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Teleportation problem
Posted: 14 October 2007 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 October 2007 05:37 AM
Mriana - 13 October 2007 06:20 PM

In answer to your question, Stephen, yes you are still the same person- DNA wise.  Even at birth you were you even now.  Scientifically, you still have the same DNA and your history is infancy, childhood, adolesence and now adulthood.  Psychologically, you have grown too and maybe you think differently about the world depending on your life experiences, but I still stand that you are that little boy all grown up.

Even as Doug said, if you did something at the bank 3.5 seconds ago or 7 days ago, it was still you who did it and DNA can confirm that.  Same with your Europa and atoms bit too.

what you have done here is made up a rule.

As long as an entity has the same DNA it is the same thing, or something like that.

Then you go on to show I’m wrong by referring to the rule you made up.

I suppose I’ve done the same. I’ve made up the rule, that if something changes, it is something different and can’t be the same thing.

How do we know who is right? Or indeed, if both of us are wrong?

One of many reasons I doubt your rule is because we only happen to be talking about humans.

We need something which makes sense for toasters, fridges or ships too.

Stephen

Me thinks he doth protest too much and grabbing straw men from the fields.  DNA is not a made up rule, it is a scientific fact.  Science, even criminology, will tell you this.  Do you doubt science? You can even take atoms, neutrons, protrons, and electrons.  A hydrogen is the same today as it was yesterday with the number of each of these things.  Thus even your fridge is the same as the day you bought it, just aged.  It’s composition has not changed.  I do believe if you do some research on this you will learn something about science.

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Posted: 15 October 2007 02:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Hi all,

I would like to bring back a point I made before, which I think is the crux of the teleportation argument. I think there are a lot of people between us that, as I do, think that the mind is in some way a function of the brain (or body if you want to look a little broader). This already rules out that replacement of atoms is somehow essential: the matter does not matter.

The first question is: if such a teleporter would exist, would you use it? If you are consistent, then if you think that you are just this function, then you will exist further on Europa, with all you memories, including the memory that you stepped into the machine.

The second question: who is you, when the machine is malfunctioning (probably by a delitium-tachyon field LOL ), and the original is not destroyed? Am I standing on Europa, hearing the message that my original still exists, or am I getting out of the machine dissapointed that it did not work, only to hear that my duplicate is on Europa, and having a great time there (you know how European (wo)men are, don’t you?).

I confess, even with my ‘materialist’ world view, I would have problems to step into the teleporter. Please do not come with answers how the teleporter might work or not, we take it for granted that the machine works, and can malfunction in this way.

As a ‘aside’: I did a lot of so called ‘socratic’ discussions, in which one is only allowed to bring in arguments that (s)he really believes in, i.e. does live according to the principles (s)he is defending. As an example: there are extreme sceptics, saying that one never knows if matter is really undestroyable. Such a sceptic, when going home finding his jacket is gone, will never say: ‘You see, here is the proof!’. In daily life (s)he lives with the continual existence of matter, and therefore this person will conclude that somebody took the jacket.

GdB

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Posted: 15 October 2007 03:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I want to meet these extreme skeptics!  (especially the ones with nice coats, hehe)

I’d have a problem stepping into the teleporter, too!  Even though I, too, am a materialist (essentially).  But I might be persuaded if enough thrill seekers did it and told me how amazing it was, oddly enough.  Maybe there’d have to be another factor in there somewhere, like for some reason I have nothing left to live for (samsara forbid).

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Posted: 15 October 2007 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Mriana - 14 October 2007 11:50 AM

Me thinks he doth protest too much and grabbing straw men from the fields.  DNA is not a made up rule, it is a scientific fact.  Science, even criminology, will tell you this.  Do you doubt science?

The made up rule is I remain the same, if I have the same DNA. DNA itself is not the made up rule. You could have said I remain the same as long as I keep my hands. I would have doubted the rule, not that I have hands!

You can even take atoms, neutrons, protrons, and electrons.  A hydrogen is the same today as it was yesterday with the number of each of these things.

That was the way I was taking it! In the Europa example the atoms that made the person up are scattered around on earth! and the person is on Europa!

  Thus even your fridge is the same as the day you bought it, just aged.  It’s composition has not changed.

What you are saying is it is the same but different. I would make the case that something can’t be the same but different and if we were talking about two fridges stood side by side you’d likely agree with me.

If it is different I believe it’s composition must have changed in some way or it would not look different. Maybe some molecules have been scratched off, maybe some dirt and grease molecules have been added. Maybe it’s draws have been replaced.

