Why am I not surprised that I disagree with this response?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: Many worlds theory of immortality
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 23:25:28 +1000

> The obvious and sensible-sounding response to Jeanne's question
> whether it may be possible to access other universes through dreams
> or hallucinations is that it is not really any more credible than
> speculation that people can contact the dead, or have been
> kidnapped by aliens, or any other of the millions of weird things
> that so many seem to believe despite the total lack of supporting
> evidence.

Actually, if a person believes they are perceiving a parallel reality a number of questions must be asked first. 1. Is this supposed to be a branch off of our world or is it a world that is distantly related or not related at all? 2. Having identified what type of world, then as much information should be gathered about it as possible to create a database that can be analyzed for evidence from which determinations can be made as to whether the person really is perceiving a parallel world of some kind of just has mental issues. The easiest case would be one where the person in question claims to have awareness of some other world with different technology. If they can't describe it any more than on a superficial level, then the probability is high that its all just some kind of dellusion. However, if they can, especially to the point of it being reproduced here, and especially if they can describe a number of devices or technologies which don't exist here but can be produced here, then I would say that it warrants a much closer look.

The greater the detail a person can obtain from their perceptions, the easier it is to map out a description of the other world. If the detail is great enough, then it might be possible to at least decide that even if it can't be conclusive as to whether or not the information is derived from parallel world perception or a highly detailed hallucination, a better understanding can be had of what it is the person is experiencing. For example, 30 years ago a person walks into a psychiatrist's office and talks about how he keeps having visions of the world and it's all weird. After a number of sessions, the psychiatrist learns that the patient has perceptions of the world where the Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore, there's a major conflict in the Mid East with Iraq, and the World Trade Center doesn't exist anymore. Not enough detail. Could be just wild imagination based on obvious scenarios. However, if the patient starts naming names like George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, Putin, etc. then the psychiatrist can begin to construct that database and see if any of these people really exist. The more data, the better. Eventually extrapolations can be made as to whether the patient is seeing the future of the world that they're in or perhaps a parallel world. 

This is an oversimplification of how the process really works, but one that points a direction for how these kinds of questions are actually investigated. BTW, 30 years ago, almost all science fiction written about the near future, had the Soviet Union still in existence. Anyone saying that they had perceptions of a future where it no loner existed, without the use of nuclear war, would truely have been seen as crazy. Yet, they would have been correct.

>However, this response is completely wrong if MWI is
> correct. If I dream tonight that a big green monster has eaten the
> Sydney Opera House, then definitely, in some branch of the MW, a
> big green monster will eat the Sydney Opera House.

Actually, MWI doesn't mean that just because you think (or dream something) that it happens somewhere. The big green monster that eats the Sydney Opera House could just be some bad vegamite you had. Just like the hallucinations of mentally ill people, or for that matter, drug users, aren't valid observations of reality.

>Of course, this
> unfortunate event will occur even if I *don't* dream it,

The event will only happen if it's a valid perception of another world. Could be other things. Those other things always have to be taken into consideration.

>but I'm not saying that my dream caused it, only that I saw it happening.

Dreams rarely, if ever, have a causal effect just in and of themselves. Causality usually results from taking action because of the dream.

> It might also be argued that I didn't really "receive" this
> information from another branch, but that it was just a coincidence
> that my dream matched the reality in the other branch.

Of course if it happens in another branch you won't have any other form of confirmation of it besides another dream, which is not all that helpful. There exits a criteria for trying to determine whether a dream should even be considered a possible parallel universe dream.

>But seers don't see things by putting two and two together; they just, well,
> *see* them. And if I really could, godlike, enter at random another
> branch of the MW and return to this branch to report what I saw,
> how would the information provided be any different from my dream?

You would hopefully have information that you wouldn't normally have here, of sufficient detail that it would exceed what you could get from a dream. Besides, if you physically went to another universe I would hope that you would bring back physical evidence, like a videotape.

> The only difference I can think of is that with the direct method I
> would be more likely to visit a branch with greater measure, but I
> can probably achieve the same thing by trying not to think about
> green monsters when I go to sleep tonight.

"Greater measure"? "Green Monsters"? 


> ; --Stathis Papaioannou
> > I once read an article in, I believe, Time Magazine, about the relatively
> > new field of "neurotheology" which investigates what goes on in the brain
> > during ecstatic states, etc. One suggestion that intrigued me was that it
> > may be possible that in such a state, and I believe that schizophrenics were
> > also mentioned, that the brain is malfunctioning in such a way as to allow
> > it to perceive states of reality other than that which the normal brain
> > would perceive. In other words, the "antenna" (brain) is picking-up signals
> > that are usually beyond the scope of the normal brain. I wondered if anyone
> > could comment on this, and if there was any reason to even entertain the
> > thought that perhaps some people have passed through a crack in the division
> > between our universe or dime nsion, into perhaps another? I read this
> > several years ago and wish that I could recall the details of the article,
> > but I don't have it anymore.
> >
> > Jeanne
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