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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    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?
    I always thought Herbert West got a bad rap

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    No change, same situation.
    What if we make the living thing experience a sense of self? Any change?
    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
    What if we make the living thing experience a sense of self? Any change?
    No, no change.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    No, no change.
    So then if we have a teleporter that teleports by scanning an object, making an object from that scan in another place, and destroying the scanned object, does anything change?
    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
    So then if we have a teleporter that teleports by scanning an object, making an object from that scan in another place, and destroying the scanned object, does anything change?
    No, no change.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    No, no change.
    Okay, now we get to discuss definitions a bit. Does destroying a person count as killing them? This seems intuitively obvious to me; my position on the matter is that it does.
    Last edited by georgie_leech; 2017-09-27 at 11:30 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, now we get to discuss definitions a bit. Does destroying a person count as killing them? This seems intuitively obvious to me; my position on the matter is that it does.
    Yeah, this is probably the tricky bit since it feels like a non sequitur to me. It depends on what 'the person' is that we're talking about.

    'Killing' should technically include things like stopping someone's heart during a surgery, because that's 'technically' dead. But if we use it in that sense, 'killing' doesn't necessarily equate to 'ending a person' (because it's possible to resuscitate and thereby reverse it).

    'Destroying' here is clearly being used to refer to disassembling the object. In the same vein as 'killing', I would have to say that similarly 'destroying' doesn't necessarily equate to 'ending a person' (because with the teleporter, it's possible to reverse it).

    With those definitions, destroying would imply killing, but neither would imply ending. I suspect where we disagree is on what constitutes 'ending', specifically with regards to when we say 'ending the person'.
    Last edited by NichG; 2017-09-27 at 11:42 AM.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Yeah, this is probably the tricky bit since it feels like a non sequitur to me. It depends on what 'the person' is that we're talking about.

    'Killing' should technically include things like stopping someone's heart during a surgery, because that's 'technically' dead. But if we use it in that sense, 'killing' doesn't necessarily equate to 'ending a person' (because it's possible to resuscitate and thereby reverse it).

    'Destroying' here is clearly being used to refer to disassembling the object. In the same vein as 'killing', I would have to say that similarly 'destroying' doesn't necessarily equate to 'ending a person' (because with the teleporter, it's possible to reverse it).

    With those definitions, destroying would imply killing, but neither would imply ending. I suspect where we disagree is on what constitutes 'ending', specifically with regards to when we say 'ending the person'.
    Fair enough. We have though previously seen that a teleporter that dissassembles and builds another object identical to the first is not actually recreating the first object; do I misunderstand your previous "no change" posts if you disagree? And if you don't disagree, would you therefore agree that the first object has "ended" after the teleport destroys it?
    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

    Spoiler: DISCLAIMER
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    I don't know if I need to clarify my standpoint yet again, but since this is derailing a little too much than I had foreseen, and many people are speaking in metaphysical terms, just wanted to communicate that I (joeltion) in no way is using the term "soul" with any metaphysical connotation, unless properly clarified. The person in question (joeltion) isn't concerned about the religious aspects of any kind of machinery; and whenever he refers to "soul" and "mind"; he simply means the software that runs his physical vessel.

    Thank you
    END OF DISCLAIMER


    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    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'
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    -- 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.
    The reasoning that "it only matters if it's visible to other people" is only relevant for other people, not me. And that is what my position is about: my self-experience. So no, for something to "matter" it has to be about me, not other people. Dreams matters to me, wishes matters to me, decision making matters to me. They are all completely irrelevant for the rest of the world and I couldn't care less about it. It doesn't make it any less "real" for me, because it's all part of my personal experience. Now, is it clear why your scientific approach is totally tangential to the issues I'm concerned about? Personal experience is entirely subjective, and it's subjective nature is absolutely intrinsic to itself. When personal experience is "broken", nobody can notice it, because it's very nature makes it subjective.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
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    -- 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.
    Honestly, I don't know what "different universes" have anything to do with the question at hand. If you ask me, I don't believe in a Marvel/DC-like multiverse. I don't believe in universes spawning branches (AFIK, current physics don't allow such theories), and I'm pretty much unconcerned about the topic on "afterlife" and the likes.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
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    -- 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.
    Again, that's not what my "wager" is about (additionally, I hate Pascal's) and I don't think you are even considering what my "fear" is about. I see my personal experience as "software" in action, not as a programme you can uninstall and re-install whenever you want.

