Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Medicine. Anything human!
I was wondering If I can get a question answered.
My friend says he saw a video of a person who died and apparently lost some weight just after death. He thinks it may be proof of the soul leaving the body Can I get a simple scientific explanation for this?
Something to do with the body's electromagnetic field or something?
"There is no soul" - my, what an unprovable assertion!!! (People thought there were no black swans either, remember?!)
However, I'm intrigued, rather morbidly, by the idea that a dying person was put on a weighing machine, to get a before and after reading. Sounds a little macabre to me.
As to souls, well, I would tell your friend that if souls exist, their entire definition rests on them being incoporeal, so they would have no mass.
"Render unto science the things that are scientific, and unto God (posited but never proveable!) (or unproveable!)! the things that are divine....."
I've heard of this. Some christian doctors did some studies in the 19 century and noticed a slight change in the weight when the person died. The study had questionable scientific proof. Some christians even question its accuracy. Some people attribute it to water vapor that escapes in the breath. Their assumption is that the soul is something physical. Something that has mass. To have mass it has to be composed of atoms or some sub atomic particles. Many Christians don't believe the soul is physical, but more of a consciousness or energy. Which would have no weight.
It was Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts who attempted to weigh the human soul. In 1907, he placed 6 dying patients on a homemade scale, which also acted as a bed for the patients. He then recorded their weights before and after death. According to Dr. MacDougall, there was a difference of 21 grams between the heavier, living patients and their dead bodies.
He also experimented on 15 dogs and found no loss of weight between the living dogs and their dead bodies. He believed this was because animals do not have souls.
His experiments were criticized since of the six patients, two tests had to be discarded and the level of error was very high. Obviously, it was not a very scientific study.
In addition, no one has ever been able to repeat the result of these experiments. Basically, there is still no physiological evidence of the soul. It's an urban legend propagated by a guy who did bad science - looking for an answer he already believed was true. Real science doesn't have attachments to pre-existing beliefs and values. It just observes and hypothesizes.
This sounds like a Dan Brown novel that has been taken for literal. The point that sticks in my mind is we don't understand what the soul could be (physical manifestation or some type of energy) so we can't measure it. What may be seen could be experimental error generated by a door opening down the hall and alteration of room pressure. There are so many different manifestations that we will probably never truly understand.
The commonly held notion is that the human body looses 21.3 grams 'at the moment of death'. This is based on the unfounded research of one Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Of course, 'moment of death' was chosen as 'when the patient stops breathing,' and this 21.3 gram loss was only found in one of his six patients (an all too small sample size). On the contrary, another patient gained weight 'at the moment of death'. His study on dogs found no corresponding weight loss, and from this (and his religious dogma which claims animals have no souls) he claimed the soul weighed 21.3 grams.
There is no official 'moment of death.' Initial claim was based on 1 example using inadequate equipment, even when the study itself contradicted the claim. The claimant had an obvious bias (demonstrated in this and other studies). The experiment has never been verified, not even by other supporters of his viewpoint.
As such, we cannot claim to know if the human body does lose weight at death, let alone have an average.
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