Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Will I live forever?

  1. Jan 27, 2005 #1
    As I understand the many worlds interpretation of QM, theres no collapse in the wavefunction just a splitting of the universe! So given that I believe theres always a possibility not to die at a certain moment, the universe splits in 2 one where im alive and one where im dead.

    As long as theres some tiny tiny little possibility of me surviving I will do that in some universe. And given that I die in some other I would have to presume that my soul, and I, goes along to the universe where I am alive ! I see no reason why this shouldnt go on atleast to the end of all universe's. Sure ill be old and grumpy but thats ok with me. o:)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2005 #2
    First of all you don't die in "the other universe", you are already dead. But that aside, i don't see why you bring in the many worlds interpretation. All you say is that if there is a tiny change that i keep on living, i will live forever. You can say that in classical physics too.

    marlon
     
  4. Jan 27, 2005 #3

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Haha, yes, there is even a serious paper on that, quant9709032, by Tegmark, when he talks about the "quantum suicide". I think that's one of the parts where Everett's interpretation goes wrong: I think that you are assigned A "world" or "branch" by the Born rule, and if you happen to die in that one, you are dead! And not that you are "assigned after the fact" to one of your possible states (that's how they try to get the right statistics out). All the other "yous" are just clones of you, but which do not have YOUR *I* experience, but their own. It is a bit like when you are condemned to capital punishment, they quickly make a clone of you before killing you: that won't make any difference to *you* ! But that's my personal view.

    There is a more scientific view on why this ethernal life cannot be correct: we would be already extremely old by now ! Millions of years old.

    cheers,
    Patrick.
     
  5. Jan 27, 2005 #4
    yes but the world is quantum mechanical and every outcome is realized in many worlds theory.

    The explanation to schrodingers cat according to many worlds theory is that the universe splits in two one where the cat is dead and one where it is alive! Now which way did the thinking cat go? Since one is dead it is probably not thinking so theres only one way it could have gone, that is its alive in its own universe!
     
  6. Jan 27, 2005 #5
    so my clones lives on forever, thats also ok with me :biggrin:

    Ive thought about this problem, why we dont see alot of very very old people. Ill just have to assume that we are on a branch where there arent alot of old people, theres always that possibility. :rolleyes:

    ill look into that paper :smile: .
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/9709032
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2005
  7. Jan 27, 2005 #6
    haha that quantum suicide is surely something that would spice up any party !!

    Also in the ten shots fired there are only one state in which he survived but there alot of states where he died.. and thats probably why we dont see alot of very very old people its highly improbable that we would be on the same branch as them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2005
  8. Jan 27, 2005 #7

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes, that explains why you don't see OTHER people being old. But it doesn't explain why YOU aren't very old (like Highlander :-)

    cheers,
    Patrick.
     
  9. Jan 27, 2005 #8
    haha that one is easy! I was born in 1979 :wink:
     
  10. Jan 27, 2005 #9

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Those others aren't even clones! They are in those other worlds because something different happened to them than happened to you. So they are different people. Their living on doesn't help you at all.
     
  11. Jan 27, 2005 #10
    Aren't we talking about the clone in the world that would be 'created' when I die? If so, shouldn't he be 'created' with all of my memories, experiences, etc. up to that point? The only difference would be, let's say, the bullet just grazed him instead of hitting him in the head.

    What's the belief (I hesitate to call it a religion) that the Universe exists because I'm here? Everything and everyone else is just something my mind has put there to occupy my universe, but if I cease to exist, so does the Universe.

    Maybe this is going on in the quantum mechanical Universes. You, and only you, will live forever. That's why you don't see any million year old people running around.
     
  12. Jan 27, 2005 #11
    Another interresting thing is that there might always be a small probability that I will die the next moment, that is one of my clones die (!?) but I myself live on (atleast for the moment). This gives the buddist idea of dying and beeing reborn again every moment a whole new meaning. They say leave ur past behind you, let your past die and be reborn every second. You cant truly live if you dont die and get reborn every second. If you are truly living every instant you can have no past, for if you did its always in your thoughts and then you are missing the moment and you might aswell be dead since the only thing that truly exist is the moment.

