Re: Re[2]: Simulation argument in the NY Times

From: Norman Noman (
Date: Mon Aug 27 2007 - 20:52:11 MDT

> "Rare" covers a very large spectrum of probabilities,
> from 10^-1 to 10^-100000000000000 (and so on). In
> order for something to qualify as a "miracle", its
> probability would have to be so low that the event
> provides enough Bayesian evidence to overturn our
> current model. Eg, if we saw Mount Everest
> spontaneously levitate several hundred meters in the
> air, this would require a new model of physics. If we
> saw a large chunk of rock spontaneously break off of
> Mount Everest, it would be rare, but it would not
> qualify as a miracle because it wouldn't require new
> laws of physics to explain.

I can randomly mash keys on the keyboard for a few minutes and produce a
text string with a 1 in 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 chance
of appearing. Rareness is not the sole prerequisite for miracles.

> Conservation of mass (adjusted)
> > The mass of a closed system of substances will
> > remain constant, regardless
> > of the processes acting inside the system, except
> > when people are being
> > turned into frogs.
> >
> > Yes, I can see how after a few years, that little
> > wrinkle would be all
> > ironed out.
> The laws of physics as we now understand them don't
> work like that. If we discovered a violation of CoM,
> it would probably be a violation that occurs
> everywhere, but is simply too small to notice under
> normal circumstances.

Yes, that was kind of my point.

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