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Thread: Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machine?

  1. #1 Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machine? 
    Forum Sophomore Vaedrah's Avatar
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    There have been many threads indicating a potential technology that may eventually allow people to transfer their "consciousness" to an artificial platform, perhaps an advanced computer, electronic equivalent or semi/full biological container.

    It should be possible to reconnect nerves to artificial limbs for example. I have also read of "bionic" choclea replacements used to restore lost hearing (to some degree) and even retina replacements. Also, the use of stem cells for the ambition of restoring lost brain function caused from degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's has been proposed.

    Given that science fiction today can often become science fact tomorrow, I wonder what the religious implications for such modifications will be. If we assume (for now), that such reconstructions and replacements will eventually become feasible and systematically expand in scope, and if we assume (for now) that human beings possess a soul, then I ask at what point does the "soul" become affected by such modification.

    For example, if an arm is replaced with a substitute (from a donor, or grown biologically, or constructed mechanically/electrically), we would probably consider the proposed "soul" to be unaffected. But what about the situation where substantial portions of the human are replaced?

    For example (again), if someone suffers a stroke and looses use of (say) their left hand side, is the "soul" lost? Or does all the "soul" remain?

    What if the damage is extensive and minimal functions remain. Perhaps the lost areas could also be replaced. Would the "soul" remain in the vestigial portions of human tissues to "bootstrap" into the new brain-body replacement?

    If not, at what point would the "soul" depart? Is their some critical fraction of bio-loss where the "soul" remains or it transitions to depart?

    Let's say the repair operation succeeds but, theologically, the "soul" has left but "consciousness" remains. How would we tell the difference?

    Many religions seem to claim that "souls" are unique to human beings. However, when we assess human behavior and history it is punctuated with hostility, war, death and unnecessary suffering. We tend not to attribute plants and animals with such negativisms. If this is correct, is the possession of a "soul" of any real use or is it simply a nasty inheritance to inflict on the world?

    So, we need a way to "test" the reconstructed human being for possession or absence of a "soul". Surely, given human history, the possession of a "soul" does not imply charitable behavior - if anything it may well imply the opposite!

    The difficulty of bio-reconstruction/replacement becomes even more assertive if we consider the idea of consciousness copying. Again, if we assume, in principle, that it should become possible to take a snapshot of the complete human structure, or at least an adequate subset of it (perhaps just the brain and interconnecting nerves) and could transfer this information to an alternative substrate, would this necessarily cause destruction of the original biological configuration? The transfer might not require information transfer at a quantum level (or would it) so in this case, if true, would the original remain intact alongside the duplicate?

    If the transfer was adequate, and the target substrate equally so, then would both entities, at the point of transfer, share the same consciousness? Would one have a "soul" and the other not? Would the "sole" be split 50:50 between the two?

    If the "soul" remained in the biological human source, but the consciousness duplicated, would we be able to test for a difference?

    Would the duplicate and the original behave differently? Would the duplicate behave like a Frankenstein monster and the original like a saint, or would the original remain like a Frankenstein and the duplicate, unburdened with a "soul" behave like a saint?

    Of course these questions assume a future technology not yet available. Is it possible to prove that no such technologies could ever become available? Is it reasonable, in comparison, to reserve mere dismissal of such possibilities based on current scientific progress?

    I am not posting these questions to stir up any malcontent; I am genuinely interested. I don't know if "souls" exist or they don't. Neither do I know that, if "souls" do exist, are they beneficial or just problematic. Further, if we could arrange an A-B experiment based on identical human beings, one deemed to possess a "soul" and one deemed not to, could we experimentally identify one from the other through their relative behavior? Even if we could identify a behavioral difference, would we be able to tell which way the "soul" traveled?

    I doubt that we can simply associate "good deeds" with "possession of soul" as even current war events in Russia and Georgia testify (from people deemed to possess "souls"). Although we as human beings may cast blame externally to other (questionable) entities such as devils enticing us to bad deeds, (as we interpret them to be), perhaps it is better to take responsibility for our psychological makeup instead. If this motivation is to be preferred, then our actions come from within; although the possibility of consciousness and "soul" transfer may seem daunting, perhaps the testability of "soul possession" is even more so.

