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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    It's only as important as you make it. Terms like "original" and "copy" designate different, similar entities. If you don't care if you're working with an original or a copy, cool. Nobody's gonna make you care.

    But sometimes it does matter. Perhaps the original painting is worth $x, and the copy is worth some fraction of $x. This is true no matter how good the copy is. So, clearly people do care.

    Okay. You have a name, yeah? Is your name measurable and detectable by someone examining your body?

    Certainly not at the present time. However, nobody cares.

    It's your name nevertheless. Humans routinely describe things in ways other than gross physical properties.
    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    If you disappear and then two copies appear then you there are strong grounds for saying that the original has been destroyed.

    As to the rights of the copy? Well, in a post-scarcity society there isn't an issue. But in the real world, where my pension credits have to support myself and my family, then there is a real problem. I'm not in favour of shooting the copy (or the original, for that matter), but the copy has not earned the pension credits, no matter how much they believe they have.
    If we're at the point of 'the property of originality is just like your name' then I agree. That is in fact a property that is 'stored' in external degrees of freedom connecting you to society rather than being stored in your body.

    I'd disagree that any such external property actually has anything to say about issues like whether your experiential existence ends though. Teleporters indeed would introduce a lot of legal inconveniences, but you wouldn't have to fear e.g. walking into a room and then nothing ever again.

    As far as measuring self-awareness goes, this can be done objectively by looking at intersubjective agreement as a source of experimental evidence. Not ideal, but it's something. You also have a number of non-report protocols now that can be used.

    There are systematic studies of things like blind-sight (being able to successfully perform visual tasks even after losing visual awareness), saliency, change in capabilities at different levels of general anaesthetic, etc.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    It matters because if you are destroying the original in the process then you are killing someone. The moral implications of that apply even if we don't see the duplication problem. Oh, but of course. You can't scientifically measure morals either. Silly me.
    Says who? You absolutely can "scientifically measure" morals - provided you can clearly state, beforehand, what they are, and quantify all the relevant variables.

    And no, you're not "killing" anyone - if you were, they wouldn't be stepping off the remote teleport pad alive and well. The day that "killing" does encompass such an outcome, it may be time to re-evaluate our moral view of that too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    As to the rights of the copy? Well, in a post-scarcity society there isn't an issue. But in the real world, where my pension credits have to support myself and my family, then there is a real problem. I'm not in favour of shooting the copy (or the original, for that matter), but the copy has not earned the pension credits, no matter how much they believe they have.
    So if someone invents this technology tomorrow, and I want to use it, I should thereby forfeit all my property rights? That's harsh.

    I think people in this thread are guilty of magical thinking: they are attributing to humans some property, "originality", which is "by definition destroyed by teleportation".

    But what does this property do for us anyway? This thing that is "destroyed by teleportation" - why exactly should we value it and try to preserve it?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    I am as Nihilistic as anyone else, but good luck trying to convince people that "self-awareness" is merely an ilusion because you lack the proper tools to measure it and subsequently demonstrate it's existence to anyone else.
    But "self-awareness" isn't destroyed. The 'you' that steps out of the other end of the process is every bit as self-aware as the 'you' that went into it. You can say that "the original self-awareness" was destroyed, but then we're back to this mythical property of "originality".
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighbor’s pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    How about this, suppose for a moment there is such a thing as a soul. When you step into the teleporter, that soul is released to whatever afterlife exists. At the same time, a new body is created with your memories and filled with a new soul. I think we can all agree that in this scenario you are killing someone. My problem with teleporters is that I don't know if the world has this scenario, or another, and would rather not risk it.

    EDIT: Additionally, the difference between teleporting and driving is that the dangers of driving are quantifiable. I can assess the risks and try to mitigate them with driving, but I simply can't know if teleporting will kill me until it has.

    P.S. Just because we can't measure something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For the longest time, we couldn't measure many things, and they didn't spring into existence when we developed the means to do so. I believe that there is a currently unmeasurable quality of originality, and will continue to believe so until proven otherwise.
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  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    How about this, suppose for a moment there is such a thing as a soul. When you step into the teleporter, that soul is released to whatever afterlife exists. At the same time, a new body is created with your memories and filled with a new soul. I think we can all agree that in this scenario you are killing someone. My problem with teleporters is that I don't know if the world has this scenario, or another, and would rather not risk it.

    EDIT: Additionally, the difference between teleporting and driving is that the dangers of driving are quantifiable. I can assess the risks and try to mitigate them with driving, but I simply can't know if teleporting will kill me until it has.

    P.S. Just because we can't measure something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For the longest time, we couldn't measure many things, and they didn't spring into existence when we developed the means to do so. I believe that there is a currently unmeasurable quality of originality, and will continue to believe so until proven otherwise.
    However, if there is such a thing as a soul, it impacts behavior, because that's the point of a soul. So you can test this theory by sending other people through and observing their behavior. This is of course incredibly unethical, killing people for an experiment, but given that this is teleportation we're talking about, instant travel around the world, there will probably be more than enough willing subjects going trough the machine in the first few years, enough for large scale behavioral studies*.

