Comments

  1. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I missed Jen this ep.

    Prince >>>

    However like other religious people he leaves you questioning why he thinks the things he says or believes is okay. Didn’t know that Margaret was an atheist, that’s cool. Sad that Matt lost a friend.

    This episode was good, didn’t mind anything much.

  2. adamah says

    Great job, Matt!

    Re: Prince, if this article can be trusted, it seems he wasn’t a baptized member, but simply was studying with the JWs.

    http://www.adherents.com/people/pp/Prince.html

    (And last rumor I heard, he left the JWs a year or two ago to pursue his own religious thinking.)

    Prince started associating with the JW’s circa 2004, long after he enjoyed widespread commercial success (Purple Rain, etc), with Prince’s music previously characterized by it’s hyper-sexuality (eg Darling Nikki).

    (Remember, Tipper Gore sought legislation to force the music industry to add ‘explicit’ warning label to albums, in large part thanks to one of Prince’s albums.)

    Prince became associated with the JWs thanks to the famous bass-player and his friend, Larry Graham (from Sly and the Family Stone, and a JW since 1975). After associating with the JW’s, Prince’s music and lyrics had similarly reflected a more ‘clean’ toned-down Xian stance.

    JWs are ultra-conservative when it comes to sex, with intercourse only allowable within the confines of marriage (and if you’re single, celibacy for you: so sorry, Darling Nikki, but keep your hands where we can see them!!).

    Anything besides that (eg ‘petting’ etc.) is considered ‘loose conduct’, and intercourse outside of marriage? That’ll get the person disfellowshipped (that is, if they’re been baptized, and they hadn’t displayed the expected proper remorse and repentance when meeting with the congregation’s elders).

    As a strong-willed individual, it’s hard to imagine Prince lasted as long as he did with the JWs, for here was someone who was fiercely independent, e.g. he protested a recording contract with Warner Bros in the 90’s by writing the word ‘slave’ on his face!

    In Xian theology, being a slave is considered a good thing: they’re constantly describing themselves as ‘slaves of X’.

    WT doctine is that the Governing Body is the “faithful and discreet” master slave spoken of in Matthew, assigned the responsibility of taking care of the other slaves (the “Great Crowd”, or those who will survive Armageddon and hope to live on a paradise Earth).

    JW’s believe that the mediator of the “Great Crowd” is NOT Jesus, but their own Governing Body; hence their survival as rank-and-file members of the “Great Crowd” depends upon faithfully following the orders of these mortal men (can you see the obvious power play at work here?).

    By contrast, only those JW’s who claim status as one of 144,000 “anointed class” are to ascend to Heaven upon their deaths to serve God as a spirit being: they have the “Heavenly Hope”, and unlike the “Great Crowd”, their mediator IS Jesus.

    The irony is JW eschatology holds that those who die before Armageddon WILL be resurrected, but per Jesus, the resurrected ones are “not to marry or be given in marriage”, and hence will be resurrected as sexless humans, unable to enjoy sexual intercourse.

    So in the eyes of the JWs, a hyper-sexual Prince will be resurrected on a paradise Earth, but living as a sexual eunuch for an eternity if he passes the “2nd Judgment” (he’ll probably be petting plenty of lions, and knitting lots of purple sweaters).

    🙂

    I’m a huge Prince fan, too, but as Matt said, you can enjoy the musical talent and creativity of someone without endorsing their confabulated religious thinking.

    RIP Prince, your royal badness, and thanks for the deep funkalicious grooves!

  3. Temporaryscars says

    Painfully boring episode. Not much in the way of theists. I feel like the show has gotten to the point where the hosts have crushed every theistic argument time and time again that even theists are afraid to call in anymore because they’ve seen there’s no way to defend these apologetics anymore. I think what the show should be doing at this point is booking well known YouTube theists to call in and spend the whole episode debating with them, similar to calls with Matt Slick and Ray Comfort. I’d love to see them get Josh Feuerstein on the show and obliterate him.

  4. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Matt:

    “But the point here, is that you couldn’t really put him in a box.”

    I see what you did there.

  5. Vivec says

    Great show! Granted the I didn’t watch the last 20 minutes because I could feel the glaze forming on my eyes, but on the whole, it was more or less an ideal episode for me (I’m in the minority of fans that is generally bored by whatever one wacky caller you manage to get each show)

  6. says

    Hi, I was a big Prince Fan ( starstruck ) inspirational spirit of a human IMO.
    BUT, I asked myself in the 90s
    Prince! your self wonder… how far can you stick your head up there ? 🙂
    Hey, I feel wrong but this is my pathetic little chance to critique with real loving respect. Humour as flattery ?

  7. Monocle Smile says

    @Temporaryscars
    The past several shows have had a multitude of theist callers. Not sure about the complaint.
    Are you one of those sick people who likes watching clownshows? Because giving Feuerstein any communication medium is a terrible idea.

  8. Vivec says

    Eugh, sorry @3 but I’ve way got to disagree. The theist calls are the worst part of the show. The arguments with Comfort and Slick were some of the most annoying unproductive episodes I’d seen. Even the episode with that atheist guy that was suing Ray Comfort was more interesting.

  9. gshelley says

    I missed the justification for “It could all be a simulation”
    By definition, any simulation we could created would have to be less complex than the universe we are in. Unless you reduce to Solipsism, we could certainly never create any simulation with minds.
    Is anyone actually arguing that we could somehow one day create a simulation that matched our universe in complexity?

    and as always, the answer to “Could God create a rock so heavy he couldn’t lift it?” is “Yes, but he’d be able to lift it”

  10. says

    The “simulation” conjecture is almost certainly derived from the recent Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate (hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson) which has been making the rounds this week.

    The problem with calculating whether the Universe is a simulation is the same as trying to prove solipsism: It doesn’t get you anywhere. If you say, for the sake of argument, that the Universe is a simulation, what would it look like? Well, it would probably look like this one. And if the Universe is not a simulation, what would it look like? Well, it would probably look exactly the same.

    We don’t have any other Universes to examine and compare to see which are simulations and which aren’t. We have a sample set of 1 which is not nearly enough to make judgment calls about its ultimate nature.

    Solipsism has the same problem: It doesn’t change anything about reality. It could be true or it could be false, but either way reality looks exactly the same. So it’s a rather pointless thing to believe in.

  11. mond says

    @ gshelley

    I would disagree with the assertion that simply by definition a simulation would be less complex, unless you are including that arbitrarily as part of the definition. ie a simulation if just an inferior attempted copy of a situation.

    **warning – thought experiment ahead**

    Imagine a simulated human which was the exact copy of a specific human being.
    That specific human cannot play the piano in any meaningful way.
    We add the ability to compose for and play the piano to the simulated version. Is simulation now more complex than the original source?

  12. corwyn says

    @11:
    No, knowing how to play the piano doesn’t make you more complex. Imagine a computer with random numbers in all memory, does clearing the memory and putting a program to play piano in, make it more complex? No. (Though of course it does increase the complexity (entropy) of the universe when you clear a memory cell).

    But that isn’t what gshelly is claiming (I think). They are claiming that a simulation requires more complexity to simulate something, than that thing represents by itself within a reality. That is, reality is the most compact way of representing the information in that reality; putting that same information into a computer would require more atoms, thus more complexity.

  13. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @corwyn #12:

    That is, reality is the most compact way of representing the information in that reality; putting that same information into a computer would require more atoms, thus more complexity.

    Comic: XKCD – A Bunch of Rocks

  14. solidcitizen says

    I think this was a very good episode, I love how all the discussions kind of resolved at the end, returning to the subject of how we know our beliefs are rational, whether of ufos or gods. I liked how Matt addressed the issue of “in a infinite universe, everything will happen again, so therefore I will be back someday.”

    That line of thinking is preposterous, but it has even been proposed by physicists who should know better. If that argument was correct, then in some universe, George Washington was elected president and served his entire term while wearing nothing but a tutu. Or, every one of Stephen King’s novels contain nothing but 300 pages of the letter “xxxxxxxxxx,” but those novels remain at the top of the best-seller lists.

    Just because something is mathematically possible, and does not violate a law of nature, does not mean that it will ever happen. I think that the error is that people reason that 1) there are finite possible combinations of anything, and 2) infinity is, well, infinite, therefore; 3) anything that can happen WILL eventually happen.

    There are at least two errors in this thinking. First, as Lawrence Krauss and others point out, “nothing” is not really “nothing.” The empty spaces are roiling with energies that pop in and out of existence, which means that there is probably NOT a finite number of possible combinations, but perhaps an infinite number. Next, there may not be “infinity” at all, at least in the way we usually think of it.

  15. mond says

    @corwyn

    Is an aircraft simulator ‘more complex’ than an actual real aircraft that it is simulating?
    They are two different complex pieces of machinery but if you are in the cockpit then you would have the ‘same’ experience.

    I am not actually sure what I think about the simulation idea. The complexity idea that gshelly put forward seemed ill-defined and I just had a bit of red flag going off in my head.

  16. says

    @15 mond – I think the comparison would be an aircraft simulator (or better phrased, a simulated aircraft) that you couldn’t distinguish to an actual aircraft in any possible way. Where you think you’re interacting with a real aircraft, you put fuel in, you walk inside, the acceleration on your body matches what you’d expect, you arrive in another place that seems to be real, etc., and thus that would have to be more complex than just having an actual aircraft and flying somewhere in reality. I get where gshelley is coming from, a reductio ad absurdum can be played to try to refute a simulated universe, playing with hypothetical situation that in reality we can determine nothing about, but that’s not the only way. I’d also ask for some evidence in the same way I’d ask a theist or deist for evidence.

    @14 solidcitizen Infinity is a long time and contains a lot of stuff. I agree that it’s hard to imagine somewhere where everything worked out the same as our reality, such that it’s identical to our history with the caveat that George Washington wore nothing but a tutu (at least without assuming a bunch of other things were different, such as if tutus were very popular in Anglo-Saxon history). But, I’m not sure that proposing something absurd, but possible, from our corner of infinity refutes the argument. The problem is that mathematically possible plus infinity means that it’s going to happen and it’s going to happen an infinite number of times. Maybe the snag is that there are some things that just aren’t mathematically possible. Like everything happening the same way, except the George Washington wore a tutu, is just mathematically impossible because the arrangement of matter/time that produced Georgian era clothing simply cannot result in the first American President wearing a tutu, again without it being different enough from Georgian era clothing that it would actually happen (all though, maybe ours is weird because of the wigs George Washington wore, and some other corner of the galaxy is having this same discussion over some past leader wearing a ridiculous white wig :). The Stephen King example might be a better example of a mathematical or logical impossibility, where we’re assuming a string of x’s cannot relay a book’s worth of information, yet the novels are heralded as having some of the best (albeit fictional) information for some period of time (i.e. logically, A and Not A is a contradiction). And, I doubt many physicists would claim that impossible things would happen in an infinite universe, just that possible things would. But, I agree with you that the set of possible things might be much more limited that some people characterize it as being.

  17. corwyn says

    @16:

    The problem is that mathematically possible plus infinity means that it’s going to happen and it’s going to happen an infinite number of times.

    Prove it.

  18. corwyn says

    @15:

    Is an aircraft simulator ‘more complex’ than an actual real aircraft that it is simulating?

    If it is an *accurate* simulation, then yes. Is it possible that in the actual airplane, a weakness in a weld, plus an extra strong bit of turbulence from a storm cell over Nebraska, could cause a failure of the engine support, and a need to make an emergency landing by yaw slowing the aircraft like a glider? Can this also happen in the simulator? What about all the billions of other possibilities?

  19. chew says

    The atrocity of Numbers 31 of keeping the female virgins alive while killing everyone else was an exemption to the rules. The “rules” were laid out in Deuteronomy 20:10-17:

    10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.

    16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+20%3A10-17&version=NIV

  20. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    mathematically possible

    Epistemic possibility is not the same thing as physical possibility. I cannot show that a simulation cannot exist – e.g. for me, it’s epistemicaly possible. However, you have not demonstrated that the laws of physics, of reality, allow for the creation of such a simulation, e.g. you have not shown that it’s physically possible. Maybe it’s physically impossible.

    In your own words, you need “infinity” plus physical possibility. You only have infinity plus epistemic possibility, which equals diddly squat.

    This particular argument is fallacious.

  21. favog says

    Okay, I admit I was a little slower than usual getting around to this because of the title. I’ve never been a Prince fan — at all — and I’ve heard more than enough about him for the last week or so; wasn’t in a rush to hear more especially since I didn’t know how much of the show it would take up. I am, however, a (John) Prine fan, so it was nice to hear him get some love, too.

  22. gshelley says

    @12 and @13
    Perhaps ill defined. I’m struggling to come up with the best words to explain the concept I was struggling with, though I think Corwyn has more or less managed it
    Ignoring people, could we some day create a model of the universe that was indistinguishable from a real universe? that had all the atoms, planets, galaxies, black holes etc of a real universe interacting correctly?
    That if you did put in observers, they wouldn’t be able to tell? A God could do this (which to me raises the question of why would he bother to create a universe rather than just imagine one, and could we tell the difference (if there is one)), but I don’t see that we or any finite beings could
    I suppose it could be possible that we live in a limited simulated universe, and most of it does not “exist” within the simulation unless we look at it

  23. adamah says

    So it seems Prince has been a fully-baptized member of the JWs since 2003, and apparently died in good standing (i.e. the rumor that he abandoned the group to form his own religion was apparently only that: a rumor).

    Prince was serving as a ‘publisher’, not attaining any higher ‘privilege’ (ministerial servant, elder, etc), and likely made large cash donations to the group.

    Matt might be confusing the anti-medicine stance of the 7th Day Adventists with JW’s: the latter accept modern medical treatment, just as long as it doesn’t require accepting blood (or even using products derived from blood). Many JWs (child and adult, alike) have died as a result of that deadly policy.

    I’ve seen cockamamie head-lines saying Prince believed God would cure him by his faith, alone, so he refused all medical intervention: uh, no, that’s more consistent with 7th Day Adventist beliefs. If true, Prince wouldn’t have been taking ANY prescribed meds (or been photographed pacing outside his local Walgreens pharmacy), and 1st responders wouldn’t have found any meds in his possession (which they did).

    I wrote an article on my blog asking if the “no blood transfusion” policy of the JWs indicates they actually understand the scripture at Genesis 9:6 which they cite as their justification for refusing blood products:

    http://awgue.weebly.com/does-jehovahs-witnesses-blood-policy-reflect-they-understand-noahs-flood.html

  24. adamah says

    FWIW, here’s the links to my source of information:

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/25/entertainment/prince-religion-jehovahs-witness/

    Also, this UK site features interviews with local elders, and photos taken inside Prince’s local Kingdom Hall:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3555735/Inside-Prince-s-Jehovah-s-Witness-Church-singer-went-door-door-Bible-hand-large-cash-donations-years.html

    Of course, the latest rumor is that Prince had acquired HIV in the 1990s, and had been recently suffering from full-blown AIDS which left him susceptible to otherwise-benign diseases (like the common flu). There’s nothing like that diagnosis, as well as the other trials and tribulations of life, that sets one up for falling into the seductive embrace of a religious cult that offers the hope of eternal life, forever freed of pain, death and suffering…. Famous or not, rich or poor, all humans are susceptible to believing in ancient fairy tales which they so desperately way to be true, they’re willing to forgo critical thinking.

  25. Robert,+not+Bob says

    What’s this I keep hearing about Adventists not accepting modern health care? As a former Adventist myself I find it a bit surprising. Perhaps people are confusing them with Christian Scientists?

  26. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Robert,+not+Bob #26:

    What’s this I keep hearing about Adventists not accepting modern health care?

    I didn’t notice a prominent reason among google chatter. While not officially against modern medicine itself (there are adventist hospitals even), an atmosphere of restricted diet and no drugs can lend itself to alt-med and ‘natural’ herbal remedies. I did find something…
     
     
    Article: Adventist Review – The Adventist Drug Problem
    (About page says it’s the flagship journal of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, founded by Ellen White)

    If you’ve studied the Spirit of Prophecy, you’ve probably read lines like these, written by Ellen White after her 1863 vision about the need for health reform among God’s people:
     
    “I was shown that more deaths have been caused by drug-taking than from all other causes combined.”
     
    “Drugs never cure disease. They only change the form and location. Nature alone is the effectual restorer, and how much better could she perform her task if left to herself.”
     
    “I tell you this because I dare not withhold it. Christ paid too much for man’s redemption to have his body so ruthlessly treated as it has been by drug medication.”

     

    As an Adventist medical student determined to keep my conscience “tender and true and clean,” I adopted the 1863 Adventist preference for treatments that were natural, simple, plant-based, wholesome, and drug-free. I also adopted the 1863 Adventist distrust of things that were chemical, synthetic, manufactured, and sold in drugstores.
     
    As I continued to study and became more experienced as a physician, however, I found that I now had a different “drug problem.” My “drug-free” approach to medicine would put me in jail if I applied it to the care of my patients! Those 1863 statements, as they read, are no longer “true” in 2002, even though the principles behind them certainly are. More to the point, the “herbal” and alternative treatments preferred by many Adventists aren’t “clean,” and the state medical boards established to protect patients from unqualified practitioners wouldn’t be “tender” toward me if I ignored the proven benefit such drugs as penicillin, insulin, lidocaine, digitalis, and coumadin in treating my patients-even my Adventist ones.

     

    A sizable number of Adventists resolve the tension by maximizing their exposure to “alternative therapies.” They take handfuls of herbs or chemicals or hormones (like SAM-e, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM) as long as these are sold by a health food store (therefore deemed “natural”) and not provided by prescription. Some cheerfully submit to unproved “chelating” therapies and consult naturopaths, reflexologists, acupuncturists, and herbalists. Others consume quantities of vitamins in unphysiologic doses, not realizing that the definition of drug is “any substance that affects the physical or mental functioning of a living organism,” a definition that covers all substances in the health food store as well as the drugstore.
     
    Opium, heroin, marijuana, tobacco, coffee, and beer are all “natural,” “herbal,” “plant-based” substances no Adventist should be consuming. Thousands of plants are natural poisons. Those who believe that “It’s herbal, so it can’t hurt me” may not always live to see the error of their ways

     
    A couple years ago, there were a couple lethally negligent adventists who refused to go against God’s will by treating their child. That might’ve contributed to the association, although the church issued a statement that parents should seek medical care.

  27. adamah says

    @Robert (not bob) said:

    What’s this I keep hearing about Adventists not accepting modern health care? As a former Adventist myself I find it a bit surprising. Perhaps people are confusing them with Christian Scientists?

    You’re right: I was thinking about Xian Scientists, but Matt wasn’t wrong to mention the SDA, as they’re rooted in same ol’ ‘sin causes disease’ mind-set, wherein faith in God can overcome illness. It’s all the same stinking thinking (though slightly-different flavors).

    Here’s one example of an ultra-conservative SDA couple who’s faith led to the death of their infant:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2570376/Seventh-Day-Adventists-religious-beliefs-led-five-month-old-son-dying-rickets-failed-medical-care-jailed.html

    And here’s an uber-conservative SDA physician calling out the Governing Body of the SDA for essentially denouncing their founding doctrine as “quackery”:

    http://www.drday.com/rumors/seventhday_quackery.htm

    As the link shows, the SDAs have migrated away from their founding principles over the last century, so perhaps their running a chain of modern hospitals (e.g. Loma Linda, CA) has made them “see the light” of modern medicine?

