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What do atheists believe about the soul/conscious? Watch

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    Why was my mind put into the body I have now? Why not in Putin, Trump, Cameron or in a cat. Why am I even thinking?

    I think the question is, how do they explain the conscious?

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    About the soul? Nothing. Doesn't exist.
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    Emergent property of a complex system of neurones. Trump, Putin, Cameron and the cat have different brains and bodies so different neurological structures and different levels of certain chemicals, hence they don't think the same way.
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    You are a product of your experiences, and so there is no special "you" that could have born into Putin, let alone a cat which isn't sentient. You consciousness is your brain, a collection of neurons, if I remove your frontal lobe, you will be all but devoid of emotion and will lose much of your ability to recall long term memories, you will no longer be "you". When your brain is damaged or you die, it no only functions, and thus you no longer exist, just as your computer doesn't continue to operate if you power it down.
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    These reasons seem to only explain why humans have intellect and why they can think and how the brain works. But they don't explain why I see through the eyes I'm looking through now. I have a certain persona and can think within this body. Who are what dictates what body I'm placed in?
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    (Original post by champ_mc99)
    But they don't explain why I see through the eyes I'm looking through now. I have a certain persona and can think within this body. Who are what dictates what body I'm placed in?
    You want an explanation as to how the eyes function and how the optical nerve sends visual information to the brain which it converts to images? Plenty of things I could do to stop you seeing correctly lol.

    You don't seem to get it, your persona is a product of your brains development from birth, not something external, life events shape your personality. If as a child you're attacked by a dog, you may well grow to fear them and your view of animals in general may well differ to mine. If your suffer a traumatic event it can transform who you are, you can become reclusive, anti-social, fearful.

    If I could have cloned you 10 times and given you 10 totally different lives, you'd grow into different people based on it.
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    (Original post by joey11223)
    You want an explanation as to how the eyes function and how the optical nerve sends visual information to the brain which it converts to images? Plenty of things I could do to stop you seeing correctly lol.

    You don't seem to get it, your persona is a product of your brains development from birth, not something external, life events shape your personality. If as a child you're attacked by a dog, you may well grow to fear them and your view of animals in general may well differ to mine. If your suffer a traumatic event it can transform who you are, you can become reclusive, anti-social, fearful.

    If I could have cloned you 10 times and given you 10 totally different lives, you'd grow into different people based on it.
    Still, I don't see how you could just apply materialistic and physical principles to something like this. OK, why was I not born in your body and you in mine? And no, I don't want an explanation on how the eye functions lol and I understand the development of a persona, I guess I just worded wrong.
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    Our minds, 'souls' and personalities are all controlled entirely by our brain. There is no spiritual side to things. All we, as we know ourselves, are is billions of neurons forming/breaking synapses, releasing hormones and sending/transmitting electrical impulses. This has in fact been proven time and time again by the numerous brain injuries which have resulted in complete changes of personality - to the point where those afflicted have seemed to become entirely different people. If 'souls' existed such changes wouldn't occur as they'd be outside of the material realm. They do occur though, so clearly the whole idea of a 'soul' or 'spirit' is flawed. We can even see the activity of the brain when someone has a thought. We can see which areas of the brain are used for different thought processes, thus proving that the mind is not separate from the body.

    As for why you weren't born in my body, the answer is simple. We have different DNA. My DNA contains all the information needed to produce a Peroxidation. Your DNA contains the information needed to produce a champ_mc99. Since the information required to produce my brain is not the same as that required to produce your brain, my DNA will never produce your brain and your DNA will never produce mine. It's like trying to cast the same shape from two different molds - it just doesn't work because the information about the shape which is stored by the mold is different. Then there's also processes such as synapse culling which occur during the brain's development. As far as I know this process is random and there's many possible results, so the probability of getting a particular outcome more than once is negligible.
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    You were not placed within you evolved within. How your body works and functions depends on your DNA etc, (I know zip about genetics) your conscience is merely a function of the various components within shaped/modified over time by experience.

    What is your conscience and brain but the product of all you experience?

    Now you can get into the idea of innate knowledge but it is really at a pretty basic level(How do you know to go to a breast as a baby to feed etc)

    I think I would maybe liken a human to a computer, certain core functions are there at the outset (the BIOS on the chip- your innate functions) and then by installing disks of programmes /downloads the rest is acquired over time; like a computer sometimes there is a fault/crash/programme error, files get corrupted.

    So a lot of signals speed around for a period of time.

    The recent Go computer does seem to suggest that computers can , given data, themselves learn/acquire knowledge, they appear to be getting closer to humans every year.