    If it turns out all those people were killed, then oops some inventor is now a mass murderer, but it does open up a new interesting option: testing which other lifeforms have souls, what a soul does exactly and how you can observe souls in living people. Soulology would do more discoveries within a day of experiments than it has done in the history of ever up to now.

    In other words: the teleporter would make the unmeasurable measurable. If it stays unmeasurable, then obviously the teleporter does not effect it. Either you don't have a thing that would fall under this description of a soul or it travels across just fine, being a spirit entity with the means to travel all the way across to another dimension that we haven't even detected the slightest trace of yet upon the moment of your physical death and such, there's a good chance it can travel to the other side of the world just as easily.

    *Still not sure how ethical this would be in the real world, going from the viewpoint that people have souls, or from any other viewpoint where a minor rebuilding error could have enormous consequences, but this is a hypothetical situation.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2017-09-26 at 04:36 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    If we're at the point of 'the property of originality is just like your name' then I agree. That is in fact a property that is 'stored' in external degrees of freedom connecting you to society rather than being stored in your body.
    So, we are now agreed that there is such a thing as the original, and that it is possible to identify it (albiet not as a property of the thing itself).

    Now we can start looking at the process of teleportation and its results:

    1. Original dematerialises at source; one person materialises at target: We can't say whether the person is the original or the copy, so what has happened to the original is up in the air. In practice we might be able to gain clues from the mechanics of the operation, but with a "philosophical perfect teleporter" there is nothing to work with.

    2. Original does not dematerialise at source (transporter accident); Person materialises at target: At this point it is clear that a copy is being made and (under normal circumstances) the original is being destroyed.

    3. Original dematerialises at source; More that one person materialises: Since only one item can be the original then it is clear that at least one copy has been made. We can't tell which is the copy and which is the original (or indeed whether they are both copies).

    Of those three cases:

    (1) suggests that the transporter may be safe, but in the absence of further information we don't know for certian. I wouldn't use the thing myself, but if someone else used it I would accept the other person as the original until other evidence is brought forward. Please note that it doesn't mean that I agree, just that I am pragmatic.
    (2) suggests that the transporter is not safe.
    (3) suggests that the transporter is not safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    And no, you're not "killing" anyone - if you were, they wouldn't be stepping off the remote teleport pad alive and well. The day that "killing" does encompass such an outcome, it may be time to re-evaluate our moral view of that too.
    If that were the case there would be no problem to discuss in the first place. But this is the whole crux of the problem. Is the person stepping off the other end the person who stepped on at the source?

    Your answers boil down to "you can't prove it isn't", and our answers boil down to "you can't prove it is". Without details of the actual transporter mechanics we can't go any further.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    So if someone invents this technology tomorrow, and I want to use it, I should thereby forfeit all my property rights? That's harsh.
    Life is frequently unfair. A long as there is only one instance of the person you can make the legal fiction that they are the original (regardless of the other arguments) but as soon as two copies exist of you appear, each claiming all the property rights, what are you going to do? At least if you have an identified original you know who actually earned them.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    I think people in this thread are guilty of magical thinking: they are attributing to humans some property, "originality", which is "by definition destroyed by teleportation".
    There is no magical thinking here. The original person can be identified by their location - see the three test cases above to see why it matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    But what does this property do for us anyway? This thing that is "destroyed by teleportation" - why exactly should we value it and try to preserve it?
    His location isn't being destroyed. He is being destroyed. The location is only used to identify him as the original.

    What to do? Well, for the copy, nothing. He is quite happy thinking he is the original. For the original? Well, he's dead now. That is why it is an issue. If you don't think someone's death is an issue, well...

    I understand that you don't agree. What I am looking for is an indication that you understand the problem, and it doesn't sound like you do.
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  6. - Top - End - #126
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    So, we are now agreed that there is such a thing as the original, and that it is possible to identify it (albiet not as a property of the thing itself).

    Now we can start looking at the process of teleportation and its results:

    1. Original dematerialises at source; one person materialises at target: We can't say whether the person is the original or the copy, so what has happened to the original is up in the air. In practice we might be able to gain clues from the mechanics of the operation, but with a "philosophical perfect teleporter" there is nothing to work with.

    2. Original does not dematerialise at source (transporter accident); Person materialises at target: At this point it is clear that a copy is being made and (under normal circumstances) the original is being destroyed.

    3. Original dematerialises at source; More that one person materialises: Since only one item can be the original then it is clear that at least one copy has been made. We can't tell which is the copy and which is the original (or indeed whether they are both copies).
    I agreed that there is such a thing as the original, to the same extent that e.g. 'my name' is a thing but a court could legally change my name without me being present for it. We are not agreed about whether the property of 'being the original' is a property of the person. Specifically, I'm saying that 'being the original' is a conferred property that is being assigned by convention by outside observers and as such has nothing at all to do with the actual person involved.

    I can call a lamp-post Bob, but it doesn't change the lamp-post, just my relationship to it.

    Whether the teleporter destroys the property of 'being the original' is a matter of social convention, not a matter of the teleporter's safety or unsafety. It'd be like saying that eating corn can kill you because your neighbor has decided that if they see you eating corn, they will shoot you. In that case, it's not the properties of the corn that has anything to do with you dying.

