#1. All fundamental particles (i.e., electrons, photons, etc.) are indistinguishable. Mix two of them up and it's impossible to locate a particular one. Does this mean that particles don't have souls and aren't alive? If particles turn out to have souls, will it be necessary to give up this basic law of physics? Most probably not, since particles likely don't have souls. (Basic particles don't change and so can't be alive and so can't have souls. See #44 & #66.)
#2. When I step back one meter, I'm still that person named "Oscar", almost 100% correlated with the "same" person before that step was taken, also named Oscar. The only difference between "Oscar-II", after the step was taken, and "Oscar-I", before that step was taken, is that Oscar-II is one meter away and about one second older. His brain, memory, experiences, etc., are almost exactly equal to Oscar-I and, so far as we all believe at this time, Oscar-I and Oscar-II are one and the same individual, the same person, the same soul.
#3. Now, let's visualize a most amazing machine: "The one- meter translating, reconstructing machine" which can examine, say, a human being, and reconstruct him one meter away exactly as he is (or was) at a particular instant, particle for particle, each particle having exactly the same relative position and velocity as in the original being. Since this is a thought experiment, I don't believe at this time that considerations involving the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle are important. In any event, this principle concerns one's ability to MEASURE positions and velocities of particles and doesn't address our right to postulate the same particle, or a similar indistinguishable one, one meter away with an exact position AND velocity. This might have to be reexamined. (See #109.)
#4. Suppose this translating reconstructing machine tears me down, particle for particle, atom for atom, and reconstructs me exactly, instantly, one meter away. Am I the same person? Let's just call this person "Oscar-III". The only difference between Oscar-III and Oscar-II is that Oscar-III is not one second older and has no recollection of having moved one meter. So far as anyone is concerned, Oscar-III IS Oscar-II. Oscar-III recognizes everyone, remembers past experiences, and is completely indistinguishable from Oscar-II by any scientific, medical, or psychological test (except for not remembering his one second translation). Oscar-II and Oscar-III appear to be the same person with the same soul.
#5. At this point, one may feel that Oscar-III's soul and Oscar-II's soul are one and the same. This is because I said in thought #4 that the machine tore down Oscar-I in the process of reconstructing him into Oscar- III. If the machine had merely examined Oscar-I and constructed Oscar- III without destroying Oscar-I (which is allowable in this thought experiment), then we clearly have Oscars-I and -III coexisting, with 2 completely separate souls. Since Oscar-III could have been created whether or not Oscar-I were destroyed, and since Oscar-III and Oscar-I are now seen to have different souls, and since we believe Oscar-I and Oscar-II to have the same soul, it's clear that Oscar-II and Oscar-III are completely different people "with different souls", in complete contradiction to the last statement of #4 and the first statement of this thought, #5. We have a paradox! (see #86)
#6. That Oscar-II and Oscar-III are different souls at least helps us with the following: Suppose, instead of making Oscar-III from Oscar-I, we just program a tape with the exact position AND (sorry, Dr. Heisenberg) velocity of every particle of Oscar-I and keep it for, say, a million years, and create Oscar-III at that time. At least it's gratifying to "know" that we don't have to explain how we have Oscar-I's soul when he in fact died some million years before. This thought helps confirm that the machine in fact creates new people, new souls, who are just like clones or identical twins.
#7. Suppose, now, with the above knowledge, you're given the opportunity of reconstructing your child, who has a mole on her chin, a meter away. The machine is programmed, however, so that the mole would be removed. Say the cost of surgically removing the mole is $5000, but that the reconstruction charge is only $10. Which method would you use? Suppose she had cancer? You'd be tearing down (destroying) Child-I and reconstructing a cured Child-III with a new soul! You wouldn't be able to tell the difference between Child-I and Child-III. She'll still recognize you and love you, and laugh and cry as she always did. The only difference would be she wouldn't have the mole (or the cancer) and she wouldn't remember moving that meter.
#8. So, maybe the choice in #7 is obvious to some, at least if the child has cancer. The child is going to die, so reconstruct a cured child. Right? Right! BUT -suppose the person with the cancer were you! Would you agree to be reconstructed without the cancer?? Not bloody likely!! Maybe your wife, or your insurance company, or your boss, would like you reconstructed, but, from what we've learned so far, you'd essentially be committing suicide and be replaced by a more desirable person, insofar as he's cancer- free, but who has a different soul and is a different person. "You", my friend, would be no more!
#9. We've made a certain amount of progress, but we still haven't explained the contradiction in thoughts #4 & #5. I think we've proved that Oscar-II and Oscar-III are indeed different souls, different people, but how can this be? Is it possible that Oscars-I & -II are different merely by stepping back a meter? I can hardly believe that at this time. We could talk correlation coefficients and relate Oscar-I at t = 0 to Oscar during every microsecond of the time it took to go that one meter, but I think we'd find that the correlation after one second, one meter away, would be very high. Since Oscars-I & -II must be the same person, despite the lack of a 100% correlation, and since Oscars-I & -III were proved to be different persons despite a 100% correlation, then Oscar-III is in fact a completely different person from Oscar-II even though the physical correlation is high. Correlations don't seem to enter the thinking here.
#10. Suppose we try to program the reconstructing machine so that Oscar-III can remember (even though it didn't happen) that he stepped back a meter and that his body experienced a one second aging. Even though this would involve programming the machine with information not yet available (being one second in the future), this is a permissible experiment since the mere "futurity" of the programming has no effect. Oscars-I & -III are still quite different souls by virtue of the still-valid reasoning of thought #5. So it seems very doubtful that a new soul is created only because of this otherwise insignificant space-time (one meter, one second) difference.
#11. If the machine can create one person one second later, it certainly can create TWO persons at the same time, one meter apart, exactly equal. So at least the time variable is eliminated from thought #10. Oscar-III, and now Oscar-IV, are certainly different people, with different souls, and gives us an additional proof that Oscar-III is a new soul and not Oscar-I, since Oscar-I, even if destroyed, can't occupy both Oscar-III and Oscar-IV at the same time.
#12. Oscar-III and Oscar-IV are different souls in the same way that clones and identical twins are different souls.
#13. Is it possible that, had the machine reconstructed Oscar-I and re- reconstructed him a million times in getting him over that one meter, that his soul would have been preserved? Doubtful, but suppose the machine reconstructed Oscar-I instantly in the same place, would that have preserved Oscar-I's soul? I suppose, by definition, you'd have to say "yes" since nothing has changed - unless you invoke the possibility that an infinite change had taken place in zero time resulting in a changed soul (and is consistent with the fact that the machine must create NEW souls). (See #35 and #86)
#14. So far we've been assuming that souls are integers, that they either exist or not. It might be illuminating to consider the possibility that you can have half a soul, or that some souls are better than others, or that elephant souls, ant souls, monkey souls, amoeba souls, paramecium souls, pebble souls, and human souls such as baby souls, senile souls, retarded souls, brain-damaged souls, genius souls, etc., are all different, some "worth more" than others. Note that the soul is quite naturally associated with the brain. Fair enough. We can lose an arm or replace a kidney and Oscar-X remains Oscar-X. When you start tampering with the brain, the personality (and thus the soul) can change.
#15. The brain has two hemispheres that are said to be quite different and have different functions. Experiments with cutting the connecting part of the 2 halves result in astounding changes and surprising information leading to the conclusion that we are possibly 2 (or more?) separate persons (souls) internally connected and related!
#16. As one goes through life, from conception to death, the mental and physical characteristics of an "individual" change radically. Could the soul of the senile old gentleman possibly be the same soul as that of the bouncing baby boy 90 years before, or of that fine example of mental and/or physical prowess 70 years before? Very doubtful. The person, his brain and body, and therefore his "soul", appear to range from near zero (no soul) at conception, to "one" in his broad span of middle years, and back to zero at death. (See #26, & #95 to #100.)
#17. It seems that the "worth" of a soul increases with the complexity of the life form and the extent of its mental capability. Cats and ants certainly are aware of being alive and in fact have certain mental abilities superior to humans (speed of response, for instance), and so probably can be said to have a soul of sorts. As to whether an amoeba has a soul, whether it's aware of being alive, may, I think, be academic questions. It's alive, yet it lacks a brain, so the answer is zero soul, or very nearly so. (See #91)
#18. So, with all these thoughts, how are we doing with the paradox of #5? Not so good I think. That Oscars-II and -III are quite different people is still valid. Possibly the answer lies in that Oscar-II is really different from Oscar-I, maybe even more so than Oscar-III is from Oscar-I. After all, Oscars-I and -III are identical, by definition, but Oscar-II is different from Oscar-I in that he had to move himself one meter and is a second older. But we discussed this in #9 and dismissed it - and I still agree.
#19. It may be that this paradox is in itself a proof that such a reconstructing machine cannot exist, even as a thought experiment, because it is somehow limited by some physical law, such as the uncertainty principle. This answer is presently unacceptable to me.
#20. Let's allow this reconstructing machine to transfer chunks of Oscar- I, a piece at a time, all as they were at some particular instant. Let's say we transfer the legs, then the arms, then the kidney, heart, etc., and lastly, the head. It's clear, I think, that this Oscar-III-C ("C" for Chunk transfer) is the very same soul as Oscar-I. Does this mean as we break down Oscar-I's brain into smaller and smaller pieces to transfer, that we will reach some point where Oscar-III-C becomes another soul which we have labeled Oscar-III? Certainly when we get down to transferring individual atoms we'll be creating a new soul, even if we transfer the actual particles of Oscar-I themselves (See #1). Where is the point where I'd be committing suicide if the chunks got smaller? All this is mind boggling and confusing, and all part of the same paradox of #5.
