21 Grams

I saw an interesting movie poster on Wednesday while going to see Kill Bill. The title was 21 Grams and at first I thought hmmm, another film about drugs and then I read the tagline: “How much does life weigh?”. Ah, right. I can remember hearing something about this some time in the past. The questions this meme asks us are both intriguing and scary but ultimately beneficial to our growth as a society. Is it possible that the human body loses an amount of mass when a person perishes?

I was determined to investigate. I first decided to hit the straight dope as I figured this question would have to have been asked before, and this site seems to be a great place to find The Truth. Entrusting someone with the truth is getting harder and harder these days; it seems everyone has their own particular perception of what the truth is. I could not find the answer though I did get pleasantly sidetracked on the way. I don’t know if I’m ever going to get through all of those but I bookmarked them and hope some day to have the chance to read them.
Google was most helpful. I found an urban legend site which tells the tale of Dr. Duncan MacDougall “who has experimented much in the observation of death” and took it upon himself to actually measure terminally ill patients in the stages of before, during and after death. I recommend you read that article for it gives a much more unbiased evaluation of the experiment that unfortunately could not settle upon a solid conclusion. However there were noticable losses of weight ranging from “one-half ounce to nearly an ounce and a quarter” within a minute or two upon the moment of death in all of the human subjects that were experimentally valid tests.
It’s an interesting supposition because it leads one to believe that there may be empirical evidence for proof of a soul. It’s unfortunate that there haven’t been attempts to return to this experiment (conducted in 1907) because if nothing else people need some explanations that these questions answer in this time of uncertainty. Souls. Spirits. Forbidden words in the hallowed walls of science. Perhaps those of us heading down the path of science and logic should heed our own advice and open our deepest beliefs to question and examination. If we disregard fundamental questions about ourselves then we stagnate inner growth and our self withers as a malnourished potted plant in a lazy man’s apartment.
I feel regret that my path did not make me a scientist as I would be very interested in redoing Dr. MacDougall’s experiment. I think that in today’s day and age this experiment could be conducted with a lot less room for error and with less ethical dilemmas. Would not terminally ill patients sick of their life of pain want their death to mean something to science? I know if I was on my deathbed I would probably volunteer my body for this experiment; I mean it is after all in the name of Science. Better for my death to mean something besides just a loss for loved ones.
There was some controversy over his comparison to the death of dogs. It is assumed that he took sick dogs and injected them with poison – this had many greatly upset as his acts could be acknowledged as unethical. However again, there are probably many dog owners who wish to have their terminally ill friend ease away in a manner that benefits mankind. At the very least, how many dogs are put to sleep every day because of irresponsible owners? Surely their death can mean something too. It is important to compare because according to Dr. MacDougall’s experiment there was no loss of weight at the time of death. This too is an important meme to digest – if human’s have ‘souls’ why don’t dogs?
For some this may be a strange topic to think about. A lot of people go through their day to day routine without giving a thought to the meaning of their existence, to the truth that lies beneath all the layers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – everyone has their own agenda in life because ultimately you’re only responsible for one perception: yours.
I can’t stress how important examining phenomenon like this is to our evolution as a species because as our medicine and hazard free environment ease the workload of survival, evolution needs to follow new paths that aren’t necessarily biological. Evolution is adaptation of life to a hostile environment but always with the agenda of increasing complexity. That’s my theory anyways.
I also have some theories that may explain this phenomenon but I’ll save that for another time as it’s getting quite late. I’ll leave you with this quote of some of Dr. MacDougall’s conculsions for his experiment:

If it is definitely proved that there is in the human being a loss of substance at death not accounted for by known channels of loss, and that such loss of substance does not occur in the dog as my experiments would seem to show, then we have here a physiological difference between the human and the canine at least and probably between the human and all other forms of animal life.
I am aware that a large number of experiments would require to be made before the matter can be proved beyond any possibility of error, but if further and sufficient experimentation proves that there is a loss of substance occurring at death and not accounted for by known channels of loss, the establishment of such a truth cannot fail to be of the utmost importance.

209 thoughts on “21 Grams”

  1. Funny – I went through the same process as you, prompted by the same movie, and landed on the same website (www.snopes.com). I AM a scientist, but am open to the idea of a “soul” (only in a “natural” framework, though perhaps one not yet open to human investigation). To me MacDougall’s experiments link to the idea of an astral body, which one could perhaps regard as the soul. There is a large body of literature on the astral body, particularly in reference to out-of-body experiences (aka. astral projection). Much of it is old and tied in with other occult topics and somewhat apocryphal, but some of it is recent and fascinating, like the accounts of Robert A. Monroe who wrote three books on his experiences. If the astral body exists and perhaps interacts with what we normally consider to be matter, then perhaps it also has some weight. Waiting for someone to look into, but not holding my breath.

  2. Hey you’re a scientist, why don’t you reperform the experiments? 😉 Honestly, if this experiment was done professionally it could be revolutionary in the science of religion.

  3. While I’d love to see a rigorous experiment done, the problem with this sort of experiment is that negative results convince no one. That is, if you do this expiriment and find that there is no measurable mass gained/lossed, the “spiritual” types will blithely continue to believe in some meta-physical, unverifiable soul.
    Besides, just take a minute to consider what 21 grams of lost mass-to-energy would look like! Unless you invoke sci-fi (e.g., the energy is escaping into an alternate/parallel universe), or consider the soul as some ooze that is secreted somewhere but not noticed, the energy from the complete conversion of 21 grams of mass is around 1.9e15 Joules, or about 460 kilotons TNT…

  4. An explosion of power in another dimension! 😉
    That’s very true about the negative results, but it does not sway me personally against performing the experiment again. Remember, the original scientist (Dr. MacDougall) found significant findings – ie results that were unexplainable. I see no reason why this experiment, as controversial as it is, should not be retested. It’s just poor science to not leave every stone uncovered. Leave the theories and possible explanations until after the results have been verified. A hypothesis is not a conclusion, remember.

  5. You people are nuts. Why be so mundane about a concept as transcendental as the soul or expect the possibility of proof of its existence, especially by something as simplistic as rational thought or as material as science? As for results–forget negative findings… even a positive one would not prove that which you have suggested. As the film states, 21 grams is equivalent to the weight of something like “a stack of four quarters”. It’s nothing… it could easily be explained by some halt in life processes such as apoptosis (cell death), necrosis, cell shrinkage from hydrostatic pressure, who knows… there can be any number of explanations other than the conclusion that an indirect material manifestation of the rising of the human soul. I would have to say, not just because I am a medical student, that that would likely be the very last possibility entertained, not only by any scientist, rational mind, nay any thinking person or being with a brain on their shoulders, but also by any other person… that is, anyone who would still maintain some true sense of spirituality, of mysticism, of the sacredness and earthly defiance of the human soul!

  6. I totally disagree. You’ve given some examples of possible explanations, however they aren’t really logical. If you read the link then you’d see that there was a steady weight loss (of about an ounce an hour) due to dehydration before and after death, but at around the moment there was about an ounce dissapearing in the space of 5 minutes. When a cell dies, it doesn’t lose any mass, it’s just dead mass as opposed to live mass. Also, there was no significant mass loss when a dog died. Wouldn’t biological entities from the same mammalian family experience the same processes at death?
    As for proving the theory of the soul, of course it’s not proof. There may in fact be other explanations, yet nonetheless the experiment would produce interesting findings to be examined in more close detail. Once again I say that this experiment should definately be reproduced to verify or refute the findings.

  7. Differing conclusions are often made from the same evidence. Remains of aquatic creatures on mountainsides have been used by evolutionists as proof of an ice age and by creationists as proof of a great flood. I have to agree with Zarathustra that even if there were a well-controlled, double-blind experiment proving the body lost 21g at death, there would remain debate over the meaning of the results.
    Is there a soul? Most people feel strongly one way or the other. You must consider solid evidence to draw a conclusion — and then you’re stuck living with a conclusion that you can’t prove absolutely, no matter what you believe!
    Be that as it may, in considering all the “big questions” of life, the evidence that may be the weightiest is the simple matter of probability. What are the chances that life would have come into being by mere chance, by atoms (and sub-atoms) bouncing off each other? The answer? Physical scientists and believers in souls alike should agree on this: Not very good.
    Whatever your belief about science and religion, about origins of life, about souls or the lack thereof, you can’t get around the problem of probability. Stretch your mind around that for awhile, and bypass the slippery slope of weight-at-death experiments and the like.

  8. What are the chances that life would have come into being by mere chance, by atoms (and sub-atoms) bouncing off each other? The answer? Physical scientists and believers in souls alike should agree on this: Not very good.
    Oh absolutely.. I direct your attention to my existentialism post and you’ll see that I fully agree.

  9. I would explore every other possible explination for the loss of mass before i even considered exploring the idea of a soul. What about the oxegen leaving our body? Loss of blood preasure? Loss of moisture? All of these substances take up space. I can understand experimenting with these sort of things during the early tewntieth century and assumeing “Oh, this loss of mass must be a soul leaving the body!”, seeing that people were too frightened to stem away from religious brew-haha. But come on people, don’t you think we have evolved passed the point of organized religion, spiritualty, and the so called after life? Are we in such denial of our own mortality that we have to create a “soul”, a “spirt”, a piece of ourselves that lingers about while our body decays? Life cannot exist without death. That is why we die. We exist for the existance of others, and how this all came to be, in our lifetime we will probably never know. But please! Let’s not hide behind the idea of second existance. We ask ourselfs, “Why are we here?” If there is a reason, why do we have to move on from that? Why can’t we find peace and value in death? I think that we are asking the wrong questions. We need to focus on what happens when we are alive, not what happens when we die.

  10. Those are good points. From a scientific perspective the thought of a ‘soul’ is nonsensical, a throwback to barbaric rituals and campfire story telling. Answers to questions that couldn’t be answered, so were perhaps invented. However the science observed in the experiment is intriguing. First of all, the only thing that would create any difference in mass would the loss of air, and apparently this scientist and his colleagues attempted to expel as much as air as humanly possible whilst weighing themselves. They did not notice any significant mass loss. Why would a recently deceased human contract it’s lungs ‘tighter’ than a living human? The other things like blood pressure and loss of moisture, well the blood never leaves so the mass still stays in the body. Moisture loss due to dehyrdation was noted as a steady decline in mass, something like an ounce an hour. Why then would a person suddenly lose an hours worth of moisture over the course of 5 minutes when that person died, as was observed?
    There are really no explanations I’ve heard here or elsewhere of that can sufficiently explain this phenomenon. Can we conclude that there is then a soul that escapes? No, because the experiment needs to be redone with modern measurements and ‘well-controlled, double-blind’ methodolgy. Until then I remain unconvinced either way yet intrigued enough by the possibility to keep hoping that one of these days some scientist will come along my site here and decide that yes, perhaps it is worth doing again.

  11. This is such an interesting conversation.
    I can think of no reasonable objection to re-performing the experiment. It’s obviously compelling enough to create contoversy and therefor benefit from some effort at resolution.
    As to the issue – if verified – of whether or not the decrease in body mass at the point of death has anything to do with the soul or not – who knows? How could you know right now? I am equally suspicious of the person who already thinks it can’t be the soul as I am of the person who is convinced that it is. The idea of a soul is certainly something that science has not yet been able to come to terms with, but so are (I am almost certain) a host of other discoveries that have not been made yet – things, concepts that will seem entirely mundane and well within the discipline of scientific enquiry years from now. We know so, so little of what there is to know. It seems scientists realize this even more than the general public. I think that there is no reason to discount the explanation of the soul escaping any more than some other more “scientific” explanation since both explanations are currently and equally unexplored to any true satisfaction. Do the experiment and start working. No reason to be scared of anything, biased for or against anything. The point is simply this – we all want to know if this mass loss is true. If so, we would all like to know why. If you can’t accept that it is the soul, or can’t accept that it isn’t, then you are approaching the problem with an entirely unscientific mind. I would be so psyched if someone qualified would take it on.

  12. Yep, I keep waiting for someone to come on this site and say, “wait a minute.. I’m a scientist! I have access to the tools that will allow me to do this experiment! I’m going to reperform them, because I think it’s a relevant question!”
    And so I wait…

  13. A little off topic, but I got inspired…
    “From a scientific perspective the thought of a ‘soul’ is nonsensical, a throwback to barbaric rituals and campfire story telling…”
    I beg to differ. Scienctific discovery is far more nonsensical than anything a human campfire storyteller could ever imagine:
    1) The world was thought to be flat. Then it was discovered to be a sphere orbiting one of billions of stars in an ever-expanding universe. 2) Newton believed that gravity was an attraction between matter. And his equations worked well in a 3-dimensional universe, until 3) Einstein incorporated a fourth dimension and started bending space-time. And this acted as an even better estimate for reality, until 4) Quantum mechanics showed even Einstein’s 4-dimensional view of the universe to also be too myopic. Notice a pattern here?
    Today contemporary physicists paint a picture of the universe that could be up to 11 dimensions. In such a universe, everything we see is a mere interpretation of reality by the brain, our data processor. This is why concepts such as infinity, death, and God are all so incomprehensible–we have a limited viewpoint. But the use of mathematical models in modern science is successfully exploring some of these areas formerly deemed to be unobservable.
    Talk of a “soul” is often difficult because of semantic incompatabilites. It can invoke controversial ideas about religion and the like. To simplify and accomodate, the concept of the “soul” I believe is worth discussing (scientifically) is: a nonlocal [See Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen papers on nonlocality] entity at the end node of the observation process. In essence, it’s what lies beyond the medium (the brain) connecting the observable and unobservable worlds we occupy. Such an entity is not only possible but COULD also answer many of life’s great scientific, philosophic and spiritual mysteries.
    We were born from nowhere, are alive for no apparent reason, and will all soon die. This is all so utterly infinite and absurd only because of our vantage point; a vantage point which science is vastly improving. Some questions we humans might never be able to answer, but during the trek we must never let our minds must be closed.
    Miracles are things not yet proven by science. And science is far stranger than fiction.

  14. i couldn’t agree with the previous writer more. right on. thank you. i am, though, starting to develop a distaste for this divide that seems so normal to everyone of seperating religion and science – or maybe more accurately “science” and “non-science”. i think the previous writer has it mostly right – “miracles are things not yet proven by science” but i wonder if he/she misses the point that things explained are not necessarily any less remarkable as a result – seems like maybe you do get that , but im not sure. if one believes in God, then explaining/discovering/inventing string theory or newton’s laws or cell growth doesn’t seem to do anything but increase the wonder of it all. alot of people seem to think that since very religious people once believed the earth was at the center of the universe – and now it’s well know that it’s not – that religion is old, outdated and frankly dumb. but that doesn’t seem to apply to science even though some very scientific people once believed that newton’s laws explained all motion and we have since learned that too is wrong. and now that im writing about God, appearing to defend the concept, in some minds that’s putting me on a “side” of this discussion. i would like to argue that there really are no sides in that sense. we are all looking to learn and discover and i think there is so much that is unknown that there is room – even necessity – for diversity of approaches. evolution seems to work with brute force – throwing alot of different organisms out there over time and seeing which ones will work. i can only assume the same is working for us in answering all our questions. all kinds of thoughts, approaches – many of the most crackpots ones may turn out to be correct as they have in the past. anyway, im losing what my initial point was. in anycase if you haven’t read the previous entry, do. i think there’s alot of wisdom in there. thanks.

  15. At times like these…we need Scepticism.
    Because otherwise…as soon as we start believing anything, we want others to believe, and some damn cycle ensues.
    But I have to commend RipVan for succintly laying out the idea that science and religion are not really that far off from each other.
    I tend to take the Scientific process as my livelihood Bible, but am increasingly becoming aware of its shortcomings (but…it has not “failed” as badly as obsessive faith-based Abrahamic religion has).
    About the soul thing….
    I would like it very much if we didnt have a soul as we now commonly perceive it (an entity, sort of independent, within us and leaves our physical bodies). So, even if I can be persuaded to conceptually agree on the possibility of a soul, the mass of the soul idea tickles me rather than makes me seek other than scientifically verifiable basis for it.
    Is it possible the actual movement of fluids and gasses within the body increase our gravitational pull? or….our lungs do not fully empty until we die?
    Ok, ok, we need to carry out this experiment! just as much as I want to know with 100% certainty if I have to walk in slush tomorrow!

  16. I am so glad that I heard about this 21 grams issue yesterday and was similarly driven to find out more about this strange and ellusive mass/energy loss online as everyone else here was. I was also lucky enough to find this website whose such recent conversations have persuaded me to leave my own comments too. It is rare that I feel compelled enough to give my own opinion since I feel often people are too stuck in their own ideas to consider anyone else’s. This does not seem to be the case here. I must whole heartedly agree with RipVan’s discussion about how we truly cannot judge what seems “reasonable” when true science is stranger than anything most people could dream up. It is a reliable pattern of history that science uncovers more and more unexpected and what would have been considered in the recent past outrageous results. I consider it egotistical to assume that we now at our current state have the ability to comprehend completely what the Truth is, a Truth encompassing astrophysics, microbiology, philosophy, psychology, and every known chaos which defines our concept of reality. Consider modern quantum physics in which uncertainty is the rule. Consider rolled up dimensions of the string theory in which we cannot perceive. Consider the vast universe in which we occupy and observe a small and insignificant portion of. I think most of us agree that this experiment needs to be repeated using modern scientific equipment and standards. But I also think we need to stop disregarding the concept of the soul as religious propaganda. Even if you are a die hard science-only type and don’t believe in any form of spirituality, consider the interchangeability of mass and energy. We know it must be conserved. We know it is always changing its form, from mass to kinetic, thermal,…etc. We radiate energy in the infrared just by keeping our warm temperature. We function biologically by electrical impulses. Everyday we convert our food to energy to live off of. I just think that some sort of mass/energy loss in death cannot be disregarded as hopeful thinking of religous and spiritual fanatics. I personally believe in a very close knit relationship between science and spirituality. I believe they explain and support each other often but our methods and objectives today do not incorporate them as linked which leads to an incomplete understanding. Whether this 21 gram loss is true is not the point. The point is that science can and does explain what many consider to be spiritual phenomena (and vice versa) but we have unfortunately learned to turn our back to one when looking at the other. Just about every leap in scientific discovery occurs when a path of thought takes a sharp turn and incorporates new and seeminly unrelated ideas or just looks at it from the other side which we didn’t realize existed. Truly acknowledging that great jumps of knowledge follow this path is the only way to open our understanding to the seemingly unexplainable.

  17. It’s too bad that most people only come across ideas such as this after it has been blown up by some mass media form of entertainment. Regardless of its truth the idea holds a feeling of wonder and I like that. We are constantly being shown that there will always be something uexplainable.