I do believe if you do some research on this you will learn something about science.

I’m quite sure my scientific knowledge is weak and I’m quite sure it makes no difference as far as these points are concerned.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 October 2007 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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dougsmith - 14 October 2007 11:44 AM

Now, when discussing the teletransporter to Europa, I do think there is at least some basis for saying we don’t survive it—after all, the machine has literally destroyed us at the atomic level. Arguably that would be enough to kill anything. And then, again arguably, it’s constructed a simulacrum of us somewhere else.

But that’s not at all the same thing as what happens to us every moment of our normal lives here on Earth!

It doesn’t happen to us in a moment no. I understand that it does happen over a period of time, five years is a length of time I’ve read somewhere. There are no atoms that make up me now, which also made up me then.

 


Stephen

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Posted: 15 October 2007 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 October 2007 09:55 AM

It doesn’t happen to us in a moment no. I understand that it does happen over a period of time, five years is a length of time I’ve read somewhere. There are no atoms that make up me now, which also made up me then.

Right, yes. And ... ?

In the intervening years those atoms were replaced by other atoms, which then make you up. If you were literally identical to the particular atoms that constituted your body, you’d be losing bits of yourself every time you scratched your head or went to the bathroom. Better not!

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Posted: 15 October 2007 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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mckenzievmd - 14 October 2007 10:49 AM

Stephan,

I guess I don’t understand what you mean by change? I mean, if the change is imperceptible to the person and everyone else, why does it matter? And if we didn’t know about the cellular changes happening in our bodies, would it make a difference. I don’t think you’ve solved the conundrum, I think you’ve created one where it doesn’t exist. The only “rule” I’m suggesting is that if there’s no way ot tell a thing is different between time A and time B, than it’s not meaningful to say it’s changed.

I might use change to mean when a part leaves or a part joins me but also just simply, if I move.

I think everything is constantly changing.

I think we draw lines and label and categorise

I think we then discuss these labels, as if they are reflecting reality in a way in which they are not.

So my label is Stephen, there is no continuous Stephen, really I’m something different at every moment.

We can’t keep changing my name everytime something changes about me, so we keep the label and only draw the line at significant changes. But this isn’t because of how it actually is. But because of what is practical and sensible to do.

I think what possibly helps to solve the conundrum is to see this (if true) and look beyond it.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 October 2007 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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dougsmith - 15 October 2007 10:03 AM
StephenLawrence - 15 October 2007 09:55 AM

It doesn’t happen to us in a moment no. I understand that it does happen over a period of time, five years is a length of time I’ve read somewhere. There are no atoms that make up me now, which also made up me then.

Right, yes. And ... ?

If this thought experiment works then I think my conclusion does follow. On the other hand it may not, in which case that would be interesting. I wonder if it doesn’t? I did start of with the thought it was only a type of conjeuring trick.

A)The person on Europa cannot have a past. It is impossible because the only past he could possibly have is on earth and yet there is nothing at all which he is made of that has ever been there. He is matter formed in such a way as to give him memories of a life on earth.

B)Now if it is true thast the person on Europa has no past.

Then the same is true of me, beyond five years ago, at least.

I do believe B must follow, I think for me to be wrong A needs to be false.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 October 2007 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 October 2007 11:44 AM

If this thought experiment works then I think my conclusion does follow. On the other hand it may not, in which case that would be interesting. I wonder if it doesn’t? I did start of with the thought it was only a type of conjeuring trick.

A)The person on Europa cannot have a past. It is impossible because the only past he could possibly have is on earth and yet there is nothing at all which he is made of that has ever been there. He is matter formed in such a way as to give him memories of a life on earth.

B)Now if it is true thast the person on Europa has no past.

Then the same is true of me, beyond five years ago, at least.

I do believe B must follow, I think for me to be wrong A needs to be false.

Hmmm ... seems to me a stronger argument to go the other direction:

I have a past that stretches back more than five years, and yet I don’t have any of the same atoms in my body that I had five years ago.

Therefore:

My having a past doesn’t depend on having the same atoms I did before.

Therefore:

The fact that this person on Europa has none of the same atoms as the person on Earth did is irrelevant to his having or not having the same past as the person on Earth.

Also, if you are talking about logical identity conditions, then changing a single atom gives you a different set of atoms. So if I understand the argument you’re making, the person should change identity by losing a single atom. But again, that’s absurd.

