RE: Measure, madness, and Max

From: Jacques M Mallah <>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 19:35:26 -0500

On Fri, 15 Jan 1999, Higgo James wrote:
> You are wrong on one point, Jacques (please don't get cross now). Effective
> probability is proportional to the measure in universes temporally
> 'subsequent' to your own. Not of the multiverse as a whole.

        You are wrong but let's deal with the suicide issue for now.

> Your final
> question is unaswerable as you have neglected to define 'good'. So we're
> back where we started.

> > From: Jacques M Mallah []
> > 5. When an individual U chooses to commit suicide at time t, assume
> > he has an effective chance p of succeeding, as measured by an external
> > observer. As usual, assume that the measure of an observation is
> > proportional to the number of observers in that branch of the
> > wavefunction, times the squared amplitude of that branch.
> > What are the effects of the suicide, as opposed to what would
> > happen if U never attempted it?
> > - The effective probability of an observation being one of those
> > associated with U is decreased.
> > - The conditional effective probability, given an observation
> > associated with U, that it is after time t is decreased.
> > - The total measure in the universe is decreased, and all of the
> > decrease is in the total measure of U's observations. In sum, it is a
> > costly act for U.

        You have implicity agreed with the above. That's quite an
admission for a q-suicide advocate to have made. In fact you have just
admitted that you are not immortal, and that you gain no measure in the
branches you like just by removing the branches you don't; i.e. unless you
actively want to reduce the measure of those branches anyway, you gain
nothing by suicide, and lose if you would have found any positive value in
the lost branches whatsoever.

> > 6. Final Exam. Are the circumstances under which it is a good idea
> > to commit suicide the same in the MWI as they would be in a single world
> > interpretation? (Hint: you can use the infinite universe, single world
> > model for the MWI.)

        A reasonable criterion for the single world case is that you
should commit suicide if you would rather that your future self did not
exist than that he should experience what you would otherwise expect him
to. The MWI equivalent, as easily seen from the infinite universe model,
is that you would rather that the measure of your future self should be

        I call upon Max Tegmark to renounce the idea of quantum suicide as
he mistakenly assumed that a person's measure is conserved in time
regardless of the suicide.
        Hopefully the rest of his followers can then follow him out of
this madness.

                         - - - - - - -
              Jacques Mallah (
       Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
            My URL:
Received on Mon Jan 18 1999 - 16:39:41 PST

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