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Thought experiment: imagine the universe is a simulation!
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Zarathustra
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No dodge. I answered. Go look.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Post your answer here if you want me to read it. I am not playing your game of go-fetch, which only narcissistic people find entertaining.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend wrote:
Still, it would also be on topic to answer my question if you can. Which isn't about the nature of science, it is about the theory that you suggest (via references) that no one who is intelligent can disbelieve.
FIrst of all, I never said the red part. You're arguing against something no one has claimed, which is another reason why it's off-topic. I've repeatedly said I don't believe it. I'm considering it.

Now, in order to discuss why this is science rather than magic, it is necessary to discuss what makes something science vs pseudo-science. It's a lengthy, detailed, controversial topic deserving its own thread. You brought up falsification principle. We're discussing that in both general and specific (to simulations) terms in the other thread.

Why am I not allowed to define my own subject matter in my own thread? You talk about BARE DECENCY, but you have no interest in playing by the rules I've painstakingly, explicitly, repeatedly set up here.

And yet, I'll be generous: let's assume you can't falsify it. Now, ignoring the question of whether or not that makes it "magic," (a question that bores me at this point, since I've answered over and over), let's ask a question that no one has answered:

What does it say about our reality that there would be no falsifiable difference if it were actually *not* real? Given that scientists are proposing ways to test this, and philosophers are providing statistical arguments for it being likely, this question has moved from a parlor game to a serious question.

We must admit it's possible, or at least conceivable.

Reality is the kind of place that allows technology that can replicate its relations/properties in a purely mathematical form.

This replication can be portrayed to us in a thoroughly convincing manner.

The grounding epistemological basis to science--empirical evidence--guarantees nothing.

Knowledge--the ability to learn reality's rules and put them to use--makes this a possibility. Reality is the kind of place that can be simulated because reality is explicable. Knowledge gives us (or any being) the ability to breakdown the reality/unreality barrier, making that an insignificant distinction.

Reality is the kind of place where pure numerical/abstract relations are sufficient to capture everything significant about it.

There's a wealth of interesting things packed into this topic, philosophically. If you want to stick with "magic," then we can even ask: why is reality indistinguishable from magic? Does this mean that magic is real? Does this mean that our distinction between naturalism and magic is itself broken down by sufficiently advanced science? Is naturalism itself a paradox if it leads to its own contradiction?
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
FIrst of all, I never said the red part. You're arguing against something no one has claimed, which is another reason why it's off-topic. I've repeatedly said I don't believe it. I'm considering it.

You have posted many times words to the effect of, if you're posting an article in support of you're argument, you must be advocating what the article says. And you have posted articles about how you have to be a numnut not to believe the universe is simulated.

Zarathustra wrote:
Now, in order to discuss why this is science rather than magic, it is necessary to discuss what makes something science vs pseudo-science.

Not particularly interested. That's an opinion question.

I was just asking ANYONE how anyone could disprove this theory. I asked because I was curious if I was wrong and it was actually possible to disprove it. I was allowing I may be convinced otherwise.

Zarathustra wrote:
What does it say about our reality that there would be no falsifiable difference if it were actually *not* real?

I don't know. That hasn't happened. Certainly not here.

A theory that cannot be disproven because it lacks a factual basis and is solely a closed loop of logic that proves only itself says nothing about our universe. It only says something about the ability to create a closed-loop of logic. You might as well ask what does it say about our universe that it may be on the back of a turtle.

Zarathustra wrote:
We must admit it's possible, or at least conceivable.

Must I? I demand that my theories have at least one observable fact from which it arises before I contemplate whether or not they have merit.

This is a theory that isn't built on any science that has come before, and which basically proclaims that further scientific pursuits to understand how the universe works are pointless. It demands that other scientific achievements already made are mere curiosities. And asks that we believe that the system of the universe is arbitrary, and that there need not be internal consistency if the authors of it don't choose to have it.

This is, if anything, the death of science.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

You have posted many times words to the effect of, if you're posting an article in support of you're argument, you must be advocating what the article says.
While it's true that most of the time, people provide links to back up what they think, it's also possible to provide a link to answer a specific question raised by someone else, which I did here (i.e. your question).
wayfriend wrote:
And you have posted articles about how you have to be a numnut not to believe the universe is simulated.
You can't quote a single post and/or link where I've said this. Which is why you don't provide a quote here. It would be easy to prove your point if this were a fact. I've said over and over that I don't believe the universe is simulated. Does that mean I'm claiming to be a "numnut?" Why would I expect people to believe something I don't believe myself?

wayfriend wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
What does it say about our reality that there would be no falsifiable difference if it were actually *not* real?

