Re: Immortal Souls (Was: Space and Spirituality)

Mark Grant (
Sat, 21 Dec 1996 17:08:54 +0000

On Thu, 19 Dec 1996, Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:

> Try turning it around: What would happen if it turns out that uploading
> won't work because people DO have immortal souls, and a scientific proof
> to that effect is found? What would that do to the Extropian community
> and people in general?

Actually, I still have an open mind about Penrose's (or was it Searle?)
last-ditch attempt to retain the idea of a soul through quantum mechanical
effects in the brain, but I don't think that it could ever be proved or
disproved except by uploading and seeing what happened. I just don't think
that souls are neccesary to explain consciousness.

If there ever is scientific proof of the existence of souls, then we will
also have a scientific explanation of the mechanism by which these souls
interact with brains. Consequently we'll be able to work out how to build
our computers so that our soul will be able to interact with our uploaded
"brain". This would appear to prevent us from creating duplicates, and may
also prevent backups, but for uploading we'd just have to attach another
black box to the machines. Annoying, but far from hopeless.


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