>From: "Jacques Mallah" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

>>You continue to characterize those who disagree with you on this issue
>>as insane.  Do you mean this literally?  Or is it just a rhetorical
>>technique, argument by intimidation and rudeness?
>    No, it's not a rhetorical technique.  Why would it be advantageous in 
>argument to be rude?
>    I do mean it quite literally.  As far as I can tell, there people
>believe in illogical and dangerous things, for no apparent reason.  It's no
>different than if they believed they can fly.

I don't understand your objection. It seems to me that it is perfectly 
coherent to imagine a TOE which includes both a universal "objective" 
measure on the set of all observer-moments and also a relative conditional 
probability which tells me what the probability is I'll have experience B in 
the future if I'm having experience A right now. In statistics we have both 
absolute and conditional probability, so what's wrong with having the same 
thing in a TOE? I suppose one objection might be that once we have an 
objective measure, we understand everything we need to know about why I find 
myself having the types of experiences I do, and that defining an additional 
conditional probability measure on the set of all observer-moments would be 
purely "epiphenomenal" and inelegant. Is that what your problem with the 
idea is? I have my own pet theory about why a TOE including both absolute 
and conditional probability measures could actually be quite elegant, with 
each type of probability measure defining the other (like solving a large 
set of simultaneous equations to find the only self-consistent way to assign 
values to each variable), but I'll save that for another post.

Another possible objection to the notion of a conditional probability 
measure would be the one you mentioned earlier, that it would seem to imply 
some weird idea of a propertyless "soul" that leaps around between different 
observer-moments (each defined as a certain computation, perhaps). I would 
point out, though, that there is a nice symmetry between this difficulty and 
a similar difficulty in understanding the meaning of the self-sampling 
assumption--what does it mean to say that "I" should reason as if I had an 
equal probability of being any one of all possible observer-moments? How 
could I be any observer-moment but the one I actually am? Perhaps a skeptic 
would caricature the self-sampling assumption by imagining a bunch of 
propertyless souls that have to draw straws to decide which observer-moment 
they'll end up "becoming," but I don't think the difficulty visualizing what 
the SSA means really counts as a strong argument against it. Similarly, I 
don't think the difficulty with visualizing what "conditional probability" 
would mean is a strong objection to the idea, "leaping" nonwithstanding. 
>From a first-person perspective you can see pretty clearly what it would 
mean--if I am about to step into a machine that will replicate one copy of 
me in heaven and one copy in hell, then as I step into the imaging chamber I 
will be in suspense about where I will find myself a moment from now, and if 
the conditional probability of each possible future observer-moment is 50% 
given my current observer-moment, then I will interpret that as a 50/50 
chance that I'm about to experience torture or bliss.

Surely you agree that there is nothing *mathematically* incoherent about 
defining both absolute and conditional probability measures on the set of 
all observer-moments. So what's your basis for calling the idea "crazy?"

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