I don't know. That hasn't happened. Certainly not here.
That's why this is in the Close. It doesn't matter if it has happened or not. It's a thought experiment. In fact, I was taking your point and assuming that you were right, that it's not falsifiable, and following the logic. Are you not interested in the implications of your own question? Odd.

wayfriend wrote:
A theory that cannot be disproven because it lacks a factual basis and is solely a closed loop of logic that proves only itself says nothing about our universe. It only says something about the ability to create a closed-loop of logic. You might as well ask what does it say about our universe that it may be on the back of a turtle.
See, this is not a thread about turtles. That's why this line of thinking is off-topic. As I said in the thread which you refuse to click on, the theory that there might exist alien life on another planet cannot possibly be falsified. We can't check every planet in the universe to eliminate them all. Or, an alien technology might be sufficiently advanced to cloak itself from us. Does this mean that SETI isn't scientific? Does this mean it is impossible to formulate scientifically the theory that there might exist alien life ? What about the Drake equation? That's a probablistic argument, just as the arguments behind this theory.

Naturalism itself isn't falsifiable. In the absence of a natural explanation, we just assume we don't know the explanation yet. Even if this situation continued indefinitely, it would be impossible for it to ever rise to the level of falsifying naturalism, for those determined to cling to natural explanations. Does this mean that science isn't scientific?

wayfriend wrote:
Must I? I demand that my theories have at least one observable fact from which it arises before I contemplate whether or not they have merit.
Having merit isn't the same as admitting it's possible. If there is a reason why it's not possible, then the theory is falsifiable! So your own reasoning would lead you to believe that it's possible.

I'm curious: do you think string theory has merit? What is the evidence for it?

Also: what did you think of the Meuller probe prior to its conclusion? Did you think the Russian collusion narrative had merit in the absence of any evidence for it?

wayfriend wrote:
This is a theory that isn't built on any science that has come before, and which basically proclaims that further scientific pursuits to understand how the universe works are pointless.
Do you consider computer science to be a kind of a science? The simulation theory is built on decades of studying the progress of computers. And, as I've said before, it does not proclaim that further scientific pursuits are pointless. Science could still operate exactly as before, with the understanding that figuring out the laws of nature are figuring out the simulation's program. Whether or not you assign value to this is your choice. But since it obviously gives us power over the (hypothetical) program, there are good reasons to consider it valuable. Indeed, *if* we're in a program and there is a scientific way to figure that out, one might say that this would be the most valuable scientific discovery ever made. Revealing the nature of our reality would not only be valuable in itself, but it would justify the value of science beyond all question.

wayfriend wrote:
It demands that other scientific achievements already made are mere curiosities. And asks that we believe that the system of the universe is arbitrary, and that there need not be internal consistency if the authors of it don't choose to have it.
The universe arising from a program is the opposite of "arbitrary." It's no different from arising from laws of nature, except that they are explicitly codified, rather than merely implicit. Also, there need not be internal consistency now. Nothing guarantees, for instance, that we'll find one consistent Grand Unification Theory to unite quantum theory with relativity.

wayfriend wrote:
This is, if anything, the death of science.
That's a point dealing with the nature of science, the philosophy of science, on par with my point that naturalism isn't falsifiable. Since this is the *only* point you seem to have, I'm curious why you aren't interested in discussing it in its proper context. It seems really important to you, enough for you to repeat it over and over, in defiance of the specified parameters for this thread. Given its enduring fascination for you, why wouldn't you be curious enough to click on my other thread? What's up with the stubborn refusal to "go fetch" (as you bizarrely describe hitting a button on your mouse), if you're willing to spend orders of magnitude more time posting incessantly on this topic in the wrong place?

It's almost as if you have an agenda here that goes well beyond this one-trick pony you have beaten to death. Are you just trying to annoy me? Seriously? This is one of the most transparent trolling attempts I've ever seen.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
wayfriend wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
What does it say about our reality that there would be no falsifiable difference if it were actually *not* real?

I don't know. That hasn't happened. Certainly not here.
That's why this is in the Close. It doesn't matter if it has happened or not. It's a thought experiment.

You are misconstruing my sentence. What I am saying has NOT happened is that someone demonstrated there is no falsifiable difference. Since no one has demonstrated it, I suggest there is no point in wondering what such a demonstration means.

Zarathustra wrote:
See, this is not a thread about turtles.

Indeed, it isn't. This is the horesh** again - a simulated universe is not a turtle, so what are you talking about, wayfriend!

I did, however, notice that you dodged the point by using this trick.

