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By Pulsars as physics Laboratories, Ed.

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Sample text

Meanwhile, the Doomsday Argument continues. Its basic quantity or independent variableÐsuch as time or counted livesÐhas not been decided. Participants recognize that its choice is crucial, but they have not settled on a criterion. Moreover, whatever quantity they choose, they must also decide what lives to count. Should they include future cyborgs? Androids? All conscious entities in our galaxy? Who (or what) comprises the so-called reference class? Scholars realize that hi-tech risks are important; hence some say that the reference class should be something like computer owners, or perhaps people who understand the Doomsday Argument.

For them indi€erence has no meaning. Most of us use a more relaxed de®nition, which allows best estimates prior to any trials. ) As Guy played with his die without ®nding any bias, he gained more con®dence in its fairness. He conjectured that it came from a discarded child's game and fell from a trashcan. Since manufacturing defects (perhaps an o€-center bubble inside) are rare, Guy's con®dence was high at the outset and higher after visual inspection. Yet the die might still be biased somehow.

By itself the ®t in Equation 1 is not statistically signi®cant. 5. The combined weight of all this support makes the formula compelling. Of the two expressions in Equation 1, the ®rst is more convenient for most mathematics, while the second emphasizes that the ratio T=J is what counts, not T and J individually. Many later formulas in this treatise are mere modi®cations and generalizations of this main equation. It applies to our two microcosms and by inference to the human race. However, parameter J di€ers from one entity to another.

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