Re: Simulation argument in the NY Times

From: Norman Noman (
Date: Fri Aug 17 2007 - 02:57:04 MDT

> > We can't assume, but we can predict. It is more likely for a
> > simulation, whether or not it is part of an enumeration of turing
> > machines, to be created by intelligent beings than to spring out of
> > nothingness, get etched out of a rock by wind, or be created out of
> > twigs and spittle by unintelligent beings.
> Can you explain why it is "more likely" for a simulation to have been
> created by intelligent beings? I don't understand where the evidence to
> support this hypothesis comes from. The fact that intelligence has
> arisen under the highly specific conditions that obtain in our universe
> is, in my opinion, no basis to assume that it has arisen in the universe
> that might be simulating ours. Isn't it just as likely (or perhaps even
> more probable) to have arisen from patterns caused by random eddies in
> the simulating universe?

Strictly speaking, to "simulate" entails REPRESENTING certain key
characteristics or behaviours of a selected system. Representation is an
intentional act, and only intelligent entities have intentions. However, if
due to profound coincidence a computer running simcity popped out of nowhere
through quantum uncertainty, most people would still consider that a
simulation, and the unlikelihood of this sort of event is what I was talking

I'd certainly agree it's probable that our universe is just a pattern, wave,
or arrangement in a more fundamental and concrete substrate, but I don't
think that qualifies as a simulation.

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