X-Message-Number: 27580
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 00:40:44 -0700
Subject: The Day-long Cup of Coffee

I'm a coffeeholic.  I start out the day with a full, rich cup of the 
strongest French brew.  No cream or sugar pollute my delicacy.

I love my cup of coffee so I like to make it last, and not to unreasonably 
over-indulge.  A half-hour goes by, and I still have a half cup left.  But 
it is almost cold.  I need a warmup.  I pour more atoms of this and that 
which make up "coffee" into my cup.  Ahhhh.  I still have my precious cup 
of coffee, and it is nice and warm, and again full.  It is not a new, or 
another, cup of coffee - it is merely a warmup for my original one.

I keep doing this most of the day, for, I love my cup of coffee.  Around 
noon lunch is brought in, and the caterer brings drinks along with it and 
starts to remove my coffee cup, which again is half empty.  I object 
strenuously "Stop!  That is my cup of coffee!"  "Oh, I'm sorry, do you need 
a refill?"  And on it goes.

By then, only 1/256 of the same coffee molecules which I started out with 
at 8 am, remain in my cup of coffee.  The rest are replacements.  I don't 
have the patience to do the math as to how many original molecules I have 
left by 5 pm, when I switch from coffee to bourbon.

I suppose RBR's answer will be that the cup of coffee I started out with 
does not have an "identity".  For others, or possibly for him, I ask at 
exactly which point in the day did my cup of coffee stop being the cup of 
coffee I originally began with, and which to me seemed very much like the 
same great cup all day long?  Or does it?

For those who say it does stop being the same cup of coffee, or that a cup 
of coffee does not have identity, I ask you how this is different from a 
human body?  Do your homework.  How many years does it take before a human 
body no longer has over 99% of the original atoms it started with, securing 
replacements as it goes along?  And at which point during that period of 
years, does it stop having the same identity it originally had?  Or does it 
stop?  If not, why?  Is RBR a closet patternist?

But I remember RBR running off with his tail between his legs, some time 
ago, when challenged with the fact that he is making up definitions (such 
as that of "identity") to specifically support his theories.  A mild 
logical fallacy, to state it kindly.

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