  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    If we're at the point of 'the property of originality is just like your name' then I agree. That is in fact a property that is 'stored' in external degrees of freedom connecting you to society rather than being stored in your body.
    Yeah, it's basically a property that stems from your history. This piece of art is the original, this piece, the copy. This does not imply that the copy is necessarily bad in some respect(though it may be). Originality is a statement about the item's history.

    I suppose it would be possible to perfectly copy a piece of art and destroy the original, and have a very similar circumstance set up. Would art collectors care about that? Probably.

    I agree that this property is something that society cares about. I disagree that it is only a legal issue. As shown by the art example, it may have implications beyond legal hassles.

    I'd disagree that any such external property actually has anything to say about issues like whether your experiential existence ends though. Teleporters indeed would introduce a lot of legal inconveniences, but you wouldn't have to fear e.g. walking into a room and then nothing ever again.
    You certainly would experience an end. Another entity would remember everything you do, though. For some people, this may prove to be sufficient. Certainly, some people view children as a way of carrying on a legacy, and children are much lower fidelity copies.

    But the existence of the particular instance of a person would indeed end.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    But "self-awareness" isn't destroyed. The 'you' that steps out of the other end of the process is every bit as self-aware as the 'you' that went into it. You can say that "the original self-awareness" was destroyed, but then we're back to this mythical property of "originality".
    If I create one life and end another, I don't get off on a murder charge, now do I? Even if the net number of intelligence beings are the same?

    How is this different? Yes, yes, the two entities are extremely similar, but this would not be considered a defense in literally any other murder case.
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    You certainly would experience an end. Another entity would remember everything you do, though. For some people, this may prove to be sufficient. Certainly, some people view children as a way of carrying on a legacy, and children are much lower fidelity copies.

    But the existence of the particular instance of a person would indeed end.
    There's no way to actually verify this though. My consciousness ends every night when I go to sleep and starts up again in the morning. Without knowing the exact mechanism of consciousness, it may simply be an illusion that is a by product of the arrangement of atoms in your brain.

  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Says who? You absolutely can "scientifically measure" morals - provided you can clearly state, beforehand, what they are, and quantify all the relevant variables.
    Of course. Everybody knows Ethics is a branch of Engineering.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    And no, you're not "killing" anyone - if you were, they wouldn't be stepping off the remote teleport pad alive and well. The day that "killing" does encompass such an outcome, it may be time to re-evaluate our moral view of that too.
    You're simply stating a tautology. "It isn't dead because it is alive" evades the question altogether. We are discussing whether the affirmation that the first "it" is the same as the second "it" can be verified or not. Whether disintegration should be regarded as "murder" or any legal implications is a complete different issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    So if someone invents this technology tomorrow, and I want to use it, I should thereby forfeit all my property rights? That's harsh.
    Probably not, unless a legislation against you is implemented before the machine is commercialized (possible, but not certain). In any case, I think it's very plausible; because it would be the most effective way for a Government to ban teleportation of living people without banning the technology.
    Spoiler: In case you are wondering...
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    Governments would be interested in banning people teleportation because of the potential social retaliation and upheavals it may lead. That's how RL politics work at least.


    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    I think people in this thread are guilty of magical thinking: they are attributing to humans some property, "originality", which is "by definition destroyed by teleportation".
    And I think people in this thread are so hardcore Sci-Fi/Fantasy frenzy fanatics, that are blind to the real moral, philosophical, etc. ramifications some technologies pose in a setting; or real life, for what is worth. For fiction is ok to overlook said questions and/or handwave a justification (like in Star Trek). Still, that doesn't make the issue disappear.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    But what does this property do for us anyway? This thing that is "destroyed by teleportation" - why exactly should we value it and try to preserve it?
    Because killing people isn't morally good? Are you really trying to say it isn't relevant whether a person dies as long as nobody ever notices or can't prove a crime was committed? I want to believe you didn't mean it like that, but that's what these phrase implies under this context.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    But "self-awareness" isn't destroyed. The 'you' that steps out of the other end of the process is every bit as self-aware as the 'you' that went into it. You can say that "the original self-awareness" was destroyed, but then we're back to this mythical property of "originality".
    Bolded the part that is just plain speculation from your side. Only "I" can prove "myself" that "I" am self-aware at any given time. You have no saying in my self-awareness because you can't even demonstrate me that you are self-aware in the first place, and not just a simulation based on my experience of the world run by a simple mathematical code. Man, it's the main problem not only for Philosophy but also in the studies of language and AI research. I fail to see why someone would believe that entire fields of well respected researchers are a all bunch of superstitious fools because they been trying to figure out a silly question for centuries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    In other words: the teleporter would make the unmeasurable measurable. If it stays unmeasurable, then obviously the teleporter does not effect it. Either you don't have a thing that would fall under this description of a soul or it travels across just fine, being a spirit entity with the means to travel all the way across to another dimension that we haven't even detected the slightest trace of yet upon the moment of your physical death and such, there's a good chance it can travel to the other side of the world just as easily.
    Not necessarily. The only "conclusive" answer a teleporter experiment would give; it's the case where the "thing" coming out from the other side is nothing like the original person, be it physiologically or psychologically. Any other answer is simply inconclusive, because even if we agreed on the assumption that souls truly impact our psyche (something that isn't a general consensus), we still have the issue where we lack a method to distinguish a "real" person from an almost perfect copy (it doesn't even need to be close to perfect). Also, the experiment would lack a contrast (the only valid contrast is the same person not teleporting, I think; and it would be meaningless until we discover a way to measure its psyche*)

