UFO Conjectures

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Are we living in a computer simulation?



  • Rich,

    To add some sugar to the pudding:


    "If you take seriously the theory of all possible universes, including all possible variations," [Paul] Davies said, "at least some of them must have intelligent civilizations with enough computing power to simulate entire fake worlds. Simulated universes are much cheaper to make than the real thing, and so the number of fake universes would proliferate and vastly outnumber the real ones. And assuming we're just typical observers, then we're overwhelmingly likely to find ourselves in a fake universe, not a real one."

    I'm sure that a solipsist in your readership is going to say "this is impossible! After all the universe cannot possibly work that way"... and while they are at it, discredit any one who disagrees with that assessment.

    Neil deGrass-Tyson in your article rates it as a 50-50 proposition.

    But what if if one were to use Douglas Adams' calculations in "The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe"?

    “It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.”

    It's pretty obvious we [and any possible computer simulations] cannot and do not exist.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Saturday, April 09, 2016  

  • But then what are we to do with Descartes?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, April 09, 2016  

  • For the solipsist, Descartes is still the one true god... For all others, it is "cash and carry". ;-)

    Actually as far as I can see most Philosophy survives unscathed in a "simulated universe" unless it is rooted in an incompatible belief system that *requires* the universe to have been created / maintained in a specific manner. One might argue that "universal truth" remains true whereever it may be reasoned. Even the idea that the Universe stands on the backs of Turtles on the backs of more Turtles [etc... all the way down] works if the turtles represent simulations.

    OTOH, There seems to be an almost natural revulsion by some to the idea of a simulated universe. I think because unconsciously it makes one feel that life has no intrinsic value or that it opens the door to such beasts as Roko's Basilisk who have the power to torment the simulated soul for all eternity.

    The conscious [skeptical] argument against a simulation is an Occam's Razor conclusion-- it is easier for reality to be "natural"... but as Davies noted a simulation "costs less" in energy than a "natural universe" especially when it can be inferred that it is more than likely that the "parent universe" has a different physics [or a different understanding of physics] than ours... So wouldn't it be "easier" for this to be a simulation?

    Next comes the inevitable "If its a simulation where is the proof?" So what if the argument is not "provable"? One might ask does it need to be proven? Nothing changes if it is not proven -- other than some of the flaws / unusual observations might be show to have their roots in "flaws" in the programming.

    A skeptic will more than likely say, "If you can't prove it then it does not matter. Stop wasting time on it." So maybe it really does not matter one way or the other.

    OTOH, I think I'd be more afraid that a "natural universe" is falsifiable... and generally the only way you might find out is via a catastrophic failure...

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Saturday, April 09, 2016  

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