  18. ken, i couldnt agree with you more.
    what we seek is complete undertanding, which is inclusive of all realms, the scientific and the spiritual, the observable and the unobservable. one is not separate from the other, but rather they are intrinsically linked in ‘truth,’ by nature, as parts of the same system. “i want to know god’s thoughts” was einsteins old slogan.
    the difference between the observable and unobservable universes is that one is testable and one is not. this is why many scientists leave their religious beliefs at home; it has no meaning to them in the laboratory. what good would precepts based on faith do other than pigeon hole the mind?
    but what i believe is important to always remember is that the boundaries between the observable and unobservable are not absolute, i.e. that the landscape is always changing due to scientific discovery. suddenly you have telescopes and atom smashers and supercomputers. such that when you create black-and-whites (e.g. the book of genesis in the bible) you are just setting yourself up for future conflict. and you soon might find your papal leader having to forgive scientists like galileo and copernicus of persecution some several hundred odd years after their revolutionary discoveries.
    i dont intend to step on any religious toes– i was raised roman catholic and respect the many potential benefits organized religion can offer– but i do think they could take a hint from the U.S. founding fathers who had the sense to incorporate amendments and adaptability. yes, posing to have a direct, infallible connection with god is much sexier and more attractive to your target audience, but in the long-run, in the face of evolution and the big bang, it could improve ultimately improve credibility and longevity. sorry for the sidenote.
    in essence, i completely concur that the incorporation of an adaptable, open-minded interpretation of the universe allows phenomenons such as evolution and the big bang to act as further evidence for the grandeur and scope of our designer rather than blasphemy.
    the only thing i am sure of is my fallibility.

  19. Someone said ‘l dont’t even know what l don’t know’. Plato, or was it Socrates, knew that he saw something on the wall in the cave.
    We want the truth, as we percieve it. l will agree with everyone, when l believe it.
    There is science to small questions that are measureable. The parameters are hinted at; we can surely ‘measure’ mass in our universeview with our current tools. These are the shadows that our descendants inherit. They will have to figure out what we were talking about.

  20. Someone said ‘l dont’t even know what l don’t know’. Plato, or was it Socrates, knew that he saw something on the wall in the cave.
    We want the truth, as we percieve it. l will agree with everyone, when l believe it.
    There is science to small questions that are measureable. The parameters are hinted at; we can surely ‘measure’ mass in our universeview with our current tools. These are the shadows that our descendants inherit. They will have to figure out what we were talking about.

  21. <metanote> First of all I’m hugely impressed with the talent that’s on display in these comments. Obviously I’ve attracted an introspective group willing to explore different thoughts and challenge existing notions. I can’t begin to describe how much enjoyment I’m getting out of blogging. I see a lot email addresses though, I wish some of you guys had blogs of your own that I could read. If nothing else you could join my forums if you wanted to converse with each other in a more communicative format. Trust me on this, forums are da bomb for indepth conversations. There’s nothing like a good long conversation, slowly digested and analyzed over the course of days and weeks. It’s somewhat like these comments except much more organized.
    I’ve spent a great deal of my life thinking about the nature of the self. We are all individual creatures, each unique in his or her own way. To me, that infinite uniqueness becomes an almost spiritual sensation, a transcendation of understanding that while One can sometimes be the lonliest number, it can also mean unity of individuals, a system of unique chaotic patterns interfering with each and creating more chaos that passes through some ‘big admittance matrix in the sky’. It keeps raising the bar. That’s why new connections between people are what stimulate and vibrate this living network that we call life. It’s all about individual moments of epiphany and sharing it with others.
    What does make it interesting is that I believe science is also throwing out some interesting and fundamentally challenging questions to our perception of the world. Dark energy and dark matter are the ‘premier’ questions of our time from an ‘underlying fundamental unknown’ perspective. As energy that we cannot observe and matter that we cannot measure but comprising the majority of the universe, this presents an incredible dilemma to physicists who are trying to model this new meme into their equations of the universe. it just doesn’t seem to fit with pure objective science.
    I think there’s a possibility that dark energy ties into spirituality. I believe that dark energy is attracted to complexity which is a product of the evolution of life. Look at our brains. What has been the long running theme of evolution as time has progressed here on earth? Ever increasing complexity. Complexity is a gateway to consciousness; consciousness leads to awareness of self; awareness of self leads to the awareness of other selfs. When you perceive at a fundamental level that everyone else around you is a completely seperate and unique entity you make stronger connections with them that leads to ever increasing complexity.
    The thing is though that dark energy has mass, and it is measurable. I suggest that if there is a loss of mass associated with death of a person, that loss is due to the cessation of activity between the neurons in their brain. This complex activity I believe is the ‘magnet’ for dark energy. As the activity stops, the dark energy leaves the body. Perhaps this dark energy is an individual soul, perhaps it’s some kind of perceptual energy that allows us to observe the universe, I don’t know. But I do like to speculate, and I do love a good discussion.

  22. the world was once believed to be flat and the once who thought that it wasnt, was mad.
    Havnt we as human beings learned anything from our own history , that something that is as compelling like this cant be turned away like whispered words from a mad man , what happend to the sceintific learning of not excluding anything till it was really proven not to be true.
    science is modern life

  23. i was having a canversation the other day w/my brother about a mathematical contention that .9999999…… is infact equal to 1. that can be a different discussion but it made me think. in the decimal system, which is extremely useful for all kinds of work cannot handle very gracefully the concept of 1/3, something a child can comprehend. it needs to express it with an infinite symbol: .3333……forever. meanwhile the fractional method of expressing quantities can be extremely clumsy in many applications but is quite elegant in expressing the quantity 1/3. in this i find an appropriate analogy to how different disciplines can look at the same problems in different ways. some much more effectively than others – and they don’t need to be in competition either. i don’t know – it was compelling to me. i think it’s dangerous to become too entrenched in one way of looking at things, exploring solutions. or *maybe* it’s good to have individuals very focused and entrenched as long as society as a whole has a strong diversity of approaches. anyway, i am enjoying this conversation alot. it seems like we have alot of agreement, though & it would be interesting at least to have some postings that cut accross our common grain. so, if someone’s reading and thinks we’re all full of shit, please don’t be shy!

  24. I cannot even explain how giddy I become after reading these comments. To say that I am really enjoying it would be a grave understatement. Someone said in one of the earlier entries (and with whom I couldn’t agree more) that complexity leads to awareness… leads to awarenss of self.. leads to awareness of others and connecting to others. I really feel that by acknowledging each other we are creating some sort of web of awareness and proving there are many who have thought and pondered extensively on subjects such as is being discussed. I agree that a forum should be created so these sort of indepth and thoughtful conversations won’t end here or be limited to this. What really got me was ChefQuix’s conversation about dark matter and life energy. I have had those same thoughts for years and have never spoken a word about it because I didn’t feel like anyone would really comprehend my innate feelings about the subject even if they did disagree. Point being, I second the motion for a forum. And I also plead for a strong opposing opinion with solid reasoning to show us how we are all supporting each other’s bullshit. And, of course, please continue about the 21 grams.

  25. just to play devil’s advocate (and i don’t know much about dark energy) but if a) energy has a direct relationship to mass and b) we are assuming that the functions of a living being involve energy and c) we also assume that the death of a living being involves the cessation of much of that energy, then by that train of thought wouldn’t an individual’s mass *increase* at the point of death? to say that the energy leaves the body somehow is creating a theory to fit some tentative facts but is not really developing the logic of the theory much —or so it seems to me. looking forward to refutation……

  26. Ken, if we limit ourselves to observing energy transference in our own, visible 3D universe, then of course your argument would be sound. The thing is though is that although we have laws for the transference of energy into matter and vice versa in our observable universe, we don’t have any such laws or conversely conservation laws when dealing with the transference between observable matter and energy and ‘dark’ matter and energy.
    It’s an interesting question though, nonetheless. As I see it, some sort of unique identity abandons the body at the time of death. Whether this has consciousness itself or is just a ‘gateway’ to consciousness remains to be seen. But what happens when that connection to complexity is lost? Other dimensions? Theoretically possible, but hard to fathom. In fact all of this is hard to fathom, because realistically it’s all just speculation. I’m not a scientist and I have no empirical evidence to back anything up. It’s just a feeling I have… Sometimes you have to trust those feelings to guide you, or at least that’s the way I figure it.
    Diana, I wonder how many times I have to whore out my forums before some more people sign up. I’m glad to see you’ve signed up but I don’t see any posting. I guess people just need things to talk about, so I’ll probably create a section for discussions. Please don’t hold back! At least I’ll answer you.. 😉

  27. I’m diggin’ the posts, but can (at least I think) possibly dispell the dark energy argument with the fact that the dogs didn’t lose any mass in the original experiments. Dogs, while not having the depth in complexity as our human brains, still have brains that communicate and have energy very similar to our our own…(and there’s a little anti-argument arguement for those seeking conflict 😛

  28. That’s an interesting point and an important one because it demonstrates the difference between humans and animals. Let’s look at the human brain and compare it to a dog brain. If this dark energy is attracted to complexity, a human brain would attract much more of it simply because it’s an order of magnitude more complex than a typical dog brain. By the experimental measures of the time the loss of weight in a dog’s death would probably be unnoticed or deemed to small to be significant.
    Next? 😉

  29. im not sure if a dog’s brain really IS that much less complex than a human’s – possibly, that’s a human-centric point of view. i imagine it’s possible for a being to have just as complex a brain – even be as intelligent than us or more so – but not display it in ways readily recognizable by us. but if you are determining complexity by size alone, then it would be very interesting to do the experiment on animals w/bigger brains than us (i assume elephants or whales have bigger brains, but not 100% sure). or at least conduct the experiment on different humans with discernable differences in brain size. if this 21 grams thing is real and is unique to humans, and if the ancient notion of a soul is also unique to humans it doesn’t prove a link, but it’s very compelling all the same. it would be very interesting (and probably pure fiction, i admit) if the weight lost was variable from person to person but not as a funtion of brain size, but brain quality – ie nicer, kinder people had bigger souls that weighed more than mean, bitter people. part of me hopes it turns out that way!

  30. I did some internet searches last night when ChiefDJT inquired about the dog brain, and although I couldn’t find out the number of neurons in a canine, I did find out that they have significantly less matter than us. Whereas a human brain is 1300 grams, a dog (a beagle mind you) is only 72. If the size of the neurons are the same, one can surmise that there is 20 times less neurons and 20 times less complexity (ie less connections). So that would put the weight from 21 grams to 21 milligrams (guessing that it’s a linear scale) and probably undetectable at the time of the original experiment.

  31. how are yor measuring mass. Apparently there is a difference between gravitational and inertial. l can kind of understand this, but gravity kind of fucks it all up, for me. ls it really about the # of atom/cm3. lf so, how are the particles measured? Some kind of electromagnetic parameter? l am kind of lost.

  32. chefquix – your point is well taken – even much more so since i think it’s not a linear thing. i’ve read that a human neuron has something like 50 receptors on it. so the interaction of 2 neurons has 250 theoretical possibilities, 3 would have 12500, and onward… so, depending on exactly how much a neuron wieghs (very very little for sure), a 20 fold reduction of brain mass will yeild a staggering amount of reduced complexity – in theory at least. but also, by my own argument, a person with just a few less neurons than another person would also show a significant theoretical reduction in complexity – one neuron less might mean 50 times less complexity in a persons brain! so, i don’t know – just something to think about.

  33. When I think about complexity of a brain, I’m thinking more along the lines of how many physical connections exist between the neurons. If there is 300 billion neurons and each neuron is connected to between 100 and 10,000 other neurons, then you’ve got a couple quaddrillion connections in your brain – more than there are stars in the universe I might add. 😉 So as opposed to looking at theoretical connections (which do lead to an almost infinite variation) I define complexity as a product of number of neurons by the average number of connections each neuron has.
    brad, you’ve lost me too. 😉 I think the problem’s we have understanding all of this is that on a fundamental level we really don’t understand gravity, we can just predict it’s effects with our equations.

  34. l guess l should have asked what a neuron is, and weighs, in ‘atoms’/cm3.
    Wow. ls it maybe that we have the order of magitude wrong? Obviouslly, maybe many magnitudes of missunderstanding might be involved. l need an editor to seperate fact from conjecture.

  35. l am new to this discussion. l will tell you what l think to be true, in my own spacetime.
    Hello Eistien.
    Do you have much time
    to speake to me
    l am here
    and l am now.
    ?nothing but ‘glowing footprints when we go’
    lf you Know.

  36. Hi. I must admit that I am visiting this site because I was curious about the weight of “spirit”. I have enjoyed reading all of the postings. Open-mindedness is a wonderful thing. All of you have shown this quality and I applaud you, sincerely. Open-mindedness with strong conviction is even better. These two traits may seem mutually exclusive, but if you will indulge me for a few minutes, let me explain my personal views on the subject.
    I hold very strong religious faith-based convictions, but hopefully not in the “obsessive faith-based Abrahamic religion” way that Mooo suggested above.:) There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that human beings possess physical and spiritual components (body and soul, or body and spirit, or physical body and spiritual body, or whatever two terms you choose to describe these two intermingled “objects”). I also hold to the fact that God created both of these components (a spirit child first, which was then “clothed” in a physical body). And, I also hold that the “clothing” of my spirit with a physical body is essential to my growth and development in this life and ultimate participation in the very real life that will continue hereafter.
    If I believe this, then why am I looking at a site that is concerned with the weight of my spirit? Pure curiosity! My spirit is infinitely more curious and intelligent than the gray matter stuffed in my brain case. If I believe this, then what am I supposed to think about scientific pursuit? The more the merrier! Science is, by definition, dynamic and ever-changing and supposed to ask questions – lots of questions. Its purpose is not to establish truth, but to search for it. In a sense God is the ultimate “scientist”, in that He knows all of the questions, but also has the advantage of knowing all the answers. And we as His children are not only allowed but encouraged to search for the threads of truth woven into everything created by Him.
    We are not aimless, purposeless things that popped into life from nothing and drop out of life into a big pool of nothing.
    Back to the immediate subject, the clearest statements regarding “spirit” that I have come across were made by the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. These are referenced in the books “Doctrine and Covenants” and “Pearl of Great Price”. He said (presumedly quoting God, since that is what prophets are supposed to do):
    1. “…the spirit of man [is] in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast [i.e. animals], and every other creature which God has created”.
    2. “…the spirit and the body are the soul of man”.
    3. “For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy. And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy”.
    4. “Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning…”.
    5. “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be”.
    6. “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is matter”.
    7. “…if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are …eternal”.
    8. “These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all”.
    9. “Now the Lord had shown unto me…the intelligences that were organized before the world was”.
    I point these out merely to add a different flavor to the conversation. There are many more but these will suffice. The main points are that spirits were “organized” by God using building blocks referred to as “intelligence”, which have always existed, cannot be created or destroyed, are fundamental “packets”, and are often equated with light and truth. These organized spirits spent a lot of “time” with God and some ultimately were clothed with physical (or denser spiritual matter) bodies (i.e. human beings as we know them and animals and …). The intertwining of the spirit and the denser body is absolutely essential for the growth (not physical growth) of the spirit. And that the spirit/body combination cannot be “happy” in a separated state. Which seems to indicate that our Father, God, is also an “intertwined” (or to use common terminology, resurrected) Being (although I would allow that He is exceedingly more pure and advanced than we are at this point), since He is the embodiment of “happiness” and ultimate personal development.
    Thanks for listening. I feel that if it’s possible to perform the experiment of weighing a dying person or animal in a non-objectionable way, then go for it! In the big picture, knowing the answer won’t add much, but isn’t it fun to be curious.

  37. I’d like to see the experiment re-done.
    A negative result proves nothing, it’s true, but a positive result raises questions which would demand answers. Theism and atheism are both faith-based belief systems as neither are established on empirical evidence, and both make claim to knowledge of something which is beyond the realm of the physical senses, though it is the theist who is accused of being irrational not the atheist, an obvious inconsistency.
    A positive result would provide empirical evidence of something that as yet has no explanation when considered from a mechanistic perspective of the universe. If it can’t be explained then theories must be proposed for the phenomena. If theories based on a physiological or physical explanation can be tested and are shown to be without validity then theories based on a meta-physical explanation cannot be excluded. Thus science might at last regain some humility and be able to say ‘We don’t know why this happens and because we don’t know we cannot exclude the possibility of the existence of the soul or spirit and must therefore conclude that a belief in such may therefore be rational and consistent with the experimental evidence’ The testing of animals could be conducted in co-operation with a slaughterhouse or perhaps the RSPCA when workers have to put down abandoned or dying animals
    P.S. Don’t bother e-mailing…the address is fake.

  38. Yes but it’s all well and good to discuss the pros and cons and what ifs and maybes but if the experiment never gets done, how is this question answered?
    Anybody here a biologist?

  39. Jason,
    think science is also a faith-based belief system – faith that empirical evidence yeilds truth. funny, how no one seems to question that – but i guess they didn’t question God much a few hundred years ago. i think no matter what we do or how we do it, we can’t get away from faith of one variety or another.

  40. I haven’t read all of the comments, but I just want to clarify something about science. All that science says is that you create a hypothesis about something, and then you test it. If it fails the test, then you reject the hypothesis. Science never claims to discover truth. The only faith that science preaches is faith in repeatability — that if you control all of the important variables and you repeat an experiment exactly the same way, that you will get exactly the same results. Or something like that. I’m sick and can’t think straight right now. Maybe I’ll revisit this site in a couple days.

  41. The 21.3 grams (avg) a person looses would end up being 1.917EE15 watts for one second!!! Now that’s hot! Even if releases over the period of a day it would still be more than enough to power the worlds electrical grid for that whole day. That’s just too hot. At every human death the heat byproduct alone would totally consume the body and most of the stuff around it (456.42 kiloton force) yeah. Regardless of what type of energy it will have the associated heat (there is no “cold energy” it insults physics, physics doesn’t like that). Now….While this does NOT disprove the existence of a soul it should convince you that any loss of weight is matter. If the soul is matter then it can be contained in Tupperware (deities do not like this idea, it is offensive to think of pouring out ones’ soul literally). Matter is energy and energy is matter. If its clear that any weight loss at death is not energy so it must be matter.
    SO….any measurable weight loss at death is matter and can therefore be contained by other matter and so is not a soul unless a soul can be contained by matter. Since there is no perceivable temperature increase at death (certainly not the amount required to justify the loss of 21.3 grams of material) Excepting a brief and subtle rise in body temperature due to the lack of blood circulation then the amount of quantifiable energy released is negligible. There fore any measurable weight loss at death is not a soul.

  42. The speculation still remains that it is dark matter leaving the body at the time of death.
    Is all of the mass of a human body ‘accounted for’? That is, are we certain that it is made of baryonic matter only?
    Experiments on the subject should not need to rely on the local supply of nearly dead subjects; the correlation between out-of-body/meditative experiences and mass may also be studied.

