On 10/24/2012 6:27 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
On Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 11:04 AM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com
On Sun, Oct 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com
> I think you are missing something. It is a problem that I noticed
watching the movie "The Prestige"
In my opinion "The Prestige" is the best movie made in the last 10 years,
is one of those rare instances where the movie was better than the book.
movie back in 1996 I wrote a short scenario that had somewhat similar
is part of it:
" About a year ago I started building a matter duplicating machine. It
the position and velocity of every atom in a human being to the limit
Heisenberg's law. It then used this information to construct a copy and it
all in a fraction of a second and without harming the original in any way.
be surprised that I was able to build such a complicated machine, but you
be if you knew how good I am with my hands. The birdhouse I made is simply
and I have all the latest tools from Sears.
I was a little nervous but I decided to test the machine by duplicating
day before yesterday I walked into the chamber, it filled with smoke (damn
radio shack transformers) there was a flash of light, and then 3 feet to my
a man who looked exactly like me. It was at that instant that the full
of the terrible thing I did hit me. I yelled "This is monstrous, there can
one of me", my copy yelled exactly the same thing. I thought he was trying
me, so I reached for my 44 magnum that I always carry with me (I wonder why
think I'm strange) and pointed it at my double. I noted with alarm that the
also had a gun and he was pointing it at me. I shouted "you don't have the
pull the trigger, but I do". Again he mimicked my words and did so in
synchronization, this made me even more angry and I pulled the trigger, he
My gun went off but due to a random quantum fluctuation his gun jammed. I
in my back yard.
Now that my anger has cooled and I can think more clearly I've had some
guilt about killing a living creature, but that's not what really torments
do I know I'm not the copy? I feel exactly the same as before, but would a
different? Actually there is a way to be certain, I have a video tape of
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
been more symmetrical, like looking in a mirror), if the tape shows the
walking into the chamber and the copy materializing 3 feet to his RIGHT,
would know that I am the copy. But 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
real past and my life is meaningless? Is it important, or should I just
tape and forget all about it?"
Nice story. It reminds me of this little puzzle (I forgot where I heard it):
You will be placed into a room with an exact clone of yourself and you will be given a
gun. If you shoot your clone you can leave that room and everything will be fine. Or,
if you shoot yourself your clone will be allowed to leave the room and will be given
$1,000,000. What do you do? If you value the money and ascribe to certain
philosophical schools, the logical decision would be to shoot yourself rather than
shooting the clone.
> you probably believe there is some stream of thoughts/consciousness
I can't conceive of anyone disagreeing with that.
> You further believe that these thoughts and consciousness are
produced by some
activity of your brain.
> Unlike Craig, you believe that whatever horrible injury you suffered,
every atom in your body were separated from every other atom, in
could be put back together, and if the atoms are put back just right,
be removed and alive and well, and conscious again.
> Further, you probably believe it doesn't matter if we even re-use the
atoms or not, since atoms of the same elements and isotopes are
> We could take apart your current atoms, then put you back together
from a different pile and your consciousness would continue right where
off (from before you were obliterated).
It would be as if a simulation of your brain were running on a VM, we
VM, moved it to a different physical computer and then resumed it.
perspective inside, there was no interruption, yet your physical
location has changed.
> what happens to your consciousness when duplicated?
When what is duplicated? Adjectives, like consciousness or Jason Resch, do
duplicate in the same way that nouns, like brains, do. If I exactly
duplicate a iPod
playing loud music the iPod is duplicated but the adjective "loud" is not
duplicated, but if I then change the loudness level on one of them but not
then the two differentiate. In the same way If I exactly duplicate you and
a cat as
you consciously look at the cat then your body and brain are duplicated but
adjective describing what the brain is doing, consciousness, is not
however if I then change one cat but not the other then the conscious
memories formed by observing the cat will be different and the two of you
longer be each other but both will be Jason Resch.
To clarify, I mean if the substrate of your consciousness is duplicated, then the
singular mind "John Clark" will have multiple manifestations. Destroying one of the
manifestations will not destroy John Clark so long as there is at least one surviving
manifestation. What numerous scientific theories suggest (Eternal Inflation, Many
Worlds, Mathematical Realism, String Theory Landscape to name a few) is that each of us
has an infinite number of manifestations, in whatever possible state we might enter.
