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Why is life after death really not possible?

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If our bodies are made of atoms and there is an infinite number of atoms in the universe because the Universe is infinite, then shouldn't an afterlife be theoretically possible?

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DrP    357

When they say that the universe in infinite I think it means the spatial dimensions just go on for ever in all directions. I don't think it means that there are an infinite number of atoms. In fact I would have thought that there would be a finite number of atoms in our infinite universe..... I don't see what it has to do with an after life though.

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Strange    2490

When they say that the universe in infinite I think it means the spatial dimensions just go on for ever in all directions. I don't think it means that there are an infinite number of atoms. In fact I would have thought that there would be a finite number of atoms in our infinite universe..... I don't see what it has to do with an after life though.

 

 

I'm not sure it is possible to have a finite amount of matter in an infinite universe - given that (in current models) the us inverse , and always has been, completely full of matter.

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dimreepr    636
Posted (edited)

If our bodies are made of atoms and there is an infinite number of atoms in the universe because the Universe is infinite, then shouldn't an afterlife be theoretically possible?

 

It is possible, just not at a conscious level; all of our atoms are part of a finite closed system and will probably, given enough time, go on to be part of another human sentient being.

Edited by dimreepr

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Strange    2490

If our bodies are made of atoms and there is an infinite number of atoms in the universe because the Universe is infinite, then shouldn't an afterlife be theoretically possible?

 

This idea comes up pretty regularly on the forum. I suppose that there could be a duplicate of you somewhere (or there was a little while ago, or will be in the near future). But I don't see how that could be called an "afterlife". Doppelgänger might be a better word. But as it is an unfalsifiable idea, it doesn't seem to have any value or interest, rather like solipsism or Last Thursday-ism.

 

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Solipsism

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Last_Thursdayism

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KipIngram    130

Do you mean because somewhere, in that infinite sea of atoms, would be another configuration of atoms just like you? I don't see that that matters - if you're a set of atoms and is consciousness arises from that, then great - you're conscious. But if somewhere across the universe was another set of atoms just like your set, then it would be conscious but those would be two different consciousnesses, right? So if one of them dies now the other is still around, but the consciousness associated with the atoms that died is gone now.

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Phi for All    4772

I've only heard arguments about consciousness living on after the body dies, finally being free of the limitations put upon it by an earthly body. The argument assumes consciousness is separate from the mind and is capable of changing from the use of electrochemical energy to some other energy not requiring a body.

 

I suppose the Christian afterlife is close to what you're talking about, since they seem to be able to walk the streets of gold and play harps and wear crowns and all, in addition to leaving their old bodies down here in the ground. You'd need a couple vials of omnipotence to do the whole exact molecular match maneuver, unless you don't think that matters much.

 

I think it would. Who you are now is based on everything that's happened before. Get that wrong and you'd have a different person, right? If a couple has two kids (Amy & Matt) within a year of each other, they aren't the same kids. If the same couple waits a year to have their first child, will it be Amy or Matt (or someone completely different)? I think each person would be different, and I think you'd be different too if your "consciousness" was living without a body. So would it be YOUR life after death?

 

The big question is why, if you get another identical body after death, hasn't anyone come back to tell us all about it?

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swansont    6213

!

Moderator Note

As this is posted in biology, let's limit this discussion to literal (i.e. biological) life, rather than spiritual.

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nec209    2

If our bodies are made of atoms and there is an infinite number of atoms in the universe because the Universe is infinite, then shouldn't an afterlife be theoretically possible?

 

I'm not sure what infinite number of atoms have to do with afterlife here.

 

If you mean soul or spirit that has unfortunately not been detected by science. If there no soul or spirit how can person go on living if every thing else in body dies and rots away.

 

If you mean there some life force energy that leaves the body with death? Again unfortunately that not been detected by science.

 

So all these is nothing more but a belief systems be it old religion or new religion.

 

With out soul, spirit or life force energy how can person live after death? And where does this soul, spirit or life force energy go heaven, other dimension or new body? None of these hypothesis have been detected by science.

 

So this nothing more but belief system be it old religion or new religion.

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KipIngram    130

I feel sure he's referring to emergent consciousness - that's what makes the "infinite number of atoms" significant here, since if you have an infinite number of atoms and you have some pattern of them "here" we'll call X (say it's me), then somewhere you'll have an identical pattern X' (which would be a copy of 'me'). Under the premise of emergent consciousness both of those patterns would be conscious, and would have the same memories, and so on. It's hard to see how the two copies could wind up with exactly the same memories when one of them is "here" and one of them is "there," but I guess you could invoke the "identical patterns of atoms" on a larger scale (the environments of X and X') such that they'd have identical memories.

