Re: on simply being an SAS

From: Alastair Malcolm <>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 17:56:17 -0000


Some jottings on your recent post which might conceivably be of interest.

> An essence of being an SAS is to perceive lawlike behavior in the
> universe it inhabits. Laws are essentially ways an SAS organizes what it
> observes about the world around it. In this way an SAS is able to learn
> from its surroundings, generalize event patterns into laws and constants
> that characterize its universe, and predict the likelihood of future
> events. An SAS with finite knowledge will allow for rare, apparent
> violations of laws, but assumes that an explanation exists for that
> apparent violation, which fits in with the laws it has knowledge of.

Under AUH, unfortunately it is neither *necessary* for a SAS to perceive
totally law-like behaviour, nor try to fit all observed behaviour to laws.
Firstly, there will be a relatively few unlucky SAS's who *do* perceive
dragon/WR events in any AUH (some will have more than can be explained away
as hallucinations etc); secondly, it is the case that the majority of SAS's
on this planet would ascribe at least some paranormal events that they see
or think they see (like miracles, angels, or nde's) to divine, rather than
law-based, explanations - this doesn't disqualify them from being SAS's.

> So it is no surprise, that, for example, a dragon event is never
> observed. If some SAS reported the sighting of a dragon event, its
> fellow SAS's would pass it off as a hallucination. That would be the
> 'natural' (i.e., fits in with the known laws) explanation. Similarly, if
> a group of SASs reported the dragon event, it would be passed off as a
> group hallucination, or possibly, a hoax. If there is an 'objectively'
> confirmed string of dragon sightings by SAS scientists, either the known
> laws would be updated while maintaining their simplicity (if that were
> possible) or else there would be great effort by the SASs to find a
> 'natural' explanation (e.g., the SAS's passed through a wormhole into
> another universe).

I agree that a minimal number of dragon events could in practice be
dismissed as a mass-hallucination or something like that, but one cannot use
this fact to *explain* the lack of established dragon events, not least
because the main counter to the AUH is that there should be *maximal*
law-less behaviour, consistent with the existence of a SAS (so perhaps
events on Earth would be straightforward, but elsewhere (except for the
life-supporting Sun) they would be chaotic). To refute this we need more
careful analysis, such as that in Russell's paper, or my web site. (For MWI
instead of AUH it's a whole different ball-game.)

> Similarly, the Strong Anthropic Principle is really a statement that any
> SAS will find itself will observe itself in a universe that allows it to
> exist. The SAS should be aware which conditions that allow SAS's to
> exist and conditions which do not allow SAS's to exist. The appearance
> of fine-tuning really becomes rather subjective - how narrow should the
> range of values of allowed parameters should be so that there appears to
> be fine-tuning?

I don't agree that the range of fine-tuning is subjective, given a
reasonable physics framework. We may have problems assessing it, or there
may be other types of SAS that we are not aware of, but that is a different

Received on Wed Dec 01 1999 - 10:08:04 PST

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