Why you really want a physicist to speak at your funeral

by [anonymous]1 min read25th Oct 20136 comments


Personal Blog

A response to Aaron Freeman's "You Want a Physicist to Speak at Your Funeral."

If I had a physicist speak at my funeral, I would hope that he would talk about a lot more than the conservation of energy. I don't particularly care about what happens to my energy.

If I am lucky, he will speak about relativity. My family will probably have the mistaken intuition that only things in the present are truly real. Teach them about spacetime. They need to know that time and space are connected - that me being in the past is just like me being far away. The difference is that we will only have one way communication. Even if they will no longer be able talk to me, I will still talk to them through memories.

If I am not so lucky, he will speak about quantum mechanics. If I die young, my family will be grieving over the potential future I have lost. Teach them about many worlds. They need to know that our world is constantly splitting - that just before I died, the world split off a different future in which I am still alive. There is another world, just as real as our own, in which I survive. This world will even interact with our own in very tiny ways.

I want a physicist to speak at my funeral. I want everyone to understand that my continued existence is way more verifiable than a religious afterlife and way more substantial than a simple conservation of energy.

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I'd like to point out that something really far away is not the same as being in the past. In special relativity there is still a well-defined past and dead-you would most certainly be in it with respect to your family members. More or less, the past is the light-cone of all spacetime points that could have reached the current spacetime point - since you influenced them in your past, your past is also their past.

In my opinion, this is better suited to the open thread.

It looks like most people agree with you about the open thread. Oops.

I believe the definition of the well defined past is captured by the fact that the past can not be causally effected by you. I was trying to reference this when I said "one way communication"

It seems to me that a poet would be a better choice than a physicist. Most of the platitudes in the link or in your post are no better than those offered by a priest, if a bit fresher. Someone who understands people is a better choice for a speaker than someone who understands equations or machines.

I do mean that.

It is not verifiable relative to Copenhagen, but the data that is most simply explained by many worlds is verifiable relative to say Newtonian physics.

Sorry about creating an apparent non sequitur. I removed the MWI part from my comment while you were composing your reply, as it detracted from the intended message.