    And all this time this might actually be the case!
     
  13. Jan 27, 2005 #12
    This thread just impresses on me how rediculous the many worlds interpretation is.
     
  14. Jan 27, 2005 #13

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Exactly.


    This philosophical viewpoint is well-known and existed before QM, and is called solipsism. Indeed, the MWI has something solipsist about it.

    cheers,
    Patrick.
     
  15. Jan 27, 2005 #14

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I wouldn't say that. It is the logical consequence of 2 things:
    1) the strict superposition principle is valid for ALL KNOWN physical interactions. So what sets an "observation" apart from an "interaction" ?

    2) As conscient beings we observe statistics in correspondence with the Born rule.

    So you have 2 options: OR you set up a theory where "observations" are well-defined physical processes (for instance, each time you interact with the zargon-field, you have a measurement ; if the zargon field is not touched upon, you have a physical interaction described by the Schroedinger equation), OR you accept that observations (what happens in your volt meter, your eye...) are also physical processes, described by unitary time evolution.
    If you don't do anything special, you automatically end up in the second option, and it is difficult to stop before you are in a MWI-like scenario. And if you DO something special, you better explain very well all EPR situations.

    cheers,
    Patrick.
     
  16. Jan 27, 2005 #15
    Maybe. I don't seem to have any trouble never ending up in an MWI scenario, though in this forum I feel like a novice more often than not, so maybe I'm missing something. MWI is a huge assumption that makes no new predictions and, as far as I know, can't be tested. Given that, I'd as soon never suggest it is a reasonable interpretation and instead be left with something that makes other people uncomfortable.

    There is nothing in quantum mechanics I've ever run into that made me need to add a monstrous 800 pound gorilla like MW to the mix. What am I missing?
     
  17. Jan 27, 2005 #16
  18. Jan 27, 2005 #17
    this weird immortatlity is the direct consequence of the quantum nature of reality as well as an infinite universe/multiverse where any finite structure must exist in unlimitted quantity-

    the idea that these other yous are mearly copies/clones/others is utterly disproven by the nature of the mind and the body: your body and mind are patterns in matter- the matter is continuously replaced as you eat/defecate- every few months all the matter in your brain is replaced and the copy process is no where near exact- the brain's structure is only reproduced in terms of the general relationships [neurons are replaced through active traces]- the exact pattern is always changing- a human being is really a series of patterns badly copied from previous patterns which continually copies it's parts completely over a year or so- this means that you can only be defined by your rough PATTERN- not the local matter that your pattern is embodied by- and not by some exact quantum state- any copy process which continues and preserves your GENERAL patterns of relationships of your mind and memory is BY DEFINITON a continuation of the original you- in an infinite universe or a universe with infinite parallel worldlines due to quantum mechanics- a death/dissolution of a local pattern would inevitably result in a jump of continuos consciousness to a random spacetime where that pattern forms and continues by whatever process- copying is usually accomplished locally through the mechanism of the body's regenration- but if a local simple mechanical continuation fails itcwould be the result of a technological direct copy of structure/process or the result of a chaotic complex computation- the later happens naturally [such as with quantum cosmology] and does not require locality to work! either intensional or natural/accidental- but ALL possibilities must exist somewhere in infinity- all these mechanisms for the continuation of your pattern are the same as well- the bodies regeneration is the same as the brain's pattern being destroyed and continued by a random process that results in your pattern re-emerging- this branching of-course happens even when you are alive and thriving- every state your brain has ever been in from birth is randomly generated and continues it's own worldline somewhere if you live in an infinite multiverse

    so I'd bet when a feedback circuit driven information process like a brain ceases- it's perspective and consciousness must continue wherever in the whole Cosmos the pattern happens to continue-

    every being that ever lived probably experiences an immortal continuum of consciousness that continues for awhile locally until physical factors like aging or disease make a local continuation improbale and they experience a jump to another environment/world- these periodic jumps would continue forever- for there is always a possible next state for any actively conscious process/pattern-

    none of this can ever be really known as long as we are limited in knowledge and technology-
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2005
  19. Jan 27, 2005 #18
    That test is flawed. First, it suggests that to the scientist sitting there, they will hear ten clicks, but then suggests that in all outcomes the assistant will have seen the scientist die. This makes no sense.

