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Quantum Immortality

  1. Feb 23, 2010 #1
    Granted the validity of MWI, what sort of implications does this impose upon our notion of "death"?

    Is the idea of quantum immortality widely accepted among proponents of MWI?

    Does it suggest that each individual person would only perceive a multiverse whereby they continue to live indefinitely, irrespective of factors such as old age that would naturally terminate a conscious being (at least to the observer)?

    What about physical inevitabilities, such as the sun's death. I'm no physicist, but I can only imagine this would not bode well for life on Earth. Or what about the collapse of the universe into a singularity (as I understand it, this theory is not accepted unanimously, but assume it is)? Would I die then? Or am I doomed to live quite literally for an eternity, with no glimmer of an Omega Point looming on the horizon?

    Just the thought of it has me thinking back to Camus and his treatise on Sisyphus . . .

    PS I suppose I've made some mistakes in my interpretation of QM/MWI or just general physics. You'll have to excuse me. I'm no physicist--just a Wikipedia-junkie with a flair for skepticism. I just hope curiosity really does kill the cat! I don't want to live forever!
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2010 #2
    Shameless post bump. You guys look like a smart bunch. Someone oughta know!
  4. Feb 24, 2010 #3


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    You could try some of the other threads about it. If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you'll find a list. I think this is the only one I was involved in. I think the question of whether "you" survive is mainly a matter of how you define "you" (assuming that the MWI is the correct description of reality). I don't remember exactly what I said in that thread. If it turns out that I said something dumb in there, don't say I didn't warn you. :smile:
  5. Feb 24, 2010 #4


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    Here is another thread discussing the subject...my opinion on the issue was that you can't really conclude that the argument works without some additional philosophical assumptions:
  6. Feb 25, 2010 #5
    Penrose had an interesting idea about the teleporting gone wrong, so the original copy is not destroyed. It was something like 'Sorry, sir, you have been successfully transmitted to Andromeda, but your copy here for some reason is not destroyed. We have to fix it now and leave only one copy, don't worry; your disintegration will be absolutely painless"
  7. Feb 25, 2010 #6
    By definition, a sentient being can't perceive his own destruction. At any given moment, your only experiences consist of the past and the present. You do not know whether a meteorite is going to crash through the roof of your house and kill you instantaneously in the next moment.

    All your paradoxes arise because you think of "I" as a unique continuous entity. The continuity of human experience is only an illusion. The quantum immortality principle is that, at the time t+1, there _might_ be an entity (or entities) that shares all your memories at the time t. There's no guarantee that there is such an entity.

    Furthermore, quantum mechanics teaches us that, if there is an entity at t+1 that shares all your current memories verbatim, it's superimposed with an entity that distinctly remembers having sex with Angelina Jolie the previous night in addition to all your memories. (This entity has a relatively low probability, unless you're Brad Pitt, but it's definitely there.)
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
  8. Feb 27, 2010 #7
    It is easy to prove quantum immortality. Play Russian Roulette over and over. You'll survive in some universes. Unfortunately, it is just as easy to prove quantum immortality wrong.
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