From: Jacques M Mallah <>
Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 15:43:26 -0400

On Mon, 10 May 1999, Russell Standish wrote:
> I believe a fatal flaw in Jacques' and Don's arguments lies in
> assuming that every conscious moment must be drawn from some a priori
> distribution of such general concious moments (Self Sampling
> Assumption). I think that this can only apply to the observation of
> one's birth order.

        You are correct that we use the "SSA" or Copernican Anthropic
Principle (CAP), but I can see no reason why you'd think it would only
apply to birth order. Nor do I see any alternative to the CAP consistent
with computationalism.
        I've explained this stuff to you guys umpteen times. The only new
thing is that perhaps Don Page's conversion will motivate you to take
another look, so go back and read what I've been saying. Observations of
surviving a suicide attempt are of small measure, atypical. The fraction
of observers like that is small, both at a given time and over all time.
This is true if there are 10^9 people and it's true if there are
infinitely many worlds each with copies of the 10^9.

> Because my
> current age is less than the mean human lifetime, I can say that I'm
> currently living in a typical time. However (assuming the validity of
> QTI, which I do), if I find my self much much older than the mean
> human lifetime, then I must be living in an atypical world. This world
> may also be one in which homo sapiens far exceeds the usual species
> lifetime (assuming there is such a value). It will probably also be
> one in which evolution has largely stopped.

        The above comments appear inscrutable, or less charitably
nonsensical, to me.

>From Tue May 11 14:52:55 1999
Subject: Re: Bayesian boxes and Independence of Scales

>I agree that the implicit distribution of m is essential in determining
>if we should switch after making our first choice. Interestingly, if we
>assume a logarithmic distribution and compute the expected value of the
>content of the other box (the one not selected), we find that it is
>identical to the content of the selected box:
>Expected Value = (1/2) (Log(m/2) + Log(2m)) =
>(1/2) (Log(m) - Log2 + Log(m) + Log2) = Log(m)
>Which implies that the logarithmic distribution is the one assumed by
>common sense: don't switch. In other words, the value that any particular
>number is equal to m is equally likely, and INDEPENDENT OF SCALE.

        What is the above supposed to represent? I see a factor 1/2, is
that the probability that the other box is one with twice as much as my
box? What then are the logs?
        The 'Bayesian boxes' is a good but off topic puzzle. I will post
my own thoughts on it if you wish.

> This
>independence of scale has some intriguing connection with the MWI and the
>issue that the probability of survival after death is extremely low but
>FROM THE POINT OF VIEW of the observer it must be equal to one.

        'The' observer may find himself in a time before the deadly event.
(Not that identity carries across time; even if it did that would change
nothing, just mean that many copies have short lifetimes.)

From: Marchal <>
To: "Gilles, Jacques, Nick..." <>

>So, Jacques, you succeed in convincing Don Page against Quantum
>Immortality !
>I would not be proud of that!
>It seems that you (and Don Page now) reason like that :
>Maverick worlds in which I am alive in 2100 are rare, so the probability
>I feel alive in 2100 is low.
>But, at least with computationnalism (or "comp" if you prefer: I mean the
>hypothesis that I can survive with a digital *body*), I can only compute
>the probability from a distribution defined on the worlds in which I
>There is no sense in counting worlds in which I do not survive.
>Typicality or likelihood are relative to the observer.

        What about worlds on which others survive? How do you even
distinguish between "you" and others to make such a distinction? And of
course time should not be a consideration: Measure is NOT conserved over
time! There is NOT an equal chance of finding yourself at one age as at
an older age! If there was it would disprove the MWI!

>Tell me if you agree at least with the weaker proposition:
> COMP + HE ====> immortality
>where HE is the (extravagant) hypothesis saying that a real concrete
>universal dovetailer (generating and executing all programs) exists
>in our "universe".

        Of course not. It's the same issue.

Subject: Re: Recent paper on MWI (fwd)

>Jacques, when did any of us propose that living to a great age would be
>evidence of MWI? We merely said that, as we believe in MWI, we believe we
>will live to a great age.

        Newsflash: If a theory predicts something, and it's found to be
true, that's evidence for the theory. If it's found to be false, or that
what is observed is atypical of what the theory predicts, that's evidence
against the theory.

>Incidentally, have you ever changed your mind on anything? There's no
>shame in changing your beliefs when the evidence changes.

        Do you think I was born an MWIer?
        The evuidence has not changed, but there's no shame in admitting
you were wrong about what it implies.

To: Don N Page <>
Subject: Re: Quantum Theory of Immortality

>I think you should bite the bullet and draw attention to the fact that
>there will always be a subsequent branch in which you are not dead, and
>if we never experience the branches in which we are dead then we can
>expect to live for ever. Don't forget to mention who said it first!

        See above. No one is immortal; get used to it.
        I hope you got Don's permission to quote his email in this forum.

                         - - - - - - -
              Jacques Mallah (
       Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
            My URL:
Received on Tue May 11 1999 - 12:44:50 PDT

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