Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quantum Swampman

The original Swampman thought experiment is here.

An alternate version of "Swampman": Let's get rid of the lightning bolt (too dramatic), and just go with quantum fluctuations. Virtual particles. That sort of thing.

In this version, Davidson is vaporized by the unlikely but not impossible simultaneous quantum tunneling of all of his constituent particles for random distances in many random directions. BUT, by another completely unrelated and hugely unlikely (but not impossible) quantum event, a whole new set of exactly identical particles materialize from the background vacuum energy of space and Swampman is born. However, the process happened so rapidly that Swampman is not even aware that he isn't Davidson, and no one watching would have noticed the change either.

Now, 10 minutes go by, as Swampman continues his oblivious enjoyment of the murky swamp, and then suddenly the same thing happens again. Swampman is replaced by Swampman-2. And again it happens so fast that neither Swampman-2 nor any observers notice it.

Now, 10 seconds go by and Swampman-2 is replaced by Swampman-3, via the same mechanism. And 1 second later, the same thing again. And so on until you get down to whatever timeslice you like.

So in this case, neither Davidson/Swampman nor anyone else who is observing him OR interacting with him will have any idea that anything is amiss. And the reason that no one notices anything wrong is that there is a continuity, and a relationship, between the information that is represented by the particles of the various versions of the Swampmen and Davidson, EVEN IF there is no causal connection between the particles themselves.

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