Re: PhD-thesis on Observational Selection Effects

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri Jun 16 2000 - 17:12:08 MDT

I generally use a modified form of Occam's Razor:

"That simplest theory is correct which most uniquely predicts the
present given the past."

Thus, for example, the Doomsday Argument is out because it would have
predicted the end of the world shortly after the Industrial Revolution.

The Everett-Wheeler many-worlds theory is actually simpler than
contemporary theory - it omits state-vector reduction - yet still
predicts the existence of our world. The Modified Razor strikes
Many-Worlds down because it predicts our world much less uniquely than
the modern theory of physics.

Use of the Anthropic Principle is permitted, but you must demonstrate
that a sufficiently large number of samples exist - otherwise the theory
would not predict the existence of the exceptional sample.

In the future, I'm thinking of replacing the Modified Razor with one
which takes account of physical opportunities for causal influence.

--    Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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