Truth is an Illusion

I love science.

I really do, and I don’t think that anyone who pays attention to me can doubt that when I say it. What I’m about to say may come across as exactly the opposite–as someone who doesn’t love science–yet it’s because of my respect for the scientific method that I write this in the first place.

Jokingly, I wrote on Facebook yesterday:

The only time anyone is absolutely wrong is when they assert something as absolutely true.

It’s funny because it’s true.

Now, there is one caveat to a statement like that, and it deals with perception. Yes, I’m talking about perception again. Anything that is dependent upon perception is contingent upon perception, and can only true if the perceptions involved are true. Let’s take Einstein’s General Relativity as an example. As a theory, it can only be true if my perceptions about the universe are correct–if there really is a moon orbiting an Earth orbiting a sun, and all the other things. Whether my perceptions are correct, however, can never be determined.

That’s not enough, though, and it’s not really what I’m discussing today. It’s interesting from a philosophical standpoint, but of no practical use.

A lot of people make fun of the Amish for their almost random decision to stop progressing technology around 1864, as though that level of technology was not too much and not too little. It seems silly to us, and, I would say, it is silly, but we do exactly the same thing with our science.

Every single scientific theory that we hold true today exists because it turned a previous scientific theory that we believed was true on its head. There are no exceptions to this, and probably the most glaring example is the Bohr Atomic Model, which people in chemistry classes throughout the nation still learn about (in fact, my college Chemistry classes taught us the Bohr Model), which presents the image of a nucleus, which consists of protons and neutrons, being orbited by electrons on several different layers. We now know, of course, that this is not true. “Electron cloud” is a more accurate description of what electrons do than “electron layers,” and there’s no such thing as a proton or a neutron–both are combinations of quarks. It’s similar to how we once, thousands of years ago, concluded that all rocks are made of compressed sand, only to learn much later that the sand itself is made of other things and that there’s no such thing as a “sand particle.”

This is not a new thing. Even Einstein observed it, and used the analogy that science is like walking around the path of a mountain, slowly ascending. When you look around at the terrain nearby, your conclusions are limited by what you see. But as you continue to climb, you see that the terrain you saw when you were lower on the mountain is actually less of “what there is” than you thought. We have a long history of believing that the horizon we currently see is the true edge of the world. We have the same problem when it comes to science, believing that whatever we happen to think at a given moment is the truth.

There is a reason that science as a field designates its highest certainty as the theory rather than the fact, and this is exactly why: a theory is only true if all the gathered evidence that went into producing that theory is actually the way it is perceived. Einstein’s General Relativity does a fantastic job of explaining what we’ve observed, but that doesn’t mean it’s correct or true–in fact, we could very easily find out one day that gravity exists because subatomic gremlins hold things together. That’s not likely, granted, but a theory is simply an explanation. There is no way of knowing if it is the correct explanation.

Take, for example, the statement “2 becomes 20.”

How did I get from 2 to twenty? One hypothesis would be that I multiplied 2 by 10. This makes a prediction: if I have 3, then, according to this hypothesis, my end result will be 30.

Suppose, though, that I give 3 = 15.

Uh-oh. You have more evidence and information now than you did when I said 2 = 20 and decided that I’m multiplying by 10. What is your explanation now? What will I do to 4? Would you guess “10”? Would you guess “40”? Would you guess some other number? What hypothesis would you suggest to explain how I got from 2 to 20, and from 3 to 15?

Suppose I give you 4 = 40. Things are starting to become clearer, aren’t they? And then I give you 5 = 25. Now you have enough to actually piece it together. I’m multiplying even numbers by 10, and multiplying odd numbers by 5.

But for a brief period during that, your hypothesis was that I’m multiplying by ten–and you undoubtedly would have believed that hypothesis to be true. Yet it was wrong. Further information revealed that the hypothesis wasn’t correct. This is why “theory” is the highest tier of certainty. Any hypothesis is 100% dependent on the amount of information available.

A scientific theory is not “the truth” or “a fact.” It’s a reasonable explanation that happens to fit the evidence that we have available. Even if that evidence we have is all-inclusive (which it isn’t, never has been, and probably never will be), this doesn’t imply or suggest that the explanation we have proposed is correct–it’s simply an explanation. It is an explanation that fits the evidence, but this in no way suggests that it is true. We have confused “could be true, based on the evidence” with “Yes, that’s absolutely true.”

