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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

Tranporters, Atomic Level Murder

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bilateralrope
PostPosted: 2011-02-16 04:56pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
Posts: 2219
Location: New Zealand
Franc28, if we assume that transporters do kill the person using one, how does your morality say we should treat the guy who was materialised ?

They don't own any property. Everything they think they own actually belonged to the dead guy, meaning other people have inherited it.
They don't have a job because the person who did hold that job is dead.
They aren't legally allowed to do anything that is restricted to people above a specific age, because their date of birth is the time they materialised.

What if the guy who was de-materialised had committed a lot of serious crimes. He gets teleported. How can you punish the materialised person for any crimes that he didn't commit ?

Personally, even if I accept that a transporter does kill when it's used, I can't see how I can morally justify treating the materialised person as anything except the person who stepped onto the pad. Which means that I have to treat a transporter as something that does not kill because I am treating each transported person as someone who has not died.

Now to throw in another wrench: Take a bunch of people. Render them unconscious somehow (probably by doing this at night while they sleep). Place them all into identical containers so that they can't be identified by the other sets of staff. Randomly rearrange the containers. Get a fresh set of staff, randomly rearrange again. Get a third set of staff to teleport half of them, picked at random. Get the second set to shuffle them. Now get the first set back to open the containers up. At no point were the staff allowed to talk to each other, so nobody knows who was teleported and who wasn't.
How do you tell who died ?

If you need to know why people would agree to this, imagine it as protest against laws saying that transporters kill.
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Hamstray
PostPosted: 2011-02-16 06:10pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2010-01-31 10:59pm
Posts: 214
Location: Vienna, Austria
bilateralrope wrote:
Personally, even if I accept that a transporter does kill when it's used, I can't see how I can morally justify treating the materialised person as anything except the person who stepped onto the pad. Which means that I have to treat a transporter as something that does not kill because I am treating each transported person as someone who has not died.


So how would you treat a perfect clone then?

bilateralrope wrote:
Now to throw in another wrench: Take a bunch of people. Render them unconscious somehow (probably by doing this at night while they sleep). Place them all into identical containers so that they can't be identified by the other sets of staff. Randomly rearrange the containers. Get a fresh set of staff, randomly rearrange again. Get a third set of staff to teleport half of them, picked at random. Get the second set to shuffle them. Now get the first set back to open the containers up. At no point were the staff allowed to talk to each other, so nobody knows who was teleported and who wasn't.
How do you tell who died ?


Yeah and what about this scenario: Imagine we've just killed everyone, it doesn't matter to anyone because they are all dead. So what's wrong with killing everyone? No one would care if we just did that.
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Franc28
PostPosted: 2011-02-16 06:14pm 

Mindless worshipper of Ayn Rand


Joined: 2002-07-04 04:53pm
Posts: 88
Location: Montreal, Canada
bilateralrope wrote:
Franc28, if we assume that transporters do kill the person using one, how does your morality say we should treat the guy who was materialised ?

They don't own any property. Everything they think they own actually belonged to the dead guy, meaning other people have inherited it.
They don't have a job because the person who did hold that job is dead.
They aren't legally allowed to do anything that is restricted to people above a specific age, because their date of birth is the time they materialised.


I agree with all of these points except the last. Obviously, in any sane society restrictions would not be based on age but on mental maturity (but since Star Trek is not sane by any standard, they might still have restrictions based on age, I don't know). So that shouldn't be an issue.


Quote:
What if the guy who was de-materialised had committed a lot of serious crimes. He gets teleported. How can you punish the materialised person for any crimes that he didn't commit ?


Actually, I believe people should be restrained on the basis of the threat they pose to society, not just their crimes, so I would have no problem putting restrictions on, or exiling, a newborn clone. But again, your political opinion may vary.


Quote:
Personally, even if I accept that a transporter does kill when it's used, I can't see how I can morally justify treating the materialised person as anything except the person who stepped onto the pad.


That may or may not be the case, again, depending on your political opinions. But in all cases, it cannot be because they are the same person. They are not the same person.


Quote:
Which means that I have to treat a transporter as something that does not kill because I am treating each transported person as someone who has not died.


Again, that is not warranted, because they did in fact die. Treat them however you think is best, but if you treat them as if they didn't die, then you are factually incorrect.

Your hypothetical scenario makes no sense. No one would protest a law that prevents them from getting killed, except if it was a religious issue. That's simply counter to everything we know about human behaviour.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-02-16 06:54pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 22010
Hamstray wrote:
bilateralrope wrote:
Personally, even if I accept that a transporter does kill when it's used, I can't see how I can morally justify treating the materialised person as anything except the person who stepped onto the pad. Which means that I have to treat a transporter as something that does not kill because I am treating each transported person as someone who has not died.
So how would you treat a perfect clone then?
Well, damned sure I wouldn't treat them like a legal infant, for one.

