Is there any evidence that the Soul exists?

Posted on Jun 1, 2011 in Frequently/Commonly Asked Questions

Does the Soul exist? Is there any scientific and logical argument that supports this?

In order to follow this we must first understand the law of cause-and-effect (causality). This is the principle that for every effect (or event) there is a cause. This is the idea that it is impossible to have something happen without a cause. It is metaphysical principle called ex nihilo nihil fit (which is Latin for “Out of nothing comes nothing“). Causality is easily observed and identified. For example: leaves move because of wind, it snows because of temperature and moisture, rockets launch in the air because of burning fuel etc.

By contrast, FREE WILL is not affected by this law which is the reason why humans are responsible for their own actions. In fact we initiate our own chain of causality (cause-and-effect). This is a voluntary choice that can be made by us giving us the freedom to make choices that are not determined by any prior causes. In fact our ability to make choices can even conflict with the chain of events triggered by the law of causality and even prohibit it altogether.

Of course, there will be those that oppose the idea that free will exist. Not only does this contradict our direct perceptions but the lack of free will also make humans unaccountable for any (or all) their actions (explained later). We have no reason to reject free will other than to reject (or make a case against) the existence of the soul.

Finally, in order to explain the link between free will and soul, we need to understand naturalism. This is the belief that nature is all there is; it is the position that there is no God and no spiritual aspect to our existence. The case that all things can be explained through natural processes.

Therefore, if natural processes and the law of causality is the mechanism that our universe must abide by, then the source of free will cannot originate from within the natural or material world as freedom to make choices must not be determined by prior causes (ie must be unaffected by causality). So if free will exists, its basis must be incorporeal (lacking material form or substance) and therefore, it is one’s self which is one’s own actions (without cause). Since the basis of free will must be incorporeal, the basis of free will must be self.

Here is a quick summary:

In a entirely naturalistic/materialistic/physical world, an action is entirely the product of events outside the realm of choice or control, and therefore, cannot have free will. Let’s look at an example:

If a tree was struck by lightening and fell on a car causing damage, can we blame it for this action? No, because the tree had no free will, the fall was caused by lightening. Well, can we blame the lightening for the damage? No, because the lightening was caused by static electricity. Can we blame the static electricity? Of course not, as it was caused by the clouds etc.. How about we blame the clouds? No, because they were caused by the atmospheric and weather conditions etc.etc.etc. Therefore, no free will can be exercised in a materialistic world.

If we apply this principle to the action of a person, we can similarly conclude that the action was caused by a chemical process in the brain, which was in turn caused by a natural process (or external events) etc. In fact this chain of causation (cause-and-effect) can be extended well before that person was born. Yet conditions before our birth are clearly outside of our control. Now, if this is correct, then we would not be originating the cause of anything. We would be just like the tree that fell on the car; which is just a reaction to a cause and thus our actions are determined by prior causes. Therefore, we would not have free will.

This is why free will by definition cannot be an effect in a materialistic form. To have free will, we must exist outside this naturalistic confines. In conclusion, if free will exists and it’s basis cannot be physical and naturalistic, then the only logical conclusion is the incorporeal realm. Therefore, if it’s incorporeal, then we must logically have souls, if we have free will.

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