The SImulation Theory


(RiderOnTheClouds) #1

How likely is it that we live in a simulation, as Inspiring Philosophy claims here?


I disagree with IP that a computer simulation would be implausible, as it may not be mind numbingly enormous compared to the creators. However, I do agree that God is a simpler explanation, as if we were in a computer, that would raise the question of who designed the computer, since the computer would not be a necessary being.

But IP’s appeal to Occam’s razor is problematic, I do recall in his debate with Hamza Tzotzis, a Muslim Apologist, Laurence Krauss suggested that scientists do not always consider the simplest explanation to be true.


(Tim) #2

IMO, I think the answer would be related to how close to a computer system is the brain. It is plausible that within our own computing networks we could place simulated software that can exist seperate and on it’s own volition inside the software program. The evolution of a virus or any software not originally intended, or as in any biologically entity, added in separate from the software.

The issue would be is there anything in physics acting as a hardware frame supporting the biological "software ". If it is just imagination, it would have nothing to do with computers at all but imagination all the way forwards and backwards. Our own imaginations would be a universe in their own right.

If the brain is just an advanced computer, being in a “computer” simulation would be reasonable and plausible. If the brain is not a computer, then we may not be in a “computer” simulation. I highly doubt it is like the Matrix where the physical body is being stored while only brain activity is being allowed to “operate”.

I would not rule out this may be a simulation of some kind, but it is borderline creating God in an image that may not be there.


(Shawn T Murphy) #3

Why are there only two possibilities? It is clear to me that the current model for our objective reality is greatly flawed, especially in the origin of the Big Bang. But this does not mean there is only one other possible explanation - the virtual reality.

The much more plausible explanation, based on all observations, is that the material universe was created from an ethereal realm and it is a small subset of this realm. That the material universe is an open system, that receives continuous energy from outside the universe, from the Light of this World.

All living things are citizens of both realms - an immortal, ethereal body coincidental with a mortal, material body. The consciousness is carried by the ethereal body which interfaces with the material brain. The material body is lifeless without the ethereal body connected to it, giving it life.

I fault modern philosophers for having dropped the ball on defending this two-world hypothesis taught but the ancient philosophers and prophets.


(Tim) #4

It is not like the church tried hard to explain the two natures of man, without Greek culture and philosophy conflating the truth. Instead they took the term of angel and separated us from ourselves. We know that Jesus was casting out demons which made it even worse, because the issue then created a dynamic between angels and demons. The church to this day continues the practice of demon extraction. Which explained is the spirit or ghost, or a multitude taking over control of the mind. The individual’s own spirit is too weak to prevent it. Obviously this is not a group of living breathing humans attacking another via spiritual bullying. The theory being; living beings have lost their spirit, because they are at a point where they will never know God. Lying to the Holy Spirit may have the component of completely lying to one’s own spirit to loose it forever. The ultimate sin, or point of no return. This is off topic, but the point was: the connection of our spiritual part is not really a simulation. It was the result of Adam’s choice, and the separation of his spiritual connection with God. The effects passed down from generation to generation. I think we do get our thoughts from our spiritual side, but there is no way we can know if they come from God, Satan, a demon, or are “just our own”. We are to “temper” our thoughts between one another and in prayer, so we are not being deceived.

If the brain is a “computer”, the majority of our thoughts are just the rehashing of all we have experienced even that which we are unaware of. The “data” being put into our thoughts over and over as the physical needs such “data”.


(Matthew Pevarnik) #5

I think that most physicists would probably agree that there is at very least was something that exists beyond our universe – with the very least being some kind of laws of nature. It is true that many of the laws of nature are emergent phenomena from underlying symmetry breaking or the result of symmetries as per Noether’s Theorem, but why should such symmetry or symmetry breaking result in the laws of nature in the first place?

The point is is that there are a lot of complex nuances to what physics actually tells us - and I would caution against trying to make many of them either a result that suggests a deity or a result against a deity. I certainly think that it is a little silly to think the more we learn about our universe the more it seems like a simulation. Because that implies that a simulation of the universe would necessarily have to be like the simulations that we make. But why not say instead that all people are really doing is trying to understand our universe in the context of how we understand simulations. Since you couldn’t actually tell between the two or even begin to tell me what simulating a universe would be like - since we have absolutely no idea what laws of nature actually are let alone how to create them and make them constant – this is a completely meaningless exercise.

And then, on the other side that God is a simpler hypothesis is kind of silly to me. It’s completely arbitrary and entirely made up on both sides as to what is a simpler explanation. At one point one easily could’ve argued that God spontaneously creating all living organisms was simpler than small changes to genomes over hundreds of millions of years ( especially when we didn’t even know that there was the stuff called DNA that can change from generation to generation).

Interesting post though @Reggie_O_Donoghue


(Mitchell W McKain) #6

Depends on how you define “a simulation.”

My third science fiction novel has life evolving in a simulated world which has the same physics as our world as much as possible. But as the intelligent creatures in this world develop the science of physics in their world, they find anomalies and differences which point to the nodal nature of the system/hardware in which the simulation is running. For them the “simulated world hypothesis” is a more than just a philosophical speculation but a mathematical scientific theory of physics.