Again: a theory that cannot be disproven because it offers no way to test it does NOT saying anything about our universe, it only says that we can devise unprovable theories. You also cannot prove that God didn't create the world, and that also says nothing about how our universe functions.

Zarathustra wrote:
That's why this line of thinking is off-topic.

How did you move my post without my permission, anyway?

Zarathustra wrote:
As I said in the thread which you refuse to click on

False narrative, only telling half the story.

Zarathustra wrote:
the theory that there might exist alien life on another planet cannot possibly be falsified.

Well, that's completely wrong. It can be falsified by visiting every planet and examining it for alien life. The fact that this is not practical doesn't mean that there isn't a way to verify the theory. The theory is testable.

Zarathustra wrote:
wayfriend wrote:
Must I? I demand that my theories have at least one observable fact from which it arises before I contemplate whether or not they have merit.
Having merit isn't the same as admitting it's possible. If there is a reason why it's not possible, then the theory is falsifiable! So your own reasoning would lead you to believe that it's possible.

Wow. That's an amazing abuse of logic. If a theory is without merit because it is not disprovable, then it is possible?!?!! I read this over and over, and I cannot see where you got that. It's like your pretending to own me and hoping no one ever reads the details.

Zarathustra wrote:
It's almost as if you have an agenda here that goes well beyond this one-trick pony you have beaten to death. Are you just trying to annoy me? Seriously? This is one of the most transparent trolling attempts I've ever seen.

I posted a question to the world, you volunteered to question me about my question over and over and over. I do my best to answer. As I said, I was hoping to hear something testable that I had not thought of. So: More false narrative. If I am a troll, just don't feed me. If you can ascribe a nefarious motive, it doesn't make it true. On the other hand, you're not really exemplifying anything like good motives in your responses, so, you know, hypocracy.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
What I am saying has NOT happened is that someone demonstrated there is no falsifiable difference. Since no one has demonstrated it, I suggest there is no point in wondering what such a demonstration means.
You suggested that the simulation theory is not falsifiable. You said, "It seems to me you can't do it." So, taking your position, if it's not falsifiable, then this means that there is no falsifiable difference between reality and simulation. I agree, that's not a demonstration; but it is a logical conclusion from your premise.

If there is no point in wondering about that, then perhaps there is no point in wondering if it's falsifiable at all--unless your only goal is to say that the subject of this thread isn't worth wondering about. But my point is exactly the opposite (otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered to create the thread). If you disagree, no one forces you to participate here. But it's extremely odd to spend this much time here telling me over and over that the subject of my own thread isn't worth considering. Things that aren't worth considering don't usually merit this much time/effort in saying so.

Quote:
Again: a theory that cannot be disproven because it offers no way to test it does NOT saying anything about our universe, it only says that we can devise unprovable theories. You also cannot prove that God didn't create the world, and that also says nothing about how our universe functions.
How is it possible that you've missed where I've referenced (at least half a dozen times) that there IS a way to test this theory? I'll bold it for you.
Again: scientists have proposed that we study cosmic rays to see if there is a discrepancy in the way they are emitted, which would reveal whether or not space is continuous (i.e. real) or discontinuous (i.e. fake). This is not my idea. I don't fully understand it. But since this theory makes a testable prediction, it *is* possible to test and falsify it.


Quote:
Zarathustra wrote:
That's why this line of thinking is off-topic.

How did you move my post without my permission, anyway?
I didn't move anything. This forum has a moderator.

But why would I need *your* permission?? Am I not able to define what is off-topic for my own thread?

Quote:
Zarathustra wrote:
the theory that there might exist alien life on another planet cannot possibly be falsified.

Well, that's completely wrong. It can be falsified by visiting every planet and examining it for alien life. The fact that this is not practical doesn't mean that there isn't a way to verify the theory. The theory is testable.
But, like in your example, if we fail to find aliens, even if we check every planet (which we *can't*), someone who insists upon believing could claim that the aliens are hiding from us on purpose, using advanced technology to do so. So, in what way is the idea that there might exist aliens any different from the simulation theory, on this basis?