  43. Alot of the chatter seems to revolve around the loss of 21 grams and the energy of that loss as oppposed to the leaving of that 21 grams from the body. Leaving as in not becoming nothing but just going somewhere else as in one chunk of ??? soul, spirit, or what. I personally think of life after death as a positive sequence to the normal life/death equation and support all studies to look into that area of existence. To not do the studies or dismiss the possibility of that exit of soul or spirit seems to deny the search for truth and knowledge for, at the very least, it’s own sake.
    I like spuds comments about doing the experiment on the living while in a meditative or out of body state.

    i WENT ON GOOGLE AND i TYPED IN MODEL OF AN oxygen atom, and this came up! I wanted a website with a model! U are wasting my time! I was saying to my self what kind of website is this. I couldn’t get over it! So now I’m sending U this To let U know to CHANGE YOUR WEBSITE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. @TheTruthCanBeFound: As spud was saying, I’m speculating that the dark matter or dark energy that is apparently a huge part of the universe is associated with the brain and our consciousness. If in fact this is the ‘soul’, then when we die it would cause the mass loss as our ‘host’ bodies couldn’t support that matter or energy any more. We’re not talking about converting 21 grams of regular matter into energy – of course that would cause a crazy explosion.
    @Kayrssa: I’m sorry you were misled by google to here, your feedback is appreciated but I think I’ll keep doing things the way I’ve been doing them.

  46. To Kayrssa Lawer,
    This site is wasting your time?? Haha if you had enuff time to post to tell us all about this, man your time must be worth alot, i mean looking for models of atoms is hard to fit in between reruns of star trek and unwrappen another Twinkie. Maybe if you took some of that time of yours and read some stuff on this site you would expand your mind enuff to have some thing more interesting to talk about then an atom at the next “Every website I visit should have exactly what I want on it” party you and what ever other self important, whiny friends you might have.
    Next time you come to a site like this with the level of intelligence such as Chefs, don’t be a dumbass. ‘sides i am the only one who is allowed to be an ass to Chef. Fuc if you had half the surfen skillz as Chef you would not need post useless whiny comments; you would have found it on your first shot. I dub thee an asshat.

  47. Like many here, I consider myself a Truth Seeker.
    I got a BS in Physics thinking that it would somehow answer or help me find the answer to the question that I had been asking myself all of my life: “What am I?”
    Physics did not but I think now I now have a different attitude toward the question. This attitude can be summed up with two quotes:
    1. This one I had a tough time finding the source, even now I am not sure of the source, but given the story, does it need one?
    There is a wonderful story in the Islamic Sufi tradition about a man by the name of Mulla Nasruddin. Some of you probably hear the funny stories that the Sufis ascribe to this Mulla. He is much like the trickster, Thennali Raman, in Tamil folklore. Mulla Nasruddin was hunting for something in the gutter outside his house. His neighbor came to him and said, “Mulla! Mulla! What are you looking for?” Mulla said, “I’ve lost my keys! That is what I am looking for! Rather testy the Mulla was. The neighbor said, “Well, do you remember where you left them last?” and the Mulla said, “Oh, I know where they are. They’re in the house.” The neighbor said, “Why are you looking for them outside?” He replied, “There is more light outside.” Like Mulla, many of us are looking for our key outside.
    Meditation is the key that has been misplaced, left behind in our interior house. It is not to be found outside in the gutter, whatever the glamour, the glitz, and glitter might be.
    2. Edie Brickell What I AM
    Philosophy, is the talk on a cereal box
    Religion, is a smile on a dog
    That is all,

  48. Regarding the 21 grams:
    Yeah, I found this site the same way most of you did, looking for evidence to either confirm of disprove the 21 grams legend. I had heard about the 21 grams several years ago, but didn’t go looking until just now. I guess I am more susceptible to media hype than I care to admit! ‘O)
    It does look like a good movie though.
    I am still unconvinced the loss of 21 grams is true, but in reading this board I see it has lead to a whole lot of other questions concerning our existence, so I’m afraid I am going to jump in head first here and give you my take on our present state of Reality.
    I apologize that it is only a snippet from a much longer dissertation, but if it piques you interest you can find the whole of my insane ramblings on my web site at: Choices
    I place the blame on Rene Descartes for starting the whole thing with his “I think; therefore I am.” Having said that, I also must admit that I believe that “I think,” and therefore know we exist is the only Universal Truth, and all else is just philosophy.
    But realizing that we exist only leads to The Fundamental Question: Why? Why does anything at all exist? “Why is there ‘Something’ instead of ‘Nothing?”
    A great many minds have been pondering that question for a great many ages, and the search for that one answer has given us every science under the sun, but I think the answer is quite obvious. The reason ‘Something;’ exists is because ‘Nothing’ cannot exist. “Something” is the default condition.
    Of course that answer really doesn’t answer the real question: What the hell is that Something?
    Ok, we exist, but what do we exist IN? So we started looking around and figured out we exist in a Universe of ‘Things,’ and these Things are made from a whole lot of other really really tiny Things. Not only that, but all these really really tiny things stretch out all over the place even into outer space and beyond as far, and in every direction, we can see. And no matter how far we looked there always seem to be places even farther than we can see. It just doesn’t freakin’ end! It’s a Freakin’ Infinity filled with all these really really tiny things!
    Then some Einstein comes along and says- “Hey wait a minute guys! You know all those really really tiny things? They are not ‘Things’ at all! There are no ‘particles’ in our particles. When you take those really really tiny things and smash them apart you don’t get really really really tiny things, you get empty space and some kind of force thingey that doesn’t seem to be made from anything at all! Well, nothing that we can see anyway. Not only that, but you know all those neat Galaxies? They are all spinning way to fast! They should be flying apart, but they’re not.
    Not only is there a force we can’t see making all those really really tiny things, there seems to be another unseen force holding Galaxies together!”
    Our whole Universe seems to be made from forces we cannot see and cannot measure. Our whole physical Universe is made of ‘Nothing’ coming out of Nowhere!
    The Man Who Wasn’t There
    “As I was walking up the stair
    I met a man who wasn’t there.
    He wasn’t there again today.
    I wish, I wish he’d stay away.”
    Hughes Mearns
    The Quantum Mandrake
    Ok, so now where are we? We have a Universe filled with forces pretending to be solid matter, and we have Galaxies spinning way to fast to hold together, but being held in check by a force we cannot see and cannot measure ( Dark Energy). And no idea where any of these things come from in the first place.
    Well, that’s not quite true, we do have ideas. Heck, we have lots and lots of ideas, we just can’t prove a single one of them! All we can do is say “Hey, What if?”, and see if any of it makes any sense.
    So to figure out how invisible forces join together and pretend to be solid matter we invent all kinds of Fundamental “Particles”, which aren’t particles at all but ‘forces.’ We give them names like quarks, bosons, hedrons, and invent properties for each and every one of them. We give them Spin, Flavor and Charm, then go looking for them, and are not surprised at all when we find them. We could have just as well called them Solitons, Pulsoids, Ultrons, hylotrons, and Phorbs, endowed them with different properties; given them wave functions and oscillations, and if we looked, we would have found what we went looking for.
    The first idea for ‘Dark Matter’ was an attempt to find the “Missing Matter” in the physical Universe. Dark Matter, to the best of my memory, was needed to help explain purely physical problems with our observed Universe, and deals mostly with gravitational effects, Cosmic Background Radiation, and whether our Universe was ‘Open’ or ‘Closed.’ And thought they theoretically found gobs and gobs of it, it wasn’t enough, and nowhere near enough by half to keep those crazy spinning Galaxies from flying apart. I forget the exact ratios, but I believe it was something like 15-20 percent normal matter and energy, and 25-30 percent dark matter. Which still leaves half of everything as an unexplained invisible force we call Dark Energy.
    What soon becomes obvious is the study of Physics is not really the study of the physical at all, it is the study of the Metaphysical. To explain where all these forces come from we invented Quantum Mechanics, Super Symmetry, String Theory, and Membranes Theory.
    I bundle them all togther and call them the Quantum Mandrake, because every one of them is an attempt to explain how the Magick oozes from an invisible nonphysical realm to transform itself into what we perceive as a physical Universe.(By the way, I didn’t coin the phrase Quantum Mandrake, someone I only knew a Luis did, but he did graciously; after some very find begging on my part, give it to me to use.)
    With String and Membrane Theory we really get into the Metaphysical because both of these do not exist in our Space/Time Universe, but in another Dimension all wrapped up and entangled with our physical Universe. All the Fundamental forces that combine to create our Reality radiate from the Quantum Universe; a Universe of nonphysical dimensions. A Universe of pure “Dark Energy.”
    Subject to Change
    I know what I know, and I know it is true.
    If you ask me for proof, I can talk till you’re blue.
    I have it all here, in print and in scrawl.
    It’s a fact, not a theory…In fact it’s a law.
    I know it’s the truth, no matter how strange
    Oh, by the way, it’s all subject to change.
    The Tabula Rasa
    We now understand that “all there is” in our physical Universe is woven from
    “Dark Energy” radiating through the Quintessence first into the “Quantum
    Universe” where it take form as a force, and then into our physical Universe
    where the forces combine to give the Illusion of Reality.
    But where does the Dark Energy come from? The Dark Energy is The
    The Singularity cannot exist because it has no beginning and no end; it is
    always in a state of potential existence, but can never wholly exist. It is
    Infinite and it is also Unbound. Being Unbound it can not be defined, for it
    can potentially be anything and everything at any time.
    The Singularity is The Tabula Rasa. It is a Blank Slate on
    which we write anything we wish.
    The Singularity is all there is, it is the only One, and It has no parts. No-thing can exist in The
    Singularity because all things are The Singularity.
    I am The Singularity! You are The Singularity! Everything is The
    We say we exist in this physical Universe, but our physical Universe does
    not exist. There is nothing physical in it. It is all formed from the
    metaphysical woven from forces radiating from an Invisible Dark Energy. Our
    Universe is made from Nothing, and We are made from the same stuff.
    But we Know we exist. We Know because we Think. We have a consciousness, a
    sentience, a mind. But a mind; a consciousness, is not Physical and can not
    be found in this physical Universe. Consciousness cannot be located and
    thoughts cannot be measured or defined. They are invisible, infinite, and
    The Singularity is all there is, it is the only One, and It has no parts.
    We do not exist in The Singularity.
    We are The Singularity.

  49. You have some interesting points, I find in funny that I read your site (and I guess your post) before you even posted it.. 😉 Where your theories break down in your Poly-Solipsism I believe (and please – prove me wrong!) is that there is far too much ability attributed to one single human brain. I believe that there is potential for great power yet is there any ‘UNIverse’ altering effects on display that are repeateable? How can you claim that any single brain has the capability to alter it’s own universe? Wouldn’t that alteration be perceived by the others?
    I think that the tenants of your Poly-Solipsism are similar to my ideas of perceptionalism, however I believe that coordinating these mind/universes is our goal to mass spiritual enlightenment. Only through an order of magnitude more complex system can we save ourselves.

  50. Thank-you all for some very interesting and thought provoking material.I feel to converse with most of you would put me in a dimension all of it’s own, out of my league, but just the same I would like to know this?
    You all seem to take the loss of 21grms as an actual fact.yet its nothing more than, well,folklore isn’t it?
    What do we weigh when we sleep, or are unconscious,has anyone ever studied this?(maybe I dont know.
    what about a dog not losing mass? Surely the canine must lose energy at its point of death.And because his brain is less complex it is more unlikely to release a soul?hmmmmmm.
    Seems alot of these comments are based on the probability of a red herring.
    All that aside, I find the relationship between death and quantum physics interesting.
    Anyway,I will be stopping by for more info thanks

  51. Science is a dangerous thing in the hands of movie makers and physicians.
    The first Ballistocardiograph was made in 1953, see second photo on right hand side of http://www.nihonkohden.com/50th/history2.html
    It measures the volume of blood passing through the heart and the force of cardiac contraction by measuring the body’s recoil as blood is ejected from the ventricles in each heartbeat.
    I remember using one of these in grad school to measure the forces created by the pumping heart and blood acceleration. In the manuscript shown on the following web page http://www.laboratorium.dist.unige.it/~piero/Workshop2002/dalessio-1.PDF the vertical forces (in the direction of gravity) range from -1.3 to 3.0 Newtons with a frequency of about 1.5 seconds. By the way, 21 grams is about 0.21 Newtons on earths surface. Therefore a persons reclining weight varies almost 430 grams with every heartbeat, but typical scales aren’t sensitive or responsive enough to measure this. A scale measures the body weight + “average” cardiac force, but at death would only measure the body weight.
    Duncan McDougall’s experiment resulting in the 21 gram theory was conducted in 1907, before this phenomon was identified, was on a very small sample size, 6 patients, and his equipment was not sufficiently accurate or responsive. He constructed a special bed in his office “arranged on a light framework built upon very delicately balanced platform beam scales” sensitive to two-tenths of an ounce. This would accurately measure the average forces, but balance scales cannot measure changing forces. As noted in the excerpt from his manuscript (The Soul: Hypothesis Concerning Soul Substance Together with Experimental Evidence of The Existence of Such Substance; American Medicine. April 1907), his experiment does not accommodate rapidly changing or ceasing cardiac forces. He writes:
    “The patient’s comfort was looked after in every way, although he was practically moribund when placed upon the bed. He lost weight slowly at the rate of one ounce per hour due to evaporation of moisture in respiration and evaporation of sweat. During all three hours and forty minutes I kept the beam end slightly above balance near the upper limiting bar in order to make the test more decisive if it should come. At the end of three hours and forty minutes he expired and suddenly coincident with death the beam end dropped with an audible stroke hitting against the lower limiting bar and remaining there with no rebound. The loss was ascertained to be three-fourths of an ounce. This loss of weight could not be due to evaporation of respiratory moisture and sweat, because that had already been determined to go on, in his case, at the rate of one sixtieth of an ounce per minute, whereas this loss was sudden and large, three-fourths of an ounce in a few seconds. The bowels did not move; if they had moved the weight would still have remained upon the bed except for a slow loss by the evaporation of moisture depending, of course, upon the fluidity of the feces. The bladder evacuated one or two drams of urine. This remained upon the bed and could only have influenced the weight by slow gradual evaporation and therefore in no way could account for the sudden loss. There remained but one more channel of loss to explore, the expiration of all but the residual air in the lungs. Getting upon the bed myself, my colleague put the beam at actual balance. Inspiration and expiration of air as forcibly as possible by me had no effect upon the beam. My colleague got upon the bed and I placed the beam at balance. Forcible inspiration and expiration of air on his part had no effect. In this case we certainly have an inexplicable loss of weight of three-fourths of an ounce. Is it the soul substance? How other shall we explain it?2

  52. P.S. As for dogs, the same forces would exist, but of much smaller magnitude, unlikely to be detected by McDougall’s balance scale.

  53. Well now that is very interesting. Here we have a scientific, non-mystical answer to our 21 grams dilemma. My only thought is that if the person was lying in a prone position wouldn’t the force of cardiac contraction be directed in a horizontal direction, ie not in a downward and measurable direction? This is definately something to mull over though, thanks for the links!

  54. The force of contraction has components in all three directions, and the anterior-poeterior force is about 0.4 Newtons of 40 grams.

  55. Ok so that is interesting, but then according to what you’re saying if the person died on their stomach would they in fact gain 40 grams? How exactly does that go?

  56. A reply to ChefQuix:
    We are limited by our entanglement.
    Any mind not only places limits on itself by what it perceives and believes to be true, but through its entanglement it can also limit what everyone one else can do.
    If a mind were completely isolated from all other minds than the Solipsist philosophy would be true. It would completely control its own universe.
    It is the commingling and communications between minds/spirits/souls that creates “What Is.”
    One mind with a vision is a hallucination; two minds who share the same vision is Gist!
    But there is evidence on the ability of one mind to control its own universe, and it is observed by others. I am talking about hypnosis, the Placebo Effect, and the “Miraculous” ability of the human body to spontaneously cure itself. People under hypnosis will manifest burns and blisters when they are told they are being burned by nothing more than an object at room temperature. A percentage of patients will show the same heeling effects from a Placebo sugar pill as those who get the actual medicine. And who has not heard of brain tumors and cancers ‘miraculously’ disappearing, or patients getting out of their wheelchairs after being told they would never walk again?
    I see the evidence all around us and I believe anyone would see the same things I do if they only know what to look for.
    It has been said the goal of philosophy is not to find the answer, but to find the right question. Once you ask the right question the answer will be obvious.
    The mind affecting a change to the body it is attached to is quite understandable because of their intimate relationship. What is not so obvious is the effect a mind can have on things not so intimate. When we start moving away from our own minds and bodies we then must contend even more with the entanglement we are in with other minds.
    To understand how this can happen I would like to remind you that though our bodies and minds appear to be completely independent, we are all part of the same system. We are all part of The Singularity and our Universe is connected to it through the Quantum Universe. It is because we see ourselves as separate from our Universe; sort of observers only, we fail to see that we are all connected. We are not ‘Here” and the Universe is ‘Out There,’ we are the Universe.
    It is because of this entanglement everyone of us can influence everything in our Universe. I will use ESP as an example.
    For years there has been controversy over the results of independent test for ESP. A few researchers claimed positive results, but when the same test was performed by other researchers they found no evidence beyond random chance.
    In my research on the subject I came across one report I found particularly interesting. The researcher was testing the claim that we can sense when we are being watched. For someone who is unaware they are being watched to ‘sense’ the eyes of an unseen watcher would go a long way in confirming the existence of Extra Sensory Perception.
    The experiment was set up with ‘receivers’ and a ‘senders,’ and if I remember correctly, the ‘receivers’ was unaware they were being watched.
    Alas, the experiment failed to show anything the researcher would consider a positive ‘hit.’
    Yeah, I know this doesn’t sound that interesting, but what was interesting was what the Researcher included in his report! It seem this researcher was a skeptic, and was out to prove that we cannot sense when we are being watched, and just to insure his test would not be biased, he states in his report he actually excluded several “Nut Cases” who requested to be part of the test because they claimed to have psychic abilities!
    This researcher failed to take into account his own psychic abilities to negatively influence his own experiment.
    It is now believed that the minds of those participating in any experiment will influence the outcome of that experiment. There are no Observers in the Universe, because we cannot observe anything without affecting that which we observe. By observing we become part of the experiment.
    We find what we go looking for.
    I do have this report saved in here somewhere, but I have hundreds of bookmarks on two different computers. It is almost easier to search the Internet to find it again than it is to find it hiding in my files. I believe I did a search for “Remote Viewing” when I found it the first time several years ago, but since Google has gotten so efficient I got 2,050,000 hits when I just tried the search again. This report is among them somewhere, and I bet there are many others that are equally of interest, so you are invited to look there until I can find the report I have saved. If I find it I will pass the link along, but don’t hold your breath. ‘O)
    I am leaving this reply here, but since it is really off topic for this 21 grams discussion I will also leave it on your Discussion Forum for any and all questions and comments.

