Open thread for 20.19: Russell & Don


Don talks about the confused concept of “God.”

Study about projecting ones self onto “God”.

Baylor study on the characteristics of God.

Comments

  1. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I did become antsy. Unfortunately there were no picnics around that I could pillage.

    Matt was allowed to poison the well’s water, I wouldn’t even advise the Pope to partake.

  2. StonedRanger says

    Mark, mark, mark, mark, mark. Really? Your whole hypothesis (if you can even call it that) is nothing more than that. Please stop acting like its a fact when we don’t know that it is or isn’t. Just because you made a wiki about it and are willing and able to go on at length about it lends you zero credence or credibility. As far as I can see, you are the only one who believes this. Move along and call a science show about it. Super atheism has nothing to do with being an atheist any more than Superman has anything to do with just being a man. Both ideas are comical however, so I guess there is that.

  3. The YouTube Guy says

    My previous comment was pertaining to the first caller and the online debate he mentioned.

  4. dayan75 says

    The exchange with theist Matt was hard to watch because Matt kept jumping around his position, from abiogenesis, to creationism, to first cause, etc. and Dan & Russell just followed along. It’s important for the audience, that each point come to a conclusion before moving on. So when Matt focused on DNA as evidence for God, it would have been more useful to explore just how it’s ‘reasonable to infer God’ from the chemical behavior of molecules. Analogies to DNA being some sort of computer code could be challenged directly as just that: analogies. All chemical reactions involve the interaction of molecular shapes and electro-chemical properties. High school chemistry teaches that. And funny enough, there’s no God in those chemical equations.

  5. Philllip Moore says

    Right. If God is the math of Physics for our universe, I believe in that “god”.

  6. Vivec says

    Superatheism guy is just as much of an episode-killer as that kind of “I believe in jesus and nothing you could ever say will change that, neener-neener” caller you get once or twice a show.

  7. Monocle Smile says

    Superatheist dude called in? I’m guessing it was a snoozefest…and that the guy sounds like McLovin.

  8. superatheist says

    Superimmortality makes this simplified prediction: An enumerable number of different physipaths can/will produce one physapath, a very large number of physapaths can/will produce one awarepath, a very large amount of awarepaths will have the same ixperiencitness. This is a major simplifying concept for science. Most atheists seem to believe that there exists one ixperiencitness for each physipath. I am looking for evidence for the atheists position. I used to hold it myself but the more I tried to prove it the more evidence there was for the superimmortality prediction of an enumerable amount of physipaths will have the same ixperiencitness. You do not have to like it for it to be true. If it is true it makes for a much more interesting and positive world than even most optimistic theists can imagine.

  9. says

    @superatheist
    (from a previous thread) “The journal issue goes both ways. I have been trying to find journal articles that disprove what I am proposing for as long as I have been thinking about these ideas. I have so far found none!”

    That’s not how science works. You have a hypothesis, so it’s on you to prove it.

    That said, I really like your hypothesis. It makes for an interesting philosophical discussion similar to the continuity of consciousness question around teleportation. It’s just not – yet – any kind of science.

    I have a question, though (that I would have asked from the wiki if I could have found an email or response form) :

    Are you proposing that an arrangement of matter could come into being, without intentional manipulation, such that it could experience continuity of consciousness and identity with a discrete, identical arrangement of matter elsewhere in space and/or time? Or solely by deliberate replication?

    I ask, because I understand that your position is that we’re all immortal (or superimmortal, if you prefer) by virtue of the probability approaching unity that either (or possibly both) of these is true, and I see practical problems with both of these proposals.

  10. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To superatheist
    Still waiting for you to supply one bit of evidence and/or one experiment which provides positive evidence for your claims, and which has a conceptually possible outcome that would go against your claims. Until then, your claims are not even wrong.

  11. Chikoppi says

    Superlunacy makes this simplified prediction: in an infinite universe anything is possible. Therefore there must be an identical Earth within the experosphere where an intelligent energy pattern inhabits the moon. Having infinite quantum perception through time this entity manipulates the cognospace of human identiforms to guide the evolution of the enlightened via memorgrafts. All Earths of identical structure and function within the infinispanse are the “same” Earth. Therefore each version of these human identiforms will share simultaneous knowledge of the imprinted perceptotrip. Won’t it be awesome? You’ll totally get to visosurf your future immortopath!

    Now please award me my science hat you know-nothing atheists!

  12. chrismbo says

    I felt like Mat Dillahunty and Tracy Harris would have been better hosts for that first call about DNA.

  13. LeeDownUnderInOz says

    I have been observing the style of the hosts and in particular following up on those comments mad e about Matt & his harsh style. The discussions are fairly pointless for everyone, when you callers who ask for comment and when a comment is made by the hosts which they don’t like start yabbering on because they can. In fact many times I suspect that they really don’t want to hear any comments because, they just want to talk. Matt sorts them out pretty quick!
    On’ya Matt! I generally fast forward through those parts of the show, as I suspect may others do too.

  14. OJ says

    Hi guys
    Been listening to the show for a long time and usually quite enjoy it. But I do have to say that the quality and entertainment value of the show suffers immensely when Matt Dillahunty is not on. I also really like to hear Tracey on the show and wish she was on more often.
    On last night’s show Russel and Don managed to lose a debate with a young earth creationist and the debate sounded at one point like a Kindergarden argument. Overall Don and Russel don’t make a very good team in my opinion and the show suffers for it.
    But other than that keep up the great work.

  15. Patrick67 says

    @Chikoppi #9:

    “From the tongue of this one, sarcasm flows deliciously.” – Yoda

  16. says

    @16 OJ

    I think part of the issue is that there’s multiple hosts. Don and Russel seem to have two different thought processes that struggle against each other through a call, pulling the conversation in multiple different directions. Tracie and Matt tend to be more on the same page, so they can keep the conversation more in focus. Matt tends to otherwise dominate the conversation, so that unilateral thought process is easier to achieve.

    I’ve sometimes wondered if they wouldn’t benefit from having some kind of talking stick, or talking bible or something.

  17. gshelley says

    “Can God create a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it?”
    Yes, but he’d be able to lift it

    If the question doesn’t have to be logically coherent, neither does the answer

  18. The YouTube Guy says

    The problem with theist Matt (As many have noted) is that he bounces around and you can’t pin him down on one. He is already claiming to me that a finely tuned universe is mainstream and that “Science can only get us far” (Haven’t we all heard that before…)

    The conversation should end with this:

    “You claim to not trust science when it comes to evolution or the big bang. Can you demonstrate to me how we can test your theories regarding the start of the universe being a creator.” From this point he spins himself in to an argument from ignorance. He keeps saying that the universe is created or not created and I can’t prove it is not created. It’s bad philosophy 101 which is easily ended. I’ve told him repeatedly I am making no claim because science can’t test the supernatural.

    NOTE – This reminds me of what Aron Ra said about debates. He said the theist will throw out 20 lies or half truths before the atheist even gets to speak and you’ll spend the whole debate correcting those while they throw out even more. I feel this is exactly what happened last night.

  19. says

    Caller Matt was a skilled Gish-Galloper. This is a dishonest tactic of trying to win a debate by bombarding your opponent with so many questions and fallacious statements that it keeps them off-balance trying to address them all. It did seem like Don and Russell were a bit dragged-around by it, but they did manage to make the important point that it was all a big argument from ignorance. It is unfortunate that people who don’t understand that fallacy will just ignore it (how ironic) and move on to their next argument from ignorance. I suspect that the galloper and those who might share his worldview are swayed by quantity of arguments over quality. One characteristic I have observed in most creationists is that they rarely investigate anything in depth – they find a surface-level explanation that meets their worldview and go no further.

  20. Chikoppi says

    @YouTube Guy

    My guess is that he knows, but can’t give himself permission to admit it. His “but, but, but” schtick is pretty typical of someone who realises they don’t have a strong argument. He also sounded a bit sheepish when it came to defending the young Earth line.

    For some, it’s more important to protect the certainty of the narrative than to face the uncertainty of limited knowledge. He may never make that step, but your engagement at least showed him that it’s possible to do so.

    “The only cause for X that I can conceive of is Y, so Y must be true even though there is no direct evidence of it.” If I had a nickel for every time…

  21. says

    Ugh, can Tracie please host on the weeks Matt is off?

    Russell and Don seem like perfectly nice guys and all, but they are incapable of controlling a conversation. To a fence-sitter in the audience, I imagine their conversation with the first caller looked like a draw or a victory for the theist. They needed to establish, right out of the gate, that atheism does not assume “the laws of the universe came from chance.” Nor does it assume that everything can necessarily be explained by natural causes.

    We *know* that natural causes exist. The person asserting that supernatural causes exist needs to demonstrate it, not conclude it from an improper inference.

  22. says

    @ #20:

    The conversation should end with this:

    “You claim to not trust science when it comes to evolution or the big bang. Can you demonstrate to me how we can test your theories regarding the start of the universe being a creator.”

    No, that’s not a good way to conduct the conversation. The caller would have just said something like, “I can demonstrate it: whatever caused matter to come into being can’t have been itself matter, so it’s immaterial. Whatever caused time and space to come into being can’t have been itself temporal or bound by space, so it must transcend time and space. Since the universe is orderly, whatever created it must be orderly and intelligent.”

    Now, the above argument is complete bullshit because it’s based on a number of assumptions that have not been demonstrated to be true. But the hosts have to say and explain this very clearly and confidently. If they hem and haw and talk around these points, it sounds like the conversation is a draw or worse.

  23. superatheist says

    Greg Knight(121) Thank you for taking an interest in these ideas and for your question!
    What I mean by every conscious being (humans) are superimmortal is that the principles of superimmortality apply to each human not that any person will necessarily experience conscious existence after death. To use the term “ixperiencitness” to explain what I mean, some potential ixperiencitness my never be produced some may experience conscious existence only one and others may experience conscious existence any amount of different times it depends on if any number of the the structures and functions of matter that produce a particular ixperiencitness has or will ever be produced.
    To specifically answer your question:
    “Are you proposing that an arrangement of matter could come into being, without intentional manipulation, such that it could experience continuity of consciousness and identity with a discrete, identical arrangement of matter elsewhere in space and/or time? Or solely by deliberate replication?”
    Yes! I can imagine many different ways that nature can do this alone without deliberate replication. The probability seems to become greater the more we know about the size and complexity of the universe.
    One of the predictions of superimmortality is the concept that parts of different physapaths can come together to form
    continuous subjectively seeming awarepaths. This is possible because of the concepts of extension, convergence and divergence of different physipaths. Lets say you die tomorrow (hopefully not) and at a different time and place, made of different matter, and structurally and functionally different than your current physapath another physapath, naturally made, converges to be closely identical structurally and functionally to your current physapath but does not die at that point, it will produce one possible continuation of your current self (that you will experience) from that point on until that body’s death. Unless the structure and functioning of the body produces an awareness of a discontinuity in a consciousness no matter how discontinuous the physapaths are that produce the awarepaths, the awarepaths produced will not sense these discontinuities.
    I am sorry if this has caused more confusion!
    The physapath is the term for the structure and functioning of a body over its life time. The awarepath is the term for the consciousness produced by a physapath. Ixperiencitness pronounced “I experience it ness” is an intuitive concept that you can say about about the consciousness you are experiencing now. You likely had the same ixperiencitness 10 minutes ago. If a body does not produce a consciousness that you experience you do not experience it.

  24. papertowel says

    Thanks Don. Great rant. you moved the conversation to exactly where it should be right at the beginning of the show and it went beautifully. Theists babbling on nonsense trying to explain to you why they really do know everything. Could not have been a better opening.

  25. The YouTube Guy says

    @Los,

    I agree that the conversation would end at the next part where he can’t demonstrate that something has to be outside of time and space to create something inside time and space. This is purely theoretical. The only validity it has is that he says it. I know Russell has encountered this in the past using a “transcendental ham sandwich”.

    Finally, they should point out that they are making up rules that they can’t demonstrate to be true and by the rules they’ve made up they can’t even get to God. Don’t let them switch topics then… because that’s all they’re doing to me. They’ve now claimed that it is widely accepted that the universe is “Fine tuned” no matter how much I repeatedly ask them to back this up, they ramble about other stuff.

    They basically spit back every single apologetic I’ve heard.

  26. The YouTube Guy says

    @Chikoppi

    My issue is that he doesn’t seem to listen or take in what I have to say. It might be that people have had the conversations I’ve had with him but he shrugs them off. Here are things he got wrong:

    1 – I’m an agnostic deist not an atheist.

    2 – I explained to him what random chance actually means and his understanding of “It’s just all random” isn’t how things happen. I’d like to explain to him the randomness in a genetic algorithm but I think that’d be a little too much for most laypeople.

    3 – I explained to him that science makes no determination on the supernatural because it has no way of testing the supernatural.

    4 – I then further explained that I am no ruling out the supernatural but when he says “Science doesn’t have an answer for _____.” and he uses the supernatural he is making an argument from ignorance because the best answer is “I don’t know.”

    Yet…. during his conversation with The Atheist Experience all of these points I had made to him were somehow thrown away. I’ve been honest with him by saying “I don’t know what created the first living cell” or “I don’t know what caused the big bang” He however doubts the big bang and evolution and can’t tell me why…. other than…. “Science can only get you so far.” then he goes in to analogies.

    He told me near the start of our conversation that he was trained in apologetics. After talking to him for awhile and listening to his phone call… yes…. I believe he has actually been trained. I might challenge him to call back this week and speak to Matt.

    QUESTION – Should I ask him to call back and throw the same (or new) stuff at Matt?

  27. Vivec says

    Dear lord, I wish I had enough weed as superatheist guy. To be able to post huge TLDR bongrip posts every day for weeks must take like, a cubic ton of weed.

  28. Conversion Tube says

    Yes Youtuber please have him call back again. It reminded me of the old days of the show. I think (maybe I’m wrong) that Russell isn’t in it to “Win” Arguments. He’s fine losing the argument so long as he drops some seeds of doubt in their mind. (Not that he even lost) because he didn’t but a slew of theists would probably think so.

  29. Chikoppi says

    @YouTube Guy

    I don’t think any number of rational arguments will be sufficient. It’s likely he has an emotional reason for needing to believe his preferred narrative is justified. Having to confront the idea that his beliefs may not be justified is likely too much to wrap his head around at whatever point he’s at in life. It’s ok, your arguments are on record for others to evaluate or for him to revisit at a later time.

    Axiom: “If your job depends on not knowing something you’ll find a way to not know it.”

  30. bigjay says

    First caller, DNA guy, man, I wish Russell and Don had just a bit more aggressiveness and would keep callers like this guy from talking over them. They are just too passive sometimes and let too many bald assertions into the conversation unchallenged.

  31. The YouTube Guy says

    @Chikoppi

    I like that axiom…. it makes perfect sense when I realize how he and Ray Comfort seemingly forget everything they’ve learned in previous debates. I’ve watched interviews with Ray Comfort where he uses the same tactics over and over again after people like Aron Ra explain to him what “Trust” means in different contexts.

    Argh….. The intellectual dishonesty just gives me a headache.

  32. Antonio says

    For the comments that try to point out how they think Matt and Tracy are the best and the other hosts aren’t as good, etc. You’re cutting off your nose to spite your face. All these hosts are volunteering their time, and I appreciate each and everyone of them. What is the point with trying to devalue some of the hosts? Do you want all the volunteers to only create a show on the days that Matt and Tracy can host? Using that logic, this program would cease to be.
    I’m surprised that they’re even still continuing this program considering that atheists are becoming less and less of a minority and these “debates” are not as in demand any more. But I’m thankful they’re still at it.

  33. The YouTube Guy says

    @Antonio,

    I think they did a fine job on the show. I’m very appreciative to everyone who puts on the show and I’m really sad to see Martin go (Probably my favorite).

    You are allowed to critique media you like. When people point out things they’re doing it because they want the best show. While I am a good debater, I’m not the best out there. I’m sure if I was a host on the show I’d have a few shows where people would be calling for my head*. You know what? That’s ok.

    I think the first call was designed for Tracie/Matt because he was a fundamentalist Christian trained in apologetics. I’m not saying Tracie/Matt are the best at everything but that is their background! This caller was the Ray Comfort type who has no interest in changing their mind because they’re out there actively preaching and trying to change the mind of Atheists. That’s ok. I just wish they had pinned them down on the issues… something I’m even failing at…. so who am I to talk.

