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Escaping the mortal coil, Does man exist in spirt?


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#1    Disinterested

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 04:41 PM

This debate will be to decide if man has a spirit outside his physical boundaries

The two members who will be debating:

Irish will be debating for;
SnuffyPuffer will be debating against.

This is a formal, 1v1 debate. Each member will post one introduction, five body posts and one conclusion.

Any questions, feel free to send me a PM.  thumbsup.gif

Edited by Lottie, 31 March 2005 - 10:49 PM.


#2    Irish

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 04:44 PM

Introduction Post for debate:
Escaping the mortal coil, Does man exist in spirit?

Since the dawn of man people have shared stories of ghosts and spirits around the camp fire. Incidentally it still remains the best place to tell them.
Much like undiscovered sources of energy they without a doubt exist but await discovery. Proving there existence scientifically is difficult yet not impossible, with new technologies being discovered every day I believe in the near future this debate will never need to take place.
Every culture has belief in an afterlife; man’s spirit is evident in his consciousness in his compassion and his art. And I will attempt to convince the skeptical that there is more to man then his three dimensional existence.
I welcome snuffy’s input to this subject. He is a formidable debater, and I am sure he will challenge my thinking as I will challenge his perception of reality.
The best man is not always the winner, but the men that arise to a challenge is always the winners.
Good Luck Snuffy.


Most people do not want to know the truth they only want confirmation for what they think is truth.

#3    snuffypuffer

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 06:13 PM

This is why I picked you to debate with, Irish. I knew that you would push me to do my best. Win or lose, we both should learn something here. And on with the introduction.

Since mankind first climbed down out of the trees, we've always wondered where we came from, and where we go after our time here is over. Death is the ultimate unknown, and it is a mystery we will all have to face. The spectre of death has led to the creation of religion, elaborate burial rites, and countless stories told over campfires down over the millenia. Since this looms over us all for our entire lives, understanding it is a deep seated need within every one of us.

Now, with the advent of new procedures in science and technology, understanding death is closer then ever before. Startling discoveries on what happens to the brain as we die has given new insight into what we see as we pass out of this life, and there is more knowledge being learned every day. Unfortunately, our spirit is an abstract construct, and there is no evidence that after we're gone, our soul remains here.

Looking forward to this, man.

Nothing to see here.

#4    Irish

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 06:25 PM

Good Intro Snuffy!

Post 1
Relying on our senses.

  
We must rely on our five senses to explain spirits in a scientific way as senses are measurable to a certain degree. I believe that some people are capable of seeing more than the five senses however for my first post I will attempt to explain evidence from our known earth bound senses.

Sight
Probably the most common evidence of ghosts is sightings. From individual accounts, photography and video. A Google on “photography ghost” results in 352.000 sites with photographic evidence. Granted of the 1 million plus photos probably 90% could be dispelled as camera error, fraudulently photo shopped pictures or explainable phenomena. Still leaving 100 thousand pieces of photographic evidence without a known explanation.  
If you were to ask 10 people, having seen a ghost would you report it on a web site or forum? 7 would not, for fear of ridicule, one would be unsure and 2 would most certainly report it. Given that there’s more than a million reported sightings in a year it would not be a stretch to say that 6 million sightings would go unreported. With that much sight evidence ghost/spirit phenomena should at the very least meet scientific measure as a theory.

Sound
The second most common evidence of haunting is noises without any apparent reason or explanation from things that go bump in the night, whispers to screams to the latest trend in ghostly research EVP.
It was only a few years ago that we discovered the ability to record sounds that we hear with our ears. And slowly that technology is improving to the point that we are able to deceive our own sense of hearing.
Radio, television as well as the internet we now take for granted because in our experience it has always been there.  Before we had radio to pick up radio signals radio waves existed even when man was munching mammoth bones by the old fire pit telling ghost stories. Those waves were all around us we just did not have the technology to comprehend their existence. I believe this is a good analogy in the study of ghosts and spirits someday soon our science will discover a means to clearly hear not only the spirit world but other worlds in other galaxies.  

Feel
We most often associate this sense with physical contact with some one or some thing. We also describe our emotions, pain and spirituality herein lays the connection to our other self, the soul/spirit.
No one can deny the complexities of the body and mind and yet many deny the existence of the soul/spirit on the grounds that it is yet to be measured. Whereupon we are just at the beginning of understanding the mechanism of our own brain.
I am old enough to remember prior to the first heart transplant in the 1960’s that many believed the heart to be the vessel of emotion and feelings, indeed we still subscribe to this ideal when we speak of love. Science has proven that the heart is nothing more than a very complex muscle.
It is not unreasonable to assume that medical science will someday show that the brain is but a microprocessor for the spirit/soul.
Many encounters with ghosts are based solely on a feeling. Some other presence in the same room. Someone out of the corner of our eyes. We all have felt the presence of someone else without the evidence of seeing or hearing them. Call it intuition if you like but it is evidence never the less.    

Smell.
Our strongest link to the subconscious.
Smell is the one sense closely associated with memory. So it is a natural that a ghost would use this as a form of communication with the living as it may serve to identify who they are to our subconscious mind.
There are many examples in haunting of this phenomenon of smell, example “I could smell the perfume she used to wear” is very common in ghostly experiences. Evil spirits are usually associated with bad smells. It is the one sense that we are leased lightly to exaggerate or lie about.
Like animals we have an intuition that is related to the sense of smell that is not always consciously recognized. There is a lot of scientific evidence in support of the effects of pheromones on attraction to sexual compatibility just ask the perfume industry. The mechanics of love are an intricate part of this sense.
We often use the term the “smell of fear” although it is not a physically definable smell.
  
