X-Message-Number: 27595
Date: Tue, 07 Feb 2006 00:44:47 -0700
Subject: Hopefully Continuous Pattern

I remain convinced that RBR is a closet patternist.  He admits I have the 
"same" cup of coffee at the end of the day, even though it has been 
half-refilled 16 times and contains only a small fraction of a percent of 
the original coffee molecules it started with.  He admits a human identity 
can be the "same" identity after years and decades and maybe longer, of 
atoms totally replacing their predecessors numerous times.

What *is* there, then, about that cup of coffee or that human head/body, 
which remains the same, and which maintains its identity?  If the atoms are 
all replaced numerous times, it sure isn't anything physical.  Or if it is, 
describe it to me.  "Infinitely continuous function" doesn't cut it - if 
anything that sounds more like a pattern!  Either it is some ethereal 
"soul" non-material, or, guess what, folks? -- it must be a simple 
*pattern*.  You don't have to be a nonmaterialist to believe in patterns, 
RBR.  My little grandma ordered patterns for making clothes she never knew 
how to make before without them, and the information conveyed on those 
paper layouts gave her all she needed to be successful.  Neither the paper 
nor the ideas they conveyed, can by any stretch of the imagination be 
considered "supernatural."

Having said that, I'll have to go for now with cryonics, which offers the 
best current hope of maintaining the pattern of my identity.  Mainly 
because the human brain and body are "all we've got."  When a computer 
comes along that can maintain all the information necessary about not just 
the content but the structure of my identity's pattern, I'd consider 
uploading as a serious alternative to cryonics.  I'd even indulge in its 
primitive forms, on a last-chance backup basis in case something happened 
to my hard cold meat.

RBR used his 4 allotted Cryonet posts today, so Valera Retyunin stepped in 
to feed me to the ogre.  Needless to say, I was highly entertained by the 
parody!  I am old enough that most if not all the atoms in my head have 
likely been replaced a few times, although by natural processes not having 
to do with being on the serving platter.  The general pattern of their 
arrangement has continued though, at least enough that I perceive myself to 
be "me" with decades of memories and even some kind of physical resemblance 
to my "self" in prior years. I would think that my identity and subjective 
awareness thereof would stand a better chance of being preserved, if the 
pattern of it is preserved in the best manner possible come deanimation time.

One could easily argue, though, that I am *not* the same person I used to 
be, in many respects, and I wouldn't much argue the point.  To me, it seems 
apparent that identity, and the patterns it takes, change over time.  All 
that, of course, is a rather different subject, akin to the various 
"duplicates" arguments, none of which are even really discussable between 
people who cannot agree on whether the pattern of the atoms and molecules 
in a body are a defining part of its identity.

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=27595