Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Sonic# » Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:50 am

I think one can distinguish a soul culturally, and have it mean something, but it's not a transcendental truth.*
*To put an easier way, the soul is indistinguishable enough from bodily functions to make the body/soul division, on which the definition of soul rests, obsolete.


Ok, I think I understood what you said better before the footnote. I thought you were saying that what we define as a "soul" is a subjective thing that differs from person to person, and even more widely from culture to culture, so there isn't a universal truth behind the concept. But your footnote confused me and made me not sure that's what you meant anymore...


I did muddle that a bit, I blame it on the cold I was getting off of. They aren't the same thing, are they?

By the first, I did mean that the soul is something defined subjectively, and it changes from individual to individual and religious tradition to religious tradition. By the footnote, I meant something else entirely. (Why did I tie the two together?) It was my opinion, that the soul and body binary doesn't work because the distinction between the two is too vague in our modern, scientific understanding of the mind.

There are a few things which crop up when you get deeper into discussion, though. One thing I find most enlightening is that last item on the relationship between sentience and a soul. So, is sentience a necessary and sufficient condition for a soul (i.e., does everything with self-awareness have a soul), or is sentience a necessary but not a sufficient condition for a soul (i.e., is it possible for something to be self-aware but still be soulless)?


There are some that would say that a sentient robot is still soulless, for any variety of reasons. It could be because it's not organic, because it was seemingly not created by God, because it has no intrinsic impulse towards morality, or what have you. I can't find a good argument in that direction though, so I'm more inclined to believe that sentience implies a soul.

However, I would argue for animals on two points. One, that animals also have a form of sentience, the only distinction being that theirs is not communicable as ours is (I speak, therefore you hope I think). Two, that if they don't have full sentience, they might nevertheless have a soul. (That would tweak your "necessary and sufficient" considerably.) But I'll leave that for now, if anyone is interested in the argument, because it's nearly 1 AM and I need sleep.
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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Werefrog » Sun Sep 13, 2009 5:27 am

Kizyr wrote:On that note, the more we find out about how the brain affects how we think, feel, and act, the closer the connection is between our physical being and our mind, and hence the more difficult it is to separate the concept of a "soul" from the physical self (since by default it seems to be closely linked to one's mental state).


Well, that's what I would think. I think it's going to be really hard to come up with a coherent explanation of how the brain comes creates all the phenomenon related with everyday consciousness (let alone dream consciousness, pathological consciousness, and drug-induced altered states). I've heard of this described as the mind-brain problem (in contrast to the older mind-body problem). I think we're just scratching the surface of the important biological functions that affect our "self" (thought about writing ego but thought better of it). We still have a lot of work to do on the cellular level, and then we have to figure out how all the pieces go together. Regardless, even if psychologists were able to come up with an explanation, I'm sure that some people would deny it.

I've had this conversation with my parents, and they associate the soul as something that's more intuitive than what we typically associate with the brain. My argument would be that if that's the case, what they refer to as a soul is related to the parts of the brain that are considered to be the "lower," more primitive brain (the limbic system) that we do in fact share with animals for the most part. (I read an article that tries to draw a corollary between the limbic system and the soul that I thought was interesting. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jour ... 1&SRETRY=0 )

Anyway, I don't really know if this has really added too much to the conversation. In Christianity people tend to separate the soul from the mind, I think, due to a false dichotomy between faith and logic.

This is a topic that doesn't have too many answers I don't think. 8-)

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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Jenner » Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:42 pm

Sonic# wrote:There are some that would say that a sentient robot is still soulless, for any variety of reasons. It could be because it's not organic, because it was seemingly not created by God, because it has no intrinsic impulse towards morality, or what have you. I can't find a good argument in that direction though, so I'm more inclined to believe that sentience implies a soul.