Taste
Now here I must digress from the real topic as no one can deny that spirits are very tasty indeed whether it be rum, vodka, gin or whiskey. Oh I know there are a few un-believers in this sense. But there is no accounting for taste. I will pour us both a Guinness and a shot of Bushmills and await your response.

Conclusion of post number 1.
Our five senses are but the tip of the iceberg of evidence in support of the existence of the spirit. There are as many things measurable as there is un- measurable in this world and beyond. The yardstick for this measure is within our reach.

Over to you Snuffy.


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#5    snuffypuffer

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 07:15 AM

Well, let's see if we can't sort this out.

I agree that personal experience is quite a convincing thing. Our senses are our only window on the world around us, and we can become lost without the use of even one of them. But, our senses can also deceive us, especially when we expect there to be more to things than there actually is. In this post I will attempt to show how things can be misidentified, and how our senses sometimes fail us.

Sight
Sight is probably the sense we rely on most. As such, we tend to believe what we see explicitly, without much questioning. This is where some of the problems lie. As you stated, a simple google search will bring up thousands of ghost picture sites, many of them quite good, as far as aesthetics go. This in itself causes doubt, as most times the very best ghost pictures, as far as aesthetics go, are obvious fakes. What's left of this glut of "evidence" is usually a blurry, indestinct outline, that could be anything. An indestinct, fuzzy form in a photograph, while not always easily explained away, is not firm evidence of a spirit making it's presence known.

And as many ghost encounters are reported, I agree, there are likely many more that aren't. But these sightings, also, would most likely follow the proportions of explainability that the reported cases show, around 95-98 percent misidentification and hysteria.

Sound
I would argue that this is the most commonly reported encounter with ghosts, especially in older buildings. Most times, this is because old homes simply make more noise. The structure settling, old ventilation systems, furnaces, air ducts piping in sounds from outside. Combine this with someone who's anxious, whether new to the building, playing with a ouija board, or just plain letting their imaginations run, and you have a ready made paranormal experience.

The method of making EVPs, recording the sounds of a room while no one (living, at least) is present, in my opinion, has a long way to go before being a reliable way to measure ghostly activity. Most times the microphone picks up a lot of background noise, and when filtered and enhanced, what comes through is nothing more than an indestinct whisper. And since the recording was taken in an empty room, with no one around to monitor it, there is no way to tell where the anomalous sound is coming from.

QUOTE
And slowly that technology is improving to the point that we are able to deceive our own sense of hearing.

This is an excellent point. In the static and background of an EVP, one can pick out whatever one wishes to hear in the muddle. It is simply not reliable as a method for collecting evidence.

Feel
When I was little, my parents let me watch Psycho, telling me it was only a movie and not real in any sense. For years afterwards, almost until I hit puberty, whenever I went to the bathroom, I had to check behind the shower curtain. I was convinced that there was someone standing behind it, waiting to jump out at me when I entered the room. To this day, I get the clear ones, so that I can see what's behind them when I have to do my business. It's funny how a silly childhood fixation can stay with you into adulthood.

The point here is that we have all felt something there, just outside of our vision. It is very easy to scare ourselves, all it takes is a little suggestion, and our mind will run with it. It takes all of our senses to put together a clear picture of what's going on around us, and a simple feeling or intuition is not enough to tell us something's there.

Smell
This one, I will give you, Irish. Smell is the least likely to be exaggerated or misidentified. It is very hard to pin down the source of a smell, especially one that is very out of place. I'm afraid this point is yours.

Taste
Well, aside from Samuel O'Malley, the ghost licking prospector who became famous in the late 1830's, there are very few accounts of spirits having any taste at all. I'll gladly accept the Guinness, and now, back to the topic.

Conclusion
Our senses, while powerful, can play tricks on us. We need all of them to construct a good picture of what it is we are experiencing, and even then, things are not always what they seem. As with anything else, sometimes you have to dig down below the surface to find the truth of what it is you're experiencing.

Back to you, my friend.

Nothing to see here.

#6    Irish

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 08:03 PM

Post 2 Irish

Sight
There is scientific evidence to suggest that our eyes do not always see what is really there. To demonstrate this lets look first at infra red imaging.
We can learn a lot about the Universe, our Earth and everyday objects by viewing them in a different "light" as well it is used as a tool in psychic research. Infra red imaging has many other applications such as medical research, Military Applications and Commercial Applications. Infra red technology gives us an ability to see thing we would not normally see with our own eyes. Not deception but the ability to see things outside our range of perception.
Electromagnetic Waves (X-Rays) are another example of a tool that allows us to see things outside of our normal perception. Light, microwaves, x-rays, and TV and radio transmissions are all kinds of electromagnetic waves.

The pre-requisite for both of these technological discoveries was first the ability to believe it was possible than the question was how we could make it happen. The mother of invention is need, but the father of invention is believe it is possible.

I believe that scientists out of fear of ridicule by respected colleagues, (and perhaps financial funding) entrap themselves and their thinking in paradigms of pre-supposed knowledge. It is not until they reach the preverbal brick wall that they realize they must scrap what they spent much of their life’s work (a very difficult thing to do) and start all over again.

The greatest minds of invention were able to navigate around this wall of pre-supposed knowledge. The likes of Galileo, Benjamin Franklin,. Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolas Tesla, were all influenced by a recognition of the paranormal. All were shunned by their colleagues of the day. How much further ahead would we be if the work of these men was recognized in their lifetime? Instead they wasted many years trying to prove they were not crack pots to there colleagues.