The problem in that scenario is that you have two people claiming a niche in life that only one of them can have: I and my clone cannot both do the job I did before I was cloned. This is not a problem for transporters, because there is only one person claiming the niche: even if the "real me" is dead, the transporter-duplicate who remembers being the "real me" is the only person who can fill my shoes... and he can do so perfectly.

I say, let him.

Quote:
bilateralrope wrote:
Now to throw in another wrench: Take a bunch of people. Render them unconscious somehow (probably by doing this at night while they sleep). Place them all into identical containers so that they can't be identified by the other sets of staff. Randomly rearrange the containers. Get a fresh set of staff, randomly rearrange again. Get a third set of staff to teleport half of them, picked at random. Get the second set to shuffle them. Now get the first set back to open the containers up. At no point were the staff allowed to talk to each other, so nobody knows who was teleported and who wasn't.
How do you tell who died ?
Yeah and what about this scenario: Imagine we've just killed everyone, it doesn't matter to anyone because they are all dead. So what's wrong with killing everyone? No one would care if we just did that.
...What the hell? That's no kind of answer.

This is a significant question- we've got a large group of people, some of whom are supposedly these sinister 'copies of dead people...' but we can't tell which ones. How is the law supposed to deal with that? The civil and criminal laws around the matter of death are based on the assumption that when someone is dead you can tell that they're dead. How does that work in a situation where you can make it impossible to ever know whether someone actually died?

Franc28 wrote:
bilateralrope wrote:
Franc28, if we assume that transporters do kill the person using one, how does your morality say we should treat the guy who was materialised ?

They don't own any property. Everything they think they own actually belonged to the dead guy, meaning other people have inherited it.
They don't have a job because the person who did hold that job is dead.
They aren't legally allowed to do anything that is restricted to people above a specific age, because their date of birth is the time they materialised.
I agree with all of these points except the last.
How is justice served by such a law? Why should "recently transported back aboard the ship" Captain Kirk not be allowed to use the property and do the job of the Captain Kirk who was beamed off the ship?

Quote:
Actually, I believe people should be restrained on the basis of the threat they pose to society, not just their crimes, so I would have no problem putting restrictions on, or exiling, a newborn clone. But again, your political opinion may vary.
On what evidence do you judge the clone a threat to society, if all his crimes were committed by someone else? You do need evidence before you should be allowed to punish people, you know.

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Which means that I have to treat a transporter as something that does not kill because I am treating each transported person as someone who has not died.
Again, that is not warranted, because they did in fact die. Treat them however you think is best, but if you treat them as if they didn't die, then you are factually incorrect.
No he's not, because he's not wrong. Or, at least, cannot be shown to be wrong in any philosophically coherent sense.

Your definition of "death" is philosophically incoherent, and largely meaningless, because it renders the statement "Bob is dead" no more profound than "Bob is temporarily unavailable and will get back to you in a few minutes." As I explained in my earlier post, which you totally ignored. I'll repost it for your benefit, since it was at the bottom of the page and (charitably) that may be why you ignored it.



Franc28 wrote:
Quote:
*sigh* So you think that all open-heart surgery patients die, but then come back to life 2 hours later? Clearly for you death is irrelevant, then.
I think you misread me completely. What I was saying is that what you just said there is false. I do not believe they die and come back to life.

If you want to swap stupid analogies, your position is the equivalent of saying that someone who got shot in the head couldn't possibly have died. After all, getting shot is much less destructive to the body than getting completely obliterated.

Stupid analogy? Yes, but so is yours.
People can die of damage much smaller-scale than what surgeons inflict on patients as a matter of routine. I mean, most abdominal surgery starts with "Step One: cut the patient's abdomen open;" if that happened in the wilderness it would be death by disembowelment. On an operating table, performed by trained personnel, it's very much survivable.

You can't survive having your heart cut out in the desert. You can survive having your heart cut out on an operating table during a transplant- not guaranteed, but possible.

So the philosophical question stands: is taking someone apart and reassembling a 'good as new' version the same as killing them? If so, "death" becomes much less significant as a philosophical concept. The reason we consider "death" to be a big deal is that it's irreversible- you can't "spend a year dead for tax purposes" or the like; you stay dead.

Can a reversible procedure, one that will predictably be undone over and over, be classified as death?

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You stress "continuity" as being your argument repeatedly. If it's continuity of consciousness, that is clearly obliterated.
How is "continuity of consciousness... obliterated" during heart surgery? That's absurd.
Heart surgery is done under general anesthesia; you are unconscious during the surgery. Ergo, your consciousness is not continuous during the surgery.

