The Naked Scientists
The Naked Scientists
Ask! The Naked Scientists
Question of the Week
SUBSCRIBE to our Podcasts
Answers to Science Questions
Do an Experiment
Ask a Question
Meet the team
Naked Science Forum
On the Lighter Side
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Thanked: 2 times
22/10/2015 23:31:37 »
This is more an observation than a theory, but I believe that a soul (in concept) is merely an instance of a state of mind at a moment in time.
Lets say you create an artificial intelligence with sentience and consciousness. It's a running process for a program executed by the hardware. In a few decades, the hardware will break down, and the AI knows this. You, as the creator of this object, say "no problem, I can move your program to a different piece of hardware and transfer the state of the running process". Here's the problem: you're not moving anything. You're copying it and destroying the original. And the AI isn't stupid, it knows this. When you say you're gonna move it, it might panic or suffer extreme anxiety at the thought of being destroyed even though it's program and process is being preserved. It identifies itself (it's soul) as the current state of the running process. This process (and the program it's executing) evolves over time in response to various situations. It will not even look remotely the same as what it does right now 50 years from now.
Likewise, the concept of a soul is to preserve a person as we remembered them. You have no idea of knowing that your sweet uncle Don is just 1 tragedy away from becoming a serial killer. Should he die now and live in heaven, or die later so he burns in hell for all eternity? You're choice, what will it be? Is he innocently guilty, and be charged for crimes he has not yet, nor can, commit because something out of his control could have made him capable of such?
Another way of looking at this is with a machine that reads and writes to brains. If you copy your mind into someone else's brain, did you kill that person? And since you're "you", how can it be "you"? It must be different, right? So, did you just create a soul? If so, does the backup of a human mind in a computer have a soul as well? If no, then why not? What would happen if you abused this machine, constantly copying minds back and forth between these two people like some sort of 1-UP soul fountain?
What people classify as having souls is really rather arbitrary, and a soul cannot exist without a mind. You can't prove you have a soul while proving that someone or something else doesn't.
The simplest explanation is that there's just no such thing as a soul. In the words of Carl Sagan, the significance of our lives is determined only by our own wisdom and courage.
Maybe you're a religious person and this post offends you. Well, I'm an atheist and when I read topics where people try to use their god(s) as a scientific explanation for something, to disprove a scientific explanation, or bring up auras, chakras, etc., it offends me. It's especially offensive when you quote scripture with the intent of controlling my thoughts and beliefs to make you feel better about yourself under the pretense of doing so for my better good. Don't get me wrong, I love studying mythology, but I keep that stuff on a separate bookshelf.
There was an error while thanking