Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tenth Dimension Polls Archive 7

Poll #7: From this current "now", there are probabilistic outcomes. In a previous poll 91% said choice creates parallel universes. Do you believe it's possible to predict the future?
(poll ended Feb 1 08)
The answers provided were:
- Yes, because its potential already exists (50% voted for this)
- Only sometimes, and never very far (26% votes for this)
- Never, and if it seems we can it's coincidence (23% votes for this).

For me, this was an interesting question, because everyone has to have some ability to predict the future or they couldn't survive - if I step in front of that speeding bus, it will run me over and I will die. That's the kind of prediction that all of us make every day without even thinking about it, and in some ways that's the process we all have to go through as young children: we learn that hot things burn, that some animals are dangerous, that jumping off of high things can cause bones to break and so on. Most kids, through parental guidance and their own trial and error, develop their predictive capabilities well enough that they make it to adulthood, but darkly amusing projects like the Darwin Awards show us that not all adults appear to have developed their ability to predict the future well enough to avoid doing fatally dangerous things.
This poll questions asks us to consider the possibility that this process of prediction can be integrated into the parallel universes mindset of Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation. And saying that there are probabilistic branches from this moment forward (and backward!) also acknowledges that all of us are probably very lucky to be here, because all of us have near-miss moments in our past where, through bad luck, bad choices, or the actions of others, the more probable outcome was that we didn't survive! That's what my songs "Thankful" and the "The Anthropic Viewpoint" touch on as well: we are all very lucky to live in the universe that we live in.

Next: Poll 8
- Do you think you might ever have glimpsed another dimension?

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