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Author Topic: Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?  (Read 13005 times)

Offline yor_on

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« on: 09/12/2010 10:49:02 »
"21 grams

An experiment was carried out by a doctor in Massachusetts in 1907 with the help of a deathbed that was specially designed for the occasion. It was found that the human body loses 21 grams almost instantly. People believe that the soul weighs 21 grams and when it leaves the body, it loses that much weight."

A fairy tale or the truth?
What do you think.


 

Offline peppercorn

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #1 on: 09/12/2010 10:53:26 »
"People believe that the soul weighs 21 grams...."

Stupid, ignorant people believe this.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #2 on: 09/12/2010 11:07:29 »
Interesting, first time I've heard this
 

Offline yor_on

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #3 on: 09/12/2010 11:12:24 »
Wondered where I should place this myself, but as it was an actual measurement done about the same time as the theory of relativity I thought it appropriate to place it where I did :) As for if it's 'dumb' or 'ignorant'? It's a measurement?

And yeah Mr. chem. I was surprised as well :)
 

Offline RD

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Offline yor_on

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #5 on: 09/12/2010 14:59:16 »
Jealous slander only RD. It goes very well with how many pins you can place on a angels head before it gets mad, at you I mean. But I was wondering if it might have to do with the patient's breathing in or out at the moment they were considered 'dead'.
 

Offline rosy

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #6 on: 09/12/2010 15:16:03 »
The mass of air is about 1 g/L, so I'd have thought 21 g would be more than could be lost just by losing all the air from the lungs... I think normal lung capacity is 4-6 L, and a not insignificant subset of people about to expire (especially predictably enough to make before/after measurements) might be expected to have lower-than-normal lung capacity, depending on what it is they're dying of.

No. It's much more likely to be straight-up nonsense.
 

Offline Bill S

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #7 on: 09/12/2010 16:09:47 »
The idea was worth making a film about.  There's money in most things if you can get at it. ;)
 

Offline peppercorn

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #8 on: 09/12/2010 16:19:48 »
The idea was worth making a film about.  There's money in most things if you can get at it. ;)

And we all know how good Hollywood is at portraying science, hmm? :D
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #9 on: 09/12/2010 17:10:44 »
If the air in the lungs is just "air" and is not under pressure, then it wouldn't make any difference to the weight of the body, if it is inside or outside the lungs except if it was all being observed in a vacuum.

I'd think the results would have to be replicated before I would believe it.  Also one would need a time frame.  Matter of seconds, minutes, hours, etc.

It wouldn't be surprising if a deceased individual would excrete 21 ml of fluid, and have mucous membranes and etc also dry up.
 

Offline yor_on

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #10 on: 09/12/2010 17:14:49 »
But air have a weight too?
And if it's inside your lungs, isn't it in the 'system' as compared to outside it? But as Rosie points out, how many liters can the lungs hold? And I know that you can hold your breath real good when ... There are some horror stories from hospitals where the person that you roll away suddenly 'sits up' as the air are expelled from the body. Maybe it's just a tale though but I did a stunt as a janitor many years ago and amongst the duties was to transport people to the 'refrigators' for autopsy etc after a death. And it wasn't fun :) Especially at night time.

Loong empty corridors, or more like tunnels underground, with just you and the ..
==

But thinking of a balloon, does it weight more when inflated?
No I don't think it does?
if it has the same density and humidity as the outside air that is?

Tricky.

Yep, a tricky one..


« Last Edit: 09/12/2010 17:38:58 by yor_on »
 

Offline RD

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #11 on: 09/12/2010 17:55:16 »
And we all know how good Hollywood is at portraying science, hmm? :D

http://www.open2.net/hollywoodscience/index.html
« Last Edit: 09/12/2010 17:57:30 by RD »
 

Offline rosy

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #12 on: 09/12/2010 18:10:43 »
Sorry, I was being stupid. On reflection, I don't think you could detect the air expelled from the lungs by weighing someone.

A (rigid) box full of air weighs more than a (rigid) box full of vacuum, and because both have the same volume and therefore buoyancy in the air that difference in weight can be measured.

