The Naturalistic Case for Extinction

  • Paul Badham
  • Linda Badham
Part of the Library of Philosophy and Religion book series (LPR)


The strongest argument against our immortality is the fact that each of us ‘owns’ a body with a datable origin, and our conscious personal self comes into being, grows and develops in the closest possible relationship to that body.1 Hence on all reasonable analogy our selfhood could be expected to perish when our bodies die. This argument was expressed with characteristic lucidity in David Hume’s classic essay ‘On the Immortality of the Soul’:

‘Where any two objects are so closely connected that all alterations which we have ever seen in the one are attended with proportional alterations in the other; we ought to conclude by all rules of analogy, that, when there are still greater alterations produced in the former, and it is totally dissolved, there follows a total dissolution of the latter . . . The weakness of the body and that of the mind in infancy are exactly proportioned; their vigour in manhood, their sympathetic disorder in sickness, their common gradual decay in old age. The step further seems unavoidable; their common dissolution in death’.2


Infant Mortality Born Baby Fertilise Ovum Rational Soul Bodily Death 
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Notes and References

  1. 12.
    Cf. P. Badham, Christian Beliefs about Life after Death (Macmillan, 1976) chapter 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 14.
    J. N. D. Anderson, Issues of Life and Death (Hodder, 1976 ) p. 66.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    R. F. R. Gardner, Abortion, the Personal Dilemma (Paternoster, 1972 ) p. 124.Google Scholar
  4. 19.
    S. Rose, The Conscious Brain (Penguin, 1976 ).Google Scholar
  5. 20.
    R. S. Lee, Tour Growing Child and Religion (Penguin, 1865) pp. 28–9.Google Scholar
  6. 26.
    S. George, How the Other Half Dies (Penguin, 1977) p. 31.Google Scholar
  7. 27.
    C. Sagan, The Dragons of Eden: speculations on the evolution of human intelligence (Hodder, 1978) p. 98.Google Scholar
  8. 29.
    M. A. Simpson, The Facts of Death (Prentice Hall, 1979 ) p. 46.Google Scholar
  9. 33.
    A Farrer, Love Almighty and Ills Unlimited (Fontana, 1966) p. 190.Google Scholar
  10. 34.
    J. Glover, Causing Death and Saving Lives (Penguin, 1977) p. 126.Google Scholar
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    I. Asimov, Guide to Science vol. 2 (Penguin, 1972) P. 349.Google Scholar
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    R. Leakey, Origins (Macdonald and Jane’s, 1977) p. 88.Google Scholar
  13. 46.
    E.g. G. G. Simpson, J. Bronowski, S. L. Washburn et al. cited in E. Linden, Apes, Men and Language (Penguin, 1974 ) p. 50.Google Scholar
  14. 48.
    W. H. Thorpe, ‘Reductionism in Biology’, in Ayala and Dobzhansky Studies in the Philosophy of Biology p. 129.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul and Linda Badham 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Badham
    • 1
  • Linda Badham
    • 1
  1. 1.St David’s University CollegeLampeter,WalesUK

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