    Even if I am somehow incorrect in my statement above, the test that it is left with is one in which if the theory fails to be true, no one can ever know. If it succeeds, only one person knows, and they can never prove it to anyone else.

    In short, it's unscientific hogwash.

    Fun philosophically though.
     
  20. Jan 27, 2005 #19

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Well, that should then read: "in ALMOST all outcomes"...

    Hehe, that's what makes it hard ! :tongue: It is exactly the same as the "hard problem" in philosophy concerning consciousness: you only really know about your own.

    I wouldn't say that. In fact, the question is more the opposite: as I pointed out, it is a natural consequence of current QM formalism, as long as you don't have an explicit theory of what sets a "measurement" apart from a "physical interaction". So the ball is more on the side of the Copenhagen interpretation, to tell us when a physical process must NOT obey the Schroedinger equation, and when, for a system, we cannot, in principle, have a hamiltonian. I don't say that it is impossible, I even hope it will be one day. But there is NOTHING in view. For instance, superstringtheory STILL is a strict quantum theory in construction.


    :smile:

    However, I agree with you that what Tegmark writes is probably not right. It is because "real hardcore" Everettians have a program (of which I think it is doomed to fail): namely DEDUCE the Born rule from unitary QM. As you normally do NOT get out the right probabilities on "equal split", they invent a lot of systems in order to force out the Born rule.

    Also, as I pointed out somewhere else, it is just a *way of thinking* attached to current QM (but of which we don't really have any end in sight for the moment - which doesn't mean anything: in the 18th century, there was not really an end in sight for Newtonian mechanics either). However, *how* weird is it ? It destabilises us concerning our notion of "observation", in that we always assumed that what we observed was really there. After the introduction of relativity, people couldn't accept it, because it destabilized them concerning their notion of time. So this is good thinking exercise :smile: !

    When I look at my family, I do not really think that they are "clones" and that I can now beat them up because my real family is somewhere else o:)
    I take the assumption that this MWI way of thinking is useful when interpreting certain experiments, just as "action at a distance" is a useful way of thinking when calculating the orbit of a satelite. It will probably change - maybe not in my time, but in a few hundreds of years.

    But I still repeat: as long as I don't get a physical description of when a physical interaction cannot be described anymore by the Schroedinger equation, you naturally end up in a MWI like scenario ; and as far as I know, in the current situation, no such thing is in view.

    cheers,
    patrick.
     
  21. Jan 27, 2005 #20

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    First of all, the "immortality" idea is a consequence of a system the Everettians have to invent to try to crank out the Born rule. I also think it is wrong (or maybe not - however, they need to introduce extra hypotheses to do so). But concerning your "matter replacement argument" that doesn't go against the fact that there is a collective quantum state at any moment which represents "your body" and which ends up in an entangled state with the rest of the universe. And *that* is the essential problem to be solved, namely what makes that *you* (as a sentient experience) are only aware of ONE of these body states. That is - until further notice - the meaning of the Born rule, to me. (and that is also what is denied by true Everettians)

    But all this leads us probably too deep into philosophy. Although weird, MWI-like views have the advantage of explaining very simply the "apparent non-local" character of QM, which is otherwise very hard to understand without an explicit "action at a distance" mechanism of which we don't know what physical basis they have.
    So if I have to choose between "intuitive but new unknown physics" or "weird but consistent" views, when working in QM, I prefer the second option, realising it is attached to a certain theory which can change in the future.

    cheers,
    Patrick.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Will I live forever?
Loading...