Posted: Mar 14, 2011 7:53 am
by Arcanyn
Paul Almond wrote:
Arcanyn wrote:I don't think you could win the lottery that way if the many world's interpretation is true. Whatever numbers are randomly chosen, a person will survive until the lottery is drawn. If at this point, it is determined that the wrong numbers were chosen, there are still possible worlds in which the person survives - there is a tiny chance that when a bullet is fired at a person's head, a tiny piece of the bullet will quantum tunnel through their head without harming them (with the rest of the bullet causing major but non-fatal brain damage). This is far, far more probable than the entire bullet quantum tunneling through their head and leaving them unscathed - their chances of ending up in that world are negligible. So the most likely outcome would be that the person will find themselves in a world in which they sustain catastrophic brain damage, but just enough of the bullet passes through them harmlessly that they avoid dying from it.

Hang on. Wouldn't such futures be a tiny proportion of the futures in which you are alive? Let's say this is the Uk lottery, with a chance of winning the main prize of 1 in 14 million. That suggests that out of all the possible futures you could have, some of them are from the group of one in 14 million situations in which you win, and some are from the group of situations in which you lose, but some freak event saves you, but in a horribly maimed way. Given that the latter would be probably less likely to happen to you than the 1 in 14 million chance of a lottery win, should we not expect that such futures will actually be rare, in comparison to the ones in which you simply won the lottery? Winning the lottery seems, to me, here, to be the most likely way of staying alive.

I am not saying that the concept of quantum suicide is valid: the whole thing would require many-worlds to be true, and even if it is, the idea that you can disregard the futures in which you die is controversial, of course, but I do think that if MWI is true, the futures in which you survived due to freak events would be much less common that ones in which you survived due to lottery wins: the lottery win is not all that improbable. That does not necessarily make doing this a sensible lifestyle choice.

Incidentally, I actually wrote some articles on this kind of thing recently, though I did not propose that anyone should actually do it, and do not propose that. It would be a silly thing to do.


My point is that whatever numbers are randomly chosen, the person will still be alive the next moment. Thus, there is nothing stopping them from existing in universes in which they will ultimately end up being shot, because they will still be able to be alive inside them - for a time, anyway. The universe has know way of 'knowing' that they will be shot a few days into the future in certain realities, and thereby prevent them from entering realities in which they will be dead at some point in the future. Only once the bullet has entered their brain is there a splitting off in which there are some universes in which they are alive at the next moment and some in which they are dead the next moment. Thus, they will most probably end up in a universe in which the wrong numbers were chosen and get shot, at which point the only universes in which they are alive will be the ones in which highly improbable quantum events just save them at the last moment, and thus these will be the only realities they can end up in.