Does the soul exist? What is the current scientific stance on the existence of the human soul? Is there any evidence that points to the soul aspect of the human being?
Many people believe they have a soul—some sort of non-material and immortal essence of who they are at their core. But does the soul actually exist? As far as science goes, there is currently no evidence of the existence of the soul.
Keep reading for the answer to the question: does the soul exist?
Does the Soul Exist?
Despite searching extensively, modern science has found no evidence that people have a soul. In fact, theories such as Darwin’s theory of evolution directly contest its existence.
While theists believe that the soul is an independent entity that hasn’t changed throughout the course of human history, evolution implies that humans are changing all the time and aren’t capable of eternal characteristics. They’re made up of ever-evolving parts that interconnect with the rest of the body.
For example, the human eye consists of dozens of separate, intricate parts that have developed over thousands of years. Each part can be traced back through time to create an idea of how the eyeball evolved. The development of the eye can also, then, be connected to the evolution of the human body and the way that human senses have changed throughout history.
If the soul has no parts, isn’t connected to the physical body, and doesn’t change, it didn’t develop as a result of human evolution. Therefore, the likelihood of its existence is slim to none. Some claim that the human soul just “appeared” one day, but that creates a litany of other questions:
- Who was the first person with a soul?
- Were they born with it?
- If so, how did a baby suddenly develop a soul when neither of its parents had any evidence of one?
- If not, who gave the baby a soul?
What About Inner Self?
Liberals believe in individualism, or the belief that human beings have a singular, unique voice that leads them towards their true goals. However, recent studies have debunked this myth, placing the “inner self” in the same category as the “human soul”—an unfounded theory that drives religious belief.
Researchers have discovered that human behavior has nothing to do with a “singular, unique voice.” Rather, human thought is dictated by the interactions between the two hemispheres of the brain. Each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body, meaning actions of the left side of the body are controlled by the right hemisphere and vice versa.
While both hemispheres play a role in most behaviors, the right hemisphere plays a more important role in spatial and creative processes, while the left focuses on logical reasoning and speech. The neural responses of the hemispheres are often at odds with one another and cause conflicting feelings or “voices.”
While the hemispheres are usually connected by a neural cable, severing the neural connection causes them to work independently of one another. For example, researchers flashed a picture of a chicken claw to a split-brain patient’s right eye and a picture of a snow shovel to their left eye. When they asked the patient to state what they saw, they said “chicken claw,” because that object was flashed to the left hemisphere, the center of speech.
However, when they asked the patient to point to the picture they’d seen, their left hand pointed to the snow shovel while their right hand pointed to the chicken claw. The areas of the body responded differently based around the different experiences of their appropriate hemispheres. When asked why they pointed to two images, the patient said that the shovel had to be used to clean the chicken coop.
The patient’s justification is the result of the brain’s need to rationalize behavior. The left hemisphere is the center of logical reasoning, so it developed a logical reason for the patient to point to two objects instead of one. This process occurs in the brains of all people, not just split-brain patients. It justifies the subconscious behavior of the brain by creating conscious narratives such as the belief in an “inner voice.”
For example, if a person wakes up one morning and suddenly decides to quit their job, their brain may justify this behavior by creating a narrative that says their “inner voice” is guiding them in a new direction. However, the reality is that this desire is the result of the neurons firing in particular sections of the brain, not an individual goal. The brain simply created the narrative to rationalize the seemingly random behavior.