Unfortunately science is not only bias but arrogant as well. An example: Wicca’s in medieval times had a spell/potion for the relief of pain it consisted of boiling the bark from the willow tree and drinking the mixture. We know now that the effective ingredient in this mixture is ASA (common aspirin) However science to this day does not understand why or how it works but takes the credit anyway.

Forgive me for deviating of course slightly to make my point. This is to show that science must recognize that folk lore and phenomena are key ingredients to understanding our world and beyond.

QUOTE(snuffypuffer @ Mar 18 2005, 01:15 AM)
Sound, I would argue that this is the most commonly reported encounter with ghosts,

Minor point, no argument.
QUOTE(irish)
Sound The second most common evidence of haunting is noises…,


QUOTE(snuffypuffer @ Mar 18 2005, 01:15 AM)
Most times, this is because old homes simply make more noise. The structure settling, old ventilation systems, furnaces, air ducts piping in sounds from outside. 


To counter here I might add that many haunting occur in newer buildings built on older sites. I live near the site of an old hospital and personally know some of the construction workers who are building condos on the old site. There are many stories of encounters with people/ghosts walking around in the middle of winter in hospital gowns. If this is a prank I would still commend the perpetrators of such as awfully brave in this cold blush.gif .  
I concur, that imagination and speculation plays a part for many, but not all.


QUOTE(snuffypuffer @ Mar 18 2005, 01:15 AM)
The method of making EVPs, recording the sounds of a room while no one (living, at least) is present, in my opinion, has a long way to go before being a reliable way to measure ghostly activity. 


Agreed, but every journey begins with the first step. Kirlian photography much like EVP gives us more questions than answers. But then so does the more conventional sciences.
For those readers not familiar with Kirlian photography.
In 1939, Semyon Kirlian discovered by accident that if an object on a photographic plate is subjected to a high-voltage electric field, an image is created on the plate. The image looks like a colored halo or coronal discharge. This image is said to be a physical manifestation of the spiritual aura or "life force" which allegedly surrounds each living thing.
Allegedly, this special method of "photographing" objects is a gateway to the paranormal world of auras. Actually, what is recorded is due to quite natural phenomena such as pressure, electrical grounding, humidity and temperature. Changes in moisture (which may reflect changes in emotions), barometric pressure, and voltage, among other things, will produce different 'auras'.
Source: http://skepdic.com/kirlian.html
Feel
QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
When I was little, my parents let me watch Psycho, telling me it was only a movie and not real in any sense.


The movie that scared the sh*t out of me as a child was “Invasion of the Body snatchers” My father used to grow Marrows (large Zucchini’s) in our back garden I would never go out there alone for fear that one of those suckers were going to hatch. w00t.gif
Fear is an emotion closely associated with intuition with out it we would have killed ourselves long before this. I believe that intuition is a sense that we acquire from our soul/spirit it is a feeling not always related to knowledge. We are born with it and it remains with us throughout our lives. Some people are more in tune with it than others. Successful people rely heavily upon it in decision making. Combined with fear it convicts us not to step off the cliff and then reasoning tells us why.
A kitten approaches the edge of a balcony, unable to reason it relies entirely on intuition fear not to go any further (unless it’s a very stupid cat)cat.gif . This knowledge is not learned from experience but from something pre-existent in it consciousness.
This is why I believe our soul/spirit gives us guidance and is therefore evidence of its self.

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
This one, I will give you, Irish. Smell is the least likely to be exaggerated or misidentified. It is very hard to pin down the source of a smell, especially one that is very out of place. I'm afraid this point is yours.

You are to kind, but I thank you all the same!

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
Taste
Well, aside from Samuel O'Malley, the ghost licking prospector who became famous in the late 1830's, there are very few accounts of spirits having any taste at all. I'll gladly accept the Guinness, and now, back to the topic.


Can’t say I’ve heard of heard of him. It figures he has an Irish name. dammed Irish think they can lick anything!
gunsmilie.gif

My conclusion here is that science should rely more on intuition rather than just plain cold fact. Just like a turtle has to stick his head out, to get ahead.

Now I believe this is your round snuffy, all this talk has made me thirsty.


Most people do not want to know the truth they only want confirmation for what they think is truth.

#7    snuffypuffer

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 02:21 AM

Well, after a brief sabbattical from this thread, I'm back to lay down some heavy knowledge.

QUOTE
There is scientific evidence to suggest that our eyes do not always see what is really there.
Agreed, there is an entire spectrum of light frequencies our eyes are not built to detect. The last century has seen our knowledge of the world around us skyrocket, and this is largely due to advancements in science and technology. None of this would exist without the imagination of visionaries and eccentrics, but with the ability to imagine something, must come the knowledge of how to make it work.

For every success, there have been ten more failures. But this is not from lack of trying. Seeing the possibility of things is only the beginning. One must still take it further, experimenting, see what works and what doesn't, until a working prototype is constructed. The path to where we are now as a race is littered with ideas that for one reason or another, have been found to be simply impracticle.

I disagree with your argument that science, in its arrogance, completely ignores folklore and mythology altogether. In fact, many of the medicines used today, such as aspirin and the use of maggots and leeches to help clean wounds to promote faster healing, are based on old folk remedies. Without modern medicine looking into the possibility of these things actually being beneficial, they would never be such a common sight on drug store shelves.

My point here is that imagination and intuition, while necessary and vital to making any progress in the world at all, are only the first steps in a broader understanding of the world around us. One must then take them a step further, and actually see what lies beyond the ledge.

And that concludes my post.

Nothing to see here.

#8    Irish

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 05:39 PM

Irish post 3


QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
None of this would exist without the imagination of visionaries and eccentrics, but with the ability to imagine something, must come the knowledge of how to make it work.


