Russell Standish refers to his earlier post, http://www.escribe.com/science/theory/m781.html and now writes: > Noone that I could recall came up with a convincing argument against > the Euthanasia issue - it would seem that committing euthanasia on > someone is actually condemning them to an eternity of even greater > misery than if you'd just left things alone - quite the contrary to > what one expects in a single universe notion of reality.
The problem Russell points out is that in the MWI if we try to kill someone, we will succeed in many branches, but fail in some others. And in those in which we fail, we will probably injure the victim. The effect from the point of view of the continuations of the victim is that their quality of life has been worsened. I think a counter-argument comes if we look at the larger picture, not just the particular branch in which we are acting. Suppose that the victim has suffered some injury which led to their unfortunate condition, where we are now considering committing euthanasia. In other branches, then, the victim is alive and healthy. If we eliminate them from most of the branches in which they are injured, then in the big picture their average quality of life has been improved. Even though there are a few branches where our attempts to kill them have failed and have made their life worse, those are small in proportion to the set of branches which encompass their entire life. Now it may be said that this perspective is invalid, because the injured person here in front of us is the only one we can affect. His consciousness will never re-join the branches where he was not injured. We can only affect him, and therefore we should judge our actions only based on their effects on him and his future continuations. However, if we step back and consider things before the injury which caused him harm, he might have said at the time, if I am injured, please arrange to have me killed ASAP. (In fact, people often do this even if they believe in a single universe, via "living will" documents.) >From his perspective, both the injured and non-injured versions are in his future. He can choose to manipulate the probabilities so that the greater part of his future experiences are in positive rather than negative conditions. In effect, that is exactly what all decisions consist of in the MWI - manipulations of probabilites and measure so as to maximize the weight of the positive outcomes. From that perspective, I think it is reasonable to choose to have oneself euthanized in case of negative outcomes, so that the average quality of all future experiences is improved. Another angle on this argument takes an even broader view. Let us consider all observer-moments in the multiverse. By eliminating those observer-moments which have a negative quality of life, we improve the average quality of all observer-moments and therefore we make the multiverse a better place to live. This is the same basic argument, but applied to all observers rather than just the individual who was injured. Hal Finney