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Old September 11 2013, 05:12 PM   #151
JarodRussell
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Re: What Happens After Death

I'm not even denying that when the brain stops working you are gone. It's just the idea of nothing that I personally can't comprehend.
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Old September 11 2013, 05:23 PM   #152
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Re: What Happens After Death

bbjeg wrote: View Post
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When the electrical currents in your brain--the actions of which generate the brain waves we can measure--stop, you are brain dead. Your existence ceases. Your consciousness ends and your perceptions are null and void.
I understand that. After a brain stops functioning, it can no longer perceive, nor build new memories.
That's where I'm lost. What happens to the energy my brain produced yesterday, not just heat, but if I burn my hand, the section of my brain's flaring in response to it, or the information my brain generated from it?
Why do you think you need to eat? Your brain uses something like 20% of all the energy your body requires. It's a very power-hungry organ. In the absence of adequate blood and oxygen, it can't even use that energy, and so it dies. The cells begin to die, electrical signals can't propagate, and eventually they're all gone. The energy is lost as heat leaving your body.

When your brain responds to a stimulus, that's because a nerve impulse traveled from a nerve ending to your spinal column and then up into your brain, like electricity traveling along a wire. It activates a certain portion of your brain to respond to it. The excitement from that response quickly dies down as the energy goes elsewhere--to other parts of your brain, other nerve endings, and escaping your body as waste heat. Again, that's why your brain is so hungry for energy. It's always being dissipated.

Once your brain ceases functioning and the energy leaves, your conscious existence doesn't continue in some other form. It can't, because it only exists within the physical structure of your physical brain.
I'm not saying after we die we go to heaven, hell, or something like it (if that's what you're taking from my post), I'm asking what happens to all that energy a brain produces in a lifetime after it's unable to produce more energy.
Your entire body is a chemical machine that requires constant inputs of energy (food) and other chemicals (water, vitamins, minerals) in order to stay functional. That's why "death" isn't a single moment in time: your cells are still doing all kinds of stuff in the hours and days after your brain stops working. When your brain stops getting enough blood and oxygen to facilitate its functions, it cannot generate the electrical signals that let it work. The brain doesn't produce energy, it just stops receiving any more, which keeps it from doing its job. What energy remains in your body is lost through heat radiation and chemical breakdowns that start once your blood is no longer flowing.
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Old September 11 2013, 06:45 PM   #153
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Re: What Happens After Death

^I understand the physical process a body goes through. I think I may just be wording my statement wrong.

I'll try asking it this way - How do people base post-existence on pre-existence when the variables that defines you as existing didn't exist prior to your existence?
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Old September 11 2013, 06:50 PM   #154
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Re: What Happens After Death

I would say that they don't. Before you existed, you simply didn't exist, and you didn't know it. After you cease to exist, you simply don't exist, and you don't know it. It is oblivion and nothingness before and after.
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Old September 11 2013, 07:12 PM   #155
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Re: What Happens After Death

If we are nothing but the thought process, if there was a computer capable of handling all the processes of the brain, and it had a hard-drive capable of copying a brain, would it make whoever downloaded their brain into it immortal

Orr is it death no matter what after the body dies, regardless of what information remains?
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Old September 11 2013, 07:19 PM   #156
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Re: What Happens After Death

bbjeg wrote: View Post
If we are nothing but the thought process, if there was a computer capable of handling all the processes of the brain, and it had a hard-drive capable of copying a brain, would it make whoever downloaded their brain into it immortal?
Possibly, though there is a philosophical debating point here, the continuity problem.

I think you might like this awesome blog post on the subject (the author is a neurologist). Not sure if I agree with it all, but he has cool ideas and has obviously put a lot of thought into the subject: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/i...nuity-problem/
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Old September 11 2013, 07:35 PM   #157
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Re: What Happens After Death

^Nice post, as I too wouldn't teleport if I had the option not to (though near the end I got a "first steps in the Borg's existence" vibe). The question he poses "Are you the information that constitutes your consciousness or the physical substrate?" reminds me of the "conservation of information" theory. Where is the line drawn defining death; when you die, or when your brain doesn't function the same?