Or are you going to allow for “partial identity”, such that you’re half identical to the person you were 2 1/2 years ago? (Since you have half the atoms you did then). Again, that’s really a bad result.

What I’m saying is that you’re going down the wrong path here. It’s a path that’s been known since ancient Greece, FWIW.

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Posted: 15 October 2007 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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GdB - 15 October 2007 02:56 AM

Hi all,

Hi GdB,

I would like to bring back a point I made before, which I think is the crux of the teleportation argument. I think there are a lot of people between us that, as I do, think that the mind is in some way a function of the brain (or body if you want to look a little broader). This already rules out that replacement of atoms is somehow essential: the matter does not matter.

The first question is: if such a teleporter would exist, would you use it? If you are consistent, then if you think that you are just this function, then you will exist further on Europa, with all you memories, including the memory that you stepped into the machine.

Ah now I see you are saying you are not the material at all! You are the function. Sorry Doug and Brennan if you were both trying to tell me that, I hadn’t thought of it like that. It’s interesting because often people who are religious will say, I’m not just a bunch of atoms and it seems a materialist atheist is in agreement.

I’m not sure whether I’d use it. OK I’m going to go for not. I feel like I would disappear. Someone may appear with my memories but I can’t help feeling like I would know nothing about it. This would be true if I was to not be destroyed by accident, why not if I was distroyed too?

The second question: who is you, when the machine is malfunctioning (probably by a delitium-tachyon field LOL ), and the original is not destroyed? Am I standing on Europa, hearing the message that my original still exists, or am I getting out of the machine dissapointed that it did not work, only to hear that my duplicate is on Europa, and having a great time there (you know how European (wo)men are, don’t you?).

Hmm….. this is where the idea we are just this function breaks down sadly isn’t it? Afterall you could make thousands of copies, they can’t all be you.

I would rule out the copy on Europa being you and I would rule out both the original and copy being you. That leaves the original is you or neither is you.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 October 2007 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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dougsmith - 15 October 2007 12:01 PM

The fact that this person on Europa has none of the same atoms as the person on Earth did is irrelevant to his having or not having the same past as the person on Earth.

This is key, if I was to believe this, It would change my mind. Maybe this will happen but it doesn’t make sense to me at the moment.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 October 2007 01:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 October 2007 09:38 AM
Mriana - 14 October 2007 11:50 AM

Me thinks he doth protest too much and grabbing straw men from the fields.  DNA is not a made up rule, it is a scientific fact.  Science, even criminology, will tell you this.  Do you doubt science?

The made up rule is I remain the same, if I have the same DNA. DNA itself is not the made up rule. You could have said I remain the same as long as I keep my hands. I would have doubted the rule, not that I have hands!

You can even take atoms, neutrons, protrons, and electrons.  A hydrogen is the same today as it was yesterday with the number of each of these things.

That was the way I was taking it! In the Europa example the atoms that made the person up are scattered around on earth! and the person is on Europa!

  Thus even your fridge is the same as the day you bought it, just aged.  It’s composition has not changed.

What you are saying is it is the same but different. I would make the case that something can’t be the same but different and if we were talking about two fridges stood side by side you’d likely agree with me.

If it is different I believe it’s composition must have changed in some way or it would not look different. Maybe some molecules have been scratched off, maybe some dirt and grease molecules have been added. Maybe it’s draws have been replaced.

I do believe if you do some research on this you will learn something about science.

I’m quite sure my scientific knowledge is weak and I’m quite sure it makes no difference as far as these points are concerned.

Stephen

We really are grabbing scarecrows in distant fields aren’t we?  Your response to DNA is funny at best and sad that it lacks little understanding of basic science, but your admission that it is not the made up rule is a good sign.  However, you might lose your hands, but your past is still a part of who you are.  None of this changes anything and you still have a history.  You are still the same person even if you lose your hands.  The history of you is that for some reason, pick a senerio, that you had your hands chopped off.  It changes nothing as to you being you.  You are still the same person with or without your hands.

Your Europa example makes no sense.  You can scatter hydrogen around the earth and it would still be hydrogen.  Nothing about it’s atomic composition has changed.  Now if you add something else, then it’s atomic composition changes, but it’s basic structure is still hydrogen only it’s combined with like say oxygen to make water.  It’s atomic structure is still the same only it’s combined with oxygen.  It still has a history of being hydrogen and it is still hydrogen.

