The Arithmetic of Souls

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I’m not anywhere close to considering myself a biology expert, however I do find the subject fascinating and I find the implications of biology on religion to be eye opening.

Mormon doctrine, the stuff generated in my lifetime anyway, tends to avoid teaching concepts that conflict with science. Science, however, doesn’t seem to mind infringing.

Take the point that Sam Harris, author of the controversial book Letter to a Christian Nation, raises. He articulates that the math behind a belief in one soul for every living being does not add up.

Take for a moment that there are souls in this petri dish, and that every three day old blastocyst is en-souled. Well unfortunately embryos at that age can split into twins. So what’s happening there? We have one soul turning into two souls?

Embryos at a later stage can fuse back into what is called a chimera—a single individual born of two embryos. So do we have two souls becoming one soul? This arithmetic of souls doesn’t make much sense.

What I’m wondering is, how does one reconcile this very simple mathematical dilemma?

12 thoughts on “The Arithmetic of Souls

  1. Well, that’s easy to refute.

    God just made it that way.
    Souls come and go, don’t bother yourself with the details.

  2. Am I to understand from the lack of responses that Rick’s answer is so accurate that nobody else feels the need to comment?

    Have the atheists won?

  3. Jeff

    Well I haven’t responded because I don’t quite know what or how to respond (Kim probably will at some point). The whole division of spirits isn’t something I dwell on too much.

    And I have never been good at math. :)

  4. The quote you cited rests upon the premise that the spirit enters the embryo at conception. I don’t agree absolutely that it does.

  5. “What I’m wondering is, how does one reconcile this very simple mathematical dilemma?”

    The writer’s assumption is that “every three-day-old blastocyst is en-souled”. That assumption is not necessarily valid.

  6. My feeling is, even if the spirit is not yet in the embryo, one is assigned anyway. This is just my personal opinion though.

    When we lost our first, I felt the presence of that child AFTER he was gone. So I can’t say one way or another whether the spirit was in the body. The baby died at about 6 weeks gestation.

  7. well an embryo isn’t in existence at that time. you don’t even know you are pregnant. Pregnancy doesn’t occur until a good week after ovulation.

  8. I’m talking about embryo’s that DO exist. :)

    According to the dictionary, in humans, embryos are “the prefetal product of conception from implantation through the eighth week of development.”

  9. Jeff, I don’t think the atheists have won. There just isn’t an answer yet. This hasn’t been revealed; until it is, all our speculations will come to nothing. I understand that it’s interesting, and perhaps even useful, to think about things that aren’t yet revealed, and stretch our own intellects. But this all hinges on identifying an exact point at which a pre-existing spirit enters a newly created body, and the Lord has never told us when that is. All he has told us, through his servants, is to avoid abortion except in certain cases of danger, and to approach those special cases seeking guidance through prayer and Priesthood counseling. In this case, I don’t see how trying to make up an answer will do me or anyone else any good.

    1. Your “Lord” never said anything about abortion. Those men you call his servants are lying con men who, in addition to covering up the crimes of pedophiles, have the temerity to try to speak for God. You know it’s true.

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