Re: [asa] Many Worlds Interpretation and ID

From: David Heddle <>
Date: Tue Aug 14 2007 - 15:38:24 EDT

Hi Iain

No, what you claim that Demnski said:

"ID theorist Dembski proposes the "universal
probability bound" of 10^(-150) and that events with probability lower than
 this are deemed "impossible" - or the result of deliberate design. "

is not what he said, He never said that events with probability lower than
his magic number are impossible or the result of deliberate design. You're
missing the whole CSI side of the argument. (Aside, I don't think Dembski's
EF is legit, but you might as well give him accurate attribution.)

No need for many worlds. Just add 45 more distinct cards to a normal deck.
Shuffle and deal those 97 cards. You have just witnessed an event that has a
probablility around one in 10^152. But I am fairly sure Dembski would not
claim that the event is either impossible or designed.

On 8/14/07, Chris Barden <> wrote:
> Iain,
> This is potentially a clever way of testing the question. But I
> wonder.. how can we be sure that the universe in which 1000
> potentially lethal experiments resulted in a live physicist will be
> the *actual* universe in which we reside? I would think, rather, that
> the probability of that happening is rather small. It may be that in
> many other universes, the experiment continues, and in one of those we
> verify the MWI. We'd be awfully lucky to be in that universe however.
> Chris
> On 8/14/07, Iain Strachan <> wrote:
> > I recently had some thoughts about the Everett "Many worlds"
> interpretation
> > of Quantum Mechanics, and how this might affect ID hypotheses.
> >
> > It stemmed initially from stumbling upon the "Quantum Suicide" article
> in
> > Wikipedia ( )
> >
> > Quantum Suicide is a thought experiment developed by cosmologist Max
> > Tegmark, that should in principle distinguish between the Many Worlds
> > interpretation (that at each instant in time, all possible quantum
> outcomes
> > actually happen in separate non-interacting parallel universes). This
> is in
> > contrast to the Copenhage Interpretation, where the exact quantum state
> is
> > determined at the time of the collapse of the wave-function due to an
> > observation being made.
> >
> > In the Quantum Suicide experiment, somewhat similar to the Schrodinger's
> Cat
> > experiment, a physicist sits in front of a loaded gun. The apparatus
> then
> > measures the spin state of an electron, and either fires or doesn't fire
> > according to the measured result. It is assumed that the physicist's
> > consciousness is terminated on death. At the point of measurement of
> the
> > spin state, the universe buds into two parallel universes; in one the
> gun
> > fires and kills the physicist, and in the other it doesn't and the
> > physicist's consciousness continues. Clearly this process can be
> repeated
> > indefinitely, and at every run of the experiment, the physicist's
> > consciousness continues to exist in the universe where the gun didn't
> fire.
> >
> > Therefore if the MWI is true, one can have universes in which incredibly
> > unlikely events can happen. ID theorist Dembski proposes the "universal
> > probability bound" of 10^(-150) and that events with probability lower
> than
> > this are deemed "impossible" - or the result of deliberate
> design. However,
> > the calculation is based on the number of discrete events in a SINGLE
> > universe over its (currently accepted) lifetime.
> >
> > To defeat the Universal Probability Bound, one only has to repeat the
> > Quantum Suicide experiment, say 1000 times in succession ( P approx =
> > 10^(-300)) - and if the MWI is true, then this will happen in some
> universe,
> > and a conscious physicist will be sitting there having observed 1000
> > non-firings - an event that should be impossible in a single universe.
> > Clearly it can continue indefinitely ( a million times).
> >
> > It is recommended that you don't try this at home unless you are VERY
> > convinced that the MWI is true! (And you accept the deep philosophical
> > questions as to whether it is "your" consciousness that survives).
> >
> > However, if we now apply this to something like evolution, then one can
> see
> > that even if the ID people are correct, that the sequence of mutations
> > required to get from primordial life to intelligent life is incredibly
> > unlikely, nonetheless if MWI is true then it will have occurred with
> > probability close to 1 in some universe, without the need for a
> designer.
> > At this point, if you argue "yes but why did this incredibly unlikely
> event
> > occur in OUR universe", the answer is simply to invoke the Anthropic
> > principle - if it didn't happen in our universe, then we wouldn't be
> here to
> > ask the question.
> >
> > It should be noted that this argument doesn't really make a proper
> > scientific explanation of why we're here. It is akin to a "God of the
> Gaps"
> > argument - anything you can't explain by other scientific methods can be
> > explained away by appeal to MWI, in which all sorts of whacky things can
> and
> > will happen, like the molecules in the air spontaneously assembling to
> form
> > the Mona Lisa, or kicking a football at a wall, and it passing straight
> > through it by Quantum Mechanical tunnelling. As an undergrad exercise in
> QM
> > classes I was given the task of computing the probability of this
> happening
> > - it comes out to something like 1/( 10^10^34). Note the double
> > exponentiation this is 1 followed by 10^34 zeros! However, it's
> negligible
> > compared to the number of new universes that bud off at every instant in
> > time. Hence the football miracle also happens a lot in the MWI
> > interpretation. [ Incidentally we also computed the probability of a
> > thermodynamical "miracle" where all the atoms in the football happen to
> be
> > vibrating in the same direction, and it carries it over the wall. This
> was
> > immensely greater than the QM Tunnelling probability!].
> >
> > However, the key point I was going to make is that incredibly low
> > probability doesn't have to imply design, except it does involve appeal
> to
> > "MWI of the Gaps", and one can't, I think make a distinction between the
> > two.
> >
> > Any thoughts?
> >
> > Iain
> >
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Received on Tue Aug 14 15:38:40 2007

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