Can The Soul Be Duplicated?April 24, 2006 5:16 am Random Thought
Alright; I just watched “How William Shatner Changed the World” (hereinafter referred to as “the show” <-- legaleze) on the History Channel earlier this evening last nite. As a result, my mind has begun to wander (big surprise) and this post opens with a big –>Trekkie Alert!<-- in bold red letters. I must also warn you, dear reader, that my opinions are not always ‘politically correct’ in their presentation. If you have deeply held insecurities or are easily offended by things that go against what you take to be fact without proof (faith), you might not want to go any further in your reading. With that out of the way and all the schmucks gone (why are you still here? hehe), this post will deal with the real life possibilities of the Star Trek teleportation device; physically, mentally, emotionally and quasi-spiritually (is that a word?).
First, the show mentions the physical impossibility of the transporter due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Simply put, this principle states: in the Quantum Mechanical world, a particle’s position and momentum cannot be precisely measured. This would seem to throw a bit of a wrench in the works if you subscribe to the particle theory of matter. I will go with that assumption in this post, as it is the most widely believed opinion that particles do indeed exist. Maybe I’ll write another post at a later date with my own theories on this, but it’s a bit too deep to dwell upon right now and I’m trying to keep tangential thoughts from taking over right now. If you know me well, you realize this is not always an easy thing for me to do… hehe.
Back to the topic at hand: while ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ took care of this seemingly insurmountable glitch in the current consensus of accepted logic with a mysterious little electronic component for the transporter called a Heisenberg compensator, an electronic device will intrinsically have macroscopic perception (as opposed to Quantum), which negates it’s ability to compensate for chaotic improbability. This stretch of possibilities did not deter from the Sci-Fi entertainment value of the show it aired in (episode 228 – Realm of Fear), but is one of the few technologies within the collection of Star Trek series which can be proved absolutely impossible with any degree of certainty.
With the impossibility of electronically breaking down and reassembling a human from one destination to another, I will try to introduce two more theoretically plausible ways to accomplish this task. In the first, the memory banks and DNA sequence would be sent as electronic impulses rather than breaking down and sending the entirety of the human. This would introduce a few new complications, but nothing I would consider insurmountable.
While it focuses more on mysticism and politics than any ‘real’ problem, several possible ‘complications’ could involve the duplication of the individual. The ‘departing’ individual would not actually depart. A duplicate individual, possibly minus physical defects born of their environment, would be produced. The removal of known harmful disease and viral organisms from incoming individuals was taken care of by the transporter biofilter in ‘ST: Next Gen’ (episode 133 – Unnatural Selection). This duplicate individual would have the same memory of life experiences previous to the transfer as the original along with the same physical cabilities. While the DNA could potentially be purposefully manipulated during transit to ‘improve’ the individual (removing defects such as amputation, obesity, etc, ad infinitum), that is a plot for another story… hehe. In effect, this would essentially be the same person; but, from the point of departure/arrival, their paths would diverge. One question is, where does the new individual’s soul come from? Alright, you must have known that was coming. I couldn’t help myself. Another potential problem based on duplication, which would easily be worked out with enough capital (as it is political), would be the legal identity of the new individual.
With this technology available, what’s to stop someone from creating a vast army of perfect soldiers for illicit purposes? I believe this topic has been covered enough in pop Sci-Fi, so I’ll leave it alone for now. I may bring it up again once the clone wars are instigated. You’ve been warned.
Of course, one potential problem pertains to certain organisms residing in the human body outside of our own DNA code that are required for some normal functions. Endosymbiant bacteria genomes were even found within the embryonic cell genomes of several different species of fruit fly by Michael B. Eisen, a UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In fact, humans have more bacterial cells within their bodies than they do human cells. The beneficial symbiotic organisms within the human body, while still not all accounted for, could be theoretically reintroduced at the destination.
Another form of instantaneous transportation, which has no foreseeable (by me) complications when used in this (instantaneous) manner, would be a very ‘simple’ cryogenically suspended trip through a calculable space/time anomaly. The individual would enter the cryo/transpo unit, which would then suspend them cryogenically and either physically travel to the nearest worm hole or black hole or, hopefully with some semblance of control, temporarily form it’s own on the spot for utilization.
The trip to the anomaly would have to be accounted for, as would the trip to the ultimate destination, but this could (theoretically) get an individual to any destination instantaneously. The problems, as I see them without much thought invested, exist in the unforeseeable (of course), the use of this method to travel back in time, and in traffic regulation to/from the anomaly to prevent collisions. What happens if you set the device to bring you back to the same time/location from whence you departed? BOOM! hehe…
Of course, as the Mayans believed that ‘modern’ civilization will cease to exist in 2012, this all may have to wait another 15 to 30 millennia to come to fruition. Haven’t even one of the three info packets left by the Atlanteans been discovered and studied yet? It’s getting late and this may be enough mental masturbation for one day. I really need to get myself into a polyphasic sleep cycle so this (pushing myself past my nap time) won’t happen any more. Hibernation time. G’nite!