Scientific conjecture about an atheistic conception of the afterlife

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by entelecheia, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

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    Hi
    Exist any scientific approach to disentangle the possible inmortality of mind in an atheistic context?

    From a scientific point of view [only theoretically]is much more accesible to theorize about inmortality of mind [i.e. some computerized simulators pretend to 'reproduce' the personality of John Lennon - a sort o Madame Tussauds of A.I.-, etc] than to theorize on the ethereal, and extremely abstract concept of God.

    thanks
     
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  3. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

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    One life should necessarily be linked to another? Why? If we cant remember any past life, for what reason they must exist?
    Paralell Universes theory suggest reincarnations are not an absurd idea
     
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    http://www.naturalism.org/death.htm
     
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  7. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    Let's assume that paralell universes do indeed exist, perhaps by virtue of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics being the correct one. The problem for you to consider is that you are only experiencing this particular "reality", rather than all of them simultaneously. So while there may be innumerable entities scattered throughout the multiverse who share a single point of divergence somewhere in the past, I don't see how that's going to help "you" when you die.
     
  8. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

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    Interestelar travel is necesary to human specie survival, it implies to reach an speed near to C. Then, a near C speed implies timetravel to future.
    If a chrononaut arrives in year 2,070, then in year 2,090, then in year 3,000, then in 3,500, etc, etc, why he should be stopped by an impassable limit? why he couldnt arrive in year 9,000, 10,000, 20,000, 10,000, etc. = semi-inmortality.

    Gregory Benford's sci-fi quantum scale timemachine:This thread follows a group of scientists in the United Kingdom connected with the University of Cambridge and their attempts to warn the past of the impending disaster by sending tachyon-induced messages to the astronomical position the Earth occupied in 1962�1963. Given the faster-than-light nature of the tachyon, these messages will effectively reach the past.

    Suposse that timemachine could also tune images/sound from future times = omniscience [mental inmortality., they could 'exist','be conscious' of any time of the universe]
     
  9. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

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    another problem with an un-afterlife conception is that claim: travel thru temporal dimension will be limited; never be as travel thru unlimited spacial dimension.
    I find no sense for a finite mind confined in the spacial dimension, in the context of an infinite/or at least inmensurable scale of spacetime.
     
  10. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    Your "chrononaut" would still age, and from his/her perspective a lifetime would still be a lifetime. Ultimately, he/she would be no more immortal than you or I.

    Perhaps this thread belongs in the SciFi & Fantasy subforum, because if it stays here, certain people are going to have a field day with all that, which probably wont be pleasant for you.
     
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Arriving at a given moment in time isn't the same as living that long. As Rav says, the "chrononaut" would still only live and experience their own lifetime.
    I'm not sure tachyons have ever been shown to even exist, let alone travel FTL. Furthermore, one argument would be that if we haven't yet observed any such "message" then either 1: we weren't looking (and you can't make someone in 1962/3 look for a message in a format they can't yet even observe); or 2: our future selves didn't send such a message.

    Anyhoo - is there a point to this thread? Can you be a touch more concise in your query / point?
     
  12. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

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    281
    Sure, but if a chrononaut arrives the farthest possible in future time, he would have reached a wisdom equivalent to perhaps hundred of reincarnations/ generations.
    I see a glimmer of immortality in mind, irreducible to the cosmological 0. If the cosmological time is infinite, what would constitute a finite mind?

    I mentioned that sci-fi timemachine, only because in this model Morse information travels thru time, it seemed a more feasible and realistic model. In The Universe in a Nutshell, Stephen Hawking proposed a dificult method: alien chrononauts opening a worm hole in a cosmic string using anti-matter.

    The Casimir effect suggests that time travel happens all the time at the microscopic scale.
     
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    One doesn't reach wisdom merely by arriving at a destination.
    If one travels to the farthest possible future, one is no more wise than when one left their initial time.
    Regardless of the language of the information, the method relies on properties of particles that have yet to be observed... there is no evidence that tachyons do indeed travel FTL.
    And this doesn't even address the issue of whether such particles can be used to carry information.
    A method that at least seems to be consistent with known physics.
    As such it is "easier" than adopting a method that requires properties that have yet to be demonstrated / proven to exist.
    It does?? How so?
     
  14. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    What implications have these ideas to the concept of information? That I exist here now, die, and then exist somewhere else (perhaps in a galaxy five million light years away, two thousand years from now), doesn't that mean that some essense of me has been transported that distance? Doesn't it constitute information? Given that it is (in this context) a galaxy five million lightyears away, and that only two thousand years have passed must then mean that it isn't physical information that have been transported that distance.

    I know that "transported" is the wrong word, as there isn't any entity that actually finds itself at any part of the distance except at the destination, but still it seems that some sort of travel has to occur.


    I have another question too (now that I've finally found someone that should be able to understand me); what is it that defines me as a person? How different would the person in that galaxy have to be from me in order to have my subjectivity? Also, related to that question is; "how can nothing know what subject that a person should have?", cause in non-existence all persons are the same (there can't be individual nothingness, so how can there be individual existence? This is also the reason that I think that some kind of information must be transported in some way (or at least the recognition that there is some unphysical entity that would exist - even if not intermediate between the persons, but still an entity not physical, much the same as the concept of a soul)).