    Say I am a robot. Very advanced robot. You want to tinker with my sofware, and promise me to save a backup. Do you really think it's rational for me, Robo-Joeltion, to allow you do so? To trust you? Why?* Can you trust the most precious thing you have in the world (in fact the only thing any human truly "posses") to another person? That's what my wager is about. I simply will never trust my self-awareness to anyone because thinking otherwise is either madness or naivety. And I haven't yet crossed that line.

    *Before you say it, again. No, the technician/engineer can never be infallible. Nothing is infallible in this universe (that we know of). He simply can't be trusted with absolute certainty, or you would be relying on belief. And I don't like having to rely on belief.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    - 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.
    Ok, I get it, you are ok with third parties informing you whether you are you, or whether you aren't you. It doesn't make sense to me, but at least now I know you think the ultimate truth is objective, and that subjectivity carries no value in front of it.

    So, it's simply impossible for us to reach any kind of understanding. Your system will never allow a thing like "personal experience" because they are both incompatible. PE will never stop being subjective, and if it is observable to a third party by any means, we haven't discovered it yet. So... let's just leave it like that, I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    *: 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.
    Let's not. I don't think it matters anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    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.
    Would you prefer "its self awareness is interrupted and forever lost" instead of "dies"? I don't think it's relevant. A consciousness disappear. YOU disappear, then are replaced by something exactly like you. Or maybe not, maybe he is you, teleported (or "reincarnated" ). Point being, nothing external will make it clear for anyone. It's only you who experience either nothingness (you die/stop being) or a blink to a different place (you were succesfully teleported/reincarnated). But to us? It's irrelevant. It's an experience only you are able to "live".

    BTW, this claim: "Moreover, a large part of the reason why morality generally takes such a stern view of death is that it's irreversible" is very silly. There are people who think death isn't the "end" and you still don't see them becoming mass-murderers because of it. Moral issues and the impossibility to reverse death have in common what donuts have in common with Minecraft.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    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.
    I don't care about "originality". I don't even know what that ultimately means. But I would certainly care if I stopped experience altogether and a copy of me believes he is me. And I mean I would care because (in the case I am not my copy) I can't care, I am no more. Which is sad. I want to be. Always. I think we all agree on the fact that "being" is way more enjoyable than nothingness.

    Now, for the copy, he could care about me. Maybe. I can't be sure, for I am not him. He is now he, a copy of me. Did he committed murder? Was it intentional on his part? Will he rationalize that I committed suicide by spawning him into existence, like Piccolo/Jr. from DBZ? The answer is that maybe he is concerned about me. Then again, maybe not. Maybe he believes he is in fact, me. In the case I am in fact, him; then we have nothing to care about; we still are, after all. But when one of us (either him, either me) is no more; one cares, and the other is dead.
    Spoiler
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    And that's what poetry is about


    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    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.
    Oh, I really don't know. What I meant with "having no impact" on our consciousness; I mean that it's influence isn't easy to perceive. You can think of it as the spiritual version of dark matter/energy. Dark matter we can't perceive, or even infer it's really there. The concept of "dark matter" was invented by scientist to make the current equations work; but we can't tell if it's truly anything we can describe. Maybe it's bunnies. Maybe it's Cthulhu. Maybe it's Joe Pesci doing the macarena and sucking the universe in every direction with his unrelentless swaggerness. Point being, "dark matter" is an euphemism for something we have little to no understanding about. The same can be said about the soul (from a purely scientific approach, I mean).