  57. RE: 21 grams – Patients are usually placed on their back, and McDougall did not say they were in the prone position.
    Regarding cckeiser and remote viewing. This was debunked by several experiments conducted by Edward Karnes in the late-1970s. See:
    Karnes, Edward W.; Ballou, Julie; Susman, Ellen P.; Swaroff, Philip. Remote viewing: Failures to replicate with control comparisons. Psychological Reports, 1979 Dec, v45 (n3):963-973.
    Karnes, Edward W.; Susman, Ellen P. Remote viewing: A response bias interpretation. Psychological Reports, 1979 Apr, v44 (n2):471-479.
    Finally, the old standby for philosophy majors who seem to frequent this chat room – Does a tree make a sound if it falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it? Not as thought provoking or complex as 21 grams. What are your thoughts? I will try to provide an indisputable answer tomorrow for anyone who cares.

  58. I haven’t yet read all of the posts, however, I offer another possible alternative solution to this 21 gram mystery. Even if a “soul” exists, by any definition, it is doubtful that something that is not visible to the human eye and capable of “floating away undetected” weighs 21 grams.
    A better explanation could be that the loss of electrical charge releases adjoining material from the human body. It is well accepted that the body attracts material based on its electrical charge. Obviously, when we die, the “magnet” loses it ability to attract. This material “falling off” could conceivably total 21 grams. This would also explain the dog debacle, namely the fur would change the effect of this loss of charge.
    Anyway, that is my two cents, keep the change!

  59. Does a tree make a sound if it falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it? A falling tree creates pressure waves that propogate through the air and eventually dissipate. If the pressure waves are encountered by an eardrum, they are interpreted by the brain as sound. Therefore, a falling tree does not make a sound, irrespective of whether there is anyone around to hear it. Back to the real world!

  60. Hank, Your supposition relies on a fairly loose definition of sound. Considering that not everyone interprets soundwaves to the same result, the definition must include the origin, and not just the reaction. However, since there are necessarily two parts to sound; namely, the origin and the reaction at the ear, the answer is still no!

  61. Whether there is a sound all depends on your definition of what a sound is.
    If you define it as a vibration of a medium; in this case air, than yes anything that will cause the air to vibrate would be considered a sound.
    But if you believe that vibration must be heard to actually be ‘sound,’ than no, the falling tree does not make a sound, it only creates a vibration. A sound is only a “Sound” if it is heard!
    The deeper philosophical question contained in the falling tree question is what is Reality?
    The definition of Reality is: The quality or state of being real. That which is real. And the definition of “Real” is: Anything that actually exists; authentic, genuine.
    But how do we know something is real, authentic, genuine, and really exists? We say we know it is because we can see it, feel it, smell it, hear it, measure it, and if need be kick it!
    We know it is real because we “perceive” it to be real.
    For something to be ‘real’ it must first be perceived. If it is not perceived it is not ‘real’!
    Of course this only leads to the next question: What is perception?
    Do a web search for “Does the Universe exist if we are looking?” and you will find an interesting article from the renowned John Wheeler.

  62. The lack of depth of the “falling tree” question serves to effectively demonstrate that humans are currently incapable of determining the full scope of reality. This demonstration is based on our inability to even effectively graph a riddle to present the question. Similarly, the “one hand clapping” and other philosophical malignancies have outlived their useful life. Sadly, we have nothing to replace them with. This brings us to our fundamental paradox: since we don’t know the answer, how can we ever hope to present the question in a coherent manner? I believe asking humans to present clear analysis of a system as complex as “reality” is a bit like asking a monkey to do complex division. Eventually, and with enough effort, they might get it, but any correct answers will be purely coincidental!
    However, having said that, it is still fun to predict and live long enough to be proven wrong, which is really the life result of all of our greatest thinkers!
    Thoughts anyone??

  63. What exactly do you mean by “lack of depth”? I’ve been struggling with this question for as long as I’ve been really thinking. I believe by the tone of your reply that you too have struggled with this question, haven’t come up with any ‘definitive’ answer and are now trying to move on. But this struggle is exactly what gives a question depth, and the more the struggle, the more the journey to answer that question will add to the all that is you.
    So really, I think what we need is to find some kind of place holder for this one and then see where it takes us as a society. In order to find an answer of best quality we should really try to disect this question and look at it from a different perception.
    Does a tree make a sound if it falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it?
    This question is deceptive because it blinds us by flattering our humanistic ego. It panders to the idea that we are all that matters, that we are the only observers. The question is always ‘no one’, but is it ever ‘no man’? It is always perceived as ‘no man’. This however is a key to answering this question. Are we the only observers?
    Take for instance the perception of a squirrel. There are no humans around but a tree falls – you know that squirrel is going to run. It hears a sound, so the tree makes a sound.
    Then you have the other plants. There are no humans or squirrels, but a tree falls and a bush vibrates from the soundwave caused. This vibration interrupts sap and hormones moving throughout the bush and produces some kind of response. Isn’t that all obeservation is? Stimulus response, where the response is a reordering of internal static values?
    Finally you have the rocks which at first glance would seem completely unaffected, but upon closer examination a small crack occurs in a boulder because of the vibrations, a seed that crystalizes due to previous stress. Stimulus, response. Observation.
    As abstract as this concept may be nonetheless they are all forms of observation, which is the crux of this question. If one takes the question to ask if ‘no man’ is around, then of course it makes a sound! There is plenty to observe it and adjust or respond to the stimulus. If one takes the question to ask if ‘no one’ is around then it is a trick question, because there wouldn’t be a forest at all, and thus no tree to fall.

  64. If sound is defined as an auditory sensation. The answer to the question (Does a tree make a sound?) is no, since trees don’t make sounds, ears preceive sound as an auditory sensation.
    If sound is defined as mechanical vibrations transmitted by an elastic medium, then yes.
    But the answer is only a function of the definition of sound.

  65. How old is this question? Was the question asked before the physics of sound and the mechanics of the ear and human perception of senses were explored? I do not think that an answer based on our mechanistic understanding of sound is necessarily the answer the askers were looking for.

  66. Great point on the “tree-sound” comment, Chefquix. It is completely typical of our human ego to focus the question on our notions of perception. I plead guilty on that front, which is ironic as I frequently criticize others for the same breach. I take your point that the reaction of “sound” waves with virtually anything can be “sound”. Further, the timing of the dissipation of sound waves plays into the equation as well. In other words, two people standing side by side with different hearing capabilities would answer the question differently if one “hears” something and the other does not. This speaks directly to the notion of whether this question is internal or external to the specific individual. In fact, one can argue it has to be internal to the individual by default, since we have no universal definition of several necessary parameters defining the question.
    WRT the “lack of depth” comment, my intent was to illustrate the inability to accurately define a question without knowing the answer. By definition, it is very difficult to accurately phrase a question that does not have a static and linear answer!

  67. “The time has come, the Walrus said,
    To talk of many things:
    Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax
    Of cabbages and kings
    And why the sea is boiling hot
    And whether pigs have wings.”
    Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). 1832-1898.
    I get the feeling old Charley Dodgson had a premonition about Internet Discussion boards when he wrote this one!
    As a discussion board Junkie I can attest that for the exchange of ideas, interesting dialog, and most times lively debate, you cannot beat a good discussion board.
    If you wish to know if pigs really do have wings join the forum!
    As an added incentive, for all new members this month I will personally reveal the secret to The “Philosopher’s Stone”!
    Ok, I am now pimping for ChefQuix! ‘O)
    This was unsolicited, but I really hate to see a good discussion board going to waste.

  68. Yes please if you feel like discussing anything at all in greater detail, visit the forums, sign up and have a chat. I’ve whored them up pretty good so I’d like to see someone other than myself have the last word.. 😉
    As for the lack of depth, I think I understand what you’re talking about, but in reality will we ever be able to find a question like you seek? Is one unanswerable question as good as another? How do you describe the quality of one question over another?

  69. So once again we don’t even understand what we are talking about. There IS something, right, called dark, that we cannot see. How do we know that we cannot see it. There is the tree analagy. How about being the tree?

  70. It’s a bizarre question really, you may say that what is dark matter and dark energy are the “tree falling in a forest” question of OUR time… One can only hope that science will come up with the answer, however I do not have much hope as it seems the answer will probably be so far out there that no ‘grounded’ scientist would even think to ask the right question to perform an experiment. Perhaps it’s time to get really crazy.

  71. Science may never find the answer.
    Science, by its very nature, must confine itself to things that can be ‘measured.’ Occam’s Razor, its tool of choice, limits where Science can look for “Truth.”
    But Occam’s razor is like the drunk who has lost his car keys on one side of a street, but looks for them on the other side under the street lamp because the light is better and it is easier to see there.
    Sometimes truth lies in dark places.
    I do not mean ‘dark’ as in sinister. Dark places are where things exist that cannot be measured and where science cannot shine a light. Dark Energy may be such a place.

  72. History has frequently proven that Science has no limit. Rather, it is the people using the tool that have the limit. If all one ever sees is someone using a hammer to drive in nails, one never knows that the other end is used to pull them out.
    Once again, we are in the dangerous realm of assuming that everyone defines a term similarly. Define “Science”? I just recently had this discussion, and at the end we agreed that properly applied science must include the use of qualitative as well as quantitative data in order to arrive at a reasonable model of nature and reality, which, I feel, is the fundamental definition of “Science”. Science, properly applied, is used to generate repeatable models of nature and reality. Inherently, this is limited. Therefore, by definition, the application of science, not science itself, is limited and we should not use our limited definition of terms to limit our perspective.
    Lastly, and at the risk of stating the obvious, we can see “Dark”. If we couldn’t, how would we know it was there?? Much as different people hear different levels, people see differently. Therefore, what is “dark” to one person is “light” to another. Regardless, we all see it, it is simply a matter of scale.
    Oh no, I think I see a new thread developing here!

  73. Hi Gord! ‘O)
    Yeah, I never liked the term “Dark” for describing something that cannot be seen. ‘Black Holes’ were bad enough, but ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Dark Energy’ just do not tell the whole story to the general public.
    As you probable already know, Black Holes are black because their gravity wells are so steep the velocity needed to escape exceeds the speed of light; therefore if we saw one it would look completely black. The only way we would know it was there visually is by the starlight it was blocking. We would also know it was there by the gravitational effects it would exert in it immediate neighborhood.
    Dark Matter on the other hand is not really as dark as a black hole. If we could get close enough to some of it we would be able to see it. The reason it is now called black is because from where we are sitting right now we cannot see it. All though dark matter is theorized to compose more than half of the normal matter/energy in our Universe, it is not emitting any kind of radiation we can detect. That is the only reason we call it ‘Dark.’ We “know” it is there because of the gravitational effects it has on stars and galaxies.
    Dark Energy is a horse of a different color. In fact, it is a horse with no color at all. Dark Energy is all around us just like gravity is all around us, but we cannot see or detect it with any technology we currently have.
    We know it is there only by deduction because when we add together all the normal matter/energy and all the ‘dark matter’ we still only have about half enough to account for the behavior of galaxies. Dark Energy isn’t called dark because it is black like a black hole, or just very dark like dark matter, we cannot see it because it just isn’t there. It just does not have any of the normal physical attributes of the energy we know that we can measure. It represents an unknown force Science has not encountered before. (Actually I think we have, we just do not wish to admit it exists.) Dark Energy is really getting into the Metaphysical aspects of our Universe.
    I believe once we know what the Dark Energy is, it will answer a whole lot of the mysteries of our Universe and just may tell us how it all works.

  74. I’m responding to an earlier post by ChefQuix who wanted to hear from a scientist who had the training and tools to do this kind of thing.
    Haven’t got time to read all the posts right now and write in full, but when I first came across the 21g idea over 20 years ago I actually tried to reproduce the experiment using 2 unfortunate little guinea pigs. Darn things wouldn’t keep still enough to weigh them accurately, so they died in vain.
    It’s a very interesting concept, however, and once I’ve read the original work and digested the latest postings I’ll be back with some suggestions which I promise will be less gruesome than my adolescent attempt.

  75. As a nurse capable of performing research I probably have the closest view to death that any scientist could have on a daily basis. I’ve seen hundreds of people in their dying stages, and must agree that this topic is very fascinating. I must admit though that I have no desire to reproduce the experiement only because I don’t have the time to do it while working full time. An experiement of the quality it would take to have significant results would take a great deal of people skills (talking with families and patients), and patience because catching people at the instant they die is not an easy task. I’m replaying over and over in my mind the deaths that I’ve witnessed trying to remember every detail about the person’s body as I watched them slip away. It is usually one of two very different situations…either peacful and quiet (as with a person who we’ve expected to go at any time) or sudden and noisy (as with cardiac arrest, people all around trying to bring the person back). I’m assuming that all the previous experiements were done with the first situation, and I wonder if the same results would be true with the second. It would be hard to physically weigh a person in the second because of everything else going on (Doctors are not likely to “step aside” for someone to roll the person onto a bed weight). Your best bet for finding someone willing to reproduce the experiment would be to find a graduate student in need of a research idea. I could see all sorts of majors interested in the concept…Psychology, Biology, Medical, possibly Nursing. And probably many others. However I agree with some of the others who have posted that the results may not be very meaningful. It would be nearly impossible to prove that the loss of mass would be the person’s spirit. As someone said earlier, there are so many things we do not know about the human body and the universe as a whole, we may never see the entire picture.
    I’d like to go into detail about the strange things I’ve noticed that go on when people die, but I don’t know that it is appropriate for the topic, but anyone interested can let me know and I may post later.

  76. Hello J3nn
    I would love to hear more of the things you have seen, but I agree, this is not the forum for this discussion.
    If you would not mind you can post what ever you can remember of the Discussion Forum ChefQuix has set up and linked at the top of this page.
    You can join for free if you wish, or just post as a guest.
    There are several discussions already started, but if you don’t find any you think fit, please feel free to start a new topic on “The Quantum Mandrake” discussion board.
    I hope to see you there.

  77. Why not give Kirlian photography a try. It was used years ago to catch ghostly images in suspicious dwellings. A camera could be focused on a willing or comatose person who is near death. Then at the point of death they lose their supposed 21 grams and maybe if the reason is metaphysical it can be caught on film. I’m not sure if Kirlian photography has be debunked, but if it hasn’t-someone should give it a shot.

  78. I am a senior in high school and my class has been discussing the theory of the soul weighing 21 grams. We were wondering when one gets a soul? When you are born, when your heart starts beating? We would like to know if scientists have weighed embryos. If anyone has any info, please email me. Thank you.

  79. Hi, I am a journalist from Brazil and I am writing a story about the 21 grams/lost of soul “legend”. I found this conversation very interesting, but I am not finding the study of dr. Duncan MacDougall published in the magazine American Medicine, in 1907. I hope some of you may have it, so I ask you to please send it to me.
    Thank you very much.

  80. I wish I could help you find more information about that source but I don’t have any access to those archives. Please keep me informed though if you’re doing a story, I’d love to hear your take on it. Email me any developments to chefquix@perceptionalism.com and I’ll make sure and write about it as well. 😉

  81. i am so fascinated by this topic that i have decided to do a speech on it. We’ll see how it does this weekend and thank you all for your comments as they will be used and authors recognized in my speech. Thanks again.

  82. Ok, I have been trying to keep my own philosophy disassociated from this topic awaiting conformation one way or another. Needless to say, this is not the only discussion about “21 Grams” on the Internet, and though I do not believe for a moment I read even a fraction of them, I have read enough to conclude no one has the answer. No one as yet can provide anything other than ‘hearsay’ as to the validity of the ‘Urban Legend’ that we use any weight at all at the moment of death.
    I did try a web search myself, and is how I found this board, but I also failed to find anything conclusive. The problem may be that almost all the links lead to something about the movie “21 Grams” and very few discuss the phenomenon itself. After a few hours of searching you just say screw it, it’s not worth the effort, and I already have too many other things to do. There is just too much “information pollution” out there!
    I did read a post by one PhD who stated it is all a hoax and there have been numerous studies done that disprove we lose any weight at the time of death. The fact that his PhD is in Mathematics and he has not as yet furnish a link or reference to support his statement must be kept in mind. Not that I can really fault him for not supplying a link or reference, since I know from experience how difficult that can be when recalling something I read more than six months ago, and is almost impossible for something I recall from years ago!
    Which only leads me to conclude, that after all this time, not a single person has unearth anything other than hearsay on this subject, that it is just another urban legend.
    This a bit of a relief, as the loss of weight does not fit with what I believe about the spirit/soul. In my philosophy the mind is the union of the spirit and soul, and neither are composed of e=mc2 type energy; they are made from the same ‘energy’ memories are made from, and none of them exist in our physical Universe.
    Our mind exists in a different dimension in the Quantum Universe and is only connected to this physical Universe through a link with the brain. If it is only a connection that is lost, there should be no loss of weight. Your computer does not get lighter if you unplug from the Internet.
    ( For Natasha )
    The way I see it, the brain is a biological battery that must be properly functioning for a proper connection to be made. We acquire our mind/spirit/souls the moment our brains begins to function. Once the electrochemical reactions in the brain cease, the lights go out and we lose our connection.
    If you would care to read more about my philosophy you can find it on my web site at:

  83. wrap your mind around this one… I’m not sure which it is-maybe both- alzheimers or being in a coma and someone that is medically deemed “brain dead” it would be interesting to do the experiment with those two types of people with “depleted neurons'” (im pretty sure its alzheimers) and this is going back to the whole brain complexity neuron junk from a while ago… [just another thought: would the results of the experiment differ in mentally “retarted” subjects and “normal” people- sorry about the bad terminology]

  84. I was looking back to Paul’s post dec. 9 and thinking about religious Nuts (inadvertently including Paul into this group) and how these people… well I’ve always wondered if the reason they always sound so pepy is due to which of two reasons: a) “they” are so consumed by religion and “gods great word” that they cannot or are to ignorant to see the bad in the world AND/OR b) we, the ‘others’ are seemingly inferior to “them” and are therefore regarded and treated as children….my aren’t I the controversial one.

  85. Like many of you, I was curious to know the answer to this phenomenon and was left with the far to simple answer of a disembodied soul. I started thinking about what life processes cease when the heart stops beating(~4.14g
    So a deep breath weighs roughly a nickel(5g). Let us hope we’re never charged to breathe. Assuming oxygen intake wasn’t considered for these tests(sorry, I haven’t read up on this phenomenon to a great extent), there’s still 16.86 grams to account for. Could be your soul, or a combination of several other degradations.
    Satirical advice: Sticking with the nickel conversion, your soul is only worth about 20 cents (i.e. worthless). Sell it to the devil to spend this physical lifetime in unlimited ecstacy. *wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more*
    Sidenote for those who care: I was baptised Lutheran, raised by a Lutheran and a Catholic, and I myself am currently agnostic.

