The existence of the soul, and whether it is immortal or not, has polarized great thinkers from both the philosophic-theological and scientific camps.
The “physicalists” (those who hold that everything about us, from consciousness to higher rationality, can be explained by biochemical processes) are quick to say that the phenomenon of consciousness does not emanate from the soul. They explain this view with the “mind-brain identity theory,” which argues that there is a correlative identification between “brain states” (neuron firing patterns) and “mental states” (conscious experiences), and that these two are one and the same thing; and further, that the mind is dependent on and cannot exist without the brain. Hence, there is no need to put forward the idea of the soul to explain the conscious experience.
However, in 2017, two leading scientists argued otherwise, saying that the human soul is more than just “interactions” of neurons in the brain by finding that consciousness, which is the operative property of the soul, “does not die and returns to the universe.”
Dr. Stuart Hameroff, American physicist and professor emeritus in anaesthesiology and psychology, and Sir Roger Penrose, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University, have worked together on the “quantum theory of consciousness” and have found that the human brain is a biological computer and that consciousness is a program run by the quantum computer or brain cells, called “microtubules,” and continue to exist even after death.
The two scientists explain that what humans perceive as “consciousness” is, in fact, the result of quantum gravity effects located within the so-called microtubules.
They call this process the “orchestrated objective reduction” or Orch-OR. This theory indicates that when people enter a phase known as clinical death, the microtubules in the brain lose their quantum state but maintain the information contained within them. In other words, as the two experts explain it, “after people die, their soul returns to the universe, and it does not die.”
In the Science Channel’s documentary “Through the Wormhole,” Hameroff explains:
“Let’s say the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing; the microtubules lose their quantum state. The quantum information within the microtubules is not destroyed, it can’t be killed, and it just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If the patient is resuscitated and revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules, and the patient says, ‘I had a near-death experience.’ If they’re not revived, and the patient dies, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul.”
More than just the physical
On my part, gleaning from my philosophy background in the seminary, I have always believed that there is more to life than just our physical body—because the human soul exists.
In my own way, I’d like to demonstrate the existence of the soul with the following argument:
1. We generally think of or understand the soul as something “immaterial, intangible, immortal, spiritual, or transcendent”—that is, beyond the material and physical.
2. From experience or empirical evidence, we have the capability to “know” (consciousness or awareness) and to “reflect, analyze, or decide” (free will). The effects or products of our “knowing and willing” are not material or physical but “immaterial, intangible and immortal”—e.g., ideas, knowledge, love, goodness, beauty, truth, etc.
3. Therefore, these operative functions or properties of our “knowing and willing” can only come from something immaterial, spiritual and immortal in the human person, which is the soul.
Peace ye! With our spiritual and immortal soul, be inspired, be blessed.
Bob Acebedo writes for the weekly Opinyon (http://opinyon.net). —Ed.