Brain imaging indicates that all of these traits have physical correlates in brain function. Furthermore, pharmacologic influences on these traits, as well as the effects of localized stimulation or damage, demonstrate that the brain processes in question are not mere correlates but are the physical bases of these central aspects of our personhood. If these aspects of the person are all features of the machine, why have a ghost at all?
- Why not simply think of the “soul” as an epiphenomenon of neuronal activity—as an ant colony is the epiphenomenon of the movement of individual (and unconscious) ants?
- Does religion require that the soul be a transcendent ghost separate from the properties of matter? Perhaps for eternal life, but maybe not for this one?
What is astounding about souls is that there are any of them at all—whether transcendent or as the product of material processes. If souls transcend matter (a position that I would reject) that would be quite mind boggling, but equally mind boggling is this: THE UNIVERSE—THE MACHINE THAT WE ARE EMBEDDED IN—MAKES SOULS—OR “GHOSTS”—AS AN EPIPHENOMENON OF MATTER, AND IT DOES SO IN PROFUSION.
Right now there are, for example, six billion of us human ghosts, embedded in bodies, moving around just on this planet alone. And there may be other intelligent “souls” inhabiting other planets in other parts of the universe.
This fact is part of the ontological mystery—the mystery of being.