X-Message-Number: 11335
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 22:08:48 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #11327

Thomas Donaldson writes,

>To Mike Perry: I meant it when I said that I did not know about the
>Bekenstein limits. Please either explain or refer me to an accessible

A good start is (to recapitulate from #11330) Tipler, *The Physics of
Immortality* pp. 30-32; then check other references in this book, then check
the Web.

>As for the possibilities of resurrection, your image of monkeys pounding
>away on typewriters provides an apt description. Whether or not there are
>multiple universes, I do not doubt that if we create enough versions of 
>Lucy then we will also resurrect the real Lucy --- not that we will have
>any means of telling just which one is the real Lucy.
Basically, the point of view the multiverse tells us to take seriously is that

there is no one Lucy that is *the* *real* *Lucy* while the others are fantasies,
but that "our" "real" past is multiple, insofar as information to narrow it
down has been lost. (And, despite my great respect for the field of
archeology and hopes that archeologists will be most successful, as
well as others who try to recreate the past, I think a great deal of
information about our past that would be important for such things as
resurrecting past individuals has been irretrievably lost--see my comments
below. So we'll have to
do some outright guessing if we are going to bring them back.)

... resurrecting quadrillions of versions merely
>hands us the job of dealing with quadrillions of semi-human apes.

Spaced over enough time in a hopefully immortal future, it would be no
burden at all. How about one ape per millennium? (More realistically, you
might resurrect societies of apes, but still spaced at comfortable
intervals. Or you might want to start with more advanced continuers--many
possibilities here.)

...>We have no way
>of proving that they did not [exist], and hence we should not bother with
Lucy but 
>recreate any person or object that takes our fancy. 

That's an interesting statement. According to the multiverse view, they
*did* exist. Even beings whose knowledge contradicts our history existed in
histories, but let's focus on those that fit the historical record. Yes, you
could indeed recreate whatever takes your fancy. This could apply to
creatures of long ago, or more recent humans. A human of more recent times,
if able to anticipate that others of the future might resurrect him/her,
might even seek to adopt and express characteristics that would "catch the
fancy" of future resurrectors. Virtue, good will, a sense of self-worth,
etc. As for people of today, there is another "characteristic" like this
that I see as especially meaningful, which is *to be a signed up
cryonicist*. More could be said, but let's go on.

>It is one thing, and highly worthwhile, to truly resurrect someone who
>once lived. But only one of those quadrillion versions has any real claim
>on our morality or our attention, and we do not know which one. Imaginary
>beings have no clear moral right to become existent beings.

Again, this is "single-world, single timeline" thinking, whereas the multiverse
idea provides a whole new perspective. I agree though, that when you *can*
be sure that "someone once lived" and have complete enough information to do
a straightforward resurrection, as we hope will happen with cryonics, that
has a special meaning and deserves special attention.

 >As for multiple past histories, there may be some sense to that notion.
>But as we learn more through archaeology or other means, the multiplicity
>goes down. To say that we truly have multiple past histories, you need 
>to establish that our processes of historical investigation (both
>those we use now and those which we may someday develop) show no
>convergence towards a single past history. That may be true, but you have
>not given evidence to that effect.

Reasonable evidence to that effect: we don't know what languages were spoken
10,000 years ago, before the invention of writing. We don't know what
thoughts people had, what dreams they dreamed, etc. We don't know the
detailed brain structure of any of those people, possibly excepting a very
few which may be known very imperfectly from glacial remains and the like.
We don't even know their DNA, except again for a few cases at most. It is
possible we will be surprised in the latter and find that very many people
left at least enough remains to recover their genome. But that alone would
not be enough to get them back. The information that would be necessary, by
appearances, is really lost and will not be recovered even if nanites can
sift through the earth's crust and the rest of the solar system atom by atom.

>Even with multiple histories, the only thing that would happen in my
>mind would be that the moral advantage in truly resurrecting someone
>of the past would become diluted.

Anybody you benefit will feel the benefit, i.e. you will have done something
good, and I think there will be a reciprocal effect. "Diluted" in some sense
perhaps, but still worth doing.

> Moreover such resurrections could
>not be done at random: we would somehow have to distinguish those pasts
>for which future study would not make them purely imaginary, and those
>pasts which are genuine pasts.

My feeling is that, with the promise of nanotechnology, space travel, etc.
we should be able, within a few centuries or so, to recover essentially all
the past information we are ever going to recover about life on our planet,
and  know with reasonable confidence that we have recovered it. Only then
would I advocate proceeding with the sort of resurrection project I've

Mike Perry

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=11335