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Richard Dawkins asks an interesting Saturday insomnia question

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One is tempted to reply, “If I were my identical twin, what would anything change?” But readers may have profounder thoughts.

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12 Replies to “Richard Dawkins asks an interesting Saturday insomnia question

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    NO. Our soul is not made of atoms. The atom thing here is making man just of the material world.

  2. 2
    Mapou says:

    It is a stupid question that materialists, especially Singulatarians, have been asking for a while. They have this silly dream of achieving immortality by uploading the contents of their brains into computers. And they accuse us of being religious. Go figure.

    It would be a good question if our bodies were really all that we are. But those of us with a modicum of common sense and logic know better.

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    More than half of you isn’t you. The microbes that live in your gut and all over and inside and the surface of you etc.

    Copy those along with all of your atoms and you would have a dead you and a bunch of microbes thinking “party’s over”.

    Edit…on second thought, the microbe copies would be dead too. So it goes.

  4. 4
    gpuccio says:

    Obviously no.

    Let’s say I am here, in point A, and every atom of my body is duplicated in point B using my body as an information source. The subject that I am has not changed, nor its connection with my body in point A.

    The new body in point B has no more connection with my sentient identity than the table in next room, or a paper printing of the information needed to build the new body.

    Either the new body in B has no consciousness and identity, or it is conscious, but it is someone else. Maybe with many similarities to me.

    I like this question, because it allows a clear discrimination between the subject and what the subject represents. In this case, if we admit that B is conscious, I and he are obviously two different subjects. I think it is very unlikely that I would start suddenly to perceive two different bodies at the same time, and probably not even Dawkins would endorse that view.

    So, even if we represent the same things, or similar things, at least at the beginning, when our “experiences” have not yet “diverged” significantly, it is rather clear that we would have two different subjects, two different identities, with similar representations.

    IOWs, the very simple truth: we essentially are the I which represents, and not the things that it represents.

  5. 5
    Orlando Braga says:

    When I saw Dawkins reducing himself to a set of atoms, I almost believed he was right … !

  6. 6
    ppolish says:

    Duplicating every atom of the simplest organism would result in a bunch of atoms. Certainly not alive. Shoot some electricity into the atoms ala Dr Frankenstein? Toasted atoms.

    But dear Richard wants us to imagine not only a live Richard the II but also a conscious one? Oh my. Bad enough imagining a cloned Richard the II. An army of cloned baby Richards. Cute or scary, you decide.

  7. 7
    Me_Think says:

    If we apply the Bekenstein Bound, we can see that the possible quantum state a human body can be in is about
    10^[(3x10^43)x80x1] - when will UD support LaTeX ? =10^(2.4×10^45). If you can find the quantum state in which the person exist (remember it may be temporal) and duplicate that within milliseconds (to avoid any temporal quantum state change), only then can you possibly know if ‘soul’ and body are different. If not, there is no way to show if consciousness/soul( the ‘I’) is emergent property or a separate entity.

  8. 8
    Tim says:

    Me_Think@7

    Me_Think’s: “It’s material!” On display, he belies
    His myopic views, and thus he denies
    Supernatural souls. Swell.
    But “For Whom Tolls the Bell
    One can “possibly know” the moment he dies.

  9. 9
    Me_Think says:

    Tim @ 8

    It’s material!” On display, he belies
    His myopic views, and thus he denies

    Whether you like it or not, everything in this world is either matter, energy or field.

    One can “possibly know” the moment he dies.

    The moment we die, we are bacterias’ lunch.

  10. 10
    Tim says:

    Truth, love and beauty grace each like a crown,
    So now I see why you think my smile’s a frown.
    We ponder wine in the cup,
    You shout, “it’s just bottom’s up,”
    Spilling your beer because you’re upside down.

  11. 11
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Me_Think

    The moment we die, we are bacterias’ lunch.

    That is what we have to accept within materialist, evolutionary ideology as the sum total of everything.

    Non-living matter became bacteria – life.
    It then lived for a while and returned to non-living matter.

    Bacteria became human beings. Humans live then are eaten by bacteria.

    That’s the evolutionary story. That’s the story of humanity – the mystery of life (which is no mystery at all). There’s not much more to discuss beyond that.

  12. 12
    Lilly says:

    Me Think: “Whether you like it or not, everything in this world is either matter, energy or field.”

    Whether you like it or not this is an assumption based on faith. Is an assumption matter, energy or field? Or your faith in the assumption? Matter, energy or field? It’s also an assertion that you know, without remainder, what matter, energy, and fields actually and ultimately are. I know it is difficult to see that when you are immersed in a mechanistic metaphysics.

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