What Is The Soul?
Posted 06 August 2007 - 06:31 PM
I'm new to the forum, and there's something I've always wanted to discuss, and that's the nature of the Human Soul. I can't dissociate my spirituality with science because I believe spirituality will exist as long as science can't explain it. The recent advances in quantum computing lead to some interesting hypothesis concerning the Soul. I always pretty much rejected the idea of reincarnation until I found a quasi-solid theory to explain it. Suppose consciousness isn't located in the brain (and many neurologists have claimed to find no evidence that it is) and is, rather, the process of interface between our brain and the electromagnetic or photoelectric (or both) field that is common to all things animate and inanimate. We can argue today that the nature of the universe is digital, with the oscilation of electrons up and down (I don't really understand quantum mechanics but they say it kinda works like this), and each electron can store an enourmous ammount of information. Multiply that with the number of electrons in the field and you can pretty much store information since the Big Bang until the Big Crunch. It's in this that I think resides the immortality of the Soul or intelect if you wish. Maybe we've been storing information since the Big Bang, jumping from one physical form to another. In that way Humans have always been Humans, like any creature as always been that creature, growing smarter and smarter. I know this topic could very well be in Science and Technology, but it's the spiritual approach to it that interests me. All of this being "true", it had to be inteligent design, with some sort of biological imperative programmed into the particles that make up the universe. Like the movie said, "Life finds a way".
Posted 06 August 2007 - 09:17 PM
Welcome to the forum, very interesting first post. In my opinion I do not think that we have enough information out there to form an opinion one way or the other.
I guess we did not store enough information yet.
Posted 06 August 2007 - 10:03 PM
This is quite an interesting topic I agree with Yervant. Your hypothesis that our beings or souls if you will doesn't die but scientifically speaking it takes different forms from one body to the other electromagnetically transports into another or a different form it is true. Schientifically speaking the person doesn't die; but transform itself into a different entity. I have heard that this is true.
However speaking in terms of souls and sprituality then it is said in the Bible that the soul doesn't die either.
Posted 06 August 2007 - 11:49 PM
We are living in historic times today, that rivals the emergence of biological life on Earth. Today humanity (driven by a competitive capitalistic economy) is moving biological life to another substrate: silicon (semi-conductors).
Humanity is at the verge of creating universal Artificial Intelligence -- an intelligence which understands its own architecture and can therefore improve itself recursively, leading to an Intelligence Explosion, which some call the Technological Singularity (see Vernor Vinge).
Human "consciousness" -- or the "soul" -- is nothing more than a universal artificial intelligence (UAI) running on sufficiently computationally complex substrate such that it can understand its OWN self.
To quote Ben Goertzel: "A mind is a system of patterns that achieves highly patterned goals in highly patterned environments. And the crux of it is being able to recognize the pattern of its own self."
Roger Penrose's hypothesis (probably what you're referring to) has been debunked. The human brain operates at the level of chemical reactions (molecular level) and not at the level of sub-atomic particles.
Consciousness is created by the brain through chemical reactions.
I suggest you read the paper titled "Universal Limits on Computation" by Krauss and Starkman if you'd like to know how much info can be stored in a given universe.
You may find it here:
There is no immortality YET. When your physical body dies, today, your intellect and all of your experiences go away in a split second.
But this can all change by the coming advances in technology:
1. Mind uploading:
Upload your biological mind to another substrate such as silicon-based processors that can be practically immortal
2. Replacement of body parts, including the brain
(please Ray Kurzweil's article The Law of Accelerating Returns and his book "The Singularity Is Near")
We are building machines smarter than humans today... We are indeed building GOD's: infinitely "smart" and IMMORTAL.
Please watch the movie "Building Gods"
If you weren't alive, then you wouldn't be asking this question. That you're alive does not imply god.
So... How to build a mind?
I recommend the following books and articles:
The Hidden Pattern: A Patternist Philosophy of Mind
Marcus Hutter's "Universal Artificial Intelligence"
Check out the video by Ben Goertzel to answer all of your questions in 40 minutes: Ten Yrs to the Singularity?'