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If it's continuity of form, that too is obliterated. Why should it matter if it's the removal of a component organ or the removal of a grouping of atoms? What is the LOGICAL difference between the two? It's the exact same thing, just done on a different level.
So what? Again, nothing to do with the complete obliteration of the individual.
[/quote]"Complete obliteration" implies an irreversible process- which, by all appearances, transporter operations aren't.

Let's take another hypothetical case. Imagine that I take Fred, dope him unconscious on a table, and remove one atom of his body with a pair of micro-tweezers. I then take this atom across the room and put it on a table.

I repeat the process, taking away a second atom of Fred from where the first one used to be, and placing it beside the first atom in the same relative position. I then do this again and again, transferring Fred across the room one atom at a time. Assuming unlimited amounts of time to work and no problem of decay, I could theoretically take every atom of Fred's body, move it across the room, and attach it to a new "Fred body." If I make no mistakes, the new body will be in all respects identical to the old one.

According to your argument, at some point in the process I killed Fred and replaced him with a Fred-clone. So, when did this happen? At what point during the process of taking Fred apart, moving him, and putting him back together, did I kill him?

At what point did Fred-clone become 'alive'? Is there some vital principle or soul that had to fly across the gap when the first Fred died, only to reanimate the Fred-clone?
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bilateralrope
PostPosted: 2011-02-16 07:21pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
Posts: 2219
Location: New Zealand
Franc28 wrote:
bilateralrope wrote:
Franc28, if we assume that transporters do kill the person using one, how does your morality say we should treat the guy who was materialised ?

They don't own any property. Everything they think they own actually belonged to the dead guy, meaning other people have inherited it.
They don't have a job because the person who did hold that job is dead.
They aren't legally allowed to do anything that is restricted to people above a specific age, because their date of birth is the time they materialised.


I agree with all of these points except the last.

How can you justify any of my points as being good for society or the individual involved ?
Quote:
Obviously, in any sane society restrictions would not be based on age but on mental maturity (but since Star Trek is not sane by any standard, they might still have restrictions based on age, I don't know). So that shouldn't be an issue.


How do you prove mental maturity ?
What level of maturity are you looking for ?

Age restrictions are the judicial systems answer to that problem. Instead of relying on a measurement that is probably subjective, and definitely hard to prove, they instead use something that can be quickly checked and usually means that the maturity is there.

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What if the guy who was de-materialised had committed a lot of serious crimes. He gets teleported. How can you punish the materialised person for any crimes that he didn't commit ?


Actually, I believe people should be restrained on the basis of the threat they pose to society, not just their crimes, so I would have no problem putting restrictions on, or exiling, a newborn clone. But again, your political opinion may vary.


How does your treatment of the materialised person differ from your treatment of the same person if they had never been through the transporter ?

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Personally, even if I accept that a transporter does kill when it's used, I can't see how I can morally justify treating the materialised person as anything except the person who stepped onto the pad.


That may or may not be the case, again, depending on your political opinions. But in all cases, it cannot be because they are the same person. They are not the same person.


Can you justify treating the materialised person any differently to an untransported individual without saying "but he died" ?
Because "but he died" leads to all sorts of problems.

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Which means that I have to treat a transporter as something that does not kill because I am treating each transported person as someone who has not died.


Again, that is not warranted, because they did in fact die. Treat them however you think is best, but if you treat them as if they didn't die, then you are factually incorrect.

Your hypothetical scenario makes no sense. No one would protest a law that prevents them from getting killed, except if it was a religious issue. That's simply counter to everything we know about human behaviour.


All the people in my scenario are volunteers who believe that transporters don't kill and are unhappy about laws that treat them as if the did. They protest by creating a large mess for the courts to unravel. A mess that can only exist if you believe transporters kill.
How would you unravel that mess ?
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Hamstray
PostPosted: 2011-02-16 07:27pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2010-01-31 10:59pm
Posts: 214
Location: Vienna, Austria
Simon_Jester wrote:
Quote:
So how would you treat a perfect clone then?


The problem in that scenario is that you have two people claiming a niche in life that only one of them can have: I and my clone cannot both do the job I did before I was cloned.


So it's perfectly fine to kill one of you then? Problem solved.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-16 08:34pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3501
Location: Burlington, Canada
Hamstray wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
Quote:
So how would you treat a perfect clone then?


The problem in that scenario is that you have two people claiming a niche in life that only one of them can have: I and my clone cannot both do the job I did before I was cloned.


So it's perfectly fine to kill one of you then? Problem solved.


