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Psy-Kosh comments on The Hero With A Thousand Chances - Less Wrong

63 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 04:25AM

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Comment author: Psy-Kosh 31 July 2009 06:55:25AM *  13 points [-]

Nice story. I was about to say that while the Hero was right in considering anthropic explanations of the Counter-Force, he probably should have considered that merely as a candidate hypothesis and waited until he examined the records before concluding that anthropic effects were the entirety of the CF... Until I recalled this bit: "...Were you planning to mention that the 'hero' which your council chooses and anoints, often turns out not to be the real hero at all? That the Counter-Force often ends up working through someone else entirely?"

Which, given that the councilors seemed to admit to, supports an anthropic explanation...

Except that there is, apparently, a piece of evidence against anthropic explanations of it: Given the anthropic CF, wouldn't there then be many more worlds in which the hero tried and failed completely, and they had time to summon another hero?

The implication seems to be that each time they had a hero go up against it, there was some success somehow somewhere, even if not through the hero's own efforts or even through him or her at all.

For that matter, wouldn't there be far more worlds that ended up with them saying "We used to have a Counter-Force protecting us from the Dust, but for some mysterious reason, it seems to have stopped as of late"

The very fact that even though it was established that a failure of the counter-force would result in a very slow defeat, with plenty of time to summon more heroes for further attempts... the Hero found himself in a world which remembers, up to that moment, the Counter-Force consistently working. This would seem to be more than a small ding against a purely anthropic explanation.

At least so it seems to me.

EDIT: probably shouldn't post late at night when I'm tired. Made some small corrections.