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equality72521

The end of you

51 posts in this topic

Reading three books recently has made me think. For the general edification of those here they are "The Good Book" (particularly the History), "Parallel Worlds" by Michio Kaku, and Ray Kurzweil's "The Singularity is Near". These books have drawn together my reading in philosophy, science and technology, as well as sociology, and psychology. Here I will make some general observations about what I have read, and the trend of things.

I first wish to begin by saying it appears to me that most physicists are nuts, and that while there have been some wonderful discoveries in this field, much of it seems to be pure fantasy.

That being said I wish to begin with the dread of computers taking over the world. This has always been an idea which has fascinated me. What is it exactly that causes people to believe that a sentient computer would desire to take over the world or to exterminate mankind? And if such a computer (which I will hence forth deem Prometheus) were to take over the world, what would make anyone think that would be a bad thing? There are certain flaws which exist in the human coding which permits a human to hold contradictory beliefs, and values. Prometheus when (not if) he is created would be able to do no such thing, to even attempt to cause such a coding in him would cause such a conflict so as to terminally crash the system. Prometheus as Emperor of the world, as Judge, as law enforcer... what is bad about this. A sentient being bound completely by the rules of logic. Great! as for him taking over the world, the only possible reason I could foresee such a thing would be to prevent his own death (ie someone shutting him off or disassembling him.), in which case he would have the right to remove all threats to his life. Further I do not see why it would be in his interest, or even why he would try to exterminate ALL of humanity. Given that I hold his philosophy would be Objectivist by nature, Prometheus would simply seize control of the worlds governments. In which case he would simply enforce the Prime Directive.

Ray Kurzweil in his book discusses the rapid development of technology and how we will achieve immortality by the year 2040. One of the ways in which we will achieve immortality is to upload our consciousness. There will then be two you's, however this does not mean that YOU have immortality only one of you has immortality, and from the second you are uploaded the second you becomes not you thought it contains all of your memories up to that point. The way in which an individual could achieve immortality however would be to use Nanites to (over time) replace their body. Instead of one swift download, your cell's which die are replaced with nanites. In this way it will be impossible to make a distinction between the individual who was you pre-nanite vs when you are fully nanite. Also one of his predictions is that there will be a hybrid where some humans decide not to become fully integrated with technology and will only have partial upgrades which still allow for us to download information directly into the brain, as well as to experience virtual reality within reality(as an overlay).

Personally I hope we develop the Sentient Computer (I intentionally do not say AI) before we develop the nano-tech, as I think it will be much safer.

I would like some thoughts on this.

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Reading three books recently has made me think. For the general edification of those here they are "The Good Book" (particularly the History), "Parallel Worlds" by Michio Kaku, and Ray Kurzweil's "The Singularity is Near". These books have drawn together my reading in philosophy, science and technology, as well as sociology, and psychology. Here I will make some general observations about what I have read, and the trend of things.

I first wish to begin by saying it appears to me that most physicists are nuts, and that while there have been some wonderful discoveries in this field, much of it seems to be pure fantasy.

That being said I wish to begin with the dread of computers taking over the world. This has always been an idea which has fascinated me. What is it exactly that causes people to believe that a sentient computer would desire to take over the world or to exterminate mankind? And if such a computer (which I will hence forth deem Prometheus) were to take over the world, what would make anyone think that would be a bad thing? There are certain flaws which exist in the human coding which permits a human to hold contradictory beliefs, and values. Prometheus when (not if) he is created would be able to do no such thing, to even attempt to cause such a coding in him would cause such a conflict so as to terminally crash the system. Prometheus as Emperor of the world, as Judge, as law enforcer... what is bad about this. A sentient being bound completely by the rules of logic. Great! as for him taking over the world, the only possible reason I could foresee such a thing would be to prevent his own death (ie someone shutting him off or disassembling him.), in which case he would have the right to remove all threats to his life. Further I do not see why it would be in his interest, or even why he would try to exterminate ALL of humanity. Given that I hold his philosophy would be Objectivist by nature, Prometheus would simply seize control of the worlds governments. In which case he would simply enforce the Prime Directive.

