There are many, regardless of economic, cultural, or educational backgrounds, who have difficulties accepting that our mindful self - that part of us which cannot be wholly defined – which is the energy-based, cognizant, core of our being – may be our soul; that the physical bits may simply be an elegant sensory apparatus for this particular physicality. In other words, they don’t believe that souls exist or are even possible.
And, even though they claim to be people of science, they spend inordinate amounts of time blindly refuting, or attempting to debunk, the evidence - both intuitive and empirical - that we may be more than just meat suits running on biochemical juices, like cars filled with petrol. In fact, they would rather base their entire existence, professionally and personally, on the shallow notion that the only reason we’re here is to make more meat suits; rather than trying to understand the evidence that we may be so much more.
I suspect that the main reason behind their skepticism is the concept of “if I can't see it I won't believe it”. They want to be able to predict every outcome with certainty; but what they fail to grasp is that there is no such thing as certainty.
By definition, certainty is the state of total absence of error or doubt. It is the absolute highest degree of precision. When no skepticism can occur, only then can one be certain. Thus certainty can never be obtained. As Einstein once said, “I believe in intuitions and inspirations... I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am”.
Sadly, those who demand proof and certainty are very selective in what they argue about. They will go to illogical extremes, oftentimes using cyclical or contradictory arguments, to prove that the scientific paradigm they are ascribing to is the only acceptable one. This is bias and has no place in science. The arguments they use against the probable existence of souls, they then, in the same breath, use for the existence of some other theory that they believe in. Here are some examples:
If souls and the afterlife were real, I would see them ~
First of all, there are people who claim to see souls and perceive other dimensions. Just because you are not one of them does not legitimize your denial.
More notably, however, seeing is not always believing, as we are reminded of many times in a life; and, believing does not always ensure seeing. There are many things that are “real” that we do not always, or even ever, see.
For example, a human - even one with exceptional eyesight - has a limited visible range that lies between the wavelengths of approximately 390 nm to 700 nm. You may recognize this spectrum as ROYGBIV, or red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet. This means that anything below 390 nm or above 700 nm will be invisible to us.
In fact, the only reason we even know that something exists beyond our own visual range is because of an accidental discovery during a light experiment. In 1800, Fredrick William Herschel was attempting to correlate temperatures with colors that were the result of light scattered through a prism when he noticed that there were significant increases in temperature where the light wasn't shining, just beyond the red range. He surmised that there must be some energy that was invisible to the human eye. He was correct and thus infrared was revealed.
His discovery sparked interest in the possibility that other forms of invisible energy might exist as well; and a year later, Johann Ritter, using Herschel's data, found ultraviolet. He had speculated that perhaps there was an invisible energy at the other end of the spectrum from what Herschel had discovered. So, after several failed attempts at repeating Herschel’s experiment he came up with his own ingenious analysis using silver chloride, which tarnishes in sunlight. Had he given up when the first attempts failed, or had he given in to his peers who told him he was wasting his time, we probably would not know about ultraviolet today.
Herschel and Ritter had exposed energies that surround us and yet are invisible to us, providing evidence that there are many things that we cannot see that do exist. And, just a quick aside, other animals can see in the infrared or ultraviolet ranges.
On the flip side, there are also things that we do see that technically do not exist, such as the color pink. There are no pink wavelengths or photons. Perceiving pink is a mind trick.
Perhaps souls vibrate at a different frequency than we are aware of. Perhaps they can be perceived in a range we have yet to discover. Perhaps we, like Ritter in his early investigation, just haven't found the right experiment yet.
Obviously, being invisible to the human eye is not a paranormal event.
An afterlife suggests the existence of God and I don’t believe in God ~
To suggest that only religious people believe in souls or that only people who follow some deity have souls is ludicrous.
Too many people confuse the existence of our true nature with religious precepts. The nature of our being, the energy that we term soul or spirit, preceded any theistic constructs. Religion is a human invention, energy is not.
