Re: Free will (was: Re: Nucleus Accumbens Transplant)

John Clark (
Tue, 8 Dec 1998 12:03:23 -0500

Hash: SHA1

Joe E. Dees <>


>>If there are an infinite number of universes then mass and energy are still conserved,
>>Infinity +1 = Infinity. If the number is only astronomical then either the conservation
>>laws are not true at the largest scale or the number of universes is constant,
>>if a universe splits off then someplace else two universes merge.

>Extropists, who presumably also well know the Law of Entropy,
>should know that the chances of two separate universes
>independently achieving the atom-for-atom relative locational
>identicality required for seamless merging (if even then it would be
>possible - something about two things in the same spacetime) is
>incalculably less than the chances of a single bifurcation allowing for
>one to split into two of them; therefore to assert that for each one
>that splits, two would merge seems to violate statistical laws.

If Many Worlds is correct then it's extremely common for universes to merge, although nobody knows if it's as common as them splitting, the best example is Young 2 slit experiment. You get an interference pattern when you fire a photon (or an electron) at 2 slits even if you send them through one at a time, it sure seems that something is going through both slits at the same time, but what? Other interpretations say that it is an abstract pilot wave or probability wave, Many Worlds is more concrete, it says it's just what it seems to be, 2 photons interfering with each other, and this is true even if you only send one photon. The other interpretations assume that there is only one reality (or no reality at all), Many Worlds makes no such assumption.

Let's do the two-slit experiment, but instead of using film to stop the photons after they pass the slit, let them head out into infinite space. If Many Worlds is correct then the entire universe splits in 2 when the photon hit's the 2 slits. There is nothing special about you the observer, you split just like everything else, you know that the photon went through one and only one slit, but of course you have no way of knowing which one.

Now let's do the more usual two-split experiment and put the film back in. The universe splits just as it did before when it passed the two slits, but when the photon hits the film and it no longer exists in either universe then the 2 universes fuse back together again. Looking back we find evidence that the photon (or electron) went through both slits and this causes an interference pattern. Again there is nothing special about an observer in this, the same thing would happen if nobody looked at the film, or even if you used a brick wall instead of film, because the important thing is not that the photon makes a record (whatever that is) but simply that it is destroyed. Mind has nothing to do with any of this so I don't need to explain it, or exactly what a measurement is.

Does all this violate Ockham's Razor? I'm not sure. Invoking all those universes is not exactly simple, but is it the simplest idea that explains what's going on? The Many Worlds interpretation is cheap on assumptions but expensive on universes.

John K Clark

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