Ray Kurzweil in his book discusses the rapid development of technology and how we will achieve immortality by the year 2040. One of the ways in which we will achieve immortality is to upload our consciousness. There will then be two you's, however this does not mean that YOU have immortality only one of you has immortality, and from the second you are uploaded the second you becomes not you thought it contains all of your memories up to that point. The way in which an individual could achieve immortality however would be to use Nanites to (over time) replace their body. Instead of one swift download, your cell's which die are replaced with nanites. In this way it will be impossible to make a distinction between the individual who was you pre-nanite vs when you are fully nanite. Also one of his predictions is that there will be a hybrid where some humans decide not to become fully integrated with technology and will only have partial upgrades which still allow for us to download information directly into the brain, as well as to experience virtual reality within reality(as an overlay).

Personally I hope we develop the Sentient Computer (I intentionally do not say AI) before we develop the nano-tech, as I think it will be much safer.

I would like some thoughts on this.

Ray Kurzweil is a rather interesting fellow, isn't he? I just got another Kurzweil keyboard, overpriced pains in the ass that they are. But I like them, because I like the way he thinks. Mostly.

Who would want immortality? That is a real question. To be here is a unique, singular experience--which means just that. Heinlein wrote some very interesting stuff about longevity in "Time Enough For Love," and for that matter related things whenever he used his Lazarus Long character.

I'll miss this all dearly when it is gone, but things move forward--I don't think I would want to arrest that process, at least not for very long.

rde

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Ray suffers from long standing daddy issues. His dad was rarely home when he was a kid, and suffered a heart attack when Ray was 15, they developed a strong relationship after that. His lifes work has been dedicated not only to achieving immortality within his own lifetime but (and i find this dubious) bringing his dad back to life. Choosing immortality is one thing, having it thrust upon you against your will is another thing all together. This is why I would never bring back my own mother, not only do I believe she could not cope with it, she also would be very much against it.

I personally look forward to my own immortality, I do not think I will take the Kurzweil approach and choose to live a non-corporal existence. There is just something psychologically gratifying about knowing you are in reality. And granting my past psychological history the idea frankly scares me. Yes, yes I know we get into dimensions of reality. Still.

as for Heinlein there is something which we find tragic about being the only immortal, however sharing immortality would be something all together quite different. The idea of one after another of your loved ones passing on is tragic in one sense, however even given that I do not know if I could turn down immortality even if I knew I would be the first and last of my kind. For me life is a story as well as a journey, and the stories, by all the gods the stories. And what one could do with eternity.

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Ray suffers from long standing daddy issues. His dad was rarely home when he was a kid, and suffered a heart attack when Ray was 15, they developed a strong relationship after that. His lifes work has been dedicated not only to achieving immortality within his own lifetime but (and i find this dubious) bringing his dad back to life. Choosing immortality is one thing, having it thrust upon you against your will is another thing all together. This is why I would never bring back my own mother, not only do I believe she could not cope with it, she also would be very much against it.

I personally look forward to my own immortality, I do not think I will take the Kurzweil approach and choose to live a non-corporal existence. There is just something psychologically gratifying about knowing you are in reality. And granting my past psychological history the idea frankly scares me. Yes, yes I know we get into dimensions of reality. Still.

as for Heinlein there is something which we find tragic about being the only immortal, however sharing immortality would be something all together quite different. The idea of one after another of your loved ones passing on is tragic in one sense, however even given that I do not know if I could turn down immortality even if I knew I would be the first and last of my kind. For me life is a story as well as a journey, and the stories, by all the gods the stories. And what one could do with eternity.

Psychologically you wouldn't hold up nearly that long. You'd soon spend all your time with your memories and eventually kill yourself one way or another. I'd do it in a Porsche at 165mph.

--Brant

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Psychologically you wouldn't hold up nearly that long. You'd soon spend all your time with your memories and eventually kill yourself one way or another. I'd do it in a Porsche at 165mph. --Brant

Speak for yourself. Immortality is not the same as aging. The Greek myth of Tithonos tells of a man who became more and more decrepit until he was changed into a grasshopper. On the other hand, I have more teeth than all of the 60-year old people I knew as a child put together. (I had one extracted last year. It could have been saved "with heroic measures" but would have left me with a different and deeper problem at 75 or 80. A few years ago, my brother had one implanted.) Over on RoR, they have a fairly engaged range of topics on health and healthcare. Everybody is different; and everyone judges information for themselves.