#21. We need more thought experiments to shed some light. Let's try some brain transplants. I believe that this "soul" resides in the brain - but where? Take a set of identical twins. One has a body, A, with a brain with 2 hemispheres, the left, A', and the right, A", and the other twin has a body, B, with a brain with 2 hemispheres, the left, B', and the right, B". Now let's switch the complete brains of the twins, so that body A has the complete other brain, B' & B", and vice versa. (It wasn't necessary to use identical twins - only to eliminate rejection problems which really shouldn't concern us.) I feel certain that the soul goes with the brain, so that brain A' & A" would look down at himself and see (through B's eyes) the body of B. And vice versa. I think we'll all agree to this. Now suppose we start over and just switch one hemisphere, so that body A contains its own left hemisphere, A', but also the other's right hemisphere, B". And vice versa. We certainly still have 2 separate, thinking, thriving, active bodies - but what about the souls? If the center of thought and individuality (the soul) resides in just one hemisphere, it's then possible to get both centers into the same body, and neither into the other body. (We could also have put both left hemispheres in one body and both right hemispheres in the other body and have assured this in at least one case.) If both souls were in one body, then the other body would be dead or in some state similar to it. I don't think this would happen and so, because both bodies would be quite active, etc., we've shown that the soul resides in both halves of the brain, and in fact, is most probably distributed according to where "mental capacity" is distributed. See #36 (sub 21) for a discussion of soul "position".
#22. The experiment of #21 most probably results in 2 individuals each with many of the characteristics of the other. Traits that were the same in both, such as language, color vision, etc., would still be the same. However, if one were a conservative and the other not, or an atheist and the other not, a certain amount of rethinking would be necessary on the part of both in order to resolve these conflicts. It's possible that philosophical beliefs emanate from one hemisphere only, in which case there wouldn't be any conflicts to resolve. However, if one body had both left hemispheres, and the other body both rights, if this were possible, then there'd be at least one highly confused twin. The other twin would be the kind of person I'd care not to know. In my opinion, a person lacking any philosophical inclination lacks a soul. Maybe the soul does reside in just one hemisphere. However, I don't believe so, at all.
#23. Another thought experiment: Let's take the brain, both halves, B' & B" from body B, and destroy it. Now take one hemisphere, say A", and put it into body B (and leave hemisphere A' in body A). Now we've clearly thrown away one soul, that from the brain of body B. From animal experiment s it has been shown that each body, each with just one hemisphere, will be able to thrive and think and learn and carry on most functions. Our thought experiment, then, seems to indicate we've created (given birth to?) another being. If both bodies are able to carry on, each going its own way, thinking its own things, does this prove we've managed to create another soul? At least it would prove the soul resides in both hemispheres. The fact that both new souls may be somewhat disadvantaged I don't think concerns us, except possibly to indicate that souls may be divisible resulting into 2 "half souls", at least temporarily. If the two half brains can eventually function as full brains and full souls, then we've truly created a new soul.
#24. Let's take a person and, with some sort of mental eraser, eliminate from his brain all his learned knowledge and experiences from the time of conception. This person, say age 20, will have no language, no recollection of anything, will not be able to recognize his mother, or in fact anything. He'll be just as a newborn babe. If he's now brought up, from birth, in another country, with another language, different parents and friends and way of life, different culture, etc., would he be a different person with a different soul? If this happened to you, right now, this new person, in your body, just wouldn't have any recollection of your friends and your life, or anything. Even though he has your original brain (sans memory) and your body, it is not you. Your soul has apparently disappeared with your memory. (Not necessarily so, see #25.)
#25. Now suppose this mental eraser of #24 were connected to a tape recorder and recorded everything that it was erasing from your brain and put it into a person whose brain had been likewise emptied. Would this person be you? Clearly not, for the following 3 reasons: 1st, if we had destroyed your body and its emptied brain, it means that your soul was temporarily stored on tape. I think this is ridiculous. 2nd, if we had taken this tape and programmed it into 2 persons whose brains had been emptied, then would we have 2 souls? Which one would you be? Clearly ridiculous! 3rd, had we not emptied your brain, but merely recorded all the information, and not destroyed you, you'd certainly be the same person with the same soul, no matter whether we programmed zero, one, two, or any number of other people with your sum total of knowledge and experience. Even though your brain had been emptied, you'd learn again in your characteristic way as determined by your genes. (See #77 and #115.)
#26. Maybe the soul consists of more than one entity. Part of your soul is certainly your sum total of your knowledge and experience, but another part of your soul seems to be intimately related to your body and/or brain. Maybe the soul can be broken down into such parts as genetic, biochemical, and learned information. (See #42.)
#27. Unless we can somehow tie in some of the above loose threads, I think we're pretty much back to square one regarding the solution to the paradox of #5 and #20.
#28. I feel that, if and when we get a handle on the paradox, we may be part or all the way toward solving the problem of free will. Our ability to make decisions and determine the future, if possible, may be related to souls and their distinguishability and existence. One consistent answer would be that neither souls nor free wills exist and that we're merely a natural result (even though possibly unique in the universe) of chemical reactions interacting with the physical environment. (Free will is also discussed in the "Twelve Minute Religious Dialog", in the Appendix.)
#29. If you forget, say, 0.01% per day of all that's in your memory, and learn 0.01% per day of all you know, then are you becoming another person? With another soul? What if the figures were 50% per day - then what would you say? (See #24 - #26.)
#30. What about the flatworm experiment - where flatworm #1 was trained to perform a particular task, then ground up and fed to flatworm #2 who then proceeded to learn that task in very short order. Did some of flatworm #1's soul get into #2? What is the optimum size piece for #1 to be chopped up into for maximum transferral of "soul"? Would have injecting a portion of #1's brain directly into #2's brain been more efficient? Does the soul travel with the information? I think we decided not when we concluded that storing information on tape was possible, but storing the soul on tape was not. (See #25.) However in this case we're not just transferring information, but actual parts of flatworm #1. If we were using information from the tape, it could have been used to program an infinite number of flatworms - but the quantity of material from #1's brain is finite, and every physical bit taken from #1's brain must also be taking part of its soul. But because of the many interconnections within the brain, it would seem that the fraction of soul a "chunk" of brain contains would be proportional to, say, the square of the fractional size of the chunk. For instance, if we cut the brain into 8 chunks, each chunk would have 1/64th of the total soul. The total amount of soul transferred, then, would be an eighth (8/64ths), with 7/8ths lost. The fact that the flatworm salvages some "smarts" from a brain that had been ground up into infinitesimal pieces seems to indicate that chemical or genetic material was responsible for #2's quick learning and that the many interconnections within the brain of either flatworm #1 or #2 were not involved.
#31. Can a computer be sufficiently programed so as to have a soul? Present day computers are primitive compared to those of 10, 100, or 1000 years hence. For the most part, all we do today is to enter simple data, access them, process them, and present answers to an operator. I'm sure the methods by which the brain asks, discovers, invents, philosophizes, weighs arguments, makes decisions, etc., will all be understood in a few decades or a few centuries, and these methods programed into a computer brain. Computers will be able to think - that is, to converse, to joke, and maybe even laugh. Can we ever create a computer with a soul that'll pass, and even far exceed, all the tests of a HUMAN soul? It's just a matter of time. The programming may take a million man-years, using facts that took a Billion man-LIVES to learn, but it WILL be done.
#32. If a soul can be created from scratch by combining chemicals and making life, then mechanical and electrical equivalents ought to be possible.
#33. When man finally creates reproducing life from its chemical, mechanical, and/or electrical constituents, or what have you, will we have bestowed a soul on this life? Suppose we create human life that can mate with and converse with and contribute to and be indistinguishable from normally-created humans, what can we say about these created souls? I believe they'll be every bit as good or better than the naturally evolved souls.
#34. It seems I should have enough from all of the above to make a statement about the paradox of #5, but as of 3/23/1983, I cannot.
#35. In thought #4, Oscar-I was torn down and reconstructed, atom for atom, one meter away in one second, in order to create Oscar-III. Here, in #35, let's just instantly freeze Oscar-I and replace each atom one at a time and look at the changes in Oscar-I. In #5 we proved, when all atoms are replaced (Oscar-III), that we have a new soul. After we've replaced 1/2 the atoms we most probably have a complete, intelligent, viable soul, but someone just 1/2 way between Oscars-I & -III. But there are almost an infinite number of Oscars between -I & -III. Not just in the number (or percentage) of atoms replaced, but in the manner in which they were replaced. For instance, if we replaced them in the brain from left to right, we'd be getting different Oscars than if we replaced them randomly. We of course always have exactly one soul, it's just a slightly different one every time we replace an atom. Isn't all this very nearly the same as #13? Undoubtedly we have in Oscar-III a different soul. (See also #83 and #86.)
#36. It's becoming increasingly clear that souls are EASILY created and that all souls are continually in a state of change. Too many of the thoughts so far are making this obvious. Let's list them: -#5: A new soul is created whether or not we destroy Oscar-I. -#6: Information "stored on tape" becomes a new soul upon each reconstruction. -#8: A convincing argument proves you'd rather die of cancer than be reconstructed as a cured, but new, soul. -#11: By being able to create 2 souls from one gives final proof that machines create completely new souls. -#15: Tampering with the brain results in personality differences thus indicating new or changing souls. -#16: Age, experience, maturity, education, call it what you will, completely changes the physical and mental characteristics of a person, resulting in a near-complete soul change. -#17: Cats, goats, ants, whales, bees, etc., all have intelligence, are curious, can learn, and surely have souls. -#20: Transferring chunks, leading to a similar paradox as in #5, is also explained by assuming a new soul is created - the similarity to the original soul depending on the size of the chunks, as in #35. -#21 to #23: All experiments with brains, half brains, two lefts, or a right and a left, are all explained by assuming the creation of new souls. Yes, apparently it's possible to commit a semi-suicide by trading 1/2 a brain with someone. Exactly where YOU'd end up we have yet to determine. We'd clearly have 2 new souls, each with characteristics of both the original persons, but I haven't decided, for instance, when "I" look down, will I see myself or the other person. (See #40 and #41.) -#24 & #25: Erasing the brain and reprogramming it seems to create a completely different person, but, because of #25, the soul remains with the body - albeit so highly changed that it can almost be considered another soul. -#31: It may be that part of the definition of a soul is that it MUST change, similar to the idea that life is not life if it doesn't undergo change. A computer, for instance, must be able to learn and reprogram itself if it's to have any chance for a semblance of a soul. (See #44, #45, & #66.) -#35: Here we find that a soul changes into any of many possible souls according to how the constituent portions are transferred.