    Anyway, to repeat I am not trying to stir up any animosity; I respect all religions and non religions, people, their beliefs and their faiths. There is probably some truth in all. I am just asking questions borne from curiosity


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    Forum Sophomore susan's Avatar
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    To build something so complex as the brain, to house the consciousness of an individual is at the moment is purely scifi. rehousing the brain to control a bionic/synthetic human could be possible in the future, but not a tranfering of consciousness, you could not tranfer all the subtle nuances of said individual.
    As there is no evidence for a soul, you are delving into la la land, if you think it matters.
    Consider the split brain syndrome, does the person suddenly get two souls for his now two distinct personalitys, no sir souls dont exist.


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  4. #3  
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    Personally I don't believe in souls but I respect the perception of souls especially of the departed. Souls are emotionally real.

    Quote Originally Posted by susan
    Consider the split brain syndrome, does the person suddenly get two souls for his now two distinct personalitys, no sir souls dont exist.
    Excellent example.

    We also have some babies born with semi-divided heads bearing two distinct faces. The popular reaction is to treat the two faces as separate individuals (sharing one overgrown brain), cut and tease the brain apart, so far resulting in tragedy. But parents & doctors would like to believe there are two individuals. Someday we may be "successful" with these cases but it seems to me little different than severing the corpus callosum as in classic split brain.

    If the soul is all about other people's perception then those babies do have two souls, because the families will it. Separate little coffins and so forth. They're as real as names, birthdays, hopes, love.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Sophomore arkofnoah's Avatar
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    I would think that you will still retain all of your consciousness and your sense of 'self'. I personally do not subscribe to Cartesian dualism, and thinks that there is no "Cartesian theatre" in our mind, with the soul being the audience, and our senses providing the input onto the brain's 'screen'.

    I'm more of a bundle theorist. I believe that consciousness is a byproduct of our mental activities, originating from a series of mental impressions about the world, and that there's some kind of neuronal correlates of a consciousness that are not fully explored and understood yet.

    Firstly there's this problem of a vague definition of a consciousness. What is the dividing line between consciousness and non-consciousness. This is similar to Sorites' Heap paradox, which goes like: "Let's say you have a heap of sand. When you take away one grain of sand, is it still a heap of sand? Most would think so. What if you continue taking away grains of sand until there is only one left, is it still a heap or non-heap?"

    Linking back to the original question, if you remove a part of your body, say, the hand, are you still "yourself"? Continue doing this, removing one cell after another until almost all of your cells are not originally yours, then at which point in time are you a different "self"?

    I think this approach to consciousness as a separate entity is problematic, because you have to wrestle with the definition between objective mind and the subjective consciousness.

    Secondly, there has been experiments done to show (albeit never conclusively), that consciousness may be dependent on perception, a physiological property of the brain.

    For example a patient with visual form agnosia is able to see and interact with a given object, but he can recognize neither the object nor his actions. This is similar to saying that he lacks the actual experience of seeing. He is not conscious of the fact that he is perceiving, and has been described as a "visual zombie" by neuropsychologists. This condition is known to be caused by a defect in the neurological path between the primary visual cortex and temporal cortex, where visual perceptions of the world are generated. This experiments hinted that consciousness may in part a product of the brain's activity.

    Of course one might argue that there is an "inner self" that in fact do recognize the particular object, but fail to relay this recognition back to the brain due to this neural defect. However this brings up more questions than it addresses. How does this "self" perceive the world? By what mechanism does this "self" interact with the physical brain? Is this 'self' deterministic or non-deterministic in its nature?

    In a nutshell I am largely a proponent of William James' theory, that "thought is itself the thinker". We are tempted to think that such complex, seemingly spontaneous behaviours of human being may be a result of a non-determinstic process, with our brain behaving like a big quantum machine. For me I am more inclined to say that consciousness and our sense of "self" is more like a deterministic, albeit highly complex interactions between the hundred billion neurons in our brain, each with 28 synapses on average, with a feedback loop in place to streamline our thoughts. Are there conclusive evidences? No. I'm just saying that this is a reasonable postulation about what consciousness really is.
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  6. #5 Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machine? 
    Forum Sophomore Vaedrah's Avatar
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    Thank you arkofnoah for some excellent and interesting comments. I liked the "heap of sand" analogy; this was one of the points I was alluding to.

    Some people consider the brain to be "highly complex" but I don't really subscribe to that viewpoint. I agree with your comment (fragment)

    ....complex interactions between the hundred billion neurons in our brain, each with 28 synapses on average,....
    I don't see this as "complex". We know how neurons fire and 28 nodes per neuron is a lot less dense than I had expected. If we consider the human brain as a very approximate cube, then 100 billion neurons is only neurons across, down and back. If these needed synaptic connections between all their neighbors it would be unwieldy but not complex. The simplification to 28 nearby neighbors only certainly makes its emulation much easier.

    Further, the human brain is not one "plum pudding" structure and tends to have local groupings that perform particular functions. This compartmentalization further simplifies the brain. For example it has a vertical hierarchy starting from the brain stem, journeying to the "reptilian brain", the "mammalian brain"...the "frontal cortex" and horizontal compartmentalization where certain volumes are set aside for specific purposes such as hearing, sight, smell, touch, etc.

    There is some cross coupling between areas but this is not necessarily a complication and can be accommodated in any future replication but the initial engineering prototype can be based on "modules" designed for each function in a similar fashion. This breaks the development task down in a very attractive manner.

    Unlike script based computer programming, the neural network (NN) approaches do not require the developer to exactly know what each neuron (i.e. node) has to do; instead instead just where it might connect to. The NN adjusts its inter node "weights" to accommodate "tasks" in a similar way that we propose synaptic connections do.

    An even simpler approach is to inject stem cells into damaged areas and nature, as some claim, takes automatic control of the process. However, as arkofnoah suggests with the sand heap analogy, what happens when only one original neuron is left and all others have been replaced.

    Reductionist logic on my part I guess; hence my question of the transfer of consciousness and soul. Maybe both are illusionary or the subject of conjecture. At the end of the day we can only observe behavior (as in any scientific experiment) and it is difficult, in some cases, to know if outcomes in these scenarios can point to a conclusion one way or another
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  7. #6 Re: Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machi 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Given that science fiction today can often become science fact tomorrow, I wonder what the religious implications for such modifications will be. If we assume (for now), that such reconstructions and replacements will eventually become feasible and systematically expand in scope, and if we assume (for now) that human beings possess a soul, then I ask at what point does the "soul" become affected by such modification.

    For example, if an arm is replaced with a substitute (from a donor, or grown biologically, or constructed mechanically/electrically), we would probably consider the proposed "soul" to be unaffected. But what about the situation where substantial portions of the human are replaced?
    Never. We are already replacing many biological functions with machines. And people often lose all kind of function and control over themselves as symptoms of different kinds of disease so it seems to me that what you are suggesting changes nothing and does not even add greater challenges to the idea of the soul than are already present in the medical sciences today.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    For example (again), if someone suffers a stroke and looses use of (say) their left hand side, is the "soul" lost? Or does all the "soul" remain?
    Well of course there are different opinions on this, but for those like myself who believe in the immortality of the soul or spirit, the answer is that it remains of course. But for those who do not believe in the immortality of the soul, it could very well be wholly or partially lost and thus only survive in the memory of God.

