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  #11  
Old 07-10-2009, 09:14 AM
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Transporters are indeed legitmized death machines. Anytime one's body is atomized--you can call it whatever euphemism for distintegration ya want--one ceases to exist as a living entity.

But...

The cheat with transporters is that it does indeed reassemble the object back to the way it was before the disintegration process began (this is where transporter patterns, pattern buffers, and Heisenberg compensators come into play). If we go by the tech manuals, the reason why a transporter is capable of doing so is because the partially decoupled molecules are briefly held in a form of stasis within the transporter beam itself and that at the end of the process, the binding energy that normally holds molecules together is restored to full strength.

It might be argued that it is the activation of this stasis field--or annular confinement beam--that prevents a person's consciousness from simply drifting into the ether during the decoupling and recoupling process.

And I officially no longer have any clue what the hell I just said...
Most interesting. You and I are in philosophical agreement, I believe.

I think that any reassembly of the actual matter (even in the form of energy) will result in the continuation of personal identity. I do realize that to some extent it is argued that energy is fungible, but I think you've put through a plausible explanation as to how, and by extension, why, certain packets of energy corresponding to each atom of an individual's body can be uniquely preserved.

Again, this works only if the matter (in the form of uniquely identified and preserved energy) is actually beamed to the destination. Any use of any other matter would not work.
At that point, it ceases to be a transporter and becomes a genuine replicator. Indeed, it was something like that that lead to the creation of two William Rikers in the TNG episode "Second Chances." Riker's molecules were essentially cloned by two separate transporter beams, but it was impossible to determine which Riker was the original and which was the clone as both terms could apply to either man...
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  #12  
Old 07-10-2009, 09:28 AM
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For some reason this thread and the topic immediately made me think about the magic trick in 'The Prestige' and the secret that was revealed at the end about how it worked.
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  #13  
Old 07-10-2009, 09:37 AM
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Thanks for the comprehensive response, Botany Bay.

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Now, what do you conlude? That Jack is dead? How can he be dead when he is sitting right in front of you and telling you he is alive and well? And from Jacks perspective all your questions dont make any sense. He told you how he was beamed down and beamed back. No discontinuation involved, all fine and well.
From "Jack"'s perspective, and from your perspective, everything is fine, except that this is not the original Jack. The original Jack was disintegrated. His consciousness did not survive.

This "Jack" that owes you the money is from all appearances, to outsiders, the same Jack that originally stepped into the transporter. In fact, until the various Jacks actually pay you back, they still owe you the money. But, regardless, if the transporter is not the matter-stream type, then the Jack that tells you at the other end of the transport that he experienced a blue light, is a different person because he has a separate and independent consciousness.

That separate and independent consciousness was created from nothing (ab initio) when he was assembled using non-original matter. He would have an independent consciousness in the same way that an exact clone would.

The original Jack, in the sense of his original CONSCIOUSNESS, disappeared (died) when he was disintegrated seconds after stepping onto the transporter, never to reappear. That, then would be the discontinuity -- the death of one consciousness, followed by the appearance of another. The outside world would never know the difference, but nevertheless, the original Jack would never get to experience anything else again -- because he is dead.

We know that our own consciousness survives moment to moment. This moment-to-moment survival appears permitted by the fact that we are physical beings. In fact, there is nothing to suggest that we can project our consciousness anywhere beyond where our brain and sensory apparatus exist. This is a strong indication of the physical basis of consciousness. Moreover, it seems to follow that only a certain collection of physical atoms -- our own -- gives rise to the same consciousness and its continuation. By extension, the lack of physical basis -- and of exactly the same physical basis -- would have to be associated with the lack of continuity of that consciousness.

Last edited by Star Trek Viewer : 07-10-2009 at 10:02 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-10-2009, 10:01 AM
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It's not just a question of soul, however. It's a question of personal identity, otherwise known as "self."

Suppose that someone scanned you and made an exact copy, but otherwise did nothing to you. Then suppose that they sent that copy somewhere else. Would what happened to that copy somewhere else be experienced by YOU, or, in other words, your own SELF?

I don't think so.

A copying transporter (though not a matter-stream transporter) that destroyed the original would result in the above, except that it would disintegrate the original person forever after it scans him or her to make the copy. In that case, whatever happened to the copy wouldn't be experienced by the destroyed original person, which would no longer have any experience of self (or anything at all!). The person (self), or the "you," that existed until the transporter destroyed him or her would be dead. Now, this might not matter to the outside world or the copy, for that matter, but it would VERY MUCH matter to the original, who would no longer have any true personal continuation at all.
You are wayyyyyyy over thinking this. Sure, if a copy of you was made then that copy's life would be his/her own. You would have two individuals from the point the copy was created forward.

