John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Tue, 25 Mar 1997 22:47:22 -0800 (PST)



mikec@jax.gulfnet.com (Mike C.) On Tue, 25 Mar 1997

>If I was standing on one side of the [duplicating] chamber and I now
>appeared to be on the other side of the chamber I would know I was
>the copy.

And if the chamber had cylindrical symmetry you could not tell if you were
the copy or not.

Suppose that one second after you first saw your double, a bullet hit him in
the back of the head and his brain exploded. Regardless of whether you are
the copy or the original you still have all your memories and you still have
a feeling on continuity with your past, just as you do now, so nobody died.
If two phonographs are synchronized and playing the same symphony and you
destroy one machine, the music does not stop.

I think our key disagreement is that you think we are an object, I think we
are a process. I can make an exact copy of a this post, lots of copies may
exist in the world, but they are all the same post. You can delete your copy,
but I still have mine so the post still exists. It would be crazy to say
that in order to get the most out of it you should only read the original,
there is no original, and information does not occupy a unique position in
space. A brick can't be copied exactly, at least not yet, so it doesn't
have these properties, thus it makes sense to talk about two different bricks.
The fundamental question you have to ask yourself is; are we (our subjective
existence) more like bricks or symphonies?

I'm not a thing. The word "I" should not be a pronoun but a adjective,
an adjective modifying matter. I am not matter, I am the way matter reacts
when it's organized in certain complex ways.

>As one billionth of a nanosecond passed they would have diverged.

Why? One billionth of a nanosecond is far too short for human consciousness
to detect. For people "now" is about a second long.

>Location and structure is used to presently distinguish between them.

You're in a different position than you were 5 minutes ago, but presumably
your identity has not changed. Trying to develop a theory of identity or
consciousness based on position is a bad idea. Where does consciousness exist?
Where does "red" exist or "fast" or "beautiful" or the number "13"? These
questions have no answer because they make no sense.

>How many types of sub-atomic particles does it take to convince you
>that all atoms are not all the same?

An atom is not a bag of sub-atomic particles that occasionally releases its
contents, that would be like saying somewhere in the human body is a
"word bag" that gradually releases its contents as language, and when it's
empty we become mute.

>Mark my words. We will be more able to distinguish between atoms

Then most of the Physics done this century has been a waste of time.

>>In Science you can exchange one atom of Hydrogen with another one
>>and the system does not change at all.

>Of course it changed, you just switched atoms.
>Switching is an action.
>An action usually requires change.
>At one time it had atom A.
>At another time it was -A.
>At another time it was -A + B.

If you're right then The Identity Of Indiscernibles is false and so is most
Science done in the last 90 years, because the foundation of modern physics
is the idea of Exchange Forces, and that is a direct consequence of The
Identity Of Indiscernibles.

The first philosopher to examine the principle of "The Identity Of
Indiscernibles" was Leibniz 300 years ago. He said that if there is no way
to find a difference between two things then they are identical and switching
the position of the objects does not change the physical state of the system.
Until the 20th century this idea had no observable consequences because
nobody could find two things exactly alike. Things changed dramatically when
it was discovered that atoms have no scratches on them to tell them apart.

Suppose you're looking at two electrons, you may think that you can find a
difference in them, because one is here and the other one is way over there,
but can you really? How do you know the particles are not changing positions?
Would the system be any different if they did? By asking these sort of
questions and using The Identity Of Indiscernibles we can derive The Pauli
Exclusion Principle, and that is the basis of the periodic table, and that
is the basis of chemistry, and that is the basis of life. We can also
discover the fact that there are two classes of particles, bosons like
photons and fermions like electrons.

Experimentally we can't measure the quantum wave function F(x) of a particle,
we can only measure the intensity of the wave function [F(x)]^2 because
that's probability and probability we can measure. P(x) =[F(x)]^2 is the
probability of finding two particles x distance apart. Now let's exchange
the position of the particles, the distance between them was x1 - x2 = x is
now x2 - x1 = -x . The Identity Of Indiscernibles tells us that because the
two particles are the same, no measurable change has been made , no change in
probability , so P(x) = P(-x) . From this we see that [ F(x) ]^2 = [ F(-x)]^2
so the Quantum wave function can be an even function [ F(x) = +F(-x) ] or an
odd function [F(x) = -F(-x) ] , remember (-1)^2 = (+1)^2 =1.

Both solutions have physical significance, particles with integer spin,
bosons, have even wave functions, particles with half integer spin , fermions,
have odd wave functions. If we put two fermions like electrons in the same
place then the distance between them, x , is zero and because they must
follow the laws of odd wave functions , F(0) = -F(0) but the only number
that is it's own negative is zero so F(0) =0 . What this means is that the
wave function goes to zero and [F(x)]^2 goes to zero , thus the probability
of finding two electrons in the same spot is zero, and that is The Pauli
Exclusion Principle.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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