Jesse, nobody on this list is unaware of Carter's paper, to which I and
others have referred in several of our papers. The point is, life is a
high-level concept, not relevant to the more fundamental debate I thought we
were having. What was the point of Anthropic Reasoning 101?
> So my question for you is, when you say "the anthropic principle is
> universally mis-applied," are you saying that you think only Carter's
> original version of anthropic reasoning is valid, while the copernican
> anthropic principle is not?
As I thought was obvious form my posts, both assume that there is more than
just this current thought. Both apply to 'life' in 'space' etc. Both assume
a physical universe which is the substrate for a system which generates
thoughts. I think this is bollocks. A 'physical' universe is a massive
assumption, which I say again: I do not share. I assert that only your
current thought exists, as far as you know. An your current thought includes
a contemplation of the anthropic principle.
Or do you accept the copernican anthropic
> principle but think the "reference class" can only consist of
> observer-moments that are using anthropic reasoning? Or something else?
Yes, the reference is OMs which include thoughts about the anthropic
> >You ask: "Is it just amazing luck that I find myself to be one of these
> >extremely rare complex observer-moments?" - surely you don't mean this.
> >is equivaent to the traditional question "Is it amazing luck that the
> >universe supports my life", to which the traditional mis-application of
> >anthropic principle is the ripost.
> This ripost only works if you assume multiple universes/regions, although
> suppose you might say it doesn't work even then.
Yes, I do say that it doesn't work even then. It assumes that 'life'
requires a suitable physical substrate. I believe that this is almost
Clearly, OMs containing thoughts about the anthropic principle can exist.
That much we can say. We have no firm evidence to suggest that any other
constructs exist (although, of course, my current OM does include 'memories'
of other thoughts).
> >Obviously, if you were not one of these rare complex observer moments you
> >would not be asking why you were one. Luck has nothing to do with it. It
> >a 100% certainty.
> You misunderstood my point. I was saying that if my "reference class"
> includes all "self-referential thoughts", and if my definition of
> self-referential thoughts is such that simple ones greatly outnumber
> ones, then I can *not* use anthropic reasoning (of either sort) to explain
> why I find myself to be a rare complex one rather than a simple one...so
> fact that I am a complex one would be very, very lucky in this case. This
> then becomes a reason to say the original choice of reference class may
> been incorrect.
See above. It is pure speculation that 'simpler' thoughts can exist. I'm not
sure how you define thought complexity. It is perfectly likely that the
thought you are having now is the simplest thought in existence - even
though it includes speculation about what possible, 'simpler', thoughts
> And this is still true if you replace "self-referential thought" with
> "thought about the anthropic principle" or something similar. I can write
> simple program that prints out "I am thinking about the anthropic
> principle", and the number of physical systems that implement this program
> is probably still much greater than the number of systems that implement
> complex processes going on in my brain (unless you take Hans Moravec's
> in which any system can be seen as implementing any 'thought' under the
> right mapping).
You don't even know that 'you' have a 'computer' - something that itself
requires a 'physical world'. You are making dozens of unjustifiable leaps
> But in that case, why do you think that
> observer-moments of the laws of physics operating normally should be any
> more common than observer-moments seeing crazy violations of physical law?
Can you not understand that I don't believe in physics? There is no proof of
a physical world. There is no proof of a physical world. There is no proof
of a physical world. There is no proof of a physical world. There is no
proof of a physical world. There is no proof of a physical world. There are
no laws. There is just this OM, that is all 'I' know. All 'I' know is this
> Would a program that prints out "I am thinking about the anthropic
> principle" count as a "thought" about the anthropic principle? If not, on
> what basis do you rule it out?