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Watch: Londoners Ponder the Existence of a Soul

David Klinghoffer | @d_klinghoffer

Umar Nasser is a doctor in London, currently training to be a psychiatrist. We last met him chatting up David Berlinski, the latter ensconced on a couch too short for the two interviewers plus Dr. Berlinski. (See “Berlinski Banters Entertainingly with ID-Friendly Muslims.”) Dr. Nasser and his website, Rational Religion, make their videos with a great sense of humor. The videos look effortless but I’m sure they’re not. Here in a new entry, he asks a diverse group of Londoners on the street whether they think they have a soul. Or is the mind no more than electrical signals firing through an agglutination of meat and chemicals?

What’s interesting is that almost everyone says yes, he or she indeed has a soul. That’s notwithstanding that on this particular day around Christmas, almost no one strolling nearby the city’s Marble Arch appears to be traditionally religious. (One man cites his combined Catholic and Muslim background.) As Nasser points out, and as these people seem to intuit, the fact that we experience free will and that we experience the world through the medium of our consciousness strongly suggests that we are more than a physical brain. Instead, as it seems to most of us even without theological training, a spirit operates in cooperation with the physical organ. And that hints further that the spirit could survive death. Materialism asks us to deny the evidence of this near-universal, dualist experience.

Thank you for this, Dr. Nasser, and peace be upon you as well.