- September 19, 2010 at 6:30 am #13788
I was wondering If I can get a question answered.
My friend says he saw a video of a person who died and apparently lost some weight just after death. He thinks it may be proof of the soul leaving the body 🙄 Can I get a simple scientific explanation for this?
Something to do with the body’s electromagnetic field or something?
- September 19, 2010 at 6:40 am #101329
the last breath
- September 19, 2010 at 7:03 am #101330quote JackBean:
Does carbon dioxide have weight?
- September 20, 2010 at 6:11 am #101339
sure, everything has a weigth, even the soul, about 21 grams, didn’t you know?
- September 23, 2010 at 12:56 am #101435quote JackBean:
There is no soul. I assume you’re joking.
So carbon dioxide could be the explanation for the weight loss. Anything else?
- September 23, 2010 at 8:00 am #101440Julie5Participant
"There is no soul" – my, what an unprovable assertion!!! 🙂 (People thought there were no black swans either, remember?!)
However, I’m intrigued, rather morbidly, by the idea that a dying person was put on a weighing machine, to get a before and after reading. Sounds a little macabre to me.
As to souls, well, I would tell your friend that if souls exist, their entire definition rests on them being incoporeal, so they would have no mass.
"Render unto science the things that are scientific, and unto God (posited but never proveable!) (or unproveable!)! the things that are divine….."
- October 20, 2011 at 4:13 am #107041cjlParticipant
I’ve heard of this. Some christian doctors did some studies in the 19 century and noticed a slight change in the weight when the person died. The study had questionable scientific proof. Some christians even question its accuracy. Some people attribute it to water vapor that escapes in the breath. Their assumption is that the soul is something physical. Something that has mass. To have mass it has to be composed of atoms or some sub atomic particles. Many Christians don’t believe the soul is physical, but more of a consciousness or energy. Which would have no weight.
- October 22, 2011 at 2:22 am #107107clarisseParticipant
When my grandfather died, he actually weighed more than he did when he was alive. So, IMHO, no, you don’t lose weight when you die.
- November 8, 2011 at 10:31 am #107825cmw333Participant
It was Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts who attempted to weigh the human soul. In 1907, he placed 6 dying patients on a homemade scale, which also acted as a bed for the patients. He then recorded their weights before and after death. According to Dr. MacDougall, there was a difference of 21 grams between the heavier, living patients and their dead bodies.
He also experimented on 15 dogs and found no loss of weight between the living dogs and their dead bodies. He believed this was because animals do not have souls.
His experiments were criticized since of the six patients, two tests had to be discarded and the level of error was very high. Obviously, it was not a very scientific study.
In addition, no one has ever been able to repeat the result of these experiments. Basically, there is still no physiological evidence of the soul. It’s an urban legend propagated by a guy who did bad science – looking for an answer he already believed was true. Real science doesn’t have attachments to pre-existing beliefs and values. It just observes and hypothesizes.
- November 16, 2011 at 8:47 pm #108181daniel.kurzParticipant
This sounds like a Dan Brown novel that has been taken for literal. The point that sticks in my mind is we don’t understand what the soul could be (physical manifestation or some type of energy) so we can’t measure it. What may be seen could be experimental error generated by a door opening down the hall and alteration of room pressure. There are so many different manifestations that we will probably never truly understand.
- November 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm #108406Scarlett1Participant
The commonly held notion is that the human body looses 21.3 grams ‘at the moment of death’. This is based on the unfounded research of one Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Of course, ‘moment of death’ was chosen as ‘when the patient stops breathing,’ and this 21.3 gram loss was only found in one of his six patients (an all too small sample size). On the contrary, another patient gained weight ‘at the moment of death’. His study on dogs found no corresponding weight loss, and from this (and his religious dogma which claims animals have no souls) he claimed the soul weighed 21.3 grams.
There is no official ‘moment of death.’ Initial claim was based on 1 example using inadequate equipment, even when the study itself contradicted the claim. The claimant had an obvious bias (demonstrated in this and other studies). The experiment has never been verified, not even by other supporters of his viewpoint.
As such, we cannot claim to know if the human body does lose weight at death, let alone have an average.
- November 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm #108413
what is the purpose of repeating someone else’s post?
- November 27, 2011 at 11:00 pm #108447UhaeParticipant
I know about this only from the movie "21 grams". Of course in the movie it was about soul, but actually that would be too romantic to believe in this.
- December 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm #108867petersimon786Participant
I think that weight loss is a serious matter and most of the people are working on this serious problem because increment in weigh mostly affect your health which lead you to death and there is no weight loss issues after death. I will say that overcome obesity and live a healthy life.
- December 29, 2015 at 8:40 pm #115859walbychurchParticipant
Oxygen in each of the 230,000,000 million cells in our bodys .Have a combined atomic weight of approx 3 grams. This is measured in Moles (a Chemistry unit of measure). When a Human body dies the oxygen needed for cell survival is depleted, but is not replaced by the respiratory system, that s why it weights less at the point of death.
My opinion only, and unproved.
- December 29, 2015 at 8:41 pm #115860walbychurchParticipantquote walbychurch:
- December 30, 2015 at 1:38 pm #115862claudepaParticipant
Hi. I have doubts about the role of oxygen in a supposed weight loss after death. Oxygen is converted in water in oxydative phosphorylation (ATP synthesis) in mitochondrias. Therefore there should be no loss of weight caused by oxygen. New oxygen does not arrive in cells but CO2 made by Krebs cycle is also no released. I do not know the weight balance in breathing between inspired oxygen and expired CO2.
- June 7, 2016 at 3:51 am #116016FornitaParticipant
The first question is whether the death actually loss weight.
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