From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>

Date: Tue Aug 14 2007 - 16:24:09 EDT

Date: Tue Aug 14 2007 - 16:24:09 EDT

Yes, I did oversimplify, omitting the CSI side of it for the sake of

brevity. Toss a coin 500 times and similarly you get an event of

probability < 10^(-150).

My understanding of the CSI argument is that if you have complexity, but

also structure that allows a significantly reduced description length of the

data, then you can indeed calculate these "magic number" low probabilities.

If the data has length N bits and you can find a description that is length

M bits where M << N, then the probability of this happening is 2^(M-N) and

if THAT is below 10^(-150) then it is deemed either "impossible" or the

result of deliberate design. So a piece of English text of sufficient

length would appear to be CSI because a program like WinZip will reduce it

to about 1/3 of the original size. If N-M > 500 you get to the magic bound.

The random coin-tossing is unspecified & hence the probability argument

doesn't have any weight.

However 500 survived 50/50 suicide attempts has a genuine pattern - 500

heads - highly specified but simple. To be specified and complex you'd have

to have the bit patterns represented by the sequence of Heads and Tails (or

spin up/spin down in the original example) spell out come complex

information, like a Shakespeare sonnet, or a chapter of the bible. As soon

as the sequence deviates from the desired text "Shall I compare thee to a

summer's daz" then the physicist gets killed. But in a tiny subset of the

universes, the sonnet gets reproduced exactly and the physicist survives.

The CSI arose simply because of the vast number of possible universes

available.

Iain

On 8/14/07, David Heddle <heddle@gmail.com> wrote:

*>
*

*> 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
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*> missing the whole CSI side of the argument. (Aside, I don't think Dembski's
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*> 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
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*> claim that the event is either impossible or designed.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> On 8/14/07, Chris Barden <chris.barden@gmail.com> wrote:
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*>
*

*> > Iain,
*

*> >
*

*> > This is potentially a clever way of testing the question. But I
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*> > wonder.. how can we be sure that the universe in which 1000
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*> > potentially lethal experiments resulted in a live physicist will be
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*> > 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
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*> > many other universes, the experiment continues, and in one of those we
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*> > verify the MWI. We'd be awfully lucky to be in that universe however.
*

*> >
*

*> > Chris
*

*> >
*

*> > On 8/14/07, Iain Strachan < igd.strachan@gmail.com> wrote:
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*> > > I recently had some thoughts about the Everett "Many worlds"
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*> > interpretation
*

*> > > of Quantum Mechanics, and how this might affect ID hypotheses.
*

*> > >
*

*> > > It stemmed initially from stumbling upon the "Quantum Suicide" article
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*> > in
*

*> > > Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_suicide )
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*> > >
*

*> > > Quantum Suicide is a thought experiment developed by cosmologist Max
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*> > > Tegmark, that should in principle distinguish between the Many Worlds
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*> > > interpretation (that at each instant in time, all possible quantum
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*> > outcomes
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*> > > actually happen in separate non-interacting parallel universes). This
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*> > is in
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*> > > contrast to the Copenhage Interpretation, where the exact quantum
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*> > state is
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*> > > determined at the time of the collapse of the wave-function due to an
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*> > > observation being made.
*

*> > >
*

*> > > In the Quantum Suicide experiment, somewhat similar to the
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*> > Schrodinger's Cat
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*> > > experiment, a physicist sits in front of a loaded gun. The apparatus
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*> > then
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*> > > measures the spin state of an electron, and either fires or doesn't
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*> > fire
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*> > > according to the measured result. It is assumed that the physicist's
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*> > > consciousness is terminated on death. At the point of measurement of
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*> > the
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*> > > spin state, the universe buds into two parallel universes; in one the
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*> > gun
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*> > > fires and kills the physicist, and in the other it doesn't and the
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*> > > physicist's consciousness continues. Clearly this process can be
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*> > repeated
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*> > > indefinitely, and at every run of the experiment, the physicist's
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*> > > consciousness continues to exist in the universe where the gun didn't
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*> > fire.
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*> > >
*