    Spoiler: Explanation of how a "soul" doesn't necessarily needs to be obervable with a D&D example
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    There are many religious theories on what sous actually do. But let's take it to a D&D like setting. Let's say it's a homebrew. You modified how the resurrection spell work, for reasons. For your setting, a "soul" is very distinct from "psychic energy" (consciousness) but is what actually "holds it together". When you die, this psychological energy dissipates in the Material Plane, or is absorbed somehow to create a different creature (zombie, vampire, elemental, etc) by a specific process. The "soul" instead, is "set free" into the Soul Plane. Now, here's the thing. You homebrewed this Soul Plane to allow players to have an equivalent to "Save States" for characters. Which means, all the memories, all the experiences of the character are "stored" with this soul. That way, when a character resurrects, you don't need to explain them "where the soul has been". The soul isn't the Character (maybe the soul has a different personality altogether, or is the piece of a god) and what happens to the soul doesn't directly affect the Character in any sense. When a Character loses his "soul", it simply means they can't be resurrected. They need the soul for that. Add as many shenanigans as you want, point is; a "spiritual" soul doesn't necessarily has to be the same as the psyche, or observable by physical terms.

    Now, when you ask how that example applies to RL science, I have no answer. Like I said, I'm not interested in the religious definition of souls. But I'm pretty sure some religions have plausible caveats in order to make their concepts unverifiable with science. I know because linguists face a similar problem (to use science on language). It's hard to make a science out of constructs (meaning) and figments of imagination (words).

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    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.
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    Last edited by joeltion; 2017-09-27 at 12:03 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    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?
    That is a Ship of Thesus problem indeed. Making *all* the parts, at once, unconnected to any old ones, isn't.

    It is not necessary to solve the ship problem in order to determine that an unconnected entity is not that. However, if you wish to solve it, it probably centers upon the brain. A new organ does not seem to bother people, usually, and a prosthetic limb does not seem to trouble folks, but brain death, even if the rest of the body is undamaged, is viewed as someone dying.

    This may get more complicated if we can replace the brain piecemeal, but honestly, we don't really know a great deal about the brain yet, so it's difficult to predict exactly where the line will end up.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    '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.
    Nonsense was the word describing your argument. I typed quite a lot of other things. Would you like to address them, or merely continue to ignore them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    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
    That's another layer of complication, but...frankly, if you can transmit the pattern, why do you need to break the person into bits at all? And if the person is never broken to bits, but simply travels traditionally, you end up with no thought experiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Yeah, this is probably the tricky bit since it feels like a non sequitur to me. It depends on what 'the person' is that we're talking about.

    'Killing' should technically include things like stopping someone's heart during a surgery, because that's 'technically' dead. But if we use it in that sense, 'killing' doesn't necessarily equate to 'ending a person' (because it's possible to resuscitate and thereby reverse it).

    'Destroying' here is clearly being used to refer to disassembling the object. In the same vein as 'killing', I would have to say that similarly 'destroying' doesn't necessarily equate to 'ending a person' (because with the teleporter, it's possible to reverse it).
    If the person is not the same entity, then you are not reversing it. You are creating a new, albeit very similar, person. The first entity is destroyed, but a new entity, made of the same pattern, is created in another location.

    If the identities are not literally the same, then you are indeed killing one.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
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    I don't know if I need to clarify my standpoint yet again, but since this is derailing a little too much than I had foreseen, and many people are speaking in metaphysical terms, just wanted to communicate that I (joeltion) in no way is using the term "soul" with any metaphysical connotation, unless properly clarified. The person in question (joeltion) isn't concerned about the religious aspects of any kind of machinery; and whenever he refers to "soul" and "mind"; he simply means the software that runs his physical vessel.

    Thank you
    END OF DISCLAIMER
    Regarding this, why distinguish between that "software" and the "hardware" of the body if you're not looking at anything metaphysical? In the end if everything physical about the body is copied/transported, it will include the "software". It necessarily has to unless you assume some sort of supernatural "software" (i.e., the traditional soul).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    Regarding this, why distinguish between that "software" and the "hardware" of the body if you're not looking at anything metaphysical? In the end if everything physical about the body is copied/transported, it will include the "software". It necessarily has to unless you assume some sort of supernatural "software" (i.e., the traditional soul).
    Will it? Has to? Why? Can the machine also copy a property that isn't yet detectable by any known means (self-awareness)?

