A problem even Captain Picard might not be able to solve.
In my latest Because Science, I’m tackling a philosophical quandary without an answer: If you are taken apart and put back together in exactly the same way (or with new parts in exactly the same way), are you really the same person? Maybe, but maybe not.
We’ve been trying to solve the problem of identity for thousands of years, but Star Trek really crystallizes the problem with a piece of technology, the transporter, that creates the problem directly. Are you more than the sum of your parts? If transporter tech works the way the show says, we would be inclined to say you are not. But take parts away from you and eventually it with cease to be “you,” even though they are just parts. I touch on a few of these issues above!