My fear is that we seem to be moving toward a second Dark Age, one that is being brought about because of faith in “science.” Because people have mistaken “This could be true, based on the evidence” with “This is absolutely true,” they become no different from the dark age priests who asserted absolute truth and condemned as heretics any who dared oppose them. Right now, that innocuous post on Facebook, I’ve defended from two people already, one of whom continues to insist that “truth” can be obtained, despite how that flies directly in the face of the scientific method.

It seems to be leftist reactionism, in fact–a retaliation against the “anti-science” bent on the right. The further the right goes into “science isn’t credible,” the further the left goes into “Our religion is law, heretic, and our religion is science.” I’ve seen people post about GMOs, vaccines, and climate change in regard to the scientific predictions of today’s solar eclipse, as though “science” is as certain in regard to these prior things as it is with the latter. This… isn’t the case at all, firstly–solar eclipses are predicted mathematically. Thus far, the mathematical predictions regarding climate change have been… Well, let’s say “not correct.” Remember how the polar ice caps were supposed to have melted by like 2010 or something?

The most alarming thing, I think, are the tons of people who praise science and the assertion that “Vaccines are perfectly safe.” I’m neither pro nor anti-vaccine. I don’t have children. Vaccines don’t seem to have caused me any problems, so I really don’t give a shit. I’ve not researched it extensively because I don’t really give a shit.

However, I do know–because I have a scientific mind–that anyone who asserts that “vaccines are absolutely safe” is full of shit. It’s impossible to prove a positive claim. It’s impossible in both theory and in practice. These modern day adherents to the religion of science are professing absolute truth, are professing to know something that their very own religion confirms is impossible to know. It doesn’t particularly matter to me whether vaccines do or don’t have negative side effects. However, the statement “Vaccines do no harm” is pseudo-science. It’s magical woo. It’s bullshit.

And let us not forget that, for decades, “high fructose corn syrup” was “perfectly safe.” Oops. We turned the nation into obese diabetics. Moreover, “anti-biotics” were “perfectly safe.” Oops. We caused the evolution of viruses that have the Promiscuous Gene, which, because it’s promiscuous, is causing an alarming and terrifying spread of antibiotic-resistant viruses and bacteria. “Oops” indeed. Our “perfectly safe” antibiotics probably will have killed us all, in the end. Once upon a time, even smoking cigarettes was “perfectly safe.” Aspartame is now considered “perfectly safe,” though it was, 60 years ago, considered a poison. Fluoride in the water is considered “perfectly safe,” even though it’s the same crap dentists tell you “Don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes” after they put it in your mouth. So I think the phrase “perfectly safe” is not something that anyone should use if they wish to be taken seriously.

What is my point?

I don’t really have one, except to say that…

Nothing is known, because nothing can be known, except those very few things that transcend perception. Everything else can only be a possible explanation for what is observed, and will be entirely dependent upon “what is observed.” Since “what is observed” is never the totality of what can be observed, it’s inevitable that the explanation will be changed to fit observations made further down the road. And even then, even if we could gather all evidence, it would still be contingent upon the perceptions of the person observing the evidence, which cannot be demonstrated as valid.

And that’s among the truest statements that “science” could possibly say.

Absolute certainty doesn’t exist. Reasonable certainty is all there is.

Free Will & Physics

I often feel like I must have missed something, as various issues come to the surface. Only two weeks ago, I found myself discussing free will and physics on Facebook, and only last week the same basic conversation played out over email, when someone asked me about the implications of the double slit experiment.

It’s always time for me to shine when someone starts bringing up Quantum Mechanics because they’ve watched a few Discovery specials, and they usually use these specials (less commonly: books by people like Brian Greene) to explain to others how we’re totally wrong and how we don’t have free will.

I studied physics in college, actually–majoring in GR Theory at what is, strangely enough, one of the best physics programs in the nation (University of Mississippi–yes, seriously. It’s highly regarded, and it’s acoustic physics program is, indisputably, the best in the United States… Go figure). Faced with several more years of grueling uphill fighting [my weakness is in math, since I dropped out of high school and never took trig (thanks to my high ACT score, I was able to jump right into calculus, and it’s borderline impossible for people who haven’t studied trig)], and advised to pursue another direction, I ultimately changed my major to the Management of Information Systems. So I’m no physicist, and I’m not saying that I am. However, I do sit between the layperson and the physicist, and I want to disabuse the incorrect notions that people have adopted in support of their predispositions.

