Signs We're in a Simulation

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ElCodeMonkey
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Signs We're in a Simulation

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Post by ElCodeMonkey »

I would take for granted that we can never prove that we are not in a simulation any more than we can prove there is no God. In the same fashion, to believe we are in a simulation takes only small evidences or consistencies that sound reasonable enough to a given person for belief. So what are some of the small evidences that might lead one to believe a simulation is likely? One example might be the fact that certain arithmetic algorithms appear regularly in the universe. Makes it seem "designed" with a computer program. Other things might include quantum mechanics regarding tunneling, entanglement, wave/particle duality, and functioning as waves of probability. Those might need fleshed out as far as why they might indicate a simulation though. What else might support the idea that we are in a simulation? Or what might be inconsistent with the theory?
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Re: Signs We're in a Simulation

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Post by Divine Insight »

ElCodeMonkey wrote: Or what might be inconsistent with the theory?
From my perspective we can rule out a simulation theory. The reason is because physics actually explains why things behave the way they do in terms of the forces and interactions they experience. In other words, there simply is no need to have a computer program behind the scene telling particles what to do. They simply do what they do based entirely on their immediate environment. So postulating a computing simulator is neither necessary nor required to explain the world we see.
ElCodeMonkey wrote: So what are some of the small evidences that might lead one to believe a simulation is likely? One example might be the fact that certain arithmetic algorithms appear regularly in the universe.
Actually our universe does not "obey mathematics". In fact, if our universe were to obey our mathematics it would instantly crash and burn.

Dr. Richard Feynman wisely told us that the universe does not solve differential equations in order to know what to do next. In fact, he showed us that the universe actually tries all possible paths, and simply ends up taking the only possible paths

So again, there is no overriding computer algorithm informing the universe which paths to take. The universe simply takes the only possible paths.

It is amazing that our mathematical method of examining the quantitative behavior of the universe was able to produce algorithms that give us crude approximations of this natural behave. In fact, it was our mathematical formalism that allowed Feynman to calculate his "Infinite Sum over Paths". This was possible because the vast majority of impossible paths cancel out quickly leaving only the possible paths to consider.

Again, you might want to think that this is then what a simulator is actually calculating. However, Feynman could see that the universe doesn't calculate anything, it just reacts in the only ways possible due to the current situation.

In other words, the current situation is the "program" if you like. Or to put this another way: If you want to think of the universe as being a "simulation", then you need look no further for the simulating computer because the universe itself would be that computer. In other words, the universe is "simulating itself". And I'm not so sure that would count as a "simulated universe". When something behaves on it's own because it's the only thing it can do, why call that a "simulation"?

So no, the universe is not a simulation.
ElCodeMonkey wrote: Makes it seem "designed" with a computer program. Other things might include quantum mechanics regarding tunneling, entanglement, wave/particle duality, and functioning as waves of probability. Those might need fleshed out as far as why they might indicate a simulation though.
Exactly. They need to be fleshed out. Also, this actually fits in with Feynman's sum over paths. After all, Feynman came up with this idea via the study of quantum phenomena. The simple explanation here is to simply accept that some aspects of the universe can indeed be in instantaneous connection with each other.

Keep in mind that the problem with entanglement is that we need to give up Einstein's cherished principle of "locality". The idea that nothing can travel through the fabric of spacetime faster than the speed of light, including "meaningful macro information".

However, quantum entanglement cannot be used to communicate "meaningful macro information" over large distances. So there may be a form of non-local connections within the universe that do not violate Einstein's macro theory of General Relativity. Perhaps this is done via some type of quantum wormholes.

It's certainly far too early to be suggesting that this requires an intelligent computer algorithm that calculates quantum-entangled particle behavior. A simply non-local connection via a wormhole (which is actually compatible with Einstein's General Relativity) would certainly suffice.