This brings up something close to my position in these arguments. Clearly, what the transporter does is it creates a perfect clone (of the person who steps on the transporter pad) in a remote location. If by some sort of accident -- of the type we've seen before, during the "Thomas" Riker episode -- there end up being two individuals, then they are actually different people in the sense that Thomas isn't William. To all external viewers they are interchangeable, but of course the two Rikers wouldn't see it the same way, since they are not external to the situation.

To simplify: the transporter is a long-distance perfect copier, with the additional step that the original is annihilated for everyone's convenience. I honestly don't see how else to interpret the function of this device.
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Kamakazie Sith
PostPosted: 2011-02-16 08:53pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-03 05:00pm
Posts: 7190
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
SCRawl wrote:
This brings up something close to my position in these arguments. Clearly, what the transporter does is it creates a perfect clone (of the person who steps on the transporter pad) in a remote location. If by some sort of accident -- of the type we've seen before, during the "Thomas" Riker episode -- there end up being two individuals, then they are actually different people in the sense that Thomas isn't William. To all external viewers they are interchangeable, but of course the two Rikers wouldn't see it the same way, since they are not external to the situation.

To simplify: the transporter is a long-distance perfect copier, with the additional step that the original is annihilated for everyone's convenience. I honestly don't see how else to interpret the function of this device.


I disagree. Only because your evidence of this comes from the TNG episode "Second Chances" and you haven't addressed the specifics of that episode. When Riker beamed back to the USS Potemkin there was a massive energy surge exactly when Riker was beamed up. To compensate for the surge the Potemkins transporter operator initiated a second confinement beam. Wil Riker survived in the first one and Thomas was created in the second beam which was reflected back. In other words since the transporter is a matter energy converter it was able to take this extra energy and create Thomas Riker.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 01:13am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 22010
Hamstray wrote:
So it's perfectly fine to kill one of you then? Problem solved.
If you're trying for argument by shock value, you're failing. Badly.

See, the problem here is that I am totally unconvinced on two counts:

One is that a copy should not be treated as the individual they remember being in the absence of the original. My objection there boils down to "why not?" No one's interests are served if the copy is regarded as a random homeless penniless refugee, while the original is regarded as dead and gone and unable to do their job.

This does not mean "oh it's OK to kill this guy we have a backup." That is the idiot interpretation of my argument; your use of it makes you either an idiot or someone who impersonates an idiot for the sake of trying to score points. I can't decide which is worse.


Now, the second problem is more significant. My real point is: why should we say transporters kill people? When we talk about a normal object, such as a car, no one cares if it gets taken apart and moved. I can dismantle my car, move the parts, put it back together, and no one will question whether it's my car or not. I don't lose title to the vehicle, I don't get blamed for 'destroying' the vehicle, the vehicle is in no way treated as being destroyed. Nor is the reassembled car treated as a 'new' car in any legal or practical sense of the term.

Why does this rule change when we talk about human beings? Where do we draw the line? What is so unique about humans that means they 'die' when they are disassembled, moved, and reassembled?
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Franc28
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 06:41am 

Mindless worshipper of Ayn Rand


Joined: 2002-07-04 04:53pm
Posts: 88
Location: Montreal, Canada
Quote:
How can you justify any of my points as being good for society or the individual involved ?


What do you mean? It is good for society to recognize when people are dead.


Quote:
How do you prove mental maturity ?
What level of maturity are you looking for ?


I am not willing to engage in a political debate with you. Sorry.


Quote:
How does your treatment of the materialised person differ from your treatment of the same person if they had never been through the transporter ?


It doesn't, because I don't believe it changes the fact that if one is dangerous, then so is the other. But they are still not the same person.


Quote:
Can you justify treating the materialised person any differently to an untransported individual without saying "but he died" ?
Because "but he died" leads to all sorts of problems.


... without the death, there is no issue anyway. So what's the point of your question?


Quote:
All the people in my scenario are volunteers who believe that transporters don't kill and are unhappy about laws that treat them as if the did.


As I said, this is not a valid scenario because it goes against everything we know about human nature. Sorry.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 08:48am 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3501
Location: Burlington, Canada
Kamakazie Sith wrote:
In other words since the transporter is a matter energy converter it was able to take this extra energy and create Thomas Riker.


This kind of makes my point for me. If it's possible to just take some excess energy and turn it into Thomas Riker, then it should be possible to build a machine that just does that as a matter of course: takes a pattern stored in memory, supplies the energy, and creates a duplicate. Why should it not be possible to create a pattern without dissolving the original? I can't believe that it is the dissolution process that allows the kind of scanning necessary to create a perfect copy.