    Perhaps their slow evolutionary shift in their views is the model that other extremist religions (i.e. JW’s and CS) should follow (although an atheist would ask, why not just abandon the fatally-flawed concept of ‘God causes disease’ altogether, along with the belief in the existence of a God?).

    Ironic, when many believers claim not to believe in evolution….

  28. Robert,+not+Bob says

    When I was a kid among the Adventists I never saw any quackery… except the occasional fiery preacher who castigated people for being “lukewarm” and not living on prayer… and the fringe groups even other Adventists saw as weird and creepy (many of which were obsessed with odd dietary ideas)… and of course the smugness about vegetarianism…

  29. adamah says

    Robert (not Bob) said:

    When I was a kid among the Adventists I never saw any quackery… except the occasional fiery preacher who castigated people for being “lukewarm” and not living on prayer… and the fringe groups even other Adventists saw as weird and creepy (many of which were obsessed with odd dietary ideas)… and of course the smugness about vegetarianism…

    Well, if that’s not “quackery”, then I don’t know what it is….

    And that’s part of the problem: sometimes the quackiness is so subtle, it escapes our ability to recognize and call it for what it is….

    That reminds me of an incident which happened when I was a kid growing up in a So Cal suburb in the early 70’s, in a family of JWs.

    One of the unbaptized women who was attending meetings in the Kingdom Hall was a single Mom who felt she was undergoing demonic sexual molestation in her own bed over a few nights (she experienced the presence of an evil demon who was holding her down by force so she couldn’t move, with her praying for God’s help the entire time).

    The day after the demonic attack, the JW elders came over to her apartment, scouring for any newly-acquired items that may have introduced demons into her home (some JWs are cautious to avoid second-hand items sold at garage sales, etc., out of fear that demons might be’ hitching a ride’ on the inanimate objects to engage in spiritual mischief).

    So after finding no inanimate object to blame it on, they said a few prayers and provided spiritual comfort to her, and left.

    Apparently these uneducated JW elders had never heard of ‘sleep paralysis’ before, a phenomena that’s well-known to scientists and psychologists as the cause of such perceptions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis

    I’ve actually experienced an episode of it myself, and thank God (or thank my college education!) I knew what it was, otherwise I’d likely be ascribing it to alien UFOs, or to demonic attacks, too.

  30. MZ says

    Good show. I didn’t find it boring at all unlike #3. I guess it’s a matter of expectations.

    On the subject of order in the universe;I would go so far as to say that we find order in the universe because we look for order in the universe. Some people look for order and find god. Other people look for order and find mathematics. Our cognitive tools for examining reality are specifically geared toward finding order in the universe. So is it a great surprise that we find what we are looking for? It’s confirmation bias. Are scientists and philosophers any more immune to confirmation bias than anybody else? Especially those scientists and philosophers that lived before the idea of confirmation bias was invented? I, myself am skeptical, as I think Matt is, of the notion that the simulation is the reality. The simulation may describe the reality in finer and finer detail, but at what point does it become the (or a) reality? There’s the old metaphor of confusing the map for the land. This is my knee-jerk reaction when I hear things like “Mathematics is embedded in the nature of reality.”

    We want to find order. We need to find order. But the universe exists independently of human wants and needs.

  31. superatheist says

    Matt you are very smart but you are wrong when you were talking with Bard from Sidney Australia. He said that he was an atheist and believed that life after death was possible. His theory was that consciousness was independent of the specific space, time, and substrate. By the term substrate I assume Bard means the matter that the body is made of. I am sure that when you give it more consideration, because you are so rational and want to know the truth, that you will realize, the truth of this statement.

    It is clear that the brain at every moment is tied to a place, a time, and a specific set of atoms but it is changing in the place and time it occupies, and the matter in the brain is moving around and being replaced by matter outside of itself continuously.

    I believe that Bard is saying that “different matter in a different places and times can produce the same consciousness.” If you disagree with this statement then you are saying that “different matter in a different place and time can not produce the same consciousness”. We can imagine performing a simple experiment. Take one conscious human body and after a sufficient amount of time where the original matter has been replaced with different matter, duplicate the same structure and functioning that occurred or was produced by the body when it contained different matter. Since a previous and present section of body’s structure and functioning will be identical for a period of time their behavior will be identical for that period of time also. This gives strong evidence that the present body is producing the same consciousness as it did at that previous time period. If this experiment alone is not enough to convince that they are producing the identical consciousnesses, then a number of other more complicated experiments and arguments can be imagined constructed giving even more reasons to believe that periods of identical structure and functioning in the same body produces identical consciousnesses in the same body.

  32. Vivec says

    Okay who gave him the idea that thought experiments prove things? Because that’s just nonsensical.

  33. adamah says

    Superatheist said:

    He said that he was an atheist and believed that life after death was possible.

    Cool, but as any atheist (wait: I see you’re not just any ol’ bog-standard atheist, but a SUPER-atheist, no less!), you should be familiar with the old saying, “The one making the claim bears the obligation to provide supportive evidence to back it up”.

    So lay it on us, offering ANY evidence suggesting an individual’s consciousness continues to exist after the person’s death.

    (crickets chirping….)

    You can’t, because such supportive evidence doesn’t exist.

    His theory was that consciousness was independent of the specific space, time, and substrate.

    Hold it right there….

    The caller’s ‘theory’ (as you called it) is not even remotely close to deserving being called a ‘theory’; in fact, it would be questionable that it rises to the level of deserving to be called a ‘hypothesis’, since the caller’s idea lacks ANY evidence to suggest it exists (and sorry, but as Vivec pointed out, philosophical thought experiments need not apply).

    As it stands, the strongest position a person could reasonably take would be to say we don’t know what happens after death, but all indications are that our consciousness ceases to exist.

    You’d first have to demonstrate the existence of a ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ (the labels often ascribed to what you’re suggesting survives after death), and despite best scientific efforts to validate their existence (including weighing the body at time of death, in case the soul has mass), such experiments have failed to provide ANY evidence.

    Therefore, ANYTHING that’s said to address the question is mere speculation, and just like stating one’s belief in a heavenly after-life is irrational due to the idea lacking ANY supportive evidence (with TONS of ‘appeal to tradition’ to rely on, but that similarly doesn’t amount to a hill of beans), so is your stating that consciousness continues to exist when detached from a living brain (since consciousness seems to be an emergent property of the living brain).

  34. superatheist says

    Hey its good to be in a discussion on this topic again. It is also nice to be at 20.16, 20.15 was getting too long. I do not think that I am “super” it is just that a superatheist believes in superatheism which is a combination of atheism with superimmortality. There are two types of arguments for superimmortality the first one is for the critical rational type person that does not believe in any type of conscious existence after death. And the second is for the religious people that already believe in religious types of immortality. Superimmortality is a much better theory of immortality or life after death than any religious theories are. So which argument do you want? For the second argument superimmortality does not have to be true because religious theories of immortality are not true. Superimmortality only has to offer more and be more coherent than religious theories do and it does this very easily without the need for a god or gods or any other supernatural concepts like souls. The fact is atheists need superimmortality. We own it and can use it for our advantage. I suspect that you are theists because theists are most likely to denigrate superimmortality and not care to understand it well enough to give good rational arguments against it.

  35. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist
    You’re a crackpot. We get crackpots here on a fairly regular basis. We dismiss your ideas because all you do is make up words and fail to understand very simple concepts.

  36. superatheist says

    adamah (35)

    This is from superatheist (29) open thread 20.15. If Statement 2 is true then Matt is wrong in his discussion with Bard.

    Here are ten predictions that awaretheory makes that can be verified or falsified through experimentation: (They also form some of the basic principles of the science of superimmortality)

    1. The functioning of the brain produces consciousness.
    2. Duplicating the same structure and functioning in the same brain produces the same consciousness.
    3. Duplicating the same structure and functioning in another brain produces the same consciousness.
    4. The consciousness that the brain produces is not identical to the brain but mappable to the structure and functioning of the brain.
    5. Close enough approximate structure and functioning of the brain will produce the same consciousness.
    6. If the structure and functioning of the brain diverges enough from how it would have functioned then the consciousness produced by the brain will diverge as well.
    7. If the structure and functioning of your brain duplicates that of a previous period in your life, the consciousness that was produced at that previous period in you life would be duplicated as well.
    8. If the structure and functioning of your brain now duplicates the structure and functioning of a future period in your life it will produce the consciousness that that future period in your life produced now.
    9. The brain can be structured in an enumerable amount of different ways.
    10. The brain can function in an even larger amount of different ways.

    Read more: http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2016/04/17/open-thread-for-20-15-russell-glasser-don-baker/#ixzz47rEhs0cv

  37. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist
    I responded point by point to that post, but you all but ignored it. I suspect you’ll do the same here. Refusal to engage honestly is yet another sign of crackpottery.

  38. superatheist says

    Monocle Smile (37)
    You’re a theist right? So it is a theist calling an atheist a crackpot? Call me all the names tags you want but give me your best arguments against what I am saying. By tagging me does not make you right it just means the arguments are going over your head. I know good counter arguments against what I am predicting you are not even close. If you really believe that:
    2. Duplicating the same structure and functioning in the same brain produces the same consciousness.
    is as you wrote: (April 19, 2016 at 2:57 am (#30) 20.15)
    “2) Law of identity. Trivial and unrelated to awaretheory”
    Then you do not believe what Matt is saying to Bard. You are accepting what Bard is saying: consciousness is independent of the space, time, and the specific matter that produces it. Because the process of duplicating the same structure and functioning of the same brain will put it in a different time, place, and it can be made of completely different matter, if enough time has passed. Thanks for agreeing with Bard and me on this issue. I have never meet Bard. But he has a nice accent.

  39. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist
    I am not a theist, and you pretending as if we’re all theists merely because we correctly identify you as a crackpot is one of the most pathetic, buffoonish things I’ve ever observed.
    Your problem with #2 is what it means. Again and again you have utterly failed to understand that a clone of something is not the same thing. It is another instance. It is another object. It is another pattern. It is just another. Consciousness isn’t a “thing” like we think of classical objects. It’s a pattern…or more specifically, a pattern of patterns.
    Remember what I said about monkeys and typewriters = Shakespeare? Every one of your posts convinces me that I’m more and more right.

  40. superatheist says

    Monocle Smile (41) Thanks for your reply!
    Would you explain this statement, I do not understand what you are saying or meaning?
    “Remember what I said about monkeys and typewriters = Shakespeare?”
    I do understand the problem. I do not know what position you are taking. There are different versions of it. Which version are you referring to?

    Are you a deist?

    If you are not religious then I can concentrate on rational arguments, assuming that you will be rational as well. Do you accept mathematical or philosophical arguments? Are you in the position that no matter what arguments I present, you have already made up your mind that you are right? Or are you saying that “more and more right” means more than 100% right or is there a slight chance you could be mistaken in what you think about superimmortality?

  41. adamah says

    Superatheist said:

    Here are ten predictions that awaretheory makes that can be verified or falsified through experimentation: (They also form some of the basic principles of the science of superimmortality)

    I’ve explained how you’re abusing the word ‘theory’, yet you persist? That’s not a good sign for your engaging honestly….

    It clear you’re not familiar with scientific methodology, or you’d know that someone cannot simply declare an idea to be a theory: the hypothesis needs to have experimentally-derived supportive evidence BEFORE the idea is accepted by others as a theory.

    And while theories sometimes allow scientists to make predictions, the principle doesn’t automatically work in reverse, i.e. a fulfilled prediction does NOT turn a hypothesis into a theory, since the idea STILL requires independent supportive evidence. A successful prediction doesn’t count for much, since you cannot rule out dumb luck, coincidence, etc.

    SA said:

    1. The functioning of the brain produces consciousness.

    2. Duplicating the same structure and functioning in the same brain produces the same consciousness.

    I’ve got no problem with premise #1, but premise #2 is a show-stopper.

    Unlike the 1st premise (which has TONS of supportive evidence), the 2nd launches into the realm of S.F.

    Since we currently lack a “brain replicator”, how can you make such a statement with a straight face? The closest nature comes to a “brain replicator” might be the case of identical twins: from that, do you conclude twins share the same consciousness?

    Hopefully not, since that’s a patently absurd claim to make…

    The fact is atheists need superimmortality. We own it and can use it for our advantage.

    And much like a believer who says they need the Bible to be true since their salvation via the redemptive blood of Jesus is at stake, your argument is purely teleological.

    Look it up, if you don’t know what teleological arguments are.

    Instead, reality doesn’t hinge on your NEEDS, or the benefit to be derived from believing an idea to be true. To borrow a phrase from circular logic, “It (reality) is what it is”, and nothing beats having actual supportive evidence to back such claims….

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Let me jump in. The biggest problem to me is this: superatheist’s claims are not right. They’re not wrong either. They’re not even wrong. Specifically:

    2. Duplicating the same structure and functioning in the same brain produces the same consciousness.

    I’m pretty sure that this claim is untestable, even in principle. There is no test that can be performed that can distinguish between “the same consciousness” and “a new, but functionally identical, consciousness”. I have to go to my standard something-like-positivism position: There is no way to test your purportedly-scientific ideas, even in principle, which means it’s not scientific at all, and which means that you have absolutely no basis to justifiably believe that it’s true.

  43. Chikoppi says

    Oh hell, not this again.

    You are confused by the word “same.” Let’s say I have a machine that assembles engines with quantum precision. I switch it on and it flawlessly produces two engines. One of the following can be said to be true of the result:

    A) Two independent objects that are exactly alike, or
    B) One object that exists simultaneously in two different places.

    Two “precisely similar” things are not the “same” thing where identity is concerned. They are separate and distinct, no matter how exactly alike. The Law of Identiy states: “each thing is the same with itself and different from another.” Therefore two precisely similar engines are distinct objects with two separate identities. Just as two precisely similar brains are distinct objects with two separate identities.

    You apparently don’t understand that language is representative and contextual. The meaning of a word in one context can’t be transferred to another.

    Even were you to summon this fantastical doppelgänger of yourself that you keep ranting about (similar in “structure and function”) it would be a completely separate and distinct person with an independent experience of consciousness and not in any sense “YOU.”

    People here have been exceptionally patient, yet you have refused to acknowledge their repeated attempts to correct your thinking. You are not “having a discussion,” nor are you “learning.” What you are doing is proselytizing an irrational and illogical claim that is unsupported by evidence. That you would think an atheist forum an appropriate place to do so is beyond both irony and futility.

    We have stated why we reject your claim. You refuse to be corrected by anyone here. So go try elsewhere. You will find your thinking flatly rejected for exactly the reasons that have heretofore been provided.

  44. Vivec says

    Man, hats off to you guys engaging with him, my brain literally can’t parse half the shit he posts in his tl;dr wordblobs. I think random keysmashing would be easier to read.

  45. superatheist says

    Chikoppi (45)
    You keep getting the properties of an object confused with the object itself. Two different objects can both be red. They are not the same object but they share the property of being red. Two different atoms can share the same number of protons without being the same atom. Two different TVs can be producing the same TV show without being the same TV. Two different people can sing the same song without being the same person. Two different people can have the same structure and functioning of their bodies without having the same body. Two different people can have the property of identical behavior without being identical bodies. Why is it that you think that consciousness is not a property of the body? An object has certain necessary properties and certain variable or unnecessary properties. Consciousness is not a necessary property of a human body. It is a variable property of a human that is constantly changing and sometimes a body is not conscious at all. Because consciousness is a property of a body that varies as the structure and functioning of the brain changes it is a property of a body that can be identical to the the consciousness produced by another body. The two human bodies do not have to be identical to produce identical consciousnesses.

  46. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist

    Because consciousness is a property of a body that varies as the structure and functioning of the brain changes it is a property of a body that can be identical to the the consciousness produced by another body. The two human bodies do not have to be identical to produce identical consciousnesses

    That last claim is pants-on-head stupid.
    Furthermore, the brokenness of your brain is rather magnificent. Say there are only two red objects in the universe. One of them ceases to exist. You would said that red still lives on. But that doesn’t change the fact that the first object ceased to exist…nothing about it continued. When I die, it doesn’t matter one shit if a clone of me pops up in the future (and this is where the monkeys on typewriters comes into play. You seem to be saying that it’s inevitable that a brain and body identical to mine will emerge at some other space and time, which IMO doesn’t appear to be true). That doesn’t make me immortal. That’s a clone of me that may walk and talk like me, but it isn’t me. It’s me-2. It’s a different human and I will not be experiencing what me-2 does.

  47. superatheist says

    Chikoppi (45)

    You wrote:
    “Even were you to summon this fantastical doppelgänger of yourself that you keep ranting about (similar in “structure and function”) it would be a completely separate and distinct person with an independent experience of consciousness and not in any sense “YOU.” ”

    This is clearly a false statement! Identical structure and functioning produces identical behavior. (Do you need the proof of this?) Someone with identical behavior will know nothing but what I know because he will not behave any differently than I do so what ever I say or do he will say or do, what ever he says I will say. If I call myself superatheist he will call himself superatheist. All of the memories that he remembers I will also remember. All of the people that he knows I will know and I will know the same amount about them. How can you say that this is “not in any sense Me” when every conscious aspect are identical? He will report having the same feelings and emotions that I have. He will cry at the same conditions that I cry because of. I will laugh, smile, and frown at the same conditions that he will. He can totally take the place of me because he will have the exact same personality as I do. Personality is a property produced by the body it is not a necessary property of the body.

    As long as this other body has the same structure and functioning as I do, it will experience exactly what I do. If the structure and functioning becomes different enough it will experience things differently. For example, If I placed you instantaneously on the other side of the room what would you experience? One moment you would be experiencing being on one side of the room and the next you would have a completely different perspective. It might make you upset. Or if you were told about it ahead of time you might say cool experience. If this happened to the duplicate of you with identical structure and functioning that you had up to that point it would have the same behavior that you would have had. But if you were not transported and still sitting on the opposite side of the room. Your brains would be functioning differently you both would be experiencing different things. You could have experienced what this other person is, but you are not. Now imagine changing your brain to being identical again to that of the other person. You now have the memory of switching places instantly, and not of what you actually did experience. This is because your behavior will be exactly like the other person again and when they ask him about the his experience he only remembers the instantaneous switch. This will be your response too. The way the body is structured and functions is a property of the body. The behavior of the body is a property of the body. And the consciousness produced by the body is a property of the body. Properties of bodies can be identical without the bodies being identical.
    Properties of a body can change without other properties of the same body changing. For example, your consciousness can change without the the shape of your head changing.

  48. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To superatheist
    Will I get a reply to my point? In particular, one further question: Do you believe that your claims are falsifiable, even in principle? If you believe that your claim is falsifiable, please describe some test – however exotic – that could be performed to distinguish between “same consciousness in another body” and “a new but functionally identical consciousness”.

  49. superatheist says

    Monocle Smile (48)

    You are not understanding what I am saying. Superimmortality does not guarantee that you will ever consciously exist again. It just predicts that you “can” not “will” consciously exist again after death under the right circumstances and those right circumstances are producing the right sequences of structures and functionings of matter.
    To begin with, before you even existed, there had to be the potential for your conscious existence. If there is no potential for your conscious existence before you exist then you can never consciously exist in the first place. What were the potential conditions that existed before you were born that no longer exist now? You keep saying after you are dead you can no longer consciously exist. Matt implied that if you can be restored to conscious existence again then you were never dead. With his reasoning frozen dead people are not dead. So if they are ever restored to life again they were never dead to begin with. What is your definition of death? And then what is your definition of near death but can still be restored to consciousness life again? Using the usual definition of death and not Matt’s definition if your body is restored to a previous state of functioning that it had before your death, is this restoring your consciousness or some one else’s? Or is it a new brand new consciousness? If it is your consciousness or some other person that has existed before it is life after death for you or this other person. If it is a new consciousness, it will have your memories, your personality, etc., because the structure and functioning is identical to the way you would have been if you would not have died. If the structure and functioning of your body was restored to be identical to a different person’s structure and functioning that had died, it would produce the behavior, memories, and personality that this person would have produced if he had not died. It does not matter how long you were dead, or how much of your body’s matter was used in the process. What is important is the structure and functioning of the resulting matter.
    Since you do not like what I am proposing, what do you think produces you and no one else?

