Wei Dai wrote:
On Fri, Sep 27, 2002 at 11:53:10PM -0700, George Levy wrote:
After discussing the idea of QS with their dear friend Mercutio, Romeo 
and Juliet decide to go ahead with the project. Mercutio design the
machine and under his instruction, Balthasar, Romeo's loyal servant,
builds a QS contraption capable of operating on two persons
simultaneously. The QS machine is specifically designed not to operate
if the feud between the Montague and Capulet families comes to an end.
Otherwise the machine terminates itself with both persons inside it in a
microsecond. Anyone within a radius of 20 feet of the machine is also

What if the kill radius is equal to the diameter of the Earth? Would
your Romeo and Juliet still go through with it? If they do and gets
caught by the police before the machine is activated, should they be

The reason for the 20 foot radius was to get Mercutio correlated with Romeo and Juliet, to show that an "objective" framework can exist between two people ie, between Mercutio and Romeo, and to isolate Bathasar from this framework.In other words, I wanted Romeo and Mercutio to appear to be in a "normal" world and Balthasar to be in the abnormal world.

Your question revolves around whether QS is "Good" or "Evil." If we assume that Good is synonymous with increasing measure and Evil with decreasing measure, then we must look at the measure of the characters and of the earth's inabitants as the story unfolds. More specifically, we must look at measure as it is "measured" (if this can ever be done) by each participant, since each one may come up with a different measurement.

There are two periods of interest:
1) Before the QS event
2) After the QS event

1) Before the QS event, no crime has been committed. Any prosecutor would have to prove that the QS event would decrease measure. Without evidence he has no proof.

2) After the QS event. Here, we face a difficulty because, with your given assumption, that the whole earth is correlated to the QS event, we lose the availability of an outside observer. To keep an observer, let's say that an astronaut is in orbit around the earth and is left unaffected by the QS event.

We have now two points of views:
a) the point of view of the astronaut
b) the point of view of the criminal prosecutor who must decide whether to open criminal proceedings against Romeo and Juliet. 

a) The point of view of the astronaut.
He sees the destruction of the earth, of his family and country. From his point of view there was a loss. But the criminals are dead. Had the radius of operation of the QS machine been larger, or even encompassed the whole universe, there would not have been any witness to mourn the loss, and the only point of view left is the next one. So let's say that, not just the earth, but the whole universe has been destroyed which brings us to the only point of view left.

b) The point of view of Romeo, Juliet and the criminal prosecutor
The criminal prosecutor shares his frame of reference everybody else on earth. >From his point of view nothing has happened, no crime has been committed. Let's say that the prosecutor performs a forensic analysis and attempts to measure measure. He gets his hands on a Measurator.

Let me explain what a measurator is. It's a machine that measures the entropy of any system that it is hooked up to. If the system is closed, the machine gives a continuously increasing reading. If the system is open, the reading of the Measurator can go up or down depending on the inputs and outputs.

The prosecutor finds that at the time of the QS event, there was a sharp down spike in the entropy curve, of the earth system against the general noise background partially due to inputs and outputs.  This sharp spike is of course related to the end of the feud between the Montague and Capulet families. And this is the information that he presents to the judge, explaining that there was a drop in measure due to the drop in entropy.

The defense however, replies that the end of the feud BEARS NO CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP with the NON-OPERATION of the QS machine and that Romeo and Juliet DID nothing wrong.

The defense then tackle the issue of the entropy spike. It argues that this sudden lowering of the entropy curve may just be a coincidence and that, in any case, it is infinitesimal compared with the influence of our common quantum physical laws which are much more significantly responsible for holding entropy down.

Without our quantum laws, for example, if we lived in a mechanistic universe, electrons, unfettered by their quantum levels would fall into their nucleii resulting in the almost immediate annihilation of all matter in the universe and a huge increase in entropy. Even though entropy of the universe is continuoulsy increasing, the universe is still in an incredible state of low entropy. In any case, the defense argues, if a low entropy spike is an indicator of criminal activity, then even God, himself, is not be immune from prosecution, since entropy was at its lowest at creation.

The defense concludes that nature itself is a huge QS machine that filters only those worlds capable of sustaining consciousness. In comparison with the effects of quantum laws, the effect of the spike is infinitesimal and is equivalent to going back less than a picosecond in entropic time. What Romeo and Juliet did, if they did anything, is only a drop in the bucket compared with (infinitely) large natural influences the spike is close to or equal to zero. They should not be found guilty.


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