    But from here on out I will only answer for myself and leave for those who don't believe in the immortality of the soul to answer for themselves.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    What if the damage is extensive and minimal functions remain. Perhaps the lost areas could also be replaced. Would the "soul" remain in the vestigial portions of human tissues to "bootstrap" into the new brain-body replacement?
    I don't think this is a question of the soul but of the mind which is a physical organism that can die. If the mind dies then it is dead and there is no replacement that can be made that will bring it back.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    If not, at what point would the "soul" depart? Is their some critical fraction of bio-loss where the "soul" remains or it transitions to depart?
    Since the soul or spirit exists outside of time and space there is no need for it to go anywhere. But I would say that as long as there is life there is a connection of some sort, but the vast majority of human life is found in the life of the mind and so when that is dead there is not much left for the spirit to connect to.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Let's say the repair operation succeeds but, theologically, the "soul" has left but "consciousness" remains. How would we tell the difference?
    I don't think that this is possible. If the mind somehow survives then the connection to the soul or spirit would be too strong to say that it has left, and if the mind is dead then you would not have anything like a conscious human being.

    But lets say you some how create something like the original mind but because of whatever differences there are it lacks any connection to the original spirit, then ... I would say that either one of the two things would have to be the case: 1) the immitation would be not be alive but only an immitation of life -- flat and predictable -- and so you would eventually get the feeling that what you have is some kind of computer program that is simply immitating the original person. 2) the new mind eventually develops or aquires another soul or spirit to take the place of the old one. In that case I would guess that at the very least the person would have a feeling of disconnectedness with the past so that any memories that are still there would seem like the memories of someone else.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Many religions seem to claim that "souls" are unique to human beings.
    I do not share this point of view. Everything alive has a spirit.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    However, when we assess human behavior and history it is punctuated with hostility, war, death and unnecessary suffering. We tend not to attribute plants and animals with such negativisms.
    Huh? That is ridiculous. Who does that? Do you? Explain.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    is the possession of a "soul" of any real use or is it simply a nasty inheritance to inflict on the world?
    It is not "of use" it is simply life. If there is any nasty inheritance this is not given by the spirit or soul but by the mind.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    So, we need a way to "test" the reconstructed human being for possession or absence of a "soul".
    No test of this meeting scientific standards would be possible.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Surely, given human history, the possession of a "soul" does not imply charitable behavior - if anything it may well imply the opposite!
    LOL LOL Yes are no crimes or wars on a planet without life. LOL LOL

    Good or bad behavior does not come from good or bad souls but quite opposite -- it is good or bad souls that come from good or bad behavior. It is our choices that create our spirits, what our spirits give us is only the feeling that these choices are in fact ours.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    The difficulty of bio-reconstruction/replacement becomes even more assertive if we consider the idea of consciousness copying. Again, if we assume, in principle, that it should become possible to take a snapshot of the complete human structure, or at least an adequate subset of it (perhaps just the brain and interconnecting nerves) and could transfer this information to an alternative substrate, would this necessarily cause destruction of the original biological configuration?

    The transfer might not require information transfer at a quantum level (or would it) so in this case, if true, would the original remain intact alongside the duplicate?
    I don't see why it would cause destruction of the orignial unless some parts of the mind exist in some kind of quantum state of superposition and at the moment I cannot think of any reason why this would be so in general, but it is possible that in a particular moment during a decision making process this might be the case and then at most the copying process would simply force a decision. Otherwise I do not see why the original would not remain as it was.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    If the transfer was adequate, and the target substrate equally so, then would both entities, at the point of transfer, share the same consciousness?
    No. By your use of the word adequate I am assuming that you mean that the mind was successfully duplicated and that there are no differences in where the duplicate is located that would interfere in any way with the operation of the mind in any way that would differ from the original. This probably does but may not require an exact duplication of the brain to some degree as well


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Would one have a "soul" and the other not?
    No.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Would the "soul" be split 50:50 between the two?
    No.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    If the "soul" remained in the biological human source, but the consciousness duplicated, would we be able to test for a difference?
    The spirit/soul is outside time and space and so it does not make sense to say it remained anywhere, so I guess what you mean is that the soul remains connected to the original and is not connected to the duplicate in any way. You imply that there are differences such as one being biological and one not. If they are different then you are going to find differences. If they are not different in any way then why would you find differences. The soul or spirit is certainly not detectable in any way that meets scientific standards.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Would the duplicate and the original behave differently?
    Yes. Regardless of what you say about the spirit or soul, they would behave very much the same but not exactly the same and the differences would increase with time.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Would the duplicate behave like a Frankenstein monster and the original like a saint, or would the original remain like a Frankenstein and the duplicate, unburdened with a "soul" behave like a saint?
    If one is without a soul/spirit then it is not alive and it will at best behave like an immitation of a living thing rather than something which is acutally alive. However the soul/spirit does not give something life. Life is a physical process and where there is such a process there also will be a soul/spirit.