  50. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (44) (50)
    Very good questions! You are paying attention thank you! There are a number of different ways of testing these claims that I am making. It is late now and some need more extensive explaining than others. I look forward to your perspectives (criticism) on these variable falsifiable tests.

  51. Chikoppi says

    @superatheist

    “Even were you to summon this fantastical doppelgänger of yourself that you keep ranting about (similar in “structure and function”) it would be a completely separate and distinct person with an independent experience of consciousness and not in any sense “YOU.” ”
    This is clearly a false statement! Identical structure and functioning produces identical behavior.

    For what seems like the hundredth time now, it doesn’t matter! Re-read what I wrote in #45 (which you completely failed to address). Identical things do not share an identity. “You” can never be any other object because all other objects are definitionally “not you,” no matter how exactly similar.

    I tell you what champ, either everyone here who has tried to correct you is wrong or you are wrong. I maintain that you are woefully confused about the most basic principles of logic.

    Publish. See if there is anyone in the whole of academia, science, or philosophy who doesn’t tell you exactly the same things we have told you here. Go on. Do it.

  52. adamah says

    Jasper said:

    This is close to being the first atheistic deepity I’ve heard.

    Yeah, I don’t know what superatheist’s religious background is (if any), but his concepts are quite ancient, since it’s as basic a human desire as they get: achieving immortality by defeating death (as even reflected in Gilgamesh’s quest for a magical plant, or even Genesis’ Tree of Life).

    It strikes me as very similar to the JW belief in resurrection of the dead, where the deceased will supposedly be brought back to life by Jehovah, having the consciousness and all of the memories they had when alive (every organ meticulously replicated, minus their genitals, of course, since Jesus said the resurrected would not be given in marriage: so no sex for Prince and others!).

    Appealing to the omnipotence of God might work for those bent towards such grandiose and irrational hubristic beliefs , but coming from someone who claims to be an atheist?

    Is superatheist trying to prove Martin’s claim wrong, that it IS in fact possible to “atheist wrong”?

    Simply resurrecting such ancient beliefs and giving them a makeover by removing God from the equation does not address the sheer impossibility of overcoming the problems associated with superatheist’s claims.

    In the words of Shakespeare, “A rose by any other name (e.g. deepity) is still a rose (deepity)”.

  53. adamah says

    @superatheist, maybe you mentioned this before elsewhere (and I apparently missed it), but what explanation(s) do you offer for not believing in God?

  54. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    superatheist #47:

    Two different objects can both be red. They are not the same object but they share the property of being red. […] consciousness is a property of a body

     
    Monocle Smile #48:

    Say there are only two red objects in the universe. One of them ceases to exist. You would say that red still lives on. But that doesn’t change the fact that the first object ceased to exist…nothing about it continued.

     
    superatheist #51:

    [Derp. Things can be red.]

  55. superatheist says

    adamah (56)
    I was not brain washed as a child to think any religion was true. When I was seven I went to Sunday school (not my choice, a visit with relatives). It was one of the most scary things that I had ever experienced. To begin with I thought they were just teasing about the things that they were saying. But when I realized how mindless they were in their ideas, I felt like the explorer that has been placed in the cooking pot by the natives for dinner.

    An then god told me he did not exist. He “cares” for me in his non existence. Now I preach the word of god—- atheism. I can call myself a true born again atheist. You might ask how did I know that it was god communicating with me? I thought at the time that only god would have the incredible power to talk with me and not exist. But my opinion has changed since then, he could have sent the message from the future or the past so my opinion of him went way down from a god that could do anything to only a non existent god man. It wasn’t like I heard a voice that was so loud that it hurt my ears, In fact, I did not hear anything at all (I usually do not hear voices when no one is around) I just had the feeling that god was telling me something sort of like the inverse way that religious people know god exists —- I just felt he did not exist. If it is valid proof of gods existence for religious people when they feel gods presence and truth why is it not valid proof of gods none existence when I have a religious experience of his none existence? Actually, it was not so much a religious experience but a rational experience of gods none existence. Isn’t it reasonable for god to communicate his none existence by rational means to me an atheist than by how religious people have experiences that convince them. Actually it was me just thinking about gods none existence etc., which if you believe some religious people that god controls everything and everything you think, he was making me think all these thoughts which is a form of communication from god. This is clearly religious logic of the highest level proving god’s none existence! God might have, sort of, a little said to me, kind of in a feeling, that was actually a rational thought that I have “no” sense of humor.

  56. Patrick67 says

    #58:
    To loosely paraphrase Lewis Black:
    I just finished reading superatheist’s last post and afterward I had to remind myself to breathe.

    I would like to say that I had the kind of faith it would take to believe what he claims, but I just can’t. His musings just don’t mesh with what makes up that great tapestry of life I like to refer to as REALITY!!!

  57. superatheist says

    Just to be clear, if the subtleness of what I was saying did not make sense, the second part of superatheist(58) was supposed be a subtle “comic” twisting of words, like theists often do but from a atheist point of view. I guess I should never tease or be comical in the middle of (some might say) a serious discussion. My bad!

  58. superatheist says

    To whom it may concern:

    What physical thing has been lost at the death of a person? Why can this physical thing not be reproduced after death? If you are postulating a non physical thing that is “you” define it, make sense of it, and then explain how this non physical thing relates and interacts with physical things. Usually when I have an argument you do not understand what I am meaning. If you did you would come up with arguments that at least I have already come up with.

    You have not come up with any good reasons why consciousness is not a property of matter. You have not come up with a counter arguments to the fact that identical structure and functioning bodies produce the identical behavior because you can’t. You have not come up with any reason that the structures and functioning of two different bodies can become more or less alike as they change over time.
    You have not shown any good reasons why the term “ixperiencitness” is not a well defined and a useful term because it is my contention that just because two different bodies produce the same consciousness “does not mean they have the same ixperiencitness”. Stated in another way just because another body produces the same consciousness as your body does, does not mean you will experience that consciousness. This is a higher level concept it does not require any referral to any supernatural concept. It is a pure concept like point, line, or plane in geometry. A consciousness is being produced by your body. Do you experience it or not? Another body is producing the exact same consciousness as your body is, do you experience or not? If so why? If not why?

    If my body dies but is restored will I experience that consciousness or not? Why? What conditions are necessary to restore a body after death? What ever you say what is your proof?

  59. Patrick67 says

    #62:

    To very loosely paraphrase a concept often quoted on the AXP:

    That which can be shoveled without evidence can be dismissed without shoveling.

  60. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist

    What physical thing has been lost at the death of a person?

    Metabolism, for one, at least in the brain. Brain-dead is dead, after all.

    Why can this physical thing not be reproduced after death?

    Because there are such things as irreversible processes.

    You have not come up with any good reasons why consciousness is not a property of matter

    Dude, you have a bizarre number of comprehension and communication issues. This is not my objection. This is not anyone’s objection, as far as I can tell.

    If my body dies but is restored will I experience that consciousness or not? Why? What conditions are necessary to restore a body after death? What ever you say what is your proof?

    Why do you ask these questions when you won’t honestly answer any of ours?

  61. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I still want to know how you would test / falsify your claims. It seems quite apparent that there is no such test. Until you provide one, for me, your claims will just be gobblygook, incoherent nonsense.

  62. superatheist says

    Monocle Smile (64)
    You have not shown that metabolism is not reversible. If you reverse or restore the metabolism to where it was before death will it produce a consciousness that you experience or not? Are there time limits, or matter limits on restoration of metabolism producing the same consciousness and if so why?
    The concepts beyond Feynman diagrams give evidence of the reversibility of physical events.

  63. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist

    If you reverse or restore the metabolism to where it was before death will it produce a consciousness that you experience or not? Are there time limits, or matter limits on restoration of metabolism producing the same consciousness and if so why?

    No idea. You don’t know, either. This doesn’t seem currently testable. But if this was the case, it’s because the brain would be the same brain I’m using now. We call them “irreversible processes” because that’s how they’re defined thermodynamically and because we lack the ability to reverse them. When you bake a cookie and break it in half, how do you propose we make the cookie whole again just like it was before you broke it? Baking is considered an irreversible process.

    This has jack shit to do with the other stuff you’ve been saying, which lends more credence to my diagnosis of comprehension and communication problems. It also reveals that you’re unfamiliar with basic concepts in physics.

  64. adamah says

    SA said:

    Just to be clear, if the subtleness of what I was saying did not make sense, the second part of superatheist(58) was supposed be a subtle “comic” twisting of words, like theists often do but from a atheist point of view. I guess I should never tease or be comical in the middle of (some might say) a serious discussion. My bad!

    Yeah, heh-heh (I guess)….

    Now that you’ve gotten that out of your system, how about answering the question?

    Or will you refuse to, since you realized you’re forced to rely upon ‘special pleading’ (and other logical fallacies) to justify your irrational belief?

    BTW, you’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’ve never taken a college-level inorganic chemistry course (much less biochem or physical chem), since you’d know there’s a perfectly-reasonable explanation (already in use for over a century now) that explains why certain chemical reactions cannot ‘run in reverse’….

    (And other reactions ARE reversible, e.g. lipolysis and lipogenesis, depending on whether the organism needs to use stored energy, or is storing it in the form of body fat for future use.)

    Hint: it has everything to do with whether the reaction is endothermic or exothermic, as well as ‘entropy’, a slow but steady drift towards disorder due to a loss of free energy (lost in the form of heat).

    All life represents only a temporary exception to the general trend towards an overall increase in entropy, death of the organism representing the ultimate breakdown of order.

    While I don’t like the idea of experiencing death, I won’t be wasting time and energy making up fantasies to provide palliative relief from the stress, fear, and anxiety it causes.

  65. superatheist says

    adamah(68)

    Nice reply! You are right about chemical processes and entropy. But there are other factors and other ways of restoration or reversing a physical process. Like time reversal, and directed and deliberate designed external control of chemical reactions by means of different types of fields and exacting environmental conditions etc.. I do not know of any chemicals that can not be broken down into its composite atoms and then remade into other complex chemicals. Are you saying that the uniqueness of a person is destroyed with the breakdown of the chemicals that he is made of and not restored when these same atoms are recombined into the same functioning structure as before? If so what has changed physically between the before and after person that can be shown to produce this difference?

    Every day chemists are finding better and better ways of manipulating chemicals to do exactly what they want them to do. It may some day be possible to manipulate individual atoms to make any chemical combinations and reaction that are desired from any other chemical starting point.

  66. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(50) etc.

    A single experiment does not prove anything except under those specific conditions “X” happened. Usually the experimenter does not even know all of the conditions that effect the experiment. What may appear to be disproving experiments may in fact not be disproving at all because the experimenter is not aware of all of the effecting factors.

    You wrote about this statement: and wanted ways of proving or disproving it:
    “2. Duplicating the same structure and functioning in the same brain produces the same consciousness.”

    Does this sentence have meaning? Yes. Does it contain undefined terms? No. Are there any reference to supernatural terms? No. Is the question contradictory or illogical? No. Would either being true or false produce a paradox or logical contradiction? No. Can this statement be stated in an understandable question? Yes, as follows: “Can duplicating the same structure and functioning in the same brain produces the same consciousness?” Can this question be tested? Yes. How? Will a single test prove it for all possible situations? No. Can rational arguments based on experiments give support for this statement? Yes. Can rational arguments based on experiments remove support for this statement? Yes.
    I believe these questions eliminates the Idea that this statement is “not even wrong”.

    Now to the some experiments and rational arguments that can either support or undermine this statement.

    1. If you freeze the brain so there is structure but no functioning there is no consciousness being produced by the brain.

    2. The brains functioning can be compared to itself from one moment to the next. It is the closest thing we currently have to duplicating the same consciousness in an experiment. It is currently not easy to see the functioning of the brain but if there is little change in functioning a person can report little changes in the consciousness experienced.

    3. Every other functioning physical object that is producing a physical property as output like a radio, phone, TV, computer, factory, bacteria, plant, experiment, etc., when the physical conditions are duplicated produce the same properties. What physical or supernatural property would you propose would change this fact for a body that produces consciousness?

    4. The behavior of the person can be compared to the behavior of the person when identical functioning in occurring over and over and over again. They can not have different behavior by definition of identical structure and functioning.

    5. The behavior of the person can be compared to the behavior of the person when small changes are made to the structure and functioning of the body to see if the enumerable number of close approximate structures and functioning produce close approximate behavior.

    6. By mapping the structure and functioning of the body to the behavior that the body produces at these times, predictions can be made about the behavior that will be produced when these structures and functionings are again produced.

    7. A person is conscious of at least part of the consciousness that his body produces so many many questions about his consciousness can be asked so more and more information can be gained about his consciousness at each sequence of structure and functioning of his body. This means that you can ask many different questions at each identical point in the structure and functioning and see what the person reveals about his consciousness at that point as the structure and functioning diverges. All of this information can be compared to the information gathered at another time the brain is made to functioning identically to this previous identical section of structure and functioning.

    8. Physical objects can be monitored in many different ways. Another conscious being that is constructed in the right way and then connected to a human brain might be able to “feel” or “sense” in one or more of many different ways the conscious identity of one section of a person’s structure and functioning over time and then compare this to earlier or later sections for identity, or closeness of identity of consciousness. Then he can report with his behavior either the identity or none identity of consciousnesses produced by identical structure and functioning to still other conscious being doing similar experiments.

    9. Another kind of conscious being could be produced (Imagined) where two parts of his body can function independently but identically for periods of time producing independent consciousnesses that he with his total enhanced consciousness can compare.

    10. Supporting or disconfirming evidence can come from two or more different bodies that have the same identical structure and functioning producing the same consciousnesses. This is because they can be studied simultaneously with many different individuals comparing what they experience as their structure and functioning varies over time from each other. Their environments can become more and less identical creating consciousness that appear to become more or less alike in many different ways over time.

    11. Another type of experiment is where the section of repeated structure and functioning becomes shorter and shorter and right after each other any number of different times. Depending on how the experiment is carried out and what the experimenter is looking for these types of experiments might shed light on identical consciousnesses.

    12. Still other types of experiments are where one or more parts of the brain repeats itself over and over again and the rest of the brain interprets this partial identical structure and functioning by way of the rest of the brain’s changing structure and functioning producing behavior conveying information about the consciousness being produced.

    13. Numerous types of experiments could be created using consciousness producing electronic devices (using parallel processing like is used in the brain) including the types of experiments from above.

    We can also speculate why if it is not the structure and functioning of the body that produces consciousness what are the actual controlling factors that produce it? What other real choices do we have? Just because we do not know about other controlling factors does not mean that they do not exist. But the lack of evidence for them does not give evidence for them either.

    There may be mixed results for example we might have strong evidence in some cases that statement is true for some people and not true for others. Then the question becomes what are the new unseen controlling factors that make this statement true for same and not true for others. It can become even more complicated in that it might be true for some people some of the time but not all people all of the time. This situation happens in science frequently. There are often exceptions to the rule. Statement #2 might be true with a number of exceptions to the rule as we learn more and more about consciousness, how it is created, and who experiences it once it exists.

  67. superatheist says

    adamah (56)

    you wrote:
    “maybe you mentioned this before elsewhere (and I apparently missed it), but what explanation(s) do you offer for not believing in God?”

    latter you say:
    Now that you’ve gotten that out of your system, how about answering the question?
    What question? The above one? There are many reasons that you can find within the atheist experience podcasts and many other books all have very good reasons that religious gods do not appear to exist!

    However, I can imagine experience machines that can make gods appear to be real because they could create any sequence of sensual experiences including where god reveals himself in any number of different ways. In such a created reality as this it might be a good idea to act religiously.

  68. superatheist says

    Jasper of Maine(54)

    Thank you for your comment! If I am wrong about superimmortality, at least I might be able to claim 1st creator of an atheistic deepity. On the other hand if I am right what will future knowledgable people think about people that can’t understand superimmortality? Will it be the same thing as what we rational people think about people that still accept the flat earth or the six thousand year old earth theories?

  69. superatheist says

    adamah(55) et all

    If you have been paying attentions you would realize that superimmortality is nothing like any other religious theory of immortality or life after death.

    1. It contain no supernatural concepts.
    2. It is based on the concept that the functioning of the brain produces consciousness.
    3. What ties together the self through space and time is not a soul or body but the concept of the structure and functioning of matter.
    4. There are a number of different sequences of structures and functioning of matter that will produce a consciousness that you will experience when they are created (within your body).
    5. Your current body (its structure and functioning) can be enhanced or degraded in many ways thus enhancing or degrading your consciousness in many different ways before you die.
    6. What ever structure and functioning of matter that will or could have produced a consciousness in your body, that you experience, will also produce a consciousness that you experience in another body. These consciousness are independent of each other because the bodies are independent of each other. You are not then just a singular being but can be multiple, spread out over more than one body at the same time. There will be no necessary awareness of each other. This is a prediction not made by any other belief system about immortality or life after death that I know of.

    If there are currently other bodies producing a conscious that you are not experiencing from your conscious perspective it is because the brain structure and functioning maps to (produces) a specific consciousness, it does not produce those other consciousness.

    What you are, were, and can be is very different than what most people currently think they are, if superimmortality is true.

    These statements can be true or false, but they are not incoherent, irrational, illogical, antiscientific, or counter any current scientific or mathematical facts.

  70. adamah says

    SA said;

    adamah(55) et all

    If you have been paying attentions you would realize that superimmortality is nothing like any other religious theory of immortality or life after death.

    1. It contain no supernatural concepts.

    Your ignorance of scientific methodology is showing once again, for on that point you’re absolutely flat-out incorrect. Maybe an example will help you understand where you’re making your logical error:

    If you had lived in 30 CE and described the existence of invisible radio waves which would someday allow humans to communicate over long distances, you’d righty be looked at as if you had a hole in your head and were insane.

    Why?

    The proposal of the existence of such waves WAS firmly in the domain of the supernatural at that point, since:

    1) we lacked ANY sound reason to suspect their existence (and hopes, wishes, desires, etc. need not apply as a ‘sound reason’), but even more importantly,

    2) we lacked ANY and ALL means to DETECT them.

    It wasn’t until some 1,800 yrs later that Maxwell’s theoretical work in electricity gave any reason to even suspect their existence (as a hypothesis), and another decade or two before Marconi actually built a machine (called a ‘radio’) to verify their existence. Once experimentally verified, Maxwell’s hypothesis of radio waves was thus elevated to a theory.

    Obviously in modern times we all carry cell phones which rely on radio waves, but believing in their existence in the 1st century would be irrational, since at that point in time they were just as much voodoo/woo, as the notion of angels, demons, ghosts, life after death, immortality, etc. are today.

    In other words, although radio waves obviously existed in 30 CE, believing in them BEFORE their was demonstrated would’ve been irrational.

    Perhaps some day all of these ideas will transfer from the domain of the supernatural into the domain of natural phenomena, but without a means to demonstrate their existence, they still firmly remain in the supernatural camp.

