Vexen Crabtree 2015

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Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards


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Vexen Crabtree 2015
vexen

Soul and emotions

Emotions Without a Soul: Biochemistry accounts for all our emotions and consciousness, not a soul



2007 Jan 02 Update: Posted to my InsaneJournal about new text on Clive Wearing by Richard Gross.

the soul.

(Anonymous)
i think that the subject brought up on this website is a very tricky one to handle. i myself am an atheist, i do however believe in the spirit world and nediums etc. the question of the soul, i think brings up many valid points. but do humans create things like heaven and hell because we are to afraid to live up to the truth of the fact that we do not live forever? is the soul just another security blanket for us to clasp onto in the shadow of death?

I have some text on how there may be a spiritual reality without there being God or even souls.

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/spiritual_reality.html#Atheism

The Soul

(Anonymous)
perhaps the solution to the body/soul problem lies somewhere near the idea that the soul DOES (like you said) need physical attributes to interact with the physical world we know. perhaps that's why it needs the body, the body provides a physical "glove" for the soul, a puppet. then of course, you run into the problem of how does it do this, what's the use, why are we not directly aware of this happening, and if we are our souls in bodies then why are we (as souls) restricted by the limitations of the body? just a thought.

I loved your soul essay. I think you descibed it beautifully.

i found your essays online through google. i think you do a good job of disproving the type of soul you are arguing against. But what about the type of soul avowed by Socrates? Socrates says that our feelings such as anger and happiness and such are rooted in our body biologically or otherwise. He said our soul is that which allows us to have ideas, understand reason or freely choose. I am interested to hear what you think of this type of soul.

ps. I am an atheist and do not believe in the existence of a soul. i was just curious to see what other peolpe thought

I'm happy to use the word "soul" with any materialistic definition of the word, so that it accepts our self is biological in nature and calls our inner self a "soul".

where do emotions come from?

(Anonymous)
hi my name is ayla :) im 13 and iv just been nagged at by my parents about where do emtions come from........... ok so do they come from your brain?? or from your 'soul'. Im not saying that people have a soul but im not saying they dont. I was just unshure is there any scienetific or medical proof of where our emotions come from?? thanks ayla :)

Re: where do emotions come from?

Biochemistry, medicine, hormone studies and other science all show that emotions are caused by chemicals (including hormones) in the brain.

The chemical causes the emotion. We can directly control emotions using chemicals - once the chemical has an affect, the person's emotions change.

You never cease to amaze me, you talked in the love section about how you can create the chemical that causes love threw 'Oxytocin production can be artificially stimulated with Dopamine' Err can you buy Dopamine? Heh, no I'm not a lonely person I just want to see if it is true...

Yes I am a fool :)

My view on the soul.... just an idea

Hey Vexen...
See, what I was thinkin is when people used the word soul originally, it was just a way of explaining the overview of emotion and sub-consious thought. When people thought about it, they were amazed at what power their own minds held, but thought it to be magical, because, how could we posess such abilities as dreams and love?
I dont think that the body really contains a soul... but i do believe in a non-physical world tied to ours, like a parallel dimension. But, if there is an afterlife in which we reside in as spirits, it couldnt possibly interact with the reality of this world.
So, in order to maintain my sanity, i need to believe in a life after this... but maybe not tied to this one at all. But then again, why the hell are we here in the first place? email at par_guitarist@yahoo.com

About Clive and the Soul Connected to the Brain

Depressing story...
But, many COULD argue that Clive's soul simply left his body after the brain damage. Many spiritualists would tell you that when a person suffers enough mental damage, there would be no reason for that body to have a soul.

Another good argument would be that our soul is US, the mind not the brain. Because, is it really possible to tell if someone has a soul or not, if there really is a person inside (this is assuming souls exist of course)? People may have souls, but lose them at a certain age or death. There would be no way to prove this, and it would seem pointless to have "empty" bodies fully operating across the globe. NOTE: *I'm not associating this with another religion, just science and my own beliefs.*
A soul could be the non-physical part of who we are, connected to the brain. But hell, people have based religion and souls upon what we experience and know... which comes from our brains. So I guess you could argue either way for awhile... its a horrible comparison, but its kinda like "if a tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Its simply "yes", but you can never be sure because you were'nt there to experience it yourself...