#37. Despite all the progress so far, all we've done is to come up with another problem, #2 below. As it stands now, we have 2 problems to solve: #1: As per #5, the paradox as to why Oscar-II and Oscar-III are so different. We've shown that Oscar-III is a completely different person, and, in our most recent thoughts, have shown that Oscar-II is somewhat different than Oscar-I. The problem now is a matter of degree: Oscars-I and -III are completely different, but Oscars-I and -II are much closer. (See #83.) #2: As per #23, if 2 persons trade right hemispheres, what relationship do the 2 original souls have with the 2 final souls, and where do the new souls reside? (Where am "I" and where is "he"?) See #41.
#38. Are some souls "worth more" than others? From the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Vol 2, page 111: Citing A.R.Wallace from "Natural Selection": "Man is to be placed apart, as not only the head and culminating point of the grand series of organic nature, but as in some degree a new and distinct order of being." Also, quoting another author: "...knowledge, morality, truth, right, virtue, religion are traceable in the lower animals, but which can there show at most only faint and rudimentary signs of their wondrous development in mankind." What both these authors are saying is that animal souls are, at best, primitive.
#39. From the same EB page: "According to the materialistic school, man is a machine, no doubt the most complex and wonderfully adapted of all known machines, but still neither more than nor less than an instrument whose energy is provided by force from without, and which, when set in action, performs the various operations for which its structure fits it, namely, to live, move, feel, and think." The soul, then, at least the "immortal" soul of the church, would seem not to exist, but, what we conceive of as our soul, is merely the resulting "personality" of an extremely complex, highly organized, organic machine - nothing more. When this organic machine dies, deteriorates, simplifies itself into dust - then its personality is non-existent, and so, therefore, is its soul. This is my interpretation of the above, and also my belief at this time, although, as I write these lines, it's hard to believe that I'm just a machine. But my thinking has to change somewhere, somehow, in order to sort out those paradoxes. So, the conclusion, as of this moment, is that souls don't exist, but are merely manifestations of highly organized, highly complex, organic machines. (See #59 to #63.)
#40. Let's take identical twins, Bob-I and Ray-I, and trade their right hemispheres. We'll call the new combination brain in Bob-I's body, "Bob- II", and similarly, "Ray-II". If we can predict some responses, we might get a handle on the 2nd paradox of #37. Suppose you ask Bob-II his name. Assuming both halves of the brain are equally involved in this recall, I predict Bob-II will be confused. He'll say "Bob", then "Ray", hesitate, and give up. Likewise Ray-II. Bob-II will recognize persons only Ray-I knew, and know facts only Ray-I knew. Bob-II will look at himself and say, "Gosh, I never had any stitches on my knee - Oh yeah, I got them skiing". If the twins are opposite handed, as they often are, and if brain functions are divided into different hemispheres according to handedness, then there'd be much more confusion and much more to sort out. All this is very interesting, but are we solving the 2nd paradox?
#41. It seems that cutting the connecting cord (the "corpus callosum") between the 2 halves of the brain creates 2 completely different persons in the same body. If the crossover portion (the optic chiasma) of the optic nerve is also severed, then information entering one eye goes only to that half of the brain. Likewise the ears. Each half of the brain, from the moment of cutting, considers the other half as an entirely different person! Complete touch is lost with the other half. Referring to #40, when we cut the connection of Bob-I's two halves, we now have (Bob-I)rt and (Bob-I)lt. When we trade the right hemispheres, we end up with Bob-II = (Bob-I)lt + (Ray-I)rt. (Similarly, Ray-II = etc., etc.) After we've traded the two right hemispheres, but before we've connected them to their new left hemispheres, we'll still have the same situation of 2 different persons in the same body, only this time, they'll be from different original bodies. We'll still get different answers according to which ear we ask, etc. Now if we make the connection, we'll now have one person, only, but with many conflicts to be resolved. The questions "where am 'I'?", and "in which body do 'I' reside?" are academic since "you" were 2 different persons as soon as the two halves of the brain were severed. Before the transfer, both halves will look in a mirror and recognize scars, etc. But after the transfer, before the connection, only one half will recognize scars, etc., the other half won't. After the transfer, after the connection is made, will come the period of temporary confusion of #40. So, I think we've satisfactorily resolved the 2nd problem of #37. And when you think about it, this explanation is sensible and necessary and sufficient, and is the only explanation possible (at least as of now). As an exercise, we should explain chunk transfer details, but that can come later.
#42. It would be of interest, probably very instructive, to try to attach a numerical value to a soul - some sort of figure of merit that would incorporate: Ability to learn, mental capacity, complexity, ability to communicate, common sense, compassion, sense of humor, interest in life, speed of reflexes, and whatever other characteristics that might be considered somewhat measurable ingredients of a soul. An IQ test would probably be part of the final figure of merit. (See #26, #39, $ #45.)
#43. From ideas in #6 & #11, suppose the machine created Oscar-III after just 1000 years instead of a million years. Would the Oscar-III created in a 1000 years be the same person that would have been created in a million years? Answer: Probably not, since the machine could still create an Oscar-III in a million years. Presumably this Oscar-III would be the same person whether or not the machine created the previous Oscar-III 999,000 years before. BUT, this requires that the next soul waiting to be created by the machine changes continually depending on the moment of creation! Suppose 10 at a time are created? (See #10 and #11.)
#44. Change is necessary for life. If no change, then no life. But all changes affect the brain and slightly change the soul. Each change kills part of a person and creates a new part (such as a slight change in programmed memory). After a long life, the original soul is unrecognizable and can be considered dead. After all, how much of what you remembered at age 9 will you remember at age 90? Any 90 year old will be quick to relate to you what a different man he used to be - but it would never occur to him, or to anyone, that he may have had quite a different soul, too. Not only was he a different man, he was a different person! By undergoing the constant change necessary to call ourselves alive, we are in fact continually in the process of dying. So: Life is Death! Living must result in dying!
#45. But the converse isn't necessarily true: Life may require change, but change is not necessarily a sign of life. Hurricanes and erupting volcanos aren't alive and certainly have no soul. In whatever way the figure of merit of #42 is determined, it should come up with near zero for hurricanes and volcanos. Probably the high degree of disorganization of the constituent parts is a factor. Incidentally, how can we attach a figure of merit to that which, in #39, we have said doesn't exist? See #63 for the answer.
#46. How can 2 completely identical simultaneous reconstructions, such as Oscars-III & -IV, be such completely different souls? Possible answers: (a) They're made of different particles. But this may be invalid because of #1. And if we switch particle for particle, one at a time, see #13, #35 & #83. (b) They're reconstructed at different places at different times. (c) There's no other possible explanation, they MUST be separate, different souls, otherwise you'd have to postulate some sort of mental connection, or some way that one reconstruction (such as Oscar-III) can see, hear, think, and know, what is going on in the brain of the other reconstruction (Oscar-IV) in the same way that the corpus callosum (of #41) makes one soul out of the 2 halves of the brain. (d) We have to drum into our brains that a soul is only a "manifestation of a highly organized, highly complex, machine" and comes about automatically when the mechanism, be it human being, or a highly advanced smart computer, is able to learn, think, communicate, decide, etc. Souls are completely different because the bodies and brains are completely different. There just isn't any other possible answer.
#47. Neurons aren't replaced, but remain a constant number (minus losses) as we go through life, from several months of age to death (unlike our skin, for instance). It just may be that this MUST be the case, or else our very own perception of ourselves, our souls, might undergo vast metamorphoses in just a few months (that otherwise might have taken a lifetime). This I believe would be undesirable.
#48. Now we've seen that we indeed most probably become a completely different person or soul as we age from several months to age 90. However, what little continuity we do maintain may be explained by the fact that the same neurons we have at 90, we also had at the age of several months.
#49. This state of affairs just might be REQUIRED, or else either the individual or the species could not have survived. If our neurons and memory died every few months, along with their hard-earned contents, a species would be at a definite disadvantage in the struggle for existence.
#50. If #47 to #49 are correct, and we must keep our original neurons, then our eventual death may be unavoidable as a result of the continual loss of neurons due to many reasons (such as radiation, alcohol, free radicals, cholesterol buildup). Ordinary cells, not neurons, are continually replaced, but with occasional errors, and after a few score divisions almost lose their identity and appear to us to have aged. So, it appears that mental and physical agings may come about due to different mechanisms. It's interesting that, despite this difference, they both seem to aim for about 80 years or so of life, plus or minus 20, and that some persons with aged bodies have alert brains, while others become senile well before their bodies show advanced age. The point is that mental and physical aging appear to parallel each other, falsely leading us to believe mental and physical aging are one and the same. Mental and physical aging may be indirectly tied together if it turned out that a species' maximum chance for survival resulted when the body and the brain faltered together. However, knowing that mental aging may be different could help us further understand the nature of the soul as developed in #47 through #49.
#51. The Reconstruction Machine: We've used "The Machine" for complete instantaneous reconstructions, particle-for- particle reconstructions (both random, and left-for-right), chunk transfer, recording for later reconstructions, and maybe others. But now let's assume that within this machine are 1000's of Nobel Laureates, brilliant men, researching, experimenting, for 1000's of years, each of them standing on the shoulders of other mental giants. Let's say they've managed to completely understand the workings of the brain - the manner of information storage and retrieval, and its processing. In addition, they've determined just how the eyes, ears, and all our other senses, connect up. And now for the ultimate accomplishment: They've also perfected wonderful mechanical substitutes for every detail and operation of the brain and assembled the whole thing to make a complete copy of a human being!! Now a rather amazing and controversial statement: I believe this mechanical being to have a "soul" every bit the equivalent to the soul of a human being! It just cannot be otherwise. Its "organized complexity" is exactly equivalent to the human being in every way.
#52. In addition to the Figure-of-Merit work to be done, a Question-and- Answer Section should be made up which plainly and simply answers the key questions in a self-consistent manner, or at least points out the sections in which they're answered.
#53. One word I've overlooked is "consciousness". Its connotation somewhat parallels the meaning of "soul" with less emphasis, however, on indistinguishability. For instance, in building the mechanical being of #51, we might say it can be considered to have a soul at that time when it achieves consciousness. However, when discussing the difference between two completely different, but identical, mechanical beings, one would talk about their souls and not their consciousnesses.
