoms from other compounds, interferes with the reactions that transform simple organic molecules into complex ones. Oparin and Haldane proposed, therefore, that the atmosphere of the young earth, like that of the outer planets, was reducing: it contained very little oxygen and was rich in hydrogen (H2) and compounds that can donate hydrogen atoms to other substances. Such gases were presumed to include methane (CH4) and ammonia (NH3).

Oparin's and Haldane's ideas inspired the famous Miller-Urey experiment, which in 1953 began the era of experimental prebiotic chemistry. Harold C. Urey of the University of Chicago and Stanley L. Miller, a graduate student in Urey's laboratory, wondered about the kinds of reactions that occurred when the earth was still enveloped in a reducing atmosphere. In a self-contained apparatus, Miller created such an "atmosphere." It consisted of methane, ammonia, water and hydrogen above an "ocean" of water. Then he subjected the gases to "lightning" in the form of a continuous electrical discharge. After a few days, he analyzed the contents of the mock ocean.

Miller found that as much as 10 percent of the carbon in the system was converted to a relatively small number of identifiable organic compounds, and up to 2 percent of the carbon went to making amino acids of the kinds that serve as constituents of proteins. This last discovery was particularly exciting because it suggested that the amino acids needed for the construction of proteins - and for life itself - would have been abundant on the primitive planet. At the time, investigators were not yet paying much attention to the origin of nucleic acids- they were most interested in explaining how proteins appeared on the earth.

Careful analyses elucidated many of the chemical reactions that occurred in the experiment and thus might have occurred on the prebiotic planet. First, the gases in the "atmosphere" reacted to form a suite of simple organic compounds, including hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and aldehydes (compounds containing the group CHO ). The aldehydes then combined with ammonia and hydrogen cyanide to generate intermediary products called aminonitriles, which interacted with water in the "ocean" to produce amino acids and ammonia. Glycine was the most abundant amino acid, resulting from the combination of formaldehyde (CH2O), ammonia and hydrogen cyanide. A surprising number of the standard 20 amino acids were also made in lesser amounts.


A little to long for you? In short; the planet made RNA and qRNA using what was found on early earth, That later evolved into DNA, soon after simple single celled forms evolved and became more complex.


3. you have a God... but can you explain how HE came to be?: last time I looked the Idea of a single god was a new religion, and there is no evidence for a god. If there is no evidence for something, how is there one. God is a man made device used to give hope to the down in out. Its also a device that is used to countroll the masses. Other than that there is no evidence or logic in the Idea of there being a god.
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Posted 7/4/09

mystic17 wrote:


kim_entangledjuvenile wrote:

soul... is true... one of the unexplainable phenomena of mankind...

you experience conscience... but can you explain it?

you have life... but can you explain why there is life and its origin?

you have a God... but can you explain how HE came to be?


^ i agree with that


I don't feel like looking for the original post (and I doubt that person is still around) so I'll just quote you:

1. Yes it is explainable, our conscience is a highly complex series of chemical and electrical signals within our brain. Nothing mystical about that.

2. I can't explain why we exist because we don't have any inherent reason for existing, we create our own reasons for living. At least that's what I believe. Darkphoenix already explained the origins, but what does any of that have to do with the existence of the soul?

3. I don't have a god, and most people who do don't have to explain where he came from because that would actually make them question and analyze their beliefs, and we can't have people thinking critically and independently because that would make the Earth implode. But again, what does any of that have to do with the soul?

Nothing is unexplainable, we just don't know the correct explanation for everything (or anything really).
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Posted 7/5/09
I believe that souls is not a myth but we don't fully understand what a soul really is because of varying beliefs.
Posted 7/5/09

Cuddlebuns wrote:

Nothing is unexplainable, we just don't know the correct explanation for everything (or anything really).


that is sorta true, but to me no matter how many theories man come up with, whether it's about the earth, life, soul, etc. they will never know the true meaning about it or explain if we do have a soul or how the universe really came to be & etc.
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Posted 7/5/09

mystic17 wrote:


Cuddlebuns wrote:

Nothing is unexplainable, we just don't know the correct explanation for everything (or anything really).


that is sorta true, but to me no matter how many theories man come up with, whether it's about the earth, life, soul, etc. they will never know the true meaning about it or explain if we do have a soul or how the universe really came to be & etc.

So there must be a soul or do to that some god did it? The point is placing a god/soul there because you do not know does not make it true.

'I forget who said that but he was a really smart person.'
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Posted 7/5/09
does other animals have souls?
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