*> > > Therefore if the MWI is true, one can have universes in which
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*> > incredibly
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*> > > unlikely events can happen. ID theorist Dembski proposes the
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*> > "universal
*

*> > > probability bound" of 10^(-150) and that events with probability lower
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*> > than
*

*> > > this are deemed "impossible" - or the result of deliberate
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*> > design. However,
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*> > > the calculation is based on the number of discrete events in a SINGLE
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*> > > universe over its (currently accepted) lifetime.
*

*> > >
*

*> > > To defeat the Universal Probability Bound, one only has to repeat the
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*> > > Quantum Suicide experiment, say 1000 times in succession ( P approx =
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*> > > 10^(-300)) - and if the MWI is true, then this will happen in some
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*> > universe,
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*> > > and a conscious physicist will be sitting there having observed 1000
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*> > > non-firings - an event that should be impossible in a single universe.
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*> > > Clearly it can continue indefinitely ( a million times).
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*> > >
*

*> > > It is recommended that you don't try this at home unless you are VERY
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*> > > convinced that the MWI is true! (And you accept the deep
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*> > philosophical
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*> > > questions as to whether it is "your" consciousness that survives).
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*> > >
*

*> > > However, if we now apply this to something like evolution, then one
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*> > can see
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*> > > that even if the ID people are correct, that the sequence of mutations
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*> > > required to get from primordial life to intelligent life is incredibly
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*> > > unlikely, nonetheless if MWI is true then it will have occurred with
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*> > > probability close to 1 in some universe, without the need for a
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*> > designer.
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*> > > At this point, if you argue "yes but why did this incredibly unlikely
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*> > event
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*> > > occur in OUR universe", the answer is simply to invoke the Anthropic
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*> > > principle - if it didn't happen in our universe, then we wouldn't be
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*> > here to
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*> > > ask the question.
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*> > >
*

*> > > It should be noted that this argument doesn't really make a proper
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*> > > scientific explanation of why we're here. It is akin to a "God of the
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*> > Gaps"
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*> > > argument - anything you can't explain by other scientific methods can
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*> > be
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*> > > explained away by appeal to MWI, in which all sorts of whacky things
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*> > can and
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*> > > will happen, like the molecules in the air spontaneously assembling to
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*> > form
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*> > > the Mona Lisa, or kicking a football at a wall, and it passing
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*> > straight
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*> > > through it by Quantum Mechanical tunnelling. As an undergrad exercise
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*> > in QM
*

*> > > classes I was given the task of computing the probability of this
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*> > happening
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*> > > - it comes out to something like 1/( 10^10^34). Note the double
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*> > > exponentiation this is 1 followed by 10^34 zeros! However, it's
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*> > negligible
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*> > > compared to the number of new universes that bud off at every instant
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*> > in
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*> > > time. Hence the football miracle also happens a lot in the MWI
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*> > > interpretation. [ Incidentally we also computed the probability of a
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*> > > thermodynamical "miracle" where all the atoms in the football happen
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*> > to be
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*> > > vibrating in the same direction, and it carries it over the
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*> > wall. This was
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*> > > immensely greater than the QM Tunnelling probability!].
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*> > >
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*> > > However, the key point I was going to make is that incredibly low
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*> > > probability doesn't have to imply design, except it does involve
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*> > appeal to
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*> > > "MWI of the Gaps", and one can't, I think make a distinction between
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*> > the
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*> > > two.
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*> > >
*

*> > > Any thoughts?
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*> > >
*

*> > > Iain
*

*> > >
*

*> >
*

*> > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
*

*> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
*

*> >
*

*>
*

*>
*

-- ----------- After the game, the King and the pawn go back in the same box. - Italian Proverb ----------- To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.Received on Tue Aug 14 16:24:40 2007

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