    As a matter of fact, science, FOR DECADES has assumed the existence of gravity, even when it wasn't able to detect it was there, or understand how it is transmitted through space. Now we know better, but there's still a whole bunch we can't directly detect yet for any scientist it's silly to argue they aren't real (dark matter, time, quatum theory). Science can be done with such things, because science is also theoretical. But machinery never deals with theories. They need to harness the energies and interact somehow with the properties of the things it deals with. As it turns out, we are far from knowing everything about the psyche; because it's infinitely more complicated than what we know about both softwares and brains.

    tl;dr: JUST BECAUSE SCIENCE STILL LACKS THE ANSWERS/EVIDENCE, DOESN'T MEAN IT'S SUPERNATURAL, DAMMIT. Sorry, had to take it out of my chest.

    Many things are yet to be discovered by science. Many are probably unsolvable by any human standard. But saying "self-awareness" is supernatural because it can't be detected, is like saying language is a form of magic; and that linguists are some sort of magicians. They aren't.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Fair enough. We have though previously seen that a teleporter that dissassembles and builds another object identical to the first is not actually recreating the first object; do I misunderstand your previous "no change" posts if you disagree? And if you don't disagree, would you therefore agree that the first object has "ended" after the teleport destroys it?
    Ah. Yes, I disagree that the teleporter is not recreating the first object.

    If we have objects A, B, and C, where A is a thing before it enters the teleporter and B and C are things produced by the teleporter by copying A, then I hold that:

    A => B
    A => C
    B not => C
    C not => B

    So B and C are both A, but are not each-other.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Will it? Has to? Why? Can the machine also copy a property that isn't yet detectable by any known means (self-awareness)?

    As a matter of fact, science, FOR DECADES has assumed the existence of gravity, even when it wasn't able to detect it was there, or understand how it is transmitted through space. Now we know better, but there's still a whole bunch we can't directly detect yet for any scientist it's silly to argue they aren't real (dark matter, time, quatum theory). Science can be done with such things, because science is also theoretical. But machinery never deals with theories. They need to harness the energies and interact somehow with the properties of the things it deals with. As it turns out, we are far from knowing everything about the psyche; because it's infinitely more complicated than what we know about both softwares and brains.

    tl;dr: JUST BECAUSE SCIENCE STILL LACKS THE ANSWERS/EVIDENCE, DOESN'T MEAN IT'S SUPERNATURAL, DAMMIT. Sorry, had to take it out of my chest.

    Many things are yet to be discovered by science. Many are probably unsolvable by any human standard. But saying "self-awareness" is supernatural because it can't be detected, is like saying language is a form of magic; and that linguists are some sort of magicians. They aren't.
    Well the premise is that the transporter can create an exactly identical copy. If self-awareness isn't part of the physical makeup of your body, where is it then? The transporter is copying all aspects of every atom/quark in your body. If it somehow can't copy self-awareness, where would this reside? If you can't consider it part of your physical makeup, it is sorta by definition supernatural.

    Look already a transporter that can copy every physical property of your atoms is unrealistic both in terms of precision and storage space. This is a thought experiment.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Ah. Yes, I disagree that the teleporter is not recreating the first object.

    If we have objects A, B, and C, where A is a thing before it enters the teleporter and B and C are things produced by the teleporter by copying A, then I hold that:

    A => B
    A => C
    B not => C
    C not => B

    So B and C are both A, but are not each-other.
    I find this somewhat confusing. For the purposes of Clarity, I'm going to call my hypothetical object defined as having all properties of A at the moment of its creation as D. I asked D was A, and you responded with your new term Idem. Perhaps I misunderstood. Are A and D the same object? That is, if A and D exist at the same time, and if I poke A, am I also poking D, even though I'm not actually interacting with D?
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Ah. Yes, I disagree that the teleporter is not recreating the first object.

