A Soul In A Jar

This entry was posted by Thursday, 25 June, 2009
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ReligioScientificStudies. A SOUL IN A JAR

In 1920 Dr. Duncan MacDougall weighed dying patients before and after death. He thought that the difference in weight was the soul. There was even a film about it – 21 grams. Others weren’t able to repeat the measurement and, from a scientific perspective, the soul remains unproven.

MacDougall took an idea that was (and still is) widely believed – that a mysterious organ called the soul is the seat of human cognition – and attempted to prove it using scientific principles.

What he did may sound silly to some, but it was an authentic search for the truth. He didn’t seem to recognize that his measurements were small compared to the error in his equipment but Science Ain’t So Bad applauds his effort.

How many today still believe in the acceptance of the elusive bit of tissue called the soul? Hard to say. Because what people believe is complex. Many people do believe in souls. And most would worry about a scientist or a doctor who showed them one in a jar.

Real. And not real.

Most Americans believe in the existence of a “Higher Being”. And pray at least occasionally. And believe there’s a “better place” to “pass on to”. But most also believe the evidence of their own eyes. And want their kids to study science. And believe in logic.

Is religion an impediment to science?

In this country where approximately 85% of the people believe in “something or other”, rapid developments in science and technology are the norm. Us poor bloggers can’t keep up. If this is how religion impedes science, I would hate to see the unimpeded version.

It is true that some religious individuals seem fixated on science in a bad way. And some adherents of science don’t trust religion. But the neighborhood’s gonna’ be OK.


You know those studies which show that praying can help you if you’re sick? People who get prayed for do better? It’s called “intercessory prayer”. A study published in The Journal Of Religion says that even the best of these – the ones that try to do everything right – don’t.

Conclusion. These studies aren’t getting us anywhere. Pray if it helps your heart. Don’t forget the pills.

Parallel Universes:

4 Responses to “A Soul In A Jar”

  1. marie


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