Why the resurrection must be true
Okay I was thinking about it. And it is a transhumanist argument and nothing new, I do realise that before anyone points it out. But it struck me afresh today that the resurrection must happen.
Firstly, to state the obvious, a rational materialist conception of reality seems to exclude resurrection. For a start there is no good evidence a resurrection has ever happened in the past, just rumours and stories. Secondly traditional conceptions of resurrection rely on a distinction between physical and spiritual or the body and soul that we no longer recognise as valid. These seem like pretty good reasons for thinking resurrection is completely pie in the sky.
But if we follow a materialist conception of reality to its end conclusion we could argue that resurrection is at the end of the trail. Think about it.
Assmuption 1. If reality consists of material and nothing else then who we are and our consciousness arises purely from the order of the material substance of our bodies - primarily our brains. There is no spirit or soul involved.
Assumption 2. Since the material substance of the universe obeys consistent laws, the position and configuration of material in the universe at any given point in time could, in principle, be extrapolated from the position and trajectory of the material substance of the universe at any other given time.
Assumption 3. Over time humans (or intelligent beings generally) accumulate information about the universe, its content and laws. If this accumulation continues indefinitely it will inevitably reach a point where the material composition of the universe is known exhaustively, not simply for one point in time, but for all time. Just as geologists are now able to create maps of how the continents were configured millions of years ago by extrapolating continental movement according to physical laws, future scientists will be able to map out the exact composition of all matter at all previous points in time according to physical laws.
Assumptions 4. A civilisation or intelligence which has been able to exhaustively map the material composition and configuration of the universe over all of time will also be in a position to recreate entities including people from the past by recreating their exact material condition.
Assumption 5. Humans of each generation will be suficciently attached to their parents and immediate ancestors to insist they are brought back to life when it becomes feasible to do so.
If all of these assumptions are true, it seems to me that a general resurrection at some point is not just likely but pretty inevitable. Which is a ridiculous thing to say. But it seems to follow from the assumptions. And each of the assumptions as they stand seem quite reasonable.
Assumptions 4. A civilisation or intelligence which has been able to exhaustively map the material composition and configuration of the universe over all of time will also be in a position to recreate entities including people from the past by recreating their exact material condition.There is your mistake right there.
Identical twins or clones - identical twins born at different times - are still different people with unique experiences. A unique human being is an impossibly complex interaction between nature and nurture.
I also think you have a simplistic, caricature-like perspective of a deterministic universe.
You can't map everything - even man-made things like roads change before the map is complete.
So you'll never have a complete "image" to copy.
Identical twins or clones share the same genetic code that is all. They do not share identical material composition down to the position of every last atom which is what I am talking about.
A twin or a clone obviously does not share the same memories as the other twin or original since brains are structured differently because of different experience and interaction with the external world.
However, if there stood next to you, an exact replica of you. Not just someone who shares your genetic code or appearance, but an exact replica, down to atomic or subatomic level, including those parts of your brain that comprise memory storage and personality. Would that person also be you? Would it be any less you than you, yourself?
Too late for science fiction. Good night.
Simon okay this is a more interesting objection.
You are right maps are approximations and they refer to dynamic systems. But a map is only an analogy anyway.
If we state the problem differently the objection resolves.
Rather than thinking about a map, think about reality as consisting of information about matter and change. All of this can be quantified, in terms of location, mass, vector.
At one time humans didn't know the location of the sun in relation to other parts of the universe, its mass or its trajectory. Now we know where the sun is in relation to the solar system and galaxy, its mass, and we can predict or retrace its position over millions of years. Over time information about the location and vectors of mass in the universe will accumulate. This is precise information not a map or an approximation. If this accumulation of information continues indefinitely it therefore follows that at some time in the future humans will be able to predict and retrace the movement, not just of stars and large structures, but of every since atom in the universe.
You might want to look into Friedrich Nietzsche's doctrine of eternal recurrence. Though both mathematicians and consmologists have attempted to poke holes in it over the years, I maintain that the idea, properly understood, still holds water.
One of these days I intend to write a refutation of all known refutations of the doctrine of eternal recurrence
Rainbow Trout yes we have discussed the eternal return before. Many have taken it from Nietzsche as a metaphor for how to live life, but I find it a compelling idea in itself.
Island Man I am not going to pretend I followed the maths of your video. I suspected quantum mechanics may spoil the predictability of the universe. But ultimately this is what I am driving at. Either the material universe obeys laws that are discoverable and predicable or not. If quantum mechanics means they are ultimately not discoverable and predicable then we need to revisit uniformitarianism a key component of a purely materialist conception of reality. And if it doesn't hold then there seems little solid basis on which to insist on a purely materialist conception of reality in the first place.
There were also important caveats in the video.
1. For example it said creating an exact copy from an existing thing is impossible. Does this only apply to things existing simultaneously? In the case we are talking about it involves recreating something known to exist in the past, not creating two of something side by side. But I suspect the problem is about exactness of information rather than physical simultineity.
2. It said it is impossible inside the universe. Is there any good reason for restricting action to "inside the universe"? Could new universes or parallel dimensions be used to recreate the entities using the information from this universe.
3. It said we are not sure whether quantum mechanics is involved in the mechanisms from which consciousness arises.
4. It said exact copies are impossible but very close approximations would be possible. Would a very nearly exact copy of a human, closer to you now than you are to yourself last week, for example, be sufficient to effect a resurrection?