Doomsday Argument (was: reasoning under computational limitations)

Peter Passaro (
Sun, 28 Mar 1999 14:42:43 -0500

Nick Bostrom Wrote:

>Are you aware that this is the same reasoning that gives rise to the
>Doomsday argument? Do you accept that argument? If not, why?

You'll have to excuse my naivete, I have only a cursory understanding of the Doomsday argument. It seems to me though that this argument can not be applied to living systems. Because of their special status as self organizing systems they would seem to fall into another category altogether. It seems that most of the points made in the doomsday arguement can only be applied to objects which do not act on themselves. The argument (or a variation thereof) may actually suggest the opposite conclusion - that humanity and life itself may reach a point where the likelihood that they would ever be destroyed is next to nil. There seems to be a general pattern of increasing complexity in systems such that once a system reaches a level of sophistication (such as the formation of atoms from subatomic particles) it becomes highly unlikely that the system will fall apart (every atom in the universe flies apart into its component parts). I think it likely that life and humanity and headed along such a path of unstoppable organization. The only way I can see it actually applying to the number of humans alive as a finite number is if humanity is superseded by another organism of its own creation. I will read deeper into the argument but at first glance it only seems to apply to isolated, inanimate objects.

Peter Passaro