[extropy-chat] Be[ing] or Not Be[ing]
mail at HarveyNewstrom.com
Sun Apr 18 15:07:48 UTC 2004
On Saturday, April 17, 2004, at 08:48 pm, Hal Finney wrote:
> The simulation argument is not scientific. It is not meant to be.
> It is not falsifiable. But that doesn't make it pointless.
Agreed. So I wish people would stop claiming that it is more
*scientific* than a religion.
> "ABSTRACT. This paper argues that at least one of the following
> propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go
> 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
> living in a computer simulation."
> It is entirely FALSE to claim that the simulation argument says that we
> live in a simulation. It says nothing of the sort.
I disagree. It definitely *does* say something of the sort. It claims
that if you don't agree with premise one or two, then you must admit
that three, "we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation."
It then goes on the argue that one and two are likely false, and three
is likely true.
> Logic and science are different, but they are both important tools for
> reaching the truth.
I disagree. Unfalsifiable, unscientific methods are *not* important
methods for reaching truth. Until this argument can be falsified or
tested or even approached scientifically, it is about as useful as a
religious debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
I question the whole statistical assumption that we are equally likely
to have been born any universe or simulation, so that if there are more
simulations than universes we are statistically likely to appear in
them. Where did these estimates of how likely it is to appear out of
nothing come from? If you want to argue from unfounded intuition, it
seems to me that we would more likely arrive in bigger universes than
smaller simulations, longer-lived universes than shorter-lived
simulations, outer containing universes instead of inner subsets
configured as simulations, and in big-bang universes that actually
created new things, rather than in simulations which are just parts of
the over-universe shuffled around a bit. Taking all the dimensions of
size, time, complexity, speed, and resource avaialability, it seems
that real universes far outweigh simulations in any meaningful
comparison for statistical purposes.
Harvey Newstrom, CISSP, CISA, CISM, IAM, IBMCP, GSEC
Certified IS Security Pro, Certified IS Auditor, Certified InfoSec
NSA Certified Assessor, IBM Certified Consultant, SANS Certified GIAC
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