When a person is beamed up it's not the same person

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by ReadyAndWilling, May 1, 2010.

  1. Navaros

    Navaros Commodore Commodore

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    Those issues would never arise precisely because the idea presented in the OP/thread title is an erroneous one.

    Everyone knows that transporters transport both body and soul-the entirety of one's existence.

    That is why no one on the existing shows complains about the idea presented in the OP.

    If the idea presented in the OP were correct, then no one would ever use transporters, SF or otherwise, and that would have been reflected in the shows that were already made.
     
  2. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    They don't have to. Anytime someone's molecules are taken apart (or even partially decoupled), their body ceases to exist as it was before. It's being vaporized by any other name.
    It's just calling a spade a spade.
    But isn't that what you're trying to do right now?
    But transporters do not transport people physically intact from one place to another. People don't fly up and down a shaft of light whole like Superman. The show has--in every possible way--supported the idea that a person's body is broken down into particles one place (vaporized) and then reassembled somewhere else (rematerialized). It doesn't matter that they don't call it death on the show because that's indeed what it is technically. But our heroes likely don't even consider it dying themselves because of the process is likely painless, happens in the blink of an eye, and that the person who arrives at the other end of the process is still basically the same person who left in every way that matters.
    Which was never my contention, end of story (you omitted the part of my initial post in which I said the difference was either neglible or zero).

    However, I still submit that the process of having one's body vaporized at the start of the transporter process is still, well, being vaporized. And no matter what you call it, it is still ceasing to exist as you were before. What prevents that death from being permanant is stuff like the annular confinement beam, Heisenberg compensators, and a lot of other technobabble stuff that enables that person to come back at the end of the process almost as if nothing had happened.
     
  3. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Either I'm not explaining well, or you're not getting it.

    How about from your own personal point of view BEFORE you step into the transporter?

    The copy who steps out of the TX later may FEEL he's you, because he has copies of all your personal memories implanted. But he's not you.

    You yourself - the you that existed BEFORE the copying and beaming - is no more. You yourself don't materialize at the other end, just a copy. You yourself, are dead. Some other person with a xerox COPY of your memories is carrying on where you used to be. But you're in heaven, looking down on your copy, screaming in anger at what just happened. You yourself will never experience life again, never sleep with your wife again, never laugh with your kids again - the copy will be doing that.

    And then the copy of HIM after he beams again...
     
  4. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Getting a little melodramatic, aren't we?

    You're of course assuming that humans have souls and that the transporter can't move them as easily as it moves physical matter, for starters.

    Also, lest we forget, almost every time people have transported anywhere it's been voluntary, which means that either they know what they're getting into and accept the risk, or it never even occurs to any of them, ever. If you're going to put a gun to your head and pull the trigger, you're not really in a position to be "screaming in anger" when you hit the afterlife.
     
  5. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually I am getting it, but I think you're wrong.

    You yourself is still here, you step into the transporter, and you find yourself on the other side. You yourself, are very much alive. You go on experiencing life, sleeping with your wife/husband/whoever, laugh with your kids if you have them, do your job, play poker with your friends, etc. etc.

    And this is the only thing that actually make sense.

    For starters, if you died, I don't see how the transporter could make a "copy" of you that would still have your consciousness and memories. You're not a computer, and your consciousness is not a database. It would just transport a dead body.

    Next, you don't even have any evidence or solid reason to think that a person dies just because their molecules took a few seconds to be reassembled. People have been clinically dead for much longer, and their consciousness was not destroyed. And if you believe in soul, as your post seems to suggest, why would your consciousness (soul) leave your body while it is being divided into molecules and put back again? Certainly, if a soul can survive a complete destruction of the body, it can also stick around for a few seconds? Not to mention that, in SciFi world, and specifically Trek, consciousness of some beings has been known to jump from body to body - so there's no apparent reason why a soul/consciousness would have to "go to heaven" instead of sticking around for a few seconds.

    Third, and most importantly, whatever you think about the possible consequences of transporting in real life, there is absolutely nothing in the Trek franchise to suggest what you're suggesting. Which means that it doesn't happen - because Trek is FICTION, so there is no "truth" that you have just realized and that everybody in the Trek universe is unaware of.

    Four, even in-universe, if someone came up with that theory, it would only look insane. It's extremely far-fetched that people could be dying all over the place, and that nobody has figured it out for centuries.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  6. Biggshow

    Biggshow Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, shoot, DevilEyes, I was going to make a lot of the same points you made but you got there first.

    Forbin (loved your computer, BTW :) ), I think the thing that may be getting in the way of the conversation here is an insistance on your POV. You are entitled to that POV but please do not insist that the rest of us share it. We understand what you're saying, we just don't agree with it. In the world of ST, people do not die when they enter a transporter. In the real world, however, this does pose some very interesting socio-philosophical questions. Until someone actually invents a machine that is able to transport living things, though, I don't think we need to let these questions interfere with our enjoyment of a fictional device.
     
  7. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hm. Well, according to Articles of the Federation some 24th century publications have postulated that transporters kill people. These publications generally had readership in the 5-digit range, tops.
     
  8. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And it will always remain only a philosophical question, because even if transporters are invented some day, nobody will ever be able to find out if it kills people and creates new ones or if the same people continue to exist.
     