    If both are alive then it is possible that one will be a monster, but no more or less than with any two siblings, and it depends very much on how they are treated. In Mary Shelly's book the creature was treated abominably by its creator. Most children that are treated in such a way will behave like a monster. Many children behave like monsters even when they have been well treated. It is always a bad idea for a child to have too much power as was the case for the creature in Shelly's book, for a child with too much power is a good definition of a monster.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Of course these questions assume a future technology not yet available. Is it possible to prove that no such technologies could ever become available? Is it reasonable, in comparison, to reserve mere dismissal of such possibilities based on current scientific progress?
    No to both questions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Further, if we could arrange an A-B experiment based on identical human beings, one deemed to possess a "soul" and one deemed not to, could we experimentally identify one from the other through their relative behavior?
    Everything living thing has a spirit. So if one has does not have a spirit then it is not alive but is perhaps only an immitation of life like a computer program that is designed to give human-like responses, and in that case we would eventually notice a difference.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    Even if we could identify a behavioral difference, would we be able to tell which way the "soul" traveled?
    The soul/spirit does not travel. If both are alive then there would still be a behavioral difference but both being alive would necessarily have connections to a soul/spirit, but whether it is a different soul/spirit or the same one we would be unable to determine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    I doubt that we can simply associate "good deeds" with "possession of soul" as even current war events in Russia and Georgia testify (from people deemed to possess "souls"). Although we as human beings may cast blame externally to other (questionable) entities such as devils enticing us to bad deeds, (as we interpret them to be), perhaps it is better to take responsibility for our psychological makeup instead.
    Correct.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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  8. #7 Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machine 
    Forum Sophomore Vaedrah's Avatar
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    Thank you mitchellmckain for some very well prepared answers - much appreciated. I wonder what other people think on the subject?
    "The sky cannot speak of the ocean, the ocean cannot speak of the land, the land cannot speak of the stars, the stars cannot speak of the sky"
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  9. #8 Re: Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machi 
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    Yeah, very thoughtful responses MM.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    So, we need a way to "test" the reconstructed human being for possession or absence of a "soul".
    No test of this meeting scientific standards would be possible.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    If the "soul" remained in the biological human source, but the consciousness duplicated, would we be able to test for a difference?
    The spirit/soul is outside time and space and so it does not make sense to say it remained anywhere, so I guess what you mean is that the soul remains connected to the original and is not connected to the duplicate in any way. You imply that there are differences such as one being biological and one not. If they are different then you are going to find differences. If they are not different in any way then why would you find differences. The soul or spirit is certainly not detectable in any way that meets scientific standards.
    Wait a minute. You indicated that observers will intuit soul (or lack of) eventually. If that's true, we can test by social reaction (sympathy) of subjects in regard to our dubious creation vs. a normal person or their normal response to persons.

    For example one could put a bullet through its forehead. Then do people grieve? Hold a funeral, etc?

    If we find we can't carry out such an experiment, then the soul is as real to us as any other, which IMO is scientifically meaningful. As meaningful as mathematics.


    ***


    I've always wanted to do this to Schrodinger's Cat: bury the box underground and be done with it. The cat will certainly die in any case, and we can never know how or when. So when does the cat die?

