In case it helps... i created a gist for the python code that should give some code highlighting help.
Hrrm ok. That is a different way of looking at it.
My take on the word is that the normal usage of better is by itself a context free comparator. The context of the comparison comes from the things around it (implicitly or explicitly) thus "UberClippy is better than Clippy" (implied: At being a Paperclipper), Manchester United is better than Leeds (implied: At playing football), or even "Betterness is better for humans than clippiness". I have no problem with "Betterness is more humane than clippiness".
Note that I don't think i'm disagreeing with Eliezer here. Fundamentally you are processing the logical concept with a static context, i process it with a local context. Either way it's highly unlikely that the context you hold or that i would derive would be the same as the paperclipper versions of ourselves (or indeed any given brain in potential brain space).
I certainly agree with you that you can't argue a paperclipper into caring about what you call betterness.
I do however think that "betterness is better than clippiness" is not a tautology, rather it is vacuous. It has as much meaning as "3 is greater than potato" and invokes the same reaction in me as "comparing apples and oranges".
At best, if you ranked UberClippy (the most Clippy of all Paperclippers) and UberHuman (the best possible human) on all of the criteria that is important to humans then UberHuman would naturally rate higher, that is a tautology. And if you define better to mean that then I would absolutely concede that (and I assume that you do). However i would also say that it is just as valid to define better such that it applies to all of the criteria that is important to Paperclippers.
To state it a different way, To me your first paragraph leads to the conclusion "Paperclippers cannot do better because clippiness is not a type of betterness" which seems to me like you're pulling a fast one on the meaning of "better".
What is your evidence for stating that human-betterness is "obviously better" than clippy-betterness? Your comment reads to me you're either arguing that 3 > Potato or that there exists a universally compelling argument. I could however be wrong.
I am confused by what you mean by "better" here. Your statement makes sense to me if i replace better with "humanier"(more humanly? more human-like? Not humane... too much baggage). Is that what you mean?
This probably sounds like a dumb question but given the assumptions of many worlds, timeless physics, no molecular identity and then adding that time travel is possible, why would that even be specially interesting?
In particular, why would that be different than 2D land that suddenly works out that instead of always having to move forward in the Z dimension you can move backwards as well.
This is 100% anecdotal and has next to no details (so i wouldn't consider it a contender for any part of the bounty) however this seems relevant (assuming it's true) :-
I hope that helps.