OK, takin up too much space, could say more but should go...
please argue anybody!

Re: About Clive and the Soul Connected to the Brain

You said:

"But, many COULD argue that Clive's soul simply left his body after the brain damage. Many spiritualists would tell you that when a person suffers enough mental damage, there would be no reason for that body to have a soul."

But, Clive Wearing shows that emotions, even the strong emotions of love and sadness, exist purely as a result of biochemical processes.

If spiritualists argue that Clive Wearing, since his brain damage, has no soul, then they are admitting that emotions are biochemical in nature; if that is true, what exactly, do they think the point of a soul is? By removing all of our experience (emotions, observation, thought), etc, from the spehere of what a soul 'does', it is obvious it does nothing!

Thank you!

(Anonymous)
Hey, thanks for thinking and learning and communicating--your website is quite lovely, as well as refreshing and welcome!

I've nowhere near your breadth and depth of knowledge, but I know enough to recognize truth, especially objective truth.

I particularly appreciate your stating that 'we' and 'animals' (so similar--just wish I had the grace of a cat!) share the same emotions and such on a chemical basis. I have a dog named Sammy who's considered quite extraordinary by anyone who's met him. He's trained in English, and very bad Arabic (my own version, as true speakers of Arabic would testify!); the average American knows/uses 4000 words or so, and Sammy likely understands at least half that. A friend of mine stated that dogs only lick you in hopes that you'll regurgitate food for them, but that just isn't so--at least with Sammy. He'll spontaneously walk up to and "kiss" me with no expectations, as evidenced by his walking away. (I could say much more on the topic, but I really didn't write to brag about my doglet!)

Thank you again for a wonderful site that I'll re-visit at least a few times!

Tracy (berkland@mad.scientist.com)

P.S. Christof Koch presented an interesting question. If a computer operates optimally between x and y degrees, and a red light is illuminated when it exceeds y degrees (x being the lower of the two), does this mean the computer feels pain?

Existence of Soul

(Anonymous)
As expressed in this site, there is predestination. Things happen because of the law of causality. (cause and effect)
we learn from our mistakes, inother words we suffer in order to learn. The law of Karma (action and reaction) tells us that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction, just like Newton's laws of movement. If I kill someone, I must experience what is like to be killed. This is what we call justice, a moral standard, we came "programmed" with this. It was predestined. However, if I live my life and get away with this murder, when should I pay for it? when should I learn form this suffering that I cause into others? In my next life. When I take a new body I shall experience the suffering that I caused to others. This is why the soul exist. The soul is the one which experiences pain, suffering and happiness. The body is limited, it goes away. The soul continues on. the law of karma explains the need to have a soul in order "to pay for my debts", this is why you observe suffering all around us and within us.. we need to pay our debts.. the longer we stay in this world, more debts we have to cancel. Science don't know anything about this of course.

avyakt7@yahoo.com

J.P. Moreland is an exellent source when it comes to discussion and thoughts on the soul.

emotions without a soul?

(Anonymous)
HOW A PHYSICAL BODY CAN CREATE THOUGHTS? THOUGHTS ARE NON MATERIAL. THOSE THOUGHTS ARE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS. LOGICALLY SPEAKING, A NON MATERIAL ENTITY CANNOT BE CREATED BY A MATERIAL ENTITY: A BODY OR AS YOU SAID IT: "BIOCHEMISTRY." IF SO, YOU HAVE TO PROVIDE WITH A REASONABLE ANSWER TO THIS: WHY DON'T WE HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF CHEMICALS IN THE BODY? IN OTHER WORDS, WHY SOME TEND TO BE DEPRESSED UNDER THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES OF OTHERS? WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE? WHY DON'T WE HAVE THE SAME EXPERIENCE? IF EVERYTHING IS DECIDED BY CHEMICALS, WHY SOME HAVE MORE THAN OTHERS? WHAT DECIDES THE AMOUNT OF CHEMICALS THAT WE HAVE? EMOTIONS ARE NOT RELATED WITH CHEMICALS AT ALL. YOU CAN ENHANCE OR DIMINISH CERTAIN EMOTIONS WITH CHEMICALS, DUE TO THE CONNECTION OF THE SOUL WITH THE BODY, BUT IF SOMEONE IS DEPRESSED AND YOU GIVE HIM AN ANTIDEPRESSANT, THE STAGE OF EUPHORIA IS FOR A MOMENT ONLY. SUFFERING IS STILL MASKED INSIDE, BUT AS LONG AS THERE IS NO THOUGHT ABOUT THIS SUFFERING, THEN THERE IS NO DEPRESSION....WE CANNOT STOP OUR THOUGHTS, BUT WE CAN DULL OUR AWARENESS THROUGH CHEMICALS.

