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Melody vs. Uploading

October 9 2010 at 1:22 PM
Luke Parrish  (Login lsparrish)
Registered User

Despite lacking sufficient interest to comment on recent discussions of the topic of uploading in the interactive forums where they are actually taking place, Melody has already made two blog posts on the subject. Both of them drip with predictable scorn and derision for uploaders. In her most recent one, she takes a shot at answering my question about the hydrogen atom.

"Ultimately, saying that the paper with a complete programmatic description (combined, presumably at some point with a turing machine which simulates it) is not a hydrogen atom is simply begging the question. How do you know it is not a hydrogen atom? What property is essential to our definition of hydrogen atoms which this lacks?"

Huh? again. It lacks being a real hydrogen item, that's what it lacks. A description, or simulation of a hydrogen atom, written in code in a computer, is exactly that...a description or simulation, not the original, or even a hydrogen atom, at all. Later on, in the discussion, Luke admits the computerized simulation of the hydrogen atom is a hydrogen atom "in abstract form," but still calls it "the atom," something Mr. Ettinger seems to find as puzzling as I.

Apparently Melody is incapable of even following my line of reasoning, much less coming up with a non-circular argument against it. "Oh, it isn't a real hydrogen atom because it lacks being a real hydrogen atom..." brilliant, the defendant isn't innocent because they lack being innocent! Care to pick another logical fallacy to make yourself sound smarter than the rest of us with?

She also gets my "abstract form" comment laughably wrong, as it had nothing to do with a computerized simulation, but specifically addressed Bob's more abstract example of a set of papers that is (by implication) the history of a simulation but not an ongoing simulation itself. Here is the quote:

"To clarify my position: a logical sequence of papers corresponding to the history of a hydrogen atom is a hydrogen atom in abstract form. When the papers are generated already, obviously the atom is not experiencing time in the dimension we experience time."

A logical sequence of papers implies a sequence of computations, but is not a sequence of computations in and of itself. A computation is an event happening over time. Simulations (however "computerized") happen over time (i.e. time as we know it, not the abstract kind that you get by stacking a bunch of logically related papers in a given direction). They are therefore quite concrete in the sense we are talking about.

Melody obviously has a very high opinion of her own "common sense", but evidently has little regard for proving a point logically.

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