Illusory Souls is a book examining the reality of a human soul, provably answering questions such as:
People who state they do not believe in a human soul are a minority. More than 70% of people in modern Western countries believe deep in their hearts, that each person possesses an invisible, immaterial, immortal soul, which is the vehicle of individual personality and mind, and in some way survives their deaths. As proofs, believers in the reality of the human soul offer the visions of saints, religious texts and experiences, paranormal experiences and sensations, out-of-body experiences and near-death experiences.
I often hear people claim that science has proven the ridiculous nature of belief in a human soul. When pressed as to the nature of this proof, even most educated people are unable to state the proofs they claim exist. As the preface of Illusory Souls reveals, most skeptical books and discussions of the soul fail to convince believers because of a simple error of argument.
They explain how extraordinary experiences apparently proving the reality of a soul, are all explicable with natural bodily processes. Skeptics then expect such physical explanations will convince readers that the conscious mind is a wondrous product of the functioning of the physical brain and body. However, such a method of argument only reveals alternative ways of viewing the same physical evidence, leaving the reader with the same unanswered question. “Are these phenomena products of the interaction of the soul with the body, or are they products of the functioning of the physical body?”
For example, we cannot see, smell, or touch radio waves, yet these are a real and invisible phenomenon providing communication and control of many machines forming the basis of all modern societies. Likewise, the human soul is equally invisible and intangible, and the theory of an immaterial human soul as a vehicle of the conscious mind that somehow controls the very material physical body, seems to explain phenomena manifested, and undergone by the mind, just as well as explaining them with natural bodily processes. Speech is just such an example of a physically observable phenomenon with two alternative explanations for its generation. An area of the brain cortex called “Broca’s area” controls the muscles of the physical body generating the sounds of physical speech. Damage to Broca’s area means a person can think the words they want to say, but are unable to utter them as physical sounds. If the mind is a product of the functioning of the brain, then people who sustain damage to Broca’s area cannot utter the words they want to say, because the mechanisms required to generate speech are damaged. Alternatively, if the mind is housed in a separable immaterial soul and controls the body through the mechanisms of the body, then damage to Broca’s area has exactly the same effect—the souls of people with damage to Broca’s area cannot express speech through the mechanisms of the physical body, because of damage to Broca's area. Both explanations are equally valid in this context, because both require the mechanisms of the physical body—in this example—Broca's area. No definitive differentiation between these two theories of mind is possible with this example.
This is where Illusory Souls differs from other books discussing the human soul. It regards the ancient belief in the reality of an immaterial human soul as a serious theory of mind, equivalent to the theory that mind is a product of brain function. The French novelist, Marcel Proust, once wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” This book is just such a voyage of discovery—using “new eyes” to examine evidence from the enormous body of knowledge amassed about the human mind since ancient times.
Daily observed fact reveals that the human soul has no ability to form or store memories, and the human soul cannot see, hear, or feel any sensations except through the senses of the human body.
Illusory Souls reveals belief in the reality of a human soul to be a primeval eidolon, beguiling and dominating the public and private thoughts of nearly all peoples for untold millennia. By revealing the true origin and source of the human mind, this work may help liberate us from the suffocating mental embrace of this ancient succubus. In other words, belief in the reality of a human soul is an ancient communal hallucination teaching us that:
Nietzsche claimed that all gods are dead! But God is unprovable. The absence of a human soul does not mean that God is dead. Instead the illusory nature of belief in the human soul means that the God of Christianity, the God of Islam, the gods of Hinduism, and all other major world religions are simply irrelevant. All that remains of these religions, and systems of belief, is the wonderful humanism each preaches. Indeed, liberation from belief in a soul has the potential to usher in a new age of human advancement, empowering our children, our heirs, to transcend the wretchedness of the human condition prevailing in much of our world. At the very least, it is my hope that Illusory Souls will provide certainty for those grappling with uncertainty, as well as freedom for all whose minds and bodies groan under the oppressive weight of philosophical systems and religions based upon belief in a human soul.