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Simulation Argument
Posted: 02 October 2011 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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What are those other possibilities?

Deism is one.  I’m not sure there are ‘loads’, tho’.

What nonsense. We now have a pretty good knowledge of the universe

We might just have pretty good knowledge of our ‘simulation of a universe’.

You have to hand it to whoever wrote the simulation software for the amount of detail put in.  But I think he/she/neuter-alien could have missed out the Somali famine bit - that’s just sick.

If I do concede that a sufficiently advanced civilisation with a super-duper-computer that could simulate an entire universe (a mere 92 billion years across in sub-atomic detail), could some one tell me why they’d bother, when they could use it for playing a really wicked version of Tetris?

In theory we could be living in a simulation.  And in theory I could have married Nancy Ajram.  Which fantasy is more unlikely I leave others to decide.

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Posted: 02 October 2011 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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The argument is inconsistent with its conclusions. In the argument Bostrom improperly equates the average number of humans per simulation with the average number of humans per real civilization, setting both to be H in the denominator of his formula for the fraction of simulated individuals and allowing him to cancel H from the formula, but this equivalence is a fallacy.

Permitting, as we should, for these averages to differ allows us to circumvent the disjunction, leaving all 3 propositions false, if the ratio of the average number of humans per real civilization to the average number of humans per simulation is relatively large. Discarding all logical possibilities of this ratio but one, as Bostrom does by setting it to equal 1, makes the conclusion that the fraction given by the formula represents the probability that any given individual resides in a simulation inconsistent.

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Posted: 02 October 2011 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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The evidence points to the non-existence of any deity? What a statement. All we can say is that there’s no good reason to believe in a power that intervenes in the world, helps people, performs miracles, cares about people, and so on. The other possibilities I’m thinking of are things like a sadistic creator, a cold and indifferent creator, or a creator whose motivations are just completely beyond our comprehension. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t really make much difference one way or the other whether this thing exists or not, but still we can’t rule it out. Maybe atheists simply can’t live with the idea of a creator who just created the universe for a laugh or as an experiment or something and who doesn’t give a damn about any of us. It could be that atheism and theism are just easier to live with psychologically.

[ Edited: 02 October 2011 05:50 PM by Dom1978 ]
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Posted: 02 October 2011 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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You may as well say that we have no idea if the moon is really not made of blue cheese or if I am really not a dog.

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Posted: 02 October 2011 06:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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To illustrate this imagine a ‘real’ universe in which there are 2 civilizations, one of them runs N simulations of 1X individuals and the other runs no simulations. The first civilization has had a cumulative total of 1X individuals over its history and the other a cumulative total of 99X individuals. The fraction of simulated individuals is then NX divided by NX + 99X + 1X giving a fraction of N/(N + 100). In contrast by employing Bostrom’s formula we would derive a fraction of N/(N + 2) as the fraction of civilizations who run simulations (fp) is 0.5 giving 0.5*N/(0.5*N + 1). Increasing the ratio of the average number of humans per real civilization to the average number of humans per simulation proportionally increases the factor on the right in the denominator with constant of proportionality 1/fp. The viability of the disjunction is then contingent on the actual value of this ratio being relatively small, but relatively large values are not logically inconsistent.

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Posted: 02 October 2011 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I’m trying to make a distinction between things that happen within this reality and the nature of this reality itself. The former we can deal with, but the latter is just something that we can never know. So, for all practical purposes, I’m with the atheist. We’re on our own. I just want to make sure that skeptics don’t go further then they should. It’s all very well debunking Christianity, Islam and the paranormal, but you’re still left with the kinds of questions we’re discussing here, and as far as I can see there’s no way that we can ever answer any of them. I would like to call this humility rather than cynicism. Actually I think I’m moving towards something like Pragmatism. We should just get on with doing science and try our best with ethics and politics and not bother with these metaphysical questions.

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Posted: 02 October 2011 06:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Dom1978 - 02 October 2011 06:24 PM

I just want to make sure that skeptics don’t go further then they should.

I’ll go as far as science allows me to go. If Hawking thinks that the origin of our universe is explainable without the hand of a god, who am I to argue with him?

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Posted: 02 October 2011 06:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Yeah, by the way, does anyone know what the top physicists think about radical philosophical skepticism? Have any of them ever written or spoken about things like the simulation argument or the matrix?

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Posted: 02 October 2011 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Dom1978 - 02 October 2011 06:53 PM

Yeah, by the way, does anyone know what the top physicists think about radical philosophical skepticism? Have any of them ever written or spoken about things like the simulation argument or the matrix?

Depending on your definition of top physicist, I believe David Deutsch discusses solipsism in one of his books, arguing that it amounts to realism. Personally I tend to agree with that line of argument. I think Max Tegmark has also discussed concepts of simulation, but not necessarily the simulation argument itself.

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Posted: 03 October 2011 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Otis - 02 October 2011 08:14 PM

I believe David Deutsch discusses solipsism in one of his books, arguing that it amounts to realism.

Huh? You’ll have to elaborate. This sounds like complete nonsense.

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Posted: 03 October 2011 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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dougsmith - 03 October 2011 04:08 AM

Huh? You’ll have to elaborate. This sounds like complete nonsense.

question
Well, the idea is not new at all…

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus:

5.64 Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of solipsism shrinks to a point without extension, and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.

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Posted: 03 October 2011 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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GdB - 03 October 2011 04:19 AM
dougsmith - 03 October 2011 04:08 AM

Huh? You’ll have to elaborate. This sounds like complete nonsense.

question
Well, the idea is not new at all…

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus:

5.64 Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of solipsism shrinks to a point without extension, and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.

That doesn’t help.

Solipsism is the theory that I am the only thing that exists.

Realism is the theory that the things that exist include me, you, other persons, the Earth, the Sun, the Milky Way galaxy and the rest of the entire universe.

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Posted: 03 October 2011 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of solipsism shrinks to a point without extension, and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.

Deep.  Very, very deep.  I know its deep because I can’t understand a bloody word of it.  Well, actually I understand every word, but not when they’re put in that order.

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Posted: 03 October 2011 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Could it be that God or another Creator only serves the way our brain thinks and understands the world?
Is objectivity possible?

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Posted: 03 October 2011 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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keithprosser2 - 03 October 2011 05:27 AM

Deep.  Very, very deep.  I know its deep because I can’t understand a bloody word of it.  Well, actually I understand every word, but not when they’re put in that order.

LOL
Well, read the Tractatus again! Maybe then the order of words reveal some meaning. Then still you might not agree…

dougsmith - 03 October 2011 04:55 AM

Solipsism is the theory that I am the only thing that exists.

Then its implications were never followed out strictly… I do not think solipsism is a viable theory, because it has no empirical consequences. There are still things happening without me doing them in a solipsist world, and events that are influenced by me. How could I tell the difference between a world that is just my experience and I am not almighty on the one side, and on the other side a normal realistic world in which I am just a part?

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