Do souls and life after death exist?

Assuming I believe in a higher power and evoloution, I am a little conflicted about this life after death/soul thing. First this soul thing. Assuming we come from the same primordial pool, why do we have souls, but plants and dogs, cats, etc don't? The only disticition I can see between humans and... show more Assuming I believe in a higher power and evoloution, I am a little conflicted about this life after death/soul thing.

First this soul thing.
Assuming we come from the same primordial pool, why do we have souls, but plants and dogs, cats, etc don't? The only disticition I can see between humans and everything else in the world (carbon atoms and water) is that we have a sense of self. This must be the root of this soul thing or maybe its the tip of the iceberg (i.e. an outward extension of the soul).

Ok, well how does this sense of self develop?
I think it's because we have a powerful brain. How did we get a powerful brain? I think it's because we just happened to be genetic flukes within evoloution, which actually helped us out (props to Darwin and the X-men). As such, when did this soul thing come about? Did the one guy who stood on his 2 feet one day and started to think, get the soul, but his father and sister who were on all fours- who had no sense of self - get the shaft. Seems a bit unfair, even if they were dumb bastards.

Question 2. Life after death
Perhaps Heaven is the bliss before you die. That's a bit of cop out though, I think something has to happen to the soul because there is just too much evidence out there that that ghosts/communication with the dead exist. Is this the soul?

Note all that Sci-fi different dimension stuff (10 dimension string theory) is a bit bogus in term of life after death. If it was true shouldn't there be dogs and stuff in the other dimension?

I guess my main point here is that i want to believe. I know no one has the answers, but I would have thought that someone could provide a bit more plausaible logic than I have. Also the 'faith' thing doesn't get me too far either. that's a bit of a cop out.
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