[ExI] Let's play What If.

Tim Halterman timhalterman at gmail.com
Fri Oct 29 19:09:26 UTC 2010

> These two will be functionally identical.  Each will claim to be the
> original, though one will have physical evidence that he woke up in the
> wrong place.

> Sidebar:
> This rests on the fact that if you strip away everything physical from the
> thing that is a person, it is only the functionality that matters. Our
> physical aspect gets stripped away and totally replaced, atom by atom, every
> few years.  Nobody ever complains that "Oh my god I am going to die in a few
> years because all my atoms will be different by then!!" -- we all consider
> functional continuity to be the absolute arbiter of who we are.
> Both the original and the duplicate, in John Clark's scenario, have 100% of
> the functional continuity.  It is just that one of them (the copy) has the
> same kind of discontinuity that is experienced by all of us after a few
> years' waiting, but compressed into one microsecond.  If it does not make
> any difference to us when we wait for a few years to get the normal physical
> replacement, how can physical replacement have a different significance in
> this case?
> *********
> Hey, here is the right analogy to convey the message.  In Heinlein's "Door
> into Summer" Dan is talking to his buddy Chuck about the time machine that
> Chuck knows about.  Chuck explains that there is a problem with time travel,
> because the machine sends one of its two loads forward in time, and one
> backward, and there is no way to tell which one will go which way.  He says
> "Nobody knows which way to orient the kinkin' thing!  Tell me:  which
> direction is next week?  Go ahead, point to it!"
> I say, before the operation, "Tell me which direction is this 'Original Me'
> that is going to be okay?"  There is no way to do that because before the
> operation every attempt to point to the original will ALSO point to the copy
> of me.
> Richard Loosemore

I dropped off this conversation much earlier due to the inability to get my
point across to John but I'd like to say your comment about both claiming to
be the original totally depends on the person who just underwent the
process.  If I had undergone this, both would say, neither of us are the
original.  Who I am is only a snapshot of that matter at that time in that
space and who I am now did not exist then and will not exist a moment from

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