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Re: OT: Corpses, etc. (was: Re: Gender in conlangs (was: Re: Umlauts (was Re: Elves and Ill Bethisad)))

From:Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Date:Thursday, November 6, 2003, 15:33
Quoting John Cowan <cowan@...>:

> Isidora Zamora scripsit: > > > Orthodox Christians do not > > cremate those who have fallen asleep for this very reason. It's not that > > God cannot resurrect a body which has been completely destroyed, as by > > modern methods of cremation, because He can, but it is shows disrespect to > > God to go to a great deal of trouble to destroy something that you know He > > is planning to use again. > > It will be destroyed in any event, unless the general resurrection comes > within a century or so.
This reminds me of one of the less convincing "proofs" that Christianity must be false I've heard; a guy argued that the general resurrection would be an extremely messy affair, since alot of atoms are going to belong to multiple people's bodies. That, in turn, reminded me of Feynman's suggestion that all electrons are _one_ electron, which goes back and forth in time (much like Marvin!). But back on the previous OT track, what this rises is the question in what sense my body on two different occasion is "the same" (particularly if I've been cremated and resurrected in between!). The actual material components of a body are not normally considered important for this kind of identity - over the last year, a big proportion of the atoms in my body has been replaced, but no-one would say I've acquired a new body in the process. I can see no other conclusion that the identity - and there must be an identity, if resurrection is to mean anything, and this whole discussion of course presupposes it does - rests rather in the "structure" or "organization" of the body. But that is pretty fundamentally altered at death - I do not think what it would be controversal to define the death of a multicellular creature as the cessation of the entire-body level organization. What all this leads to is the question if cremating my body makes it meaningfully less "me" than simple death. It of course also ties in to the sometimes advanced idea that after-life really is a simulation of sorts - if the structure/organization is the important thing, it makes little difference if it's realized as electrons in God's laptop* or an as actual material body. Which raises the counterquestions i) who's to say the present life isn't a simulation too, and ii) what exactly is the difference between a simulation and a "reality"; both consist of a number of elements interacting according to some rules. * If you doubt that God does indeed possess a laptop, you've obviously not read the Swedish comic Herman Hedning ("Herman the Heathen" - I do not know if it's available in translation)!
> > But you are right that even people who do not have the reasons that I do > > for having cemetaries have a psycological attatchment that causes them to > > care about graves. > > My family has always cremated its dead (for the last few generations > at least), and we feel quite strongly about it for various reasons.
Care to elaborate? Andreas (in OT mode)