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

Hal Finney hal at finney.org
Sun Apr 18 00:48:25 UTC 2004

Regarding the "simulation argument", as expressed for example at Nick
Bostrom's site www.simulation-argument.com:

The simulation argument is not scientific.  It is not meant to be.
It is not falsifiable.  But that doesn't make it pointless.

The simulation argument is, as its name suggests, an argument.  That term
has a specific meaning.  It is not a theory or a hypothesis or a model.
It is not a term from science; it is a term from logic.  An argument is
a matter of logic, not science.

Science is not logic.  It is a process of observation and induction.
It sometimes uses logic, but it is not the same as logic.

The simulation argument is logic, not science.  From Nick's site:

"ABSTRACT. This paper argues that at least one of the following
propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct
before reaching a 'posthuman' stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is
extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their
evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly
living in a computer simulation."

This argument, like any argument, is based on logical reasoning.  It is
important to understand what the simulation argument says and what it
does not say.

It is entirely FALSE to claim that the simulation argument says that we
live in a simulation.  It says nothing of the sort.  What the simulation
argument does say is made very plain in the quote above.  It says that
one of the three listed cases must hold.  Now, you might or might not find
it convincing, but if you disagree, you should read Nick's very extensive
discussion to see the reasoning that he advances to support his claim.

Logic and science are different, but they are both important tools for
reaching the truth.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list