As far as what I was taught, only humans get to have souls. Even if Honda makes the most humany human robot ever it wouldn't still not have a soul. A soul is not something that can be programmed, mimicked, or earned. A soul is something you are born with. In my jaded years after I turned away from the faith I was raised in I began to believe that the concept of a soul was created to emphasize the superiority of man over everything else and give humanity an excuse to be dicks to everything non-human. (They're also usually dicks to everything human too, so, meh.) I believe the goodness of humanity is displayed in how we treat the beings and world around us. But, I also realize but we cannot sacrifice human lives for the comfort of an animals life. If flash freezing a cute baby duckling's brain leads to learning how to cure brain cancer in humans, I'd ask how many ducklings.

The soul may just be a phantom that comes with having a greater sentience. The self-awareness to think things over and create philosophies about them. To learn and discover things about our world. It may just be something we're making up to explain the things about us we haven't figured out yet. Just like God.

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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Ruby » Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:39 pm

Jenner wrote:I never did ask if Muslims believe in souls and an afterlife, I just always assumed they did since it's a basic premise of most faiths. In Christian Society, or, at least White Catholic Christian Society (Hereto refereed to as You're All Sinning So Give Us Money Corporation, or YASSGUM CORP) teaches impressionable young kids that they are dirty and wicked and that they will never do anything right.

It enforces the belief that anything not White and Catholic and Giving Them Money is not something they should be bothered with. Indoctrination is fun.


Really? In my experience the Catholic church is a lot of things, but emphasizing white = good isn't one of them, especially when priests for US churches often have to be imported from Africa or Latin America.

Other than that pretty much what Jenner said was accurate. You know, except for the part that if you commit a "grave mortal sin", defined as disobeying one of the ten commandments or an extension of the ten commandments as defined by catechism law, then you'll fall out of the grace of god and goto hell if you die unless you goto confession for the sacrament of reconciliation and perform the penance given to get back in the grace of god. However you'll still accrue time in purgatory for the sin committed, which if you manage to time your sinfulness right (IE: Don't have any sinful thoughts or anything on your deathbed right before you die, ok? Repeat after me. Margaret Thatcher, Baseball, repeate.) and happen to manage to die while in the grace of god you get the wonderful privilege of working off that sin in purgatory where you'll be tortured identically as you would in hell, except everyone's supposedly bloody happy about it, because hey, afterward you're going to get to see god and praise him for all eternity. Yay.

In all seriousness I used to have an hour long audio cassette I got after going to the Stubenville Ohio youth retreat (Thousands of brainwashed kids all in one place, no that wasn't wierd at all.) which was basically a 1-2 hour long litany of what would send you to hell.
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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Jenner » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:44 pm

Ruby wrote:
Jenner wrote:I never did ask if Muslims believe in souls and an afterlife, I just always assumed they did since it's a basic premise of most faiths. In Christian Society, or, at least White Catholic Christian Society (Hereto refereed to as You're All Sinning So Give Us Money Corporation, or YASSGUM CORP) teaches impressionable young kids that they are dirty and wicked and that they will never do anything right.

It enforces the belief that anything not White and Catholic and Giving Them Money is not something they should be bothered with. Indoctrination is fun.


Really? In my experience the Catholic church is a lot of things, but emphasizing white = good isn't one of them, especially when priests for US churches often have to be imported from Africa or Latin America.

Other than that pretty much what Jenner said was accurate. You know, except for the part that if you commit a "grave mortal sin", defined as disobeying one of the ten commandments or an extension of the ten commandments as defined by catechism law, then you'll fall out of the grace of god and goto hell if you die unless you goto confession for the sacrament of reconciliation and perform the penance given to get back in the grace of god. However you'll still accrue time in purgatory for the sin committed, which if you manage to time your sinfulness right (IE: Don't have any sinful thoughts or anything on your deathbed right before you die, ok? Repeat after me. Margaret Thatcher, Baseball, repeate.) and happen to manage to die while in the grace of god you get the wonderful privilege of working off that sin in purgatory where you'll be tortured identically as you would in hell, except everyone's supposedly bloody happy about it, because hey, afterward you're going to get to see god and praise him for all eternity. Yay.

In all seriousness I used to have an hour long audio cassette I got after going to the Stubenville Ohio youth retreat (Thousands of brainwashed kids all in one place, no that wasn't wierd at all.) which was basically a 1-2 hour long litany of what would send you to hell.



