Occam’s Razor Soul
Here’s a rhetorical question for you:
On which side of Occam’s Razor does your notion of ‘Soul’ fall?
think about it for a couple of seconds.
Let me clarify:
The purpose of this little thought experiment is simple, yet shocking, to some, at its conclusion. I know it was to me.
1. Let ‘soul’, ‘consciousness’, ‘mind’, ‘self’, etc. be defined as any nonphysical phenomena containing the essence of one’s personality. (I used the first two terms interchangeably here.)
2. According to Occam’s Razor, “among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” This is really just human common sense simplified: sure, it is definitely possible that every time an apple drops to the ground, pink unicorns from Mars shoot invisible laser beams to push the apple down; then again, it’s much likelier that Earth’s mass simply bends the space-time continuum around Earth, thus exerting a force we call gravity.
3. Take the following situation; somebody snaps their fingers; the air gets compressed in waves until it reaches your outer ear; those compressed waves pass through your ear canal, and then hit the eardrum. These vibrations, via the Malleus, Incus, and Cochlea (in a perfectly understood physiological-mechanical-electrical process which we can easily emulate nowadays – look for “cochlear implants”) are in turn translated into electrical pulses.
From here on, there is nothing but electricity and chemistry.
These electrical pulses travel to the brain via the auditory nerve.
Now. The brain is a quiet place; it doesn’t have any pictures, nor any sounds or smells.
All that we are are pattern processing machines that have learned, through extensive trial and error – mostly during our formative years – to interpret external stimuli, in this case, particular electrical pulses as somebody snapping their fingers.
If you don’t believe me, simply look at a six month old baby trying to reach a toy right in front of him. look at how he twitches every muscle in his body and face. The child simply does not know yet to associate specific external stimuli (sight, pressure on specific patches of skin, causing a specific set of exquisitely timed electrical pulses, etc.) with specific desirable results (flexing the proper muscles in a series of actions that will result in him grabbing the toy).
4. Increase the level of “white noise” in the physical brain via simple chemicals (e.g. Propofol), and you will induce lack of consciousness, i.e. anesthesia. Use a specific “deep brain stimulation” probe you can also increase the noise so as to drown out Parkinson’s.
Eliminate pin-sized regions in the brain associated with short term memory processing and attention span, and you will be faced with a mere shell of a man.
If such simple physical, chemical, electrical, measures can have such a profound – even negating – effect on our so-called consciousness, what makes anyone think that consciousness is anything but the product of a physical, chemical, electrical brain is beyond me.
We don’t need anything more than the physical brain in order to generate consciousness.
The conclusion: you are a bio chemical electrical machine!
There is no nonphysical soul, nor consciousness.
I am a complete, proud atheist, but to my atheist friends who disagree with me, I should mention that being a critical thinker requires that you stop believing in fairies of all kinds – inside and out – God especially, but also your ethereal, out of body consciousness.
The mind is merely a mechanism designed by blind evolutionary forces to increase the likelihood of survival. If you can interpret patterns, you would know, for example, that that rustle in the grass is indicative of a beast ready to pounce; you would know that next year, 2 moon cycles after the days have stopped shortening, there should be enough rain to sustain your newly sown seeds.
Isn’t it time we all grew up?
There is no need for the added complication stemming from the existence of an ethereal soul; the concept of Soul falls on the side of superfluous assumptions, and thus should not be selected. Thus, according to Occam’s Razor, indeed, according to human common sense, there is no soul.
— Yaniv Chen
Originally posted in the Facebook Group “Atheists Unite”