Star Trek chats: transporters and the new you.

Author: secularmerlin ,

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  • secularmerlin
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    secularmerlin

    So here's the thing. If there is no cloning for the reasons in the above article and if the transporters can make duplicates of our favorite Starfleet officers as shown in the below article


    Then all your favorite star trek characters were dead right away. First episode you gotta assume they have already been disintegrated by a disintegration box and replaced with a clone by an clone making box at least a few times by then.

    What are your thoughts?
  • keithprosser
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    --> @secularmerlin
    My first thought isthat this belongs in philosophy...

    The trick for seeing that teleporting ok after all is to be steadast in one's monistic physicalism!

    What am 'I'?  'I' am not the atoms in my brain; 'I' am the information manifest in patterns of activity in my brain. 

    That is to say my memories, hopes and fears, everything that makes me 'me' is encoded as patterns in the 'dancing of my brain atoms', I am not my brain atoms; I am what they are doing.

    When I sleep dreamlessly or am put into a coma that dance stops.  I'd have no hope or fears when I am comatose even though all my atoms are present ; but they aren't dancing in the right way.

    Unless you believe in ghosts there is only ever matter and its activity.  A teleporter only has to extract enough information to recreate an arrangement of atoms so they will do the same dance as before because that is all we are - the dance of atoms.  You and I are a dance of atoms that thinks it's a person.

    The teleporter cannot kill you because the you you think you are is an illusion.  We are each of us just a pattern of dancing atoms.



  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    [I]t is impossible to create an identical copy of a quantum state without destroying the original – in fact, you HAVE to destroy the original arrangement in order to extract all the necessary information from it to construct the new, teleported, state.

    Quoted from my source material.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Yet in the world of star trek people teleport routinely without any apparent trauma or philosophical debate.   If you enter into the spirit of star trek then teleporting is probably less harmful a long-haul jet flight.  How can that be?  Why aren't they worried about dying?

    That teleporting destroys the original is a given.  The interesting question is how teleporting can be acceptable even so.  The answer is that something about the original is not destroyed - information.  If what 'I' am are my tastes, loves, fears, hopes etc then 'I' am not destroyed - 'I' am preserved by the teleporter, stored as information about the configuration of my atoms, all ready to be given a new material presence.

    Teleporting is fine once you let go of the big-headed notion that 'you' are anything more than the complex interaction of atoms.

    As long as the teleported has the same information content as the teleportee then that is enough - at least it is for the inhabitants of star trek, and they should know!

    Seriously,  I think this tell us something very important about the nature of self.





  • oromagi
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    --> @secularmerlin
    I think you forgot to switch on your quantum dampeners and make sure the chroniton stabilizers are up to spec. What kind of engineer are you, anyway?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @oromagi
    Indeed fire up the McGuffin device. That will solve everything.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    Seriously,  I think this tell us something very important about the nature of self.
    This actually only tells us something important about the beliefs of the writers of Star Trek on the subject of self.

  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    --> @keithprosser
    It isn't a teleporter.

    It's a transporter.

    You damn nerd...
  • keithprosser
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    --> @Discipulus_Didicit
    So strictly speaking the process is teleporting but the machine is a transporter?

  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    --> @keithprosser
    Correct... athough I don't think they ever call the process teleporting either except possibly once or twice in Star Trek: Enterprise just because in that series the technology is relatively new in-universe.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @Discipulus_Didicit
    Let me check...is there anyone here who would not use a transporter?  If not, why not?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    I would not for the reasons I have already stated.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @secularmerlin
    i am not aware of any statement of your reasons.  You wrote:

    Then all your favorite star trek characters were dead right away. First episode you gotta assume they have already been disintegrated by a disintegration box and replaced with a clone by an clone making box at least a few times by then.
    But what is it about that you find unacceptable? Cap'n Kirk is ok with it.  Tell him why he shouldn't be!

  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    --> @keithprosser
    Let me check...is there anyone here who would not use a transporter?  If not, why not?

    Aw, hell with that. Transporters kick ass. I would love to have a transporter.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    The current clone of the original captain Kirk (funnier because of the new timeline) is welcome not to think about the existential nightmare. I find the idea of the transporter to fill me with a creeping dread.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Tell me: do you believe in the existence of the soul (or maybe something like the soul)?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    I have no evidence to support the idea of a soul/spirit. I have yet to even get a sensible definition including the one I used to believe in.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Then what is it that sees the world through your eyes?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    I do not see the world through my eyes. I see it through my brain. The picture my brain makes is partially informed by my eyes. I have no evidence that this experience is anything in particular.


  • keithprosser
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    --> @secularmerlin
    'I see the world through my brain'.
    So what sees the world through your eyes is 'I'.  


    What is 'I'?  It's not you brain, because - as that 'I' said - 'I' is what uses the brain to see.




  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    I do not know. Science can only evaluate the physical properties of "I" however and so if it is more than physical properties it is indistinguishable any give "I" that acts identically but has no more than physical properties. "I" am only verifiably a series of poorly understood brainstates.

    In short if the default in belief is skepticism then believing in a metaphysical self is logically incoherent unless one can be demonstrated. The only thing my past, present and future self verifiably have in common is physical continuity. I do not think it wise to break this very tenuous connection. 
  • keithprosser
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    --> @secularmerlin
    The only thing my past, present and future self verifiably have in common is physical continuity.
    Did you sleep last night at all? I suggest that your self - the thing that sees with your brain - is not continuous at all but has big gaps in it - 'I' stops and starts.

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    As I said only physical continuity and that is very tenuous. 
  • keithprosser
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    --> @secularmerlin
    If I said the self/'I' is virtual, what would you think it means? 
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    Im not sure I can say it is virtual or personal or spiritual or snything else. All I can say is that I am the only one ecperiencing my "self". This is the same as saying that I cannot prove that I have one.