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  #16  
Old Jul 11, '12, 10:46 am
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Marc Anthony Marc Anthony is offline
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

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Originally Posted by GEddie View Post
Or rather, an "Adam" or "Eve" type human being. Not an infant, as they would have a nonempty mind.

ICXC NIKA
Sort of. It would be a clone with artificially implanted fake memories. I guess an "Adam and Eve" type of being is as good a description as any.
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  #17  
Old Jul 11, '12, 3:23 pm
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Son of Jonah Son of Jonah is offline
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

If Augustine was correct, this pretty simply wraps up the discussion. As Descartes held (implicitly... obviously discussion of this technology never came up in his day), the creature that came through on the other side would be alive only in the sense that it had functioning organs, but that the soul - which could not be reconstructed, as it is immaterial - and the memories/thoughts with it would be absent, and we would have essentially a brain dead individual.

However, if Aquinas is correct, the issue becomes much murkier. It raises some rather interesting hypotheticals:

Suppose that the person goes into the teleporter in the state of mortal sin. As you said, Marc, this person dies and a new person with a new soul comes out on the other end, but one with ALL of the memories of the old one. I believe in this case we can obviously agree that the original person dies and goes to hell. But is the new person still in the state of mortal sin?

Or is his new soul - which believes it is in the state of mortal sin - pure and unblemished? Is this new person baptized? He will certainly believe so... What if he is married? Is his marriage null and void? If he goes home to the woman he believes is his wife and engages in the marital act, is it a mortal sin as well?

Because this new soul, in theory, has never received the Eucharist - or any Sacrament! - if he goes to Mass, does he commit some sort of sacrilege, despite believing - and having the memories to verify - that he has received them all?

Interesting stuff here.... Makes me all the more thrilled I have a degree in this subject
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  #18  
Old Jul 12, '12, 6:32 am
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

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Originally Posted by Son of Jonah View Post
Or is his new soul - which believes it is in the state of mortal sin - pure and unblemished? Is this new person baptized? He will certainly believe so... What if he is married? Is his marriage null and void? If he goes home to the woman he believes is his wife and engages in the marital act, is it a mortal sin as well?

Because this new soul, in theory, has never received the Eucharist - or any Sacrament! - if he goes to Mass, does he commit some sort of sacrilege, despite believing - and having the memories to verify - that he has received them all?
I think in the above scenario, the person isn't in mortal sin and if he has relations with the person he believes to be his spouse he's not committing mortal sin because he is acting in invincible ignorance. That is, unless he knows how the "teleporter" works and that he's a new clone.

Anyone see the movie The Prestige?
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  #19  
Old Jul 12, '12, 6:45 am
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

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Originally Posted by MarcoPolo View Post
On the howstuffworks website, this is a theory on how a teleporter device could work:
The laws of physics may even make it impossible to create a transporter that enables a person to be sent instantaneously to another location, which would require travel at the speed of light.

For a person to be transported, a machine would have to be built that can pinpoint and analyze all of the 10(28)atoms that make up the human body. That's more than a trillion trillion atoms. This machine would then have to send this information to another location, where the person's body would be reconstructed with exact precision. Molecules couldn't be even a millimeter out of place, lest the person arrive with some severe neurological or physiological defect.
Walk with me through a thought exercise.

If this machine ever existed, and the person was reconstructed elsewhere in space, would it mean the person didn't have a soul if he was still "animate" after reconstruction? (i.e. because the machine can only transport that which is physical)

Or would an "animate" reconstructed person tell us nothing about the soul because either A) the person could be reconstructed as a soul-less biological living animal; B) the soul, being incorporeal, could simply remain with the reconstructed "body" that is "him/her" because the soul remains "attached" to the molecules being duplicated; C) God, being the one who provides the soul, could facilitate transference of the soul to the reconstructed body; D) something else.
In some of the more non-canonical Star Trek material, it gets even more philosophically and morally tangled.

For instance, in the novel Spock Must Die, Scotty finds a way to create an exact duplicate and project it to a point thousands of light-years away, where it performs its mission, with the original never leaving the transporter chamber, fully intact and fully conscious. He had been inspired to do it after hearing McCoy ruminating about the spiritual condition of every person who has ever entered a transporter chamber and been de-materialized. Scotty thought it might circumvent the moral question---not stopping to consider, what about the duplicate? Does it have a soul?

The whole thing backfires, with the duplicate coming back and materializing in the chamber, and now the Enterprise has two Spocks.

