[extropy-chat] what is probability?

John K Clark jonkc at att.net
Fri Jan 12 06:01:07 UTC 2007

"Jef Allbright" <jef at jefallbright.net>

Jef Allbright  was asked "Concerning this universe you assume...  Do you
assume it exists objectively, separate from your awareness and knowledge?"
and he responded "No".

I'm sorry Jef, but I just don't believe you. The reason I say that is that
although I may disagree with you from time to time I have never seen any
evidence that you are insane, and I do not believe anyone this side of a
loony bin really and truly believes in Solipsism.

> Why rule out the possibility that this "physical reality"
> is actually something like a simulation

What's that got to do with the price of eggs? A simulation is a perfectly
respectable phenomena, as objective as any other. True, a simulated flame is
not identical to a real flame, but to say it has absolutely no reality can
lead to problems. Suppose you say that for a fire to be real it must have
some immaterial essence of fire, a sort of "burning" soul, thus a simulated
flame does not really burn because it just changes the pattern in a
computer memory. The trouble is, using the same reasoning you could say that
a real fire doesn't really burn, it just oxidizes chemicals; but really a
flame can't even do that, it just obeys the laws of chemistry. If we
continue with this we soon reach a point where nothing is real but the
fundamental laws of physics, I don't think either of us wants to embrace
that position.

I think a simulated flame is a perfectly real and objective phenomena, but
care must be taken not to confuse levels. A simulated flame won't burn your
computer but it will burn a simulated object. A real flame won't burn the
laws of chemistry but it will burn your finger.

  John K Clark

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