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Thread: Science, philosophy and death.

  1. #1 Science, philosophy and death. 
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    Hi there, I’m really bad at introductions so I will go straight to the point.

    I will start off by formulating the essence of what “science” or the “scientific principal” is:

    First you logically and/or mathematically think about a possible theory. Then you test this theory to see that it is correct, after which you draw your conclusion. Is the outcome as predicted by your theory? If not, what about the theory wasn’t correct? Rethink/ recalculate and test your theory again.

    There are however some questions which are incredibly hard or impossible to test. An example of this is the question of whether we have free will.
    People have tried to conduct test to show is the answer, but it is very hard to come to a clear conclusion.

    Theory’s on questions that cannot be tested will for the most part fall under the category “philosophy”.
    I don’t find it necessary bad that we group certain questions and theory’s under different umbrellas, what I find frustrating however is that one of these categories is very much looked down upon. A good example of this ‘anti-philosophy’ attitude is Stephen Hawking’s quote “philosophy is dead”. This mentality is prominent in the scientific community.
    This has the result that certain theories – although that they are logical- will not find its way to the general public.

    Another example of a philosophical question is this: what happens after death?

    Throughout the ages humans have asked this question resulting in multiple different hypothesis.
    There are people who believe that when they die, their soul will go to heaven to live on for eternity. Others believe that they will reincarnate into a different human, potentially even remembering their past live, and there are those that believe that we will only live once and death is the end.

    To most of the secular and scientific community it is clear that the yolo hypothesis is the most logical, and they have- rightfully so- criticized the other theories.

    Now here is the deal, and the reason that I write this post: there is another logical theory out there concerning death. In fact – and I do not say this lightly- it is THE MOST LOGICAL hypothesis next to the yolo one, or it is simply THE MOST LOGICAL afterlife hypothesis there is. Now because “philosophy is dead” the general public has never heard about this theory, and the same probably counts for you, the reader of this post.

    All over the world secular people independently have discovered this theory (1) and it has been positively critiqued by multiple scientists and intellectuals (2)(references below).

    If we would live in an actual intellectual society, we would realize that if it comes to death it will be either yolo, or we are all the same person, with maybe some small room for an alternative theory. But this clearly isn’t the case. We in fact seem to live in a religious society in which the yolo theory is the default truth, and all other theories are automatically labeled as ‘not possible’.

    So this is it, If you are actually interested in knowing what happens after death, I really recommend you look into the hypothesis that we are all the same person. I have written the theory down below for those people who are interested, have an open mind and are willing to think outside of the box. Three things which are very important when you read the explanation.

    References:

    (1)

    Apparently I'm not allowed to put links in my posts since I'm a new user. If you type in google "is everyone the same person" you will find multiple people who discovered this theory.

    (2): Scientists who positively critiqued the theory:

    -Robert Lanza, stem cell scientist
    -Donnall Thomas, 1990 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine
    -Michael Lysaght, Professor of Medical Science and Engineering, Brown University
    -David Thompson, Astrophysicist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
    - Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University

    And many others of course.

    The explanation:


    1. The premises


    I will start with the premises on which the conclusion at the end is based.

    Premise 1: The body or brain does not contain a soul or ‘self’.

    Premise 2: This isn’t how consciousness and death works:
    Conscious experiences follow continuous streams, and when a stream ends or is cut a ‘person’ dies.
    (different conscious streams are by default experienced by different ‘persons’)

    2.Four questions

    I want you to think, preferably deeply, about the following questions:

    1. Teleportation

    If we teleport a human, will the same ‘person’ experience the conscious experiences created by the brain before and after teleportation?

    Let’s say we have Bob. Bob is frightened to use the teleport but is forced to. He will travel from Earth to Mars. When Bob steps out of the teleport on Mars, the first thing he thinks is “Thank God it worked!”, however a minute or so later he realizes that it might not have worked, and that in fact he might just got ‘born’ a minute ago. He seems to remember his childhood memories, and remembers stepping in the teleport, and the next thing he knew he was right there on Mars. But did ‘he’ actually experience his childhood? Was it ‘he’ who stepped into the teleport? Or was that 'somebody' else?