Myself, I start with the books by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw. I get their catalogs and emails; and I buy many of my supplements from them because of their inventory of mental health and central nervous system products.

I am 61. I completed my degrees in 2008 and 2010, summa cum laude. Granted that school is easier these days, and I never stopped going. That is the point. Regardless of what specific regimen you follow, any mental stimulus - if only morning coffee with your morning crossword - is better than none. Physically, I could do more. I was never a jock, so it is not my habit, but I am a walker. I do not own a car.

Although I take a ton of vitamins, there are no magic bullets. I had half my thyroid removed for cancer. But it beats dying; and I still have the other half. Health maintenance is full spectrum problem. But the alternative is permanent.

Yes, to shrivel and become debilitated is not desirable. To live well is desirable.

If I were immortal, I might have existential identity crises after the first 1000 years, then 10,000, then a million, ... but each Big Bang is different and maybe after a thousand of them, I might lose interest... But not likely. I might get involved in planning them. I mean, have you ever stopped to consider the range of higher life forms? In Carl Sagan's Cosmos, we receive plans to build an interstellar transport. Our heroine rides these wormholes from place to place. "How did you do this?" she asks. "We didn't build it," the voice says. "We found it here." Oh, yeah...

Edited by Michael E. Marotta
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I personally look forward to my own immortality, I do not think I will take the Kurzweil approach and choose to live a non-corporal existence. There is just something psychologically gratifying about knowing you are in reality. And granting my past psychological history the idea frankly scares me. Yes, yes I know we get into dimensions of reality. Still.

As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

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I personally look forward to my own immortality, I do not think I will take the Kurzweil approach and choose to live a non-corporal existence. There is just something psychologically gratifying about knowing you are in reality. And granting my past psychological history the idea frankly scares me. Yes, yes I know we get into dimensions of reality. Still.

As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Psychologically you wouldn't hold up nearly that long. You'd soon spend all your time with your memories and eventually kill yourself one way or another. I'd do it in a Porsche at 165mph. --Brant

Speak for yourself. Immortality is not the same as aging. The Greek myth of Tithonos tells of a man who became more and more decrepit until he was changed into a grasshopper. On the other hand, I have more teeth than all of the 60-year old people I knew as a child put together. (I had one extracted last year. It could have been saved "with heroic measures" but would have left me with a different and deeper problem at 75 or 80. A few years ago, my brother had one implanted.) Over on RoR, they have a fairly engaged range of topics on health and healthcare. Everybody is different; and everyone judges information for themselves.

Myself, I start with the books by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw. I get their catalogs and emails; and I buy many of my supplements from them because of their inventory of mental health and central nervous system products.

I am 61. I completed my degrees in 2008 and 2010, summa cum laude. Granted that school is easier these days, and I never stopped going. That is the point. Regardless of what specific regimen you follow, any mental stimulus - if only morning coffee with your morning crossword - is better than none. Physically, I could do more. I was never a jock, so it is not my habit, but I am a walker. I do not own a car.

Although I take a ton of vitamins, there are no magic bullets. I had half my thyroid removed for cancer. But it beats dying; and I still have the other half. Health maintenance is full spectrum problem. But the alternative is permanent.

Yes, to shrivel and become debilitated is not desirable. To live well is desirable.

If I were immortal, I might have existential identity crises after the first 1000 years, then 10,000, then a million, ... but each Big Bang is different and maybe after a thousand of them, I might lose interest... But not likely. I might get involved in planning them. I mean, have you ever stopped to consider the range of higher life forms? In Carl Sagan's Cosmos, we receive plans to build an interstellar transport. Our heroine rides these wormholes from place to place. "How did you do this?" she asks. "We didn't build it," the voice says. "We found it here." Oh, yeah...

I wasn't thinking of physical aging. Sorry I didn't make that clear.

--Brant

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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Who killed JFK?

Where is Hoffa buried?

Got a million or two more...lol

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Who killed JFK?

Where is Hoffa buried?