    *No, brain-scans only serve to demonstrate brain activity. It's useless for psychological purposes, since we still haven't decoded the meaning of every single synapse in the brain. We have no way to scan two brains and determine whether they share a similar "psyche" or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I'd disagree that any such external property actually has anything to say about issues like whether your experiential existence ends though. Teleporters indeed would introduce a lot of legal inconveniences, but you wouldn't have to fear e.g. walking into a room and then nothing ever again.
    That seems to be the only disagreement we share. External properties (currently) say too little about our internal experience of the world. What I think you are failing to grasp of my argument is that you can't compare moving through space "physically", with moving by teleportation; at least not in any way that actually makes scientific sense. Otherwise, your claim would be that every time I move through my room I am unconsciously teleporting every particle in my body in unison. Either that, or that movement implies a sequence of different precise locations through time... which in turn, leads to interesting conclusions. But none of them are relevant for our science here; so I don't think we should mix those up*. We can either study teleportation from a philosophical POV, or a scientific POV. Not both. My distrust for them comes actually more from the lack of scientific data and rational thinking, more than anything.

    *Or rather, if we do; it shouldn't be treated so nonchalantly as we are doing here.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    Just because we can't measure something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For the longest time, we couldn't measure many things, and they didn't spring into existence when we developed the means to do so.
    Quoted for truth.
    Last edited by joeltion; 2017-09-26 at 10:50 AM.
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  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    There's no way to actually verify this though. My consciousness ends every night when I go to sleep and starts up again in the morning. Without knowing the exact mechanism of consciousness, it may simply be an illusion that is a by product of the arrangement of atoms in your brain.
    Sleep isn't really a good example for teleportation. While you have breaks in consciousness you still have an overall system with continuity. Even then, while you don't remember a lot of what goes on while you are asleep, some sections - such as dreams - you may remember on awakening.

    Also, it is not necessarly true that there is no way to verify this:

    For test case 1 above (working transporter) there is indeed no way to verify this as there are only two possibilities:
    • If the original person is being destroyed then they are no longer available for comment, and you only have the perceptions of the other person to rely on
    • If not, the transporter has genuinely transported someone and there is no issue (ie, transporter may be safe).


    However, with test cases 2 and 3 it is clear that the teleporter has made a copy. How much of this is an issue varies:

    In (2) there is a clear original, which means that under normal circumstances the transporter is killing the original (ie, transporter is unsafe).

    In (3) it gets really murky, because you have a number of outcomes:
    • One of the copies is the original from a working transport, the other is a copy (ie, transporter may be safe (as per case 1), but we have another issue: an extra person)
    • They are both copies (ie, transporter is not safe)


    Please note that there are two cases where the transporter may be considered safe. I am not completely anti-transporter.
    Last edited by Manga Shoggoth; 2017-09-26 at 11:10 AM.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    There's no way to actually verify this though. My consciousness ends every night when I go to sleep and starts up again in the morning. Without knowing the exact mechanism of consciousness, it may simply be an illusion that is a by product of the arrangement of atoms in your brain.
    Nah. Right now, it's pretty simple to distinguish between "asleep" and "dead", and nobody seems to have much of a problem differentiating going to bed and committing suicide.

    If your ideology breaks when dealing with an instance that the rest of the world has no trouble dealing with, the problem may be with that worldview.

    Basically, you're relying on bull****ting people by saying "how do we REALLY know", when the instance, as given, has destruction of a person as the initial scenario. There's no question, you're killing someone.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Nah. Right now, it's pretty simple to distinguish between "asleep" and "dead", and nobody seems to have much of a problem differentiating going to bed and committing suicide.

    The point wasn't that they were the same

    If your ideology breaks when dealing with an instance that the rest of the world has no trouble dealing with, the problem may be with that worldview.

    Basically, you're relying on bull****ting people by saying "how do we REALLY know", when the instance, as given, has destruction of a person as the initial scenario. There's no question, you're killing someone.
    I'll grant you'd be killing someone by our current definitions. In the world where you can make identical copies though it may not matter. And the deeper point I was getting at is that consciousness and self-identity are very likely just the byproducts of the current arrangement of atoms in your body. No more special than destroying an atom in one place and creating it in another. The unverifiable part would be if YOU noticed when stepping through this type of destructive transporter. If everything about consciousness is just part of the physical makeup that gets recreated through the transporter, is there any relevance in what happened to the old configuration? It's similar to the thought about digitizing your mind into a computer. Is there any real relevance in saying it was copied to one place then deleted in another, rather than moved from one place to another? Or consider it like a very advanced organ transplant. You are replacing every atom in your body with a new one. We certainly have no problems replacing some aspects of our bodies with new pieces. If there is nothing outside the physical body (like a soul) there should be no issue in replacing all of it.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    I'll grant you'd be killing someone by our current definitions. In the world where you can make identical copies though it may not matter. And the deeper point I was getting at is that consciousness and self-identity are very likely just the byproducts of the current arrangement of atoms in your body. No more special than destroying an atom in one place and creating it in another. The unverifiable part would be if YOU noticed when stepping through this type of destructive transporter. If everything about consciousness is just part of the physical makeup that gets recreated through the transporter, is there any relevance in what happened to the old configuration? It's similar to the thought about digitizing your mind into a computer. Is there any real relevance in saying it was copied to one place then deleted in another, rather than moved from one place to another? Or consider it like a very advanced organ transplant. You are replacing every atom in your body with a new one. We certainly have no problems replacing some aspects of our bodies with new pieces. If there is nothing outside the physical body (like a soul) there should be no issue in replacing all of it.
    Sure, there might be a society in which some forms of killing are okay. That's...pretty well established to be a thing, sure. But it doesn't say anything interesting about identity.

