Re: Craziness of a quantum suicidal

From: Christopher Maloney <>
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 22:00:43 -0400

I apologize to the group for my last outburst.

Jacques M Mallah wrote:
> From:
> > Jacques, you silver tongued devil, you. Don't sugar coat things, tell
> > us how you really feel.
> Judging by the reaction to my sugar coating - which it WAS -
> maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea.
> >> But consider this: Is the branch in which you win the lottery not
> >> already occupied? How will it profit this lottery winner if you, finding
> >> yourself in another branch, kill yourself?
> >You seem to be using the model where state reduction is a process of
> >differentiation of pre-existing universes, rather than the actual forking
> >of a single universe into multiple daughter universes. But neither
> >approach is inherently superior to the other.
> >
> >Even in your model, where all (future) "branches" are already occupied,
> >many branches are completely identical prior to differentiation. It is
> >reasonable to consider your "identity" or "consciousness" as being common
> >to all of these branches. You are not living in just one of them,
> >you span all of the identical ones.
> I guess that depends on the definition of 'you'. It sure doesn't
> seem reasonable that I'm living in a branch where I won the lotto. I
> don't remember doing that. Some other guy did that who's almost like me.

No, *exactly* like me. That's the whole point. For every "me", if you
buy that "everything exists" (which I assume you do, since you're a
member of this list, but I don't know if I've read you explicitly
state it) then consider "me" as being the configuration of atoms,
wave states, whatever, bounded by some space, say the external layer of
skin. For each me, there are an infinite number of universes outside of
"me". Some in which I did win the lottery, and others in which I

Hal was saying, and I agree with him, that it makes no sense to talk of
"me" as being one particular "instance" of that configuration so
How could it be that I am one of those, and not one of the others? Each
one is identical. It's a fundamental feature of QM is that for two
identical particles, it is not possible to track one or the other over
time. Let me know if you need me to explain this to you. It definitely
applies, in this argument.

> >> Your belief that you will magically leap into the body of this
> >> winner, at the same date and time as you die, is absurd. You guys take
> >> one true fact - that the effective probability of finding yourself to be
> >> that winning guy, given that you find the date and time to be such and
> >> such, and that your name is such and such, etc. - is nearly one. But you
> >> don't understand what it means and you sure as hell don't use it
> >> correctly, and the result is this monstrous quantum cult of death.
> > With the concept of identity I described, or the concept of a universe
> > which branches at the time of state function collapse, there is no leap
> > involved. It is a continuous process.
> Wrong. It makes no difference if you assume that worlds branch.
> (Off topic note: When did the term 'collapse' start applying to the MWI?
> Last I heard the MWI was the antithesis of that.)
> Think of it from the point of view of the guy who won the lottery.
> If the other branches commit suicide, can he then say "I wouldn't be here
> otherwise, I'd be in another branch"? Of course not. He would still have
> been there and is totally unaffected by what goes on in the other
> branches.
> As far as continuous, don't forget that it is not the selection of
> the lottery numbers that kills you. It's what happens after that, after
> the branching already occurred a macroscopic time ago. You know you
> didn't win and that death is coming, but you still think you can leap to
> the other distant branch. Not very continuous.

Well, you misunderstood the device. The death is completely automatic,
and completely outside the user's control. There's never an instant
when he knows he will die. That's a fundamental feature of the machine.

But I'm sure you'll object that anyway, macroscopic events have still
taken place which prevent me from jumping to another universe, from
which mine has already split. But here I disagree. I never like
discussions of QM where talk degenerates into discussions of the
difference between microscopic and macroscopic phenomena. It seems
to me, as I've tried to point out in other recent posts, that the
entire "rest of the universe", that I'm not looking at right now,
must be in a superposition of states.

What's the qualitative difference between saying that a photon went
through both slits when I wasn't looking, and, say, that the cat is
both dead and alive until I look in the box? That's the whole
beauty of MWI - that there is no distinction necessary between
macroscopic and microscopic. So, let's take it one step further,
and say that everything I'm not looking at now is in a superposition
of states.

Chris Maloney
"Knowledge is good"
-- Emil Faber
Received on Sat Jun 19 1999 - 19:09:07 PDT

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