My suggestion is that our physics too would point to the nature of the hardware on which the simulation of our world is running and ultimately that is the only real difference anyway. In other words, would you not be able to think of any world as being a simulation and the only difference would be the type of hardware/system their simulation is running on? In the case of our own world the highly mathematical nature of the world supports this idea and you can possibly think of each particle or each location in space as being a node in a computer system because of this. We even have the hypotheses in physics that space and time is a discrete structure.

By way of interest to mathematicians, the simulated world in my book has a projective plane topology. This is rather easy to set up with 2d computer games. Just make it so when you leave the screen or map you come back on the screen at the opposite point defined by the line going through the center of the screen or map. And what is the effect of this kind of topology? In this case it means their world only has a north pole and no south pole (walk away from the pole and after you cross the equator you come back to the same pole from opposite direction as you left. Their simulated sky looks out upon the universe with the two hemispheres of stars overlapping and moving in opposite directions. (This is not to say that you cannot set up a projective plane with something like a north pole and south pole. To get at the real difference takes a bit more work. Pick any point walk a way in a straight like and you come back to that point on both a sphere and a projective plane. This point and the point halfway around can be your two poles. But now find one of the two points halfway between these two poles in either direction and go in a perpendicular direction. On the sphere this brings you to other point that was halfway between the poles in the other direction. But on the projective plane each brings you back to the same point without passing through the other. In general parallel lines on a sphere cross at two points but parallel lines on a projective plane cross at one point.)


(RiderOnTheClouds) #7

Sorry to get off topic, but you write science fiction? I’d very much like to read our books, since I am an aspiring sci-fi/fantasy writer myself


(Mitchell W McKain) #8

The first one is available as an e-book on amazon.

Have you written a book? If so I will give it a try. Otherwise, what kind of science fiction interests you?


(RiderOnTheClouds) #9

Currently working on a fantasy novel entitled ‘Decree of the Watchers’, set in an Ancient Near Eastern based world, with a particular focus on geopolitics. Expect A Song of Ice and Fire meets The Bible, with the Epic of Gilgamesh on the side. It will have a somewhat minimalist use of the “Supernatural”, largely consisting of the intervention of God, (referred to as Aliyon, but God in the same way Iluvatar and Aslan are God) though since the world is flat, physics works somewhat differently, and humans can grow much taller due to the lack of gravity.

I also thought of writing a satirical Sci-Fi novel where everything (and I mean everything) is fake, as a satire on the beliefs of flat earthers and other conspiracy theorists. ‘Something’ is real, including the earth itself, and a sizable amount of humans and probably some other animals and plants, but the earth as we know it has been purposely transformed and made the way it is as a mind control technique, if the powers that be can fool the world into believing their false reality is real, they can fool them into believing anything.


(Mitchell W McKain) #10

My third book has an epic/Biblical quality to it. Telling the history of development (evolution and civilization) of the people in this simulated world and the interactions with their human creator – but in the narrative form of a novel with snapshots of different people in different periods. Though a big difference is that it tells both sides of the story. Kind of the point of the whole book was to explore what it would be like for one of us to be in much the same position as God was with us – not suggesting that everything would be the same, of course.

Satire or even humor is not one of my strengths. As a somewhat humanizing element I lean in the direction of romance, though they are usually somewhat exotic. For example, the aliens in my first book are not sexually differentiated at birth but only become so as a result of a relationship – permanently. As they explain to the visiting humans, marriage for them is more of a biological function than a social contract.

That does sound interesting!


(Mark D.) #11

Personally I find the brain as computer analogy to be a poor fit. Likewise the thought that a person’s identity could somehow be uploaded to a computer. When it comes to AI, I’m a total wet blanket. Besides we already have it. Nearly every elevator I’ve ever used very intelligently brings me to the floor I request. Then there are the really impressive programs which incorporate ‘learning’ to improve their software. But the thought that any computer/robot will ever suddenly become self-aware or develop identity issues strikes me as absurd on the face of it.


(Mitchell W McKain) #12

Oh to be sure we are right now discovering a great deal about AI as it accomplishes wonders. But to be sure we are all to likely to find that its actual nature differs radically from all our speculations in science fiction. In my science fiction books, I make a distinction between AI and AL, the latter standing for artificial life, as something much closer to what a human mind is like, raised as a child rather than simply programmed and run through a self-learning process.


(Mark D.) #13

This is something I feel a suspiciously high degree of certainty about. While I enjoy the idea in books and movies of a character like Data from Star Trek TNG, I can’t envision a way that a machine programmed to make utterances would ever possess a sense of ownership over what it says. The program would run and if utterances were programmed utterances may happen but I can’t imagine consciousness arising in the machine as a result of its carrying out the actions programmed (in whatever manner). Fooling a human interlocutor would be a better gauge of the excellence of the mimicry achieved than of any mental/feeling states achieved by the machine IMO.

Do you get the feeling that the people working on AI share my pessimism?


(Tim) #14

Right, because it is never the robot, but the computer that has attended to all our needs for the last 5 years.

