[Advaita-l] Concept of Soul

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Thu Aug 23 09:08:13 CDT 2007

>The theory that, after the death of a human being, there exists an
>called the soul that persists and continues to take a new birth. If we
>create life using chemicals in a laboratory, it appears that the human
>is nothing but matter and after death the result is "ashes to ashes,
dust to

The "if" is a tall order, indeed. Creating life using chemicals in a
laboratory means that a scientist will have to

A. synthesize every single DNA/RNA molecule, including every nucleotide
that goes into DNA/RNA,a
B. synthesize every single enzyme needed for DNA/RNA function, including
every amino acid that goes into each enzyme,
C. create every single molecule of the cell contents (sugars, fats,
antibodies, chromatin, collagen etc.) chemically,
D. create the entire cell wall and membrane chemically,
E. put all these together and make a viable cell,
F. cause this entirely artifically synthesized cell to multiply,
G. cause the resultant mass of cells to properly differentiate,
H. develop these into an organism in vitro

All these major steps and all intermediate steps involved should be done
in test tubes, not inside another living organism. For example, a
denucleated cell from an organism cannot be used, nor can DNA extracted
from an organism be used. And enzymes extracted directly from organisms
or expressed in bacterial cultures cannot be used. Only if all these
conditions are met and the resultant organism grows into a functioning
adult can life be said to have been created using chemicals in a

None of the current scientific techniques for cloning, parthenogenesis,
in-vitro fertilization, etc. qualify for being seen as creating life in
a laboratory using chemicals. They all rely on previously existing life.
The theoretical possibility of creating life has always existed, no
matter what the state of scientific knowledge has been. After all, there
was a time when people thought insects spontaneously appeared from
trash. It is well accepted now that nobody can succeed in creating new
matter without recycling old matter and nobody can succeed in creating
new energy without redistributing existing energy. However, when it
comes to life, there is a suspicion that somehow, some day, someone will
create new life from something that is not life. It is not borne out by
the scientific evidence so far, leave alone philosophical
considerations. Suffice it to say, we do not understand life and
consciousness well at all.


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