    Michio Kaku, addressed this topic on the YouTube channel “Big Think”:
    “So it raises a question: Are we nothing but information? Is the soul, the essence of who we are, nothing but information? Well I’m a physicist. We don’t know the answer to that”


    2. Caterpillar-butterfly

    In case you didn’t know: “In the cocoon, a caterpillar doesn’t “grow wings onto its body”, but rather dissolves its whole body into a mush of cells which then reform into a butterfly.” –Tim Urban
    Are the butterfly and the caterpillar the same person? In other words, are the experiences of the caterpillar and the butterfly experienced by the same ‘experiencer' or 'person'?

    3. Conscious robots


    It’s the far future and humans are capable to create conscious robots. We have a robot which is conscious just like you and me. It has a bunch of sensors as input signals and multiple mechanic arms and tripod like legs as output possibility’s. Its central ‘brain’ processes the input signals and creates a proper output to guide it through the world, in much the same way our brains logically processes their incoming signals (from our senses) to generates a proper output (to our muscles etc.) to guide its biological robot though the world.

    Off course the scientists want to make sure that throughout time, all the conscious experiences are experienced by the same ‘person’ or ‘experiencer’, but at which point do they kill one? Can they turn of the robot overnight, and turn it back on the next day*? Are they allowed to alter the robot, and in which way?
    *Basically questioning premise 2

    4. Birth


    An American build conscious robot is in a philosophical mood and thinks about the ‘chance’* of being born. At first the robot envisions a world in which the American scientists simply didn’t create a robot, but Chinese scientists did. Would ‘He’ have been that Chinese robot? Surely not. But what if the American scientist had built there robot just a tiny bit different? And there is a spectrum between the two scenarios.

    What if the sperm or egg cell that created you was a tiny bit different? Would you have been that person?

    We can also do this experiment in the following way:
    Scientists will not create a new robot, but they will alter an existing one. An upgraded robot asks the philosophical question: what if the scientists had altered the robot a bit differently? Would ‘he’ have been that robot then?

    ---

    Your only allowed 10000 characters in each post, so I'll post the rest of the explanation in the next one


    Last edited by The afterlife dysfunction; December 3rd, 2018 at 07:02 PM.
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  3. #2  
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    the rest of the explanation:

    3. The self


    The following quote is from neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris:

    “I’m not arguing that consciousness is a reality beyond science or beyond the brain or that it floats free of the brain at death. I’m not making any spooky claims about Its metaphysics . What I am saying however is that the self is an illusion. The sense of being an ego, an I, a thinker of thoughts in addition to the thoughts, an experiencer in addition to the experience. The sense that we all have of riding around inside our heads as a kind of a passenger in the vehicle of the body. That’s where most people start when they think about any of these questions. Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like there inside the body. And most people feel they are inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion. It makes no neuro-anatomical sense. There’s no place in the brain for your ego to be hiding. We know that everything you experience – your conscious emotions and thoughts and moods and the impulses that initiate behavior – all of these things are delivered by a myriad of different processes in the brain that are spread over the whole of the brain. They can be independently erupted. We have a changing system. We are a process and there’s not one unitary self that’s carried trough from one moment to the next unchanging. And yet we feel that we have this self that’s just this center of experience.” – Sam Harris- Neuroscientist

    This concept of ‘no-self’ is the absolute foundation of the theory that everybody is the same person. I realize this may sound contra dictionary but it truly isn’t if you deeply think about it.

    The feeling of the self


    Although the ‘experiencer’ in addition the experience, the ‘self’ is empirically invisible (see our four questions earlier) , we can logically deduct at which point the feeling of the self will emerge:

    Information:

    ‘Bob’ has an experience (A) in which he thinks about what he ate yesterday (B)
    This experience (A) is conscious experience that exists. In it is visual and other information encoded recorded by (B).
    (A) also knows that the recording of this information was coupled with conscious experience.
    Naturally (A) will think it also experienced (B) and the feeling of a common self emerges.

    When we teleport a human, then naturally the experiences created after teleportation will have the feeling of a common self with the experiences before teleportation, given the information within them.

    Simply put: Conscious experiences which share information will naturally have the feeling of a common self.