    Another version: "Cosmonaut Mirya Gromova's craft burnt up yesterday after failing to attain orbit, TASS admits." But in fact, she's in good health with ten days of oxygen, broken radio, accidentally bound for deep space. The world will never know. When did comrade Gromova die?
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  10. #9 Re: Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machi 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Wait a minute. You indicated that observers will intuit soul (or lack of) eventually. If that's true, we can test by social reaction (sympathy) of subjects in regard to our dubious creation vs. a normal person or their normal response to persons.
    Good Lord! Sociological science? You mean statistics? And you think that would actually prove something?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    For example one could put a bullet through its forehead. Then do people grieve? Hold a funeral, etc?
    You would of course volunteer to be part of the control group experiement so that we can compare how people grieve for someone we know is human, assuming that is true in your case. LOL

    People hold funerals for the oddest things. Remember it is people we are talking about here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    If we find we can't carry out such an experiment, then the soul is as real to us as any other, which IMO is scientifically meaningful. As meaningful as mathematics.
    Well you might say that? But what about the others here?


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I've always wanted to do this to Schrodinger's Cat: bury the box underground and be done with it. The cat will certainly die in any case, and we can never know how or when. So when does the cat die?

    Another version: "Cosmonaut Mirya Gromova's craft burnt up yesterday after failing to attain orbit, TASS admits." But in fact, she's in good health with ten days of oxygen, broken radio, accidentally bound for deep space. The world will never know. When did comrade Gromova die?
    Sounds like the tree falling in the forest when no one is around to hear it. I am a realist. A critical realist but a realist all the same. What happens, happens and what people think happens is probably quite different. For exceptions, see that thread on how belief affects reality.
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  11. #10 Re: Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machi 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaedrah
    The difficulty of bio-reconstruction/replacement becomes even more assertive if we consider the idea of consciousness copying. Again, if we assume, in principle, that it should become possible to take a snapshot of the complete human structure, or at least an adequate subset of it (perhaps just the brain and interconnecting nerves) and could transfer this information to an alternative substrate, would this necessarily cause destruction of the original biological configuration? The transfer might not require information transfer at a quantum level (or would it) so in this case, if true, would the original remain intact alongside the duplicate?
    There's a similar (but much less science fictiony) issue raised by identical twins. All identical twins start off as a single embryo. At some point early in development it splits. Prior to the split, where there two souls in the single embryo? If so, what happens if we use artificial means to prevent the embryo from splitting? Is one of the souls destroyed? Do you get two souls trapped in one body? Or perhaps a new soul is added/created upon splitting. If so, what determines which embryo gets the "original" soul and which gets the "new" soul? Do the souls just gradually appear/grow as the embryo grows? If they grow in gradually and you believe that the soul is eternal, at what point does the soul achieve eternalness? Or would there always be an eternal "soul residue" from the partly formed soul, even if the embryo is destroyed at a very early stage of growth? If it doesn't gradually grow in, then at what point does it suddenly appear? Obviously you can go on with questions like that for a long while.

    I don't see this as "complex". We know how neurons fire and 28 nodes per neuron is a lot less dense than I had expected. If we consider the human brain as a very approximate cube, then 100 billion neurons is only neurons across, down and back. If these needed synaptic connections between all their neighbors it would be unwieldy but not complex. The simplification to 28 nearby neighbors only certainly makes its emulation much easier.
    Emulating 2.8E12 connections wouldn't even be all that taxing for a modern computer. The fastest computer at the moment does about 1.2E15 operations/second. Such a computer might actually be able to "think" via emulation faster than a human brain, if you could actually program the emulation data into it. And of course, we'll probably have computer 10-100x faster in 5 years or so. Even if you want to take the limit of complexity and assume that every neuron is connected to every other neuron (basically treating it as a "handshake problem") you're only talking about a few decades before the emulation could probably be done in real time.
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  12. #11 Re: Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machi 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Good Lord! Sociological science? You mean statistics? And you think that would actually prove something?
    Yes. Please don't start cloistering soul in The Gaps now. :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    You would of course volunteer to be part of the control group experiement so that we can compare how people grieve for someone we know is human, assuming that is true in your case. LOL

    People hold funerals for the oddest things. Remember it is people we are talking about here.
    Er. Say! I propose a sweeter experiment: One involving children and dating and matrimony, the works. That should be even more conclusive.

