X-Message-Number: 27577
Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2006 21:00:03 EST
Subject: technology & identity

Not that it has much practical importance at this time, but I take mild  
issue with RBR's statement that criteria of identity depend on logic and  
philosophy, not technology.
It's really fairly easy to see that future developments in science could  

easily bear upon criteria of identity. In fact, present ideas (and disagreements
among leading scientists) are so confused, and in some cases so misleading, 
that  we are already walking in an intellectual swamp and surrounded by  fog.
As one example, RBR, if I remember correctly, ties his definition of  

identity to continuity of time and space (apparently ruling out quanta of time  
space). But the nature of time and space (or times and spaces) remains  

speculative. Also, quantum entanglement has wide-ranging and very poorly  
consequences. We don't even know if the "laws" of physics and the  "constants" 
of nature are fixed. Some string (or brane) theorists think  they are not.
Here's an easily (?) understood example of confusion among eminent  
physicists and mathematicians on simple propositions. They constantly confuse  

dimensions, coordinates, degrees of freedom, and parameters. We are told  
e.g.that the 
surface of a sphere is a two-dimensional region. Any child should  be able to 
look at it and see how silly that is. Only two coordinates are  required to 
locate a point on the sphere, but that doesn't make it  two-dimensional. 
Also, we are told that, on a sphere, the angles of a triangle add up  to more 
than 180 degrees. How can smart people be so dumb? They are messing with  

language. The DEFINITION of an "angle" is different on a  plane than on a 
I could go on and on, but enough.
Robert Ettinger

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