This may be true, but I don't think anyone knows for sure, and it seems likely to me that the brain has the property of sensitivity to initial conditions, meaning that it's likely to do different stuff in different Everett branches.

Yvain recently asked about this on his blog -- he tends to agree with you:

So this suggests that [....] over timescales like that of human history we will see an overwhelmingly large number of universes that are completely identical on the human level - ones where electrons ended up in slightly different positions but no harm done [...]

More on-topic for the grandparent: Greg Egan's novella Oracle talks about the ethical issue of bad stuff happening in other Everett branches.

There must be chaotic amplification of quantum events going on. Any macroscopic system at finite temperature will be full of quantum events, like a molecule in an excited state returning to its ground state. The quantum randomness is a constant source of "noise" which normally averages out, but sometimes there will be fluctuations away from a mean, and sometimes they will be amplified into mesoscopic and macroscopic difference. This must be true, but it would be best to have a mathematical demonstration, e.g. that the impact of quantum fluctuations on the transfer of heat through an atmosphere will amplify into macroscopically different weather patterns on a certain timescale.

14Nisan8yThe fact that I can reliably multiply numbers shows that at least some of my decisions are deterministic. To the extent that I make ethical decisions based on some partially deterministic reasoning process, my ethical decisions are not chaotic. If, due to chaos, I have a probability p of slapping my friends instead of hugging them, then Laplace's law of succession tells me that p is less than 1%.

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.