You've been watching that movie with Hugh Jackman, the one where he is a magician and uses a Tesla "copying" transporter. I figure you have seen this movie and that is why you are going nuts about it. Trek transporters transport the original. All your atoms are still your atoms so this point is mute. If a "transporter" existed that was a mere "fax", and then the original needed to be killed, then it wouldn't be transporter, would it? It would be a "person copier"
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  #15  
Old 07-10-2009, 10:04 AM
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From "Jack"'s perspective, and from your perspective, everything is fine, except that this is not the original Jack. The original Jack was disintegrated. His consciousness did not survive.
Seems to me you are jumping to conclusions here. The initial underlying question of my admittedly long post was: "How do you know who is the real Jack and who is the unreal Jack? And worse, how do you know Jack is not real when there is no real Jack anymore? And why does Jack owe you ten bucks, if he is not Jack?

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This "Jack" that owes you the money is from all appearances, to outsiders, the same Jack that originally stepped into the transporter. In fact, until the various Jacks actually pay you back, they still owe you the money. But, regardless, if the transporter is not the matter-stream type, then the Jack that tells you at the other end of the transport that he experienced a blue light, is a different person because he has a separate and independent consciousness.
Again, how can you ever tell that it is two different conciousnesses, given that Jacks conciousness obviously has no differeing characteristics from the "real Jacks" conciousness and given the "real Jack" is gone and replaced by another "real Jack"?

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That separate and independent consciousness was created from nothing (ab initio) when he was assembled using non-original matter. He would have an independent consciousness in the same way that an exact clone would.
Why is it important from what source the matter comes that Jack was recreated from? The matter stream turned Jacks body into gas and then remade Jack out of this gas. We could as well take the gas from the planets athmosphere. I really dont see the effective difference. You say you are a materialist. As such you would actually have to agree with me on that, because the source of the gas doesnt matter anymore. The source of the gas doesnt exist anymore. Gas is gas. And Jack is recreated from gas by both methods, matter stream or not.

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The original Jack, in the sense of his original CONSCIOUSNESS, disappeared (died) when he was disintegrated seconds after stepping onto the transporter, never to reappear. That, then would be the discontinuity -- the death of one consciousness, followed by the appearance of another. The outside world would never know the difference, but nevertheless, the original Jack would never get to experience anything else again -- because he is dead.
How can you tell that? What does that actually mean and how do you come to know he is dead when he sitting there right in front of you. The only factor that makes you declare him dead is because you saw a body geting disintegrated, vapourized. That doesnt say anything about Jack. All it does is saying something about his physical body. Jack now has a new body that is exactly like the old body - a body transplantation.

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We know that our own consciousness survives moment to moment. This moment-to-moment survival appears permitted by the fact that we are physical beings. In fact, there is nothing to suggest that we can project our consciousness anywhere beyond where our brain and sensory apparatus exist. This is a strong indication of the physical basis of consciousness. By extension, the lack of physical basis would have to be associated with the lack of continuity of consciousness.
That is true given the fact that we never experienced a dead man to return from the dead. In your little mind experiment we would experience exactly this: A man returning from the dead. Ergo, he never died, he merley got his body replaced.

See, with the same validity as concluding Jack died and a different Jack reappeared, we could also assume the universe diappears everytime we go to bed. And the next morning, when we awake a comopletely different copy-universe has arrived that has the exact same characteristics as the original universe.

That may even be the truth, but practically this assumption doesnt lead us anywhere. Treating Jack as the very same person and seeing Jack as an exact copy that sees himself as the same person and expects us to treat him as the same person are effectively the exact same things.

To go with the explanation Jack is not the real Jack would only confuse him and us. Thats why, realistically, humans would not take this explanation, because nothing comes from it. Both explanations work. So, naturally humans easilly adopt the less confusing one. And thats what I tried to show with the video I posted here earlier. The human mind adopts to new strange situations surprisingly fast and easy.

We see and experience the same Jack, he feels the same and experienced a transportation without interruption, so that the way we would handle it. Why should we think about it complicated? Thats just not the way how humans behave in my experience.

Last edited by Botany Bay : 07-10-2009 at 10:09 AM.
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  #16  
Old 07-10-2009, 10:06 AM
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You are wayyyyyyy over thinking this. Sure, if a copy of you was made then that copy's life would be his/her own. You would have two individuals from the point the copy was created forward.

You've been watching that movie with Hugh Jackman, the one where he is a magician and uses a Tesla "copying" transporter. I figure you have seen this movie and that is why you are going nuts about it. Trek transporters transport the original. All your atoms are still your atoms so this point is mute. If a "transporter" existed that was a mere "fax", and then the original needed to be killed, then it wouldn't be transporter, would it? It would be a "person copier"
I've actually been debating this issue online since about 1996. No one has ever been able to convince me that the "person copier" does not result in the death of the original (if the original is disintegrated).

I think from what you've said that you and I agree that if a transporter is merely a person copier, then it would be quite bad for the original.

