Re: Evidence for the simulation argument

From: Mark Peaty <>
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2007 02:27:43 +0900

I think we have been through this before actually.

Can you point to any aspect of the world which can't be simulated no
matter how powerful the computer?

MP: For us mortals, this universe is in many respects infinite. If
'someone' IS running it within a 'computer' then they have to be running
all of it. Why? Because humans can do science. This means that our
little brains can come up with questions about everything and we do; in
fact we can say that 'we' - collectively the whole human species - must
have asked questions about everything we already have beliefs about. The
formal and systematic way of checking out answers to practical questions
of fact is through the assertion of an explanation which is able to make
specific predictions because we assume causality, then someone sets up
experimental situation to test the predictions. Now the experiment will
either falsify the assertions of the explanation because the predictions
were not correct, or the predictions will turn out to be correct in
which case the assertions will gain strength as explanatory tools and
become linked, in the minds of ever more people, with all the other
assertions that didn't get falsified. The more this happens, the more
the universe is constrained to comply with our explanations. 'So what?'
you say.

Well, as curious people keep asking questions about their world, so more
and more pervasive and detailed application of scientific theory occurs.
Curious kids grow up to be curious adults, and some are always going to
refuse to be fobbed off with the 'because it IS' response. And the ways
of asking questions are potentially infinite because answers get
re-input as new questions, which more or less guarantees non-linear
results. So newer experiments get created which just by the by
incorporate new juxtapositions of previously accepted results as part of
the experimental set up. Over time this effectively demands that the
accepted theories have to be 100% correct because any slight errors will
be multiplied over time. Now I realise this is a rather informal way of
asserting this but, as I said before, plain-English is what I want and
yes I know this does seem to make things long winded. But the bottom
line here is that, over time, scientific theories are constrained to be
ever more exactly correct with less and less margin for error. In effect
the human species will test just about all significant and practically
useful theories to vanishingly small tolerances so whatever might be
'simulating' the universe as seen from planet Earth has ever less margin
for error. Simply put the 'universe in the bottle' has to be perfectly
consistent and ontologically complete.

So the conspiratorial simulators must have 'computers' that are able to
increase their representational power to infinite precision when needed.
And can the conspirators predict before they start the simulation
running just precisely what tests and outlandish ideas the humans will
come up with? I think not.

I think this means that Stathis's 'no matter how powerful the computer?'
is a bit of a cheat [nothing personal you understand; what I am saying
is that I think the whole project of Mathematical universe and 'Comp'
may be just a very sophisticated house of cards.] I believe that either
all of our universe as seen on, at and from planet Earth is being
simulated perfectly or none of it is being simulated at all.


Mark Peaty CDES

 Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

> On 2/24/07, *Mark Peaty* <
> <>> wrote:
> Jason: "Quantum mechanics makes the universe seem random and
> uncomputable to
> those inside it, but according to the many-worlds interpretation the
> universe evolves deterministically. It is only the observers within
> the quantum mechanical universe that perceive the randomness and
> unpredictability, but this unpredictability doesn't exist at the
> higher
> level where the universe is being simulated (assuming many-worlds). "
> MP: I don't think I can accept this. Maybe I sound arrogant in
> saying this, but I think the idea of simulation is used a bit too
> loosely. I know there are those lurking on the Mind & Brain list
> and JCS-online who would say I am 'the pot calling the kettle
> black', because I am always asserting what I call UMSITW
> [pronounced um-see-two for English speakers] - updating the model
> of self in the world - is the basis of consciousness. But they
> misunderstand me, because I do not say there is anyone else doing
> simulation, merely that we experience being here because the
> universe has evolved self sustaining regions within itself which
> maintain their structure by means of dynamically modelling
> themselves and their local region so as to avoid fatal dangers
> while obtaining everything they need from their environments. My
> point here is simply that the universe is its own best simulation
> and that any ideas of something greater, such as a Matrix type
> operation, are science fiction only. Why? Because for a feasible
> universe like the one we seem to inhabit to be deterministic does
> not require that it is predictable nor that it can be repeatable.
> Nobody knows to what extent quantum level events are intrinsically
> random as opposed to being _pushed from 'behind' or 'below'_ so to
> speak.
> Whether the world can be simulated and whether the world is being
> simulated are two different questions. Can you point to any aspect of
> the world which can't be simulated no matter how powerful the computer?
> Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Sat Feb 24 2007 - 12:28:04 PST

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