    Building a ship with entirely new bits, but in the same floorplan as another ship isn't even a Ship of Thesus problem, though. It's just a different ship.

    And "that guy isn't relevant because I murdered him" isn't gonna score too many points for morality.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Building a ship with entirely new bits, but in the same floorplan as another ship isn't even a Ship of Thesus problem, though. It's just a different ship.
    When the new bits are the fundamental building blocks all matter is composed of, the distinction between new and old becomes pretty fuzzy. It comes down to question of whether or not you are more than the sum of your parts. When you're talking about getting every atom or even every quark in your body reproduced, I don't see how you COULD be more than the sum of your parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Yeah, it's basically a property that stems from your history. This piece of art is the original, this piece, the copy. This does not imply that the copy is necessarily bad in some respect(though it may be). Originality is a statement about the item's history.

    I suppose it would be possible to perfectly copy a piece of art and destroy the original, and have a very similar circumstance set up. Would art collectors care about that? Probably.

    I agree that this property is something that society cares about. I disagree that it is only a legal issue. As shown by the art example, it may have implications beyond legal hassles.
    It's not a property that stems from my history, its a property that stems from my history being observed and recorded by external entities to the extent that it can be reconstructed (or failing that, it is established arbitrarily by convention). Again, lets look at 'my name' as a corresponding example.

    'My name' isn't a property of me, it's a property recorded in a number of documents, relationships, etc. That's why for example identity theft is physically possible - if my name were something really intrinsic to me, then identity theft could be resolved by just undergoing a 'name-scan'.

    Similarly, forgery of artwork is physically possible because 'originality' is an externally stored property and isn't actually intrinsic to the piece of art itself. The external storage doesn't have eyes on the painting at all times, but rather there's an assumption that unless there's evidence to the contrary or reason to doubt, the painting hanging in a hall is probably the same as it was yesterday. When doubt appears, one check is to examine the chain of ownership - again externally recorded - and look for places where something could plausibly have happened. The other check is to investigate the actual physical form of the painting and match it against observations of the painting in the past - but this is essentially looking for 'teleporter inaccuracies' - if the copy is imperfect, then that actually is a physical signature that is intrinsically different.

    You certainly would experience an end. Another entity would remember everything you do, though. For some people, this may prove to be sufficient. Certainly, some people view children as a way of carrying on a legacy, and children are much lower fidelity copies.
    No, the use of the word 'certainly' here asks to just accept a hidden assumption that this property of 'originality' we've been talking about, which as you defined is actually an external property to the entity itself, controls some aspect of what goes on inside the entity. It would be the same as if I argued 'if a court were to change your name without you knowing, of course it would instantly change your personality too!' without further justification. Without explaining how this extrinsic property can influence your experiential existence, you haven't established that it has anything to do with anything.

    [qupte]
    But the existence of the particular instance of a person would indeed end.

    If I create one life and end another, I don't get off on a murder charge, now do I? Even if the net number of intelligence beings are the same?

    How is this different? Yes, yes, the two entities are extremely similar, but this would not be considered a defense in literally any other murder case.[/QUOTE]

    They're different because how society reacts to an action is a constructed set of conventions, whereas the underlying physics is not dictated by legal or societal considerations. If I manage to get someone declared legally dead by way of court but they happen to be alive somewhere, they don't suddenly drop dead in reality - just in the eyes of the law.

    Essentially, 'original-ness' is a thing where society agrees to play make believe that such a thing is meaningful because it makes a lot of difficult questions become a lot simpler, and its pretty stable against physical processes we have access to now (a perfect forgery is tricky to pull off). Enter our teleporter, which is assumed to be a forger perfect enough to fool physics - that is to say, it can copy a complex system of processes and have it keep working and behaving exactly as before across the copy event.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    [COLOR="#0000FF"]
    That seems to be the only disagreement we share. External properties (currently) say too little about our internal experience of the world. What I think you are failing to grasp of my argument is that you can't compare moving through space "physically", with moving by teleportation; at least not in any way that actually makes scientific sense. Otherwise, your claim would be that every time I move through my room I am unconsciously teleporting every particle in my body in unison. Either that, or that movement implies a sequence of different precise locations through time... which in turn, leads to interesting conclusions. But none of them are relevant for our science here; so I don't think we should mix those up*. We can either study teleportation from a philosophical POV, or a scientific POV. Not both. My distrust for them comes actually more from the lack of scientific data and rational thinking, more than anything.