Quote:
Wow. That's an amazing abuse of logic. If a theory is without merit because it is not disprovable, then it is possible?!?!! I read this over and over, and I cannot see where you got that. It's like your pretending to own me and hoping no one ever reads the details.
If you don't think it's possible, all you have to do is explain why it's impossible. If it's not impossible, then it's possible. That's an abuse of logic? IIt's merely taking the literal meaning of these words and constructing tautologies. That's *logic.* If you can't falsify it because it could always be possible that the disconfirming evidence is simulated, then the simulation theory remains in the realm of the possible. (Whether or not that implies merit is a separate issue.)

wayfriend wrote:
I posted a question to the world, you volunteered to question me about my question over and over and over. I do my best to answer. As I said, I was hoping to hear something testable that I had not thought of. So: More false narrative. If I am a troll, just don't feed me. If you can ascribe a nefarious motive, it doesn't make it true. On the other hand, you're not really exemplifying anything like good motives in your responses, so, you know, hypocracy.
If you were actually hoping to hear about something testable, that hope was fulfilled on the first page, and numerous times after that. Your latest argument is yet another in a growing list of ways to prove that my basic conjecture here is without "merit." My motivation is to prove the opposite: that it does indeed have merit. The idea that you would twist this into me lacking good motives or exhibiting hypocrisy is bizarre. I'm just arguing for the point of the thread, against your unrelenting attack of it. I think the topic (and my entertainment of it) is fairly amoral.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Syl] wrote:
Anyway, back to the subject at hand:

Earlier in the thread, I found Wayfriend's dismissal a bit like Einstein's dismissal of quantum mechanics ("God does not play dice.") In its infancy, QM was a bit like SR or even the holographic principle theory (though I vaguely recall someone publishing something suggesting the theory could be disproven).

My thinking these days is that it's a piece of the greater picture, which runs something along the lines that nothing is real, but rather all realities are real simultaneously and what we perceive as consciousness is the selective unraveling of one of those realities, in essence,simulating one possibility (personally, I like to tie it into the idea of our perceived reality being one in which we must always perceive reality, thus You Can Never Die, but I acknowledge that as a bit of magical thinking). This, in turn, has led me slightly away from the stance of absolute determinism toward a more quantum model of consciousness.


I missed this post! Good one. I agree that this idea makes the concept of reality very malleable, dependent upon consciousness. That's not the same as idealism, exactly. Rather, it makes consciousness like the speed of light: the one constant in a place where everything else is relative. *If* this is a simulation (I feel I must keep repeating that), then consciousness can be simulated, and thus consciousness is real no matter which world it finds itself in. It would be "the one real thing," where everything else has its reality (to greater or lesser degrees) relative to it.

Perhaps this means we can never die, given the right conditions, but not that we have a soul. It would be a technological immortality, much like uploading your consciousness to the cloud. If you've read much of the thread, you'll see that I disagree that this is "magical." Technology isn't magical, except in a figurative sense. I do appreciate, however, how this might cause us to revise our meanings for such terms.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Fist, I am sorry, but that is absurd. There are no simulations? So what we experience as simulations are just illusions? A simulation of a simulation? Lol. In that case there *are* simulations. Laughing

A simulation is more than electrons zipping along inside a computer. If that were the case, then it would not matter if the computer was on, if it was broken, or if it was running Microsoft Excel. The form matters, the program matters, the screen matters, the speakers matter. The simulation happens as in interaction between the hardware, the software, the output devices, and the person experiencing them.

Even on your drastically reduced example, an example that no one ever uses in real life--a computer with no output device--the simulation is still real in terms of its mathematics, the abstract relations it represents. To deny this would be like saying that there is no child pornography because it's only zeros and ones on a hard drive. Wayfriend is refuting something that no one ever claimed. No one ever suggested that there is a little tiny world inside the computer. Yes, it is comprised of electrons zipping around. But then again, so is reality.

Of *course* a simulation is an illusion! That's the whole freaking point!
Hey, you know there's a decent chance I won't explain myself well under the best of circumstances. Big Grin The scant few minutes I had here and there as I was losing my mind over my new job, then posting as I was nodding off just so I could post at all, wasn't the best of circumstances.

Which isn't to say you're not going to disagree anyway. Laughing Anyway, I was in DC for a long weekend, but back. Let's see what I can do.

No electrons moving in a computer are simulating anything in the physical world. Humans told them to move in a certain way so that they would light up certain parts of a monitor and cause certain vibrations in speakers, so that humans see and hear what seem like things we've seen and heard in the physical world. It's all created by us, for us, in a way we chose. But the patterns of electrons in the computer are not depicting those things. They don't represent those specific things in the physical world in an objective sense. No properties of the universe/laws of physics say that this particular pattern of 0s and 1s represents that particular action from the physical world, and it couldn't be any other pattern of 0s and 1s. This simulation takes place only in our minds, and only because we designed the system to make it work that way.

I cannot see that it makes the least bit of sense to expect a consciousness to emerge in a computer that is running our programs depicting the physical world. There is no frame of reference within the computer that would explain the patterns of moving electrons that we set in motion to depict our physical world. It would be nonsense. The simulation has no meaning within the computer. And a consciousness could not emerge among meaninglessness.