 

Anyway, I don't think the consciousness of X is the same as the consciousness of X'. I think that's two identical but entirely separate conscious entities. So the continued existence of X' doesn't give X "life after death."


Seems like you'd run into a boundary problem here. In order for X and X' to have identical memories, then a huge environment around them would have to be identical as well (both X and X' would have to see the constellation Orion, for example, and every other thing of that sort). Both would have memories of the same Presidents, the same coworkers, etc. etc. etc. If the environments are that identical, how do you wind up having one of X or X' die without the other one dying too? You've more or less got two copies of our universe, so you'd expect them to behave the same, wouldn't you?

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swansont    6213

soul or spirit

soul or spirit

old religion or new religion.

old religion or new religion.

 

 

!

Moderator Note

 

I don't know how to be clearer. We are not discussing this, which means don't bring it up.

 

Any further posts that do will be hidden, regardless of whatever other discussion they might contain

 

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Itoero    47

If our bodies are made of atoms and there is an infinite number of atoms in the universe because the Universe is infinite, then shouldn't an afterlife be theoretically possible?

Infinity makes everything possible. There are imo many paradoxes and logical impossibilities

which make infinity impossible.

Afterlife is about the consciousness which continues to exist after the death of the body.

This concerns a concept which is often part of a religion, it doesn't concern infinity.

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KipIngram    130

Infinity makes everything possible. There are imo many paradoxes and logical impossibilities

which make infinity impossible.

Afterlife is about the consciousness which continues to exist after the death of the body.

This concerns a concept which is often part of a religion, it doesn't concern infinity.

 

Yeah, I think swansont has made it very clear we are not discussing any sort of consciousness other than that which potentially emerges from physical structure. Destroy the structure - you've destroyed the consciousness. And in that context if you argue for the existent of duplicate structures, I don't think there's any way to claim that the two (separate) structures house the same consciousness. You'd be talking about two consciousnesses that behaved in very similar ways, but they'd still be distinct.

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ydoaPs    1581

If our bodies are made of atoms and there is an infinite number of atoms in the universe because the Universe is infinite, then shouldn't an afterlife be theoretically possible?

Why would that imply life after death? Walk us through your thought process.

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Bender    132

The cells in our body die all the time. In a couple of years, nearly all cells in your body will be death, but new cells come to life to replace them. Yet in this cycle of cellular death and birth, our identity remains. So in a way, we are living our own afterlife, all the time.

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Itoero    47

Yeah, I think swansont has made it very clear we are not discussing any sort of consciousness other than that which potentially emerges from physical structure. Destroy the structure - you've destroyed the consciousness. And in that context if you argue for the existent of duplicate structures, I don't think there's any way to claim that the two (separate) structures house the same consciousness. You'd be talking about two consciousnesses that behaved in very similar ways, but they'd still be distinct.

Consciousness is imo something that arises from our stored knowledge/experience and the way it interacts.

If you somehow can create the exact copy of someone in let's say 110 years and 2 months then he or she would have a different conscousness since consciousness is something that arises from our stored knowledge/experience.

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Bender    132

Consciousness is imo something that arises from our stored knowledge/experience and the way it interacts.

If you somehow can create the exact copy of someone in let's say 110 years and 2 months then he or she would have a different conscousness since consciousness is something that arises from our stored knowledge/experience.

Not if you made an exact copy, including all memories (although Heisenberg might make that theoretically impossible).

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Strange    2490

Infinity makes everything possible.

 

 

Nope. Things that are impossible still can't happen in an infinite universe.

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John Cuthber    3205

Imagine building a model house out of lego bricks.

The take it apart and look at all the bricks.

Where did the "house" go?

"house" isn't a property of the bricks, but of their arrangement and interactions.

"Life" isn't a property of the atoms, but of their arrangement and interaction.

 

So, yes, afterlife is theoretically possible- but unimaginably unlikely.

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KipIngram    130

Consciousness is imo something that arises from our stored knowledge/experience and the way it interacts.

If you somehow can create the exact copy of someone in let's say 110 years and 2 months then he or she would have a different conscousness since consciousness is something that arises from our stored knowledge/experience.

 

If you somehow did that (made a copy of me, precisely as I am now) in 110 years, then what you'd have is a person whose memories were completely inaccurate. I'd still believe it was 2017, and would be baffled when I found out it was 2227, until someone explained to me what had happened.

