[extropy-chat] Is our Universe in a Brain?

Ian Goddard iamgoddard at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 7 19:16:32 UTC 2005

--- Mike Lorrey <mlorrey at yahoo.com> wrote:

>> My meta-sense here is that there may be no way we 
>> can rule in or out the extrapolations explored here
>> regarding the Simulation Argument (which posits 
>> that the universe is a computer-generated 
>> simulation). So my underlying argument tends to be 
>> that we cannot rule out ben's conjecture, as was 
>> done.
> The real problem with your proposition is that
> Yudkowskian logic demonstrates that super-human 
> intelligence is not a survival advantage under 
> darwinian evolution, ergo the superhuman intellect 
> you posit is imagining the universe could not have 
> been naturally evolved.

 That strikes me as far too certain in at least two
respects, (1) in asserting that we can know how
lifeforms would evolve anywhere else in reality (ie,
in our or another universe) and (2) in placing
parameters on what might contain our universe (it
cannot be contained by an organic entity). 

 Mike, can you point to where one can read about
Yudkowski's logic that places an upward bound on
naturally evolved intelligence?

Russell Wallace wrote:

>>  That certainly holds for organic brains as they
>> evolved under Earth-defined circumstances. But 
>> since the question at hand entails consideration 
>> of some brain that came to be under unknown 
>> circumstances, I'm not so sure we can place Earth-
>> defined limits on such a hypothetical brain.
> Well, you did say _organic_ brain, which implies 
> similarities in structure, operation and therefore 
> presumably limitations to our own brains. 

 I don't see "organic" as necessarily implying
evolution under Earth-like conditions. I have no
reason to doubt that if living organism were placed in
a situation where very-rapid output of serial
computations was essential for survival, they could
evolve with such capacities. 

 Here's an interesting and sort-of related report: 


A slow Turing machine is still a Turing machine. 

> Now if the conjecture is that we're in a simulation
> in some computational system with large but 
> unspecified capabilities, then it is certainly true 
> that we have no proof either way.

 But I'm not so sure that the "universe in a brain"
hypothesis is falsifiable, and thus, like other such
propositions, may be pseudoscientific (not in the
"bad" sense of the term, just in that we can't test
it). Or, then again, perhaps if we kick a rock really
hard the universe will cry out "Ouch!" ;)


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