As a matter of fact, religion was created on the basis that we already have souls. And, there are several ancient religions, and even some modern religious sects, which do not even have gods or pantheons to speak of, and still they believe in the existence of souls and spirits and the afterlife.
So, believe in a god, don't believe in a god, it makes no difference, it changes nothing. Our intelligent energy exists regardless. Your philosophy is as irrelevant to the existence of our souls as it is to the existence of our physical bodies.
If I had had a past life, or eternal soul, I would remember it ~
Not necessarily. Many of us are hard pressed to remember what we had for supper last night, let alone what happened a life time ago. Plus, for those who place psychological verities and neurobiological theories above all else, you should know that the more trauma a person experiences, the greater the chance of memory reduction and distortion. Dying and being born are very traumatic.
Consider that our physical brains vary from one person to the next when it comes to memory. While some folks are born with extremely limited memory capability, others have eidetic memories, with a vast gradation between the two extremes.
Do you remember what you ate the first Tuesday of last year? I am presuming that, unless you were fasting, you did eat something at some point during that day. I will guess that, unless you’re one of those folks with exceptional memory, or are on a very strict repetitive meal schedule, you do not remember what it was. Since your argument states that because you cannot remember something it isn’t real, every meal you cannot remember must be an illusion. Perhaps it is. There is a growing school of thought that states that everything is an illusion.
Running parallel to the physical brain, the non-physical portion of our brain – the mind – may also vary, from one soul to the next. Thus, some folks may have no past life or soul memory, while others may have mediocre memories - perhaps in the form of déjà vu or visions, and yet others may have amazingly clear memories of the true nature of our beings and our origin.
If faith in the inner workings of the mind is too esoteric, then consider a biophysical example. There is a reciprocal relationship between the hormone oxytocin and pregnancy. When emotional bonding occurs, oxytocin is being released. Oxytocin, when coupled with other hormones, has also been implicated in memory and thought distortion, in particular traumatic memory recall. This may be why we have no memories of being in the womb or of the actual birthing experience. Conceivably, it may be why we have no memory of anything that may have occurred prior to conception.
Do you remember living in your mother's womb? Do you have any recollections of the approximately nine months you spent floating happily in the amniotic sac that was your whole world? You knew of nothing else – no before, no after - until one day, in a violent and distressing manner, you were born. I’m guessing that you don’t remember that either? And yet the evidence is strong that you were, in fact, born.
Perhaps, as the author Aldous Huxley affirmed, our physical brains simply act like reducing valves that restrict the conscious awareness of the mind. It may just be that remembering profound spiritual experiences is simply too detrimental to our free will. How can one objectively go through this life with all of the fears and prejudices of the last?
Whether via evolution, design or as some cosmic oops, we are limited in our perceptions within this physical dimension, let alone of anything beyond this physical dimension. To assert that the only things that are legitimate are those that you remember is absurd. Clearly, memory lapse does not validate non-existence.
If souls, spirits and the afterlife were real, the experiences would be repeatable and everyone would have them ~
The short answer is that they are repeatable and mostly everyone does experience them. It’s just that some people don’t remember them, some may not recognize them for what they are, and some people deny them.
With the advent of the internet and social media, experiences, thoughts, and observations, from people all over the planet, at any time of the day or night, anonymously (and thus without demographic bias), are dispersing information and revealing some interesting commonalities, including individual and collective experiences that can only be defined as spiritual.
As of 2016, there are approximately 7.4 billion people on planet Earth. Of these, approximately 6.5 billion believe in some form of an afterlife, whether it is a place, a dimension or a state of being, including the possibility of rebirth and reincarnation or some other recycling of the soul. That's 88% of the overall global population having first or second hand experiences that lead them to believe in the existence of souls and a spiritual realm.