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Itoero    47

Not if you made an exact copy, including all memories (although Heisenberg might make that theoretically impossible).

that's true.I mean only exact in a biological sense.

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Bender    132

that's true.I mean only exact in a biological sense.

But memories are biological connections in your brain.

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Itoero    47

But memories are biological connections in your brain.

Isn't knowledge stored via the sensoory information that races through neurons via synapses?

If you can create 'a copy' then it's based on the DNA but then it will not be an exact copy.

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Function    76
Posted (edited)

It's truly fascinating thinking about it. Before we experienced the life we are living, we weren't bored because we didn't have anything to do for billions of years. So death should be equally insignificant to us. We always yammer about what comes after life, not what came before it.

 

It drives me crazy thinking about how our consciousness is indeed the product of our brains, and that every human has consciousness produced by their brains, and that, theoretically, there will be an infinite amount of humans (really just theoretically).

 

I've always - incorrectly, and I am aware of this incorrectness, but I cannot manage to throw away this thought pattern - thought about how it is that we experience the very life we are experiencing, and not that of our neighbour, of our friend, of the starving African kid - what made that we were supposed to live the life we're living? What makes that I am the conscious entity in Belgium typing this message as we are speaking, and that I can be spared from the African starvation misery? Whereas another entity was meant to undergo that misery?

 

We are oriented in time and space, and what makes that the very person I am lives in the very time and space I am living in right now? I could've "had" the consciousness of a total different person, yet I am experiencing the life of this Belgian medical student. Why? What makes that the conscious entity that is experiencing this life was awarded this most advanced life form, instead of that of a dog, or a mouse? Would it simply not be compatible with those life forms?

 

It is so incredibly fascinating to think about this: when we die, for us, it stops. And we will not be aware of it having stopped, we will be aware of totally nothing. It is truly fascinating indeed to speculate on how that would feel to us - because no one alive could ever tell.

 

I'm not believing in any afterlife. I am aware of the finity of our existance but I cannot help but think that we will get to experience another life next.

This incorrect thought pattern of mine would be like there's a finite amount of consciousnesses, and when someone dies, the consciousness stock gets refilled and a newborn baby gets consciousness from that stock and you get to live another life without having any clue you've already lived one.

 

It's crazy to think that way, isn't it? Which must be why it's most probably false. The consciousness in my brain is inherent to my brain and everyone's consciousness is inherent to theirs. Which means that every consciousness is unique and there is an infinite amount of consciousnesses.

 

Yet, something inside of me refuses to believe that I (for what it's worth here, "I" is meaningless), my consciousness, will not be assigned to another brain when I die, forgetting about the live I'm living now.

 

Is it actually somewhat clear what I mean? Forgive me but we can only speculate and think of this from a rather philosophical point of view as we are speaking. Biology and medicine are not ready for answering the questions I gave. It is up until this day not possible to answer my questions from a pure scientifical point of view, imo.

 

Per conclusion, what makes it that our brain is able and allowed to experience, think of, and above all, question its inherent consciousness? I am a strong believer that indeed, everything we are is the product of our brain. But why would it allow itself to create a product which could endanger its own existance and credibility, why would it allof such a product leading to doubt itself? Why would it even allow us to consider its highest form of development? Why was its cortex ever developed so far that it could fall victim to its own thoughts?

 

It is thinking of these things that reminds me of Emerson Pugh, who said that "If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't."

 

Bull's eye, Pugh.

 

Unless ... Every brain has the same identical basal consciousness from the moment you could speak of consciousness (perhaps even before birth, considering that the self-consciousness thought to arise at approx. 1.5 years of age is a different form of consciousness) and the way that consciousness can think and express itself is totally dependent on neurogenesis and the way neurons interact with each other. What if there indeed is a certain basal consciousness present in me, you, and the starving African kid, an identical form of basal consciousness, molded to what it is today because of experiences throughout life and environmental factors? And what if I can think this way the African kid probably wouldn't because I know more on the subject, I refuse to allocate the source of our consciousness with a deity, and I allow certain brain regions to think on this matter in higher spheres, on a higher level of consciousness?

 

Surely enough if the African kid got lucky and it's mother won some rare lottery and got to move to Europe and live a better life, it could now probably think the same way I think and could also question why his "consciousness" was 'put in' the body of the lucky African kid and not in one of the millions of unlucky ones?

 

(Note that "the African kid" is of course a stereotypical metaphore and in no way implies racism; it's just an easy example)

 

Geez. Time to go to bed.

Edited by Function
  • Upvote 1

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