So to suggest that quantum entanglement suggests the need for a simulating computer that controls the behavior of the universe is quite a bit premature.

~~~~

By the way, you ask very interesting questions. :D
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Re: Signs We're in a Simulation

Post #3

Post by EarthScienceguy »

[Replying to post 1 by ElCodeMonkey]
I would take for granted that we can never prove that we are not in a simulation any more than we can prove there is no God. In the same fashion, to believe we are in a simulation takes only small evidences or consistencies that sound reasonable enough to a given person for belief. So what are some of the small evidences that might lead one to believe a simulation is likely? One example might be the fact that certain arithmetic algorithms appear regularly in the universe. Makes it seem "designed" with a computer program. Other things might include quantum mechanics regarding tunneling, entanglement, wave/particle duality, and functioning as waves of probability. Those might need fleshed out as far as why they might indicate a simulation though. What else might support the idea that we are in a simulation? Or what might be inconsistent with the theory?
This is actually one of the pieces of evidence that God did created the universe.

The reason why this theory is even being considered an option, is because the universe appears to be designed. How most everything in this universe is govern by a mathematical law. How every other option for the creation of the universe ends in a non material universe. All roads to the creation of the universe are pointing to an universe that is designed.

So that leaves two possibilities either God created everything we see, or super intelligent aliens created everything we see. So in essence the scientific community can say a God created with universe without having to actually having to say that God created the universe.

Neils Degrasse Tyson describes these super aliens like this,
Moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum’s Hayden Planetarium, put the odds at 50-50 that our entire existence is a program on someone else’s hard drive. “I think the likelihood may be very high,� he said. He noted the gap between human and chimpanzee intelligence, despite the fact that we share more than 98 percent of our DNA. Somewhere out there could be a being whose intelligence is that much greater than our own. “We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence,� he said. “If that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment.�

And the idea that these aliens would be a type of God is also not lost.
And if someone somewhere created our simulation, would that make this entity God? “We in this universe can create simulated worlds and there’s nothing remotely spooky about that,� Chalmers said. “Our creator isn’t especially spooky, it’s just some teenage hacker in the next universe up.� Turn the tables, and we are essentially gods over our own computer creations. “We don’t think of ourselves as deities when we program Mario, even though we have power over how high Mario jumps,� Tyson said. “There’s no reason to think they’re all-powerful just because they control everything we do.� And a simulated universe introduces another disturbing possibility. “What happens,� Tyson said, “if there’s a bug that crashes the entire program?�
This is nothing more than man's attempt at trying to get around the conclusion that God created the universe even though all of the observations point to a Creator to the universe.

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Re: Signs We're in a Simulation

Post #4

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

[Replying to post 2 by Divine Insight]

Replying on a phone, so I can't be too thorough, but just because physics explains things doesn't mean that the physics are not a part of the program. The programmer clearly set it up so that electrons repell.

As for obeying mathematics, it is certainly absurd to pretend that particles do math, but that doesn't mean that math isn't being done behind the scenes.

You seem to be confusing the universe AS a computer rather than a computer simulating the universe. When we make, say, The Legend of Zelda, we are simulating a world. That world has physics and things happen when you interact with objects. No matter what Link and Zelda do, they will never be able to see or know the Nintendo on which their universe runs. And if they look at the particles that make themselves up, they can learn that reality is simply hollow shells of items and things tend to be transparent from the inside and not on the outside. They can determine crazy algorithms to predict behaviours such as gravity and they may very well come close to the behavior programmed in but they may never know that the reason gravity exists is because some programmer simply programmed the behavior in. The only thing they can ever see is what was programmed to be seen, nothing that makes up the Nintendo itself. So the best they can do is see things like how objects sometimes briefly pass through other objects and especially so when a lot of little objects are all moving at once and conclude that maybe they are in a simulation because it seems maybe a poor algorithm is in place and complexity of computation changes behavior.

Also keep in mind that I'm not suggesting anything requires that we are in a simulation. There's a big difference between concluding a requirement and recognizing a potential indicator.
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Re: Signs We're in a Simulation

Post #5

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

[Replying to post 3 by EarthScienceguy]

I certainly agree there is overlapping similarity, but for neither do I assume it makes it a definite thing. Like you quoted, he tossed it up to 50/50. It looks mathematical or even designed (in SOME ways, not others) but that by no means indicates it is. It could just be that such order must be necessary in a universe which creates life through it's existence. And even if we did conclude that it is creation, why would an almighty God be that much more probable than a simple computer program?
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Re: Signs We're in a Simulation

Post #6

Post by EarthScienceguy »

[Replying to post 5 by ElCodeMonkey]

Because we are not real in this scenario, and that is the point. The only way that makes you and me actually real people having this real conversation is for there to be a God that created this universe. Any other theory we are the figment of somethings imagination. We are not real and we do not really live and die.

This is the reason that many have gone to this theory. Not out of any real hard evidence but of a lack desire to go to the alternative.