  86. SORRY. I inadvertently put in an HTML code the wiped my calculations. Here’s the repost:
    Like many of you, I was curious to know the answer to this phenomenon and was left with the far to simple answer of a disembodied soul. I started thinking about what life processes cease when the heart stops beating(the leading cause of death *laugh*). My first inclination was how to account for the loss of oxygen in the lungs, and this is what I came out with:
    The atomic mass of oxygen is 15.9994.
    At STP, 22.414L of oxygen contains 1 mol.
    Note: Gas density(g/L) is effected by temperature and pressure, but only slightly.
    15.9994 g mol

  87. I see eveyones point, and I think they are all defensable. I just can’t get over the conclusion that dogs don’t have soul. If the soul, clicked humans on, what clicked dogs on then, if not the soul? Humans aren’t different, or special, humans are living beings just like the others. I’d rather believe that people don’t have a soul, and that includes me, than to believe that no other anymal has one. The whole idea that god created the world to adams delight is just wrong.

  88. I have a theory for that: maybe it is proportional to the body mass of the animal in question. So a little child’s “soul” would weight less than an adult’s soul. Dogs mostly weight less than people, so, maybe, Dr.Macdogall’s scale wasn’t that acurate.

  89. Scuzz:
    In the experiment they mentioned trying to exhale as much of their breath as possible to see if there was a difference in weight. They didn’t see any change – now some might say when you die you exhale all of the air but I don’t think that makes much sense as in order to flex the diaphram to the point where it has squeezed out every bit of air would require a lot of muscle and activity, which isn’t present.
    Although in the original experiment there was no weight loss for a dog, remember in 1907 they probably weren’t measuring micrograms or even milligrams. I think that the soul of a human weighs a lot more than that of a dog because a human brain is an order of magnitude more complex than a dogs – but that doesn’t mean that a dog doesn’t have a ‘soul’. It’s probably just an order of magnitude lighter, and thus not measurable at the time. Of course that’s just my theory… 😉

  90. Well at any rate, I think I accurately measured the weight of air in a pair of average sized lungs… pretty cool, however trivial, piece of information.
    On the topic of the weight variation of your soul:
    I believe there’s a saying that goes, “It weighs heavy on my soul.”
    This of course refers to the burden/sorrow a person feels after having done something malign. Therefore, evil spirits should weigh more than good ones, not vice versa.
    Now I know that it’s just a saying(though there are many more like it), and that there’s no quantifiable evidence supporting it, but I just thought I’d throw that out there for ya’ll to ponder.

  91. Yes they were some interesting calculations, thanks! 😉 As to analyzing euphemisms as scientifically valid references, well there’s not much to discuss. Perhaps the error is assuming that something weighing heavily on ones soul is not nessarily malign. Thinking of the decisions that say a politian makes that are for the greater good, but have direct negative impacts on the minorites would be adding to the weight.

  92. Well what’s the proof at all that this guy did the experiment properly or at all? Remember, people still believe that you only use 10% of your brain and that was concluded by a guy in the 1800’s who cut out bits of rat’s brains and supposedly they died when 10% was left. You’d die if any brain was removed from bleeding, and they were rats! Not people! What do you think?

  93. l found the comment about politicans quite the disconnect. The whole greater good is some thing not accessible in that realm. Comparing science then and now is differnt in kind, not degrees. Our measuremts Maybe more accurate, but we are still measuring what we think is measurable. Hense the political disconnect; are we not all mountains and trees

  94. Or rats or people.
    l have been wondering; why not let things be without wondering about it, it will come to be. And then we will have been made aware by ourselves.

  95. The search for answers is the greatest quest that humanity can undertake. Explaining our universe explains something about ourselves. Knowledge is the ultimate currency and it’s something that can be shared by everyone.

  96. Ok, here’s what I don’t really get.
    Relgious types swear that this dissapearence of the 21g’s is infact the soul leaving the body yeah? if this 21g is a physical part of your body is it not then reasonable to assume that heaven, hell, the after life etc are all also in the same realm which we preceive?

  97. Well that depends what you mean by same realm. I guess you’re saying that if the soul has a mass it belongs in this Universe, well I guess that makes sense. I’m not sure what your point is though.

  98. Let’s talk about the experiment. It is supposed to measure the difference of a human’s body weight before and after death. If an accurate experiment is designed and reliable data obtained, we can then proceed to determine if there is in fact, meaningful change in a human’s body weight. If there is not, what’s left to do is simple, just pulish the results and declare that no change is observed, but not much else can be infered from it. If there is observable change, things get more interesting, but only in the sense that we now have to find out what is causing the change.
    I don’t see how the experiment (in it’s present discussed form) can be used to explain that humans have a soul or not. I just don’t get it.

  99. No, it’s not an explanation, just a hypothethis. The difficult part would be of course proving that there is something spiritual about the weight loss if the experiment was repeated and the weight loss was observed.
    That is a toughy – how do you determine if something is a soul? What experiment can you perform to come to the conclusion that something is a spiritual entity? An interesting dilemma.

  100. I have to comment that it is very rare that I come across a comments area that actually has some half-decent discussion going on. Good on all of you for using your minds in this often dumbed down society we have.
    And yes, I too would like to see the experiment done again to settle this debate.

  101. Actually I really don’t care if the weight loss is or isn’t the soul. I really don’t care if there are souls at all. More over, I too have been very interested in the subject after watching the movie. I too google’d it and found the website you all mentioned. Additional to that I asked a friend who is studying medicine if she could ask one of her teachers about it. She did, and the Doctor said that in fact some studies have been made and that it appears to be truth that human bodies loose weight at the moment of death and that it can or at least has been atributed to some gases that hadn’t been taken in account before. It’s said that that weight loss is near to 21 grams. I’m still having my doubts about it and want to research a bit more. If I have any findings, i’ll let you all know.

  102. Please do, it’s a very interesting topic. Someone up above calculated the mass of air in the lungs and it only came out to 5 grams… I would guess they’d have to be some heavy gases in order to tip the scales to 21 grams. Also, why does everyone assume that when you die your lung exhales all the remnnants of the gases? I would assume the lung would just sit there, because you don’t have the muscle from the diaphram collapsing the lung. Well, I don’t know but let us know if you find out anything more.

  103. I’m just a redheaded freckly-faced kid, but I have some thoughts that might tick people off. Ha ha ha ha!!!!
    Last night I was talking to a nurse about the whole “spirit and or soul having weight”, and I figured I would search for an answer. I don’t care either way..whether it does or not won’t change any religious beliefs I have, but it is an interesting thought that could lead to other discoveries! An interesting thought from a Biblical standpoint. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 it talks about a “weight of glory” in conjunction with death, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
    This scripture doesn’t say that there is weight to the spirit, but it does encourage us to look to the unseen eternal things. We must keep in mind that weight is an earthly force caused by gravity, while the unseen spiritual things aren’t bound by physical laws. So could it be that if something is drawn away from the earth’s gravitational pull that it is being drawn by something of greater mass? I’m just interjecting thoughts. I would be interested to know that if weight does leave the body…from which area of the body is it leaving? Is it the whole body…or is it from a certain area of the body? The head? I’m sure there is a perfectly logical explanation!
    Just a thought also…but in response to the question “Does the tree make a sound if it falls in the forest and there is nobody there to hear it?” Yes. Because God is there and He hears everything. This question is really a question of, “Do you believe in God?”
    Are there radio waves penetrating you and me even as I type this? Yes but I can’t hear them. Isn’t it all about the receiver?..you gotta have one. If you could/would receive what God is sending then you could/would hear what God is saying. But God hears everything…so the tree does make a sound. If you believe in God you’ll agree…if you don’t…you won’t. It’s very simple. That’s why Jesus often said when talking about spiritual things…”Who hath (spiritual)ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:9
    (Matt.11:15/ Matthew 13:43 etc……

  104. Yep, you’re right, you pissed me off!!
    Damn, you can’t get away from freakin’ Fundies anywhere! They hunt you down and try to shove their crap into any orifice they can find.
    Cover you ass boys, the Fundies are here!

  105. Like a lot of other people here I heard about the 21 grams movie, decided I wanted to figure out if this whole weight-loss on death thing was true, and it really cracks me up how many other like-minded people got drawn into this. For the longest time now I’ve really wanted to have a bottomline handle on reality and as many people I meet who say it’s impossible I’d love to give em a run for their money (even if I don’t suceed it’s still a win/win situation IMO)
    Personally, I don’t care for spinning the world in terms of positive or negative thinking. It would be great to see these tests done in a very strictly controlled environment with every variable considered so that you can have absolute proof in one direction or another whether there is unexplainable loss or not. For as many people who may wanna argue that there is no way of getting every other variable accounted for I’d strongly disagree on that. If you want reliable results as a scientist there’s always a way, you just need enough precision and attention to fine detail to rule out or displace all significant data contamination.
    Someone brought up the point that we should actually gain some microscopically small ammount of weight if our bodies functions stop at death. If this experiment is proven true then it would, at the very minimum, verify that a). there are mediums of energy that we haven’t probed yet and b). this 21 grams of energy has been lost to one or more of these mediums.
    Secondly, some other people here were talking about complexity of nerve signals, how this is effected by the size of an animals brain and how a dog might still have the same losses but significantly less. To me it sounds like this is a question of : Is it a high brain weight to body weight ratio that causes a higher mass loss or brain weight on in and of itself? If some of the same scientists wanted to investigate this side of the coin further, they could maybe try the same weighing experiment on Elphants or any other large terrestrial animals because while they may not have the brain to bodyweight ratios we have, many of them do have larger and heavier brains with more internal interation in bulk. That and while it may be a very long time before anyone ever gets a blue whale in captivity this test would even be easier to conduct on aquatic life. I consider that true for the fact that you’d have a steady rate of water evaporation off the surface of the tank, only problem is having the device in place to draw constant calculations of the whole tank. If the whole tank lost something like a few kilograms in a matter of 5 minutes (if I remember right their brains can weigh upward of 1000 pounds) it would really firm up the dark energy side of the arguement. However, if the whale lost no mass than it’s possible that it has more to do with brain weight to body ratio OR it could mean (as ignorant and self centered as it even seems to me) that we have something that other animals don’t posess. To get to the bottom of that one you might need to chase down elderly midgets at MENSA meetings to get their permittion to be testsubjects (lol, I don’t know who you’d find to do the chasing and asking but you’d owe a SERIOUSLY large ammount of cash to go and do something like that). Since we haven’t had any luck finding anything with a higher brain/body weight ratio, as comical as this may sound, genius midgets may be our only hope in unravelling some of life’s greatest mysteries.

  106. I am not as intelligent as most of the people who have posted on here. But I do have an opinion on the subject. I have just finished reading this entire blog. It was all just so fascinating I couldn’t stop. I think that the experiment must be preformed. Those who don’t want it done or think it’s a waste of time may just be scared of what the results may be. They tend to be fearful they may be proved wrong. No one likes being wrong, right? Regardless of what the 21gs actually is I believe all people have a soul and animals as well. Plant life I’m not so sure of but anything breathing I believe does. So the results of the experiment would not sway me on that subject. It may however lend credence to the belief that we do have a soul for others. Then again it may disprove it all together by being something totally else like gases exiting the body as previously mentioned. My point is we as a society we should be intrested in researching the phenomon solely because it is so compellingly intresting. There is alot in this world that is unexplained. And some things may always remain unexplained. I don’t think god ever wanted us to figure everything out. But what are we left with if no one tries to ever explain the unexplainable. I’ll tell you it’s a boring, boring world were nothing new is ever discovered and we all do they same things day after day. If no one pondered and then acted on there crazy ideas we wouldn’t exist we never would have evolved from the first neandrethal. Sorry I’m sure someones going to say neandrathals weren’t the first but I can’t remember which ones were maybe homonids, but you know what I mean. If one of them hadn’t thought I wonder what would happen if I banged this rock against this one or tried to shape a stick to a point to kill an animal for food none of us would be here. I’m sorry If i’m rambling on but I’ll try and get to my point. You cannot call yourself a scientist If your not going to try and follow up on your theories and ideas. Your just a person who is capable of thought but is unwilling to act on it. Sceintist in my opinion should always feel compelled to discover new things and disprove myths that are in there fields of expertise. Those who merely disregard so called crazy thoughts or ideas rather than investigate them are in the wrong profession. Or perhaps they’re just in it cause it pays well. I don’t know. You would think trying to make a groundbreaking and unbelievable discovery would be a top priority though. Could lead to a noble prize or something right. And isn’t that what all sceintist are after to be able to make that big discovery that changes the world. This may not be it but hey you should be looking down all avenues don’t ya think. Anyways that is just my opinion.

  107. Jamie:
    I’ll tell you it’s a boring, boring world were nothing new is ever discovered and we all do they same things day after day. If no one pondered and then acted on there crazy ideas we wouldn’t exist we never would have evolved from the first neandrethal.
    That is very true, and is also one of my arguments against heaven as a concept in christianity. Doesn’t it sound boring if everything is known, nothing is left be explored? Anyways, that’s just an aside. What I’m waiting for is someone to tell me they’re a biologist looking for a masters thesis.. 😉

  108. Great forum! I really should be working. I just watched the movie 21 Grams last night and have become completely intrigued. Don’t ask me about the movie, it’s the 21 grams that caught my whole interest. I will now have to search until my simple question is answered. Does the human body loose 21 grams at the precise time of death? A most simple question that has not been answered. I would like to see the focus of this discussion on finding the answer. Let’s all break out our favorite search engines and find the answer. My bet is it’s out there somewhere and I will find it and return.

  109. Well here’s the problem Adam, according to everyone who’s come here they’ve looked around and haven’t found ‘the answer’ so to speak. It looks like if we’re going to solve this one we’re going to have to repeat the experiment. You wouldn’t happen to be a Biology major would you? 😉

  110. sorry chief no biology degree,i have more of a street smart spiritual bit of enlightenment.This really has gone too far.Think about Sean Penn “dudes”.these people find anything to make a buck.I think we need an out of body movie,though they’ll ruin that too.The thing for me thats hardest to believe are intellects that have’nt paid close enough attention to their own spirituallity.People what are you doing?It’s time to step aside and know thyself.I know that is trite,but gist.My favorite book is the graet thoughts by george seldes,i refute alot of it,you all,are there as well.I do love you for that.Keep digging,thats where and how you find God,in the dirt.

  111. Just had a thought!
    What if how much you lose depends of what you believe? Fundamentalist lose 21 grams, Atheist Heathens don’t lose anything at all, and Agnostics lose 10 and

  112. the religion is irealavant to the truth.I need to learn how to meditate.starting yoga soon.ive always been on the path,age makes it clearer,but its still so unbelieveable.

  113. Hi con
    Yep, getting older sure does help. It amazing how much clearer you mind becomes once it is free from the ‘testosterone fog.’
    I never tried Yoga, but I do practice my own form of transcendental meditation.
    I wasn’t talking about “Religion,” but belief. I am a firm believer that ‘truth’ is what you perceive it to be, and everyone perceives everything differently. You can find a better explanation of what I mean on the Chef’s forum linked to this web site. I titled my discussion forum The Quantum Mandrake. Fell free to stop by and post or comment on my forum, or any of the others you can find there.
    When you say “religion is irrelevant to the truth” you are saying there is only one truth no matter what you believe, and yet we do not know what that truth is, and everyone believe in a different truth.
    Asking why everyone believes so many different things is how I started my journey that has become my obsession these past years. My conclusion is there are no answers, there are only choices. And the truth is what you believe it to be.
    We exist, all else is philosophy.
    Which still leaves me wondering if you do not believe in a soul, do you have one?

  114. Hi Chef
    Yeah, it doesn’t get any easier the more times you read it unless you can decipher the esoteric jargon. I have been reading about this ‘stuff’ for years, so I do understand most of it.
    Entanglement and coupling refer to a rather eerie state that can exist between what seems like separate atoms, but which are in fact ‘connected’ by an unseen force that essentially has the two behaving as one. If you ‘flip’ one coupled atom the other will simultaneously flip also. Most of this entanglement has only been observed over very short distances, but any communication between coupled pairs, no matter how far apart, is super-luminary (FTL!), and theoretically distance should not be a factor. Once entangled, the pair could be light-years apart and still remain coupled and respond simultaneously.
    In order for that to happen the connection must exist on the quantum level.
    Just a few years ago they demonstrated this in the lab with laser entangled cesium atoms. I forget the exact distance, I think it was only about a meter or so, but the coupled cesium atoms showed quantum entanglement at a calculated 300 times the speed of light at the distance the experiment was performed. Of course if you increase the distance between the pair you increase the multiples of ftl.
    The gist of this is that on the quantum level there is no distance separation between coupled pairs. They are basically two sides of the same coin.
    Ok, that’s the physics part of it.
    Now for the biological part of it.
    In order to understand consciousness and how our minds work, it has been suggested that the Mind is a quantum computer. The Brain is basically just the ‘battery’ which generates the current that allows the connection to the quantum universe. Our Minds actually exist in the quantum universe. The microtubules in our brains are considered the most likely suspect for this quantum connection. If quantum states in the microtubules could be proven, it would essentially prove the theory.
    The implications of this are mind-boggling, and is one of the ‘facts’ I took into consideration in developing my concept of Poly-Solipsism.
    In the Quantum Universe there is no ‘distance’ between forces, and Entanglement is simultaneous. Now place our minds in the Quantum Universe and what do you get?!
    Of course I was joking about how much weight an Atheist and Agnostic would lose, but I was serious about not knowing what any weight loss really is if there is any. If in fact we do lose weight at the time of death, it is not proof of a soul. Even if it was found not to be a loss of something physical ( gas, water etc.), it does not prove it is something spiritual. It could just be something quantum.

  115. Yes but your definition of ‘something quantum’ fits in with the general idea of a soul. Especially when you associate it with a ‘quantum dimension’ – a fancy way of saying afterlife, no? 😉

  116. That depends on how you define consciousness, mind, spirit, and soul. Are they all the same ‘concept,’ or do you define them each as something different?
    It’s pretty much the same thing as the difference between metaphysical, paranormal, and supernatural. Many will use these concepts interchangeably, but they really do relate to different concepts.

  117. I just have a quick comment concerning the “if a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” qustion. If there is no individual around to “hear” it fall, then there is subsequently, no individual around to confirm that it fell in the first place. Also, pertaining to the general argument at hand, i believe that much of scientific inquiry has proven our existence to be infinetly divisible. At one point we strongly felt that protons and neutrons were indivisible, fundamental aspects of our physical world. Then along comes the discovery of quarks that make up these particles. How long will it take for us to discover something beyond quarks and electrons? If we discover the exact essence of dark matter and energy, won’t this foreseeably contribute to further scientific inquiry as to what makes up this matter. Ultimately, are we just opening doors to more questions? Along with this, if we concieve of God as an objective truth, then these pursuits are in vain, because objectivity is impossible for his creations. If it were not, then his existence would be unnecessary. Further, those who believe in scientific/general objectivity often refute the existence of an omnipotent being. This refutation unfortunately lies in inherent contradiction because they are rejecting something that they are explicity trying to pursue. Is this not simply our desire to play the role of creator, the desire to be ubiquitous? Personally I’m fond of Spinoza’s conception of God and Nature being intimately intertwined, and perhaps the same. If we observe the natural world, we see the amazing balance that it operates on…i.e…conservation of energy, and the unique interplay of various species and various other discoveries. Humans are a unique species undoubtedly, and from these posts it is equally apparent that many different conceptions of life exist within us. Again, is this not another indication of our own nature? This debate has been alive in me for awhile now, and these posts have only contributed to my enthusiasm on the topic…whether or not the 21 grams is proof of the existence of a soul, i would still like for a modern scientific test. If anything, it would only further our inquiries and imaginations. With this being said, as someone pointed out earlier, these inquiries often can imporove our awareness of the self/conciousness, and are in my mind, satisfying means that apply some meaning to our lives. The human mind/species is a wonderful thing when stimulated, and this only leads me to believe that science, religion, philosophy etc. are all healthy pursuits given they don’t severly impede on the pursuits of others.