  71. Chikoppi says

    @superatheist

    These statements can be true or false, but they are not incoherent, irrational, illogical, antiscientific, or counter any current scientific or mathematical facts.

    They are and they do, you simply refuse to understand why. This pseudoscience jibberish of yours isn’t made any less obviously absurd by the obstinance of your faith in it. The only thing you are accomplishing here is the extensive, irrevocable, and very public documentation of your ineptitude. But by all means, continue. What’s a few hundred more words to a pyre already so high?

    How is that research paper coming? Have you submitted for publication yet? For someone who has such important work to accomplish, you certainly seem to have a lot of time on your hands. I imagine you are so eager to be vindicated that you won’t waste another moment bothering with such an insignificant forum as this one! It’s ok, we understand.

  72. says

    @72

    On the other hand if I am right what will future knowledgable people think about people that can’t understand superimmortality? Will it be the same thing as what we rational people think about people that still accept the flat earth or the six thousand year old earth theories?

    What I’m talking about isn’t even really about that. It goes back to EL’s “not even wrong”. In a way, I agree with you, which is why I think you’re wrong.

    It goes back to this bit:

    2. Duplicating the same structure and functioning in the same brain produces the same consciousness.

    It all hinges on what “same” means.

    If we had a stereo player, playing a music cassette tape (I hope I don’t have to explain to anyone what these things are), that’s currently playing a song… if we were to leave the room, and then come back, and still find that song emanating from that stereo… I might conclude it’s the “same song” that was playing before.

    That may keep the same notion if it was stopped, and restarted while I was standing there. When it’s resumed, it’s the same song on the same stereo.

    If, by some means, the original stereo, cassette and play state were reconstructed elsewhere in space and time, I and I were to come across it, I might say that it’s “the same song” only in a categorical sense – as in, out of the variety of sounds I’m hearing, it’s fitting the category of patterns I recognize for that song.

    Was it the same song as before? No, because that sequence of air vibrations was specific to that other stereo. It was that set of molecules creating the sequence of air vibrations.

    If that stereo was created a billion years later, and the starts playing at the same point the previous stereo was, I could only agree that the song becomes “immortal” in the most superficial sense – that the mental concept of it is still around, and still going.

    That’s why I say I agree, but think you’re wrong. This isn’t “immortality” under any recognizable definition that people are actually going to care about. The theist is going to look at you and ask, “this is what you want to replace my Heaven with?”

    This has been explained to the nth degree. I doubt this will help.

    This concept of immortality has bizarre issues.

    If the state of the brain were reconstructed in the past, does that mean your consciousness is a time traveler? If the brain state were duplicated at the same time, does that mean that “you” are existing in two places simultaneously?

    I find the concept of “me”/”you” to be largely illusory. It’s much simpler to consider these things like identical code running on different machines. If the computer/program is duplicated, if it asks the question (and can ask such questions) “which one is the real me“, the question is nonsensical. What we have are two separately running programs, both with their separate senses of identity.

  73. superatheist says

    adamah (74)

    Nice discussion good points but what supernatural ideas does superimmortality use?

  74. superatheist says

    Chikoppi (75)

    Are you really saying that all I have to do is publish one paper about any part of these ideas and then you will accept the whole theory? If this is true you are way to easily convinced? Scientists and philosophers spend years in discussions before they publish. Are you really saying that any time a thinker has an ideas he should not discuss it to get as much information from others as possible? I really want to understand the points that you are making in your arguments! I really appreciate your input! Can you sum up what you are saying I may well have missed something. You once wrote (I believe) you disagreed with the statement that: “the body by way of its functioning produces consciousness”. I would like a greater understanding of what you are saying.

  75. adamah says

    SA said:

    What question? The above one? There are many reasons that you can find within the atheist experience podcasts and many other books all have very good reasons that religious gods do not appear to exist!

    SA, I couldn’t give a rat’s heinie about the reasons OTHER people give for not believing in God(s): I asked YOU for YOUR reason which explains why YOU personally don’t believe in God(s).

    I suspect you’d say it’s the complete lack of supportive evidence, when my next question would be why you believe in super-immortality when the supportive evidence is similarly completely absent?

    If I am wrong about superimmortality, at least I might be able to claim 1st creator of an atheistic deepity.

    Wow, if that’s actually the case, then that’s quite an accomplishment to hang one’s hat on!

    But why limit your aspirations by hoping to be a good snake-oil pitchman, when you can aspire for true greatness, perhaps trying to get in the Guiness Book of World Records for some more-useful feat (e.g. eating the most hot-dogs in a single sitting)?

    In the age of Trumpism, the last thing the World needs is another great self-promoter….

    As to my doubts of your claim to be the first one to come up with syncretizing the immortality concept with science, as I said above, the desire for immortality and conquering death is as old as the hills, likely existing long before men ever imagined an anthropomorphic God, and likely long before men worshipped inanimate objects (like the Sun, moon, etc).

    You’ve simply syncretized science fiction with the same basic drive to conquer death: syncretization is nothing new, and I assure you the marketing of the idea has been done by others before you.

    If you truly want to change the World, then perhaps you should get an education in the sciences and conduct the difficult research: heck, like Maxwell, you might even win a Nobel Prize!

    Some people are content to simply engage in marketing to ‘sell’ their ideas (whether true or not), while others are willing to do the actual hard work to demonstrate the idea.

    BTW, you say the concept of immortality doesn’t conflict with science, but you’re showing your ignorance of the biological process of evolution, where death of individual organisms plays a crucial role, for how would ‘descent with modification’ allow new generations to arise when the older generations are hanging around and consuming limited resources? You’ve never heard of “population explosions”?

    Also look at the increased risk of birth defects with increased age of both of the parents (male and female), and you should see the problem with the concept of immortality….

    Death of individual organisms plays an important role in evolution, so don’t pat yourself on the back, just yet….

    SA asked:

    Nice discussion good points but what supernatural ideas does superimmortality use?

    If an idea or phenomenon is outside the bounds of human investigation, it is, by definition, ‘supernatural’.

    By comparison, if an idea or phenomenon IS within our capabilities to examine and study it, it is, by definition, ‘natural’.

    Hence the question of the existence of God is simply a SUBSET of the broader category of the ‘supernatural claims’, and God sits alongside your claims of immortality (and simply adding the prefix “-super” in front of it doesn’t change anything to make it become investigable).

    Re-read my example using Maxwell’s hypothesized radio waves (later verified by Marconi with the radio he invented), realizing that simply claiming something exists and believing in it before evidence exists is putting the cart before the horse. You might as well believe in pixies, too.

    Instead, a rationalist doesn’t believe in an idea until AFTER it’s been demonstrated to exist and/or be true, and there’s a World of difference between something being possible (however improbable) and something that’s been PROVEN by repeated independent verification .

  76. superatheist says

    Jasper of Maine(76)

    You wrote:
    “I could only agree that the song becomes “immortal” in the most superficial sense – that the mental concept of it is still around, and still going.”

    How do we know that this “superficial sense” is not all that it takes to create a consciousness that you experience?

    However, I do not think that creating identical structure and functioning that produces identical behavior “superficial”.
    Identical behavior gives enormous amounts of information about the consciousness that a body produces.

    We can imagine the experiments where we make identical structure and functioning copies of you and then you get to interact with them in any way you want to. You now get to decide if they have a consciousness that you would experience if you were them.
    Another experiment is where the structure and functioning of your body was duplicated from a previous point in your life and you then get to interact as much as you like with this person. Will you be convinced that this is a body that is producing a version of you? Maybe not because your argument is that you are not currently experiencing what they are so you can not be them. You think that it is a logical fallacy to make such an assumption. But now you are told that this person is not another body, but your body from the past. Ah, you say this can not be me because I do not remember this ever happening so it is impossible, this person is not me! So I showed you this video where you explain to yourself that you are part of this experiment where there is time travel of your previous self to the present time and then sent back after spending time with your current self. You say in the video that you clearly remember this being part of your previous life. Then this video taped version of you explains that as part of the experiment your memories of this interaction with your previous self has been erased. This experiment is supposed to help show that there is no logical contradiction having two bodies existing at the same time producing different consciousness but with the same ixperiencitness.

    This experiment can be continued to include more and more versions of you produced by one body existing and interacting at one time.

    You are very “sharp” in concluding some of the bizarre consequences of superimmortality!

    You wrote:
    “If the state of the brain were reconstructed in the past, does that mean your consciousness is a time traveler? If the brain state were duplicated at the same time, does that mean that “you” are existing in two places simultaneously?”

    You would not be a “time traveler” but to this version of you, experiencing this event, it would seem like it was time travel to you (him).
    Yes “you” are existing in two places simultaneously! A very different concept of self than most (all -1?) people believe!

    I will say it again superimmortality might be wrong, but the “argument for identity” that you guys keep pushing seems very lacking to me.

    Just because you guys keep insisting that when two different bodies are producing identical structure and functioning they can not possibly produce the same consciousness, or if they do produce the same consciousness they can not possibly produce the same ixperiencitness does not make it true. I do not see any experimental evidence for this (your) position. So far I have not seen any good arguments that you have presented for it either. I keep saying I want solid proof against these ideas. I am willing to concede being in error! Maybe if you state your arguments in a logical form with premises and conclusions I will be able to understand them, other wise I see consciousness and ixperiencitness as properties produced by a body that can be either identical, partially identical, or not identical at all.

  77. Chikoppi says

    @superatheist

    Are you really saying that all I have to do is publish one paper about any part of these ideas and then you will accept the whole theory?

    Of course not. A theory is derived from independently verified hypotheses. Hypotheses are verified through transparent, controlled, and repeatable experimentation. You have made a number of hypothetical claims that are indepsensible to the conclusion you are attempting to draw. I am challenging you to submit any number of those claims to peer review.

    You will accept that people can be absolutely convinced that their beliefs are true and yet be mistaken in those beliefs. You must then also accept that no matter how sure you are that you are correct you could in fact be completely wrong. You therefore need devise a strategy for confirming each constituent hypothesis in turn through an objective process. That is, each hypothesis must be tested in an environment that is free from your own subjective bias. Peer review is an excellent and available methodology.

    If your hypotheses are correct and actually conform to scientific methodology you will have no problem submitting for publication. Of course, I don’t think this is the case. If you are successful it will give me reason to reconsider. If you are unsuccessful perhaps you will be more willing to accept that your conclusions are in fact based on unfounded premises.

    Regarding a summary of my objections, I wouldn’t know where to start. Even if I were to grant all your hypothetical claims for the sake of argument I don’t think your logic is valid.

    Each thing has a discreet identity (law of identity).
    A physical object is a thing.
    Physical objects have properties (mass, entropic state, chemical composition, etc.)
    Consciousness is a potential and mutable property of some physical objects.

    Whether or not two physical objects have identical properties is irrelevant, they are still distinct objects with distinct identities. With respect to the property of consciousness, each object has a subjective experience. “You,” an object, will never subjectively experience the property of consciousness of an object that is not you (i.e., any other object).

  78. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Chikoppi #81:

    With respect to the property of consciousness, each object has a subjective experience. “You,” an object, will never subjectively experience the property of consciousness of an object that is not you (i.e., any other object).

     
    superatheist #73:

    What ties together the self through space and time is not a soul or body but the concept of the structure and functioning of matter.
    […]
    What ever structure and functioning of matter that will or could have produced a consciousness in your body, that you experience, will also produce a consciousness [that you experience with a similar subjective experience] in another body.
     
    These consciousness are independent of each other because the bodies are independent of each other. [You] are not then just a singular being but can be multiple, spread out over more than one body at the same time. There will be no necessary awareness of each other.

    I doubt he could even publish a Sesame Street screenplay just to say “Similar things are similar”. He made up tens of thousands of words, yet he continues to use “you” as a universal property instead of a referent to a particular.
     
    Article: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Universals
     
    Article: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – The Identity of Indiscernibles

  79. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To superatheist in post 70
    I tried really hard to understand what you just wrote. I read it several times. I don’t understand half of it.

    Again, I’m asking for an experiment that can distinguish between “functionally identical consciousnesses in two separate brains, separated by time” and “the same consciousness in two separate brains, separated by time”.

    Can this question be tested? Yes.

    I contend “obviously no”. I’m pretty sure that there is no way to test it. I’m also waiting for you to provide a simple and clear way to test it. Invoke plausible scifi technology if you want, like a near-perfect brain-state measuring device.

    Does this sentence have meaning? Yes.

    No. The claim looks like a scientific claim, and it pretends to be a scientific claim, but until your clarify your position and explain how it’s falsifiable, then it’s acutally not a scientific claim. Until that time, to me, it’s simply incoherent. Again, not even wrong.

    Further, if you cannot explain what sorts of falsifiable tests have already been done, direct or indirect tests, then you are not justified in your beliefs. In other words, scientific beliefs are justifiable only to the extent that they have already been tested, and in order for something to be testable, the category of tests must allow the posibility that you will become rationally convinced that you were wrong and that your previous claims are false. Philosophy of science 101.

  80. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (83)
    you wrote:
    “Again, I’m asking for an experiment that can distinguish between “functionally identical consciousnesses in two separate brains, separated by time” and “the same consciousness in two separate brains, separated by time”.”

    I am not sure what you mean could you elaborate, please. Specifically, what do you mean by functionally identical consciousnesses versus the same consciousness?

  81. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I don’t know. I thought that was your claim.

    I think that most people here would be entirely ok with the supposition that if one were to somehow create two separate but observationally identical brains, then we would have two separate but otherwise identical consciousnesses, that would then be free to “evolve” and change in their separate ways, according to the distinct experiences of each brain from that point onwards.

    I think that you are claiming something more, or something different. Are you claiming something more / something different?

  82. Vivec says

    Is this nonsense what you get when you read about the transporter problem while taking a killer bong rip?

    Even if what comes out of the transporter is an exact replica of me in every possible conceivable way, mentally and physically, I still died the second the transporter disintegrated the original me. This new person at the transporter exit is a functionally equivalent version of me, but it’s still a separate entity.

  83. adamah says

    Vivec said:

    Even if what comes out of the transporter is an exact replica of me in every possible conceivable way, mentally and physically, I still died the second the transporter disintegrated the original me.

    No way Dude, as I’ve watched ALOT of the original Star Trek series in my day, and I don’t EVER recall a single episode where Capt. Kirk and crew had to file death certificates after every successful “beaming” via the transporter (and just think of the massive amounts of paperwork involved)!

    🙂

    But since we’re playing the ‘what if sci-fi were a reality’ game, I suppose you’d definitely have a point in the case of a transporter malfunction (i.e. disintegration, but with a failure to successfully reintegrate the person on the other end). In that case, I’d say a death certificate would definitely be required (with cause of death listed as, “transporter malfunction: oops, sorry ’bout that! It’s looked like a REALLY painful way to die!”).

    In fact, ‘Star Trek the Movie’ had such a scene.

    If SA’s “immortality theory” seems primitive and not fully-formed to you, here’s a bird-shot load of even more entertaining pseudo-scientific babble about transporters:

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Transporter

    At any rate, I’m pretty sure Starfleet Command would have such a transporter malfunction policy stated in their regs (that is, if they weren’t a fictional organization, and they actually existed. Which begs the question: is this the atheist version of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?).

  84. Vivec says

    Well, I mean, it’s the same difference, even without the Star Trek trappings. If you made a perfect clone of a person, down to every neuron and synapse, and then shot the original person, that person is still dead, whether or not the functionally equivalent clone is still alive.

    But yeah, while I would definitely hold that the current me dies whenever I use a transporter, I don’t think that’d actually make me not use it. I care more about the continuity of consciousness than whether I’m Vivec prime. However, my disinterest in the death of Vivec prime when they first used a transporter doesn’t change that VIvec prime died, and whatever shows up at the other end is a tangibly different person.

  85. superatheist says

    Vivec (86) adamah(87)

    Things are often more complicated than we imagine.

    Vivec wrote:
    “Even if what comes out of the transporter is an exact replica of me in every possible conceivable way, mentally and physically, I still died the second the transporter disintegrated the original me. This new person at the transporter exit is a functionally equivalent version of me, but it’s still a separate entity.”

    He is right by the definition of the same person, the first person is dead and the second person is not the first person.

    The question is not if the you at the end of the transporter example are the same person as you are at the beginning, but do you experience the consciousness that this other newly created body produces? Yes, no, or partially.

    Then the second question is: If this other body produces a consciousness that you experience what “malfunctions in the process” will still produce a consciousness that you will experience? An how do the malfunctions effect the resulting consciousness and who experiences it.

    The third question is: If this (your) transported person’s body does not produce a consciousness that you experience, what consciousness is being produced and who gets to experience it?

    These are the type of questions that the science of superimmortality tries to answer as rationally as possible with the very little scientific information that is known about consciousness and how it is produced.
    Propose a coherent logical theory that does not contradict current scientific and mathematical knowledge. Communicate it, Discuss it. Modify it. Improve it. Teach it, Develop experiments that can prove or disprove it. Do the experiments. Redo the experiments. Publish the result of the experiments. Modify the theory to conform with experimental results. Develop new experiments to prove of disprove new and old predictions of the theory. Repeat the process over and over again each time (hopefully) making the science better.

    You guys are at the discuss, modify, and improve stage, with me, of the “ixperiencit theory of consciousness”, “superimmortality”, “awaretheory” or whatever else you have or wished to have called it. I may not agree with your input but I appreciate it! There are many responses I would like to make, to you comments, that I have not gotten around to yet. If you care, be patient. I have had people tell that the more they know about this theory the less crazy or bizarre and more rational and logical it seems. But as I keep repeating over and over again parts or all may be wrong. But as much as I presently know about these ideas, I doubt that its all wrong.

  86. Vivec says

    He

    They, thanks.

    The question is not if the you at the end of the transporter example are the same person as you are at the beginning, but do you experience the consciousness that this other newly created body produces?

    No, I don’t experience anything. I died the second the transporter disintegrated me. The person that shows up at the other end is a separate person with a separate consciousness that is in no way tied to the original me.

    If this other body produces a consciousness that you experience what “malfunctions in the process” will still produce a consciousness that you will experience?

    I don’t experience anything after I am disintegrated.

    If this (your) transported person’s body does not produce a consciousness that you experience, what consciousness is being produced and who gets to experience it?

    The functionally identical clone’s consciousness is produced, and they are the one that experiences it. I don’t come into the equation, because as mentioned above, I stopped existing the second the transporter disintegrated me.

  87. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    No, I don’t experience anything. I died the second the transporter disintegrated me. The person that shows up at the other end is a separate person with a separate consciousness that is in no way tied to the original me.

    For reasons that are hard to describe even to myself, I tend to agree. However, I also recognize that I think this is an untestable assertion, even in principle, and so currently I must hold you to the same standard of: What are you talking about? How would you be able to create a test to tell if you are right or wrong?

  88. Vivec says

    Fair enough, it could be the case that being disintegrated does not prevent me from experiencing what my functionally identical clone goes through on the other side, but that is an assertion he would have to prove.

    We do have evidence that consciousness is just a product of natural processes that go on within an individuals body, and no evidence of consciousnesses somehow hopping from one body to another after they die, so I guess my assertion is more of a “based on all available data, I find this to be a more likely case” sort of thing.

  89. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Vivec
    Thanks for the conversation. I’m tempted to agree. Let me explain my position, shaped in part from what you have said.

    There seem to be two conflicting lines of extrapolation.

