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Tags die , mass , body

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Old 20th December 2003, 01:06 AM   #1
Number Six
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Does the Body Lose Mass When You Die?

I just saw an ad for a movie on TV. The movie is named "21 Grams." The first line in the ad said, roughly, "They say you lose 21 grams when you die." I'm not sure but I think their idea is then when you die, you suddenly weight 21 gram less, which means that 21 grams is your soul (or whatever you want to call it) that has departed your body.

So, does your body decrease in mass at all when you die? When you're living your body is able to create heat and run itself but when you die it stops being able to do that. Does that result in an immediate loss of weight? My guess would be that body ceasing to function may result in an extremely small change in weight but that the change wouldn't be anywhere close to 21 grams.
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Old 20th December 2003, 01:31 AM   #2
Yahweh
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See Snopes - A physician once placed dying patients upon a scale in order to measure the weight of the human soul.

The status of the legend is TRUE, and that'll throw people off. Its true that in 1907 a physician (Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts) did try to measure the weight of people after death (people get confused into believing that the body loses 21 grams after death).

MacDougall's results:
Quote:
What to make of all this? MacDougall's results were flawed because the methodology used to harvest them was suspect, the sample size far too small, and the ability to measure changes in weight imprecise. For this reason, credence should not be given to the idea his experiments proved something, let alone that they measured the weight of the soul as 21 grams. His postulations on this topic are a curiousity, but nothing more.
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Old 20th December 2003, 01:48 AM   #3
clusterm2
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Surely just the loss of bowel/bladder control would bring about a rather obvious loss in weight (which would be considerable in certain persons)
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Old 20th December 2003, 05:53 AM   #4
BillyJoe
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Everyone knows that the soul is immaterial and therefore its weight is zero.
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