Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


Could you give an actual criticism of the energy argument? "It doesn't pass the smell test" is a poor excuse for an argument.

When I assume that the external universe is similar to ours, this is because Bostrom's argument is specifically about ancestral simulations. An ancestral simulation directly implies that there is a universe trying to simulate itself. I posit this is impossible because of the laws of thermodynamics, the necessity to not allow your simulations to realize what they are, and keeping consistency in the complexity of the universe.

Yes its possible for the external universe to be 100% different from ours, but this gives us exactly no insight at all into what that external universe may be, and at this point it's a game of "Choose Your God", which I have no interest in playing.

Like, the idea that an entity simulating our universe wouldn't be able to do that, because they'd run out of energy doesn't pass even the basic sniff test.

I'm convinced you are not actually reading what I'm writing. I said if the universe ours is simulated in is supposed to be like our own/we are an ancestral simulation then this implies that the universe simulating ours should be like ours, and we can apply our laws of physics to it, and our laws of physics say there's entropy, or a limit to the amount of order.

I also believe that if we're a simulation, then the universe simulating ours must be very different than ours in fundamental ways, but this tells us nothing specific about that universe. And it implies that there could be no evidence, ever, of being in a simulation. Just like there could be no evidence, ever, of a god, or a flying spaghetti monster, or whatever other thought experiment you have faith in.

What I am trying to say is that you need a level of complexity to sufficiently trick intelligent beings in to not thinking they're in a simulation, and that humans could not create such a simulation themselves.

If you aren't postulating a soul, then we are nothing but complicated lighting and meat, meaning that we are entirely feasible to simulate.

Key word: complicated. Wrong word: feasible. I think you mean possible. Yes we are possible to simulate, but feasible implies that it can readily be done, which is exactly what I'm arguing against. Go read up about computer science, how simulations actually work, and physics before you start claiming things are feasible when they're currently impossible and certainly difficult problems that may only be feasible to the entirety of humanity working together for centuries.

It's even more bizarre to see you say that the claim of simulation makes no predictions, in response to me pointing out that it's prediction (just us in the observable universe) is the reason to believe it.

The prediction something makes is never the reason to believe something. The confirmation of that prediction is the reason to believe something. You cannot prove that whatever prediction the simulation makes is true, therefore there is not a rational reason to believe we are in a simulation. This is the foundation of logic and science, I urge you to look into it more.

The lack of aliens isn't proof of anything (absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence).

First, I'm not "resisting a conversion". I'm disagreeing with your position that a hidden variable is even more likely to be a mind than something else.

you are the one basically adding souls

I absolutely am not adding souls. This makes me think you didn't really read my argument. I'll present this a different way: human brains are incredibly complex. So complex, in fact, we still don't fully understand them. With a background in computer science, I know that you can't simulate something accurately without at least having a very accurate model. Currently, we have no accurate model of the brain, and it seems that the first accurate model we may get is just simulating every neuron at some level. What I'm saying is that unless that level we simulate neurons on is sufficiently small, there will be obvious errors. Perhaps this is feasible to simulate some human minds, even at the level of quantum mechanics.

My claim against a simulation being run in our universe that could sufficiently trick a human is this: There is not enough energy. This can be understood by thinking about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and recognizing that to fully simulate something would require giving that thing the actual energy it has; to simulate an electron, you would need to give it the charge of an actual electron, or else it would not interact properly with its environment. Then it follows, if everything is simulated with its actual energy, it would take more energy than the universe has to simulate, because practically we lose energy to heat every time we try to fight entropy in some small way. The conclusion is that the universe is precisely simulating itself, which is indistinguishable from reality.

The need for this perfect simulation is a consequence of maintaining the observable complexity that is apparent in the formulations of these hypotheses by people like Bostrom. I wouldn't claim humans being in a simulation is impossible - my claim is that our own civilization cannot perfectly recreate itself.

So there's no actual good reason to believe we're in a simulation of ourselves, unless you take Bostrom's arbitrary operations on even more arbitrary numbers as evidence. Which I obviously don't think anyone should.

Finally, as I said before, the claim of a simulation makes no predictions, and we can't even know a way, if any, of proving we're in a simulation - except by construction, which seems impossible as outlined above. So, with no way to prove we're in a simulation, no way to prove a god exists, and no decent way to even make a reasonable estimate of the likelihood of either, the potential mechanisms that created the universe should be part of random distribution until we can sufficiently understand and test physical processes at a deeper level.

