Cover image for Are souls real?
Are souls real?
Elbert, Jerome W., 1942-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
399 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BD421 .E43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



No Marketing Blurb

Author Notes

Authors Bio, not available

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 13
Part I. Religion and the Soulp. 17
1. Challenging Our Ideas About the Soulp. 19
How Science Obtains Objective Knowledgep. 21
When Religion Disagrees with Sciencep. 22
The Shifting Boundary Between Science and Philosophyp. 27
2. The Ancient Origins of the Idea of the Soulp. 29
The Idea of the Soulp. 29
Origins of Beliefs in Various Kinds of Soulsp. 32
The Hebrew Ideas of the Soulp. 36
Early Greek Ideas about the Soulp. 39
The Soul According to Socrates and Platop. 40
Early Christian Soul Beliefsp. 44
Aquinas and Aristotlep. 45
Descartes and Modern Soul Beliefsp. 47
Some Popular and Questionable Soul Beliefsp. 51
3. The Pagan Parallels of Some Christian Beliefsp. 57
Old Testament Myths Shared with Other Peoplesp. 58
Egyptian Beliefs About an Afterlife and Moralityp. 59
Egypt and Mosesp. 62
Zoroaster: The Iranian Connectionp. 64
The Mystery Religionsp. 67
The Cult of Mithra and Christianityp. 70
4. New Ideas About the Origin of the New Testamentp. 77
The Book of Qp. 77
The Rising Image of Jesus Buried in Qp. 79
Galilee and the Greek Connectionp. 85
The Christian Branch of the Jesus Movementp. 89
The Gospels as Biographies of a Classical Herop. 91
The Evolution of Beliefs About Jesusp. 94
Jesus' Miraclesp. 96
Jesus' Suffering, Death, and Resurrectionp. 100
Part II. Science and the Soulp. 111
5. The Blocks and Cement That Build Our Worldp. 113
The Atom in Classical Greece and Modern Sciencep. 114
Weighing the Atomp. 117
Elementary Particles within the Atomp. 118
Radioactivity and the Discovery of the Nucleusp. 122
Particles That Hold the Nucleus Togetherp. 125
Antiparticles, Neutrinos, and Photonsp. 127
Particle Lifetimes and the Weak Forcep. 129
More-Elementary Particles: The Quarks and Gluonsp. 131
The Four Fundamental Forces in Naturep. 133
How Physics Understands the Physical Worldp. 135
6. Our Cosmic Genesis I: The Origin of Matter and the Earthp. 139
Galaxiesp. 140
The Big Bangp. 141
Inflation and the Origin of Matterp. 147
The Stars: Factories for Life's Raw Materialsp. 150
Formation of the Solar Systemp. 152
Early Earthp. 155
7. Our Cosmic Genesis II: The Origin and Advancement of Lifep. 159
A Definition of "Life"p. 160
Life's Self-Copying Blueprintsp. 161
Charles Darwin and Natural Selectionp. 164
Evolution and Lifep. 167
One Ancestor of All Lifep. 169
The Antiquity of Lifep. 170
The Origin of Lifep. 171
Solar-Powered Lifep. 173
Beyond Bacteriap. 176
Muscles: Organs Specializing in Movementsp. 179
8. Adam's Tool Kit: The Evolution of Human Abilitiesp. 185
Control of Movements by Nervous Systemsp. 186
Neurons, Meaning, Patterns, and Categoriesp. 187
Learningp. 191
Memoryp. 193
Attentionp. 195
Apes, Monkeys, Minds, and Mirrorsp. 196
Chimpanzees and Languagep. 200
Dinosaurs, Mammals, and Primatesp. 203
Hominids and Humansp. 204
Why Humans Dominate Earthp. 207
9. Consciousness, the Soul, and the Brainp. 213
Life without the Supernatural Soulp. 214
Mental Mysteries, the Soul, and the Brainp. 216
The Brain's Role in Mental Processesp. 220
Consciousness and the Brainp. 222
Using a Brain to Represent Realityp. 225
10. Consciousness and Models of the Mindp. 231
A Toy Model of Consciousnessp. 233
Playing with the Toy Modelp. 234
Conscious and Subconscious Mental Activitiesp. 239
Difficulties in Explaining Consciousnessp. 242
"It Has the Right Properties, But Is It Really Conscious?"p. 247
Consciousness as a Natural Processp. 249
11. Consciousness and Ghost-Bustingp. 253
Eccles's Model of The Self and the Brainp. 253
Minds, Computers, and Robotsp. 256
A Recent Argument for the Soulp. 261
Introducing the "Natural Soul"p. 268
12. Consciousness and Feelingsp. 271
Why Do Colors Look the Way They Do?p. 272
Feelings as Physical Processesp. 275
The Evolutionary Function of Feelingsp. 277
Values, Values, Everywherep. 280
Triggering and Activating the Emotionsp. 282
Painsp. 285
Primitive Motivations in Modern Mindsp. 288
Why Pain Feels Bad and Pleasure Feels Goodp. 291
Who or What Is in Control?p. 294
13. Physics, the Quantum, and Free Willp. 297
Objective Free Will: The Traditional Beliefp. 298
The Origins of Objective Free Willp. 299
Classical Physics and Determinismp. 302
Determinism, Decisions, and Neuronsp. 304
Free Will and Chaosp. 306
Free Will and the Quantum Loopholep. 308
Conclusions on Objective Free Wilp. 311
14. Feeling Free and Being Freep. 315
Shaped by the Universep. 315
Freedom and Limits to Our Self-Knowledgep. 320
Is Free Will an Illusion?p. 323
The Evolution of Freedomp. 326
Accepting Limited Freedomp. 328
Part III. Living Without Soul Beliefsp. 331
15. Taking Stock of One's Own Naturep. 333
Accepting Death as Realp. 334
Accepting Death without Fearp. 336
Control and Human Dignityp. 338
Taking Responsibilityp. 340
Failure, Regrets, and Tolerancep. 342
Religious Implications of the Natural Soulp. 344
Why We Tend to Create a Personal Godp. 345
Having Values and Living by Themp. 348
16. Society and Our Naturep. 353
Sensible Reverence for Life and Consciousnessp. 353
Seeking Justice by Natural Meansp. 355
Seeking a Healthy Worldp. 356
Religion without Supernaturalismp. 357
Closing Commentsp. 359
Appendix I How the Quantum Entered Modern Sciencep. 361
Appendix II Waves, Uncertainties, and Randomnessp. 365
Glossaryp. 371
Indexp. 383