On 3/19/2012 9:40 AM, John Clark wrote:
On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 7:22 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
> I didn't pretend there are two points of view in your symmetric room
Great, then like me you believe that although there are 2 living human bodies and 2
living human brains inside that symmetrical room there is only one human consciousness.
> I don't know why you keep referring to consciousness.
Well, the fact that consciousness is what we're talking about might be part of the
reason I keep referring to it.
> In your own example there is an enormous change, i.e. two bodies where
one before, and there *is* a change in consciousness.
But for whatever change in consciousness that occurs in one brain there is a IDENTICAL
change in the brain of the other, rendering it meaningless to speak of two
consciousnesses in that symmetrical room.
> Not into two separate consciousnesses (although I think that must happen
quickly), but in seeing a body that looks like your self.
But BOTH you and the original Brent will see someone who looks and moves just like you
suddenly appear in front of you, things remain symmetrical and despite there being 2
bodies and 2 brains in that room there is only one conscious entity and that's the way
things will remain until there is a relative difference between the two objects.
> I don't know what you're trying to prove with this example. Surely not
must be aware of all "enormous changes".
One must be aware of ANY subjective change enormous or trivial, otherwise by definition
there is no change at all. As for position or any purely objective change, it's just not
> I agree that there is only one consciousness until the two brains diverge
having different inputs (either internal thermal noise or external
which I supposed was your original point.
It was. So what are we arguing about?
I think we're arguing about whether duplication of persons provides a valid model of
quantum uncertainty; at least I think that's what Bruno's argument tries to show.
> I think Bruno also agreed that consciousness only split when there was
difference in perception - which he equated with opening the transporter
I think he did too and I'm glad of that, but he also thought that if the body of the
Helsinki man was annihilated the instant after the information in it was read and the
information used to make identical living bodies in Moscow and Washington then the
Helsinki man is dead; and that is inconsistent, or at least it is if he also thinks (as
I'm sure he does) that the idea of the Bruno of yesterday or even the Bruno of one
nanosecond ago is dead is just silly.
I agree and I think Bruno does too; he just want to avoid identifying the Helsinki man as
'the real Bruno'. But suppose the transmission and reconstruction takes a year, or two.
Is the Helsinki guy dead for the interval?
> Even if the brain is strictly classical and deterministic, the world
plenty of thermal randomness that would very quickly cause the two brains
into different conscious (and subconscious) thoughts.
Maybe, but nobody knows. Even if it's true at the instant of duplication the 2 are
identical, and I certainly never denied that thermal vibrations, or any other
environmental factors, could cause the two to differentiate and the situation become
> If you exchange two things that are identical except for position *while
no one is
watching* then the change is unobservable.
Yes, and the faster the exchange the harder to observe.
> But big classical things have continuity in spacetime
You know that only because that's what you've always observed, but there is a reason for
that. Although there is no law of logic or physics that forbids their existence you have
never seen 2 big things that are identical, current technology is just not up to the job
of making them, but that may not always be true.
You're equivocating on "identical". Of course I've seen many things that are identical in
the sense that I can't tell them apart: U.S. coins of the same year and value for example
or small red balls that table-top magicians use. Magicians use such objects because, if
you can't or don't see them momentarily then you can't tell if they've been switched. But
they are not identical in Leibniz's sense because they occupy different positions and big
things will always be non-identical in this sense due to quantum decoherence. The thought
experiments so far discussed do not even depend on the duplication being accurate at a
microscopic, much less quantum, level. So the duplicates will be non-identical simply
based on their positions (which of course is why you had to postulate a perfectly
symmetrical room) and that's why Bruno considers two duplications (and annihilation of the
guy in Helsinki) to avoid identifying an 'original' by continuity.
> if someone is watching, they can tell that the bodies have been
It's interesting you should mention that because it relates to a personal problem I have
and you might be the right man to give me some advice. About a year ago I started
building a matter duplicating machine. It could find the position and velocity of every
atom in a human being to the limit imposed by Heisenberg's law. It then used this
information to construct a copy and it does it all in a fraction of a second and without
harming the original in any way. You may be surprised that I was able to build such a
complicated machine, but you wouldn't be if you knew how good I am with my hands. The
birdhouse I made is simply lovely and I have all the latest tools from Sears.
I was a little nervous but I decided to test the machine by duplicating myself. The day
before yesterday I walked into the chamber, it filled with smoke (damn those radio shack
transformers) there was a flash of light, and then 3 feet to my left was a man who
looked exactly like me.
And you were still in the chamber? Or were there two chambers?
It was at that
instant that the full realization of the terrible thing I did hit me. I yelled "This is
monstrous, there can only be one of me", my copy yelled exactly the same thing. I
thought he was trying to mock me, so I reached for my 44 magnum that I always carry with
me (I wonder why people think I'm strange) and pointed it at my double. I noted with
alarm that the double also had a gun and he was pointed it at me. I shouted "you don't
have the guts to pull the trigger, but I do". Again he mimicked my words and did so in
perfect synchronization, this made me even more angry and I pulled the trigger, he did
too. My gun went off but his gun jammed. I buried him in my back yard.
Now that my anger has cooled and I can think more clearly I've had some pangs of
conscious about killing a living creature, but that's not what really torments me. How
do I know I'm not the copy? I feel exactly the same as before, but would a copy feel
different? Actually there is a way to be certain, I have a video tape of the entire
experiment. My memory is that the copy first appeared 3 feet to my LEFT, (if I had
arranged things so he appeared 3 feet in front of me face to face things would have been
more symmetrical, like looking in a mirror) if the tape shows the original walking into
the chamber and the copy materializing 3 feet to his RIGHT, then I would know that I am
the copy. I'm afraid to look at the tape, should I be? If I found out I was the copy
what should I do? I suppose I should morn the death of John Clark, but how can I, I'm
not dead. If I am the copy would that mean that I have no real past and my life is
meaningless? Is it important, or should I just burn the tape and forget all about it?
I'll tell you as soon as you tell me the probability that you'll be the guy whose gun
misfires if you repeat the experiment.
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