We’ve all thought about it at some stage or another, and now a scientist is claiming that life after death is impossible.
Many people believe that life after death is possible. It is a staple of most religions in the world today.
Broadly speaking, there are two philosophical schools of thought on this matter. One camp holds that we, as humans, consist of two different types of matter – our soul (non-physical) and our body (physical).
Because of this, it is thought that even if our bodies may be destroyed when we die, our souls continue to live on. Believing that the body and the soul are separate entities is a useful way to claim that life after death is possible.
However, others believe that we are only physical beings. They believe that because everything about us is physical, once that physical aspect has been destroyed then that’s it. When our bodies die, we die. Even if we have a soul, this soul is somehow physically linked to us, and is not ‘separate’ and therefore cannot exist after we die.
Both these theories (known as Dualism and Physicalism for those who were asking) have serious philosophical issues and implications.
We don’t have time to debunk both of the arguments now (philosophers have been trying for centuries), but we can tell you that a scientist has now claimed that the latter theory is the correct one.
Sean Carroll is a cosmologist and physics professor at the California Institute of Technology.
After studying the laws of physics for a long time, Carroll now believes he has shown that life after death is impossible.
He stated:“Claims that some form of consciousness persists after our bodies die and decay into their constituent atoms face one huge, insuperable obstacle: the laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood, and there’s no way within those laws to allow for the information stored in our brains to persist after we die.”
All good scientists need evidence to back their claims, and Carroll has pointed to Quantum Field Theory to support his point.
Long story short, Quantum Field Theory basically asserts that there is one field for each type of particle.
Carroll says that if life did continue after death, then tests on the quantum field would have shown “spirit particles” and “spirit forces”.
He said “If it’s really nothing but atoms and the known forces, there is clearly no way for the soul to survive death.”
“Believing in life after death, to put it mildly, requires physics beyond the Standard Model.
“Most importantly, we need some way for that ‘new physics’ to interact with the atoms that we do have.
“Within QFT, there can’t be a new collection of ‘spirit particles’ and ‘spirit forces’ that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments.”
Continuing, Carrol states: “There’s no reason to be agnostic about ideas that are dramatically incompatible with everything we know about modern science.
“Once we get over any reluctance to face reality on this issue, we can get down to the much more interesting questions of how human beings and consciousness really work.”
So, in a nutshell, by using fancy physics, Carroll has tried to prove that there is nothing about us that is not physical, and therefore life after death is impossible.
You can decide whether you think his argument is strong enough.
We know that if Descartes was still alive, he certainly would not be accepting Carroll’s argument.
Image via Alamy