Some are optimistic while others are pessimistic about the effects of the Technological Singularity (whose earlier stages we are living in today)...
Optimists include: Ray Kurzweil, Isaac Asimov in his short story The Last Question
Pessimists include: Bill Joy, Bill McKibben (I highly recommend his book Enough), Ted Kazynski, Hugo de Garis, Shahan Araradian
In my opinion, it is highly likely (I think) that humanity will destroy itself with the coming technological revolutions:
Why? Because mathematically, the entire universe should have been saturated by intelligence by now. The reason why it's NOT suggests that 10 billion minds competing for limited resources and a violent past cannot hold a stable state given these three technologies. (Please read Robert J. Sawyer's "Where are the Aliens?")
Also please read Bill Joy's (Sun Microsystem's co-founder & CTO) article "Why the future doesn't need us."
Cheers! ... and welcome to the future
P.S. I don't know if you live in California, but you might be interested in the 2nd Singularity Summit in San Francisco on Sept 8-9. I will be there... You may watch the 2006 Singularity Summit talks at http://www.singinst.org/media/
[*] While I feel that robotics will ultimately bring the most BENEFIT to humanity by automating all work required to provide full enjoyment income to ALL humans (and eliminating all manual and mental labor), it will be the destructive creations of Genetics (such as new viruses) and Nanotechnology (such as "grey goo") -- and the most destructive will be the combination of any of these two with UAI/Robotics.
Edited by Shahan Araradian, 07 August 2007 - 12:13 AM.
Posted 07 August 2007 - 06:52 AM
Posted 07 August 2007 - 08:48 AM
Edited by Beto, 07 August 2007 - 08:50 AM.
Posted 07 August 2007 - 09:43 AM
I'm new to the forum, and there's something I've always wanted to discuss, and that's the nature of the Human Soul. I can't dissociate my spirituality with science because I believe spirituality will exist as long as science can't explain it. The recent advances in quantum computing lead to some interesting hypothesis concerning the Soul. I always pretty much rejected the idea of reincarnation until I found a quasi-solid theory to explain it. Suppose
The soul/hogi/ հոգի is your mind, your brain that that super computer engineer, aka Astuats designed. Even if He did not use silicon chips, he nevertheless used similar matter as “clay”. The soul is none other than a “memory chip” (Sip and other “geeks” may correct me). The soul is the MEMORY of a dearly departed loved one that keeps living in our hearts and minds, which we don’t want to let go even if their physical existence may have once again been reduced to ashes, soil and dirt, “silicon”. Do find and read about “ancestor worship” that we, Armenians do practice but have not formalized as some other eastern cultures have, who preserve a fragment of a bone of an ancestor , venerate it and pray to it daily . That fragment of a bone is the “soul/spirit”, around which that whole concept of “resurrection” of the dead has been formulated. “resurrection” and the concept of “immortal soul” is just a wish on our part that we once again will meet our loved ones, be they ancestors or progeny.
The soul, the mind, the memory (chip) of our ancestors will live in our souls, minds, and our “memory chips” will live “until we meet again” in that clay/earth/dirt silicon.
You will notice that animals, our other mammalian relatives with smaller brains(gray matter/silicon memory chips) and mind have no concept of the “soul”.
Posted 07 August 2007 - 10:26 AM
Beto, it doesn't matter exactly which organ in the body constitutes its thinking (computational) part that produces "consciousness" -- which is simply the self-awareness of an organism when it looks into the mirror.
Whatever organ it is, it will be eventually found and reverse-engineered (it is being done as we speak).
The entire DNA sequence that constructs the brain is about 100 MBytes in compressed form (around 700 MB - the size of a CD in uncompressed form). 100MBytes is less than the uncompressed form of the size of Microsoft Word! (This is according to Kurzweil...)
Posted 07 August 2007 - 12:20 PM
Arpa used the word "resurrection", right after that I found a cool site that talks about the soul-spirit dicotomy and a relation between modern science and ancient scripture.
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