  34. dayan75 says

    Theist Matt was deliberate in his apologetics technique: through questioning, he elicited a claim from Russell or Don, then pushed them to defend their burden of proof. Simultaneously, he expressed his claims in a way that again reversed the burden of proof back onto Russell and Don when they (rightly) expressed disbelief in his claims.

    I suspect Matt knew full well what the fallacy of argument from ignorance was, and his play-dumb response only served to intentionally frustrate Russell and Don. Lesson learned: when tangling with a “trained” apologist, keep them focused on meeting their burden of proof. Limit claims to simple facts (as a last resort) and to statements of skepticism towards supernatural claims.

  35. Jason Waskiewicz says

    I like an in depth conversation, but I think they wasted too much time on the first caller. He has studied atheist arguments and was ready for them. I wish they would have cornered him on one topic rather than dancing from topic to topic as he decides he’s about to be cornered. If they would have stuck to one topic, it would have gone better.

    But I recognize how hard it is to think on your feet. I would really struggle on a show like this. I’m glad this show is here. It didn’t convert me, but it did help me understand and verbalize what was in my head.

  36. Monocle Smile says

    @Jason
    You have a point, but it’s even harder when the theist is “ready” for atheist arguments because the usual theist countermeasures are so breathtakingly stupid that normal brains experience lag when processing. Russell in particular tends to let callers hang themselves rather than forcing them to walk the plank.

  37. Jason Waskiewicz says

    @ Monacle Smith

    True! As Don Baker remarked with a later caller, a lot of theists aren’t ready for a debate or true discussion. I know, because I once was a theist. Honestly, what really woke me up was two things: rereading the Bible and a discussion about evolution with a pastor. I was supposed to fill in for that pastor while he spend time in Israel and, while meeting with him, made the offhand remark that I went to a Christian college, but at least it was one that believed in science. (I am a high school science teacher with a degree in Physics.)

    So, I thought this guy was “my people”. At the time I was even considering an early retirement from teaching and going into the ministry. Needless to say, the subsequent discussion was insane. I tried explaining to the guy that the creation story and the Noah story were not history: they clearly contradicted reality. But, this guy was a true believer. To him, when observation and science contradicted the Bible, that means the Bible wins. At the time, my philosophy was more that our interpretation of the Bible was wrong.

    But, my conversation with this pastor was absolutely useless. Anything intelligent I said was countered with “God.” He wanted to take his trip to Israel, so I did cover for him, but he hasn’t asked me back. A little while back, I ran into a member of his congregation who was hoping I would be filling in for him while he took a vacation, but he must have found someone else. I haven’t had the conversation with that pastor yet that “By the way, I’m now an atheist.” I’m flattered that his congregation liked my preaching, but I honestly won’t be preaching there again, even if I am asked.

    This pastor wasn’t even a sophisticated creationist. But it didn’t matter. The whole discussion was fruitless. “God” trumped any evidence. In retrospect, even as a Christian, I should have walked away.

  38. Mark Yoon says

    Lol. Every time I call in, a crazy person steals the whole show. I hope at least one person was helped, or entertained by my call. I was helped a bit though. Thanks Don and Russ!

  39. says

    regarding “thomas from australia” and the slippery slope from the real to the imaginary, six months ago i had a conversation regarding the possibility of faster-than-light (ftl) travel on the youtube comment thread “The Atheist Experience #773 – Martian God and ET Jesus”.

    in short, commenter “Gregory Dearth (AtheismDebated)” persisted on recruiting some imaginary friends to solve potentially unsolvable problems:

    “We are like cavemen inventing the wheel compared to a potentially advanced civilization that has mastered the manipulation of higher dimensions (which even our dumb asses have good reason to suspect exist). Bypassing the limitations of our 4D existence would render all these limitations moot…”

    after a couple of trips around the maypole on this theme, i responded, in short:

    “oy! once again you’ve conjured out of thin air superbeings that by your own definition already know how to achieve ftl travel — in order to prove that ftl travel is achievable. this is classic “begging the question”: putting the issue you’ve yet to prove into the premise of your argument. “how smart are these aliens?” “well, at least smart enough to solve ftl travel. ergo: ftl travel is solvable!”…”

    i’m reminded of tracie’s beautifully methodical breakdown of the possible vs. the impossible in the axp clip “Is the Supernatural Possible? Are you justified to believe ‘anything’ is possible?”, wherein she demonstrated, among other things, that the fact that we can’t say that something is impossible doesn’t mean that it’s valid to claim that it is possible.

  40. says

    Conversion Tube says:

    “Do you mean this one?”

    no, but your clip is actually the precursor to the one i linked to in my comment, and it is a top ten axp segment.

  41. says

    I always love the theists who appeal to our observations, like the first caller did, because it’s a two step process and they stop following their own argument by the second step. “Everything we observe has a cause!” crows the caller, and to resolve this conflict he’s ready to propose a magical, outside of space and time being that has no cause and can resurrect himself. Leaving aside the obvious answer that, if this being has no cause, then the rule about everything needing a cause no longer applies… when have we ever observed supernatural universe creating, bodily resurrection, miracles, or anything else associated with the thing he’s proposing based so insistently on observations. Either you’re going to put value in our observations, in which case you need to actually do that and not stray outside of them whenever you please, or you’re not. There’s no reason to let theists pay lip service to empirical observations when it suits them if they’re just going to completely disregard that at the moment it no longer lets them reach their desired conclusion.

    I’ve tried with multiple different theists to point out this conflict, and every time they just ignore the point outright and quibble over some minor detail as a distraction, so I get the feeling that they have no particular response to that contention. I guess the apologetics script they’re working from hasn’t thought that far ahead yet.

  42. Monocle Smile says

    @Ryan Martin
    It’s the premier example of special pleading, and sometimes theists will embrace it by saying “but god IS special!”
    There’s really no point in discussion after that. I’ve learned over the years that walking away is often the only solution.

  43. azirphaeli says

    You guys let this first caller ramble nonsense for far too long while he purposely darted around topic to topic claiming his opinion was fact and it was brutally painful.

  44. TBoC says

    When did AXP get so horrible. I agree with comments about like those from Los above. Hosts Baker and Glasser are just not able to respond effectively to people like the first caller. And Dillahunty has gotten worse and worse — getting mad and hanging up just makes it seem like you are wrong. The baffling part about this show is that they fumble around with the same questions each week. After so many years, can’t they agree on a standard process for these same questions.

    A statement like the first caller’s of “whatever caused matter to come into being can’t have been itself matter” has several claims: 1) that matter came into being, 2) that something caused matter to come into being, and 3) that hypothetical something cannot itself be matter. None of those claims are can be shown to be true. None of them can even be shown to be make any more sense than the opposite claims. If matter is, using an unscientific term, eternal then claim #1 is false and so are #2 and #3. If matter comes in and out of existence of its own nature, then claim #2 is false and so is #3. Stop the Gish Gallop there.

    Allowing someone like this first caller have a “commonsense” discussion about events 13.7 billion years ago is just too maddening to watch. Just end the call with the mutual admission that, yes, we still don’t know what happened 13.8 billion years ago and that neither argument is more plausible than the other. And therefore not believing a bunch of religious mumbo-jumbo still make more sense. DNA discussions can be processed the same way.

    Please AXP hosts, do something to improve the quality of this important show.

  45. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(12)

    You wrote:
    “Still waiting for you to supply one bit of evidence and/or one experiment which provides positive evidence for your claims, and which has a conceptually possible outcome that would go against your claims. Until then, your claims are not even wrong.”

    These are clear (no “wu wu” Chikoppi(13)) predictions that superimmortality is making. There are, or can be imagined numerous experiments showing evidence for or against these predictions. There are no technical or undefined words used. And you should be able to understand what I am predicting.

    The structure and functioning of different people’s bodies can converge and diverge (become more or less alike), over time, because of varying external conditions.

    The behavior of different people’s bodies can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    The consciousness produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    The memories produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    The self identity produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    The skills, abilities, knowledge, produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    The self produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    What do you agree or disagree with?

  46. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To superatheist.
    It’s all gobbleygook to me. I don’t know what those words mean in that combination in this context. Again, please describe an experimental apparatus which has two conceptually-possible results, or please describe past observations which “could have been otherwise”.

    I do not subscribe to everything that is logical positivism. In particular, a requirement of strong verification for justified belief is obviously silly. However, I am strongly supportive of the notion that dressing up unobservable claims in scientific language is a farce, i.e. “cognitively meaningless”, and as far as I can tell, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

  47. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    It’s totally ok to describe an experiment that makes use of “self reports” of internal first-person conscious experience, aka “self reports” of qualia.

  48. bigjay says

    Everyone,
    I have been in a long email conversation with a Baptist preacher for a month now. I’d like to run a few of his statements by better minds than my own. Is there a forum where I can present those to you guys and get your comments? I ask because I think this forum is just for the show, and this isn’t show related.

    Thanks!

    J

  49. Chikoppi says

    1.The structure and functioning of different people’s bodies can converge and diverge (become more or less alike), over time, because of varying external conditions.

    Sure. A microbiota transplant can change the recipient’s metabolism and even food cravings to be more like that of the donor.

    2. The behavior of different people’s bodies can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    I assume you mean behavior as in cognitive function. Sure, to an extent. Different regions of the brain could be stimulated, impaired, or damaged. However, the extent of to which “external conditions” can modify cognitive function is neither well-established nor, I contend, limitless.

    3. The consciousness produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    I can’t accept this without a definition. The term consciousness typically refers to a class of cognitive functions that enable a state of awareness, the ability to reflect on internal thought. It is not synonymous with personality or identity. If you are referring to consciousness as a state of cognitive function then see 2 above. If not, you’ll have to justify any redefinition of the term with actual research.

    4. The memories produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    I don’t know what this means.

    5. The self identity produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    I call full-on bullshit here. The construction of self is typically defined as the ability to distinguish between that which is me and that which is not me. Research links this cognitive phenomena to the processing of sensory input in the temporoparietal, premotor, posterior parietal, and extrastriate cortices. There is ZERO evidence that two brains that do not physically share these functions could self identity as the other. What you do not experience subjectively, as delimited by your physical body, will always be “not you.”

    6. The skills, abilities, knowledge, produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    Seems trivial in a colloquial context.

    7. The self produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.

    This is a nonsensical statement.

  50. Chikoppi says

    @bigjay

    I have been in a long email conversation with a Baptist preacher for a month now. I’d like to run a few of his statements by better minds than my own. Is there a forum where I can present those to you guys and get your comments? I ask because I think this forum is just for the show, and this isn’t show related.

    I’m not sure what the “official” policy is for on/off topic, but I’d say go ahead and present them here. It couldn’t be any more off-topic than the crackpot pseudo-science littering up the place lately.

  51. Paul Entrekin says

    I was thinking that the guy negated himself right from the start. he said he believed god used the natural laws of the universe to create everything, but that is NOT what the bible says. The bible CLEARLY states a very different scenario for EVERYTHING being created.

    then he said that the universe was fine tuned, which ALSO denies the natural laws of the universe, which prove that nothing is destined or tailored to fit in the universe anywhere.

    Then he said dna shows intelligent design, but in my mind I was thinking that having dna in every cell proves just the opposite. a random, non-created (by a mind) organism would have the dna in every cell, even though it is not needed there. An “intellignet” design would put the dna only where it would be needed, like in the sperm and egg cells, for instance.

    The two guys must have been having a very off day to miss this and not refuting each of his arguments as he brought them up. I quit listening soon after.

  52. bigjay says

    OK, here it is folks, an excerpt from my email discussion with a local Baptist pastor. This all began when I asked this pastor why god won’t heal amputees. About 6 emails later he said this:

    Baptist Pastor wrote->

    How about this: If either the incarnation of Jesus or the resurrection of Jesus could be proven wrong, Christianity would necessarily cease to exist. That’s about as assailable a position as there is. It is, in logical terms, falsifiable. It could be proven false.

    So prove it false. Explain to me the rise of Christianity, the faith of billions, the hospitals, universities, the art, the music, the science (yes, the science; guess who’s idea repeatable, examinable, and observable was) apart from the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    (for example) Mary was raped by a roman soldier, she lied about being a virgin, Jesus passed out on the cross, they lost his body, they made it all up, the whole thing was an elaborate, pious hoax, they had a mass hallucination, maybe he never existed at all, give me something with one single verifiable shred of freaking credibility.

    We’ve made the claim, we’ve been making the claim for 2,000 years. Christianity is the only religion whose CENTRAL tenet is a falsifiable miracle. So, falsify away. This is why I spent nearly 2,000 words nuancing and pontificating. The miracle of the resurrection and the incarnation are the central miracles.

    All other miracles, both real and imagined, get their meaning from these two. Sorry that was lost on you, so let my clarify: if the incarnation and the resurrection aren’t true, none of the others matter.

  53. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To bigjay
    You need to read some Richard Carrier. I haven’t read this particular book, but I believe that you need to start with “Not The Impossible Faith”.

    If you want to move on to advanced topics, then read “Proving History” and “On The Historicity Of Jesus”. However, before doing so, be sure to read this disclaimer:
    > Fincke Is Right: Arguing Jesus Didn’t Exist Should Not Be a Strategy
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4733

    Some quick replies to those claims.

    For several of the miracles directly attributed to Jesus and/or associated with Jesus in the Christian gospels, we know with very high confidence that they did not happen. We know that there was not 3 hours of darkness that covered the land. We know that there was not a hoard of undead that stormed into Jerusalem (see Matthew 27:51-53).

    The rise of Christianity is AFAIK covered in depth in “Not The Impossible Faith” by Carrier. In short, there’s nothing unusual about the rise of Christianity. In particular, we can study today’s Cargo Cults, which provide quite good example comparisons of how Christianity could arise, and how rapid mythmaking can happen in the span of a single generation.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

    As for the “faith of billions”, apply the outsider test for faith, named by John Loftus.
    http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Outsider_test
    In short, if you are an honest, intellectually honest, and faith-free person, you need to apply the same standards to Islam and the billions of Muslims in the world. You need to apply that same kind of reaasoning to all of the religions of the world. And when you look at the different religions of the world, you see that they’re all about the same (for our purposes here). Their popularity is not an indicator that any one is right. Like the Cargo Cults, it’s actually evidence that many people can be incredibly mistaken, and that many people are incredibly mistaken. What’s more likely, that Christianity has it right, and everyone else has it wrong, when they all make the same arguments based on roughly comparable evidence and history, especially regarding Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism? Again, it’s much more reasonable and likely that they are all fictions arising from common natural cultural phenomenona.

    >if the incarnation and the resurrection aren’t true, none of the others matter.

    At best, the only primary independent sources that we have attested to these claims are the Christian gospels and the letters of Paul in the Christian Bible. I imagine that this person will argue that, and that’s why I extensively cited Carrier, and from there you can get to the primary articles, and see the actual evidence and reasoning for my position.

    Our only sources for these claims are obviously biased sources. The only source we have for these purported miracles are themselves propaganda pieces. That’s nowhere near sufficient basis to then claim it as fact, or even particularly likely to be true.

    Further, given the massive amount of counter-evidence we have – namely the existence of many, many, many, many, other miracle claims – both of later Christians and from people of other religions – and given how we haven’t verified a single one, and given how we have falfisied and explained away a shitton of them, the proper position to hold is that miracle and the supernatural probably do not exist and such things did not happen in history. This is a scientific conclusion, and like all scientific conclusions, it’s tentative and subject to revision given sufficient evidence to the contrary. However, a single biased and heavily edited and altered source, i.e. the Christian Bible, is nowhere near enough evidence to overcome the general evidence that we have that there is no such thing as miracles nor the supernatural.

    PS: I also suggest this:
    >Blog Post
    >Title: Thor
    >Date of posting: 3 March 2013
    >By PZ Myers.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/03/thor/

    PPS:
    If you feel that I didn’t adequately address some particular point, please feel free to ask. I love this shit.

  54. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To bigjay

    Ack! My post had too many links, which triggered auto-moderation.

    Yo, AXP people? Should I just wait for it to make it through moderation? Sometimes in the past I’ve posted it again in parts. Not sure if you have a preference on how I should behave in this case. I’ll just wait a while for it to get through moderation. It should be here within a day, I hope.

  55. Chikoppi says

    @bigjay

    This is pretty much boilerplate weak-sauce.

    How about this: If either the incarnation of Jesus or the resurrection of Jesus could be proven wrong, Christianity would necessarily cease to exist. That’s about as assailable a position as there is. It is, in logical terms, falsifiable. It could be proven false.

