From: Russell Standish
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2011 7:27 AM
Subject: Re: Against the Doomsday hypothesis
On Thu, May 05, 2011 at 08:32:02PM -0400, Stephen Paul King wrote:
> Hi Folks,
> > I have been thinking hard about the Doomsday Argument and a
> question struck me. Why does it seems that genomic heredity does not
> seem to play any role in the determination of what body, location,
> etc. one discovers one’s 1p (subjective sense of self in the world) to
> exist in.
Are you not answering your own question with this? What relevance does
your genome have for your 1p existence?
My physical body has myopia and certain other physical characteristics that
are consistent with some finite set of possible parents. My daughter has
similar physical characteristics, as well as artistic ability that are similar
to that of my lovely and talented wife. My point is that where our
consciousness finds itself might have some thing to do with the properties of
one’s ancestors and not because of some abstract statistical measure. Unless we
accept some ambiguous form of reincarnation of souls, which is dualist in the
Cartesian sense, then there is a strong physical reason why the body that my
consciousness experiences is what it is. It is this kind of hereditary variable
that seems to be neglected in the DA. My 1p seems to be constrained by physical
properties in a way that does not allow me to claim that the physical world is,
at best, an epiphenomena of numbers.
My parents lived in a certain area when this body that I associate with was
born, their respective parents lived in Texas and Main, etc. This location,
while subject to indeterminacy via Bruno’s teleportation/copying argument, does
seem to at least partially address the question of “why do I find myself in a
particular place, time, body, etc.?” So maybe my difficulty is in understanding
the motivation of the DA and this in turn makes me less than sanguine about the
“Ants are not conscious” argument. I worry that we are misapplying our
knowledge of the mathematics of statistics to morph the Hard Problem into a
problem of measure.
I think that the ‘Surprise 20 Questions’ idea that John Wheeler considered
in his famous ‘It from Bit’ paper might be more appropriate. Any OM that is a
possible continuance of another OM must not contain information that is
inconsistent with any previous OM in its sequence, up to some constant that
relates to the upper bound on the resolving power of a typical measurement. We
additionally need to consider that possible interactions between physical
systems would also constrain the information in the OMs such that no OM in a
sequence could contain information that contradicts that of another that is
related to some separate but co-existing system.
Instead of thinking of the content of OMs in terms of some statistical
measure, I think that it might be a better idea to consider exactly how OM are
sequenced together such that the White Rabbit problem is minimized. This method
is what Pratt uses in his residuation idea in his process dualism solution to
the concurrency problem, where each state/event transition occurs so long as
both physical conservation laws and logical non-contradiction laws are upheld.
It seems to me that this bypasses the measure problem completely.
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