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Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

Because we've all been instantiated, so to speak. So a process to instantiate us exists. This, right there, destroys the theory that death must necessarily be the end of us.

You're entire argument seems to confuse possibility with probability. I'm not arguing that death definitely is the end of us, just that the evidence seems to support that conclusion over and above your position of continuance.

I never implied continuity. Merely that whatever process that took people from unordered matter into thinking conscious entities could happen again to us. Black box the process. You've had no counterarguments to this other than saying that it sounds awfully dubious.

So, without continuity, in what way can you say it's "us". You've offered nothing I can see in support of this claim (which seems to be central to your overall claim).

Ah, but I'm not talking about the copy who appeared on the spaceship. I'm talking about the copy on the planet. Would you (as that copy) actually beam up? Or walk into the annihilation beam after a copy of you was accidentally made up in space?

Personally, i'd likely not walk into it, because as far as I can tell, my consciousness depends on my specific neurons - I would cease and a copy (which thought it was a continuation of "me") would continue on the ship.

Where did that consciousness come from? We don't know.

We do - the evidence points strongly in the direction of it arising from our neurons/brains. The question is exactly how it arises, and that is being investigated (contrary to your claims otherwise).

What happens to the consciousness that is annihilated? We don't know.

Yet the evidence seems to strongly suggest that the consciouness "ceases", because it requires the brain (as far as we can tell).

We know it exists, and that's all that matters.

And yet you still want to claim that it will somehow continue or reappear after the brain, which as far as we can tell is required for that consciousness, is "destoryed".

Is it logically possible that our consciousness will be "re-instantiated", "continue" or otherwise survive death?
Sure it is.

Is it possible in reality?
Maybe, we don't know for sure.

Is it probable/likely in reality?
It doesn't to be given our present knowledge and evidence.

What you need do (and have thus far failed to, it seems) is support this logical possibility as physically probability with arguments and evidence. Failing that, I see no reason to think that your claim is likely/probable, and therefore no reason to accept it (nor a reason why you do).

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

There doesn't need to be continuity, merely that the "us" that is experiencing this conscious life appears again on the stage.

if there is no continuity, how can you claim some shared identity between the two conscious events?

Since you mentioned Tipler in the other thread, let's consider the fact that all of this could just be a giant simulated reality, as various other philosophers (like David Chalmers) have speculated.

And the evidence supporting these claims are?
A nice thought experiment, but as far as I can tell, there is no reason to think they obtain in "reality".

Again, the analogy with a computer simulation fails because there is no reason to think it is the case.
And even so, to claim that the contents at a specific address (or however you want to point to an instance) would make the "I", regardless of the contents of that structure seems nonsensical.

Without some kind of identity "mapping" between "I-now" and "I-future", which you've not indicated for your general thesis, there seems no reason to take said thesis seriously.

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

At best, it's a guideline for developing hypotheses. It certainly doesn't allow us to reject evidence.

What evidence would that be? As I see it, the evidence supports both our hypothesis, and mine is simpler, so why give yours preference?

As I said, atheists have a terrible time dealing with existence.

You've said it a number of times, but you still haven't supported the claim.

Atheism implies non-existence (in various ways and meanings of the word).

As far as I can see, atheism only implies a denial of or lack of belief in god or gods. Even if we substitute "materialism" or "naturalism" where you use "atheism", the implied non-existence you claim still doesn't seem to follow.

The very simple, very unarguable fact that we exist is therefore grounds for rejecting atheism.

Only if such a claim followed from atheism (which is doesn't).

Therefore the claim that non-existence must necessarily be the end of us is against the evidence.

You have a very strange view of "the evidence". You give no indication that any sort of continuity exists between this hypothetical future consciousness and ourselves, and there are reasons to think that no such thing exists (ie. reliance upon a specific brain, for example)

There's several analogies that might make sense.

Thought experiments are all well and good, but there is no indication that any of the things you mention are possible.
As far as the star trek analogy is concerned, "I" would wake up after being beamed, but I'm not sure it would be the same "I" who was anhilated earlier (though I'm sure it would profess that it was), especially given the possibility of the original still existing (their experiences would diverge instantly, and they'd be "different" people, surely) Your analogies ALL seem to rely upon copying a specific neural pattern, something which you've given no indication of happening with your "general" scenario of some conscious experience at some unknown time in the future through some unknown mechanism/process.
I wonder why I'm skeptical of you claims :-)

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

Indeed. The fact that we could go from a meaningless collection of atoms to a conscious entity with an inner life seems nonsensical, incoherent, and lacking correspondence with science.