As for all of this sideshow nonsense with Franc28, really, I don't see it going anywhere. The idea of declaring the guy who steps off the transporter pad a homeless person with no history is idiotic. As Simon has pointed out: he fits the profile of the guy who stepped *on* the transporter pad precisely, and believes -- with good reason -- that he is that person. For all external intents and purposes he is that person, after all, since he is a perfect copy, right down to the smallest detectable level. My advice at this point is for Franc28 to give up this pointless part of the debate, but my impression is that he doesn't take advice very well.
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Hamstray
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 09:12am 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2010-01-31 10:59pm
Posts: 214
Location: Vienna, Austria
Simon_Jester wrote:
Franc28 wrote:
How is "continuity of consciousness... obliterated" during heart surgery? That's absurd.
Heart surgery is done under general anesthesia; you are unconscious during the surgery. Ergo, your consciousness is not continuous during the surgery.


I'm sure you are not talking about the same definition of the word consciousness. Under anesthesia there is still brain function happening. For example you can be unconscious but still have sapient thoughts (dreaming). On the other hand, you can be temporarily non-sapient (even while being sentient) but there should still be enough brain function to maintain a continuous existence.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 01:47pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 22010
SCRawl wrote:
Kamakazie Sith wrote:
In other words since the transporter is a matter energy converter it was able to take this extra energy and create Thomas Riker.
This kind of makes my point for me. If it's possible to just take some excess energy and turn it into Thomas Riker, then it should be possible to build a machine that just does that as a matter of course: takes a pattern stored in memory, supplies the energy, and creates a duplicate. Why should it not be possible to create a pattern without dissolving the original? I can't believe that it is the dissolution process that allows the kind of scanning necessary to create a perfect copy.
It's not unreasonable for the technology to have limits imposed by rules that cannot easily be understood without knowing how the machine works (in the "if we understood how it worked we could build one" sense of the word).

But yes, the question of duplicators is legitimate. However, in the case of transporters it only arises during malfunctions: when functioning correctly, the transporter does not act as a duplicator.

Quote:
As for all of this sideshow nonsense with Franc28, really, I don't see it going anywhere. The idea of declaring the guy who steps off the transporter pad a homeless person with no history is idiotic. As Simon has pointed out: he fits the profile of the guy who stepped *on* the transporter pad precisely, and believes -- with good reason -- that he is that person. For all external intents and purposes he is that person, after all, since he is a perfect copy, right down to the smallest detectable level. My advice at this point is for Franc28 to give up this pointless part of the debate, but my impression is that he doesn't take advice very well.
He also doesn't perceive people talking to him when he doesn't want to address their points; this is the second time he's ignored me.

Hamstray wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
Franc28 wrote:
How is "continuity of consciousness... obliterated" during heart surgery? That's absurd.
Heart surgery is done under general anesthesia; you are unconscious during the surgery. Ergo, your consciousness is not continuous during the surgery.
I'm sure you are not talking about the same definition of the word consciousness. Under anesthesia there is still brain function happening. For example you can be unconscious but still have sapient thoughts (dreaming). On the other hand, you can be temporarily non-sapient (even while being sentient) but there should still be enough brain function to maintain a continuous existence.
Come to think of it, you're not being very good about noticing when people talk to you about things you don't want to address either...

The real question then is why is brain function critical? You can't prove that someone's brain functions are perfectly continuous during anesthesia, comas, unconsciousness-due-to-concussion, or any other such thing. This is an important issue: if it is potentially possible for death to occur without anyone knowing whether someone has in fact died, then you can't talk about death being all that important. If you can't tell whether or not I was teleported, you can't justify treating me as if I have been, as if the original me is dead, and as if the transporter operator is a murderer.

If you need constant brain function in order to be alive, and any interruption in brain function equals death, then you can't tell whether or not you're dead... and neither can anyone else. At which point "death" becomes meaningless. We'd have to invent a word like "superdead" to describe the condition we normally think of as death: one that is irreversible, unambiguous, and from which one cannot return.
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bilateralrope
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 04:45pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
Posts: 2219
Location: New Zealand
Franc28 wrote:
Quote:
How can you justify any of my points as being good for society or the individual involved ?


What do you mean? It is good for society to recognize when people are dead.


Thing is, I don't agree that they are dead. Partly because it it isn't a permanent loss of vital functions and partly because doing so would mean society would be telling that skilled people with a long work history are suddenly homeless, penniless, and can't refer to any qualification that they have earned. Which is a net loss to everyone involved, unless there was another crime involved (such as teleporting someone to get their inheritance). So how is this fair or good to society as a whole ?

Teleporter blackmail is also a big problem:
- Pick a target.
- Get them alone for long enough to teleport them 1 meter to the left with only you and them knowing.
- Threaten to reveal the teleport unless they do exactly what you say.
Scare enough people in power with the idea of this happening to them and they will decide that transporters don't legally kill people just to remove that threat.

Or, instead of blackmailing them, wait until any leads have gone dead then release proof that they were teleported at a crucial time. Almost all the harm of murder, but nobody notices them missing for long enough for you to deal with any evidence.

