Re: regarding QM and infinite universes

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 23:02:52 +1000

Danny Mayes wrote:

I think there are many things that never happen in even an infinite
universe, for reasons that are hard to put into words, and certainly not
expressable in terms of math. For instance, I do not believe there will
ever exist, anywhere in the multiverse, a reality in which Osama Bin Laden
is elected president of the United States in 2004, and is carried into the
White House on the shoulders of a boisterous, enthusiatic public. QM does
not overtake other physical laws, including difficult to define laws of
psychology. A computer could simulate such an event without granting the
actors in the simulation consciousness, but for it to actually happen in a
universe in which the participants were conscious actors on the stage of
reality, such an event would require countless millions of people to not
only do something totally illogical, but vehemently against everything they
would wish for or desire.

I don't see how you could possibly justify the above statements without
invoking supernatural causes. The MWI of QM implies that Bin Laden will in
fact become US president in some worlds, albeit of very small measure; this
is what the laws of physics actually state in this model, and if the model
is correct, the only way it could NOT happen this way is if the deity
intervenes and temporarily suspends the laws of physics. As for psychology,
although the complexity of the human brain makes a complete mathematical
model for practical purposes impossible, the same is true of any other
complex system where chaotic effects are significant, such as the weather.
It is simple enough to understand the brain very generally in mathematical
terms: there are 10^10 neurones, each of which can either be "on" or "off",
so there are 2^(10^10) possible brain states, and thus a similar number of
possible mental states (actually much fewer than this, because most
configurations will be nonsense, but the principle is clear). It is an
empirical observation that when large numbers of neurones are connected up
and organised in this way, the system has this emergent quality which we
call "consciousness". You can call this consciousness thing mysterious, but
we know it results entirely from the electrochemical activity in these 10^10
little bags of salty water; start scooping out bits of brain, and you will
eventually end up scooping out the consciousness as well. There's nothing
magical or contrary to the laws of physics about it.

Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Tue Jul 27 2004 - 09:17:03 PDT

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