    *Or rather, if we do; it shouldn't be treated so nonchalantly as we are doing here.
    To be precise about it, I'm claiming that:

    - Strong claim: If two systems cannot under any combination of (identical) external stimuli exhibit a difference in their distribution* of future trajectories, then they are in fact the same system in any way that we can reasonably say matters.
    Spoiler: Side argument on what does it mean for something to 'matter'
    Show

    -- This is because for something to matter, it must either have a consequence in this universe, or must be a correctly predicted consequence in a different universe.
    -- However, if it has no consequence in this universe, it is impossible for us to predict what consequence it would in any other universe at a level better than random.
    -- So while it could matter without exhibiting a difference in this universe, any claim that someone makes that they know or have reason to believe that it matters for another universe is being stated incorrectly - there is no 'reason to believe', but rather they are requesting to introduce an assumption into the conversation and it needs to be treated as such.
    -- Correspondingly, there is no need to provide proof or defend claims against things posited to happen in other universes, regardless of the relative costs of being wrong. It is exactly as fair for me to ask someone to provide incontrovertible proof of the existence of the soul before considering that the soul might be lost, as it is for them to ask me to provide incontrovertible proof that the soul isn't lost in teleportation before considering that the teleported copy might be the same as the original. Adding considerations of 'cost of being wrong' is Pascal's Wager - its essentially introducing the logical equivalent of 0/0.

    - Since the scenario we are talking about posits that there is no difference in behavior of the copies from the original if the copies are isolated and then teleported, they are in fact the same system, at least in the universe posited in this thought experiment.
    -- This doesn't exclude the possibility that our universe works differently.
    -- To prove sameness, it is necessary to isolate the two copies from variations in their external environment. Of course if someone says 'you're the copy' it will behave differently. So I do have to introduce an assumption, which is that 'experiential existence' is something internal to the person rather than stored in the society around them, otherwise the 'isolate' step would kill the person (even if you don't subsequently teleport them). However, I don't think anyone has seriously forwarded a claim that e.g. stepping into a sensory deprivation chamber kills you. It would be a logically valid objection to my argument though, which would need to be addressed.

    The rest of the details about teleporting a few inches rather than walking a few inches aren't really essential to this argument - they're just trying to explain that just because two systems get to the same state in different ways, that doesn't mean that the distribution of their futures will be different. In fact, if they really are in the same state, they can't have different future distributions without an external influence.

    *: I'm being very cautious and hedging here - I use 'distribution' because we haven't established whether the universe we're talking about has true random processes. There's other fiddly stuff about deterministic universes with conservation of phase space volume that would require me to use 'subsystem' in place of 'system' everywhere in order to be clear about what it means to be in the same state, and we can go to that level of technicality if you'd like.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    When the new bits are the fundamental building blocks all matter is composed of, the distinction between new and old becomes pretty fuzzy. It comes down to question of whether or not you are more than the sum of your parts. When you're talking about getting every atom or even every quark in your body reproduced, I don't see how you COULD be more than the sum of your parts.
    The distinction becomes more obvious when both can exist; would you agree that if someone looked at the Ship of Theseus and built an exact replica of it right beside the first, it wouldn't be the same ship?
    Last edited by georgie_leech; 2017-09-27 at 12:51 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
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    What's the word for 'fear of being eaten by a mounted bear in half-plate' again? Because that's the one I have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    If I create one life and end another, I don't get off on a murder charge, now do I? Even if the net number of intelligence beings are the same?
    Good luck charging somebody with murder, when there's neither a body nor a missing person to be accounted for. When there's someone who passes all tests, including the testimony of the "victim"'s friends and family, to demonstrate that they are in fact the same person.

    Yeah, actually I really think I could beat the murder rap under those conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Because killing people isn't morally good? Are you really trying to say it isn't relevant whether a person dies as long as nobody ever notices or can't prove a crime was committed? I want to believe you didn't mean it like that, but that's what these phrase implies under this context.
    I'm saying that phrases like "a person dies" are being used here as emotive hooks, without proper definition. "Dying", as we understand it, implies that something stops/ends. But in this hypothetical, nothing ends: everything is preserved. Moreover, a large part of the reason why morality generally takes such a stern view of death is that it's irreversible. Whatever this teleportation process is, it's definitely not that. Therefore, whatever it is that happens to the original, the claim that it's morally equivalent to death is not merely "not proven", it's not even defined.

    To extend the thought: imagine that, for some reason, you get teleported somewhere. Now - whether through your own fault or not, doesn't really seem (to me) to matter - you're no longer the original you. So now you can teleport as much as you like, without fear of further consequences, right? The effect of "losing your originality" is to free you to make use of this marvellous new ability. You should be delighted.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Any other answer is simply inconclusive, because even if we agreed on the assumption that souls truly impact our psyche (something that isn't a general consensus)
    Than what's the point of a soul?

