You can call it 'something missing', or 'god'.

I disagree. Something missing is different than a god. A god is often not well-defined, but generally it is assumed to be some kind of intelligence, that is it can know and manipulate information, and it has infinite agency or near to it. Something missing could be a simple physical process. One is infinitely complex (god), the other is feasibly simple enough for a human to fully understand.

The koopas are both pointing to the weirdness of their world, and the atheists are talking about randomness and the theists are talking about maybe it is a Sky Koopa.

I don't think this is really what you wrote the first time, but the argument you're presenting here doesn't progress us anywhere so I won't spend more time on it. I think we should drop this metaphor from the conversation.

Before too long we'll be able to write software that does basically what our brains do... There will be a lot more minds in simulations than have ever existed inside of human bodies...

Disagree again. First, "basically what our brains do" and "what our brains do" is almost certainly a non-trivial gap - if our brains are too complex for us to fully know every aspect of it at once, that is well enough to make precise predictions - then the jump to "basically what our brains do" introduces a difference in what we would predict. If we want to program all the neurons and neurotransmitters perfectly - have a brain totally modeled in software - then that brain would still need input like actual humans get or it may not develop correctly.

To the second point about " a lot more minds in simulations...", I also think this argument is fatally flawed. Let's assume that a perfect human brain can be simulated, however unlikely I think this is personally. To convince that simulated mind that it is in a base reality, it would have to be able to observe every aspect of that reality and come to the conclusion that the universe can and does fully exist by it's own processes. To be convinced it is living in a simulation, it may only need to see one physically "weird" thing; not a seemingly-too-improbable thing like no aliens, but an absolutely wrong thing, such as reversal of causality, that would be basically a glitch of the system.

Now some may argue that the simulators could "roll back" the simulation when these glitches occur, but I'm skeptical of the engineering feasibility of such a simulation in the first place that could, even for thousands of years, trick human minds. If we take a "lossy" simulation like video games now, it's clear that besides obvious bugs and invisible walls that bound the world, there's also a level of information resolution that's low compared to our world. That is, we can explain the physics of modern games by their physics engines, while we still struggle to explain the physics of the whole universe. If you have any amount of "lossiness" in a simulation, then eventually minds capable of finding that lossiness will - a brain in a vat will discover that, actually, nothing is made of atoms, but instead have their textures loaded in. Even if the brains we make don't have the ability to find this edge of resolution, we must assume that if we can create a superintelligent machine, and we can create a simulation of our own minds, then our simulated minds must also be able to create a superintelligence, which would either be able to find those lossy resolution issues or make a smarter being that can. Then the jig is up, and the simulations know they're in a simulation.

To get around the inevitable finding of lossiness in a simulation, the simulation creators would need to make their simulation indistinguishable from our own universe. This implies two things: first that such a simulation cannot be made, because making a perfect simulation of our universe inside our universe would take more energy than the universe has (see the Second Law of Thermodynamics if this doesn't make sense right away); the second is that if we could make a simulation indistinguishable from our universe, then we would know all the secrets of our universe, including whether or not we were in a simulation.

In physics, the answer to the question of "what's the something missing?" is not god, it is "we don't know yet." The answer that physicists look for makes specific predictions about testable phenomenon, and so far it does not seem that there are even any good testable claims that we're in a simulation.

What would those claims even be? Can we see where our universe is stored in memory on the machine we're supposedly running on? Why or why not?

Seems super arrogant for us to presume that we are the exception.

And it's super arrogant for theists to believe that a god created them special. So your argument from distaste of the other is not helping you.

The idea that one planet alone would have life is just too much of a score counter, too much of a giveaway.

We still don't know that we're the lone planet with life. And maybe it's too much of a giveaway to you, but it means almost nothing to me besides "the conditions to create life in the universe are rare even under arrangements where it is possible". Seeming like a score counter is not evidence it is a score counter. Only observing life on Earth is not a prediction about anything, it is not an explanation of anything - it is merely information, and the fact that you're twisting that information to give you a conclusion only says something about what you want to believe.