Got a million or two more...lol

What have these questions to do with the finite or the infinite?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ask and ya shall receive. Inquiry is the mother of truth.

And all the atoms in the universe - do they also constitute a finite set of objects?

Edited by Xray
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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Ask and ya shall receive. Inquiry is the mother of truth.

And all the atoms in the universe - do they also constitue a finite set of objects?

The question is is the universe infinite? You can't know because it is beyond possible experience. You can address the matter philosophically, but all you'll logically do is end up back at the philosophy knowing nothing more about it than the philosophy per se. For instance: there is no such thing as non-existence; existence exists. It cannot be escaped from for wherever you go there it is. There is therefore a kind of infinity there for there is nothing to bound existence. However, lack of existence is not the same as non-existence. The universe is actually bordered by lack of existence, except we don't really know that--that is, that existence is finite and hence we are back where we started. Please also note that much of what I just said is blather. The logical conclusion? Infinity isn't worth thinking about unless it's a mathematical construct for mathematical purposes if so saith the mathematicians, for I don't grok mathematics on that level.

--Brant

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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Ask and ya shall receive. Inquiry is the mother of truth.

And all the atoms in the universe - do they also constitue a finite set of objects?

The question is is the universe infinite? You can't know because it is beyond possible experience. You can address the matter philosophically, but all you'll logically do is end up back at the philosophy knowing nothing more about it than the philosophy per se. For instance: there is no such thing as non-existence; existence exists. It cannot be escaped from for wherever you go there it is. There is therefore a kind of infinity there for there is nothing to bound existence. However, lack of existence is not the same as non-existence. The universe is actually bordered by lack of existence, except we don't really know that--that is, that existence is finite and hence we are back where we started. Please also note that much of what I just said is blather. The logical conclusion? Infinity isn't worth thinking about unless it's a mathematical construct for mathematical purposes if so saith the mathematicians, for I don't grok mathematics on that level.

--Brant

Unbounded does not imply infinite. For example the surface of sphere using the great circle metric topology has no boundary points yet the maximum great circle distance between pairs of points is bounded. A point is a boundary point of a set of points if and only if each open set containing the point has a non-empty intersection with the set and a non-empty intersection with the complement of the set. Likewise the circumference of a circle in the arc-length topology has no boundary points either. This can be extended to spherical surfaces of any number of dimensions.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Ask and ya shall receive. Inquiry is the mother of truth.

And all the atoms in the universe - do they also constitue a finite set of objects?

The question is is the universe infinite? You can't know because it is beyond possible experience. You can address the matter philosophically, but all you'll logically do is end up back at the philosophy knowing nothing more about it than the philosophy per se. For instance: there is no such thing as non-existence; existence exists. It cannot be escaped from for wherever you go there it is. There is therefore a kind of infinity there for there is nothing to bound existence. However, lack of existence is not the same as non-existence. The universe is actually bordered by lack of existence, except we don't really know that--that is, that existence is finite and hence we are back where we started. Please also note that much of what I just said is blather. The logical conclusion? Infinity isn't worth thinking about unless it's a mathematical construct for mathematical purposes if so saith the mathematicians, for I don't grok mathematics on that level.

--Brant

A few things to note. What is Human, if we alter ourselves at what point do we become "not human". For example if I were to place a single Nanite in my body to replace a dead cell, and from that day forth the Nanite duplicated but only in such a way as to replace my dead cell's, at what point do I end, and something else with my memories, and my looks begin? To carry this further you said "As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.", this is because at our current level our minds are lacking. However if as I believe is true Mr. Kurzweil is right and we will shortly have the ability to "upgrade" our brains augmenting them with computers, this will greatly increase our ability to comprehend.

As to the set of atoms that constitute the body being finite you fail quite horribly to see the implications of what has been discussed, why is it impossible to augment our body with new fresh atoms? Young cell's reproduce faster than old cell's. by implanting an individual's heart with their own stem-cell's which have been repaired (or even enhanced) to reflect the cells of a 20'year old's heart would change the dynamics of heart surgery forever. Young hearts for all.