    It is people we are talking about. Exactly. If a thing is real to all sane people, then it is real to science. As real as love, or as I said,
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    as meaningful as mathematics.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Well you might say that? But what about the others here?
    I'm unsure what your reservation is about, but I guess it leads to murkier waters.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Sounds like the tree falling in the forest when no one is around to hear it. I am a realist. A critical realist but a realist all the same. What happens, happens and what people think happens is probably quite different.
    My examples are more practical than that. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one will ever know, is it harvestable lumber?

    I do believe souls are real, BUT in my view they exist in our minds & hearts, in tombstones not tombs. They exist not in "what happens" but in "what people think happens". Souls are the quanta of society.

    Regarding my own soul, it is only so real as others make it. Others being mortals. So if I fall in the forest, and make no sound, my soul has already left my body. It really doesn't matter how long I lay there dying.

    Hospitals do put that into practice by the way. Quite often a patient is admitted "already dead" in the minds of staff. The question then is how best to manage the death and apparent departure of a soul, as others perceive it, a sort of theater.

    ***

    About complexity of human brain. It is complex in the same way chess is complex. It's so simple, yet the possibilities are practically infinite. Now since a human grandmaster can still usually tie a computer, and the computer is chess - every resource pure chess - and chess should be relatively accessible to computers compared to, say, navigating a crowded pub with glass of sloshing beer, I think we'll be waiting more than a few decades for full emulation.
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  13. #12 Re: Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machi 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    There's a similar (but much less science fictiony) issue raised by identical twins. All identical twins start off as a single embryo.
    Yes and since this can happen up to 14 days after conception this demonstrates the complete absurdity of the pro-life assertion that the embryos are human beings with a soul immediately after conception.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    At some point early in development it splits. Prior to the split, where there two souls in the single embryo? If so, what happens if we use artificial means to prevent the embryo from splitting? Is one of the souls destroyed? Do you get two souls trapped in one body?
    The anwer to the question in bold is no as is demonstrated by the absurdity of the questions in italics.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Or perhaps a new soul is added/created upon splitting. If so, what determines which embryo gets the "original" soul and which gets the "new" soul?
    Which again sounds absurd and so that leave the developmental view of the soul as the only one which is rational.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Do the souls just gradually appear/grow as the embryo grows?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    If they grow in gradually and you believe that the soul is eternal, at what point does the soul achieve eternalness?
    They are always eternal. The question is when do they achieve individuality? When you believe that all living things have a spirit/soul then then it becomes clear that just as living things form communities which are themselves living organisms, then the spirit/soul of living organisms can certainly be communal as well. So the question for the human embryo in the abortion controversy is not at what point does the embryo have a soul but at what point doess this spirit/soul have any individual existence apart from that of the mother's. Clearly the biggest step on that road is when the embryo actually has a individual biolgical existence apart from that of the mother, which I believe is the question of viability. However I do not believe that it is necessarily so simple, and I think it quite likely that how the mother herself thinks of the embryo might also play an important role in this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Or would there always be an eternal "soul residue" from the partly formed soul, even if the embryo is destroyed at a very early stage of growth?
    Only as a part of the mother, or parents, or species, I think.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    If it doesn't gradually grow in, then at what point does it suddenly appear? Obviously you can go on with questions like that for a long while.
    Keep them comming, and I will acknowledge quite frankly that the questions are clearly worth more than any person's answers.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  14. #13 Re: Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machi 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    At some point early in development it splits. Prior to the split, where there two souls in the single embryo? If so, what happens if we use artificial means to prevent the embryo from splitting? Is one of the souls destroyed? Do you get two souls trapped in one body?
    The anwer to the question in bold is no as is demonstrated by the absurdity of the questions in italics.
    Although I tend to agree that it intuitively seems absurd, I think it all depends on your basis for believing in a soul in the first place. Someone else could easily answer "Yes, there are two souls in the embryo, and the phases of the moon determine which soul goes into which embryo after they split!" depending on their religious beliefs. Since the existence of a soul can't actually be demonstrated anyway, any attempts at rational discussion will probably be hopelessly tied to people's individual religious beliefs.
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  15. #14 Re: Would Consciousness Travel with a Soul to a Target Machi 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Although I tend to agree that it intuitively seems absurd, I think it all depends on your basis for believing in a soul in the first place. Someone else could easily answer "Yes, there are two souls in the embryo, and the phases of the moon determine which soul goes into which embryo after they split!" depending on their religious beliefs. Since the existence of a soul can't actually be demonstrated anyway, any attempts at rational discussion will probably be hopelessly tied to people's individual religious beliefs.
    True and I will frankly admit that the typical Christian answer will rely on a belief that God has knowledge of the future so that God can put the correct number of souls in a just conceived embryo in order to preserve this typical Chrisitan's religious defense of their right to life fanaticism.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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    Vaedrah