#54. If we put two of the above identical mechanical beings side by side and started them off with the same inputs and programming, and continued with identical external influences (inputs to eyes, ears, etc.), then they should continue along in completely identical ways. If one were 10 minutes ahead of the other, it would completely predict in every detail what the other would do. I believe, then, that this is true for real human beings, too. Any Heisenberg considerations that would cause one identical being to deviate from its twin, would apply to both mechanical AND human beings. Just because we can't accurately determine the value of several parameters at once (The Uncertainty Principle), doesn't mean that the quantities themselves haven't accurate values. The Uncertainty Principle only concerns itself with our ability to observe and to know, and not with the actual values of the quantities themselves. The principle denies us information that would allow us to make accurate predictions of the future (or, for that matter, to reconstruct the past). Nowhere, however, does the principle state that different events will transpire if the starting points are equal. Even in subatomic situations, where ramifications of the uncertainty principle become important, there is no rationale in physics or philosophy that we can invoke to require different end points to result from identical starting points. Indeed, there should be a fundamental philosophical tenet that states: "Identical initial conditions result in identical future events." I doubt, though, if anyone would dare publish such a tenet and risk running the gauntlet of "Sunday Morning Quarterbacks". Religious ideas rely on free will and detest predestination - and the above tenet takes quite the opposite stand.
#55. From #54 we see that the being, be it human or mechanical, must react in a specified manner. If it had a free will, it could make different decisions than its completely identical twin. Since I feel this cannot be, I must, to be consistent, believe that free will cannot exist! I feel the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle doesn't apply, either in #54 or here. Again, I sit here saying I can't make free will decisions, which I find hard to hammer into my brain - but it's the only rational, consistent solution. Any other conclusion would paint myself into an illogical corner. (See the 12 Minute Religious Dialog.)
#56. If free will doesn't exist, then all decisions are made, and we must conclude that every detail of the future of the universe has already been predetermined! What a great disappointment. At least we can be thankful we can't predict the future and that we can enjoy watching the passing events.
#57. We've just "proved" predestination and the non-existence of free will. Is it all that simple? Well, the answers may be simple, but it's tough to accustom our thinking to these concepts. Maybe that's why the various religions can continue to exist, since a person would quite naturally believe his will is free and that the future is not predestined.
#58. The fact that religious people believe their God knows the future in every detail is completely in keeping with our predestination conclusion in #55. Their belief in free will, however, is certainly not consistent with predestination.
#59. Some definitions of the soul: (In Hebrew: Nephesh. In Greek: Psyche. In Latin: Anima. All are about equivalent to our "soul".) • c.1500 B.C.: The word "soul", as written by Moses (in Genesis), was the "breath of life" that God breathed into the nostrils of man after creating him from the "dust of the ground". No mention is made of its immortality. Not until the New Testament can a soul have any potential to live forever. • c.440 B.C.: Socrates is purported (he left no writings) to have created the concept of the soul. It wasn't a particular faculty or special substance in his mind, but was man's capacity for intelligence and character, his conscious personality, and "that within us by which we are pronounced wise or foolish, good or bad". He identified the soul with our normal powers of intelligence and character, and not as some ghostly substance. • c.390 B.C.: Plato, however, separated the soul and the body, spoke of the pre-existence of the soul and recollections from a previous state, and immortality of the individual soul. • c.350 B.C.: Aristotle placed the soul as the origin of all of the body's vital and mental "Performances". A person is a composite of matter "informed" by the soul, which is immortal. Animals have a "sensitive" soul, and plants have a "vegetative" soul. These two souls are perishable. • c.400 A.D.: St. Augustine wrote: "With regard to the four following opinions concerning the soul - viz. (1) whether souls are handed on from parent to child by propagation; or (2) are suddenly created in individuals at birth; or (3) existing already elsewhere are divinely sent into the bodies of the newborn; or (4) slip into them of their own motion - it is undesirable for anyone to make a rash pronouncement, since up to the present time the question has never been discussed and decided by writers of holy books on account of its obscurity and perplexity - or if it has been dealt with, no such treatises have hitherto come into my hands." • 1807: Barclay's English Dictionary, Liverpool: "The immaterial substance which animates our bodies. Various have been the opinions of men concerning the substance of the human soul. The Epicureans thought it a subtle air, composed of atoms or primitive corpuscles. The Stoics maintained it was a flame, or portion of heavenly light. The Cartesians made thinking the essence of the soul. Others hold that man is endowed with 3 kinds of soul, viz., the rational, which is purely spiritual, and infused by the immediate inspiration of God, the irrational, or sensitive, which being common to man and brutes, is supposed to be formed of the elements, and the vegetative soul, or principle of growth and nutrition, as the first is of understanding, and the second of animal life." • 1822: Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary, London: "The immaterial and immortal spirit of man." • 1937: Oxford Universal English Dictionary, Oxford: Many definitions, of all sorts, embodying both religious and non-religious explanations of the soul. For instance: "The principle of thought and action in man, commonly regarded as an entity distinct from the body, the spiritual part of man in contrast to the purely physical. Frequently in connexion with or in contrast to BODY. The spiritual part of man regarded as surviving after death and as susceptible of happiness or misery in a future state. The disembodied spirit of a (deceased) person, regarded as a separate entity, and as invested with some amount of form and personality." • 1975: The Doubleday Dictionary, New York: "That essence or entity of the human person which is regarded as being immortal, invisible, and the source or origin of spirituality, emotion, volition, etc. The moral or spiritual part of man."
#60. The definition of the soul I feel must be twofold: The first being the conventional, the second being a new definition in the light of what we've learned up to now.
#61. The conventional definition, a combination of the definitions from #59: THE SOUL is that intangible part of a being that is the seat of consciousness, awareness, intellect, reason, originality, curiosity, morality, the emotions, common sense, and the individual personality, and which continues forever, even after the death of the physical body.
#62. Our new definition: THE SOUL is a being's APPARENT consciousness, awareness, intellect, reason, originality, curiosity, morality, the emotions, common sense, and the individual personality. These traits are a result of the brain's inherited complexity enabling it to acquire and exploit outside information. The soul disappears as the brain dies.
#63. One might ask how we can define a soul once we previously have proved it not to exist. The answer is that we've only proved the soul, as per the conventional definition of #61, not to exist. Our new definition in #62 is quite OK since the APPARENT aspect of the soul there defined is completely consistent with its non-existence.
(#64 thru #67 were taken from old thoughts dated c. 1970.) #64. The problem of 2 exactly identical persons. Can you interpret the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in some way so it's impossible to have 2 exactly similar situations continue one to one? This would be tantamount to saying that if everything is known in complete detail, a prediction cannot be made. (See #54 & #55.)
#65. A possible definition of thinking Life: That which has the ability to initiate its own actions (as opposed to, say, a virus or blood cell). The quality of thinking life might be determined by the fineness of the degree to which different actions can be initiated. (See #72.)
#66. Life, aging, death, the soul & eternal life: Any living thing is constantly changing its environment and changing its constitution. The body has no way of referring back to the RNA-DNA chromosome-gene information storage bank, and thus has no way of repairing itself back to a more "youthful" state. So, while continually ingesting, storing, and expending energy, and while accumulating radiation, fat, etc., and while imperfectly repairing itself of the wounds of time and motion (muscle breakdown, skin and blood cell replenishment, etc.), the body is undergoing constant changes in its composition. The brain, likewise, is experiencing vast changes due to: (1) accumulation of radiation, fat, etc., (2) inability to repair itself, (3) learning, and (4) forgetting. So, it's quite clear the mind and body are continually drifting away from their constitution at conception, that time at which the human is most like the gene-code handed down through the generations, and which can be considered eternal. From this concept we might say that aging is merely a drifting, with time, of the individual, away from that make-up he once had that was identical with an eternal make-up. We must remember that a genetic code can't be considered alive. It can't change, and since living requires a change of make-up, a change of input, storage, constitution, environment, we can state: THAT WHICH DOESN'T CHANGE DOESN'T LIVE. The period around conception demarcates the beginning of life where the egg begins to change and grow and develop into the moving, absorbing, thinking object we call a living thing.
Now that we understand that a living thing changes constantly (and if there's no change there's no life), let's look at the question of eternal life (for the individual). Since the body (or any living thing) is constantly changing, the body is not now the same body of 5 minutes ago. Agreed, the correlation, by any definition, is 0.9999. (A correlation of 1.000000 means that the body hasn't changed at all and therefore has undergone no living.) Now, after several decades, this correlation must drop to some lower figure, possibly approaching zero (or no correlation). It appears that a man, in growing old, will in fact become another person. Identical twins, who live together in the same physical and mental environment, will correlate closely (though decreasingly) throughout life. In fact, at age 90, one twin could correlate more with the other twin, also 90, than with himself, as he was, at age 9. So, assuming we can somehow keep the body alive forever, we find that the individual is continually changing identity. Thus, in answer to the question of eternal life, we find:
#67. Change is life, but if changed, you're not the same. Therefore, eternal life is impossible since the same object (or being) can't live and still be the same. (Because as you live, you change, and as you change you become something different, someone else, and thus, what you were no longer exists - what you were has essentially died.) As an illustration, take an amoeba (or any fissionable life) - a question: In which half does the soul enter during fission? Answer: Neither. The process is similar, so far as the results are concerned, to a parent "mothering" 2 clones and then completely disappearing (see #11 & #12). Well, then, if that's true, and if the parent has learned anything in its lifetime, does that mean the memory is lost upon fission? or is it transmitted to both offspring? or is the parent incapable of learning (& so no problem as to where the facts have gone)? Answer: I feel the amoeba has no capacity to learn and all they know is 100% transmitted to the fission products. This could be the basis of a simple experiment - namely, try to teach some amoebas some simple reflex. If they learn, then see if it's transmitted to neither, one, or both halves after fission. The "fact" that everything learned must be transmitted (in fissionable "life") is a necessary result of the fission process, namely that both halves are identical (which in itself is a result of the replication process). It's interesting that, with amoebas, everything learned must be transmitted, and with humans, nothing learned is transmitted! (See #70 & #112.) Is there any inconsistency here? I don't think so, since the learning mechanisms are different.
#68. The conclusions reached over the last 67 thoughts seem, once and for all, to put the coup de grace on all ideas of reincarnation, life after death, previous lives, contacting the dead, ghosts, resurrections, Satan, Heaven, Hell, Allah, and maybe even God.
