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Weighing The Soul

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Most folk will know about the soul weighing experiments of Duncan Macdougall or Harry La Verne Twining however a more recent writer Donald Gilbert Carpenter has published a whole book on soul-weighing. Apparently the book is free online but I can not find it! If anyone knows where to find his book please let me know.

According to a website I found:

In 1998, Donald Gilbert Carpenter published a whole book about soul-weighing (Physically Weighing the Soul). It's a long book but lightweight, as light as a soul, for it exists only in cyberspace, available by download at 1stBooks.com. According to Carpenter, the reason the dogs and the mice might have shown no weight loss at death is that their souls are so light they were below the scales' detection thresholds. Macdougall said his dog-weighing scale was accurate to one-sixteenth of an ounce (1.8 grams), but a dog's soul weights less than 1.8 grams. How do we know this is the weight of a dog's soul? Because Donald Gilbert Carpenter has calculated it. (I love this guy!) Using Macdougall's findings for human beings — that the soul weighs about 20 grams — Carpenter calculated the ratio of soul-weight to body-weight-at-birth: one to 140. Applying this to a typical puppy birth weight, he deduced that the average dog soul weighs one gram — about half the 1.8-gram sensitivity of the scale. Same problem with Twining's mouse souls — too light to register. (But not Jesus' soul. The discarnate Jesus is calculated in Chapter 17 to weigh 364 grams — close to a pound!)

http://www.lostmag.com/issue1/soulsweight.php

and another link on soul weight http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_15_4_hollander.pdf

Edited by forests
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interesting topic,

i believe conciousness spikes a wave of matter that we observe as soul, or aura

which goes so many ways

life after death

alternate dimentions

higher/lower plains of existance

deep topic

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Most folk will know about the soul weighing experiments of Duncan Macdougall or Harry La Verne Twining however a more recent writer Donald Gilbert Carpenter has published a whole book on soul-weighing. Apparently the book is free online but I can not find it! If anyone knows where to find his book please let me know.

According to a website I found:

http://www.lostmag.com/issue1/soulsweight.php

and another link on soul weight http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_15_4_hollander.pdf

Do you realize that this idea has been known to false since early in the last century at least. The weight of the soul they were measuring was the loss of air from the lungs when the body died. you cannot breath all the air out of your lungs but when you die almost all of it comes out as the lungs collapse. No soul weight just hot air...

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Do you realize that this idea has been known to false since early in the last century at least. The weight of the soul they were measuring was the loss of air from the lungs when the body died. you cannot breath all the air out of your lungs but when you die almost all of it comes out as the lungs collapse. No soul weight just hot air...

No that is not the reason it was not due to the loss of air from the lungs infact there is evidence which contradicted that view. If you want to know the suggested natural cause then you need to read Weighing The Soul: Scientific Discovery From the Brilliant to the Bizarre by Len Fisher it explains it all in detail.

Also an interesting website with many scientists who have attempted to prove the soul:

http://www.eoht.info/page/Soul+theorist

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No that is not the reason it was not due to the loss of air from the lungs infact there is evidence which contradicted that view. If you want to know the suggested natural cause then you need to read Weighing The Soul: Scientific Discovery From the Brilliant to the Bizarre by Len Fisher it explains it all in detail.

Also an interesting website with many scientists who have attempted to prove the soul:

http://www.eoht.info/page/Soul+theorist

The number of people who have attempted to show there is a soul has nothing to do with it's existence, please show some evidence that someone actually proved there was a soul then we can talk...

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• 8 months later...

There are really nice and most informative post. I am totally agree with you. It was really amazing and comprehensiveness post. I would like thanks to you that you share this post here with us.And I hope you put some more threads here. May God bless you.

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Hello Kin Author, are you agreeing with forests or with Moontanman? It cannot be both as they disagree. For the record I'm with Moontanman - if there is solid evidence for the soul let forests present it.

And perhaps someone can explain why a spiritual element would have mass. That's illogical Jim.

