(Green) #1

I had an interesting conversation about one form of supposed immortality.
We ran out of arguments on both sides and no one “won”.
So I was hoping that it could get new life over here.

This is what was proposed.
If you use a machine to read the exact positions of atoms in a human and store them then when that person dies you can bring them back to life by creating a new one with the data you collected. This new person would be you.

My argument against this was that you might as well take death out of the equation and you will get the same result. You merly copy a human. It doesn’t become you. If you die you die. This new copy will however appear to him to be you; the outside world will see no difference. And he will see no difference.
You however would still be alive and would still be… well you.

This can also be made into an example.
You use the machine to read your data. Then go outside and get hit by a buss. You are assumed to be dead. The doctors reactivate you by creating a new you. But then the you that got hit by a buss comes back to life.

Now you have a dilemma. And with or without death it is the same. Only more complicated.
Are you the one that got hit by a buss or the one that got recreated?

To me it’s obvious that this is more or less the same as just cloning you. You just use technology to do it. And you get added benefits such as the clone having your memories and way of life and so on…

However the point of the other side was for this to work you absolutely had to have death in the equation for it to be you.

I had no luck what so ever trying to get them to see that creating a copy of you isn’t the same as immortality. This because if you die you die. So what if someone creates a copy. You will still be dead.

I do however agree that it is theoretically possible to do and has many uses.

Now I wonder not what side you take but if you can ad more arguments since we ran out of them
I will not say how the people I discussed this with are. If they want to say it themselves then go right ahead.

(Goofster) #2

Interesting stuff.

The first thing I thought was:

If I make a “Backup” of myself now. and I get hit by your bus in 20 years time, I would have to redo those 20 years. bummer.
This HAS got some simularity (sp?) to cloning. When you clone someone you just give birth to to him/her again. BANG, there go my last 19 years.

In Computer terms:

If you backup a blendfile NOW, and I fuck it up in 2 days. I’m still screwed :slight_smile:

Not only do i see simularities to cloning, but Time travel would be a possibillity too. al be it in a limited form. You will be younger, but the world would still be the same.


ps. DAMNIT why dont they give philosophy at my school…

(steve343) #3

just a quick reply cos i got to go back to finding a job :(.

u do know even if u managed to copy the positions and type of all the atoms it would be almost impossible to create AN atom let alone many atoms in the exacte place (witch you would have to do in 0 gravity).

also all atoms are slightly different soooo…

but i have to say its the most interesting consept ive hurd in a LONG time kudos to you 8) .

(macke) #4

Theoretically it wouldn’t be impossible to create exactly like atoms, or as exact as is necessary. The question is, what kind of fault range can you have? I don’t think this subject is impossible at all, in time, technology may very well have evolved as far as necessary. Interesting subject indeed.

Although Green said he wasn’t interested in what side I’d take, I’d still like to say that I agree with him. When you’re dead, you’re dead.

(bogbean) #5

I’d thought similar things to this about a matter transporter, like in Star Trek. In that they actually send all the atoms across to be reassembled.

But I’d have thought if someone did ever come up with some sort of device that it would be far easier just to scan the original and transmit the data about it rather than transmitting all the actual matter, then reassemble at the other end from matter which was already there. This would mean having to destroy the original!

If you were to use this device then it would seem as if you were just being transported from place to place. If no one told you that you were being killed each time you used it you would never know.

I wonder if anyone would still use it if they did know.

On another note. What if you replicated yourself and then one killed the other. Could you be put on trial for murdering yourself?

(haunt_house) #6

One question would be if something like a soul exists. There is yet no proof that life only consists out of atoms. If it does, there will be no afterlife.

Or how does a soul get into rather lifeless matter?. One can do that, when one is having a baby. How do you say that a house is for rent?

If I say soul, I don´t have a precise image of it. And certainly not limited to christian ideas.

But I am not convinced that beaming is possible for human beings, or for lifeless matter. Even a cube of one mm in size has quite some atoms.

And a soul is the only solution to not only create a copy. And how would you transfer it?

I think I would like a copy of mine very much.


(S68) #7

To stick to physics, you cannot record the position of an atom,

heisemberg principle dictates the tolerances with wich you can measure subatomic particles. If you strife for accuracy in position you loose accuracy in energy and vice versa.

Since you must known both do buplicate you have problems


(SimonHK) #8

This is an idea explored by an author called Greg Egan, he’s written several short stories and books about sentient software and human copies - where people’s brain states are read and then run as software on computers. The copies live in a kind of VR, and can alter themselves and their environment at will, sounds like great fun…

Excellent books, thought provoking too… :o

(Green) #9

This was a thought of mine aswell. But since I was arguing against 3 atheists that dont belive in souls I decided not to go down that road :).