There is a difference between not having an explanation currently, and an explanation being impossible. You seem to think the latter, but have given no reason to think that this is the case (especially as there are hypothesis being explored).

But it's happened to all of us. So we MUST reject the notion that once we become a meaningless collection of atoms again after we die, that we'll never reappear, so to speak.

You're going well beyond the evidence (again).

If you were talking about Botlzmann brains, or some other hypothetical observer(s) fluctuating into existence, then you may have a point (though the lack of continuity between "us" and the future consciousness would be a serious issue for your claims of them both being "us").

However, you don't seem to be talking about such things (or even some kind of computer simulation, such as Frank Tipler, I think, lays out in one of his fanciful "science" books).
You seem to be saying that at some stage, some other consciousness might (will?) come into being, and that there is some means of assigning identity between it and me/you, while providing absolutely no notion of how that could be the case, against the evidence that it would not be the case.

It seems to me that parsimony/Occam's razor leads us to accept no such continuation of identity likely/possible, provisional on further evidence.
You seem to take the complete opposite stance - accept the less parsimonious hypothesis unless it's shown to be false.
That seems an irrational position to take.

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

To the contrary, really. I said we can black box the entire process. We have no idea how we have gone from being a meaningless collection of atoms to entities with an inner life, but we don't need to.

I think, for you to claim it is possible "again", means you need more than simply "it happened before".

The fact that this process is possible means that it is possible to happen to us again, even if the future us won't have any knowledge of our current life, or even resemble us in remotely similar ways.

Sorry, this statement is incoherent - if the future "us" doesn't resemble the current "us", in what sense can it even be suggested that both share some form of identity? You've failed to provide any meaningful sort of continuity between these two hypothetical "consciousness" events.

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

The question to ask is if it is the same one, or a different one.

If it is the same pieces in the same arrangement, then for most intents and purposes, it would be the same "I" - it at least, would claim some kind of continuance from the "deconstructed I".

Would it's fellow lego soldiers consider it "the same"? No idea.

If we could create a duplicate of a person at the molecular/atomic level, would we consider them the same person? If we destroyed the original at the time of duplication?

To the lego soldier, this is a very important question - will he exist again after he dies?

Your analogy doesn't point to this - it's much more like the case of a duplicate sketched above than your "life after death".

Your "consciousness after brain death" claim seems to require a duplicate of our brains (and bodies, as they're a very important part of the "I") be created sometime in the future by some unknown mechanism/party. You've not supported this (unstated?) assumption with argument or evidence as yet.

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

NCCs are not consciousness.

And you know this how?

Consciousness itself is still just as mysterious to modern science as it was to the ancients.

How consciousness (possibly) arises from the NCCS is still a problem. I wouldn't say it's still as mysterious as it was to the ancients - currently we don't postulate an entirely different realm (with the vast array of attendant difficulties that engenders) to account for it ;-)

That's why neuroscience tries to ignore it, and focus instead just on NCCs.

You assume that focussing on neural correlates of consciousness is ignoring consciousness. I (and I assume neuroscientists) would disagree with you.

But we all know that consciousness exists.

We know that it's "like something" to have experiences. That doesn't mean out "folk" conceptions of consciousness are correct :-)

It's quite possible we'll never understand it.

Granted. Your case seems to hinge on us being unable to understand it, and yet understanding it in some fashion (your claims seem to require consciousness, or the "I", to survive the death of the brain, for example). How did you come by that knowledge if, as you claim, we're rather ignorant of "consciousness"?

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

Indeed. It does sounds quite implausible!

With you so far - it's exceedingly implausible "sounding".

Except that we know that we've already gone from not existing to existing once.

Fairly uncontroversial there...

Therefore claiming that having it happen to us again is impossible, as atheists do, is contrary to the known evidence.

This is where you're claim fails. It seems there is absolutely no reason to think that it happens again, and you're still not supplying any. The rational position would be, not to claim it's impossible (as you seem to think atheists claim), but that there is no reason to think that it is possible or likely - remain agnostic and accept the null hypothesis - that it does not happen. sadly for your case, there is evidence AGAINST it happening, such as the mentioned reliance of the mind on the brain - once the brain is "gone" you've given no sensible way that the "I" could some into existence again. You've not only failed to supply supporting evidence for your claim, but have failed to account for the disconfirming evidence presented.