Take someone who was teleported 6 months ago, but has kept is secret till today. How do you separate his assets from those of the dead person ?

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How do you prove mental maturity ?
What level of maturity are you looking for ?


I am not willing to engage in a political debate with you. Sorry.


You made the claim Obviously, in any sane society restrictions would not be based on age but on mental maturity. Please prove it by answering my question, then answering my questions about the privacy implications of your answer, or concede this claim.

Though it might be best to start another thread to answer it, as it is only a minor point here.

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How does your treatment of the materialised person differ from your treatment of the same person if they had never been through the transporter ?


It doesn't, because I don't believe it changes the fact that if one is dangerous, then so is the other. But they are still not the same person.


So you want to treat anyone transported as a second class citizen, or worse ?
They lose any reward that they might have earned before transporting, but not any punishments ?

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Can you justify treating the materialised person any differently to an untransported individual without saying "but he died" ?
Because "but he died" leads to all sorts of problems.


... without the death, there is no issue anyway. So what's the point of your question?


I do not accept that transporters kill people. Can you justify treating them differently without that assumption ?

Quote:
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All the people in my scenario are volunteers who believe that transporters don't kill and are unhappy about laws that treat them as if the did.


As I said, this is not a valid scenario because it goes against everything we know about human nature. Sorry.


How does it go against human nature ?
- People have deliberately killed themselves as part of protests in the past.
- There are people who don't believe that transporters kill. Some of them are posting in this thread, including me. So once it's proven that the person stepping off the transporter is the same as the person stepping on, finding volunteers shouldn't be hard.

It doesn't need that many people:
- 10 volunteers to be possibly transported.
- 3 crews of 3 people to shuffle them.
- Maybe that same number again of observers to ensure that the protocol is followed.
That still is less than 40 people, and only 10 of them really need to be convinced that transporters don't kill.


Though the exact scenario doesn't matter, all it's for is to get an answer to this question: You have given answers about how you treat people who have been transported, and people who haven't. But what about the people who might have been transported ?
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 05:16pm 

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Simon_Jester wrote:
SCRawl wrote:
Kamakazie Sith wrote:
In other words since the transporter is a matter energy converter it was able to take this extra energy and create Thomas Riker.
This kind of makes my point for me. If it's possible to just take some excess energy and turn it into Thomas Riker, then it should be possible to build a machine that just does that as a matter of course: takes a pattern stored in memory, supplies the energy, and creates a duplicate. Why should it not be possible to create a pattern without dissolving the original? I can't believe that it is the dissolution process that allows the kind of scanning necessary to create a perfect copy.
It's not unreasonable for the technology to have limits imposed by rules that cannot easily be understood without knowing how the machine works (in the "if we understood how it worked we could build one" sense of the word).

But yes, the question of duplicators is legitimate. However, in the case of transporters it only arises during malfunctions: when functioning correctly, the transporter does not act as a duplicator.


I understand your position. My position is that the transporter very much acts as a duplicator. The only thing that is transported is the pattern that is used for the transporter mechanism to assemble the copy. The fact that the transporter created a living, thinking human from nothing but some excess energy and some ones and zeroes tells me this. I concede that this occurred under unusual circumstances, but I think you'll have to concede that it was the transporter mechanism, and not some exotic external process, which caused this to occur.

Simon_Jester wrote:
The real question then is why is brain function critical? You can't prove that someone's brain functions are perfectly continuous during anesthesia, comas, unconsciousness-due-to-concussion, or any other such thing. This is an important issue: if it is potentially possible for death to occur without anyone knowing whether someone has in fact died, then you can't talk about death being all that important. If you can't tell whether or not I was teleported, you can't justify treating me as if I have been, as if the original me is dead, and as if the transporter operator is a murderer.

If you need constant brain function in order to be alive, and any interruption in brain function equals death, then you can't tell whether or not you're dead... and neither can anyone else. At which point "death" becomes meaningless. We'd have to invent a word like "superdead" to describe the condition we normally think of as death: one that is irreversible, unambiguous, and from which one cannot return.


Note that this isn't in response to any of my arguments, but I do see where Franc28 is coming from. If one approaches the problem with the perspective that the transporter is just a long-distance copier -- which I see as inevitable, given what we see from some of the more extreme examples -- then the fact that the original is killed follows. The original stops existing, and a perfect copy takes over. No one around the transporter room lights candles and sings hymns, because travelling by transporter has become the norm. Perhaps it's because of the fact that in the Trek universe it is possible for beings to live as sentient energy patterns (which doesn't make any sense), and in a sense could be used to explain why the practice of allowing oneself to be disintegrated to make things more convenient for everyone is continued. But giving the matter just a little thought, that subjective consciousness -- or whatever the appropriate label would be -- can't survive having the brain dissolved.
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Kamakazie Sith
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 06:05pm 

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SCRawl wrote:
This kind of makes my point for me. If it's possible to just take some excess energy and turn it into Thomas Riker, then it should be possible to build a machine that just does that as a matter of course: takes a pattern stored in memory, supplies the energy, and creates a duplicate. Why should it not be possible to create a pattern without dissolving the original? I can't believe that it is the dissolution process that allows the kind of scanning necessary to create a perfect copy.


