This paradox has its origin in perception rather than fundamental physics:
If I fill a huge jar with sugar and proteins and minerals and shake it,
there is no reason why I can't produce a talking rabbit, or even a unicorn
with two tails. Yet out out of the vast menagerie of novel objects and
creatures I could produce, I always seem to get a bubbling cloudy liquid.
The solution, of course, is that there is an even larger menargerie of
objects, all of which look the same to me (like a bubbling cloudy liquid, in
fact). Similarly, there is no reason ehy such object, could not appear out
of the quantum vacuum, but it must be the case that this vacuum throws up a
lot of different objects and events that look to us like 'empty space' and
'nothing happening' (although I suspect that the case of the paradox you
give of the double slit experiment has its origins in considering too large
a set of states as 'possible'; the positions of the photons are not really
free variables, with the apparently 'artificial' physical laws following
from the initial data. It's like asking why the pegs on my washing line
always follow the 'coshine law'...).
    I described a special case of this in a posting on this list a while
ago, suggesting that we're almost certainly not in a simulated, 'second
order' universe: Basically, for every arrangement of matter you could append
to our universe that would look like some creature controlling/observing us,
there would be many more arrangements that looked like no living creature.
And every time you looked for your 'God' and found only space-dust, the
universe would get bigger and harder to simulate, amking finding god less
likely next time you looked. Depending how quickly this unlikelyness
increased after each failed attempt, you might expect to look forever and
find, along with a lot of dirt and some bacteria, eventually, beings that
would have been smart enough to simulate your ancestors or earlier self, but
never you and your current 'known universe.'

--Chris Collins

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jesse Mazer" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 8:38 PM
Subject: Re: Why no white talking rabbits?


> >From: Eric Hawthorne <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> >To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> >CC: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> >Subject: Re: Why no white talking rabbits?
> >Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2004 10:36:41 -0800
> >
> >
> >Hal Finney wrote:
> >
> >>What about a universe whose space-time was subject to all the same
> >>physical laws as ours in all regions - except in the vicinity of
rabbits?
> >>And in those other regions some other laws applied which allow rabbits
> >>to behave magically?
> >>
> >>
> >
> >While this may be possible, we seem to have found so far that the
universe
> >admits of many
> >simple regularities in its complex systems and its fundamental laws.
> >Therefore many of the
> >essential properties (future-form-and-behaviour-determining properties)
of
> >these complex
> >systems admit of accurate description by SIMPLE, SMALL theories that
> >describe these
> >simple regularities in the complex systems.
>
> But that's an empirical observation about our universe, it doesn't tell us
> anything about *why* this should be true if you take seriously the
> "everything that can exist, does exist" theory that this list is meant to
> discuss. For example, if you consider the set of all possible Turing
machine
> programs, then for any given complexity, there are an infinite number of
> programs that are more complex than that but only a finite number less
> complex. So it seems like you need to assign progressively less measure to
> the more complex programs in order to get a high likelihood of living in a
> universe defined by a simple program (assuming you believe in 'universes'
at
> all, which advocates of TOEs that deal with first-person probabilities
might
> not). One solution might be that more complex programs tend to run simpler
> ones inside them somehow, increasing their measure (like a detailed
physical
> simulation which contains, among other things, a simulated computer
running
> a simpler program), but then you have to address the problem in that
> Chalmers paper I posted about how to identify instantiations of a given
> program in a way that doesn't imply that every program instantiates every
> other possible program.
>
> Also, the problem with taking the "white rabbit" example too literally is
> that programs that create orderly phenomena like talking white rabbits
would
> almost certainly be very rare unless you had a measure that was
specifically
> picked to make them likely--this is why I prefer examples where the laws
of
> physics break down in a region in a more random way, like getting a
> completely wrong pattern of photons hitting the screen in the double-slit
> experiment. Among the set of all possible distributions of photons you
could
> get in this experiment, the number of possible "wrong" ones should vastly
> outnumber the number of "right" ones that quantum mechanics assigns a high
> probability to, so why do we never see such violations? This is another
form
> of the "white rabbit problem", but without the misleading orderliness of
> examples like an actual talking white rabbit, a man walking on water, etc.
>
> Jesse
>
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