    So far so good. The next step would be to devise an objective, repeatable experiment that can test the premise: “If we observe X the incarnation/resurrection must necessarily be true/false.” I notice he doesn’t rise to meet that standard. Funny how everything verifiably observed that is usually attributed to supernatural causes could just as easily occur without a supernatural explanation. It’s almost as if the claim were designed to be untestable…

    So prove it false. Explain to me the rise of Christianity, the faith of billions, the hospitals, universities, the art, the music, the science (yes, the science; guess who’s idea repeatable, examinable, and observable was) apart from the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    That’s ignorant.

    First, the fact that something can’t be proven false does not justify belief. An assertion of fact requires a standard of evidence proportional to the extremity of the claim. He’s trying to shift the burden of proof. An assertion made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    Second, the “evidence” he cites does not require a supernatural explanation. Art, music, methodological investigation, and collections of individuals who specialized in caring for the sick and injured are all mundane things that existed before Christianity and in cultures that had no knowledge of Judaic tradition. Other religions have risen and flourished, even though he would consider them false. This is just ignorance of history coupled with indoctrination.

    (for example) Mary was raped by a roman soldier, she lied about being a virgin, Jesus passed out on the cross, they lost his body, they made it all up, the whole thing was an elaborate, pious hoax, they had a mass hallucination, maybe he never existed at all, give me something with one single verifiable shred of freaking credibility.

    Again, shifting the burden of proof.

    We’ve made the claim, we’ve been making the claim for 2,000 years. Christianity is the only religion whose CENTRAL tenet is a falsifiable miracle. So, falsify away. This is why I spent nearly 2,000 words nuancing and pontificating. The miracle of the resurrection and the incarnation are the central miracles.

    The fact that a claim could be true or false does not mean that is “falsifiable.” To be falsifiable it must be subject to a test or observation in which one possible outcome necessitates that it is true and another necessitates that it is false. Ask him for this test.

    All other miracles, both real and imagined, get their meaning from these two. Sorry that was lost on you, so let my clarify: if the incarnation and the resurrection aren’t true, none of the others matter.

    Great. I’d amend this to read, “if the incarnation and the resurrection aren’t demonstrated to be true, none of the others matter.” He hasn’t even begun to meet the burden of proof necessary to justify this belief. He’s welcome to believe whatever he wants, but there’s no good reason anyone else should accept it.

  56. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Paul Entrekin #54:

    having dna in every cell proves just the opposite. a random, non-created (by a mind) organism would have the dna in every cell, even though it is not needed there. An “intelligent” design would put the dna only where it would be needed, like in the sperm and egg cells, for instance.

    Your cells need to read DNA for protein synthesis in order to function.
     
    Different subsets of the full genotype are used in any given tissue, though. Those cell lines are descended from various types of specialized stem cells, which themselves came from pluripotent stem cells, which came from a fused sperm and egg. They all inherited the full genotype during development.
     
    That could’ve been trimmed during differentiation – possibly a sign of foresight, knowing what genes wouldn’t be used in muscle? That’s an awfully low-priority optimization that would require extra code to conditionally direct the editing, which is already an error-prone process. Not worth the mess. Every design decision has trade-offs.

  57. says

    “… Mary was raped by a roman soldier, she lied about being a virgin, Jesus passed out on the cross, they lost his body, they made it all up, the whole thing was an elaborate, pious hoax, they had a mass hallucination, maybe he never existed at all, give me something with one single verifiable shred of freaking credibility.

    so, according to this pastor, rape, lies, misdiagnosis, incompetence, more lies, illusions and complete fiction are each and together less credible than claims for the parthenogenetic birth of a demigod, reanimation of his corpse and his purported temporary displacement to an alternate dimension?

  58. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @bigjay #55:

    If either the incarnation of Jesus or the resurrection of Jesus could be proven wrong, Christianity would necessarily cease to exist.

    See: Unitarian Universalists.
     
    Gnostic Christians rejected incarnation, believing Jesus was a spirit that only seemed human.
     
    Believers can ignore/downplay/reject the “proof”, or pretend events were really all “spiritual” or symbolic, and continue saying the words and attending meet-ups as usual. The secular/scientific world conspires to obscure the truth donchaknow.
     
    Prophecies get reinterpreted to be true again. Hoax relics remain popular. Corrupt figureheads remain untarnished.
     
    Lubavitch Jews thought their leader was the messiah, and the sect grew dramatically even as his health deteriorated following a muting/paralyzing stroke, even after his death in the 1990s. Many still insist he didn’t actually die, that he’s watching, and that he’ll be resurrected – or that he’s hiding. They bring letters to his grave asking for advice and look for signs to guide their decisions.
     

    So prove it false. Explain to me the rise of Christianity, the faith of billions

    See: Islam’s rise to global influence, from a wandering merchant who heard a voice in a cave. This is an argument Muslims make.
     

    (for example) Mary was raped by a roman soldier, she lied about being a virgin, Jesus passed out on the cross, they lost his body, they made it all up, the whole thing was an elaborate, pious hoax, they had a mass hallucination, maybe he never existed at all, give me something with one single verifiable shred of freaking credibility.

    He cites bible stories and demands “one single verifiable shred of freaking credibility” !?
     

    We’ve made the claim, we’ve been making the claim for 2,000 years.

    So about that first point…

  59. Greg Knight says

    @superatheist

    Thanks for the clarification. At the risk of oversimplifying your position, would it be true to say, then, that you do not think that every person is essentially immortal (at least from the awarepath point of view), but that some sort of superlongevity of the awarepath is possible, across multiple physapaths. If so, whether you or I will get to experience this being irrelevant to the philisophical question, it centres around the idea that some awarenesses might get to have this sort of longevity.

    A summary of the problems I see is that we have no tangible idea of (1) how large the cosmos is, or (2) how much material is available to combine in the complexity required to emulate our sensorium, or (3) how long we are likely to be around to develop the science to do so ourselves. Until we have a handle on (1) and (2), or get to (3) the long way, this remains philosophy.

    Fun, though!

  60. Monocle Smile says

    @Sky Captain
    The typical theist line of “Explain X, atheists” is bad enough. “Explain bible story X, atheists” is an order of magnitude worse.

  61. favog says

    Hey, Mark from Sunnyside (who if I understand correctly is also Mark Yoon, above), after months of hearing it’s a good book, yesterday I just started Candida Moss’s book “The Myth of Persecution”. Haven’t gotten far enough to say if it’s what you’re looking for, but you should investigate it since it might be. Also, as someone who has dabbled in comics illustration myself, high-five to my fellow cartoonist!

  62. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To bigjay
    My previous post is seemingly lost in auto-modereation hell because of number of links. Reposting.

    You need to read some Richard Carrier. I haven’t read this particular book, but I believe that you need to start with “Not The Impossible Faith”.

    If you want to move on to advanced topics, then read “Proving History” and “On The Historicity Of Jesus”. However, before doing so, be sure to read this disclaimer:
    > Fincke Is Right: Arguing Jesus Didn’t Exist Should Not Be a Strategy
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4733

    Some quick replies to those claims.

    For several of the miracles directly attributed to Jesus and/or associated with Jesus in the Christian gospels, we know with very high confidence that they did not happen. We know that there was not 3 hours of darkness that covered the land. We know that there was not a hoard of undead that stormed into Jerusalem (see Matthew 27:51-53).

    The rise of Christianity is AFAIK covered in depth in “Not The Impossible Faith” by Carrier. In short, there’s nothing unusual about the rise of Christianity. In particular, we can study today’s Cargo Cults, which provide quite good example comparisons of how Christianity could arise, and how rapid mythmaking can happen in the span of a single generation.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

  63. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    As for the “faith of billions”, apply the outsider test for faith, named by John Loftus.
    http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Outsider_test
    In short, if you are an honest, intellectually honest, and faith-free person, you need to apply the same standards to Islam and the billions of Muslims in the world. You need to apply that same kind of reaasoning to all of the religions of the world. And when you look at the different religions of the world, you see that they’re all about the same (for our purposes here). Their popularity is not an indicator that any one is right. Like the Cargo Cults, it’s actually evidence that many people can be incredibly mistaken, and that many people are incredibly mistaken. What’s more likely, that Christianity has it right, and everyone else has it wrong, when they all make the same arguments based on roughly comparable evidence and history, especially regarding Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism? Again, it’s much more reasonable and likely that they are all fictions arising from common natural cultural phenomenona.

    >if the incarnation and the resurrection aren’t true, none of the others matter.

    At best, the only primary independent sources that we have attested to these claims are the Christian gospels and the letters of Paul in the Christian Bible. I imagine that this person will argue that, and that’s why I extensively cited Carrier, and from there you can get to the primary articles, and see the actual evidence and reasoning for my position.

    Our only sources for these claims are obviously biased sources. The only source we have for these purported miracles are themselves propaganda pieces. That’s nowhere near sufficient basis to then claim it as fact, or even particularly likely to be true.

    Further, given the massive amount of counter-evidence we have – namely the existence of many, many, many, many, other miracle claims – both of later Christians and from people of other religions – and given how we haven’t verified a single one, and given how we have falfisied and explained away a shitton of them, the proper position to hold is that miracle and the supernatural probably do not exist and such things did not happen in history. This is a scientific conclusion, and like all scientific conclusions, it’s tentative and subject to revision given sufficient evidence to the contrary. However, a single biased and heavily edited and altered source, i.e. the Christian Bible, is nowhere near enough evidence to overcome the general evidence that we have that there is no such thing as miracles nor the supernatural.

    PS: I also suggest this:
    >Blog Post
    >Title: Thor
    >Date of posting: 3 March 2013
    >By PZ Myers.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/03/thor/

    PPS:
    If you feel that I didn’t adequately address some particular point, please feel free to ask. I love this shit.

  64. superatheist says

    Chikoppi (52)

    You accept statement #1
    #1.The structure and functioning of different people’s bodies can converge and diverge (become more or less alike), over time, because of varying external conditions.

    #2 Behavior means the actual physical behavior; how a person moves what he says what he does etc.

    You wrote you do not know what #4 means. It states:
    # 4. The memories produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.
    Because of statement 1, that you agreed with, the structure and functioning of my body can change when it does the memories that it remember changes. There are numerous experiments showing this fact in published scientific journals.

    #5. The self identity produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.
    If the structure and functioning of someones else’s body converged to your body’s structure and functioning then the behavior they produce would converge to your behavior. Once the structure and functioning is close enough alike the external behavior will be identical. So if we ask you what your name is this other person with your identical behavior will call themselves the exact same name as you call yourself. Every question that is asked of you to identify yourself this now continuing identical replica of you will give the same answer. If asked question about his previous “self” or previous identity he won’t have any more correct answers than you do. If you think that you are you, he will give every indication that he will think and feel that he is also the same person as you are. This continuing identical replica of you will remember the exact same memories in the same ways as you do indicated through his exact same behavior as you produce. But he did not have to experience the events that produced the memories in the first place at all, or experience them in the same way that you did. This memory identity is achieved in the same way that you agreed that he will have the same skills abilities and knowledge even though he did not gain these abilities in the same way that you did. He gained memories, skills, abilities, knowledge, and self identification through the new changes to the structure and functioning of his body.

    #3. The consciousness produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.
    How do we objectively know about the consciousness produced by a body? By the self reference that a person has about his consciousness. He says he is in pain. He acts like he is in pain. His finger is smashed. That is where he says that the pain is coming from. There is over whelming evidence that we can know about what consciousness is produced by what particular structure and functioning of matter over time. We not only have the original person’s behavior we have the behavior of every other close potential structure and functioning that gives us more information through behavior about the consciousness produced.
    You already agreed that the structure and functioning of the body produces consciousness (from previous posts). But now you are saying that identical structure and functioning can not produce identical consciousness even though all of the physical evidence shows that it does. What is your evidence?

    #7 The self produced by the bodies of different people can converge and diverge, over time, because of varying external conditions.
    You have by your previous statement already agreed to half of this statement. When I asked you what happens when one person’s body’s structure and functioning becomes identical that of another person’s. You said, without proof, that the original self is permanently destroyed. But now there is another self in the old body. Clearly, the self has diverged as the structure and functioning of the body diverges. What do you say happens to the self when the structure and functioning reverts back to where it was originally? Does the old self reappear? Is there a brand new self or no self at all? The evidence is that the consciousness of the original person is restored as the structure and functioning of the original’s body is restored.
    If you are claiming that the self does not converge and diverge over time, then you seem to be claiming that there is one point in the change in the structure and functioning that if you are on side of this point you are one self and if you are on the other side of this point you are a different self. If there is this one point of demarcation between you and this other self
    why are you permanently destroyed when you step over it and not just instantly changed and then can be changed back when you cross the point in the opposite direction?

    You are right in the sense that the term self is a singular meaning term but there is no proof that the self stays with the body and not with the structure and functioning of the body.

  65. Chikoppi says

    Because of statement 1, that you agreed with, the structure and functioning of my body can change when it does the memories that it remember changes. There are numerous experiments showing this fact in published scientific journals.

    You are not claiming that “memories can change,” you are claiming that “memories of two different people can converge due to external conditions.” Not only that, but that these new or altered memories can be absolutely identical between two subjects. That is completely unsupported. Memory is not like data written on a hard drive. It is complex; deeply integrated with and dependent upon multiple cognitive systems. Even two people who experience exactly the same stimuli will have different recollections of it, due to their own unique neurological profiles. It is also malleable. Each time you remember something that memory is subtly altered based on how you perceive it in the present. And THAT is derived from research. The best you could cite here is the establishment of false memories via suggestion…which can hardly be construed as memory “convergence.” What you are proposing isnt even coherent given what we know about neurology.

    I started reading the rest of your reply and realized that rather than addressing my comments you merely offered another series of simplistic arguments based on how you “think” things work or might work if they were to exist. I don’t know why I expected anything else.

    I do not care that this fantasy seems to make sense to you. You know so goddamn little about these subjects that you are completely ignorant of the extent to which you are ignorant. The Dunning-Kruger effect comes to mind.

    In fact, “I can’t imagine it could work any other way,” is the epitome of the argument from ignorance. And that’s all you’ve got.

    Stop wasting our time and space in this forum with naive make-believe. Seriously. The only way I’ll read anything else from you is if it is published in a peer reviewed journal.

  66. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Stop wasting our time and space in this forum with naive make-believe. Seriously. The only way I’ll read anything else from you is if it is published in a peer reviewed journal.

    I’ll be more generous. The only way that he’ll get a substantive reply from me on this topic is if he describes to me an experiment or observation, real or hypothetical, that “might have been otherwise” and thereby provide evidence which tilts our estimations towards the conclusion that he is wrong.

  67. The YouTube Guy says

    @SuperAtheist

    YOU WROTE – “There are numerous experiments showing this fact in published scientific journals.”

    Please reference any and all scientific journals that have research regarding these topics. If you’re the caller from the show it seems you like to say “There are studies” but I’ve never heard you mention one study that I can read over. So… where are the studies? Just list a few….

    P.S. How do you the quote thing? What do I need put in to show that I am quoting someone?

  68. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    HTML tags.

    Example:
    <quote>quoted text goes here</quote>

    And to type, I used HTML escapes. Example:
    &lt;quote&gt;quoted text goes here&lt;/quote&gt;

    And to type that, I used HTML escapes to escape the escapes.

    Note: Not all HTML is enabled for comments on freethoughtblogs.

  69. superatheist says

    The YouTube Guy(68)

    You wrote:
    “Please reference any and all scientific journals that have research regarding these topics. If you’re the caller from the show it seems you like to say “There are studies” but I’ve never heard you mention one study that I can read over. So… where are the studies? Just list a few….”

    In this experiment they changes the functioning of the brain of a mouse thus changing the memory it had and then predict that by changing the functioning of the brain in people they can change the memories in them also.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/inception-mit-scientists-implant-a-false-memory-into-a-mouses-brain/2013/07/25/47bdee7a-f49a-11e2-a2f1-a7acf9bd5d3a_story.html

  70. superatheist says

    Chikoppi (66)

    Are you actually saying that memories are not produced by the structure and functioning of the brain?

    This experiment:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/inception-mit-scientists-implant-a-false-memory-into-a-mouses-brain/2013/07/25/47bdee7a-f49a-11e2-a2f1-a7acf9bd5d3a_story.html

    is evidence that your statement: “The best you could cite here is the establishment of false memories via suggestion…”
    is wrong!
    You accuse me of ignorance, maybe the reason that you do not understand what I am saying is your limited understanding of the the philosophical and scientific problems with our current understanding of consciousness?

