[extropy-chat] Re: Near Death Experiences: a scientific approach

Russell Evermore nanowave at shaw.ca
Wed Feb 18 20:50:03 UTC 2004

As a transhumanist, I have a bit of a problem with the terms "near
death" and "dualist" as used in the classical sense. Given the length
of the human timeline (a line roaring sharply upward into the spike),
one only has to take a few steps back to realize that all mortal
humans are more or less "near death". And the problem isn't resolved
by stepping closer, since "death" has always been a moving target -
i.e. totally dependent upon the technologies at hand. If I am laying
prone on a tabletop having antifreeze pumped into my carotids, it may
turn out that I'm not so near death as a fifteen-year-old luddite
taking his first puff of a cigarette.

And "dualism" as used classically implies a "you" that is somehow
separate from the physics of this universe - a soul or spirit that
exists independent from the atoms and molecules that constitute your
structure. Hogwash says I - but wait! Pick up an Abba CD and you have
in your hands a similar conundrum. The music on the CD or its "spirit"
in a sense does indeed transcend the medium. This has to be true if
you can copy it, and then toss out the original piece of plastic and
aluminum foil. The pattern transcends the substrate - but not without
a substrate substitute. And here is where classical dualism falls
flat. What is the proposed substrate that carries away our pattern at
the "moment" of death? Oxygen, nitrogen, helium? Nope. Just the
gossamer threads of angel snot.

Russell Evermore

Every transhuman is by definition, and first and foremost, a
survivalist. For in times of war and strife, the risks of ITD
(information theoretic death) multiply geometrically - potentially
rendering such cognitive distinctions as human/transhuman essentially

Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Re: Near Death Experiences: a scientific

> "The
> best answer to a dualist is to whack him over the head.  Hard."
> They have answers for that, too... ever try arguing with a Thomist?
> -Nicq MacDonald
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