    I quickly want to make a definition needed for the conclusion; Conscious experiences that share information and follow each other up in time are what I will call “information chains of conscious experiences”.

    The body:

    The most logical way for consciousness to be created in a law based universe is in the form of life.
    Because of this, conscious experiences that share information are (basically) always found in the same group of cells or evolution thereof. We are therefore inclined to identify with these cells.

    Take for example the caterpillar-butterfly question. If butterflies had any decent thinking ability, it wouldn’t be unnatural for them to have the feeling that ‘they’ used to be a caterpillar, since we are talking about the same group of cells or evolution thereof.
    The same probably counts for you; sure ‘you’ were also the baby your mother gave birth to all these years ago, ‘you’ experienced it’s experiences.

    In question 3: Conscious robots. It wouldn’t really matter whether or not the scientist accidentally kill the ‘person’. As long as there is overlapping information there will be a sense of a ‘self’. The fact that the experiences are created in (roughly) the same robot will only strengthen this feeling.

    Simply put: Conscious experiences which are found in the same ‘body’ or evolution thereof will naturally have the feeling of common self.

    4. Conclusion

    These are the three last thought experiments of this text. Based on the premises a gave at the beginning I will make a conclusion on how they are quite similar.
    Experiment 1:

    We have scientists who create 10 conscious robots. They let them live for a while, and then from time to time they destroy some of the robots, and from time to time they create new ones.
    (you can also do this experiment with humans if you want)

    Experiment 2:

    An incredibly powerful computer simulates a world in which ten people live in. The people are conscious and unaware that they live in a simulation. From time to time one of them will die, and from time to time someone new will be born.

    Experiment 3 :

    Introduction:

    For this experiment I will start with a small introduction to set the stage.

    When a person consumes a high amount of alcohol in a short amount of time, there is a chance that he will wake up remembering nothing from the day before. Now imagine that scientist have developed a drug which, after taking it, will make sure the memories will come back (can be handy in investigating crimes).

    Now lets replace the alcohol with a drug as well. When you take the drug, you wont remember anything from that day unless you take another drug which allows you to regain that memory.

    The experiment:

    We have drugs who are capable to regulate to ‘which part of the brain’ memories are written and read.
    We put Bob in the following building; It consists of a central room with a bed, and surrounding it are 10 different apartments which Bob can access from the central room.
    Each of these 10 apartments are different, and has different things to do in them.

    We will label the apartments with numbers 1,2,3 etc.
    Bob will live a day in apartment 1, then goes to sleep in the central room, after which he spends a day in apartment 2 and again sleeps in the central room.
    He does this with all the apartments after which he starts again with apartment 1 and continuous this loop during the experiment.

    Depending in which apartment Bob will live in the next day, he will be given the correct drug so that he can read/write the memories of that specific apartment. Memories of different apartments are not saved in the same part of the brain.
    Because of this when Bob participates with the experiment, he appears to be experiencing the life of only one apartment.
    When he lives a day in apartment 1, and goes to sleep, the next thing he knows is that he once again needs to go to apartment 1.
    When Bob experiences apartment 5, it seems to him that he only experiences apartment 5. When apartment 5 is boring or has bad living conditions he can say it was just bad luck that ‘he’ ended up in apartment 5.

    Also when Bob participates with the experiment, it seems there isn’t a chance that he is going to die doing it. It is not that because there could’ve been 11 apartments, 10/11 of him will survive, and there is a 1/11 chance that Bob will die and be in some sort of ‘eternal nothingness’ because apartment 11 does not exist. In essence Bob can’t end up in a non-existing apartment.

    We can also expand the experiment:

    Bob can communicate with the different apartments via email and we could give each apartment a different job, for example Bob from apartment 1 is a mailman, apartment 2 is a cashier, apartment 3 a taxi driver etc. Each will have different salaries, coworkers and friends. In essence each apartment will have its own life.
    As a last addition, the scientist who run the experiment will let the original ten apartments live for a while, after which from time to time they end some apartments from existing*, and from time to time they create new apartments.