    No seriously. Let's say I have a soul that does not in fact have anything to do with my personality, and after I die that soul goes to an afterlife where it's judged forever by my actions. Then, you know, I feel a little bad for the poor thing that it would have to suffer forever for whatever I did this time, but it's apparently going there anyway sooner or later, terms which are (almost?) irrelevant compared to an eternity of torture. I couldn't care less if it leaves my body when I'm 75 and dying or when I'm 14 and traveling by transporter for the first time. I'm not dead if the soul leaves me, I'm still me. There's just this other thing that used to be tethered to me but is entirely unrelated to my psyche that went to live in another dimension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    So, we are now agreed that there is such a thing as the original, and that it is possible to identify it (albiet not as a property of the thing itself).

    Now we can start looking at the process of teleportation and its results:

    2. Original does not dematerialise at source (transporter accident); Person materialises at target: At this point it is clear that a copy is being made and (under normal circumstances) the original is being destroyed.

    (2) suggests that the transporter is not safe.
    Does it though? What you seem to be identifying here is whether or not then machine can make more than one of me. If the machine can make only one of me than I am the original, so I'm safe. If the machine can make more than one I could be replaced by a copy and be dead. But is there really a distinction between what you label as an original coming out of a transporter and what you would call a copy? If they have the exact same molecular composition, the exact same thoughts running through their minds, the exact same everything, aren't they both equally much an original? Does it matter, in other ways than legally, whether they are the original person?

    The person on end 2 of the transporter is in fact probably more like the person on end 1 when it entered the machine, assuming a perfect transportation process, than that original person would have been by now had he not entered the machine. He would have had a second or so more time to have proteins being made in his body, to have cells divide, change or die, to make transcription errors in DNA and to move on with his thoughts. So why does he get to be the original, while the copy, more faithful to the original than the original itself when taking into account the effect of time, does not?
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2017-09-27 at 05:50 AM.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    When the new bits are the fundamental building blocks all matter is composed of, the distinction between new and old becomes pretty fuzzy. It comes down to question of whether or not you are more than the sum of your parts. When you're talking about getting every atom or even every quark in your body reproduced, I don't see how you COULD be more than the sum of your parts.
    Not really. There's an old one, which is destroyed, and a new one, which is created.

    Your argument boils down to "if nobody can tell they are different, they're the same", which is no different from the picture forger claiming that so long as nobody catches him, he committed no crime. No, a crime was committed, he's just dodging acceptance of that.

    The fact that crime is possible, and that detection may not happen, does not legitimize crime.

    No, the use of the word 'certainly' here asks to just accept a hidden assumption that this property of 'originality' we've been talking about, which as you defined is actually an external property to the entity itself, controls some aspect of what goes on inside the entity. It would be the same as if I argued 'if a court were to change your name without you knowing, of course it would instantly change your personality too!' without further justification. Without explaining how this extrinsic property can influence your experiential existence, you haven't established that it has anything to do with anything.
    Nonsense. The last experience of the entity on the pad is of being torn to bits. That entity never experiences anything again. A new entity is created. It may be very, very like the old entity in every way. It is not, however, that entity.

    Now, you may not care about destroying the person. Society may not care. Law may not care, depending. That does not change what happened. Covering up evidence is not the same as something never having been done. A lack of forensic evidence does not make you actually innocent.

    - Strong claim: If two systems cannot under any combination of (identical) external stimuli exhibit a difference in their distribution* of future trajectories, then they are in fact the same system in any way that we can reasonably say matters.
    Well, being in different physical places, they will experience different physical stimuli, and thus, will have different futures. Location does matter, it turns out.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    The distinction becomes more obvious when both can exist; would you agree that if someone looked at the Ship of Theseus and built an exact replica of it right beside the first, it wouldn't be the same ship?
    I think that's the reasonable conclusion of pretty much everyone, and your post is being ignored because it is inconvenient to their argument.

    The next step, of course, is, if you did that, and three years later, destroyed the original, the copy would not somehow become the original.

    A year later, same same.

    By induction, a copy is not the original.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Not really. There's an old one, which is destroyed, and a new one, which is created.
    Where do you draw the line in replacing parts then? Clearly organ transplants don't change the person. At what point is the person new?

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Nonsense. The last experience of the entity on the pad is of being torn to bits. That entity never experiences anything again. A new entity is created. It may be very, very like the old entity in every way. It is not, however, that entity.
    'Nonsense' isn't an argument, its insisting that your listener accept your point of view on the world because you're being forceful.

    For example: Nonsense. This is dualist poppycock that wants to assign human experience a special position in the natural world to sooth the fragile human ego.

    Or, more productively, we could actually examine the scenario posed and take it for what it is, and think through the implications thereof.
    Last edited by NichG; 2017-09-27 at 08:05 AM.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post

    Or, more productively, we could actually examine the scenario posed and take it for what it is, and think through the implications thereof.
    Okay. If I had an arbitrary object and built another object to be the exact mimic of the first in every way, such that it behaves exactly the same in all tests, is it the first object? Not is it "the same," but is it the first object that is sitting right beside it?

    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post


    I think that's the reasonable conclusion of pretty much everyone, and your post is being ignored because it is inconvenient to their argument.

