Exploring Max Tegmark's Multiverse: Quantum Suicide & Human Decisions

• bennington
In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of quantum suicide and the application of the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) to humans and their decisions. The discussion also raises questions about the nature of particle spin and the consistency of mathematical laws in the universe. The website referenced provides information on quantum suicide, but some aspects could have been clearer. The concept of spin in quantum mechanics is different from classical spin and can be measured on a specific axis. The MWI suggests that all systems, including humans, obey the same quantum laws as individual particles.
bennington
I was reading and attempting to understand Max Tegmark's research on the multiverse, and I found this:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/quantum-suicide.htm

Now, while How Stuff Works is generally a good site, there are some areas that they could have been clearer on. The paragraph

A man sits down before a gun, which is pointed at his head. This is no ordinary gun; it's rigged to a machine that measures the spin of a quantum particle. Each time the trigger is pulled, the spin of the quantum particle -- or quark -- is measured. Depending on the measurement, the gun will either fire, or it won't. If the quantum particle is measured as spinning in a clockwise motion, the gun will fire. If the quark is spinning counterclockwise, the gun won't go off. There'll only be a click.

[Aren't there other aubatomic particles other than quarks?]

I always thought that the spin of a particle does not mean the particle is spinning like a top in physical space, but refers it as intrinsic angular momentum. The mathematics behind it behaves (I think) a lot like "normal" angular momentum of a top spinning but from what I have read, that is not what is meant by spin. I also have heard that it is impossible to measure its spin due to confinement.

Also, if the universe has a consistent basis on the same mathematical laws, then other variables can't be changed. Otherwise, the whole laws of mathematics would be off. In other words, if the universe has a progressive time which could be equated to a math problem being worked out, then even the smallest problems would have to obey the rules of the biggest problems. Correct?

I seem to fail to understand how this would apply to humans and their decisions, since the MWI only applies to subatomic particles. Any insight?

Aren't you expecting a bit much from the site? I mean, the details aren't the point are they?

bennington said:
I always thought that the spin of a particle does not mean the particle is spinning like a top in physical space, but refers it as intrinsic angular momentum. The mathematics behind it behaves (I think) a lot like "normal" angular momentum of a top spinning but from what I have read, that is not what is meant by spin. I also have heard that it is impossible to measure its spin due to confinement.
It's true that spin of a particle isn't much like classical spin, but you can certainly measure a particle's spin on a given spatial axis, using a stern-gerlach device for example, and you'll always get either the result "spin-up" or "spin-down" on that axis.
bennington said:
Also, if the universe has a consistent basis on the same mathematical laws, then other variables can't be changed. Otherwise, the whole laws of mathematics would be off. In other words, if the universe has a progressive time which could be equated to a math problem being worked out, then even the smallest problems would have to obey the rules of the biggest problems. Correct?
I don't understand what you mean by "other variables", or "progressive time which could be equated to a math problem being worked out", or what this has to do with the quantum suicide thought-experiment. Can you elaborate?
bennington said:
I seem to fail to understand how this would apply to humans and their decisions, since the MWI only applies to subatomic particles. Any insight?
No, the whole point of the MWI is to assume that all systems obey the same quantum laws as individual particles, including macroscopic systems like us (which are after all just large collections of interacting particles). See here or here for more info.

1. What is Max Tegmark's Multiverse theory?

Max Tegmark's Multiverse theory is the idea that there are multiple parallel universes that exist alongside our own. These universes may have different physical laws or constants, and could potentially contain different versions of ourselves and the world we live in.

2. How does the concept of quantum suicide relate to the Multiverse theory?

Quantum suicide is a thought experiment that explores the idea of immortality in a Multiverse. It suggests that if the Multiverse theory is true, then there is a universe where you will always survive, no matter how many times you put yourself in a life-threatening situation. This concept raises questions about the nature of reality and our decisions.

3. Can quantum suicide be tested or proven?

As a thought experiment, quantum suicide cannot be tested or proven in a scientific sense. It is meant to stimulate philosophical discussions about the nature of reality and human consciousness. However, some theories in quantum mechanics, such as the Many-Worlds Interpretation, offer support for the concept.

4. What implications does quantum suicide have for human decision-making?

Quantum suicide challenges the idea of free will and the notion that our choices have consequences. If every possible outcome of a decision exists in a different universe, then do our decisions truly matter? This raises philosophical and ethical questions about the role of humans in the Multiverse.

5. Are there any criticisms of Max Tegmark's Multiverse theory and quantum suicide?

There is ongoing debate and criticism surrounding the Multiverse theory and quantum suicide. Some scientists and philosophers argue that these concepts are not testable or falsifiable and therefore do not fall under the realm of science. Others question the validity of the assumptions and interpretations used in these thought experiments. Ultimately, the Multiverse theory and quantum suicide remain highly speculative and controversial ideas in the scientific community.

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