[ExI] extropy-chat Digest, Vol 199, Issue 86

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Sun Apr 26 07:53:23 UTC 2020

On Sat, Apr 25, 2020 at 5:32 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On 25/04/2020 00:36, Jason Resch wrote:
> > According to mechanism (the idea that the brain is a machine and that
> > consciousness is merely a product of this machine's operation), then:
> > 1. survival of consciousness beyond the death of a body,
> > 2. reincarnation,
> > 3. the ability for the consciousness to travel to other universes, and
> > 4. the distinction between the body and the consciousness are direct
> > consequences.
> >
> > Mechanism holds that consciousness results from the operation of a
> > machine (the brain). Therefore, consciousness is the result of a
> > pattern of behaviors, not the underlying physical material or matter.
> > If a body dies, you could use a different pile of matter to rebuild
> > that machine and recover the consciousness. The consciousness then
> > would survive beyond the death of any particular incarnation (body)
> > and could reincarnate into new bodies. The analogy is similar to the
> > notion of a story surviving the destruction of one copy of it in a
> > book. The book, like the body, is just one particular token,
> > representing a type (the story). But the type can exist as many
> > different tokens.
> >
> > Most scientists and philosophers of mind ascribe to mechanism.
> > Consciousness then is an informational pattern, not matter or energy.
> > Consciousness has no mass, definite location, nor is it bound to the
> > confines of this universe like the matter is.  If in another universe
> > someone recreated on a computer the same patterns the atoms in your
> > brain here follow, then according to mechanism (what nearly every
> > scientist will tell you) your consciousness would be recreated in that
> > other universe.
> >
> > So here we have your "soul"--if you will call it that, surviving the
> > death of the body, reincarnating into new bodies unassociated with the
> > matter, and even leaving the universe to exist in some physically
> > inaccessible realm.
> >
> > You may object that in practice we never re-create brains in such a
> > way to enable reincarnation or allow the consciousness to survive the
> > death of the body, but I disagree. The many worlds of quantum
> > mechanics provides exactly the form of duplication necessary, and
> > results in your consciousness travelling to now physically inaccesible
> > corners of reality.  Secondly, if a dying brain approaches zero
> > information content, it results in there being a singular state (the
> > consciousness of zero information). If this conscious state is
> > identical in content to a newly forming brain in a womb, then this
> > provides a mechanism of reincarnating into a new body.  Then there is
> > also the simulation hypothesis, where you are a descendent, or jupiter
> > brain, or advanced alien playing sim human, and when you awaken from
> > this game/dream/life you will find yourself in an "immaterial"
> > (simulated/VR) realm where you are free to play "Sim Martian" or have
> > any life of any mortal being you choose.
> >
> > Or, if this is too much, you might just say when your dead that's it.
> > (but then you need to find an alternate theory of consciousness which
> > prohibits these possibilities).
> >
> Your terminology is more suggestive of supernatural concepts than
> scientific ones, but I see what you're getting at. However, you seem to
> be ignoring the vital role of matter and energy in implementing
> information. There's no such thing as information without matter and/or
> energy. There's no such thing as a mind without a brain.
> I do say that when you're dead, that's it. In the absence of some
> intervention to record, transfer and restore the information in the
> brain. I'm saying nothing about other universes or quantum physics, I'm
> not qualified to, but in this universe, in the macroscopic world we're
> all familiar with, it seems that minds are produced by the functioning
> of brains. If we can reproduce the functions exactly, as you say, we
> have reproduced the mind. That doesn't mean that if a brain is
> destroyed, the mind isn't also destroyed. The things you are calling
> 'reincarnation' (I really don't like using that term, for the reason
> above) can indeed happen, but only if someone does something to achieve
> it. Absent that, you're dead, Jim.

In an infinite reality, the probability that your mind is not created
elsewhere and will never reappear elsewhere is zero. You get this even
without presuming quantum mechanics or alternate universes, just infinite
space, which is the standard cosmological model used by cosmologists. (See
the first page of Tegmark
<https://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/PDF/multiverse_sciam.pdf>, which
calculates you have an exact copy 10^(10^28) meters away).

The only way to confidently proclaim someone is dead is if you knew that at
no time, anywhere else in all of reality, will this person's mind ever
recur. This requires knowledge of all of reality across all of time. You
could conclude upon finding someone's body that they have died locally, but
you cannot conclude their mind is gone, nor that it hasn't continued
elsewhere in reality.

> Some people dispute this, quoting things like the holographic universe
> theory, but again, I'm not qualified to comment on that, and I certainly
> wouldn't want to rely on it.
The idea of a huge/infinite reality is a direct consequence of a several
disparate scientific theories: cosmic inflation, quantum mechanics, string
theory landscape, and mathematical platonism. I would say then, it is an
anti-scientific viewpoint, to argue that the consciousness/mind does not
survive the death of the body--as in an infinite or sufficiently large
reality (which is a scientifically supported idea), it is a certainty that
the mechanism supporting the continued operation of that mind exists

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