What do atheists believe about the soul/conscious?

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champ_mc99
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#1
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#1
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?

Cheers.
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champ_mc99
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#2
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#2
Bump.
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thunder_chunky
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#3
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#3
About the soul? Nothing. Doesn't exist.
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username1560589
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#4
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#4
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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joey11223
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#5
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#5
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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champ_mc99
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#6
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#6
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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joey11223
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#7
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#7
(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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champ_mc99
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#8
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#8
(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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DJKL
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#9
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#9
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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EllyJelly
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#10
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#10
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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Kvothe the Arcane
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#11
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#11
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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champ_mc99
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#12
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#12
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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champ_mc99
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#13
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#13
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?
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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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Elizabeth II
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#14
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#14
Also joining the 'soul doesn't exist' party :yep: — I just don't believe in such a thing.
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Emilia1320
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#15
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#15
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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champ_mc99
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#16
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#16
(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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skunkboy
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#17
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#17
⊳Science can explain this using the concept of something called quantum of action.

In nature, actions or changes smaller than ħ = 1.1x10
^−34Js are not observed.

ħ = Planck's constant or...

ħ = E ÷ f

Where E = photon energy

f = wave frequency

Actions or changes in spirit worlds are far smaller than Planck constant. That's why humans naturally don't see spirits.

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Abstract_Prism
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#18
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#18
(Original post by champ_mc99)
OK, why was I not born in your body and you in mine?
You were not 'born into a body'.

At birth, all people are pretty-much the same. They are a blank canvas. It is their life experiences which largely shape who they are.

You are not special because you are looking through your eyes now, and I know what you mean by that. But everyone else can do that too.

Geez, this was stuff I struggled with when I was like seven.
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XMaramena
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#19
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#19
I believe that when we die, well, you don't just go from living to dead instantly.

There's a period of time - short time - could be very very short depending on the type of death :P in which the brain goes from living to dead.

In that time between the two states, the level of consciousness decreases counter-exponentially. Ie for you religion folks, that scientific stuff looks a bit like this:
Image

From that, I believe that perception of time also follows the same pattern, as does emotion, and any other "feeling".

Therefore, any rational person, would spend their last moment thinking of whether or not they did well in their life, and either regret what they did wrong unto others, or take pride in their good achievements. This feeling of either regret and sadness, or pride and happiness, will last forever for the person experiencing it, since the "graph" will never reach zero, it's exponential. And so, we have our Heaven and our Hell - eternal happiness, or eternal sadness.
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