    If we have objects A, B, and C, where A is a thing before it enters the teleporter and B and C are things produced by the teleporter by copying A, then I hold that:

    A => B
    A => C
    B not => C
    C not => B

    So B and C are both A, but are not each-other.
    Interesting. This view clears up the discrepancy, I think.

    This is impossible, because that is not how identity works. If B is A, and C is A, then B is C. Disproof of the latter is sufficient to demonstrate that the other two statements cannot both be true.

    Yes, they both come from A, but they are not A.
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    This discussion reminds me of the Cold Awakening Trilogy (Skinned, Crashed, and Wired when I read it, although the titles have apparently been changed to Frozen, Shattered, and Torn). The main character (Lia) is injured in a car accident, and it's determined that her body is too damaged to live, so her mind is uploaded into a mechanical android (This is not a spoiler, just the set-up for the story). Is Lia still Lia , even though she's in a new body? She certainly thinks she's still herself. If her mechanical body fails, a back-up of her brain can be re-uploaded into a new body (this stuff is still a new technology, and somewhat temperamental). But with her biological body dead, should her email and Facebook accounts be closed/locked?

    It seems to me that this is the crux of the question we have here. Are you still you if you've had a brain transplant, and now have someone else's body, but your own mind? How about if your mind has been put on a hard drive that controls a robot? What if someone makes extra copies? What really makes you "You"? Is it a neural pattern, or something more?

    Stargate SG-1 touched on this as well, a couple of times. In one, an Asgard makes a copy of Jack O'Neill, with the body of a 16-year-old, but the mind of the... 35-year-old?...Jack O'Neill. Another episode made the team "better" by copying their minds into powerful android bodies. In both these cases, the Original is clearly the Original, but the copies don't feel any less "real" to themselves than the originals do. The mechanical versions even thought they were the originals for a time.

    I don't really know where I'm going with this, other than we're not the first people to think about this, and no one's solved it yet. Interesting discussion, though.
    Last edited by Lord Torath; 2017-09-27 at 01:28 PM.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    (This is going to get complicated since its going to interleave with the discussion with georgie_leech, but I didn't want to just leave these points un-responded to.)

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    The reasoning that "it only matters if it's visible to other people" is only relevant for other people, not me.
    It's not 'it only matters if its visible to other people', its 'it only matters if it has a causal consequence to events which occur in the universe'. If e.g. I were somehow able to do something that 'should' swap your self-awareness with the self-awareness of someone else, but when I did so nothing at all changed - neither you nor the other person reported feeling like you jumped across the room - then I would conclude that in fact self-awareness (at least, as defined by this mysterious power to swap them) does not exist. There could be some other property of self-awareness that exists, but it would have to be different than whatever thing I thought I was swapping was.

    If we posit that the teleporter is a device that by definition doesn't preserve some property 'self-awareness', it's the same story. If we teleport someone, and nothing at all changes, then the property 'self-awareness' as defined by the statement 'this is a property not preserved under teleportation' doesn't exist - that is to say, it has no consequence, not even to you (because if it had consequence to you, you'd behave differently as a result of that consequence - but in the scenario with the teleporter, you didn't behave differently).

    Again, that's not what my "wager" is about (additionally, I hate Pascal's) and I don't think you are even considering what my "fear" is about. I see my personal experience as "software" in action, not as a programme you can uninstall and re-install whenever you want.

    Say I am a robot. Very advanced robot. You want to tinker with my sofware, and promise me to save a backup. Do you really think it's rational for me, Robo-Joeltion, to allow you do so? To trust you? Why?* Can you trust the most precious thing you have in the world (in fact the only thing any human truly "posses") to another person? That's what my wager is about. I simply will never trust my self-awareness to anyone because thinking otherwise is either madness or naivety. And I haven't yet crossed that line.
    Well, you do this every day when you go out in society and people are driving/biking/etc around you - at any time, their mistake could kill you. Whenever you get in a car or an airplane you're trusting the engineers (or at the very least, trusting the track record of the technology). When you take medicine from the doctor, of course it could be botched or defective or something, or maybe something you're allergic to, or the prescription could be filled incorrectly. In the end, everything you do involves a risk. Even doing nothing involves a risk - that's one day older and one day more wear and tear on your body.