#69. If there IS a God, how do our thoughts apply to Him? Certainly the same rules must apply. If He lives, He must change, etc...., and so we must conclude either: He lives, changes, and dies (or becomes so changed with time as to become unrecognizable), OR, He exists forever and never changes, and therefore doesn't live. Any attempt to rationalize a God in the light of our thoughts and conclusions concerning the soul will paint ourselves into that corner. The only reasonable conclusion is that there is no God and never was. (See Appendix.)
#70. Referring to #67, it might be that the fission process, or something similar to it, will be the mechanism whereby acquired characteristics (including knowledge) can be transmitted. The ability of animals to walk at birth, chicks to peck for food at birth, whales and birds to migrate to specific spots, etc., indicates that at one time or another something learned was incorporated into the genes and from that time permanently transmitted. (But see #91, #92 & #94.) Though it's certainly possible the brain and/or body contains a mechanism for incorporating acquired characteristics into the genes, it's also possible that mutation, natural selection, survival of the fittest, and long periods of time, will adequately explain such mysteries as, for instance, bird migration. Flocks heading for the poles for the winter perished. Those heading for the equator survived. Those heading out into the Pacific perished, while those following a coastline or a river survived. If every 100 years a new "fine tuning" was mutated into the "genetic migration program" of the species, then it might be easy to see how, after 1,000,000 years a species would be able to migrate every year to and from the exact sites of the previous years, and even extend them, over the millennia.
#71. Learning is clearly a permanent change and is certainly a part of what life and the soul are all about. But what about the process of forgetting? Is it equivalent to a time reversal? Are you reverting back to the person you were before you learned the fact? If you have truly forgotten all traces of the fact, I suppose it's possible you may have become a bit more like "your old self". Presently, though, I feel that all changes are unidirectional, necessarily invoking the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the notion of entropy, and that, at least on a large scale, we learn at random and forget at random, each event making us a different person like a point random- walking through N-dimensional space. "N" can be very large (billions!) and so the chance of crossing the previous path is nil, especially when the path strays little from the shortest line to its destination: old age and death. (In the case of a tiny, primitive form of life, however, the chance may not be negligible.) So, "forgetting", then, I feel, in the case of any form of life complicated enough to be able to remember anything, is just one of the processes involved in changing the person, and therefore just part of life, the soul, aging, etc. I would suggest that "forgetting" be included in any rigorous definition of life or the soul. However, any lifeform that can remember, but NEVER forgets, should still be considered alive and capable of having a soul. This would allow a highly sophisticated, non-forgetting, super-computer of the future to join our club of organic/mechanical living beings having souls.
#72. One definition of "life" might be: "That which dies". Can we somehow similarly define a soul? That future super- computer (with the soul), of #71, dies only insofar as it changes identity as it learns and erases.
#73. The soul is a manifestation of: organized change; organized complexity; logical rational progress; premeditated reason; sophistication; personality.
#74. To do: -Look into freezing of lifeforms. -Cloning. -Look at necessary refinements of a soul, how it must work, what duties it must perform, what relationship it must have with the body, where it is or what form it takes when the body is in a coma, asleep, in the womb, preconception, at death, after death, etc. -The body's actions are only the external manifestation of all the contents of the brain and/or soul. - Are there are any inconsistencies? (See #76.)
#75. The brain's capacity is surely not infinite, so, were we able to live forever, the brain would eventually be saturated with information. Then, as we forget various facts, other facts would take their place, resulting, in time, in a very different person with very different habits and opinions - a different personality and a different soul. The fact we use very little of our brain's capacity (or so it is said) wouldn't affect the argument. (But see #77.)
#76. Inconsistencies. Upon discovering an inconsistency in his logic, a soul (a reasonable one, that is) would be proud to have discovered it and would look forward to the challenge of sorting out the conflicting "facts" or observations. Surely one's all-encompassing picture of the universe lacks perfection if inconsistencies exist in the details of the picture. Conflicting facts certainly can exist in one's thinking, even though unresolved, as long as they're acknowledged and further thinking put off until more facts or theories are introduced into the thought process. By discovering the presence of an inconsistency, the present state of the mind is found to be unacceptable and the need for a future change is recognized which would knowingly result in a slightly different person and soul.
#77. Referring to #25, suppose we emptied your brain, storing all the information on tape. Then suppose, after some interval, we program back all this information, in the exact same locations, into the actual brain from which it was taken, that is, your brain. Now, the same question: would this person be you? Clearly, everyone else would believe you were you. You, yourself, when asked, would truthfully believe you were you. If this were truly so, then the first reason in #25 (stating it's ridiculous to think your soul can be stored on tape) wouldn't be so ridiculous. However, the 2nd and 3rd reasons still appear valid. For instance, from (3), had we not emptied your brain when storing all your information on tape, then you are still clearly you, since whether we emptied your brain or not in the process of programming the tape, will certainly not have anything to do with whether your soul transferred to the tape or not. Therefore, your soul did NOT transfer to the tape. And, from (2), if we had emptied your brain, and the brains of a couple of your clones, and then reprogrammed all three of the brains from the same tape derived from your brain, we clearly have 3 different souls, completely indistinguishable from outside and each of the 3 truly believing he was the original. Now back to the question, "Are you still you?". Clearly you're not either of the clones, however I presently believe you may in fact be the original and not have "committed suicide" by having your brain emptied and reprogrammed. Your "apparent soul", since it never got to the tape, must therefore reside in the brain, even if emptied. (In emptying the brain, though, the soul could have perished. Reprogramming, even with the original information, could create a brand new soul.) The clones, however, had their brains emptied of completely different information (having lived different lives than the original before all 3 had their brains emptied). The clones may suspect a change since they won't recognize certain scars (or lack of scars) on their bodies, and certain muscles of their bodies may not be able to handle particular skills they developed in their previous years. If not different souls from what they were, they are at least very changed. Their new personality came over the tape, and to the extent you define a soul by learned information, then that portion of the soul WAS stored on tape. Unfortunately, the thoughts here in #77 seem to be inconsistent with those in #75 where a new soul resulted merely by replacing the information in the brain. Here, however, I say that emptying the brain and reprogramming it won't result in a new soul, but just a changed soul (The reason being that the soul must have remained with the original body since it couldn't get onto the tape.) The resolution could come about by postulating two levels of the soul: (1) The permanent wiring of the brain, and (2) the information added from time to time. (1) and (2) could be compared to the hardware and software of a computer. Presumably (1), the permanent wiring, would constitute the "true soul". (But see #115.)
#78. Is there some "law" in the "science of the soul" that is similar to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics? This "2nd Law of the Soul" might state, when dealing with information in the brain down at the molecular level, that learning and forgetting are unidirectional, irreversible processes and that emptying a brain and reprogramming it, even with the same original information, will result in a new soul. (See #93.) Fortunately, we needn't worry about the existence of such a law, since I feel that thought experiments don't have to obey 2nd laws. If we assume AS GIVEN that all bits of information are placed back into their original storage places, after forgetting, then we've bypassed the 2nd Law and retrieved the original soul. (Again, see #115.)
#79. Suppose we have a couple of clones that originated from the same person. These two new persons are therefore completely identical, physically and genetically, in every way. (Refer to #77.) Now let's bring up these clones (we'll call their physical bodies Amos and Andy) in separate cultures. After, say, 30 years, let's completely empty Amos's brain and put it on tape. Likewise Andy's. Now let's program Amos's brain with the Andy tape, and Andy's brain with the Amos tape. From previous thoughts we know that no souls can be stored on tape, even though both Amos & Andy think they're the other. For instance, if Amos was distraught and wanted to commit suicide, now it's Andy who wants to commit suicide. Picture this happening to you - all your experiences and learning erased from your memory, and all the experiences and learning from an identical clone programmed into your brain. Where do you feel YOU (your soul) would be? You, after the programming, will recognize different friends, maybe even speak and think in another language. I feel that even in your own mind you're another person. But what happened to your soul (since it wasn't given to the tape, and you didn't receive one from the programming tape)? Well, you must still have the soul you were born with (since the differences between Amos & Andy only began accumulating when they began leading different lives, at birth, and the tapes contain only that information acquired after birth). I believe "you're still you", but that you're a different person to the extent that acquired information makes you so. The "real" soul must be the one determined hereditarily at conception - unique to one individual by reason that it's separated in space from another hereditarily identical individual. (See #95.)
#80. The only conclusion to #79 seems to be, and as we have concluded before, that the "soul" only exists insofar as we perceive it as representing in ourselves our individual personalities which are, in fact, only the result of particular combinations of atoms. It's just that we find it very hard to comprehend that what we call "human" and "soul" are just very advanced chemical "machines" that have reached a level of sophistication whereby they can contemplate their internal operations. It's understandable how each machine might care to attach a label to its own personal lucidity. The name WE use is "soul". (See #39.)
#81. The fact that "you're still you" (see #79) makes more sense if you think about what happens in the interim, after the brain has been emptied but before it has been reprogrammed. If this happened to you, you'd still be aware, able to see and hear, but having to learn everything all over again, but you'd still be "you". The "2nd Law of the Soul" (see #78) is therefore rejected since the "real soul" doesn't change when the brain is emptied and reprogrammed. (See #95-II-C.)
#82. We've said machines can have souls, but that tapes cannot have souls - is that inconsistent? Suppose we make a tape with ALL the genetic information sufficient to make a human being - hasn't the tape carried the soul? The answer is "no", since the soul doesn't exist until the proper materials are properly combined and mutually interacting in a way that constitutes an individual. If merely carrying the information endows the carrier with a soul, then every DNA molecule, indeed every cell in the body, would have a soul.
#83. In #5 we showed Oscar-I and Oscar-III to be different souls. In #35 we concluded that replacing one atom at a time would result in a different soul. But in #1 we say all similar particles are absolutely indistinguishable, so how could #35 result in a different soul? (See #86.)
#84. - Following are the paragraph numbers wherein the "soul" is variously defined: Subtitle, #2, #38-39, #42, #59, #60-63, #65, #71-73, #77, #80, #95-97, #100, #105. - Following are the paragraph numbers wherein the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is discussed: #3, #6, #54, #55, and #64.
