Life After Death According to Science?

One of the first things you learn in fields like logic, statistics, or methods in science is that correlation does not imply causation. In other words, just because we observe two things to be closely correlated does not necessarily mean that one thing is causing the other. Establishing a causal relationship is actually a complicated and at times unresolved issue in many scientific disciplines and the standards for determining causation differ depending on the field. But in all fields, the basic principle that correlation is logically distinct from causation is maintained.But when it comes to the human mind, this principle is abandoned by atheists and naturalists who claim that the mind and consciousness cannot persist after the death of the brain. They believe that the brain is the cause of consciousness and they point to brain scans and how when a person thinks certain conscious thoughts, electrical activity in the brain fires up in particular ways depending on those thoughts, etc.

In reality, this is all correlation. You can correlate thought with any number of anatomical responses. For example, if a person focuses on traumatic memories, their heart rate, blood pressure, etc., might change in specific repeatable ways. That doesn’t mean the heart is causing those thoughts. It’s just a correlation. But this simple logical point is thrown out whenever the organ of the brain is concerned. This is due to a cultural bias and a metaphysical assumption on the part of scientists that the brain is the locus and generator of mental activity. But there is nothing to justify this in scientific terms, nothing to elevate the correlation to bona fide causation.

Why should we accept the metaphysics of naturalism? What is it based on? Many non-religious thinkers and philosophers have pointed out how uncompelling and confused the naturalistic picture is and that trying to explain the human mind in terms of atoms and chemistry has been a complete failure after decades of dedication to the project by the world’s greatest scientists and hundreds of millions of dollars in research funding.

The lack of scientific explanation is not in and of itself evidence in favor of a theistic explanation (lest I be accused of falling into a “God of the gaps” fallacy — that’s a topic for another time inshaAllah). But certainly, there is not a scientific explanation that is an alternative to the theistic thesis, much less a refutation of life after death. Those who claim that science refutes life after death and appeal to neuroscientific results are blowing hot air.

As Muslims, we have independent reasons for our rational conviction in life after death and the continuation of the mind/soul after the destruction of the body. Muddled thinking from the dogmatic priests of naturalism and scientism does not take anything away from that.

“And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul. Say, “The soul is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little.”” [17:85]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. JAK for this thought provoking article. Atheists are
    stuck in their own “world view”. They are spirituality blind and they interpret scientific data through that world view. A believer needs to study the same science from a creationist world view. Sadly, Muslims have abandoned this science and left it to the Christians. The result is that we have Muslims so called scholars that preach evolution, even though evolution is easily disproved scientifically.

  2. What causes the electrical impulses in brain? The problem of intentional actions is not so easy to explain in material terms.

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