Transporter Dilemma

A place for discussion and feedback regarding the Non-Prophets podcast and/or the Atheist Experience TV show.

Postby Fyrebrand » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:16 pm

Cephus wrote:You have to remember that we're talking about magic-tech here, you are recreated in perfect detail, down to the quantum level, instantly but somewhere else. Don't try to reason how it might work, it just does. This is Star Trek, not the real world. I think people are getting far too hung up on the mechanics.


Okay, well if I'm completely granting that this transporter works 100% accurately, and that the guy who comes out the other end is, in fact, me in every way... then there is no real dilemma.

In reality -- yes, if you destroy the "old" me and just allow the "new" me to live on, in another location, you are in fact killing me. There's no getting around that. But, as long as the transporter is assumed to function exactly as you say it does, you sort of have to put your money where your mouth is and just accept that destroying your old self is okay if the new one lives. It may not be "you" in a factual sense, but it is you in every sense that matters. If you can point out a difference which makes the new copy not me, then you're doing it wrong.

I mean, emotionally, knowing that you are not "really" you in some sense would feel pretty nightmarish. But, imagine if you knew you had been "transported" 6 times or so over your "life." Would you feel any differently? Would it affect your life in any way whatsoever? Would you feel like you're any less "you"? If such a technology were implemented and used, I don't think anyone would care.

Now, there is of course a level of trust in the mechanism that can present problems. What if someone tampered with your transporter machine, so that the "you" who came out the other end had their brain ever so slightly altered, and believed or felt certain things which were artificially implanted? How would you know, if it happened?
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Re: Transporter Dilemma

Postby clippo » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:42 pm

I was just listening to, and highly recommend, a fascinating interview on Point of Inquiry with Susan Blackmore (http://www.pointofinquiry.org/gerald_wo ... ciousness/)

She discusses a zen view in which life is a string of beads in which discrete moments are the beads. Blackmore asks, What if there is no thread connecting the beads? Moments of life unconnected. Of course she explains it much better than that. Take a listen, she is a great skeptic and thinker.

Bringing this to the transporter question. What if we actually experience the transporter phenom not six times in our lives, but millions of times a day. Maybe this continuity of self we feel is just an illusion; there is no "I-ness," no soul, no self. Each moment of our existence is only connected to the past by our memory just like the Cpt. Kirk clone stepping out of the transporter. Isn't life a constant process of dyeing and regenerating a new "self" each moment?
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