#85. We've been saying (#66, et. seq.) that that which moves, and learns, and lives, must change and drift away from its bestowed genetic code at conception. But in what state is the lifelike, but probably changeless, sperm cell occupying? It'd be easy to say the sperm cell is lifeless, and likewise the egg. Their ability to combine and create "life" (and thus a new soul) would nicely define life's beginning. But unused sperm and egg cells eventually change, lose their life-initiating powers, and die. But how can something die that never lived? Possible answers: (1) The propagation and lifelike motion of the sperm cell is merely of a lifeless chemical origin and so poses no problem. The cell is only a carrier of a changeless, and thus lifeless, genetic code. As soon as the motion-producing mechanism runs out of chemical fuel, the cell appears to die - but actually has merely "ceased operation". A moving tape recording is all we have and, as we've shown previously, a tape is not alive and has no soul. (2) The sperm and egg are indeed alive. Life is in fact created from chemicals in the ovaries and testes. This is "proved" by the fact that sperm and egg cells have pre- conceptual tasks to perform that appear too complicated to attribute to mere chemical reactions. To label these functions as "life" would not involve the "lifeless" genetic code. (3) Both of the above are correct, yet neither are correct! When discussing the creation of life at this early and primitive stage, one cannot nicely separate life from its chemical origins, even when a definite time (the moment of conception) is singled out for analysis. (4) If "life" were to be defined as the interaction of cells, then a single cell cannot be alive, whatever its apparent motions and tasks. (See #91 & #92.)
#86. Suppose we take Oscar-I and merely increase the distance between every molecule by 100 times, for just an instant, so that he occupies a million times his original volume. Now, after breaking all the molecular bonds, for just that instant, we immediately replace each and every molecule exactly into its original position, thus returning Oscar-I to his original size. QUESTION: Do we still have Oscar-I? ANSWER: Clearly not! We have essentially disassembled and reconstructed Oscar-I into another soul, Oscar-III. But, you say, Oscar-I is expanding and contracting a small fraction of a % all the time. He increased his volume from birth by a factor of 20 or more. QUESTION: Is he therefore changing his identity every moment? ANSWER: Clearly not! - since I'm sure we all feel we maintain our identity from day to day. Here is a reason for believing the above answers: There are two kinds of molecular motion: (a) Motion of the 1st Kind, the thermal motion of a molecule bound in one place, and (b) Motion of the 2nd Kind, the motion permanently removing the molecule to another position never to return again. Motion of the 1st Kind, thermal motion, certainly changes nothing since nothing has changed. The person has not aged, nor has he lived. Motion of the 2nd Kind, permanent motion, however, the kind that breaks molecular bonds, results in permanent changes in the individual, changes that we refer to as "living". When a person has "lived", he has undergone new experiences, he has new memories, new opinions, he is a changed person, another person, another soul. So it appears the paradox of #5 is resolved, as follows: Oscar-I and Oscar-II are the same soul because the molecules have only undergone Motion of the 1st Kind, thermal motion, no molecular bonds having been broken. Oscar-I and Oscar-III, on the other hand, are completely different souls. Molecules have undergone Motion of the 2nd Kind - bonds have been broken, permanent changes have taken place. But we said Motion of the 2nd kind requires the molecule to move away, never to return again. If we replace every molecule back into its original position, haven't we created the same soul again? The answer is no, since breaking all the bonds, even for an instant, completely destroys the original soul. Replacing them merely creates another soul. The fact that we used the very same molecules makes not a bit of difference because similar particles are indistinguishable (see #1).
#87. The Problem of Fertilization. One egg can be fertilized by any one of a great number of spermatozoa. Do you get a different soul from a different, but identical, sperm cell? Would you "be you" if some other sperm cell had fertilized the egg that became you? What if the sperm cell that "fathered" you had actually fertilized another egg? Well then, let's suppose sperm A fertilizes egg A, and sperm B fertilizes egg B. This will result in 2 very different souls, AA and BB, possibly even of different sex. Now let sperm A fertilize egg B, and sperm B fertilize egg A. Now I feel that the fact we will still obtain 2 completely different and separate souls, AB and BA, allows us to state that souls AA and BB would have been completely different individuals than souls AB and BA. With regard to the 3 questions beginning this paragraph, the answers are that, in all cases, completely different persons (souls) are created and that each one of us are all very fortunate to have had the opportunity to exist at all! I'm not completely comfortable with this yet. We should have some other confirmation of this logic. After all, sperm cells A and B and eggs A and B can ultimately create just 2 souls, therefore much "overlap" would be expected in the brains, personalities, and souls, of the 4 individuals, AA, BB, AB, and BA. But overlap is impossible since the 4 possible resulting souls are each unique and separate, even if we assume the sperms and eggs combined in exactly the same way, resulting in the equivalent of identical quadruplets. Suppose, after fertilization, the 4 combinations then fissioned into 4 sets of identical twins. Now we have identical octuplets - 8 more souls, all unique and separate from the others. Doesn't this make it clear that every possible combination of different sperm cells and different eggs results in a completely different soul? Well, yes, but I'm still not completely comfortable with all this, probably because I just can't get into my head the idea that "I" was so fortunate to have made it "here" despite the millions of other spermatozoa competing against the one that fathered me (and that my father was so lucky, etc.). There's no a priori reason to believe that the "real soul" resides in either the egg or the sperm (see #91). Probably neither. All that the sperm and the egg possess is the information to make a soul. The sperm and the egg are merely the tape and the machine (see #82) capable of constructing, with the mother's help, that complex organism called a baby. But let's face it, a different egg OR a different sperm cell would have resulted in a different soul, even though the baby had the same genetics. Hard to accept, but probably true nevertheless.
#88. In #33 I said that it would be possible to construct a mechanical being having a soul every bit as human as the electrochemical soul we all possess. But in #86 I also said that separating all molecules (and breaking all molecular bonds) destroys the soul and, by replacing them, then creates another soul. Now does this "fellow", with the all- mechanical brain, also become a new soul if he gets similarly separated? He's made of nuts, bolts, gears, shafts, wires, motors, pumps, levers, etc., including the empty spaces between these various parts. I mentioned before that replacing part of the human brain, even one molecule, slightly changes the soul. Would replacing one gear slightly change the soul of our mechanical man? If I disassemble and reassemble him, even if I don't change a part, do I destroy the old soul and create a new one? In #7 & #8 we had to create a new soul to cure the body of cancer. Do we similarly create a new soul by merely taking apart and reassembling our mechanical man? - or by just replacing a worn gear? Here's a thought experiment: If we fill every interstitial space with metal, so that we have a solid block of metal, and then removed the metal - will we, then, have destroyed the old soul and created a new one? I believe the answer to all the above questions is, yes, in every case, a new soul is created. The external actions and appearance of the mechanical being will be exactly the same, and the machine itself, even though it's a completely new person with a completely new soul, will believe it is the original soul. It would have been so easy to say that electromechanical machines can't have souls, but this just wouldn't have stood up to fact and reason.
#89. Though the answer is clear from our discussion so far, I suppose the question should be asked: Where does the soul go when the body dies or a machine is disassembled? The answer, of course, is that the soul merely ceases to exist. Better yet, it's "uncreated". Matter can be neither created nor destroyed, but souls are not so restricted. Souls merely reflect the complex electromechanical or electrochemical organization of the host and are easily created and destroyed, just as the host is.
#90. It has been conjectured that life could exist in the sun, and that within its great volume, currents and forces could so react as to result in thinking, reproducing forms of life, each individual possessing a soul. I reject the possibility of any souls in any star since I feel the organization required for thinking life would be disallowed under such conditions of high temperature and violent turbulence.
#91. Do spermatozoa have souls? The immediate answer would seem to be, "Yes, of course, since they move vigorously and are clearly alive." However, it seems to me, in order to be completely consistent with our logic up to now, that spermatozoa are not a form of life. They may move about, even purposefully, but, being a single cell, there can be no interaction between cells, and so they can't learn, they can't change their structure, they're just not alive. Any lifelike motion is only a genetically programmed response - the cell's reaction to local variation in temperature or chemical composition of the environment. Our mechanical man of several paragraphs back is infinitely more sophisticated, capable of learning, thinking, emotion, etc. Spermatozoa are just programmed message carriers designed only to deliver the male genetic code to the female egg - nothing more. They are as alive as a clock, a magnetic tape, or a headless chicken. Spermatozoa don't have souls. In fact, neither would other programmed, non-thinking cell forms such as heart cells, muscle cells, nor even neurons which are fundamental to the thinking process! I feel comfortable with this. I'd rather not think that I'm made up of many tiny cells each with its own soul. (See #85 & #87)
#92. Can you have a soul if you can't learn? In #67 we showed that any fissionable life form cannot learn. I feel that anything that can't learn hasn't a soul, even though it can reproduce and might technically be considered alive. I was probably wrong in #91 - spermatozoa ARE alive, but since they can't learn, they certainly can have no soul. And if your ability to learn (a definition of IQ) is related to the soul, do the retarded have less soul than geniuses? Ordinarily, when speaking of a soul, a single unit is referred to, thus implying all souls are equal. When COMPARING souls, though, whether they be souls within a species, or souls of different species, I feel they can be arrayed into an "awareness pecking order". (See #98.)
#93. In #77 & #78 we concluded that emptying a person's brain, and then reprogramming it with the same information, would not change, nor even affect, the soul. Question: Is there any test we can perform to verify this conclusion? Any tests, or combination of tests, are allowed, either before the brain is emptied, while it's empty, or after it's reprogrammed. I can presently see no test, either active or passive, that would work. The reprogrammed brain is completely indistinguishable from the pre- emptied brain, either from without or within. Only the replaced soul (if the soul was replaced) would know the answer, but it no longer would exist.
#94. In #67 & #70 I make statements about the learning process in cells that reproduce by fission. I say, for instance, that amoeba can't learn. And also, somewhat inconsistently, that learned facts must be transmitted. The resolution of this inconsistency is that amoeba truly can't learn, however, transmittable mutations will occur that will change patterns of behavior. Most changes will be to the detriment of the species and will disappear in time. Beneficial mutations will cause the new variant to flourish. I don't know of, nor do I believe there exists, any mechanism that can insert learned facts directly into a species' gene manufacturing apparatus. So, in #67, where I say "...that, with amoeba, everything learned must be transmitted", we must understand that by "learned" I meant only that which was "apparently learned" but resulted from random mutations.