The reason that this becomes an issue is that real-life transporters (and yes, we have invented a transporter of atoms) do not transport matter-streams, but only information. Real-life transporters are essentially only fancy fax machines.

------- The real-life quantum-entanglement method ("to transfer information from one atom to another in a different location") cannot be the kind used in Star Trek.

The idea that personal identity is preserved in any non-matter-stream method otherwise strikes me as exceedingly obscurantist regardless of what is said about it in an effort to support it. Either one believes then in a migration of personal identity, or one seems to fail to understand the uniqueness of consciousess TO THE PERSON ACTUALLY INVOLVED.

See: http://discovermagazine.com/2005/jan...tion-gets-real

Last edited by Star Trek Viewer : 07-10-2009 at 10:11 AM.
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  #17  
Old 07-10-2009, 10:15 AM
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Botany Bay wrote,

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How do you know who is the real Jack and who is the unreal Jack?
Jack himself would know, wouldn't he?

To conflate the objective with the subjective would be philosophically dangerous here. It is true that outside observers would not know the difference, but Jack would.

The reason, to address another of your points, that we know that different consciousnesses would result is that we know that one subjectivity cannot be in two places at the same time. If the transported person had only one consciousness, he could perceive only the destination. But then what happens if the original was, mistakenly, not destroyed? Wouldn't the transported person, and the original, be in two places at the same time?

------ If he were, this contradicts the very idea of consciousness (since consciousness can only experience one place at any one time) and is therefore admissible.

---------- By extension, the transported person cannot be the same consciousness as the first.
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  #18  
Old 07-10-2009, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
I've actually been debating this issue online since about 1996. No one has ever been able to convince me that the "person copier" does not result in the death of the original (if the original is disintegrated).

I think from what you've said that you and I agree that if a transporter is merely a person copier, then it would be quite bad for the original.

The reason that this becomes an issue is that real-life transporters (and yes, we have invented a transporter of atoms) do not transport matter-streams, but only information. Real-life transporters are essentially only fancy fax machines.

------- The real-life quantum-entanglement method ("to transfer information from one atom to another in a different location") cannot be the kind used in Star Trek.

See: http://discovermagazine.com/2005/jan...tion-gets-real
No one has convinced you because the "person copier" does destroy the original. The way you describe the "person copier" it would be impossible to claim that the original is not destroyed. That would mean that the recieving end would have to have it's own supply of elements to build the new person out of. The one vaporized would probably capture the elements and then use them when it needs to build a person. Now if you have a malfunction and the information is sent to the second location but the first location fails to destroy the original, then you would have two identical people that would be individuals. The Riker example is perfect. I doubt anybody would go through such a machine. The person on the other end would probably be a dead body!!
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  #19  
Old 07-10-2009, 10:19 AM
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MrQ107 wrote,

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No one has convinced you because the "person copier" does destroy the original. The way you describe the "person copier" it would be impossible to claim that the original is not destroyed. That would mean that the recieving end would have to have it's own supply of elements to build the new person out of. The one vaporized would probably capture the elements and then use them when it needs to build a person.
Right -- we are actually in agreement. In the universe of Star Trek, transporters do not operate as person-copiers, but rather as matter-stream transmitters (and receivers), and therefore the "original is dead" problem does not exist. But I'm referring to the fax model, otherwise known as the "person-copier" model, of transportation, which transmits only information.
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:31 AM
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Botany Bay Botany Bay is offline
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Right -- we are actually in agreement. In the universe of Star Trek, transporters do not operate as person-copiers, but rather as matter-stream transmitters (and receivers), and therefore the "original is dead" problem does not exist. But I'm referring to the fax model, otherwise known as the "person-copier" model, of transportation, which transmits only information.
And thats what I dont get. A cloud of gas doesnt have a conciousness. So, if I vaporize you and make a copy of yours out of that gas cloud, then its not a copy, but the real you, eventhough the conciousness was gone for a moment?

But if I vaporize you and recreate you from a different gas cloud, then you are copied and the original died?

There is something in your thoughts that doesnt get along with eachother. Gas is gas. It doesnt matter wether the gas comes from your dead body or wether it comes from a planets athmosphere. The only difference is sentimentality. Gas doesnt have a conciousness. Why does the source of the gas change your perception of the whole process?

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------ If he were, this contradicts the very idea of consciousness (since consciousness can only experience one place at any one time) and is therefore admissible.

---------- By extension, the transported person cannot be the same consciousness as the first.
When you have two Jacks, then you have two Jacks. When you have one Jack, then you have one Jack. You cant tell who is the real Jack, but he can. Jack tells you he is Jack and expects you to treat him like Jack. And thats where the whole story ends. Effectively the notion that transporting is a way of copying is irrelevant, it makes no effective difference untill Jack meets Jack.

Last edited by Botany Bay : 07-10-2009 at 10:46 AM.
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