Having had this thread pointed out to me, I feel I should wade in, to prevent myself being misrepresented.
For example, Duke on IRC claimed that souls have no specified time of birth, which is false.
I remember various conversations on this topic, but am reasonably confident I never made that claim (it would be uncharacteristically definite of me). I may be wrong (and feel free to correct me if I am wrong), but I suspect the relevant statement was:
From Duke (on IRC):
[11/08/24 - 00:16:26] <@Duke> also, there are so many flaws in that - for starters, you need to define human? Who has souls and who doesn't? How do you define "sapient"? Do other animals have souls? When do souls appear, at birth, conception or somewhere in between? Where do they come from? [Emphasis added. Timestamp in year/month/date - 24hour:minutes:seconds, based on local time in London]
Yes, that does demonstrate the ignorance of an atheist; I do not know when souls appear (and was using this list of questions to point out some of the questions that must be answered by anyone positing the existence of a soul).
I didn't claim that they had no specific time of "birth", not least because I didn't claim they existed at all - but that's another point. On this specific issue, the logic runs something like this:
s (not defined) exist,
: While people
(to be defined elsewhere) have bodies
, their soul is linked to their body
(defined loosely as the collection of cells and whatnot),
: There is a time
before the body
: At some point, the soul must become attached to the body.
My question was when this attachment occurs. It is (and correct me if I am wrong) a logical consequence of the given assumptions and so anyone asserting those assumptions to be true (I'll take 3 as fairly uncontentious, although it does require a definition of time
which I don't have) must have an answer to this question, or accept that their theory is not complete.
Now, it may well be that you, personally, believe that this attachment occurs at conception (and coincides with the creation of the soul) - which is fair enough (although may raise interesting issues with identical twins) - good for you. However, I'm fairly confident that you can't prove that everyone believes that is when souls are attached, and can prove that not all possible religions hold that to be the case.
So, you have an answer (without evidence or proof) to one of the questions. Good. Now try to answer all the others (each, I submit, were consequential questions to assertions made in the conversation). If you can answer them all, then you might have a basic theory of the practicalities of how souls work (but not why, or what they are, the science behind them, and so on).
In summary; I'm fairly certain I didn't claim that, and your assertion is one of belief, not of scientific fact. The difference between me (an atheist) and you (a "believer in souls") is that I try to recognise and admit when I don't know something, and throw in probabilities and risk assessments, whereas you seem to simply make your own assertion and hold it to be true.
As an aside, while we're here:
Another example is the claim of dinosaurs not fitting into Genesis. They fit if you take the first chapter metaphorically, as it's meant to be taken.
The emphasised bit is another assertion. Now, it might be a rather common one among many religious groups, but again, I'm fairly certain it isn't taken metaphorically by all (and can prove that some possible religions will hold it to be literal). It is important, imho, when making an argument, to recognise when something is merely an assertion of fact or an assumption, and the level of evidence to support them. Of course, with the whole "it should be taken metaphorically" argument, you then have to answer the question of which bits of your scripture you take literally, and which metaphorically (it can make quite a big difference) - some religions hold their scriptures to be entirely literal.
But anyway... this is why I avoid forums; I tend to get rather caught up in them. To summarise:
From AndrÃ© Gide:
Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.
Personally, I'm happy to be ignorant, it means that I'm always looking for answers, and more questions - that is how I learn, and improve myself.
[Apologies if I have repeated something someone else has said; I sort of dove straight in at the top.
[Edit 0: Blake! Why doesn't your forum accept lists or quotes using quote-tags from non-users?
[Edit 1: Thanks Soph; quote boxes fixed.