There is a prevailing religious belief that we all have a soul, but this is simply a historical tradition that came about because our ancestors ran with this idea as a way to explain themselves, the actual empirical evidence for this is exactly zero. The fact that something cannot be detected or measured need not imply it is not real, but what we have here is not just a lack of anything that is directly measurable or detectable, there is also a complete lack of any indirect evidence.
Some might of course suggest that human consciousness is a huge unknown and that soul is a word that is a religious attempt to explain that. However what we do clearly understand today is that human consciousness is something that naturally emerges from the human brain and is not something separate from it. We know that if you mess with specific areas of the human brain then the change will directly impact the human personality, and so quite clearly the essence of us as an individual can be demonstrated to be very much something that naturally emerges from the human brain; there is no need to fall back upon any supernatural claims. It is of course still true that we do not fully grasp or understand what consciousness is at all, but the lack of understanding something is not evidence for anything at all except a lack of understanding.
So anyway … back on track … the religious idea of a soul is not simply archaic, it is something that does not actually exist at all.
Selling Your Soul
The net effect is that the concept of selling your soul is quite meaningless, and so doing exactly that is a highly effective way to cause people to pause and start to think about such things, and that is exactly what a secular student group in Cincinnati university just did …
A student organization invited students to sell their soul in exchange of a home-baked chocolate chip, snicker doodle or macadamia cookie Friday, where a sign advertising the event hung directly between McMicken Commons and Tangeman University Center.
This sign served as a marketing flag to recruit potential members to UC’s Secular Student Alliance (SSA).
… and they were doing this for exactly the right reason as well, it was not simply a stunt designed to mock …
“I’d really love to get people thinking and challenging their own beliefs, to think about us, to think about politics, to think about social issues,” Butcher said. “I’d like to inspire those kinds of conversations around campus.”
If you are in any way worried, then don’t be …
Souls are not real at all …
“when most people think about an immaterial soul that persists after death, they have in mind some sort of blob of spirit energy that takes up residence near our brain, and drives around our body like a soccer mom driving an SUV. The questions are these: what form does that spirit energy take, and how does it interact with our ordinary atoms? Not only is new physics required, but dramatically new physics. Within QFT, there can’t be a new collection of “spirit particles” and “spirit forces” that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments. Ockham’s razor is not on your side here, since you have to posit a completely new realm of reality obeying very different rules than the ones we know”. – Sean Carroll
The above quote comes from a great article written by Physicist Sean Carroll in the May 2011 issue of Scientific American – Physics and The Immortality of the Soul.
OK, its lunchtime here as a I write this, anybody want to buy my soul for a few cookies (chocolate only please).