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Is there Real Evidence for a Soul, “Life after Death”?

June 12, 2013

Can Either Science or Religion Give Us a Reliable Answer to the “Soul” question? 

In a nutshell, both science and religion have valid inputs toward the idea of a soul and of continuation of the consciousness it holds.  That’s my not-entirely-humble opinion…. It’s a fairly educated opinion, and I’m about to give you a handful of the better sources that give me confidence to state it.

Oh, and my personal conclusion: Yes, we have something along the lines of what we call “soul” or “consciousness” within a personal “identity” (the “I” or “me” in “I did that” or “that’s not me!”) (Don’t ask me about animals… I’ve not settled on that one yet.)

True confession, and to excuse the lack of my better blogging style:

What follows in the next paragraph is actually my comment to a conversation partner on another blog when the matter of evidence for continuation of consciousness came up.  The person asked what evidences I felt there were for life after death.  That created an occasion to answer in the larger context that I think is required for any decent discussion of the subject.  And in that larger context (actually quite complex, unfortunately for our largely lazy minds), our data comes mainly through two biased and largely antagonistic (to one another) “institutions”: organized religion and science as a relatively coordinated endeavor.   Given that state of affairs, I look especially to the small number of good scholars and researchers who can sort out the good and valid from both and, in the case of consciousness studies here, give us some truly helpful glimpses into our own souls, as it were… glimpses that are not purely our own subjective interpretation of our limited experiences.  Those are the kinds of people represented in the short list and explanation that now follows: 

“Actually, I CAN point you to ‘scientific evidence of life after death’ in more than one form. Issues of consciousness and the ‘mind-body problem’ are interlinked, so actually it is tough to isolate just ‘soul’ existence or continuation of consciousness. So the following resources tend to be broad or varied and cover various aspects or combos of the related issues involved. Most of them are not real recent, as I encountered them around 5-12 or so years ago while I was looking into these areas particularly. (I still do a bit, but am not up on what may be the better sources that are more recent.) There are several things I could say to introduce them individually, but in the interest of time/brevity, I will let you explore about the authors/titles mainly on your own, via Amazon, the direct website (in 1 case), etc.

The main comment I’ll make is about David Ray Griffin, as he is a remarkable scholar and one of the key recent developers of Process theology. I’ve heard him and briefly met him on a couple occasions, as I have his comparably talented and caring, ‘relatable’ mentor (originally as an academic) and colleague, John B. Cobb, Jr. (Both are still writing, last I knew, while retired, at ages 73 and 88 or so.)

I’m citing 2 of Griffin’s many books as especially pertinent to our conversation: First, Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality (’97). This is addressed more toward a skeptical scientific audience than a religious one and gives a good summary of the key issues pertinent to the idea of a ‘mind’ and/or ‘spirit’ distinct from physical bodies. While it touches on NDE’s as one aspect, it is far from as detailed as some works re. them (some of which have taken on the skeptics you seem to refer to, and the alternate explanations, of which there naturally are many).  Nor does it reflect, of course, the significant research in the 15 yrs. since its publication.

The other by Griffin is, I think, a classic, and more readable as a ‘summary’ type book of short length (just 114 pp. of text): Two Great Truths: A New Synthesis of Scientific Naturalism and Christian Faith (2004). It lays out what I consider a very clear and accurate picture of how and why we’ve gotten to the silly stand-off between ‘religion’ and ‘science’, as to any meaningful collaboration and cooperation (or even mutual respect in many cases).

A few other great sources on various aspects of consciousness, the soul, etc., all from people either with scientific credentials or a self-taught scientific mindset:

1. Miracles of Mind by Russell Targ and Jane Katra

English: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell

English: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. The Way of the Explorer by Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell

3. The Soul Genome by Paul Von Ward and the related and more up-to-date website: .  On this website, if you read the Eliz. Barrett-Browning case, it gives examples and some summary info on the methodology of Von Ward and his collaborators.  The book, though from an earlier stage, develops it further also… This is a quite different approach than earlier (or current) mere examples/stories of even supposedly corroborated cases of reincarnation (as I believe some have been, but not to rigorous standards of typical science).  

I wouldn’t say refutation of this kind of work is impossible, but I’ve not seen it done… and the work is still evolving and the data being further compiled under relatively new standards and approaches, as Von Ward readily admits… you’ll note he repeatedly is careful to say real PROOF is a high standard not yet reached.  However, to me, his work, combined with others like Dr. Ian Stevenson and his successor, already reaches ‘beyond reasonable doubt.'”

