A question of id-entity

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This topic contains 41 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 1 year, 1 month ago.

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    I’m with Dr. McCoy….”Crazy way to travel, spreading a man’s molecules all over the universe”.  I’ll take the shuttle!

    Greetings – it’s been a while and I am, if you recall, one of the few Theist that enjoy the AtheistZone.  I love Star Trek.  I have always considered the transporter as creating a perfect duplicate – in the sci-fi world, of course.  And if such technology could be developed (remember “The Fly”) I’m pretty confident I would not use it.  I will say this – from a theological perspective (being a Theist of the Christian verity), I don’t think such technology would  matter.

    Now – regarding storing my psyche into a computer to be put BACK into a future android body, Star Trek has played with this often.  Remember the M-5 or consider Commander Data with some of his “father’s” (Noonien Soong) brain patterns.  This idea is a little different.  If my worldview is correct, I’m not sure such a transfer would be possible.  However, even if it was seemingly successful, like the overall question here – I’m not sure it would qualify as being the same person.

    Regardless, this was a fun question to consider!

    And yes – we are all a little nuts!



    Also besides cell replacement, I read that 98% of your molecules are replaced each year. Guessing our net uniqueness that persists is just = DNA replication – failures. So yeah, we are constantly in a replicator.




    Ops – posted twice.  Sorry!

    I deleted the second post for you. Welcome back!



    This sort of malarkey* could lead to a rise in reported cases of the Capgras delusion.

    *a very presidential word.


    I cannot visualize how atoms and molecules could be re-assembled in the exact same structure that would keep all the connections between neurons intact.  The initial “disassembly” would break these connections as the electrical activity would have to be shutdown. I am with Dr. McCoy and will take the bus, especially if someone like Dr. Necessiter is involved. You don’t have to be sane to work here.

    Dr. Hfuhruhurr: Exactly! Not only is he dead, he’s six thousand miles away!



    I’ve never heard a satisfactory answer to this or the problem of the ship of Theseus. The answers all depend on different theories of identities and continuity. Since all objects are arbitrarily defined by humans as X, what X is or continues to be X is dependent on what other people say X is. Some cases are super clear cut, like a ship that has identical parts replaced over time (with the parts they are replaced with destroyed and not used for others). Or a human shedding their skin cells. Few people would say that Davis is no longer Davis because of normal cell replacement or the ship is no longer the ship per the same. But when the ship is upgraded again and again to the point that it is a totally different ship…I would say…that depends on your theory of identity and continuity (none of which have a clear or obvious answer). If the old parts of the ship were used to build a new one, then your theory of identity and continuity would have to answer for that (I wouldn’t bother to make an attempt because I don’t think I could come up with a satisfactory answer that could deal with so many variables or other issues and doubt any theory could). As for the transporter, I suppose you’d have Davis-A and Davis-B and neither could take claim for being the original though it depends on the theory of continuity and identity. Aristotle tried to answer this question by claiming it is the soul that allows an agent to continue being the same agent even though it clearly changes over time. You could use the same concept (without the magic) and apply that to other objects but it all falls apart when you start doing things like upgrading beings, making copies or say in the future altering ourselves in ways we cannot conceive (say an alien pathogen that turns us into some fourth dimensional being with multiple entities in multiple dimensions)). Perhaps some genius philosophy in the future will crack this question with a satisfactory answer, I’ve never read anything that is worth taking seriously yet though.  As for consciousness, our best theory of consciousness is at the most armature level of understanding and I don’t think anyone is in any position to say whether it could be downloaded or replicated (perhaps I don’t know) let alone answer what happened with one’s consciousness in the transporter incident.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Davis.


    Transfer of consciousness in the not too distant future. Lets see…if we are not ascribing some aspect of our being to religious quackery then if we can produce an exact replication of our brain at a precise time along with the electrical activity, the interactions within and between glia and neurons, the central nervous system and colonies of bacteria then it will be status quo ante transmission. You will be you. But who wants to be on a chip? That is no fun. So it is gonna have to be a full body transplant too. You are you. Let the endless cycle of lives begin.

    Not only that but we will have the option of designer bodies. You can be an adonis or goddess. You can have the faccia of a movie star, Jody’s eyes or any features that moves you.

    But lets say you are opting out of life because of chronic anxiety and depression. Not so fast Charley. We are seeing amazing results with ketamine and psilocybin. By the time body and consciousness are remade the treatment of ALL mental illness will be old hat. There is of course the issue of entitlement. This aint gonna be cheap. So if you can’t afford it and forget about your insurer flipping the bill, then you will just die. Nothing ever changes on a fundamental level.



    Good to see you Fullermingjr.

    Have you had your apostasy? If not when can we expect it?



    If we one day completely replicate a person (consciousness and all) I’m sure it would give theologians a total field day with what that means (giving them a beautiful chance to fabricate answers to these questions as fast as their imaginations could generate them). Did we or did God create those new people? Do they have souls and would they be damned to our loving God’s eternal torture chamber if they refuse to buy the bullshit sold to them in the Bible? If we replicate a person 1000x are we being fruitful and multiplying?


    @davis – let’s give the theologians a break. Some of them are still working on the implications of cloning “Dolly the sheep”. I have often had conversations with theists on the ethics of creating “fronkeys” by genetically mixing the DNA of frogs and donkeys 🙂



    Good point Davis.

    We already know that cloning is a no-no with know nothings. Imagine if the mind blowing discovery of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe were made. It would be tough to portray humans as special creation. It has to suck to be otherwise intelligent and hold onto faith so that you are constantly reconciling the natural world with the world of make-believe.


    @fullermingjr –  If my worldview is correct, I’m not sure such a transfer would be possible….

    According to Christian teaching do you not believe that your mind will be merged into a new body on the Day of Judgement? At the very least don’t you believe you will have some sort of “continuity of experience” as an immortal in the presence of your God?



    I plead ignorance as to a great deal of the bible. Is there a description of heaven? Are there massage parlors, slaves, disembodied souls, swimming pools, forests, knights errant, dragons, coliseums where Spartacus shows off? Eternity is a great deal of time to kill. As Twain pointed out a harpsichord that never shuts up is no picnic by the lake.


    As Woody Allen once quipped, Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.



    That is really good line.

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