It's actually very simple and easy to understand - atheists just tend to will themselves to not believe it because it's rather unarguable, and casts everything they know into doubt. In fact, I think existence at all provides a very serious problem for atheists, in several areas.

I understand what you're claiming, it's just that it seems nonsensical, incoherent and lacking correspondence with reality.

I'd think that the serious issues with "supernaturalism" make the problems with "materialism"/"naturalism" (which is what I think you mean when you say "atheism") pale into insignificance. Nothing you've mentioned in this (admittedly short) exchange has done anything to demonstrate "a very serious problem for atheists" as you're claiming :-)

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

As I said, the evidence that we've all gone from nonexistence to existence. The claim that after we die (transitioning back to non-existence) is "it" has the only evidence we possess to the contrary.

Well, since "I" relies rather heavily upon the physical brain, there seems to be no evidence that this "I" will come back again, and you've offered none to support that contention.

Philosophy very often does.

Bad philosophy almost always does. Good philosophy can generally be explained if it sounds like nonsense. From what I've read of your claims so far, I unfortunately put you in the former category, not the latter.

And the re-emergence!

Because the underlying physical hardware is (barely) disrupted and changed. This is not support for your position (and the experience of "not I()" when under a general would still seem to count against you).

So, can you offer any reason why, in the absence of the same or similar physical substrate on which "I" depends (your brain, for example), there would ever be something which could coherently be thought of as being a "reemergence" of that same "I"?

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

The "robots" in your example would presumably know exactly what it was that we were experiencing when we experienced consciousness. What they wouldn't know is what it was like to experience it - we have privileged access to our own experiences, but that doesn't mean someone couldn't "read our minds" and know what we were experiencing.

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

But no, the notion that consciousness doesn't exist because we can't explain it scientifically seems to be a rather contradictory one, because we all (presumably) are experiencing it right now as we read this.

I think you mean't haven't explained it, not can't Also, Dennett's "Multiple Drafts" hypothesis isn't the only game in town. There's the Global Workspace theory for a start.

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

Explain to me why "you" are looking out of your eyes and "I" am looking out of mine. There's no real reason, it seems completely arbitrary, and yet there it is - unarguably so.

The neurons which make contribute to "me" are attached to my eyes, and vice versa? Doesn't seem particularly arbitrary to me, unless you happen to be claiming that the "you" and "I" are something more than, and independent (to a large degree) of the brain

The simple fact of the matter was that before you were born, you didn't exist, and now you do. Atheism has a very hard time dealing with this issue, along with related issues of why there is anything at all.

You keep claiming that atheism has a hard time dealing with this issue (you probably mean materialism/naturalism, rather than atheism), yet I don't see how or why that would be the case.
As for why there is anything at all, we could get into it, but I'm happy with "I don't know, neither do you, but lets keep looking into it", how about you? :-)

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

Nope. If you really feel like digging through Slashdot archives, you can find plenty of people claiming that they don't exist, that consciousness is just an illusion, and therefore they have no problems claiming that death is nonexistence.

Well, from what I understand it, neuroscience is in the process of showing that our folk concept of consciousness is an illusion "stiched" together by various parts of our brains. Is that what these people were claiming?

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

Therefore the burden of proof is on the atheist to claim that, contrary to the evidence, that after we die this process could never happen again.

What evidence, though? You don't seem to be making much of a point. Sure the atoms that make me up could reform into a newborn, but since it seems that "I" am reliant upon the relationships between neurons etc in my brain, then how can you say it would happen to "I"? Different neuronal relationship, different person, different "I"

Note that I'm not claiming anything along the lines of us being us, merely that after you die you might wake up and find yourself looking out of the eyes of a newborn with no knowledge of your previous life, or in heaven, or whatever.

It wouldn't (couldn't?) be you. Your sentence sounds like nonsense to me.

Just that the notion that nothingness "is it" seems to fly in the face of our own personal experience otherwise.

Not really. Been under a general? That seems a reasonable data point for "nothingness" of the "I". If you didn't wake up, you'd never know. Again, your claims of an afterlife being some kind of default position doesn't follow.

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 1) 558

By definition, no evidence can really be presented as to what happens after death unless you believe the people who say they've had near-death experiences.

Not really. If there was any way for those in the after life to have an effect on reality, there could (and surely would) be evidence. Think ghosts, angels etc.

Regarding evidence against, I was thinking more about the minds reliance on the brain, and therefore the likely inability for the "mind", and almost certainly what we would refer to as "I" to survive the death of the brain.

If there is life after death, it's not going to be "you" who enjoys it :-)

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