On Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 9:15 AM, Nick Prince
> In Russell’s book there is a section on “Arguments against QTI”
> And I want to put forward some issues arising from this.
> It seems that (if MWI is true) we live in world(s) in which we appear
> to live a finite, small lifetime of around 70 years. From the many
> discussions on this list, it also seems to me that, this is the single
> biggest argument (that I can understand) which points to the QTI being
> false. Unfortunately it appears that the whole ASSA/RSSA debate -
> which might have been a candidate for clarifying the issue - turns out
> to be a confusing (to me anyway) and polarising approach.
> So is QTI false?
> Russell does put forward a possible solution in his book. He suggests
> the idea that as memory fades with dementia then perhaps the conscious
> mind becomes so similar to that of a newborn - or even unborn - baby
> that perhaps “a diminishing?” consciousness always finds an
> appropriate route (in some branch) to avoid a cul de sac event.
> (This is one possible form of the No Cul De Sac Conjecture =NCDSC)
> To avoid the cul de sac event, there would surely have to be a
> critical stage whereby consciousness diminishes and reaches a form
> of cusp at the point of lapsing into non existence and thereby
> requiring the necessity of an extension route or branch to another
> consistent universe. In short, from the third person POV, the person
> dies but from the first person -(now primitive) consciousness – state,
> there is rebirth. I am thinking that before we get to the croaking
> Amoeba there is a discontinuity in what we understand as consciousness
> – at least the form that applies to the NCDSC.
> Now if all this were to be the case, then maybe it says something very
> specific about the substrate on which consciousness runs. There would
> be something special about the architecture which the substrate
> employs to implement consciousness because it relies on a certain mode
> of decay, facilitating the branching to a new born baby having an
> appropriate structure (portal?) to secure a consistent extension of
> the consciousness into another branch. Unless a computer could
> simulate such a special substrate then it could not be used to
> implement consciousness. This would mean that it would be wise to say
> no to the Doctor! – Comp might be false?
I followed you up until that paragraph. Why should the rebirth from a
no-consciousness state say anything about the substrate on which
consciousness runs? It matters only that there be some entity that
remembers being the entity that faded away for that entity to be
reborn. How that entity is implementedt and whether it is even
causally related to the first entity in any way is irrelevant.
> The Turing principle (p135 of David Deutsch’s book – “the Fabric of
> Reality”) would imply that, a universal machine could simulate the
> physical structure of brains in such a way so as to be able to act as
> a medium whereby, if the above argument is possible, consistent
> extensions of conscious physical observers (persons) could avoid cul
> de sacs. But until we can understand the nature of what consciousness
> is, we are stumped as to how a computer can be programmed to implement
> it. However some alien civilizations may have known these techniques
> for ages now, thereby perhaps explaining why we each have lived even
> as long as we now perceive we have. A stronger statement would be that
> if universal virtual reality generators are physically possible, then
> they must be built somewhere in some universes!
> But supposing the above (reincarnational) speculation was false in
> some way. In that case, I have yet to see a convincing argument as to
> how the the no cul de sac conjecture can be reconciled with people
> living to great ages. Whatever sampling assumption is applied, the
> facts are that we don’t typically see people reaching ages greater
> than 100+ yrs). Therefore either QTI is false or people just don’t
> get old! Rather, the special physical conditions of death associated
> with dementia or oxygen starvation of the brain, facilitate continued
> extensions of consciousness by branching into worlds where we
> supervene over new born babies (or something – animals, aliens?) -
> accidental deaths of people of any “normal ages” we can think about
> could of course be accommodated by the NCDSC).
That we don't see extremely old people is consistent with QTI, since
from the third person perspective rare events such as living to a
great age happen only rarely. However, from the first person
perspective you will live to a great age, and this will happen in the
most probable way, even if it is improbable in absolute (third person)
> The mechanics of such reincarnational transitions would be
> interesting to speculate about since I see this as the only way out
> for a QTI.
> Nick Prince
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