Sunday, May 02, 2010

Heavy Soul.

In 1907, Duncan MacDougall published a paper on the weight of the soul. Fortean Times carried an article on it in the latest issue and so does the Journal of Scientific Exploration this month.

In essence, he took volunteers who were doomed and laid them on a bed which was suspended on a scale. When they died, their body weight immediately declined by between 10 and 45 grams. The same test applied to dogs showed no weight loss on death. Then again, it was 1907 and a smaller animal's soul might not be detectable by the methods available then. It has not been repeated because Science doesn't like it.

Involuntary evacuation of bowel or bladder at death is of no relevance because that weight is still on the bed.

It looks as though the soul might have mass. Not very much, but it does suggest a cohesive existence in the physical world. If we have up to 40 grams of reality to deal with after death, then the lack of frequent manifestation is easy to explain. We end up as substantial as fog, and must draw on external energy to appear.

Scientifically, it all fits together but Science will never recognise that.


Regina Richards said...

Is this for real? I believe we have spirits, but that they might be made of the same measurable matter (several grams worth or any at all) that everything else is made of is mindboggling.

Southern Writer said...

The implication that dogs have no soul is not only mindboggling, it pisses me off.

Romulus Crowe said...

This research has been around for a while and has not been shown to be wrong. The scales had a limit of accuracy at 5 grams and the human test subjects lost 20 grams at the point of death.

Dogs might not have produced enough weight loss to register within the five gram limit, assuming the mass lost is proportional to body size.

The soul must have some mass if it is part of the physical universe but it can't have much or it would be permanently visible.

There is more, on auras at the point of death, which I'll put up later.

Not much investigating going on here anyway, the snow is gone but it's still seriously cold.

I notice the Climatologists have gone quiet recently. I wonder why?

Regina Richards said...

Perhaps their tongues have frozen due to 'global warming'.

tom sheepandgoats said...

There are several branches of alternative medicine that recognizes the body's 'energy' and uses it or manipulates it to good effect. I suppose this energy would be gone at a creature's death. Energy isn't generally thought to have mass, but perhaps 'energy' does, or somehow adds mass to the being it animates. Science thinks it's all nonsense, or course, but as one practitioner wrote: These philosophies, both thousands of years old, have yet to be proved scientifically because of the limitations of science, not because they are not true. [Vincent McCabe, Let Like Cure Like, 1997]

tom sheepandgoats said...

And if it makes SW feel any better, numerous Bible verses refer to the souls of various animals. Num 31:28, for example (KJV) Many more, but you have to find a version that consistently translates 'nephesh' as soul.

Southern Writer said...

Thanks, Tom. I appreciate your thoughts. I want to say up front that while I DO believe in a Creator, I'm not real big on the Bible. It's been edited way too many times for me to have much faith in it. The verse you quoted also seems to be about tithing rather than souls of animals. In any case, I don't need a Bible to tell me that dogs have souls. I've got eyes; I can see, so to speak. The mere suggestion otherwise is preposterous. In fact, I don't believe I've ever encountered any animal I thought didn't have a soul. Maybe they aren't as developed as ours, but then again, maybe they are. Who is doing the measuring? If a dog, dolphin, whale, elephant, gorilla, or other highly intelligent species does the measuring, humans night come up sorely lacking.

Anyway, in spite of my hot-headed little rant here, I thought you were very nice to write what you did.

ver: sennics

Cynics! Who, us?

tom sheepandgoats said...

If a dog, dolphin, whale, elephant, gorilla, or other highly intelligent species does the measuring, humans night come up sorely lacking.

Yeah, they might. Especially from the dolphins hanging out in the Gulf these days....aren't you from around there? It's not the animals who are "ruining the earth."

The verse I cited does speak of tithing, but I chose it ... um...solely....because of its mention of soul in animals.

Romulus Crowe said...

Tom - if Einstein was right, and if the extension into quantum theory is right, mass and energy are two facets of the same thing. Therefore a soul, even though it can be considered 'energy', will still affect the mass of the physical body when it leaves. Not by much but by enough to be detected on those old instruments.

A dog has less mass overall than a human so the difference would be less and maybe too small for those old instruments to see.

The interesting part for me is that it suggests that ghosts will have mass and can therefore be detected by pressure-mats. Nobody has ever tried that as far as I know.

It's an expensive idea, but covering a floor with sensitive pressure mats would not only allow detection, but tracking. A line of footprints in an empty room would beat the hell out of photos and tapes!

Romulus Crowe said...

SW - Dogs definitely have some sort of spirit remnant, whether it's a 'soul' or something else. They often follow their previous owners around.

It's caused a few awkward moments.

Southern Writer said...

Hi Tom, I'm a bit north of the gulf now, but I have lived there. I lived in New Orleans for three years. The devastation the slick will cause will affect a lot more than just the gulf shore residents. The harm to marine life, the fishing industry, and the tourist industry could continue for decades.

Rom, tell us about the awkward moments caused by ghost dogs!

Romulus Crowe said...

SW, those moments are when you're chatting to someone, look down and say 'Nice dog you have there. Dalmatian, isn't it?'

Then they give you a very strange look and tell you about the Dalmatian (or whatever breed) they used to have...

If I'm paying attention, I look for shadows. No shadow means shut up. Ghosts are images, not solid objects. They don't cast a shadow.

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