    ( a very non scientific view, I know, but I am no scientist)
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    I'm an atheist. Used to be religious in my early teens, but these days to be quite honest I think religion is a 'comfort blanket' that society developed to deal with our human tendencies to fear death/the unknown, and to control the masses ('oh life's bad now you're a peasant/chronically ill/otherwise having a rubbish life, but dw it'll be great in the afterlife' ) I also hate the tendency for religion's self righteousness and its excluding of people who are gay/have had an abortion/don't worship a certain God etc etc. Religious people, who are supposedly meant to be 'kind and love their neighbour' etc, are some of the most judgmental people I've ever met.

    Anyway, rant over.

    I don't believe in a 'soul'. I believe we're conscious because we've evolved over time into an intelligent (well, some of us) species due to a whole range of factors - looking back there's lots of reasons why humans advanced and other species didn't, e.g. eating cooked food so getting more energy from our food, learning how to make fire etc. I don't believe humans are 'special' in relation to other animals or unique in any way except that over many years we've had a series of advantages that have developed us as a species.

    I believe once we die, we die. That's it. I don't think you'll even know about it - one minute you'll be there, the next minute you're just not aware or 'there' anymore. I don't believe in a soul carrying on or going to Heaven.
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    (Original post by EllyJelly)
    I don't believe in a 'soul'. I believe we're conscious because we've evolved over time into an intelligent (well, some of us)
    :giggle:

    'Some' ...perfectly quantified.
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    All that is required to be an atheist is a lack of belief in God.

    Some might believe in a soul. However many atheists, like myself, are also rationalist and skeptics and so hold no spiritual beliefs.
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    (Original post by Peroxidation)
    Our minds, 'souls' and personalities are all controlled entirely by our brain. There is no spiritual side to things. All we, as we know ourselves, are is billions of neurons forming/breaking synapses, releasing hormones and sending/transmitting electrical impulses. This has in fact been proven time and time again by the numerous brain injuries which have resulted in complete changes of personality - to the point where those afflicted have seemed to become entirely different people. If 'souls' existed such changes wouldn't occur as they'd be outside of the material realm. They do occur though, so clearly the whole idea of a 'soul' or 'spirit' is flawed. We can even see the activity of the brain when someone has a thought. We can see which areas of the brain are used for different thought processes, thus proving that the mind is not separate from the body.

    As for why you weren't born in my body, the answer is simple. We have different DNA. My DNA contains all the information needed to produce a Peroxidation. Your DNA contains the information needed to produce a champ_mc99. Since the information required to produce my brain is not the same as that required to produce your brain, my DNA will never produce your brain and your DNA will never produce mine. It's like trying to cast the same shape from two different molds - it just doesn't work because the information about the shape which is stored by the mold is different. Then there's also processes such as synapse culling which occur during the brain's development. As far as I know this process is random and there's many possible results, so the probability of getting a particular outcome more than once is negligible.
    This is probably the best explanation so far, thanks. Your first paragraph about how the soul is independent from the brain and the physical realm is questionable because I believe they aren't. But this is based on personal opinion and isn't relevant to consciousness. (My mistake.)
    What I don't understand however is how you can extract an explanation of the source of the mind from matter and believe that that just by joining some atoms together to make larger structures, something as complicated as the mind (/consciousness) can be created. Of course, the science of how the brain works and how intelligence works can be explained like you said with neurons and synapses (etc.). But it doesn't explain why we humans and other animals are different from robots. Why aren't we brainless bodies but with intellect. At the end of the day, the body is just a mixture of carbon, water and other junk, but what makes us have reasoning and choice compared to the matter around us seems like it needs a larger explanation than naturalism.

    (Original post by EllyJelly)
    I'm an atheist. Used to be religious in my early teens, but these days to be quite honest I think religion is a 'comfort blanket' that society developed to deal with our human tendencies to fear death/the unknown, and to control the masses ('oh life's bad now you're a peasant/chronically ill/otherwise having a rubbish life, but dw it'll be great in the afterlife' ) I also hate the tendency for religion's self righteousness and its excluding of people who are gay/have had an abortion/don't worship a certain God etc etc. Religious people, who are supposedly meant to be 'kind and love their neighbour' etc, are some of the most judgmental people I've ever met.

    Anyway, rant over.

    I don't believe in a 'soul'. I believe we're conscious because we've evolved over time into an intelligent (well, some of us) species due to a whole range of factors - looking back there's lots of reasons why humans advanced and other species didn't, e.g. eating cooked food so getting more energy from our food, learning how to make fire etc. I don't believe humans are 'special' in relation to other animals or unique in any way except that over many years we've had a series of advantages that have developed us as a species.