The Double Slit Experiment

Commonly said to have the most far-reaching implications of any experiment ever undertaken, the general idea put forward here is that humans change the nature of reality through intention, a statement that has many variations. Some think our control over results is limited, while others have concluded that thought alone (making us classical gods, for all intents and purposes) can fundamentally alter nature.

One example often cited is the Higgs Boson or, for people who can appreciate the irony, the God Particle. Complex math produced more complex math that produced math of even greater complexity, and Higgs (his first name escapes me right now) built his theory from this math within math within math, predicting that there was a single particle that must be responsible for altering a particle’s movement through spacetime such that it acquired mass. It was way “out there,” but we recently discovered that the boson does, in fact, exist. Many have cited this as an example of mass expectations (no pun intended) producing the expected reality–because enough people expected to find it, we altered the fundamental features of nature so that it existed.

It reeks of Noetic Science, which has been routinely disavowed by the scientific community as being little more than a front for branches of Spirit Science. It’s quite clearly false: if mass expectations could affect the nature of reality, we’d find ourselves on a planet orbited by the sun and overseen by a clearly-present deity who often intervenes visibly in people’s lives.

That aside, it remains a fact that the technician’s intentions when setting up the experiment determine its outcome, but here we’ve made another fallacy–we’ve forgotten that “how the technician sets up the experiment” may actually be predetermined.

Imagine if I told you to select five pennies out of one hundred that I’ve laid out. We would typically conclude that you have free will in selecting the ones you select. However, what if there’s an overarching physical law that has determined not only which pennies you’ll select, but also which of my own five hundred pennies I’ll set down for you to choose from?

And here we run into the biggest free will hurdle: many, many people have confused it with omnipotence.

“You didn’t really have free will,” they’d tell you, “because you couldn’t choose any penny you wanted. You could choose only from the ones she presented. She curtailed your free will, and therefore you didn’t actually make a choice.”

It’s an argument easily discussed with a blank, “Wut.” It’s like saying that people who chose between Hillary and Trump didn’t actually make a choice, because other people had limited their ballot options. The number of choices available, and whether we control what options are possible, is irrelevant to the matter of free will, because free will doesn’t require omnipotence. You can’t fly, either–does that mean you don’t have free will? Obviously not. The argument is stupid, yet people make it.

Returning to the experiment, suppose the technician first tests for particle behavior, then wave behavior, then wave behavior, and finally particle behavior. It would seem, at a glance, that the technician has used free will to determine the parameters of the experiment, and this is why the experiment is remarkable: there has yet to be put forward any good explanation of how the wave-particle knows where it isn’t allowed to land.

Except… We don’t know whether we’re looking in the wrong place. Perhaps we should not be looking for how the particle knows where the interference would occur; instead, we should be asking whether physical laws have determined beforehand how the experiments will play out.

Let me explain. Imagine that we’re self-aware characters in a movie, and that the writer of the movie has written already how the experiment will be performed, and what the results will be. This leaves us flabbergasted upon seeing the experiment’s results, because, as far as we can tell, the wave-particle somehow knows whether the second slit is open or not. So we spend the next century trying to figure out how the wave function knows how it’s supposed to collapse without having any way of gaining information about the status of the second slit, an answer that we can never find, because it didn’t have to know–the status of the second slit was predetermined by something the technician doesn’t actually control.

Any and all implications of the double slit experiment hinge upon the idea that the technician has free will to determine the status of the second slit, rather than the technician’s own “decisions” being the result of physical laws that we don’t understand.

Either case is possible. We simply don’t know.

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

Strangely, I’ve seen Quantum Mechanics used as an argument against free will. The argument goes that physical laws dictate the behavior of strings, quarks are composed of strings, atoms are composed of quarks, molecules are composed of atoms, and we’re composed of molecules. Why on Earth should “free will” suddenly enter into the equation? It all suggests that our behavior is determined by physical laws we haven’t discovered, because physical laws determine the behavior of the things that we’re composed of.

Except for the Uncertainty Principle, they’d have a point.