    Regardless of shape or form, the souls purpose is to report directly to God, given the capability.

    It's download burst will contain all that we know and are as can be known by conscienceness.

    It is what lives on and evolves God.

    It is a cosmin consciencness. This is our next evolution.

    It is a telepathic realm that few venture into.

    If tried electronicly with success, those few who try it would not give glowing reports. To access another mind means opening your own and seeing yourself as projected to others. To touch in this way gives both pleasure and pain. The pleasure pases quickly and the reason for the pain remains to irk.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------


    Are these true

    Man+woman=son
    God+lady God=Goodgod
    God+woman=abomination
    Angel+woman=flood

    Regards
    DL
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  17. #16  
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    Physics meets paranormal - Finding nearest openings to seven parallel
    Universes - Near death experiences

    India Daily Technology Team

    The ultimate bending space and time results in finding the opening to the
    nearest parallel space and time. According to advanced researchers in
    Physics, there are seven parallel Universes. These Universes are so
    different in their perception that with conventional physics we can never
    find where they are and how they are. However, the concept of accelerating
    to speed much higher than light and take us to these parallels Universes
    through an opening in our vicinity. You do not have to travel a thousand
    light years into a black hole to go there; that is just one of the ways to
    approach the parallel Universes. But our mind and spirit has the psychic
    power that can make us travel through the nearest opening into the parallel
    Universes. Those who have experienced near death experiences move into these
    parallel Universes through the tunnel with a while light at the end of the
    tunnel. All of those who had near death experience report similar
    happenings. How can this be explained with physics?

    Our spirit or soul is a source of electromagnetic energy that can
    infinitively amplify if needed. Inner satisfaction of a soul results in
    elevation of this energy. It is also true that we move into these parallel
    Universes using intense electromagnetic flux with the help of dark energy.
    We just do not know how to do that. The problem is that if we try to do it
    using physical means we encounter a situation that is infinitely impossible
    to achieve. But accelerating through a black hole or applying dark energy in
    a suitable manner in the immediate vicinity theoretically can take us to the
    parallel Universe. But a much better way is to traverse to the parallel
    Universe through our inbuilt psychic power. When our spirit is allowed
    freedom through death or through transcendental meditation, the unleashed
    electromagnetic flux crates the miracle - it finds an immediate opening to
    the parallel Universe in the close vicinity. Religious prophets in various
    religions as well as those who have experienced near death experience the
    parallel Universes. Most of them report part of oneness and tranquility.
    They also report of completeness of knowledge.

    Will we eventually find the electromagnetic fields and the change of that
    runs this Universe? The other parallel Universes may not work the same way.
    That is the reason what is energy or spirit in this Universe is part of
    tranquility and eternity in another Universe. This has now been verified by a
    transcendologist from the USA. When he had a near-death
    experience in 1956 at age fifteen his soul traveled into a higher-level
    parallel universe. What happens to us after death has now been made clear.
    He twice repeated this experiment in 2001 when he placed his body in
    stasis and used his psychic power via transcendental meditation to again
    access this parallel universe where spiritual life thrives. Some researchers
    believe that parallel universes exist in our immediate vicinity.

    Please feel free to visit http://urantia.us/urantia_united_summation.htm
    to learn more about these weird experience.
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