[ExI] Free will was: Everett worlds

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sat Aug 22 14:07:41 UTC 2020

On Fri, Aug 21, 2020 at 8:26 PM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

* > You are correct that cow spelled in English can't say "moo". But
> what about cow spelled in DNA,*

DNA contains information but for information to do anything it has to be
about something, and in this case the information is about a sequence of
Amino Acids in a protein. Information by itself can't do anything because
information by itself never changes, but matter can change, and a protein
is made of atoms and atoms are made of matter. In Alan Turing's 1935 paper
he introduced something that we now call a Turing machine, he explained how
matter could be organized in such a way that it performed a calculation, he
gave us the basic principle behind the operation of all computers. A
mathematical book can't add 2+2, not even if it contains Turing's brilliant
paper, because the atoms in the book are not organized in the way that
Turing said they needed to be in to perform calculations. The important
thing to remember about a Turing machine is that it's a machine, and
machines are made of atoms, matter can change but information by itself
cannot, it needs the help of matter. And without change there is no
calculation or intelligence or consciousness.
* > Everett's theory could very well be right but would require
> the ontological existence of infinity as a physical quality.*

Maybe, but not necessarily, nobody knows. The number of Everett Worlds is
everything that is physically possible, and that might not be infinite, it
might just be astronomically large raised to the astronomically large power.

> > *Our Hubble  volume alone has an information capacity of approximately
> 7*10^186 by  Bekenstein's bound.*

That's the maximum amount of information according to Bekenstein that could
fit into a volume the size of the observable universe, but the actual
amount is far below the maximum, it's about 10^104 bits, 10^82 times less.
But never mind, the trouble with the Bekenstein's bound is that it
assumes General Relativity holds true all the way down to the Planck level
of 10^-35 Meters and 10^-43 Seconds, and that is almost certainly not true.
We won't really know how much information a given volume of space can
contain until we have a Quantum Theory of Gravity.

* > Another issue with Everett's theory is that, if consciousness is
> truly unnecessary for the functioning of MWI, then how can you explain the
> experimentally verified phenomenon of the Quantum Zeno effect?  Briefly,
> quantum states do not transition while they are being  observed. So a
> radioactive atom would never decay so long as someone was continually
> observing it. So a radioactive atom would never decay so long as someone
> was continually observing it. Why would the universe always wait for you to
> look away before splitting into multiple quantum states? *

Suppose an atom has a halflife of one second, the universe splits and so do
I after one second.  In one universe the atom decays and in the other it
doesn't. In the universe where it didn't decay after another second the
universe splits again, and again in one universe it decays but in the other
it has not, it survived for 2 full seconds. So there will be a version of
me that observes this atom with a one second half life surviving for 3
seconds, and 4 seconds, and 5 years, and 6 centuries, and you name it. By
utilizing a series of increasingly complex and difficult procedures in the
lab it is possible for the lab to be in the universe that contains
observers that see the atom surviving for an arbitrary length of time. But
the longer the time and the more atoms involved the more difficult the
procedures become and is soon ridiculously impractical.

John K Clark
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