    The first line of extrapolation is thus: I experience my thoughts in my body, and not the sensory input of your body nor your thoughts. For want of a better term, qualia. We have pretty good evidence that this is directly tied to the functioning of my brain, and not yours. Ergo, if my brain ends, then my first-person experience aka qualia ends. Further, the affects or non-effects on another brain, even if identical, are irrelevant.

    The second line of extrapolation is thus: This is the line of reasoning that I think superatheist is appealing to. In particular, our consciousness persists in spite of the fact that atoms and molecules regularly enter and leave our brain. Our brain is not a fixed collection of matter. I don’t know how much of the matter changes over the years of our brain, but based on prior imprecise recollections of such numbers, I suspect that it’s a substantial fraction. On this line of extrapolation, it cannot be the individual matter that matters. It must be something more. The continuity of consciousness must involve more brute facts than the simple collection of matter.

    From that, I think that superatheist extrapolates to the conclusion that continuity of consciousness would happen if we replace all of the atoms at once.

    Let me put it like this. Imagine Star Trek style teleporters. Teleport out atoms from your brain, and replace it with an identical atom from this rock, and do so one atom at a time, over the course of a day. Are you still you? I think yes, because similar processes are already happening in my brain, where atoms are regularly being replaced with other atoms from outside my body. Now, speed this process up so that it happens over an hour, or a second, or a nanosecond, – and the kicker – or all at one instant. Is there a threshold where it actually is killing the person and making a clone, aka where there is a loss of continuity of consciousness, a death of one consciousness, and the creation of a second?

    As far as I can tell from my internal musings, the problem is that one of the foundations of rationality is the assumption that our memory is mostly reliable, or reliable enough, to do science. However, this kind of scenario can bring into question the reliability of all of our memory. Again, imagine that teleporter scenario: What is the difference between “the person (consciousness) is killed, and a new person is created” vs “it’s a single person throughout”? I might be able to grant that this is a meaningful question, maybe, but I strongly suspect that this kind of question is flatly untestable.

    Overall, it just makes me confused.

  90. Vivec says

    My argument isn’t about continuity of consciousness, though. I admit that regardless of your stance on the matter, one Vivec walks onto the transporter and one Vivec walks off of the transporter at the destination. The Vivec at the destination is assembled with the same memories and brain chemistry as the Vivec in the beginning. From the destination Vivec’s point of view, there was just a mild gap in there memory between dematerialization and rematerialiaztion.

    However, from an outside point of view (lets say the transporters are just a few feet apart), a person walks into the transporter, is instantly killed by the dematerialization process, and then a functionally equivalent clone is created at the destination and begins their life at that point. Yes, there is a continuity of consciousness from the new Vivec’s point of view, but it and the original Vivec are still two distinct beings.

    The identity of indiscernible issue doesn’t really come in, since it takes into account temporal and physical position. Both the dead Vivec and the living clone Vivec occupy different mortal states, different positions in space, and different positions in time, and thus can be discerned from one another.

  91. Vivec says

    Like, let’s say I have a red rubber ball, and then make another with exactly the same makeup down to the subatomic level. If I handed you either one by itself, you would not be able to tell one from the other.

    They are still discernible. I can hold them in my hands and say “the ball in my right/left hand”, or I can refer to them in the order they were made. If I put one of the balls in a food processor, I can discern the pile of former-red-ball from the remaining red ball.

  92. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I don’t understand how your response is topical. It seems we’re talking about different things. Perhaps because we have different starting assumptions.

    As best as I can determine, superatheist is making the claim “same consciousness, not a mere copy consciousness” regarding the teleporter example, where “same consciousness” is differentiated from “a mere copy consciousness” according to some hard-to-specify metrics, like “continuity of consciousness”. I say “hard to specify”, because I’m not yet convinced that it can be specified in any meaningful, e.g. testable, way.

    I don’t care about your metric of discernability. That seems orthogonal to the point. For example, consider this:

    My brain as it exists 5 minutes ago at that point in space and time.
    My brain as it exists now.
    Your brain as it exists now.

    My brain now vs my brain 5 minutes ago are not the exact same material object. Some atoms of oxygen have entered my body to become part of my brain, and some atoms of oxygen have left my brain and body. They are not the same object. However, there is some measure of “sameness” that is relevant, such as continuity of consciousness. There is a first-person experience of my brain of 5 minutes ago which became the consciousness of my brain now, and it did not become the consciousness of your brain now.

    Trying one more time.

    So, I hope that you’re with me thus far. If you’re with me thus far, then we do agree to some sort of “continuity of consciousness” metric, and continuity of consciousness can happen in spite of the matter of the brain being replaced over time. Again, oxygen atoms, and the other atoms in my brain are regularly being replaced. IIRC, over the period of years, all of the atoms of my brain will have been replaced, and none of the atoms that are in my brain now will be in my brain several years from now (approx).

    Thus, that leads to the following hypothetical.

    Suppose I use a teleporter to transport one atom out of your head, and transport a separate but identical atom into your brain to replace it. Presumably we all agree that you’re the “same person” with a continuity of consciousness.

    Suppose I use a teleporter to transport atoms out of your brain, one atom at a time, replacing every atom in your brain, over the course of several years. I would argue that you’re still the “same person” with a continuity of consciousness. I argue this on the basis that a similar thing is already happening. Atoms in your brain are being regularly replaced already. I don’t see how this particular use of a teleporter changes the outcome.

    Then, suppose I did the replacement, one atom at a time, over the course of a minute, or a second, or a nanosecond. Presumably any real-world Star Trek transporter will process the atoms non-instantaneously. In other words, a so-called “whole person replacer” could be described as “replace one atom at a time, over the course of a nanosecond”.

    And then, what’s the important difference between that and a transporter that simply moves the atoms, one at a time, from one location in space, to another location in space about 1 meter away, preserving structure?

  93. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And once you understand my hypotheticals, your brain should hurt as much as mine is right now. I have no answers. The more I think about it, the more sympathy I have for superatheist, and the more I am becoming of the position that “well, fuck, I don’t know”.

    tl;dr Does a Star Trek transporter kill the person and make a clone? Yes on the normal reasoning that destroying a brain ends the consciousness, no matter if you make a copy. No on the reasoning that atoms in your brain are regularly being replaced with other atoms, and a Star Trek transporter is nothing more than this replacement process at high speeds (more or less), which means that it is the same person and no person was killed.

    Obviously, something has to give, and I have no idea what.

  94. Vivec says

    We’re arguing two different things and I don’t give enough of a shit to continue arguing sci-fi with a kook (SA) and someone I probably agree with (you).

  95. Chikoppi says

    Simply compare the scenarios:

    A) Your body is aniahlated.
    B) Your body is aniahilated, but an exact copy is produced elsewhere.
    C) Your body is unharmed and an exact copy is produced elsewhere.

    “Your body” is what has the property of “your consciousness.” All other bodies, no matter how similar, can only have the property of “consciousness.” In scenario C you would have no knowledge of the newly formed copy because the only consciousness you experience is the consciousness your body experiences subjectively (“your body” being the subject and therefore the “thing” having continuity in spacetime that bears identity).

    Regarding identity and physical mutability over time, see Matt’s comments about the Ship of Theseus in episode 20.16.

  96. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal:
    I posted this a couple times in the previous thread on 20.15, but considering your absence there, it may have gotten overlooked.
     
    Video: CGPGrey – The Trouble with Transporters (5:43)
     
     
    The one atom at a time stuff reminds me of this…
     
    Article: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Sorites Paradox

    Would you describe a single grain of wheat as a heap? No. Would you describe two grains of wheat as a heap? No. … You must admit the presence of a heap sooner or later, so where do you draw the line?

     

    Attempts to solve the sorites paradox also throw issues of reference into sharp relief.
    […]
    Consider a sorites paradox using the predicate ‘is on Everest’ using the series of millimetre discriminations along a line from its peak to the valley floor below. The first point (the summit) is clearly on Everest. The last (in the valley) clearly is not. And there is no clear point in between where we would draw the sharp boundary separating the mountain from its surrounds.
     
    The vagueness or indeterminacy that underwrites this sorites paradox is, on this approach, not a result of epistemic limitations, nor a result of indeterminacy in Everest itself but, rather, arises as a result of indeterminacy surrounding what to count as the referent of the term. Vagueness is a matter of semantic indecision, as it is frequently put. In the case to hand, there is simply no fact of the matter as to exactly what portion of earth is referred to. There is a range of admissible candidates, all with equal claim to be Everest, amongst which we have simply not decided, nor (to paraphrase Lewis) is anyone stupid enough to try.

    ^_^
     
    You are a heap of atoms, a sand dune accreting/losing material at a rate such that newcomers integrate into the group’s tangle of competing forces without radically destabilizing the form – which itself can drift or be dissolved/scattered.

  97. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #96:

    Then, suppose I did the replacement, one atom at a time, over the course of a minute, or a second, or a nanosecond.
    […]
    And then, what’s the important difference between that and a transporter that simply moves the atoms, one at a time, from one location in space, to another location in space about 1 meter away, preserving structure?

    Compare a 1m transport to the mundane situation: floating your fully intact body in a river, then sliding the entire bundle of uninterrupted chemical reactions/bonds one meter to the left.

  98. Chikoppi says

    I think you are trying to apply objective standards to a subjective phenomenon.

    There is no “future” or “past” you. Those things either don’t yet or have ceased to exist. They are concepts of identity your conscious brain constructs out of convenience. The “thing” that matters (with respect to the law of identity) is the thing, or the “heap of atoms” you are now. It is distinct from any and all other heaps (which is what makes it a “thing”). If its coherency is destroyed “now” then so too is its identity as a thing.

    In other words you, as an object with a unique identity, exist only to the extent that you aren’t destroyed “now.”

    The Ship of Theseus is still the same ship after all the components have been replaced where the objective concept of identity is applied. Where the subjective identity is concerned it is a different and unique ship from moment to moment. As consciousness is a subjective phenomenon, I think the appropriate standard to apply to the concept of identity is the later – your identity is who are who you are now and what happens to you now is what defines your existence as “self.”

    So yes, I think if the transporter destroys the object that is “me” at any given moment then “I” no longer exist. Instead, there is an object with a different identity that looks and acts like me who is wearing a red shirt and running around on an alien planet.

  99. adamah says

    Couple of points to consider:

    1) The often-overlooked benefit of consciousness is that it allows us to sense our environment. That may seem too trivial to even mention, as it should be fairly obvious, but I suspect some engaging in the discussion here don’t fully grasp the significance of that point.

    Consciousness is critical to survival, needed to discriminate self from others, locate food, detect predators who’d eat you(!), locate a mate to pass on one’s genes, etc. Successfully navagating about in the World demands consciousness.

    2) As pointed out on the last show, “love” is not a THING, but an intangible quantity, an emotion that results from the release of brain endorphins, etc. Thus love is more of a STATE, consisting of configurations of endogenously-produced molecules in the body in response to an exogenous stimuli (i.e. the other organism that elicits the reaction).

    The same concept applies to consciousness, an emergent property of the CNS that results from multiple sources of sensory input (as well as being reliant on memories), and for all intents and purposes, the entire body, the sensory organs and tactile receptors feed into the peripheral and central nervous system.

    The sum of these sensory and somatic inputs leads to consciousness, a plethora of varying sensations.

    3) When it comes to the temporal aspects of consciousness, the most important time-frame is NOT the past or future, but the present time, i.e. RIGHT NOW, since even transient losses of situational awareness leads to potentially-lethal outcomes when the person gets distracted and goes into “tunnel vision” mode; they effectively suppress other more-important sensory stimuli by over-focusing all attention on a distractor.

    Point being, consciousness is NOT a static property of the organism, but quite DYNAMIC, constantly changing over time to react to a constantly-changing external environment (e.g. if you’re walking down a sidewalk and not paying attention, you may trip over a crack and fall. Funny thing is I just tripped as I was typing this, lol).

    I suspect the focus on ‘continuity of consciousness’ may be a matter of differing values: while it may matter to Vivec, but what do I or Chikoppi care if our consciousness continues to emerge without US, OUR individual collection of atoms, experiencing it?

    I’m not THAT altruistic (and/or narcissistic) to think my detached conscious existence transcends the value of my body’s existence, esp. knowing the motive is highly-suspect: attaining immortality (which is actually pseudo-immortality, since I’m dead).

    I personally find that form of immortality or life after death unimportant, and it seems to be missing the more-important aspect of the benefit of the immediacy of consciousness.

    4) as far as the “replacing out parts of a ship” example, as others have stated, all of the cells in your body are not the same ones that existed 10 yrs ago; cellular turnover is constant.

    It’s curious that the same concept applies to evolution (and the absence of crocoducks): every one of us potentially IS an intermediate on the way to becoming a new species, since we’re all unique recombinations of our parents’ DNA (and subject to mutations).

  100. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To CompulsoryAccount7746 in 101
    The question that superatheist is addressing is a different question. For example, we know that certain brain states correspond to lack of conscious experience. We’re also pretty sure that destroying the brain also means an end of conscious experience. For want of a better term, qualia.

    The question then becomes: “Exactly how far of the brain can you destroy before your conscious awareness is permanently ended?”. In particular, is there any amount of brain destruction that can result in permanent destruction of conscious experience? Or can one restore conscious experience from any state of complete annihilation of the brain, as long as the pieces of the brain are put back together again

    And finally, if the pieces are put together back into the proper arrangement, presumably this configuration will display the functional properties of consciouness. However, will it be the original consciousness before the brain destruction, or will it simply be a new person that is a copy of the person that was irrevocably killed? I am still tempted to answer that this lack question is completely untestable, even in principle, even though answers to this question seem to be of paramount importance if we ever development relevant technologies. In particular, it would be the difference between “murder/suicide” and “a really useful transport technology”.

    Sorry if I’m just repeating myself, but I fail to see how anything you write addresses these questions.

  101. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #105:

    However, will it be the original consciousness before the brain destruction, or will it simply be a new person that is a copy of the person that was irrevocably killed? I am still tempted to answer that this lack question is completely untestable, even in principle

    I’m unclear what you’re confused about, notwithstanding the difficulties with Sorites Paradox.
     
    Are you referring to an inability to directly compare subjective experiences to confirm similarity? An inability to tell anyone when your subjective experience is definitely totally dismantled (having already lost senses, lucidity, motor control, etc)? Are you considering the breakdown of identity/discernment that follows when you allow an object to have intermittent existence?
     
     

    I fail to see how anything you write [in #101] addresses these questions.

     

    is there any amount of brain destruction that can result in permanent destruction of conscious experience?

    Permanent destruction?
    Is there any amount of body destruction that can result in permanent destruction of my car? At some point, its configuration will cease to be recognizable as a vehicle. You remove too many grains from the heap.
     
    If you get to the point where it’s no longer recognizable as a brain, you’ve probably done more than enough damage to preclude the atoms’ capacity to operate in a manner we could reasonably call a conscious state.
     

    Or can one restore conscious experience from any state of complete annihilation of the brain, as long as the pieces of the brain are put back together again?

    Restore?
    You could replace the mangled scrap metal with material of the appropriate shape, keeping the tires and headlights. At some point, you have damage beyond “repair” and instead cannibalize parts for a new car.
     

    And finally, if the pieces are put together back into the proper arrangement, presumably this configuration will display the functional properties of consciouness.

    Presumably so.
     

    However, will it be the original consciousness before the brain destruction, or will it simply be a new person that is a copy of the person that was irrevocably killed?

    You degraded the heap. That heap was annihilated. It is gone. Non-existent.
    There is no heap. Only scattered parts that no longer to qualify as a heap.
    You then built another, a new heap, to similar specifications.
     
    Presumably the new group object would obey the same physics as the predecessor, with similar properties. Its brain will presumably exhibit a similar subjective conscious experience of that heap, compared to that of the predecessor’s brain at the moment of copying – given that there’s no compelling reason to expect that materialistic process to omit anything (rigging up all the chemistry and whatnot).
     
    Any major interruption of the constituents’ physical relations, and it wouldn’t be the original consciousness. Annihilating and reassembling would qualify as serious enough. Copying mid-pulse wouldn’t yield the original heartbeat.
     
     
    Say we somehow found an unobjectionably minimal operational threshold for repair. We could have Futurama head jars flown, at reduced shipping rates, to vacations where new extremities would be constructed on-site. : P

  102. superatheist says

    To whom ever believes in the body is you theory of self:

    What science shows connects us from one moment to the next is close approximate structure and functioning. What happen when the structure and functioning in the same body (you) becomes identical to someone else’s structure and functioning that is clearly not you? The behavior produced by this modified body becomes entirely different. What they call themselves is different. Their memories are different. The people that they call loved ones are different. They know an entirely different set of skills and information. All of the old you is gone. The body is not important its the structure and functioning of the body that is important. Now change the structure and functioning back to its original state. It now calls itself by his original names. It has all of the original memories, skills, abilities, knowledge, it believes that it is the original person. It has no knowledge of the transformation into someone else. Anyone else would never know that this had happened to this person if they were not aware of these transformations. Have you been permanently destroyed in the process? If so when and where in the process were you destroyed? Would it have mattered if the process was much slower where you went through many different versions of yourself that became more structurally and functionally divergent? What ever you, say what is your supporting evidence?
    If by changing the structure and functioning of a body we can make a new consciousness and ixperiencitness, why can we not restore the original consciousness and ixperiencitness by restoring the original structure and functioning?

    Imagine another experiment where we take two different people that have identical structure and functioning. They have the same identical behavior, of course. I say the evidence is that they are producing the same consciousness. Now, We split both in half top to bottom right side from left and then recombine the two into two new persons where one has the right side of one of the original persons and the left side of the other and visa versa for the other new person. We now have two new bodies that have identical structure and functioning? What will be the results? Because they have identical structure and functioning they will the have identical behaviors with the same memories, skills, abilities, beliefs in who they are etc. They still both identify as the same person even though they are clearly not the same person. This is strong evidence that they are producing identical consciousnesses. Having identical consciousnesses is not definite proof that they produce identical ixperiencitnesses. Where saying they are the same person is clearly a logical contradiction saying that they both have or are producing the same ixperiencitness is not.
    If we use, what I believe you (plural) have been saying, the first two do not have identical consciousness or ixperiencitnesses.
    Do the second two constructed bodies have identical consciousnesses and ixperiencitnesses? I believe you would say no because combining the parts that do not have identical consciousnesses or ixperiencitness to begin with would still not produce identical consciousness at this point.
    Now we recombine the bodies like they were to begin with. Does this restore the original consciousness and ixperiencitnesses? Or have we created new consciousness and ixperiencitnesses?
    No matter what you believe, how do we prove it one way or the other? At best currently in theory, we have the self reporting of the individuals that are actually experiencing the consciousness that is being or not being produced by each body. If structure and functioning is identical then the self reporting will be identical.
    I feel that this, thought it produces some evidence, it does not produce enough evidence for believing that the bodies have or are producing identical consciousnesses.

    Occum’s razor is not a proof but it supplies an extra reason to consider a prediction or theory as being better. Predicting that they all have identical consciousness and ixperiencitnesses is much simpler than predicting any number of other possible solutions. If they do not all have the same consciousness and ixperiencitness you are predicting that some of them do not have the same consciousness and ixperiencitness. Either they have different ones or none at all. It does not appear that there is a simple explanation for why, and there is no prediction of what exact consciousness and ixperiencitness will replace them and why these particular ones and no others.

    Numerous experiments can be imagined and potentially carried out where the structure and functioning is changed by various amounts in various ways. These people will have a close view of the original’s consciousness because they will have a close structure and functioning to that of the original. These people can then report about their conscious experiences and then these reports can be compared to the each other and with the original’s. This gives us numerous independent reporting on the consciousnesses that are being produced. With this information a clearer understanding of the consciousnesses produced can be created.