I know you are not suggesting we should expect such a thing to come about from GTA5. You've said we could set up initial conditions, and let it evolve, with the hope that consciousness emerges. Which is fine. I don't see that consciousness can only exist in a biological body. But I think the initial conditions should be unlike our own. We need to find a way to let the computer realm set its own initial conditions. Any simulation we try to impose would be just that - imposed. Meaning it would not be natural to the computer realm. Meaning it would be opposed to the computer realm. There would be contradiction. If a consciousness can emerge without ties to the physical - in this case, the hardware - then there can be no contradiction between the hardware and the meaning it produces. The two need to be so in sync that the hardware is not noticeable. Obviously, it's all speculation. How do I know which conditions are and are not acceptable to produce an emergent consciousness? But that's my feeling on it.

Although I guess you're saying we are aware of our programmers' computers, if there is no other workable explanation of things like the double-slit experiment and entanglement. But I think those things are evidence that we are not in a simulation. If my speculation is right, and contradiction within the very foundation of our reality is not possible, given the emergence of consciousness, then there is no contradiction. Heck, I don't think our reality could have come about with such foundations. We simply haven't yet found the answers to certain questions.


To address a couple of things you said... To the computer, which is where we're hoping a consciousness will emerge, there is no output device. So the simulation does not exist. The whole freaking point is what is on the output device. So to the computer, there is nothing. Not even an illusion. To us, there is child pornography. To the computer - again, the only thing of any importance whatsoever in our quest - there is not. The meaning it all holds for us do not exist for it.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist, you are on record (in my consciousness thread) saying that there is no inherent meaning in the world, just what we assign to it. So now you're saying there is no meaning in the computer running a simulation, except what we see in it. So how are these different?

In order for a simulation to be "real," are you saying that it must do something over and above what reality itself does (i.e. have meaning on its own)? How can reality be real sans inherent meaning, but this counts as a reason to say simulations aren't real?

I can sympathize with what you're saying. I've noted before that there is no semantics in computer programs, only syntax, and this is one of the reasons why we can't build consciousness out of a computer (at least not the kind we use today). However, syntax is still real. I don't think we need semantics to have simulations. Syntax may be enough. After all, we're talking about pure numerical/abstract form, not content.

But this is a really good argument. I'm having a hard time with it. My gut tells me that if you model a relationship mathematically (not visually), and capture those relations in a working, real system, that this does have some kind of meaning . . . the meaning of those relationships. There are determinate consequences within the operation of the computer. "If x, then y."

This is why we can use simulations to make predictions about reality (e.g. modeling global warming, modeling the path of a hurricane, etc.). Sure, we assign the numbers a meaning in the world, but the way those numbers are achieved have some kind of reality on their own, or else they would be useless.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there is meaning in math. Math simply is. It describes relationships between things. Add two of these and three of these, and we have five of these. But what does that mean? It doesn't mean anything. What does gravity mean? Nothing. What does the mathematically measurable strength of gravity between two bodies mean? Nothing.

Meaning exists when we create it. Yes, there is meaning in a computer simulation. We made it because of the meaning; because we intended for there to be meaning. But it only has meaning to us. If we could put a sentient program into the computer, it would not perceive a simulation. It would not perceive meaning. It does not have the frame of reference to perceive these things. It will perceive the moving electrons. It will perceive the math that guides these patterns. But it will not understand. It knows nothing of the outer physical world. Nothing of gravity, rubber, glass, explosions, people who bleed when injured, etc. It might concoct a story to explain the patterns of electrons. Which, I suppose, would be meaning. Humans concoct stories about why we have seasons; why there is thunder; etc. Stories that are not mere math and laws of physics. Maybe our sentient program would do that. Does that make the patterns of electrons a simulation to the sentient program?

If we do not put that sentient program into the computer, there is no simulation/meaning from the pov of the computer. Because, of course, the computer has no pov. And, if the math of the relationships between things in our physical world had anything to do with the emergence of consciousness, then the simulation we put in the computer will not bring about the emergence of consciousness within the computer. Because the math does not describe relationships between things in the computer's physical world. It's just math. Yes, this many electrons plus this many electrons equals that many electrons. (I don't know that they can be counted within a computer. I'm just saying mathematics applies within a computer.) And there might be many other observable relationships between groups of electrons in our simulation. Groups of certain sizes behave in certain ways, while groups of other sizes behave in other ways. Groups of different sizes interact in certain ways. Groups in one part of the computer may behave different than groups in other parts of the computer. I can't imagine what's going on in there, but I have to assume there is order and structure.