    I would be very thankful if you took time to ponder these questions, and respond even if you don't find the answer.
     
  15. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    [Thomas W. Clark actually dispels the notion of a reified "nothingness", so I'll address this last part (above) first and outside of his paper. Then return to the rest in the context of his paper (Death, Nothingness, and Subjectivity).]

    One might imagine a dying consciousness gradually dwindling away toward an absence of thoughts / things / events in the reverse manner that a newborn or prenatal consciousness gradually emerges from such absence. With that void being the same identical, featureless homogeneity that everyone will fade into eventually (barring brains that are instantly destroyed; no time for the 'waning' therein). And as aforementioned, it also seems to be an absence identical to what a developing fetal awareness creeps from onto its shore of weak apprehension. This potential nexus of "nothingness" between life / death, where multiple experiences of different organisms converge from those different temporal extremes (that is, before they are obliterated in becoming it or generated after un-becoming it), would seem to lack any means of selection other than either randomness or new Person-98 acquiring a glimmer of consciousness while near synchronous with old Person-33's consciousness utterly expiring (or even entering dreamless sleep, etc., while still alive).

    As far as Clark's paper goes, it's expressed that individual consciousnesses may have global characteristics common to all, such as a "subjective sense of always having been present". It is this generic experience or generic subjectivity, distributed across multiple centers of awareness coming in and out of existence (births / deaths), that survives personal extinctions. "We continue as the generic subjectivity that always finds itself here, in the various contexts of awareness that the physical universe manages to create. ... The continuity is that of subjectivity itself, abstracted from any particular context, and it finds concrete expression in the fact that none of us has ever experienced (or will ever experience) not being here."

    There is no transfer of information. If a 'glowing in the night' is the universal property of light bulbs, the others already possess / share this when a single bulb is switched-off. If there are different logos stamped on each bulb (their unique "personalities"), each expires with its specific bulb; but the 'logo-hood' of bulbs in general still persists. "The 'me' characterized by personality and memory simply ends. No longer will experience occur in the context of such [a particular] personality and memory."

    According to Clark:

    "In proposing [continuity of generic experience] I don't mean to suggest that there exist some supernatural, death-defying connections between consciousnesses which could somehow preserve elements of memory or personality. This is not at all what I have in mind, since material evidence suggests that everything a person consists of --a living body, awareness, personality, memories, preferences, expectations, etc.-- is erased at death. Personal subjective continuity as I defined it above requires that experiences be those of a particular person; hence, this sort of continuity is bounded by death. So when I say that you should look forward, at death, to the 'subjective sense of always having been present,' I am speaking rather loosely, for it is not you --not this set of personal characteristics-- that will experience 'being present.' Rather, it will be another set of characteristics (in fact, countless sets) with the capacity, perhaps, for completely different sorts of experience. But, despite these (perhaps radical) differences, it will share the qualitatively very same sense of always having been here, and, like you, will never experience its cessation."

    A supposed 'nothing' would be outside of experience, so there is no positive encounter with it or personal confirmation.

    "I believe a materialist can see that consciousness, as a strictly physical phenomenon instantiated by the brain, creates a world subjectively immune to its own disappearance. It is the very finitude of a self-reflective cognitive system that bars it from witnessing its own beginning or ending, and hence prevents there being, for it, any condition other than existing. Its ending is only an event, and its non-existence a current fact, for other perspectives. After death we won't experience non-being, we won't 'fade to black.' ... So when I recommend that you look forward to the (continuing) sense of always having been here, construe that 'you' not as a particular person, but as that condition of awareness, which although manifesting itself in finite subjectivities, nevertheless always finds itself present."

    The presumed absence is really just the absence of a specific personal consciousness after it ceases; not an interval of non-existence but the inability to apprehend what exists. Generic subjectivity, however, might be figuratively construed as leaping over a gap, from the standpoint that it never disappeared in terms of its global distribution.

    "If there are no subjective gaps of positive nothingness between successive experiences of a single individual [during unconsciousness or dreamless sleep], then there won't be such a gap between a person's last experience and the first experience of his or her radically transformed successor. That first experience occurs within a context of memory and personality which establishes the same sense of always having been present generated by the original person's consciousness."
     
  16. Twoplanker Banned Banned

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    God.
     
  17. Neverfly Banned Banned

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    What is it that defines God?
    Me.

    Screw this, I want a Dr. Pepper.
     
  18. Twoplanker Banned Banned

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  19. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    I would be hesitant to say that someone falling into deep sleep isn't actually conscious, it could be that the awareness is simply cut-off from memory, we could have been aware the whole time without remembering it. Many times have I woken up thinking that I had no dreams, but later suddenly remember that I had a very vivid dream and also remember being conscious in that dream. I think that more research is needed to show that we are in fact unconscious when in deep sleep and that it isn't just the memories that are cut-off from us. This is important as, if the opposite were true, there is a possibility for a "new awareness" to occupy our body should your idea be correct (that it is random, or that there is some kind of queue where the deceased will become the next waking awareness).