    I believe once we die, we die. That's it. I don't think you'll even know about it - one minute you'll be there, the next minute you're just not aware or 'there' anymore. I don't believe in a soul carrying on or going to Heaven.
    I know how humans evolved to become a more intelligent species but this is different to the whole conscious idea. Whilst apes and other animals are less intelligent than, they still have a conscious. And I don't see why you've written a rant on religion when you can perfectly have no religion but still believe in a spiritual or non-materialistic side to life and the cosmos such as Deism.
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    (Original post by champ_mc99)
    This is probably the best explanation so far, thanks. Your first paragraph about how the soul is independent from the brain and the physical realm is questionable because I believe they aren't. But this is based on personal opinion and isn't relevant to consciousness. (My mistake.)
    What I don't understand however is how you can extract an explanation of the source of the mind from matter and believe that that just by joining some atoms together to make larger structures, something as complicated as the mind (/consciousness) can be created.
    Well to be honest with you, belief without evidence or proof is not just questionable but also a completely flawed way of thinking about things. If you want answers you'll need to tackle these things from an unbiased point of view.

    Anyways, in the most basic sense a decision is just a change of state caused by changes in the surroundings. So for example, if I have an amino acid, lets say glycine for simplicity, it has 4 states it can exist in depending on the pH of it's surroundings. 3 of these are ions and the 4th is just the uncharged molecule. Since glycine's only weakly acidic/basic it will exist in this state most of the time. Here's a picture of our little friend in it's uncharged form: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...e-3D-balls.png, cute isn't it?

    At what's known as it's isoelectric point glycine looks like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...8-3D-balls.png. As you can see it's essentially moved a hydrogen atom from it's carboxylic acid group (the COOH bit) and stuck it on the anime group (the NH2 bit). In reality it's just ripped a proton from a water molecule at the amine group and stuck a proton onto another water molecule at the carboxylic acid group. This change of state comes about when the pH reaches glycine's isoelectric point. The other two states arise when the pH falls below or goes above the isoelectric point. In alkaline conditions, the carboxylic acid group will lose a proton and the amine group is untouched, but in acid conditions the amine group gains a proton and the carboxylic acid group is untouched.

    So in effect, we've got a set of decisions being made depending on what the pH is. We've also got a rather crude form of memory here. The molecule behaves differently in different states, so information can be stored by changing the state of the molecule. Things like this can also act as molecular switches of sorts. Depending on their states some molecules can inhibit reactions, catalyze them or get involved in them. It's essentially an incredibly crude brain.

    This isn't unlike the binary states used in computing. Binary is a base-2 counting system which only has 2 states, 1 or 0. The glycine molecule is acting as a base-4 counting system with 4 different states: H2NCH2CH2COOH, +H3NCH2CH2COOH, +H3NCH2CH2COO- and H2NCH2CH2COO-. More information can be stored in a solution of glycine than in a single bit. If the concentrations of each form of the molecule were known you could store up to a nibble (half a byte) in that one sample of glycine solution.

    [QUOTE=champ_mc99;63362713]Of course, the science of how the brain works and how intelligence works can be explained like you said with neurons and synapses (etc.). But it doesn't explain why we humans and other animals are different from robots. Why aren't we brainless bodies but with intellect. At the end of the day, the body is just a mixture of carbon, water and other junk, but what makes us have reasoning and choice compared to the matter around us seems like it needs a larger explanation than naturalism.[\QUOTE]

    Biological organisms aren't actually that different from robots/computers. Biological organisms use things like chemical changes (such as the one I've described above - though I don't know if that particular one is used) to store and process information, whereas conventional computers (not quantum computers though - they use things like entanglement as well as the following) use different voltages across microscopic transistors and other such components to store and process information in the same way that we do. They're actually much better at it than we are - your computer can process millions (and more) sums in the time that it takes you to do one. The reason we seem so different to them is that unlike them, we have (well, most of us - people with certain disabilities, such as autism, don't) instructions for social behaviors and biological functions pre-programmed into us (in a sense). It means we can recognize things like body language (which are fundamental in communication) and react accordingly without having to think about it. Computers don't have these things pre-programmed into them, so they can't recognize these things.
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    (Original post by Peroxidation)
    Well to be honest with you, belief without evidence or proof is not just questionable but also a completely flawed way of thinking about things. If you want answers you'll need to tackle these things from an unbiased point of view.