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Hello Kin Author, are you agreeing with forests or with Moontanman? It cannot be both as they disagree. For the record I'm with Moontanman - if there is solid evidence for the soul let forests present it.

And perhaps someone can explain why a spiritual element would have mass. That's illogical Jim.

Yeah, I also think that moontanman was right. Thanks for asking.:)

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• 2 weeks later...
- if there is solid evidence for the soul let forests present it.
I enjoy this thread topic, and I am motivated to respond both by a chapter written by Aristotle titled: De Anima (On the Soul), and facts of modern biology, now united for me by the question asked.

===

I offer this definition for discussion, within the context of a living natural body (plant, animal, bacteria, etc.)....The SOUL of life is the informational essence of DNA.

Let me explain my thinking [I insert facts about DNA to support my claim]

{First, it is known that nucleic acids as molecules have the ability of self assembly into larger molecules, RNA and DNA. The first and very simple forms of life on earth had only RNA, and DNA is thus more derived, but, 99.999+% of life forms on earth contain DNA, and a philosophic discussion of the concept 'soul' historically is within context of higher forms of life, animals, plants, which includes humans. So, with this understanding, I simply refer to DNA as the soul in my definition and presentation below. Both can be modified as needed for factual clarity}

It is logical that the soul and the body that contains the soul cannot be one and the same [Note: DNA is a part of the larger body, a cell]. Yet, it is not required that the soul be spiritual, the soul can be material, for example, Plato views the soul as being formed from the elements [Note: DNA is material composed of nucleic acids, thus atoms, quarks, etc].

Concerning movement, if soul is the first cause of all movement, there no logical necessity that what originates movement should itself be moved [Note: DNA is localized within nucleus, it does not move around the cell, yet without DNA code no cell or living body could move]. Neither is it necessary that the soul move or leave the body at death and soul be the first cause of all movement of living things [Note: When a living thing dies the DNA does not leave the nucleus]

Yet, there is no reason why the soul cannot move itself in the sense that its essence can be transmitted throughout the body of the living body [Note: It is well known that DNA code, its essence as information, is transcribed and moved around the cell by RNA, RNA is the messenger of the DNA soul, and in the most simple forms of life, RNA is the form of the soul]. It is not of necessity that the soul be limited to any one specific part of the living (mind, blood, etc), rather the soul must be simultaneously is ALL parts of the body [Note: DNA is in all cells of the body, even if not activated].

The question arises, why does not everything, living and non-living have a soul ? Because the essence of life, what we can call the 'essential organizational whatness', and the essence of the non-living differs [Note: There is no logical definition of life that does not include the fact that all forms of life have DNA or in a more simple form of its essence, RNA]. It is a biological fact that both plants and animals can be cut into parts, yet the soul remains for each part and they continue to survive. What this means is that the soul while on one hand must be throughout the body, it also can be divided such that each part contains the whole soul [Note: DNA is within all cells].

It is the body that gathers energy and nutrients (food) necessary to maintain life, not the soul, yet the soul is essential for processing energy and matter to maintain life of the body [Note: The DNA-RNA protein synthesis process is essential for all forms of life].

The soul is the primary source of all reproduction of life [DNA molecule is primary cause of mitosis and meiosis). Without the soul the body would have no way to continue its existence over time as a form of life. We can say that the purpose of life is to continue to exist, this end cannot be achieved without the soul.

I could go on, but will stop here to allow for comments.

EDIT: How many grams of DNA within a human body ? One account I read estimated 60g DNA in a typical human body, but the error of measurement expected to be large. Is anyone aware of a scientific answer to the question, which is the intent of the OP question, the weight of the human soul ?

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It is an interesting take on what the soul is Rade, but I think most people associate a soul with a conscious extension of personality beyond the body and beyond life. Your use of soul is metaphorical, even poetic, but it ultimately your explanation does not weigh heavily on me.

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I found this in Robert Grave's the "Greek Myths".