Whether “God plays dice with the universe” has not been ascertained and cannot be determined, even in theory. Suppose we have 50 grams of uranium. A “half-life” is a measurement of how long it takes for half of the atoms to decay, unleashing radiation. This raises so many fascinating questions already. How does the 50g of uranium know that it is 50g? Because over the course of its half-life, 25g will decay. What determines which atoms decay and which don’t? We don’t know the answer to either of these questions (and, at least in regards to the second, we can never know beyond making probability statements). And then, over the next half-life, how does the 25g of uranium know to decay 12.5g of uranium? What determines which 12.5g decay?

In fact, our inability to learn these answers, even in theory, means that there is plenty of room for free will, and that we can never determine whether we do or don’t have free will. There are far too many variables involved for anyone to identify them all, and attempting to figure out the value of some (thanks to Heisenberg) will inadvertently change the value of others. Measuring those will change ones we’ve already measured, making the task impossible in practice and in theory.

Physicists are searching for this M-Theory that would explain everything, from how planets orbit stars to why I came to the tanning salon early to why this atom decayed but that one didn’t. Whether or not this is a fool’s errand depends on whether or not we have free will. Basically, physicists are looking for a physical law that explains why the technician left both slits open (actually, they’re not, as free will seems presumed in that lexicon) and why the technician’s parents fell in love, and why the Earth formed the way it did. It’s called the “Mother Theory” for a reason–it would be the Mother of All Theories, supplanting and subsuming psychology, economics, biology, and everything else.

However, there’s a problem. If the universe is governed by an M-Theory, then why should that M-Theory dictate that we will one day discover it? If everything is governed by a master (and extraordinarily complex) set of laws, then our search for that theory is a result of that theory, and the results we discover are determined by that theory.

This is the sort of thing that Brian Greene and Discovery specials don’t get into. The lines between physics and metaphysics blur at the higher levels, creating a mess of confusing ideas that even the sharpest minds can’t navigate. It’s frequently said that no one understands quantum mechanics.

It reminds me of the quip, “If the brain were simple enough for us to understand it, then we’d be too stupid to understand it.”

Really Odd Argument From Scott Adams

Scott Adams (whose post I can’t link because I’m writing this from my phone in a parking lot, but will add it later) recently wrote that we don’t have free will, but that technology might allow us to one day. Honestly, I have no idea what he’s talking about; he seems to have misunderstood some concepts.

He argued that someone who wants to resist sweets while they’re on a diet giving in and eating the sweets is proof we don’t have free will, because more fundamental biological programming dictates our behavior. So inserting chips into our brains (another technology I’m wholly against) to help resist that biological programming could grant us free will.

Do you see the fallacy?

Inserting the chip is either proof that we have free will, or it’s a result of the same biological programming. If our behavior is dictated by biological programming, thus eliminating our ability to make choices, then this extends to the decision whether to install a chip in one’s brain. If biological programming forces me to eat the sweets and I can’t do anything about it, then biological programming compels me to install the chip, so I still don’t have free will. It’s not the sort of muddled thinking I expect from Scott Adams, to create a fallacy like that.

Notice again, though, that it’s more like he’s confused omnipotence with free will (If you look closely, you’ll find that most people do). The person in question still chose to eat the cake, when they could have resisted. We know this to be true because people have actually died from hunger strikes; they resisted the biological programming to the point of death. What this person lacks isn’t free will; it’s discipline and self-control.

The idea that we can’t resist biological programming is one that I adamantly deny. Futurama did an episode about this. If we can’t control our behavior, because of physics or biology, then we’re not responsible for anything that we do. While I admit that it’s possible that we live in such a reality, such a sweeping statement with such enormous implications must be supported by considerable evidence, and the only evidence it has is “You can’t prove otherwise.”

No, I can’t prove that humans have free will. I’m not even saying that we do. I’m saying that we must act like we have free will, because it certainly seems that we do, and acting like we don’t have free will shatters what little is left of personal responsibility. How can you punish the murderer if he doesn’t have free will? It’s literally not his fault that he’s a murderer if he lacks free will. What of rapists, motivated very much by biological impulses? Scott’s cake metaphor works just as well for the man who rapes a woman because he was overcome with horniness.

My point isn’t to say that we have free will or that we don’t. In fact, I don’t think we can ever know whether we have free will. If we do have free will, it could never be proven, for obvious reasons. If we don’t have free will, then whether or not we ever learn that is at the discretion of whatever universal laws prevent us from having free will. Moreover, because of the Uncertainty Principle, we can never make the determination in the first place, because we can never identify all the variables that go into a “choice” (because it would consist of all variables going back to the Big Bang and would produce an equation the size of the Milky Way Galaxy).

