Atticus Finch wrote:Do you have a link for the scientific proof of the weight loss? Wouldn't it just be something entirely natural with the body rather than the leaving soul?
Again it depends... I would probably label it more of a curiosity than anything.. Do simple functions of the mind produce weight? We know that the mind produces electricity, so when that electricity goes does the weight go with it? Perhaps a mystery...
I thought Wikipedia has some pretty cool things to say about the soul..
Science and the soul
Science and medicine seeks naturalistic accounts of the observable natural world. This stance is known as methodological naturalism, which is silent on the question of whether non-material or supernatural entities, such as the soul, can or do exist as distinct from natural entities. Scientists, therefore, investigate the soul as a human belief or as concept that shapes cognition and understanding of the world (see Memetics), rather than as an entity in and of itself.
When modern scientists speak of the soul outside of this cultural and psychological context, it is generally as a poetic synonym for mind. Francis Crick's book The Astonishing Hypothesis, for example, has the subtitle, "The scientific search for the soul". Crick holds the position that one can learn everything knowable about the human soul by studying the workings of the human brain. Depending on one's belief regarding the relationship between the soul and the mind, then, the findings of neuroscience may be relevant to one's understanding of the soul.
A search of the PubMed research literature database shows the following numbers of articles with the indicated term in the title:
1. brain — 167,244
2. consciousness — 2,918 (842, 29%, of these articles also include “brain” in the database entry)
3. soul - 552 (40, 7%, of these articles also include “brain” in the database entry. Many of these articles deal with medical ethics issue such as the implications of religious beliefs on decisions about life support for people in persistent vegetative states)
An oft-encountered analogy is that the brain is to computer hardware as the mind is to computer software. The idea of the mind as software has led some scientists to use the word "soul" to emphasize their belief that the human mind has powers beyond or at least qualitatively different from what artificial software can do. Roger Penrose expounds this position in The Emperor's New Mind. He posits that the mind is in fact not like a computer as generally understood, but rather a quantum computer, that can do things impossible on a classical computer, such as decide the halting problem. Some have located the soul in this possible difference between the mind and a classical computer.
Attempted demonstrations of the soul as distinct from the mind
During the late 19th and first half 20th century, researchers attempted to weigh people who were known to be dying, and record their weight accurately at the time of death. As an example, Dr. Duncan MacDougall, in the early 1900s, sought to measure the weight purportedly lost by a human body when the soul departed the body upon death. MacDougall weighed dying patients in an attempt to prove that the soul was material and measurable. These experiments are widely considered to have had little if any scientific merit, and although MacDougall's results varied considerably from 21 grams, for some people this figure has become synonymous with the measure of a soul's weight. Experiments such as MacDougall's have not been repeated with current precision equipment and research tools, and snopes.com concludes of one researcher that:
"MacDougall's results were flawed because the methodology used to harvest them was suspect, the sample size far too small, and the ability to measure changes in weight imprecise. For this reason, credence should not be given to the idea his experiments proved something, let alone that they measured the weight of the soul as 21 grams. His postulations on this topic are a curiousity, but nothing more."
Source and details: http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp
Researchers, most notably Ian Stevenson and Brian Weiss have studied reports of children talking about past-life experiences. Any evidence that these experiences were in fact real would require a change in scientific understanding of the mind or would support some notions of the soul.
Research on the concept of the soul
In his book Consilience, E. O. Wilson took note that sociology has identified belief in a soul as one of the universal human cultural elements. Wilson suggested that biologists need to investigate how human genes predispose people to believe in a soul.
Daniel Dennett has championed the idea that the human survival strategy depends heavily on adoption of the intentional stance, a behavioral strategy that predicts the actions of others based on the expectation that they have a mind like one's own (see theory of mind). Mirror neurons in brain regions such as Broca's area may facilitate this behavioral strategy. The intentional stance, Dennett suggests, has proven so successful that people tend to apply it to all aspects of human experience, thus leading to animism and to other conceptualizations of soul.
But as several theologians and philosophers have noted (e.g. Keith Sutherland), claims by Dennett and his ilk are prompted by the philosophical agenda of physicalism. One counter-argument points out that just because the brain has regions that deal with colour and other aspects of vision, one does not argue that the genes produce an area to promote the illusion of a blue sky. By analogy, if there is a 'God sense' just as there is a sense of vision, it seems to argue for the objective existence of an extra-mundane reality.