X-Message-Number: 18041
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 20:57:13 -0500
From: david pizer <>
Subject: Did you survive?

Why do some of us seem obsessed about the duplicate theory, or the
mind-body vs mind information pattern identity theories?

Because our eternal lives may rest on making the correct choice *before* we
go into suspension.

There have been several comments on the subject of duplicate brains.  I do
not have any final answers but I think I am beginning to get a hold on the
important questions.  It all goes something like this:

1.	We cryonicists want to make the best decisions now, (while we are
alive), that we can make to increase our odds that we won't be dead
forever, since we don't think we will be able to make new decisions after
we are placed in liquid nitrogen.

2.	The duplicate discussion that comes and goes in this forum assumes that
we are talking about a person who has been placed in cryonics suspension.

3.	The dicussion assumes that there are two ways that the person can be
reanimated sometime in the future:  

	Option One - his/her original brain is repaired and reanimated; 

	Option Two - his/her original brain is copied and the original is
destroyed in 	the process, but the copy brain is reanimated.  (Some people
in cryonics think 	that this is the only way it can be done).

4.	The questions are:
	a.	Did the person in "Option One" survive?  
		Most of us would agree that the person did.

	b.	Did the person in "Option Two" survive?  
		Here is where we get mixed opinions.

In Option Two, where the original is destroyed and an informational
duplicate is reanimated, the question of whether the original person
survived in his/her informational duplicate rests on whether a duplication
of just the original information *pattern* is the exact original person, or
is *being* the original physical brain the only way the final entity can be
the original person.

A lot of cryonicists are well versed in mathematics.  These folks are
comfortable with the theory of instantiations, where they can instantiate
different numbers and patterns of information into equasions and they still
have the same thing at the end.

But, numbers and equasions do not have awareness.  To have awareness a
thing that has it must be made of matter. Only brains and brain-like
entites have awareness.  So this makes the question more complicated.  Can
you use theories that work only with mindless numbers to figure out the
workings of physical minds?

The questions can be looked at in another view:

Is the essence of being a specific person only the pattern or information,
or is the essence of being the specific person some specific material
neurons that have the material quality of awareness as an intrinsic part of
their neuron firing process.

MY hunch is that *I* am a hunk of a very specific brain, my brain.  I agree
that if a duplicate of the information about the construction of my brain
were created into a brand new brain, the new brain would *think* it was me.
 But I don't know if it would *be* me?   

These are questions that we are probably going to need a philosophical
breakthrough in thinking on the level of "I think, therefore I am." 

There is a lot at stake in this question because if your reanimator uses
Option Two, and it turns out that only Option One would have obtained your
survival, then *you* are now dead forever, although your duplicate may be
glad they chose Option Two and not Option One.

If you cannot correctly answer the question; "If a duplicate brain was
reanimated, and the original brain destroyed, did the original person
survive?" then you cannot confidently give specific instructions to your
reanimator before you go into suspension.  Therefore you are giving the
power to make decisions about your possible eternal life to others.  

It may be that is all we can do at this time.  

We have the question, now we need the answer.


Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=18041