...Are we dying every second?
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Old September 11 2013, 07:36 PM   #158
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Re: What Happens After Death

Heh, the continuity problem is why I find the prospect of Star Trek-style transporters horrifying.
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Old September 11 2013, 07:44 PM   #159
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Re: What Happens After Death

That question can never be answered. Nobody returns from the dead, and even if someone did, how do you prove that it's the same consciousness?

Same goes for beaming. Someone gets beamed from A to B. How do you determine if his consciousness died and a new one was created?
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Old September 11 2013, 07:57 PM   #160
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Re: What Happens After Death

In my case?

My skull will remain on someones desk as a conversation piece and trophy. Those bastard hunters tend to do that as a sort of sick-ass joke.

My consciousness will of course return to its state of perpetual annoyance until it can find a new host body.

...as for you human types, you go back to the same state as before you were born. Duh.
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Old September 11 2013, 09:02 PM   #161
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Re: What Happens After Death

bbjeg wrote: View Post
^Nice post, as I too wouldn't teleport if I had the option not to (though near the end I got a "first steps in the Borg's existence" vibe). The question he poses "Are you the information that constitutes your consciousness or the physical substrate?" reminds me of the "conservation of information" theory. Where is the line drawn defining death; when you die, or when your brain doesn't function the same?
And here we get to one of the biggest questions in the philosophy of artificial intelligence: if something behaves in a way that is indistinguishable from consciousness, is it then conscious?

As for the demarkation line for death, that is another controversy altogether.

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
That question can never be answered. Nobody returns from the dead, and even if someone did, how do you prove that it's the same consciousness?

Same goes for beaming. Someone gets beamed from A to B. How do you determine if his consciousness died and a new one was created?
I don't think anyone is saying that it can be answered with complete certainty. Nor is anyone arguing with complete certainty that there is no afterlife. The evidence points towards there being none, but the question can be framed as a non-falsifiable claim, and therefore beyond the realm of science. This doesn't make the existence of an afterlife any more likely, though. It's like Carl Sagan's invisible, silent, heatless dragon in the garage: you can propose the existence of a thing that cannot ever be proved, but that's not a very good reason to believe in that thing.
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Old September 12 2013, 08:40 PM   #162
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Re: What Happens After Death

bbjeg wrote: View Post
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In an infinite universe, it would be necessary for there to exist at some place and at some future time, an energy pattern exactly identical to the one that defines "you" right at this moment. One theory is that this could occur when matter is nearing infinite density just before the Big Crunch, for instance.

Would such a pattern believe itself to "be" you? Even if it did, would the actual "you" have any awareness of it?
Are you saying some alien has (or will have) my job, took the same steps I did throughout life, lives on a planet they call earth, has/will chat on a "What Happens After Death" thread with a poster named Lindley, and perceives existence "exactly" the same as I do?
I'm simply saying the matter and energy in your body can exist in a finite number of patterns. In an infinite universe, sooner or later the exact pattern you exist in now must occur again somewhere else.
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Old September 12 2013, 09:39 PM   #163
JarodRussell
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Re: What Happens After Death

Lindley wrote: View Post
bbjeg wrote: View Post
Lindley wrote: View Post
In an infinite universe, it would be necessary for there to exist at some place and at some future time, an energy pattern exactly identical to the one that defines "you" right at this moment. One theory is that this could occur when matter is nearing infinite density just before the Big Crunch, for instance.

Would such a pattern believe itself to "be" you? Even if it did, would the actual "you" have any awareness of it?
Are you saying some alien has (or will have) my job, took the same steps I did throughout life, lives on a planet they call earth, has/will chat on a "What Happens After Death" thread with a poster named Lindley, and perceives existence "exactly" the same as I do?
I'm simply saying the matter and energy in your body can exist in a finite number of patterns. In an infinite universe, sooner or later the exact pattern you exist in now must occur again somewhere else.
Not only that, in a truly infinite universe a finite pattern occurs infinite times.
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Old September 12 2013, 10:44 PM   #164
thestrangequark
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Re: What Happens After Death

Though the evidence and consensus at the moment say that the universe is finite, do they not?
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Old September 12 2013, 10:47 PM   #165
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Re: What Happens After Death

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
Though the evidence and consensus at the moment say that the universe is finite, do they not?
The observable universe is certainly finite. Beyond that I'm not sure.
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