Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?

From: Stephen Paul King <>
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 11:32:41 -0400

Dear CMR,


----- Original Message -----

From: "CMR" <>

To: "Everything List" <>

Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 10:22 AM

Subject: Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?

> > [SPK]

> > IMHO, this latter situation seem to be what D. Deutsch proposes as a test
> > for his MWI. If we can create a physical implementation of a quantum
> > computation that has greater computational power than that allowed by the
> > classical (as per the Copenhagen Interpretation or other interpretations)
> > case, then it would verify .MWI. A failure of such would be a
> > falsification.

> [CMR]
> Perhaps Stephen, but I offer that it would ultimately only lend support to
> the view that the classical model is incomplete. This reasoning reminds me
> of the anecdote about the eminent astronomer who, when his student commented
> on how naive it was that for so long people believed the earth to be the
> center of the universe, replied "on the contrary, given a belief that one
> is stationary relative to the celestial panoply and given no
> additional hard evidence other than the sun, for instance, appearing in the
> east -arcing across the sky - then sinking out of sight in the west, it
> would be foolish to think otherwise". It was at the time the simplest
> explanation, lacking any solid additional detailed observation. And it was
> simply wrong.



    This situation would seem to argue against Occam's Razor without further contemplations. People that I correspond with often ask me: "What is the "problem" for which your solution is offered?" I respond by pointing to this notion of incompleteness that you mention as a start.

    As to the story of the eminent astronomer, let us recall how tend to assume as "truth" our beliefs even though they are often justified by no more than a consensus of opinion.

> [CMR]
> On the subject of consciousness, I wonder how fruitful it is to conduct
> thought experiments that infer the observer's consciousness. The reason I
> wonder this is (because I am? no, that's another story..) that I'm reading
> more and more of late about the "zombie within" concept where it seems that
> while we operate under the illusion of "self" control, in fact some entity
> that is the product of one's integrated anatomical and physiological
> pattern is actually acting and reacting measurably before "I" am aware; even
> when I believe I thought of and "initiated" the action. Whether or not one
> is hallucinating, we may in fact all be in the end delusional.


            Indeed, there is some empirical evidence (discussed in Roger Penrose's wonderful books) that what we consider as our 1st person experience of the world is nothing more than a construct formed fractions of a second prior to our awareness of it. What is amazing is how the generation of this construct (simulation!) is edited continuously and edited such that what is taken to be subjectively as the exact present moment is actually up to of a second in the past.

    Could you tell us the names of some of the books and papers that you are reading about the "zombie within" concept?

> [CMR]
> My question is: if "real", how does the above situation effect assumptions
> that are founded on the assumption of a single conscious observer/actor's
> "first person" experience? Perhaps all we can safely refer to is the
> observer and make no additional claims as to their, or even my own,
> conscious experience *lacking additional supportive empirical data*.


            This is exactly the kind of question that has pushed me to question the entire idea of "realism" as it is used in physics and mathematics. Could what we take as reality be nothing more than a "collective delusion" or "Maya"? I mean this in all seriousness.

            The question then becomes: Given that we each have a 1st person experience of a world, what is necessary and sufficient to explain how it is generated? I believe that we already have a wide variety of mathematical and conceptual tools to go through this question and to form coherent conclusions.


            I do not see how a mere postulation of a Platonic Plenitude, wherein my own 1st person experience is an infinitesimal fraction, is sufficient to bridge the gap to the probability 1 that I have of actually experiencing the writing of these words. We need an explanation of how the appearance of chance is necessitated.



Kindest regards,



Received on Wed May 12 2004 - 11:55:29 PDT

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