Probably a good thing, since a long-distance transporter would render ships obsolete, and turn Star Trek into something more like Stargate.
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  #20  
Old Jul 12, '12, 6:55 am
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

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Originally Posted by MarcoPolo View Post
I think in the above scenario, the person isn't in mortal sin and if he has relations with the person he believes to be his spouse he's not committing mortal sin because he is acting in invincible ignorance. That is, unless he knows how the "teleporter" works and that he's a new clone.

Anyone see the movie The Prestige?
The one about the magicians in conflict? Yes. The duplicate question comes up there, too.

On the earlier topic, if the person knows how the teleporter works and that he's a "new clone," he would have a moral obligation to go through CCD or RCIA again, receive baptism and confirmation again, and would probably be called upon to join a campaign against the teleporter being used anymore, inasmuch as it was prematurely ending individual existences and possibly sending people to perdition who otherwise might not have gone there.

Catholics would have some weighty issues to deal with in such a future!
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  #21  
Old Jul 23, '12, 11:23 am
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

Surely the soul only leaves a dead body and never, no matter what happened could it be pulled, repelled or shifted out of the living. Since as the soul isn't physical then it is not bound by physics anyway.
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  #22  
Old Jul 23, '12, 1:10 pm
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

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Originally Posted by MarcoPolo View Post
On the howstuffworks website, this is a theory on how a teleporter device could work:
The laws of physics may even make it impossible to create a transporter that enables a person to be sent instantaneously to another location, which would require travel at the speed of light.

For a person to be transported, a machine would have to be built that can pinpoint and analyze all of the 10(28)atoms that make up the human body. That's more than a trillion trillion atoms. This machine would then have to send this information to another location, where the person's body would be reconstructed with exact precision. Molecules couldn't be even a millimeter out of place, lest the person arrive with some severe neurological or physiological defect.
Walk with me through a thought exercise.

If this machine ever existed, and the person was reconstructed elsewhere in space, would it mean the person didn't have a soul if he was still "animate" after reconstruction? (i.e. because the machine can only transport that which is physical)

Or would an "animate" reconstructed person tell us nothing about the soul because either A) the person could be reconstructed as a soul-less biological living animal; B) the soul, being incorporeal, could simply remain with the reconstructed "body" that is "him/her" because the soul remains "attached" to the molecules being duplicated; C) God, being the one who provides the soul, could facilitate transference of the soul to the reconstructed body; D) something else.
I certainly wouldn't want to be the first one to try it!!! I'm afraid the result would be that you would have a dead body at the end, since the soul is meant for the body not for some type of machine. The soul I fear would just say good-by.
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  #23  
Old Jul 23, '12, 1:26 pm
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

I think the general consensus is that the original person is killed, thus his soul is separated from his body. And then the "reconstructed" person is essentially a clone who would probably have a soul as well (correct me if I'm wrong, but God infuses a soul into any human whether or not that human's conception is illicit or not), but it is a new person and new soul, even if that person is born under the ignorant pretense that he remains the original person and soul.

Now if we could just get a teleporter that can create wormholes or wrinkles in the fabric of space-time that we can just step through, this wouldn't be a problem.
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  #24  
Old Jul 23, '12, 1:38 pm
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

Since Scientist have found physical memory storage capability in the brain then I'd conclude that memory is not part of the soul, but part of the brain. This goes to show how necessary both physical and spiritual parts are required for us to recognize ourselves.

There are two methods of teleportation that are important to distinguish and are mixed throughout the discussion so far. One, the original atoms are left behind and new atoms are recombined to make a copy. Two, The originals atoms are moved to the new location and resembled with the same atoms to put together to the same locations.

In one, Id conclude we have a dead body of atoms and a new body of atoms of the exact form. If the body lives then Id conclude that God decided to move the original soul or create a new one and wed have no means to determine which he has done. My guess is that God would not reward such attempts of artificial resurrection and not infuse a soul to the new body leaving it lifeless. I think in any case this is an extreme case of putting God to the test and would be a Mortal Sin even if God choose to save and move the original soul to the new body.

In two, there is the same material and the same form. God may still choose to say your efforts are in vain in moving the body and us not knowing how to move a soul. Or he may move the soul or His creation may be such that the soul would stay with the atoms of body as it is moved. The act of destruction in this scenario is still a likely point of death and the reconstruction a likely point of a new soul; so, again the possibility remains that God is having a choice forced upon Him and we have no measure to know what he has chosen. All we are again fairly curtain of is that this is again a Mortal Sin to toy with someones life in this experiment and Gods choices would not likely be apparent except maybe to some extent in the case of a lifeless, but otherwise perfect copy. This would only more fully show our folly of pursuing these actions.