What do you see as evidence for our continuation in some kind of coherent consciousness we might call a “soul”? Any particularly impressive sources to share that have influenced your view? We’d love to hear any personal experiences that have also… many people have them, but they are always fun to hear more of.  

12 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    November 1, 2013 10:20 pm

    Hi, I am from Australia.
    Please find two related references which provide an Illuminated Understanding of death and dying:

  2. Nick G permalink
    January 31, 2018 9:59 am

    It really is hilarious that you take people such as 9-11 “Truther” David Ray Griffin, and pseudoscientist Russell Targ seriously. That these are the authorities you cite in support of your afterlife fantasies tellsany rational person all they need to know.

    • January 31, 2018 3:25 pm

      Nick, If you would like to take on, point-by-point the key evidences brought out not only by Griffin, but many other careful analysts, often with engineering and architectural expertise, or materials science, etc., I’d like to see it. I’ve viewed both point and counter-point and the weighting isn’t even close on such key issues as “What caused the fall of Bldg. 7”? (along with the Twin Towers). That is no theorizing on WHO caused it (“conspiracy”) but the scientific evidence for how/why. The case is incredibly strong! (One source you probably know: (Architects and Engineers, about 3000 of them).

      • Nick G permalink
        February 1, 2018 9:32 am

        I’m completely unsurprised – although highly amused – that a “spiritual” fruitcake like you is also a 9/11 “Truther”. I have absolutely no intention of wasting my time on Griffin’s nonsense, nor that of The latter is still burbling about “controlled demolition”.
        Which is braindead drivel.

        I’ve viewed both point and counter-point and the weighting isn’t even close

        Yeah, yeah. And what is your relevant expertise?


        That is no theorizing on WHO caused it (“conspiracy”)

        Perhaps because no conspiracy hypothesis makes any kind of sense, either in terms of motive, or in terms of practical possibility. How could the necessary quantities of explosives possibly have been brought into the buildings, placed, and wired up, without anyone noticing, or any participants in the conspiracy (which would need to have been large) subsequently giivng the game away? And if you were going to do that, why also arrange for planes to smash into the buildings? There had, after all, already been one failed attempt to bring down the towers with explosives (a 600 kg+ truck bomb) in 1993. So if the neocons (or the Israelis, Freemasons, Illuminati, Bilderburgers, alien shapeshifting lizards, “malevolent spirits”, or whoever or whatever else you blame) wanted to mount a false flag operation, and could somehow – contrary to all probability – get enough explosives in place, what was the point of the hijacks?. Successfully bringing down the towers could still have been blamed on Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein, or whoever else you think was the target. The more complicated a conspiracy is, the more people need to be involved, and the more chance of it going wrong. Yet not one participant has blabbed, after 16 years, nor has one incriminating document surfaced, after Wikileaks and Snowden.

        Nor am I stupid enough to take at face value the claim that the “about 3000” signatories (the website says 2750+) do in fact have relevant expertise. This is highly reminiscent of the “Oregon Petition of climate change denialists – very few of whom, it turned out, had any relevant expertise. Just loooking at the “Truthers'” page of signatories, most of them have no more than a bachelor’s degree in architecture, or some form of engineering. If you believe such a qualification constitutes expertise in the effects of fuel-laden airliners crashing into skyscrapers, you’ll believe anything. (And indeed, your website makes clear that you will!)

        • February 3, 2018 1:55 pm

          I don’t have much time to designate to replies, and the fall of the twin towers and Building 7 on 9-11 is not a topic I write about, here or elsewhere. Nor do I continue to read/research much on it, other than some of the updates out of AE911Truth.

          But I have read enough of Griffin’s extensive work on it, and heard some of it “peer reviewed” in a conference I attended where he, after formal retirement, was enthusiastically honored by a good number of top scholars, most from philosophy and theology (but virtually none “orthodox” Christians). Griffin is not that himself. Rather, the Process system he follows and has helped developed is much more physics/philosophy/ecology oriented, that begun by Whitehead who led the way in understandably tying the processes of the atomic and sub-atomic world with the much larger world of “things” and of all human and non-human processes.

          Before adding some points, I’ll note to you that I have here, as I always try to do, refrained from name-calling or pejorative or “put-down” labels on either ideas or people. If I’ve unknowingly gone against that, I apologize. I’ve always found that discussion is easier and better and learning more possible if both (or all) parties refrain from that, and would appreciate that from you as well.

