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Sunday
May252014

Star Trek, Transporter Machine & Souls

(In response to the below podcast. A person asked me on Facebook if I agreed with the position).

QUESTION: Two Things: 1) This is a really neat podcast you might like; 2) at the 10:30 time marker they talk about the Star Trek Transporter and I wanted your reaction to the discussion.

The Podcast: Podcast

MY ANSWER:

I don't agree that the captain would die or that the reconstituted captain would be a new person. The point seems to be based upon philosophy of soul. Remember when Gandalf was pushed back into his body after smiting the Balrog on top of the mountain (after falling to depths of hell)? Well, if he can be put back in his body, it seems imaginable that molecules can reform the physical shell at a new location, with the old soul dropping in. In Christian metaphysics, souls leave bodies at death and sometimes go back in them. So the beaming and reconstituting of molecules seems not to trouble anything, so long as, somehow, souls go along with the transport. If you don't believe in souls, that's another issue. But the ultimate issue is whether the thing is imaginable, since we are talking movies here. Also, the transporter machine is a theory about travel. We know your body could not be hurled down to the planet instantaneously. But in a world with phasers and such, molecules are "beamed." So long as the soul accompanied the travel in some way, it would be imaginable. How is this different from those who imagined being frozen and then re-awoken? Or those that could sleep hundreds of years in space travel (Kahn?, Planet of the Apes?).

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