Scant evidence for a unified mind or an everlasting soul

David Weisman in Seed Magazine:

Asoulism_HS There is a common idea: because the mind seems unified, it really is. Many go only a bit further and call that unified mind a “soul.” This step, from self to soul, is an ancient assumption which now forms a bedrock in many religions: a basis for life after death, for religious morality, and a little god within us, a support for a bigger God outside us.

For the believers in the soul, let’s call them soulists, the soul assumption appears to be only the smallest of steps from the existence of a unified mind. Yet the soul is a claim for which there isn’t any evidence. Today, there isn’t even evidence for that place soulists step off from, the unified mind. Neurology and neuroscience, working unseen over the past century, have eroded these ideas, the soul and the unified mind, down to nothing. Experiences certainly do feel unified, but to accept these feelings as reality is a mistake. Often, the way things feel has nothing to do with how they are.

There are historical parallels. An 18th-century scientist believed a substance called “caloric” made hot materials hot and flowed into colder materials to make them warmer. It seemed to be true, but subsequent investigation showed mechanical vibration equates to heat. Science is littered with similarly discredited theories; the soul is one of them.

The evidence supports another view: Our brains create an illusion of unity and control where there really isn’t any.

More here.