My church was corrupt. My pastor was a horrible, bigoted man who used his position in the faith and society to teach his hatred to others.
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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Aaron » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:01 pm

Jenner wrote:My church was corrupt. My pastor was a horrible, bigoted man who used his position in the faith and society to teach his hatred to others.

Ahhh, welcome to the real world...(not that all of them are corrupt, but sometimes it feels that way)

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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby meg » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:33 pm

religious positions of power suffer from the same plight all positions of power do--people who want power. when my brother went to bible college, he met all kinds of douches studying there purely because they wanted to be the big fish in some small religious pond.

oh man. i managed to seriously screw with (not that this is hard. fish in a barrel) a little brainwashed boy the other day. he was 8 or 9. he started going off on his religion, and the adults who'd brought him to breakfast were teasing him about something he'd done earlier. i was just sorta listening, and when i caught the brainwashing, i just couldn't resist.

boy: i made a mistake! everybody makes mistakes.
meg: i don't.
boy: you do too. know how i know? because everybody but jesus is flawed and makes mistakes.
meg: not me. i'm perfect.
boy: you--you're not--nobody is--only bad people say they're--only bad--only the d-d-
meg: only the devil?

i've never seen a kid's eyes get so big. he stared at me for a good ten minutes.
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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Aaron » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:40 pm

meg wrote:religious positions of power suffer from the same plight all positions of power do--people who want power. when my brother went to bible college, he met all kinds of douches studying there purely because they wanted to be the big fish in some small religious pond.

oh man. i managed to seriously screw with (not that this is hard. fish in a barrel) a little brainwashed boy the other day. he was 8 or 9. he started going off on his religion, and the adults who'd brought him to breakfast were teasing him about something he'd done earlier. i was just sorta listening, and when i caught the brainwashing, i just couldn't resist.

boy: i made a mistake! everybody makes mistakes.
meg: i don't.
boy: you do too. know how i know? because everybody but jesus is flawed and makes mistakes.
meg: not me. i'm perfect.
boy: you--you're not--nobody is--only bad people say they're--only bad--only the d-d-
meg: only the devil?

i've never seen a kid's eyes get so big. he stared at me for a good ten minutes.


I had the same experience as your brother when I went to seminary. Except it made me drop out.

Btw, what a cruel thing to do to a child.

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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby meg » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:04 pm

oh yeah, i totally damaged that kid permanently. he'll be telling the shrink about that one. he's going to look sidelong at every nerdy bespectacled brunette for years to come, wondering if she's hiding a forked tail under her skirt. and i will laugh. because i delight in the pain of children.

my husband has turned screwing with kids into an art form. have you ever had egg drop soup? one time he brought some to the comic shop where he works part time. the shop owner's younger daughter, who was maybe 7 at the time, wrinkled her nose at it and asked what it was.

"boiled baby," he whispered.

he actually wants a kid, you know. we're going to raise a right little sadist. i suggest you lock your own spawn indoors, where it's safe.
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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Aaron » Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:26 am

I know you didn't do any permanent damage. But it doesn't take away the cruelty.

It really reminds me of older siblings messing with younger siblings. It's fun for you, but not really anyone else (except those of like mind).

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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Benevolent_Ghaleon » Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:28 am

Aaron wrote:I know you didn't do any permanent damage. But it doesn't take away the cruelty.


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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby Ruby » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:10 am

My church was corrupt. My pastor was a horrible, bigoted man who used his position in the faith and society to teach his hatred to others.


That sounds pretty par for the course. I'm always told about how when my grandmother and grandfather were going to move my aunt and my mother down to Florida the priest told them not to move because Florida was "heathen country".

my husband has turned screwing with kids into an art form. have you ever had egg drop soup? one time he brought some to the comic shop where he works part time. the shop owner's younger daughter, who was maybe 7 at the time, wrinkled her nose at it and asked what it was.


Lol, sounds like my father. XD
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Re: Animals are beasts wihtout souls or sentience. Let's use 'em

Postby meg » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:05 pm

oh, he'll be a great dad. the downside is that i'll have to be honest one, so the kid grows up aware that not EVERYONE will mess with you.
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