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Rabbi offers reasonable argument for existence of soul

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Rabbi Adam Jacobs

At Huffington Post (8/10/11), Rabbi Alan Jacobs offers “A Rational Argument for the Existence of the Human Soul”:

If our decision-making faculty was indeed an illusion of the brain it should be impossible to physically affect the brain through our own willful decisions and yet research has demonstrated that the “I” can and does alter brain activity through the agency of free will as described by Canadian neuroscientist Dr. Mario Beauregard:

“Jeffrey Schwartz … a UCLA neuropsychiatrist, treats obsessive-compulsive disorder — by getting patients to reprogram their brains. Evidence of the mind’s control over the brain is actually captured in these studies. There is such a thing as mind over matter. We do have will power, consciousness, and emotions, and combined with a sense of purpose and meaning, we can effect change.”

Why then should we not consider the possibility — the one that satisfies our deepest, most powerful and intuitive sense — that the “I” that we all experience is the human soul? And that the reason that science has not discovered its whereabouts is not that it doesn’t exist, but rather that it is not part of physical reality as we know it and as such is undetectable and unmeasurable by material means.

As Beauregard & O’Leary document in The Spiritual Brain, we see here a reality that does not go away and is not explained away by increasingly implausible current accounts.

Calling the soul or mind “mystical” can be evasive. It can’t be measured using the same scales as the ones used for matter or energy, but that’s all. Some aspects are far more usefully described than measured, for the same reasons as traditional works of art are more usefully described than measured. Classical thinkers assumed the existence of the soul for rational reasons, not due to religious revelations (but for many people, revelation has supported reason in this matter.)

See also: Anything by Rabbi Moshe Averick, for example, “An open letter to Dr. Jerrry Coyne from the maverick rabbi

Also: Jerry Coyne chooses his rabbis with as great care as his sandwiches

I think it's a popular urban legend started in the early 1900s. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan_MacDougall_(doctor) Why would a soul that we understand as spiritual have material properties such as mass? New-agers and spiritualists love this kind of stuff. CannuckianYankee
In Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" he describes an experiment that he claims is real. A dying person is put on an ultra-sensitive scale. When they die, a moment later the scale detects a very slight decrease in weight. The implication is that the soul has left the body. Does anyone know if there really is such an experiment? Collin
This looks interesting: Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz - "You Are Not Your Brain" - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0lPuN03b40&NR=1 bornagain77
Here is Jeffrey Schwartz at the UN: Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz - Beyond the Mind-Body Problem - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycnIO4o9vbE ============== Brains On Purpose Excerpt: Jeffrey Schwartz – Decades ago, he began to study the philosophy of conscious awareness, the idea that the actions of the mind have an effect on the workings of the brain. Jeff’s breakthrough work in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) provided the hard evidence that the mind can control the brain’s chemistry. http://westallen.typepad.com/brains_on_purpose/about_jeffrey_m_schwartz_.html Mind-Brain Interaction and Science Fiction - Jeffrey Schwartz & Michael Egnor - audio http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/player/web/2008-12-01T17_28_39-08_00 The Mind and Materialist Superstition - Six "conditions of mind" that are irreconcilable with materialism - Michael Egnor: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/11/the_mind_and_materialist_super.html ================= As well not only does mind cause a preceding effect on the brain (intentionality), the mind can also have a statistically significant effect on material outside of the body: Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter - Random Number Generators - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007 bornagain77
This raises is a great point! I think the reason Godel felt that spirituality was the hidden fundamental nature behind the mind was simply because he realized that computability and other physical formal methods of investigation were inherently limited. Perhaps if Godel had realized that the key resided in his own ego's ability to take control of the situation though faith, he would not have gone nuts... In any case, there are still a lot of mysteries in science, and many of them have to do with the mind body interface. Descartes, the founder of the X Y coordinate system used in today in algebra everywhere, which he said came to him in a dream, had this insight and espoused it in his philosophy. Personally, I think it is a mixture of the thee key essential pieces of man, the mind, the body and the spirit. Our spirit drives and defines our will, which is acted out though our minds and body. What we actually end up doing with all of this is in effect our soul, and thus what we will eventually be judged on. So essentially we start off basically as of a spiritual nature which directly interphases with our mind, and then translate into the actions of, and inside our bodies (our temple). The end result and final manifestation is our soul. So the real question is how can science test for the spiritual? Or the physicist could ask, "what originally makes particles move?" The Heisenberg uncertainty principle shows that at the inner core of our physical universe, like the inner core of our being, lies an uncertainty waiting to be defined by the nature of our spirits. Though it is in this battle of acting out the goodness of our spirits in the physical fallen world, ruled by the second law of thermodynamics, that the difficulty and challenge truly lies. Anyone who doubts this should take a lesson from Einstein when he said: "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Frost122585

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