There’s an apparent lack of understanding of science here that I’m not sure how to address. There’s going to be a correlation between cause and effect EVERY SINGLE TIME. Just because we’ve found a correlation and linked it to an effect, it doesn’t follow we’re guilty of committing a correlation therefore causation fallacy. Other variables are always considered, tested, and ruled out, leaving one or a very few correlations remaining. If someone thinks of something new or develops a method for testing a previously untested possible cause, ideally that test is run to see whether it may be a viable alternative explanation or otherwise add to our understanding. We then probabilistically conclude (assuming test results verify) that one or more of the tested variables are likely the conditions that are associated with the effect. The more often/consistently we see a particular correlation with a particular effect, the more likely it is to be the correct explanation. All hallucinations that have so far been successfully explained have been associated with some sort of physical issue with the body — usually with the brain or nervous system. That there might be other causes for hallucinations we haven’t found yet can’t be ruled out, of course.

However, since you haven’t told us what a soul is and essentially admitted you don’t know, you really have no basis to think science is dropping the ball by not making a determination for you. Likewise, you haven’t told us what other outside forces would look like or how they would manifest themselves in a test or experiment. How are we supposed to know whether a soul/deity correlates with anything? We need to know what the heck it is you’re talking about first. It’s not as though souls and gods show up on X-rays every time there’s an hallucination. How do you propose we rule in or out a correlation with phenomenon you can’t even describe? How is it a sign of open mindedness (as opposed to foolishness) to consider the possibility that the physical correlations we regularly and consistently see might be wrong and instead the cause that you can’t even articulate might be a more reasonable explanation?

Cancer is a very specific disease that manifests itself in very particular ways. It’s not a cancer patient’s job to recommend a research or treatment protocol to their doctor, but being a doctor we can safely assume that he/she already is aware of what they need to look for to determine whether or not their patient is suffering from cancer. Cancer exhibits certain symptoms and cancer cells/tumors thus far have always manifested themselves in certain ways (or is the doctor simply committing the correlation/causation fallacy?) Since NO ONE, including you, apparently, can say what it is we’re looking for when it comes to a soul (What does it look like? Where is it located? How does it work? Through what mechanism does it connect itself to and manifest through the body?), whatever a soul is it clearly doesn’t function anything like cancer — or any other physical material or force that we’re familiar with.

Your analogy would be more accurate if you said the patient went to his doctor and said “something doesn’t feel right,” then refused to offer any more information but still expected the doctor to give him a diagnosis. It’s not reasonable to expect the cancer patient to do the cancer research, but it is reasonable to expect he help out a little by saying where and when it hurts or bleeds.

As for the noise analogy, I remind you that within a certain range every functioning human ear, a great many animal ears, and a wide variety of instruments can detect the same sound more or less simultaneously, thereby confirming that the source isn’t inside the ear or the head. We can consistently trace the sound back to its origin using the same methods, repeating the test a million times without ever getting a different result (correlation and causation again). We can’t even begin to do that with whatever it is you’re talking about. Some people feel it, others don’t. Some people describe it this way, others that. Some people hear voices, others see ghosts, while the vast majority of us standing in the very same room at the exact same moment don’t experience either.

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US citizen residing in British Columbia, Canada. Degrees include anthropology and environmental studies. Activism, politics, science, nature.

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