Ditching the Soul

I just finished a wonderful exploration of the nonexistence of the soul - The Soul Fallacy by Julien Musolino (whose name my iPad is constantly trying to auto-correcto to Mussolini, so I'll just call him Julien to avoid accidentally offending him.) Julien Musolino - The Soul Fallacy

The question as to whether or not human beings possess some sort of immortal soul has been settled for a long time. The defeating argument goes back at least as far as DesCartes and his correspondence with Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (how's that for an obscure historical reference). Essentially the soul concept isn't internally consistent. Any attempt to definite it leads almost immediately to contradictions; it won't square with our understanding of cause and effect. So far the only way to rescue the concept of the soul from the philosophical grave has been to not think about it too much and hope nobody complains too vehemently.

Well this book is someone complaining vehemently. Julien goes through step by step and gently but firmly pushes aside every single argument you could think of for the existence of the human soul.

Full disclosure. Earlier this year, I sold my soul to a young Jewish man in exchange for a slice of pizza and an Orangina effectively turning me into a soulless monster. There were three reasons for this transaction. First, we wanted to conduct an empirical investigation into soul economics to see if the typical predictions made by religious economists about lightning strikes and assorted forms of smiting would come true. (Gladly, I remain verifiably unsmoten. Take that God!) I also wanted the pizza, which was quite good. And lastly, since someone else is not in control of my immortal soul, I have a basis for an insanity plea if I ever go on a murderous crime spree (stay tuned to FOX News for updates.) My thanks to the talented young lawyer who drafted the agreement on a napkin. 

I particularly enjoyed the book because it's not a rant. It doesn't consider those on the other side to be stupid or somehow inferior, merely misinformed. This book is an education. It takes you step by step laying out the arguments and evidence.

Possibly of even greater value, the book actually begins with a primer on how to consider and evaluate evidence. All too often, when a defender of faith of some stripe offers up "evidence" for their position, really what they're doing is attempting to argue why the regular rules of evidence shouldn't apply to them and their evidence should be allowed to slip through in spite of all the regular objections.

And the best part - Julien goes one step further and outlines why we don't need the concept of a soul for morality or happiness or to hold a superior society. In fact, we're better off without it.

So with my happy recommendation, go check it out and take the plunge and give up on the soul!