Good grief - Jacques said it often enough (F)allacious (I)nsane (N)onsense!

Charles Goodwin wrote:
> 
> Thank you for the explanation. I think FIN stands for something derogatory - 
>possibly invented by Jaques Mallah (in much the way
> that Fred Hoyle coined the term 'Big Bang' to make his opponents' views sound 
>ridiculous, or art critics coined 'Cubism' for similar
> reasons, only to see the derisively-termed ideas go on to achieve fame while the 
>original reason for the name was forgotten). The
> "IN" part of FIN is (I think) "Immortality Nonsense" - the "F" I'm not sure about 
>although some ideas come to mind . . . so anyway,
> it *is* another name for QTI.
> 
> I think the idea of continuity of consciousness between duplicates, no matter how 
>widely separated in space, time or the multiverse,
> assumes that they are (at least momentarily) in the same quantum state. According to 
>quantum theory this means that they are
> literally identical, as atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate are identical - there is 
>no test, even in theory, that will distinguish
> them.
> 
> The MWI postulates that the initial state of some system evolves through the 
>schrodinger wave eqn to a continuum of derived states,
> and hence that a person (for example) is continuously becoming an (uncountably 
>infinite) number of copies, all of which have
> continuity of consciousness with the original.
> 
> Of these outcomes, we typically experience the most likely, which is to say that our 
>experiences are normally of the laws of physics
> holding, including probablistic 'laws' like thermodynamics. There are SOME copies of 
>me who are experiencing their PCs turning into
> a bowl of petunias, or all the air molecules rushing out of the room, but the 
>chances that you will be getting an email from one of
> them rather than one in which things go on as normal is very unlikely - 
>"thermodynamically unlikely".
> 
> As I understand the QTI (from your post and others) it goes on to postulate that in 
>the event of imminent death (including the
> infamous "quantum suicide" experiment) we would start to experience *unlikely* 
>outcomes, because in all the likely ones we'd die
> (which we wouldn't experience for the reasons you mention below). So if in a fit of 
>depression I try to shoot myself, the QTI
> suggests that I would experience the most likely outcome that provides continuity of 
>consciousness. (This reminds me of a Larry
> Niven story in which a race of aliens discovered the meaning of life (I forget how 
>they managed this) and promptly committed suicide
> en masse.) Of course the most likely outcome that provides continuity of 
>consciousness is unlikely to be pleasant: if I shot myself,
> I'd probably experience acquiring very bad injuries (and doctors exclaiming in 
>delight over the opportunity to work out how someone
> can survive with half his head missing).
> 
> The QTI assumes that the possibility of identical quantum states arising for any 
>arbitrary collection of matter is 100% - which is
> true in the MWI (or any infinite collection of space-time slices which have the same 
>laws of physics). So it actually seems at least
> a possible theory, given certain assumptions - but not easily testable in the sense 
>that most theories try to be (i.e. "third person
> testable", so to speak).
> 
> Charles
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Jesse Mazer [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> > Sent: Friday, 7 September 2001 7:21 a.m.
> > To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> > Subject: RE: FIN insanity
> >
> >
> > >From: "Charles Goodwin" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> > >To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> > >Subject: RE: FIN insanity
> > >Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001 12:26:24 +1200
> >
> > >On the other hand I can't see how FIN is supposed to work, either. I
> > >*think* the argument runs something like this...
> > >
> > >Even if you have just had, say, an atom bomb dropped on you,
> > there's still
> > >SOME outcomes of the schrodinger wave equation which just
> > >happen to lead to you suriviving the explosion. Although
> > these are VERY
> > >unlikely - less likely than, say, my computer turning into a
> > >bowl of petunias - they do exist, and (given the MWI) they
> > occur somewhere
> > >in the multiverse. For some reason I can't work out, all
> > >the copies who are killed by the bomb don't count. Only the
> > very very very
> > >(etc) small proportion who miraculously survive do, and
> > >these are the only ones you personally experience.
> > >
> > >Is that a reasonable description of FIN? Ignoring
> > statistical arguments,
> > >what is wrong with it?
> > >
> > >Charles
> >
> > What does FIN stand for, anyway? Is it just another version
> > of the quantum
> > theory of immortality? Anyway, the idea behind the QTI is not
> > just that we
> > arbitrarily decide copies who die "don't count," rather it
> > has to do with
> > some supplemental assumptions about the "laws" governing first-person
> > experience, namely:
> >
> > 1. Continuity of consciousness is real (see my recent post on this)
> >
> > 2. Continuity of consciousness does not depend on spatial or temporal
> > continuity, only on some kind of "pattern continuity" between
> > different
> > observer moments.
