I will use the method Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd"), where I assume the opposite of what I am trying to prove, hoping to derive an absurd outcome, and then conclude that the original assumption must have been false.
- Assumption: I am merely an organised collection of material "stuff" (atoms, molecules, cells, ...).
- Therefore, what I call "my thoughts" must be merely sequences of electrochemical changes in my brain.
- All beliefs are thoughts.
- Therefore, a belief is a sequence of electrochemical changes in the brain.
- These electrochemical changes are caused by external events in the past (plus a certain amount of quantum randomness).
- Therefore, my beliefs (including my original assumption) are no more connected to the actual truth about the universe than the fizzing of an antacid tablet in a glass of water!
- This is absurd. [As CS Lewis wrote: 'You cannot have a proof that no proofs matter.' (Meditations in a toolshed)]
- Therefore, there is something more to "me" than my physical body, which we may identify as "the soul".