Agreed to a point, But I feel that it is not always necessary to have the conclusion before we accept the work of these visionaries and eccentrics. The work of Albert Einstein is still not fully understood and much is still theory and yet to be approved or perhaps discredited. However by accepting that the theories are viable, than we at leased have a template with witch to work with.    


QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
One must still take it further, experimenting; see what works and what doesn't, until a working prototype is constructed. The path to where we are now as a race is littered with ideas that for one reason or another, have been found to be simply impracticle. 


The most common error in scientific research is creating the mold before the prototype. Than scraping the prototype because it no longer fits the mold. The floor is indeed littered with good intention and grand invention!

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
Without modern medicine looking into the possibility of these things actually being beneficial, they would never be such a common sight on drug store shelves. 


Perhaps arrogance was the wrong word to use. I would argue that impractical may mean financially not feasible. How many pharmaceutical discoveries never leave the lab duo to the product not being lucrative enough to pursue further.

Let us look now at the definition of the soul.
    Encyclopaedia Britannica 15th edition:
Soul: an immaterial principle or aspect that, with the body, constitutes the human person.
The soul has also been conceived as the very essence of a thing and not a mere aspect or part.
Although now closely associated with such terms as mind, spirit, or self, with which it has become almost synonymous, the basic connotation of soul in ancient and primitive societies was life.
Soul is the life of the body. ... At death the soul leaves the body, and all bodily processes cease.
Plato identifies the soul as unchanging and resembling the divine while the body resembles the mortal: “The soul is in the very likeness of the divine, and immortal, and intelligible, and uniform, and indissoluble, and unchangeable; and the body is in the very likeness of the human, and mortal, and unintelligible, and, and multiform, and dissoluble, and changeable.”
The body is pre-destined for dissolution (death) while the soul remains immortal.
I believe Plato was able to grasp the concept of immortality of the soul without excuse of religious bias.

I think that a true scientist must analyze without preconceptions the experimental data, and try to understand whether such data are compatible with our scientific theories or not. A true scientist cannot exclude the possibility of the existence of supernatural phenomena; this would be a preconception. A true scientist must not try to hide the incompatibility of certain phenomena with our scientific theories.

Science by itself cannot prove the existence of the soul or the existence of God, just like it cannot prove the existence of consciousness.
Actually, the crucial point is the fact that in the laws of physics, consciousness is not present, neither as a property of matter, nor of any physical, chemical or biological process.
It is not science that proves the existence of the soul, but it is our reason that finds in science the confirmation of the transcendent nature of consciousness to matter and its processes.
It is by reason that analyses, both the scientific theories and the observable phenomena (including consciousness), and understands that in physics, consciousness doesn't exist; in the laws of physics there are all natural phenomena (physical, chemical and biological) but there is no consciousness. Our existence as conscious persons opposes to this lack. Our reason cannot then account for the existence of our consciousness without admitting the existence in us of an immaterial and un-physical element, the soul.
Our being here "consciously" is the most direct proof of the existence of our soul and of God, the Creator of our soul, our inner self.

To conclude this post I must state that it is the science of reasoning that dictates the very existence of a soul/spirit of man and it is this reasoning that itself is evidence of such. Reasoning and intellect cannot be dissected on the laboratory bench much as you cannot dissect the soul.
Over to you snuffy!


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#9    snuffypuffer

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 09:26 PM

Well done, Irish.

QUOTE
The work of Albert Einstein is still not fully understood and much is still theory and yet to be approved or perhaps discredited. However by accepting that the theories are viable, than we at leased have a template with witch to work with.

Subsequent research and experimentation has shown that Einstein was on the right track. His theories are considered viable because he used existing knowledge and tested scientific principles, and took them further. Many of his theories were so advanced they still cannot be fully tested.

But, Einstein dealt in physics, the way the universe around us works, and how we interact with it. His template still deals with the reality of our world, and not those things that are intangible abstracts.

QUOTE
The most common error in scientific research is creating the mold before the prototype. Than scraping the prototype because it no longer fits the mold.

There was a time, far back in our collective history, when the most learned and respected minds still believed the world was flat, and the universe revolved around us. When new thinkers came around, and through questioning the world around them and experimenting, much of what the scientific world considered reliable and true was turned on its head. When the mold no longer fit, the mold was broken. New knowledge replaces the old all the time, science is an ever changing, ever evolving field.

As little as fifty years ago, dinosaurs were considered slow, lumbering, uncaring behemoths. As new discoveries were made, and paleontologists studied the subject from different angles, our perception has changed. Dinosaurs are now dynamic, complex animals that cared for their young and had intricate social structures. All this came about by studying the fossil record, what was already there in front of them, it just needed to be seen from all the right angles.

In science, the object is to find the truth, not to fit the mold. I'd say the mold is constantly being reshaped, as new knowledge is gained.

QUOTE
How many pharmaceutical discoveries never leave the lab duo to the product not being lucrative enough to pursue further.

I have to agree with you on this one, as sad as it is, it is a fact. However, a simple book on home remedies can give you a good deal of insight on treating minor ailments. But, this fact is due to the greed of big drug companies, and not of the researchers who toil away, searching for cures to the diseases that plague us.


QUOTE
Encyclopaedia Britannica 15th edition:
Soul: an immaterial principle or aspect that, with the body, constitutes the human person.
The soul has also been conceived as the very essence of a thing and not a mere aspect or part.

True. Our soul is what makes us what we are. Art, literature, music, love, unity, all these are aspects of the soul. The soul is that uniqueness that makes us human, and separates us from the rest on the animal kingdom. I agree with the point you're trying to make here, that the soul is the intangible property that sets us apart from our fellow beings.

