X-Message-Number: 11063
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: More on Awareness, Identity, etc -- with a bit on Authority
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 01:11:42 +1100 (EST)

Hi everyone!

Dear me! The issue of identity etc has once more raised its head. 

I presume that if our suspensions are successful, we will revive believing 
that we are the same person as before (this is close to a definition of
"successful" --- though I'll point out that we need not be IDENTICAL to
the person we were before). 

Basically, the problem of duplicates is likely to exist for only a very
short time. If I somehow make a duplicate of you, that duplicate will
have to exist in a different place than you. And as the differences
increase (the duplicate will not be married to your wife, or own the
property that you own) the duplicate will diverge more and more radically.
Indeed, unless you have somehow been destroyed so that these issues do
not arise, it seems to me that it would be quite cruel to make a duplicate
of anyone still living and healthy. One or the other of them will lose
a LOT, including human relationships, job, etc. Even if you decide to 
altruistically trade your job with your duplicate in return for keeping
your wife, the most such a trade could do is to share the pain.

The problem continues to exist so long as we have human relationships
anywhere close to those we have now, no matter what they are called. And
the same for property: even if property is cheap enough that I can own
an entire planet, my duplicate will not own that planet.

And this means that even if your duplicate begins as a duplicate, he or
she will very quickly cease to be so. And depending on the circumstances,
may even hate you with a kind of personal hate we have not seen yet.

We also have Mr. Platt, who has decided that as a mere amateur, Bob
Ettinger ought not to question Turing. Mr. Platt may arrange his opinions
as he wishes, but I am surprised by this opinion. If we cannot question
authorities, we may as well give up the entire enterprise of cryonics ---
after all, there are thousands of authorities who do not agree that it
will work, and hundreds who would not agree even if we work out how to
suspend heads or even bodies. (Remember how the Authority Hayflick argues
in favor of aging and death in his latest book?). 

Besides which, given that Mr. Platt has read the book he describes, he 
might give us a summary of Mr. Kurzweil's book, which is supposed to
render our debates (discussions?) on these questions on souls, humanity,
and identity "redundant". We are all eager to hear what the Authority
Kurzweil has to say on these questions, which do concern us, more deeply 
than others who are not cryonicists.

Some Authorities are at least worth listening to. This does not mean that
we must accept their opinions. I admit, however, to very strong skepticism
that ANY authority could make our discussions redundant (sometimes wrong,
sometimes right, but redundant?).

	 Best and long long life to all
            (including Mr. Platt, even though he geniflects to Authority)

			Thomas Donaldson

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