Atheists: I just answered a question about where our soul is "housed" and most believers think we ARE a "soul"?





by I’m a nice person:

(I agree, btw) but it made me think of Descartes and his thoughts on the pineal gland. I just wanted to hear some thoughts by both sides(believers and non believers) as to how this all fits into the debate. Anyone like to offer up points about the “seat of the soul”?
@Acid Zebra: THANK YOU! LOL; I was beginning to think I “imagined” Descartes there for a minute. I was picturing people saying: WHO?!? rofl
@No Chance: Yo baby! High five; rofl

Answer by This place sucks.
The only “soul” I believe in is the sole on my feet.


  1. Before we can have any kind of meaningful discussion about this, you’re going to have to define what your terms mean.

  2. Okay, the soul is something primitive people made up to explain the difference between live people and dead ones. As such, it resides firmly in the human imagination. You’re welcome.

  3. Well, simply look at the evidence that demonstrates the existence of a soul, and that should point to the location where it is “housed”.
    Oh, wait, there is no evidence demonstrating the existence of a soul.

  4. I think even psychologists have given up on this debate, fwiw. I just believe we are body, soul and spirit. I believe my body is well, my body, my spirit is my mind and my soul is the essence of who I am. Not going into any kind of debate about where the seat of my essence is.

  5. I believe in the Soul Train.
    The simple fact that personality, memories, even basic instinctive reactions can be changed by chemical or physical alterations to the brain should show that our “selves” are a complex matrix of electrical impulses and chemicals stored in our neurons. No soul needed.

  6. depending upon how you define “soul” that will determine where it is
    for instance, the soul, according to Judahism, can be speaking of the nefesh, or the ruach, or the neshamah
    the nefesh is in the blood, Leviticus 17 i believe
    the ruach is the breath, or spirit, it is constituted as the same as the heart
    and the neshamah is regarded as being in the brain, as it is the intellectual faculty, it is the consciousness

  7. Not Descartes finest moment. Ascribing something material to explain the assertion of something immaterial without any arguably logical evidence is conjecture of the most bizarre kind.

  8. our soul is spiritual, it cannot be seen because it is our wills our intellect and our memory. Our judgment will depict how, we utilized these things to follow Christ, how did we use our will as by our choices yes or no, or I reject or I accepted, could I understand the teaching of Christ and was I able to implement it in my life , how did I use my memory in the recollection of all Christ’s precepts? All these characters of our souls will respond according to how we used our wills in making choices about love such as did I feed the hungry as I was able? Did I get up Sunday morning and worship Christ in church, or did I serve my own needs and my flesh, by remaining cozy and warm in the bed unwilling to get up and make the effort. We are here to serve Christ on the earth in this life so as to be happy with him in the next, and we must use this life to get to know Him and then to serve Him accordingly. How did I disciple myself as to the passions such as love-jealoucy-envy-hatred-anger? Did I use self-control, and strive to be like Christ, who was meek and humble? Or did I argue who others and say mean and hateful things to them, did I show my dislike by being rude and unkind, or did I smile and be polite? did I use my will to pray, and forgive? Or did I use my time to watch soaps on tv. and read bad books? God will certainly ask us how we used this time He has given us to know love and serve Christ, and then we will see how we either succeeded or we failed. And heaven or hell, awaits us all, forever and without end.

  9. Descartes was from the 16th century. This is when “scientists” were still trying to turn lead into gold. It doesn’t fit into the debate at all it’s an idea that was discarded 400 years ago. Alchemy and geocentricism do not fit into debates about chemistry or astronomy. Descartian dualism does not fit into any debate about neurology.
    The pineal gland is part of your endocrine system it produces hormones such as serotonin and also regulates sleep patterns. The only reason Descartes zeroed on it as the seat of the soul is because it is located pretty centrally in the brain.
    If there is a “seat of the soul” in a metaphorical sense it is the cortex, the frontal lobes. Higher mammals have a limbic system and a cortex. In humans the cortex is radically over developed relative to body mass and that is what gives us our ability to perform highly abstract reasoning.
    We are our brains. You put 10^12 neurons together with 10^15 connections between then and basically you get a “soul”. What you are arguing for is a sort of quasi physical-metaphysical hybrid. That we have our physical brains, plus this bit of magic wonderstuff that survives the physical death, and although it is completely non-physical and undetectable by physical means, it still manages to interact with the physical brain somehow even though there is no evidence of that.
    The idea of the soul is an intuitive concept, and it’s the trap Descartes fell into (it’s hard to figure out the internal workings of the brain, since you have to use your own brain to do it) it’s based on theory of mind. We can decouple of cognition in time. You can imagine interactions with someone who is not physically present right now. For example you could easily imagine a conversation with Barack Obama. Theory of mind is crucial for social interaction (people who are autistic lack this, hence their awkward lack of social skills) but as you can see we are already in the habit of thinking about other minds, it’s very easy to start thinking about minds and bodies as being separate. It’s only a little bit more of a stretch to thinking about minds continuing on without a body.

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