    Forget about the tinkering for a moment and lets talk about the backup. Every backup you have that you're willing to consider yourself squares your probability of dying in a given interval (keep in mind that p^2 < p, since p<1). If making a backup involves some risk of death to the source material - lets say its a 30% risk of death each time - you're still going to be ahead if you spend all your time constantly making backups. Sure you have that first 30% death risk, but then it becomes effectively 10% for the next backup, then 3%, then 1% - but so too do all your other risks of death shrink. So eventually, Robo-Joeliton gets the option of either choosing guaranteed death eventually, or a coin flip with a roughly 45% chance of dying immediately and a 55% chance of ironclad immortality.

    I'd take that coin flip. I'm not going to say something like 'its the only rational move' because e.g. other, less risky backup technologies might come into existence if you were to wait.

    So, it's simply impossible for us to reach any kind of understanding. Your system will never allow a thing like "personal experience" because they are both incompatible. PE will never stop being subjective, and if it is observable to a third party by any means, we haven't discovered it yet. So... let's just leave it like that, I guess.
    As I've said elsewhere in the thread, yes, we have already discovered how to make personal experience observable to a third party in an objective fashion. There's loads of research on this. Perceptual illusions let us use a single stimulus to induce multiple different qualia, so we can carefully pare apart the difference between what goes into the eye and what is ultimately experienced. We can impose qualia by direct stimulation (phosphenes), deduce qualia from fMRI and then match with first-person reports after the experiment (or even use machine learning to do video reconstruction of what images a person is currently visualizing). We can use inter-subjective agreement as objective evidence of shared qualities of subjective experience, even experimentally pick apart very subtle distinctions in awareness such as the awareness of saliency in blind-sight patients. We can map out the structure of personal experience using comparative techniques (for example, saying 'here are three colors, which two are most similar?' to a bunch of subjects for very similar shades, and then looking at the topology that the pairwise rankings imply). We can look at the divisibility of self-awareness in the case of split-brain patients (and we can even reversibly induce split-brain in monkeys) so we can divide one consciousness into two and then merge it back together again.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Interesting. This view clears up the discrepancy, I think.

    This is impossible, because that is not how identity works. If B is A, and C is A, then B is C. Disproof of the latter is sufficient to demonstrate that the other two statements cannot both be true.

    Yes, they both come from A, but they are not A.
    For example, if A is my past self and B is my current self, then:

    A => B
    B not => A

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    I find this somewhat confusing. For the purposes of Clarity, I'm going to call my hypothetical object defined as having all properties of A at the moment of its creation as D. I asked D was A, and you responded with your new term Idem. Perhaps I misunderstood. Are A and D the same object? That is, if A and D exist at the same time, and if I poke A, am I also poking D, even though I'm not actually interacting with D?
    A => D but D not => A at the moment of A being copied. Afterwards, A not => D and D not => A. At that point, they have split.

    I keep bringing it up, but its because I think it really makes this clear. If we write that A(t) is the worldline of object A, then:

    A(t) => A(t+delta)
    A(t+delta) not => A(t)

    However, A(t+delta) is considered (colloquially) 'the same object as' A(t). Therefore, by the same standard, I'd consider anything where x => y ( but y not => x ) to imply that 'x is the same object as y' in that colloquial sense.
    Last edited by NichG; 2017-09-27 at 01:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Oh, I really don't know. What I meant with "having no impact" on our consciousness; I mean that it's influence isn't easy to perceive. You can think of it as the spiritual version of dark matter/energy. Dark matter we can't perceive, or even infer it's really there. The concept of "dark matter" was invented by scientist to make the current equations work; but we can't tell if it's truly anything we can describe. Maybe it's bunnies. Maybe it's Cthulhu. Maybe it's Joe Pesci doing the macarena and sucking the universe in every direction with his unrelentless swaggerness. Point being, "dark matter" is an euphemism for something we have little to no understanding about. The same can be said about the soul (from a purely scientific approach, I mean).