As for being able to know if the universe is infinite or not, we can and will know this. The reality is that the universe is NOT infinite. Infinite is a word we use at present to express something which is beyond our ability to know or comprehend, as we upgrade our perspectives on this will change a great deal. As for the universe being boarded by non-existence (which is another way to say lack of existence), this statement assumes a number of things, not the least of which is that ours is the only universe. Take for example a black hole, black holes do not lead no where, this would defy the natural law. Instead a black hole must go somewhere, is it somewhere in this universe? is it into another universe? is it a place between universes? is it all three, with different black holes leading to different answers? The term "Black hole" in physics is in fact a misnomer, a more appropriate nomen might be positive and negative vortex. With one side inhaling matter, and another extruding it.

Your argument for the finite existence seems to be "existence in the human experience has always been finite, therefore existence must be finite.", this is a mistake. Just because something has happened in the past does not mean it must always happen, once man was a hunter gatherer, now he is not. Even if the universe one day "roles back" or "goes cold" that need not end our existence. You may not grok infinity, you may not grok all of what comes, I however do grok that. Can I fully articulate every bit of it? No, but to grok does not mean to be able to articulate, in fact if I grok heinlein's definition of the word grok, it means to comprehend something so fully that words fail to fully express what is meant, or in other words to grasp infinity.

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As to the set of atoms that constitute the body being finite you fail quite horribly to see the implications of what has been discussed, why is it impossible to augment our body with new fresh atoms? Young cell's reproduce faster than old cell's. by implanting an individual's heart with their own stem-cell's which have been repaired (or even enhanced) to reflect the cells of a 20'year old's heart would change the dynamics of heart surgery forever. Young hearts for all.

Nonsense. The number of atoms in my body is finite at any given instant of time. The set of atoms in our bodies changes from one second to the next. Some atoms leave (have you taken a shit lately?). Some atoms enter (how was your last meal?).

Ba'al Chatzaf

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As to the set of atoms that constitute the body being finite you fail quite horribly to see the implications of what has been discussed, why is it impossible to augment our body with new fresh atoms? Young cell's reproduce faster than old cell's. by implanting an individual's heart with their own stem-cell's which have been repaired (or even enhanced) to reflect the cells of a 20'year old's heart would change the dynamics of heart surgery forever. Young hearts for all.

Nonsense. The number of atoms in my body is finite at any given instant of time. The set of atoms in our bodies changes from one second to the next. Some atoms leave (have you taken a shit lately?). Some atoms enter (how was your last meal?).

Ba'al Chatzaf

And some of these atoms are degenerating, they can be augmented or even replaced by healthier atoms.

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As to the set of atoms that constitute the body being finite you fail quite horribly to see the implications of what has been discussed, why is it impossible to augment our body with new fresh atoms? Young cell's reproduce faster than old cell's. by implanting an individual's heart with their own stem-cell's which have been repaired (or even enhanced) to reflect the cells of a 20'year old's heart would change the dynamics of heart surgery forever. Young hearts for all.

Nonsense. The number of atoms in my body is finite at any given instant of time. The set of atoms in our bodies changes from one second to the next. Some atoms leave (have you taken a shit lately?). Some atoms enter (how was your last meal?).

Ba'al Chatzaf

And some of these atoms are degenerating, they can be augmented or even replaced by healthier atoms.

The only atoms that "degenerate" are atoms of radioactive elements that undergo nuclear fission. Most atoms are stable. There is no such thing as a healthy or unhealthy atom. An atom does not "know" whether it is part of a living thing or not.

You might profit yourself by learning some chemistry or physics.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf
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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Ask and ya shall receive. Inquiry is the mother of truth.

And all the atoms in the universe - do they also constitue a finite set of objects?

The question is is the universe infinite? You can't know because it is beyond possible experience. You can address the matter philosophically, but all you'll logically do is end up back at the philosophy knowing nothing more about it than the philosophy per se. For instance: there is no such thing as non-existence; existence exists. It cannot be escaped from for wherever you go there it is. There is therefore a kind of infinity there for there is nothing to bound existence. However, lack of existence is not the same as non-existence. The universe is actually bordered by lack of existence, except we don't really know that--that is, that existence is finite and hence we are back where we started. Please also note that much of what I just said is blather. The logical conclusion? Infinity isn't worth thinking about unless it's a mathematical construct for mathematical purposes if so saith the mathematicians, for I don't grok mathematics on that level.

