@ Hagart: Ok. The shortest answer. There is no evidence that the soul exist. Plenty of evidence suggesting that it doesn't - particularly from the realm of neuroscience.
@ buildit: If a medium is found that appears to control bodies and survives their destruction, it will have to be a physical substance by default for how else can it interact with matter? Secondly, this soul still wouldn't explain consciousness. Scientists would have to ask what makes it consciously aware. Another soul inside? It still doesn't answer it. What about what makes that one conscious and the one inside it ad infinitum? What is the mechanism that makes it possible?
No soul, no self, not even ectoplasm is found in the bodies of living things. The Cartesian theory is so absurd that philosophy alone can expose it as non-explanatory. No evidence supports vitalism and those monists who say everything is made of consciousness are just talking out of their arses and not helping at all.
Finally, the absence of souls in living bodies doesn't have to devalue life. We can still love our relatives and friends and have a good time with them while we still can. We can also marvel at the universe and wonder how certain things happen. There is still so much to discover,so much to explore!
Isn't it amazing that nature stumbled upon a system of echolocation in bats over millions of years long before we developed radar and sonar? Isn't it wonderful that all life had simple mineral beginnings in the primordial soup and once a replicator molecule emerged, it led to the amazing complexity we see today? What about intelligent life out there?
Here is food for thought for those of you who think consciousness demands an elan vital. A long time ago, an inventor and a philosopher had a debate. The inventor said he was planning to construct a device that could record and later replay Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with lifelike fidelity. The philosopher said it was impossible on the basis that there are so many different voices of different ranges and timbres, bowed strings, brass, woodwind, percussion, and that therefore the recording device would have to be a monstrosity with millions of annotations and would require human slaves for the vocal parts.
The philosopher's argument may be compelling, but the inventor came up with the Fourier system that involves a single wavy line chiseled into a long-playing disc or magnetically represented on a tape or optically on the soundtrack of a film. The philosopher had mistaken his failure of imagination for an insight into necessity. The brain generates consciousness. It provides us with a sense of self. The self is an illusion - meaning it's not what it seems...
The physical universe is already wonderful enough, buildit.[ Post made via Android ]