On Tuesday, September 18, 2012 1:17:08 AM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
>
>
>
> On Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 7:03 PM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> On Monday, September 17, 2012 6:18:00 PM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Craig,
>>>
>>> Do you think if your brain were cut in half, but then perfectly put back 
>>> together that you would still be conscious in the same way?
>>>
>>
>> There is no such thing as perfectly put back together. If you cut a 
>> living cell in half, it dies. The only way of putting it perfectly back 
>> together is to travel back in time and not cut it in half.
>>
>
> Why do you believe this?  We can put machines back together.  Cells are 
> machines on a very small scale.  It would be difficult, but there is no 
> physical reason that prevents us from putting a cell back together after it 
> has come apart.
>

Cells may not be only machines though, they are also self-organizing life 
experiences. They have mechanistic characteristics as well, but they are 
not defined as that only. Molecules aren't only machines either, but 
different experiences are associated with different kinds of molecules. By 
assuming that all things are only machines from the beginning, you beg the 
question of whether things can be treated like machines. There are 
thermodynamically irreversible processes involved. It would be like 
unburning a log or putting water back into a wave.
 

>  
>
>>  
>>
>>>
>>> What if cut into a thousand pieces and put back together perfectly?
>>>
>>
>> Same answer.
>>  
>>
>>>
>>> What if every atom was taken apart and put back together?
>>>
>>
>> If you could take every atom in a living cell 'apart' and put it back 
>> together without killing the cell, then it seems like it would work, but I 
>> don't think that the cells would necessarily be 'the same' cells. 
>>
>
> What is different about them?  They could have the same exact quantum 
> state, 
>

There is no such thing as the same exact anything. Not in reality. Our 
perception groups things that seem similar, but objectively every event is 
unique because in some sense it reflects the total state of the cosmos 
since the beginning of time and extending into many possible futures.
 

> and yet you believe that because at one point in the past some atoms had 
> some distance put between, and this somehow rules out the possibility of 
> those atoms ever being used to build a person or life form, or be conscious?
>  
>

> Why would this be?  Our bodies continually take in and use atoms from 
> things that were once not alive.  What is different here?
>

Time is the difference. The universe is made of experienced moments, not 
molecules. Molecules are experiences (low quality experiences relative to 
our own). Who we are is a function of experiences through time, not just 
chemical composition. Just as our human capacities and opportunities are 
conditioned by our society's history, the capacity to sustain cellular life 
is to inorganic structure what color is to black and white. It's not an 
emergent property from the bottom up, it's a recovered property from the 
top down.
 

>  
>
>> To me consciousness is an event in time, not a structure in space. The 
>> structure is the vehicle of the event. If you mess with the vehicle, you 
>> mess with the event.
>>
>
> What the difference between putting someone back together and a baby 
> slowly being constructed through a set of complex chemical reactions from 
> previously lifeless matter?  
>

The difference is that the baby isn't being constructed it's growing and 
reproducing through the internal motivations of the cells themselves. The 
cells know what they are doing, but we don't. Like if an ant colony tried 
to impersonate you...it is a completely different level of experience.
 

> In either case would the result not be a fully alive and conscious human? 
>  Do you suppose life also requires that life forms be built in certain 
> natural ways (rather than artificial ways)?
>

It seems to require that you start with living cells. As long as the cells 
can survive, then it's natural enough. Even organ transplants are tricky, 
and that is a much closer match than an artificial component. How does 
tissue rejection fit into your view of functionalism? Have you ever read 
all of the accounts of organ transplant patients having new memories and 
personality characteristics?
 

>  
>
>>  
>>
>>>
>>> What if every atom was taken apart, and then atoms from a different pile 
>>> were used to put you back together?
>>>
>>
>> When the atoms are taken apart, you die. If you put them together in what 
>> you think is the same way,
>>
> it is still a different performance of atoms, whether they are the same or 
>> different.
>>  
>>
>
> The hypothetical did not involve some person thinking they were put back 
> in the same way, but the atoms actually being put back in the same way. 
>

But I am saying that there is no such thing. The hypothetical already begs 
the question. You are saying, 'if I could make a person out of Jack cheese, 
why wouldn't I have made a person out of Jack cheese'.
 

>
> Do you still think there would be a "different performance of atoms"?
>

Yes. Every moment is new. People are made of moments.
 

>  
>
>>
>>> What then if the original atoms were put back, would they both 
>>> experience what it is like to be you?
>>>
>>
>> No.
>>
>
> Why shouldn't they?
>

Because taking a person apart ends their time in the universe.
 

>  
>
>>  
>>
>>>
>>> Does the identity of one's atoms matter or are they interchangable?  If 
>>> the identity is not what matters, what is it that does?
>>>
>>
>> Our atoms are replaced all the time.
>>
>
> Right.
>  
>
>>  Our identity exists at the level of our experience as a whole.
>>
>
> I don't understand what you mean here.
>

Like 'Star Wars' doesn't exist in any particular set of molecules, or 
arrangements of molecules, it is an experience which is facilitated through 
them though. Personal experience is not reducible to a sum of sub-personal 
or im-personal experiences, or even super-personal experiences or all of 
the combinations thereof. It has its own layer of contribution as well.
 

>  
>
>>  The experience of our body, our family, culture, etc. We are a lifetime 
>> that uses the whole brain as a way to participate in the human world as a 
>> human body.  
>>
>
> Are you suggesting that things beyond one's skull are relevant to what 
> someone experiences?
>

Of course Have you ever experienced something that is within your skull? 
What's it like in there?

I see it like this. If this were 1012 AD, someone who thinks as you do 
might be an alchemy enthusiast. You would be telling me "It is only a 
matter of time until we can turn lead into gold. We completely understand 
how to dissolve and metals and to make new alloys. There is nothing magical 
about gold that we can't build it from sulfur and mercury." I am the guy 
saying "But we have no idea about what gold actually is and no evidence 
that it can be reduced to other metals. There might be a common ancestor of 
gold, lead, sulfur, and mercury, but it isn't like any of those things. To 
get to that level will take centuries. It will require nuclear fission and 
particle accelerators which will cost much more than gold to construct and 
operate. You will never be able to make gold from scratch in a test tube."

You continue..."But if we dissolve gold into a red liquid, then why 
shouldn't we be able to precipitate gold out of any red liquid by reversing 
the process?" I try to explain that your assumptions don't match the 
reality. If you can't solve the hard problem and explanatory gap with 
physics and chemistry, then how can you presume to know whether you can 
accomplish something which entirely depends upon having that solution?

See what I mean? (I'm guessing not really). If biology was anything like 
you assume, the riddles of medicine would have been solved long ago, after 
the first frog leg jumped at a live electrode. It should be no big deal to 
replace a defective organ in a cadaver, and resurrect it with a little 
electricity and meat tenderizer. The reality is nothing like that at all. 
Something as easy as swapping out a human cardiac pump is a life 
threatening operation requiring ultra-high levels of skill, and even so, 
people's lives tend to be shorter after that.

Craig
 

>
> Jason
>
>  
>
>> Experience is what matters.
>>
>> Craig
>>  
>>
>>>
>>> Jason 
>>>
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