An inflated balloon weighs more than the empty balloon skin, and because the air inside is at greater-than-atmospheric pressure and therefore has a density that outweighs the buoyancy from the air it displaces the net downwards force is also greater.

A person, or corpse, with air in their lungs, weighs more than a person, or corpse, with less or no air in their lungs, but because the air is at atmospheric pressure, the buoyancy due to being surrounded by air at atmospheric pressure will cancel out the extra weight. So it wouldn't be detected.

 

Offline yor_on

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #13 on: 09/12/2010 18:51:34 »
Thnx Rosy :)

I kind'a wondered about that one.
 

Offline yor_on

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #14 on: 09/12/2010 19:09:59 »
And a cool link RD, the one with the eggs was quite informative :)
will be some time before I try that.. Like never.
 

Offline syhprum

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #15 on: 09/12/2010 21:34:55 »
I don't believe in 'souls' of course but it is interesting to ponder how this loss of weight came about. how soon after death was the measurement made ?, was all the fluid excreted conserved ?
 

Offline chris

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #16 on: 09/12/2010 22:34:35 »
If you take a look at the original research by the good doctor, he records an apparent "loss" of weight when the persons expired (at least the one or two that fitted his expectation so he included them in the study - he rejected most of the data because it didn't fit his hypothesis).

But if you think about it, that means that the soul must be heavier than air then, if the people lost weight when they died... so where do these heavier than air souls go? Certainly not UP to Heaven...!

Chris
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #17 on: 10/12/2010 01:57:04 »
But if you think about it, that means that the soul must be heavier than air then, if the people lost weight when they died... so where do these heavier than air souls go? Certainly not UP to Heaven...!

Chris

Perhaps the "Good Doctor" was so busy performing his experiments that he forgot to have a priest perform the "Last Rights"...  and thus inadvertently condemned his patients to the underworld!!!

I didn't realize there was a movie about this...  perhaps I'll hunt for it.

Here is a good link to the article:
http://www.ghostweb.com/soul.html

I have troubles getting an weight accurate to 1 ounce on my bathroom scale, but Duncan MacDougall seemed to think his balance was accurate to 0.2 oz.

It is interesting...  Perhaps it has something to do with TB. 
Could pulmonary TB release 21 grams (an ounce or so) worth of bacteria into the environment with the last breath?  He does note a slow decrease of weight of about an ounce per hour prior to death, but seems to indicate this speeds up immediately at the time of death.

He noted, however, the second patient had ceased breathing for 15 minutes before his death.

Could we get the State of Texas to agree to reproduce the study with Death Row inmates?  Their souls should be the weight of lead!!!!
 

Offline Bill S

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #18 on: 10/12/2010 17:15:45 »
Quote
Could we get the State of Texas to agree to reproduce the study with Death Row inmates?  Their souls should be the weight of lead!!!!

This has to be some sort of comment on the State of Texas!!!!
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #19 on: 10/12/2010 23:31:08 »
Quote
Could we get the State of Texas to agree to reproduce the study with Death Row inmates?  Their souls should be the weight of lead!!!!
This has to be some sort of comment on the State of Texas!!!!

Don't shoot me!!!
Texas leads the country on executions...  by a factor of 4:1 over the next state, Virginia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_United_States

Lest I lead this discussion astray...
I just thought that Death Row would be place one might be able to do well controlled experiments.

Not that I have any belief that one would actually find a "Soul" in humans, but not in pets.
 

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #20 on: 11/12/2010 02:04:28 »
Speaking of Texas. In 1993 Joseph Paul Jernigan, a murderer, was executed in Texas by lethal injection after donating his body to science. The Visible Human Project had the freshly dead cadaver scanned by MRI and frozen. The body was then "sectioned" by removing a thin slice and digitally photographing the resulting surface from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. All these data were processed by computed tomography to make a three dimensional data set that can be rotated and resectioned digitally in any plane, and organs or any part of the body can be displayed in a three dimensional view. Nobody observed a soul in the process, but anybody can access the result. This was a wonderful contribution to research and medicine.

Wikipedia article- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visible_Human_Project
The project website- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html
 

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Is twenty one grams the weight of a soul?
« Reply #20 on: 11/12/2010 02:04:28 »

 

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