I agree that the transporters could function as a copier and in some cases have. Those cases involve accidents are deliberate modifications. However, under normal function the transporter takes matter converts it to energy and then transmits that energy to a target location and then converts it back into the same matter. That's not a copy.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 07:20pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
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Location: Burlington, Canada
Kamakazie Sith wrote:
SCRawl wrote:
This kind of makes my point for me. If it's possible to just take some excess energy and turn it into Thomas Riker, then it should be possible to build a machine that just does that as a matter of course: takes a pattern stored in memory, supplies the energy, and creates a duplicate. Why should it not be possible to create a pattern without dissolving the original? I can't believe that it is the dissolution process that allows the kind of scanning necessary to create a perfect copy.


I agree that the transporters could function as a copier and in some cases have. Those cases involve accidents are deliberate modifications. However, under normal function the transporter takes matter converts it to energy and then transmits that energy to a target location and then converts it back into the same matter. That's not a copy.


It's a copy in all but name. I touched on this in my previous post, but I don't see how the receiving end can be construed in any other way than as a long-distance copier. It accepts or generates a pattern from the sending location, perhaps (but not necessarily, as seen by the accidents) with some energy, and then builds a person (or cargo, or whatever) according to that pattern. In the Trek universe it's generally accepted that the transporter is really just that: a quick and convenient way to move people and cargo around. The problem is that that doesn't stand up to any kind of logical analysis.
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Hamstray
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 08:10pm 

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Joined: 2010-01-31 10:59pm
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Location: Vienna, Austria
Simon_Jester wrote:
This does not mean "oh it's OK to kill this guy we have a backup." That is the idiot interpretation of my argument; your use of it makes you either an idiot or someone who impersonates an idiot for the sake of trying to score points. I can't decide which is worse.


I still fail to see the difference in killing someone before we have the copy or afterwards.

Simon_Jester wrote:
This is an important issue: if it is potentially possible for death to occur without anyone knowing whether someone has in fact died, then you can't talk about death being all that important.


So theoretically what if it's possible for you to kill someone and completely dispose of any evidence?. No system of law can convict you for that. Is it still illegal? Yes. Is it unethical? Yes.

Last edited by Hamstray on 2011-02-17 08:15pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Purple
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 08:12pm 

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Actually I think that the argument is that for the outside world (eg. Anything but the individual body that gets disintegrated) there is absolutely no difference either way. Hence there is no reason to call it death.

After all, if one Captain Picard enters the transporter and another leaves it the universe still has one Captain Picard.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 09:38pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3501
Location: Burlington, Canada
Purple wrote:
Actually I think that the argument is that for the outside world (eg. Anything but the individual body that gets disintegrated) there is absolutely no difference either way. Hence there is no reason to call it death.

After all, if one Captain Picard enters the transporter and another leaves it the universe still has one Captain Picard.


This is quite true. Once Picard steps off the transporter pad (or wherever he ended up) everything is the same in the universe to everyone currently existing, with the exception that he's moved from one location to another. The only person to whom it mattered just stopped existing on the front end of that transaction, and he's gone anyway, so who's left to care?
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Batman
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 10:00pm 

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Presupposes the Captain was ever killed to begin with when we know people can exist without a physical body thanks to TNG's 'Lonely Among Us'.
Also, how do you explain TOS' 'The Enemy Within' without there being a spiritual component that gets transferred during transport (and can get disrupted if something goes wrong)? If the transporter were just a glorified copier, both of those guys should have been standard James T.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 10:51pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3501
Location: Burlington, Canada
Batman wrote:
Presupposes the Captain was ever killed to begin with when we know people can exist without a physical body thanks to TNG's 'Lonely Among Us'.


I mentioned a few posts ago that a consciousness can exist as pure energy in the Trek universe. That just doesn't make sense, though, anywhere else. This is the crux of the problem: we're arguing about how this device would work if it were to operate in the real world, with real physics, and the conclusion that I reach is that the transporter is a copier with annihilation of the original.

Quote:
Also, how do you explain TOS' 'The Enemy Within' without there being a spiritual component that gets transferred during transport (and can get disrupted if something goes wrong)? If the transporter were just a glorified copier, both of those guys should have been standard James T.


