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Idea of a Human Soul And Reincarnation

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    Protocol Paper #2- Do we Survive Death? Recall • Socrates thought that the soul is too simple to destroy; he thought that we are indestructible. • Modern science disagrees with Socrates; the idea of the body-and-soul became the idea of the body-and-brain, psychology is the new soul; modern science has sees a correlation between consciousness and the brain. • There are three main fields that try to answer life after death- near death experiences, reincarnation, and psychics. • Near death experiences can also be answered by other hypothesis- influence of drugs, oxygen deprivation, dreaming, hallucinations. Reincarnation is possible, but there are problems with the theory- there are no reincarnated people with the original person’s personality (i. e. a baby is not born with the personality of the 70 year old whose theoretical reincarnation he is. ); there is a problem with reincarnation when the populations do not align (i. e. there are billions more people now than there were centuries ago; when, where, how were “new” people created? • Psychics are frauds. • David Hume made a point that answers why modern scientists pay no attention to life after death- the experience can either be a miracle or a mistake; a mistake is always more likely.

    Summarize • Even as early as Greek thought, including Socrates, people have thought about the idea of a human soul (or ego, self, etc. ). But what this soul really is or if it really exists is much harder to answer. Socrates argued that the soul is too simple to destroy; unlike other things (i. e. a shirt that can be ripped up into numerous pieces of said material), he thought that the soul was already at its simplest form; he thought the soul was indestructible. Modern science however, disagrees with the idea of a human soul. Modern science sees two issues with this idea- the brain and consciousness.

    The soul is not tangible, whereas modern science has proven that without the brain, the body will seize to function, and vice versa. Moreover, modern science has also seen that consciousness itself is not possible unless the brain functions properly. • There are fields besides science that deal with the possibility of life after death. These fields however are much less reliable. There have been recorded instances of near death experiences, but they have many problems. These instances can be explained by many other hypotheses as well, for example oxygen deprivation, drugs, hallucinations, or just plain dreaming.

    There is also a theory of reincarnation- people die and are born again in other bodies (or, potentially, as other living things). There are two big problems with this theory- there are a lot more people now than before, but logically, if this theory were true, there would be relatively close population levels throughout human history; and also, people are not born with the personalities they had in the original self’s, again, if this theory were true, logic would dictate that people would remember having lived past lives. The third field that tries to deal with life after death is one that claims to actually speak to the dead- psychics.

    Psychics are like magicians, they only create illusions. • David Hume made an argument which is now used to answer the question of why scientists don’t try to go over “evidence” about life after death. He noted that if a miracle was claimed, then two options were possible. First, the miracle could have actually happened, which is highly unlikely. Or second, a mistake could have been made somewhere down the line (the original witness made a human error, the witness lied, someone understood wrong, they original witness was deceived, etc. ) which is highly likely.

    Scientists always assume the latter. Questions • My main question about potential life after death deals with scientific attitudes towards the subject. I understand why scientists are willing to ignore most evidence based on David Hume’s logic, but I do not understand why they are not willing to constantly research the question as much as other difficult questions. One such example is that scientists are constantly trying to find the end of the universe (if there is an end at all, if the universe is expanding, if the universe is shrinking, if there are other universes/ dimension, etc. , even if it means that they have to constantly think of and create new technology. Scientists are constantly finding answers to questions that were in the past thought to be impossible to answer. Why do they assume that this answer will forever be impossible to answer? • Another question I have always wondered is why the human psyche has always thought it pertinent to even try to answer this question. There are people in the world that are just not inclined at all to be religious or superstitious in any way.

    In other words, my question has always been: why care at all? What part of our conscious, subconscious, psychology, psyche, etc. makes us constantly want to know what is behind the veil? Quotes • “Because of this, many people believe that the immortal soul is a biblical doctrine. They are surprised to learn that the Bible teaches no such thing (Rachels 42). ” • “To survive, you do not need to be resurrected. You do not need the sustaining power of God, or anything like it. Your soul is immortal by itself, in its own nature (Rachels 43). • “‘My recent experiences have slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death, which is due fairly soon, will be the end of me, though I continue to hope that it will be (Rachels 47). ’” • “‘It is little less than scandalous that no reincarnationist has ever attempted to reply to this argument. It is as if Christian theologians had never attempted to face the problem of evil (Rachels 48). ’” • “‘… an Ireland that never was, save in the minds of the uninformed and the vulgar (Rachels 49). ” • “This is the underlying reason why mainstream scientists don’t want to pore over an endless amount of “evidence” concerning postmortem existence (Rachels 54). ” Connect This passage is hard to connect to school, but it is easy to connect to life. The interesting thing about philosophy, the thing that the average person is not necessarily aware of, is that any time people wonder about the “big picture”, they are philosophizing. Every person (or at least every curious person) has at some point or another wondered about what happens after death (if anything)- they’ve philosophized.

    My favorite thing about philosophy as a whole and of this subject in particular is that the debate never ends. While the logically correct answer would be that life ends at death, period, the only truly complete answer is “I don’t know”. This means that any and every answer can be potentially true (no matter how slim of a chance); the debate never has to end. Comment Two of these quotes really catch my attention. The quote by Ayer really stands out to me because of the amount of strength he gives to the human mind relating to science, life, death, and the potential afterlife.

    While I try to live my life is logically and objectively as I can when dealing with customs and traditions like religion and the afterlife, it is hard to imagine a life that completely ends at death. And while the strength and confidence in science of academics can be admired, the next quote highlights a potential pitfall for the academic- elitism. While the “uninformed’ might be bound by generations of tradition maybe only because of lack of education, there is no need to attack them to the point of insults (i. e. “the vulgar”). It is this elitism that makes the academic so hard to take by any but other academics.

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    Idea of a Human Soul And Reincarnation. (2016, Nov 27). Retrieved from

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