Re: emotions without a soul?

1. Thoughts are completely material. Physical brain damage, even down to very minor injuries, can have dramatic affects on our thoughts and how we think. Neurosciences such as neuropsychology and cognitive psychology, including much of the medicine and drugs industries, rely on the fact that thoughts are fundamentally material in nature. If not, there would be no such thing as brain damage.

2. Everyone has different brain chemical levels because our genes code proteins and neurotransmitters to slightly different degrees in everyone. No two objects are exactly the same, atoms are highly variable from person to person. Also, as thoughts are cycical (limbic system, etc), then, thoughts are different in different people because different life experiences cause people to have different thoughts. Different experiences - such as being born in one city instead of another, or having one parent instead of a different one - all cause different perceptions of the world. Our perceptions (bottom-up processes) cause different chemicals to be released in the brain.

3. If, as you say, there is a "connection" between the brain and the soul, how can you also say that the soul is imamterial? If the soul interacts with the brain in some way, then the soul must be physical.

Everything about us can be argued as being mere biochemistry except for one tiny but critical detail: why do I have the experience of inhabiting THIS body and not some other one? Mere chance is an insufficient justification for those who resort to arguments of causality. What mechanism behind the scenes allocates Sentience to our otherwise automatic corpses? An exact chemical replica of me would look and behave exactly the same. But would I "Be" within it?

Therefore, I think of the soul as an Ethereal Entity riding upon a Physical Machine.

OK... then, somewhere in the brain there was to be some /reigns/, for that control to take place. Where, do you think, might these reigns be? If the souls is so immaterial, how does it control the brain or the body?

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
Emotions are reactions. The brain registers physical and mental stimuli in terms of fight or flight/pain or pleasure. They serve to motivate us to take action, e.g. - think some more (and thinking is an action) or to actually do something.

"Soul" is a religious word. I know this because I feel in my heart that it is so.

Is it bad that biochemistry is the foundation of our thoughts? I love the idea...there is science behind it and it's fascinating (at least that's what my serotonin would have me believe)...But, hey...I really have to pass this by Thor; He will give me the definitive answer.

1. Emotions are much more complex than two sets of polar attributes (fight or flight, pain or pleasure). The first is used to describe the general uses of the ANS/VNS, but is far from the only emotional-physical responses that we have. Many different systems of emotion work through the Limbic System to produce our emotional experiences.

2. "Soul" is... or was, a religious word, but many nowadays use it in a secular sense to mean the inner psychology of identity.

3. I agree, the science of biochemistry is made even more fascinating and wonderful by the fact that it produces the qualia of experience, as a result of mass cell autonomous functions. Nature is wonderful in its evolved complexity!

The emotional cycle...

(Anonymous)
It is more likely that the cycle is really:

1. Perception of situation
2. Physiological state (to prepare us physically for an event, i.e. if we are scared it is useful that blood is sent to muscles / our heart races)
3. Neurological mapping from physiological state to an emotional state.
4. Analysis of situation - Emotion can be analysed by the conscious mind more easily than sets of physiological states, hence why emotions are needed.
5. Decision making
6. Action

In your diagram it seems that perception (i.e. "our interpretation of our changing environment") is not the primary force, however I would argue that that is wrong.

So for example:
1. I see a sabre toothed tiger.
2. My heart races and blood is pumped to my muscles.
3. I feel scared (emotion = fear).
4. Should I stay and fight or run?
5. I decide to run.
6. run

Whereas your diagram would have us believe:

1. My heart races and blood is pumped to my muscles.
2. I feel scared (emotion = fear).
3. We perceive the sabre toothed tiger.

I think not!

?

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