    *The specific drug isn’t given anymore
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Conclusion:


    If premise 1 and premise 2 are true, in other words; if we live in a universe in which the body doesn’t contain a soul, self or experiencer (1) and consciousness doesn’t go by uncut streams and different streams are by default experienced by different ‘persons’ (2), then all three experiments can be described in the following way: the laws of physics start off creating, over-time, ten information chains of conscious experiences, after which from time to time some information chains end, and from time to time new information chains are created. There are however no literal souls, selves or experiencers in the universe who experience the different experiences of those chains. In other words; there is never a literal experiencer in addition to the experience.
    Bob the ‘experiencer’ does not literally exist in the second experiment.


    5. Final word

    First of I want say that the conclusion does not say what happens after death. It could be that everybody is the same person or, like Michio Kaku said:
    “So it raises a question: Are we nothing but information? Is the soul, the essence of who we are, nothing but information?"


    Just to make it complete, I will end with a couple of quotes from physicists concerning time:

    If you believe the laws of physics, there is just as much reality to the future and the past as there is to the present moment” –Sean Carroll – California institute of technology

    “The past is not gone, the future isn’t non existent. The past, the future and the present are all existing in exactly the same way”- Max Tegmark – MIT

    “the distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion” –Albert Einstein


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  4. #3  
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    I accidentally posted the rest of the explanation twice, but I can't seem to find a way to delete it. Hence I changed it to this text
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  5. #4  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The afterlife dysfunction View Post
    I will start off by formulating the essence of what “science” or the “scientific principal” is:

    First you logically and/or mathematically think about a possible theory. Then you test this theory to see that it is correct, after which you draw your conclusion. Is the outcome as predicted by your theory? If not, what about the theory wasn’t correct? Rethink/ recalculate and test your theory again.
    You appear to have missed a step: evidence must exist for there to be a theory in the first place. (A theory is an explanation of the available evidence).


    In fact – and I do not say this lightly- it is THE MOST LOGICAL hypothesis next to the yolo one, or it is simply THE MOST LOGICAL afterlife hypothesis there is.
    So far the logic is missing.

    All over the world secular people independently have discovered this theory
    It's not a theory. At best it's a hypothesis, at worst it's baseless speculation.

    If we would live in an actual intellectual society, we would realize that if it comes to death it will be either yolo, or we are all the same person, with maybe some small room for an alternative theory. But this clearly isn’t the case. We in fact seem to live in a religious society in which the yolo theory is the default truth, and all other theories are automatically labeled as ‘not possible’.
    Or, possibly, lacking evidence.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  6. #5  
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    Posts are so wordy they must be from a philosopher.
    Like this extract.
    Throughout the ages humans have asked this question resulting in multiple different hypothesis.
    There are people who believe that when they die, their soul will go to heaven to live on for eternity. Others believe that they will reincarnate into a different human, potentially even remembering their past live, and there are those that believe that we will only live once and death is the end.

    To most of the secular and scientific community it is clear that the yolo hypothesis is the most logical, and they have- rightfully so- criticized the other theories.
    By 'yolo' I assume you mean the slang for You Only Live Once.

    All you have done is proved that philosophy is indeed dead.
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    Different conceptions of personal identity and time lead to different and incompatible conclusions regarding the truth of personal mortality.

    The proposition that 'you only live once' should be understood to be a tautology that is made 'true' by one's apriori conception of personal identity, rather than a conjecture concerning empirical matters of fact, for there isn't any conceivable evidence that can refute it give one's apriori conception.

    Similarly, rival arguments that subjective continuity is infinite are as equally tautologous.

    Therefore the most any discussion of this topic can hope to achieve are agreements of the form "If you think of your personal identity in this way then it follows that you will conceive your future existence in that way "

    Science theories are compatible with any belief concerning subjective continuity, since space and time can be conceptualised in different and incompatible ways.
    '
    Temporal realists will insist that subjective continuity is contingent upon the mind-independent existence of physical events as a consequence of their ontological prioritisation of physical time due to their interpretation of science as referring to a transcendental 'third-person' perspective of nature.

    Temporal anti-realists on the other hand will insist that subjective continuity is necessarily limitless as a consequence of their ontological prioritisation of psychological time due to their interpretation of science as referring to the 'first person' perspective.
    Last edited by TheSim; December 14th, 2018 at 12:34 AM.
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