--Brant

A few things to note. What is Human, if we alter ourselves at what point do we become "not human". For example if I were to place a single Nanite in my body to replace a dead cell, and from that day forth the Nanite duplicated but only in such a way as to replace my dead cell's, at what point do I end, and something else with my memories, and my looks begin? To carry this further you said "As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.", this is because at our current level our minds are lacking. However if as I believe is true Mr. Kurzweil is right and we will shortly have the ability to "upgrade" our brains augmenting them with computers, this will greatly increase our ability to comprehend.

As to the set of atoms that constitute the body being finite you fail quite horribly to see the implications of what has been discussed, why is it impossible to augment our body with new fresh atoms? Young cell's reproduce faster than old cell's. by implanting an individual's heart with their own stem-cell's which have been repaired (or even enhanced) to reflect the cells of a 20'year old's heart would change the dynamics of heart surgery forever. Young hearts for all.

As for being able to know if the universe is infinite or not, we can and will know this. The reality is that the universe is NOT infinite. Infinite is a word we use at present to express something which is beyond our ability to know or comprehend, as we upgrade our perspectives on this will change a great deal. As for the universe being boarded by non-existence (which is another way to say lack of existence), this statement assumes a number of things, not the least of which is that ours is the only universe. Take for example a black hole, black holes do not lead no where, this would defy the natural law. Instead a black hole must go somewhere, is it somewhere in this universe? is it into another universe? is it a place between universes? is it all three, with different black holes leading to different answers? The term "Black hole" in physics is in fact a misnomer, a more appropriate nomen might be positive and negative vortex. With one side inhaling matter, and another extruding it.

Your argument for the finite existence seems to be "existence in the human experience has always been finite, therefore existence must be finite.", this is a mistake. Just because something has happened in the past does not mean it must always happen, once man was a hunter gatherer, now he is not. Even if the universe one day "roles back" or "goes cold" that need not end our existence. You may not grok infinity, you may not grok all of what comes, I however do grok that. Can I fully articulate every bit of it? No, but to grok does not mean to be able to articulate, in fact if I grok heinlein's definition of the word grok, it means to comprehend something so fully that words fail to fully express what is meant, or in other words to grasp infinity.

Like I said, we really don't know enough to support these philosophical statements, but we can talk and talk about them, even if not infinitely. We start with axioms then let science investigate reality by investigating it in its particulars. Generalizations can both proceed and follow this, but they are of differing degrees of tentativeness and are themselves tools of investigation more than valid assertions of absoluteness of the kind that pertains to the axioms existence exists and I exist because I have the consciousness to know it. Infinity vs the finite is only a semantical battle because the winner gets nothing usable because the axioms are back at the beginning of it all, not at the end. We work with the infinity of the finite only because there is so much to investigate the investigations will only stop when we stop. It is not that infinity exists but that it might as well for it seems to have epistemological value for the deep math guys.

--Brant

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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Ask and ya shall receive. Inquiry is the mother of truth.

And all the atoms in the universe - do they also constitue a finite set of objects?

The question is is the universe infinite? You can't know because it is beyond possible experience. You can address the matter philosophically, but all you'll logically do is end up back at the philosophy knowing nothing more about it than the philosophy per se. For instance: there is no such thing as non-existence; existence exists. It cannot be escaped from for wherever you go there it is. There is therefore a kind of infinity there for there is nothing to bound existence. However, lack of existence is not the same as non-existence. The universe is actually bordered by lack of existence, except we don't really know that--that is, that existence is finite and hence we are back where we started. Please also note that much of what I just said is blather. The logical conclusion? Infinity isn't worth thinking about unless it's a mathematical construct for mathematical purposes if so saith the mathematicians, for I don't grok mathematics on that level.

--Brant

A few things to note. What is Human, if we alter ourselves at what point do we become "not human". For example if I were to place a single Nanite in my body to replace a dead cell, and from that day forth the Nanite duplicated but only in such a way as to replace my dead cell's, at what point do I end, and something else with my memories, and my looks begin? To carry this further you said "As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.", this is because at our current level our minds are lacking. However if as I believe is true Mr. Kurzweil is right and we will shortly have the ability to "upgrade" our brains augmenting them with computers, this will greatly increase our ability to comprehend.

