A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by HAL.9000, May 20, 2011.

  1. Paradon

    Paradon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Doesn't it? :guffaw:
     
  2. Navaros

    Navaros Commodore Commodore

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    Transporters transport the real you. They do not make a copy and then create a new you. There is no part of you that "dies" during the transporting process.

    Claims that you "die" and/or a "new you" is created are just wishful thinking on the part of those who want Trek to conform to their atheistic belief system. However, transportation as presented in the shows/films in no way supports those beliefs. Atheistic Trek fans are just making that stuff up.
     
  3. HAL.9000

    HAL.9000 Lieutenant Commander

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    Naturally anything is possible in science fiction. I am approaching this topic though as if this technology was readily available today. That is the jist of the conversations here.

    Personally I think it is impossible. Once matter is transformed into energy, even if you could transform it back to matter, the resulting matter will never be the exact same even if you were able to align all the atoms exactly alike because all the subatomic particles are just new versions of what was created from this energy mix.

    To clarify, energy is energy. You could no more distingish the energy from Kirk's atoms than you could the energy from Spock's atoms. Perhaps there is a difference in quantity of energy produced, but that is all.

    I suspect that in order for transporter technology to work, the subject is not transformed into energy at all but is somehow phased into another dimension where his matter is moved and would then reappear in another location once returned into our dimension.

    Instead of transporter, it would an an artificial wormhole elevator of sorts which sounds more plausible.
     
  4. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's kinda pointless to discuss this. Beaming is impossible, so the issue is non-existant. And in Trek it's possible and you simply are the same person after beaming. So again no issue.
     
  5. HAL.9000

    HAL.9000 Lieutenant Commander

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    Actually no. I read an article sometime ago on how scientists succeeded in transporting a single photon to another location. I cant seem to find the article online though.

    If anyone finds it, please link.
     
  6. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They also succeed in creating antiprotons. That doesn't mean they can one day create the antimatter version of you.
     
  7. HAL.9000

    HAL.9000 Lieutenant Commander

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    Antimatter is the fuel source of the future. It packs a punch and takes very little space. Theoretically it is possible to create the anti-matter version of any object. Keeping it from annihilation in our normal-matter universe is the trick though.

    Considering its energy potential, I believe anti-matter production and containment will be researched throughly for the remainder of our space-faring years.

    Recently another record was broken in containing antimatter (or an antiparticle) in a magnetic field for some period of time.

    Another link I need to lookup.
     
  8. xortex

    xortex Commodore Commodore

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    Here's that transporter thread again. It always pops it's head in here. It was shown on Trek that you can live in a pattern buffer beam disassembled for a while.
    I wonder if the whole Trek universe started with that first transport - you know, that guy from Enterprise who disappeared or whatever. There be Klingons here type of thing fracturing the space time continuum with an alternate reality as in Mirror, Mirror.
     
  9. Sean Aaron

    Sean Aaron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I fail to see what that could possibly have to do with atheism. The question is whether you are transmitted or replicated - I think people who believe in God or don't could have the same question as to what is actually happening, unless your equating atheism with a disbelief in the reality of Star Trek?
     
  10. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thought experiment:
    Situation 1: You're dematerialized and materialized somewhere else. Standard teleporter mode.
    Situation 2: You're materialized somewhere else, but not dematerialized right away. Someone comes to the old you before the dematerialization to asks you which copy to be vapourized -- the new or the old one -- telling you that if you're dematerialized you'd go somewhere else. Which would you choose and do you really go somewhere else if you choose to be vapourized?

    (Of course, the answer to the question is, yes, since the other person is you, you do go somewhere else, only the memory of the question gets erased and it's no different than erasing the memory of someone in Star Trek, but it's still an interesting experiment. Now the real question is, is erasing memory murder of the person that lived the moments that would be erased?)
     
  11. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A difference that makes no difference is no difference.
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actual, the two people in question are two different individuals . The second person might resemble me (exactly), have my memories up to the point of pre-transport scan and for a time possess my personality. However, as we live different life, full of numerous experience, differences will manifest themselves. I would hope this person would be endowed with a unique soul and spirit as I have been.

    So no, the copy of me isn't me.

