The Soul on Trial
Do human beings have a soul? Something that gives us free will, a moral compass, and is potentially capable of surviving the death of our physical self? A majority of people in the United States believe we do; and a wealth of popular books, articles, TV shows, and gurus of all stripes purport to have found convincing evidence for the existence of the soul. The current scientific consensus, however, flatly rejects any notion of “soul” or “spirit” as separate from the activity of the brain. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, explains: “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” In this seminar, we will explore these fascinating questions, reviewing evidence from biology, psychology, neuroscience, and the physical sciences. Should we give up our soul beliefs?