Re: Doomsday argument & Shooting Room
Wed, 11 Dec 96 23:58:37 GMT

The Doomsday argument: Robin Hanson wrote:

>Leslie is probably right in saying that his Doomsday
>argument may have punch, given our actual state of

I disagree. It is not a tricky matter though; I have written
a serious critique (approx. 14pp) over the Doomsday argument
which I would be very glad to distiribute to clear-headed
people on this list, for comments. I plan to submit it for
publication later.

The Shooting Room: Eliezer wrote that the chances of winning
in Robin's variation of the Shooting Room (where it is not
known whether an even would win or it would require a double
6) were ((1/6) + 1/36) / 2)=7/72. I think that Robin's idea
was that in a given situation, if I find myself in a room
with very many of people, then that would indicate that it
was difficult to win (i.e. that it would require a doubble
six), since otherwise the experiment would probably have
terminated before that many people got into the room. This
would make 7/72 a bad estimate. -The connection which Robin
seems to see between this variation and the doomsday
argument is not immediately clear to me, however.

"A new paradox": I missed the original posting about the
$1000 and $1000000 situation, but I gather that it is
"Newcomb's paradox" that is being discussed. It is not very
"new" though; a lot has been written about it (mostly in
decision theory). I would choose the $1000 alternative.

Nicholas Bostrom