    Spoiler: Explanation of how a "soul" doesn't necessarily needs to be obervable with a D&D example
    Show

    There are many religious theories on what sous actually do. But let's take it to a D&D like setting. Let's say it's a homebrew. You modified how the resurrection spell work, for reasons. For your setting, a "soul" is very distinct from "psychic energy" (consciousness) but is what actually "holds it together". When you die, this psychological energy dissipates in the Material Plane, or is absorbed somehow to create a different creature (zombie, vampire, elemental, etc) by a specific process. The "soul" instead, is "set free" into the Soul Plane. Now, here's the thing. You homebrewed this Soul Plane to allow players to have an equivalent to "Save States" for characters. Which means, all the memories, all the experiences of the character are "stored" with this soul. That way, when a character resurrects, you don't need to explain them "where the soul has been". The soul isn't the Character (maybe the soul has a different personality altogether, or is the piece of a god) and what happens to the soul doesn't directly affect the Character in any sense. When a Character loses his "soul", it simply means they can't be resurrected. They need the soul for that. Add as many shenanigans as you want, point is; a "spiritual" soul doesn't necessarily has to be the same as the psyche, or observable by physical terms.

    Now, when you ask how that example applies to RL science, I have no answer. Like I said, I'm not interested in the religious definition of souls. But I'm pretty sure some religions have plausible caveats in order to make their concepts unverifiable with science. I know because linguists face a similar problem (to use science on language). It's hard to make a science out of constructs (meaning) and figments of imagination (words).
    So, in summary: reincarnation (the closest thing to the resurrection of the example, because the ability to resurrect D&D characters is not that relevant to hypothetical real world transporters) could theoretically be real given about a dozen natural forces that haven't been considered in modern physics yet (fine, I'll accept that, we don't know nearly everything yet, as long as we still find new cat sized land mammals we can't possibly claim to know stuff like this for sure), and the thing that most people would call a soul that actually reincarnates into the next body and that carries my personality is me and transports over just fine, but there could be a second spiritual thing that actually handles the transition of that me into a new body after I die, and it's possible that a transporter decouples that separate thing from me, because a thing in charge of taking me to a new body can't handle me being transported to a new body.

    At this point, honestly, that seems reaching. I'll politely listen to anyone who has concerns over a spiritual part of my personality that might get lost, even though it's never been my personal favorite explanation for my behavior, but ones the argument gets to this point, I'll take my chances with the transporter.

    (Given I've been satisfied that the whole operation can't actually give me cancer, like minor copying errors in DNA a little too often do, and that sort of concerns.)
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2017-09-27 at 01:52 PM.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post


    A => D but D not => A at the moment of A being copied. Afterwards, A not => D and D not => A. At that point, they have split.
    Okay, so if I'm parsing this right, because after the "split" A not => D and D not => A, they are two distinct objects, yes?
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Okay, so if I'm parsing this right, because after the "split" A not => D and D not => A, they are two distinct objects, yes?
    Maybe the way to say it is that they are now two distinct objects that were both equally the same object in the past.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Maybe the way to say it is that they are now two distinct objects that were both equally the same object in the past.
    This I'm having a hard time accepting. So for clarity, I have an object A, and I also have a second object D with the same properties as A. Where is this "split," and what made D stop being A if it was once A?
    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
    This I'm having a hard time accepting. So for clarity, I have an object A, and I also have a second object D with the same properties as A. Where is this "split," and what made D stop being A if it was once A?
    Look at what is possible to vary. Before D exists, I can only change A, right? Then, when D is coming into existence (being copied), I still can only change A, because at that moment D is defined by A's properties. However, after that moment, I can change both D and A.

    Up until the split (the copy event), any interventions I make into the system will end up on both A and D. After the split, interventions can independently influence A and D.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Look at what is possible to vary. Before D exists, I can only change A, right? Then, when D is coming into existence (being copied), I still can only change A, because at that moment D is defined by A's properties. However, after that moment, I can change both D and A.

