Okay - I've read this once too many times even here on A|N and it's time to gripe about it. Apparently, in an attempt to make up for the lack of an afterlife as non-believers, some atheists are buying into a really idiotic but common misconception about clones.

A clone is a genetic copy of a person, conceived through the use of DNA from an existing human implanted into a human ovum that has been voided of it's original genetic markers. That is to say, eventually, we will be able to cause a baby to be conceived that would be genetically identical to us. Basically, we could artificially cause our identical twin (a natural clone) to be born years after we were.

But they will NOT be copies of us any more than identical twins are the same person. I do not know if you have met identical twins - I have a number of friends who are natural clones - but they would certainly take some issue with the idea that they are the same person.

So to all those who talk about living forever via cloning - I cry BULLSHIT! STOP IT! Pick up a book on the science. Think it through. Frankly, even if you could do a brain dump into this new clone - you would have no sense of a continuum of self - like dying and waking up in a new body. It's bullshit wishful thinking.

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Yeah - but they would be human - just not you. So the 'organ bank' idea is heinous. That would be like a twin keeping his brother around for organ replacement.
Why are we so eager to find ways to be immortal? Death is nothing more or less than the light switch toggled off. End of energy flow. End of life. There is no reason to be cloned, or brain dumped, or frozen. Just let go.
Totally agree. Few (even atheists) think through the continuum of self. The person I was a minute ago is dead. The scarcity and brevity of life is precisely where I find meaning. An eternity of - what exactly - would cheapen life beyond all proportion.
Agreed. This is why the concepts of heaven and hell are such nonsense. After a few billion years, anything gets boring. Heaven and hell would ultimately be indistinguishable from each other.

That said, I think I wouldn't mind living to be a couple hundred years old.
I wouldn't mind surviving as a uncorporeal ghost (with heightened senses) for millenia, just to see the whole of history unfold. "What will happen next?" is a question I can't tire of repeating. Watchng the Sun turn supernova from Earth would be a nice bonus.
Yeah - but how would that continue to be you? Identity/self is a fleeting illusion as it is.
As long as I can retain my memories, (some of) the emotions that go with them, and my capacity to wonder, I should be fine. Whether I'd still be me is not a real concern, I strongly doubt I would remain the same anyway.

And I'd gladly trade part of my present identity for limited poltergeist abilities ;-)
Fair enough. But I do find it interesting to delve into the notion of sustained identity - especially over a very long period of time.
That is my only regret about death. I won't be around to see all the cool things in store.
Howard: I do find it interesting to delve into the notion of sustained identity - especially over a very long period of time.

It's certainly an interesting topic. But what is identity, really? Continuous memory has to be a large part of it, but what else it is made of, besides exploitation of this memory ("thought")?

By the way, do you know who Phineas Gage was? His personality changed radically after his accident, would you say his "identity" changed as well?
Don't start. I was living in Geneva (early eighties) and my brother and I were home alone and bored. He was fifteen and I was sixteen and he had some acid. Anyway, we took it (not a huge dose - but, you know, temporary psychosis, etc. for eight hours or so ...) Anyway, we still didn't have anything to do - so decided to switch on the tube. European TV (at least at the time) was pretty much crap - except they had wacky Jeux sans Frontieres (games without borders) and stuff like that that might have fit the bill. Well - what do you know - there's a rare American made 'documentary/history' show about Phineas Gage. We had no idea about that railroad spike. They did a mighty good job back then. Totally freaked me out - yet we were enslaved by it as well. Wow.

Yeah - little over a year ago I watched my mother as cancer ravaged her brain's right hemisphere. This is one reason I put this question out there. We all cling to a sense of persistent identity. But our point of view is limited, our memory sketchy, the gestalt of memories somewhat arbitrary, and, of course, we both grow and deteriorate - through the course of less than a century (for the majority.) So what would eternity - a period that would make the life f the universe seem a blink - be about in terms of identity? And anything less - that would still be finite. I will fight to breathe until I lose. But I don't have any desire to live forever.
But we're finding out the stories of stars that happened billions of years ago - that's pretty cool. I guess it's like that feeling at the end of a good book - kind of a nostalgic sadness after the last page turns. But, of course, when your last page turns - you won't be around to care.




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