Re: FIN insanity

From: Jacques Mallah <>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 19:58:55 -0400

>So you believe these people are insane, that they are mentally ill.
>You believe that they perhaps would benefit from consulting a doctor.
>Perhaps they are even a danger to themselves or others?

    Yes. Themselves primarily, but possibly others too.

>What category of mental illness would you attribute to those who
>believe in quantum immortality? Looking at the list of disorders at
>, the most likely possibility seems to be
>Delusional Disorder,,
>or perhaps Schizophrenia. These are the ones which mention delusions,
>which is apparently what you consider this belief to entail.

    Delusional of grandiose type, perhaps. Shared Psychotic Disorder
( seems a better fit. But I'm no
doctor and even a doctor would need to learn a lot more about people's
personal lives than I would care to to make a diagnosis.
    But I'll tell you what I do know. I have had many encounters with
crackpots on the internet. I'm talking about people who believe in
perpetual motion (free energy), that relativity is wrong, that quantum
mechanics is wrong, etc. These people do not simply hold mistaken beliefs.
They hold them religiously.
    At first the problem seems simple: they need someone to explain some
physics to them and correct their misconceptions. Explaining the physics to
them doesn't work, though. They rationalize their way around anything you
can say to them. I know I'm personally somewhat ineloquent and tend to be
overly frank, but I've seen many other people try to help out as well. The
observing crowd is firmly on the side of accepted science, so someone will
often help.
    I don't know if there is a medically accepted disorder that covers
crackpots, but there should be. Perhaps their ego is so much on the line
that it blinds them. It doesn't help that the arguments end up getting
bogged down deeper and deeper into technical issues simply because the
rationalizations they use get more complicated.
    Well, I would say that I've seen a similar phenomenon with the FIN
crowd. You may not agree, but at least you should believe that I do think
they aren't rational, and am not just saying that as a rhetorical device.

>Despite the difficulty of the concepts, the slipperiness of the reasoning,
>the many alternative interpretations, you are so convinced of your own
>correctness that you think someone must be insane to disagree with you?

    On the matter of FIN, yes. Of course I do not think that anyone who
merely entertains the idea is insane, just those who hold to it. For
example, Don Page at one time thought "quantum suicide" would work. Another
person (and I) explained the problems with it, and he soon realized that it
wouldn't. I have no problem with that. (see, ironically with a comment
by James Higgo that presumably he would have later disclaimed.)
    In the case of James Higgo, I actually think that the fact that there
was a long pause at a certain time in the activity of this list, and
especially in my posts, allowed him time to come to his own rational
conclusions (and thus reject FIN) without the ego-problem of losing a heated
argument. Perhaps my posts do more harm to the anti-FIN cause than good you
might then say, but on the other hand the alternative of letting the FIN go
unchallenged and presumably be likely to snare new recruits seems a larger

                         - - - - - - -
               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 Thu Aug 30 2001 - 17:00:14 PDT

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