    I also want to say that I'm not a fan of positive nothing either, even though I have to use that word "nothing" sometimes (to account for what is objectively happening). I don't want to imply a positive nothing. You could say though, at any instant of time objectively the subject actually is nothing, but the subject can only be nothing objectively.


    No, but still experience will occur, and my experience may not be different from your experience, but still we are different persons, and even though I won't be having the same personality or identity or memories I will yet still exist, there will not be a subjective "end of the world", that is the important message, at least at this stage. My subjectivity will go on experiencing the world.

    You say that my subjectivity is a universal property, that may be true, but there is also a private property, in the sense that my existence could sease while you are still maintaining yours. Even if my subjectivity have no gaps but is inevitable (since there was nothing and I was born and there was something - it can't be more inevitable than that) the inevitable still needs some selection process which rules that I may exist in this newborn and not that newborn. Random is just as tricky as Nothing is, saying it is random is just as much an excuse as saying that you become nothing - it is a lack of knowledge - but that there must be such a process (which must rule in some kind of realm that must be very exotic - as it can transcend life and death) is to me self-evident, and it must be of positive existence.

    To me all this suggest that some kind of personal essence must be (if that is the same as information - well I don't know, but I don't know of any other essence that defines anything).

    Also take into consideration that while we are objectively nothing, all of us are the same, in such a way that I could just as likely have been in your body and you in mine - if it weren't for a soul or if it weren't for some kind of "random" process that must be able to transcend (or, if you want, be a part of, or link) the subjective gap.

    Yes, I read the paper carefully, I also understand what he meant by it as I am in a point of my life when I have personally discovered the very same thing. I don't claim to be first with it, and this paper might be old, but I do declare that this idea came to me without knowingly having read about it earlier. Which is why I understand him very well and the ideas contained within it.

    As I said before, I don't think that we, judging from physical evidence, can say that memories or personality or even identity is preserved, that is not at all what I think, but some qualitive essence of me persists, which is the continuity of my subjective awareness.


    The interval of non-existence is of course a objective interval, for me subjectively there will be no such interval. Even so, objectively something must define my subjectivity as being in some way different from another as I will continue to exist at a specific time even though objectively (given that subjectivity is universal) I could exist at any time (and in fact, in any body that aren't currently occupied by awareness - or why not in any body at all, even though they are occupied with awareness - or even several awarenesses, could be that you aren't the only one looking out of "your" eyes and doing "your" actions).
     
  20. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    While reading his (Clarks) paper I was hoping he was going to get around to exploring the apparent uniqueness of an individual instance of the "subjective sense of always having been present", but he let me down. It's a critical element in the equation and he ignores it completely (or is simply not cognizant of it).

    I, like everyone else, possess a subjective sense of having always been present. But that subjective sense is not indistinguishable from that possessed by everyone else. It is in fact inherently distinguishable by me, simply by virtue of the fact that I'm only having my own experiences, rather than the collective experiences of all other entities simultaneously.
     
  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    "The continuity is that of subjectivity itself, abstracted from any particular context..."

    Six marbles and six sticks are distinguished by the differing empirical content (marbles / sticks), but the empirical content can be imaginatively stripped away to leave (or conceive) the useful, quantitative abstraction common to both. As you suggest, the "sense of always having been present" may not be as totally susceptible to trimming away any factors that make individual subjectivities distinct from each other in that area. But regardless, I was a tad disappointed that Clark gave attention to only that as a or the property of generic subjectivity. It might be the most important for what is concerned here, but I would hope that more universal traits/rules could be inferred from specific cases of human experience (Or, perhaps Kant already offered his spin for an extended list of such long ago, with the categories of the Understanding and the pure intuitions of the Sensibility).
     
  22. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Mercifully, the loss of this body's memories might lessen the horror of looking / feeling through another body suffering gruesome torture. At least as far as my never knowing that I was formerly / future-ly / synchronously better off than the woman having her eyes gouged-out and nose hacked-off by a righteously-fuming, Islamic fundamentalist hubby.
     
  23. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    Imagine that all conscious life on earth was wiped out, except for a very small community of, say, 20 people. That's around 7 billion distinct instances of the subjective sense of having always been present that no longer exist. A lot more, in fact, if we accept that human beings aren't the only creatures who possess such a sense. About a year later, a single baby is born. Which of those 7+ billion previous instances of subjective sense (abstracted from personal identity of course) continues in that new context?

    See, there would have to be a mechanic behind all this. Something that somehow governs when and where a particular instance will continue, because as much as one might like to suggest that once abstracted from personal identity such a subjective sense is essentially generic, it can't be. Again, this is simply because any individual will attest to the fact that their personal identity grows out of "this" instance, and not "that" one. One may be able to conceptualize these abstracted instances as identical, but only by failing to account for this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012

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