Thus we are all immortal, survive everything, consciousness never ends, our states are
interlinked and can intersect, thus we reincarnate, we resurrect to afterlives in far
away places and different universes and realms, we also sometimes awaken and find
ourselves to be an omega point mind with the memories of 10^10^10 life times, exploring
all possibilities of reality and consciousness before jumping in to the next life.
Seeing the unity in two manifestations of the same minds leads to seeing unity among all
minds. Wait long enough and you will experience the lives of every person you ever
meet, and all the ones you haven't met too.
Except I don't remember any of that, only this life (and not much of it) and I'm not
experiencing it now - so if it's being experienced it's not by me and there's something
wrong with your hypothesis.
> Initially, the sensory input to the two duplicates could be the same,
and in a
sense they are still the same mind, just with two instances
Two identical minds are not "in a sense" the same mind they ARE the same
Well two identical experiences are the same experience. But if a mind is a sequence of
experiences, then two minds could share an experience but be in different sequences otherwise.
> but then something interesting happens once different input is fed to
instances: they split.
Yes, now let me tell you of a thought experiment of my own.
An exact duplicate of the earth, and it's entire ecosystem, is created a
light years away. The duplicate world would need some sort of feedback
keep the worlds in synchronization, non linear effects would amplify tiny
variations, even quantum fluctuations, into big differences, but this is a
experiment so who cares.
(If the universe is infinitely big, then there is no need to worry about keeping the two
worlds in sync, as there will an infinite number of worlds intersecting that same
quantum state of the entire planet and even galaxy. QM already suggests that this is
the kind of world we inhabit.)
In the first two cases below the results would vary according to
remember there's a lot of illogic even in the best of us.
1) I know all about the duplicate world and you put a 44 magnum to my head
me that in ten seconds you will blow my brains out. Am I concerned? You bet
because I know that your double is holding an identical gun to the head of
and making an identical threat.
2) I find out that for the first time since the Big Bang the worlds will
10 seconds you will put a bullet in my head but my double will be spared.
concerned? Yes, and angry as well, in times of intense stress nobody is
Also, even if we always survive from a first-person perspective, there are things that
might decrease our measure and thus it could be said that the "universal soul" who
experiences everything will experience being "John Clark" less frequently.
My double is no longer exact because I am going through a traumatic
my double is not. I'd be looking at that huge gun and wondering what it
will be like
when it goes off and if death will really be instantaneous. I'd be
wondering if my
philosophy was really as sound as I thought it was and I'd also be
wondering why I
get the bullet and not my double and cursing the unfairness of it all. My
double would be thinking "it's a shame about that other fellow but I'm glad
Imagine if you and your double drew straws and one would be tortured and the other
released. The released one might conclude "I sure am glad I wasn't tortured", but is
the one who was tortured any better off than if he himself had been tortured, but then
had the memories and all traces of that punishment erased from his body? The experience
still happened, that you don't remember it from your current perspective does not mean
it didn't happen. We can make similar problems with duplicates and committing crimes.
If you had a perfectly identical twin (same memories and everything) but your twin
committed murder, most would say only the twin who committed that murder should be
punished, but what if after committing the murder both you and your twin have your
brains reset to the period right before your minds diverged, now you and your twin are
perfectly identical again, does that wash away his guilt? Should he still be punished?
If so, why punish one and not the other when they are both identical?
The purpose of punishment is social. So we punish one or the other so that people don't
suppose they can get away with murder by just resetting themselves to "innocent". It
doesn't matter which one we punish since they are ex hypothesi identical (and each one is
equally likely to kill again).
Are you not in a sense, also punishing the innocent one (who now has a 50/50% of finding
himself diverging to experience the life in prison).
3) I know nothing about the duplicate world, a gun is at both our heads and
are convinced we're going to die. One gun goes off, making a hell of a
mess, but the
other gun, for inexplicable reasons misfires. In this case NOBODY died and
for undergoing a terrifying experience I am completely unharmed. The real
part is that I don't even have to clean up the mess.
The bottom line is we don't have thoughts and emotions, we are thoughts and
emotions, and the idea that the particular hardware that is rendering them
their meaning is as crazy as my computer making the meaning of your post
from what it was on yours.
What will your next thought or emotion be? Answering that question depends on the
goings on of things a trillion light years away, a million years in the future, and even
things outside this physical universe.
Or that's just a fancy way of saying QM includes randomness.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at