I think that modern psychiatry, has sent our thinking in the wrong direction, and the view of Adam and Eve has taken on something it should not. I agree that Adam and Eve are not like AI. I think AI is the human version of Adam and Eve.

The point is not learning. It is what we do with what we know.


(Mitchell W McKain) #15

That is why I make a distinction between AI and AL. I don’t think AI is capable of such things. But our understanding is not just advancing in AI but also of the nature of life. It is one thing to make a machine do what we think of as intelligence and quite another to make a machine do what life does. What I will not buy is that this is something that is restricted to biological machinery, because after all that is what it is – machinery of a different type. And we are just beginning to make machines in the medium of biochemistry. What makes it alive is not the medium but the process. Now I am not saying that we can necessarily make a machine that is indistinguishable from a human being. I think that is unlikely for the simple reason that the machine is a product of design rather than the process of life. It will be interesting, however, to see what we can do with AL – though we should be careful of our motivation when we do so (remembering such stories as Frankenstein and Blade Runner).


(Mark D.) #16

Here I would like to say “we shall see” but in fact I don’t expect I will be around long enough to find out. So I shall have to make do with my smug pessimism. Of course tinkering with DNA opens the door to all manner of possibilities but I expect that will continue be met with resistance on many fronts. For my part I’d just go on being an advocate for the biodiversity we still have around and not want to impinge upon it more when we already take so much.

Robotic menials though will probably take their place alongside Roombas. But I can’t imagine why anyone would program in a learning loop for them to choose their own agenda. And I can’t imagine how a learning loop for doing a more thorough job vacuuming or diagnosing our illnesses could ever morph into existential questions or planning for world conquest.


(Mitchell W McKain) #17

Indeed, it is my often repeated argument that relinquishing control is the essence of creating life. It is hard for me to see how that could ever be something you want in a tool. That would have more to do with the motivation of parenthood or at least the motivation for art – creating something as an end in itself.


(Tim) #18

An end in itself. Or a beginning of humans thinking they are now God.

Which is why I stated, when that happens, humans will not need God. They will have created life in their image “replacing” God as the creator of life. We may think that the saying, “playing God” is just a harmless and humorous expression. You or any one else posting here, may not think playing God is a reality, but the concept remains.


(Mitchell W McKain) #19

It is called parenthood.


(Tim) #20

Parenthood is a concept dealing with genetic offspring. It is figurative and comforting, not literal in the God human dynamic. That is coming from the point that the “sons of God” is humanity. Why do most humans think they are angels? If you stick with the concept that God is the father of humanity in their fallen condition, then God is the father of sin. That is universalism. God did have one and only one genetic physical offspring, Jesus Christ.

Parenthood has nothing to do with one’s ability to be self aware, and their own individual being. AL is also not what God created. Using evolution to eventually get there, does not fit with a being who has no physical attributes that we are aware of. I have never heard any one call God a scientist, and the universe is just an elaborate science project. Parenthood does not even resemble guiding genetic dna over thousands of iterations to finally come up with AL. From Genesis 1 we see God creating a humanity with full capacity to be self aware and immediately take over the responsibility of managing a world wide eco system with no training whatsoever.

Was there a moral or ethical system in place before Adam was placed in the Garden, or was humanity just a mirror of what God would do if God could be a physical human. I posit they had no say in how or what happened to them. They were an extension of God, no questions asked.

It was not even a position of innocence. Innocence implies there is a lack of understanding that others of your kind are aware of and are commanded to live by.

After the fall innocence and the family dynamic came into play where we as humans are to guide our offspring in understanding their responsibility in society. The Bible stresses the point that not even death was part of creation until after sin entered the physical universe. The reason all humans are sinners and die, is because our spiritual self is connected to us, but we are not connected with our spiritual self. Currently that aspect is accomplished allowing the Holy Spirit total control. Our natural tendency is to just be ourselves, get a long well with those around us, settle into religion or culture, and avoid messing things up too bad. We live and associate with society around us.

Are governments objective? Can humans have their own objective morals without God? I would say yes on the basis that we do know the difference between what we view as right and wrong. I do not see morals as being why God gave Adam a choice. Morals are just the end result. Trying to be God, live up to God’s standards is just human logic and understanding. God clearly states that nothing we do moral wise or attempts at righteousness is what is demanded. God does not even demand the Old Covenant. What God demanded was carried out in obedience on the cross. God does not need to raise us as children. Those who accept the responsibility become the church and the image of God on earth. Back to the place where we were before Adam and sin. Does it involve giving up our own physical responsibilities? I should say not. We do have the Law, that points out human failure. We have tons of examples of what not to do. Some think that we are only “educating” ourselves for the next life. The example that Jesus left was that we could embody the spiritual image of God here on earth if we give up our own wants and desires. We also can carry out all that the physical world offers, because that was the original purpose, before sin, and as a result, morals entered this physical reality.

Parenthood does have a place in relation to morals and society. But morals came after sin and death. If we rule out Genesis 1, I understand your position quite clearly. It does fit naturally in the evolution of biological life, and genetic offspring.