    It clearly isn't, as there are reasonable people that disagree with us. And I suspect it's less that I'm being ignored so much as skinny posts that address singular points are frequently missed in the multi-quote behemoths that philisophical debates tend to become around here.
    Last edited by georgie_leech; 2017-09-27 at 08:19 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    So a ranger is like a Bachelor of Applied Druidology.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Jake View Post
    What's the word for 'fear of being eaten by a mounted bear in half-plate' again? Because that's the one I have.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Okay. If I had an arbitrary object and built another object to be the exact mimic of the first in every way, such that it behaves exactly the same in all tests, is it the first object? Not is it "the same," but is it the first object that is sitting right beside it?
    Well, lets consider a generalized test for this property, whatever we're going to call it. I need a name for it, so for now I'm going to use 'idem', but maybe there's something better.

    Lets say I intervene and make a cut in one of the two objects. Does it appear on the other? If so, then the objects could be, at the time and place of that event, idem to each-other despite appearing to actually be two objects. A pair of teleporter-clones clearly aren't idem to each-other after the teleportation event (if I stab one, the other doesn't die, etc).

    It gets interesting when you ask whether something can be idem to something else at a different place and time. If I make a cut into the person just as they're entering the teleporter, both teleporter clones will have the cut. So the relationship between the entity entering the teleporter at time t and the two entities existing at t+delta is (directionally) idem.

    Now, how about the relationship between your present self and your future self, just standing there for a period of time delta? It's the same relationship: directionally idem. If my past self is cut, my present self will also be cut. But if my present self is cut, my past self will not have been cut.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Well, lets consider a generalized test for this property, whatever we're going to call it. I need a name for it, so for now I'm going to use 'idem', but maybe there's something better.
    I accept the term but I'm not eager to dive into the general case yet, and I feel the post quoted adresses my question inadequately. With no teleportation involved nor mystical links such that what happens to the first object (let's say it's a spherical cow just for the physics humour) happens to the second, is the second sphere idem to the first if it behaves identically in all respects when exposed to the same stimuli? Again, both spherical cows exist at the same time.
    Last edited by georgie_leech; 2017-09-27 at 09:04 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    So a ranger is like a Bachelor of Applied Druidology.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Jake View Post
    What's the word for 'fear of being eaten by a mounted bear in half-plate' again? Because that's the one I have.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    I accept the term but I'm not eager to dive into the general case yet, and I feel the post quoted adresses my question inadequately. With no teleportation involved nor mystical links such that what happens to the first object (let's say it's a spherical cow just for the physics humour) happens to the second, is the second sphere idem to the first if it behaves identically in all respects when exposed to the same stimuli? Again, both spherical cows exist at the same time.
    No, they aren't idem in that case. Your present self isn't idem to your past self either, but your past self is directionally idem to your present self. In the case of the two ships of Theseus, the past ship is directionally idem to both present ships. Being fully idem is a stronger requirement than we apply when assuming that a person remains themselves after time passes.
    Last edited by NichG; 2017-09-27 at 09:10 AM.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    No, they aren't idem in that case. Your present self isn't idem to your past self either, but your past self is directionally idem to your present self. In the case of the two ships of Theseus, the past ship is directionally idem to both present ships. Being fully idem is a stronger requirement than we apply when assuming that a person remains themselves after time passes.
    Okay, does this answer change if when we build the second spherical cow, we destroy the first? Does it matter if this destruction is immediate or takes time? Does it change if said destruction occurs immediately upon creation of the second cow, or after some time has passed? Personally, my answer is no; if they weren't the same object before, they aren't after you change the first to make it less identical? But perhaps I'm kisunderstanding your use of the term Idem, if being identical isn't part of it?
    Last edited by georgie_leech; 2017-09-27 at 09:30 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    So a ranger is like a Bachelor of Applied Druidology.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Jake View Post
    What's the word for 'fear of being eaten by a mounted bear in half-plate' again? Because that's the one I have.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Okay, does this answer change if when we build the second spherical cow, we destroy the first? Does it matter if this destruction is immediate or takes time? Does it change if said destruction occurs immediately upon creation of the second cow, or after some time has passed? Personally, my answer is no; if they weren't the same object before, they aren't after you change the first to make it less identical? But perhaps I'm kisunderstanding your use of the term Idem, if being identical isn't part of it?
    No, none of that changes anything. In fact, if you can destroy one object without destroying the other, they can't be idem to each-other. We're also not idem to ourselves, by these standards.

    What we are is directionally idem to ourselves. And in a relativistic universe, that's the strongest form of idem that can actually exist (or you get some form of FTL).
    Last edited by NichG; 2017-09-27 at 09:41 AM.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    No, none of that changes anything. In fact, if you can destroy one object without destroying the other, they can't be idem to each-other. We're also not idem to ourselves, by these standards.

    What we are is directionally idem to ourselves. And in a relativistic universe, that's the strongest form of idem that can actually exist (or you get some form of FTL).
    Okay. Now suppose instead of a spherical cow, it's a living thing of some sort. Say, a rat. Does this change anything?
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    So a ranger is like a Bachelor of Applied Druidology.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Jake View Post
    What's the word for 'fear of being eaten by a mounted bear in half-plate' again? Because that's the one I have.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Okay. Now suppose instead of a spherical cow, it's a living thing of some sort. Say, a rat. Does this change anything?
    No change, same situation.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    You're all continually ignoring the fact that the original material and not just the pattern is transmitted. I have yet to see the sci-fi teleporter that dies not transmit the material after breaking it down

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