[extropy-chat] Be[ing] or Not Be[ing]

Harvey Newstrom mail at HarveyNewstrom.com
Sat Apr 17 14:12:06 UTC 2004

On Friday, April 16, 2004, at 06:06 am, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> On Thu, 15 Apr 2004, Harvey Newstrom, responding to my comments
> that we might be in a simulation wrote:
>> I disagree.  I think this argument just replaces religious words with
>> technical-sounding words.  Real rational thought seeks to explain
>> observed phenomena with the most consistent, testable, and simplest
>> hypothesis that correctly predicts the phenomena. [snip]
> First there are reasons to run ancestor sims[....]

> Second, by defininition proving one is in a sim is very very
> hard.

> Third, an explanation does *NOT* have to be the "simplest".

None of these are good reasons to believe in a theory.  They are 
reasons that crackpots use to believe in untestable theories.  First, 
there are reasons they would want the theories to occur.  Second, it is 
hard to disprove their theories (or prove them).  Third, they reject 
Occam's razor and invent more complicated explanations that add no 
value to the simpler obvious explanations.

An explanations does not have to be the simplest, *IF* the more 
complicated theory works better.  But it *DOES* have to be the simplest 
if the more complicated theory does not add any predictive or 
explanative value. You can call this "science" all you want, but if you 
do not proceed from observed phenomena, explain future observations 
better, test your results, and have falsifiability/testability, it is 
NOT a science.

I don't mind you playing these "what if" games if you want, but don't 
claim to be using the scientific method when you are doing something 

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