X-Message-Number: 13017
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 18:16:57 EST
Subject: null hypothesis

Stasys Adiklis writes (#13014):

>Hope this will change your mind, Ettinger. I hope your neural net is still 
capable to >change

I change my mind fairly often, and of course make my share of mistakes, often 
before breakfast. But it is the uploaders who are PLAINLY wrong when they are 
dogmatic about their proposition.

The essence of the uploader's position is captured in Mr. Adlikis' statement 

>It's information, NOT matter [that] is important.

This is the same as Moravec's frequently reiterated statement that "you" 
survive if your "pattern" survives.

But this position is not an empirical observation, nor is it a logical 
conclusion from an accepted set of premises. If you want to dignify it, it is 
a postulate. Or we could just call it a speculation or assertion. Repeating 
it a zillion times doesn't make it true. And it is clearly unscientific to 
adopt a position (other than tentatively) merely for the comfort it brings 

Uploaders represent a small minority of people today, but my skepticism is 
not based on that, nor on meat chauvinism. In fact, I acknowledge the 
possibility of something even less popular--that there may not be any such 
thing as survival, that we are all ephemeral, lasting only as long as a 
single state of consciousness; that our continuers, as well as any 
duplicates, are different people. But this also is just speculation at 
present. We have much, much more to learn about physics and biology.

I have been through the thought-experiment mill as much as anybody, and a lot 
more than most, and there are no clear answers there yet. The real lab 
experiments, such as those kindly mentioned by Mr.Adiklis, may eventually be 
decisive, but we are not close yet on that front either. 

The game begins with data gathering and conceptualization, and continues with 
calculation of probabilities and allocation of resources. In the 
information-overload era, the former are sometimes easier but the last much 

Rotsa ruck.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=13017