On Oct 24, 2012, at 9:02 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

On 10/24/2012 6:27 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

On Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 11:04 AM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote: On Sun, Oct 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote

> I think you are missing something. It is a problem that I noticed after watching the movie "The Prestige"

In my opinion "The Prestige" is the best movie made in the last 10 years, and this is one of those rare instances where the movie was better than the book. Before the movie back in 1996 I wrote a short scenario that had somewhat similar themes, this is part of it:

" 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. 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 pointing 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 due to a random quantum fluctuation 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 guilt 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. 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 have no real past and my life is meaningless? Is it important, or should I just burn the 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 that you identify with.

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, even if every atom in your body were separated from every other atom, in principle you could be put back together, and if the atoms are put back just right, you will be removed and alive and well, and conscious again.


> Further, you probably believe it doesn't matter if we even re-use the same atoms or not, since atoms of the same elements and isotopes are functionally equivalent.


> We could take apart your current atoms, then put you back together with atoms from a different pile and your consciousness would continue right where it left off (from before you were obliterated).


It would be as if a simulation of your brain were running on a VM, we paused the VM, moved it to a different physical computer and then resumed it. From your perspective inside, there was no interruption, yet your physical incarnation and location has changed.


> what happens to your consciousness when duplicated?

When what is duplicated? Adjectives, like consciousness or Jason Resch, do not 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 the other 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 the adjective describing what the brain is doing, consciousness, is not duplicated; however if I then change one cat but not the other then the conscious experience and memories formed by observing the cat will be different and the two of you will no 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.

You probably don't remember when you were two, nor are you experiencing that from your present perspective. If it wasn't you who experienced that then who did?

> 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 mind period.


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 the two 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 billion light years away. The duplicate world would need some sort of feedback mechanism to keep the worlds in synchronization, non linear effects would amplify tiny variations, even quantum fluctuations, into big differences, but this is a thought 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 personalities, 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 and tell me that in ten seconds you will blow my brains out. Am I concerned? You bet I am because I know that your double is holding an identical gun to the head of my double and making an identical threat.

2) I find out that for the first time since the Big Bang the worlds will diverge, in 10 seconds you will put a bullet in my head but my double will be spared. Am I concerned? Yes, and angry as well, in times of intense stress nobody is very logical.

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 experience and 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 (semi) double would be thinking "it's a shame about that other fellow but I'm glad it's not me".

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).

So what if a murderer duplicates themselves into 100 copies? Do all go to prison for life, does one? Or do they each go for one year?

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 we both 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 except for undergoing a terrifying experience I am completely unharmed. The real beauty 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 changes their meaning is as crazy as my computer making the meaning of your post different 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.

The randomness and qm is explained by the everything.  It is secondary.


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