I think it should be taken seriously, in the sense that there is a significant chance that it is true. I agree that Less Wrong in general tends to be excessively skeptical of the possibility, probably due to an excessive skepticism-of-weird-things in general, and possibly due to an implicit association with religion.

However:

1) It may just be false because the big world scenarios may fail to be true. 2) It may be false because the big world scenarios fail to be true in the way required; for example, I don't think anyone really knows which possibilities are actually implied by the MWI interpretation of quantum mechanics. 3) It may be false because "consciousness just doesn't work that way." While you can argue that this isn't possible or meaningful, it is an argument, not an empirical observation, and you may be wrong. 4) If it's true, it is probably true in an uncontrollable way, so that basically you are going to have no say in what happens to you after other observers see you die, and in whether it is good or bad (and an argument can be made that it would probably be bad). This makes the question of whether it is true or not much less relevant to our current lives, since our actions cannot affect it. 5) There might be a principle of caution (being used by Less Wrong people). One is inclined to exaggerate the probability of very bad things, in order to be sure to avoid them. So if final death is very bad, people will be inclined to exaggerate the probability that ordinary death is final.

I agree that Less Wrong in general tends to be excessively skeptical of the possibility, probably due to an excessive skepticism-of-weird-things in general

Of all the things LW has been accused of, this is the first time I see a skepticism-of-weird-things in general being attributed to the site.

0qmotus5yRegarding one, two and three: shouldn't we, in any case, be able to make an educated guess? Am I wrong in assuming that based on our current scientific knowledge, it is more likely true than not? (My current feeling is that based on my own understanding, this is what I should believe, but that the idea is so outrageous that there ought to be a flaw somewhere.) Two is an interesting point, though; I find it a bit baffling that there seems to be no consensus about how infinities actually work in the context of multiverses ("infinite", "practically infinite" and "very big" are routinely used interchangeably, at least in text that is not rigorously scientific). Regarding four, I'm not so sure. Take cryonics for example. I suppose it does either increase or decrease the likelihood that a person ends up in an uncomfortable world. Which way is it, and how big is the effect? Of course, it's possible that in the really long run (say, trillions of times the lifespan of the universe) it doesn't matter. Regarding five, I guess so. Then again, one might argue that big world immortality would itself be a 'very bad thing'.

Open thread, Oct. 19 - Oct. 25, 2015

by MrMind 1 min read19th Oct 2015198 comments

3


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