Saturday, February 24, 2007

He Has No Brain, So God Doesn't Exist

By every indication we have, immaterial souls, brainless minds, or entities that occupy some ethereal afterlife do not exist. The widespread belief that humans have an immortal soul that survives the death of the body is utterly unfounded. A body of neuroscience research that grows every day has given us an increasingly fine grained understanding of the neural architecture of the brain that is responsible for producing our thoughts, our feelings, our memories, our goals, our plans, and our consciousness. A mountain of evidence indicates that brain damage produces mind damage. And that the destruction of the brain causes the destruction of the mind. That is to say that everything that has been traditionally associated with the immortal soul is dependent upon the brain to exist. So when the brain dies, the soul goes with it.

God is thought to be a person. He has plans, desires, goals, and emotions. He acts, he creates, he loves, and he commands. He reacts to our behaviors. He is alleged to form personal relationships with people through prayer and meditation. He communicates to them through signs and indicators. Sometimes people claim to have heard his voice, felt him exert his will, or even to have encountered him directly.

So by the most common characterizations, God has a consciousness. By my account above, to have a mind is to have a soul. Minds and souls are different terms for the same thing. So God can be said, by common accounts, to have a mind or to have a soul. His soul, they say, filled with love for us, his creation.

God is thought to be immaterial. While God has contact with the material world, he is not in it.

Or alternately, God doesn’t have a brain. But if God is alleged to be a person, and being a person requires having a mind. But having a mind requires a brain, and God doesn’t have a brain.

Therefore, God does not exist.

The most likely responses to this argument will be something like these: First, “Isn’t it possible that God is not a person?” Second, “Isn’t it possible that God does have a brain? Maybe it’s something bigger than we have ever encountered, or it’s someplace we have never seen or been?”

Perhaps. These might be possible. But possibilities do not render a belief reasonable. It is possible there is a million dollars in my bank account. But it would be flagrantly irrational of me to conclude that there is a million dollars there because it is possible. What we need to see is some evidence, any real indicator that such a thing is true. And until that evidence is in hand, we are justified in concluding that that suggestion is as preposterous as it sounds.


Anonymous said...

It is a frightening thing that people like you are influencing the upcoming generation, but this day has come without warning so it shall be.

Now to help you with some of your own statements: The scriptures do not say that man has an immortal soul. To the contrary, he is said to die and turn to dust as would an animal.

What is revealed is that there is a spirit in man that makes him different from animals and gives him the power of speech, intellect, reason, love and morality among other traits.

When a person encounters the Holy Spirit of the Godhead, then that immortal spirit works with the human spirit as a guide. It is only in the resurrection that the dead are either given immortality or are permanently destroyed in the second death.

It is written that all men will be given the opportunity to accept Jesus as a savior. After that, there is free will to either accept or reject His sacrifice. After that comes the judgement.

To me, it takes a far greater faith to twist non-scientific theories like evolution in order to deny a spiritual element, than to look around at the miracle of life and say, "this could never be an accident of mindlessness."

The great truth is that God did not create robots. You have a choice to not only deny Him, but to try and convince others that He does not exist. If I am wrong, then I'll never know about it after death.

If you are wrong, I would never trade places with you.

Warren said...

Anonymous: It is written that all men will be given the opportunity to accept Jesus as a savior. After that, there is free will to either accept or reject His sacrifice. After that comes the judgement[sic].Many have already died without any knowledge of Jesus. In what definition of "opportunity" can these "written" words be true?

Anonymous: If I am wrong, then I'll never know about it after deathYour belief is a choice?

Anonymous: The scriptures do not say that man has an immortal soul. To the contrary, he is said to die and turn to dust as would an animalThe Bible does not equate soul with body. The soul does not "turn to dust" or die with the body. The Bible contains examples of the soul outliving the body:

Matthew 10:28
Acts 2:27,31
Acts 2:31
Hebrews 10:39
James 1:21
James 5:20
Revelation 6:9

Nevertheless, simply replace "soul" with "spirit" in the article, and the article's meaning is unchanged.

Anonymous said...

As a former christian, I have to say the mind and soul are two different things. From what I understand the soul is tainted by human flesh. The soul is housed in the human body until the body dies: then goes to heaven or hell, whichever. So, its like a battery (electricity) in a computer (brain). The battery (electric impulses) is the spirit/soul of the computer and the body is the computer who makes all the decisions.