  71. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To superatheist
    Pretty sure everyone here agrees to the facts that memories are stored in the material brain, and changing the material brain in the right way, such as with intrusive instruments, can lose memories, alter memories, and create memories. You can take that as given. No one is disputing that.

  72. superatheist says

    Chikoppi(66)If you understood what I wrote you will understand that I meant that if two different people have identical structure and functioning of their bodies they will have identical behavior. When this happens they will report having identical memories.

    Why are you getting so up set? If you have arguments against this please give them to me. But If I see problems with your arguments why don’t I have a right to respond?
    I do appreciate anyones response to what I am saying! But it is only fair that when I see a problem with what you are saying, from my perspective, I should have a right to respond with my counter points.

  73. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Chikoppi(66)If you understood what I wrote you will understand that I meant that if two different people have identical structure and functioning of their bodies they will have identical behavior. When this happens they will report having identical memories.

    Sure. Although, I offer one pedantic clarification: The two persons would have observationally identical behavior, and they would report identical memories. The self-reporting of memories falls under the umbrella of “observationally identical behavior”.

  74. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Oh wait, I’m a fool. You did say “report”. My bad. Guess I’m not being charitable enough.

  75. Chikoppi says

    @superatheist #73

    I am responding here only because you are attempting to misrepresent me. I was the one who referenced research related to false memories.

    (#66) The best you could cite here is the establishment of false memories via suggestion…which can hardly be construed as memory “convergence.”

    I did so with the express purpose of refuting your claim that your actual position, “memories of two different people can converge due to external conditions,” is supported by research. It is not. You cannot say that two subjects who have been given the identical stimuli to create a false memory have the “same” memory any more than you can say two people who watch the same film have the “same” memory, for reasons I elaborated prior.

    @superatheist #75

    I understood perfectly well what you said. My comments stand. I have provided in this thread and elsewhere my extensive arguments for why I find your claims not only insufficient, but also incoherent. You are merely talking in circles and I am not interested in rehashing rhetoric.

  76. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist
    Your total failure to understand that an identical clone of me is not me is perhaps the most absurd thing I’ve encountered this year. How do you even leave your house if you can’t identify what’s you and what’s not you?

  77. superatheist says

    Monocle Smile(79)

    You wrote:

    “Your total failure to understand that an identical clone of me is not me is perhaps the most absurd thing I’ve encountered this year. How do you even leave your house if you can’t identify what’s you and what’s not you?”

    If you think that I believe this, you do not understand anything that I have been predicting or explaining! Two different bodies are not the same body. If you define yourself as only a body then you can not be a different body. But as I keep pointing out there are other ways of defining what “you” are, and one of these ways is by everything that you have, are, and will experience. Why is this concept so hard for you to understand? Approximately half of the “philosophy of mind” philosophers believe this that “you are” what “you experience”. All of what I experience maybe limited to only this curent body. But on the other hand we do not know for sure what are the necessary conditions that will produce consciousnesses that we experience. I have shown example after example that it is the structure and functioning of the body not the body that produces consciousness. Why is is so irrational to postulate that if a particular structure and functioning of a body over a period of time produces a particular consciousness duplicating that structure and functioning for the same period of time, in either the same or different body would not produce the same consciousness?

  78. John Phillips, FCD says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #69 Does quote work for you, as only blockquote works for me.

  79. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    No. I am wrong, and you are correct. It’s <blockquote>. Anyway, he seemed to get it.

  80. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Why is this concept so hard for you to understand?

    Because you refuse to explain yourself in a way that would allow us to understand. Give us a result of a test or observation which supports your position and contradicts our position, and which “could have been otherwise”, and had it “been otherwise”, it would contradict your position and support our position. Whatever “your position” and “our position” is.

    Please don’t be difficult and ask “what is our position”. I don’t understand what you’re saying, but you seem to think that we’re wrong, which means only you have the answer.

    Again, assume we all here already accept that modifying someone’s brain will modify their behavior (including self reports of all varieties), and assume we all here already accept that two identical brains will produce identical behavior (including self reports of all varieties). Now, go explain what we’re wrong above in terms of tests and observations that “could have been otherwise”, but which are a certain way that supports your claims and which contradicts our positions.

    If you cannot do that, then you are not even wrong.

  81. Chikoppi says

    @EL #83

    What he’s trying to say is that:

    1) Consciousness is caused by a physical state of matter
    2) Theoretically, two objects could be in exactly the same physical state
    3) Therefore, multiple objects could be said to have “the same” consciousness
    4) The identity “you” refers to “a consciousness,” not a body
    5) “You” could therefore theoretically inhabit multiple objects

    Which is complete horseshit, because 1 and 4 represent an ontological category error. He can’t understand that, so he keeps repeating 1-3 ad infinitum.

  82. says

    The first caller’s claim that whatever created time and space must transcend time and space is fallacious — couldn’t it have just been another universe that created our universe, with its own “local” laws? Sure, it’s an infinite regress, but that’s no worse than claiming that the laws of nature always existed in some form, or that a god always existed.

    Fun topics to think about, but the bottom line is we don’t know, and most physicists seem to admit this. Typically Russell and Don would have steered the conversation in this direction (and tried to), but I guess the caller kept jumping around too much this time.

  83. superatheist says

    Chikoppi(84)

    You wrote:

    What he’s trying to say is that:
    1) Consciousness is caused by a physical state of matter
    2) Theoretically, two objects could be in exactly the same physical state
    3) Therefore, multiple objects could be said to have “the same” consciousness
    4) The identity “you” refers to “a consciousness,” not a body
    5) “You” could therefore theoretically inhabit multiple objects
    Which is complete horseshit, because 1 and 4 represent an ontological category error. He can’t understand that, so he keeps repeating 1-3 ad infinitum.

    Gilbert Ryle in his book The Concept of Mind developed the concept of the ontological category error argument in support of eliminative materialism. By using this argument, one can attack the existence of a separate, distinct mind. Ryle alleged that it was a mistake to treat the mind as an object made of an immaterial substance because predications of substance are not meaningful for a collection of dispositions and capacities.

    This restatement of your above compendium eliminates any reference to consciousness that Ryle objected to. It also eliminates the ontological category error that you pointed out.

    1) You are produced by the structures and functionings of matter over time.
    2) Theoretically, two different bodies could produce identical structures and functionings of matter over time.
    3) “You” could therefore theoretically be produced by multiple bodies.

    I did try to point this out in a previous blog post that the term consciousness can be totally eliminated in stating the theory that I am proposing.

  84. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist
    All you’ve done is muddle definitions to the point of absurdity. It is exceedingly obvious that you flatly don’t understand the concept of “self.”

  85. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist
    You seem to be arguing that if someone created an exact clone of my body, I would suddenly experience having two bodies. What the fuck are you smoking? And how could you prove this?

  86. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    3) Therefore, multiple objects could be said to have “the same” consciousness

    I literally do not understand what that might mean. It looks like it’s pretending to be a scientific claim, but it also looks like it’s completely untestable in every way. I’m in neither camp right now. I’m in the camp “wtf are either of you talking about, and how would either of you know if you are right or wrong?”.

    I really do advocate for Dan Dennett’s position, which I think applies to this topic of conversation, which I think amounts to “this is a silly question (because it’s untestable)”. We’re dealing with the so-called “Hard Problem” of consciousness, and it deals with untestable questions, which means it’s not interesting or relevant IMO.

  87. superatheist says

    Monocle Smile(87)
    You wrote:

    “You seem to be arguing that if someone created an exact clone of my body, I would suddenly experience having two bodies.”

    I am not predicting this happening at all! You obviously do not understand what I am predicting. How can predicting that two identical structure and functioning bodies produce identical consciousnesses all of a sudden produce an entirely different consciousness of experiencing two bodies at once? This would require a different structure and functioning of matter to produce this new consciousness of experiencing two different bodies at once. There is no magical event occurring producing this different consciousness because of the event of two identical structure and functioning of matter being produced.

    Monocle Smile(86) You wrote:

    “It is exceedingly obvious that you flatly don’t understand the concept of “self.”

    One definition of self, from my dictionary is: “a person’s particular nature or personality”

    If we start with this statement:
    1) The self is produced by the structures and functionings of matter over time.

    Replacing the term “self” with the above definition of self we get:

    1) “A person’s particular nature or personality” is produced by the structures and functionings of matter over time.
    2) Theoretically, two different bodies could produce identical structures and functionings of matter over time.
    3) “A person’s particular nature or personality” could therefore theoretically be produced by multiple bodies.

    If the self is not produced by the structure and functioning of matter over time what is it produced by? Are you predicting some supernatural entity? Are you predicting that the self is a discrete entity that does not change over time? What are you predicting about the self? Or are you saying that we can not know about the self, thus you believe in a form of “new mysterianism”?

  88. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist
    To quote Chikoppi earlier:

    The construction of self is typically defined as the ability to distinguish between that which is me and that which is not me

    This is what I meant. In other words, you’re playing games. You’re just a woo monkey with an incessant need to declare himself correct. You either have no clue what our objections are all about…or you just don’t care and are content to repeat yourself ad nauseum.

  89. Chikoppi says

    1) You are produced by the structures and functionings of matter over time.
    2) Theoretically, two different bodies could produce identical structures and functionings of matter over time.
    3) “You” could therefore theoretically be produced by multiple bodies.

    I did try to point this out in a previous blog post that the term consciousness can be totally eliminated in stating the theory that I am proposing.

    No. Consciousness is a conceptual property; it doesn’t exist without the thing that is conscious. So too is structure is a conceptual property; it doesn’t exist without the thing that is structured. The same can be said of function, memory, perceptions, emotions, etc. Merely eliminating the word “consciousness” doesn’t improve your position.

    You are attempting to redefine a unique identity (me, you, Deepak Chopra, Ray Comfort) to be a universal property (like 37°C of entropy or 82kg of mass).

    Further, the consciousness of a person, like other properties of an object (structure, function, entropy, mass, etc.) varies wildly over time. Even minute to minute. You wouldn’t claim that you are a different person with a completely different identity when you are asleep, if you were to lose the ability to speak due to a traumatic head injury, or if you gained 100lbs (well, maybe you would).

    But you won’t take my word for it, and I’m sick to death of this whole belabored affair. If you think you’ve managed to falsify the law of identity you’ll have to prove it to someone other than me.

  90. says

    Yeah, we’ve been going around and around, spanning multiple threads on this. I’d say “stick a fork in it”, but that fork has long since corroded into dust and blown away.

  91. superatheist says

    Monocle Smile (90)

    I have made this argument before:

    The words I, me, self, person, are all singular terms by definition!

    You wrote:

    “The construction of self is typically defined as the ability to distinguish between that which is me and that which is not me”
    This statement is biased from the beginning!

    It is saying that:

    “The construction of (the singular) self is typically defined as the ability to distinguish between that which is (the singular) me and that which is not (the singular) me”

    It clearly makes a definitional mistake to say:

    “The construction of (the multiple) self is typically defined as the ability to distinguish between that which is (the multiple) me and that which is not (the multiple) me”

    Can’t you see that it is a definitional mistake or incoherence! It creates an oxymoron by the definitions of the terms contradicting each other. This argument is not based on experimental evidence!

    What is your arguments other than this one that other bodies can not produce a consciousness that you can experience under the right set of physical conditions? I have so far given a number of argument for my predictions. You seem to keep coming back to this argument over and over again. Please come up with other arguments! Thank you!

  92. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I have no idea what any of you are talking about. Falsifiable predictions please.

  93. Chikoppi says

    @Monocle Smile

    The construction of (the multiple) self is typically defined as the ability to distinguish between that which is (the multiple) me and that which is not (the multiple) me

    In order for the concept “You” to have identity it must necessarily refer to a singular thing, whatever that thing is. What he wants you to accept is actually, “The construction of (single) self is defined as the ability to distinguish between that which is (the multiple) me and that which is not (the multiple) me.”

    A pile of three balls is one pile, but each ball within it still has unique identity. For his premise to be correct the balls must cease to have individual identities once they are grouped in a pile.

    How someone can be so gleefully, glaringly, proliferously wrong is…I don’t know. Maybe we should invent a word?

  94. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Chikoppi #95:

    How someone can be so gleefully, glaringly, proliferously wrong is…I don’t know. Maybe we should invent a word?

    Trolling?

  95. Monocle Smile says

    @Chikoppi
    That’s exactly it. He’s whining that a definition is useful rather than useless. Not sure where to go from here.

  96. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(94)

    Superimmortality is a very robust theory It predicts many different things. The one pillar that if proven false that would likely destroy the theory is that if the the structure and functioning of matter “does not” produce consciousness. People that purport the existence of “near death experience” or NDE’s believe that the functioning brain is not required for you to be conscious. If this is true then superimmortality is not correct or false. I believe that NDE’s are produced by a functioning brain as do most other scientists.

    There are numerous experiments that will not disprove superimmortality but will show that parts of it are more or leas likely to be true. In a comparison between the “body theory of self” and “the structure and functioning theory of the self”.
    Imagine if we take your body and change the structure and functioning to be identical to the way it was 10 years ago. Superimmortality predicts that all of the memories that your body has acquired over the past ten years will be lost. If we now question this modified version of you and you still have memories of events that have happened in those ten past years this would be evidence against “structure and functioning theory of the self” because there would have to be something more than the “structure and functioning of the body” that maintained those memories. This does not give us any information of what this is however. It may be supernatural. If so, since superimmortality predicts that we can explain what you are without supernatural concepts, it seems to decrease the evidence for the “structure and functioning theory of the self” again.

  97. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The one pillar that if proven false that would likely destroy the theory is that if the the structure and functioning of matter “does not” produce consciousness.

    The standard theory espoused by everyone else here also says this. It makes the same prediction.

    Imagine if we take your body and change the structure and functioning to be identical to the way it was 10 years ago. Superimmortality predicts that all of the memories that your body has acquired over the past ten years will be lost.

    The standard theory esoused by everyone else here also says this. It makes the same prediction.

    If we now question this modified version of you and you still have memories of events that have happened in those ten past years this would be evidence against “structure and functioning theory of the self” because there would have to be something more than the “structure and functioning of the body” that maintained those memories.

    That would also be evidence against the standard theory, which is being espoused by everyone else here. Same prediction.

    Again, when I asked for a way to test if you are right or wrong, that was meant as a means to help me understand how your position is different than the position of Monocle Smile or anyone else here. Everyone else here agrees with the three predictions made above. I agree with these three predictions too. It’s just the standard materialist description of neuroscience, the idea that the brain is not magic, and the brain is just a physical machine that operates according to the same physical laws as any other material object in this universe.

    However, several other people here seem to disagree with you about something else, though. What – I do not know. Do you know what they’re disagreeing with you about? Again, in particular, can you give me a test or observation where you and Monocle Smile would give differing predictions of outcomes? That’s what I’m looking for.

  98. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(94)

    Further examples of the falsifiability of superimmortality predictions:

    If there were made identical structure and functioning copies of hitler at any point in his life and he could not speak german this would be evidence against superimmortality, because superimmortality predicts that with the identical structure and functioning of the body comes identical skills and abilities. You can continue the experiment and make a thousand copies of hitler and none of them could speak german this gives even greater evidence that superimmortality is not true.

    If (ISF) (identical structure and functioning) copies of you were made of you now, and you had no memory of ever using a computer, speaking english, living in the US, or where ever you live. Is a falsifying result for superimmortality.

    If all of the ISF copies of Einstein that were made knew nothing about physics and each called himself by a different name and had totally different memories. This would be strong evidence against superimmortality
    Stated in the form of a falsifiable prediction: Superimmortality predicts that if a thousand ISF copied of the famous dead person called Albert Einstein as an adult were produced they would all know physics, call themselves Albert Einstein, and have the same memories. This statement could be either true or false based on experiments.

    If you were enhanced one neuron at a time and all of a sudden you thought you were someone else and knew nothing about your previous self, this would be strong evidence against superimmortality’s prediction that your consciousness can be enhanced in many different ways and you will still experience the consciousness produced.

  99. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Specifically, differing testable predictions of outcome for some well-defined scenario.

  100. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To your new post in 101, again, those are all predictions that we all here agree on. Where is something that we disagree about? Can you name a scenario where you would make different testable predictions from someone else in this thread?

  101. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (99)

    I am predicting that If you die right now and we make a identical structure and functioning copy of you from before you died this would be continuation of a consciousness you would experience in the same way as if you had not died. If you had not died and we did the same thing (produce an identical structure and functioning copy of you) there would still be the same results but now there are two bodies producing identical consciousness, if they continue to function closely enough alike you will still experience them both. Each body will be producing actual conscious versions of you. They say that this is a logical impossibility because the self is by logical necessity singular and tied to one body at a time. Even though they have agreed with me that consciousness is a property of a body and not the body itself they still believe that it is a property uniquely connected to one and only one body — your present apparent body.

