Re: Many-Worlds Interpretation

Ross A. Finlayson (
Mon, 29 Mar 1999 17:53:03 -0500

If two consciousnesses can exist in separate left and right lobes of the brain, then this illustrates another beauty of our random (?) evolution, redundancy, like our redundant lungs and kidneys. Vital redundancy is another Darwinian advatange.

Dan Fabulich wrote:

> At 10:00 PM 3/29/99 +0100, you wrote:
> > Mike Lorrey wrote:
> >
> >> > Perhaps someone can clear something up for me. Does
> >> > the MWI solve the observer problem? As far as I can
> >> > tell it simply replaces the question, "why do I
> >> > observe this state", with, "why do I observe this
> >> > world".
> >>
> >> It answers that question as well, by random chance.
> >
> >So it doesn't answer the question.
> >From the excellent Many-Worlds FAQ:
> Q25 Why am I in this world and not another?
> ---------------------------------------
> Why does the universe appear random?
> ------------------------------------
> These are really the same questions. Consider, for a moment, this
> analogy:

The universe does not appear random.

> Suppose Fred has his brain divided in two and transplanted into two
> different cloned bodies (this is a gedanken operation! [*]). Let's
> further suppose that each half-brain regenerates to full functionality
> and call the resultant individuals Fred-Left and Fred-Right. Fred-Left
> can ask, why did I end up as Fred-Left? Similarly Fred-Right can ask,
> why did I end up as Fred-Right? The only answer possible is that there
> was *no* reason. From Fred's point of view it is a subjectively
> *random* choice which individual "Fred" ends up as. To the surgeon the
> whole process is deterministic. To both the Freds it seems random.

I do not think Fred would like being divided. Each hemisphere of Fred would have memories, or else it would be someone new, not Fred. It wouldn't seem random to Fred because he would remember going under the knife. They would probably get together for revenge.

> Same with many-worlds. There was no reason "why" you ended up in this
> world, rather than another - you end up in all the quantum worlds. It
> is a subjectively random choice, an artifact of your brain and
> consciousness being split, along with the rest of the world, that makes
> our experiences seem random. The universe is, in effect, performing
> umpteen split-brain operations on us all the time. The randomness
> apparent in nature is a consequence of the continual splitting into
> mutually unobservable worlds.

The universe proceeds independently of us. The sun rising and setting each day is a good illustration of that.

> (See "How do probabilities emerge within many-worlds?" for how the
> subjective randomness is moderated by the usual probabilistic laws of
> QM.)
> [*] Split brain experiments *were* performed on epileptic patients
> (severing the corpus callosum, one of the pathways connecting the
> cerebral hemispheres, moderated epileptic attacks). Complete
> hemispherical separation was discontinued when testing of the patients
> revealed the presence of two distinct consciousnesses in the same skull.
> So this analogy is only partly imaginary.
> --------
> I like this explanation. You might not agree with MWI, but it does at
> least answer the questions it has set out to answer, correctly or incorrectly.
> -Dan

We can go into a chemistry lab, and measure identical quantities of reactants, and split each quantity into two. Then, we can combine these reactants and each will have the same result, whatever the chemical reaction might be. This is observable and repeatable. This means it is hypothetically possible to disprove randomness .

Metaphysically, this might be completely different.

If I were to suggest some science fiction, I would start with all the Asimov books, then Frank Herbert's _Dune_ series.

Ross F.

Ross Andrew Finlayson
"C is the speed of light."