  118. Greeting leftoff77
    I must say that is quite a nick to carry around. Do you always use that nick, or is it just for this discussion?
    I have always wondered why people use nicks, and why a lot of people change them all the time. I tried it once several years ago and didn’t like it.
    So I take it you are asking ‘If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to see it; did it really fall?”
    That’s a good question since Reality is what is perceived to be “real.” So in order for something to be real, it must be perceived.
    Of course if we go into the woods after the fact we can see a tree has fallen. A fallen tree has been perceived, but did it make a sound when it fell?
    It all depends on how you define “sound”!
    I have a little essay you might find interesting. It’s Titled “First Cause” and discusses the differences between the Theist concept of God, and the none-theist concept of The Singularity.
    You can find it on my discussion board ‘Quantum Mandrake’ on the Forum linked at the top of this web site.
    By the way, we are already beyond quarks and electrons, theoretically anyway. It’s called Quantum Physics. Read Superstring theory and Membrane theory. There are no particles in our particles!

  119. I used it partially for discussion, but I have always had a particular disliking for that question. My problem lies in that, yes, if we go into the woods and see a fallen tree, through an obvious assumption we can say that it was standing and then eventually fell. Concerning sound, we can also assume that through our knowledge of conservation of energy, that its kinetic energy made some sort of transformation, presumably some of that energy became aurol. It does depend on how we define sound, for is sound merely a humanistic concept(not in language but in essence)? I don’t think it is, so further, if there are any other species in the surrounding area, yes it does make a sound. Woodlands are in no way a vacuum of lifelessness, hence, if I wasn’t there to “hear” it fall, there was quite possibly an assortment of other species that were.(in whatever way they percieve sound to be) This is slightly speculative, but I believe its reasonable. Also, using the line of reasoning that if i walk into the woods and see a fallen tree, though i didn’t see the tree fall, i presume it did based on experience. Does not the same presumption exist with sound? Experience would tell me that when objects fall, they make sounds, whether I am there to percieve it or not.(at least objects of considerable mass) This is very common sensical and simplistic, but I can’t seem to ignore it. If a friend goes to a concert, and i don’t, does that mean the band wasn’t making sound. Though I don’t hear it, he does, and consequently they do. I don’t think sound is dependant on an individual, but merely its perception. I’ve had this debate with a friend who is currently majoring in studio engineering, and he gave the argument that it doesn’t make a sound because that would require an ear to hear it. I cannot agree with this thinking, perhaps a personal defect. Just one last comment on this, because this question has a lot of larger implications. Would you say that the tree makes a sound if you were there to see it fall, but had earphones on that restricted you from hearing it fall? If you say no to this, then furthering this question, if you had headphones on, and a friend beside you didn’t, would the tree make a sound? I may have missed some of the debate on how we define sound, but I’m interested to see your answers on this. I realize my writing my be a bit stream of conscious like and unorganized, but I unfortunately don’t have time to organize this into a more intelligible rebuttal…anyway, I’m interested in the essay and the two affermentioned theories, because my knowledge of quantum physics is rather limited at the moment. I was just wondering however, that how exactly are we beyond quarks and electrons…in the sense that quantum physics has helped to prove their existence.(at least i think thats the case) Perhaps my terminology was incorrect in pharasing it as particles within particles…either way, it appears that I have embarked on the same journey that you must have taken up years ago. I have begun to believe strongly in the idea, one that you mentioned above, that there are no absolutes, only choices…we percieve things differently, and can only hold these perceptions to our own situations and experiences.(with some flexibility, but again, this points to the concepts of there being no absolutes…which is also not a supportive claim to nihilism) It really is an intriguing debate, and im excited to hear more, even if i understand miniscule segments.

  120. by the way…I have one more example…in space, a passing object would be said to be silent because although sound waves are present, gas in space is not dense enough to eventually shake our eardrums to considerable amounts. Yet we still acknowledge that the waves are there, and if we had a device large enough, we could hear them. For me, necessarilly not hearing something does not mean its not making a sound…again, i think its a matter of perception, but not existence….tell me what you think

  121. Ok, lets see if we can put the ‘Falling Tree’ question to rest.
    From my understanding the question is an old one, and under the original premise when it is stated there is ‘no one’ to hear it, I believe it was to be understood nothing else heard it either.
    The question can be better stated by leaving out the “no one” and simply stating the falling tree was not heard by anything. That would then discount any wildlife also.
    From a philosophical point of view the question ask us to think about our perception of Reality.
    It is simply asking if a sound is not perceived, can we still define it as a sound. Since we normally define a sound as something that is perceived, it is asking can anything be “real” outside of perception.
    Does the Mind exist in the Universe ( Western Philosophy ), or does the Universe exist in the Mind ( Eastern Philosophy)?
    If you choose a sound is a vibration on the air and does not need to be heard, you adhere to Western Philosophy. If you choose a sound must be heard to be defined as a sound, you adhere to Eastern Philosophy.
    There really is no correct answer. There is no wrong answer either. It is just a matter of making a choice. You choose which Universe you wish to exist in.
    We could just as easily ask ” If ‘consciousness’ did not exist does the Universe/Reality exist?” Which is really the intent of the Falling Tree question.
    Western: Yes
    Eastern: No
    As for Quantum reality, I believe anyone deep into the study of Theoretical Physics has by now come to the conclusion that Physics is no longer the study of the physical, but the study of the metaphysical. The very fundamental ‘particles’ of our Universe are not ‘particles’ at all. They are gauge bosons ( photons, gluons, and W- Z ‘particles’) There is nothing solid in them, they simply transfer a quantum of energy from one place to another changing the ‘properties’ of matter.
    I should hope everyone knows what a photon is by now. In the common vernacular we call it light. The Gluon and the W-Z bosons are the same, but work on different levels (forces).
    Now with the discovery of the Sklar Field energy ( Zero point energy, Vacuum Energy ) we have energy popping into existence between to masses where there wasn’t any before.
    This energy has to come from somewhere, and quantum physics tells us this energy, and all energy, comes from a none physical Quantum Universe.
    SuperString and Membrane Theory try to tell us how.
    You can find a good primer on these theories at http://www.superstringtheory.com and http://www.sukidog.com/jpierre/strings/

  122. if it is a matter of western and eastern, should we not seek a synthesis of the two? I may be harping on this a bit much, but the answer that it’s a perceptive or philosophical matter has never satisfied me all that much.

  123. A priest, a physicist, and a Buddist are sitting in the park having lunch. The question is posed: “If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”
    The priest says: “Of course, God is there, and God hears everything.”
    The physicist says: “Of course not, A falling tree creates pressure waves that propogate through the air and eventually dissipate. If the pressure waves are encountered by an eardrum, they are interpreted by the brain as sound. Therefore, a falling tree does not make a sound, irrespective of whether there is anyone around to hear it.”
    The Buddist says: Nothing. The Buddist accepts that the soul of the tree has transcended, regardless of its weight.

  124. Just a thought to ponder… If you are a close minded person that has no room for the spiritual side of life, read no further…
    What is a soul?
    From my upbringing in the Greek Orthodox religion, we are all made in the image of God.
    Thus saying that God, the trinity(Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) exists in each and everyone of us….
    The number 7, is the most widely used number in the Greek Orthodox religion, thought to be the most perfect number out of infinity…so….
    If x=y=z,
    Z=Holy Spirit
    And we give x,y, and z the value of 7
    21 grams.
    Hard evidence must be found that suggests 21 grams is a constant for both, say a small child and an elder, having different weight, both losing the same amount of mass.

  125. Sure it’s a neat trick of numbers, but really that’s all it is, a trick. It’s nice to think that the universe will really come together in that fashion, coordinating numbers in ways that patterns and connections occur, ultimately I think it’s only really a coincidence. Coincidences are important aspects of life and can indicate instrumental connections I believe, however I also believe that this one is just simply that: a coincidence. Still, it’s a neat one. Thanks for sharing!

  126. Sorry, I haven’t read through all the comments because there are too many, so if someone has already brought this up, I apologize. What about the implications of 21 grams to the death of a fetus? Obviously, one starts with the two miniscule cells with masses far less than 21 grams, and eventually a baby weighing a couple pounds is created. Does the baby have a soul in the womb, or only at birth? If in the womb, when? A fetus cannot lose more mass than it already posseses. I hope what I’m saying is clear.

  127. Unfortunately there is no good accounting for quality of reasoning. We have bad thinking in
    all walks of life, including scientists. We entertain approaches to subjects that have little value, and we’re so tolerant of ridiculous or outdated ideas that as a world we are still one big jumble of idiocy. That is a truth. Also true is that God in the sense of one particular form or religion obviously is a construct of man. The argument that life is to unlikely to have occurred on its own is moronic. The truth is that God is way more unlikely than life. Obviosly there is plenty of evidence of life. Life probably occurs solely as a part of nature. God needed help from primitive imaginations to exist. If any moron with half a brain would take the time to look at the WORLD history of religion and mythology he should (but I wont hold my breath) be able to see how its all just a part of our anthropology. Yes science gets it wrong a lot and there are stupid people there too, but the ideals of scientific thought are sound if properly applied. We currently sometimes forget the word “Theory” at the end of
    ‘Big Bang’ but it could turn out to but just one more example of man needlessly clinging to a need for a tidy explanation of where everything came from. Im one of those sad losers born in the wrong era because all of this crap is actually pretty obvious and it pains me to know that Im in a repressed minority. If you look at history and think about it you will see that in some ways we are just as stupid now as 500 years ago. Think about popular conceptions then and how silly they seem now. Then imagine it’s 1000 yrs from now. What current conceptions will seem idiotic then?
    I’ll bet there still will be no evidence of a God.
    Knowing how people seem to be genetically wired
    for God worship, I’ll bet there will still be some
    people clinging to it. That is, unless we decide to genetically breed out stupidity. If you find all this insulting maybe you should go research for yourself and then decide if its really that far off base. I’m all for intelligence, compassion,
    and community. There are some great things about religion, 2 out of three aint bad. If religion were to go away there would be a terrible vacuum.
    But that doesn’t mean there’s literal truth in it the way some would argue. Terrifyingly, people legitimize evil (violence and war) in God’s name.
    There is nothing legitimate about war or God, although there are some legitimate things about religion. In the past religious figures were in governmental power and we still see that today to a slightly lesser degree. Our constitution prescribes a separation of church and state but that has not totally been accomplished. Religion and God are NOT just tolerated as they should be. They are used and abused still. It is free thinking for objective truth that is JUST TOLERATED when it should be a guiding principle. I wonder if we will ever get there. If we figure out human hibernation, just put me in stasis until we get there! I just wish people would acknowledge that God and religion are NOT literal truths, they are not a justification for your position. There are only good when the do good. In fact, you don’t need religion to do good. You only need to be a caring and brave person.
    re: 21 grams, if we lose something like that it would obviously be of exceptional interest. Its one of those things you have a hard time understanding why it hasnt already been cleared up. It’s probably a myth and it may already be known to be untrue. But it would be very interesting to know about of course. We should keep looking.

  128. Prodigy: My theory is that the 21 grams comes from the complexity of the brain. If the brain isn’t fully developed (and it isn’t for quite some time) then they wouldn’t have that level of consciousness, that of a ‘fully developed soul’. There would probably be some mass but not as much as a fully grown adult. Whether that makes a difference in any way shape or form when it comes to the practice of abortion is a different matter altogether, but for me it has always been the womans choice. But that is a whole other topic altogether.
    Arnie: Up until a year ago I felt exactly the same way you did. I disregarded any reference to God as a throwback to outdated mysticism and mythology, and with good cause – I figure that our current religions really are just inventions of our overly creative minds in an attempt to explain our confusing existence. However, there is a lot of unexplainable phenomenon in the Universe, and as we learn more and more all we are doing is finding more and more questions to ask. Some of these questions border on religious faith – i.e. the Big Bang – how did it occur and why? Something from nothing? Isn’t that “God’s work”? Even with evolution – how did we go from inorganic to organic? Personally I believe that it has just been an evolution in complexity, however many still see this is as a major detractor of current science.
    I suggest you read this link for an interesting perspective on Science and where it’s lead us today:

  129. the link I posted points to a man who says that the 21 grams thing is total BS. I tend to agree.
    ChefQuix thanks for the link. I saw nothing new there though, merely a note that current fashion in those circles now entertains the supernatural more. The existence of unexplained phenomena isn’t evidence of God. It’s funny that
    there’s reference to the Big Bang Theory in there. Yes its true about the delicate balance of matter that would have had to
    have existed IF the big bang was true. What Im saying is that the big bang is still very much a theory. And one of the reasons it continues to enjoy popularity is because of the influence of ‘theological-like’ thinking mucking up science.
    The Truth is that the big bang is one of the most unlikely explanations for our universe. What most people don’t know and
    what is not published that much is that EVERY preposition of the big bang has a least one good alternative explanation.
    (and sometimes many more)
    The famous “red shift’ could be due to a form of hydrogen (well im rusty here-I’ll put in a link). CHECK THIS OUT:
    Unless there is clear observational proof of the so-called expansion of space, its just a theory. I don’t see how there could not yet be optical observed proof of the big bang if its true. Is there such proof ?(like angular changes). I don’t know. I dont think so. measuring the ‘background radiation’ and decided that must have come from a singular event is STUPID. But here we are,
    still running with it. Yes we are the same whole incompetence that used to think the world was flat. I don’t see much difference today. We hear about conflicts regarding the age of the universe. How there are structures that could not have developed in 14 bil years etc-check that link, some really interested stuff and a lot of food for thought. Other cool stuff on that site as well.
    And of course we have to endure stupid ass arguments like if cells have rights etc. These right to life morons will argue about crap like that and then go have a good veal steak. Like I said, there’s no accounting
    for good reasoning. We will be stuck in incompetence and frustrating stupidity for the foreseeable future.

  130. arnie you sound like eor.The dairy and meat industries are so powerful, these animals will be eating themselves soon.We can’t keep up theres no 1000 year future,were talking truth fo growth and fun on the internet and the world is dying FAST!Life is’nt likely at all,it’s a frieken miracle.Theres not just trillions of stars but gallaxies.Of those how many have life.Some, but that’s not many.Were so worried about such trivial pursuits,as you mentioned,like the aborted baby that weighs 21 baby grams.Is it really about anything more than what were doing right now?
    Truth is not a perception,it’s an absolute, and it comes in the form of a revalation.Did the tree make a sound?That’s easy,lets not make a zen koan out of it.Now do you see?(not hear,ha ha)or did i need to write ha ha?This truth may only be the begining to a puzzle,a riddle and sometimes a joke.Good call on existence chief,my conclussion was and is there is no philosophy.I once ask the organic question too,is’nt it proved through the 3rd law of thermodynamics?Something that trancsends does’nt weigh anything,duh.Misguided opinions,thoughts and even lifestyle is irrealavant to such power.When you know certain pieces they can’t be argued,only built upon.It comes in so many ways.The more i chill and the more i let go,the more i tread without fear.Theres too much thinking going on,the mind is only a piece of being.

  131. like body,mind intelligence,at a sub atomic level?Super sub then, not 21gr worth.The best way to know,is to get connected with yourself,through observing and letting go.Experience life fully with exercise,proper food and sleep,no drugs,zen tao monk like.good luck.p.s.and don’t let the aliens bite.

    Humans have an electrical field that can be measured with special equipment. Because we are linked prehistorically and by creation to the magnetic field of the earth, the earth’s gravitational pull on our bodies is directly linked to our magnetic aura. When we die, our magnetic field releases and the true pull on our bodies is exhibited.

