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

Ian Goddard iamgoddard at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 11 07:03:44 UTC 2005

--- "Extropian Agroforestry Ventures Inc." wrote:

> The question is how does a subroutine determine the
> nature of the program it is a part of.

 Right. I like your line of thinking here! The initial
inquiries in my life sought immediately to answer
questions of ontology, ie, "What's out there; what is
reality." Since then I've become impressed that the
more immediate and fundamental questions are those of
epistemology, ie, "What is knowledge and how do we
arrive at it?" As such, before we try to say the whole
universe is x or y or z we need to have an idea of how
we could come to know the universe is x for any
possible x. The suggestions you cite are pointed
precisely in that direction:

> If the subroutine could send out  a  "virus"  which 
> analyses other portions of the program and 
> compresses its findings into messages sent back to 
> its source?
> If quantum entangement can be harnessed, perhaps
> information entangled by matter within reach in the 
> solar system can yield information?
> Perhaps  the output from the sun has information
> entangled to matter at far off locations?
> A solar dyson  shell which captures the total output
> of the sun might capture the energy and extract 
> entangled information as a by-product?
> It is far harder to analyse the elephant if you are
> the flea.  However a broadly distributed network of 
> fleas stand a better chance.

 Right. Those are strategies for knowledge that
directly address the fundamental epistemic question of
how we might be able to know *before* attempting to
answer the question of what specifically lies beyond
the horizons of our visible universe. Ironically the
title of this thread I started jumps to such
speculation, but it falls under my theme that if we
propose that our universe is generated by a computer
program there may be an open-ended array of possible
types of computers and circumstances in which any such
program might exist. 

 It's not merely a question of is our universe a
computer fabrication or not, but is it a computer
fabrication of type C1 or C2 or ... or Cn occurring
under circumstance R1 or R2 or ... or Rn, or not. And
our list of possibilities will always be limited to
the always finite scope of things we know about that
we can use as analogs. Why should we assume that in
the infinitesimal span of time homo sapiens has
existed that we have managed to create something
(computers) that can serve as a useful analogue to the
unimaginable immensity of the totality of reality?
Maybe we have, but how can we know?



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