Hello all,

I have always found these doomsday arguments rather strange (and the 
mathematics, nice as the equations may be, resting on false premises).

Assuming that OM are distributed unevenly, at the moment you are 
_living_ an OM you can make absolutely no conclusion about where in the 
distribution you are - it looks somewhat like "after the fact" reasoning 
to me.

A lottery with chances of winning 1 in 10 million.

Most people will lose, so they say (after experiencing a loss): well, it 
was the likely event.

But let's say _one_ person won in this round: he can say: it was very 
unlikely that _I_ won this time, but it just so happened, so fine.

In the lottery example, we know the distribution beforehand.

But now let us move to Observer Moments (OM):

You observe:
"I exist here and now. I know nothing about the OM Distribution, I can 
only speculate."

This OM would be true no matter if you find yourself alone in big 
universe or in the middle of a massively life-crowded galactic 

Random self-sampling does not help, because, per definition, an OM will 
"live" itself even if it was very unlikely to be selected.

Mathematics trying to derive probabilities of OM seem to me to be rather 
futile attempts at arbitrarily modeling a thought experiment - the 
doomsday argument - the latter actually being metaphysics at it's worst.


Russell Standish wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 27, 2007 at 12:06:42PM -0000, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
>> OK, new thought experiement.  ;)
>> Barring a global disaster which wiped out all of the humanity or its
>> descendents, there would exist massively more observers in the future
>> than currently exist.
>> But you (as an observer) find you born amongst the earliest humans.
>> Since barring global disaster there will be massively more observers
>> in the future, why did you  find yourself born so early?  Surely your
>> probability of being born in the future (where there are far more
>> observers) was much much higher than your chances of being born so
>> early among a far smaller pool of observers?
>> The conclusion appears to be that there is an overwhelming probability
>> that we are on the brink of some global disaster which will wipe out
>> all humanity, since that would explain why we don't find ourselves
>> among the pool of future observers (because there are none).
>> Is the conclusion correct?
> This is the standard Doomsday argument, which has been well
> discussed. In this case, "disaster" just means population decline. A
> world population decline to say 1 billion over the next couple of
> centuries, with a slower decline after that is probably enough to
> ensure the SSA predicts a near peak population observation. Although I
> haven't done the maths on this one - I did it on assuming current
> exponential growth continues, how long have we got until the crash,
> and it's less than 100 years, so we can say there must be a population
> decline of some sort before then (assuming validity of the DA).
> The only other historical time the Doosmday Argument predicts
> "disaster" before our current time was during the Golden Age of
> ancient Greece. And, sure enough, there was a significant population
> decline around 200 BCE. This is in appendix B of my book - I really
> must get around to writing this up as a peer reviewed article though.
> Cheers
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
> Mathematics                            
> UNSW SYDNEY 2052                       [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Australia                                http://www.hpcoders.com.au
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > 

Günther Greindl
Department of Philosophy of Science
University of Vienna

Blog: http://dao.complexitystudies.org/
Site: http://www.complexitystudies.org

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