The only way a fridge would change is if you took it out of the environment it was meant for and place it in a situation in which it gained ironoxide (rust).  Thing is, ironoxide eats away at such a particular structure in which is decomposes over time.  So you really can’t say that is change, but rather decomposition.  However if you are talking about two identical makes and models of fridge, they are exactly the same because they were manufactured by humans to be the same make and model- there is no same but different there.

Yes, your scientific knowledge is astonishingly weak and yes it does make a difference.  I’m no expert on chemistry and alike, but you amaze me with the things you say as you grab at strawmen.

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Posted: 15 October 2007 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Mriana - 15 October 2007 01:22 PM

We really are grabbing scarecrows in distant fields aren’t we?  Your response to DNA is funny at best and sad that it lacks little understanding of basic science, but your admission that it is not the made up rule is a good sign.

Mriana it is frustrating for me that you simply do not understand what I’m saying. Doug does but explains patiently that I have gone down the wrong path. He may well be right but it has nothing to do with understanding of basic science. You simply are unaware of the problem, as you were with the free will problem. to say I have the same Dna therefore I am the same thing doesn’t work. In theory we could create a million people with the same DNA, they wouldn’t all be me.

  However, you might lose your hands, but your past is still a part of who you are.  None of this changes anything and you still have a history.  You are still the same person even if you lose your hands.

I was trying to explain to you what I meant, crumbs, I didn’t need an explanation of how I could still be me if I lost my hands.

What if I lose my head? assuming my brain and body are kept alive by a machine, which is me? We both have the same DNA.

Your Europa example makes no sense.

It’s not my Europa example, it’s what the thread is about. Give me strength.

  You can scatter hydrogen around the earth and it would still be hydrogen.  Nothing about it’s atomic composition has changed.

Of course

The only way a fridge would change is if you took it out of the environment it was meant for and place it in a situation in which it gained ironoxide (rust).  Thing is, ironoxide eats away at such a particular structure in which is decomposes over time.  So you really can’t say that is change, but rather decomposition.  However if you are talking about two identical makes and models of fridge, they are exactly the same because they were manufactured by humans to be the same make and model- there is no same but different there.


So both fridges are the same fridge then?

Yes, your scientific knowledge is astonishingly weak and yes it does make a difference.  I’m no expert on chemistry and alike, but you amaze me with the things you say as you grab at strawmen.

This comment is irritating. There is nothing about the science you have just used which I’m not familiar with or that has any bearing on the subject. We could be made of lego bricks for all the difference naming atoms and how they fit together makes.

You haven’t even grasped the problem!

Now one aspect of the problem is. The person on Europa is made up entirely of atoms which have never been to earth.

Can that person have a history on earth?

Doug tells me that whether the atoms have ever been to earth or not is irrelevent, what do you think?

Your condescending tone does you no favours.

My answer may well be wrong but you don’t even understand the problem yet.

Stephen

[ Edited: 15 October 2007 04:17 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 15 October 2007 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 October 2007 03:59 PM

Can that person have a history on earth?

Doug tells me that whether the atoms have ever been to earth or not is irrelevent, what do you think?

Yes, I think that person can have a history somewhere, but not necessarily on earth.  It’s still history though and I also agree with Doug.

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Posted: 16 October 2007 12:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Mriana - 15 October 2007 09:24 PM
StephenLawrence - 15 October 2007 03:59 PM

Can that person have a history on earth?

Doug tells me that whether the atoms have ever been to earth or not is irrelevent, what do you think?

Yes, I think that person can have a history somewhere, but not necessarily on earth.  It’s still history though and I also agree with Doug.

Hi Miriana,

OK I appreciate focusing on the problem, thank you.

Your answer appears to be ambiguous to me “but not necessarily on earth” do you think he can or can’t have a history on earth?

I’ve thought of another way of looking at this problem, which may help and I hope others will have a go at it too.

Imagine you have two BMW cars A and B, side by side.

You take a door off each car and swap them over. Is car A still car A and car B still car B?

You do this with the windscreen, the engine, the fuel tank etc etc.

At each stage, is car A still car A and car B still car B?

Finally when you have done this with every part, it looks like car A and car B have swapped places, doesn’t it?

But no they haven’t, if we think each car maintains it’s identity, car A is standing where it always was but just has all of car B’s parts and likewise for car B.

This conclusion doesn’t look right to me, after all we could have achieved the same result by getting into the driving seats and maneuvering them into their new positions, in which case we would be certain that they had swapped places.

Do we have a way of looking at this, in which we don’t end up with a very odd result one way or the other?

Stephen

[ Edited: 16 October 2007 12:26 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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