IRG CommandoJoe wrote:
I don't understand this. You don't need the same atoms? How can that be? You can't just take some other atoms and assemble them into the same structure as your original brain because it'll just be a copy. Your consciousness isn't surviving. It's being duplicated. Correct? From what I understand, for the survival of consciousness to occur, the atoms that were present at death must be the ones put into a new brain. Doesn't that make sense?
No. That makes not one damn sense, if you understand what I'm saying. Atoms do not have identities, and they certainly do not share your
identity. Every time you eat a sandwich, you are taking new atoms into your body. Every time you take a piss or a shit, you are saying goodbye to atoms that were once "you". Some of those atoms were once bits of you brain. Now they are not. You, however, are still you
, because the arrangement
of your nervous system has remained constant and self aware of those changes that have occurred.
But back to the statement "atoms don't have identities". Philosophical discussions about copying vs continuity of existence aside, none of these arguments apply to atoms themselves. Quantum physics states that no two atoms can be distinguished. Literally, as long as two atoms are of the same element, isotope, and electric charge (among other properties) it is fundamentally impossible
to tell them apart. And if you want to talk about subatomic particles like electrons, this fact is indisputable. This leads into the Uncertainty Principle, which is what makes quantum physics chaotic, and why the so called "quantum foam" exists from which hypothetical entities like Boltzmann Brains can spontaneously pop into existence from an apparent vacuum.
And I wouldn't necessarily care about having the exact same brain as the original. With the very limited knowledge I have of the brain, I'm assuming that if you reassembled the brain's atoms into another working brain (but not the exact same brain) your consciousness persists, even if it is effectively a new personality. You get the chance to wake up as a new person.
What the fuck are you rambling on about? Alternatively, what the hell have you been smoking? If an entity lacks your memories, it is not you
. You are dead
. Your consciousness has stopped
. Again, every time you take a shit, atoms that were once you are now not you
. Some of those atoms will later fertilize plants that will grow into foodstuff for other animals, some of which may be human animals. In your lifetime, other entities will be walking around with your atoms. You will still be alive, and therefore cannot be said to have been "reincarnated" by any definition. But those atoms are still in another entity's body. Now do you understand why it is irrelevant whether or not the same atoms are involved for your consciousness to continue? If it were otherwise, the whole idea would fall prey to absurdity. Like homeopathy.
How many atoms are original atoms throughout your lifetime?
Zero. Zilch. None of the atoms. None of them. They are not original to you. You are literally walking talking dinosaur shit. Literally, all of your atoms were once living beings in their own right. They will eventually be living beings again after you die. The atoms have no memory of this. They will not remember you either. They are just atoms
. In fact, all atoms can trace their lineage back to the stars. Their existence can all be attributed to supernovae and stellar fusion. The only exception is hydrogen and helium and a very small amount of lithium, which are the precursors to all other atoms. These were present at the dawn of time, the Big Bang. Some of those hydrogen and helium atoms fused in the cores of stars and became things like oxygen, carbon, iron, and everything else. As Carl Sagan liked to say "we are made of star stuff". But they are not stars now
. They are people
. And eventually, they will not be. Dust to dust. Atoms to atoms. From atoms we came, to atoms we remain, to atoms will shall be again.
Conservation of mass. Have you heard of it?
I've wondered about this. Especially when put into the context of that post by Chronos from the thread I linked to, about gradually replacing your brain with synthetic neurons and not knowing the difference. This leads me to wonder if the atoms that were cycled out of your brain were accumulated over your lifetime and reassembled into another brain...would that be a persistence of consciousness or a creation of a new consciousness?
Neither. In the end its all just the cycle of energy through the ecosystem and an increase of entropy. You really shouldn't overthink this.
I figured the odds would be pretty damned low. Good thing that when it does happen, you'd be unaware of how long it took for it to happen.
Actually, provided that you have the knowledge that someone like Sagan did, you would know because you could look up at the sky and see that entropy in this universe is extremely high. This is, basically, why Boltzmann Brains create headaches for the Anthropic Principle. Looking up with a telescope, you would see that everything that isn't in your own solar system would be a diffuse cloud of barely lukewarm gas. On these timescales, the heat death of the universe would (probably) already happen before a Boltzmann "you" appears, let alone one living in an environment like a planet which could support "your" continued existence.
You would know because there would be no stars in the sky at night.