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.

Sufficiently improbable stuff is evidence that there's a hidden variable you aren't seeing.

Sure, but you aren't showing what that hidden variable is. You're just concluding what you think it should be. So evidence that there's something missing isn't an opportunity to inject god, it's a new point to investigate. That, and sufficiently improbable stuff becomes probable when enough of it happens. Take a real example, like someone getting pregnant. While the probability of any given sperm reaching the egg and fertilizing it is low, the sheer number of sperm makes the chance that one of them fertilizes the egg is decent.

The argument can be equally applied to why we don't see alien civilizations: intelligent life may be incredibly rare, but not infeasibly so, because the universe is so vast that that vastness creates the chance for at least one instance of life starting and evolving to a noticeably intelligent state.

Neither the sperm nor the life, then, necessitate a god for their improbability yet existence, and until one can show that a god is necessary and nothing else will suffice to explain the universe, a god should not be proclaimed the (often only possible) right conclusion.

I don't see how your Mario argument relates to the no aliens data point, specifically how the positive evidence of a score counter in any way is like the lack of evidence of alien civs.

I find the 'where are all the aliens/simulation?" argument to be pretty persuasive in terms of atheism being a bust

Why does this imply atheism is a bust? The only thing I can think of that would make atheism "a bust" would be direct evidence of a god(s).

you can fault them for not properly updating but you can't fault them for inconsistency.

They're still being inconsistent with respect to the reality they observe. Why is the self-consistency alone more important than a consistency with observation?

Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, a benevolent God is more likely than not going to exist somewhere.

I would urge you to go learn about QM more. I'm not going to assume what you do/don't know, but from what I've learned about QM there is no argument for or against any god.

were you aware that the ratio of sizes between the Sun and the Moon just happen to be exactly right for there to be total solar eclipses?

This also has to due with the distance between the moon and the earth and the earth and the sun. Either or both could be different sizes, and you'd still get a full eclipse if they were at different distances. Although the first test of general relativity was done in 1919, it was found later that the test done was bad, and later results from better replications actually provided good enough evidence. This is discussed in Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

and basically flag the locations of potentially habitable worlds for future colonization?

There are far more stars than habitable worlds. If you're going to be consistent with assigning probabilities, then by looking at the probability of a habitable planet orbiting a star, you should conclude that it is unlikely a creator set up the universe to make it easy or even possible to hop planets.

They are not essential to sapient life, and so they do not meet the criteria for the Anthropic Principle either.

Right, the sizes of the moon and sun are arbitrary. We could easily live on a planet with no moon, and have found other ways to test General Relativity. No appeal to any form of the Anthropic Principle is needed. And again with the assertion about habitable planets: the anthropic principle (weak) would only imply that to see other inhabitable planets, there must be an inhabitable planet from which someone is observing.

So you didn't provide any evidence for any god; you just committed a logical fallacy of the argument from ignorance. The way I view the universe, everything you state is still valid. I see the universe as a period of asymmetry, where complexity is allowed to clump together, but it clumps in regular ways defined by rules we can discover and interpret.

I think you wrote some interesting stuff. As for your question on a meta-epistemy, I think what you said about general approaches mostly holds in this case. Maybe there's a specific way to classify sub-epistemies, but it's probably better to have some general rules of thumb that weed out the definitely wrong candidates, and let other ideas get debated on. To save community time, if that's really a concern, a group could employ a back-off scheme where ideas that have solid rebuttals get less and less time in the debate space.

I don't know that defining sub-epistemies is so important. You give a distinction between math and theoretical computer science, but unless you're in those fields the distinction is near meaningless. So maybe it's more important to define these sub-epistemies as your relation to them increases.

Even changing "do" to "did", my counter example holds.

Event A: At 1pm I get a cookie and I'm happy. At 10pm, I reflect on my day and am happy for the cookie I ate.

Event (not) A: At 1pm I do not get a cookie. I am not sad, because I did not expect a cookie. At 10pm, I reflect on my day and I'm happy for having eaten so healthy the entire day.

In either case, I end up happy. Not getting a cookie doesn't make me unhappy. Happiness is not a zero sum game.

Load More