    Up until the split (the copy event), any interventions I make into the system will end up on both A and D. After the split, interventions can independently influence A and D.
    So I still have A, and I also have a new object D. Suppose I now totally destroy the object we've labeled A. Is D now A? Or does D remain D, having "been" A in some sense previously?
    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 Bohandas View Post
    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
    No, we aren't. It has already been stated that the above is only one possible way of creating a transporter, and I have - on multiple occasions - stated that the actual mechanism of the transporter matters.

    And if you watch Star Trek then you will have seen plenty of instances where a "sci fi teleporter" does not transmit the material - because each time a duplicate appears the material must have come from somewhere other than the original. I am sure there are other sci-fi examples.

    I do agree that if the original material is being transported there is a much higher chance of the person at the other end being the original, and yes, I do understand the difference between a genuine transporter (case 1) and a copier (cases 2 and 3). But that doesn't mean we shouldn't investigate other options.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    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?
    Yes and no.

    In all cases the copy (if it is a copy) will be newer than the original, regardless of appearances. It will not have existed until the moment it was created. The definition of the terms "copy" and "original" are fairly clear - that's pretty much the point made by the cartoon someone linked earlier.

    Test Case 1 does not prove absolutely that the transporter is safe, but does give a good reason for an individual to assume so. As I have said, I wouldn't use it, but I'd give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who did.

    Test Case 2 explicitly states that the original does not dematerialise. In this case it is immediately evident we have a copying process not a transporting process, and therefore the transporter is destroying the original under normal use.

    Test Case 3 is the half-way house. The transporter may (or may not) be working as per (1), but we have an additional copy. one of the two people may (or may not) be the original as per (1), but the other is definitely a copy, and you probably can't tell which is which. Either way you have to assume the transporter is unsafe as it has now produced a duplicate copy, and that will cause enough problems.

    As to whether it matters, well, that's the big question. We've gone round this question several times. It certainly matters to me.
    Warning: This posting may contain wit, wisdom, pathos, irony, satire, sarcasm and puns. And traces of nut.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    So I still have A, and I also have a new object D. Suppose I now totally destroy the object we've labeled A. Is D now A? Or does D remain D, having "been" A in some sense previously?
    Previously, you had one object A_past. Now you make D, so you have two objects D_present and A_present which both extended from A_past. Now you destroy A_present, so you're left with one object D_present that extended from A_past.

    The labels themselves (A or D) are interchangeable, so I think the question 'is D now A?' is ill-posed because we decide the label, the objects themselves don't decide the labels. So if we arbitrarily decided to call it E, for example, that would neither be correct nor incorrect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Previously, you had one object A_past. Now you make D, so you have two objects D_present and A_present which both extended from A_past. Now you destroy A_present, so you're left with one object D_present that extended from A_past.

    The labels themselves (A or D) are interchangeable, so I think the question 'is D now A?' is ill-posed because we decide the label, the objects themselves don't decide the labels. So if we arbitrarily decided to call it E, for example, that would neither be correct nor incorrect.
    Okay, so let's give them more tangible identities to avoid confusion over names. I have a block made of smaller Lego pieces. I then construct another block out of Lego pieces to be identical in colour, size, arrangement, everything. I even make a point ofbuilding it out of pieces that have any manufacturing defects or variants. Is this an acceptable analog to the A/D objects? And if not, why not?
    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

    Which Robert Angier was the real Robert Angier???

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Okay, so let's give them more tangible identities to avoid confusion over names. I have a block made of smaller Lego pieces. I then construct another block out of Lego pieces to be identical in colour, size, arrangement, everything. I even make a point ofbuilding it out of pieces that have any manufacturing defects or variants. Is this an acceptable analog to the A/D objects? And if not, why not?
    It requires experimental validation - namely, we have to go and check to see that the two objects (and the process of doubling the construction) behave in the correct way. For example, if I were to sneak in and make a nick in one of the lego pieces in your first object, would I find that same nick in the second object? If I were to embed a microchip inside the plastic, would I find that you managed to copy all the details of the microchip too?

    If not, then it's not the same situation as the A/D objects.

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