          As another point, somewhat aside, in that conference, it was mostly Griffin’s philosophy and theology work (the bulk of his long career) that was reviewed and lauded. On the 10% to 20% that dealt with his 9-11 work, not everyone present either knew much about it or agreed with it, if they had reviewed it. But they were respectful in dissent. And I talked at length, over lunch, with one attendee who was recently retired and high ranking from military intelligence (Colonel, if I recall but didn’t record nor recall his name… so this is not for documentation, just of pertinent interest). He had believed the “official” gov’t explanation and was not persuaded toward a controlled demolition explanation, but was clearly weighing it and trying to relate it to the other many data points that do indeed make it seem implausible or not entirely consistent, at least with things taken to be facts via reporting. (These are not always indeed factual, when one double-checks claims or reviews all the related data.)

          This lines up with what the head of AE911Truth reports. Much of the way the signatory group has grown to something over 2750 is professionals hearing a presentation with lots of data they’d not heard about or bothered to look into and changing their minds. (The website, btw, under “Who We Are/ Our Petition”, lists 2964 professional signatories, right above the line of “2750+”… the level of their formal degree is largely irrelevant in this field and context. Many probably do not, indeed, have pertinent expertise, but many DO… high rise, steel structure, etc.)

          A key observation: there was no big group of “truthers” among architects and engineers who were already rejecting the official explanation(s). Rather, mostly people who weren’t even paying it attention but convinced once they looked at the several aspects of scientific evidence, often strongly corroborated by videos or eyewitness accounts. And this goes for lay people, untrained in engineering, as well as professionals in the field. Definitely Griffin is not one of those… never claims any such expertise. But what he IS noted for, I can directly attest, is as a researcher and thinker who is exceptionally thorough and tight in his analysis and in understandable organization and presentation of it in strong logical manner. Yes, he takes on areas that sometimes are “outside the box” of traditional thinking. And it takes a special ability like his to be able to sort the “signal” from the “noise”.

          So, to that point: What seems to be so far escaping you, Nick, is that of the logical and proper starting point in looking at the fall of the buildings (which is almost always how I phrase the issue, though maybe sometimes just “9-11”, etc.).

          Given the great complexity of all that happened that day, as well as the lead-up and the days following, the best hope one has of possibly understanding what really happened is to START with what is most observable and can be SCIENTIFICALLY measured and analyzed. (I’m very oriented to objective observation and data collection, with a strong natural science bent – not professionally pursued, though you seem to think of me as a spiritual fruitcake, quite prematurely. I may indeed be, but I don’t think you have basis yet to determine if I am.)

          So what IS that starting point? The physics involved in the fall of the buildings. And that most clearly seen with “Building 7”, 47 stories high. Without going into the several additional scientific evidences that are important to add also, it seems the proper starting point is this: The undisputed video evidence, from several angles and cameras, that the building fell AT FREE FALL SPEED for 2.25 seconds, or very close to that (the govt’s NIST site itself cites 2.25 seconds of free fall, though initially they did not include this important factor in their report). That is PLENTY of time, though brief in human sensing, to establish that NO resistance from structure beneath existed. I haven’t taken the time to read NIST’s full, complex explanation, as I don’t take time for years now, reading much of detail, on the “free fall” or “demolition” arguments. I do see that the NIST site claims examination of and eliminating possibility of explosions on the basis of lack of loud sounds, difficulty of explosive placement, etc.

          But, again, explaining HOW explosives could have been planted, HOW enough people could have been involved and none so far disclose anything nefarious, etc. is THE WRONG INITIAL or early-stage set of questions. The first is “what are the physical evidences re. the collapse(s) of Bldg. 7, and also the Twin Towers”. From what I’ve seen, neither NIST nor “Popular Mechanics” in their popular article, nor anyone else has shown that impact, structural damage and internal fires come even close to explaining the physical evidences (not just the free-fall period of collapse, and much longer near-free fall of all 3 towers, but several additional PHYSICAL evidences involving materials, melt temps, etc., etc.).

          Anyway, I can respect a person who HAS looked extensively at these several lines of evidence and the “counter-evidences” both about equally and come to a conclusion they can defend that there was NOT any explosive or other “added-in” support-removing factor (don’t forget loud noise is NOT necessarily an absolute accompaniment of support-removal at high speed, it just generally is TO most of our knowledge). But if one merely trusts the official reports of the 9-11 Commission and NIST, etc., and has not looked in some depth at the other evidence and other analyses of what occurred, then it’s naivete. And in that case, I think only an “I don’t know what to believe” stance is appropriate.

