He said the concept of an after-life ‘violates the laws of physics’
An expert has definitively explained why he believes there is no possibility of life after death.
It’s one of the biggest philosophical questions: what happens after we die?
We’ve all probably had a bit of think about this inevitable eventuality, and the possibility of some sort of after-life.
However, according to Sean Carroll, an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute and Homewood Professor of Natural Philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University, there’s not much debate to be had.
The academic gave a talk on the matter at The Amazing Meeting (TAM) – an annual conference that focused on science, skepticism, and critical thinking – in Nevada, in 2012.
Carroll was adamant there is is sort of no life after death because the “laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood.”
So, for Carroll, once we stop existing as a physical being when we die, there is no material understanding of how we could continue to live in our world.
“That’s because there are no particles and forces that could contain the information in your brain after you die,” he said, adding that the idea of life after death “violates the laws of physics.”
Injecting a bit of humour into his talk, the professor showed a cartoon image of a ghost and said: “There is no life after death, despite the photographic evidence here offered.
“That’s because there are no particles and forces that could contain the information in your brain after you die. There’s no way for that knowledge of who you were before you died to persist after the chemical reaction that defines your life comes to an end and I’m speaking really here about some sort of extra material spirit that would somehow be you even after your body ceased to exist.
“That is not compatible with the laws of physics as we know it. We don’t need to look carefully at past life regression studies or anything like that. The claim violates the laws of physics.”
He continued: “What you are is a collection of atoms obeying the laws of nature: ‘You are not a physical meat sack that is being driven around by a little blob of spirit energy like a soccer mom driving an SUV.
“There are electrons, protons and neutrons interacting through electromagnetism, the nuclear force and gravity.
“So the laws of physics tell us what those things do – it is not necessary to bring anything else into the equation.”
A couple of years later, Carroll reiterated his belief about life after death in a speech, prompting applause from those in attendance.
Upon receiving the ‘Emperor Has No Clothes’ Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation for his ‘Atoms and Eve Incompatible’ speech, Carroll said: “There are even many atheists and naturalists who think we just can’t say whether there is life after death, there is no evidence one way or the other.
“So I want to tell you that we can say that there is no life after death. Sorry.”
This sparked applause and laughter from those in attendance, which only continued as he went on.
Carroll explained the brain “is made of atoms” and that we “know how atoms work.”
“They work in such a way that when you die, there is no way for the information that was you to persist after death. There’s no way for that stuff, that knowledge, that set of beliefs and feelings that made you you, to leave your body, because it is stuck there with the atoms which are decaying in your tomb or being cremated,” Carroll said.