RE: Amoeba croaks -

From: Marchal <>
Date: Wed Jan 13 03:02:54 1999

Hi James,

>But surely, then, Bruno, you also wonder about the issue of whether we will
>ever experience death.

Well ... I do thing that nobody experience (absolute, first person)
death. Because either we survive clinical (3d person) death, in which
case we do not experience death, or we don't survive clinical death, in
which case we do not experience death because to make an experience you
must survive it ! (Disappointing answer I guess, it doesn't depend on MWI
or Mechanism). Topologically, time-life is open, we cannot experience the
border of life.

> I reiterate what I discussed with Max above: no
>matter how 'dirty the tunnel', there will always be subsequent branches in
>which your brain regenerates fully. Can you shed any light on this issue?

OK James, I can try. As Hal Finney put it, it is a question of
(conditionnal) measure. Suppose you jump out of the window which is just
5 meter high. In that case, the probability you will survive is rather
high. The probability you will be wounded will be rather high too.
Nevertheless, the probability you will recover is not very high. I mean
it is just a classical probability.
The problem with the "dirty tunnel" is the fact that you survive in bad
shape. And once you have survived, probabilities are classical. And,
although you are right in saying that there will be subsequent branching
in which you will recover fully, you cannot take that into account
because your expectation for that personnal recovering is very low.
... Unless you reiterate the quantum suicide. But here, the problem is
that you are taking the risk to find yourself in a so bad shape that you
will not be able to reiterate the suicide. In that case, you will be
stuck (for example paralysed) in a universe, perhaps for a very long
For the long run you are surely (with Mechanism or with MWI) making a

>Another point - committing suicide is always going to be against your
>genetic program as your genes act as if they wanted their structure to
>appear in as many universes as possible. Form their point of view it is
>better to have you arbitrarily unhappy but existing than to have you

I think it is plausible that in most futurs the genes will lose the
battle against other form of memes. We can hope that earth will at least
be used as a kind of carbon-life and genes museum. But most practical
computationnalist will explore the multiverse by exchanging their
expensive carbon based body for radio-waves and silicon hardware. From
OUR point of view it is better to be happy without genes than unhappy
with genes ...

>Bruno, please e-mail your PhD thesis ASAP! I am due to start a PhD in the
>philosophy of quantum physics next year - developing the idea that in the
>block universe everything possible exists, so mechanism is one valid way of
>looking at things but not the only - and would be very interested to see
>what you have written.

I am indeed convinced that mechanism is not the only way to look at
things. The beauty of mechanism is that with mechanism, it is even
necessarily so. I mean mechanism entails the consistency of
non-mechanism. A little like the fact that consistency of arithmetic
entails the consistency of the non consistency of arithmetic ( a form of
second Godel's theorem).

I have put the thesis on my web page. You can load it at


The file is pdf. I am not sure all figures will be nicely printed. The
web pages has been created yesterday.
Sorry but I have been obliged to write the thesis in french (with the
"loi Toubon").
The thesis (a new version of it) will be published by Grasset in France.
English papers will be available on my page ASAP.
Thanks for your interest.

Received on Wed Jan 13 1999 - 03:02:54 PST

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