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  #1  
Old 13th February 2017, 08:08 PM
Xermes Xermes is offline
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Cool Soul of an atheist

I answered 'yes' to the profile question, 'Do you believe in an everlasting soul'. At first glance that probably seems a strange thing coming from an atheist. A couple of you asked me to expand. I'm glad you asked.

Here's my theory......

When I say 'soul', I am referring to my consciousness.

Not to be be confused with an incorporeal essence of indeterminate purpose... like some shiny blob at the mercy of a non-existent deity.

My definition of my 'soul' is my consciousness, me, currently being hosted by this body.

It seems to me that everything in this amazingly intricate and meticulous Universe has a purpose. Anything you can think of....animal migration, magnetic attraction, eyelashes, dung beetles. So I have to conclude that I have a purpose and as far as I can judge, my purpose is to learn. It's the one thing that every living thing has in common..we learn (and to breed more hosts for other 'souls'. (Remember the definition). What can I be learning about but the Universe? I believe that the Universe must be scientifically quantifiable, but while I'm in this body, my understanding is restricted to my experience within this host.

It would seem pointless for me to learn as much as I will in this body, only to cease to be when my body dies....and as nothing in the universe seems to be pointless, it isn't logical that I would cease to be.

Just putting it out there.

Last edited by Xermes; 13th February 2017 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 13th February 2017, 08:21 PM
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Svadifari Svadifari is offline
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Default Re: Soul of an atheist

And what would be the point of your consciousness continuing after you are dead?
Thinking that people must have some higher purpose is just human arrogance, imo.
When you die you're as dead as the slug you stepped on on the garden path.
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Old 13th February 2017, 08:25 PM
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bruce1937 bruce1937 is offline
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Default Re: Soul of an atheist

So you think that everything has an externally applied purpose, and what do you propose applies this purpose?
I think you are not so far removed from a theist and you still need to apply some diligent study into this subject.
Luckily there are plenty on this forum who will be able to guide you on that journey if you so choose.
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Old 13th February 2017, 08:28 PM
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Strato Strato is offline
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Default Re: Soul of an atheist

Once one allows the given assumption of purposiveness, any esoteric edifice can be erected unfalsifiable.

Prepare yourself if you intend to hang about.
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Old 13th February 2017, 08:40 PM
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Iron Chariots Iron Chariots is offline
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Default Re: Soul of an atheist

I maybe wrong but it seems to me you are cheapening your purpose by suggesting it is of limited value unless it continues after death.
May I suggest you find purpose in the past future and present.
If you want to find further value in what you have learnt, share it with others.
That is the only way you live on.
You, I and everything else will one day be returned to star dust, and the only way you continue on earth is in history and the memory of others.
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Old 13th February 2017, 09:09 PM
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Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
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Default Re: Soul of an atheist

Many people think because there is function, there must be purpose. It is a comforting, but probably wrong notion.

Function arises out of natural selection filtering variation to produce fitness. Creationists often get this wrong.

They will point to a banana, and say how perfectly it fits our needs. Therefore it was built for purpose. But bananas evolved to increase the biological fitness of banana plants.
Animals eat fruits, and so disperse the seeds. The "intelligent design" is an illusion.
Cognitive animals like humans ask: "Why am I here?" "There must be a purpose to my life!" But it is the wrong question to ask. First we must ask "How we got here" and "How we have the traits we have". These questions can be answered by evolutionary theory and the other biological [and ultimately physical] sciences.

There is zero evidence for an immortal soul. What people call "soul" is really personality, and that is explained by genetics, epigenetics, development and life experiences. But when the organism dies, so does the individuality and uniqueness some choose to call "soul".

The basics of biological evolution are really simple. But what people don't realise is the immense power of "computation" and creativity of this simple filter. Evolution is 'design without mind" in the sense that the enormous and massively parallel "computations" in evolution find function out of design space.

BUT evolution is non-cognitive. It can only work on mutations that arise, and often, those mutation have to arrive in a certain order. And often, the design can by poor compared to to cognitive design. Every human who has experienced back pain knows the truth of this. Our spines are far from being optimally designed to walk on two legs. Our spines are a "hack" that works, but hardly elegant or optimal.

Mutation order is not [always] strictly necessary because of HGT. Horizontal Gene Transfer can spread innovations between species, sometimes very distantly related species. So a gene [and it's promoter] can be transferred by a bacterium or virus to another species.
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Old 13th February 2017, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: Soul of an atheist

The proclivity to apprehend causality, even when there is no such link was selected for in evolution as it redounds to survival for predator and prey alike.

To ascribe purpose or apprehend intentionality also gets selected for.

We have to bring critical reasoning to bear on the propensity to give this orientation cosmic implications. The notion that consciousness transcends the brain and lives on eternally is just that, a notion albeit alluring to many.

Nature is blind and purposeless, from physics to chemistry to biological evolution. Humans obviously possess intentionality and can determine and exercise purpose. We can make our lives have meaning. It doesn't intrinsically have meaning.

Whether we actually possess free will is merely arguable.

There is no esoteric soul. Everything admits of a naturalistic explanation.

The wanton penchant to believe you live on after your death is explained in terror management.
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Old 13th February 2017, 10:36 PM
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Svadifari Svadifari is offline
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Default Re: Soul of an atheist

Quote:
Strato said View Post
...... Humans obviously possess intentionality and can determine and exercise purpose. We can make our lives have meaning. It doesn't intrinsically have meaning. ...
Exactly. What would you like to be written on your tombstone one day? Try to make that happen, there is your purpose.
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Old 13th February 2017, 10:50 PM
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Goldenmane Goldenmane is offline
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Default Re: Soul of an atheist

Cue nihilism.
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Old 13th February 2017, 11:27 PM
surreptitious57 surreptitious57 is offline
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Default Re: Soul of an atheist

What is death anyway but merely the transference from a state of consciousness to one of non consciousness
There is zero evidence of anything else. No one ever had a problem with non existence before they were born
So they should not have one with it after they die. The dead never worry about being dead. Only the living do
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