  103. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You degraded the heap. That heap was annihilated. It is gone. Non-existent.
    There is no heap. Only scattered parts that no longer to qualify as a heap.
    You then built another, a new heap, to similar specifications.

    Any major interruption of the constituents’ physical relations, and it wouldn’t be the original consciousness. Annihilating and reassembling would qualify as serious enough. Copying mid-pulse wouldn’t yield the original heartbeat.

    How do you know that? How could anyone possibly know that?

    Is there a magic bright line that delineates the point in the destruction process for which it will be a different “me” instead of the same “me”? Seemingly, you say yes.

    Normally, we could take for granted that there is a bright line distinction between me and you. The definitions of what constitutes me and you might be fuzzy, but there is no fuzzy overlap of me and you. Ergo, presumably, there cannot be fuzzy overlap between this hypothetical me before brain annihilation and reconstruction, and the “me” after brain annihilation and reconstruction. Either it’s the same me, or it’s a different me. That seems to be a principle that we cannot abandon, unless we’re also willing to abandon the belief that the you right now is not the me right now. Allowing for fuzzy overlap of the you right now and the me right now seems to be very, very absurd.

    Therefore, there must be a magic bright line that separates “not quite enough damage” and “just enough damage”. However, that is also absurd, IMO. The idea of a magic bright line that separates not quite enough destruction for a new “me” and just enough destruction for a new “me” is also quite absurd. Just imagine it – the discovery that just that one additional atom’s worth of destruction is the difference between allowing for the restoration of the original consciousness, or creating a new consciousness that is an otherwise exact copy. Totally absurd.

    Overall, the only options that I see are absurd.

    I’m not even sure if the questions that I am asking are well-formed and coherent.

  104. Chikoppi says

    OK…now I think there are some additional concepts being conflated in the posts above.

    CONSCIOUSNESS vs. IDENTITY:
    These are two separate concepts. A thing has an identity whether or not it has, had, or ever will have the property of consciousness. A thing is a particular. “Consciousness” is a mutable property of things (like “heat” or “mass”). It is not a thing itself, but a quality of a thing.

    Let’s say your current body temperature is precisely 98.623F. If another object somewhere else were heated to be precisely 98.623F would you say that object must also be you? No, because temperature is a property of a thing and not the thing itself.

    Consciousness exists only as a property of a thing, it is descriptive of a state, like temperature. As two things with identical temperatures do not share an identity neither do two things with identical states of consciousness.

    OBJECTIVE vs. SUBJECTIVE:
    Where identity is concerned, the objective and subjective criteria are different. Objective identity is a matter of conceptual convenience (it is still the same boat even though all the parts have been replaced). Subjective identity is a matter of necessity. Subjectively, you are the identity of the thing that you are now and not the identity of the thing(s) you are not. The thing that you are now defines your subjective identity.

    Your sense of self is an objective concept stitched together by your brain that you subjectively experience from moment to moment. The objective identity can change. The subjective identity cannot.

  105. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #108:

    presumably, there cannot be fuzzy overlap between this hypothetical me before brain annihilation and reconstruction, and the “me” after brain annihilation and reconstruction.

    You’re tearing down and building up. If you shuffle individual atoms, in transit that is raw material divorced from its original pattern of physical relations, unrecognizable as the group object they used to comprise. That material can be built up again and arranged to form a fresh edifice with new bonds (relations were not migrated to maintain a reference to a particular object).
     
    Meanwhile you could swap in atoms at the source location to maintain the original’s structure. That ongoing arrangement is how it is identified as one particular extant thing from moment to moment. Or decline to replenish, and let it dissolve bit by bit. Is that still you, sans one hand and the kinesthesia from its fingers? Minus a foot and that tactile sense? Lacking an auditory cortex?
     

    Just imagine it – the discovery that just that one additional atom’s worth of destruction is the difference between allowing for the restoration of the original consciousness, or creating a new consciousness that is an otherwise exact copy.

    Stop the annihilation process above at any time. Pull atoms back into the source body, adding bits back until everything’s accounted for again. If the hand was totally lost, a new hand is built and attached to the arm, and so on. There are degrees of conscious functioning, depending on both structural connectome and chemical signalling. You could let the brain go vegetative or comatose… Depending on what you mean by “original consciousness” that might be lost if completely disrupted (say, by sucking out all neurotransmitters to nix activity) then putting ’em all back. I wonder how long neurons’ gene expression would linger without noticing…
     

    Allowing for fuzzy overlap of the you right now and the me right now seems to be very, very absurd.

    At least buy me dinner first.
     
    Actually I’m not seeing where you’re getting “me vs you” unless you mean gradually transforming your body’s physiology until you resemble me. Akin to eating high-caloric foods until you gain weight. Or taking psychotropic drugs until you hallucinate. Whatever that body is like at the end, is still that body – even if it’s semblance drifted away from a photo taken when it started. Presumably you’ve aged since childhood.

  106. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Chikoppi #109:

    Objective identity is a matter of conceptual convenience […]
    Subjective identity is a matter of necessity. […]
    The thing that you are now defines your subjective identity.

    Well said. Moots arguments over which half of a split planarian worm retains the original identity when both halves each regenerate into independent organisms.

  107. adamah says

    @superatheist said:

    What ties together the self through variations in space, time, and matter is not the body but similarities in structure and functioning of matter within and between different bodies.

    Nope….

    Maybe an analogy using currently-available technology would help you understand?

    You’ve backed up a hard drive before, right?

    If not, the idea is to create a bit-for-bit duplicate of the contents of the original drive, just in case you need to revert back to a prior state (e.g. in case the operating system on the original drive becomes infected with a virus: you’d simply revert back to the data contents stored on the duplicate drive, and then remember to stay away from those sites where you download free porn in the future). 🙂

    Creating a back-up essentially involves putting both drives into a state of suspended animation, then creating a clone of all the contents of the original drive onto a 2nd (aka the back-up drive). You’re essentially taking a snapshot of how it existed at a very specific point in time.

    But what happens the very instant you reboot the computer from the original drive? You no longer have an EXACT duplicate of it on your back-up drive, since the mere act of rebooting causes some information to be added to the original drive. So the information stored on the back-up is NOT identical, as it differs ever-so-slightly, instantly diverging from the information stored on the back-up.

    So applying the same analogy to consciousness, even if we had a means to carry out a similar process in humans (and we DON’T!), their consciousnesses would instantly diverge from the other the very moment either the original or clone were (re-)animated, due to ANY differences in their respective environments (i.e. POVs).

    Hence they no longer are exact duplicates of the other, but slightly different.

    So even if we reformulated the same exact digitized biological information using a sci-fi biological 3D printer into two identical clones, they would immediately differ from the other on their consciousness, if only due to their different locations in space (i.e. their 1st-person POV would necessarily be different).

    As Chikoppi explained quite well, ‘consciousness’ is not synonymous with ‘identity’. If you understand that, you’d understand why even an exact duplicate of “me” nevertheless remains “not me”; consciousness is NOT transferrable, but remains a property of my body, my collection of cells.

    SA, I doubt even Gene Roddenberry (the creator of Star Trek) was the originator of the concept of teleportation, and as the Bible says, “there is nothing new under the sun”.

    Your trying to co-opt the concept, but then slapping a new label on it (superatheism, ixperincedBSness, etc) amounts to a snow-job marketing campaign that likely would’ve made even L. Ron Hubbard say, “Damned, that guys got balls!”.

  108. adamah says

    @superatheist said:

    What ties together the self through variations in space, time, and matter is not the body but similarities in structure and functioning of matter within and between different bodies.

    Yeah, no…. Maybe an analogy using currently-available technology would help?

    You’ve backed up a hard drive before, right? If not, the idea is to create a bit-for-bit duplicate of the contents of the original drive, just in case you need to revert back to a prior state (e.g. in case the operating system on the original drive becomes infected with a virus in the future: you’d simply revert back to the data set stored on the duplicate drive, and then remember in the future to stay away from sites where you can download free porn).

    🙂

    Creating a back-up essentially involves putting both drives in a state of suspended animation, then creating a clone by copying all the contents of the original drive onto a 2nd drive (aka the back-up drive). You’re essentially taking a snapshot, a record of how it existed at a particular moment in time.

    But what happens the very moment you reboot the computer from the original drive? You no longer have an EXACT duplicate of it on your back-up drive, since the mere act of rebooting causes some tiny amount of information to change on the original drive. So the information stored on the back-up is no longer identical, as it differs ever-so-slightly, diverging from the information stored on the back-up.

    So applying the same analogy to consciousness, even if we had a means to carry out a similar process in humans (and we DON’T), the consciousness of a replicated clone would diverge from the original the very moment either the original or clone were (re-)animated, due to ANY differences in their respective environments (i.e. POVs) and the shifting sands of time.

    Hence they no longer are exact duplicates of the other, but slightly different.

    And even if we reformulated the same exact digitized biological information using a sci-fi biological 3D printer into two identical clones, they too would immediately differ from the other one, with a consciousness of their own, if only due to their different locations in space (i.e. their 1st-person POV would necessarily be different).

    As Chikoppi explained quite well, ‘consciousness’ is not synonymous with ‘identity’. If you understand that, you’d understand why even an exact duplicate of “me” nevertheless remains “not me”, and why consciousness is NOT transferrable, but remains a property of MY body, MY collection of cells.

    SA, I doubt even Gene Roddenberry (the creator of Star Trek) was the originator of the concept of teleportation, for on this point the Bible is correct when it suggests, “There is nothing new under the sun”.

    Your trying to co-opt the same old concept by slapping a new label on it (superatheism, ixperincedBSness, etc) amounts to a silly marketing campaign that likely would’ve made even L. Ron Hubbard say, “Damn, that guys got balls!”.

  109. superatheist says

    adamah(112) etc.

    The structure of a body is what exists at one point in time. No consciousness is produced from a particular structure. Functioning occurs between two points of structure. The functioning of the brain is what produces consciousness not a particular structure. The reason I say “structure and functioning” is because you start at a point of structure and proceed through a path of functioning to another point of structure. If the proper functioning occurs for a long enough period of time consciousness can be produced. If two computers starts a certain structure then proceeds to function identically for a period of time what they produce as output will be identical. I have objective proof that two different persons that produce the identical structure and functioning produce the same subjective experiences because they report having the same subjective experience. What is your proof that they do not? Asserting that they are physically different objects is not proof that they can not have identical subjective experiences. But you are going to say “but they are separate identical subjective experiences”. That is the whole point of the argument the “you” that are subjective experiences can be produced in other bodies!

    You might consider looking at this free Yale course called “DEATH” that is on the internet. http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-176#overview
    It covers the problems with the “body theory of the self” along with problems with other theories dealing with personal identity.

  110. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To CompulsoryAccount7746
    Let me try from this angle.

    Would you notice anything if a silent invisible teleporter proceeded to replace all of the atoms in your brain, one at a time, over the course of 10 years? Almost certainly no, based on current experience. How about over the course of 1 second? Based on the above reasoning, probably no. Over the course of a nanosecond? Probably no.

    Would you notice anything if a silent invisible machine proceeded to drive a solid 1 inch metal wedge through your head, as long as the damage was repaired within a nanosecond? Probably not. At least, you wouldn’t notice much. Maybe a flash. What if the machine split your brain, and then moved one half about 1 meter away, and then moved the other half to join the first half, and then repaired the damage. Would you notice anything? Probably not.

    Would you notice anything if this machine proceeded to take one atom at a time from your brain, move the atoms one by one to about 1 meter away, into the same configuration, but about 1 meter away, where the entire process lasts about 1 nanosecond? Based on the above reasoning, I suspect you wouldn’t notice anything, except that you happened to be near instantaneously moved about 1 meter away.

    And now the critical experiment. Have a machine that moves all of the atoms in your brain (and body), one at a time, to about 1 meter away, but otherwise preserves the spatial configuration (as above), with the total runtime of 1 nanosecond. Now, suppose that there’s another dial, from 0% to 100%. When moved to 1%, it will randomly choose 1% of the atoms in your brain, and instead of moving the atom from the original point to the target point, it will take the atom from the brain, toss it to the side, and take an equivalent atom from a rock, and put that new atom into the proper target location. At low numbers, like 0.1%, it seems that you still wouldn’t notice anything. Imagine cranking that dial up slowly over experiments, until it’s eventually at 100%. Would you notice anything? Thus far, from this reasoning, seemingly not.

    And now, imagine that the dial mechanism, instead of just tossing the atoms in a junk pile, instead put the atoms into a third location, preserving configuration. With the dial at 100%, we now have two persons, both of which will honestly claim that they didn’t notice much of anything, minus the actual near-instantaneous movement. One of which will be composed of the original atoms, and another that will be composed of new atoms. And based on this line of thought, both will have /equal/ claim to being the original person.

    With me thus far? Any comments?

    PS: Obviously, to determine if the “persons” noticed anything, we would simply ask and use self-reporting. Whether that’s accurate in this case is part of the philosophical zombie and qualia discussion.

  111. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And to get really trippy, imagine that the machine with dial at 100% doesn’t actually move the original atoms. In effect, it becomes a cloner. And again, based on this line of reasoning, I am forced to conclude that both new persons don’t notice anything, and they both have equal claim to being the original person.

  112. Chikoppi says

    @superatheist

    That is the whole point of the argument the “you” that are subjective experiences can be produced in other bodies!

    “You” is not equivalent to “what you experience.”

    Let’s grant that there is a parallel universe wherein every moment has played out exactly as it does in this universe. The object in that universe that looks and acts like you, even has all the same thoughts and experiences, is still not you. You have different identities by virtue of being different things. If you cease to exist while it lives on then the subjective identity that is you is gone. “You” are gone.

    Also, “you” don’t experience what happens to “not you.” You only experience what happens to you. The fact that some other body may have an exactly similar experience of some moment of consciousness is trivial and irrelevant to both the objective and subjective concept of identity.

    “Consciousness” is a universal property. “Your consciousness” is a temporary and mutable property of the particular thing that is you. What defines a state of consciousness as yours and yours alone is your subjective identity. “Your consciousness” is a property of the the thing that you are now and not a property of the thing(s) that you are not.

  113. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (115)

    Excellent examples!

    There are numerous problems with determining where the body that produces you ends and where a body that produces someone else begins. The “body theory of the self” on the surface seems so obviously correct that anyone that does not accept it simply seems to be crazy. But the deeper that you look into the theory, the more problems appear that do not seem to be have any reasonable solutions. Basing what you are on the study of the structure and functioning of matter solves many of the problems. But the consequences, I admit, are even more bizarre than Quantum Mechanics.

  114. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The more I know about consciousness, the more I become convinced that I don’t know anything about consciousness.

  115. Chikoppi says

    @EL

    And to get really trippy, imagine that the machine with dial at 100% doesn’t actually move the original atoms. In effect, it becomes a cloner. And again, based on this line of reasoning, I am forced to conclude that both new persons don’t notice anything, and they both have equal claim to being the original person.

    Only with respect to an objective concept of identity. Subjectively, neither is the “original person.” Subjectively, you are only the person you are right now. Since that’s the one with my identity, that’s the one I am concerned about. “They” might think they are me, but they are not. I am me. They are them. Ergo, I still refuse to be destroyed in that damn transporter!

  116. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Chikoppi
    I don’t understand. Could you please point out in the train of thought experiment where you think that you are “destroyed”? I don’t see an obvious spot. Do you see a spot? Or is this just a case of “the conclusion is obviously absurd” without yet being able to point out the wrong step in the argument?

  117. adamah says

    SA said:

    The structure of a body is what exists at one point in time. No consciousness is produced from a particular structure. Functioning occurs between two points of structure. The functioning of the brain is what produces consciousness not a particular structure.

    I agree completely with your point: human consciousness arises as a result of the interactions of a kajillion of molecules and atoms over time, be they part of the brain, or forming the cuticle of the little toenail.

    And since no human has yet mastered time enough to stop it (!), even suggesting it’s possible to replicate the STRUCTURE of the static human body, let alone it’s emergent properties over time, is pure fantasyland.

    But let’s continue…..

    SA said:

    The reason I say “structure and functioning” is because you start at a point of structure and proceed through a path of functioning to another point of structure.

    By pointing out the function thing, you realize you’re only digging yourself in deeper, and opening a massive can of worms, right?

    My next question to you is, if it even were technologically possible to replicate the structure of the human body (and it currently is NOT), how do you replicate, not just the atoms (and their quantum states), but also the many kinetic factors known to play a role in the living tissue of the human body?

    I’m talking about obvious stuff like the pumping of blood throughout the circulatory system (the heart does that, but it requires a “jump start”; and although blood has mass (and hence inertia), it won’t start magically flowing on its own, even if it’s perfectly replicated in a static manner).

    Or what about the activity of the CP450 system of the liver to detoxify toxins (which also requires a “jump start”), or even the recycling of the rhodopsin molecules found in the retina to produce vision (“jump start” needed, as well)?

    You don’t think simply reproducing the static structures of the atoms which make up the molecules which constitute tissues found in living organs will somehow result in a conscious living fully-functional identical organism, do you?

    You don’t believe simply inserting static neurotransmitters in the brain will somehow result consciousness magically appearing?

    If so, you need to take a basic biochemistry course (which has prerequisites of general inorganic chem), because once again, we’re back to that most-bothersome detail: your ignorance of the most basic principles of biological sciences.

    Instead, it’s taken BILLIONS of years for life to evolve and be passed on to new generations and developed to its current level, where the “spark of life” isn’t magically inserted in a dead inanimate body; rather, life begets life.

    There’s no other way (perhaps you’ve seen Frankenstein too may times, and have forgotten it was sci-fi?).

    Your willingness to just gloss over these seemingly trivial details (in your mind) to protect your so-called “theory” is as delusional as any of the religious believers I’ve encountered.

  118. Chikoppi says

    @EL

    I don’t understand. Could you please point out in the train of thought experiment where you think that you are “destroyed”? I don’t see an obvious spot. Do you see a spot? Or is this just a case of “the conclusion is obviously absurd” without yet being able to point out the wrong step in the argument?
    Well, I was being a bit flippant for the sake of a wink. It depends on the mechanism you are proposing.

    If the machine functions like the venerable transporter it disassembles the bosons and fermions of the original object. If you are saying it merely “reads” the quantum structure and assembles a clone, without any threat to the original, I wouldn’t have a problem. (Though I don’t think that’s even theoretically possible, given Heisenberg.)

    I suppose the distinction would be if a disruption at any point in the process would cause harm to me at that moment.

  119. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #115:

    Would you notice anything if…

    Lots of changes can occur without my subjective awareness recognizing them: gradual, fast, obscured, blinded, sedated, etc. And my present memory representing the past is incomplete.
     

    two persons, both of which will honestly claim that they didn’t notice much of anything, minus the actual near-instantaneous movement.

    Sure.
     

    One of which will be composed of the original atoms, and another that will be composed of new atoms.

    You had one thing with structural continuity. You built another thing with atomic continuity.
     
    Comic: SMBC – 1879 Perfect Duplicate
     

    both will have /equal/ claim to being the original person.

    Thomas Riker, having joined the Maquis, was a bit of a thorn when Starfleet’s biometric security policy mistook him for William.
     
    Regarding having /equal/ claim in that example, I disagree that individual atoms should retain ontological classification as the group objects they once participated in.
     