  9. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes we can. Unfortunately, some cannot. Matthew 6:7 :techman: I think the scripture is appropriate because, as one poster mentioned, if you do not believe that each person has a unique soul it does not matter. If you do believe that each person has a unique soul, then there are two options which come to mind: the soul is destroyed during the transporter process; or the soul is either duplicated or sent through the transport process.
    Perhaps the reason a couple opinions are so vocal is due to strong personal beliefs, rather than a need to be right (hopefully).

    Dr. Leonard McCoy was a man of strong beliefs, which is why he had such an aversion to using transporters. I would probably side with him on the issue.
     
  10. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think McCoy just didn't like being taken apart...which makes sense as a doctor and all. His beliefs never seemed to enter into it, that I can recall. Heck, Barclay was the same way.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We've seen the transport process from the POV of the person being transported (Barclay in "Realm of Fear") and it looked seamless to me. Also in ST II, characters can carry on a conversation while being transported. These seem to kill the idea of transportees being 'copies', IMHO.
     
  12. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    The simplest answer is the best. It's the same person trapped in some kind of stasis field. I don't even know what that means other than until it is invented it's only a future visionary device. It doesn't have to make sense and we don't have to know or explain how or why it should or could work. Right now it's just magic. We don't know what the future holds. That's what makes it the future and not the present. We don't know what we don't know. The future is full of unbelievable miracles that seem impossible or impractical today.
     
  13. Luther Sloan

    Luther Sloan Captain Captain

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    I don't think people in the 24th Century would use the technology if they thought it would take away the original person. I mean, I can see them being naive in the 22nd Century. But 200 years later... they should definitely know the ins and outs of it. I mean, I am sure they had many philosophical debates over the transporter over that amount of time. And I am sure the theory that it is a "doppelganger machine" has been disproven.
     
  14. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    I get it now.

    There are multiple copies of you forming every time you use the transporter beam. Dozens and dozens of copies of the same souls arrive in the afterlife. All screaming in anger at the replacement copy which materialized on the transporter pad.

    :guffaw:
    Actually, it sounds like a rejected script for Voyager!

    I remember reading transporter theory in the TNG technical manual. My interpretation was that (at least in TNG) the beaming process from start to finish was entirely transitional and that the subject was in two places at once for the duration of the transport.

    You may also find this article relevant:
    http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Heisenberg_compensator
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  15. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    I'm in no way insisting, and in fact I don't even believe my own postulation. I was just suggesting another concept for the sake of the discussion and trying to explain it as clearly as I could. I'm with everyone else that, in-universe, the TX transmits your matter, personality and soul right down the beam.

    If I got a little over-enthusiastic, I didn't mean anything by it. :)
     
  16. SpyOne

    SpyOne Commander Red Shirt

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    Only in that matter is a form of energy, in which case there is no conversion since we are all made out of energy (in the form of matter) to begin with.
    Yes, and contradicted more often than that.
     
  17. SpyOne

    SpyOne Commander Red Shirt

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    See my comment above: the transporter adds new material to make up for some lost, but replacing large percentages in this way has almost always been fatal: IIRC, at least one of the split Kirks was dying, so Riker is the only person to have survived the process, and then under unique conditions. You can bet Starfleet is studying that accident carefully, but so far no results have been reported.
     
  18. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Nice try, but no cigar.

    Once again, there is indeed a conversion that takes place when a person is transported because of the very nature of being "beamed" from one place to another. When they step onto a transporter pad, their bodies are dematerialized and then rematerialized elsewhere. That is where the conversion from a solid object to a form of energy (and back again) takes place.
    Examples please.
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    but during Kirk's era, where would that extra mass come from? You would seem to be suggesting that the majority of the second "evil" Kirk was created by the transporter out of whole cloth. Replicator technology is years in the future. Did the TOS era transporter beam bio-mass out of the Enterprise's food stocks, the bins of material used by the ship's fabricators (again, no replicators), and use this to "build" a second Kirk in the pattern buffer? The new material that is added comes from where?

    It would depend on the individual, there are certainly people in our modern day society who believe they have no soul, similarly there may be people, even entire species, who hold that the "copy" made by the transporter is in fact them, even if the original them was destroyed years ago during their very first transport as a child. The concept of a personal consciousness might be meaningless to them.

    TWOK with Saavik and Kirk conversing while transporting and the adventures of Barkly in the slow transporter beam seems to suggest that you remain conscious during the transportation process. It would have been interesting to know what, if anything, LaForge, Worf and the security guard saw during their slow transport. Perhaps you are not sent down to a planet in a thin torn apart stream of data that is reassembled on site, as you are sent down as a whole unit. You never actual seize to exist, even momentarily.

    You're transported as a whole consciously aware being in a energy state. And if "The You" never seizes to exist, then there is much less of a question of your soul and your personal consciousness being left behind somehow. It is you who, at the beam down point, returns from a energy state to a corporeal form.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  20. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, IF there are souls, then I don't think that Hell will be closed due to overcrowding. IF there are unique souls, then God, Thor, Manitou, or whoever watches over them, will make sure that they are transferred with the matter stream during beaming. Because IF there is some almighty guy with a beard, AND IF beaming is possible, then there's also a masterplan that includes beaming and the transportation of souls.