And the statistical argument that most minds in the future will turn out to be artificial rather than biological is also not a given, said Lisa Randall, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University. “It’s just not based on well-defined probabilities. The argument says you’d have lots of things that want to simulate us. I actually have a problem with that. We mostly are interested in ourselves. I don’t know why this higher species would want to simulate us.� Randall admitted she did not quite understand why other scientists were even entertaining the notion that the universe is a simulation. “I actually am very interested in why so many people think it’s an interesting question.� She rated the chances that this idea turns out to be true “effectively zero.�
This whole theory is a belief statement none of this is testable. It is a make believe story because the other theories of the creation of the cosmos are bankrupped

But this does still not help with creation. Because the creators of the universe had to come from somewhere from an universe that still would have not way to form.

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Re: Signs We're in a Simulation

Post #7

Post by Divine Insight »

ElCodeMonkey wrote: Also keep in mind that I'm not suggesting anything requires that we are in a simulation. There's a big difference between concluding a requirement and recognizing a potential indicator.
I agree. I guess all that I disagree with is are the things you are suggesting to be potential indicators which I don't see was being indicators of a simulation.

Also, applying Occam's Razor (or simple parsimony), the universe simply doesn't require a simulating computer to explain it. So introducing the premise of one only complicates things unnecessarily.

Now, not only have you not solved the problem of explaining the universe, but you have introduced a much greater problem of having to now explain what is simulating the universe and from whence did that entity come from?

Also, if a simulation is the explanation for the universe, then perhaps a simulation would also then be the explanation for the simulator, ad infinitum.

Somewhere along the way you're going to need to stop and deal with something directly. So why pass the buck to an imagined simulator when that doesn't get you anywhere? Especially if you can't find a way to prove of disprove the hypothesis.

In fact, isn't this the ultimate criteria of scientific reasoning? Why bother proposing premises that cannot be determined to be true or false? At that point all you end up with is a mere philosophical guess that can never be resolved.

There's just no point in postulating the existence of things that cannot be determined to be either true or false.

Of course, if you could discover a way to determine whether the hypothesis is true or false, then you'd be onto something. But short of that you end up with nothing more than a "religion" or simulation. (i.e. a guess about reality that can never be determined to be either true or false.)

You were asking in another thread how we can get people to understand logic and reason. Well, a good place to start with that is to reject any hypotheses that cannot be determined to be either true or false. I mean, a person can certainly continue to speculate about them, perhaps in the hope that someday they will discover a way to determine the truth value of the hypothesis. But until then, you may as well be asking, "Maybe the Boogieman did it?".

Is that sound reasoning? :-k

Is there any evidence for the existence of a Boogieman?
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Re: Signs We're in a Simulation

Post #8

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

[Replying to post 7 by Divine Insight]

Occam's razor is a good default assumption for most of life but it by no means qualifies for proving anything. And, I dunno, I don't think it's that far-fetched or complex an idea. We are in the early stages of virtual reality and artificial intelligence. When we progress further, we will no doubt create some form of alternate reality with perhaps some actual consciousness. I'm sure you've heard this argument. Given that it's possible, it is likely there are more virtual realities than real realities which makes it more probable that any universe is simulated. So then, knowing it's more probable we're in a simulation, we can begin to look for evidences for or against it. We may not ever get to know, and just maybe it never really matters, but what if the reality of this world is that they are trying to create AI for the purpose of transferring our "soul" (or the learned neural network which makes us up) into eternal robot bodies in the real world. Maybe that's why there are so many "gods" intervening with things and usually trying to tell us to be good, promising us eternal life, and getting corrupted by their original and terrible attempts at AI? It all seems rather plausible to me. Much more plausible than the angry God demanding blood sacrifice. Maybe not quite as plausible as being a natural universe given the specifics associated with the robot story, but certainly more probable that we're in a simulation without any of those specifics. So I don't think it's quite as useless to ponder as you might make it out to be.
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Post #9

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

Just to document it, Deja Vu could be an indicator of simulation. Perhaps we have residual memory of something that was just undone by a simulation owner rewinding time briefly. It doesn't stop something from having happened in the real timeline of the creator, but it erases it mostly from our memory. The counter-argument to that might be the fact that we don't all experience it simultaneously. Not sure how to get around that one except having a reason other than time manipulation...
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Post #10

Post by Guy Threepwood »

[Replying to post 9 by ElCodeMonkey]
Just to document it, Deja Vu could be an indicator of simulation. Perhaps we have residual memory of something that was just undone by a simulation owner rewinding time briefly. It doesn't stop something from having happened in the real timeline of the creator, but it erases it mostly from our memory. The counter-argument to that might be the fact that we don't all experience it simultaneously. Not sure how to get around that one except having a reason other than time manipulation...
I don't think that's an unreasonable possibility.

Just because we can only be in one place at one time, does not mean all other places do not exist at that time

Similarly, just because we can only experience one time, does not mean all times cannot exist in that same place.

Time as we understand it, is a part of the universe- not the other way around, so all time in the universe exists simultaneously from that wider perspective right? even if we cannot perceive it all at once.

Like a lot of phenomena, we get just enough of a glimpse of this, to arouse our curiosity, but not give the answer away- we have to figure that out ourselves?

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