So what does adding up to normal mean?

It means that if in your branch you are the first one to whistle the tune, there is no one else in your branch to contradict you. (Just as you would expect in One World.) In some other branch someone else was first, and in that branch you don't think that you were the first, so again no conflict.

if my normal is Newtonian physics

Then "adding up to normal" means that even when Einstein ruins your model, all things will behave the same way as they always did. Things that within given precision obeyed the Newtonian physics, will continue to do it. You will only see exceptions in unusual situations, such as GPS satellites. (But if you had GPS satellites before Einstein invented his theory, you would have seen those exceptions too. You just didn't know that would happen.)

In case of morality it means that if you had a rule "X is good" because it usually has good consequences (or because it follows the rules, or whatever), then "X is good" even with Many Worlds. The exception is if you try to apply moral significance to a photon moving through a double slit.

An explanation may change: for example it was immoral to say "if the coin ends this side up, I will kill you", and it is still immoral to do so, but the previous explanation was that "it is bad to kill people with 50% probability" and the new explanation is "it is bad to kill people in 50% of branches" (which means killing them with 50% probability in a random branch).


Okay, so on reflection, I think the idea that it all adds up to normality is just junk. It doesn't mean anything. I'll try to explain:

A: MW comes into conflict with this ethical principle.

B: It can't come into conflict. Physics always adds up to normality.

A: Really? Suppose I see an apple falling, and you discover that there's no such thing as an apple, but that what we called apples are actually a sub-species of blueberries. Now I've learned that I've in fact never seen an apple fall, since by 'apple' I meant the fruit of an independent species of plant. ... (read more)

Stupid Questions Open Thread Round 3

by OpenThreadGuy 1 min read7th Jul 2012209 comments


From the last thread:

From Costanza's original thread (entire text):

"This is for anyone in the LessWrong community who has made at least some effort to read the sequences and follow along, but is still confused on some point, and is perhaps feeling a bit embarrassed. Here, newbies and not-so-newbies are free to ask very basic but still relevant questions with the understanding that the answers are probably somewhere in the sequences. Similarly, LessWrong tends to presume a rather high threshold for understanding science and technology. Relevant questions in those areas are welcome as well.  Anyone who chooses to respond should respectfully guide the questioner to a helpful resource, and questioners should be appropriately grateful. Good faith should be presumed on both sides, unless and until it is shown to be absent.  If a questioner is not sure whether a question is relevant, ask it, and also ask if it's relevant."


  • How often should these be made? I think one every three months is the correct frequency.
  • Costanza made the original thread, but I am OpenThreadGuy. I am therefore not only entitled but required to post this in his stead. But I got his permission anyway.



  • I still haven't figured out a satisfactory answer to the previous meta question, how often these should be made. It was requested that I make a new one, so I did.
  • I promise I won't quote the entire previous threads from now on. Blockquoting in articles only goes one level deep, anyway.