     
    Article: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – The Problem of the Many

    Even when it seems clearly true that there is one, sharply bounded, cloud up there, really there are thousands of water droplets that are neither determinately part of the cloud, nor determinately outside it. Consider any object that consists of the core of the cloud, plus an arbitrary selection of these droplets. It will look like a cloud, and circumstances permitting rain like a cloud, and generally has as good a claim to be a cloud as any other object in that part of the sky. But we cannot say every such object is a cloud, else there would be millions of clouds where it seemed like there was one. And what holds for clouds holds for anything whose boundaries look less clear the closer you look at it. And that includes just about every kind of object we normally think about, including humans.

     
    #116:

    a cloner. […] both new persons don’t notice anything, and they both have equal claim to being the original person.

    Split an amorphous blob down the middle. With “the blob”-iness allowing 50% integrity to not be catastrophic damage to the group. Each has equal percentage of both structural and atomic continuity. No shredding or discontinuous spatial jumps (greater than planck length shoves) of parts at any volume. Just a slice.
     
    Afterward, which is the original?
    At that moment, you have two objects. Two identities. Each is what it is, and not the other. And similar properties. They each have a history, including having been one thing. Put them together. Where did the second group go? Is this the original? (There was continuity of at least 50% structure throughout, and now it has ALL the original atoms and most of the structure, besides the repaired seam.)
     
    Now have a human get pregnant.
    Bonus: some of the fetal cells take up chimeric residence throughout the mother.

  120. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To CompulsoryAccount7746
    Ok. Do you want to address the conversation? In particular:

    Suppose we run the teleporter as described above (with no atom replacement) on someone without their consent. Is that murder?

    Suppose we run the teleporter as described above (with full atom replacement) on someone without their consent. Is that murder?

    Suppose we clone someone with the cloner as described above. Who has moral claim to the original person’s property, position, titles, contracts, etc.?

    Suppose we split someone in two, half of the original atoms to one person, and half of the original atoms to the other person, with atoms from a rock making up the missing atoms in both new persons. Is that murder? Who has moral claim to the original person’s property, position, titles, contracts, etc.?

    Finally, do you believe that questions involving the difference of philosophical zombies vs “real people” is meaningful and coherent? If yes, in the above scenarios, is it meaningful to talk about which “new person” is actually the same consciousness as the old person in terms of qualia? I do not know if such questions are coherent and meaningful.

    For the record, I don’t have answers to these questions, and I currently punt because it’s really difficult, and I don’t have an answer, and I don’t currently need an answer because this technology does not currently exist.

  121. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #126:

    Do you want to address the conversation?

    I’m sorry. I apologize for the derail. I thought I was making relevant statements.
     
    I didn’t have a decisive end to steer us toward, aside from happening to resolve whether we were in violent agreement about some kinds of uncertainties or whether there were orthogonal kinds of uncertainties we we each had yet to learn about, or remember.
     
    I don’t see any new path to that, so I’ll refrain from further unhelpful collaborative musing with you about this.
     

    For the record, I don’t have answers to these questions, and I currently punt because it’s really difficult, and I don’t have an answer, and I don’t currently need an answer because this technology does not currently exist.

    Same here.
     
    /I wasn’t calling you stupid by proxy in #101 btw. It just amused me to see that in the Stanford encyclopedia.
     

    do you believe that questions involving the difference of philosophical zombies vs “real people” is meaningful and coherent?

    Given my background beliefs (examined or otherwise) and the extent to which arguments have left an impression, I have visceral difficulty entertaining that distinction to comment on it.

  122. superatheist says

    adamah (122)

    I think that you are making two point here. First, a conscious person can not be created from scratch. And second two identical persons can never be made identical for any period of time. To be true superimmortality does not require either of these statements to be true or false. As I have written before the structure and functioning of two or more different bodies can become more or less alike. You do not have to start from scratch to make the structure and functioning identical. What can happen is that you start with anyone’s body and gradually change the structure and functioning of their brain (body) to that of the desired structure and functioning. It does not matter what path of structure and functioning change you take, or how long the process of change takes. What matters is the ending structure and functioning. Or just all of the different structures and functionings that you produce along the way.

    The second point about producing identical structure and functioning is not the point of superimmortality, it is just a way to introduce the topic. I am not arguing that this is a technological possibility. It is used only as a simple if/then what will be the results, statement. What superimmortality is arguing for is that there are a number of ways your body will function over its life time with its corresponding structure. Duplicate the functioning between any two points along that path of structure and functioning and you will produce a “subjective” experience identical to the “subjective” experience that was produced the first time that structure and functioning was produced (you will experience this consciousness again exactly like you did the first time you experienced it). In other words you will again subjectively experience that consciousness exactly like you did the first time that structure and functioning was produced. I am not saying that this is technologically possible either but is shows the basic principle behind superimmortality. All that we get from this is that life after death, produced by another person is possible but so improbable it is very unlikely to occur even with the help of advanced technology with all their efforts concentrating on this one goal for an endless amount of time.
    If this was all superimmortality predicted who cares! It will never make any difference to your life or how you should live it. As you say: Once you are dead you are not going to consciously exist again. However, superimmortality does not stop there with its predictions.

    At any moment of your life the conditions that surround you could have been different. For instance, right now what can you do differently, if you are reading this sentence you could stop, go to the bathroom, or get something to drink, daydream, even something as bizarre as aliens could theoretically pick you up an take you to their planet. I can imagine and endless amount of things that can happen to you at this moment. Each of these different experiences will correspond to differences in the structure and functioning of your body from this point onward. There can also be enumerable amount of very small differences in the structure and functioning of your body that you would not be aware of that have occurred in the past caused by slightly different environmental conditions. There are also other types of changes that can occur to any point in your life like enhancements and degradations. Any of these types of variations that you would experience with your current body, superimmortality predicts that you will also subjectively experience them in another body producing the identical (or closely identical) structure and functioning.

    At each previous point in your life there are numerous diverging variations that you could have experienced. And many more variations to your body that are so small that they do not effect the consciousness that it produces.

    We can also consider all of your potential future experiences that your present body can produce. At each point in your future life there can be variations in the structure and functioning that produce no difference in consciousness and then larger variations that do change the conscious experiences this body is producing. The longer you live into the future the more actual and potential variations there can be.
    Superimmortality predicts that the duplication of any of these actual or potential structures and functionings in another body will produce a consciousness that you will “subjectively” experience just like the way you did, or could have subjectively experienced them in your current body.

    These concepts greatly increase the possibility that naturally or deliberately produced structures and functioning of matter in another body will produce a consciousness that “you” actually will subjectively experience again or for the first time.

  123. Chikoppi says

    @superatheist

    Superimmortality predicts that the duplication of any of these actual or potential structures and functionings in another body will produce a consciousness that you will “subjectively” experience just like the way you did, or could have subjectively experienced them in your current body.

    Nope. Incoherent.

    1) You are the thing you are now and not the thing(s) you are not.
    2) Your subjective experience is defined by the thing that you are now.
    3) You cannot experience a thing that does not exist.
    4) Things that do not exist “now” cannot be subjectively experienced.

    This has become really tiresome and pointless. You’ve had ample opportunity to clarify your position. There’s no need to post the same crap repeatedly, as all you are doing at this point is spamming.

  124. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #128:

    Violent agreement it is!

    Woot! Pyrrhic, erm, something.
    Now that that’s out of the way…
     
    Worms, policy, consciousness, and labelling distinctiveness led me somewhere I thought was interesting, if straying from transporter relevance.
     
     
    @EnlightenmentLiberal #126:

    Suppose we split someone in two, half of the original atoms to one person, and half of the original atoms to the other person, with atoms from a rock making up the missing atoms in both new persons. Is that murder? Who has moral claim to the original person’s property, position, titles, contracts, etc.?

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Planarian

    The organism itself does not have to be completely cut into separate pieces for the regeneration phenomenon to be witnessed. In fact, if the head of a planaria is cut in half down its centre, and each side retained on the organism, it is possible for the planaria to regenerate two heads and continue to live.

     
    Policy precedent is sketchy in rare edge cases, but viable conjoined twins get treated as two legal persons from the start. Drivers’ licenses etc., even if shared ownership of extremities has unusual implications. Paperwork’s already in place if separated (with reconstructive surgery).
     
    The legality/ethics of (denying) personhood hasn’t been threatened with a surviving example of twinning having blended/expanded brains to the extent that distinguishing personalities is squickily ambiguous.
     
    I’m not familiar with discussions of split-brain (calloscotomy) outside of mentions in Ramachandran’s lectures.
     
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Craniopagus twins

    The exact nature of how conjoined twins develop inutero remains unclear. Embryologists have traditionally attributed identical twinning as “splitting or fission” of either the inner cell mass of pleuripotential cells or early embryonic disc at 13–14 days of gestation just before the primitive streak. Some theorists suggested that conjoined twins develop as a result of the failed fusion of a single fertilized ovum. However a new hypothesis suggests that cranial fusion occurs between two separate embryos prior to the end of the 4th week of gestation.

    The final variant is the parietal craniopagus which occurs when twins fuse at the vertex with the axis of the twins forming an obtuse angle. This category is perhaps the most important, or most interesting because the craniums of the two twins share the most veins, lobes and circuitry and is often described as one brain shared by two individuals. Having this kind of juncture means that there would be one common continuous cranium housing four cerebral hemispheres. An incomplete dural septum typically separates the flattened cerebral hemispheres.

     
    Documentary: CBC – Twin Life, Sharing Mind and Body (45:05)

    Episode Description: the only known twins who doctors suspect can see what the other sees, and feel what the other feels. Their family believes they can also taste what the other tastes. As craniopagus twins, 7 year old Tatiana and Krista are the only people in the world known to share a neural bridge between their thalamus – a part of the brain involved in the regulation of consciousness along with sensory and motor signals.

    Their neurologist, Dr. Juliette Hukin (19:14): There’s been a lot of social interest as to whether the twins can share actual thoughts as opposed to just sensory stimulation. I think they have yet to show us whether that is the case.

    Narrator (20:11): Through fMRI testing, Dr. Cochrane and his team observed that Krista’s brain processes signals from both her legs and Tatiana’s inner leg. The reverse was observed with the arms. Tatiana’s brain processes signals from both her arms and Krista’s inner arm. […] However full motor control has yet to be completely understood.

     
    Manar Maged had craniopagus parasiticus, where skulls meet similarly but development of one twin, named Islaam, ended near the neck. Islaam could smile and blink. BBC said whether it was capable of independent thought was unclear. Snopes, circa 2014, reported there had been previous 10 surgical cases like that, but Manar was the only patient to survive the separation procedure, living to 10 months old.
     
    Disclaimer: Having mentioned non-hypothetical persons, I would recommend against anyone making armchair speculations about their lives.

  125. superatheist says

    Chikoppi(103) You wrote:
    “I think you are trying to apply objective standards to a subjective phenomenon.” This is a true statement, I am trying to apply objective standards to subjective phenomenon. That why I can call superimmortality a science! That is what science is all about — taking the phenomenon of subjective experience and finding regularity from it that can then be used to explain and predict future phenomena.

    “There is no “future” or “past” you.” This statement contradicts Einstein’s theory of spacetime. Argue with physicists about the truth of that theory. But since I have Einstein and other physicists on my side you can not claim that statement as true. Which means that you can not claim that the consciousnesses produced in the past and in the future do not exist in the Einstein spacetime sense.

    Chikoppi(130) You wrote these four statements:
    1) You are the thing you are now and not the thing(s) you are not.
    According to logic if two different statements are conjoined by an “and” if one statement is false that makes the whole statement false. Again you are not a thing or body because the body can exist when you don’t. You are the proper structure and functioning of the body. If you change the structure and functioning enough your body produces someone else’s subjective experience not yours.

    “2) Your subjective experience is defined by the thing that you are now.” There are several things about this statement that do not make sense. What do you mean by “defined by”? You did not say that your subjective experience is “only” defined by the thing that you are now.
    Your currently being produced subjective experience is being produced by what appears to be your body. However, your apparent body is part of your subjective experience that can be created and modified in numerous different ways, if you are produced in an experience machine. What produces your consciousness could be very different from what appears to produce your consciousness.

    “3) You cannot experience a thing that does not exist.” In an experience machine you can experience and think they are real any number of different things that do not exist in reality. Since you can not prove that the reality that you are currently within is not produced by an experience machine you can not be certain that the things that you experience are real or exist outside of your consciousness.

    “4) Things that do not exist “now” cannot be subjectively experienced.”
    This statement appears so wrong! For example, are you actually saying If I am placed in an experience machine that produces all the sensations that dinosaurs create I can not subjectively experience them because they do not exist! My father is dead, thus he does not exist, but I have had very clear subjective experiences (dreams) about him. The dreams were so life like I never suspected that he did not exist. Subjective experiences are not tied to only currently existing things.

    I do not see how your statements disprove what I am predicting.

  126. Chikoppi says

    @superatheist (#132)

    Seriously? This is what passes for reason to you? Einstein certainly acknowledges the arrow of time; past, now, and future. If a machine creates an experience then the machine exists and can be experienced.

    You continue to post completely desperate nonsense. Go join Scientology, they like to play pretend science as well.

  127. superatheist says

    Chikoppi (133)

    How is this statement that you wrote:

    “If a machine creates an experience then the machine exists and can be experienced.”

    A defense of this statement that you wrote:

    “4) Things that do not exist “now” cannot be subjectively experienced.”

    Einstein believed that time was a dimension that existed in the same sort of way as a spacial dimension. Einstein believed that now was just a slice of what totally exists. If the past or future did not exist in relation to the present then the mere concept of time travel would be impossible, but physicists believe that these different places in time could be reached if only we had a way. If we use an analogy to space, if a place does not exist no vehicle, no matter how special it is, can ever take you there. Scientists are thinking about ways of time traveling to existing places in time.

    Superimmortality (or what ever else you want to call these ideas) are not going away no matter how much you hate (dislike) then! What you keep failing to realize is that a theory of consciousness that is based on the structure and functioning of matter is far better theory than a theory of consciousness based on bodies alone. I want and I keep asking for disproofs of superimmortality what I keep getting is personal attacks. This is exactly what religious people do when they attack atheism and other sciences like evolution that they dislike. Isn’t you, an atheist telling me to “Go join Scientology” like a religious person telling a an atheist that if they do not believe what they believe they are going to hell?

    I do not think that the people that are discussing these ideas with me are dumb. If I did not think that they were smart I would not bother spending time discussing these ideas with them.

    It often comes up in discussions between atheists and non religious people “what would it take for you to believe my beliefs” and atheists say given the right supporting evidence I could believe in god. But religious people usually say there is nothing that you can show me that would ever make me not believe in god.
    I am willing to be convinced I am wrong. I have asked for proofs that I am wrong. What proof/ evidence would it take for you to realize that superimmortality is a much better belief system than the body? Be specific!

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I want and I keep asking for disproofs of superimmortality what I keep getting is personal attacks.

    Textbook fallacious argument from ignorance. You need to supply evidence in favor of your position, not demand that others prove that you are wrong.

    What you keep failing to realize is that a theory of consciousness that is based on the structure and functioning of matter is far better theory than a theory of consciousness based on bodies alone.

    Give me one single test that it passes which the “conventional” model fails.

  129. Chikoppi says

    Isn’t you, an atheist telling me to “Go join Scientology” like a religious person telling a an atheist that if they do not believe what they believe they are going to hell?

    No. It is me saying that your idea of “science” is equivalent to Scientology’s idea of “science” and that I have no interest in either.

    Have you proven that Scientology is wrong? Well, they still exist, so I guess you haven’t. Since you haven’t proven them wrong then what they say must be true. You’d better go get to it. That’s how science works, right?

    I said, “You cannot experience a thing that does not exist.” You replied with, “nah-uh” and then gave an example of a machine that creates memories. A machine and the false memories it creates both being things…that exist. Even your hypothetical refutation proves my point.

    Reading your comments is like watching someone try to rake water into a pile. It’s curious for a time, but then you realize you are witnessing an act of repetitive futility and feel guilty for staring.

  130. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(135)

    You wrote:
    “Textbook fallacious argument from ignorance. You need to supply evidence in favor of your position, not demand that others prove that you are wrong.”

    There are many statements that most of the members of this discussion have been making. I have just as much right to ask for proof of these assertions as you have of for my assertions. Every time you or any one else is saying I am wrong you are making an assertion about the truth or falseness of a claim. Consider the claim that god exists. This statement needs supporting evidence because it is a claim to knowledge. If I say god does not exist this is a statement about reality that also need supporting evidence. To avoid this problem the atheists usually do not say this. Instead they say I do not agree with your supporting evidence. Then like Matt says “I do not believe that god exists” which is a true statement because he does not believe that god exists. He is not saying that god does not exist because he can not prove it any more than the religious people can prove that god exists. What the “Atheist Experience” does is show the problems with religious beliefs systems. When a religious person states that they believe in god, Matt ask why? When you are believing in the the “body theory of consciousness” or the “body theory of the self” I am asking “why” do you believe this theory? Then when you make statements about the truth of your beliefs. I have the right to say prove it, or supply supporting evidence for it just like you have the right to ask for proof of the statements I am making.

    When I am asking for proof of your positions I am sorry that it appears to you that I am demanding that you disprove my position. But you might if your arguments are good enough and I like Matt are willing to be proved wrong about our beliefs. Are you open minded enough to say you could be wrong?

    I am showing the problems with other theories of consciousness. I am proposing a theory that eliminates many of these problems. On top of being a better theory it is a very positive theory.

    You wrote:
    “Give me one single test that it passes which the “conventional” model fails.”

    I am not sure what you mean by the “conventional model”. Since most people believe in a “soul” do you mean this theory or do you mean the “personality theory of self? There are a number of different versions of each theory of self or consciousness. However, I assume you are talking about what most atheists seem to believe that death is the permanent end of the self. Death, I agree, is an end of your body producing a consciousness that you experience. There is no evidence or logically coherent argument that the death of the body it is the permanent end of the self. If you are making the statement that death is the permanent end of the self then I have a right to ask for proof or at least arguments supporting it.
    Matt made the odd statement that if you can be restored after death, you were not ever dead in the first place. If what he said is true then we will never know if people die or not because we can never know what restoration of their conscious self is possible in the future. This is a case of changing the goal posts. If you can not win an argument with the current accepted definition change the definition until it makes your argument work.

    I say the restoration of the structure and functioning of the body after death restores the self. The supporting evidence is that there will be a behavior that is produced by the restored body. This behavior can be compared to the behavior of the person before death. If the behavior and self reporting is the same this is evidence that this is the original self. If the restored person is different with his skills beliefs and self knowledge etc. this might be evidence that this is not the same self. Restoration experiments can vary in many different ways as in the amount of time between death and restoration and the amount of new matter used in the restoration. A child falls into a cold river and his heart stops and brain is not producing consciousness for half an hour and then is restored to life without brain damage. This is a case of some one dying and then coming back to life with the same self as before death.

    If just one cryogenically preserved person is ever restored to life again it is proof that life after death with restoration is true.

  131. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To superatheist
    I have been attacking others for their unsubstantiated and “not even wrong” claims too.

    I am not sure what you mean by the “conventional model”.

    You made a claim. I asked for an example of a particular test and the outcome of the test that supports your claim. I even fucking quoted you making the claim, with the quote just before my question, making absolutely clear the context. Here, let me quote you again:

    What you keep failing to realize is that a theory of consciousness that is based on the structure and functioning of matter is far better theory than a theory of consciousness based on bodies alone.