    I hope this helps!

  102. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    In your most recent post, I stopped seeing unamibuguous mention of testable predictions, and I started seeing unintelligible gobbleygook.

    In particular:

    I am predicting that If you die right now and we make a identical structure and functioning copy of you from before you died this would be continuation of a consciousness you would experience in the same way as if you had not died.

    Let’s label. We have my brain, call that X, which is then destroyed – let’s say vaporized. Then we take this rock over here, take the elemental constituents, and construct a brain that is materially identical in shape, form, composition, etc., to brain X. Let’s call this new brain Y.

    Everyone here agrees that brain X and brain Y will have identical behavior. Two brains that are exact copies will produce identical behavior.

    I think you’re trying to say something more, but I don’t understand what you’re saying. What do you mean by “consciousness”? Is it possible that you can phrase your claims in terms of something testable? Can you do that please?

    In particular, as best as I can tell, you’re still trying to draw a distinction between “if we reconstruct your brain, then it’s the same you, and not a copy”. Is that a correct description of your position? If yes, what the hell are you talking about? How could you possibly tell the difference with a test? A copy would have identical behavior, identical self reports, etc.

  103. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(104)

    I greatly appreciate you spending the time to respond to what I am saying.

    Every experiment is based on assumptions before the experiment is carried out. I need to know what assumptions we agree on. I would like to ask you some questions to determine what assumptions we agree on. This is “not” dodging the task that you are asking me to do. It is for the purpose of saving time on miscommunication.

    Questions:

    Do you believe that “you” experienced something before this current conscious moment that “you” are currently having?

    What would you accept as a falsifiable test or experiment to determine if this belief of yours is true, false, or “not even wrong”?

    Stated in a different way: How do you prove with a falsifiable scientific experiment that “you” consciously existed before now?

    Thank You!

  104. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Do you believe that “you” experienced something before this current conscious moment that “you” are currently having?

    I don’t know what that means. Could you please phrase that in terms of a falsifiable prediction.

    Obviously, I have memories of the past. I have a memory of “me” getting out of bed, breaking my classes, calling an eye doctor to make an appointment, taking half an hour to tape up the glasses just right to make do in the meantime, etc. Further, I can corroborate those memories right now because I currently see lots of excess tape on the table in front of me, and my vision is partially occluded from the tape on my glasses (which is quite annoying), and so forth.

    Further, I generally dismiss Last Thursdayism out of hand.
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Last_Thursdayism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalos_hypothesis

    Thus, I generally agree as to the reliability of memory. What I mean by that is that the memories that I experience now were created in the past, and that this brain that is me had those experiences and created this memories, and I am now that brain right now in the present, and therefore these memories that I experience now are a reliable guide to the past situations that this “brain” found itself in the past.

    And finally, I don’t currently experience the memories of the brain of the neighbor next door. I experience the memories of this brain here, the brain that is me.

    If you want me to agree to something more, you need to get more specific.

    What would you accept as a falsifiable test or experiment to determine if this belief of yours is true, false, or “not even wrong”?

    I suggest you open standard science and philosophy of science textbooks if you need to ask that question. I can point you towards some good resources if you want.

    In short, you must be able to make a prediction that you and I can both observe with our senses. For example, a prediction about the self report of someone else. A prediction about the future color of a light of a measuring device in a lab after completing an experiment. Etc.

    Stated in a different way: How do you prove with a falsifiable scientific experiment that “you” consciously existed before now?

    I don’t know what that means. I’m asking you: “what does that mean?”. Is this something about reality? If yes, then you should be able to phrase it in terms of a prediction of an observable that “could be otherwise”, aka a falsifiable prediction. Otherwise, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I do not understand reality except in terms of my sensory experience of it, including my experience at this moment of having memories, including my experience at this emotions of emotions of this moment, etc.

  105. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Here, let me help you out.

    I often say “Yes, I did that [in the past]”. What do I mean by that? In particular, what difference do I mean when I say “I did that [in the past]” compared to “Bob did that [in the past]”?

    In this world, humans are created – humans start when a sperm meets an egg, creating a fertilized egg. Sometimes special medical treatments slightly alter that course of affairs, but that’s basically how it starts. Then that egg is put inside a womb, and then it splits and grows and splits and grows. Then it’s born as a baby. Then it continues to grow, and the cells continue to split and grow, until adulthood, where the cells continue to do their thing.

    From the moment of my conception until the moment of now, going through time, I can take snapshots at different moments of time. I can look at the snapshot at now T = 0, and the snapshot 1 second ago at T = – 1 sec. I can look at these snapshots, and I can identify a collection of matter in a certain location, with a certain structure and arrangement, that is identified as me. There is a clearly obvious and straightforward way to identify, or map, the collection and arragement of matter that is me at T = -1 sec, and a collection and arrangement of matter that is me at T = 0 sec. In particular, this mapping is accomplished by matching collections and arrangements of matter on the following dimensions:
    – Mostly the same elementary particles
    – Mostly the same elementary particles in a similar location in space.
    – Mostly the same elementary particles in a similar arrangement relative to each other.

    This continuation of structure and form over time, with only small changes in space over small units of time, is the definition of self. It’s the definition of self that we all use in practical matters. Some attach on additional concepts like “soul”, but in terms of murder trials, we all use the materialist definition of self that I just put forward.

    In particular, imagine that you measured my arrangement of elementary particles without my knowledge, and thereafter created an exact copy. I would not know this. I would not gain the memories of this other brain, because I am the brain here, not the brain over there. Now, if you told me, or if I saw this copy, then I might learn that there is a copy of me, but I would not magically gain memories that there is a copy of me just because it’s an exact copy.

    This definition of “self” depends on certain regularities and restrictions. It depends on the ability to clearly identify the continuation of the elementary particles in a particular arrangement over time and space, where the arrangement of particles makes only small and slow changes in space over small units of time. The arrangement of particles also regularly exchanges some of its particles with particles of the outside environment, so that over long periods of time, most or all of the particles might be different, but over any short period of time, most of the particles are the same from the start of the interval to the end of the interval.

    If by technology we manage to make a world where this kind of clear-cut pattern matching cannot be done, then my current position is that the definition of “self” breaks down. The whole of philosophy of self, theory of mind, and especially morality, just crumbles. Our morality is not prepared to deal with these situations. It’s no longer meaningful to talk about “me” vs “you”, because the definition of “me” that we use is no longer applicable.

    For example, again go back to one of my earlier examples. Suppose we built a machine that measured the locations of all of the elementary particles of my body, and randomly selected half of them, and moved one half to 1 meter to the left, and also replaced all of the “missing” particles with new particles from this rock over here, and moved the second half of particles to 1 meter to the right, and also replaced all of the “missing” particles with new particles from this other rock over here. There would now be two bodies, two brains. If you ask them to self report what happened, both would self report that they were having normal experience, and then experienced suddenly being somewhere else, about 1 meter from their previous location. In that situation, which one is “me”? As I said, the definition of “me” breaks down. The definition of “me” only works when stuff like this does not happen.

    You are appealing to this notion of “the same consciousness”. As I’ve been trying to emphasize, I think that’s an ill-defined concept. It’s incoherent when you look at it. I believe that it’s making the exact same flaw as appealing to an immaterial soul.

    As far as I can tell, I am this collection of particles, right here, right now. This collection of particles existed in a very similar form, with most of the same particles, in the past 1 second ago, and that’s how I am able to identify with that previous collection of particles in the past. In other words, that collection of particles in the past is not exactly the same thing as the collection right now. Of course it’s not. I am not the same person as I was 1 second ago. I change. I change over time. What allows me to meaningfully talk about the me of 1 second ago is a continuity over time, and that requires only slow small incremental changes over time, plus the ability to clearly identify a single unique predecessor. If either of those things changes, then so does any workable definition of “me in the past”.

  106. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Oh, I mention to “be cute” by bringing up the existence of human chimeras, which do break the simple story I told about conception. Not all people start with a single fertilized egg. Some people start with two fertilized eggs that each grow into separate clumps of hundreds of cells, and thereafter merge together: aka, a human chimera.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_%28genetics%29#Humans

  107. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Fix for clarity:

    I said: If either of those things changes, then so does any workable definition of “me in the past”.

    I should have said: If either of those things changes, then there is no way to identify a single unique thing that is “me” in the past. That’s because there is no single unique thing where it’s unambiguously me. In other words, in situations where there is no single unambiguous me in the past, then there is no single unambiguous me in the past. It’s almost tautological.

    And again, you seem to be appealing to some way to clearly identify a single unique me in the past (and future), and it smells suspiciously like an immaterial soul, or some other line of continuity apart from the materialist definition of self: a continuity of mostly the same elementary particles in mostly the same spatial location in mostly the same arrangement over small amounts of time, with small incremental changes over small amounts of time, that can sum up to large changes over large amount of time.

  108. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (106)

    If I made the prediction that I consciously existed before the present moment, what would you accept as a falsifiable scientific experiment that proves or disproves this prediction or is it the case of being “not even wrong”?

    I am not trying to be difficult. I am trying to figure out exactly the kind of experiment or experiments you are looking for rather than blindly supplying what I may consider evidence for what I am predicting. One of the predictions that superimmortality makes is that if a complete structure and functioning of matter comes into existence of someone, that person will or can have memories thinking that they existed before that moment but they will not have existed before that moment. This may not be true. But It makes me and other philosophers question if we actually existed before this present moment. The question is how do we prove or disprove it? Is it a none sense question if we can not create an experiment to prove or disprove it?
    It is useless to supply evidence that you will not accept.
    Superimmortality is predicting so many things and the evidence varies so much between predictions that I need to know if you are even going to accept experiments that psychologists do as proof or supporting evidence, or only experiment types that physicists do? Will you accept mathematical arguments as supporting evidence or proof? How about philosophical arguments? Or how about reductio ad absurdum arguments?

    Do you believe that we can gain information about the consciousness produced by a body? I so how?

    Do you believe in the concept of self as an actually existing thing or just a bundle of sensations as predicted by the bundle theory of mind? Do you believe that the concept of “self” is a scientific concept that can be studied and carefully defined or unintelligible gobbleygook?

    Thank You!

  109. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist

    But It makes me and other philosophers question if we actually existed before this present moment

    This is yet another reason why I’m not very interested in what you have to say any more. I don’t find this question nor its potential answers to be of any utility, and thus they are not interesting.

    Superimmortality is predicting so many things and the evidence varies so much between predictions that I need to know if you are even going to accept experiments that psychologists do as proof or supporting evidence, or only experiment types that physicists do?

    Your other problem is that you absolutely refuse to listen. EL has been very patient and specifically outlined what he’s looking for…experiments that confirm a prediction of “superimmortality” that is NOT also a prediction of the current consensus. Why is this so hard?
    Given that nothing you’ve presented has actually been in the structure of an argument, I’m not sure you could make one even if you tried.

  110. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If I made the prediction that I consciously existed before the present moment, what would you accept as a falsifiable scientific experiment that proves or disproves this prediction or is it the case of being “not even wrong”?

    I think that you need to (re)read my post 108. Then, you need to accept my definition of “self” and “the me that existed in the past”, or you need to present an alternative definition. In particular, if you do present an alternative definition of “the me in the past and future”, please be sure to specify whether this definition will lead to a single uniquely identifial me at any one point in time in the presence of the experiment described in post 108. Specifically, this experiment:

    For example, again go back to one of my earlier examples. Suppose we built a machine that measured the locations of all of the elementary particles of my body, and randomly selected half of them, and moved one half to 1 meter to the left, and also replaced all of the “missing” particles with new particles from this rock over here, and moved the second half of particles to 1 meter to the right, and also replaced all of the “missing” particles with new particles from this other rock over here. There would now be two bodies, two brains. If you ask them to self report what happened, both would self report that they were having normal experience, and then experienced suddenly being somewhere else, about 1 meter from their previous location. In that situation, which one is “me”? As I said, the definition of “me” breaks down. The definition of “me” only works when stuff like this does not happen.

    One of the predictions that superimmortality makes is that if a complete structure and functioning of matter comes into existence of someone, that person will or can have memories thinking that they existed before that moment but they will not have existed before that moment. This may not be true.

    Again, I think we can all taken this as true as this point. If you make an exact copy of a brain, then the brain (and body) will report certain memories, memories which are encoded in the arrangement and configuration of the elementary particles that make up that brain. Everyone here agrees with this. This has never been in contention.

    But It makes me and other philosophers question if we actually existed before this present moment. The question is how do we prove or disprove it? Is it a none sense question if we can not create an experiment to prove or disprove it?

    You first need to define “me”. That’s the rub. I gave an explicit definition of “me of the past” in post 108. Thus far, you seem to be appealing to a definition of “me in the past” that depends on the existence of an immaterial soul or something, in spite of your otherwise insistence on proper materialism. I think it’s cognitive dissonance. I again encourage you to define what the hell you mean by “the me in the past”.

    Do you believe in the concept of self as an actually existing thing

    Pedantically, concepts don’t exist in any real or physical sense. The concept of the color blue doesn’t exist. “Blue” the word doesn’t exist. Blue doesn’t exist. Some objects exist in the real world which can be accurately described as being blue. Some light exists in the real world which can be accurately described as being blue.

    In my post 108, I gave a definition of “me of the past” that has applicability to the real world. The concept of “me of the past” does not exist, but I concept of “me of the past” that I gave in post 108 is a coherent and well-defined way of viewing the world, past and present (and future).

    or just a bundle of sensations as predicted by the bundle theory of mind?

    Can you be more specific please? I don’t know what you mean. Obivously, I am currently experiencing memories, memories that were created 5 minutes ago, about the experience of this brain of 5 minutes ago. These memories that I experience at this moment are just sensations that are caused by the current configuration of particles in this brain of this moment, and it can be said that the current configuration of particles that are “the memory” was caused by sensory input at 5 minutes before this moment.

    Do you believe that the concept of “self” is a scientific concept that can be studied and carefully defined or unintelligible gobbleygook?

    The concept of self is a cultural construction, just like race, gender, beauty, and it can be studied. Sure.

    Obviously, I’m pretty sure you meant something else by your question. I’m pretty sure you meant to appeal to something else – but what I’m not quite sure. What you need to do is define your terms, specifically “self” and “the me of the past”. Again, please consent to my definition of “self” in post 108, or please give me some alternative definition so that I know what the hell you’re talking about.

  111. superatheist says

    I am sorry I am still processing your earlier posts. I hope to proceed to your further comments that I greatly value later. In fact, because of computer problems I posted 110 before I knew about your posts 107,108, and 109. If it seems like I am not responding correctly to your last post It may be that I have not seem them yet.

    You wrote: at (104)

    “How could you possibly tell the difference with a test? A copy would have identical behavior, identical self reports, etc.” Exactly!

    If we can not tell the difference in the IFC copy and the original maybe other than having different bodies there is no further difference between them in terms of a further property like consciousness or the self. Either the selves are identical or there is no such thing as a self to compare to this other self. If selves exist as discrete unique identities, how can we distinguish between them? This is the same problem that people that believe in souls have; If we can not study them how can we tell them apart? How can we tell if a self is a discrete unique entity if we can not study them. How can you tell if two selves, of two different bodies are identical or not if you can not study them? How can you tell if the self of one body changes over time? The self seems like a “soul like concept” used to maintain an imaginary discrete unique entity for a person when in reality there exists (like souls) no such thing.

    How can we prove the existence or none existence of a self scientifically? Is even postulating the existence of a self “not even wrong”?

    What I call consciousness that I experience over time seems to change from moment to moment. If we can define the self into existence why can it not change over time like consciousness?

    Again thanks for thinking outside of the box and considering what I am saying!

  112. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Yep. I’m becoming convinced that you believe that there is a soul, even though you’re using other words to describe it. You’re falling prey to the same falsehoods that religious people do, IMO.

  113. says

    This has been a confusing conversation to follow. I suspect that half the problem is semantics, but maybe EL is correct in the assessment at 114. However, assuming it is the former…
    superatheist @ 113

    If we can not tell the difference in the IFC copy and the original maybe other than having different bodies there is no further difference between them in terms of a further property like consciousness or the self. Either the selves are identical or there is no such thing as a self to compare to this other self. If selves exist as discrete unique identities, how can we distinguish between them?