    Ultimately, my answer would be neither, a response that I would maintain even at your insistence that I would have to select only from your short list of choices. It certainly wouldn't be my place (or yours) to condemn this guiltless new individual to death. Nor would I choose suicide (my religion frown on such) in favor of my new twin.

    From a certain way of looking at it, the copy is your offspring, and should be treated as one.

    Because that is what we're talking about here, but allow me to restate a question that I posed up thread, if a copy is in fact being create, why would there be a necessity of one or the other of the transports participants being killed/murdered/destroyed? Why not make any required scans, the original leaves, the copy being produced subsequent to that procedure.

    All that said, I do not believe that a copy is being made, every beaming begins and ends with the non-reproduced personal you.

    :)
     
  13. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Trek's explanation of how transporters work is very technical and doesn't really deal with this issue very well. Some sort of quantum entanglement must be going on but even there it seems to me that you are simply copying information.

    The question seems to be whether the matter is destroyed when it is turned into energy or whether it is somehow phased into another dimension and the 'digital' information is simply a quantum level pattern of information transmitted through subspace to allow them to be rephased back into the real world.

    Many Trek explanations favour the former, while Realm of Fear drops enough hints to suggest the latter. I think I prefer the latter because it is still possible to come up with a wibbly wobbly theory to explain quantum duplicates whereas with the former explanation you have to think of reasons why duplicates wouldn't be common (not every species shares the Federations qualms after all). Pattern degradation then becomes a question of disentanglement so that not all the pattern can be rephased.
     
  14. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Imagination is powerful. It can also defy the laws of physics and plausibility. So, any answer to this question must also be imagination... which means, anything is possible.

    That said... yes, you are still you. Remember, the passage of roughly 7 years results in a human body with every cell replaced. So, 7 years ago, you were made up of different matter. Are you the same person? Well, by identity you are. I think you can use this analogy for the transporter. You've just accelerated the replacement time, that's all.
     
  15. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Transporters kill people and replace them with duplicates. You can't have your molecules torn apart and expect to survive the process. It amazes me that anyone is willing to step into one. I guess everyone in the future is just accustomed to the idea that induction into Starfleet requires perpetual suicide.
     
  16. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, they don't, which is why they don't have any issues with it.
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It is difficult to imagine a nation of people with that level of fatalism. Why would such a people lament the destruction of a starship or even a entire world when individual life is so meaningless to them?

    I also have a problem with the transporter aboard the 22nd century NX-01 possessing the ability to assemble a functional Human duplicate, given the technology of the time. In addition, when Major Hayes died shortly after being transportered, personal aboard the Enterprise treated it like a real person died, not as the termination of some biological fax machine's discharge.

    :)
     
  18. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Just around the bend.
    The episode where Riker is duplicated really opens a moral can of worms that are surprisingly not even brought up in said episode.
     
  19. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But if you accept the quantum entanglement & phased matter explanation then nobody dies and duplicates are still possible because entangled molecules can react in the same way regardless of distance. So somehow, the quantum pattern is able to produce two copies of the individual because the 'accident' acquired sufficient energy to duplicate them in a way that wasn't fatal like the Enemy Within (which dealt with incomplete rephasing of all the DNA at the same time). One of them would effectively be a clone though since it would not be possible to use the 'real' phased matter to produce a second individual.

    I think essentially the accident represents a rare way that a transporter can gain enough energy to function like a replicator. It's the only viable explanation to cover the inconsistencies otherwise it would not be necessary to 'grow' clones like in TNG or DS9 when you could just use a transporter.

    Admittedly, it doesn't cover the frequent references to transporters disassembling you or scattering your molecules. Those statements probably have to be put down to poetic licence on the part of the characters. That they are often engineers is regrettable but modern writers understand quantum theory a bit more than they used to.

    The soul argument is pointless. If it's an issue for you then Tom Riker acquired a soul from the same place as any newborn child.
     
  20. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A person is not a lump of matter, a person is the arrangement of the molecules, in particular the brain structures. Destroying person's molecules isn't murder, destroying the brain structure is. Since the brain structure is retained after transport, it is the same person and nobody got killed. As I said, erasing memory is a much bigger issue.

    Another thing, not yet possible with current technology, but if you took an almost exact scan of someone's brain right before their body died and they were buried, the person is not dead until the scan of his brain is erased (much like no person is really dead until their brain decays).