Bean-eating by men seems to have been prohibited in pre-Hellenic times—the Pythagoreans continued to abstain from beans, on the ground that their ancestors’ souls could well be resident in them and that, if a man (as opposed to a woman) ate a bean, he might be robbing an ancestor of his or her chance to be reborn.
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It is an interesting take on what the soul is Rade, but I think most people associate a soul with a conscious extension of personality beyond the body and beyond life.
Thanks for comment.

1. You can extend your DNA to your children beyond your body, and given that DNA is the primary cause of a conscious personality, you thus can extend this personality beyond your body. But, not only by reproduction...DNA can be taken from your body and injected into the egg of another human and thus the primary cause of your DNA soul [informational coding] can be extended over time.

2. So, how to extend DNA as a soul beyond life ? To be in a state beyond life means to be in a state outside the reach of life, e.g., absent of life. As defined, Webster [beyond: outside the reach, possibility or understanding, such as beyond help; beyond: whatever follows death]. Thus, after death the conscious extension of personality coded in DNA can be extended beyond life to a state of 'absent of life', thus allowing the possibility that, if the organization coding of DNA as soul in this state is somehow preserved (perhaps a human falls into a vat of amber), the informational functionality of DNA soul can at some future time be restored.

Like all physical entity, the soul must come with constraint on LOGICAL plus RATIONAL possibilities of existence. I make no appeal to religion or supernatural (outside known laws of physics) causes in my presentation, I try to provide a scientific explanation of the reality of a concept of soul as a material entity that differs from the living body. Also, I provide an answer to the OP question...does the soul have a weight ?...yes, weight of DNA can be measured, person by person, species by species.

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I offer this definition for discussion, within the context of a living natural body (plant, animal, bacteria, etc.)....The SOUL of life is the informational essence of DNA.

The word “soul” is used in many metaphorical sense, of which your use here, Rade, seems as apt to me as many. Similarly, metaphors like “Henry Ford was the Soul of the early Ford Motor Company”, or “the Constitution is the soul of the Republic” makes sense. “Core” and “essence” can be used to replace “soul” in such statements, and as they don’t have more specific common meanings, are arguably better and less metaphorical.

You’ve explicitly equate “soul” and “essence” in your definition, which I think weakens it, but the principle I think you’re expressing – that everything about a “living natural body” is described in its DNA – is a widely accepted, though controversial and also widely dissented from one. As I read it, you’ve exactly restated what’s most commonly called the central dogma of molecular biology. The “information essence of DNA”, as you phrase it, seems to me to be synonymous with the more common term “genome”, although “genome” described includes information stored naturally as base pairs in both in DNA or RNA, and also the same information when stored artificially, such as in a computer record of the sequence of base pairs in an organism’s DNA or RNA.

As the most common meanings of “soul” include a quality of ineffability – something that is difficult or impossible to describe in simple material terms – I think it’s better not to use it to define something as concretely defined as the genome. “Soul”, I think, is better used to refer to hard-to-define qualities. Perhaps my favorite use of it in this way is in the title of a book about the designing, building, and deployment of a popular 1980s computer, Tracy Kidder’s National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winning 1981 The Soul of a New Machine.

I found one this flaw in the otherwise IMHO righ-on details of your post:

[Note: DNA is in all cells of the body, even if not activated].

Not all cells in the body have DNA. Red blood cells, for instance, do not, though they are metabolically active and important.

The key point I’m making here is that, though as you rightly state, a genome is needed for an entire organism to function, it’s not needed by every cell. By not having DNA in every cell, the metabolic efficiency of the entire organism is increased.

How many grams of DNA within a human body ? One account I read estimated 60g DNA in a typical human body, but the error of measurement expected to be large.