QUOTE
the basic connotation of soul in ancient and primitive societies was life.

It is also interesting to note that, until the ancient Egyptians arrived on the scene, primitive humans had no real concept of an afterlife at all. They worshipped simple elemental spirits, who controlled the rising of the sun, the seasons, and the availability of food. It isn't until the advent of civilization, and man having more time to focus on things other than simply surviving, that people began looking at the soul as something that goes on after our physical body ceases to function.

The ancient Egyptian myth of the death and rebirth of Osiris gives us a good example of how mankind's ideas of the afterlife arose. The ancient Egyptians, from the Pharoah himself down to the lowliest peasant, hoped to join Osiris in the underworld after they died. The soul became not just life itself, or the unique qualities that make us individuals, but something more tangible, that needed to be nurtured and cared for, so that it may make it to the other side and take its place with Osiris. This concept led to elaborate burial rituals, much of Egyptian spiritual life revolved around making a succesfull journey into the afterlife. This concept is still with us in many of the religions we have today.

The soul as something wholly separate and independent of the body itself did not exist until civilization gave mankind time to organize a structured spiritual life.

QUOTE
Plato identifies the soul as unchanging and resembling the divine while the body resembles the mortal: “The soul is in the very likeness of the divine, and immortal, and intelligible, and uniform, and indissoluble, and unchangeable; and the body is in the very likeness of the human, and mortal, and unintelligible, and, and multiform, and dissoluble, and changeable.”
The body is pre-destined for dissolution (death) while the soul remains immortal.
I believe Plato was able to grasp the concept of immortality of the soul without excuse of religious bias.

I think that what Plato is referring to here is the quality that sets us apart as individuals, and how that leaves its mark on those we know and love, rather than an entity in and of itself. How we get along in this world, and how our actions affect others, indeed lives on beyond our own self awareness. I don't believe he is talking about something that is conscious of itself. And this is the measuring stick for whether or not the soul survives the dissolution of the body.

QUOTE
I think that a true scientist must analyze without preconceptions the experimental data, and try to understand whether such data are compatible with our scientific theories or not. A true scientist cannot exclude the possibility of the existence of supernatural phenomena; this would be a preconception.

This is true to a point. But if, after experimentation and examination, a phenomenon is found to contradict accepted and proven theories without evidence to back up its existence, then said phenomenon must be discarded as a myth. The possibility of the supernatural is perfectly acceptable, but confirmation of a phenomenon is subject to its ability to be tested and verified. If an anomaly can't be tested, it's veracity is cast into doubt.

QUOTE
Science by itself cannot prove the existence of the soul or the existence of God,

Neither can it disprove them. Hence the debate. It is ultimately up to us as individuals to choose the theory that best fits our understanding, and to follow it in peace.

Consciousness proves itself by its very nature. The fact that I'm sitting here typing this reply is evidence of my consciousness. While it is a fleeting, intangible thing, the very act of reading my post, as you are now, proves it's reality.

QUOTE
Actually, the crucial point is the fact that in the laws of physics, consciousness is not present, neither as a property of matter, nor of any physical, chemical or biological process.

Consciousness is not present because many of these processes do not occur as a result of it, but consciousness occurs as a result of them acting together. My eyes, fingers, and brain all combine input to provide a picture of what is going on around me. Without the biological processes and electical synapses happening in my brain right now, I could not construct this reply, and my very awareness would be affected. Awareness is the core component of consciousness, and we rely on the impulses sent to our brain, all biological and chemical responses to stimuli, to create our awareness, which in turn creates consciousness.

In conclusion, while it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of the soul using scientific means, we can be reasonably certain that consciousness as we understand it, which is awareness of ourselves and the world around us, ceases to exist as our body and the systems with which we experience the universe break down. Whether something of us moves on, to be reincarnated in a new body, or makes a journey to some other realm of reality, cannot be proven, or even tested.

Nothing to see here.

#10    Irish

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 05:44 PM

Ah! A truly meaty post you served up there snuffy, hope I don’t get indigestion.

Irish post 4


QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
But, Einstein dealt in physics, the way the universe around us works, and how we interact with it. His template still deals with the reality of our world, and not those things that are intangible abstracts.


Yes Einstein dealt in physics, however there is an area of quantum physics were faith and science meet when we consider the problem of consciousness. Our relationship with mind and brain is connected by consciousness and it is this relationship that suggests a soul/spirit.
The brain in itself cannot generate consciousness. This would imply a presents in all of us a unbiological/unmaterial entity we refer to as the soul.
Reasoning in itself is some what abstract but does not have to be intangible if we break it down and leave small gapes for science to fill in the future. We will discover this entity.

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
There was a time, far back in our collective history, when the most learned and respected minds still believed the world was flat, and the universe revolved around us. When new thinkers came around, and through questioning the world around them and experimenting, much of what the scientific world considered reliable and true was turned on its head


Agreed 100%. That is why we must create a structure that allows for the same kind of turn. In building such we need to put in as many of the pieces that are available to us at this time and be open enough for some one to fill the gapes. And than hope we don’t have to destroy the whole building.

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
a simple book on home remedies can give you a good deal of insight on treating minor ailments.


Once again this is how science appears to be arrogant to knowledge. Sometimes what seems as impossible is basically very simple. As serious analytical thinkers we are guilty of wanting to look for the most complicated of answers. When sometimes the not so bright kid next door had it all figured out a long time ago.
We want to believe that the answers will come from the most intelligent of us. And are embarrassed when we see it was too simple.