It feels like you've gone from asking for an explanation to resisting a conversion effort that I'm not making here.

Minds simulatable:

It's kind of weird that I'm the one saying that there is nothing magic about a mind, and you are the one basically adding souls, yet we are theist and atheist respectively, but surely if minds are unable to be simulated that would be a blow 'against' your beliefs, yeah?

Doing that being hard:

That doesn't seem knowable. Like, yeah, it seems like faking five senses would be hard, but that's just from our perspective. We can ma... (read more)

Any Christians Here?

by DragonGod 2 min read12th Jun 201777 comments


I’m currently atheist; my deconversion was quite the unremarkable event. September 2015 (I discovered HPMOR in February and RAZ then or in March), I was doing research on logical fallacies to better argue my points for a manga forum, when I came across Rational Wiki; for several of the logical fallacies, they tended to use creationists as examples. One thing lead to another (I was curious why Christianity was being so hated, and researched more on the site) I eventually found a list of how the bible outright contradicts Science and realized the two were mutually incompatible—fundamentalist Christianity at least. I faced my first true crisis of faith and was at a crossroads: “Science or Christianity”? I initially tried to be both a Christian and an atheist, having two personalities for my separate roles, but another Christian pointed out the hypocrisy of my practice, so I chose—and I chose Science. I have never looked back since, though I’ve been tempted to “return to my vomit” and even invented a religion to prevent myself from returning to Christianity and eventually just became a LW cultist. Someone said “I’m predisposed to fervour”; I wonder if that’s true. I don’t exactly have a perfect track record though…
In the times since I departed from the flock, I’ve argued quite voraciously against religion (Christianity in particular (my priors distribute probability over the sample space such that P(Christianity) is higher than the sum of the probabilities of all other religions. Basically either the Christian God or no God at all. I am not entirely sure how rational such an outlook is, especially as the only coherent solution I see to the (paradox of first cause)[] is an acausal entity, and YHWH is not compatible with any Demiurge I would endorse.)) and was disappointed by the counter-arguments I would receive. I would often lament about how I wish I could have debated against myself before I deconverted (an argument atheist me would win as history tells). After discovering the Rationalist community, I realised there was a better option—fellow rationalists. 
Now this is not a request for someone to (steel man)[] Christianity; I am perfectly capable of that myself, and the jury is already in on that debate—Christianity lost. Nay, I want to converse and debate with rationalists who despite their Bayesian enlightenment choose to remain in the flock. My faith was shattered under much worse epistemic hygiene than the average lesswronger, and as such I would love to speak with them, to know exactly why they still believe and how. I would love to engage in correspondence with Christian rationalists.
1. Are there any Christian lesswrongers?
2. Are there any Christian rationalists?

Lest I be accused of no true Scotsman fallacy, I will explicitly define the groups of people I refer to:

  1. Lesswronger: Someone who has read/is reading the Sequences and more or less agrees with the content presented therein.
  2. Rationalist: Someone who adheres to the litany of Tarski.

I think my definitions are as inclusive as possible while being sufficiently specific as to filter out those I am not interested in. If you do wish to get in contact with me, you can PM me here or on Lesswrong, or find me through Discord. My user name is “Dragon God#2745”.
Disclaimer: I am chronically afflicted with a serious and invariably fatal epistemic disease known as narcissist bias (this is a misnomer as it refers a broad family of biases). No cure is known yet for narcissist bias, and I’m currently working on cataloguing and documenting the disease in full using myself as a test case. This disease affects how I present and articulate my points—especially in written text—such that I assign a Pr of > 0.8 that a somebody would find this post condescending, self-aggrandising, grandiose or otherwise deluded. This seems to be a problem with all my writing, and a cost of living with the condition I guess. I apologise in advance for any offence received, and inform that I do not intend to offend anyone or otherwise hurt their sensibilities.
I think I’ll add this disclaimer to all my posts.