[ExI] Weighing the Soul

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sat Sep 15 05:30:17 UTC 2018

You have a soul. This might sound shocking to an atheist but it is an
inescapable conclusion if one accepts the current consensus of physicists
that information is a physical quantity. This is because your soul or
mind, both names for your cognitive agency, manifests as information.

Information is made of bits, simple yes-no binary decisions leading to two
possible states represented by the numerals 0 and 1 or equivalently true
and false. And a bit of information is a real physical thing or at least
computing the value of a bit is a real physical process no matter how
abstract-seeming. We know this because of Landauer’s Principle.

Landauer’s Principle states that erasing a single bit of information takes
a minimum amount of energy that is quantified as E = kT*ln2 Where k is the
Boltzmann Constant and T is the temperature in Kelvin. You see the energy
that it takes to erase that bit is a real physical quantity so the bit
that got erased must be a real physical object too.  Otherwise one has the
paradox that something that does not exist takes energy to destroy.

Another way to reason about this is to assume dualism and examine the
consequence. If information were non-physical or metaphysical, then one
would be left with the two separate sets, one physical and the other
abstract or Platonic that intersected only in living sentient agents. This
would be a low probability coincidence but one that would not be necessary
if information were solely physical.

This could be rendered mathematically as P(φ)*P(ψ) <= P(φ), which is
saying that the product of the  probability of a you being  a physical
being (phi) and the probability of you being a psychic being (psi) is less
than your probability of being a purely physical being (phi) no matter
what those respective probabilities are. Therefore all information,
including perception, thought, and other mental phenomena must be physical
as well.

It costs you energy to change your mind, therefore your soul is made of
information and is physical. So how much information does your soul
contain? Well let’s try an approximation. You have about 10^8 neurons in
your brain. From Metcalf’s Law in network theory, we can estimate that
there (10^8)( 10^8-1)/2, or approximately 5 thousand trillion possible
neural connections in the brain.

Because there are two kinds of neural connections, dendrites and axons,
but the entropy of a network is maximized when every node is connected to
approximately half of the other nodes, a couple of additional factors of
two and ½ thus cancel out and we are left where we started. Metcalf’s Law
therefore actually gives us a workable first approximation for the
information comprising your psyche or soul as it were which comes out to
about 5*10^15 bits or 6.25 petabytes.

So now that we have estimated the amount of information that is your soul,
we can use Landauer’s Principle and Einstein’s E = mc^2 to calculate the
weight of your soul. Which turns out to be about  2.4*10^-19  grams or
about 140 kD or the weight of a typical protein molecule. That’s not much
mind you but that is a theoretic minimum since real computers operate well
above the Landauer limit and more energy per bit means more mass.

Stuart LaForge

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