60 grams is a pretty good estimate. We know with fairly high precision the number of each base pairs in a typical human genome (about 6406000000 in women and 6294000000 in men – see the wikipedia article C-value for more), the mass of each base pair (on average, about 1.022 x 10-21 grams), and with less precision, the number of cells in a human body (about 1013), which multiplied together, gives about 60 grams. Because the precise number of DNA-containing cells in individual humans varies, and the precise number of DNA-containing cells in a given individual varies as he or she ages (it’s roughly proportional to mass), the precise mass of the DNA in a given individual falls in a fairly wide range. So, discounting mass from fat (lipid molecules don’t have true cell structures, so are not DNA-containing) small people have less, large people more. Infants, massing on the order of about 1/10th what adults do, have roughly 1/10th the total DNA mass of an adult.

I suspect this variability is enough to make most people intuitively reject equating DNA with “soul”, as they’d find it disturbing to nonsensical to conclude that an infant has only 5% as much soul as a typical adult, or a person with dwarfism 50%, or a very large person 150%+.

Some might find it amusing that, cell-for-cell, women, with their slightly larger chromosomes, have about 1.8% more “soul” then men, or that, as we age and our telomeres shorten, our per-cell “soul” decreases slightly, by about 0.0002%, but not amusing enough to accept your DNA = soul definition.

Though I reject your definition, Rade, kudos for interesting and creative outside-the-box thinking. :thumbs_up

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Yes, I should have been more clear that only young red blood cells have a nucleus with DNA which is lost during their development, along with the mitochondria.

==

My problem with giving any concept, such as soul, a hard to define quality, is that such approach defeats the purpose of definition. The truth of knowledge, logical thinking, inference for any human rests squarely on the truth or falsehood of their definitions. To require that the concept soul be hard (impossible ?) to define, by default, places the concept of soul into the area of mysticism, allegation without evidence or potential for scientific study. Clearly the OP question of this thread asks for more, it asks 'can the soul have weight?'. I took the question at face valve, and find that one cannot provide a scientific answer to a scientific question about weight unless the concept of soul has a definition clearly connected to the material elements that can be weighed.

==

Concerning your link to the book on soul of machine. Would not my definition of the soul, as a coding of information by randomly assembled molecules (nucleic acids), represent precisely the kind of rational and scientific definition of soul that an engineer could use to design a machine that contained a soul ? Suppose an engineer is given assignment to design a brain for a robot and they are told to ensure that the robot has a soul. Other than look for another company to work for, can you think of another definition of soul, other than the one I offer, that the engineer could use create a robot with a soul ?

I think there is a good reason that as long as 2000+ years ago Aristotle had in front of him a long recorded history of humans thinking about the concept soul as different from the body. The history is correct, there is a difference, the body = matter + energy, the soul = information. Only in past few 100s years has human understanding of 'information' reached the level to put the concept of soul into realistic relationship with body. I find it very interesting that most (all ?) mystical thoughts about the soul can be explained by information coded into DNA.

Of course I have fun with this, please do not take me too seriously, only as serious as needed to answer the OP question. ;)

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I found this in Robert Grave's the "Greek Myths".
Thanks. It is interesting the Pythagoreans placed the soul within the bean, and required males not to eat beans, because Pythagoreans were vegetarians, but only the males, females allowed to eat meat. Aristotle discusses that Democritus placed the soul into a specific geometric form, the spherical form. Perhaps the Pythagoreans adopted this idea and placed the soul into the spherical form of the bean. But, why the bean shape ? Did the Pythagoreans study Cymatics, the ability of energy waves to form shapes ?...see here:

http://wingsoflyra.blogspot.com/2011/10/cymatic-experiment.html

Let the clip run to end...I'm seeing lots of bean shapes being created by the soul of vibrations. Good Vibrations = Good Beans = Good Soul...the Beach Boys were on to something. :D

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Hi Rade, I found another reference later on that puts things into a bit more perspective.

The taboo on the planting of beans by men seems to have survived later than that on grain, because of the close connexion between beans and ghosts. In Rome beans were thrown to ghosts at the All Souls’ festival, and if a plant grew from one of these, and a woman ate its beans, she would be impregnated by a ghost. Hence the Pythagoreans abstained from beans lest they might deny an ancestor his chance of reincarnation.

OK, thanks.

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