The thing is, that order and structure does not have any meaning within the computer. It only has meaning in our minds when we see how the electrons of that order and structure interact with the monitor and speakers. Consciousness will not emerge, because it cannot understand the meaning of it all. Pure math will not bring about consciousness. That's not why we are conscious. Animals with lesser consciousness than us have a MUCH lesser understanding of math, and most probably have none. If it was the pure math that brings about consciousness, all things with consciousness would have an understanding of at least some math. Consciousness emerged because of the mathematical relationships of real things. As our brains evolved, we became able to remove the things from the equations, and have pure math. Other consciousness don't have pure math, and pure math is not what brought about the emergence of consciousness. The math and structure of our simulation is not of real things for the computer. It's pure math.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Consciousness emerged because of the mathematical relationships of real things. As our brains evolved, we became able to remove the things from the equations, and have pure math.


Great description.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. That's why I say the initial conditions of the computer world need to be appropriate to the computer world - to the hardware and electrons - and let it evolve. Help it evolve, if we can do so without violating those conditions. We don't want to set up a situation where there is no connection between the hardware and the math.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm. No matter how much proofreading I do... Last two words of what you quoted should have been "pure math", not "our math". I edited.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
I don't think there is meaning in math. Math simply is. It describes relationships between things. Add two of these and three of these, and we have five of these. But what does that mean? It doesn't mean anything. What does gravity mean? Nothing. What does the mathematically measurable strength of gravity between two bodies mean? Nothing.
I think we should have a thread on meaning. There are too many senses of it.

Here's what I mean: is the world explicable? Or it is nonsense/chaos/contradiction/inexplicable? The fact that gravity is describable by a mathematical formula is one in a long list of answers to that question. Taken together, the answer is a resounding: YES! The world has meaning. It is explicable. We can know it. We can have knowledge of it that is more than its bare presence/being, but also how it works, how the parts interrelate, how one thing explains another, how one thing leads to another, and the consequences of it being this way rather than another way.

If the world had no meaning, could we know it? If it was inexplicable, wouldn't this be the same as saying it was meaningless? Furthermore, the only reason that we can know it, that we can explain it, is because we can render it into mathematical descriptions that account for its interrelations. These trace the causal chains. On this basis, how can it have no meaning?

Sometimes we learn about the world purely from the math. For instance, the existence of the positron was predicted because the math led to both a positive and negative result. Then we checked reality, and found positrons! How can there be no meaning in math if it informs us about what is possible in the world?

What about logic? I can prove to you that objects MUST all fall at the same speed with nothing more than logic, without having to perform any experiment--except a thought experiment. [See below, if interested.]* How can that be, if there is no meaning in logic?

Quote:
And, if the math of the relationships between things in our physical world had anything to do with the emergence of consciousness, then the simulation we put in the computer will not bring about the emergence of consciousness within the computer. Because the math does not describe relationships between things in the computer's physical world. It's just math.
It seems you are wanting it both ways (granted, maybe I am, too). You were arguing earlier that my simulation didn't get rid of matter, because it was still running on physical hardware. Now you're saying that math in the computer is different from mathematical relations in the world, because "it's just math." So which is it? Is the math in the computer free of matter, or dependent upon it?

Also, you seem to be begging the question. How do you know this won't produce consciousness? If we're in a simulation, then we're the proof that this *can* produce consciousness. That's precisely what's in question in this thread.

Are you saying that if we modeled everything the brain is doing in a computer, the computer wouldn't be conscious? [Note: I think we'll have to model much more than the firing of neurons.] If consciousness can arise in brains, why not in another form, i.e. a computer? All it takes is the right structures.

This simulation idea really does force us to look at the consciousness problem from "the other side!" It's a nice counterpart to my consciousness thread. I'm forced into the position of my own devil's advocate, arguing for the creation of consciousness through computers, rather than against reductionism. I'm forced to admit that there is at least something the reductionists are getting right: the brain does produce consciousness.

Quote:
Consciousness emerged because of the mathematical relationships of real things.
A computer is a real thing! (But now we're back to your point that I haven't eliminated matter with this argument . . . Laughing )


*[If lightweight objects fall at slower speeds than heavy objects, then what would happen if you tether them together with a length of rope and dropped them? The heavy object would quickly go to the bottom, with the lighter object above it during the fall. Their combined speed would be something in between their individual speeds, because the heavy object would pull the light one faster, while the lighter object would produce a drag that would slow the heavy object down.

Now, instead of tethering them, just tie them together into one object. If you dropped them now, shouldn't they fall faster than either alone, since they now form an object heavier than either individually? But how is this situation any different than the previous one above, when the the mass for both scenarios is the same (i.e. combined mass of the two)? Whether they are in direct contact or connected by a rope shouldn't matter, since the overall mass of the system would be constant. Just because the lightweight object is really close to the heavy one (in fact, touching) shouldn't cancel out its drag effect and turn it into the exact opposite of drag (i.e. acceleration)!

