Re: Simulation argument in the NY Times

From: Peter Butler (
Date: Fri Aug 17 2007 - 03:42:42 MDT

> Can you explain why it is "more likely" for a simulation to have been
> created by intelligent beings?
> 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.

Thank you for clearing up my confusion, you are quite right that the act
of simulating something implies some sort of purpose; therefore if we
assume simulation then we should by definition assume intentionality. I
was thinking less of a "simulation" and more of "a universe that exists
as a system of patterns contained within a larger system".

> 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.

True, but it's still an interesting idea to explore. Perhaps the fact
that we can discount intentionality broadens the scope of exploration.
We aren't forced into the unnecessary ascription of intelligent
behaviour where it may not exist.


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