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
It is also interesting to note that, until the ancient Egyptians arrived on the scene, primitive humans had no real concept of an afterlife at all. 


Interesting, I did not know that. Will add it to my to-do list for research. Thanks snuffy. My time frame may be out a notch but I have read of the ancient Celts having stories of an afterlife here is a link to some of those stories.

http://altreligion.about.com/gi/dynamic/of...otherworld.html

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
The possibility of the supernatural is perfectly acceptable, but confirmation of a phenomenon is subject to its ability to be tested and verified. If an anomaly can't be tested, it's veracity is cast into doubt. 


Not always into doubt, but shelved until such time as we can develop a way to test. Without getting derailed here I would use the subject of anti-matter. Just twenty years ago anti-matter existed in the realms of science fiction only and the concept was thought to be preposterous. It has now been taken of the shelf and dusted for re-examination. Can’t recall who said it but “yesterday’s science fiction becomes tomorrow’s science fact”.

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
My eyes, fingers, and brain all combine input to provide a picture of what is going on around me. Without the biological processes and electrical synapses happening in my brain right now, I could not construct this reply, and my very awareness would be affected. 


Within the womb you had those eyes, fingers and brain but they were of little use to you in the world you existed in. They were there to prepare you for a world you would soon enter. Perhaps psychic ability is like arms and legs in the womb, preparing us for the next realm of existence.
Science, contrary to philosophy, is always based on the observation of phenomena; the possibility of an experimental check is basically what distinguishes a scientific theory from a philosophical idea. Consciousness is a directly observable phenomenon, of which we have then full experimental evidence of the phenomenon "consciousness" deserves then to be analyzed from a scientific perspective. Science has proved that all chemical, biological and cerebral processes consist only in some successions of elementary physical processes, determined in their turn only by the laws of quantum mechanics. Consciousness transcends the laws of physics and cannot then be considered the product of biological and cerebral processes. This implies that our mind and our brain are not the same entity, but two different yet interacting entities and the soul is more a part of the mind than the brain.

   In conclusion of this post I would like to consider the question: where does our mind come from? The phenomenon of consciousness proves that, at a certain time in our existence it begins within us. The laws of physics prove that the mind cannot be the product of physical, chemical or biological processes, contrary to Prof. Timothy Leary. blink.gif  Therefore, the origin of our mind is transcendent to the physical reality of our existence. I am tempted at this time to espouse my understanding of Christian apologetic theosophy innocent.gif . But as with my original bargain with you I shall refrain from such.

Perhaps, its just indigestion after all.

Care for desert?
All the best
Irish


Most people do not want to know the truth they only want confirmation for what they think is truth.

#11    snuffypuffer

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 01:41 AM

We're on the home stretch, now. Please return your tray tables to their original, upright position.


QUOTE
Our relationship with mind and brain is connected by consciousness and it is this relationship that suggests a soul/spirit.

I will give you a half-point, there. But consciousness cannot exist without the brain, which is the center of activity for all our other senses. I hold to my statement that consciousness exists as the interaction of impulses within the brain, and how this information is processed and constructed to give us a picture of what is going on in the world around us.

QUOTE
The brain in itself cannot generate consciousness.

But without the brain, where can consciousness exist? As the 'computer' of our body, when the mind goes, the body follows soon after. This would mean a symbiotic relationship with consciousness at the very least. You can't have one without the other.

This brings me to an interesting idea. When you hear about a dangerous criminal, someone who has committed heinous acts, any kind of atrocity, they are said to have 'no conscience,' or 'no soul.' These words suggest that when we refer to the soul, we are talking about those attributes within us that cause us to try to be better, more productive members of society. The soul then represents all the good things about humanity. That would make it an abstract ideal, something to which we all try to attain. The soul represents our need to be connected with the divine. As an ideal, it is not a physical, tangible thing, but an abstract concept which we all work towards as human beings.

So the soul is not a physical thing we all possess, but an ideal, a perfect example of all the good things humankind is capable of.

QUOTE
As serious analytical thinkers we are guilty of wanting to look for the most complicated of answers. When sometimes the not so bright kid next door had it all figured out a long time ago.

This is very true. The problem is, this is a two way street. Sometimes we want to believe in something, even when no proof exists, simply because it's an attractive idea to us. When the dissappointing truth is that that's all it is, an idea.

QUOTE
Without getting derailed here I would use the subject of anti-matter. Just twenty years ago anti-matter existed in the realms of science fiction only and the concept was thought to be preposterous. It has now been taken of the shelf and dusted for re-examination.

This is an great example, Irish. In fact, if I remember correctly, antimatter was actually created in a lab a year or so ago. It only existed for a fraction of a second, but it was proven to be a possibility, if not a workable one, at least at present.

This was not simply because the scientists had a hope that it was possible, but because they spent years using existing knowledge and theory to discover in what conditions antimatter could be possible. Accepting the possibility of such a thing only went so far, it still needed to be tested, and favorable conditions for it's creation had to be found.

QUOTE
Science, contrary to philosophy, is always based on the observation of phenomena; the possibility of an experimental check is basically what distinguishes a scientific theory from a philosophical idea.

Again, I feel I have to disagree with you here. While philosophy does indeed deal with abstract ideas and nothing truly concrete, philosophers still observe the human condition and spend time looking within themselves to produce their ideas. Even though, for the most part, science deals with how things work and the way in which they are put together, and philosophy deals with the big questions of how to conduct ourselves and get along with the human condition, both are based on observation and the formulation of theories on why things are the way they are.

Consciousness is the awareness of the world around us, created and sustained by nerve impulses to and from our brain, which puts this information together to give us a picture of our environment. Without the brain constructing our perception of the world, consciousness cannot exist as a separate identity. They are symbiotic organisms, at the very least.