    And let me ask you again: On what evidentiary basis do you make this claim? In particular, what (falsifiable) tests have been done that have given results that support your position? Again, for a test to support your position, it must go against the “theory of consciousness based on bodies alone”, even if it’s only a little bit against – that’s what it means to be falsifiable.

    I am now again asking you to defend your claim, and in the process explain what your claim even is. I still don’t understand what you are claiming. I’ve given you ample opportunity to explain your claim by citing the tests that have been done that support your claim, and you haven’t done it yet. I am quickly growing tired of your shenanigans.

  132. superatheist says

    Chikoppi(136)

    You did not comment on what I said about Einstein’s ideas on spacetime. Why? Is your lack of a response an acceptance of what I said?

    You wrote:
    “No. It is me saying that your idea of “science” is equivalent to Scientology’s idea of “science”

    When you make a statements like this it is proof that you do not understand superimmortality at all!

    You wrote:
    “I said, “You cannot experience a thing that does not exist.” You replied with, “nah-uh” and then gave an example of a machine that creates memories. A machine and the false memories it creates both being things…that exist. Even your hypothetical refutation proves my point.”

    It is not called a “memory machine” it called an “experience machine”. It is a machine that produces real experiences but these real experience can be about objects that do not exist. I did not make up this “experience machine” term. Nor am I the only one that states that it can produce experiences about objects that do not exist. Experiences machines are talked about by many different people in many different places.
    You do not seem to realize that there is a difference between and experience and the objects being experienced. I once had a friend that had purple walruses following her around, the experience was real to her, the purple walking walruses were not real, at least I nor any one else ever say them.

    If I am not mistaken, what you believe is that the self is tied to one body and when certain things happen to the body the self is permanently destroyed. You are absolutely sure that this is true, right? I want to know why you are so certain of this belief? I once believed this also. I have tried to point out in these discussions reasons why I am not certain of this any more. And then if it is not true what are the consequences of this revelation? I do not want to win an argument with you. I want to know why?

    The reason that I am pointing out these problems with your argument is I want your proof to be clear, precise, and based on premises that are true. What I am understanding so far is that what you believe about the self and death is true because it has to be true. I do not see why it has to be true. And I do not understand, when I question the truth of your beliefs, why that makes my thoughts no better than scientology?

  133. Chikoppi says

    @superatheist (#139)

    I couldn’t care less what you believe. YOU came HERE and asserted that we should accept your theory as true. I have listened to your argument, read your screed, and found it grossly insufficient.

    As you again demonstrated, an “experience” requires something that is experienced. If a machine is stimulating neurons to create an experience from false perceptions or false memories then the machine is the thing that exists to cause the experience. You friend did not experience a “purple walrus,” she experienced the misfire of neurons which she merely interpreted as “purple walrus.” Those neurons and the chemicals that regulate them are both things that exist. A false perception does not cause the thing that is falsely perceived to actually exist. A “non-existent purple walrus” was not the cause of her experience.

    Einstein’s theory asserts that time is relative to the observer’s frame of reference. It does not state that the frame of reference doesn’t exist. “You” and “future you” do not both exist at the same point in spacetime. For you, now, in your frame of reference at this point in spacetime, “future you” does not exist. You cannot, at any given moment, experience something that does not exist in your current frame of reference. Ergo, you cannot experience “future you.”

    Science is not an argument. It is not an internally consistent conceptual framework. It is methodological observation and experimentation. Not what you think is true, but what has been demonstrated to be true. It is in this regard that your collection of unfounded hypotheticals is methodologically equivalent to Scientology. So congratulations on that.

    I’m done here. Really. You are peddling nonsense clothed in pseudo-scientific syntax. Deepak Chopra at least has the good sense to profit from his voluminous and fantastical musings.

  134. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (138)
    My computer froze up before I could finish my post to you last time. My choice was either I tried to send the post unfinished or loose what I had written. After a half of an hour my post was finally sent and then I shut down and made repairs.

    You did not come into this discussion until open thread 20.16. I have 31 posting at open thread 20.15. Have you read those? I do not want to repeat my self unnecessarily.

    You might consider looking at this free Yale course called “DEATH” that is on the internet. http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-176#overview
    It covers the problems with the “body theory of the self” along with problems with other theories dealing with personal identity. Dr Shelly Kagan spends hours discussing the problems with the body theory versus the personality theories of consciousness and the self. It is useless to try to bring up all of the problems with the body theory of the self that philosophers have found. Most people still believe in some sort of soul theory of the self which has totally been debunked.

    Since you seem to have a good grasp of the “Star Trek transporter issues lets deal with the difference between the body theory of the self and the structure and functioning theory of the self.
    The first problem with the body theory is that it is not clear what the body is over time since it is moving through space and time and it has been said that the matter that the body is made of is nearly all replaced in ten years even the bones.
    What changes can you make in the body and it still have or produced the same self? It is also not clear what the self is. When the concepts of the “same body” and “same self” are so vague there can be no science dealing with this theory. The structure and functioning of matter is a concept that is very precise. Two or more different bodies can be compared exactly (at least in theory) to see if they are identical, or to see how different they are. They can even be compared to see if they are becoming more or less alike. Do you agree so far or do you need experimental proof? The experimental proof is out there all you have to do is look.

    I am not done! I just want to go from point to point and see what you agree with and what you do not agree with. If you do not agree I can concentrate on these points giving more supporting evidence for them before I go on. I want to make sure that you understand what I am saying at each point in this discussion.
    Also if my computer has problems I do not want to loose what I have written and have to rewrite it again.

    Thank you for your patience and time!

  135. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Of course i need experimental proof! Where “experimental proof” is interpreted correctly, e.g. broadly. For example, we have evidence for evolution. Evolution has passed many, many tests. We don’t have proper experiment-group control-group tests, but there are still tests that can be done, and have been done. Dittos for cosmology, geology, etc.

    Goddamnit, are you going to ever put up? I am not going to read some other link. I am not going to read some book. I am not going to watch some youtube video. Goddamnit already – explain what evidence you have, and how that supports your position, and how it contradicts the opposing position.

  136. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (138) continuation 1

    Some theorists do not accept that there is even a “self”. Some versions of this are called the “Bundle Theory” proposed first by David Hume.
    If we eliminate the concept of the “self” from the argument for simplicity sake (but it is not a necessity) we have the comparison of the body theory of consciousness and the structure and functioning theory consciousness.
    Now for predictions for each theory concerning the “Star Trek Transporter”. I can imagine that there are many different kinds of possible transporters. The two major differences are a transporter that actually transports the matter in the body and one that transmits the information about how to reconstruct the body at the other or end destination.
    According to the body theory if the matter of the original is not transmitted then the original’s body has been destroyed so what ever shows at the other end is not the same person. In contrast the structure and functioning theory looks at the resulting structure and functioning of the transported body. If the structure and functioning of the transported body is closely enough like the structure and functioning of the original then the desired task was accomplished. We can compare all of the ways that the original body could have diverged from the point when the original was transported. If any of these ways is created in the transported person there should be no conscious awareness of a difference in the pre and post bodies. The body theory predicts that something has been lost in the process that is why we can not call the teleportation successful. But what? The teleported person has the same looks, personality, self identity, knowledge, skills, beliefs memories etc that the pre- transported did. there is nothing that the body theories can point to that has been lost in the process of teleportation. This is strong evidence that the body theory is some how flawed. But the body theory has predicted correctly. Your comments —? I am not through this is just the beginning!

  137. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Your comments —?

    I still don’t fucking see a test with two clearly delimited outcomes, one that supports your position, and one that falsifies your position. I still don’t see any fucking evidence that might have been otherwise. In order for something to count as evidence, it must be conceptually possible for it to have been otherwise, and for there to exist other sorts of evidence that would falsify your hypothesis. You still haven’t presented one iota of evidence.

    You’re just talking about ideas, and what those ideas might mean, without a shred of evidence whatsoever.

    The body theory predicts that something has been lost in the process that is why we can not call the teleportation successful.

    Fucking what has been lost? And how would you test for it?

  138. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (138) continuation 2

    The next problem that the body theory has is in determining under what conditions will the teleportation be successful?
    For example, if the transporter actually transports the actual matter of the body what further conditions are necessary? Does every original atom need to be placed in their correct original place for the a successful teleportation? If this is necessary what happens to the transportation when one atom is misplaced but still in a place it where it will function identically to the replaced atom? If this does not make a difference what happens when we misplace two then three etc. Is there a point where the misplacement of one more atom makes the teleportation unsuccessful and why at this point and no other? Lets say the body theory predicts that it does not matter where the transported atoms end up if they serve the same function in the body. Then according to body theory the teleportation will still be successful. But is this teleported body really the same body as before the teleportation?
    What happens when one new atom from outside of the body replaces an atom within the body during the teleportation process? Nonetheless still producing identical structure and functioning, Does this means that the teleportation is unsuccessful? If the teleportation is still successful what if more and more atoms are replaced? Where is the cut off point where the teleportation is not successful? And how can you even know? Clearly if you replace enough matter it is no longer the same body.
    The structure and functioning theory has no problem with this because no matter how much matter is replaced you still get the same successful teleportation with identical structure and functioning. Supporting evidence is you get a continuation of behavior that has same looks, personality, self identity, knowledge, skills, beliefs, memories, etc., that the pre- transported person had. The body theory has no supporting evidence that the teleportation was not successful when all of the matter is replaced. This is clearly another example of the body theory making assertions without proof.

    We can go outside of this experiment and think about surgery where body matter and parts are removed and replaced on people all of the time. I think that if people actually believed that successful surgeries were going to produce someone other than themselves they would not have them preformed.

    If the teleportation process performed a surgery on the body, assuming that it did not kill him, would this be a successful teleportation for the body theory? S&A (structure and functioning) theory predicts that there are a number of different structures and functioning of matter that if they appear at the end of a teleportation will produce a successful teleportation (a successful teleportation of you).

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Again, to count as evidence, there must be some observation with (at least) two conceptually-possible definite observable outcomes, one of which supports your claim (evidence in favor of your claim), and the other which contradicts your claim (evidence which contradicts your claim). Again, this is what is means to be falsifiable.

    You still have presented absolutely zero anything that has any resemblance to evidence of any kind for your claims. I’m still waiting motherfucker. Do you have any evidence? What is that evidence?

  140. Monocle Smile says

    This bullshit reminds me of the Electric Universe crap. A tiny group of observations is evaluated and then some “model” is invented that appears to address this group…but no attempt is ever made to actually confirm the model experimentally and the model doesn’t bother to address any other observations. Oh, and defenders of Electric Universe prop it up dogmatically and devolve into meaningless babble if questioned.

  141. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Lol Electric Universe. I know a little bit about them. Are we sure that they’re not all Poes?

    Also, at least the Electric Universe people can cite actual evidence, aka they can point to things and say “that’s expected on my theory, and not on the standard theory”. PS: Of course, they’re incredibly wrong about their interpretation of the evidence, but at least there’s a starting point to the conversation.

    Whereas, here, I still don’t know what this guy is talking about, in very large part because he hasn’t provided a single bit of evidence.

  142. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (144)

    In you post (138)
    You wrote: “On what evidentiary basis do you make this claim?”:
    “What you keep failing to realize is that a theory of consciousness that is based on the structure and functioning of matter is far better theory than a theory of consciousness based on bodies alone.”

    I was in the process of answering this question. Now you do not want me to finish. You are changing the “goal posts” a common ploy of religious people when they want to confuse the issues. I hope this is not your intention!

    You wrote: (144)
    “Again, to count as evidence, there must be some observation with (at least) two conceptually-possible definite observable outcomes, one of which supports your claim (evidence in favor of your claim), and the other which contradicts your claim (evidence which contradicts your claim). Again, this is what is means to be falsifiable.”

    My dictionary defines evidence as:

    “The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid”

    According to this definition I have been providing evidence for a few of my claims.
    The problem is that your statement is but one way to provide evidence.

    Karl Popper who was a creator of the concept of falsifiability strictly opposed the view that non-falsifiable statements are meaningless or otherwise inherently bad, and noted that falsificationism does not imply it. (wiki Falsifiability)

    Feyerabend said: “any special status that science might have derives from the social and physical value of the results of science rather than its method.”(wiki Falsifiability)

    “Again, this does not mean that any of these types of theories is necessarily incorrect. Popper considered falsifiability a test of whether theories are scientific, not of whether propositions that they contain or support are true.”(wiki Falsifiability)

    There are problems with popper type falsifiability. It works well on universal or exact statements like all swans are white or there are twelve ducks in my pen. But It does not work well on statements like there exist some white swans or I have ducks. Just because you cannot find then when you look once or more times does not means white swans or the ducks do not exits.

    How do you falsify a probability statement? If I make the statement that there is a 50% probability that it is going to rain today how can you falsify it? It is either going to rain or not. Because it is not falsifiable is it pseudoscience statement? It is however very useful to many people. Quantum Mechanics predicts that there is a probability that an electron will be found in a certain space around an atom. If you find it there or not, it does not prove or disprove that prediction?

    When I make the prediction statement that duplicating identical structure and functioning, for a period of time in the same body, at a previous or later, date will produce identical consciousnesses the results can be true, false, some times true, or partially correct in a number of different ways.
    Many experimental results are observed indirectly For instance, the Higgs boson is only seem by what is predicted to be it parts after it breaks up.

    Applying your definition to evolution. Evolution is so complex that the results of no one experiment can prove or disprove it. If you think that one falsifiable experiment can disprove or prove evolution please explain it. Just like evolution, superimmortality is a very complex science that can not be proved or disproved with one falsifiable experiments. So I can show you as many falsifiable experiments dealing with superimmortality predictions as you want.

    I think our main problem is that you do not understand what I am saying. I am “not” saying you are dumb or ignorant! The world is a very complex place.

    I will begin to give you, in my next post, what I think you are asking for an endless number of falsifiable experiments that can either supply supporting or disproving evidence for superimmortality.

  143. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist

    Evolution is so complex that the results of no one experiment can prove or disprove it. If you think that one falsifiable experiment can disprove or prove evolution please explain it. Just like evolution, superimmortality is a very complex science that can not be proved or disproved with one falsifiable experiments. So I can show you as many falsifiable experiments dealing with superimmortality predictions as you want

    Listen, dumbass…whining that you have a shit ton of work to do and have accomplished exactly none of us is a concession that you’re full of shit. We’re not looking for experiments that haven’t been done.

  144. Chikoppi says

    The axiom “necessary and sufficient” also comes to mind.

    PQ (P is sufficient for Q), if it is the weekend (P) the day could be Saturday (Q)

    There is no observed “P” anywhere to be found and the “Qs” are all hypothetical postulates. It is neither a necessary nor sufficient explanation for a phenomenon that cannot be said to exist.

  145. Chikoppi says

    (Sigh) Goddamn html tags. #151 should have read…

    P>Q (Q is necessary for P) if it is Independence Day (P) it must be July (Q)
    P<Q (Q is sufficient for P) if it is the weekend (Q) it could be Saturday (P)

  146. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To superatheist?
    Seriously? We’re going to play this game?

    Feyerabrand is a fool who IIRC denies the existence of objective truth, and says that science is just one way among many to gain belief and knowledge that is just as good as any other.

    How do you falsify a probability statement? All scientific conclusions are tentative. No scientific conclusion is made with absolute confidence. In other words, Bayesian reasoning is the correct form of epistemology. In Bayesian reasoning, every statement has an attached confidence, or probably, value. “To falsify” a statement in this context is merely shorthand for “To provide evidence that lowers one’s confidence in the truth of a proposition” equivalently “To provide evidence that lowers one’s estimate of the probability of the truth of a proposition”.

    And again, according to proper scientific Bayesian reasoning, which is the correct form of epistemology, in order for some observation to count as evidence that increases P(x), it must be conceptually-possible that the observation could have been otherwise, and that if it had been otherwise, then that would be different evidence evidence that would decrease P(x). Note: It doesn’t have to decrease P(x) by an equal amount. It just needs to decrease P(x).

    For example, I might have the proposition x=”T Rexes are alive on Earth today in the wild”. If just one person goes out into the wild and observes a T Rex and comes back and reports it to me, that’s evidence that increases P(x). IF they bring video recording, that’s better evidence which produces a further increase to P(x). If they happen to bring back a specimen for further testing, that’s better evidence which produces a further increase to P(x).

    However, because that observation happened to count as evidence that increased P(x), it therefore necessarily follows that the observation could have been otherwise, and it could have counted as evidence that decreased P(x). When that expedition went out, it might not have found any T Rexes. One expedition on its own failing to find a T Rex isn’t very strong evidence, but it’s still evidence that slightly adjusts P(x) downwards. Now, if there’s a bunch of expeditions that provide good coverage for all of the land area on the planet, and if they all come back negative, then that’s great and strong evidence that substantially lowers P(x).

    Again, I’m asking for your goddamned evidence.

    Many experimental results are observed indirectly For instance, the Higgs boson is only seem by what is predicted to be it parts after it breaks up.

    Really bad example. The standard model made clear predictions regarding the Higgs boson that were very specific, and very easily falsifiable, in a sense very much like the naive version of Popper that you are reporting. If the experiments had enough measuring significance, and if they measured curves without a spike at the energy location from the experiment where the standard model predicts the Higgs boson, then that would have nicely falsified the existence of the standard model Higgs boson.

    But the spikes were found, to a highly statistically significant level, and it was confirmed. (Again, for emphasis, even that conclusion is tentative and subject to reversal. No conclusion in science is absolute and immune to being overturned. Degrees of confidence.)

    Applying your definition to evolution. Evolution is so complex that the results of no one experiment can prove or disprove it. If you think that one falsifiable experiment can disprove or prove evolution please explain it.

    Depends on what you mean. However, it would be pretty easy to disprove universal common ancestry. To paraphrase Goual IIRC, all it would take is a bunch of independent and reliable finds of rabbit fossils in the pre-Cambrian. Voila – universal common ancestry is instantly destroyed – or at least severely called into doubt. Of course, I could go stronger. You could find out that you are the main star of The Truman Show, escape the show, and then discover all of the evidence that you’ve been fed regarding evolution has been faked. That’s highly, highly unlikely to happen, just like it’s highly, highly unlikable to happen for the rabbit fossils. That’s just a symptom of the fact that any disprove of evolution is highly, highly unlikely to happen, and that confidence is a consequence of the fact that we have amassed such an overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of evolution.

    And to continue the comparison, I right now can rattle off dozens of pieces of evidence for evolution, where every such piece of evidence can immediately be contrasted with how it could have been otherwise, and how that “how it could have been otherwise” would be evidence against evolution. For example:

    Linneus discovered that there is a systematic classification of animal species based on obvious morphological characteristics, and that this produces a family tree structure. It might have been that animal forms were different, and there was no such correct system of classification.

    We discovered that by measuring the DNA of animal species today, and computing the differences, and plotting these differences, we discovered a mathematical tree structure. That did not need to be true. It might have been an undecipherable mess.

    We discovered that the tree structure of DNA matches the morphological tree structure discovered by Linneus. It might have been that these two methods produced radically different trees.

    We discovered that fossils appear in the geologic record according to models of what evolved first, second, third, etc. We always see mammals at a certain rock layer or above, etc. Instead, it might have been that fossils were distributed according to flood geology, where slow moving animals were present in the lowest layer, and faster movign animals ran faster from the flood and made it to the higher layers.

    I can go on for quite a while.

    Just like evolution, superimmortality is a very complex science that can not be proved or disproved with one falsifiable experiments.

    And no it’s not.

    You appear to be full of shit. I am now think that you’re trolling.