Therefore, all objects MUST fall at the same rate (sans air friction), otherwise, we're led to a logical contradiction. The mass of an object can't have opposite effects just by moving it an insignificant distance closer to another object.]
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has become so unwieldy. Laughing Trying to respond point-by-point is leading to a lot of repetition, since it all touches on everything else. I'm going to just start over, and try to be systematic.

The only consciousnesses we are aware of are inextricably bound up with, and, it would seem, produced by, matter. The fact that matter is necessary for the consciousnesses we are aware of is not proof that matter is necessary for consciousness. But it's all we have to go on, so that's what I'm talking about.

It would seem our consciousness began as a very rudimentary thing, small and uncomplicated. Which also describes the complexity of the organization of the matter that it was bound up with. The matter and the consciousness both grew, possibly helping each other along.

What made the consciousness possible is the useful information in the matter. Useful information. Consciousness would not have emerged without it. What if an object passing between a light source and me cast a shadow sometimes. Randomly. Would pigment on a one-celled organism have been anything more than a patch that was chemically different? Movement toward or away from a light source or shadow helps the critter survive. An eyespot attached to a means of locomotion accomplishes the desired movement. And consciousness is the awareness of the relationship between objects, light, and shadow, as well as the relationship between movement toward or away from a light source or shadow and survival. Take away the consistent relationship between object, light, and shadow, and nothing arises. The eyespot would not have then come about, nor evolved to do its job better. And, since no relationships would exist, awareness of those relationships could not have come about, and could not have evolved into our consciousness.

Lack of consistency is one type of useless information. (Technically, it's a lack of information.) Let's look at another type. The consciousness of newborn babies is an iffy thing. What is a newborn conscious of? What memories do we have of the first days of life? It is our experience of the real world, and the ability to recognize the consistent nature of the relationships of everything around us, and the ability to use that information to survive and thrive, that makes our consciousness grow. What would happen if we recited rules of math, multiplication tables, addition tables, etc, to an infant in a sensory deprivation tank? Would it become fully conscious? Would it understand math? What if we recited everything else we could think of to it? Stuck in the tank, the infant could never use the information to survive and thrive. The information is not describing relationships between things that exist for the infant. The information is useless. It cannot try different things based on that information, and learn which work better than others. How would the infant's consciousness grow?

So information that applies to nothing is another type of useless information. Let's look at another example of information that applies to nothing: a computer simulation of our physical world. Let's say there is already a consciousness within the computer. What does the simulation do for our computer consciousness? The information is consistent, and mathematically correct. What can the consciousness do with the information? The information describes things that do not exist for the consciousness. It sees pure information. Empty. The consciousness does not know that the math is describing what happens when an automobile moving at 100 mph hits a human body. It just sees math and electrons. It cannot do anything with this math. Even if it somehow understood there was a really beyond its own, it could not is this information. It cannot get out of the way of an oncoming car. The information it has, even if it understood it's value in our physical really, cannot help it survive and throne.

Now let's consider if there is NOT already a consciousness within the computer. What would help a program survive and thrive in its environment? Some bizarre program counterpart of an eyespot. Whatever it might be, it has nothing to work with. The information that is a simulation to US is useless to the program and its eyespot. It is pure information, associated with nothing. No action it could take based on this information will help it survive and thrive. There is no oncoming car for Its eyespot-equivalent to warn it about. It will not learn from any actions it takes based on this information, because no action (or inaction) based on this pure information will help or hurt it. How will consciousness emerged from this??

That's why I say, if we simulate initial conditions in a computer, the initial conditions must be appropriate to the environment. It if cannot help or hurt the program, then there is nothing for the program to become aware of. No consciousness will emerge. For a consciousness to emerge, there needs to be useful information. Information that has value. Information that can be used to accomplish things.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
What would happen if we recited rules of math, multiplication tables, addition tables, etc, to an infant in a sensory deprivation tank? Would it become fully conscious? Would it understand math? What if we recited everything else we could think of to it? Stuck in the tank, the infant could never use the information to survive and thrive. The information is not describing relationships between things that exist for the infant. The information is useless. It cannot try different things based on that information, and learn which work better than others. How would the infant's consciousness grow?


Helen Keller wrote:
Once I knew only darkness and stillness... my life was without past or future... but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.