    First of all, am I correct in thinking you refer to “self” as a reference to the internal identity of a consciousness? In specific, one could say Jane internally identifies as Jane. Jane is the “self” of Jane (setting aside people having the same name for the moment). If that is what you mean, then if we were to copy Jane in such a manner as has been outlined, we in fact can tell the difference between the two Janes because of their locality. The two Janes would also be able to distinguish between themselves by their different localities. While the two Janes might have been derived from the same “original” Jane, as soon as there are two, they are not the same. However, they are still both Jane. Just now different Janes.

    So if I could reformulate the point I think you’ve been trying to make: If one could replicate the active physical state that gives arise to a consciousness, the new consciousness would have a continuous internal identity with the consciousness of the template physical state. As such, Jane replicated from Jane would still be Jane. This assessment would be congruent to saying Jane at 5 yo and at 20 yo are both Jane. Do you disagree with any of this?

    Regardless, if I understand the endgame you, superatheist, have; you think that in the future such replications will be possible, and perhaps are even inevitable. And that is where I would disagree. I’d allow that such replications might not be impossible, but I have no reason to think they are possible and certainly not inevitable.

  114. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(107)
    You did a nice job of defining the self as the a specific body with a specific set of unique physical properties at each point in time. You write that Its not just what you are now that defines the self but the specific physical processes that got you there. I again greatly value your critical thinking skills.

    Your wrote:
    “ the materialist definition of self: a continuity of mostly the same elementary particles in mostly the same spatial location in mostly the same arrangement over small amounts of time, with small incremental changes over small amounts of time, that can sum up to large changes over large amount of time.”
    Do you know of one word that’s definition is your definition? I have never found one. So to simplify a complex concept I created one: “physipath” it is a one word for the complex concept that you are describing. It is short for the “physical path”. It is about all of the unique physical aspects of a body over its life time. It is called a “path” because it could have been different in an enumerable amounts of different ways. For example One hydrogen could have been replaced with any other hydrogen in the universe and we would have a different “physipath”; they would no longer be identical physipaths. If the person lived for longer or a shorter period of time the “physipath” would be different by being shorter or longer. I have a problem using the word “self” for what you are describing because there are so many different definitions that people use for the term self. It will just lead to further confusions with this discussion. If you have another word that can have this specific meaning I am willing to use it, if its meaning can not be ambiguous like the term self.

  115. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(107)

    If the self is defined as the “physipath” how does the emergent property of consciousness come into the discussion of self, me, or I.? Are you saying that the consciousness concept is a name for something that does not exist, or is not important for the discussion?
    If the self, me, or I is defined as the “physipath” is then everything that the “physipath” produces in terms of consciousness also me? That is if you accept consciousness as something that exists and is important to the discussion of “self”?

  116. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    emergent property of consciousness

    You’re now asking about Chalmer’s hard problem.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_problem_of_consciousness
    As far as I can tell, no one has yet found a way to address this “problem” in a scientific or rational way. IMHO, the best that one seems able to do is to say: “I have first person experience, and plus a generalized Copernican principle, therefore other human brains out there have first person experience like me.” Anything beyond that is, at best, useless conjecture, sometimes pretending to be science and rationality. Remember, without evidence, without falsifiability, it is not science, and the only proper thing to do is say “I don’t know”.

    That is if you accept consciousness as something that exists and is important to the discussion of “self”?

    I’m still not sure what you’re trying to say, because you still haven’t defined terms to my satisfaction. However, I suspect that what you’re really trying to ask me is this:
    “Do you accept that your consciousness now is the same consciousness that existed for your body at 5 minutes previous?”

    To be clear, I agree that my brain now is conscious, and I agree the brain of my body of 5 minutes previous is also conscious. Further, their first person experience is substantially similar, and we know this because their particular form, arrangement, structure, etc., is substantially similar.

    However, you’re attempting to get me to say that there is some further magical connection between the two above and beyond what I just wrote, like an immaterial soul that connects the two over time. This is what I will not do.

    Is there such a thing as a continuous experience of consciousness, first person experience, over time? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe consciousness is just the experience in that moment, with no magical connection to the previous moment nor future moment. And maybe this paragraph is just ill-defined babble.

  117. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(118)

    As a reinterpretation of what I wrote:
    “That is if you accept consciousness as something that exists and is important to the discussion of “self”?”

    You wrote:
    “Do you accept that your consciousness now is the same consciousness that existed for your body at 5 minutes previous?”

    Consciousness changes over time so the consciousness that your body produces now will not be the same as it was 5 minutes ago unless the structure and functioning of the brain duplicates itself closely enough. What I mean by closely enough for example is: if there is a synapse on one neuron, one atom wider than it was before, and all other structure and functioning is identical there would be a large probability that there would be a repetition of a previously produced section of consciousness.

    You have not mentioned the use of the term physipath? I would like to define and use another new term. I think it will explain what I am actually saying In this particular discussion.

  118. Mark Yoon says

    If the “me” that I currently am is not the one experiencing these future, or past events, then it isn’t me. No matter what outside perceptions may conclude, my personal consciousness will be gone. No matter the means, copy, computerize, etcetera. Short of extraction of the physical brain, and implantation into a cloned bodies. It’s not me, it’s another “me”, which may as well be another person. We are not a hive mind, our experience sharing is limited, at best. I’m sorry “super athiest”, but you cannot appeal to the supernatural. And until it it’s demonstrate, it is just that.

  119. Greg Knight says

    @Mark (122)

    From the perspective of the “me” that would be experiencing these future, or past, events, it would be me. Just because the “me” now and the “me” then are separated in space and time doesn’t necessarily mean that whichever has the arrangement of matter matching the other’s arrangement at some point in time won’t experience its current reality as continuous with its previous one.

  120. superatheist says

    Mark Yoon(120)

    Thanks for your comment.

    You wrote:

    “If the “me” that I currently am is not the one experiencing these future, or past events, then it isn’t me”

    I you actually believe this then it eliminates you existing any time but the current conscious moment.

    I will repeat the argument I have made before. If you traveled into the past and saw yourself at that time you would not be experiencing what that other “you was experiencing nor would they be experiencing what you are, thus according to your above assertion “it isn’t me”. You could do this process to any point in your future or past life. So none of your future or past life time is you according to your above statement. This maybe true but do you actually believe it?. If you do believe it what is your proof for the original assertion and the consequence? You might counter this argument that time travel is impossible. This does not matter the theory of relativity predicts that time is like space in that just because you are traveling through one area of space all of the other areas do not vanish. Time travel would not be possible if the future or past did not exist and the theory of relativity predicts that there is a future and a past that you could travel to.

  121. superatheist says

    D (115)

    Thank you D for your thoughtful comments!

    You wrote:

    “First of all, am I correct in thinking you refer to “self” as a reference to the internal identity of a consciousness? In specific, one could say Jane internally identifies as Jane. Jane is the “self” of Jane (setting aside people having the same name for the moment). If that is what you mean, then if we were to copy Jane in such a manner as has been outlined, we in fact can tell the difference between the two Janes because of their locality. The two Janes would also be able to distinguish between themselves by their different localities. While the two Janes might have been derived from the same “original” Jane, as soon as there are two, they are not the same. However, they are still both Jane. Just now different Janes.”

    I prefer not to use the term self, it is way to confusing, with to many definitions not to be ambiguous. People in this discussion do not like the creation of new words with new meanings, but I do not know how to get around the confusion that people have about what I am predicting. I want to use the term “Ixperiencitness” pronounced “I experience it ness”. This term clears up much of the confusion that theories of consciousness produce. There is: what I am currently consciously experiencing, what I have consciously experienced in the past, what I will consciously experience in the future. And many conscious experiences that if the environment would have been different I would have experienced them also. There are an enumerable amount of different physipaths that will produce a consciousness that I experience when they are produced. These different physipaths can exist through out time and space and any number of them can exist at the same time including none. Continuity and continuousness of “you” experiencing a consciousness through space and time is gained through the continuity and continuousness of the structure and functioning of matter not through the continuity and continuousness of a singular body.

    At other places in this blog I have discussed divergence and convergence of physipaths. If the structure and functioning of the two Janes stay identical they will not be aware of being in a different place or time. If the structure and functioning of their bodies diverge (become less alike) their different bodies can still produce consciousnesses that have the same ixperiencitness. If the structure and functioning of their bodies continues to diverge enough then their ixperiencitness will start diverging as well. With enough divergence in the structure and functioning of their bodies their bodies will be producing different ixperiencitnesses.

    You wrote:

    “Regardless, if I understand the endgame you, superatheist, have; you think that in the future such replications will be possible, and perhaps are even inevitable. And that is where I would disagree. I’d allow that such replications might not be impossible, but I have no reason to think they are possible and certainly not inevitable.”

    I do not think that exact replications are possible because exact replications, because of the extreme complexity involved, are, it appears, impossible to create so thus they are not inevitable. That is why superimmortality does not guarantee consciousness existence after death. I do think that approximate replications are possible naturally and deliberately produced that can have the same ixperiencitness. The universe apparently is extremely large and long lasting making the possibility of versions of you naturally occurring more likely. The advancement of science and technology makes the deliberate production of versions of you more likely. The superimmortality prediction that there are more enhanced versions of you than normal versions makes it more likely that you will experience conscious existence again after death. The prediction of superimmortality that it is the brain that produces ixperiencitness makes experience machines possible, where brains can be maintained and stimulated in many more ways than they can be in reality, increasing the probability that you can consciously exist again after death. The prediction that it does not take the same continuous body or matter to produce the same ixperiencitness again increases the this probability. There are a number of other ways to increase the probability of you consciously existing again after death. I would be glad to continue and supply supporting evidence for them.

  122. Devocate says

    ‘Consciousness’ is a label we put on a PROCESS. Like ‘fire’. If I take a flaming stick from one fire and use it to light another pile of sticks, it doesn’t make any sense to ask if they are the same fire. Or even if we are talking about the same pile of sticks, what does it mean to talk about whether it is the ‘same fire’?

  123. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To superatheist
    For your benefit, I have some problems with Mark Yoon in post 121, and these problems I also have with your positions.

    In particular, Mark Yoon also seems to be appealing to the existence of an immaterial soul that follows his brain through space and time, that would allow him to have a bright line distinction between “the same consciousness” and “a different consciousness” in the presence of scifi experiments like my splitting experiment described above. There is no such immaterial soul, and I also have no idea what Mark Yoon is talking about, and if I was forced to guess, it would be that Mark Yoon is also compartmentalizing – and that he still believes in the existence of something like a soul, but also believes in all of the facts of materialism and modern neuroscience.

    Also, with me, please feel free to define new terms. I’m ok with that. It might even help the conversation between us. However, I will have a problem wiht some forms of definitions. If you try to define into existence something “real” that is also unobservable, then I am going to object. If you try to define into existence some measure of “the same conscious experience” without also providing for a way to test or determine if two things are actually sharing the “the same conscious experience”, then I’m going to object.

    For example, from what I can tell thus far, “physipath” is equivalent to the materialist definition of “self in the past” that I gave above, and I’m ok with that, because the definition is talking about something in terms of observables.

    Whereas, talking about “the same conscious experience” does not talk about anything observable or testable at all, and that’s why every time you bring it up, I’m going to ask “what are you talking about? I don’t understand.”.

  124. says

    I prefer not to use the term self, it is way to confusing, with to many definitions not to be ambiguous. People in this discussion do not like the creation of new words with new meanings, but I do not know how to get around the confusion that people have about what I am predicting. I want to use the term “Ixperiencitness” pronounced “I experience it ness”. This term clears up much of the confusion that theories of consciousness produce. ….

    Perhaps to you. I have to say I’m rather confused as to what you wish your term to mean exactly and it seems others are as well (I also don’t think it matters significantly for your final conclusions). You seem to want to represent some metaphysical concept of an individual throughout time and into what ifs, somewhat akin to a sort of infinite alternate reality inclusionary “you”. That’s fine if that is what you want to mean, but it is ultimately just a unknowable speculation and not a good basis for formulating actual beliefs about reality. If you want to mean something else, I didn’t understand it.

    Continuity and continuousness of “you” experiencing a consciousness through space and time is gained through the continuity and continuousness of the structure and functioning of matter not through the continuity and continuousness of a singular body.

    This seems like something everyone here is likely to agree with, allowing the assumption of continuity, which is an assumption.

    At other places in this blog I have discussed divergence and convergence of physipaths. If the structure and functioning of the two Janes stay identical they will not be aware of being in a different place or time.

    I don’t know that that is true, because I don’t know that two Janes can stay identical (outside the sort of speculative infinite alternative reality scenario). It also doesn’t seem to be particularly relevant to your ultimate conclusions either.

    If the structure and functioning of their bodies diverge (become less alike) their different bodies can still produce consciousnesses that have the same ixperiencitness. If the structure and functioning of their bodies continues to diverge enough then their ixperiencitness will start diverging as well. With enough divergence in the structure and functioning of their bodies their bodies will be producing different ixperiencitnesses.

    Your term can mean what you want it to mean so this is true, but that doesn’t make it meaningful. From your usage here, it seems like you just mean a set of consciousnesses (that may or may not exist) with a certain (presumably high) degree of similarities. But if so, I don’t care about it and would not care any more about people who had the same ixperiencitness as me than I would anyone else. Just to clarify though, if persons A and B have the same ixperiencitness and persons B and C have the same ixperiencitness, is it possible for persons A and C to have different ixperiencitnesses? Also, do you think it is possible that two or more people currently alive have the same ixperiencitness?

    I do not think that exact replications are possible because exact replications, because of the extreme complexity involved, are, it appears, impossible to create so thus they are not inevitable. That is why superimmortality does not guarantee consciousness existence after death. I do think that approximate replications are possible naturally and deliberately produced that can have the same ixperiencitness. The universe apparently is extremely large and long lasting making the possibility of versions of you naturally occurring more likely. The advancement of science and technology makes the deliberate production of versions of you more likely.

    When you use “version of you” I assume you mean individuals with the same ixperiencitness (If it weren’t for copy paste I would not have gotten this far). Even assuming it is possible, the problem here is that a “more likely” probability can still be (and here may well be) a negligible probability. And we don’t even know if it is possible.

    The superimmortality prediction that there are more enhanced versions of you than normal versions makes it more likely that you will experience conscious existence again after death. The prediction of superimmortality that it is the brain that produces ixperiencitness makes experience machines possible, where brains can be maintained and stimulated in many more ways than they can be in reality, increasing the probability that you can consciously exist again after death. The prediction that it does not take the same continuous body or matter to produce the same ixperiencitness again increases the this probability. There are a number of other ways to increase the probability of you consciously existing again after death.

    I’m not sure I parsed all this correctly. You seem to be making some claims as premises and reaching (closer to starting with, actually) a conclusion. I’ll try to reformulate:

    1. consciousnesses and thus ixperiencitnesses can arise out of synthetic machines
    2. one ixperiencitness can be had by multiple physical entities
    3. many machines with ixperiencitnesses will be produced in the future
    4. some of those machines will likely share a ixperiencitness with people alive today

    therefore
    those people will have consciousness after death.

    I don’t have a problem with the first premise as conceivably possible, but I don’t know if it will ever actually be a reality, and as such I can’t accept it as a sound premise to make a conclusion. The second premise is, as far as I can tell, simply an obvious clarification of your term, which I have no issue with. The third premise relies on the first being true, and suffers from the same unknowable nature. So it too can’t be accepted as a sound premise. The final premise also shares those problems.

    Ultimately, you’re taking things that are conceivably possible, but for which we can’t know the probability of them actually happening (and for which arguments could be made that their probabilities would be quite low), and using them to reach a conclusion. That isn’t good reasoning.

    I would be glad to continue and supply supporting evidence for them.

    If you have provided evidence for your case, I have missed it. I don’t think I have though. You’ve offered speculation. Speculation is not evidence.

  125. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The basic foundational problem still is this: You want to appeal to the notion of “same consciousness” in the following sense:

    Scenario A: Someone dies, their brain is destroyed, and thereafter the brain is reconstructed perfectly from different (or the same) material. You want to say “same something”.

    Scenario B: A perfect copy of someone’s brain is made without their knowledge, and put into an identical copy body. You want to say “not the same something”.

    As far as I can tell, the only “something” that can be put into that gap is an immaterial soul, which of course does not exist.

    I think we can all grant that in scenario B, the two copies do not share sensory input, and they have different trains of first-person experience. The question is, on what basis do you believe that in scenario A that it’s the “same” first-person experience instead of “different” first person experience? In other words, how could you test the difference? In other words, what sorts of evidence allows you to distinguish between the two? Absolutely nothing as far as I can tell.

