Re: (Quantum) suicide not necessary?

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 19:26:42 -0700

Hello Marchal

On 21-Feb-01, Marchal wrote:
> Saibal Mitra wrote:
>> Instead of the previously discussed suicide experiments to test
>> various versions of many-worlds theories, one might consider a
>> different approach.
>> By deleting certain sectors of one's memory one should be able to
>> travel to different branches of the multiverse. Suppose you are
>> diagnosed with a rare disease. You don't have complaints yet, but you
>> will die within a year. If you could delete the information that you
>> have this particular disease (and also the information that
>> information has been deleted), branches in which you don't have the
>> disease merge with the branches in which you do have the disease. So
>> with very high probability you have travelled to a different branch.

This seems completely confused to me. If thoughts (or observer moments)
are the stuff of reality, then erasing some of them could have the
effect you contemplate. But, if they are the stuff of reality it is
impossible to 'erase' them or even to say what that would mean.

On the other hand if you take physics (QM etc) to represent reality,
erasing memories in your brain will not undo the many interactions with
the rest of reality which have changed the world wave function (or
split the world in the MWI) and the erasure will not have any effect
except leaving you with amnesia.

This seems to me a common kind of error on this list. Someone starts
off assuming reality is a computation, or thoughts, or an axiomatic
system but they then slip off into drawing conclusions about the
physical world without showing how the physical world derives from
whatever they started with.

Brent Meeker
Received on Wed Feb 21 2001 - 20:47:13 PST

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