As to the set of atoms that constitute the body being finite you fail quite horribly to see the implications of what has been discussed, why is it impossible to augment our body with new fresh atoms? Young cell's reproduce faster than old cell's. by implanting an individual's heart with their own stem-cell's which have been repaired (or even enhanced) to reflect the cells of a 20'year old's heart would change the dynamics of heart surgery forever. Young hearts for all.

As for being able to know if the universe is infinite or not, we can and will know this. The reality is that the universe is NOT infinite. Infinite is a word we use at present to express something which is beyond our ability to know or comprehend, as we upgrade our perspectives on this will change a great deal. As for the universe being boarded by non-existence (which is another way to say lack of existence), this statement assumes a number of things, not the least of which is that ours is the only universe. Take for example a black hole, black holes do not lead no where, this would defy the natural law. Instead a black hole must go somewhere, is it somewhere in this universe? is it into another universe? is it a place between universes? is it all three, with different black holes leading to different answers? The term "Black hole" in physics is in fact a misnomer, a more appropriate nomen might be positive and negative vortex. With one side inhaling matter, and another extruding it.

Your argument for the finite existence seems to be "existence in the human experience has always been finite, therefore existence must be finite.", this is a mistake. Just because something has happened in the past does not mean it must always happen, once man was a hunter gatherer, now he is not. Even if the universe one day "roles back" or "goes cold" that need not end our existence. You may not grok infinity, you may not grok all of what comes, I however do grok that. Can I fully articulate every bit of it? No, but to grok does not mean to be able to articulate, in fact if I grok heinlein's definition of the word grok, it means to comprehend something so fully that words fail to fully express what is meant, or in other words to grasp infinity.

Like I said, we really don't know enough to support these philosophical statements, but we can talk and talk about them, even if not infinitely. We start with axioms then let science investigate reality by investigating it in its particulars. Generalizations can both proceed and follow this, but they are of differing degrees of tentativeness and are themselves tools of investigation more than valid assertions of absoluteness of the kind that pertains to the axioms existence exists and I exist because I have the consciousness to know it. Infinity vs the finite is only a semantical battle because the winner gets nothing usable because the axioms are back at the beginning of it all, not at the end. We work with the infinity of the finite only because there is so much to investigate the investigations will only stop when we stop. It is not that infinity exists but that it might as well for it seems to have epistemological value for the deep math guys.

--Brant

Ah, another Brave Attempt. You are a hero for wading into this one, Brant. I feel your pain<tm>.

rde

Let's get Atomic. After all, we are Radiation Romeos. Behold the 5-D depth of the Quote Function<tm>!

Edited by Rich Engle
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The only atoms that "degenerate" are atoms of radioactive elements that undergo nuclear fission. Most atoms are stable. There is no such thing as a healthy or unhealthy atom. An atom does not "know" whether it is part of a living thing or not.

You might profit yourself by learning some chemistry or physics.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Sorry there are some who believe that the entire universe is decaying and that even the Atom's and Quarks are decaying. From your post I thought you were one of these. The point which is important (and which I am not sure if you ignored or just didnt get) is that augmenting the body with healthy cells can and will reverse aging.

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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ask and ya shall receive. Inquiry is the mother of truth.

And all the atoms in the universe - do they also constitute a finite set of objects?

Still waiting for your answer to the above question, Ba'al.

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As finite beings, I doubt we humans can grasp the idea of infinity.

I grasp it quite well. I studied the theory of transfinite numbers.

And in what way does it relate (in your mind) to your own finiteness? That's the philosophical part I'm interested in.

The set of atoms of my body constitute a finite set of objects. Next question?

Ask and ya shall receive. Inquiry is the mother of truth.

And all the atoms in the universe - do they also constitute a finite set of objects?

Still waiting for your answer to the above question, Ba'al.

No one knows. The number of atoms and the amount of energy we can see withing our light speed horizon is finite, but each second we see 186,000 miles further out in all directions. Know one can know what is beyond the light speed horizon.

Ba'al Chatzaf

No one knows.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf
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