From: Johnicholas Hines (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Feb 11 2009 - 18:06:14 MST
> In what manner must you die in order for your consciousness to successfully transfer to a machine?
Let me explain my understanding of science's knowledge of
consciousness. I am not any sort of expert, and my understanding is
that the experts are still confused. However, the science is clear on
at least one thing: There is no soul. There is no monad. The pituitary
gland is not what Decartes hoped. There is no single "seat of
consciousness" inside the brain which does the experiencing.
Therefore, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to die and have a soul-like
"consciousness" entity "transfer" into a machine. Is that sufficiently
If I understand your position correctly, you argue that the
first-person experience of a destructive upload (anesthetized, frozen,
sliced, scanned, simulated) would be exactly like the first-person
experience of dying (including the part where you don't wake up).
This is possible. It's also possible that the first-person experience
of sleep is exactly like the first-person experience of dying
(including the part where you don't wake up). If you don't believe
that sleep is sufficient, imagine clinical death. The neurons are not
firing, the heart is not pumping, the entity that wakes up may be
substantively different from you due to various kinds of damage. Is a
doctor who advises someone to undergo clinical death for the purpose
of surgery doing something equivalent to murder?
The question is: Even if the first-person experience of a destructive
upload is identical to death, does that make the process of
destructive upload morally equivalent to murder? Does it mean that
murder, enslavement and torture of emulated humans is okay?
Even if the first-person experience of a destructive upload is
identical to death, it would be reasonable to entrust one's present
goals, aspirations and memories to an electronic proxy IF one believes
that the electronic proxy will behave FAITHFULLY to those goals,
aspirations and memories.
>> I invite Dr. Mahoney to state explicitly: "It is wrong to
>> murder, enslave, or torture humans. It is also wrong to murder,
>> enslave, or torture entities which are very structurally similar to
>> humans, even if they are technically mutually infertile and therefore
>> a different species."
> First answer the following:
> 1. At what point after conception does life begin?
> 2. Under what conditions is capital punishment justified?
> 3. Under what conditions is euthanasia justified?
> 4. Which species besides humans should be protected from murder, enslavement, and torture?
> 5. What test must a program be able to pass to grant it human rights?
I'm not sure of your points here, but I trust that you're actually
1. I'm confused. The gametes were alive, the fertilized ovum is still
alive. Life began some billions of years ago.
2. I'll defer to society here and say almost never.
3. Again, society says almost never.
4. Right now, I think animal abuse is not high on our collective list
of priorities. But there is an expanding circle, and we may take
animal abuse more seriously in the future.
5. I think there's a smooth continuum of possible programs. Even
though the middle is difficult to classify, there will be clear cases
where a program is STRUCTURALLY a model of a human, and experts who
argue convincingly that the program is a FAITHFUL model. Are you
arguing that because the middle is difficult to classify, these clear
cases should not be considered moral equivalents to humans? I think
wikipedia calls this the "continuum fallacy".
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