  133. yeah, its a contraversy all right. i would much like to see this experiment done again, using more advanced medical equpiment and using the knowledge of science we now posess (or think we posess). But the plain fact is, how? How are we going to do this experiment again? We cant use lab animals, people would use the “dog didnt lose any weight” example. Are we just going to go up to termanally ill patients who know they’re going to die in X amount of time and interrupt whats left of it to ask them. “Hey, wanna find out if you have a soul” Surprisingly, we may get a few people voleneering, and, for the sake of settling this controversy, that would be good. I also have a question: Did the sceintist who started all of this in 1907 bother to ask and record the religion and/or specific beliefs of the people he tested. Because if it turns out the 21 grams is the weight of the soul, then maybe we can find similarites between how the weight dropped (ex: right at death, conintuing after death, etc) and their religious beliefs. And if we could do that, perhaps we could be a little closer to perciving a dimension of heaven and a dimension of hell. Until then, all ya’ll go out and buy yourselves an ice cream cone. 🙂

  134. Cat:
    I think it may be easier than you think to sign up people for this study. If you go to a terminal ward and just tell them what you want to do, I think you’d find that more than a few would sign up. Any person who signs away their organs in case of an accident would probably be interested in this study.
    The magnetic field is caused by the intense interaction of the impulses of the neurons. This electricity creats a magnetic field. Presumably then field would dissipate when the brain stops receiving oxygen from the lungs and the neurons stop firing…

  135. as there are no recent postings, I might be
    submitting this into benign cyberspace, which
    is OK, since I am mostly typing this to see my
    own random thoughts organized into some form of
    language, perhaps for my own reconsideration.
    Actually, I’ve never posted message board comments before or read one as long as this one
    all the way through; but, the exchange was too
    compelling to not see it through. Those of you
    who may do this on a regular basis may not’ve been
    nearly as entertained, but I don’t get out, or
    even online much, as I live alone in an old log
    cabin in the woods, and rarely go into town to
    use a computer at the public library. Acutally,
    I do not really think of myself as living alone, as i spend most of my time observing the wonders
    of my cohabitants in the Natural world, ‘animal,
    vegetable and mineral’.
    I also Googled into this site in an attempt to see
    whtt might, or might not be known about the 21 g
    thing, and have been pleasantly rewarded by all that the contributors here have offerred, not so
    much in conclusion as in healthy conjecture.
    On April 19th, I lost my best-ever four-legged
    friend Nellie, a 12 yr old lab/ridgeback mix
    that I adopted at 6 wks. We were nearly
    constant companions, especially since my retirement 6 yrs ago from the public schools.
    During the last half of her life, it became
    clear to me that she had some level of ESP,
    though i will not bore you with examples. Many
    other human friends of our observed it as well.
    The onset of her terminal illness mightve been
    the thing most responsible for my developing
    interest in such life matters as the transference of energy among lifeforms. I have not reached
    a presentable conclusion, or even a firm belief,
    other than a growing feeling that it is so.
    I often think of it as the cycle of water as it
    takes on it’s different forms and functions
    Twenty-some years ago, some wisteria vines were
    planted around the 25 acres ‘retirement farm’
    where i now live, in the hope that their beautiful long fragrant lavender blossoms would
    hang along the tree line between the woods and
    the main meadow. My now deceased mentor who set
    them out said for many years afterward that it
    was his biggest mistake there, as not only had
    they never bloomed, but had woven themselves
    throughout the woods and had become a nuisance
    and an impairment to the healthy growth of the
    trees. I have been fighting them back for some years now myself for that reason.
    But sometime during the 48 hr period that followed my burying of Nellie among the other
    old faithful farm friends there on the edge of
    the woods just outside the cabin’s kitchen window, a cascade of the long-wished for, but
    also long-given-up-on just suddenly appeared
    trailing down from the cedar and hardwood tree tops in great profusion. Admittedly, I was
    probably all set to accept some kind of sign that my friend’s great spirit and energy had been
    somehow shared. (the ‘vine theory’ just seemed tempting enough to ‘string’ along my emotional loss.) At first though, i thought she might be
    within the wild turkey hen that suddenly showed up each morning standing over and around Nellie’s grave, and did so for more than a week, having never done it before, and always when i was at
    the kitchen window making my morning java.
    I have spent most all of my adult life shunning
    such mystical and/or supernatural suggestions.
    And I do not submit this even now as presentable evidence to the contrary. Actually, on the 21 g
    thing, I find CBrown and Chef’s discussion of
    the magnetic field dissipation at death thereby
    lessening the earth’s gravitational pull upon
    the electo-magnetic forcefield, to be the most
    reasonable explanation, so far.
    Still, whether it is so involved in this particular matter or not, I will likely continue to contemplate the transference of the energy that exists in all living things, and maybe even
    those that we are not yet prepared to accept as “living”, given our apparent hang-up in
    feeling the need to seperate things organic
    from those inorganic. I am also now interested in the “Singularity” thing, though it may be
    much the same concept as i have long referred to as “The All”, i.e. all things being a functioning part of an all that is indeed us
    in our totality, and i am not suggesting the
    “us” to be only the humans, or even just the
    animal world. I think that I am to ‘the all’,
    as my fingernail clipping, or a hair, is to me.
    It may contain my DNA, even lying there on the
    floor, but it is not, in itself, me, as I
    alone, am not the ‘all’.
    Sorry that I am now taking up some of your e-space
    with my unscholarly ramblings, but thanks to all
    for your stimulating offerrings to . .well,
    as I think Gauguin (-1sp , pardon my French)
    said, “Where did we come from, What (or who?)
    are we, and Where are we going?”
    Hopefully, in the short-run at least,
    not into another Iraq, or Vietnam.
    The latter was more than enough (for me at least)to have learned suffient lessons regarding man’s
    inhumanity to man, and to our more than gracious
    planetary host.

  136. jd: Please don’t think you’re wasting space here, that was a great post. I enjoyed your story about your dog and the flowers, it has a nice cosmic riff to it. The singularity is an interesting topic indeed, and although part of me wants to get into it another part of me starts wondering how much further I can go before people start labelling me a nutcase. It’s a fine balance indeed.

  137. jd…GREAT POST!
    chefquix, I don’t think anyone who is willing to examine many avenues, ideas, attitudes on any subject could ever be labeled a nut case. And I personally think your postings are brilliant queries.
    I am absolutely delighted that this subject is being so roundly discussed. I thought I and a few close frineds, jd being one,(thanks jd for the heads up on this board!)were the only ones constantly discussing the ideas of soul/no soul, life/afterlife.
    I am currently very fascinated with learning more about the ‘String Teory’. That particular theory speaks to me and my philosophy that we are all connected by some ‘force’. That maybe there is a thread of energy that can travel unbroken from my ‘strings’ through ‘strings’ of other matter, air etc… to another’s ‘strings’ thousands of miles away. Maybe even across the universe. THough I don’t believe in the Christian concept of Heaven and Hell, I believe in an afterlife of our energy/soul/spirit moving on to something else. Another dimension maybe? Or maybe something that’s around us/part of us now but we can’t perceive it.
    Maybe our time here on earth is like traveling to another state or country. We go for new experience and to learn something about that place.
    Blessed be to all who seek to know.

  138. For all of you people who read the article about MacDougall’s experiments, and for those who did not you can find it here: http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp
    This guys was doing very unsophisticated tests that showed varrying results. He wanted to do the test on 6 people but 2 had to be discarded because they died too soon, one showed an immediate drop in weight (and nothing more), two showed an immediate drop in weight which increased with the passage of time, and one showed an immediate drop in weight which reversed itself but later recurred.
    He explaned the time differences as (I quote here): “the soul’s weight is removed from the body virtually at the instant of last breath, though in persons of sluggish temperament it may remain in the body for a full minute.”
    This was a man who wanted so bad to show that the body had a soul. The experiment shows no credibility at all!

  139. Although the experiment was crudely done, surely the idea of it alone is worth another look. All I want done here is to have a medical student find this thread and say hey! I’m looking for a thesis! It can’t hurt.
    seeker: Thanks for the comment although at this point if I opened up to a psychologist they would probably dump me in the bin faster than you can say straight jacket. I must live in silence! 🙂

  140. you know what, everybody that put a message on the board, its all opinion. But you know what, none of you, not the christians, the physicsts, or quantom people will know why the weight loss happens until you die. So you have to wait.
    Ha ha

  141. Hi…
    I’m new with this but I just spent a couple hours reading up on it and I am only in 9th grade. I believe that it is true! In my lifetime I dont believe it will be proved but I do believe that when all of us pass away we will finally know the truth. For my senior thesis I would like to write a paper on this:
    Please respond to me with anything you know or links that talk about this in more depth. many thanks

  142. John wrote:
    “But you know what, none of you, not the Christians, the physicists, or quantum people will know why the weight loss happens until you die. So you have to wait.”
    After we have cast off this mortal coil we will exist for eternity in the universe of our on making. We design our own eternity by our choices of what truth we wish to believe. That ‘Truth’ is different for everyone. When we disentangle from this shared illusion, we each will exist in the Truth we have chosen.
    Choose wisely.

  143. things to read and research for the truth seekers:modern physics(david bhom’s theory of the implicate and explicate orders),early greek philosophy(heraclitus on the logos)eastern philosophy and religion(check buddhist cosmology)(“the tao of physics” by capra),look for early christianity.and what is the real meaning of the number”0″.And remember I DO NOT EXIST.

  144. Im not much of a scientist, but I would however like to contribute further theoretical models of this loss in weight.
    Is it not possible that the amount of electrical impulses in our own body has its own weight?. If Macdougall’s experiments were taken during the period of a dying patient and that patient had an incurable disease, would the electrical activity not increase in the body in order to fix the problem. Once dead, the expulsion of these electrical impulses/weight would be logical.
    Furthermore, ‘Do androids dream of electric sheep’?.- Philip.K.Dick
    If in the future artificial intelligence exceeds our own intelligence and becomes self aware, because it deems itself to be, this 21 grams test should be conducted on that artificial entity. If in these findings there is infact 21 grams missing or more from a higher intelligence would this not be irrefutable proof that this weight loss is pure conciousness.
    However, this does not necessarily mean the existence of a soul, only that conciousness was present and was gone. Whether this conciousness goes somewhere or not is another matter entirely.

  145. Why not conduct the same experiment without the environmental variables? For instance, inside a sealed glass container. This way, the perspirations and last breaths will remail on the scale. If the .5 to 1.5 grams released post-mortem are actually a soul, as we have come to think of it, surely it could escape the sealed glass container.
    Do I have something there?
    I just saw the movie myself. Being introduced to it by both my mother and sister, both notorious for their immediate faith in urban legends. Namely, “kidney theifs,” and Mr. Rodger’s tatoos, among other things. I was most put-off by their rather specific assertion that every human loses exactly 21 grams, regardless of age, et cetera. Naturally, I was skeptical. I came, I saw, I investigated (immediately finding the much acclaimed Snopes article.)
    I’m still not sure what to think. I liked the movie, actually, which incidentally had nothing to do with the “21 grams” until the final narration. Clever marketing, I suppose. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s not. In either case, it certianly calls for some more empyrical testing.

  146. If it is infact true that the human soul exists, why would it be concealed so carelessly so as to allow the living human animal to discover it through a simple mass experiment?

  147. Why would it be ‘concealed’ – carelessly or otherwise? What would the purpose of that be? (For concealment implies purpose). Personal identity, whether metaphysical or not is one of the most obvious and unconcealed aspects of the individual.
    if there is one thing that the ancients and dualists agree on, it is that the spirit is ‘intangible and unextended’ (Descartes) and so is weightless. if there’s one thing that moderns tend to agree on it is that it doesn’t exist as a non-physical entity. No one has sorted this problem rationally yet so why do we not all wait for some decent experimental data? Because it’s fun to argue, i suppose.

  148. What is so hard about weighing people on thier death beds, could’nt we put to rest that god does or dosen’t exisit question once and for all. Most learned science does not allow for god and most most religious sects don’t allow science, if we can not answer this basic question, then all the science and religion in the world is not helpful to a true seeker of truth.

  149. Even though I am not a big sience fiction fan, I started to think about the consequences of an often used “trick” in such movies, teleportation. Even though this way of transportation is pretty far fetched, we can play with some thoughts on how such teleportation stations would function. There are really only two ways of operation if we use the physical laws we know. The first one would simply take all our atoms and even the electrons in the neural impulses of our brain and transport them in a tube to the new location, where the same matter would be put together, assembling the teleportee. The other option would be to create a map of the teleportee and then use this description to build up an exact copy at the other location. I know this sounds pretty patheic, but remember how nano technology already is able to create idenntical atomic structures, why can we not theoretically blow this process up to the size of a human? Now, lets link this though experiment to the question of a soul. If you were the teleportee, which option would you choose? For us the first way of teleporting makes sense, we just move ourselves in smaller pieces. When we think about the philosophy behind the second option we get confued. If we created a map of our body we would also be able to make copies of us. Imagine that the mapping does not change the mapped person a bit, and the copy is put together at another location, what does the teleportee feel then? The two processes are very similar when we only think about matter, the only difference is that mapping would result in that the teleportee remain at the “mapping station”. The idea is not to simply observe other people get copied, but to imagine what it would feel like for YOU. I believe that our inability to understand and grasp such process is the underlying core of our belief of the existance of a soul. If we only think in terms of matter, we will never be able to find the answers, since the soul must lie beyond the dimetions we percieve. I hope you have been able to follow these thoughts, feel free to comment.

  150. It is true. Roughly 21 grams is lost at death. The weight of four american nickles. This has been proved by a few, when death is eminent> wishing to participate in the hopes of discounting or proving this allegation for the living left behind. Is it the soul? This we can’t know. Interesting fodder for the mind though. If medically it were proven, this mystery of “21” grams, who with any scientific crediblity would put their stamp on anything remotely infering this is the disipation of the soul from the body. No one that would wish to be taken seriously again! You may as well say that you believe in the aliens proportably found at Roswell> Off to the rubber room for that poor sot. We’re not supposed to know> only observe and conclude. Every religion is a belief….and with so many religions> There’s a whole bunch of misguided folk out here. What mommy and daddy told you was gleaned by their mommy and daddy. Why don’t you sit down in a green meadow, look aroung and ask God for the answer. You’ll get it..but will you hear it? Try it. Meditate and you will be shocked> You will turn from the bunk man has tried to fill our heads with….you have to be alone…you have to look at your hands move. open close. then look to the heavens..you will arrive at your answer…it will be from your creator

  151. HOLY SH*T!!
    This thread is still going!
    I agree with Andrew Fildes; the soul/spirit/Id is purely metaphysical and has no weight. How much does a Thought weigh?
    If indeed there is some weight loss at the moment of death, I doubt very seriously it would be the weight of the ‘soul.’
    Considering the ramifications associated with such a weight lost; especially to Theist, I would have thought that if there was any truth at all to this 21 grams story it would have been numerously and vigorously validated by this time, with the results splashed across the Headlines of every publication, with every bible-thumper loudly proclaiming victory.
    The fact that there is very little of substance to be found anywhere else but on other web site that quote the very same source, leads me to conclude there is no ‘substance’ to be found.
    Be that as it may though, the subject is a great philosophical tool to get people thinking and discussing just what such a weight loss would imply.
    Just look at this thread alone. There is so much more here than just the 21 grams.
    Hey ChefQuix! Just how many post are in this thread?
    BTW Chef, I bought a domain name and moved my web site from Geocities to my ISP host site. NO ADS or POP-UPS!! ;O)
    You can find the link to it on the forum.

  152. cck:
    173 now. 🙂 I’ve already updated my links unless you changed your domain name.
    I answer to your queries – what if a thought weighed a very small amount? What if information had weight, on a fractional scale? It would sure explain a hell of a lot about the Universe. As for the fact of the experiment being done just once, almost 100 years ago and never verified – well that says more about the state of science then about the validity of the experiment. Perhaps it just hasn’t occurred to anyone with the right tools to actually do the experiment again, which I personally believe is a perfectly valid one.
    The thing is, that if the experiment proves that mass is lost when a person dies, it doesn’t necessarily give the bible thumpers crazy ammunition. What it does give the scientific community is something a bit metaphysical to ponder, and perhaps it will bring about a new dawn of civilization. Who knows? Maybe we’re about to enter a new epoch of thinking.

  153. “Maybe we’re about to enter a new epoch of thinking.”
    I see you have been reading the “singularity” posts on Mind-Brain! ;O)
    Hmmm? Does ‘information’ have weight?
    I guess that depends on what kind of information you are talking about. Everything physical contains ‘information’ of some kind, perhaps so should the metaphysical from which the physical issues. Photons carry information, but they have no mass.
    I believe ‘Thoughts’ are composed of metaphysical energy also, or else they could not be stored as memories. But does metaphysical ( Quantum energy ) also have mass and/or weight?
    Does Gravity exist in the quantum?
    Well, since we are not really sure just what gravity is, I don’t think there is an answer for that question yet. Check back tomorrow, we just may know by then! ‘O)
    As for the 21 grams experiment not being repeated yet, I would think a lot of Religions who have a stake in the existence of the soul would have used there money and influence by now to repeat the experiment somewhere in the world.
    Even if the loss of weight does not exactly prove there is a soul, it would at least by something to lend credence to the belief.
    Religious implications aside, I would think medical science would like to know just exactly what is going on, if indeed there is a loss in any weight at the moment of death. Would medical scientist just leave questions like that unanswered? I would hope not!
    Has anyone asked their doctor about the 21 grams?

  154. SO ITS TRUE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    well, i read most of your work on this
    matter and for conclusion to all the people that
    got to this page lately and are reading this comment – if you are seeking for the big TRUE
    about the 21 grams of a soul, you wont find it in
    here !!! nothing is proved nor disproved
    please tell me if you find something solid i wont sleep for at least a night because of that movie.

  155. How Do You Know You Have a Soul?
    The realization that perhaps I might actually have a soul came to me sometime in my 40s. At the time it was as a result of having taken a vocational path that proved very draining and unfulfilling. It felt as if the tiny flame at the core of my being was being slowly extinguished. Down to a blackened coal, with just a faint glow of life at the center. Was I killing my own soul? It seemed so at the time. When it finally became physically debillitating, I recalled hearing somewhere that the soul requires nourishment just as our physical bodies do. Feed the soul or perish. Feed it what? I guessed that endless days of unpleasant and unfulfilling work had been taking their toll. It was the motivation I needed to make the necessary changes in my life. I had to realize that my soul was the part of me that made me unique in this world, and it could be the driver of the individual choices that I make, when I have the sense to listen to it. I know that for years I did not listen. Many of my early life-changing decisions were based on the extremes of either raw emotion or heartless intellect. Some are still stingingly regrettable. At this point, after recognizing that my life choices must be more in tune with my own interests and abilities. But other questions about the concept of soul have arisen since then. For instance:
    1) Since each of us has a unique persona, (as much as one snowflake differs from another?), are our souls responsible for that diversity, or is that a function of our pysiology or psychology, or even the old nature/nurture?
    2) How much control does this bit of spiritual energy (or soul) have in determining the course of our lives through our choices? Or, Who’s driving this bus, anyway?
    3) And finally, the only question that really interests me anymore these days — What is it that we are supposed to be doing here? Imagine how fulfilling that would be for each of us to actually know and then to accomplish what we were here for! Of course the answer may already be obvious, as it would seem to be with the rest of the natural world, that the individual is only important in the procreation of the species. Too bad we can’t stick around for the answer whenever it comes. Or perhaps we can in some form or other. Until then, we can’t help but resemble anxious children under the Christmas tree, shaking their presents to imagine what’s inside.

  156. There are many things about life that make me think about them for extensive periods of time. Time-travel,our creation, and stars are just a few. Recently after watching this movie I decided to research about the loss of 21 grams and I found this website. After staying up for 3 hours and reading everything posted on this site, I came to the conclusion that maybe all things in life aren’t meant to be found out. That maybe there is a reason why we shouldn’t know where we came from, or how big space is. I say this because when I think about all these things it makes me think how incredible our world is and our bodies are. It makes me appreciate being fortunate enough to be alive and wonder about all of our worlds’ mysteries. I think maybe there is a medical or religious answer to the question of the loss of 21 grams, but I think the question is what makes life what it is. If everyone knew the answers of everything, life would be boring. The passion would be sucked out of individuals. But most importantly what I have learned from this website is this:
    “We need to focus on what happens when we are alive, not what happens when we die.”
    If people wonder what would it be like to die, what happens after you die, what is in store for our future? They are living in the future. You have to live in the present. You can think about the future whenever you want, but you can only be in the present once. When I was a little kid I would always be up late the night before Christmas thinking about what presents I would receive the next day, even though the presents were already wrapped and there was nothing I could do to change what the presents would be. Why did I get excited about this, because of the question of what was in the presents. If you know what your going to get for Christmas, where would the excitement be? If you knew the answers of all of our world’s questions, where would the passion be in our lives?

  157. To ‘dean’ who wrote on August 25 “Well, I read most of your work on this matter…”
    Who’s work? Or did you mean you read most of this thread?
    To our not so simple ‘simpleton’: If you have not done so already, please check out the Forum ChefQuix as set up for us. You can find the link on the left hand column near the top of this page. I would also like to invite you to consider a few of the answers to your questions I have on my own web site at http://www.polysolipsism.com.
    Sorry Chef, as you know I try not to ‘spam’ your site with a link to my own, but every so often someone comes along I believe will benefit, or at least appreciate the work I have done with Poly-Solipsism, and if we cannot get them to check out the Forum I fear they may never find the answers they are searching for.
    Please feel free to delete my link here if you feel I have taken advantage of your message board.
    To Havok. I enjoyed your post which brought to mind Dr Tim Duerden’s essay on Inspiration and Enlightenment. You might find it interesting as well. His web site can be found at http://www.duerden.com
    This might be my last visit to this 21 grams thread. It has grown so large it now puts a serious strain on my old 32 bit processor and take forever to open. It is heart warming though to see it still lives and continues to draw interest.
    Maybe one day if I upgrade my computer and Internet connection I can stop by and see it 21 grams still has a soul!

