Re: Tegmark's Anthropism

Hal Finney (
Thu, 31 Jul 1997 12:33:09 -0700

Speaking of Theories of Everything...

Browsing the web I see that David Deutsch, one of the principle originators
of the quantum computing concept, has a new book coming out called
"The Fabric of Reality", about how close we are to a ToE. From the
web page at

> The Fabric of Reality presents a startlingly integrated, rational and
> optimistic world view - the result of taking seriously the deepest ideas
> of modern science and the philosophy of science. The four main strands
> of explanation involved in this synthesis are quantum physics and the
> theories of evolution, computation, and knowledge. These strands may
> seem unrelated, yet this book shows that they are so closely intertwined
> that we cannot properly understand any one of them without reference to
> the other three. Considered in isolation, each of them has explanatory
> gaps which have inhibited people from accepting them as being literally
> true. But considered jointly, they reveal a unified fabric of reality
> that is objective and comprehensible, and in which human actions and
> ideas play essential roles.
> The most profound of the four strands is quantum theory, which contains
> our most fundamental knowledge of the physical world. Taken literally, it
> implies that there are many universes 'parallel' to the one we see around
> us, and that they are detectable through the astonishing phenomenon of
> quantum interference. The multiplicity of universes turns out to be the
> key to the unification of the four strands. For example, both the growth
> of scientific knowledge and the evolution of biological adaptations are
> best understood as multi-universe phenomena: normally, universes tend
> to become less alike with time, and the only two known processes capable
> of making them more alike are biological evolution and human thought.

I thought that last sentence was interesting. I suppose the idea is that
randomness usually makes things diverge, while selection processes are
convergent in that they seek out optimal solutions.

Short reviews on the web page suggest that the book is going to be well
received and influential.