Re: Can I kill "the original"?

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Sun May 14 2000 - 14:07:44 MDT

"John Clark" <> wrote:
> Harvey Newstrom <> Wrote:
> >I can perceived the thoughts of the original "me". I cannot
perceive the
> >thoughts of the new "me".
> Of course you can, you're both thinking the same thing.

Having two people think the same thing is different then having one person
perceive the thoughts of the other person. If they thought different
things, would one copy perceive the thought from the other through
telepathy? I think not.

> >I can control the actions of the original "me". I cannot control the
> >of the new "me".
> Of course you can, you scratch your nose and you see the copy scratch
> his nose. Sooner or later (usually sooner) a random quantum fluctuation
> happen or one of you will see or hear something the other does not and the
> two of you will diverge, but until then the two bodies will move and think
in sync.

The very fact that they diverge seems to indicate that one consciousness is
not controlling both. They are clearly two separate consciousnesses which
will go their separate ways. They fact that they were synchronized to
appear identical for an instant does not mean that they were one
consciousness in two bodies.

> > Not only can I easily tell the difference between the old and new
> Of course you can't.

Normal humans can tell what body their in. They don't accidentally feed the
wrong body at mealtime because they can't tell the difference. Even
identical bodies would not have this problem.

> >I could never get them confused.
> Of course you can. I put you two in a symmetrical environment and have a
> that swaps the input sense data that originated in one body and send it to
> other brain. You can't tell when I throw the switch. I have another magic
> that can instantly remove the brain from one body and put it into the
> You can't tell when I throw that switch either and neither can the other
> except that there isn't really another fellow, there is only you.

I stand corrected. It might be possible to confuse me with enough sensory
input and magic brain teleportation. Simply having a duplicated body with
duplicated thoughts is not enough. If you did have a magic teleporter that
swapped brains and bodies, I would gladly teleport my brain into a copy's
body and have no qualms that I had really been transferred to a new body.

> >The original "me" is always here and is never disconnected. The new
"me" is
> >over there, it is never connected.
> I don't know what that means.

This was similar to your device of rerouting sensory data from one body to
another. Normally, only one body is connected to one brain. Each brain can
tell which body is connected and which is not. This is how the copies
themselves can tell the difference.

> All the proposed mechanisms (except one) that attempt to identify the
cause of
> this huge change, like something special about my atoms or something
special about
> my position have been shown to be invalid, "the original" and "the copy"
are not well
> defined concepts nor can they be used as distinct categories without
> and the vague psycho-babble explanations for all this are so bad they're
not even wrong.

I don't know what change you are referencing here. What changed? From what
to what?

I think you are misunderstanding my point. I don't claim that the copies
can tell which is the "original" and which is the "copy". I claim that each
copy can tell which is "their" body or consciousness and which is the
"other" body and consciousness.

> It's time to stop dancing around the issue, if you take it as an axiom
that the original and
> the copy are somehow different, and admittedly most do, then there is only
> conclusion, the religious people are right after all and we have a soul
undetectable by
> the scientific method.

Again, I think you have misunderstood my point. I do not claim that the
copies are different. I claim that they are separate. They can act
differently or experience different things. This is scientifically obvious
if they have separate bodies and separate brains that are not physically
wired together. None of the irrational points you mentioned above are part
of my position.

> Obviously I can't prove (by the scientific method) that's wrong but I'm
just not ready
> to surrender to the irrational.

Actually, your position seems to be more irrational to me. Your claim that
the copy and the original are "one" is semi-mystical and semi-unscientific.
It implies thought communication between disconnected brains with no
scientific rationale. It requires exact duplicate environments. It doesn't
work if quantam differences make duplicate environments impossible. It only
lasts for a brief period of time before the copies diverge. No one can
interact with either copy, or they will diverge. The copy must have an
identical (not upgraded, superior or younger) body, thereby losing the point
of uploading.

In summary, even if your carefully controlled example were possible, it is
so temporary, so useless for uploading, and so far removed from probable
upload scenarios, that I view this as a mental exercise only. I'm not sure
what effect your claims could have on actual copying or uploading events.

Harvey Newstrom <>
IBM Certified Senior Security Consultant,  Legal Hacker, Engineer, Research
Scientist, Author.

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