  158. You know I don’t mind you posting stuff to the forums and your own site.. 😉 I just wish you could figure out how to actually make the link! So here’s a quick HTML tutorial:
    If you want this:
    polysolipsism website
    simple type in:
    <a href=”http://www.poly-solipsism.com” >polysolipsism website</a>
    A couple things.. the url in the href=”..” quote needs the ‘http://’ and the last bit, ‘polysolipsism website’ is the link text.
    The internet is built on links and connections. You know how I feel about complex networks and what they lead to.. 😉 It important to make sure that we build it as dynamic as possible. 🙂
    And you think you enjoy seeing people still come here! How do you think I feel? This question is something that more people need to think about, just for the possibility. The ramifications are incredible if it’s true.
    Upon reflection and after having been to your site, I realize you do know how to build links…. 😛 So hopefully anybody else reading this thread learned a little about HTML today..

  159. Here is something you might find interesting. It needs further investigation though.
    ” … Dr. McDougall also tried his scales in weighing dying animals. No diminution was found here, though one of the animals was a St. Bernard dog. That was taken to indicate that animals have no souls. A little later, however, Professor La V. Twining, head of the Science Department of the Los Angeles Polytechnic School, experimented with mice and kittens, which he enclosed in hermetically sealed glass flasks. His scales were the most sensitive procurable and were enclosed in a glass case from which all moisture had been removed. It was found that all the animals observed lost weight at death. A good sized mouse, weighing 12.886 grams, suddenly lost 3.1 milligrams at death. …”

  160. Hello. It is really a fascinating theme and, as was already posted, modern scienfic-tecnological experiments on this issue should be conducted.
    Isn’t DEATH the main common event to all life forms? What happens to the life form at the moment the phenomena Death occurs: may the physical material which was alive just cease to exist as Life due to the end of biological processes? Or is Life something else which allows the physical material to be alive and continues to exist after the end of the biological processes?
    Is it a wall or a door? 🙂
    To the men of science: one concept is to believe or not believe in some kind of after-life; Another concept is to think it is possible or not possible to demonstrate it; yet another one is to take or not into consideration the possible negative judgement made by society (friends, family, fellows, career…) while in the process of demonstrating it; and so on…
    Any of them when misused may not allow nowadays a true impartial spirit of scientific research and experiments to be conducted or, till now, perhaps to have non at all in subjects like this one.
    The cause of not advancing cientific research in these kind of subjects is not a lack of scientific knowledge or capability of technology (both may be improved); it is essencially human (a question of Will which is limited by different perceptions of understanding and of living; social-economical and cultural obstacles of societies, …).
    In my perspective only Ethics concerns should limit research: it should at least be a scientific evidence; but Ethics is the last concern for everyone nowadays.
    Regarding Ken (December 9, 2003) post “(…) i am, though, starting to develop a distaste for this divide that seems so normal to everyone of seperating religion and science (…)”. There is an edition online of a marvellous and deep book into this subject titled “Science & Religion” written by Elsa M. Glover (BSc, MSc and PhD in Physics – deceased in 2003) which may give the reader a new insight on the paths of Science and Religion development:
    GLOVER, Elsa M., Science & Religion (ISBN: 0-533-07048-1): http://elsaglover.tripod.com/science_and_religion.htm
    Last, I must agree wiht Patricia (July 24, 2004) “(…) then all the science and religion in the world is not helpful to a true seeker of truth.” The subject and limitation is not science or religion, it is always: each one of us.
    In Friendship.
    P.S.: Excellent site ChefQuix! Truly “A quest for meaning, a search for answers, the pursuit of life, beauty and humanity in an inhumane world.”

  161. Dear ChiefQuix, I have noticed only now, after my posting, the link of your last post:
    “Interesting.. I found the text you describe:
    link.. strange text indeed – must look at it more closely.”
    You may find the book “The Vital Body” and other deep books from the same author Max Heindel (1865-1919) – which referred this scientific experiment of Dr. McDougall – at these links:
    Description of Books
    The Rosicrucian Philosophy
    The main book from this author was first published in 1909 and is titled “The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception” [An Elementary Treatise Upon Man’s Past Evolution, Present Constitution and Future Development], and you may find there an understanding for many of our quests:
    There is online – related to this theme and to a diagram presented by Max Heindel in “The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception” – a new recent 3D graphic titled “The Cycle of Life”:
    And some of the studies about Death at this links:
    The Science of Death
    The Riddle of Life and Death
    Where are the Dead?
    In Friendship.

  162. If it’s true that our soul has weight, when does our soul enter? When does a baby get a soul? At the moment of conception? If someone could prove that it would give a nice new debate about abortion.
    I don’t think the soul has weight. The research wouldn’t prove anything about the existence of a soul.

  163. One thing bothers me about the cat and mice experiments. Particularly, this:
    “A kitten used in another experiment lost one hundred milligrams while dying and at its last gasp it suddenly lost an additional sixty milligrams. After that it lost weight slowly, due to evaporation.”
    How could the kitten lose weight “due to evaporation” if it were in a hermetically sealed glass container? I wonder if the entirety of the scale was encased in the hermetically sealed glass environment. The wording doesn’t specify very well. It seems to mean the test animals were inside a glass container, on top of a scale, within another container- but it’s hard to be sure.
    In any event, if the test subjects are still losing weight due to evaporation, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the glass environments?
    But it certianly is interesting. What does it say about the credibility of either test that the results involving animals seem to compete with eachother? Or, even more interestingly, what does it say that Animals might have souls, despite being classically regarded as soul-less?
    Anyway, the text itself is certianly interesting, but I can’t seem to find anything on Professor Twinning, outside of refferences to The Vital Body. Did anybody else have better luck?

  164. I’m a new comer to this site and I must say how intrigued Iam by the diversity of thought provoking questions posed.
    I find the subject of “21 grams” extremely fascinating and so would like to make a contribution as a new year awakening.
    Firstly my belief that there is magic in the DUALITY of man kind in that we are governed by some seemingly written rule which dictates according to human perception that of any interaction between human curiosity there must be based on personal judgment some cnclusion as to whether the subject of the matter concerned is RIGHT or WRONG. The very biological process of our emergence into life as we know it leads to a transitary exploration of the world around us and once that has come to pass we die, this raises a state of conciousness based on human curiosity(the very reason we must ask whether something is write or wrong)as to the very nature of LIFE and DEATH. This through evolution has haunted us because we still obsess ourselves over the apparent self engendered puzzle of the higher being i.e. the SOUL, but why is what I feel we should ask? Is it some ingrained call to a higher state of consciencness that is beckoning to be discovered or is it a designed foolery to keep us busy in our little minds?
    Another conflicting duality crops up calling for the power of SCIENCE to disprove the very essence of RELIGION, the former shouting we through careful analysis can measure with tools of human creation to get to the very bottom of this SOUL business and the latter shouting, no leave it, there is no need, there is nothing more driving than the sheer power of human belief why measure a few grams when with your muind you can visualise the beauty of the spiritual force and with your heart you can feel it?
    So which one I ask you is the correct method, both perhaps, both indeed, for science may prove fruitless a venture in this particular case.
    My experience of the higher self at times of strife some while back confirmed some potential dorment state of the mind that awakens itself when truly needed as a guide. This I might believe has something to do with the paradox that is the SOUL. The duality there I propound, is that every human egg and sperm (duality) posesses a gravitatonal attraction that in turn forms a union which as another law of being suggests to me that there within is apart from the biological matter which develops rapidly to be reared as child, lies another discrete quantity of intelligent energy (21 grams?)which you mightlike to call the SOUL. This energy must also learn but it is of another dimension of human perception, it is intrinsically wiser and shares the same views on human value, moral and conduct as any other, the lower level of conciousness is the physical explorer of the world, the clumsier and the child.
    Now Iask you is this a delusional view, nonsense, or religious trite, for if you answer yes I would say well let science prove it so and you would start the debate all over again. Which one?

  165. I dont know if anyone mentioned this, but how much air does the human lungs hold on an average???? I know that 21 grams is not a lot, but air doesn’t weigh much either! Maybe its just the last bit of air being expelled from the person’s lungs??? that doesnt take long either, almost instantly! Just a suggestion!

  166. Love the whole discussion, and the 640 kiloton argument might be a killer, if all that energy stayed inside our three (or four) dimensions. Personally, I believe it doesn’t, and also the original weighing apparatus was a scale, implying that weight was measured instead of mass. Thus, the idea of lessening electromagnetical activity having its effect upon what appears to be gravity but is in fact also a part electromagnetical attraction feels intuitively right to me. Having said that, I have to state that in my mind, intuition is just listening to your whole massive parallel processor called a mind, instead of to your train of thought, which is more restricted by definition.

  167. ”science fails to reconize the single most potent element of human existance, letting the reins go to the unfolding is faith.” (system of a down) anyway, heres an interesting thing to think about ; if a soal was contained in our bodies, then in what part is it? how far can we use the process of elemination? we know our ‘soal’ couldnt be in our extremeties, or pretty much anywhere below our neck, considering we can become paralized from there down and still feel our ‘soal’. so its pretty much down to the base of the spine, or the brain, ok so what parts of the brain can be lost without turning the person into a ‘zombie’? im just asking, if we do have a soal, can we pinpoint its location?

  168. I find this concept very interesting and has sparked a very good debate on the issue. Thanks to all for their input, it was a very good reading. If anyone has new information on the “21 grams” i would be interested to know.

  169. U guys have gone nuts…
    How can you talk of something you re not sure of.
    First there shoud be a proper research on this though I think i will be very difficult to have a final say on it.

  170. I should say Cinema is still alive. it`s still breathing. sometimes i think there is nothing more inside, it’s been all said. Taxi driver or Godfathers and there can never be another one; but i watched this 21 grams and i was simply shocked.yes, Cinema is still alive; at least, as long as we don’t think we know everything about it.

  171. Yo! yep.. hey! zombies… now.. they are possible.. and in fact australians.. or austrians.. one or the other.. hell maybe even both.. have successfully reanimated dead dogs.. therefore dubbing them zombified.. and they are really trying to get permission to do firther testing on humans.. now.. if they can get this to work.. things like… people dying of high blood loss would be prevented more often.. and also amputations would be used less if done correctly… now I hate being labled either spiritual or scientific.. science is just a perception.. scientists don’t know much about anything we are all ignorant everyone is.. science is like the dissection of god’s creation.. but.. there are so many theories and that’s all they are are theories.. besides all my theories are correct.. cause I want them to be anyway back to what I was saying… Zombies… if a person was to really die and be reanimated and there was a significant difference.. i.e…. no soul… then I’m sure you will have more evidence and proof that the soul really does leave the body… reanimation is a real thing.. anythign is possible.. the techniques may contradict the lables.. such as reanimation.. may just be pumping artificial fluid in a vein or something.. however.. a change would definately stand the chance of being significantly noticable.. so look into it yall… they did it with dogs.. they’re going for humans… find your souls.. someone needs to cause.. we’re all about to die

  172. Life eh? what a bitch.
    All matters of science must be considered using
    methods of theory – in this case weight loss at demise of man – theory must comprise statement backed by evidence of factual accuracy –
    our good doctor has a theory backed by very poor
    evidence – some old contraption, a few UNKNOWN
    dying people and some dogs that wriggle and move around whilst being tested.
    it is the nature of mankind to question an omnipotent beings thinking or indeed the very existance of one –
    try to consider the great greek hunt for truth.
    what is it? how does one define truths?
    by testing theory – by questioning those who first profess on given subject –
    if, by experiment a true loss of mass occurs
    then a road of question appears and with modern
    methodology a new theory born-
    if, by experiment no loss ocurs then we could all rest better knowing that science has ascertained another glorious accolade-
    we know nothing on the subject – we actually KNOW nothing –
    this would seem a waste but our theorising could be aimed elsewhere for proof of soul –
    at least we would know that we know nothing.
    Jean paul satre wrote of knowing one existed by
    the consideration “I think, therefore, I am”
    I’m not certain if the majority of people know they exhist let alone prove the exhistance of soul – immortal or otherwise.
    if Newtons 3rd law is correct and einstien was of reasonably sound mind then energy cannot be destroyed – it is possible that “SOUL” consists of such energy which would carry mass –
    if the body dies then this energy may transmogrify to another form –
    the energy loss would coincide with a loss of mass –
    oh, stop wasting your time on crappy flicks –
    buy a load of books instead.

  173. True enough, and that’s what I’ve been saying from the beginning. The experiment was interesting but the methodology was flawed; if we want to put the question to rest then we have to redo the experiment using modern techniques. That’s why I’m hoping some med student will come across this page and be inspired for their thesis work. Sure it’s a bit morbid but I guarantee you that if you went to any large hospital and talked to some on the verge of death, at least a couple would consent to the experiment.

  174. The soul is not there to be lost from us, it is a separate thing all together. We are given a soul as we are born, so surely it must be taken when we die?
    The truth of it is we dont need to do experiements on this, we know that its true. The soul is the key and leaves us to meet us at the other end. It is the only piece that we keep when we die!!

  175. Here is a quick bit of physics facts for you all on this. Yes, this does have bearing on the subject as you will see at the end of this.
    1. During plasma experiments, it has been shown that a perturbation in one area of the plasma will result in apparently simultaneous reaction in a far off area (relatively speaking) of the plasma. This reaction happens much faster than the speed of light. The conclusion was that somehow, the protons of the plasma, had state knowledge of each other and reacted accordingly. i.e. they were all connected in some way that we don’t understand because from our point of view, the are just bouncing around in the magnetic field / bottle.
    2. In light beam experiments, if you take a beam of light, pass it through a transparent substance (like glass) that has a thickness “T”, then you will incur beam power loss at each surface interface. That means that when the beam transitions from the air (or vacuum) to the glass then from the inside surface of the other side of the glass to the vacuum, you will see power losses. Generally, this is easily explained by the beam being partially reflected at an angle from these surfaces. Indeed if you measure the reflected beam intensities, you will see the lost power from the main beam. HOWEVER, if the thickness T = 1/2 wavelength of the light you are using, then there is ZERO power loss and no detectable reflection. The why remains a mystery. One theory is that the reflected beams are exactly 1/2 out of phase with each other and thus cancel each other out. However, this ignores the fact that they would have had to have been reflected (and thus deleted) from the main beam in the first place in order to cancel out.
    3. An experiment involving the transmission of light (electro-magnetic) waves through opaque solids was conducted with surprising, repeatable results. Namely that given enough power, the transmission would happen FASTER than the speed of light through vacuum. This, of course, fly’s in the face of conventional theory. The transmission carried the same information at the receiving end but was very weak as well. Considering the solid was opaque (Brass or some other metal, I can’t remember which), it is not surprising the signal was weak. This does not, however, mean Einstein’s equations are wrong, since his E = MC^2 only results in not being able to go the actual speed of light. There is nothing that says you can’t go faster, just that you can’t transition through the speed of light to get there…
    4. Light bends it’s trajectory around strong gravitational sources. If light were only a wave in a vacuum, it would not do this.
    5. Diffusion patterns of light are created when you split a beam of coherent light (i.e. same wave length and phase), and pass it through two separate slits in a blocking material, to shine on a viewing screen. Basically you will get banding of lighter and darker areas due to the induced phase difference from the rerouting of the light through the two slits and the adding and canceling effects of the waves. HOWEVER, if you only emit ONE photon from your light emitter, you will still get the interference pattern! Remember, it takes at least two photons interacting with each other to get any sort of interference.. so where is the second photon coming from?
    Ok, so how does this all relate to the 21 grams question? From #1 we see that all matter is somehow connected. From #2 – #5 we see that light does not behave like any other substance or energy in our known universe. Yet if we postulate that we only see part of it, and that it actually exists fully within additional dimensions, then all the above “unexplainable” cases can be easily explained with normal physics. This then provides evidence of other dimensions, beyond our own time-space that we can see, as actually existing.
    If so, then why is it such a stretch to consider that part of us may also be only partially in this dimension and, perhaps more fully in the other dimension as light apparently is?
    My credentials: BS Aero-Astro Engr with minor in physics. MS in computer Sci.

  176. “It’s an interesting supposition because it leads one to believe that there may be empirical evidence for proof of a soul.”
    Only if that ‘one’ wants to believe it in the first place. His sample size makes his experiments invalid, and far more importantly, he himself threw out the results of 2 of the 6 ‘experiments.’ In throwing them out he didn’t fail to include them–he destroyed them. That act in itself disqualifies anything he did from science. MacDougall’s activities may lead ‘one’ to believe something only if that ‘one’ is an imbecile.

  177. Has anybody considered the possibility that Dr MacDougall may have intentionally fabricated / unintentionally fudged (take your pick) the data? Given that this experiment has not been replicated , and the original experiment was not performed under statistically/scientifically rigorous conditions, I’d be inclined to believe that the integrity of the data is grossly lacking.
    Scientific checks and balances are very, very loose, even today. Many scientists fudge data in order to secure funding, to get published, or to boost their personal ego. I’ve seen it happen at a few supposedly world-class university labs. Such activity is not uncommon, and I can guarantee for every scienist who is exposed each year for falsifying data, there are at least fifty more whose data fudging activities remain undiscovered.
    Assuming that scientific regulatory authorities are more efficient/strict today than they were 100 years ago, I would suggest that it is highly likely MacDougall may have fabricated his results. The crux? How much money/ego boost etc did he earn from his ‘discovery’? Therein lies the simple explanation.

  178. i have read your apinion about the 21 grams when we leave the body but still u would not commit to your beleath,s here is a little inf i will give you it is true that our static state leaves but on a death that acures at a point of the body not relising it creates what i can say is the static state but in a state we call gater,s i have allways been able to sense this but scared to go any further than the gater cumunicating through me with peaple ime around who the gaters new but i no none of them and i then get so scared that i breack away from this i was born 26/6/66 not refering to the devil ime not crazy ether and i can connect to all who inbetween death and were they go wich i no nothing off were it goes but i can get rid of any gater and u are welcome to take me to any place that this is felt and as i leave i can gaurantee they are gone forever from that place it is something that i dont do but to prove the fact of our inner self leaving i would show you ? gaters cause the mis calcalation in medical test give it a thought all the best to you and good luck with your medical advances m.p.dean

  179. Even if you could prove that the human body lost 21g at the point of death you would not be able to prove that it was the soul weighing this amount. Equally, not being able to conclusively prove that the human body loses this amount at the point of death does not disprove the existence of the soul. You can discuss these matters for years (and it seems you have been) from a scientific point of view but science is limited. Faith, on the other hand, can be limitless.
    Faith is believing in things we cannot see.

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