Hi all -- it's been a long time since I've participated in this group.
I've been lurking for a few days, and am very pleased with the quality
of the posts that I've read!  It's good to see that this discussion

Some comments below.

Tim May wrote:

> On Monday, July 8, 2002, at 03:40  PM, Hal Finney wrote:
>> Future uncertainty is familiar to us, but one of the things that the
>> many universe model introduces is past uncertainty.  There is a sense
>> in which the past is not unique and determined.  My mental state is
>> consistent with many macroscopically distinct pasts.

I like this concept quite a lot.  It's esthetically pleasing -- treating
the past and the future more symmetrically than usual.

> I'm not convinced that this is so. Sure, there are many views of past 
> events, of history, faulty memories, changing memories, etc.
> However, the "single past" model is quite well-supported by science and 
> a kind of "convergence" of knowledge:

Do you know that this is so -- that the "single past" is supported to
the exclusion of the "multiple past" concept?

> ....

> I agree that many possible causal pasts lead up to what you are. The 
> placement of grains of sand on a beach in Greece is not going to 
> significant affect who you are right now, so this is just one of a vast 
> multitude of possible causal pasts which will not affect your currrent 
> mental state.
> But this does not mean these possible pasts have equal "actuality." For 
> example, two different observers may have carefully photographed the 
> patch of beach where the possible variations occurred. The more accurate 
> their observations or photographs are, the more closely they will agree 
> on what that past was (again, assuming honest observers).

Ah, but you missed the point, I think.  Even if those grains have been
observed by other humans, they still haven't been observed by *me*.  My
present mental state is consistent with lots of different possibilities
with regards to position of the grains of sand, *and* to the observation
or non-observation, *and* to the meta-observation, etc.  Think
Schroedinger's cat.

> Nothing in science points to the "many actual pasts" possibility, even 
> though I acknowlege your point that "many _possible_ pasts" would lead 
> to a indistinguishable equal mental state for you or me.

I *think* that this topic is treated in Victor Stenger's "Timeless
Reality".  Has anyone read it?  I started it, but as often happens, I got
distracted before I finished it.

> In other words, science points to a single actual past. There is, so 
> far, no evidence for multiple actual paths.

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