Fist and Faith wrote:
So information that applies to nothing is another type of useless information.
How does information apply to anything in the absence of conscious beings? And yet, in their absence, all the information in the universe creates everything we see. There is a relationship between information and the universe as a basic condition of reality. I think that the mind's ability to see meaning in things is built out of this relationship that exists prior to consciousness. And it's possible that this is why consciousness can arise: there is already a "miracle" at the base of reality such that meaning and matter intersect. Consciousness builds on this, and redoubles this connection.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
So information that applies to nothing is another type of useless information.
How does information apply to anything in the absence of conscious beings? And yet, in their absence, all the information in the universe creates everything we see. There is a relationship between information and the universe as a basic condition of reality. I think that the mind's ability to see meaning in things is built out of this relationship that exists prior to consciousness. And it's possible that this is why consciousness can arise: there is already a "miracle" at the base of reality such that meaning and matter intersect. Consciousness builds on this, and redoubles this connection.
I agree. My point was that the information is about real things. The things and the information about them can be used by living things to help them survive, and thrive. Act against the information, or just ignore it, and you die. Use is, and you live. And that is what allowed the emergence of - or possibly brought about - consciousness.

Information that does not have any bearing on survival will not lead to consciousness.

That's my theory. Very Happy

And that's why I say, if we are hoping consciousness will emerge in a computer, the information we put into the computer needs to have bearing on the survival of the programs. A simulation of our physical world, made by us and for us, will not do that.


And Helen Keller was not a newborn. She was 19 month old when she got sick. There's plenty of understanding and consciousness in a 19 month old.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sort of thing normally starts when people fail to understand sensationalised magazine articles about the Holographic Principle, which is commonly interpreted to mean "Dude, the universe could be a hologram or a computer simulation!"

Despite what Elon Musk may say in sensationalised magazine articles, it just doesn't work. It's a nice idea for a sci-fi movie or a sensationalised magazine article, but in reality it doesn't fly. Here's why:

1) The storage/calculation capacity to run the universe as a program/simulation/hologram would need be multiverse sized, even if you could store your data in the smallest possible space.

2) The Holographic Principle is a method for calculating the amount of information within a black hole embedded in Anti De Sitter space. The information content is determined by the surface area of such a black hole and not by the volume.

Therefore, it could be said that the interior of a black hole embedded in Anti De Sitter space is a 3 dimensional projection of the 2 dimensional information encoded on the surface (event horizon) of the black hole.

3) Our universe is not an Anti De Sitter space.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FindailsCrispyPancakes wrote:
This sort of thing normally starts when people fail to understand sensationalised magazine articles about the Holographic Principle, which is commonly interpreted to mean "Dude, the universe could be a hologram or a computer simulation!"
Have you read the entire thread? Or are you just assuming that the people you are addressing here are ignorant? That seems to be your M.O., given how you made a nearly identical point in my UFO thread.

I get it. You're smart. You're sarcastic. So am I. Nice to meet you.

But you're missing so much diving in with these assumptions . . .

FindailsCrispyPancakes wrote:
Despite what Elon Musk may say in sensationalised magazine articles, it just doesn't work. It's a nice idea for a sci-fi movie or a sensationalised magazine article, but in reality it doesn't fly. Here's why:
Despite Musk's great achievements in his career(s), I have taken issue with Musk on several occasions. Honestly, I wasn't even aware that he'd weighed in on this particular issue. His opinion means nothing to me here.

FindailsCrispyPancakes wrote:
1) The storage/calculation capacity to run the universe as a program/simulation/hologram would need be multiverse sized, even if you could store your data in the smallest possible space.
Only if you are simulating the entire universe. I dealt with this in my first post here [which is why I think you not only haven't read the entire thread, but you haven't read *any* of it. I appreciate your eagerness, but if you're going to talk down to people, maybe you shouldn't make assumptions about their arguments first]. One of the main points of the simulation theory is that storage capacity is finite, and therefore simulated quantities like space aren't continuous, but discrete (as the proposed measurements of cosmic rays would confirm/disconfirm). Also, the idea in quantum theory that proxy waves aren't collapsed until a measurement/observation occurs could be explained by this limit in storage/capacity: reality doesn't take on definitive values for properties until someone looks at it. So the vast majority of the universe needn't be calculated because it needn't have definitive values.

FindailsCrispyPancakes wrote:
2) The Holographic Principle is a method for calculating the amount of information within a black hole embedded in Anti De Sitter space. The information content is determined by the surface area of such a black hole and not by the volume.

Therefore, it could be said that the interior of a black hole embedded in Anti De Sitter space is a 3 dimensional projection of the 2 dimensional information encoded on the surface (event horizon) of the black hole.
Completely irrelevant to the discussion here. The Holographic Principle isn't the same as the idea that the universe is a simulation running on a computer.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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