>From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] >What is "a sane view of mortality"? >Jenny Higgo > >[Jacques Mallah wrote:] > > Like the rest of the group, I'm shocked and saddenned by this news. >I don't have much time to write now, as I'll be leaving for my new job in >North Dakota tomorrow. > > Although I disagreed with him more often than not, James' input will >be missed, and not just because he was one of the few members of the group >who eventually came around to a sane view of mortality.
To explain that, I'll have to explain some of what's been going on in this mailing list. As you know, (most of) the people on this list, me included, believe in the existance of what could be called "parallel universes" in which (among other things) other people similar to ourselves exist. (I will not bother to make a distinction here between the reasons to believe this based on quantum mechanics, vs. those based on general philosophy.) In many ways it is no different from believing in a spacially infinite universe, since in that case if you look at enough planets you would eventually find nearly exact duplicates of the Earth. The problem comes when some people consider death in this context. I'll try to explain the insane view on this, but since I am not myself insane I will probably not do so to the satisfaction of those that are. OK. Now, suppose there are two exactly identical twins who lead exactly identical lives up until a moment when suddenly, one of them is killed. (This serves as a model of the case with people in parrallel universes acting as 'twins'.) Obviously, if you care about these twins, the death was a bad thing to happen. There is now less of these people. True, one twin survived, but supposing he is still happy, there is still only half as much happiness in the world due to the twins as there would be if one had not died. I formalize this by saying that the measure of such conscious observations has been reduced by a factor of 2. The insane view however holds that the mind of the "killed" twin somehow leaps into the surviving twin at the moment he would have been killed. Thus, except for the effect on other people who might have known the twins, the apparent death is of no consequence. This they call the "quantum theory of immortality" (QTI) because, due to quantum mechanics, there would always be some parrallel universe in which any given person would have copies that live past any given age, and they figure the minds would always leap into those copies. I will from now on call it the "fallacious immortality nonsense" (FIN). Those beliefs are dangerous by the way, since they can encourage suicide or worse. I have repeated pointed out the obvious consequence that if that were true, then a typical observer would find himself to be much older than the apparent lifetime of his species would allow; the fact that you do not find yourself so old gives their hypothesis a probability of about 0 that it is the truth. However, they hold fast to their incomprehensible beliefs. With one notatable exception that is. James Higgo believed in the FIN when I joined this list. However, he came to understand that different people's moments of conscious observation are independent and each valuable in their own right, so he rejected the FIN and came to a sane view on mortality, while continuing to believe in other universes. - - - - - - - Jacques Mallah ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) Physicist / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate "I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum My URL: http://hammer.prohosting.com/~mathmind/ _________________________________________________________________ Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp