Mark Peaty writes:

Brent: 'However, all that is needed for the arguments that appear on this list 
is to recreate a rough, functioning copy of the body plus a detailed 
reproduction of memory and a brain that functioned approximately the same.  
That much might not be too hard.  After all, as Stathis points out, you're not 
the same atoms you were a week ago'
MP: Well! I'm not going to let YOU pull the levers or press any buttons if I have to be 
faxed anywhere soon! You make  philosophers' copy-machines sound like props for 
Frankenstein's  Monster or that movie 'The Fly'. Furthermore " ... memory and a 
brain that functioned approximately the same" would seem to be rather less than what 
Bruno's arguments about copying require. But my point is that, whilst the ideas are cute, 
they are also nonsense any way. Most people have problems enough living from day to day, 
and the only time that 'copying' of a person really has any relevance is where surgery or 
prosthetic augmentation of some kind really should be done to alleviate suffering or 
prevent premature death.
As for Stathis's assertion about seemingly minor changes which commonly occur 
to people's brains as they get older, like the odd little stroke here and 
there, it is always a question of the facts in each case. Some deficiencies 
turn out to be crucial in terms of quality of life: loosing the use of one or 
two fingers could be annoying, embarrassing and on occasion quite dangerous. 
Losing the ability to remember the names of all the people you know, would 
likewise not be nice. On the other hand, losing the ability to recognise things 
on the left side of your world, or losing the ability to see the people you 
knew before as being THOSE people such that you become convinced that the 
person you are with is a substitute, now that could be very dysfunctional and 
very distressing. I have seen it written that in fact most people who survive 
past middle age, do in fact suffer from 'micro' strokes quite often but usually 
the perceived experience is that of progressively weakened memory. Not 
Alzheimer's which is a league of its own, but just difficulty remembering 
certain things.

Our bodies, including all neural tissue, are constantly falling apart and being 
rebuilt. Experiments with radiolabeled amino acids in mice, for example, 
suggest that the half life of protein in the brain is about 10 days. The 
turnover at synapses is even faster, a matter of minutes. So given months or 
years, you really are like a car in which every single component has been 
replaced, the only remaining property of the original car being the design.

Stathis Papaioannou
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