[extropy-chat] Is Many Worlds testable?

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Dec 29 05:26:18 UTC 2006

Damien writes

>> > This is probably a silly suggestion, but could a physicist do the
>> > observing directly, and then be dosed with Rohypnol or some other
>> > drug interrupting short term memory, preventing the memory of
>> > observation from going into long term storage?
>>The problem is that the memory affecting drug doesn't restore
>>the physical object to a state that is identical to what is happening
>>in the other branch.
> Yeah, I know that's the usual statement. I was trying to dig into the 
> soft underbelly of the oft-implied "consciousness collapses the state 
> vector" model and see how that might be consistent with observed 
> quantum erasure. A doubly-foolish effort. Ah well.

I think that several posters don't understand Deutsch's logic. As
you imply, he's targeting the idea of consciousness playing any
role.  Since the computer will be conscious---and since interference
will still nonetheless be observed (we predict)---then the view that
consciousness collapses the wave function will be refuted.

It really would be up to the defenders of the Copenhagen position,
or, at least if it's different, the "consciousness contributes" position,
to respond to your suggestion. They would have to announce 
whether consciousness existed at time t and could do its thing
even though it is not remembered by anybody or anything at
time t+d.  Presumably, they would---if their courage doesn't
desert them---respond to your suggestion the same way they
ought to respond to Deutsch's: the consciousness *was*
effective at a certain time, and so the wave function collapses.

But we know it won't   :-)


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