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From: Doug Porpora <porporad.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2004 16:32:19 -0500

Hi all,

I have a query about Tegmark's argument I hope some of you might be

able to address.

First, let me say I am not a physicist or computer science person but

a humble sociologist with some lay physics knowledge on this topic.

Let me also say I find it a morally ghastly proposition that each of

us is duplicated an infinite number of times in an infinite number of

universes. If so, why ever bother to do the right thing? Some

infinite set of me's will be doing the wrong thing, so why not be one

of them?

So I have been thinking of possible counter considerations. Here is

one: Is it possible that the parametric coincidences required for

the existence of advanced (beyond microbial) life are so improbable

that (i) even in the right kind of universe, advanced life is likely

to occur only once; and (ii) it requires an infinite number of

universes even to get one occurrence of a me-ish person?

I am wondering whether probabilistically, (ii) is a coherent

theoretical possibility. It seems to suggest a probability that would

be represented as (1 / infinity) or perhaps as the limit as N goes to

infinity of 1 / N.

Then, according to this scenario (I think), the likelihood of a

me-ish person is equal to the limit as N goes to infinity of N * (1 /

N) = 1.

As I say, I am just a sociologist, not a mathematician. So I don't

know whether what I am suggesting is plain nonsense. It is certainly

speculative, but no more so than Tegmark's scenario.

Thanks for any feedback.

doug

Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2004 16:32:19 -0500

Hi all,

I have a query about Tegmark's argument I hope some of you might be

able to address.

First, let me say I am not a physicist or computer science person but

a humble sociologist with some lay physics knowledge on this topic.

Let me also say I find it a morally ghastly proposition that each of

us is duplicated an infinite number of times in an infinite number of

universes. If so, why ever bother to do the right thing? Some

infinite set of me's will be doing the wrong thing, so why not be one

of them?

So I have been thinking of possible counter considerations. Here is

one: Is it possible that the parametric coincidences required for

the existence of advanced (beyond microbial) life are so improbable

that (i) even in the right kind of universe, advanced life is likely

to occur only once; and (ii) it requires an infinite number of

universes even to get one occurrence of a me-ish person?

I am wondering whether probabilistically, (ii) is a coherent

theoretical possibility. It seems to suggest a probability that would

be represented as (1 / infinity) or perhaps as the limit as N goes to

infinity of 1 / N.

Then, according to this scenario (I think), the likelihood of a

me-ish person is equal to the limit as N goes to infinity of N * (1 /

N) = 1.

As I say, I am just a sociologist, not a mathematician. So I don't

know whether what I am suggesting is plain nonsense. It is certainly

speculative, but no more so than Tegmark's scenario.

Thanks for any feedback.

doug

-- doug porpora dept of culture and communication drexel university phila pa 19104 USA porporad.domain.name.hiddenReceived on Sun Jan 11 2004 - 19:41:32 PST

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