Conscience, or the soul, is an abstract ideal. Our morality, our values, the things we love, all these are attributes of the soul. As such, it is not a measurable quantity, but something we all hope to gain by going through life and gaining knowledge of our world.

I hope that came out the way I hoped it would. Back to you, Irish.

Nothing to see here.

#12    Irish

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 10:10 PM

My seat is in the upright position, my drink is empty and I am prepared for landing.
Great post there snuffy you really had me thinking on this one.  

Irish post 5


QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
But without the brain, where can consciousness exist? As the 'computer' of our body, when the mind goes, the body follows soon after. This would mean a symbiotic relationship with consciousness at the very least. You can't have one without the other. 


Where can consciousness exist? I am unable to answer at this time. Does it still exist? Yes: There are numerous examples of near death experiences (NDE) where people who have been declared clinically dead and yet have full recollection of procedures and conversations that take place within the emergency room. There are documented cases were people who have been in a comatose state remember visits, faces, surroundings and events during their un-conscious state.      
My mother past away a few years back I was able to witness her leaving this world and have not feared death since. In the final stages of cancer she had slipped into a coma for about a week with little hope of recovery.
On her last day I and my two brothers arrived at the hospital room at the same time which only happened the one time. She awoke from the coma as if nothing was wrong and began to talk to us in her usually witty irish way. She was physically unable to see through her very sick eyes yet commented on our appearance. She spoke with us individually than slipped back into the coma.
In a few minuets her breathing became labored and we called for the nurse. She awoke again and looked at us with tears in her eyes then glanced over to the corner of the room I do not know what or who she saw but suddenly her face brightened into a child like smile, like a kid at Christmas total surprise and happiness. She turned back to us for just one more look with tears again. Then back to the vision in the corner of the room and smiled and left us.
I felt for sure she had left with someone who came for her, and was very happy to go with them.
For more information on NDE. I would recommend reading some work by
  Elisabeth Kübler-Ross http://www.elisabethkublerross.com/

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
When you hear about a dangerous criminal, someone who has committed heinous acts, any kind of atrocity, they are said to have 'no conscience,' or 'no soul.' These words suggest that when we refer to the soul, we are talking about those attributes within us that cause us to try to be better, more productive members of society. The soul then represents all the good things about humanity. That would make it an abstract ideal, something to which we all try to attain. The soul represents our need to be connected with the divine.


What you are referring to here is in the same way we would describe someone as being “heartless” We know that is not physically possible. Yet we ascribe an emotional value to a complex muscle. As I described in an earlier post this was done at a time when we new very little of the heart and believed it to be the seat of consciousness. This was then transferred to the brain with the increase in medical knowledge. And soon we will have to reconsider this assumption also.
As for criminal behaviors, I do not believe there is such a thing as an evil brain but the soul itself is or could be poisoned with malicious intent either directly by the mind and or brain or indirectly by forces outside of our physical realm.
Its interesting to note that severe sociopath criminals have a tendency to hear voices instructing them on their behaviors.  

  
QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
  So the soul is not a physical thing we all possess, but an ideal, a perfect example of all the good things humankind is capable of.


Agreed it is not a physical thing, as much as thoughts and reason are also not. But they are evidence of sentience.

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
The problem is, this is a two way street. Sometimes we want to believe in something, even when no proof exists, simply because it's an attractive idea to us. When the disappointing truth is that that's all it is, an idea.


For thousands of years man has believed first, that he could fly like the birds. That proof has only been with us for the past one hundred years. It was first an attractive idea that is now possible. It was once but a dream of many men and became a reality for the Wright brothers.
We know inside of us lies an unbiological/unmaterial entity we deem to be the soul. Without believing first we will never identify it.


QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
Consciousness is the awareness of the world around us, created and sustained by nerve impulses to and from our brain, which puts this information together to give us a picture of our environment. Without the brain constructing our perception of the world, consciousness cannot exist as a separate identity. They are symbiotic organisms, at the very least.


Agreed to a point, however our awareness can be altered by interference of these nerve impulses through chemical and or physical manipulation but they only alter our own perception of the world.
As an old hippie myself I remember a funny adage from those days, “Reality, is just an excuse for those that can’t handle drugs”. rofl.gif
What I am trying to say is our brain is not always a reliable computer duo to physical limitations.
Were as the soul itself has an ability of a collective consciousness. (A topic for further discussion). It also possesses an unfathomable ability to reset our reality. Here I must rely on some personal experience as there is not a lot of research in this area.
Victims of brain washing techniques, whether chemical, or propaganda from religious cults to military training. Toward the end of a deprogramming phase all report  a similar experience of enlightenment described as a physical  loud snapping somewhere in their consciousness. I believe this to be some kind of mechanism that resets the brain and mind, a safety switch of the soul.
It truly is something remarkable to observe and I can only imagine what it is to actually experience this phenomena. Several people I have worked with describe it as realignment with reality a clearing of poisoned though. When it occurs it is a sudden and dramatic change in the person. It is a strong sign to the de-programmer that the victim is on the road to a full recovery.

QUOTE(snuffypuffer,)
Conscience, or the soul, is an abstract ideal. Our morality, our values, the things we love, all these are attributes of the soul. As such, it is not a measurable quantity, but something we all hope to gain by going through life and gaining knowledge of our world.   


I could not have said it better! Except to add,  And beyond this mortal coil.

The soul is not an invention to be found but a discovery to experience.

As we approach the runway let us be glad that flight was not discovered by the Wrong brothers! rolleyes.gif

Take us in for landing snuffy.

