Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

Peter Merel pete at extro.su.oz.au
Thu Feb 23 18:05:50 EST 1995


>On Fri, 17 Feb 1995, Patrick O'Neil wrote:

>> No, it would NOT be you.  It would be a machine programed to simulate 
>> you.  You would be dead and a poor "copy" of you would be used to animate 
>> a machine.  You are nontransferable.  You cannot be conscious in your 
>> body one moment, imprint a copy of your personality, etc, on an inanimate 
>> matrix, and then, viola, be conscious as YOURSELF in a machine.  You ARE 
>> inseperable from your biochemistry and evolution.  You are NOT a movable 
>> entity or program that only coincidently presently occupies your 
>> biological body...you ARE your body.

Firstly, if you have the biochemistry background that you claim, you
will be aware that ordinary human metabolism replaces _every_ molecule in your
body on a regular basis - about once every seven years was the last figure
I heard.

Surely you're not suggesting that humans die every seven years? So then
you must accept that it is not the substance of your body that counts
as your identity, but its pattern. If this pattern can be preserved by
a transformation, your identity can be preserved too.

Secondly, all living creatures grow and change. We are unique in that
we are acheiving the ability to direct those changes with our
intellect. If we choose to replace some of our components - and you
must admit, as a biochemist, that our components are only simple
inanimate molecular tools - with components that work better, last
longer, and allow us to extend our capabilities, this is only a process
of directed growth, with no loss of information, integrity, memory or
personality required.

Thirdly, it is highly presumptious of you to dictate your personal
philosophy about what constitutes identity to others. Identity is an
issue at the core of most philosophical and religious thought, and
there are a great many available interpretations of the relationships
between nature, the world and the self. I think that you might benefit
strongly from reading a little more broadly; maybe start with Lao Tse,
a little Sartre, a little Rand and maybe some psych. - George Kelly
maybe. Maybe a little Popper too. Then think about whether what you're
saying is based upon empirical evidence, or whether it is based upon
your own faith and assumptions; if it is only the latter, then it isn't
worth much to engineers and scientists.

-- 
Internet:pete at extro.su.oz.au           |         Accept Everything.            |
http://www.usyd.edu.au/~pete           |         Reject Nothing.               |




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