Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Many-worlds libertarianism

Via Marginal Revolution, here's a question from Scott Aaronson:
what do libertarianism and the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics have in common?
His answer is that they both appeal to what he calls "bullet swallowers," who are willing to follow theoretical principles to seemingly outlandish conclusions, whereas they are rejected by "bullet dodgers," who think the conclusions suggest some rethinking is needed in the theorizing.

Mark me down as a bullet-dodger on both points, though I'd put a qualifier such as "purist" before "libertarian" as used here. I want to see substantial empirical data before I believe that, say, the FDA (let alone the Defense Department) should be abolished, or that there are innumerable copies of ourselves being created every moment as the universe splits into more universes.

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