Is the AUH falsifiable? No.

From: Jacques Mallah <>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 18:53:08 -0700 (PDT)

--- Jacques Mallah <> wrote:
> Measure, basically, is the number of observers
> a set. Thus if almost all observers were supermen
> within the plenitude, us being regular Joes would
> falsify the TOE.

    On second thought, it wouldn't. The problem (if
such it is) is that Occam's razor gives a huge initial
favoritism toward the AUH. Any observation is
compatible with both the AUH, and some more
complicated hypothesis B. According to Occam's razor,
the initial Bayesian prior to take for B is just equal
to the *same* as the Baysian probability that we would
see the things predicted by B even if the AUH is true.
 Thus we would always conclude that either B is true,
or the AUH is true, with about equal Bayesian
    The only exception is that anthropic
considerations tend to favor the AUH.
    In the above example, suppose (hypothetically!)
the AUH predicted that only 1 observer in 10^100 is
_not_ a superman. The AUH thus very strongly
predicts, we should be supermen.
    But suppose the Kolmogorov complexity of B (the
hypothesis that most observers are NOT supermen) gives
it an Occam weight of 10^-110. Then we would *still*
conclude that there is only a 1 in 10^10 chance that
the AUH is false.
    Only if the fraction of observers, in the AUH,
with some characteristic is smaller than the Occam
weight of an alternative theory that only allows such
observers would we conclude that the AUH had been
falsified. That is practically impossible.
    One way around the problem is to be prejudiced
against the AUH. Then we could argue that for certain
observed characteristics, we will only believe the AUH
if the AUH predicts a large enough effective
probability to have that characteristic. I think most
people would agree with that approach. I would like
to make this more precise though.
    On the other hand I don't think falsifiability is
as important as it's cracked up to be.

- - - - - - -
               Jacques Mallah (
         Physicist / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
         My URL:

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Received on Tue May 16 2000 - 18:55:42 PDT

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