All my life Ive been trying to determine why I know I exist.
I have only found 2 possible answers.

  1. I have a soul. It is me. the body is simply a tool for it.
  2. I dont have a free will. It only appers that way to myself. in reality my mind is just eather random or is following what you can predict will follow if you mesure the state of the brain at any given time.

If #1 is true then it would be very very interesting to see if this could work at all.
If #2 is true… well. life then has no point since you have no free will, it only apears to be so :frowning: (this subject offcourse can be made into 5000 philosophy books :slight_smile:
on the + side if #2 is true then it would be possible to create a copy/clone/mirror.

(Timothy) #10

#2 is true,

and it doesn’t mean that life doesn’t have a point. I am having a great time, so to me life is very precious.

(Kid Tripod) #11

actually it’s not possible. you’ll need to know the velocity of the atoms too (or they’ll just be sitting around in the new brain) and i believe heisenberg’s uncertainty principle implies that you cannot read the velocity and position, only one or the other, or you risk changing them (bad thing). in star trek this is resolved with a heisenberg compensator to which when asked how it works the creators reply “very nicely thank you”

on the philosophical angle, why have a physical brain at all? you could if you were mad enough write a program to run on a computer that simulates the molecular system that you think is you. personally i think that however small you sample the positions/velocities of the components you will never get the essence of the being. i’m not that religious (open to ideas . . .) but i think that to consider the human merely as a chemical system is overly simplistic.

of course the other point is that the conciousness is in effect a C fork() operation of you (yes im supposed to be revising for my OS exam on wednesday) and so whilst like you, it isn’t you. you will still die.

as an aside you’ll probably have more luck modelling yourself as a neural network, training it (arghh - the nut that has not been cracked yet to reasonable levels) and see what properties emerge (this is known as emergence) and i hate to tell you but its real easy to simulate what most people behave like without simulating their chemical make up (you simply make them want to eat, own things and breed). if you let it live with you (learning from you) it could live for you when you die, although how the woman in your life would appreciate this depends on the nature of the device you use!

(Goofster) #12

“If #2 is true… well. life then has no point since you have no free will, it only apears to be so (this subject offcourse can be made into 5000 philosophy books”

“If you life in the machine your whole life, will you notice the difference with the real world?” (Random quote, Philosophy behind the Matrix)

Sorry man, you’re just a big lump of flesh and bones :slight_smile:


(Kid Tripod) #13

oh - before i forget i recommend you all watch Ghost in the Shell, which asides from just being darn tasty addresses some of the issues you’re discussing (has some nice CG to keep it loosely on topic too!)

(haunt_house) #14

I rather recommend to read it. I am partly a Shirow fan. It is rather heavy stuff in the manga. Appleseed as well.

Darn, if I only had the GITS playstation game videos. THAT´S ANIMATION.


(basse) #15

or… play freeDroid, it’s all about soul transfering… and body being only a vessel… :slight_smile:

but more seriously, I wouldn’t want this cloning even to be possible. ok, it is horrible when someone close to you dies, but it’s part of the cycle… there will be new ones, so we just have to make room for them too. and, you have to enjoy life when you have it… knowing, that you couldn’t die, would just ruin it.


(SkyWriter) #16

my god green, you actually typed whole paragraphs without a typo.

(Pooba) #17

It’s kind of weird to think about…

If you died and then got remade, would the acuall “you” be the new person, or would it be a totally different mind that had the same oppinions, memories, and thoughts that you did? it may just be an exact copy, but your mind as it is now wouldn’t see through it’s eyes and you wouldn’t really think with it’s brain, the new brain would. Weird…

(SkyWriter) #18

assuming it had a brain

(acasto) #19

Is it possible for a species to know so much about it’s self that it can truly define it’s self enought to replicate all aspects of it’s own life? We barely understand biology, it is hard enough to replicate the hardware, how could we ever begin on the software.

What if you were put in a room, with no mirrors, then asked to paint a picture of yourself. How would it compare to the original ? You can take this from a physcial/scientific, and a philosophical/theological standpoint.

Physically: Uncertainty principle surely throws the concept of copying exact atom’s positions out the door.

Philosophically: What is love? What is hate? What is lust? What are we? These being the most basic of aspects, yet untouchable to human understanding, only dreams and guesses to be chased by poets.

(blengine) #20

man, im sick of these complicated topics, lol… there is absolutely no way for us to find out answers for this, its all opinion… so, there shouldnt even be an argument 8) it just seperates us from each other…grr…ack! the D has been takin outta my name! grr!..