This presupposes that it was the same sort of accident as was mentioned before. It clearly wasn't. The transporter in this instance created two flawed copies, or more accurately two incomplete copies, it seems to me. And anyway there is no real-world evidence for a spiritual component to a person's consciousness.

I will concede that if we confine our discussions to the Trek universe existence, then all of my objections fall away, and the transporter may well be a perfectly safe thing to use, since consciousness can apparently be digitized and sent via Bluetooth. But if we try to apply real-world physics, then I'm afraid things aren't quite so rosy for our heroes.
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Batman
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 11:06pm 

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SCRawl wrote:
Batman wrote:
Presupposes the Captain was ever killed to begin with when we know people can exist without a physical body thanks to TNG's 'Lonely Among Us'.

I mentioned a few posts ago that a consciousness can exist as pure energy in the Trek universe. That just doesn't make sense, though, anywhere else.

This isn't anywhere else.
Quote:
Quote:
Also, how do you explain TOS' 'The Enemy Within' without there being a spiritual component that gets transferred during transport (and can get disrupted if something goes wrong)? If the transporter were just a glorified copier, both of those guys should have been standard James T.

This presupposes that it was the same sort of accident as was mentioned before.

No it doesn't.
Quote:
It clearly wasn't. The transporter in this instance created two flawed copies, or more accurately two incomplete copies, it seems to me. And anyway there is no real-world evidence for a spiritual component to a person's consciousness.

Feel free to show a mere physical split between good/evil Kirk would have worked.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-17 11:32pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3501
Location: Burlington, Canada
Batman wrote:
SCRawl wrote:
Batman wrote:
Presupposes the Captain was ever killed to begin with when we know people can exist without a physical body thanks to TNG's 'Lonely Among Us'.

I mentioned a few posts ago that a consciousness can exist as pure energy in the Trek universe. That just doesn't make sense, though, anywhere else.

This isn't anywhere else.


Yes, but we are, and part of the original raison d'etre of this site is to apply the physics that we know to fictional universes. The idea of a thinking pattern of energy goes beyond stretching the imagination, it breaks it, or at least it does for me.

Quote:
Feel free to show a mere physical split between good/evil Kirk would have worked.


I didn't suggest that it was a "mere" physical split. There were two copies, each of which was incomplete. They both appeared to have the same mass, so it wasn't a matter (ha!) of a physical split.
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Sela
PostPosted: 2011-02-18 02:01pm 

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Joined: 2009-01-04 11:01pm
Posts: 248
I think you just contradicted yourself. Yes, we use real-physics to explain what happens in the science fiction films - that's part of the point of this site, no question. But at the same time, we accept everything we see occurring as actually happening, rather than handwaving away that which is bizzare. You know what else "stretches credulity"? Travelling faster than light. But we make what explanations we can and quantify power-output and levels based on observations anyway.

We "know" that pure-energy beings (devoid of any physical substance) are accepted phenomenon in Star Trek. Either the instruments measuring them are wrong (unlikely given just how often they're observed and measured), or the meaning of "matter/energy" is different (again unlikely, as we hear those words used in the ST universe with their ordinary meaning), or we must accept that this is indeed a valid state of being. Our next step should be trying to analyze effects and degrees of it - what capabilities do these energy-beings have? How do they work? etc.

The consciousness devoid of a physical body is a varied category of forms. We've seen Organians who demonstrated the ability to produce physical mass-illusions of people, and citi(es) on a planet-wide scale as well as to cast their influence onto the enterprise and klingon fleets in orbit. They *claimed* to also be casting this all the way to Klinzhai (klingon homeworld) and Earth, though we do not directly observe this. Clearly then there exists some dissociated "spirits" that are capable of interacting and "observing" distances greater than several thousand meters [needed to cover transport range].

Perhaps more pertinent would be the case of the (supposed) victims of the Essex in "Power Play". More pertinent because [1] they were humans who [2] had corporeal form but [3] were wrested from that form into a "pure-energy" form in which they claimed uninterrupted consciousness. I do not believe we ever observe these energy-forms as communicating or interacting with the planet's surface from orbit or vice versa. . . I think it might have at best been implied, and certainly nowhere near the level and degree of connection the Organians had. That said, they exhibit another key feature: possession. The "energy-patterns" take over three Enterprise crewmen and surpress their knowledge of self and person. Ergo: Some energy beings exist with the known capability of exerting their persona over a human body.
One can only imagine - and I admit this is speculation - that doing so over a mentally blank body would just make the possessor that much more distinct as their would be no "possessed".

All that said, I can't think of a situation in which we ever saw a pure-energy being turn into a physical one or coalesce into a physical form (only the other direction).
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