    Anyways, in the most basic sense a decision is just a change of state caused by changes in the surroundings. So for example, if I have an amino acid, lets say glycine for simplicity, it has 4 states it can exist in depending on the pH of it's surroundings. 3 of these are ions and the 4th is just the uncharged molecule. Since glycine's only weakly acidic/basic it will exist in this state most of the time. Here's a picture of our little friend in it's uncharged form: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...e-3D-balls.png, cute isn't it?

    At what's known as it's piezoelectric point glycine looks like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...8-3D-balls.png. As you can see it's essentially moved a hydrogen atom from it's carboxylic acid group (the COOH bit) and stuck it on the anime group (the NH2 bit). In reality it's just ripped a proton from a water molecule at the amine group and stuck a proton onto another water molecule at the carboxylic acid group. This change of state comes about when the pH reaches glycine's piezoelectric point. The other two states arise when the pH falls below or goes above the piezoelectric point. In alkaline conditions, the carboxylic acid group will lose a proton and the amine group is untouched, but in acid conditions the amine group gains a proton and the carboxylic acid group is untouched.

    So in effect, we've got a set of decisions being made depending on what the pH is. We've also got a rather crude form of memory here. The molecule behaves differently in different states, so information can be stored by changing the state of the molecule. Things like this can also act as molecular switches of sorts. Depending on their states some molecules can inhibit reactions, catalyze them or get involved in them. It's essentially an incredibly crude brain.

    This isn't unlike the binary states used in computing. Binary is a base-2 counting system which only has 2 states, 1 or 0. The glycine molecule is acting as a base-4 counting system with 4 different states: H2NCH2CH2COOH, +H3NCH2CH2COOH, +H3NCH2CH2COO- and H2NCH2CH2COO-. More information can be stored in a solution of glycine than in a single bit. If the concentrations of each form of the molecule were known you could store up to a nibble (half a byte) in that one sample of glycine solution.

    Biological organisms aren't actually that different from robots/computers. Biological organisms use things like chemical changes (such as the one I've described above - though I don't know if that particular one is used) to store and process information, whereas conventional computers (not quantum computers though - they use things like entanglement as well as the following) use different voltages across microscopic transistors and other such components to store and process information in the same way that we do. They're actually much better at it than we are - your computer can process millions (and more) sums in the time that it takes you to do one. The reason we seem so different to them is that unlike them, we have (well, most of us - people with certain disabilities, such as autism, don't) instructions for social behaviors and biological functions pre-programmed into us (in a sense). It means we can recognize things like body language (which are fundamental in communication) and react accordingly without having to think about it. Computers don't have these things pre-programmed into them, so they can't recognize these things.
    So what you're saying is, we are essentially a "biological computer programme", like a computer, except we have codes to help us feel emotion, have opinions etc?
    Spoiler:
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    By the way, I wasn't challenging this coming from a belief or religious perspective but instead trying to challenge what science makes of it (at least I tried to lol). Basically, I'm asking what is the alternative of having divine being to give us a conscious, without exactly originally using God as a point.
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    Also joining the 'soul doesn't exist' party :yep: — I just don't believe in such a thing.
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    (Original post by champ_mc99)
    So what you're saying is, we are essentially a "biological computer programme", like a computer, except we have codes to help us feel emotion, have opinions etc?
    Spoiler:
    Show
    By the way, I wasn't challenging this coming from a belief or religious perspective but instead trying to challenge what science makes of it (at least I tried to lol). Basically, I'm asking what is the alternative of having divine being to give us a conscious, without exactly originally using God as a point.
    Yea, you could think of it that way. Our DNA is a bit like the machine code used by computers. Things like emotions aren't actually connected to any kind of higher level of thinking. Emotions are just hormone secretions - they're molecules. If you program a computer to mimic these and to adjust it's output accordingly, you'll get something that can experience emotion.

    To clarify my previous post, autistic people do have biological functions 'preprogrammed' in them. They just lack the information on social interaction.
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    Consciousness comes from chemical activity on the brain. Brain stores information, and recieved new via our senses, which makes us. Each brain functions a bit differently due genetical differences. Analogy about us being a biological computer is on spot. On death as brain cells can no longer function consciousness disappears. Its like a computer that is shut off. I don't believe there is any kind of soul.
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    (Original post by Emilia1320)
    Consciousness comes from chemical activity on the brain. Brain stores information, and recieved new via our senses, which makes us. Each brain functions a bit differently due genetical differences. Analogy about us being a biological computer is on spot. On death as brain cells can no longer function consciousness disappears. Its like a computer that is shut off. I don't believe there is any kind of soul.
    Does a robot have a conscious?
 
 
 
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