    In other words, we both agree that in scenario B, when the two people exist at the same time, we agree that they have different first-person experience. The question then becomes, why do you think that both bodies will be inhabited by the same soul first person experience when the two brains become strictly separated in time, aka one after the other? How do you know that if you separate them in time, that it won’t just be like the clone scenario?

    And again for emphasis, I’m pretty convinced right now that these questions are incoherent, and that the only way that they make sense is to assume an immaterial soul or some equivalent. This conversation is now convincing me that there is no such thing as any metaphysical or special connection of me from one moment to the next, and that the only thing connecting the “me” from one moment to the next is just a happenstance similarity in structure and similarity in spatial location, and that there is nothing magic about this, and that literally the only connection is “statistical”. Thus, your entire work is based on a false premise, the false premise that there is something more, i.e. an immaterial soul.

  126. Chikoppi says

    @D

    Your term can mean what you want it to mean so this is true, but that doesn’t make it meaningful.

    Or coherent…

    I prefer not to use the term self … I want to use the term “Ixperiencitness” … There is: what I am currently consciously experiencing, what I have consciously experienced in the past, what I will consciously experience in the future.

    “Self” is a synonym for “I”. “Myself” and “I” are both first person singular pronouns. This redefinition of “self” adds nothing to the understanding of “what” is doing the experiencing. It is useless jargon. At best it replaces “myself” with “my experiences.”

  127. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The more I think about it, the more I think that superatheist, and several others in the thread, are just falling prey to the homunculus fallacy.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homunculus_argument

    There is no “you” that follows your brain along through time. You are your brain. And the brain of 5 minutes ago is slightly different than the brain of now, which means the you of 5 minutes ago is different than the you of now. There is nothing magical or special connecting the two. It’s just a cultural convention that we place some special cultural connection between the two – you of now, and you of 5 minutes ago. There is no soul. There is no homunculus.

    The idea that you can be reborn is nonsensical, incoherent, meaningless on these facts. To be reborn requires an immaterial soul or some other magic to specially connect you before the death and after the rebirth. To be reborn requires that you exist in some way that we could distinguish between the two.

    Just for example, suppose I die, my brain is destroyed, and 1 year later two separate people independently make two separate copies of my brain at the same time. Then what, superatheist?

    Further, I am now thinking that I need to extend this idea to my everyday experience. The me of 5 minutes ago no longer exists, and the me of 5 minutes ago isn’t really me. It’s just someone that was really similar to me, just like if you copied my brain exactly, that would be another person, because no person actually survives for more than an instant, because we are all changing. This strong idea of “self” is a fiction.

    This is just where superatheist’s arguments are forcing me. I still need a lot of time to think it over, but this appears at the moment to be the only way out.

    I really need to read some Dan Dennett. I fully suspect that he has the answers.

  128. Devocate says

    @128 EL:
    “You are your brain.”

    I prefer ‘you’ are what your brain (sometimes) does (among other things).

    Where is this consciousness thingy when your brain is in sleep mode? That is a near intractable problem. But with my definition it is simple. Your brain simple isn’t running your consciousness process at that time.

    As for that unique difference which separates all of you from me, the fact that you are all on the outside while I am on the inside. That can’t be in two separate places in spaces. I don’t see how it be in two separate places in time either, since space and time are a single intertwined thing. There is an experiment which would prove otherwise TO ME, but it can’t possibly convince any of you, and it involves me dying, so no thanks.

  129. Greg Knight says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal (131)

    You are your brain.

    No. You are the result of processes running on your brain.Change the substrate, but keep the same processes running, and you would still be you (hypothetically; we’re quite a way from testing this!). Hence the possibility of a “you” running on something else somewhere/when else.

  130. Mark Yoon says

    To Enlightenment Liberal

    Sorry if I confused you. I do not believe in anything supernatural and certainly not souls. I was trying to point out that no matter the means, hypothetical or not, a copy is just a copy.

    To Super Atheist
    You are correct, if I went back in time, or forwards, the “me” I encounter would not be the current me I am experiencing. For all intended purposes, it is a different person.

  131. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Change the substrate, but keep the same processes running, and you would still be you (hypothetically; we’re quite a way from testing this!).

    How do you know that? You admit that we’re far from testing this, so how do you know that?

    Further, what do you mean “still be you”? I don’t understand what you’re talking about. How could you possibly tell the difference? What possible way would there be to test if this is true or false?

  132. Greg Knight says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal (135)

    I don’t know that I’m an amalgamation of processes running on the brain. That’s why I said “hypothetically”. But I do know that we’re not simply our brains, because brain death.

    As for knowing that I’m still me, and testing whether it’s so, it’s exactly the same test we apply now; by being convincingly me.

  133. superatheist says

    Mark Yoon (137)

    You wrote:

    “To Super Atheist
    You are correct, if I went back in time, or forwards, the “me” I encounter would not be the current me I am experiencing. For all intended purposes, it is a different person.”

    You have come to the same conclusion that I am making: different persons can share the same ixperiencitness at the same time. This statement does not create an illogical or irrational concept. You can experience consciousnesses produced by different persons at different times, places, made of different matter, and with different structures and functionings of matter.

    A further important scientific question is: “What are all of the different structures and functioning of matter produced by different persons that will create consciousnesses that you will experience when they are produced?” This determines how superimmortal you are. The more structures and functionings of matter that will produce a consciousness that you will experience when they are produced the greater the probability that you will consciously exist again after death.

  134. Chikoppi says

    A further important scientific question is: “What are all of the different structures and functioning of matter produced by different persons that will create consciousnesses that you will experience when they are produced?”

    None. Consciousness is a state of a thing. You are a thing. You experience whatever current state you are in, so long as that state is sufficient for “consciousness.” You do not experience the state of some other thing. That other thing is not you.

    Having answered such an important scientific question, I believed I am owed some grant money.

  135. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    But I do know that we’re not simply our brains, because brain death.

    Ok. I consider that a nit. We are our brains, but if one’s brain changes to a “non-working” condition, then one’s first-person experience stops. I don’t think that negates the fact that I am this brain, and you are that brain.

    As for knowing that I’m still me, and testing whether it’s so, it’s exactly the same test we apply now; by being convincingly me.

    If I used a scifi machine, like a Star Trek replicator / transporter, to clone you, then this clone would be “convincingly you” to any outside observer. Is that clone “you”? Did you mean something else? Again, just like superatheist, many of you appear to be appealing to some measure of “sameness of person” that looks very much like an immaterial soul.

  136. says

    @ EL
    For me, when I say a copy of Jane is Jane, I mean essentially the same as if I were to say a copy of Moby Dick is Moby Dick. Not that the original and the copy are the same entity, but that they can share a label/identification and in most, if not all, relevant ways would be indistinguishable at the point of replication.

  137. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (142)

    You wrote:

    “Again, just like superatheist, many of you appear to be appealing to some measure of “sameness of person” that looks very much like an immaterial soul.”

    There is no immaterial soul anywhere in superimmortality. The mere idea that many different bodies can produce by way of their structure and functioning different consciousnesses that have the same ixperiencitness at the same time is nothing like a singular immaterial soul.

    What is like an immaterial soul is the concept that upon death there is something that is permanently lost that no kind of body restoration can regenerate.

    Chikoppi (from his writings) thinks that this “immaterial soul” is permanently destroyed by the process of changing the structure and functioning of the same body to that of the structure and functioning of someone else’s body. If it was just the body and not something extra then reversing the process back to where it was would restore the self (ixperiencitness) back into this original body.

    Ixperiencitness is not a discrete thing like a soul that can be destroyed. It is more like a property of a thing that changes over time as the structure and functioning of matter changes.

  138. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    There is no immaterial soul anywhere in superimmortality. The mere idea that many different bodies can produce by way of their structure and functioning different consciousnesses that have the same ixperiencitness at the same time is nothing like a singular immaterial soul.

    What’s the difference? Looks just like the homunculus fallacy to me.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homunculus_argument

    Again, do you have a test for your ideas? Based on this extension conversation, apparently no. Thus, the only question left to me is if evidence didn’t convince you of this idea, then what did? That’s the real mystery here.

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I still don’t have a clear definition on “Ixperiencitness”. Is that just the self reports of a human concerning their first person experience? Or is it something else? Remember – I’m doing science here, which means that if you’re talking about something consciousness something, but talking about it in a way other than in terms of self reports, then it’s probably not testable, which means that I’m probably not interested. For example, again – qualia, and Chalmer’s hard problem of conscious – these are not interesting, precisely because they’re defined in a way that is unobservable, untestable, unexplorable. In other words, I’m taking Dan Dennett’s position.

    Again, are you making a testable claim? Or are you making some other sort of claim? What is that testable claim?

    And again, when I say evolution is true, that is a testable claim. It’s very, very complicated and complex, but it’s still a claim, and it’s still testable.

  140. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #146:

    I still don’t have a clear definition on “Ixperiencitness”.

    *shudder*
    According to various pages on his wiki…
     
    How the subjective view of self interferes with the objective view of what we are?:

    Awaretheory proposes that there are a very large number of ways that matter can be structured and then function that will produce a consciousness that you experience even when they are produced at the same time. […] that there are consciousnesses that we can experience that gives us a multiple perspective of the self.
    […]
    Imagine seeing yourself as several bodies at once, where you sense everything they do and control their actions just like you do normally with one body. It is hard enough to control one body but if your consciousness was at a higher level where most of the decision making and processing of sensual information was at an unconscious level it would then be a conceivable consciousness. So is an enhancement of your consciousness where you actually experience each body like you do your own singular body and then there is a consciousness that you experience that ties together the different body experiences into a whole consciousness.

     
    Ixperiencit concept:

    There are many potential and actual consciousnesses that can and do exist. […] If there exists two or more identical consciousness, how do we determine which ones you will experience?
     
    The ixperiencit concept does not exist as a material object like a body or supernatural object like a soul. It exists in the sense that a force, momentum, potential energy does in physics; as a fundamental concept.
     
    Ixperiencitness is like consciousness.Ixperiencitness. If Ixperiencit then I am conscious. It is the consciousness that you experience.

     
    Ixperiencit:

    The word “I” can be defined for either consciousness or in terms of bodies and matter.
     
    The “I” in terms of consciousness is all the different consciousnesses through all space and time that you will or can experience.
     
    The word “I” in terms of matter are all the matter and energy based structures and functionings that will, are, or have produced a consciousness that you experience.

     
    Ixperiencit test:

    The ixperiencit test simple put is: If I experience it, it is conscious existence for me. If I do not experience the particular consciousness in question, it is not conscious existence or survival, for me.
    […]
    you will and have experienced other things than you are now. There is more to you, than what your conscious existence is at this very instance. […] Do you have conscious ownership of every identical consciousness to the ones you will expereince with this currrent body? And what about all this things that you could have experienced in this life but did not? […] Do you have consciousness ownership or these also? Or do you have shared conscious ownership with many different potential people?

     
    Consciousness ownership:

    Consciousness ownership is not exclusive to your present conscious perspective. […] If you have ownership of a consciousness you will experience that consciousness any tine it is produced by a physipath.

     
    Shared conscious ownership:

    What shared conscious ownership means is that the consciousness that two different people (potential or actual) will experience, if or when it is produced will be experienced by both as versions of their own consciousness.

     
    I experience it test:

    if I expereince a consciousness then I have conscious existence (I am alive) produced by this consciousness. […] It does not matter what other conditions are met such as the same body, same soul, or same matter. You experiencing consciousness is the only necessary factor. It however happens that for you to experience a consciousness it first has to be produced through one of a number of specific different structures and functionings of a material body.

     
    Subjective experience:

    The subjective experience is what you actually consciously experience it is what you are experiencing this moment ad what you will consciously experience in the the future and what you did consciously experience in the past. […] though a body might be animate that you cold have experienced life from its perspective.

     
    Experiencing life from a body’s perspective:

    Experiencing life from a body’s perspective most humans experience their consciousness from the perspective of a body. But our consciousness is not tied to this perspective. We can imagine existing in some other body. It is simply a matter of changing the sensepath that you experience to match what you would see if you were in this other body. If you eliminated all views of this body you could still be consciousness. You can have sight without seeing a body, You can have feelings of things without feelings of a body. You can experience all of the senses with out experiencing having a body. But you still have to have the material substance or itobrain that produces the consciousness which you can be totally unaware of.

     
    Ixperiencit identity:

    You have ixperiencit identity when two or more separate consciousnesses are experienced by the same ixperiencit entity or ixperiencit original. If you have ixperiencit identity with the same awarepath produced by a different physipath you will experience this different awarepath as well as what appears to be your own or original awarepath.

  141. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Ugh, one more…
     
    Ixpermegamultiplex:

    Ixpermegamultiplex is a concept that there is a tying together of an ixperiencitness concept into an ixperbody with the properties that are analogous to that of a human body. This ixperbody can have goals, and changing conscious existence through space and time but the whole structure is tied together by being of one ixperiencitness.
     
    The individual ixpercells of the ixperbody may think and feel that they are alone and independent of all other beings but in fact they are part of something much greater In the same way that most humans think that they are singular, independent, conscious beings experiencing a consciousness that only they can ever experience.
    […]
    Ixpermegamultiplex his concept ties together all the consciousnesses of one ixperiencitness and closely related ixpepaths into a super conscious ixpeobject
    […]
    What are the characteristics of this being? It is conscious, immortal, connected by an identical or near identical ixperiencitness relationship, the different conscious parts can be produced in may different ways like with awarepaducers, itoidentireplicas, and itobodies. It has self awareness. It contains knowledge about itself, and can produce parts of itself. Parts of itself can exist through out the universe in space and time. […] Conscious parts can be either controlling or passive, in other words the consciousness can change the universe or be like in an experience machine where it controls and thus changes very little. It is composed of what appears to be very large amount of independent consciousness from the awaremoment perspective. Plus it contains many different unifying consciousnesses as well.

  142. superatheist says

    Sky Captain, I think you misnamed yourself. You should be called the “The Reference Librarian” for all of the information that you gather for us. Thank you!

  143. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Thanks, but a lot of that is just incoherent. Here are some choice bits:

    produce a consciousness that you experience

    That’s wrong. Consciousness is not something that you experience. That’s the homunculus fallacy. And skimming the rest, I just see the entire thing is filled with homunculus fallacy. It just makes everything wrong or “not even wrong”. The entire thing implicitly assumes the existence of a homunculus, which is functionally identical to an immaterial soul. This person still hasn’t accepted the facts of modern neuroscience and materalism. This person /really/ needs to read / watch some Dan Dennett.

    And so wait, this guy actually is saying that someone will report that they experience the sensory input of multiple bodies, and that this is actually true in a testable way? Fucking bullshit.

  144. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Let me try to explain.

    The homunculus problem is as thus: Imagine early work, trying to understand vision. They know that light enters the eye through the lense, hits the retina, goes to the optic nerve, and goes to the brain. A naive – and wrong – way to think about it is that this merely transmits a picture to some location in the brain, where there is some little guy, the real “you”, the soul, aka the homunculus, that sits there and sees the picture, and decides to take action. But that’s not how it works. There is no soul / homunculus. Instead, modern neuroscience is about explaining vision, which means we need to explain the processing. It’s only chemical nerve signals, spike trains in, and spike trains out, through a complex processing unit, the brain. The goal of neuroscience is to explain and understand that processing.

    Superatheist’s language is very much the same. He sees “consciousness” as something separate from me, the real me, the soul / homunculus, that I experience. That’s just wrong. This wrong-headed separation leads to all sorts of silly ideas, like feeling the sensory input from multiple bodies at once. First-person experience aka qualia is not something that I “experience”. I am my brain, and I happen to have first-person experience aka qualia. I am not something detached from my brain that experience the results and sends back commands. I am not something that can be detached from this brain and moved to another brain. I am this brain.

  145. superatheist says

    I continue to appreciate everyones comments even the: “you are a “dumbass ignorant super-pothead stoner consequently you are wrong! This is irrefutable logic! I love it!

    EnlightenmentLiberal (151)

    You wrote:

    “I am not something that can be detached from this brain and moved to another brain. I am this brain.”

    If the structure and functioning of your brain was slowly changed with continuity and continuous of body over a long period of time to be identical to that of of Abraham Lincoln’s an hour before he was shot and continued to function identically for the period of time before he was shot who would experience that consciousness? You seem to be saying that you would experience that consciousness. I say whatever you want to call Abraham Lincoln he experiences that consciousness. All of what you can call yourself has been erased very slowly through a physical process This restored Abraham Lincoln does not call himself by any name you call yourself by. He has no memories of ever being you. He has none of your memories. But some how you believe that you experience that consciousness like a little homunculus observing from where?

