Resurrecting Humans: Philosophy, Science, and Atom-by-Atom Potentialities

Could science and technology be utilized to effectively resurrect humans? Years ago, I was talking to a college student who was studying physics. They basically posed the idea/question, that a human was duplicated atom for atom – including brain, and synapses, and ALL biological systems (so that ALL memories were transferred) – atom for atom, chemical molecule for chemical molecule – would that duplicated human effectively be the same person (at least immediately after it happened).

Since then, I have learned that the “Teletransportation Paradox” was basically exactly what was described to me years ago, although ”
Paradox” was not mentioned.

In my contemplation on the “Teletransportation Paradox”—a concept introduced to me some years ago without being labeled as such—I’ve since been drawn into a theoretical exploration about the possibilities of using science and technology for resurrection. Theoretically, could we not accurately simulate volumetric areas of the universe, or even the universe in its entirety, atom for atom? By peering retrospectively into the annals of time, might we have the capacity to reconstruct and thereby resurrect individuals? This concept bears a semblance to the cinematic representation where Leeloo is reconstructed in the movie “The Fifth Element”. Delving into this thought experiment, I’m curious: have philosophers or scientists ventured into such theoretical terrains before?

At least to me, exploring the concept of reconstructing or resurrecting individuals from the past by simulating or recreating the universe atom by atom, one treads into a compelling blend of philosophy and speculative science. While the specific scenario I’ve outlined might not have been widely discussed in mainstream philosophy or science, elements of it resonate with various topics that have been previously explored. Here are some notes I have collected regarding this idea. If I have stated any ideas erroneously in my studies, please let me know! Never stop learning.

  • Boltzmann Brains: Stemming from statistical mechanics, this idea revolves around a self-aware entity that arises due to random fluctuations out of chaotic states. Essentially, given infinite time, a single brain forming spontaneously in the void, complete with memories of an entire life, becomes more plausible than the emergence of a structured universe like ours.
  • Simulation Hypothesis: Thinkers like Nick Bostrom have introduced the proposition that we might be inhabitants of a computer simulation. If this holds, every element of our universe, including ourselves, originates from the computational processes of a more advanced universe. This aligns with the notion of recreating individuals or even the entirety of the universe via simulation.
  • Quantum Resurrection: A concept rooted in quantum mechanics. With an infinite universe and endless time, there’s a theoretical (albeit incredibly remote) possibility for particles to reconfigure into their past configurations. This suggests that an individual, post mortem, could resurface after an inconceivably long duration.
  • Science Fiction: The theme of technologically recreating or resurrecting individuals isn’t novel. Works such as “The Prestige” or “Altered Carbon” delve into these topics, scrutinizing the philosophical and ethical consequences accompanying such endeavors.
  • Information Theory: The aspiration to recreate someone from a bygone era leans on the premise that their exhaustive information, extending to the atomic or quantum domain, can be precisely discerned and reassembled. Present understanding, however, hints at the impracticability of retrieving such intricate information about a past state, especially considering the irreversible nature of numerous processes and the innate uncertainties in quantum mechanics.

From what I understand, the exact proposition of resurrecting individuals by mimicking the universe atom by atom hasn’t prominently featured in mainstream dialogues. Nevertheless, it seems to constitute a mesmerizing interplay of various thought experiments and scientific theories. The repercussions of such a groundbreaking discovery, both ethically and philosophically, would indeed redefine our perceptions of identity, existence, and the fabric of reality.

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