Why no white talking rabbits?

From: Eric Hawthorne <egh.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2004 01:00:34 -0800

Jesse Mazer wrote:

> Why, out of all possible experiences compatible with my existence, do
> I only observe the ones that don't violate the assumption that the
> laws of physics work the same way in all places and at all times?

Because a universe whose space-time was subject to different physical
laws in different regions would not have
been able to generate you and sustain you, or more precisely I suppose
would only be able to generate
and sustain you with infinitesimal probability.

And it would be even more highly unlikely that should you have been
magically conjured by this
inconsistent-or-inconstant-physical-laws universe, that you would
observe any other people (or rabbits, white or otherwise)
because they themselves would have only infinitesimal probability of
being magically, coincidentally conjured into
that universe.

It's better to find the all of the essential constraints (all the way
back to 10^-43 seconds after the big bang) which made it highly probable
that you (or something like you) would exist in the universe, and then
explain how those constraints are
all consistent with each other and with information theory,
and then to realize that a set of constraints HAS TO BE consistent with
(all of) each other and with information theory
and with making your (or equivalent creature's) existence highly
probable, in order for you to actually exist with any
high probability. By the argument de facto, I think it's safe to say
that "things in the universe are such" that people
(or functional equivalents) are highly probable to exist on a small
but significant set of planets
(those with the right temperature ranges and proportions of different
elements) in the galaxies in our observable
portion of the universe.

(us) highly probable,
White talking rabbits with watches are inconsistent with those
constraints, in ways too boring perhaps to get into.
Ok, since we're way down here in the post, I'll get into it. General
intelligence of human-like level (involving
ability to hypothesize, abstract flexibly, construct a wide variety of
functional, purposeful constructions out of
raw materials, and plan actions and consequences in detail), only
evolves by natural selection
in critters that are physically equipped to DO SOMETHING with their
intelligence. For a rabbit, it's pretty
much limited to hopping about in more complex patterns to avoid being
eaten, based on some kind of vastly
intelligent psyching out of where its preditor is going to strike next,
and to determining where to find the
very best places to find the most nutritious and tasty grass. This is
too limited a domain to require or select
for a general, long-range constructing and planning mind-firmware to
develop in a rabbit brain..

Another favorite of mine is why dolphins and whales are KIND OF
intelligent (like a poodle or parrot is)
but not extremely... So what, we're going to develop more complex
tricky ways to bump things with
our snouts? I don't think so. Group hunting (in a too-easy, too uniform,
acceleration-constrained-because viscous fluid habitat)
is as complex as dolphin brains ever need to be.

Cheers, Eric
Received on Thu Jan 08 2004 - 04:02:55 PST

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