Monday, March 26, 2007

Four Juicy Questions -

(1) How does biology and evolution account for the human sense of possessing a soul? Can we say that the sense that we have a soul benefit us in some biological way, i.e., that it helps us to function or even survive?

(2) Even if the soul was a biological trait, not literally existing, how would something like an unconscious evolution have the capacity to create the internal impression that we have a soul that connects us to something larger, even though that thing does not exist? In other words, evolution would be responsible for creating a whole spiritual paradigm that exists in our head, and not only that, it would have created the illusion that we have a love for and an interaction with an "object" external to us, with which we can relate by means of our illusory soul. We can ask, since we have this "soul," how is evolution able to orchestrate such a thing? If it is, then we must conclude that evolution itself possesses outlandish intelligence and even desire to create. If so, evolution itself becomes something not very different from the theistic notion of G-d.

(3) On top of this, this paradigm in our head creates a network of our mind, emotions, and body, with our soul an element of ourselves composed of, but higher than, these three elements. Even if we don't believe we have a soul, we still sense ourselves in a very unique and intimate way; this is virtually impossible to explain biologically. The very value of life is ideologically and emotionally diminished if we try to explain humanity as a series of highly complex and sophisticated biological organisms.

(4) This is also reflected in our laws, which recognize a concept known as "morality." Approaching it from the biological angle, morality can have the effect of moderating society and therefore contributing to the perpetuation of the organism. However, morality reaches a point where it ceases to be convenient and actually places strain on the organism, to the point where it would actually be easier for a society, or societies, to "break down" and detach itself from concepts of morality. Nevertheless, humanity continues to, almost obsessively, cleave to the notion of morality, which transcends the physical and biological realities of being a human being (we want to feed every human on the planet even though it could be numerically valuable for a portion of the human race to die out each year). It is a nagging call to truth that keeps a person from stealing something when nobody is around; the affect on society is minimal, and even children, whom do not understand what society is, feel that resistance, perhaps more strongly. It is things like this, which spark the conscious, which is located in the "soul" and alerts a resistance within us against engaging in such behaviors. This mechanism causes us to perceive that we are not alone at the moment of the event

The fascinating question is how biology and evolution attest to these things.