Of the remaining 1 billion people, a good 40% have said that they too have had experiences that cannot be explained through traditional science or via ordinary means but they do not label them as spiritual in nature. They prefer to label their experiences using physical terminology. They say things like “my brain is playing tricks on me”, or “I must have been asleep and not realized it”, or “the medications I'm on are messing with me”. They find these weak arguments to be more plausible than just accepting that they are having soul experiences.
And then, of course, there is the very small minority who deny ever having any experience, personal or otherwise, that would even remotely seem out of the ordinary. To these very few I say you are either totally devoid of observational skills, or you are not recognizing the experiences for what they are, or you really are, for whatever reason, missing out.
As for repeatability, repeatability is simply one way to establish correlations and to achieve statistical soundness. It can be done on an individual basis or on a target population. Our own Theory of Evolution is not repeatable, not in the laboratory and not in the field. Nor is Creationism. As a matter of fact, none of the current theories that attempt to explain our origin or reason for existence can be labeled as scientific. Why are the debunkers not challenging this?
Of the 6.5 billion people who are having first or second hand experiences with souls, spirits and the afterlife, almost all are having the same kinds of experiences. This is regardless of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, age, religious/spiritual beliefs, or any other demographics, personal or ecological; which means that the correlations being observed are due to what is being experienced and not due to biases within the target populations. That’s repeatability.
By extension, this means that there is very little environmental jitter and that, therefore, the confidence levels are high. Consequently, the level of repeatability for the existence of souls and an afterlife is statistically higher than that of the theory of evolution.
Souls cannot be scientifically proven ~
Nothing can be. Proof is subjective. A person can be presented with significant amounts of evidence and still deny belief in the thing.
Science is simply a systematic way of gathering evidence. Even the things we swear by, like the existence of atoms for example, cannot be proven. All we can do is make predictions based upon observations made during experiments - not of the atoms themselves - but on the surrounding environment which we conclude acts as though atoms are present. But, we defined what an atom is and how it should act. The argument is cyclical and based on conjecture.
To say that you do believe in atoms (which cannot be proven) or in evolution (which is not repeatable), but that you don’t believe in souls, because they can’t be proven, and because the evidence is not repeatable, is faulty logic. You have contradicted yourself and shown that your conclusion is based on judgmental bias.
So, by your own standards and methods, you cannot conclude that scientific evidence does not exist.
If I had a soul, I would feel/know it ~
There is an ancient quote, verbum sat sapient, which roughly translates as “a word is enough to the wise”; or as Niccolo Machiavelli paraphrased it, “the wise man does at once what the fool does finally.”
In other words, some folks won’t accept anything outside of their comfort zone, no matter what the evidence is. They will even deny their own personal experiences, dismissing them as hallucinations or misinterpretations. They would rather believe in the concepts of insanity, deliberate lies, or some global conspiracy, than that the who of our existence is just as real as the what of our existence. Whereas, other folks need only one sign to see it for what it is.
"Quantum Souls. Part Two. Debunking the debunkers – an excerpt from The Quantum Afterlife, due out Fall 2016" by Dr. Angela Dijanic is the second article in a three-part series dealing with scientific evidence supporting the existence of souls and an afterlife. Read the first part, here. Part three will be published on July 31.
Dr. Angela Dijanic is a retired professor of natural and applied sciences, with over thirty years of experience in scientific research and investigation. She was a college professor for many years teaching subjects such as biology and chemistry, spent three years as a Medicolegal Death Investigator, and as an Environmental Scientist for the Department of Environmental Protection in Maine, where her son was a student at the University of Maine. In September 2014, she lost her only child, her beloved son Arthur, and has devoted the rest of her life to gathering scientific evidence of the existence and presence of the soul and the afterlife. She has authored a book on the subject entitled A Quantum Soul in a Newtonian World, and is currently working on a much more detailed sequel entitled The Quantum Afterlife. Angie, as she is known by her friends, currently lives in New York with her four cats.
Featured image credit: Angela Dijanic