[extropy-chat] Be[ing] or Not Be[ing]
mail at HarveyNewstrom.com
Sun Apr 18 20:54:41 UTC 2004
On Sunday, April 18, 2004, at 01:38 pm, Hal Finney wrote:
> Now I think you are questioning the reasoning behind the argument,
> You are suggesting that even if the premises are true, the conclusion
> doesn't follow. That's a perfectly legitimate approach, and I'm not
> writing to defend Nick's argument. I'm not familiar enough with the
> details to tackle that here and now.
Yes, as a secondary point. My original point was that the logical
argument is not a scientific theory and does not have scientific
As to this secondary point, yes, I am arguing that even if the three
original suppositions are true, Nick's paper seems to make a fourth
assumption that I think is false. He seems to assume that we have an
equal chance of being born in any universe and/or any simulation. He
then concludes that since there are more simulations than real
universes, we are probably in one of them. I don't think we have any
evidence for our statistical chances of being born into various
The whole question of arguing our chances of being incarnated where,
seems to be a religious argument based on the preexistence of the soul.
Even if we want to try to estimate such a chance, how do we wieght
universes. Does an infinite-sized universe get as many incarnations as
a subatomic one? Does an everlasting universe get as many incarnations
as one that only lasts a second? Does a infinitely complex universe
get as many incarnations as a simplistic gameboy simulation? I think
the unstated fourth assumption that all these universes and simulations
get equal statistical weight is faulty and unfounded.
> Faced with an argument, you can accept its conclusion; or question
> its premises; or question the reasoning that links the premises to
> the conclusion. Any of these are legitimate responses.
> But denying the utility of logic is going too far. Believing that
> "unfalsifiable, unscientific methods are *not* important methods for
> reaching truth" will require you to reject too many useful truths.
I am not denying the utility of logic in finding truth. My point is
that it cannot discover truth without science. Logic suggests a
possible hypothesis. Science tests the hypothesis to see if it is
true. As long as the simulation argument is based on logical argument
while remaining untestable by science, it cannot be called a scientific
hypothesis or true.
Some people seem to think that the argument is logically "true" and
that it proves its point "scientifically". I am merely trying to
clarify that it is not science, and it is not proven true. I also
happen to believe that the argument is faulty and untrue.
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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