Free Will is, and will always be, a matter of belief, not knowledge. Anyone who claims to know has quite a burden of proof on their shoulders. And since the idea that we don’t have free will carries many major implications (the destruction of right and wrong, and the end of individual responsibility), it’s best that we err on the side of caution: “Yes, she chose to give in and eat the cake. Yes, he chose to give in and rape that woman. Yes, she chose to murder that old man.”

Never Again.

I told someone recently via email “The spirit leads you astray.” It would take me longer to explain what I meant by that than would really be worth it, but suffice it to say that I have very good reasons to believe that this person is being lead astray by spiritualist bullshit that establishes some esoteric, mystical bullshit reasoning over reality, and the reply I got to this merely proved that I was correct.

You and I will have to incarnate here, on this Earth, *at least once more*.

It’s inevitable.

IMG_0924This is some of that nonsense you may have heard called Spirit Science, which is a bunch of bullshit thought of by people who felt like they were special yet didn’t actually do anything with their lives [This is not a claim about the people who come to believe the Spirit Science shit–it’s about the people who invented it]. Because they have nothing in the real world to show that they are special, they conceived this bullshit of Indigo Children and other off-the-wall shit with absolutely no basis in reality. It’s literally shit that someone simply… made up… because they felt like they were special, but they didn’t do or say anything that displayed they were special. Seeing this disparity, they concluded, “I’m special spiritually,” and thus Spirit Science was born.

It is typically called pseudoscience, but there’s nothing scientific about any of it. They go from things like Phi and Pi [I have Pi tattoo’d on the back of my right hand, and I have the Golden Shape (which is, of course, built off Phi and the Golden Ratio) tattoo’d on my left arm, while I have the Greek letter Phi tattoo’d below my right shoulder… But for reasons dealing with science, not bullshit], build into the Tree of Life, and they somehow manage to work in pretty much every spiritualist belief out there. Chakras, Yin/Yang, Karma, Chi, Feng Shui, you name it. If you ever get bored and want to see just how far people can go with making up random bullshit, check out some of their videos on YouTube some time, and stand in awe that anyone anywhere believes some of this shit to be true.

To be fair, the claim of Spirit Science that we are naturally feminine creatures who once thrived on Atlantis until we built a portal to another dimension that allowed the masculine Martians to come to Earth and corrupt our souls… [Afterthought: Yes, it’s actually crazier than scientology–a load of bullshit that also tries to hijack the legitimacy of the word “science” while corrupting it to ridiculous degress.]

I’m sorry. I gave myself a migraine.

That’s not a negative assault on their beliefs, though. It’s not like when I say that Christians believe in an all-powerful deity who gave birth to himself and came to earth in mortal flesh to forgive us for something that he made us do, died, and came back to life as a zombie. No, I’ve put no spin on the Spirit Science delusion; that’s really what they believe. Throw in some reincarnation, add some extreme corruptions of String Theory (which is already pseudoscience), and mix in some extreme corruptions of the word “dimensions.” Pull some extraordinary linguistic sleight-of-hand because of how scientists discuss dimensions as fact (in terms of length, width, depth, and time) and the possibility of further dimensions, and, when no one is looking, start talking about “dimensions” in the other, wackier since of “parallel universes,” and voila! You have psuedoscience, and you get to tell people “Scientists believe there are other dimensions!”

Yes, some scientists (the ones who, I would argue, already approach pseudoscience with the religion that is String Theory, but that’s another topic) postulate that there are more than the observable dimension of spacetime. But when a scientist says “dimension,” the scientist isn’t referring to an alternate reality where everyone wears a cowboy hat or exists in ethereal form. And the Spirit Science people know that, just like Christians know that when scientists use the word “theory,” they don’t mean it in the sense of “guess” as the layman does. This habit of taking scientific words and twisting them into the layperson’s meaning is indicative of bullshit, and anything that does it should be rejected. The truth doesn’t need deceit.