#95. Types of Souls: -I The permanent soul: This soul exists after death, goes to Heaven, etc. - the usual religious concept. -II The Temporary Soul: This is the "apparent" soul. It ceases to exist upon death. It has two portions (but see #113): -A: The Hereditary, Genetic Portion: That programmed portion you're born with - your basic sophistication, reflex responses, biochemical pathways, etc., regardless of your path through life. -B: The Acquired (learned and retained) Portion: That which was created by your education, your upbringing, your experiences, changes brought about by your own thought and judgement and your path through life.
#96. Following is a very rough plot of the various souls of the previous paragraph, #95:
#97. Discussion of the curves from #95 & #96: #95-I: This curve depicts the usual religious notion that the soul is instantly created at conception and exists forever. #95-II: This curve is what I feel to be a representation of the human soul, having a value equal to 1, except for those times the body is undergoing creation or destruction. At conception I feel that a single cell doesn't rate a full soul. Nor the deteriorating brain at death's door. At death, of course, the apparent soul disappears (and in my opinion, no other souls exist). This soul, I feel, changes form as life passes, from the Hereditary Soul of #95-II-A, the one we're born with, to the Acquired Soul of #95-II-B. The sum of the -A and -B curves is just the #95-II curve. #95-II-A: Just about all a newly conceived child has is his heredity. Although the complete heredity is established at conception, the fetus' soul must take a certain amount of time to develop, probably in proportion to the development of its brain function. The curve drops with time only because the hereditary proportion of the soul decreases with respect to the acquired portion. #95-II-B: At birth, and before, a child begins learning from his surroundings. As information flows into his brain, his actions and thoughts are more and more determined by the environment, and less and less by reflex and heredity. If information enters the child's brain at a
#98. In #92, I say that anything that can't learn has no soul. Yet in #95 to #97 I confer a hereditary soul on a fetus before the learning process has begun. Is this inconsistent? Not really. The hereditary soul was previously discussed with regard to the attributes of "sophistication, reflex responses, chemical pathways, etc." (see #95-II-A) carried by the cell's genes. None of these particular attributes indicate any potential for learning and can indeed be present in the cells of those lifeforms not yet capable of learning. A single sperm cell, or an unfertilized egg, can have a hereditary soul, but because it can't learn it cannot have an acquired soul. Only after fertilization, and only after enough fetal cells exist to have sufficient interaction for a learning capability, can we say that some semblance of an acquired soul exists.
#99. A "Pecking Order": In #92 we decided souls could be rated. This is natural and reasonable since some organisms are clearly more sophisticated than others, not just one species compared to another, but also individuals within the same species. The following table should stimulate some good discussion while getting the concepts across. In any event, the chart is my best guess, going from most sophisticated to most primitive: (Note in #116, we do away with the distinction between hereditary and acquired souls and eliminate the middle column.) HERED- SUBJECT ALIVE? ITARY ACQUIRED SOUL? SOUL? 1-Advanced Electro- Mechanical Man: Yes Yes Yes 2- Intelligent Adult: Yes Yes Yes 3- Human Child: Yes Yes Yes 4- Idiot Savant: Yes Yes Yes 5- Chimpanzee: Yes Yes Yes 6- Dog/Cat/Chicken: Yes Yes Yes 7-Late Human Fetus: Yes Yes Yes 8-Human Idiot: Yes Yes Yes 9-Chicken, Head Only: Yes Yes Yes 10-Severed Worm, Head: Yes Yes Yes 11-Severed Worm, Tail: Yes Yes Yes 12-Early Human Fetus: Yes Yes No 13-Fertilized Human Egg: Yes Yes No 14-Vegetable: Yes Yes No 15-Chicken, Body Only: Yes Yes No 16-Unfertilized Egg: Yes Yes No 17- Sperm Cell: Yes Yes No 18- Amoeba: Yes Yes No 19-Human Corpse: No No No 20-Automobile: No No No 21-Tape Recording: No No No 22-An Ordinary Rock: No No No
#100. In the graph of #96 we assumed the soul throughout most of life to be equal to 1. One unit of soul. But in fact it could be the hereditary soul that should be constant over time within an individual, and the "total soul" grows (becomes more sophisticated) as the accumulation of information expands the acquired soul. It may or may not make sense to have a soul greater than one. I feel that if the total soul is to accurately reflect the complexity and sophistication of the individual (or his brain), one could not confer a full soul onto half a person. But should a genius be blessed with a soul- and-a- half? He's certainly not a person-and-a-half! But if we're trying to attach numbers to souls so as to evaluate them and to compare them, what are we to do? I believe the solution is to make use of the 3rd dimension. The T-axis, the independent variable, will be the time axis, as above. To the one-person-one-soul purist, we can relegate the Y-axis. Presumably y = 0 until conception, whereupon it steps to the value of 1 and remains at 1 until death or infinity - depending on your own philosophy. The Z-axis can be referred to as the "depth" axis and could be used to plot and compare any numbers or figures-of-merit that might be attached to the soul of any animal, vegetable, or mineral. "One" on the depth axis would be quite arbitrary and could be defined as the sophistication or complexity of the mind and/or soul of the average human at birth, or better yet, at age 40 when "life begins". If we use the depth axis to compare humans with animals, vegetables, and minerals, or with other humans, the scale should be logarithmic - going from .0000--(many zeros)--00001 (for a rock), up to 1000's or more (for a VERY sophisticated machine!).
#101. But, in fact, what is the purpose of introducing another dimension? Volumes, for instance, have no meaning. Let's face it, I was trying to avoid having to decide between two different representations of the soul. It's clear that two graphs are necessary, both of which are 2- dimensional: The Y-T and the Z-T graphs. Just which one displays the greater truth depends on semantics and your own philosophy. Which of these graphs is used may depend on the problem of the moment, just as either the wave theory or the particle theory of light is used according to the nature of the optical problem to be solved.
#102. We've decided that single cells have no souls since they are completely programmed and cannot learn, innovate, make decisions, nor, indeed, think. They have no mind. (See #67, #85, #91-2, #105, #112.) Any actions they take are completely determined by the particular "insult" (light, heat, chemical, magnetic, gravity, etc.) and their programmed response to that insult. The responding program is the result of the TRILLIONS of generations that underwent Darwin's laws of selection and survival, compounded with frequent mutations. However, since there can be changes of form and new directions taken by a SPECIES, one might care to speculate that even a single cell may have some small fraction of a soul by virtue of the fact that the species in time does actually change - and change is an indication of life and a soul. My feeling at this time, though, is that just because a species, over 1000's or millions of generations, may experience a quantum change or two, doesn't necessarily confer even a fraction of a soul on an individual, even if that individual cell had the susceptibility for change. In any event, when dealing with a small fraction of a soul, or indeed, even less than a unitary soul, we're treading into the quicksand of semantics. Even though we've made, I feel, considerable progress in determining the nature of the soul, I still don't think we're quite ready to resolve questions that may be academic.
#103. My arguments so far indicate that the completely programmed form of "life" really hasn't a soul (such as an amoeba), but whatever is programmed to have the ability to learn and change (such as a human baby), has a substantial soul. As this baby ages, however, it continually programs itself according to the particular picture of the universe it's building up in its brain, and, upon middle age, and the onset of senility, finds it increasingly more difficult to learn, to change, to revise old programs and old opinions, and is generally NOT the type of person you'd want to negotiate for you at a World Peace Conference. I presently feel that no person should be given a position of importance if he's not in the range of 40 to 50 years of age. He shouldn't be younger because everyone requires many years to acquire adequate education, experience and maturity. He shouldn't be older for the reasons given just above. This optimum age will likely increase over the centuries by delaying the onset of old age and senility using chemical or nutritional methods, or by techniques that would probably astound us at this time.
#104. The use of vitamins, food, and drugs are apparently quite successful in increasing length of life and mental alertness. Their use, plus other good health practices (such as exercise and decreased food intake) will probably soon extend the 50 year age limit of #103 at least a decade or more. So far as our charts are concerned, these practices will have the effect of increasing the area under the "acquired soul" curve, but will not affect our logic.
#105. From "Crabb's English Synonymes", Harper's, New York, 1887 ("Soul, Mind", pp.762-4). The Meanings of SOUL and MIND are compared. Crabb says: "These terms, or the equivalents to them, have been employed by all civilized nations to designate that part of human nature which is distinct from matter. The SOUL is represented to our minds by the subtlest or most ethereal of sensible objects, namely, breath or spirit, and denotes properly the quickening or vital principle. MIND, on the contrary, is that sort of power which is closely allied to, and in a great measure, dependent upon, corporeal (of the material body) organization. The SOUL is, therefore, the immortal, and the MIND, the mortal, part of us; the SOUL connects us with the angels, the MIND with the brutes; in the SOUL we distinguish consciousness and will, which is possessed by no other created being that we know of; in the MIND we distinguish nothing but the power of receiving impressions from external objects, which we call ideas, and which we have in common with the brutes." So, we see some differences: What Crabb calls the SOUL, I say doesn't exist. What Crabb calls the MIND, I pretty much call the SOUL. Of a rock, we'd probably agree has neither SOUL nor MIND, but of a single cell, Crabb might give it a MIND, and I not.
#106. In #102 I say the response of single cells to "insults" is completely programmed and so, though they may well be alive, will have no soul. However, I say elsewhere that it appears that the world may be completely predetermined, all of our actions pre-programmed, none of us having a free will. Isn't this all inconsistent? Doesn't this then put the human being into the same category as the amoeba, with the consequence that ALL of us lack souls? And, in fact, that there are therefore no souls in the universe? The answer to this may be that even though we may indeed be pre-programmed, and have no free will, we are still aware of our existence: we can think, invent, laugh, and change our responses to external "insults" as a result of our own thinking and generally APPEAR to have a soul. If we decided free will not to exist, and therefore decided no souls could exist without free will, then the last 2 columns in the table in #99 would all be answered "No". I still choose to define the SOUL as per #62, and leaving #99's table as is.
#107. The fact that dogs can be trained to salivate and fish trained to gather for a feeding at the sound of a bell shows they're capable of being programmed (capable of learning) and so are alive and have a soul.