> >
> > I won't try to explain #1 any more for now, but I'll try
> > explaining #2
> > (Bruno Marchal is much better at this sort of thing).
> > Basically, you want to
> > imagine something like a star trek transporter, which
> > disassembles me at one
> > location and reassembles me at another. Will this mean that
> > the original
> > version of me "died" and that a doppelganger with false
> > memories was created
> > in his place? If computationalism/functionalism is true, it
> > would seem the
> > answer is no--who "I" am is a function of my pattern, not the
> > particular
> > particles I'm made of, so as long as the pattern is preserved
> > my continuity
> > of consciousness will be too (and after all, the molecules of
> > my body all
> > end up being totally replaced by new ones every few years
> > anyway). But if
> > this is true, the spatial/temporal separation of the two transporter
> > chambers shouldn't matter--the imaging chamber could be on
> > 21st century
> > earth and the replication chamber in the Andromeda Galaxy in
> > the year 5000,
> > and I would still have a continuous experience of stepping
> > into the imaging
> > chamber and instantaneously finding myself in the replication
> > chamber,
> > wherever/whenever that may be.
> >
> > A naturally corrolary of this is that my stream of
> > consciousness can be
> > "split"--if there are two replication chambers which create
> > copies of me
> > just as I was when I stepped into the imaging chamber, then
> > "I" before the
> > experiment could experience becoming either of the two
> > copies. All other
> > things being equal, it seems reasonable to assume the chances of
> > experiencing becoming one copy vs. the other are 50/50. But
> > now suppose we
> > do a similar duplication experiment, except we forget to plug
> > in the second
> > replication chamber, so only one "copy" is created. Should I
> > assume that I
> > have a 50% chance of becoming the real copy and a 50% chance
> > of "finding
> > myself" in an empty chamber, and thus being "dead?" That
> > doesn't seem to
> > make sense--after all, a duplication experiment where one
> > chamber fails to
> > create a copy is just like a standard Star-Trek-style
> > transporter, and I
> > assume that in that case I have a 100% chance of finding
> > myself as the
> > single "copy." But it's easy to imagine extending
> > this--suppose instead of
> > failing to replicate anything, the second chamber replicates
> > a copy of my
> > body with the brain totally scrambled, so that the body dies
> > pretty rapidly.
> > Do I have a 50% chance of dying in this experiment because I
> > become the copy
> > with the scrambled brain? If only "pattern continuity" is
> > important, the
> > fact that this copy has a body which resembles mine shouldn't
> > matter, its
> > brain-pattern doesn't resemble mine in any way so there's no
> > reason I should
> > become that copy.
> >
> > It's not too hard to see how all this would be analogous to
> > what would be
> > happening all the time in a MWI-style multiverse. Why should
> > I "become"
> > those copies of me who experience death in various possible
> > histories? There
> > shouldn't be any more danger of that than there is of me
> > suddenly "becoming"
> > the dead body of a complete stranger, or of finding myself in
> > a universe
> > where I was never born in the first place and being "dead"
> > for that reason.
> > So, that's the basic argument for "quantum immortality." The
> > catch is in
> > defining exactly what "pattern continuity" here means--what
> > if a copy is
> > replicated that's basically the same as me but with a few
> > neurons scrambled,
> > for example? Something like that happens every time I have a
> > new experience,
> > so it shouldn't make too much of a difference. But it's
> > possible to imagine
> > a continuum of cases where the pattern is more and more
> > altered, until
> > eventually the guy who comes out the other side is a totally
> > different
> > person from me, so presumably I don't have a significant chance of
> > "becoming" him (although the probability of this might not be
> > zero, either).
> > I think questions like these show the need for some kind of
> > "theory of
> > consciousness" to quantify this stuff and give a specific conditional
> > probability distribution for transitions from one observer-moment to
> > another. I am sure others on this list would have very
> > different opinions
> > about what these thought-experiments show, though--some, like
> > Jaques Mallah,
> > might consider them a reductio ad absurdum of the whole concept of
> > "continuity of consciousness."
> >
> > Jesse
> >
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at
> http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp
> 



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