    What is even more bizarre is we can imagine keeping that body alive indefinitely producing every possible structure and functioning, thus according to your theory you would experience every possible consciousness that can ever exist. At any point along the way the structure and functioning could revert back to where it started producing your original consciousness again and again. The body theory of the self has many unexplainable features.

  146. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You seem to be saying that you would experience that consciousness.

    Again, I think this is an important grammatical error that belies your faulty reasoning. To say “I would experience that consciousness” is drawing a strict line, a dichotomy, between “me” and the qualia that I experience. That’s exactly the homunculus fallacy as described on the wikipedia page. You cannot and should not draw that line. If you draw that line, you are invoking a homunculus, aka a soul. (Also, invoking a homunculus / soul solves nothing in the larger picture because of the infinite regress problem of the homunculus interpretation of vision / qualia at large.)

    I am my brain, and the qualia that it produces. I experience that qualia. I cannot experience the qualia of anything else, because I only experience the qualia of me, specifically I only experience the qualia of the brain that is me.

    If the structure and functioning of your brain was slowly changed with continuity and continuous of body over a long period of time to be identical to that of of Abraham Lincoln’s an hour before he was shot and continued to function identically for the period of time before he was shot who would experience that consciousness?

    I would have the same memories, same preferences, same sexual kinks, same reasoning skills. I would experience the same sensory input. Ignoring possible quantum randomness – I would also behave in exactly the same way. I would not “experience the consciousness of Abraham Lincoln”. I would be Abraham Lincoln. More specifically, I would be a clone of Abraham Lincoln, and I would have the qualia of that brain in that situation, qualia identical to the qualia of the first Abraham Lincoln.

    In that situation, there is no “me” that is along for the ride that could experience the qualia of Abraham Lincoln. There would only be the clone of Abraham Lincoln. No soul. No homunculus. Just a person who is identical in every way to Abraham Lincoln (except for being out of place by a century or two).

    Is that clone of Abraham Lincoln me? In your own words, there is a physipath connection, but that doesn’t really answer the intended question. Yes it’s me according to a particular contrived definition. This definition is a cultural construct. There is no homunculus, no soul, that binds the two together. Just mere happenstance through space and time that we pattern recognizers can recognize.

    But some how you believe that you experience that consciousness like a little homunculus observing from where?

    Wow. Reading skills. You need some work on them. I said the exact opposite, many times.

  147. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And to you – a simple, straightforward, yes or no question.

    Do you believe that through physical processes using a Star Trek transporter / replicator, can we produce two live human bodies which give the self report:
    > There is only one person who experiences the sensory input of both bodies, and this one person controls the motor control of both bodies.
    ?

    Above, Sky Captain said that this is a prediction of whatever ridiculousness that you’re spouting. Do you actually hold to this particular position? This would be an example of a testable claim that differs from the standard model. This would be an example of what I’ve been asking you, for the entire time, namely some experiment, some observation, that would help confirm that you are right, and if the results were otherwise, would help confirm that you are wrong.

    Based on the overwhelming evidence from neuroscience and fundamental physics, I am very, very certain that it is impossible according to the rules of this reality, aka physics, to produce two human bodies which will have that self report which holds up to testing.

  148. Chikoppi says

    What is like an immaterial soul is the concept that upon death there is something that is permanently lost that no kind of body restoration can regenerate.

    Chikoppi (from his writings) thinks that this “immaterial soul” is permanently destroyed by the process of changing the structure and functioning of the same body to that of the structure and functioning of someone else’s body. If it was just the body and not something extra then reversing the process back to where it was would restore the self (ixperiencitness) back into this original body.

    No. This characterization of my position is wildly inaccurate. Also, it is this idea of yours of “restoring the self to a body” that invokes a non-material thing (analogous to a soul) which confers identity.

    Temperature is a property of a thing. It is a concept that describes a current state. The current state of a thing can be said to be 32.047c. The fact that two things can have the identical property of 32.047c doesn’t make them the same thing.

    Consciousness is a property of a thing. The fact that two things can (in an extravagant theoretical stretch) have the identical property of consciousness doesn’t make them the same thing.

    There is the thing (a particular with unique identity) and the conceptual properties that describe its present state. Many things can have similar or identical properties. Each of these things still has a unique identity. The properties of a thing do not confer its identity.

    “I” (i.e., myself, me) is a unique identity. It therefore refers to a unique thing, not a set of universal properties.

    This next bit defines my position.

    From an objective standpoint, “I” persist as a person so long as the thing that is me persists. From a subjective standpoint (which is what defines the experience of consciousness) all other things past/present/future, no matter how similar, are not me.

    Objectively, the thing that is me existed yesterday. Subjectively, I cannot experience that thing, because it is not the thing that I am now. Insofar as conscious experience is concerned “I” am never not the thing that I am now. Destroy this unique thing and both the objective and subjective “me” is gone.

    You are making an ontological error by assigning identity to conceptual properties rather than to the thing itself. You are making a category error by applying objective standards of identity to the subjective phenomena of consciousness.

  149. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #153:

    I would have the same memories, same preferences, same sexual kinks, same reasoning skills. […] I would be Abraham Lincoln. […] a person who is identical in every way to Abraham Lincoln (except for being out of place by a century or two).

    Let’s start a nuclear war!
     
    Music Video: Electric Six – Gay Bar

  150. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    “I” (i.e., myself, me) is a unique identity. It therefore refers to a unique thing, not a set of universal properties.

    I agree that right now, your brain at this instant is a unique identity. However, if we want to talk uniqueness over time in the presence of Star Trek transporters / replicators, then I think that one cannot talk about uniqueness any more in all circumstances. Thus, I don’t think we can talk meaningfully about “the you of 5 minutes ago” in all cases, such as in the presence of Star Trek replicators / transporters. It is only because such things do not happen in our daily life can we meaningfully talk about “the unique you of 5 minutes ago”.

    His concept and definition of “physipath” does capture that well – namely the connection that you right now share with the you of 5 minutes ago. Namely, a relation over time and space, where at every small time in time, the brain is composed of mostly the same fundamental particles, in mostly the same configuration, in mostly the same location in space, but where over large steps, there might be very large changes in the fundamental particles that compose the brain, and very large differences in the configuration, and very large changes in the spatial location. “Physipath” is the only word that he’s invented thus far which seems to be meaningful, and actually useful for the conversation.

    I’m not sure if you disagree with me. I just want to note that talking about a unique “you” of 5 minutes ago is actually not a trivial affair, and further such unique identification cannot be done if we had a different set of coherent technological, i.e. Star Trek transporters and replicators.

  151. Chikoppi says

    @EL

    I’m not sure if you disagree with me. I just want to note that talking about a unique “you” of 5 minutes ago is actually not a trivial affair, and further such unique identification cannot be done if we had a different set of coherent technological, i.e. Star Trek transporters and replicators.

    See the distinction I made between objective and subjective identity, I think it addresses your point. Objectively, to the extent the thing is persistent over time, it has persistent identity. This is the Ship of Theseus analogy. Subjectively, if the thing isn’t the thing you are right now, you are necessarily not it and it is not you.

    There are two principles at work I think. First is the Law of Identity; a thing is the same as itself and different from all other things. Second is the subjective experience of the self. The only perspective of experience is the present, as delimited by the thing that “I” am right now. I might have memories of the past, but I don’t actually experience the past. I only experience what memories I have in the present. The present thing that is “I” is the only thing that is “I,” from my perspective.

    In hypothetical situations involving self I think the subjective standard is the only appropriate context to apply. If the thing that is the “I” in the present moment is destroyed then whatever gets created is necessarily a different, non-contiguous thing.

    If I step into the transporter and others see a person walk out on the planet they, and that person, will be convinced that it is me. From my perspective, “I” was annihilated.

    I suppose this reading may seem relativistic, but that’s not incongruent with the need to consider time as a component of identity. If anything, relativity teaches that perspective is meaningful and consequential.

  152. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(154)
    We are very very close to believing the same things. I also think that most atheists believe what I am saying when they consider all of the evidence. They have seen very little of the evidence so far.

    I am predicting that:
    An identical “clone” as defined as not having the same matter, being is a different place and or time, having identical structure and functioning of their bodies will have identical behavior, self identity, consciousness, and ixperiencitnesses.

    I think you are saying that:
    An identical “clone” as defined as not having the same matter, being is a different place and or time, having identical structure and functioning of their bodies will have identical behavior, self identity, consciousness, But not the same “ixperiencitnesses”.

    From this quote:
    “produce a consciousness that you experience”

    I now do see now what you are saying about a “homunculus”. When I say “you are what you experience” it seems to suggest there is something that is not your experiences that experiences these experiences. I did not means to imply this in this way! Sorry! Some people say you (they) are a body. Some people say you (they) are a consciousness. I am saying that you (they) are a very large grouping of structures and functioning of matter. I think stated in this way there is no homunculus problem in my case.

    You wrote:
    And to you – a simple, straightforward, yes or no question.
    Do you believe that through physical processes using a Star Trek transporter / replicator, can we produce two live human bodies which give the self report:
    > There is only one person who experiences the sensory input of both bodies, and this one person controls the motor control of both bodies.

    I do believe that a Star Trek transporter / replicator if it produces the identical structure and functioning at the other end as what occurs at the original point of “departure” will produce an identical enough behavior that they will self report believing that they are the same person as they were before the transporter event.

    This quote I do not know what it is in reference to:

    “There is only one person who experiences the sensory input of both bodies, and this one person controls the motor control of both bodies.”
    I think that one brain if it is complex enough, and connected to two different bodies, could experience sensory input from both bodies and then control the movement each body. In the same way that a brain can have sensory input from both hands and then control their movements.

  153. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    identical behavior

    I know what that means. I agree that the bodies will have externally-observable identical behavior, including self reports.

    self identity

    I don’t know what that means.

    consciousness

    I don’t know what that means in this context.

    ixperiencitnesses

    I don’t know what that means in this context.

    If you want to refer to first-person experience, aka qualia, then please the already existing word, “qualia”, to avoid needless confusion.

    I believe that the two clones will have identical qualia.

    If you mean something stronger or something else, then I don’t understand what you mean.

  154. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (161)

    If you died at this moment in your life and then your dead body was replaced with another body with a continuation of the same structure and functioning that your body produced before death it would produce a continuation of you subjectively as if nothing had happened. It would be like life after death for you without you ever knowing that you ever died. Is this what you mean by the two different bodies having identical qualia?

  155. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Suppose a scifi Star Trek machine dissembled the atoms in my body, throw the atoms to the side, and then assembled a body in its place from entirely new atoms, but otherwise completely indistinguishable on a material physics level. And suppose this happened within nanoseconds. And suppose that there was a visible countdown clock for when this would happen (relevant for later). Then yea, the self report of the person after the experiment would be “I didn’t notice anything”.

    Did I die? I don’t know. That’s an open question for me right now.

    But the person in the room before the experiment and the person in the room after the experiment would not have identical qualia because the memories would be different, and the input stimulus would be different. For example, before the experiment, the person would sees the clock counting down to “0”, and after the experiment the person would see the clock blinking “reached 0”. There might similar qualia regarding the shape and color of the room, but a clock in the room would be different, and this difference would be observed.

    Now, imagine that someone is cloned, and the clone is immediately placed into a situation with stimulus that is identical to the original. Ignoring possible quantum randomness, the two people would have identical brains, be exposed to identical stimulus, and therefore they would behave identically, give identical self reports, and also have identical qualia.

  156. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal(163)

    If I understand you correctly in the first case the before and after person have the same qualia and the same structure and functioning. But in the second case because of the variation in the external stimulus they have a variation in the qualia and a divergence (change) in structure and functioning. However, in the second case as in the first they still have the same ixperiencitness according to my definition of ixperiencitness. In either case I predict that both resulting persons are a case of “life after death” for the original if the originals died in the process. In other words you do not need identical structure and functioning just close enough identical structure and functioning to produce the same ixperiencitness or a case of “life after death”.
    The purpose of the word “ixperiencitness” is to help in the understanding of what is going on in these rational experiments.
    One question that I have is if these are not cases of life after death or bodies having the same ixperiencitness what exactly has been lost for the before person and then differently gained for the after process person? I see no important natural thing being lost or gained. So it appears that it would have to be a supernatural thing being lost and gained. Which I do not see any evidence of or need for either.

  157. Chikoppi says

    One question that I have is if these are not cases of life after death or bodies having the same ixperiencitness what exactly has been lost for the before person and then differently gained for the after process person? I see no important natural thing being lost or gained. So it appears that it would have to be a supernatural thing being lost and gained. Which I do not see any evidence of or need for either.

    Properties (mass, length, width, structure, function, etc.) are not things. Those are terms used to describe things. There is no thing lost or gained. There is only the thing that is the person. That thing is that person. All other things are not that person.

    Given Thing 1 (T1) and Thing 2 (T2), each with a distinct set of properties (P):

    T1 = P1, T2 = P2

    Change the properties of Thing 2 to be identical to be identical to those of Thing 1:

    T1 = P1, T2 = P1

    How many things are there?

    You want to say that P determines identity. It doesn’t. Two things that have the same properties are still two different and distinct things, each with a different and distinct identity. Even if those things are exactly identical in every way each must have a discreet identity in order to exist as a thing. No matter how many times P changes there remain two things and two identities.

  158. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    ixperiencitness

    Still don’t know what this means. Despite your protestations to the contrary, I’ve read the definitions above, and as far as I can tell, they only work in the definition of a homunculus / soul.

  159. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal (166)

    Just for clarity sake, are you saying that “you” do not experience anything?

  160. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    As I said, there’s already a word for first-person experience. The word is “qualia”. In particular, qualia is what separates a philosophical zombie from a “real person”.
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/zombies/

    You should use the standard word if it accurately captures your intended meaning.

    Yes I have qualia. Note that a philosophical zombie would not have qualia, but it would report having qualia. There is absolutely no way to test the difference, except by invoking a generalized Copernican principle (which I happen to do).

    I still don’t know what you mean with the word “ixperiencitness”.

  161. superatheist says

    EnlightenmentLiberal, Chikoppi, D, Sky Captain, etc.,

    I will be posting over at (20.20). They have more room and no one is posting there. Thanks!

  162. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And I’m going to respond here.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2016/05/22/open-thread-for-20-20-matt-with-special-guests-annie-laurie-gaylor-dan-barker/#comment-624864

    What is the term for qualia over a life time? Or a specific time period like a year?

    I don’t know if there is one.

    Why are we not using the term consciousness?

    Because it’s ambiguous.

    If we say that two different people have identical qualia for a life time is this the same as saying they have identical consciousnesses over their life times?

    I don’t know. What definition of terms do you want to use? What do you mean by “consciousness”?

    Does qualia change with the change in structure and functioning of the body?

    Yes.

    If we duplicate the same structure and functioning in the same body do we duplicate the same qualia?

    If it also gets the same sensory input, yes.

    How does qualia tie “you” together from one moment in your life to the next?

    I don’t understand your question. I think one of the assumptions of the question is false, and I think that the question is malformed.

    Do you believe that there is a “you” to be tied together in the first place?

    Only via the physipath definition. In other words, yes I can tie it together because the rules of physics and lack of certain technology allow me to identify a certain “pattern” in time and space, a continuous existence of a brain that undergoes only slow incremental changes in composition, arrangement, and spatial location (but where the changes can accumulate over large amounts of time to large changes).

    I think you’re asking for something more. Again, what you don’t realize is this: You’re asking me to say that there is a immaterial human soul. There is no such thing as an immaterial human soul.

    What could you possibly mean “a ‘me’ that can be tied together” except the definition in terms of physipaths and the definition in terms of an immaterial soul. That very phrasing assumes the existence of an immaterial soul. That’s what you don’t realize yet.

  163. Chikoppi says

    Conclusion:
    No two properties of different objects can be equal because they are properties of different objects.

    That is not what I said and you godamn well know it.

    Here is what I wrote: “You want to say that P [the properties of an obect] determines identity. It doesn’t. Two things that have the same properties are still two different and distinct things, each with a different and distinct identity. Even if those things are exactly identical in every way each must have a discreet identity in order to exist as a thing. No matter how many times P changes there remain two things and two identities.”

    You are merely playing ignorant now for the sake of prolonging this thread. This is pointless and unproductive.