#108. Placebos: The acquired soul requires quite a sophisticated brain, one that's capable of learning, has a memory, can make decisions, can communicate, etc. Now, for a placebo to work, these very same characteristics are also required and may in fact provide a simple test to find if an acquired soul exists. The more general action of "deceiving", however, may not be a good test. For a placebo to work, the brain must be able to cause the body to react as if the expected "insult" were administered. Placebos could never elicit such a complicated response in primitive cells. A primitive cell may be deceived into, say, ingesting a non-nutritive, placebo-like chemical, but it would never react as if it had ingested the real substance. Anything alive can be deceived, but a placebo will only work on those beings having an acquired soul.
#109. In #3 & #54 I interpreted the Uncertainty Principle to mean that only our ability to measure is affected, and that the particles themselves are not prevented from having exact values of all parameters. This led to the statement that "identical initial conditions result in identical future events", which then allowed us to reject free will. But was the original interpretation correct? From physicist Erwin Schrodinger we have: "..the uncertainty, or lack of precision, refers to the attainable knowledge about a particle rather than to its nature. Indeed, by saying that we disturb or change a measurable physical quantity we logically imply that it has certain values before and after our interference, whether we know them or not." ("Endeavour", London, July 1950)
#110. The neuron is a single cell, ranging from about 1/1000th inch to several feet long and carries all the electrical signals to and from the brain, and within the brain. The number of neurons in the brain is a measure of the intelligence and sophistication of a species. For instance, an ant has only about 250, while the bee has some 900 - not very many, considering their capabilities and advanced social structure. In some regions of the human brain there are about 100 million neurons per cubic inch! There are a total of about 100 trillion neural connections! There are well known places in the brain that control very special functions such as: speech, sight, dexterity, compassion, consideration, pain, pleasure, hearing, smell, and so on. That bundle of neurons connecting the 2 halves of the brain (the corpus callosum, see #41) contains, in man, about 300 million separate connections with information passing in both directions (a neuron can pass information in one direction only). When this bundle is severed, it's exactly as if 2 different personalities now inhabit the body that had formerly been occupied by one! A frontal lobotomy performed on one half changes the personality of that half only!
#111. The cerebral cortex appears to be the portion of the brain wherein lie the soul-like qualities, including the center of intelligence. An animal can live for weeks after its cerebral cortex has been surgically removed. The animal can eat and walk, but, in these responses, appears to be essentially unconscious. It doesn't seem to think. It's an automaton!
#112. One surprise from the literature (J.W.French, Jour.of Exp.Psych. p609, 1940) is that a single-celled animal, the paramecia, who move about by beating their cilia, have been observed to decrease, with practice, the time to find their way out of a single-ended glass tube and back into their culture medium. If these observations are correct, doesn't it all fly in the face of our statements (see #67, #85, #91- 2, #102, #105) where it was concluded that any form of life that reproduces by means of fission cannot learn? In the case of the multi-celled flatworm (see #30), it's not hard to see how memory can be stored in several segments of their body wherein exist aggregations of neurons - the closest thing these primitive organisms have to a brain. Flatworms will soon forget a learned habit. Incidentally, the flatworm's ability to regenerate both of the severed halves should not in any way put it into the class of single- celled organisms that are capable of fission. The ability, however, of a one-celled paramecium to learn is difficult to explain in the light of what we've presented so far. It would imply some mechanism of memory within one cell, which is not presently thought to exist. Follow-up studies are conspicuous by their absence and I would tend to question the original 1940 study. For one thing, the sample was very small - just 20 paramecia underwent only 30 trials each. In addition, there are many effects (chemical, thermal, mechanical), within either the cell or the medium, that could distort the observations and result in the false conclusion that learning had taken place. The reason I think this way is that the one-celled animals have no neurons and so no place to store new information. The only conceivable place would be in genetic storage, in the DNA double-helix molecule, which would require a random mutation to insert transmittable information. However, if it turns out that some single-celled organisms indeed have a mechanism for learning in their one cell, then, by our previous reasoning, it would be required that this new information must find itself in both fission products after division. But if learning has taken place, doesn't it mean a single cell has a soul? Since this new information is more in the way of a mutation, and must be transmitted, and is not the result of true acquired learning, which isn't transmitted, are we really bound to confer a soul upon a single cell? I think not. We have discussed a similar situation in #102 where we decided NOT to confer a soul on an individual or species merely because the odd mutation will produce an occasional change.
#113. The neurons constitute more or less the permanent residents of the brain, unchanging for the most part, and probably providing the continuity we'd like to see in order to explain how we seem to "remain ourselves" despite the personality change resulting from the decades of learning and forgetting acquired information. But consider the following: The unchanging portion of any brain, no matter how extensive, no matter how permanent, is, by its very nature, changeless and therefore lifeless, and must surely have no soul. The "ourselves that we remained" is the result of the changeless neurons that, though soul-less, help implement the actions of the brain and body (but which are mostly controlled by thoughts and decisions that utilize our changing, living, acquired knowledge). It seems we only APPEAR to remain ourselves, and this is because of the tenuous link we have with our early life by virtue of our changeless neurons and our fading long term memory.
#114. In #87 we showed how extremely fortunate each one of us is to have had the opportunity to have lived at all. The odds against our very own soul ever being "expressed" are truly astronomical, far more than one would have imagined before reading this discourse. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF POSSIBLE SOULS IN ALL TIME FAR EXCEEDS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ATOMS IN THE UNIVERSE! Realizing this, however, can be beneficial in several ways: (1) If one worries about death quite a lot, then there's much consolation in knowing he was so lucky ever to have had this opportunity to live, albeit such an infinitesimal time. (2) Life is precious, very precious, and yet these souls are very easy to create and destroy. The death penalty, for instance, should be invoked without hesitation, since the life and soul of the criminal are worthless compared to his victim's, whose precious life he took or otherwise violated. Many well-meaning persons are reluctant to enforce a death penalty because of the small chance of executing an innocent person, but the tragic and costly ramifications to the society of NOT executing every accused person found guilty of a capital crime FAR outweigh the tragedy of occasionally executing an innocent man in error. (3) By knowing that the number of souls that WILL exist is minuscule compared to the vast number of souls CAPABLE of existing, we can understand why it's important, indeed, why it's our DUTY, to discreetly oversee the direction in which our gene pool develops. As it stands now, our American society is producing a generation that is NOT the equal of the previous generation. This is inexcusable! We are in the midst of proliferating clearly less desirable individuals. Our programs, for instance, in taxation, abortion, crime, immigration, welfare, medicare, affirmative action, headstart, bussing, integration, education, television programming, and more, ALL actively encourage the proliferation of the unfit. It's a pity, what with life being so precious, that we don't try to endow that life with the best possible attributes.
#115. Back in #77 the brain was emptied of acquired information, leaving only the hereditary portion, and we decided that the soul must remain with the brain. But in #113 I said the hereditary portion is changeless and thus not even alive, much less having a soul! Q: Is this consistent? A: The permanent, hereditary program - the actual bits of information themselves - is as alive as a tape recording, and, just as an amoeba, there is no soul. The body that's being partially controlled by these bits is, just as an amoeba, alive. But I was wrong in #77. When all acquired information is removed, and the same information replaced, permanent changes have taken place, and a new and indistinguishable person (soul) results who honestly believes he's the same original person - but isn't! At least that's my thinking as of January 1984.
#116. Discussion of table in #99: There's a close relationship between the hereditary soul and the acquired soul. In order to develop an acquired soul, all the attributes of the hereditary soul (95-II-A) are prerequisite. So, in the table, every subject with an acquired soul has a hereditary soul. But not every hereditary soul is associated with an acquired soul since not every form of life is capable of learning. However, everything that is considered alive must have some of the above hereditary attributes and so must also have a hereditary soul no matter how primitive. So, because of its redundancy, it appears we can eliminate the hereditary soul column. This should give us a clue as to the necessity of even bothering to distinguish between hereditary and acquired souls. The two important points to remember when sorting our "pecking order" are (1) whether the subject changes and is alive, and (2) whether the subject learns and has a soul. Notice that the ability to reproduce was never mentioned when discussing whether a subject was "alive". This allows us to include that very advanced sophisticated machine into our table. Actually, the use of the "ability to reproduce" in the customary definition of "life" is more convenient than logical.
Well, for one thing, we've found that whatever exists may or may not be alive and, if alive, may or may not have a soul. Any change indicates the possible presence of life, the complexity of which indicates the sophistication of any soul.
We've examined other definitions and concepts of the soul, and have given our definition in #62.
We've found that man is just a very complicated machine and that he can construct electromechanical life having a soul far superior to his own.
We've found that souls are easily created and destroyed.
With our "reconstruction machine", we've answered dozens of minor questions and determined that our machine (or man) can create souls.
We've found that souls are not units, but that some are "worth more" than others and we've established a "Pecking order" and a simple chart to illustrate this.
We've concluded that the indistinguishability of fundamental particles is crucial to our thinking and that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is NOT (though this principle DOES prevent us from building our "Most Amazing One-Meter Translating Reconstruction Machine").
We've resolved the paradox of #5 (why Oscar-II and Oscar-III are different persons having different souls), and the problem of #23 (Can we make 2 souls from 1, and where do the personalities reside?) The first was settled in #86 by noting whether molecular bonds were broken or not. The second was adequately answered in #41 with the help of some rather heroic measures and considerable dismemberment of the brain.
We've made some speculations on a number of interesting aspects of life and death. For instance, we introduced the notion that our soul changes (we become a different person) as we age from 9 to 90. (See #16)
We've seen how very lucky we all are to have sampled life (#114), and we've applied this notion in helping us solve immediate problems.
We decided that if a different sperm cell, even from the same father, had fertilized the same egg, a different soul would have resulted (see #87).
At first we theorized a hereditary soul and an acquired soul, but this complication was simplified in #116.
In trying to get a handle on the soul, we've managed to shed light on some other questions. We've concluded the universe is completely predetermined; that time machines and time travel are not possible; that there is no free will; no God; no life after death; and no immortal soul. Unfortunately, these are not results that gladden the heart. Any individual would naturally prefer to have a say in the future of the universe by the exercise of his free will, and to live forever in the presence of God. It seems, however, we must surrender these hopes and beliefs if reason is to prevail.
THANKS FOR READING THIS FAR. I'D BE DELIGHTED TO RECEIVE ANY COMMENTS OR CRITICISMS, GOOD OR BAD, OR TO DISCUSS ANY POINTS OF PARTICULAR INTEREST. YOU CAN EMAIL ME AT:
© 1984 Oscar Falconi