[ExI] Boltzmann brains

Re Rose rocket at earthlight.com
Sun May 3 11:23:44 UTC 2020

Hi Rafal,

This is fascinating, I had to go look up "Boltzman brains". Wikipedia has
everything. The idea reminds me of the
everything-ever-written-or-that-will-be-written" thought experiment.

I think the hypothesis that a biological brain complete with all memories
is more likely to form spontaneously than a galaxy is fun to contemplate --
but isn't quite right.

We know that generally, conditions in most locations of the galaxy are not
conducive to stable biological existance. Also, a brain is a subsystem of a
biogical system, the bit that houses our idenity, but still just a piece of
a whole system, and dependant on the rest.*

The molecules composing a brain are biological in nature and are formed
under specific conditions, so the formation of these molecules in a given
random location is entropically unlikely.

Then, even with the molecules available, I think the spontaneous emergence
of even a single neuron is still unlikey as its structure is so highy
organized. Like the monkeys typing, if you have all the letters to make a
word, and then form groups of the words follwoing some syntax, - all formed
randomy and spontaneously - you could have brillions (with a "br"! Thats a
lot of them...) of versions with syntax and words and even grammer but
**still having no meaning**!

I have never seen evidence of the spontaneous formation in the galaxy of
even biological-like molecules (like an ATPase or something), much less
functional ones.

Even after you possibly get a neuron popping up someplace, it would need to
be near trillions of others, or just milllions, if you are talking about
the spontaneous formation of a Boltzman honeybee brain, for example. They
must form an isolated organ with functional regions, like mushroom bodies
and optic lobes and stuff.

And now you have to start thinking about the inter-neuronal wiring and
interconnections. Each neuron in a working brain has about 100-10,000
connections, they ALL have to be right to have a system that is holding
information (ie, memories).

All together, this is overall such a hugely low probalistic occurance that
is fun to think about but seems rather unlikely, at least to me.

IMHO, I think this is why biology is so different from physics - it is
biological processes that drive the organization of molecules into such
ordered structures, and these processes follow the harsh and nasty laws of
evolution, increasing the overall infomation held in such colllections of
interdependant molecules, far beyond what could be held or acted upon via
simple physically probable interactions that  randomly occur in the

Physics is blind except to elementary forces, and the statistics of large
numbers, while biology drives the accretion of information by communicating
with and learning from its envirionment.


* IMHO, I think whole-body cryopreservation is far better than
neuropreservation as I believe the body is a system and you need all of it.
Thus, I have issues with uploading. Different topic! Anyhow, a Boltzman
brain complete with memories but no body seems very anamolous to me, and
unlikely to have even transient consciouness. YMMV.   -R

Message: 12
Date: Fri, 1 May 2020 22:31:29 -0400
From: Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: [ExI] Boltzmann brains
        <CAAc1gFhmoEPHoMjhenYskn1TeTy+q4ooYseZOM6iPO=HgjjLyA at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

It occurred to me today that Wolfram's hypergraph theory offers a solution
to the paradox of Boltzmann brains.

Boltzmann brains show up when you contemplate sufficiently large
numbers of fluctuating
physical entities (atoms, molecules), where any physically possible
arrangement of molecules eventually happens by some random aggregation of

The theorists assume that the likelihood of a particular arrangement of
smaller entities coming "randomly" into existence is a more or less simple
function of the number of entities needed to form that arrangement.

Since it takes a lot fewer atoms to make a brain than needed to make a
galaxy, brains just randomly forming and miserably and almost immediately
expiring somewhere in the universe should outnumber galaxies randomly
forming in that universe by some hundreds of orders of magnitude.
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