Anyway, so part of the Spirit Science host of bullshit is that Earth is a hard dimension (in the Bullshit Sense, not the Scientific Sense) to exist in, and that we have all chosen to come here–presumably because we want the challenge, who knows. But we have to “ascend” and bullshit like that, which means, yes, like the Buddhist ideology they shamelessly copied, we’ll have to reincarnate here several times until we succeed.

Honestly, if I believed I had to go through another life, I’d off myself right now.

This is who you think it is that I’m talking about. Presumably, she holds that we’re cosmically linked or something (I’d remove the “s” if it were up to me), and I don’t feel arrogant or conceited to make that guess. Notice, however, that she asterisk’d “at least once more.” This is certainly because I have a duology of songs called “At Least Once More” and “Never Again.” It’s part of the collection I’m working on inspired by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence / Songs of Experience, obviously, and I’m doing the same thing. Each song exists as a pair, and here the two are “At Least Once More” and “Never Again.”

It’s disheartening that immediately after I advised her that the spirit is leading her astray, she would respond with this spiritualist stuff, because… that’s precisely what I meant. So her idea, presumably, is that she and I will live again, and that things will be different, or that things will go differently? That’s ridiculous.

This life is real. The power for us to be together was 100% in her hands, and still is to a large extent though it’s certainly no longer that simple. The idea of going “Fuck it. I’ll do it next go ’round.” when there is no “next go ’round” is exactly what I meant. It’s no better than the Hindu guy who has been standing for more than three decades because he is convinced that his suffering in this life will be rewarded in the next.

There is no next.

There is only this.

Every… indication… in the universe… is that we are mortal beings, and that we will die, and that our deaths mark the end of our existences. In hundreds of thousands of years, we have never found one solitary shred of evidence to support the notion that we continue to exist after our deaths–and believe me: we have been looking. We’ve hardly done anything else. For thousands of years, our species has peered into every corner of existence, searching desperately to find some sign that we will live beyond our deaths, and there is no such evidence.

Despite people offering millions of dollars to any psychic who can prove his/her powers in controlled circumstances, no psychic has been able to display any powers. Despite millions of people recording videos every single day, no one has ever furnished any video that proves the existence of the supernatural. Despite countless MRIs and EKGs, and despite that we know pretty much exactly how the brain works and produces sentience and consciousness, no one has ever found a soul. We now know exactly how the brain makes us aware of ourselves, and we know exactly how the brain produces “ourselves,” our personality, our interests, our likes, and our dislikes, and we know beyond any doubt that none of it has anything at all to do with a soul–it is all electromagnetic and chemical processes happening in the brain, and we know exactly what regions these things happen in. There is nothing left of us for a soul to provide.

wmapWe know almost exactly how the Big Bang happened, how hyperinflation caused the homogeny that we see in the WMAP satellite images, how the superforce fractured in the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang to become the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. We know exactly how gravity caused Hydrogen atoms to coalesce, ultimately forming stars that exploded and died, creating heavier elements as they lived and creating the heaviest elements as they died, spraying iron and gold and oxygen into the universe in small quantities. And we know how cosmic dust clouds like the Eaglehead Nebula continue to create stars, and we know how around one random star a random chunk of rock happened to coalesce at an acceptable distance from a star to host liquid water. And we know how molecules formed in the salty, turbulent oceans rife with the chemicals necessary; we know how a little spark of lightning could have spurned the evolution of those molecules into RNA, and growing into the first self-replicating molecule. We know how this little piece of organic life thrived and grew, dominating the entire rock and its oceans, ultimately producing cyanobacteria that feasted on the abundance of Carbon in the atmosphere and turning it into Oxygen, eventually evolving into plants and allowing mammals to flourish. We know how this led to the evolution of homo sapien. There is nothing left for a god to have done.

We can explain our existences, our minds, and our lives without invoking gods and souls, and we have, in effect, left nothing conceivable for gods and souls to do. What is the point of a soul? It does not make me who I am. The chemistry of my brain does that, and that’s a scientific fact. What is the point of a god? Humans do not need a god to have come about, and that’s a scientific fact. In fact, something as redundant as a soul would have been among the first things to go in the evolutionary process, since redundancy is waste. The soul cannot provide my personality–my brain does that, and we know exactly how my brain provides my personality. And we know that brain damage would very much change my personality–a fact that spiritualists tend to ignore, though it certainly wouldn’t be the case if souls (presumably undamageable) provided our personalities.

This is it. You ride the universe once, and then…

Never again.