  3. Nick G permalink
    February 4, 2018 4:26 am

    Since you have no relevant expertise, your beliefs about the physics are utterly irrelevant, as are those of Griffin, and the vast majority of “Truther” signatories. That they are willing to sign such a document, when they don’t have relevant expertise, discredits them in itself: a hypothesis that was actually supported by the facts would neither need nor solicit support from people without relevant expertise – as I said, the case parallels the “Oregon petition” of the climate change deniers. And your opinion that the physics is the relevant startingpoint is just that – an opinion – and one you do not support with any argument at all. If explosives could not be placed in the quantities required without being noticed, and if there is no coherent motivation for combining such placement with crashing airliners into the towers – neither of which you have even attempted to argue against – then Griffin, AE911″Truth”, and you, must be wrong about the physics, because the airliners did cause the collapse of the towers, and fires consequent on burning debris falling on Building 7 did cause its collapse. This conclusion does not rest at all on the official reports, nor on wading through and refuting in detail interminable conspiracist rubbish.

    But what he IS noted for, I can directly attest, is as a researcher and thinker who is exceptionally thorough and tight in his analysis and in understandable organization and presentation of it in strong logical manner.

    Why on earth would you think I’d take your opinion of Griffin seriously? Incidentally, capital letters do not impart veracity or plausibility.

    I’m very oriented to objective observation and data collection

    LoL! (Yes, I really did.)

    • February 6, 2018 11:38 am

      I certainly imagine you would not take my opinion re. Griffin. Nor should you necessarily. What you definitely should do, however, if you want to be taken as intellectually serious, is read Griffin’s presentation in some depth, as well as the counterpoints which argue against his. That is, in as unbiased and objective a manner as possible (recognizing none of us comes at any issue fully unbiased.) I see no evidence you’ve actually looked into the full range of data (from a range of sources), even on a narrow issue at the core, such as what seems to have actually caused the collapse of all 3 towers, and in the manner in which they fell. Otherwise, please cease with the quips, insults, ad hominem attacks and such; or there’s no point to continue this.

      • Nick G permalink
        February 9, 2018 1:35 pm

        You’re simply not getting the point. Neither you, nor I, nor David Griffin, has the relevant expertise to make a judgement about the physics of the collapse. It would therefore be a complete waste of time for me to read him, and I have far better things to do. Moreover, we know, beyond reasonable doubt, what caused the collapses: the planes flying into them caused the collapse of the Twin Towers, burning debris falling on it caused the collapse of Building 7. We know this because no remotely coherent alternative has been put forward. This is exactly what one expects to find in denialist and conspiracist ideation: objections to the consensus or obvious explanation which may look plausible to those who have little relevant expertise, or to those with expertise who also have strong preconceptions that lead them to reject the consensus; combined with a lack of any coherent alternative. However, since you are clearly highly prone to such ideation – as shown by your idiocy in regard to “demonic possession” as well as 9-11 “Truth”, I will waste no further time on you.

  4. Nick G permalink
    February 4, 2018 7:33 am

    Incidentally, I note that Griffin appeared on Alex Jones’ show. That should be enough to discredit him permanently to anyone with an ounce more brain than a cuckoo clock.

    • February 6, 2018 11:24 am

      I didn’t and don’t know anything about that. I have zero respect for and put no credibility in Jones, so I have no idea what that was about, in Griffin’s terms. But the two could be hardly further apart in both style and in mental, analytical ability. That Jones might happen to agree to some degree on this matter says nothing about Griffin or others who have gathered and analyzed data on 9-11 in depth and with great care. You seem to be suggesting guilt by association. No?

      • Nick G permalink
        February 9, 2018 1:55 pm

        I didn’t and don’t know anything about that.

        Well maybe you should take the trouble to find out.

        You seem to be suggesting guilt by association. No?

        There is absolutely nothing wrong with “guilt by association” except in the context of a criminal trial. If you found that someone you knew or admired was knowingly and amicably associating with neo-Nazis or child abusers, would that not cause them to fall in your estimation, to say the least? Becuae it certainly should. Jones lists Griffin as a “regular guest” on his show. So Griffin is willing to associate himself with a vile bigot, liar and crank, who propagates the most disgusting conspiracy stories of his own, such as “Pizzagate”, and the claim that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged. Or maybe you believe these too?

        • February 13, 2018 10:17 am

          Of course, association often is an indication of similar views or other factors (depending on the context, extent of association, etc.). A point I’d not argue about in general. I don’t follow Jones, nor intend to ever. You call him (probably rightly) a “liar”. Have you checked to know if he is not lying about “regular guest”? If not, why take his word for it?

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