I believe in the soul/spirit but no god. Once we are dead we don't remember anything. And we are reborn as other living things. Im more on the Scientology thing, minus the aliens part.

People are too concerned with how humans and the universe came into existence and maybe there isn't an explanation. So far, there aren't any scientific explanations that can explain how we came to be. Not the big bang, or two protons and electrons colliding. Because the next question would where did the protons and electrons come from? and how exactly did the big bang just go bang? No answer.

And if they ever do find out how the world came into existence, I will be able to come to terms with we live, we die, that's it.

Anonymous said...

To the blogger: I just told you what I believe now tell me what do you believe.

Warren said...

To Anonymous #2: Your soul-as-a-battery belief is interesting, but ultimately useless as far as I can tell. My brain/body, if it is the computer, seems to be powered just fine by chemical reactions between the food I eat, and oxygen. Specifically what purpose does the soul do that my brain/body does not do? Can this soul be detected? If it can, then how do we detect it? And if it cannot, then how can the concept be useful?

Additionally, you appear to reject the Big Bang because of the something-from-nothing problem. (I suggest you look into quantum mechanics, and extra-dimensional phsyics to understand why at Big Bang scales it is not so easy to define what "something" and "nothing" actually mean.) Nevertheless, if one cannot get something from nothing, where do these "souls" come from, and with an ever increasing population, where are the new souls, born every day, coming from?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:
I think it's frightening that we've been believing in gods and the supernatural for so long. In my opinion Atheism is a change for the better.

Harold said...

Maybe the soul is the awareness of oneself. Maybe the soul is made from dark matter and/or dark energy.
The supply of additional souls could be other living worlds that are destroyed in cosmic catastrophes like novas, gammaraybursts, asteroid collisions, orbital unstabilities an so on. Some say one soul could occupy more than one body.
To the scienthology poster, there is an eigth dynamic, the creator, but it is supposed to not interfere in the lives of the lesser beings (us) and its universe is like a well oiled machine that goes on forever or at least until the all beings accord to create it continues to exist. To a budhist there is even no god but divinity which is composed by all the beings in the universe who are integral part of it.

Matt McCormick said...

Thanks for the input Harold. But "maybe's" don't make for reasonable, true, or justified beliefs. Maybe the moon is made of green cheese, or maybe I'll be abducted by aliens tonight. That fact that both of them are remote possibilities doesn't give them even the slightest bit of plausibility.

Anonymous said...

Since your argument is inductive, it is not enough to show the mere possiblity of a divine soul existing because you aren't arguing that it is logically impossible for a divine soul to exist.

With that said, your argument relies on enumerative induction which is common reasoning used in reaching a probabilistic conclusions.

However, I think your sample is disconnected from your conclusion. What follows from your argument is not that there probably is no divine soul, but rather, that every human being that exists probably will not have a soul.

If physicalism is false, then this conclusion would be weaker still.

What you need to sample is the number of divine beings that are persons whom have brains but no souls, in order to reach the probabilistic conclusion that God probably doesn't have a soul, and so doesn't exist. Obviously, this is an absurd task. Therefore, your argument is multiply flawed.

The kalam argument actually provides positive reason to think that a divine soul exists and so I have given three undercutting defeaters and one rebutting defeater.

Unknown said...

Sampling just one divine anything would be sufficient to add credence to the Kalam argument's otherwise non sequitur conclusion: the any cause of the universe must be a supernatural being.

As you say, that is preposterous. QED.

Unknown said...

To say that God has no brain, is to say that Earth has no unique design as nor do we. But in order to "create in his image" would require him to have a brain just as we have a brain. The Universe orbits in a "particular" routine, not a random path.

Anonymous said...

Michael, how can we humans know that we and the Earth were designed? If everything that exists has a designer, then wouldn't that mean that your god had a designer too? If not, why the special exception for your god? And doesn't that mean everyone else in the Universe can fill in the blank with whichever creator they subscribe to?

Now, granted, the fact that the Universe orbits in a particular path shows that physical laws operate in our Universe. But how does that prove that any god exists (unless you simply mean that physical laws are gods)? If your argument is that physical laws require a lawgiver, then why not say that gods require god-makers?