X-Message-Number: 11336
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: comments to Dave, Mike, and Bob
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 22:49:44 +1100 (EST)

Hi everyone!

More discussion with Mike Perry: Basically, if we suppose that quantum 
theory will hive off worlds constantly, I'm saying that THOSE WORLDS will
be the worlds in which their particular versions of people or animals 
should be resurrected. Not ours. (I remain skeptical of this theory, but
that is a different issue --- and as I said before, neither general
relativity nor quantum mechanics give us a complete version of fundamental
physics, so that your ideas depend on a provisional theory justifying
another theory which in detail will probably turn out to be wrong).

Now given an infinity of time and space, no doubt it would be POSSIBLE to
do the kind of resurrection you advocate. We are basically discussing
its morality. I see the morality of reviving particular people, with
whatever understanding of history we might discover. I just don't see 
the morality of reviving quadrillion quadrillions of people, some close
but not identical copies of others, others entirely imaginary, etc etc.

If you do so because you think these revived people will be grateful
to you and therefore give you an advantage, then you are doing a
calculation rather than a moral act. Some may well be grateful, others
quite ungrateful, and a few may turn into enemies. If you revive all those
people at once, as a kind of sweep of the arm, my own sense of how I would
feel if I were revived that way tells me that I would not be at all
grateful. I'm just one among uncounted quadrillions whom you revived
to satisfy some drive within yourself. Yes, I'd try to make the best
of it, but I'd hardly feel grateful to you for my existence any more
than I feel grateful to my great-grandparents for my existence. After all,
my great-grandparents had no concern for ME as an individual. They may
at best have thought only briefly about the children of the children of
their children. 

If someone revives ME, not as an example of 20th Century Man or any other
extraneous reason, but because they want to have ME alive, I would
certainly feel grateful. But that just does not seem to be the situation
you are discussing. I will add that so far as the Pizers think of this
revival as revival of particular persons rather than some kind of mass
production of living beings for sake of mass-producing living beings,
then I agree with the morality of doing so.

To Bob Ettinger: Thanks for explaining the Bekenstein bounds. The ANU
academic library did not have that particular book by Tipler; the public
library did. I have already asked for it, but you've told me quite enough.

Besides the possibility of becoming larger than the fixed limit of current
human beings, there is another possibility: we may find out how to 
increase the number of possible states at such a fixed limit, while always
keeping that number fixed. Think of seeing colors: suppose that I have
an eye which can only see 3 colors, but can (over time) change the 3
colors that I can see to any color in the spectrum. Yes, this does violate
the set of possibilities for known matter fitting within a given mass
bound, but who says (when we speak of billions of years) that we now know
a complete set of all possible states of matter?

Without making particular assumptions, I will add that it's far from
obvious that the number of possible states for a given mass is finite. How
could that be so? Well, possible positions and velocities may remain
with a number the same as the continuum. A lot depends on whether or
not there is a single value of which all other values of position, time,
velocity etc are multiples. My own understanding of quantum mechanics
says not that position and momemtum are discrete, but that their PRODUCT
is discrete.

			Best and long long life for all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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