All the best
Irish


Most people do not want to know the truth they only want confirmation for what they think is truth.

#13    snuffypuffer

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 06:46 PM

Our conscience can be measured using scientific methods. Brain-wave activity, rapid eye movement while dreaming, all these are markers for consciousness. Science has brought us a long way in terms of understanding how our minds work and how we relate to our environment. Cat scans of a person's brain, taken while showing them various objects and situations, have recorded the areas of brain activity for each of those situations. The level of activity, and the area of the brain where the activity occurs, has been found to give us a good idea of what is going through the person's mind. This is scientific evidence of the measurement of consciousness.

What this means is, we might be close to finding the biological center for what we term the soul. The brain centers, and chemicals that determine our individual personalities are nearer than ever to being scientifically measured and sorted. New discoveries add to this knowledge every year.

This is further evidence that the soul is not a physical part of us, but rather a collective ideal that we are all brought up to believe in.

blush.gif man. I should be more careful.

Edited by snuffypuffer, 02 April 2005 - 08:46 PM.

Nothing to see here.

#14    Irish

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:34 PM

Conclusion

If time itself was an honest unchangeable measure than there would be little or no hope for the soul. But science has shown that time is relative and theoretically bendable. Psychology has shown us that perception of time is also relative to the individual. Our own belief systems (religions) all point to the existence of the soul of man.

Every culture has a belief in an afterlife; man’s spirit is evident in his love, creativity, consciousness and in his passion and his art.
If all we had to rely on was our five senses we would still have a mountain of evidence. Our five senses are but the tip of the iceberg of evidence in support of the existence of the spirit.

It is the science of reasoning that dictates the very existence of a soul/spirit of man and it is this reasoning that itself is evidence of such. Reasoning and intellect cannot be dissected on the laboratory bench much as you cannot dissect the soul.

Within the womb we had eyes, fingers and brain but they were of little use to you in the world you existed in. They were there to prepare you for a world you would soon enter. Perhaps psychic ability is like arms and legs in the womb, preparing us for the next realm of existence.

  The phenomenon of consciousness proves that, at a certain time in our existence it begins within us. The laws of physics prove that the mind cannot be the product of physical, chemical or biological processes. Therefore, the origin of our mind is transcendent to the physical reality of our existence.

With new technologies being discovered every day I believe in the near future we will have the measure we need to remove all doubt about the existence of an eternal soul.

Well Snuffy that about raps up this debate. It has been challenging and thought provoking; I thank you for your time and knowledge. And look forward to meeting you on the battle grounds again.

All the Best
Irish


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#15    snuffypuffer

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 09:08 PM

And now to bring this puppy home.

Conclusion:

QUOTE
There are numerous examples of near death experiences (NDE) where people who have been declared clinically dead and yet have full recollection of procedures and conversations that take place within the emergency room.

During the French Revolution*, I believe, it was found that a severed head could remain alive and aware for up to fifteen seconds. The executed person, while certainly not technically alive, could still move their eyes and react to what was going on around them while their systems were shutting down. Gruesome example, I know, but it's something that actually happened.

There have been clinical studies into NDEs, where a subject's brain waves have been altered to approximate the way neurons fire as the brain ceases activity. They have been able to re-create the bright light at the end of the tunnel effect, as well as some of the more elaborate parts of the experience. A small number of test subjects have also had the bad reaction, the experience of going to hell, simply put. All this as a result of our brain cells frantically firing as our body stops working. While this does not tell us anything about the nature of the soul, it has given us a great amount of insight into what goes on in the brain as the organ shuts down, and how we as a species experiences death.

QUOTE
My mother past away a few years back I was able to witness her leaving this world and have not feared death since. In the final stages of cancer she had slipped into a coma for about a week with little hope of recovery.

I lost my grandfather to cancer early in 2002. For the last few days he couldn't barely raise his head. He also spoke of seeing relatives that had passed on years before. It's an extremely hard thing to watch, I know where you're coming from, Irish. And on that note, I won't attempt to explain away by science what my Grandpa saw when he died.

QUOTE
I do not believe there is such a thing as an evil brain but the soul itself is or could be poisoned with malicious intent either directly by the mind and or brain or indirectly by forces outside of our physical realm.

I think some people are just born bad.

And now, I shall attempt to tie all this together. The soul, while something we all talk about and all wish to have, is not a tangible thing. It doesn't exist in the way we think it does, as something aware and sentient. Rather, it is an abstract concept, the amalgamation of all the things humanity holds dear; art, music, love, compassion, courage, friendship, learning, serenity. The soul is also those aspects of us that set us apart from all other people on this planet, it's what makes us unique. It is our personality, in short.

When we depart this life, our soul does indeed live on, but not as a separate, aware entity. Our soul lives in the memories of our family and friends, it lives in the way our deeds have affected those around us. The soul resides in the fond thoughts of our loved ones, long after we've moved on. Our soul remains in this world as long as there are people to tell our story. Our collective soul, all the values we hold dear and true, also is indestructible, in the very same way. Love, complassion, friendship, all these things will be here long, long after we are gone. The good in humanity is imperishable.

The idea that there is nothing waiting on the other side, while unfathomable to some, is not necessarily such a vile and terrible thought. I'd say that it may actually be a good motivator, in fact. The fact that we may truly only get one shot at this makes every moment we are breathing that much more important. It doesn't negate the value of life, it improves it. I think the guy who said "live every day as if it were your last" was on to something. For it just might be.

Thank you all for coming out, you've been a swell crowd. Please drive safely thumbsup.gif

Edited by snuffypuffer, 02 April 2005 - 09:08 PM.

Nothing to see here.




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