This idea may be very tempting in the far future and may appear to some as another instance of moral implications getting in the way of scientific inquiry, but I hope most would see this as an example of a thing that if scientifically possible should not be done similarly as IVF, abortion, contraception, etc. should not be done today.

It's amazing how much belief we are asked to suspend to enjoy sci-fi; yet, it seems to me very worth it to continue to suspend these problematic consequences for the sake of a story, but never for the sake of a real life.
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  #25  
Old Jul 23, '12, 1:40 pm
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

I wonder if God would attach the original soul to the reconstructed body. I know Aquinas said that the resurrected body would be the "self-same body" but frankly, I don't know what that means. If we destroy a car except for one part, and rebuild a car using that one part, we wouldn't say we reconstructed the car. We would consider them two different cars. So how can our resurrected bodies be considered in anyway, the "self-same body?" Anyway, it is possible that God would merely reunite the new body with the same soul. We know that He has done this in the past when He brought people back from the dead. So why would this teleporter be essentially different?
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  #26  
Old Jul 23, '12, 1:47 pm
Taestron Taestron is offline
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

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Originally Posted by wmw View Post
Since Scientist have found physical memory storage capability in the brain then I'd conclude that memory is not part of the soul, but part of the brain. This goes to show how necessary both physical and spiritual parts are required for us to recognize ourselves.
I wonder, if the new body does have a new soul, would it be able to access its memories? How would the new soul instantaneously be able to direct the specific physical pathways that the old soul forged over a lifetime? This would leave something akin to the ghola of Frank Herbert's Dune series, an exact physical clone that is unable to access the memories of the original.
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  #27  
Old Jul 23, '12, 1:55 pm
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

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Originally Posted by MarcoPolo View Post
For a person to be transported, a machine would have to be built that can pinpoint and analyze all of the 10(28)atoms that make up the human body. That's more than a trillion trillion atoms. This machine would then have to send this information to another location, where the person's body would be reconstructed with exact precision. Molecules couldn't be even a millimeter out of place, lest the person arrive with some severe neurological or physiological defect.[/indent][/i]Walk with me through a thought exercise.
I think we will actually never know, because I believe such machine could never be built, because any attempt to locate all the particles in one's body will interfere in the particles position and behavior, making it impossible to map all the particles (Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle).
Supposing it could be possible, I believe it still can't prove/disprove a soul, because we don't know how binds to our body (maybe it's beyond time and space?)
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  #28  
Old Jul 23, '12, 3:01 pm
wmw wmw is offline
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

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Originally Posted by Taestron View Post
I wonder, if the new body does have a new soul, would it be able to access its memories? How would the new soul instantaneously be able to direct the specific physical pathways that the old soul forged over a lifetime? This would leave something akin to the ghola of Frank Herbert's Dune series, an exact physical clone that is unable to access the memories of the original.
I was assuming God would either do it well (perfectly) or not at all. The possibility that the Soul would stay with the body as it is transported, but our not reconnecting it because of our ignorance could do something like what you are suggesting. Or maybe a New animal like soul (one that is not immortal) could take over the body also. All sorts of options are possible and what God would choose or allow us to mistakenly end up with is up for grabs!
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  #29  
Old Jul 23, '12, 4:20 pm
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Default Re: Could this kind of Teleporter teach us if we have a soul?

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Surely the soul only leaves a dead body and never, no matter what happened could it be pulled, repelled or shifted out of the living. Since as the soul isn't physical then it is not bound by physics anyway.
I don't know, but it reminds me of the Tibetan Buddhist practice of phowa, in which the mind (visualized as a blue sphere, residing near the heart "chakra") is visualized forcefully and rapidly leaving the body through an aperture that supposedly exists on the crown of the head, and this is believed to be made to actually happen by a forceful exhalation and a loud exclamation at the moment one visualizes the "blue sphere" exiting the head. This was supposed to help the mind to awaken into its own true nature, and enable the mind to find its way to the enlightened, or "heavenly" state after the body's death---sort of like a "trial run."

Devotees of this practice were emphatic that the consciousness would always return to the person, and that performing the practice upon another person would help THEM prepare for death, and that it couldn't be misused, that one couldn't use it to separate consciousness from a body before it was ready to.

I have always had misgivings about such a thing, and if the transporter ever became a reality, I'd probably have the same misgivings about it.
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